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Constitutional crisis ahoy!

Contrary to popular belief, the UK does have a written constitution—it's just scattered across roughly 25 different pieces of legislation, subject to amendment on the fly whenever Parliament damn well pleases.

And since devolution came in, more than one parliament has to be convinced to amend the constitutional framework before it can be changed.

It is becoming apparent that The Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly may have veto power over BRexit per the House of Lords European Union Committee (11th Report of Session 2015-16,
"The process of withdrawing from the European Union"). See paras 70-71, "The role of the devolved legislatures in implementing the withdrawal agreement" -- section 29 of the Scotland Act 1998 binds the Scottish Parliament to act in a manner compatible with EU law, and Scottish parliamentary consent would be required to amend this. (A similar provision underpins the devolution settlements of Wales—which voted for Brexit—and Northern Ireland—which voted against it.)

So we have a royal mess coming down the pipeline.

Firstly, the referendum is non-binding on parliament. Voting "leave" did not automatically trigger UK departure from the EU, it just sent the sitting parliament a strong demand signal. It's up to them to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, or not, in a monumentally stupid game of international diplomatic chicken. (Also, a large majority of MPs in the House of Commons are actively opposed to Brexit. Absent the referendum, a free vote on Brexit in the Commons would have been defeated by a 2:1 majority.)

Secondly, both Scotland and NI voted to stay: in the case of Scotland by a stomping 62/38 margin. The European Communities Act 1972 is effectively baked into Scottish constitutional law, per the House of Lords report, and can't be amended without the active cooperation of the Scottish parliament. Trying to override this in Westminster would trigger a new and excitingly different constitutional crisis and almost certainly lead to Scottish secession on the fast track.

Meanwhile, Scotland is already lobbying the European Commission to protect Scotland's EU membership, and it looks likely that right now the final say in whether Brexit happens lies with Nicola Sturgeon, who is First Minister of a nation that voted to stay (and leads a strongly pro-European government). Taking Scotland out of the EU against the will of the voters and their elected government would also put Scottish independence back on the fast track—and this time previously staunch supporters of the union such as J. K. Rowling are already changing their tune.

I now confess to having run out of clues. I have got no idea where this is all going to end up. If the next leader of the Conservative Party in Westminster (presumptively Bojo, although I am having nightmares about Theresa May getting the job) wants a fig-leaf for switching to "remain", Oor Nicola is about the best that they could hope for. On the other hand, if the Commission are serious about wanting the UK out, they could insist on keeping Scotland as a separate member state, just to add to the pain. The possibilities are endless, within limits. I do not expect the Queen to stick her finger in the buzzing, sparking, shorting constitutional mains socket: she's not that stupid. But that's about all I can rule out at this point.



See also (an academic who predicted Brexit last year reposts his analysis, along with two corollaries, one of which now seems to be in train).


And more See also directly from the mouth of Scotland's First Minister:

".... I will be inviting the Consul Generals of all EU member states to a summit here in Bute House over the next two weeks to discuss how we engage with their communities here and make clear how highly we value the contribution that they make to Scotland's economy, to our society and to our culture"


The heavens have just opened down here whilst I was reading these, complete with thunder and lightning, t'm beginning to wonder about divine intervention, which is pretty weird since I'm an atheist...


My reading of the European statement is that they're decided that holding a vote and voting for out means you are OUT; they really, really, really intensely do not want to create the prospect of other polities holding out votes as a means of extorting concessions.

I think they're entirely right about that.

(I can also see a whole lot of highly varied "what else can I use this crisis to get done?" going on. Such as an EU military and central bank.)


So, guesses on the overlap between the people who voted Conservative "to prevent the SNP tail from wagging the Labour dog" *and* for Leave?

Meanwhile, as a continuation of the 'memes' subtopic, the latest hotness appears to be "The Union of Craic": Eire, NI and Scotland.


(I can also see a whole lot of highly varied "what else can I use this crisis to get done?" going on. Such as an EU military and central bank.)

Yup. It's gold dust for the federalist tendency -- and about time too, IMO (I am strongly for European federalism, if we can deal with the democratic deficit along the way: the current EU falls between two stools).


I do not expect the Queen to stick her finger in the buzzing, sparking, shorting constitutional mains socket:

I was thinking about that last night. On one hand, if Her Majesty spoke up and said, "We're not leaving the European Union. I have spoken" millions of people would probably faint with relief, and the violation of law and custom might just go unremarked upon (as the pound went back up and the money decided to stay.)

On the other hand, one sizable minority objecting to Her Majesty's interference in the matter would make the already ugly situation much, much worse. Furthermore, if The Queen made a public pronouncement it might look as if The Crown was panicking, which is something I imagine the U.K. needs to avoid at all costs during these dark days.

Is there a way for The Crown to finesse the situation? Some traditional fashion in which The Queen makes her wishes known to the public "without interfering in the political process?"


I think you are right the EU cannot afford the UK, much less the England tail to wag the EU dog.

So Scotland vetos the leaving of Europe, Westminster does what? or will the SNP push UDI anyway?
I think HM the Queen is going to have to learn gymnastics in her old age.


This might be an "easy" solution for Brexiters as it will give them a new scapegoat: the Scottish. I would expect repented Brexiters to backtrack, say that they wanted to leave, but those damned Scottish made them stay and suffer those faceless bureaucrats from Brussels. At the same time, the EU would have to negotiate with a nation that wants to leave but is forced not to by a separatist state, which can get... complicated. It might be a "not so terrible" outcome, but the lesson won't be learned and many things would be damaged.


I'd be sort of fascinated to hear Boris explain his credentials for prime minister to the hiring committee: "Well, I basically broke the country, wiped out trillions of dollars in shareholder value worldwide, and cynically entered into a marriage of convenience with the spiritual heir of Oswald Mosley, so that we could panic the electorate into doing something totally wrong-headed by lying up a storm. And I did it all as part of some kind of toffee-nosed dick-size war with my Old Etonian buddy, Dodgy Dave the Pigfucker. I like to think that speaks volumes about my suitability for the job?"


"I am strongly for European federalism"

In this we disagree. In principle I like the idea of European Superpower, but I cannot see any way to achieve that without using the fascist method. Because I do like civil rights and freedom and democracy I just cannot support the current EU Superstate project. Sorry.


If I recall correctly, that is the opinion of a particular EU statesman, probably with a sizable faction behind him. I suspect that it will be a week or two before official EU opinion hardens behind one position, and the decisions the UK makes in the next few days will be one of the most important factor in what position official EU takes.

The elephant in the room, of course, is austerity.


I'm not a UK-based lawyer, so I'll demur on the question of the UK's constitutional procedures, so I'll just note that, as a matter of politics, allowing Scotland to veto the decision would be political suicide for the Tories. What's more, Scotland forcing England to remain would also not exactly do wonders for intra-UK relations.

As for the EU-Scotland axis, the warmth of those relations will probably be a good indicator of whether and how thoroughly the EU wants to screw over Britain as a result of Brexit. The nastiest possible legal manoeuvre would be to take the position that, for reasons of legal continuity, Scotland can only obtain automatic membership if it secedes prior to Britain finalising its own exit. Crisis, meet overdrive. You'll get along splendidly.


Cue the Al Pacino clip: just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Or apologies to Glasvegas: England crooning to Scotland and the EU:

When you see that I'm no good
And you feel like walking
I need to make sure you know
That's just the prescription talking

Or Sturgeon/Scotland to England:

When your standing on the window ledge
I'll talk you back, back from the edge
I will turn, I will turn your tide
Be your Sheppard and your guide


It seems like virtually everyone is experiencing some kind of puking, mewling regret about this vote. It sounds like you're taking seriously the possibility that the UK might not actually pull the trigger. Like the grown ups might step in and refuse to allow this travesty to go further.

You just said that you have no idea how this will unfold. But, for the clueless among us (me included) would you give that scenario (Parliment refusing to trigger Article 50) a greater than 50 percent chance of actually occurring?


You're hired, sir!


If they REALLY want to throw a spanner into the UK's internal political workings, they can do so by simply adopting two positions:

1. Reverse the previous legal position that a formal notification by Parliament has to be made and decide that the referendum plus Cameron's promise are sufficient notification to trigger §50. That would mean the clock to hammer out the UK's status started ticking yesterday.

2. That, for reasons of legal continuity, Scotland gets automatic membership only if it gains independence prior to the UK leaving - that is, prior to the expiry of the two-year period.

Of course, this is the stuff of nightmares scenario. Things are probably going to be somewhat more civilised, because the UK does trade a lot with the EU, so playing hardball would hurt both sides. But the point is that the EU has plenty of levers to make the divorce as traumatic as possible.


An an aside — the way that the SNP has been exuding competence over this has been entertaining to watch.

England: PM resigns, we'll fire Article 50… sometime, Boris running around looking confused making contradictory statements, George Osborne basically AWOL, no coherent plan for action presented, voice of opposition non-existent. Farage running around like an idiot, etc.

Scotland: Strong coherent unified statement of intent, white paper, IndeRef2 from SNP. Coherent statements of "no" and "maybe" from Scottish Conservative & Labour.

Regardless of the facts of the issue — it just feels like Nicola Sturgeon flipped to page 1 of her red "Leave Wins Contingency Plan" folder and started ticking off items. Whereas over her in England we're all WTF! WTF! What did we dooooooooo!


There's a well-known, widely observed form of political decay in which being on top of the heap means the selection processes are pretty much entirely social-among-the-upper-class ones. Eventually, reality leaks in and this fails catastrophically.

Scotland's internal politics haven't involved being on top of any heaps for centuries, so the selection process is different.


I'd agree in principle, but the current political-ideological constellation doesn't seem to favour any federal arrangements which would deliver something more than misery. At least, Varoufakis writes in today's Guardian that the only man with the plan is Schaeuble, who is liable to use this crisis to push for a (partial) pooling of unemployment insurance (which is good) in exchange for an austerity union with control over national budgets (which is absolutely freaking horrible).


It does looks a bit like that doesn't it.
I still cannot get over the notion held by some that the UK gov. can ignore the vote and say ha ha lad it was all a joke, we're sober now and did not mean it.
At the very least would that not be the electoral doom of the Tories. Not that I would mourn their passing, though I shudder to think what will replace them


While I agree there's going to be a brief time before a position hardens, the statement I'm thinking about is this one which involves at least four politicians. And which is absolutely official EU policy, it's not a press release. (Policy can change, but it's not likely to soften; "policy never softens in a crisis" is a good thumb rule.)

I'd translate that out of diplomat as "you startlingly inept cabbages. You're leaving, you're leaving as fast as possible so we can minimize our consequent internal political turmoil, and you can expect to concede a bunch of stuff you used to get in return from staying in."


I would be surprised if the EU could reverse the polarity of article 50 just on their say so. It seems out of institutional character to go so against the wording of the relevant text like that. But I've been wrong about pretty much everything else during this shitshow so who knows?

David Alan Green (aka Jack of Kent) thinks that BoJo (or whoever ends up in callmedave's chair) might not pull the article 50 trigger after all - they'll spin it out for long enough for then frame the U-turn as 'the situation has changed, so we have changed our mind' or some such guff. I'm not sure I buy that analysis but again, what do I know?


PS, almost forgot a link for the jack of Kent piece:


I think they have taken position 1. The original "parliament must" is an anti-leave stance. Now that leave's won the vote, the European stance MUST be to minimize their internal turmoil, which means a decisive and definitive result -- ANY decisive and definitive result -- being preferable to ongoing uncertainty.


I'd bet good money that a lot of Leave voters are at least somewhat royalist, and so might be more accepting than you'd think if the Queen did veto it. Not that it wouldn't cause a political shitstorm of epic proportions...

Nonetheless, the result of this referendum does seem like a textbook example of tyranny of the majority, and in a nation where a head of state, whether elected or not, has veto power over legislation, then that's exactly the sort of occasion when you'd expect that head of state to seriously consider using their veto.


Right now (have I said this here before?) a lot of British are acting like people after a failed suicide attempt: "That wasn't it."

Maybe, just maybe, this can yet be stopped.

That said, if the EU stuck with its original mandate of keeping the peace within Europe, it would be encouraging the UK to rethink. (And also forgiving Greece's debt and taking in Syrian refugees.)

Oh, well.


The important thing UK seems to overlook, is that no relationship ever is the same after one party yells "I HATE YOU" in public.

Juncker didn't mince words: Out, Now!

Even if UK somehow fudges and never activates §50, it lost all its goodwill in EU and we will never again see "considering the special situation of The United Kingdoms" as a prefix for special positive treatment.

It's hard to tell exactly how pissed the "real EU" is on UK, but the beaker seems full to the point of overflowing. The latest round of UK exceptions, negotiated only a few months ago, was very much supposed to be the final round, and the referendum was not a good way to thank EU for those concessions.

So realistically, UK may be able to find a way to ignore this referendum and not activate §50, but to get back in good standing will take a LOT more than that.

A new referendum showing overwhelming support for the EU project, pledging that UK will never again seek special exceptions is probably the least that has any chance of doing it.

As unlikely as that sounds, I could easily see EU say: "Switch to the EURO to show you mean it."

Ain't gonna happen...

UK might as well press the §50 button and get on with it: The good old days definitively ended yesterday.


That is actually not a bad idea. The austerity bit can and will be changed when enough voters get sick of it and a viable alternative that they believe presented to them.
Or in Europe's case enough countries reject austerity until there are enough to ram it down Germany's throat.


And so, what good is the EU's constitution? Apparently no good at all.


The process for leaving the EU is enshrined in treaty. To change it would require unanimous consent of all EU members, including the UK.


I doubt that Section 29 really amounts to a veto. If the UK leaves the EU and Scotland stays in the UK without amending that law, it will just become one of the many obsolete laws that everyone ignores. It would fall into the mix of strange laws that occasionally become memes, like the one about shooting Welshmen in Hereford. But IANAL.


Seems a bit optimistic to think that Scotland can stop the UK leaving the EU. I kinda doubt Sturgeon could get away with anything that undemocratic.

Also, as Graydon @22 says, it looks a lot like the EU has made its mind up.


Isn't the indyref2 plans and the projected negotiations by Scotland's First Minister just "change you plans or the puppy gets it" politics?

Annul the results of the June referendum and call another (if you must), or goodbye United Kingdom.

Scotland would be the convenient hook to hang Westminster refusal to pass any Brexit legislation.

Cameron [and his successor] has a majority of fourteen.


What's to stop Parliament from rewriting the Scotland Act and others to remove this putative veto?

Also, even if a majority of MPs are for Remain, parliamentary representation favors rural voters who voted Leave with large majorities over urban ones who voted Remain with equally large ones. Would the MPs in Leave constituencies really risk their jobs by defying their electorates?

Finally I am sick oh hearing about the mythical EU democratic deficit. The EU is fully accountable via the European Council and the European Parliament. It's a complex edifice due to the lack of a strong pan-european identity. The Commission is not the EU's government, it is its Civil Service. We did not vote for Juncker, but you did not get to vote for Jeremy Heywood the Cabinet Secretary either.

I was strongly in favor of the European Constitution drafted by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, which would have established a popularly elected EU President, but my own country (France) voted it down. I would vote for Angela Merkel, as it seems the Germans are the only people in Europe with adult politicians.


What's more, Scotland forcing England to remain would also not exactly do wonders for intra-UK relations.

Judging by the sheer numbers who didn't expect their protest vote to actually, you know, win, it might do a lot to improve things on that front.

(As for the next PM, at least one of the names being bruited about is someone I knew Back When to the extent of being in the same tutorial group.

I'm hoping against hope that that the tory party shares my opinion that for the individual concerned anything beyond "Senior Partner of a small-town solicitors' firm" represents absurd overpromotion.

As does, frankly, a seat in the Cabinet, but it's not like the Pig Fucker had a wealth of talent to choose from.)


I read the HoL report differently: Scottish Parliament can veto the repeal of the European
Communities Act 1972, but not the Brexit per se. So UK leaves the EU but Scotland forces them to stick to EU law (or at least EU law continues to apply in Scotland). But that's moot, since Scotland will probably gain independence before the UK gets around to implementing new laws.


Read it carefully. While you probably have their intent right, that clearly indicates that they know that article 50 has not yet been triggered.


Well, if you want to be nitpicky about it, the actual form the notification has to take is NOT defined in §50 TEU. It's a matter of interpretation. ;)


I think you are overlooking the salient point; having plodded through the 28 pages it seems that there is already a settled view that Scotland does have the right to veto. It is already law, and neither the Tories nor any other party can override that without new legislation, and that legislation wouldn't have a hope in hell of making it through Parliament.

Given that the BRexiters have already admitted that the money for the NHS, and the control over immigrants, are non-existent, it seems unlikely that a Scottish veto is going to do any more damage than England trying to drag out a country that wants to stay in.

And the prospect of screwing the Good Friday Agreement is distinctly unappealing; no rational person wants to see the Troubles again...


Reminder: HM The Queen is Queen of Scotland (technically she's Elizabeth the First of Scotland) as well as being Queen of England and Wales. The two crowns didn't merge exactly, but after the Tudors petered out England sent off to Scotland for a monarch and thereafter the same body sat (metaphorically) on two thrones simultaneously.

If Scotland leaves the UK it will do so as a monarchy (although whether it remains so indefinitely is an open question).


I see two general sorts of solutions.

One is that, whatever the Foreign ministers said in the heat of the moment, the legal types look at both the EU part of the process and the UK part of the process and find out just how thoroughly fucked up it all is. After all, non-binding means non-binding. The EU bureaucracy realizes they've got truly serious problems and sees specialists to treat their CRIS (craniorectal insertion syndrom). The BRexiteers think through the idea of England and Wales being all that's left of the British Empire, and in a deep recession, and with Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump cheering them on, and with a whole bunch of new tariffs for their farm goods, and the whole thing just kind of fizzles out. Possibly the excuse will be that it's a shitty birthday gift for Her Majesty to destroy her kingdom, so let's wait for Bonnie Prince Charlie to get his arse on the throne before trashing the place.

The realization that a bunch of right-wing demagogues didn't know enough about their own government to realize that they couldn't get out of it so easily destroys the credibility of the conservatives, both at home and abroad, and the UK gets a free recession out of the mess, with a shit-storm in parliament for the next two years as the hangover.

Oh, and the EU gets an existential crisis to add onto the ongoing refugee crisis and the looming climate crisis.

The other path is that the whole thing blows up: the EU dumps the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland secede from the UK over the next two years, the UK goes into a depression, the Queen dies of a broken heart (or possibly old age), possibly the monarchy goes away entirely as they decide they'd rather just be one of the wealthiest families in the world without all those ceremonial responsibilities, and the EU comes off looking a lot nastier than it used to by forcing the UK to "push the button" as the result of a non-binding referendum.

Unfortunately, these two scenarios are not mutually exclusive, and they've each got groups of people pushing for them. Worse, I suspect that some of the people pushing on each side actually hate their "allies'" guts. Aren't UKIP and Scottish Independence now on the same side? In any case, what this collision means is that we'll get elements of both outcomes rolling out of the crash between the two, flaming hubcap style.

Or is it a three-future pileup?


1. Reverse the previous legal position that a formal notification by Parliament has to be made and decide that the referendum plus Cameron's promise are sufficient notification to trigger §50. That would mean the clock to hammer out the UK's status started ticking yesterday.

Don't worry, that's not possible. Changing legal positions requires laws or treaties, not re-interpretation.

2. That, for reasons of legal continuity, Scotland gets automatic membership only if it gains independence prior to the UK leaving - that is, prior to the expiry of the two-year period.

I think that's a given. If Scottish continued EU membership isn't part of the Brexit agreement and the Brexit becomes effecive, Scotland will be out of the EU and needs to reapply. There might be a possibility of fast-tracking, though: after all, the legal stuff is already there.


You're probably right. But I think we can agree on the fact that neither option is going to be politically... erm... unexciting.


You may be surprised to know that I agree with you. A European federal superpower based on the current model is insupportable -- reform is an essential prerequisite. But in principle it's a worthy goal (subject to the aforementioned reforms).


As far as I know, that's not entirely true. The courts evolve legal doctrine, for example, even when the texts which they work with remain the same. Stare decisis has never been absolute. But as per this specific case, I think you're right. In fact, I think the interpretation I put forth was abusive as hell. But it did serve to illustrate a point: The EU has plenty of levers to ruin the UK's day.


Scotland has, however, evolved a shiny new national-level political class in just the past two decades.

Prior to about 1995, anyone with political ambitions in Scotland went to London -- Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, you know the names. Scotland was the stuff of provincial local and city government; only a handful of eccentric SNP activists bothered with politics in Scotland, as opposed to practicing Scottish Politics in Westminster.

Now, that wasn't entirely wrong -- it's how we got devolution. But at least one of those eccentric local politicians, Alex Salmond, would have been one of the Big Beasts if he'd started his career in Westminster; and as First Minister in Holyrood after the initial Labour-led coalition (led by relative nonentities) failed, he set a very high standard for rivals to measure up against ... while Holyrood gave the young talent that would previously have headed south an alternative career ladder.

The result is that we've grown a brand new crop of national party leaders like Sturgeon, Douglas, and Dugdale (even if you have doubts about the latter as a national-level party leader she wouldn't look too out of place in a Labour front-bench line-up in Westminster) and they haven't had time to get bedded in and start on the institutional cronyism.


Changing legal positions requires laws or treaties, not re-interpretation.

Shhh... Don't tell the Supreme Court over here that, they'll all have heart attacks and die. Although in that case, maybe better that you do tell them.


"What's to stop Parliament from rewriting the Scotland Act and others to remove this putative veto?"

As far as I can see, nothing. Except the prospect of an actual revolt, led by the Scottish First Minister and Parliament!


Oh, I was speaking in context of EU politics. And even if you put your case before a supreme court, you'll usually have to wait for months or years before you get an answer.


It *is* subject to interpretation, but I don't think the commission are the ones who do the interpreting. The text is clear that it is the member state's constitutional mechanism which applies for activating the trigger, which means any interpretation around the nature of said mechanism will lie with the member state.

Furthermore I don't think the EU need to start issuing diktats at this point, the article 50 text is also pretty clear that the various EU bodies have no obligation to start negotiating ahead of the trigger being pulled so that's what I expect to happen; no talks, no 'talks about talks' or back channel pre-meetings - just 'Have you notified us according to article 50? No? Then we have nothing to discuss, good day.'



Sure, but do you think they are more worried by a revolt of Scotland than one of England itself?


Cameron [and his successor] has a majority of fourteen.

They won't, though, once the hardcore of Tory Brexit MPs cross the bench and sit with (or as) UKIP.

That would make the Conservative party in a minority government and leave them dependent on Labour, SNP, or UKIP goodwill or at risk of a vote of no confidence (at their enemies' convenience).

Note that I have a horrible feeling that the only beneficiaries of this shit-storm in Westminster after the next election will be UKIP; I expect Labour supporters to defect to UKIP (as they did in Scotland only to the SNP after IndyRef 1), and if some Conservative MPs defect as well ...


What's to stop Parliament from rewriting the Scotland Act and others to remove this putative veto?

Would require the consent of the Scottish Parliament, which is what this is all about. See "constitutional crisis" above. The Scottish Parliament is a sovereign parliament and aside from powers specifically reserved for Westminster (defence, foreign affairs, narcotics) it gets to write its own laws.


''Meanwhile, as a continuation of the 'memes' subtopic, the latest hotness appears to be "The Union of Craic": Eire, NI and Scotland.''

That's the sort of dream that gives cold sweats to the leaders of all of those, even if it doesn't cause them to wake up screaming.


Unfortunately the hiring committee will not be looking for the best candidate. Assuming more than one person stands (that seems certain), the 1922 committee (that's the Tory backbenchers) get rid of their least desired in a sort of balloon debate until there are two left, then it goes to the whole of the Conservative party.

Now, we don't don't know the exact numbers from any voting demographics I've seen. But, generally speaking Tory voting increases with age. Voting "Leave" increased with age. The Conservative Party wider membership will love BoJo. The main hope is that the 1922 committee, who mostly would have voted "Remain" kick him out before he gets to that point, BUT there are a lot of Tory backbenchers who are pro-Brexit - this is why Callmedave promised the referendum, to stop them drifting off to UKIP - and if there's only one Brexit candidate, he's going to get to the last two.

While I won't have a vote in it, Teresa "Snooper's Charter" May is probably a WORSE choice for the country. Gideon doesn't stand a cat in hell's chance any more. Gove won't stand.


BTW, did you read the part of the report where the lords think that the decision to leave the EU can be reversed after the Article 50 notification? (Paragraphs 10-16)


I'd love this to be true. However, if Scotland (and Wales?) have veto over exit from the EU, and t's in the parliamentary rule book, surely someone would have talked about this by now? Not least among the SNP?

Plus the document referenced contains the transcript of a spoken legal opinion. It's extremely interesting, but I'm not sure it's as compelling as actual law. Yes I know written but atomised constitution so may have been missed, but...


IANAL but the Queen has a somewhat limited right to refuse to sign acts of parliament into law still I believe. Royal Assent is still required for an act to become law. In practise it would be a constitutional crisis probably bigger than Brexit and Northern Ireland and Scotland leaving the union all rolled into one.

The Queen absolutely does NOT make her wishes, feelings and the like known and has recently taken The Sun to court for daring to suggest it knew what she felt in a headline that was not supported by the text.


What's to stop Parliament from rewriting the Scotland Act and others to remove this putative veto?
Would require the consent of the Scottish Parliament, which is what this is all about.

Must contradict. A foundational axiom underpinning all British constitutional law is the absolute supreme sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament. The Scottish parliament is sovereign only in areas of competence delegated to it by Westminster, and only because Westminster said so. It remains within Westminster's remit to alter or revoke that sovereignty at any time. Of course, doing so would provoke another constitutional crisis, and a pretty earth-shattering one at that. And this is the answer to Fazal Majid's original question: what's to stop it is that it would be politically inconceivable, even though it's perfectly possible in strictly legal terms.


I couldn't spot that in the Scotland Act 1998, nor its converse. The nearest I found is schedule 5: "The following aspects of the constitution are reserved matters ... (b) the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England, (c) the Parliament of the United Kingdom".


Again IANAL but one of the solutions I heard being fairly seriously discussed this morning was that the UK parliament should enshrine ALL of the laws and regulations from the EU as UK law, then repeal the bits they don't want to keep as part of the Brexit process.

If they do this, and they do it for Scotland too (this is foreign affairs I assume, so they can do that) then devolve the powers about repealing them to Holyrood, (and perhaps Stormont) what happens? I imagine Scotland keeps all the EU laws, rUK loses them.

Can the EU cope if part of a country is in the EU but not all of it? Would Scotland become an enclave in effect, and remain part of the UK and part of the EU? It's already governed by different laws after all.


I agree with Charlie: EU in its current state is not a way forward for anybody.

But one of the major, if not the THE major reason for the current state is that UK has never truly committed to the EU dream and thus prevented the superpower from truly rising to power.

That is obviously a big part of why the EU leadership unanimously came out right away and said "Out! Now!" in no uncertain terms: The last thing they're going to entertain is UK coming begging for more exceptions to stay.


So what do you think will happen first:

1. Housing bubble bursts
2. Article 50 is invoked
3. UK gets a new Prime Minister?


Yeah, and that conclusion seems like a very wishful reading of article 50 to me. We could certainly go to Brussels while that two-year clock is ticking and say "oops, never mind", but one of the few explicit certainties in that rather vaguely drafted text is that the member state will no longer be a member two years after notification, and no provision is indicated for any possible exceptions.



While I sympathise with the EU's desire to want the UK to start Article 50 asap (and part of me hopes Callmedave does it as the last thing before he resigns as a massive two fingers to his successor [shame it's not article 5 really]) they have no authority to institute it from their end. Someone really didn't think that one through very carefully.


Is the prime minister chosen by the largest party, or is it chosen by the parliament as a whole?

I.E. if Johnson, May, or Farage can't get a majority, could Salmond, Sturgeon, or some other candidate cobble together a EU-friendly government between the SNP & various fractions of the other parties?

I assume that the fixed-term parliament act doesn't prevent the dissolution of government if no new PM can be chosen.


Define your terms. Fascist is a loose term meaning very different things to different people. For some reason some people seem to call any bureaucracy "fascist". I think of this as a misuse of the term. Others reserve the term for "the corporate state", i.e. a state where the government is run for the benefit of the corporations and vice versa. This is a fair use, and may be what you mean...but it is a designation that can also be applied to the current governments of Britain and the US, and probably most of the EU member states. Others seem to consider it equivalent to racist. There are historical reasons why this could be considered valid, as that was one of the notable characteristics of the Fascist states during WWII. And this, also, may be what you meant.

So as it is I can neither agree nor disagree with you.


I now confess to having run out of clues. I have got no idea where this is all going to end up. If the next leader of the Conservative Party in Westminster (presumptively Bojo, although I am having nightmares about Theresa May getting the job) wants a fig-leaf for switching to "remain", Oor Nicola is about the best that they could hope for.
Utterly mad, & yet I agree with you 150%

Hopefully, it will still put the frighteners on Juncker & his corrupt cronies.
And I suspect that BoJo simply wants "better terms" ....


The PM must command the confidence of the house, so a coalition of parties us possible albeit extremely hard to pull off.


2 will only happen before 3 if Callmedave leaves it as a fuck you for his successor. Which I hope he does but I doubt it.

1 depends on other factors - I imagine England will still be quite popular with Russians for example. But I can see 1 happening first, but more likely order is 3, 2, 1. 1 will only kick in as the investors that drive the bubble see the shape of the trade negotiations after 2.


What Boris wants and what Boris gets are likely to be two different things. I suspect that his 'loveable buffoon' act won't cut much ice on the other side of the channel.


UK or Bojo are not going to get better terms than the agreement hammered out four months ago.

In fact, they're not even going to get those terms, the EU leadership said very clearly that agreement "no longer exist".


When that article was written, the EU didn't want to force any members out - they want to keep members in. I think the current push from Juncker to invoke Article 50 is unadvisable. It's ok to stress that until the separation according to Article 50 is complete both sides have to fulfill their EU obligations. And I really think the UK should have a post-Brexit manifest before they push the Article 50 button.


Someone said something about bureaucracy actually being just government, as opposed to arbitrary; can't find it now.

Not least because we're all reading the Laundry Files when not on OGH's blog, maybe we could discuss this at a reasonably high level (ie. "faceless" and other cliches prohibited).

Product declaration: I have worked 27 years as a translator, mostly of legal/admin/business texts, rarely creative writing, in a non-EU country. Or rather, half-EU country (EEA), but my work rarely touched on that. Everything that disgusted me about the bureaucracy, from personal experience and translating documents, was entirely autochthonous.

I get it about fixed procedures to ensure lawful and uniform treatment, but what I have seen time and again is officials saying "A1 and A2 and A3 and A4, ergo, taking all factors into consideration, B". They love that phrase, which amounts to magic pixie dust that transforms the result to what they always wanted it to be – usually that it doesn't belong in their office or the answer is no you can't, so they can go home early.

I see so many brainfarts that are only possible to persons of very low reading comprehension, or who simply have not read the letters they are supposedly replying to. It is hard to avoid the feeling that the point of these bureaucracies is not to perform public services at all, but to offer indoor employment relief, a sheltered occupation for the feeble-minded.

It is all the worse because menial jobs are now done largely by persons of colour, which raises the question of what we do with all the thick whites. Post-1948 South Africa gave its Van der Merwes jobs in the civil service, did it not, and I think we are quite comparable.


Oddly I think the housing bubble is the hardest to predict of the three. If the run on the pound continues, we'll see rising interest rates. So a lot of prospective buyers will be priced out of their intended purchases and a whole swathe of people who aren't on fixed rate mortgages will rapidly see their monthly repayments eating into their incomes; at the same time real-terms wage stagnation is predicted. Whether that's enough to burst the bubble or just cool it temporarily I don't know. The underlying pressure on house prices remains lack of supply, nothing in Brexit will change that.


The Crown has the right to refuse royal assent to any act of Parliament. Probably. Maybe. Sort of. It hasn't happened since 1704, which is plenty of time for a habit to ossify into a constitutional convention (note for Americans: this phrase means something very different in UK constitutional law), but the wonderful thing about conventions is that they stand ironclad until one day they suddenly don't. George V wanted to refuse royal assent to Irish home rule in 1914, but the lawyers told him that would cause a constitutional crisis until everyone figured out whether he was still allowed to do it or not and he backed down.

There's a line of thought that the continued existence of the royal assent provides a safeguard against the possibility of a government being taken over by fascist demagogues. (How's that working out for us so far?) But an intervention contrary to The Democratically Expressed Will of the Great British People would start a constitutional shitstorm that could conceivably ultimately bring down the monarchy. Her Nibs didn't get where she is by rocking the boat and she's not going to start doing it now. Besides, there was probably some truth to the Sun's reports that her personal feelings favoured Leave. No, we're not going to find salvation in Buckingham Palace.


Someone said something about bureaucracy actually being just government, as opposed to arbitrary; can't find it now.

Here it is.


But 1 depends on psychology. If the panic is big enough, it could start Monday. In that case my guess is 1, 3, and never 2


I seem to recall some statement about the Crown's options that went something along the lines of:

"Technically, the Queen can cast a veto. Realistically, she can cast one veto."

Does the Crown have that option, in a break-glass-in-case-of-imminent-apocalypse sense?

On a grimmer note, having lived through the Tsipras-versus-EU showdown, I don't think it's quite safe to count on the folks pulling the levers at the EU acting on a strictly rational basis...


Of course UK should have made careful plans before voting to leave EU, it might even have been a good idea to have some exploratory talks about what kind of conditions could be agreed on, so that a well informed body of voters could make the best possible decision.

That however, is clearly not how democracy and governance works in the UK, and that ship is not only sailed long time ago, it sank, Wasa-style, yesterday.


Re: the (understandable) vehemence of the EU that there will be no negotiation. No doubt it is authentic at present.

I do wonder if it will really survive when they look at the reality of losing our (currently) big economy. Yes I know this has long been a eurosceptic position.

I suspect it might be right.


"Technically, the Queen can cast a veto. Realistically, she can cast one veto."

Does the Crown have that option, in a break-glass-in-case-of-imminent-apocalypse sense?


She might even be allowed to keep it for future re-use, if after the dust settled Parliament and people agreed it had been necessary.

But if she gets it wrong, consequences range from: forced abdication (see also: 1938) to abolition of the monarchy.


Nobody is talking about doing anything that hampers trade, that would be suicide for both EU and UK.

Some kind of free-trade agreement will happen, that's guaranteed!

The conditions will be quite similar to Norways: You have to follow all the EU market rules (ie: CE, compliance, eurocodes, competition...) and you have to pay some of the market costs, but you get no say and no vote.

And considering how much hazzle and grief UK has always caused for the bigger EU political project, that's a big Win-Win EU...


it might even have been a good idea to have some exploratory talks about what kind of conditions could be agreed on

And the EU would have said: you can get the EEA deal, with passporting, or the WTO deal, without passporting. Any extras cost time and £s


"Can the EU cope if part of a country is in the EU but not all of it?"

That's already the case, though currently the parts that are outside are all small and exceptional. The UK has several. I doubt that the EU would accept Scotland remaining and England not, without a proper split.


So that's a thing I havn't seen any press cover yet:

February agreement was conditional on a Stay result:

Juncker said in no uncertain words that this agreement was now pining for the fjords.

In other words, even if UK finds a way to finagle the Leave result, it still ends up getting more EU than if it had voted Stay...


Royal Prerogative (i.e. the powers of the crown) are wider than most people realise, largely because they are exercised mainly through Ministers and civil servants. Here's a link to a Parliamentary briefing note on it (quite short and in plain english).

Importantly, the Queen could make an Order in Council invalidating the referendum (or indeed invoking article 50). Equally she could tell her Ministers to wind it back, or make a reference to doing so in her next speech opening Parliament when it returns.

That said, all of those are highly unlkiely. Monarchs haven't got publicly involved in politics for some time.


As a civil servant (County, social work, CA, USA), I see some amazingly stupid stuff coming out of our state government. Local government policies are usually better written. Generally, I categorize the faults into a few areas:

1. Peter Principle. A competent leader is not the same as a competent manager is not the same as a competent (whatever the department actually does). So, using social work as an example, a social worker is promoted into management based on ability as a social worker, while the leaders are picked from the managers. So, you end up with many leaders knowing having a fairly good idea of how to do social work (based on the rules 10 years ago, maybe) but having little understanding of how the support systems work. (IT, Accounting, etc)

2. Don't have time to read everything, but it's all my responsibility. Most executives & other supposed leaders tend to want to make all the decisions, but don't have time to really sit down & understand the details of whatever they are being asked about, especially if the details come from a support role that they didn't grow up in. (see point 1)

3. What I don't understand how to do isn't important or difficult. Not understanding the specialist roles would be fine if they took the time to listen & learn what was important to those specialists. But instead, they make blanket statements that make little sense.

If A, then do this.
If B, do this other thing.
If A & B do a third thing.

Great. What about neither A & B? (nope, never thought about that)


How does the brand new in-home care payroll system handle a bounced check?

(actual answer was submit a ticket to technical support in Sacramento)

My friends in private industry assure me that this happens to them as well, but generally governments have stricter rules about not breaking the rules, so you can't just go around the boss who doesn't know what you're doing. (speaking at the civil service level, not the legislators or ministers themselves)


Denmark is EU member, Greenland is not.

The same model could be applied to NI and Scottland, but certainly not to London.


I've been involved in preparing draft legislation for the Westminster Parliament. The process involves getting Legislative Consent Motions from the devolved Parliaments/Assemblies for anything that might conceivably affect them.

This is baked into the process, and the Parliamentary Business & Legislation committee will throw out anything that doesn't have the devolved administrations support. Even if PBL changed its mind you can be sure that the devolved politicians would make an almighty racket, and they have a significant fraction of MPs in Westminster that could be relied upon to bring it up in debate and filibuster.


I didn't catch the fine details (it was a 2 minute news bulletin) but Angela Merkel is already rowing back on the hardline stance it appears, saying "no need to be nasty about Brexit negotiations."


I have an old dictionary from the '30s, that shows the original definition of the word "Fascism" when good old Mussolini rose to power with the help and connivance of American Corporations.

- Fascism is when the banks and the military run the country.

Here in the US, we have the Military Industrial Congressional Entertainment Complex, which means that we are a fascist country, and have been since the Civil War.

Every description of the EU that I have seen fails the smell test of being run by the banks and the military. The EU may be undemocratic, but it ain't fascist like the good old US of A.


I think that's the good cop / bad cop in action; I wouldn't read more into it.


I do know it was written with the idea that a parliament might want to leave, not that the EU would want to push someone out. But I don't think anyone wrote it with the shilly-shallying we're seeing from BoJo et al in mind, and that's why they're suddenly nervous as hell. How long will the UK keep jerking them around before pushing the button?

As for having a plan, I agree. Now, I voted Remain. But one of my consistent complaints was the Land of Milk and Honey Brigade... I mean the various Brexit campaigns, all failed to actually give us a plan of what they'd do if they won. Now we're sitting here, pissed off and frankly scared about what's next my case, euphoric in some other people's cases, but without a fucking clue about what's next while our glorious leaders to be try to work out WTF to do now they've actually won! You'd hope between them they could organise a piss up in a brewery, but current evidence suggests not so much.


As I put in more roundabout way on the other thread: think about how much energy has been generated in rallying support for the Status Quo? And how much has been generated, indirectly as well as directly, for xenophobia, racism and head-in-the-sandism? They have actually found a way to get people who should hate both sides to support one or the other, with quite a bit of heat and emotional investment.


Well, my definition of fascism is "supporting (or appearing to support) an eclectic mix of ideologies in order to gain totalitarian control over a state*.


Agreed. One of the primary problems is that is was a referendum with the government on the remain side and other people on the leave side.

The government choose not to set out what they would do in the event that Leave won the vote. Those campaigning for Leave had no ability to implement anything that they wanted, that's the government's job.

A sensible approach would have been for the government to have been clearer about what it intended to do either way, and then let people make choices on that basis.

Lacking that approach (I'm guessing the risk of admitting that they could lose was too much for the key decision makers) there isn't a clear plan of action right now. The situation is compounded by the refusal of the government to take action until there is a PM and Cabinet that largely supports leaving in place.


I think the EU and Cameron should give the leave side enough time to totally discredit themselves. Farage going back on the 350 million pounds promise was a good start. Same with admitting that Brexit won't change much about immigration. Now let the economic implications set in and force Leave to produce a manifest and UK is ripe for another referendum or general elections.


This may not be the appropriate thread to ask this question, but are there likely to be any constitutional (or otherwise) crises within the EU.

Schauble isn't the only person on the European continent with a plan. So are Le Pen, Geert Wilders, etc. The Austrian Freedom Party almost won the presidency this year. If they campaign on a referendum on the EU in 2018 in their manifesto in 2018, do you think they little chance in getting it? Remember, American (and I assume Australian and European) newspapers underestimated the Eurosceptic position in the UK. Could they have done the same thing on the continent?

This is what I gather from Der Spiegel:

"The Black Thursday vote also bolsters opponents of the EU in other member states. In the Netherlands, around half of voters want a referendum. If one were to be held, current polls indicate a majority would vote to stay in the union, though their lead is slight. The situation is similar in Denmark. In Sweden, polls indicate that only 32 percent of voters would support remaining in the EU if a plebiscite were held there. Brexit has exposed the destructive forces currently at work on the continent. The focus is no longer on the question of what connects countries -- it is on what is different about them. Even in Italy, one of the EU's six founding states, almost half of those surveyed say they have a negative view of the EU."

Of course UK should have made careful plans before voting to leave EU, it might even have been a good idea to have some exploratory talks about what kind of conditions could be agreed on, so that a well informed body of voters could make the best possible decision.

Except that the PM, as leader of the "Remain" campaign, wasn't willing to acknowledge the possibility that he might lose (or do any of the things that might have prevented that, like pointing out his party colleagues on the other side were lying through their teeth). And the "Leave" campaign (along with their backers in the media) were actively opposed to the idea of "an informed body of voters", because they knew that they could never win if people actually understood what was at stake.


Your examples, ZA, seem to me to be of people failing properly to do fairly difficult stuff. I am thinking of behaviour really, really difficult not to attribute to low intelligence and/or extreme laziness.

FYI our social workers have provoked international protests and demos, some assertions of which are obviously OTT. Others, I'd believe. The threshold for taking children and babies of immigrant families into care seems sometimes very low. But I don't think this is the stupidity and laziness I have seen in other fields; rather, it may be our long and dishonorable history of forced assimilation.


Oh, no dissent there. I was merely considering the question of whether the Westminster Parliament could change the Scotland Act against the wishes of the Scottish Parliament. My conclusion was yes, in theory, but the political aspects would be explosive!


Yes, but privately asking ministers to edit (or drop) potential legislation before anyone outside Whitehall sees it is rather different to demanding reversal of a referendum result. The first is largely deniable, and anyway covered by the official secrets act, so it's hard for people to talk about much. The second is a very big public statement that everyone can see. Regardless of whether you approve of either, they're rather different things.


I do wonder if Her Madge could perhaps abdicate the English throne to Chuck but keep Scotland?
There is a whole range of interesting constitutional things that COULD happen if Brenda decided to. She's 90, probably far more fed up of the preening idiots in Westminster than we could ever be (after all one of them doesn't turn up at OUR door every week, for 60 years) .


Sorry Charlie but entirely & dangerously wrong.
The democratic deficit is THE PROBLEM.
That has to be dealt with first.
Remember the quote in previous thread about the variability & differences permitted between states of the USA, compared to the EU?
Um, err, as I often say.


" sank, Wasa-style, yesterday."

Eh... Mary Rose, please :)

(Wasa was basically a bad design from the off and went blup as soon as it tried to move. Mary Rose was in service for about three decades, and saw action against the French; it sank because they overloaded it piling more guns on to it, which along with the holes for them to fire through - and a dodgy crew who weren't up to the mark with shutting them - transformed a seaworthy design into an unseaworthy one.)


Y'know, I'm pretty happy with her having the power to prevent parliament from unilaterally declaring war. We've just seen the kind of broken reasoning that would cause them to do something pretty stupid. And if she does it on the quiet, no-one loses face.


Well, it's not going to be a walk in the park for EU, but despite the lofty rethoric from various neofascist parties here and there, there will not be a rush towards the door leaving BXL empty and deserted like a spanish airport.

In particular, don't belive any polls on the subject until they reflect a informed national debate on the subject: No government is going to repeat Dodgy Daves mistake.

There is a very big difference between having an negative view of the EU you see presented in the "news media", and knowing what you _actually_ loose if you leave.

Any push for a leave referendum anywhere will be met with a massive information campaign about what EU is and isn't for the country, if nothing else by business and banking.

And likely as not, all they will need to do is point to UK and say "You want that ?!" because what else happens, UK has handed the EuroFederalists the perfect teachable moment on the subject.

It will be rather interesting to see if the propaganda-medias role in this debacle will cause tighter regulation of truthiness in UK and/or EU.


No, Wasa sank as the direct result of continual changes, (always expansions) to the design after the actual building had started.

The original Wasa would have been an OK ship, not fantastic, but OK.


To which the reply is: "You, Juncker, OUT - now - go directly to Jail!"


Could be worse - she could abdicate an independent Scotland and give them Chuck


Not going to happen
I was always in favour of the EU, from about 1965 ... but as time went on reform got more & more urgent & less & less likely as examples like J-C J got their snouts in the trough.
Which is why I switched to Brexit for so long.
There are NO good outcomes in this, only less bad ones.


If the UK government doesn't trigger Article 50 is that likely to lead to overwhelming public protest or a Tory defeat in the next election? Absent one of the two it does not seem likely that the UK government pulls the trigger on Article 50.

The EU is not about to declare that the UK has triggered Article 50 by virtue of the referendum results because that has too much potential to bite the EU severely in the future.

With regard to Scotland, the requirement that the Scottish Parliament Act "a manner compatible with EU law" does not provide Scotland a veto. Depending on how it is interpreted however, the Scottish Parliament would likely to continue to be bound by EU law unless it consented to cease to be so bound.

Moreover, Scotland leaving the UK and joining the EU requires Scotland to accept a currency over which it has no control (either the pound or the Euro). From the point of view of the EU, they would pretty much have to insist Scotland adopt the Euro. (Otherwise, other recent entrants who have not yet adopted the Euro and may no longer wish to are going to insist that the same exception be made for them.) I'm not sure that this will be a deterrent.

The other question of course is how much does England care about the United Kingdom and Scotland being part of it?


It is a great shame this referendum wasn't held 25 years ago. A project like the EU needs a clear mandate from it's people, which was never sought in the UK. Ah well.

Kinda find it a bit worrying, the talk of letting the adults take control. A yes/no referendum is surely a pretty pure form of democracy? One of the criticisms often levelled at the EU is a tendancy to dismiss criticism or disagreement as people not understanding. A decision is a decision. Trying to weasel out of it will be a great gift to the more unpleasant side of the leave campaign. In addition, it will be the end of any party that supports such a move.

I'm sure a solution for Scotland can be found. People have already pointed to the Denmark/Greenland/Faroes situation. The EU may well want to give us a degree of slapping, but if they hurt us too much it'll bounce back on them. Plus, go too far and they give evidence of, basically, bullying. Another great gift for the anti EU sides of the continent!

I wonder how the right to self determination could fit into this? Since England and Wales have expressed a clear desire to leave, how would the UN view an attempt to frustrate that?


... and what most people seem to have forgotten/overlooked/closed their eyes for, is to what extent the proposed EU reforms were resisted, derailed or vetoed by UK.

The most important example is how UK continuously has twarted any attempt to deal with tax-cheats, off-shoring, tax-shelters and unaccountable money in general - because that is of course the basic business case for The Square Mile.

But UK also impeded many other matters, the UK exceptionalism has hampered EU integration, from "metric-schemtric" to Schengen, finance, defence, police, other law-enforcement, food safety, competition and ...

I'll readily admit that countries like my own DK didn't exactly help, often cheering UK on, but it was UK throwing its weight around that mattered.

So UK has basically been the dragging wheel on EU since 1975, and a LOT of EUrocrats and EU politicians will jump at this chance to settle many old scores.


"The government choose not to set out what they would do in the event that Leave won the vote."

Dunno about that. More like "did say, and then did something different".

Cameron was saying that on the morning after a Leave vote, he'd push the A50 button and resign. Then when it actually happened, he announced his resignation but without pushing the button. He's effectively washed his hands of it and passed the responsibility for sorting it all out onto those who are not actually in a position to do it (lack of parliamentary majority for Leave). They expected to be able to duck a lot of the responsibility by blaming stuff on the guy who's left. Now they find they've got it all themselves, and it's got their knickers in a twist. It must be said it's rather a smart move.

Then on top of that we've got the Leavers destroying their own credibility by admitting, on the very day after the vote, that two of their main planks - all this extra money that will go to the NHS, and IMMIGRATION - are bollocks. Which is a pretty dumb thing to do anyway, but even more so when they've just been handed the entire responsibility of bringing it about.


If the referendum is invalidated, I wonder how serious an English Independence movement might get? England leaves the EU and UK at the same time.

That aside, how much damage could a hostile anti-EU UK government do as a member of the EU?


TBH, I think this is another reason Brexit will, long term, be good all round. The EU can carry on with it's project. We clearly never fitted too well. Am I right in thinking that our government stopping various things refers to the last Labour government too? Which would mean it isn't just a conservative problem.

Here's a positive. Turnout was higher than any general election in the last 20 years. I hope this political engagement will continue.


What I was referring to was that the government chose not to say something like:

If we vote Leave then we will leave the EU political institutions using article 50 and seek to remain in the Single Market. Remaining in the Single Market will mean that we pay slightly less to the EU, still have the same trading arrangements and free movement of people. What we will lose is the ability to have a say in how the regulations are made.

That would have resulted in a lot of complaining from sections of the Leave space, but would have given a clear mandate. It might also have made some of the less pleasant Leave factions from surfacing so much, as the immigration and economic arguments are taken out.

Alternatively they could have done the other end of the scale and siad that they would immediately implement a full out, with no Single Market, closed borders and all the rest. i.e. exactly what the extreme element of the Leave camp wanted.

Either way it would have effectively driven the Leave narrative and shaped the entire campaign. It would also have put off some of the protest voters from voting for it, the consequences having been much clearer. It might also have put some others into Remain because of the clarity and them not wanting to vote for the Leave promised by the government.


The Euro is used by 19 countries and most of them don't have a problem with that: Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lettland, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands... Hey, even Eine uses the Euro.

Of course it would be easier if there wasn't that stupid austerity policy and instead a sensible compensation for trade surpluses / deficits.


The failure of parliament to have any plan whatsoever for Brexit is a complete dereliction of duty. MPs are elected to represent the will of the people. Whatever an MPs views, in a situation where the expression of that will is so clear cut, they should have been ready to enact that.


The government has always been very clear about its policies in the event of a Brexit vote. It will activate Article 50 and begin negotiation to leave the EU. It couldn't be more clear than that because our eventual relationship with the EU is dependent on the outcome of those negotiations, over which they have no control.


James Kemp pretty much summed up how much clearer they could have been. What will we negotiate for? What are the starting points for negotiation? Who will form the delegation?
Also, what will they do now they'll have a lot of returned power?


Bollocks. They could have said if they aim for the WTO+benefits model or the EEA+exceptions model, with emphasizing that the benefits / exceptions are not guaranteed. Either would have put off a part of the leave voters.


Indeed, it could have been a whole lot clearer. There doesn't appear to have been much, if any, contingency planning. Mostly I suspect because the civil service resources simply aren't there to do that.

On Friday all the civil service got told by Jeremy Heywood was "Keep Calm & Carry On".


Interestingly, there's an online UK Govt petition that suggests that because the referendum failed the "50% of electorate" test, it should be reason for a second referendum.. (It's expressed as "60% in favour, from an 80% turnout). Over 10,000 votes gets you a formal reply from UK Govt; over 100,000 votes gets it considered by Parliament.

This morning, 100,000 votes. When love-of-my-life signed an hour ago, 2.3 million votes. As of half-an-hour ago, 2.4 million votes...


They could have said if they aim for the WTO+benefits model or the EEA+exceptions model

And either of which would have immediately been shouted to high heaven as evidence of campaign tampering by the Leave campaign, which went ballistic over every single fact presented by the government.


I would have a lot more sympathy for this petition if it had been put out before the vote! Whilst its proposals have some merit, it's timing suggests it's more about changing the result than getting a clear mandate.

Also, 80% turnout? We've not had a UK wide turnout (at general elections) that high since 1951!


I would have a lot more sympathy for this petition if it had been put out before the vote! Whilst its proposals have some merit, it's timing suggests it's more about changing the result than getting a clear mandate.
All petitions on that site run for 6 months, this one has a closing date of Nov 25th which means it was started on May 25th.


Well, and if you can't control the discourse for a referendum, you shouldn't start one in the first place, innit?


...which probably means it was originally put up by a nervous Leaver...


you shouldn't start one in the first place

Truer words were never spoken.


The Danish government did a redo with the Maastrict Treaty when the electorate didn't return the result they wanted.

In that instance a very unified parliament pushed much harder the second time,
and won by a smidgen.

I don't think that translates particularly well to the UK situation and I can easily see the leave side being able to make most hay, given the lack of politicians who can credibly sell the Remain argument.

But at the end of the day, is the leave result wrong ?

As I said in a previous debate here, the actual choice for the voters were:

[ ] Remain in a EU that never functions, because the UK prevents it.

[ ] Leave and see EU start working in a way you'd hate to be part of.

When all this dust has settled, I think most everybody will be happier.

Scotland will be (more) independent and inside EU

Ireland may end up united (How's that for a long term Cameron legacy ?)

The federal EU project wont be handicapped by UK

EU economical crime and tax-evasion will be waaay down, with The Square Mile and the Channel Islands firmly on the outside.

Everybody else in EU has learned to stay well clear of Article 50

Only too bad for England, Wales and London, but don't count on EU to send peace keeping forces to the DMZ on the M25.


There is precedent; the 1979 Referendum for Scottish Devolution failed to pass because of a "percentage of the electorate" test, and there are lots of constitutions that have a "decisive change X demands a two-thirds majority" clause for exactly this situation. Could be 60% of an 80% turnout, or 100% of a 51% turnout...

The irony being that Farage spent some time before the referendum claiming that a 52/48 Remain vote would be grounds for a second one...


> As unlikely as that sounds, I could easily see EU say: "Switch to the EURO to show you mean it."

That would switch Brexit from "bad idea" to "good idea", IMO.


I stand corrected on the timing of it's actual start. But not on it's rise in popularity. Before Friday I'd never seen it, now it's everywhere. It would be interesting to see, but I suspect those signing it post 24th are mainly annoyed remainers than scared leavers.


While I'd like to see Remain prevail, I'd advise against redoing any vote which wasn't so close, a handful of miscounted vote could have switched it.

Here in France, some people are still a bit miffed at the whole Lisbon treaty stuff. We were proposed a treaty by referendum, we voted No, two or three articles were changed a bit, and... no referendum, we're voting this entirely in parliament, thank you. The end result is better objectively speaking, but democratically speaking, not so much...

I would not be surprised if a large number of the FN electorate had this as one of their reasons for voting against any of the major party.


Dennis had it right ...

DENNIS: I told you. We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
DENNIS: But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting.
ARTHUR: Yes, I see.
DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,--
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: --but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more--
ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!


The replacement of Civil Servants by political advisors inevitably leads to a skills vacuum; back in the mists of time Civil Servants did set out multiple options since they serve the Crown. They may not always have been hugely wonderful at it, but political advisors don't know how to do it at all...


Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands are having problems with Euro. Didn't you know? Add to that the ECB is committed to policies that make about as much sense as climate denialism and there is a powerful argument against joining the EU.

"We’re increasingly seeing that the problems of the euro extend well beyond the troubles of southern European debtors. Economic performance has also been very bad in several northern nations with good credit ratings and low borrowing costs — Finland, Denmark (which isn’t on the euro but shadows it), the Netherlands."—PK


Denmark has no EURO problems, we kept the DKK.


I think this discussion is missing the elephant in the room - the EU can't survive GFC II.

It's pretty obvious that with governments leveraged to the hilt and nothing serious done to deal with the gambling of the finance institutions, the next time the wheels come off the global economy things will get so much worse. Even with 'stress tests' and liquidity enhancements, the general economies will collapse, and with it will come the demands to "DO SOMETHING", which absent any requirement on Germany to cough up means the violent coming apart of the EU.

I think this 'leave now' screeching of the eurocrats is part of a pre-defined policy position - kick out the UK (and with it the strongest voice saying "nope, doesn't work") and with a shock doctrine approach, shift headlong to a 'United States of Europe' destination. The idea of these eurocrats being that if they bind things tight enough, and give Germany effective control of the continent, they can 'save the EU', and their jobs. You can see this coming out of the Greece debacle.

The problem, and the thing they really aren't taking seriously enough - that destination and the democracy deficit it encompasses is already angering significant percentages of the EU population. The right wingers want more control, and more arms length. German public wants control, but no responsibility. The small nations want the benefits they were promised.

The UK vote is just basically an exemplar of this general dissatisfaction. Play shock doctrine games to create a USE and those voices will magnify to a point where "NO" wins out more generally.

So, coming back to that elephant. The eurocrats and their USE can't really address it, but they probably won't accept that till everything comes apart around them. The alternative direction, that of loosing the ties, and returning the EU to more of the trading bloc isn't going to get the necessary attention till it's too late.

So what's best for the UK?

Well, best would have been not to hold this referendum and instead just distanced the UK from all the EU dictats via red tape and time. Too late for that now.

Second best will be to use Article 50 to extract the required concessions for trade in exchange for not gumming up the works. If the EU does want to rush to USE then it needs the UK gone, not raising dissension.

Either way, if 'leave' means they don't have to agree to that anti-democratic rush to USE, then it will probably be best long term.

And as for Scotland, beware jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. If I'm right and the EU ministers come out with a "we're casting off the dead weight of the UK and swiftly moving to an 'ever closer union', which means policies X, Y, and Z will be enacted", then the SNP should think VERY carefully.

It should become clear quite quickly if this shock doctrine plan is the way the eurocrats are going to try and push; and the eyes have to be on that GFC II threat, and how to survive it.


whilst I favour proper federalist solutions I am worried by the precedent of thatcher voiding all talk o euro currency which lead to the euro as is rather that a complimentary currency that would have lived along side bthe currencies in existence at the time. I think making a harder time to implement such things would have made a more robust product ditto any new federalist structures


I live in Texas; I don't know whether the UK staying in the EU is a good idea or not. But I do recognize bad campaign tactics, and the "Remain" supporters checked most of those boxes. The “Remain” campaign was not just bad; it was Jeb Bush bad.

"Remain" lost the referendum. The good news is there is very likely going to be a second vote, either in the form of a second referendum or in the form of new Parliamentary elections where Brexit is the entire agenda. If "Remain" wants to win such a vote, then the way "Remain" is promoted has to change. What you all did in this election did not work. Doubling down on what did not work, won't work either. Here are my suggestions:

• Remember that the very fact that you are going to get a second vote to get the “right” answer will put off a lot of voters. Approach such a vote with humility. Major political leaders saying something like "We are grateful for this second chance. We are sorry we took your votes and your concerns for granted. We propose to address them as follows..." would go along way towards winning a second vote.

• Don't get let the issue of “Remain” or “Leave” get tangled up in questions about Scottish or Northern Ireland independence. This is a lose/lose. If the Scots are convinced they can get out of the UK and into the EU with a minimum of pain, you are looking at at much higher “Leave” vote the next time around.

• Avoid demonizing your opponents. Calling Brexit supporters "racists" and "fascists" and "stupid" did not work this time, and won't work next time. Anyone on the “Remain” side who is saying the equivalent of “you opinions are so horribly wrong and evil, I will not even condescend to discuss them,” should be treated as if they are promoting a “Leave” vote—because they are.

• Stop saying stuff like “older voters should not decide for the rest of us”. Remember that a majority of young voters voted “I don't give a shit either way” by staying home. Making the Brexit question into a generational issue is misguided. Besides if anyone really believed that Parliament and the Civil Service would have a mandatory retirement age of forty-five.

• Recognize that having the support of all major political parties is not a positive thing. For many "Out" voters, a vote against the EU was a vote against a hated political establishment that does not reflect their interests, no matter who they elected. See "Humility" above.

• The "Out" voters you want to reach don't care whether staying in the EU is good for big banks and their various hangers on. The big banks are rightly loathed by most people.

• Concerns over Immigration and National Sovereignty mean something to voters. These are issues with both emotional and rational components. Address them. Do a better sales job on the UK's recently negotiated special relationship with the EU and its benefits. Also point out that—like other nation in the EU have done—Parliament can just choose to ignore some EU regulations.

• On that subject, telling "Out" voters, "well you fucked up, we can get back into the EU, but you will have to pay for your fuck up by giving up EU-UK Reform Agreement that Cameron negotiated" does not help your cause. It just makes you sound like used car salesman. If you could get the deal in February 2016, you can get it in February 2017.


Last I saw the DKK was pegged to the EUR. Has that changed?


Is that London independence stuff which seems to fill up my Facebook feed all of a sudden real or is it just post-election acrimony?


How about the "Leave" campaign being an open sewer of lies?


Now could you please advise the Democrats for the coming election?


The voting patterns in the referendum look awfully like the economic issues of the EU, with London being Germany. The policies and intransigence of the German controlled ECB is not unlike the role the government played in Britain - with most benefits going to London. There have been enough stories about the government neglecting the periphery, especially with the issue of flood control (or rather lack of anything real).
It goes back at least to Thatcher and "on yer bike" uncaring attitudes from the early 1980's.

It seemed to me that "Brexit:The Movie" presented a lot stronger case via its propaganda than the Remain side, as did Hannan at the Oxford debate. The BBC debate seemed like a awful lot of heat and no light. I'm not surprised that those voting leave on the sovereignty issue. I also have just enough connection to understand the anti-immigration stance in other parts of the country.

It seems to me that successive governments really weren't interested in dealing with the issues in te country, and that this was the direction that discontent made itself felt. It could well have been another issue. I think this is quite similar in the US, where Tea Partiers are effectively trying to break the federal government in protest at their changed economic status.

I am sure that similarities exist across Europe.

Is the root cause the neo-liberal agenda, which seems to have exacerbated inequality in the name of GDP growth and efficiency?


I would say the elephant in the room is austerity, plus the usual stuff that goes with austerity; screwing up education, healthcare, and income equality, not to mention that England/EU has its own equivalent of flyover country and they're probably as badly fucked up as America's flyover country.

I'm absolutely astounded at how little discussion of austerity is happening here...

That being said, you're right. The next economic crash will definitely be a mofo!


"If we vote Leave then we will leave the EU political institutions using article 50 and seek to remain in the Single Market. Remaining in the Single Market will mean that we pay slightly less to the EU, still have the same trading arrangements and free movement of people. What we will lose is the ability to have a say in how the regulations are made."

But that would have failed at preventing the Tories losing votes to UKIP and doing badly in the election. It doesn't address immigration and it replaces an arguably-ineffective voice in the European democratic process with an explicit statement that we don't have a voice at all.

I guess they could have said it after the election, but I still reckon they never thought they'd need to until it was too late.


1 first thing to say that, as an American, i am sorta pissed at 52% of the British electorate. we don't have the same kinda social safety net you folks do across the pond and the value of my retirement account took a 5% dive on Friday at 14:30 BST when the NYSE opened. i am also pissed at myself for not taking a large amount of money out of the retirement account in the previous week, but i just didn't think that a majority of Brits would be that dumb. Dumb as Trumpers are here in the states.

2 i thought it wise when Scots chose to stay united in the UK. but now it's perfectly reasonable for Scots to leave the UK so that they can remain in the EU.

3 i hope PM Cameron will hang on long enough to hold off invoking the Article 50 option so that the Scots can put in their referendum version 2 a *conditional* of the UK invoking Article 50. maybe the question can read as: "Shall Scotland sever political ties with the United Kingdom if the government of the United Kingdom exercises the option in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to sever political ties with the European Union, and consequently remain as an independent nation in the European Union?"

make it clear to the fuckmuppets in the south that Scotland Remains and that it's just England and Wales that are Leaving should they continue to choose that option. England and Wales will choose to Leave Scotland (and perhaps Northern Ireland) along with the other 27 nations of the EU.

that's the way to position the debate.

r b-j


Judicial review has been part of the _US_ legal system since a combination of laws passed in the first session of Congress, +Marbury v Madison (&c) made it so. Not the same, then.


The Scottish Independence Referendum should also have an amendment which takes away the Oompa-Loompa's golf course. Just because.


"The Euro is used by 19 countries and most of them don't have a problem with that: Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lettland, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands... Hey, even Eine uses the Euro."

If you look at the numbers, then the only country that is doing OK with Euro is Germany (ECB's policy is principally suitable for Germany, not for anyone else). All others are having problems, either horrible like Greece or just bad like France, Finland, and Netherlands.

Scotland should think very, very carefully before joining the Eurozone. Compared to joining Eurozone even Brexit looks like a brilliant move.


Thought I'd dip a toe on this one as a mostly English British Expat, who is marveling at how uniformed the bulk of my countrymen are.

I was an enlisted soldier in the British Army for just over a decade before I made a personal Brexit, and I maintain a Facebook page that I log into once in a blue moon for times like this really.

Cursory reading of my old comrades(ex service people are a small but visible minority' and their thinking is remarkably similar in most cases) posts reveals some disturbing commentary/language around the Brexit - swearing, immigration, deportation. Predictably two world wars come up ', a special entreaty to Scotland for Solidarity OR else Nicola Sturgeon 'can go F herself' sort of thing.

I'm struck by two things, firstly there seems to be some direct equation of the UKs place in history relative to it's place in the world. The group as a whole seem to believe that if we all just muck in and 'crack on' we'll do really well today, despite the erosion In the UKs relative capabilities hen set against the world from the nostalgic times. There's a lot of criticism of the call for a second referendum, and to r b-j's point it does seem to already polarised in this group.

Secondly, and this is wild extrapolation - ex and still serving service people(at least in the army) as a rule don't tend to think together politically(one of the reasons for all the different funny hats) but they do seem to be doing so(are least in my Facebook feed) on this one remarkably consistently.

Holding off on article 50 makes a lot of sense for the UK. Scotland can decide what it wants r b-j again, 'fuckmuppets' is an interesting concept - will you be marketing them?I suspect in private quite a bit for the EU as well - difficult to admit - but do the want to try to decouple the financial and cultural equivilant of a two way epicyclic gear train without running it down, also being 'tough' on Greece wasn't a huge success, with the Golden Shower getting more of a toe hold. It it is held off or tye UK goes fo a second vote, I'd actually be concerned about the reaction from ex-forces, especially the 200k or so personnel back from Iraq or Afghanistan, Farrage and chums don't need many to start escalation things, just capable aggrieved people who take orders and can form a core.


I'm in Australia and when it was formed we continued with a Governor General. Basically because our entire legal and political system is a cut and paste job from the British one.

The Governor General is like the Queen. Figurehead, rubberstamp. S/he has in theory the right to simply sack the government of the day or refuse to sign laws. Everyone understands that this is completely ceremonial and of no practical import...

Until one day...

The Governor General sacked the elected government and replaced it with one of his own choosing.

There was 'quite some fuss' but it's all perfectly legal and if things get bad the GG has the right to do it again. Indeed various governments have put up referenda with the thinly veiled intention of stripping the GG of that right and the people have resoundingly rejected them. They want there to be some kind of failsafe switch for when things are dire.


Sorry, but the "everybody but Germany suffers with the EURO" is as fact-disconnected as the Leave campaign was.

France 10 year state bonds are below 1% interest. That is clear indication that nobody thinks there is anything approaching state finance trouble in the french economy during that horizon.

All the other countries you cite are in the same area, even Denmark without the euro is in that area.

Even the so-called "troubled" economies like Italy, Spain and Portugal are well below 5%.

Greece is is the upper exception at nearly 10%, and we all know why.

Germany is the lower exception, their yield being negative, which if anything, supports Pikettys thesis that the 1900's were abnormal in historical context and that the "growth" thing is a thing of the past.

The many times repeated canard that "France has a debt problem" is similarly belied by their as of right now 0.385% 10 year bond yield.

That is not to say that everything is well and shiny in the eurozone, it is absolutly not.

Austerity was a big mistake, caused by too many "neo-liberals" who belived in trickle down and the confidence-fairy, and the treatment of Greece was both stupid, damaging to the entire eurozone and damaged future european unity.

The "neo-liberal" bullshit about "everything is falling apart in EURO zone" simply doesn't have any backing in economic data.

...Not that I expect data and reason to change the mind of anybody baptised in that intellectually poisoned fond.


Cameron said that he would not consider a second vote, but Parliament may decide otherwise ....

Breaking news:
Labour oparty's deriliction of duty strikes ... idiot Corbyn sacks Hilary Benn & at least half of shadow-cabionet is supposed to be preparing to resign.

Clusterfuck does't even begin to describe this mess.

All the poiliticians' own fault, here & in Brussel.
NOT listening to & being close to their voters.

Also, until the "10 Rillington Place" problem with arrogant Brussel civil servants is dealt with, there won't be one, either.
Not that it's dead here ... a very senior Treasury official managed to postpone Crossrail in London for over 20 years by his shenanigans & obstructionism ( "Sir" J Macpherson, I think )


And, in this particular case, either during pre-article 50 negotiations, or after them, we will get a second referendum, asking Britain:
"OK, new terme - "IN" or "OUT" ??
Brussel will hate it, but what can they do, because until the final treaty is signed, Britain is still part of the EU.
As stated abouve the unelected, crooked Eurocrats will scream, well - stuff'em.


Agree on all points. European Federalism is such an obvious pathway that from afar it's almost a mystery why it would take so long for it to start becoming a thing. The Euro was a step, but a meaningless one without a central bank, and it's only the proxy for military union that NATO represents that keeps the absence of a real one seem anachronistic. Scarily anachronistic, given the Balkans bloodfest being in living memory.

Of course all good internationalists would see federalism as a step in the right direction, the realisation of a broader global unity being generations away. Or maybe an unrealised dream disappearing further in the rear-view mirror. Something between hope and despair.


Economy is much, much more than just the interest rates. Looking at the rates only is at least misleading.

One of the easiest ways to check the healthiness of the economy is to have a look at the NGDP growth rates, especially the trend. Germany is the only one that has stayed in the trend. Others have suffered badly. Other good measure is unemployment.

But this is well covered in Keynesian and Monetarist analysis, in both blogs and journal articles.


And going further, any realistic vision of an Australian Republic will most likely preserve the role of Governor General more or less as it is, it will just be called a President and the rules for appointing one may be tweaked a little further toward democracy (eg 2/3 majority of a joint session rather than the recommendation of cabinet as it is now). There's a strong view widely held that direct election would give a President a mandate to Do Things beyond the existing conventions.

Australia's system of government is peculiar in that it's definitely constitutional, however the constitution is silent on many matters of government and these are handled by convention. The constitutional crisis of 1975 wasn't regarded as outrageous in terms of the power of the crown being abused, the outrage was in terms of the breach of convention. These conventions probably have more legal standing than, say, the primaries system in the USA, but certainly don't have the same force as actual laws.

Think Charlie's assessment of the outcome of an intervention by the monarch is on the money. If the workflow of government routinely pushed high-level decisions her way, and she was expected to take advice and make a call, then it would be an uninteresting routine matter for a veto to flow down. But that's an unusual situation for a democracy. Where the monarch intervenes and makes a call, having taken advice and presumably having procured her own private counsel, then it may well work out but questions will be asked. If the outcome is tolerable to most people and the reasons are good, it may well all return to status quo ante. Otherwise it might be a 1688, but with republicans rather than a bunch of Nederlander (or Belgians for that matter).

Don't think I've come across enough of English republicanism to be across what they would propose as the role of a President in relation to parliament.


I find it strange that people&press in UK still think that the referendum was just a local UK affair with no implications beyond The Channel.

The result caused EU to loose all faith in UK, the same way an employer does when an employee triumphantly gives notice.

Look at the EU-leaders statement, it says "Good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out".

The traditional "More equal than the rest" privileges enjoyed by UK in EU are gone now, any attempt to exploit them will be met with an indifferent "But you're leaving, right ? ...moving on..."

And without the "... or else!" negotiation leverage, which UK has exploited so many times in the past, most recently in february, there will be no future "UK-special".

EU called UK's "we're leaving" bluff in the feb 19th agreement, clause 2 says:

"Today, the European Council agreed that the following set of arrangements, which [...] will become effective on the date the Government of the United Kingdom informs the Secretary-General of the Council that the United Kingdom has decided to remain a member of the European Union [...]"

It doesn't say "remain a member ... for now".

Unless and until a second referendum makes it abundantly clear that the issue of UK leaving EU will never ever again be raised, UK is out in the cold as far as EU is concerned.

Having already lost the feb19th concessions which was conceeded by EU to sweeten this referendum, getting such a result from a do-over would take a miracle.

And even if such a miracle occurs, the feb19 agreement doesn't come back and there won't be any other "UK-special" concessions, until UK has spent 10+ years showing good faith and total loyalty to the federal EU project.

EU cannot throw UK out, but UK's only two choices at this point are to leave or come crawling into BXL on their knees, begging forgiveness.

Saying "oops, didn't mean that" won't work.


Before the crash of last decade, I would have agreed with you that such metrics gave a indication of where a country were in the contemporary economic paradigme.

But it is important to understand that their predictive ability is critically dependent on the paradigme holding, the same way that the amount of hay you brought only indicated how far you expected to go, until the advent of automobiles.

Right now there is not a shard of evidence that we are still in that paradigme.

In particular the widespread and non-trivial negative interest rates say we are most certainly not.

And what does unemployment even mean, when we are about to fire the entire transport sector and nobody can point at what the jobs they can migrate to ?

As economic metric the yield on state bonds have independent weight, it only reflects investors expectation of growth vs perceived risk over the period.

That's a pretty shitty metric, but it is the only one we have which is not tied up in some economic woo-doo theory or other.

Time will show if Piketty is right, and we've reverted to the feudal economies of the 1800's or something else.

But trying to understand automobile traffic patterns by counting bales of hay ain't gonna work.


To add to the fun we seem to be having a little bit of a Blairite coup attempt happening this morning

Unless they can somehow persuade Corbyn to resign and not come back I can't see any possible way it's going to help. But hey. Why not fuck up a golden chance to put the Conservatives in your crosshairs for four months.


But do they even need to put the Conservatives in the crosshairs ?

Cameron quitting without pushing Article 50 into action means that whoever becomes the pilot charged with rowing the locomotive ashore is on a suicide mission from day one. (See for instance:

All Labour has to do is wait patiently for the wheels to come of the clowncar and look not quite as incompetent when it happens.

That makes it the perfect time for a internal coup, as long as it's over before then.


You're misunderstanding the role of the press. They (mostly) don't report any news. They report opinion occasionally wrapped in wrapper that fools people into believing it might be news.

Even the 'quality press' falls prey to this far too often these days, although it does occasionally do quality reportage on various topics.

And the vast bulk of the press were rabidly anti-EU and they don't give a damn about what happens beyond the Channel so they're not going to look at it. They're busy crowing about the great future we've got. Everyone else is rather tied up in wtf is going to happen next: because we're in a state of the unknown the likes of which we haven't seen in a while. The Tory party is ripping itself to bits in the process of replacing Callmedave. The Labour party is ripping itself to bits after the membership gave them a leader than the PLP couldn't stand. The lies that Vote Leave used to gull various members of the "Great" British public to vote for them are coming home to roost and the fact they don't have a fucking plan is painfully obvious. The details of what the Brexit negotiations might look like don't really matter quite yet because we're not in a position TO negotiate. There's news of 1,000's of jobs already being moved or prepared to be moved contingent on the outcome of the negotiations. The poisoned gnome's "We'll leave the single market and join the EFTA" will trigger 1,000 jobs leaving in the finance sector, as of this morning for example. There is a LOT going on.

And in the mean time over 2.8 million are calling for a second referendum and the numbers are still climbing. As the original post points out, although I haven't seen discussed anywhere, the Scots seem to hold a veto on Brexit. The referendum is not binding on Parliament and there could be a revolt by MPs who just say "Fuck you!" Given how popular BoJo seems to be in Parliament, this isn't that unlikely.


Unless they can somehow persuade Corbyn to resign and not come back I can't see any possible way it's going to help. But hey. Why not fuck up a golden chance to put the Conservatives in your crosshairs for four months.

Thing is, Corbyn was always seen as a placeholder. Unable to win an election, but sufficient to scare the lite-right for a few years.

Now it looks like an election before the end of the year, and the party controllers want a 'real' politician in place. So Corbyn is supposed to get rolled. Only he doesn't want to be...

I just wish someone with a clue, someone with an idea of vision and planning for the next few decades, can get control of one of the parties. At present neither side looks to have anything other than typical politicians; and they are a sizeable part of the problem.


Unless they can somehow persuade Corbyn to resign and not come back

Well, isn't that the point of the resignations? The motion of no confidence is enough to spark a leadership election; the mass resignation of the shadow cabinet is intended to show Corbyn and anyone who would vote for him that in the event of his re-election he lacks enough support to form a leadership team.


"Meanwhile, as a continuation of the 'memes' subtopic, the latest hotness appears to be "The Union of Craic": Eire, NI and Scotland."

I was hoping for something along the lines of "The Up yours Kingdom", perhaps expressed in Gaelic.


We are in total agreement there, UK just set a new world record for selfinflicted damage, and pretty much everybody in UK had their spoon in the pot.

The point I'm trying to get across is simply that no matter what UK does now, there is no way to get back to the situation before the referendum, or to any future situation similarly beneficial for UK in general and London in particular.

EU called UK's bluff, UK lost, and the game moved on to next round.


Since we're looking at two leadership elections. Both of whom will produce Prime ministers, one now, one soon. It'd be nice to get voting rights to both...

Maybe the time has come to join the Conservatives and Labour?

Well, isn't that the point of the resignations? The motion of no confidence is enough to spark a leadership election; the mass resignation of the shadow cabinet is intended to show Corbyn and anyone who would vote for him that in the event of his re-election he lacks enough support to form a leadership team.

But the mass of the party still support Corbyn and loath the Blairite wing. I can't think of _anybody_ in Labour who would muster the same kind of support as Corbyn.

So if Corbyn stays he will win. And he strikes me as the sort of man who always listens to the grass roots before the party hierarchy.

If Corbyn does go away then they'll get a leader that the majority of the party will see as an usurper.

Cue rebrand of UKIP as part of the working people.

Y'know. Yesterday my sense of existential despair was fading a little. Coming up with plans to deal with the Brexit fallout. Now a new shitstorm of idiocy arrives to kill my blood pressure for the day. Bah.


More entertainment. LibDems have now stated that they'll "stand on a platform at next General Election to ensure UK is in #EU"!


Oh, I agree totally.

If Callmedave had any balls, he'd have raised two fingers to UKIP years ago, not promised the referendum and we wouldn't be in this pile of poo.

I don't know where we'd be if Vote Leave and Farage's mob hadn't plastered £350M/week everywhere, or if people had stopped to look at just how big that really is, or if Vote Remain had done what the BBC and others started to do and basically call the people who trotted it out like good like robots liars sooner. Or if Vote Remain had run anything like a a positive campaign. Or Vote Leave had run anything like a merely normally politician's lies level of dishonest one.

But, to coin a phrase, the fuckmuppets have made our bed. Now we have to lie in it. I might to Scotland. Or New Zealand.


''UK's only two choices at this point are to leave or come crawling into BXL on their knees, begging forgiveness. Saying "oops, didn't mean that" won't work.''

Agreed, but I think there is damn-all chance that our current bunch of idiots will accept that.


You're misunderstanding the role of the press.

To quote a cynical economist I once knew: "The purpose of newspapers is to sell advertising".


All Blair would have to return is win a by-election after a Labour MP resigns and then challenge Corbyn?

New North Korean Labour with Blair as eternal leader?


All Blair would have to return is win a by-election after a Labour MP resigns and then challenge Corbyn?

As far as Blair is concerned, the best part of this whole clusterfuck is that, come October, he gets to be the second most-despised living ex-PM. Stranger things have happened, but I wouldn't expect a comeback from him. He's having too much fun playing Jesus in the middle east.


Dear OGH / Moderators,

Can we have a new fun post. Spoiler thread for The Annihilation Score, competition winners, incipient collapse of civilisation due to climate change, etc. ?

Something to distract from the current sh*tstorm. Ta.




Which is partly why The Metro is actually quite a good paper. It doesn't do deep investigative reporting, but it is a free paper so it makes ALL its money from advertising and doesn't run a strong editorial line like the others (which also make income from people buying the paper) and so it keeps as many advertisers as possible on board.

I don't read any of the papers, I gave up a long time ago, but I guess their various political stances make it easier to target your market segments.


I think my favourite thing right now is the chap loudly making the rounds on twitter saying he still supports Brexit because the EU has imposed a limit of 20mg per whatever of nicotine in vaping liquid, and he prefers to vape 24-36mg mixtures.


Not sure if this has already been posted, but it makes interesting reading.

I wonder if Remain Tories are sharpening their knives in anticipation of BoTrump.


Of course the moderate position wouldn't have done the Tories any favours in not disintegrating into the UKIP. However if they'd pitched Leave at the extreme end of the spectrum it might have helped them win the arguments.


A kind soul has set up the SecondPetition twitterbot, whose purpose in life is to report every five minutes the current number of signatures on the petition. Currently running at about 5k signatures every five minutes.


Point of pedantry: while true that Scotland has not had a Queen Elizabeth before the current monarch, she is still Queen Elizabeth II even in Scotland.

Apparently the Queen and her advisors get to choose her regnal name and number, and according to this exchange in Parliament just before her coronation, the recommended convention should be to base it on the highest number out of all the British, English and Scottish lines. So should we have another King Edward, it would be Edward IX, and a new King James would be James VIII

Note: this doesn't include the pre-conquest Saxon Kings, or it might be Edward X.


A hypothetical question:

What if there's a second Scottish Indyref, with a victory for independence, and the EU officially recognises Scotland as the UK's successor state in Europe? Does that provide a mechanism for the rump UK to be ejected without ever actually pressing the article 50 button?


The only action in the current situation, the Queen might take I can squint and imagine as justifiable (aka 'might get away with it and have the Monarchy still survive') would be to send notification to the European Council, invoking the fabled Article 50.

52% voted 'Leave'. Their patience is not going to be infinite. The prize idiots at Westminster don't seem to be fully understanding this.

I didn't vote 'Leave', I voted 'Remain', furthermore I'm in Scotland and voted 'Yes' in the indyref, and I'm praying to all the gods that don't exist that the Scottish government gets us the option to pull the eject lever again, and this time we actually do it, although its going to be much heavier lift, and a lot more dangerous, than a lot of people seem to think.

So I am about the worse person to say this, and yes, all options from here are very bad.

But, if the weaseling, infighting, floating of 'oh so clever' ideas to avoid what was understood as a clear commitment to exit the EU on a 'leave' vote, dumbly gestates too long then at some point I fear this hits the streets, with a political class of proven utter numpties, Farrage and his merry men stirring shit, and who knows what loyalties among the police (or god forbid army).

For fucks sake 'The Troubles' is over there, that way, in highly recent memory.

You think Ulster was special somehow?

And mere Ulsterisation is a tame variant of whats possible.

So, yes, I can actually imagine 'in case of emergency break glass, unleash Queen' being needed, and it actually happening, and the Monarchy surviving. But it won't be to keep us in the EU, nor should it be. It'll to force the political class to do what they committed to.

Obviously, I am deeply pessimistic and worried.

Cameron quitting without pushing Article 50 into action
Despite implying strongly during the campaign he'd do it, then resign.

I saw an analysis that it's basically a screw-up on BoJo. Which is why Boris had such a terrible face when he was interviewed last time; he had figured out he was screwed.

Johnson has 3 choices now:

- He can refuse the seat of PM. In which case his career is over; once you refuse a post like that, no one is going to offer it again.
- He can get on board, and sit on the referendum, despite his campaigning for the Leave. In which case, his career is mostly over after the conservatives implode, he's out of a job after 6 months and the UKIP surges on a wave of "it's not democracy, see your vote doesn't count with those guys!" and becomes at least the arbiter of things in Westminster, at worst the majority party.
- He can get on board, formally submit Article 50 notice, get blamed for every screw-up during the negotiation and all the bad parts that inevitably follow during the brexit itself... and say goodbye to the plushiest jobs in finance and consulting when he leaves his post, because the banks will mostly remember who caused them so many problems. But at least he'll be remembered as The Prime Minister Who Presided the Brexit.

(meanwhile Cameron is remembered only as The Guy Who Started a Referendum He Shouldn't Have, and hopes he gets something out of it)

Well played, David. Well played.


The real irony about Corbyn - he's been re-elected in his constituency for 33 years with never less than 50% of the vote, usually 60%. So he's popular as a local MP.

He's been elected to lead the Labour Party effectively as part of the same sort of anti-establishment protest that sent us down this road. And even though the PLP *hate* him, he's still wildly popular as a perceived outsider.

Which means for all their rhetoric, unless the PLP can find a way to make him ineligible for selection, any move to remove him will only split the wider party.

Hilary Benn is a classic political animal of his generation. It's obvious he was asked to be the one to start the ball rolling, and he is gladly embracing his "I only tried to speak my mind and he fired me" rhetoric in the press.

All I can hope for is the Tories and Labour parties to both split - then we might finally get some decent PR in parliament here. Multiple parties and compromise isn't a curse, it's the best way to govern.


Ha. Yep, it's the first clever statesmanlike thing I've ever seen callmedave do. And it has completely spiked the wheels of the Leavers.


Corbyn is massively unpopular within the PLP. He only got on the ballot last time because one of the other candidates (I don't remember which one, I think it was Andy Burnham) signed his nomination papers so there would be a left-wing candidate to represent the broad spectrum of Labour.

The other old stagers from Labour's left wing will still sign to support Corbyn, but that elusive last signature really won't appear this time.


Except that P H-K is worng.
There ARE other choices.
Doesn't excuse Camoron fuck-up in the pathetic "concessioN" he wrong for the EU, because they didn't take it seriously - which is why Brussel so stirred-up, they thought it was a fak joke, fucked up & are now trying to blame us for their cock-up.
Similarly, Camoron has been labelled by Paxo as a true heir to Anthony Eden (as in Suez) - equally true.


Sturgeon has changed tack ...
The SNP have worked out that: - out of the UK in the EU, using the Euro, no Barnett formula & subject to Juncker would actually be a VERY BAD move ...
And are therefore threatening to veto our departure & claiming that they can via constitutional methods.
Just for once, I think she may be correct.


that elusive last signature really won't appear this time.

There's an argument based in the interpretation of the rules that he may automatically appear on the ballot, as he didn't resign. But I return to my earlier position, even given Adrian's interpretation @176, what good is an opposition leader who can't form a shadow cabinet? Shall we have another leadership election three weeks hence, to be deadlocked once again? That would be unacceptable to the general membership even in normal political times; this is no time to have a somnolent opposition.

As soon as the ballot is open, should Corbyn's name appear on it, the rest of the PLP will make extremely loud and public noises to that effect. And the original groundswell of Corbyn voters may no longer be so engaged, or may be less convinced about his abilities, or, as a large proportion of them are young and young correlates in these days of short term leases to mobile, the ballot papers may not reach a significant proportion of them.

I don't think a Corbyn victory is a given; should it happen I don't think it's a good thing from a pragmatic point of view.


Actually, he has other options, but it is doubtful that he would have the balls and charisma to carry them off. For example:

He could state that we have an existential emergency, that we can't
proceed in any direction until we have reorganised our constitution, and produced an economic and political plan, and create a government of national unity to do so. A price demanded for that would be to rein back on the most extreme monetarism, but he would have no problem with that.

The attraction for him is that, if he even half-succeeded, he would go down in history as the second Prime Minister to save Britain.


"Except that P H-K is worng. There ARE other choices."

In your dreams. That will become clear in a few days.


I'm really not the one to judge, given that BoJo's upper class twittery act leaves me cold but if anyone from the Brexit side of the fence could pull off a govt of national unity it's him.


voteit's a cute thing to see that those brexiteers had completely failed to prepare for a route within the british legal structures towards the brexit. obviously they spent all their intellectual capital on marketing and forgot that there will have to be someone doing the actual work of brexiting.

nobody will consider the brits trustworthy anymore. their vote to leave based on xenophobia and greed is already bad for everyone concerned be it in britain or in europe. it's of course a severe insult of all the europeans, particularly of those who thought the british their staunchest allies but whose plumbers put enough fear into the british hearts to make them run away from europe. so this already is a blow for their international reputation

this blow gets worse when the british now renege on the promise of a swift brexit. afaik cameron explicitly promised he'd immediately start the exit negotiations if the british electorate chose to vote for leave. instead he immediately defaulted on this promise and stalled everything until the cows come home. the second breaking of a promise is the one with the 350M; this is exclusively british but still nice to watch from outside. so it didn't take more than 15 hours after the casting of the votes to break two of the campaign's essential promises.

but obviously the british do not care what others think about them. now the tenants of one apartment in the shared house (who always coaxed their co-tenants into giving them a rebate on their rent by threatening to leave the shared house) have finally terminated the lease. will the rest of the tenants be mourning them or will they be relieved?

btw: are there posters of this red bus with the 350M promise? if yes, i really would like to have one.


Hmmm... Given that the leadership of both of the major political parties seems to be headed for a round of musical chairs, and that none of the available choices is particularly appealing, nor likely to show particularly well at the next election, I think the SNP should give serious consideration to fielding candidates in English constituencies. I can quite see them doing pretty well simply on the basis that they're 'none of the above.' Now, if only the Scots could see their way to annexing Oxfordshire (hey: we voted 'remain' (ignore those louts from Cherwell DC)), that would be cool with me too...

Oh, well. I guess I just get to vote Liberal again next time.


Actually, as I posted early, there ARE things the Queen can do, but not yet. If Parliament fails to form a government, twice, she could step in. If a government exceeds all reasonable behaviour (e.g. suspending Holyrood etc.), she could step in. But, whatever happens, I am reminded of what Graves said about Rome in I, Claudius:

And strangles in the strings of purse,
Before she mends must sicken worse.


The banks probably cannot wait for the politicians to get their act together. Anyone know how long to get regulation compliant and Euro-passport ready in France or Germany?


I believe the lazy & dim at the legislative level generally either don't propose legislation, propose legislation ghost-written by lobbyists, or propose feel-good legislation like "be it resolved that we should respect motherhood & apple pie." Personal opinion, not professional opinion here.

At the civil service level, the first fail mode is "person X is ineffective/unpleasant to work with/incompetent/retired-at-desk. It would take 1 competent manager 1 year full-time to fire them. We don't have 1 competent manager who isn't already busy. Work around them." The politicians who raise this as a problem tend to argue that the solution is no civil service protections for anyone, which just takes us back to the patronage system. I'll live with a few people retired-at-desk in exchange for not needing to be an unpaid campaign staffer (or donor, or relative) to keep my job.

Another fail mode is "conform to institutional bias." So police officers who think everyone is guilty of someone, spies who think that the way to protect the nation is spy on everyone & everything, etc. Fixing this requires long-term commitment to reform & institutional change from leadership. Until you get a really bad & obvious case, you don't get that commitment. Just changing the department head is usually what the electeds & appointeds usually do, and that isn't enough to change anything.

Finally, there are people who are just plain evil. In policing, they beat the people in their custody. In other cases, they may steal money from clients, sign up relatives or themselves for benefits inappropriately, etc. To the best of my knowledge, the incidence of evil isn't any worse than in the private economy. But, this may very widely across different governments.

Your local government might be run by an incorruptible, inexhaustible dynamo who's been term-limited out of national office and who creates a culture of excellence. Or might be run by someone who is stealing the citizens blind, and creates a culture of "take what I can before it all blows up." Or someone who thinks that shouting "waste & corruption" will magically result in things getting better, creating a culture that thinks "I know better than the electeds, so ignore them."

note, the "waste & corruption" guy might very well be right. But if they aren't willing to spend the effort to build support in the civil service (management & staff) for reforms, and to build a detailed plan for how to build systems to catch the waste & corruption, and make sure that those systems aren't more expensive than the waste it prevents, it won't fix anything. But if your goal is to get elected in the next legislature up, it's easier to just shout & get people mad without actually solving anything.


Being from across the pond and its oddly litigous society, I have to ask:

Since a great deal of the Leave vote was heavily influenced by the Leaver's claims of money and immigration, which were admitted to be incorrect before the ink on the tally sheets was dry, is there a chance under your laws that they could be sued for fraud or some thing similar? Could the referendum be ruled invalid and re-voted?


Could the referendum be ruled invalid and re-voted?

I doubt it. The referendum was valid in terms of its enabling legislation.


nobody will consider the brits trustworthy anymore.

Da Frenchies used to warn ya. Time to relaunch their label, "Perfidious Albion".


The latest news is that while a string of Labour figures resigns, deputy leader Corbyn enforcer Tom Watson has disappeared on a train between Glastonbury and London and can't be reached by the media.


And are therefore threatening to veto our departure & claiming that they can via constitutional methods.

turns out the initial reports on that were just lazy work by the BBC

"Scottish Govt sources saying Scottish Parliament does not have power to block to UK Brexit and say Nicola Sturgeon is not threatening veto"


You still seem relatively fortunate, ZA. You see individuals "retired at desk" (what a lovely phrase, I shall remember it), I see some systemic failure modes at quite low level, such as making everything into a Someone Else's Problem. Reverse empire-building: we are the department of offogs – we don't deal with offogs, try the department of stray cats. Who will refer you back to the department of offogs.

One of our systemic problems at higher level is "having every virtue except resignation", as someone once put it. Our variant on this is to redefine "taking responsibility" as the guy who messed up continuing in office to be responsible for cleaning up his own mess and doing better next time. Example, the Justice Minister at 22-7. The Prime Directive is Heads Never Roll. Cui bono?

Worse, our unspoken social contract, applicable to pols, civil servants and citizenry alike, is "I shall forgive you for being stupid, lazy, incompetent and even corrupt, if you will forgive me for being stupid, lazy, incompetent and even corrupt when my turn comes round. But this shall only apply to us Aryans, not furriners and people of colour". Isn't this what you used to call the "good ole boy" approach?

This is why we perch so high up on Transparency International's index; the methodology is flawed, as asking narcissists to rate themselves is a bad idea.


Must have found some suspected molesters in the carriage...


You could, if you had enough money, apply for judicial review on the basis of "The bastards lied M'Lord."

Now, both sides lied to a certain extent. They're politicians and their mouths were moving. There's a BBC page about most of them here and there are other pages that do a similar service. But quite a lot of them are "politicians' lies" in the sense that they're taking a truthful statement or a pretty reliable statistic and presenting it in a more or less misleading way. One of the obvious one, Vote Remain said "3M jobs depend on the EU." While no one is sure about how many jobs actually do, 3M is what you get if you take a decent estimate of the UK's income from the EU as a proportion of GDP and multiply that by the total number of people in work. So it's not an unreasonable estimate. But in our post-Brexit world, the chances that we'll lose all 3M jobs is pretty close to 0.

But the £350M/w figure is just an out and out lie. All the Brexiteers are rowing back from it now, having spouted it endlessly. Whether there's a grounds for a judge to throw the result out on the basis of the campaign misleading the electorate in such a way is unclear.

There could be a review on the basis of the extension of the registration. Vote Leave were talking about doing that if they lost - it's thought to favour the Remain camp. No reason the Remain camp can't do it though just because it's *thought* to favour them. But it's not clear what the judge would say.

So it could be done but I think the judge would like say "Stuff off, old mate." That's my expert legal opinion of how judges render judgement... so it's worth less than you paid for it!


It's also like saying "I want a divorce." You can't un-say something like that, and the UK-EU relationship will never be the same.

Clearly, there are elements in Brussels who are quite pleased to have the opportunity to smack down those arrogant Brits and their insistence on special privileges. I sincerely doubt the February deal can be saved.

One of the best things about this blog is the courteous and rational discussions we have here. I don't see this same level of discourse most other places, and certainly not in the press. I think we may underestimate the rationality of the British electorate and their ability to be swayed by emotional attacks. Even with a second referendum, last Thursday's results may stand. If a second referendum passes, the government would seem to have no choice but to pull the trigger on Brexit.

Similarly, a second IndyRef seems likely to pass, even if an independent Scotland faces an uncertain economic future. At least you would only be dealing with your own economy, and not dragging the rest of the UK behind you.

Does this mess hold out the hope of a third Halting State novel, perhaps set further in the future?


"underestimate the rationality of the British electorate"

Err, I meant OVERestimate.


What if a Scotland-based AI ran for Parliament and won?


Interestingly the Grauniad has just run an article on how people from overseas are signing the petition, therefore it is being manipulated. Next up, government ignores it on the basis that it is impossible to tell how many sigs are real.

The spin has started yet again.


I have just had a thought. Pretty Boy Dave has a track record for saying impolitic things at inopportune moments. What are the chances that he says something on Tuesday at the European Council that is adequate to trigger article 50?


Point of pedantry: while true that Scotland has not had a Queen Elizabeth before the current monarch, she is still Queen Elizabeth II even in Scotland.


And in a huge historic irony, it was her choice to style herself Elizabeth II that triggered the first stirrings of renewed Scottish nationalism back in the early 1950s.


Disagree with your conclusion.

I think Nicola raising the flag for the Scottish veto is a canny attempt to lever the Conservative government into fast-tracking IndyRef 2, because if she's not part of the UK any more she can't veto Brexit.

Meanwhile it's playing to the Brussels gallery by underlining how pro-EU Scotland is.


Does this mess hold out the hope of a third Halting State novel, perhaps set further in the future?

Alas, I currently have five novels on the go/in progress right now, so the publication queue is filled right up through January 2019!

Maybe some time next decade.


Zero. As the article you linked to notes it has to be clear and explicit. Given Cameron's prior clear statement that he was going to leave it too his successor that is an incredibly high bar.


Oh, and to nobody's surprise, the odious Theresa May has now declared we should leave the ECHR as well as part of her leadership bid. Even though effectively we wrote it.

Because lets face it, if the country is to descend into a true Fascist state, then those pesky Rights need to go toot sweet.


Was that really a choice? I thought the monarch had to pick whatever number is highest (to avoid confusion)?


She always hated it, even more than the rest of the Tories. I'm surprised it took her this long.


Alas, I currently have five novels on the go/in progress right now, so the publication queue is filled right up through January 2019!

You know Charlie, much as you were screwed by reality catching up with the Halting State universe, spare a thought for the writers of The Thick of It. Right now their characters look so competent compared to reality that they're straining suspension of disbelief!


Clueless about UK government here. Assuming Article 50 is going to be triggered, how exactly is that done?

Can the PM just send a letter saying "I activate Article 50" to the appropriate EU official?

Or does Parliament have to pass a law saying they activate it, or telling the PM to send a letter as above?

Does the letter technically have to be from the Queen and signed by her?

Does the EU official have to sign a receipt?

Or is the answer "No one is sure, exactly"?


Article 50.2: "A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention."

The treaty does not specify the form under which the notification has to occur. A verbal statement by the current Head of State could be considered valid. However because article 50.1 states "Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.", those constitutional requirements are not yet fulfilled (Parliament hasn't held the vote). So Cameron cannot legally deliver notice.

I suspect that, no matter how much Juncker wants to trap Cameron, he still has to wait for the legal steps to open the trap...


Was that really a choice? I thought the monarch had to pick whatever number is highest (to avoid confusion)?

The number isn't, but the monarch has a choice of regnal name. It's widely held that Prince Charles, for example, will not rule as Charles III because kings of that name have typically not ended their lives in a pipe and slippers. He will go by George VII instead. So Elizabeth could have chosen a different name (although obviously the name Elizabeth has a much more positive resonance for a monarch than Charles).


Interestingly the Grauniad has just run an article on how people from overseas are signing the petition, therefore it is being manipulated.

Sigh. The petition page says "Only British citizens or UK residents have the right to sign." I'm a British citizen resident abroad, and I signed.

Honestly, the rest of the world is mostly munching popcorn and wondering how to contain the damage.


As far as I know, Parliament has to have a debate and pass a resolution declaring that the UK wants to leave. That then passes through the Lords for sanity checking, then the devolved assemblies and the Queen for each of the affected parties to sign off on the resolution. Once all that is done, then the relevant diplomats get to send an official letter, or maybe #10 does.


in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

That's the tricky bit when it comes to the constitution of the United Kingdom. I've seen at least four plausible possibilities mentioned so far (not been keeping count), plausible in that they've all had cogent arguments supporting them that pass the laugh test.

My own take on the matter: the fact that I actually passed Constitutional Law means I know it's Not That Simple. The fact that I passed Constitutional Law twenty-five years ago makes me uncomfortably aware that while I'm in a better position than nearly everyone to understand the issues, I'm sufficiently woefully out of date that while I can follow and weigh the arguments, I'd have to do a lot of cramming to come up with one of my own.


Updated to add: the article in question is here. According to it, the problem is not people signing from abroad per se, but the quantities from places like Vatican City, plus various shenanigans and misunderstandings propagated visibly on social media.

It was never going to be binding for anything more than registering discontent, really, if the top prize for 100k signatures is a Parliamentary debate at some point or other. And whatever you can say about the totals, I think it's highly probable that that figure at least has been reached with genuine signatures.

Irony: the guy who started it voted Leave.


... that's one of the possibilities. There are others.


Rockets-come-down department:
Oh, yes. I'm quite aware that I am fortunate. The chief executive for my county government has made a very strong push for moving towards a more effective, flexible & transparent government, where most USAian reformers only try for efficient.

There are significant efforts being made in some areas of government to deal with the not-my-department syndrome. In my office, we are working on a push to have Juvenile Probation & Foster Youth services work to find ways to better serve the kids under our care. Sounds obvious, I know, but it goes against the grain of a rationalist bureaucracy as described by Weber. It will likely improve the average situation for the kids, but also increase the variance, so some kids will potentially be worse off. Good? Bad? We shall see.

Totally happens here. Our Board of Supervisors fired a department head for failing to improve it sufficiently. Said department head is now suing, saying that he wasn't given sufficient support in his reform efforts. But he was successfully fired. I think we're lucky in that our population is better than many at paying attention to performance, and local government is close enough that people can see the failures more easily. We've also had some recent scandals that pointed out why you need to keep a well-funded internal audit department. (Never waste a good scandal)

I think this is very dependent on local political & organizational culture. Silicon Valley is heavily minority-majority. (72% minority, 37% immigrant, 52% immigrant or 1st gen citizen) My instincts say that minorities here have more money & education, so are more able to fight against discrimination. I have some concerns about there being glass ceilings at the executive level or in some more rewarding jobs (IT, for example). I also think that local discrimination is more likely to be unconscious conditioning that people feel guilty about when noticed. Still needs to be fought, but it makes the problem more solvable.

Here's an interesting database if you want to look at civil service positions across the US:


You are mistaken about the UK constitution. The Prime Minister effectively wields the royal prerogative, which include foreign affairs. Yes, it would cause a constitutional crisis, but we are already in one!


Apparently, 4chan is taking responsibility for the ... ahem, enthusiasm... for the petition:

4chan will be 4chan.


Yes, and my point is that one of those not-totally-laughable interpretations is that Davey Boy has the power to trigger article 50 by putting his foot in his mouth.


No, that's one of the laughable ones, sorry. That is not the proper form for an Order In Council exercising the Royal Prerogative, which is the bare minimum required.


"As economic metric the yield on state bonds have independent weight, it only reflects investors expectation of growth vs perceived risk over the period."

More likely a large imbalance between savings and consumption. Yes, that also translates to lack of growth opportunities. But what do you expect with low consumption, where is the investment going to work? The Euro does have an impact because investment is still predicated on costs, including labor costs.


"And what does unemployment even mean, when we are about to fire the entire transport sector and nobody can point at what the jobs they can migrate to ?"

Indeed. And not just in EU but potentially globally. Transport costs may fall, but how is consumption going to fare with large increases in structural unemployment (and this is as structural as it gets). Drivers in the 21st century will go where horses did in the 20th (out to pasture, but not the knackers yard). No reduction in labor costs can save that function.


Thank you for the correction. But I am not being entirely clear. Let's say that he does it, and the European Council minutes it as an invokation of Article 50, as the EU officials are reported to have said is enough. Unless the UK repudiates his words, that is likely to stand as far as the EU is concerned. The point is that they have followed THEIR rules.


No reduction in labor costs can save that function.

And when it happens, I trust the imperfect mechanism of the EU to find some way of mitigating it than I do UKIP.


"(out to pasture, but not the knackers yard)"

Like to bet? The current policies have reduced the unemployment benefits to almost nothing, and we are talking about reducing the taxable base and increasing the number of unemployed considerably. In order to provide pasture, we need a complete reversal of the social and economic policies of the past decades.


I am an American so dont troll me for not knowing as much.

Scotland has less than 5.4 m people. If they leave the UK and rejoin the EU, I think its unlikely they would get the same level of subsidies. Their subsidies came in part due to a larger UK contributing more money.

What would happen if the Queen actually vetoed leaving the EU? I know she is just a figurehead. Could parliament over turn her veto? In the US ! Congress can override a presidential veto with a 2/3 majority.


we are talking about reducing the taxable base

If the elite were behaving like a traditional ruling class, or a decent player of Civ, that would be irrational. Impoverish your own population and they can't buy your stuff, right? And also generate less tax, as you say. But suppose they are not a traditional ruling class, who rationally want their peasants to be strong enough to produce a surplus for expropriation, but something else entirely?

The first question has to be, where is their money coming from, if not from old-school expropriation of producers?


As a naturalized USain, I can say that it will be even worse here as the social security safety net has been gutted, and one half of the country wants the remaining fragments eliminated.

We just didn't do austerity quite as sharply as Britain.

My sense is that "Leavers" didn't consider this at all, or maybe they thought "how much worse can it get?". We'll know within a year.


Technically the Queen can veto a law, and that's that. Hasn't been done since 1708, and would cause a constitutional shitstorm, but she does wield supreme executive power. Presumably some ancestor was handed a sword by a watery tart.

She's like the reverse of the President, her powers are a check on Parliament, not the other way around.


My sense is that "Leavers" didn't consider this at all, or maybe they thought "how much worse can it get?". We'll know within a year.

What's common to the largest part of the Leave camp is that they're all public schoolboys. The career paths for them have always been journalist, banker, captain of industry... all things that are secure and hard to automate. I think they have literally no idea that such a large sector of the economy is about to operate without human intervention (not that I think many other politicians of any stripe in the UK have grokked that), and to boot they have a skewed view of what work is like "below the line." If there are no immigrants to do n seasonal fruit picking jobs in the south of England, they imagine that's a perfect opportunity for n ex-British Leyland skilled welders in Birmingham to jolly well get on their bikes and make something of themselves. All pleb jobs are roughly equal, you see?


Scotland has less than 5.4 m people. If they leave the UK and rejoin the EU, I think its unlikely they would get the same level of subsidies. Their subsidies came in part due to a larger UK contributing more money.

EU "Subsidies" are more like redistribution of funds by a central federal government -- they go to the EU via the tax base and are disbursed by the EU on various projects. (Think Federal spending in the US, as opposed to State funding.)

Scotland would probably get much the same per capita spending as it did before UKExit. And the money would come from the same source -- the Scottish taxpayers. (Scotland for the most part isn't so poor that it benefits from cross-subsidies from elsewhere in the EU.)

What would happen if the Queen actually vetoed leaving the EU? I know she is just a figurehead. Could parliament over turn her veto? In the US ! Congress can override a presidential veto with a 2/3 majority.

Nobody knows. The nearest we came to that level of constitutional crisis recently was back in 1906; but a better comparison was 1688, which triggered the Glorious Revolution, and basically a parliamentary coup d'etat against a sitting King (followed by a brief civil war or three). However Lizzie, aged 90, is unlikely to pick up a sabre and ride a white horse. She's also too sensible to take an action which would add to the already-in-progress constitutional crisis by jeopardizing the entire future of the monarchy at the same time (which she, and her ilk, see as vital symbolic glue holding the nation together).


Should have checked before accepting.


The first question has to be, where is their money coming from, if not from old-school expropriation of producers?

From the Bank of England. Did you notice they just promised 250e9 £ to "stabilize the markets"? That will end in the pockets of the market winners.


Or she could say something like "It's our royal prerogative to inform the European Commission and the world that the British people have decided to leave the EU according to Art. 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. We'll advice our government to immediately start negotiations for an orderly and timely exit."

I guess neither is likely.


I think it is highly likely (bordering on certain) that Cameron got heavy duty legal advice prior to making his statement, and every single word of it would have been checked to make sure that, insofar as we know how Article 50 should be construed, it wouldn't trigger it.

The government is focusing on trying to manage the financial crisis, which is what all the other governments around the world are doing; the central banks are providing very large amounts of cash to try and stabilise the markets, in the hope that we don't take the rest of the world down with us. We know what happens when market makers can't function, and it's really not nice, which is why the central banks are providing vast amounts of liquidity.

We don't know whether they will succeed; we do know, according to the FT, that banks and other financial institutions are already planning for transfers to places which have unquestioned rights of access to the EU. Alas, poor Boris; all the stuff about taking our time and no need to rush has zero credibility in the financial world.

Few people outside the financial sector will shed any tears for the bankers forced to go and work elsewhere, at least up to the point when the construction industry tanks, whereupon it will finally dawn on at least some people that all those glossy buildings didn't get here by magic.

I appreciate that it's really easy to blame all this on Cameron, but any Prime Minister with a small majority in the House of Commons, confronted by demands from a group ready, willing and able to grind Parliament to a standstill, is over a barrel.

He had taken on his own party to get the Same Sex Marriage legislation through, and succeeded, and he took them on again on the referendum. This time around he failed, but the toxic venom was not of his making; indeed, there's a case for arguing that the SSMA increased that toxic venom. I think it helps to bear this in mind...


The wording of article 50 is 'in accordance with' the notifying state's constitution. Exercise of the Royal Prerogative is the bare minimum and that has a proper form which the minutes would not be able to properly record as having been observed. Bureaucracy, remember?


The government is focusing on trying to manage the financial crisis, which is what all the other governments around the world are doing;

And the chancellor George Osborne has not been seen in public since the referendum result because he has been working all weekend to try to save the economy.


Presumably some ancestor was handed a sword by a watery tart.

While I doubt any of them takes it seriously, farcical aquatic ceremonies don't figure in their actual claim to supreme executive power.

The Royal Family Tree includes a number of ancestors who in turn claimed descent from Odin/Wotan.


Right. Yes. But I am still not explaining myself :-(

All that the EU requires is a statement of INTENT, not that the constitutional process has been completed. The question is whether the EU can reasonably assume that Cameron is empowered to exercise the Royal Prerogative, and can therefore speak about his intentions. If so, it can reasonably minute that article 50 has been invoked, thus forcing the UK to repudiate his statement.

Stevie has missed the point, because it is highly likely that he will not just read out a prechecked statement, and we know that Cameron suffers from foot in mouth disease.


As does mine. And from a selkie.


I was unfortunate enough to meet a "new" Labour-party member of around here, who supports Corbyn
All the usual signs, open bright face, eager eyes - nobody home.
Still banging on about "class" & how we hadn't had a proper revolutions.
When I pointed out the (at least) THREE civil wars of 1640-1688 with a death-toll of approx 2% of the population, she claimed that didn't count(!) even though it got us a constitutional monarchy as opposed to Divine Right of Kings, the supremacy of Parliaments etc .. she simply shrugged it off.
When they are that brain-fucked & ignorant of history, there's nothing much you can do.
I worked out she was a Geordie ( I do listen to people's voices) & asked where she came from (S Shields) but she was totally uninterested in the fate of large manufacturing that is left around in Gateshead (providing employment & useful stuff), or that Scunthorpe Steel is safe, because no-one makes good railway rails as well as they do - she seemed to think that buying Chinese was equally good & the idea of Quality Control had not entered her empty head ...
Or that (as discussed here a long time back) that tax rates over 50% simply will not work.
THESE are the wankers supporting Corbyn.

At the other end, you have the ones Charlie rants on about, the crypto & not-so-crypto fascists lurking behind Farage.
Yet again - ARRRGH!

Is there no middle way?


I think you're missing the interaction of Clauses 1 and 2 of Art. 50.

For 2. to bite, the notice of intention has to be given by a state which has decided to leave within the terms of clause 1.

To be such a state which has decided to leave it has to have decided in accordance with its own constitution.

The referendum's enabling legislation is not so drafted - as far as I can tell, having read it carefully - that it complied with UK constitutional law as a decision under Article 50. The Act provides for the holding of a referendum, but does not state that the result is binding on anyone, in any way. It contains considerably more by wy of financial regulations on what may be spent campaigning than it ddoes anything else.

Cameron on his own has neither actual nor ostensible authority (both terms of art under the law of agency, which - dimly remembered comparative law seminars tell me - doesn't include ostensible authority under most civil law systems) to give notice of an intent that has not been formed in the first place under UK constitutional law.


"...whereupon it will finally dawn on at least some people that all those glossy buildings didn't get here by magic."

[adds "No more giant penises in the middle of London" to the crumbs-of-comfort list]


Well, offending Juncker & "Turkey" - read the slimy islamist Erodgan - is a PLUS point in my book
You may disagree, as is your right ....


Is there no middle way?

You're it Greg. We're all counting on you!


THAT is really scary.
T May is actually considerably more dangerous than Farage, in my book.
Talk about the cold all-over creeps.
You sure she isn't a Lizard or a tentacled Laundry-horror under a semi-defective glamour?


Timeline isn't right. He promised the referendum BEFORE the last election when he didn't have a small majority, he was part of a coalition with a comfortably large majority.

I suspect he promised it because all the polls said he didn't stand a chance of winning outright so it wouldn't matter. Most likely outcome was a Lab-Lib or Lab-SNP coalition. Next up, a continuation of the Con-Lib coalition, and he would happily sacrifice the referendum to the very pro-EU LibDems as part of the coalition agreement.

But, of course, none of those things happened, he had a manifesto commitment to an in-out referendum that had to be called sometime.


BUT ... HM is quite capable of err .. "calling a meeting" & knocking a few heads together, off the record.
A secret (as in unrecorded) meeting of the Privy Council is possible.
An order in Council to"Get your Act together" - otherwise I will pull the plug might concentrate a few minds.
Let's hope it doesn't come to that, shall we?


This is why your new friend from Labour is talking about a Revolution. You can have a little one now - maybe even a non-violent one if you vote intelligently - or a big one later.


That is even scarier!
I think I decline, unless someone really insists ...


So here is my prediction:

Now that Labour is also imploding, the general headless-chicken-running-around will continue until tuesday evening.

Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, H.M. E.R. II goes on BBC and announces:

1) Parliament is dissolved and sent home with thanks for their service.

2) There will be a general election in X days (X = shortest possible + 2 days)

3) The referendum will advise the new government to work out the details of UK leaving EU, and article 50 will only be activated if at least 2/3 of a subsequent binding referendum decides to do so.

The constitutional cracks will be glossed over because everybody is relieved that there is an adult in the room to close the mayhem.

A couple of years from now, that referendum is helt, and it doesn't even cross the 50% mark.



I like it, it would probably work, but remember Axel Oxenstierna's advice to his son, that we mentioned a couple of months back?


OK. Thanks. In which case, it would be fairly unproblematic - except for Davey Boy! One can hope :-)

And I really, really hope that Poul-Henning Kamp's prediction is correct!


Well, you may easily be so lucky.

That is the only sane reason to have a (royal) backstop for your democracy, and if she doesn't stop the mayhem, people will rightfully wonder about the expense being worth it.


Unfortunately, I am afraid that we won't see a revolution in time to save the country from collapsing into a state like some of the nastier third-world oligarchies. Regrettably, I agree with Greg. Tingey about the intelligence and contact with reality of Old Labour - where I disagree is in not thinking any of the right-wing alternatives are any better.


Is there no middle way?

First, given that Corbyn had the largest popular mandate of any Labour leader ever, it's particularly inaccurate to judge him by anecdote as you offer. I'd propose that you judge him by his policy initiatives, just as soon as he gets round to issuing any. It's only been 9 months, let's not rush him.

Second, by 1980's standards, Corbyn is the middle way–he's actually slightly right of centre. That you don't perceive him as that, right there, is the problem with the Overton window we currently have.


And I really, really hope that Poul-Henning Kamp's prediction is correct!

You're not the only one. I heartily dislike the institution of monarchy, but at this point Elizabeth II is the single most experienced and seasoned member of the political establishment. If we can't get some good out of that, the monarchy really is pointless.


...adds "No more giant penises in the middle of London" to the crumbs-of-comfort list...

If everyone says with a straight face that it's a sausage then it's a sausage, right?

I'll offer you another crumb of comfort: you're probably missing the American innerweb's reaction to this. It seems all our home grown lunatics have come out from under their rocks, delighted that the UK has thrown off the tyranny of the EU, the UN, the Rothschild family, the One World Government, the New World Order, or whoever. The usual cranks who want Texas to be its own nation again are out in force.

I'm well aware of how little I, as an American, understand the political situation over on your side of the Atlantic, and I'm still left cringing at the people who are loudly certain of views that are obviously not even wrong.


Thanks, but I'd already read it, and been depressed by it. It is depressing to realise that ignorance is now apparently seen as a good thing; it looks as if the audience were fully paid up members of the Gove 'people in this country have had enough of experts' battalions, because they were completely clueless and proud of it.

I do my best to make allowances for people's ignorance of the way in which financial markets work, but there comes a point where that ignorance is immensely dangerous and actively destructive. The buffoons chuckling away, sure that George was off playing golf somewhere, or sulking in his tent, are the public face of a country which is highly dependent on capital investment from outside our borders, and is haemorrhaging money, despite everything the central banks are doing to prop up not only sterling but the global markets themselves.

We desperately need the help of others, and yet apparently Gove and his battalions are convinced that everything is fine really, and any moment now all those nasty foreigners who are pulling vast amounts of capital out of this country will see the light and beg us to let them give us lots and lots of money.

It isn't going to happen.


Talk about the cold all-over creeps. You sure she isn't a Lizard or a tentacled Laundry-horror under a semi-defective glamour?


Have you seen the guy who's visiting his golf course in Scotland? There's a good reminder that you should never accept cheap factory seconds when buying a rubber human suit.


Well met, I'm a long time lurker and a Laundryverse fan who's been active on S:M. Stirling's and Brin's sites (hi, joat, if you are who I think...).

It seems that Spain too is in a big mess. See you later


I have quite a good view of the Gherkin, appropriately from the bedrooms, but try as I will I can't see the resemblance to a penis.

If you want something really weird the building on Moor Lane, to the right of the large hole currently being excavated, has a sloping terraced roof with grass growing thereon. I have suggested that placing mountain goats on it would enhance its green cred still further, but nobody agrees...


Out of curiosity, what happens if the European Commission, wanting to head off a future filled with non-binding referendums, says at some point this next week, "We consider that notice has been given, and plan on having the first meeting to discuss how to organize the exit negotiations on 6 July, in Brussels, room number so-and-so."?


Oh dear god I would love for that to happen. It would be even better if half of BOTH parties were told not to stand again.

Granted we'd have a whole lot of backstabbing for who got to be leader, but it might clean some of the scum off the surface.


First, I don't think EU would want the precedent set that some careless remark causes a country to leave EU.

Second, why would they ? The fact that UK has gone total Monty Python and lost 10% of the £ serves nicely as the unmistakeable negative reinforcement they desire wrt to Article 50.


This is easily my favourite outcome so far, although in my version ER rides to Downing St. at the head of the Household Cavalry, bouncing a jewelled sceptre off the occasional ministerial bonce. But dead dignified. Then she delivers the P-H K plan.

We should probably alert the surviving Dimblebys.

After the action, Her Britannic Majesty shows mercy by banishing the whole of Parliament to a place where they'll be happy, where every day is a school day and the fifth form deb. soc. is always in session; a place where they can hector, patronise and lecture an imaginary public down all their days.

BTW there's something not right about this forum. I shouldn't still be enjoying reading the comments as the count hurtles toward 300.


Well, you'd better pray (or toast) her good health then because it would be really inconvenient for that plan to have a change of monarch this week...


They can appear to themselves every day on closed circuit TV to make sure they're still real...


Even leaving aside the want of motive for doing so Poul notes at 286, it doesn't work that way: there is a prescribed form and it hasn't been fulfilled.

The positive side of bureaucracy has been mentioned several times in this thread, and preventing bullshit of the kind you suggest - and it would be bullshit - is part of that.


I agree entirely that the EU has absolutely no desire to create a precedent where careless remarks could trigger Article 50.

Much as I would like to see sterling staying down, having lost a mere 10% in value, I fear we won't be that lucky; I expect massive volatility, and so do the banks who are pulling staff in now, ready for when trading starts tomorrow morning.

The FT headline is: 'Banks prepare for another day of currency mayhem' and mayhem there will be. It could be worse: the headline might be: 'Banks prepare for another day of currency manslaughter following suicide attempt'.

Unless, of course, they are saving it for Tuesday...


Oh crap.

Lizzie's genes are such that she can reasonably expect to live past a hundred, but she's 90 now, and the current mess can't possibly not be a significant cause of stress to her.

All we need to make the current shit-storm complete would be for the Queen to stroke out, so we have the month of official mourning on top and then the whole pile of manure lands in the lap of His Majesty George VII, aka Speaker to Plants.


Always liked me some Floyd. Another line that seems Boris-appropriate: "Did you exchange a walk-on part in The War, for The Lead Role in a cage?"


We're in full agreement there.

The comments from EU about "minimizing uncertainty" can be taken at face value: They just want this over and done with, as fast as possible, but they also have a big desire to not dig the hole any deeper in the process.


... who immediately announces that he was always a closet-revolutionaire, but didn't want to hurt mums feelings, but now she's gone, UK is going to become a proper republic. Election to the constitutional assembly will take place in a forthnight, while he himself can be found in Cornwall, harvesting.


I don't think we can really say all that much right now. The UK is pretty much in limbo and to coin a phrase from an old TV show - "Anything could happen in the next 24 hours".

If there are any budding historians out there reading all of this btw I think the only thing we can say at this stage with any certianty is that this is this decades' major "WTF?" moment. That might possibly be an even bigger "WTF?" moment if Donald trump gets elected in the US and depending on what he does.



An update from David Allen Green (aka Jack of Kent):

This among other things points out that there can be no such thing as an unintended notification by David Cameron accidentally telling the European Council to fuck off or similar.

(Green is a reluctant Remainer, one who has been self declaredly neutral up until the latter parts of the "glorified opinion survey".)


That might possibly be an even bigger "WTF?" moment if Donald trump gets elected in the US and depending on what he does.

If Trump gets elected it might well happen because the Brits broke the world economy and the U.S. electorate thinks it's a good idea to vote for the other party. Thanks guys.



The current Guardian live blog just presented Johnson's column in the Telegraph as him seeing out his stall for a leadership bid.

If that's what he's doing then this passage from the column is significant;

"We had one Scotland referendum in 2014, and I do not detect any real appetite to have another one soon;"

At the same time, knowing who wrote it, I would question how considered this line really is (our any of it for that matter!)


So here's a question. Say for whatever reason, Article 50 never gets invoked and eventually the notion of Brexit is quietly dropped in Brussels (for the purposes of argument, ignore whatever wailing and gnashing of teeth that causes among the domestic electorate).

I posit that the UK would be fucked.

Our relationship henceforth with the EU has been characterised by demands for special treatment, vetoes, get-out clauses and exceptions. All this based on the idea that if we don't engage with the EU on favourable terms, we won't engage at all. But abandoning Brexit would send the message that we can't leave now, and all special treatment would evaporate. There would be strong pressure to adopt the Euro, if not Schengen, and our exemption from ever-closer union would be pretty hollow at that point too.

Basically, every argument that you can make for an independent Scotland being a vassal state to the EU also applies to a ctrl-Z Brexit UK as well.


Balls. Hitherto, not henceforth. It's late.


Johnson's column also cheerily asserts that he expects the EU to give us the moon on a stick, with a cherry on top. In exchange for which, we will only need to graciously bestow a kind word on them from time to time.

I quote:

British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. [snip]
The UK will extricate itself from the EU’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation
Yes, there will be a substantial sum of money which we will no longer send to Brussels, but which could be used on priorities such as the NHS.

I don't know whether he genuinely thinks the EU will give us all the benefits of membership without requiring us to meet any of the conditions, or he just reckons this is a good line that allows him to be "disappointed" later, but neither of those is a good look in a would-be PM.


Until A50 is activated or alternatively, UK convinces EU that it will not be, UK is in limbo EU-wise.

Either way, there is no going back to the VIP-membership status UK has (ab)used for 40 years.

Considering that the open market is a finished project, it is almost given that future changes to EU will be of exactly the kind UK seems to not be very fond of, so it is hard for me to see why A50 should not be invoked.

Both Corbyn and Boris speak of "negotiations with EU", and since EU has made it very clear that won't happen until A50 is activated, we can probably infer that they both expect that to be a given.

... Unless Lizzie decides otherwise.


Long term no, the UK is too big a player in European term to ignore in the long run. It simply cannot be trusted or taken at is word though as long as UK and the Brexit wing of the Tories exist.
What it may do is revive the idea of a variable speed Europe with new treaties involving Germany, France and select invite only set of countries forging a closer union that excludes the UK.
Germany has, as far as I know never been too keen on this as they have been anxious to bring the UK along as a counterweight to France but they may change their mind given the UK's proven unreliability.
The central fact of European politics is that Germany is too small to simply dominate Europe and too big and dominant for its neighbors to be comfortable with it.


I actually think Boris has a good case there.

EU has no interest in cutting EU and UK markets or trade apart.

What Boris doesn't mention is that UK will have to pay EU for that access, just like Norway does, by paying their share of certain "market costs".

That is some percent cheaper than a full membership, but not much cheaper.

What he also doesn't mention is that UK gets no say in market rules, no voting rights, no judges, no access to EU research grants (See: and no access to infrastructure funds (ie: No new nuclear reactor)

So I think he's not actually telling a lie, he's just being very economical with the truth.


There's also an obligation in the EEA to adopt future EU laws concerning market rules.
Also freedom of movement of goods and people is mutual in the EEA.

On the plus side, joining the EEA will probably ensure that London financial sector can continue passporting.


I wouldn't bet on The Square Mile retaining Euro business.

Quite the contrary, a lot of EU people want London and the channel islands firmly outside EU and regulated with a very fine tooth comb to stop all the tax-evasion and off-shoring they facilitate.


If we're quoting lyrics (though this one is a different band playing different tunes), a couple of bits of King Crimson's "Epitaph" from 1969:

The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools.
Confusion will be my epitaph.
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it we can all sit back and laugh.
But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying.


There would be strong pressure to adopt the Euro, if not Schengen, and our exemption from ever-closer union would be pretty hollow at that point too.

I don't think there will be pressure to join the Euro. Other countries also haven't adopted the Euro. Same with Schengen.

The exemption from ever-closer union was part of the February agreement and is moot as of Friday morning.


Two questions:

1) Many people in this thread have made posts to the effect of "the EU is sick of the UK and doesn't really want the UK around, and if the UK doesn't actually leave we will either not get the Cameron deal—or we will get even worse terms than we had before the Cameron deal and Brexit vote." If that's really the case, then why try to stay in the EU? If the rest of the EU no longer trusts or wants the UK, what's the point? It sounds like you are making the "Leave" case for them.

2) Why do most (not all) of people invoking a possible Queen's intervention assume that she would be on the "Remain" side? Has she said anything to imply that?


Speaking as a Texan, I can assure you that the "Texit" people are (mostly) not serious. It would take a substantial implosion of the US government or the passage of some truly onerous Federal laws for people here to seriously consider actually leaving the US. The belief that Texas could make a go of it alone is common to our "national" culture. The belief that it would be in anyway a good idea is really quite rare, though.


I'm pretty sure that most of the EU countries want the UK to stay in the EU. They might be sick of some antics of British EU politics, but hey, that's politics.
One reason they want the UK to stay is that they fear other countries might do the same. That means that they will not agree to any terms that will put the UK in a better position as say Norway.
The Cameron deal is moot. It was worded with the condition that the referendum ended in "Stay", that didn't happen.

Lyrics? "You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave..."


And neither would I; passporting has always looked like a bit of a wheeze where foreign financial institutions could grab some of the action without too many awkward questions being asked.

There were decades when Britain itself was considered by the OECD to be an offshore tax haven, never mind the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The 'Golden Triangle' of Double Taxation treaties between the U.S., the UK, and the Netherlands, was particularly profitable, hence the name.

It's rather late here, and a) I need sleep, and b) if I get started on this I'll probably still be going on about it when the trading desks come online at 8am.

So so long, and thanks for all the fish, sorry, interesting posts; I'll see you on whatever waits for us on the other side of the night.


1) Juncker's is the only really forceful comment about getting the UK out: there have been others that have been more conciliatory. And we only seem to have trouble with the EU during EU administrations (and some back-channel stuff I've heard over the years leads me to believe the feeling's mutual...)

2) She's said nothing publicly, per convention. One could make some educated guesses, but they're all whistling past the graveyard at this point. And it says something about the current situation that both sides are whistling fit to shatter gravestones at this point.


Speaking as a Texan, I can assure you that the "Texit" people are (mostly) not serious.

This is my understanding and I'm glad it looks the same from within Texas. Most of the secessionists aren't serious, and the ones who are aren't to be taken seriously.


OK, let's look at this from the perspective of what each side really wants.


Wants access for trade etc. to the EU, and even a certain amount of free movement, but none of this ever closer union, and basic control of all laws etc. Oh and much less money going to the EU. Basically a free trade area.


More and more integration and centralisation (in the hands of the eurocrats, natch). Nobody asking nasty questions, and everyone doing as they are told. Since the EU has a positive balance of trade with the UK, they'd like that money to keep on flowing, and they want no 'rocking of the boat'.

Everyone else

Stop rocking the damn boat.

As such, I don't particularly see a mismatch. All that's really needed is that the eurocrats accept that the UK ain't gonna play, and create a 'free trade' tier that works similarly to other free trade agreements around the world (no payments, no common laws, just agreement to zero tariffs, etc.). The EU still wins out in money terms, and most of the hassle goes away too.

The only risk for them is that that is what most countries actually want, and the whole 'ever closer union' part goes down the toilet. Mind, that's probably not going to survive anyway, given the sizeable minorities that are already acting up across Europe (and Germany's unwillingness to cough up).

Said it before, say it again, this was a screwup born in Brussels and their unwillingness to face reality and adjust.


"their characters look so competent" Well said.


The no common laws thing doesn't work, unfortunately, to create a free-trade area. Most of the EU legislation - is about harmonising product and production standards to make non-tariff barriers meaningless. It's the non-tariff barriers that make life hard for cross-border trade: tariffs are just a cost you build in to your selling price. Even as minimalist approach to such matters as the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution is a charter for considerable interference in the laws of the consituent states.


Most free trade areas don't go into great detail about individual products, they simply say that you have to meet the standards of the country you are selling into.

Of course, agreeing, voluntarily, a common standard for manufacturers to meet is a plus on both sides, but if country X particularly wants to call reclaimed offal a sausage, and country B wants it to be from a known animal, then they can do so (just there are limits on where it can be sold).

In short, you don't need that massive bureaucracy to have free trade - plenty of countries and regions do without it.


Some of this is certainly required; but query how much is. My understanding is that NAFTA, for example, mostly relies on non-discrimination and transparency requirements in standard setting.

I would note though, that if you take this approach, there are certain consequences, especially in a two country system where one is larger and more unwieldy.


I'm in the USA and don't know the British governmental structure all that well, but there's a player I'm surprised I haven't heard mentioned. Doesn't the House of Lords have the power to not approve the act that pushes the "Article 50 Button"?


1) If your house falls down, it is a natural reaction to try and pick up the bits and prop them back up again like they were before. Even if the result is shonky and the roof leaks and the doors don't close properly and the whole thing has to have big bits of wood leaning against the outside to stop it falling down, it still greatly reduces the sense of loss compared to giving it up and sleeping in the shed, and you can also think about being able to gradually replace the immediate bodges with less bodgy bodges as time goes on.

2) I don't read it as that - more as people picking up the idea of the possibility of the Queen "doing something", interpreting it broadly, and expressing it through the filter of their personal hopes of how it could work out.

If she did anything, she would be meticulously careful to avoid any suggestion of biasing the outcome one way or the other, and her personal feelings would be as much a matter of guesswork after such an event as they are before. She's already had a go at The Sun (annales Murdochi, cacata carta) for portraying her as a Leave supporter; the grievance isn't whether it's true or not, but simply that they have ascribed an opinion to her at all. She'd do the same to a paper that portrayed her as a Remain supporter. (Though I do harbour a sneaking feeling that she likely considers Murdoch an odious little toad.) Any suggestion even vaguely along the lines of her picking up the reins and going "right, shut up you lot, we're doing this" comes under the heading of "ain't gonna happen".

However, while overruling the government - even if technically possible - is right out the window, she is expected to make sure that we have a functioning government in the first place. She can appoint or dismiss prime ministers, she can go to parliament and say "right, you, you, and you, form a government", or she can go along and say "the whole lot of you are patently dysfunctional beyond redemption, bugger off and elect me a new lot". Now these are all pretty drastic steps, and it's very rare for any of them to actually happen; it's still extremely unlikely that she would do anything of the kind. On the other hand it comes under the heading of "fulfilling the responsibility to ensure good governance" rather than "undemocratic negation of government decisions", and if things did get bad enough for her to do it then I'd guess enough people would be ready to see that point to make it a much less risky venture as far as arousing anti-monarchical sentiment goes, indeed there's a decent chance it could do the opposite.


These are my slightly-edited thoughts from my own blog.

"We so quickly forget that the purpose of the European Union was not to promote the economic interests of countries whose names begin in G and end with Y, nor to raise Northern European values over Southern. The point of the European Union was to make and keep peace.

"The EU is not keeping the peace, not even trying hard. If they were trying, the ECB would be forgiving Greece's debt, while urging Britain to reconsider. In the long term, to keep the peace, the EU would be promoting Keynesian macroeconomic policies intended to reduce income inequality, and taking in the Syrian refugees, both because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate and because shutting them out will breed future conflict.

"I would like to see a return to the internationalism that the EU was founded on. The business of the EU is not promoting the interests and ideology of Germany and, to a lesser extent, France. It is to make peace and create and maintain prosperity in Europe."


"right, you, you, and you, form a government"

Exactly what her proxy did in Australia. It's not beyond the bounds of possibility. It was invoked because the current mob wasn't really able to govern at that point and the ship of state had no rudder.

Chances are it would also involve saying "and call a general election as soon as possible"

Another point on the 'has A50 already started'?

I'm illiterate when it comes to law, but here's what an illiterate thinks. A50 is intentionally vague. Vague laws are interpreted by courts. The withdrawing party no longer has any say in the final decision. Even if a law is specific, if the courts think otherwise, then the court's decisions prevail. None of this makes any difference for 2 years. If 2 years from now the Europeans decide that the clock started ticking on the day of the referendum then that's their decision, no negotiation. That will be the day they stop honouring the treaties and there's nothing the UK can do about that.


Unless I'm very wrong indeed, there doesn't have to be an actual Act and it doesn't have to go through the Lords. The Prime Minister can just take the referendum result and the authority of his position to the EU and say "I formally give notice blah blah blah..." and that would be valid.

(Also, the Lords can't actually block anything any more; the most they can do is hold it up for a long time. And then hold everything else up too just to make the point.)


How about calling the new construct "The Kingdom of the Isles"?


In short, you don't need that massive bureaucracy to have free trade - plenty of countries and regions do without it.

Well, no, you don't need the EU's massive bureaucracy. Each nation can set up their own redundant massive bureaucracy to pound out these agreements one by one rather than everyone getting together and doing it all at once. That was one of the reasons people created the EU in the first place.


With respect to a royal intervention: It will not be taking sides, it will be conservative, which in this case means don't leave in a huff.


@ 316: Said it before, say it again, this was a screwup born in Brussels and their unwillingness to face reality and adjust.
And yet STILL Jucker doesn't get it ...
Both Osborne ( heard live on Radio) & BoJo have said "No rush at all to press At50, only Britain can press At50, negotiations will proceed, once we've sorted ourselves out."
And a sharp remark form Osborne that this was NOT the result he wanted, but "The British people have spoken, we will do as they have decided" - also translates to: "Juncker - who elected you, you crook?"


If nothing else Greg, you certainly proves that John Olivers characteristic of the UK attitude to the EU/Brexit issue is not fiction.



I remind you, that at the end, I voted "In" as probably the least-worst option.


Exactly what her proxy did in Australia

Sir John Kerr was a deeply weird individual: the only Governor General to haggle over salary and conditions before accepting office, a drunken bore who tried (clearly not hard enough) to be a "pants man" and who was in obvious but sadly unfounded awe of his own merits. He definitely had some strange associates and while the Falcon and the Snowman scenario might be a little overwrought, the likes of John Pilger appear to be convinced. Whitlam rejected the theory outright and Occam's Razor certainly agrees. Even today calling a double dissolution isn't that big a deal (we're going to a double dissolution election this Saturday, democracy sausages and all), but appointing a caretaker government is seriously hackle-raising. Still technically a power, because a legitimate government is formed with the same provisions (more or less).


I was referring to you blaiming UK's mess on BXL, and thinking that UK gets to call all the shots in EU.

That's basically why EU is more than ready for UK to leave.


You're not very wrong indeed, but you are at least somewhat wrong: there are formalities for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative by the Prime Minister on the Queen's behalf. The Pigfucker can't just do it on the hoof.


the only thing we can say at this stage with any certianty is that this is this decades' major "WTF?" moment.

Oh yes.

In 1982, if you had predicted in public that by 1992 the USSR would no longer exist, you would have been soundly mocked.

In 1992, if you had predicted that religious nutjobs from the Middle East would kill over 3000 New Yorkers and Pentagon Workers and the US would react by invading two countries simultaneously -- one of them the wrong target -- and declaring a Global War on Terror, people would have scratched their heads and asked what drugs you were taking.

And in 2012, if you predicted that the UK would disintegrate by 2022 (which I'm betting on as a reasonable completion date for both English Brexit and Scottish Independence) they'd have called you alarmist to say the least.


The Lords can delay, but not prevent. Their power as a legislative chamber has been declining since the opening years of the 20th Century: the Lords vetoed a budget in 1909 and so, starting in 1911, successive Parliament Acts have been chipping away at their ability to hinder the chamber with the democratic mandate.


Charlie in your considered opinion, is there any risk this UK mess turn seriously violent?


There are faults on both sides ...
The UK has never fully "engaged" with Brussel, which really didn't help, the UK should have been "In" in 1963-4, except De Gaulle shafted that one .....
We should have adopted the French attitude to regulations we didn't like, i.e. ignore them
The unelected bureaucracy is a real pain, & their arrogance astounding. Their insistence of "uniformity" in matters that "don't matter" (i.e. not of Europe-wide strategic importance) is so tiresome as to be a positive disbenefit, etc ....
And a reminder, after Germany, we are the largest contributor to EU funds, & get no thanks for it, or so it seems.


The first stirrings have been felt: I've seen two reports of actual violence against "Them Foreigners*", one of which involved the administration of what looks to have been a fairly solid beating, and a lot of reports of harsh language ranging all the way up to Threatening Behaviour contrary s.5 POA.

I seem to see the Rivers of England, Foaming With Much Cheap Lager And Nativist Sentiment.

It is, I suspect, not going to be a good few months to be a police officer.

*The perpetrators are not, I suspect, much troubled about their false positive rate or even that they might have one.


In Ireland, yes.
Elsewhere, no.
Charlie's opinion may differ.

Scotland may not leave, now that the SNP have looked at the economic equation resulting from:
Lower oil price + end of Barnett formula + having to use the Euro.
Entirely possible that they will go for ultra-devo-max, instead. We shall have to wait & see.

Meanwhile Labour continues to implode & sticky mud is being thrown at Corbyn ... Corbyn office 'sabotaged' EU Remain campaign - BBC report.
Oh dear.


If you thought the entire "Leave" vote fallout could not get any stranger...

EXCLUSIVE: Brexit ‘2nd Referendum Petition’ A 4 Chan Prank: BBC Report It As Real

Note—the source above, Heat Street, is a Murdoch/News Corp-owned outlet designed to target a right-libertarian audience, so feel free to disregard if you feel the source to be tainted. On the other hand this is exactly the kind of thing 4chan does.

A quick Google search as of this posting, shows the story currently showing up on reddit, blogs, twitter, the Mirror, and the Telegraph. If my understanding of the UK newspaper ecosystem is correct, the Mirror and Telegraph are both right-of-center newspapers who (in general) supported the Brexit. It will be interesting to see if it is picked up by the more center and left-wing papers in the UK (and here in the US, too.)


ADennis & Pigeon, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Your evaluations of any potential for the UK crown to become involved sound reasonable to me.


Doesn't the House of Lords have the power to not approve the act that pushes the "Article 50 Button"?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: the House of Lords was neutered as an independent political force as a result of the 1909-11 constitutional crisis and now can't actually veto an act of parliament. It can kick an act back at the Commons, but then the Commons invokes the Parliament Act and rams it through automatically in the next (annual) session, so this blocking tactic only works reliably at the end of a five-year parliament ... and we're too near the beginning.

Anyway, what Article 50 requires is questionable but probably doesn't require an Act of Parliament as such, so the HoL isn't involved at all.


The exact definition of fascism is hard to pin down, and any simple definition risks casting too wide a net. However, this one by Franklin D Roosevelt is very good.

"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power"

This is a good definition because it is not black and white (classifying states into fascist ones and not) but rather allows a continuum (as states slide into fascism or work out of it), and is independent of superficial characteristics (such as guises under which a fascist regime may hide it's identity). Only one metric is required: degree of private government. Militarism, populism, totalitarianism, and mythic nationalism are not measured, though, so Roosevelt's definition risks applying the label too broadly, to any authoritarian regime. Nevertheless, by Roosevelt's definition the US is not fully fascist, but is engaged in an internal struggle against forces pushing it in that direction.


I'm surprised you single out Ireland for potential violence.

To me they seem to have the simplest solution of everybody: Unification.

Yes, there are still old grudges, but compared to the new grudges, they may not be that important any more...

Germany showed us that unifications can happen a lot faster than expected once the idea starts rolling.


Charlie in your considered opinion, is there any risk this UK mess turn seriously violent?


We've already had an MP assassinated on the streets, and seen a frightening upswing in racist abuse and assaults over the weekend. The bigots are crawling out of the woodwork and feeling empowered.

The only question now is where the first race riot kicks off, and when.


Charles Stross wrote: In 1982, if you had predicted in public that by 1992 the USSR would no longer exist, you would have been soundly mocked.

In 1983, I predicted that the USSR would likely collapse in twenty years in a paper I wrote in one of my undergraduate Political Science classes. However, I had the cause entirely wrong. I claimed the driver would be Islamic-driven nationalism among Soviet "-stans" and Caucasus. I did however get an "A" on the paper and a Political Science degree which turned out to pretty much useless for anything except for arguing on the internet.

I know it's not a terribly high bar, but I was closer to the mark than the CIA...


You think it will primarily be race riots rather than class- or age- riots ?


I posted earlier that one such cause might be two consecutive Parliaments being unable to form a government (which has a more-or-less agreed definition).


Germany showed us that unifications can happen a lot faster than expected once the idea starts rolling.

But Germany currently has no plans for a unification with Great Britain.


The Unionist are not ready to agree to a United Ireland, it would need a prolonged economic downturn that was not affecting Ireland or some serious political betrayal from Westminster.
Otherwise they would resist violently and the Irish government or the people in the republic have no interest in coercing them.


Age riots? Youths beating up pensioners in the street? Unlikely.

Class riots? Most British drop the word "class" from their vocabulary as soon as they leave school.

Race riots? Sure, in the form of pogroms. You'd just have to redefine "race" as to put Pakistani, Romanians, Indians, Polish, Persians, Italians, Greeks, Slovaks, etc. in one race and white red-nosed Brits in the other race.


Race riots are more likely because our press has been pushing the immigrants blame game for decades; thus, in the mind of your average thug, if nothing improves after this referendum, it'll be immigration to blame.

Race is a fairly common proxy for immigration (especially in a country that's well over 90% white away from the big cities), and thus is likely to be the flash point.


Seem to me though that there will be no political stability in the UK unless Brexit is tried. It will only get stronger if it denied by the political class and that may get violent.


Initially, yes, because race is an easy one to target and the gutter media has been fuelling the hatred. On the other hand, those are likely to be fairly easy to suppress (as riots), and I would assume that the real problem will be non-riot violence. You need a LOT more, unbiassed, police to stop that - remember Norn Iron in 1969, anyone?

But the real problem will come when even the current benefits are cut, effective unemployment hits 40%, and dissaffection is suppressed by the Home Secretaries equivalent of the B-specials (G4S?) God alone knows what the ostensible cause of the riots will be, but that doesn't matter - all that does is who are the current hate objects.

Germany showed us that unifications can happen a lot faster than expected once the idea starts rolling.

But Germany currently has no plans for a unification with Great Britain.

But we could make some. There are already Germans on the British throne, after all. ;-)


Definitely race riots - there might be a small upswing in attacks on OAPs but in general the real thugs don't like attacking someone's gran.

Class is unlikely, because in most areas where the people are likely to riot, there is little contact with the true upper classes. This has been deliberate policy for so long it is pretty much ingrained in the system.

Race riots are likely on the other hand since different ethnicities share common socioeconomic status, so live in the same places, and it is always easier for jealousy to cause hate for the nearby one who has a little more or is different than the remote one who has a lot.


You'd just have to redefine "race" as to put Pakistani, Romanians, Indians, Polish, Persians, Italians, Greeks, Slovaks, etc. in one race and white red-nosed Brits in the other race.

That's basically how racists are already defining the term, isn't it?


On the basis that Johnson is still considered front runner to succeed Cameron, Sturgeon looks to be responding to his stance on blocking a second Scottish referendum.

Boris: "It's clear now that Project Fear is over."

Sturgeon: "Indeed, Boris. Project Farce has now begun - and you are largely responsible."


Mr. Tingey,
"Juncker - who elected you, you crook?" is sadly a stale rehash of one of the most obnoxious memes the Dwarf (I'm Italian, and ashamed to have had a guy like Berlusconi as PM for so long, may he burn in hell) put out, ie, "being voted amounts to being anointed by God".

Sadly, as much as I dislike him, Juncker has always been an elected official in his own country, not a "faceless bureaucrat", and in 2014 he was the official candidate of the conservative alliance EPP , the first time all European parties appointed their candidate of choice to the Commission, to be nominated according to the vote results, and not by intra-governmental bargaining.
I vote for the ESP candidate, Martin Schultz (the one Berlusconi publicly slandered, sweet revenge).
So, who voted Juncker? : all the EU conservative voters and the MEPs who voted him in office. Was it different from Callmedave? (well, yes: he got more real votes, given that MEPs are voted using RP, not FPTP where you can get the seat winning barely the 30% of the votes)
Crook? OK, he did his best to favor Luxemburg as tax haven...did elected Tories do anything different for Britain? at least he didn't promise nonexistant money for the NHS, nor did he put the whole world in such a mess...


I believe that Greg is somewhat older than I am, but I was at university in London during the last mainland IRA bombing campaign and was at school in the next town when the Deal Barracks Bombing occurred. I assure you that there are people in Northern Ireland with equally good memories and bigger grudges than me.

Some hard core Unionist splinter group would almost certainly try something violent - riot, assassination, bombing - in the event of attempted unification with Eire, and after that all bets are off.

And that assumes all the mainstream NI politicians got on board.

As for class riots, I would't be surprised to see a repeat of 2011.


Traditional classes haven't made any sense in decades. But, whatever you mean, riots by downtrodden masses rarely target those at the top, because they have no contact. They target those a level or so above them, whether or not those are actually on the same side (or, indeed, themselves downtrodden).


It seems also that the Italian PM is reading this blog... someone here, I forgot whom, proposed that the EU should give to any British national born during the period the UK stayed in a free permanent residence permit within the Union. Well, yesterday Mr. Renzi hinted at a fast track for citizenship for UK students in Italy.

(btw: don't underestimate the role my country could play in Europe. And don't forget that the major ally Farage had and has in the EU Parliament is the second largest Italian party, the FiveStar movement. Which is an even more dangerous form of populism, as it isn't just right-wing like the others, but it mixes far left and environmentalist themes with rightwing sovereignity ones. )


In Ireland, the past is not dead; it's not even past. Don't forget the so-called dissident republicans, and the links of both groups of thugs to organised crime. And then there is the question of how much of an IRA organisation still exists and, if it does, what it would do. At least it's not like in the early 1970s, when the IRA had more weapons and people trained in their use than the Eire government did, and said publicly that Dublin was their next target after throwing the Brits out.


As if all this wasn't enough, we only have a couple of weeks till the Chilcot Report is released (6-July). There have been reports that the current Labour backstabbing is partly an attempt to sideline and discredit Corbyn before he can stand up in Parliament and get the words "War Criminals" into Hansard.


Northern Ireland will get violent. It's too easy an option. There is a generation of young angry unemployed (or soon to be unemployed) who have grown up after the Troubles, listening to the stories of the good fight that their parents and grandparents fought -- how will they feel when they're further marginalised, disenfranchised, and (to their mind) persecuted?

Three options:

1) BRExit is quietly dropped, Article 50 never activated. Unionists (who were a majority of "leavers") see themselves as betrayed; Republicans see their best shot as a United Ireland evaporate.

2) Go full BRExit, NI remains part of UK. Unionists cheer and jeer and caper, until the money runs out; Republicans become the villains of the piece (already happening here: have seen comments like "Oh. So you supported Sinn Feins remain campaign"), feel angry betrayed and under siege.

3) Go full BRExit, Ireland re-unifies. Unionists go fucking spare (there really is no way to possibly describe how important membership of the UK is to hardline Unionists, these are people who once said "We will fight the British to remain British"), Republicans cheer and jeer and caper.

The problem about having a major conflict (with historically and culturally deep roots) within living memory of everyone over the age of 30, is that resentments and old scores have not gone away, they're only papered over. (See also what EC said @365.)


in general the real thugs don't like attacking someone's gran.

It's a couple of decades ago, but in my hometown the National Front (or it might have been Combat 18) had a spell of considering exactly that a viable tactic - at least to the extent of shoving, threats and general harrassment, and I seem to recall there was at least one serious assault on an elderly woman - for intimidating the not-obviously-white out of 'their' neighbourhoods. I don't know what anarchists are like these days, but back then I counted a couple of them as friends-of-friends and the story I got was that they considered giving the fash vigorous reprisal shoeings the only truly acceptable bloodsport.

(They don't think it's terribly funny if you characterise it as militia service in defence of the realm against domestic enemies.)


I'm also old enough to remember Irelands past, although I'm one more body of water away from it.

And yes, there are certainly people and issues which would be against unification.

But the question at the end of the day is which is the worse alternative?

Being pulled out of EU against your will is not particularly attractive, having the fortified EU/UK border across their island even less so.

If this had happened a generation later, the decision would probably be a lot easier, but even now there might be enough people and businesses who prefer peace to war to make it work.


"But the question at the end of the day is which is the worse alternative?"

I should have thought that Brexit would have made it clear that rationality has no place in British politics - yes, it really IS that dysfunctional. I remember when that was not true on the mainland, but it has been the case in Northern Ireland as long as I can remember.


Yes. And despite what some of the ministers are saying now, the various leave campaigns poured petrol on the racist's linking of immigrants and racist definitions. All the "Get the immigrants out!" rhetoric was pretty much one word away from your least favourite BNP/Britain First etc. racist chant. For the first time I can remember we've had mainstream politicians using their rhetoric instead of linking "racist" with cognates for "scum" and they're all feeling empowered.

Much to our detriment.

I'm hoping it doesn't escalate to the point of riots and murder but I'm not particularly sanguine about that. I'm not a believer in the old saw about "Sticks and stones may break my bones..." because the second half is bollocks. But, however emotionally and psychologically traumatic verbal abuse may be, it's better than being fire bombed, murdered and the like.


Depressing, isn't it?

I'm hoping your option #1 is what happens.
I can quite easily see BoJo leading negotiations to leave EU, putting result to a second referendum, getting a rejection of terms (quite possibly as encouraged by said BoJo!) & At50 button never gets pushed, return to status quo ante but with BoJo as PM.
What a waste, but better than otherwise.

Elderly Cynic @ 369
Axel Oxenstierna again - & not just Brit politics.
See also my link to BBC concerning Corbyn's limp attitude & failure-to-campaign.

Generally - "Race Riots"?
No, we've been there & don't want to again.
And we have laws against that sort of thing, which we didn't have back in the bad old days of Notting Hill (1958).
But - there will be individual, deeply unpleasant "incidents" & it is to be hoped the "authorities" come down hard on them.


I think people forget how extraordinary the Good Friday Agreement was, what a surprise for peace and good sense to finally break out.

They also forget that it was five years on from the Downing Street Declaration and the IRA ceasefire. Five years to get everyone on board down to the last detail, with it being one of the top priorities of the UK and Irish government (and the top one of all the NI parties). Without the EU framework, will they need another five years to hammer out basically the same agreement? When the EU talks and the economy are distracting everyone?

And this is in the naively optimistic scenario in which every NI politician tries their hardest to keep the lid on, and we 'only' get the odd firebombing and murder every couple of weeks.


Btw, do we have a list of all the lies and false predictions those irresponsible pro Remain scare-mongers made? So we can check off which of them come true now?


Well, I had my notional money on 'EU being difficult about terms of exit', 'big piece of the financial services industry moving out of London', 'Tory Party meltdown', 'sterling drops like a concrete elephant and recovers slowly if at all' and 'property bubble bursts hard'. All but one is at least at the straws-in-the-wind stage and we're only on D+4.

I have to say I should've been more pessimistic about how big the uptick in racist bullshit would be: I didn't see that being anywhere near as bad as it's promising to be.


The economic slide is increasing, to the extent that the more vulnerable British companies could be severely or even terminally hit quite quickly, particularly those who require funding/extensions of credit lines, and those hit by the currency slide, which makes purchases from just about anywhere outside of the UK more expensive. Fuel price will rise pretty soon, as oil is traded in US dollars etc etc.

I would expect this to play out over weeks and months, some of the effects unfolding over the course of years.

The point I'm making is that it's not just in the the EU's interest for Westminster to move quickly; the longer Westminster waits to start negotiations, the weaker the bargaining position will become in a dramatic way, and waiting until October would be just plain insane.

But apparently that's whats happening?

If that's really the case, then why try to stay in the EU? If the rest of the EU no longer trusts or wants the UK, what's the point? It sounds like you are making the "Leave" case for them.

You appear to be missing the antecedent; the UK having voted to leave, "the EU is sick of the UK and doesn't really want the UK around." The Leave case has already been made. It won. If the UK actually wants to stay they're going to have to demonstrate some commitment to the relationship, not just say "sorry, changed my mind." We're not going through all this again the next time a Tory PM needs to convince his back-benchers to support him.


Yes. I mispredicted the magnitude of the drop, but my prediction record has never been good on timing; my guess is that the moneybags were in WTF? mode and hadn't programmed an action for this. We should get a good idea of whether sterling and the FTSE will hold up in the short term by the end of the week. I doubt that Davey Boy's schedule is viable, as October the First Is Too Late, but God alone knows what idiocy he will perform next :-(


Generally - "Race Riots"?
No, we've been there & don't want to again.
And we have laws against that sort of thing, which we didn't have back in the bad old days of Notting Hill (1958).
But - there will be individual, deeply unpleasant "incidents" & it is to be hoped the "authorities" come down hard on them.

There've been race riots a lot more recent than '58. 2001 was the last batch in my neck of the woods. And the laws on riot and violent disorder haven't materially changed between 1958 and the present.

(The creation of racially aggravated offences, attracting higher sentences, didn't include riot of violent disorder)).


I remember, and I also live and always have lived at "ground zero", so to speak (no oceans of separation for me, it is far from an intellectual exercise or abstract issue in my case).

But the question at the end of the day is which is the worse alternative?

Being pulled out of EU against your will is not particularly attractive, having the fortified EU/UK border across their island even less so.

This has the underlying assumption that Unionists feel that it is "their island" and that they share some commonality with the Irish. That is not the way they see it. Britishness is a corner stone fo their identity, but also the fact that Northern Ireland is British (so suggesting that they just move to England is a non-starter). It's not a case of a worse alternative, to all hardliners, and not a few softer cases, a United Ireland isn't just a bad alternative, it is quite literally unthinkable.

Northern Ireland does not function like a "normal" democracy; it is dominated by tribal identity politics -- the majority of voters here don't vote based on policy, purely on whether candidates or issues can be defined as pro-Unionist or pro-Republican. To these voters, switching allegiance would be as unthinable as waking up tomorrow and deciding that you are now a dog (I am *not* exaggerating about this).

EC @369 calls NI politics dysfunctional, but I think that is actually misleading. NI politics function exactly the way that most people and most of the politicians here want (especially the politicians -- imagine never having to properly campaign to win a seat, you are guaranteed people's vote simply by accident of their birth). It's only dysfunctional compared to other democracies.

Final thought: I think that from a short term perspective Greg @371 is right and option #1 is the least bad, resulting in the lowest probability of violence, and with NI continuing to benefit economically from EU membership. Long term, I think it's actually a toss up between #1 and #3 as least bad option.

Final final thought (as I said else where): If Trump wins in November, I really hope that we can at least see where this is going by the time he takes office. He has the potential to be very bad news for Ireland (north & south).


God alone knows what idiocy he will perform next :-(

I suspect that, while he's still got a Dunning-Krueger effect strong enough to count as its own inertial frame of reference, he's had some of the bounce temporarily knocked out of him by this and we might get as much as a year or two of sensible caution out of him.

This is one of many tunes I am whistling past the graveyard.


Could Ulster request to come under Holyrood's rule, so that it could stay in the EU without having to come under "Catholic" control?


Heads up: anyone who reads this and wants to become Tory leader has to make up his/her mind until Thursday. You'll start your new job by Sep. 2 then.


"At least it's not like in the early 1970s, when the IRA had more weapons and people trained in their use than the Eire government did, and said publicly that Dublin was their next target after throwing the Brits out."

I have to say, I have never, ever heard this one before, and it sounds like 24-carat, grade-A premium bullshit to me.

Do you have any source for this claim?(genuine question).

Also given that people up the thread are throwing around 'Unionist' as if it is a simple synonym for 'Loyalist', that does not incline me to any faith in their 'insights' into the peculiar condition of the north of Ireland.

(Briefly - Unionists and Loyalists are not quite the same thing. Both might support the union of the north of Ireland with the rest of Britain but that's about it).


Only once Scotland was independent, and with both entities minmaxing the shit out of their bonuses to saving throws vs. Diplomatic, Political and Constitutional Shitstorm.

(And while I stand ready to be corrected by genuine experts, there's a sizeable constituency in NI of people who believe Insufficiently Protestant Counts As Catholic)


Hehe - hmmm... would I have to be a Conservative Party member?

D'ya think me standing on a left-wing ticket would stand a chance of winning? ;)


I'm baffled why you think that David Cameron behaving cautiously for a year or two is in any way relevant to what's happening.

David Cameron has stated he will resign so that his Party can choose a new leader to negotiate Brexit with a timeframe of October 2016.

Scotland's First Minister has already pulled the carpet from under BoJo; Project Farce is underway. All that rhetoric about 'taking our country back' can, and will, now be deployed for Scotland.

I appreciate that loathing Cameron fulfills emotional needs, but it's old news...


He still has two, possibly three, months in office as Prime Minister. And four years in parliament. His ability to do (inadvertent, but sufficiently advanced incompetence and all that) harm is diminished, but not eliminated.


Update, Nominations this week, open Weds eve, close noon thurs, new PM to be in by 2nd Sept. Opinion stated it was to deny May time to rally a campaign together.
Bojo, or May, or Gove, or IDS, Jesus wept what a frightening bunch of demagogues, bigots and control freaks. Please NZ, let me in.


It would appear that "Having a Plan" might be a unique selling point.


Just took a moment to see who's touting for the job and came across the chilling comment that Gove is 'regarded as one of the party's intellectual heavyweights'.



At a guess, a wild extrapolation from the Sinn Fein / IRA historic rejection of the "Free State", er, Irish Republic, as a valid governing entity (or Northern Ireland, for that matter)? Used, of course, to justify the likes of shooting Garda Gerry McCabe by some of the more ...unsubtle elements of the movement.

Still very much a shibboleth for the party, based on recent election output and careful use of language, for all that they are now happy to seek political power in either jurisdiction.



That may rule Kezia Dugdale out, then.

Is she waiting for directions from London before announcing her position?

Sturgeon may force her hand since she's asking for cross party support from the Scottish Parliament tomorrow. - Maybe Dugdale will go the free vote direction?


Of course they're not the same damn thing, but how long have you got to start attempting to lay out the definitions for the following: Unionists; Loyalists; the subtle differences in the DUP and UUP; the samller splinter parties such as TUV; Nationalists; Republicans; Sinn Fein; SDLP; the subtle intersections of all of the above with religion and socio-economics? (Do I need to go back and put the fada in the right place in Sinn Fein?)

True, lumping all pro-Union supporters together as "Unionists" is only one step better in granularity than calling them all "Protestants", but given the nature of Northern Ireland, how deep down the rabbit hole can we/should we go before it becomes utterly irrelevent to this discussion?


The Dow is down another 200 points this morning. Thanks for voting. Here's your sticker.


The 1922 Comittee can, and will, force this through; the discovery that Bojo, Gove IDS et al had dispensed with such trifling details as planning for BRexit will undermine any attempt to convince investors that their money is safe here.

Admittedly, their money isn't safe here...


(And while I stand ready to be corrected by genuine experts, there's a sizeable constituency in NI of people who believe Insufficiently Protestant Counts As Catholic)

There is of course the (possibly apocryphal, but I've seen it recounted as though first-hand) of a new immigrant family settling in Belfast. One evening there's a knock on the door and the local welcoming committee is there; "Are youse protestant, or catholic?"

"We're hindu," replies the head of the household.

"Aye, but are you protestant hindu, or catholic hindu?"


Bojo, or May, or Gove, or IDS, Jesus wept what a frightening bunch of demagogues, bigots and control freaks. Please NZ, let me in.

It won't be Gove, he'll be acting as BoJo's campaign manager. It also won't be IDS, he's been there done that and knows he wouldn't stand a chance.


Ruth Davidson anyone?

I know she's remain, but if she promoted a minimal fuss Norway-Status Brexit without many economical changes she might look like a saviour in a week or two.


We don't get stickers for voting in this country :(


The punchline of the version I heard went:

"Neither, I'm Jewish."

"Well, amn't I the luckiest fuckin' arab in Belfast?"


Almost certainly apocryphal, but not impossible.


Philosphical question I've been pondering lately: Suppose you are guaranteed a leader who is both Incompetent and Evil (as we often are). Would you prefer one who is more Evil, or one who is more Incompetent?

Do you choose Incompetance, hoping that others will be able to freely nulify the worst of the cock-ups and that bad policies will be implemented badly?
Or Evil, knowing that a despot is unlikely to choose to destroy the slaves they own, whereas an incompetent one might do so purely by accident.


She's not a Westminster MP, though - and so couldn't be elected as Prime Minister by the House of Commons.


Would you prefer one who is more Evil, or one who is more Incompetent?

Incompetent, in the hope that the people manipulating that leader are less evil than the Evil candidate.


I've heard that applied to atheists ( & muslims ) as well .....

Also, there is a stream of catholic "thought" (you should excuse the term) that atheists are an extreme form of weird Protestant - I kid you not.


@D.J.P O'Kane (#383),

" Dublin was their next target ... Do you have any source"

I grew up in Dublin in the 1970s, and I remember seeing Official IRA posters on the streets declaring their objective of a unified marxist Ireland. At that time the Official IRA still had a command structure and arms, though Provisional IRA was in the ascendant.

I did have a quick look to see if any of the posters have been scanned to give you a source but I couldn't find one.

The wiki article on the Workers' Party of Ireland gives some of the history, and describes the various splits and name changes. If it weren't so tragic, you could re-do the splitter scene from "Life of Brian".


In the original joke, it was a jew. (There was once a thriving Jewish community in Belfast, used to be the only synoagogue in Ireland if I remember right -- so the joke sort of made more sense.)

It is however a good illustration of what the "Are you protestant or catholic?" question really means in the context of NI, and why religion is a poor generalisation for political affiliation.


Yes, and my point is that one of those not-totally-laughable interpretations is that Davey Boy has the power to trigger article 50 by putting his foot in his mouth.

And I think you're right, too.

See UN's definition of Notification

... formality through which a state ... communicates certain facts or events of legal importance. ...

Is a EU Council session a formality?
Is a referendum a fact or event of legal importance?


I'd go with Evil, as the truly incompetent have a regrettable habit of disregarding the advice of their responsible adult supervision. Of course, it depends heavily on which brand of Evil we're talking about, but bluntly speaking if I have to be on the side of Evil, I'd like it - all other things being equal - to be the winning side of Evil, rather than the losing side. Unless there's a cast-iron guarantee of a Marshall Plan after the dust settles, of course.


The Referendum Act was written with anything that might make it of legal significance left out. It's a glorified opinion poll: politically significant, but not otherwise.

And a foot-in-mouth event is not a formality: a formal notification is one made at the very least with stated intent to notify. That's the 'form' part of formal. You can't do it by accident.


Well, at least it would have to be a formal accident, i.e. if you sign and send the wrong letter...


She's not a Westminster MP, though - and so couldn't be elected as Prime Minister by the House of Commons.

Couple of tiny errors in your statement. There's no requirement for the Prime Minister to be an MP, although it's been a while since that happened, and the House of Commons doesn't elect the Prime Minister. Otherwise, spot on.


Are you sure a session of a supranational organisation's governing body is not what could be considered a formal act and neither is participation in one? That would surprise me to no end. It's not like it's an informal dinner somewhere but highly organized and, well ... formalized.

And I guess the British electorate will be overjoyed to be informed that their vote is not only not legally binding but also doesn't even carry legal importance.


Sorry, my number 414 was supposed to be a reply to your 411:

Are you sure a session of a supranational organisation's governing body is not what could be considered a formal act and neither is participation in one? That would surprise me to no end. It's not like it's an informal dinner somewhere but highly organized and, well ... formalized.

And I guess the British electorate will be overjoyed to be informed that their vote is not only not legally binding but also doesn't even carry legal importance.


Genuine dumb question here - if a UK referendum does not carry any legal force, why is an Act of Parliament required to implement one?


One thing to remember when considering who will be the next leader of the Tories (and PM for however long) is that the bookies favourite hasn't actually won in a LONG time. I've heard one commentator say "Anthony Eden was the last bookies favourite to win leadership of the Tory party" and while I'm not sure that's right, it's a pretty good indicator of how far back we're looking (1955 to spare you the effort if your British political history isn't up to scratch).

The short process won't really stop Teresa May. All she has to do is indicate she's willing to stand to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee. All the candidates then get voted on by the members of the 1922 Committee, least popular gets booted in each round. (If there's a tie for least popular, they both carry forward, but two get booted in the next round. This flange has been applied, in the election that IDS eventually won. Michael Portillo was hands down favourite to win.) Votes continue every Tuesday and Thursday, kicking one off at a time. Last two standing then go to the wider membership. There's a bit of leeway between the end of the last round of voting from 3 to 2 candidates and sending out the ballot papers - it should be performed "promptly" and then they have a month to vote. So the timetable depends on exactly how many people stand. But it looks like the first vote will be next Tuesday. There are usually 5-6 candidates, so that's about 3 weeks to get down to 2. Late August or early September is a good bet for knowing who it will be.

And unless any of us are Tory MPs in disguise, it can't be any of us. You must be a Tory MP.


Yes, even a formal diner party isn't a formality in the sense of treaty law.

A session is not an act but an event; it does not have any legal consequences per se (unless referenced as an event in a treaty).

In the context of the Lisbon treaty, the PM would have to address the European Council and tell them that the UK as a state wants to leave the EU. Any words like "Juncker old chap, we're out of here" or even "a majority of Brits decided to leave the EU" or "I'm gonna invoke Article 50 any minute now" will not do.

hat's the 'form' part of formal. You can't do it by accident.

Ahah, but the Article 50 does not require a formal notification. It requires a notification, that's all:

A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.

So, the verbal answer "yes" to the question "is it true that the UK voted to leave the EU?" probably counts as a notification if it happens during a session of the European Council.

(that's the fun bit with legalese. You can twist it a lot until judges sit down and parse it with precedent to define how it really applies... and that's the first time article 50 rears its head)


Given how poorly informed some of the wider electorate seems to have been about what the EU actually is, I'm not surprised to learn that they don't understand how referendums work.


By 1972, the Officials had called a unilateral ceasefire, which they largely stuck to from then on.

That was also when they underwent their own peculiar political metamorphosis, from fierce criticism of the Provisionals to being Marxists (Moscow variety) to Eurocommunists, to what was essentially born-again Unionism. And rather than attacking the Irish state, they became participants in it, changing their name to the Workers' Party, and entering the Dail (Irish parliament for those of you watching in black and white). Some of their leading members in the 1970s ended up in the leadership of the Irish Labour Party, whose eventual repudiation of basic Labour values was even more extreme than that of their British counterparts.

There was certainly fear that the northern crisis would spread to the republic, but in hindsight I don't think this is really credible.

And rather than relying on Wikipedia, I would recommend the book The Lost Revolution for the full OIRA/SFWP/Workers' Party story.


That's even more arcane than Hogwarts.

If the deadline is this Thursday noon, could they make the first round this Thursday afternoon?


A little bit strong, I presume for comedic effect, so :-D

I should have added a couple of qualifiers to that I guess;

She's not a Westminster MP, though - and so in practice couldn't be elected as Prime Minister by the Conservatives in the House of Commons.

i.e. The system as set up would prevent her appointment in practice.


>All the candidates then get voted on by the members of the 1922 Committee, least popular gets booted in each round.

...wait, are they using an arcane version of AV? The rest of us get stuck with First Past The Post to decide on whoever they nominate!


Check the link in 409 for the definition of "notification".

The fun with legalese is that any word can mean something completely different than an average person would think it does.


And I guess the British electorate will be overjoyed to be informed that their vote is not only not legally binding but also doesn't even carry legal importance.

Not in this referendum, no. A feature, not a bug. Don't look at me like that, I didn't write the enabling Act: that dodge was the pig-molester's insurance, which he's cashing in even as we speak.

(There is precedent: the referendum taking us into the Common Market was actively touted as advisory only, with parliament reserving the final decision.)


Um, I'd have to dig deeper than I really want to. I think the answer is that it's within the rules, but really unlikely. There has to be enough time for the chair to notify the members of the 1922 committee of the candidates is the real sticking point. They could all hang round outside his office for the announcement though.

There also has to be enough time for the candidates to address the electorate and make a speech about how great they'd be, although that's not actually written in to the rules that I can see on a superficial skim. But the electorate is small (


Must pick that up.
The Politicans Formerly Known As Stickies charted one of the stranger routes through the latter part of the 20th Century; witnessing former Democratic Left-ies blasting Sinn Fein's connection with the IRA every time they needed a distraction during the last Dail was... well, it was something.


Do you seriously imagine that I keep references of everything I read for over 40 years? I read it as reporting an official Eire planning document, and heard the other on television myself. I thought "ho, hum" and was not surprised when Eire started cooperating with the UK a few months later (at most). But, for weak evidence (and it is quite possible that the original report was referring to the combat-ready troops only):


Cameron's statement to the House of Commons suggests that he accepts the referendum result as binding; meanwhile the consequences of a campaign driven by 'fuck off foreigners' have yet to sink in across a wide range of industries, not to mention Parliament itself.

For example, Sunderland voted for Brexit, notwithstanding the fact that Nissan provides by far the largest numbers of jobs, directly and indirectly, in the region. The population of Sunderland may have overlooked the fact that Nissan is, in fact, a Japanese company, and that Japan is a foreign country, but I doubt that Nissan has.

The cultural expectation in Japan is that loyalty works both ways; the 'Nissan Way' is built on it. Obviously in the short term Nissan is not going to disassemble one of the most advanced plants in the world, but in the medium to long term it is probable that it will look elsewhere in Europe, and the Brexit voters of Sunderland will be able to congratulate themselves on their success.


ADennis has convinced me that he has insufficient authority to say such a thing on his own behalf. That isn't the same as saying that he might not do so, and it might not then get minuted, thus forcing an official (and almost certainly acrimonious) repudiation.


It seems to me that the saddest part of this entire fiasco is not that the UK will or may or may not leave the EU, but that we have just thrown away our reputation for stability. There really are very few countries in the world that can point to decades, let alone centuries of stable government. It was always part of Britain's appeal as a place to live and come to do business that we change through evolution, not revolution. Crises come and go, sometimes of our making, sometimes forced upon us, but we could always point out that we don't EVER decide to throw the toys out of the pram and have a political / constitutional meltdown just for shits and giggles.

Until now.

It's a bit like the old saw about how do the Oxbridge colleges have such perfect lawns - they just do the same thing over and over again for hundreds of years. And now we've just poured a tonne (sorry, TON, now that we're free of the EU jackboot!) of paraquat onto our lawn...


Let me give you an example of how I think this could be argued:

1 Formality through which a state communicates

Is a EU Council session a Formality? Maybe not in itself, but for example a vote taken in a Council session certainly is. For the communication of a member's unilateral decision or intent this setting would very likely have to be considered sufficiently formal as well. As you correctly state, a Council session is not a mere dinner party, not even a very formal dinner party.

2 Facts or events of legal importance

This one is trickier, but a referendum vote is extremely likely to be of legal importance. Even if the referendum itself were not, the government's and parliament's decision to ignore a democratic decision by it's sovereign with 72% voter turnout would most likely be of legal significance concerning Art 2 TEU and Art 7 TEU. This in turn could be grounds for suspension of membership rights and privileges.


"...the lap of His Majesty George VII, aka Speaker to Plants."

Maybe the plants have some good ideas; the hominids sure don't.


I haven't fully read all the comments on the thread, so I don't know if this point had been brought up yet.

"In 1992, if you had predicted that religious nutjobs from the Middle East would kill over 3000 New Yorkers and Pentagon Workers and the US would react by invading two countries simultaneously -- one of them the wrong target -- and declaring a Global War on Terror, people would have scratched their heads and asked what drugs you were taking."

Perhaps Brits would have been scratching their heads. I remember very little from 1992, but I remember a lot more from 96/97. Plane hijackings existed in Micheal Bay-style movies of that era and from the 80s. American media was still using the Iranian Revolution as boogeymen during that era.

Second, if you had mentioned Iraq as the country wrongfully targeted, many Americans would have treated it as "Maybe the CIA knows something you don't". After the Soviet Union collapsed, Iraq and Iran were treated as the go-to bad guys (along with an enthno-nationalist Russia). There's a scene in the movie Armaggedon (I think?) where the asteroids are hitting NYC and a taxi driver is convinced "Saddam Hussein is bombing us". Movies during that time treated Iraq as "unfinished business".

As for the Global War on terror, American society was still riding high from the "patriotic upswing" during the Reagan Administration, the fall of the Soviet Union, and winning the Gulf War. If you had mentioned to Republican voters about the declaration of a War on Terror, they would have said "Good idea, about time".

In short, 9-11 brought elements to the surface which were already widespread in American society at the time. They were just filtered out by international papers. Thus, few people would have asked you what drugs you were taking.


1 The setting is irrelevant. What you need is intention, correct addressee and power to act. Intention is the key here, and power to act is questioned by some law experts in the UK, saying that Cameron needs an act of parliament to back him.

2 If ignoring a non-binding referendum was a breach of Art 2 then Greece and all countries which forced it to accept further austerity measures would be in breach. Art 7 might get invoked against the UK if they unilaterally repealed the EHCR act or other EU laws, or if they started to discriminate against non-British EU citizens. If the Leave fraction thinks they can demand immediate invocation of Art. 50, they are free to appeal to the European Court of Justice after they got rejected by the national British courts.


1 The setting is irrelevant. What you need is intention, correct addressee and power to act. Intention is the key here, and power to act is questioned by some law experts in the UK, saying that Cameron needs an act of parliament to back him.
1a) Setting: I disagree. See 1c.
1b) Intention: How is that a requirement? It says communication. Intention to communicate would have to be required, not intention to invoke Art 50 TEU. Art 50 invocation could be entirely incidential.
1c) Adressee: European Council, Check.
1d) Power to act: IIRC for communication or even conclusion of treaties in international law national legal authority is entirely irrelevant, as long as the lack of authority is not obvious. Obvious is never some minor point in national law but internationally and universally recognizable lack of authority. E.g. any other minor unelected official would not be able to act on behalf of his country, an ambassador could. It's very long ago for me, you'll have to forgive if it's not entirely accurate.

2 If ignoring a non-binding referendum was a breach
Exactly. That could very well have been the case. Art 7 only never was invoked by the required third of Member States, EP, Commisson or Council etc. Art 2 has no procedural significance, it simply states fundamental values that allow Art 7 to be invoked.

I'm not a Brexit proponent, by the way, but I think it's important to be aware of the possibilities. This is more important in the light of notorious British reluctance, obstructionism and scorched earth policy during the last decades in the EU. Their opposition to Stuff They didn't Like could be counted on to be violent even on topics that didn't have the least bearing on them at all. Deeper integration among the remaining Members is one such topic.


On a more conciliatory note, let me share my best case scenario with you:

In the coming weeks, while the Tories pick their new alpha-Tory, the pound will continue to fall towards the $1.20 mark and the markets will continue to be weak. Seeing this, the Tory-MPs elect a candidate who aims to keep the UK in the EEA with all its duties and obligations. This calms the markets and when he/she is appointed PM, pound and stock exchange reach nearly pre-referendum levels. UKIP cries treason but is ignored, Labour campaigns for better social security security and more jobs and is probably ignored and the government might spend a little extra on education. The next general election is after the next soccer WM. By then most Leave voters will have forgotten the referendum and everyone carries on like before. UKIP might get 15% or more, but a coalition government keeps them on the opposition benches.

Don't ask me for my worst case scenario...


@Jamesface 397:

"Aye, but are you protestant hindu, or catholic hindu?"

Yes, traditionally it was about a Jew, in my youth there probably weren't any Hindus in Belfast.

But as I understand it, it was a perfectly sensible question. "Are you a hindu who has got your job, house etc. through the protestant patronage machine, or a hindu who has got your job, house etc. through the catholic patronage machine?" Had to be one or the other.

As regards overthrowing the government of Eire, I am not at all Irish but nevertheless old enough to remember stuff, and the IRA's designs on a revolution in the South were the common currency of analysis.


Meanwhile, in Brussels, diplomats are openly mocking Boris's idea that Brexit could be some kind of a la carte thing, where he gets to exit from only those parts of EU membership which he doesn't like:

“It is a pipe dream,” said the EU diplomat. “You cannot have full access to the single market and not accept its rules. If we gave that kind of deal to the UK, then why not to Australia or New Zealand. It would be a free-for-all.”

A second EU diplomat said: “There are no preferences, there are principles and the principle is ‘no pick and choose’.”

The diplomat stressed that participating in the single market meant accepting EU rules, including the jurisdiction of the European court of justice, monitoring by the European commission and accepting the primacy of EU law over national law – conditions that will be anathema to leave advocates who campaigned on the mantra “take back control”.

... and so forth. There's also the head of some German chamber-of-commerce type organization, who Boris quoted as expecting free trade would continue. Turns out that Boris was quoting out of context; a spokesman referred the Grauniad to another statement, pre-referendum, from the same guy, saying that a Brexit would precipitate a "tooth-and-nail fight."

Ah, well. I guess as an American, I've got a few more months of being able to laugh at this sort of thing before we have to deal with President Trump...


You will choke, you little chump
When you deal with President Trump!

Krazy realtor, Uberalles!
Krazy realtor, Uberalles!
Kaaaay! KKK! Kaaaay! KKK!


Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of the Sun and a big anti-EU cheerleader has, rather astonishingly, come out with Bregret within just four days! Buyer's remorse, he called it, though as a commenter somewhere said, you can't have buyer's remorse when you're the one selling.

And on the lyrics subtheme:
I am an antichrist/ I am an anarchist
Don't know what I want/But I know how to get it
I wanna destroy passer by

Cause I, I wanna be/ Anarchy In the city
Anarchy for the UK/ It's coming sometime

When I googled for the lyrics (which I have slightly re-arranged, though not added to) the first result was an Economist blog article about the current situation.


I guess you're not a Dead Kennedys fan? No prob. I'm just surprised the band hasn't updated their song already.


I'll see you your Anarchy in the UK and raise you

There is no future in England's dreaming

I don't think there's anything better for the situation than the one song off The Wall - "who let all this riff-raff into the room." Goes both ways too, which is nice.


Just a thought. Remember the famous headline, "Fog in Channel, Continent Cut Off"? I'm just waiting for the Wail etc. to claim that all the other countries have quit the EU, leaving the UK the sole member.

I rather wish Europe had held a referendum on kicking Britain out, as being a money-laundering neo-feudal sweatshop incompatible with their vision of a civilised continent.

De Gaulle was right all the time.


Re Jaju, post 11:

So, do you also object to US federalism, a "superstate" over all those lovely independent states (and commonwealths)?



I'll sed you, and raise you an older song, repurposed: "We were bought and sold for English gold, such a parcel of rogues in a nation...."



The pound being $1.20 on September 2nd is extremely optimistic, and I expect it to be below $1; it dropped 3% today alone. I doubt that it will be above 50c by the time the dust settles.


And the Dow has fallen 871 points over two days. But I think things will flatten out over the week and then stop going down. (I mean both the stock market and the pound.)


I think there's something to be said for your best case scenario short to medium term.

There are some difficulties, too. However deeply I may disagree with a democratic decision, I don't think further voter disenfranchisement is the right way to respond to an angry electorate that will respond to populist ideas however detrimental they may turn out to be to their own self-interest. We can't make these decisions for them even if we think we have their best interest at heart.

I can see where you're coming from. I'll assume you work with other people and most of the time you just tell them what to do, not how to do it. Sometimes you see potential solutions that you know from experience will only lead to blood, sweat and tears. You tell your people that and sometimes they are unconvinced. If you had unlimited time and budget, you'd explain and if they insisted even give them the opportunity to fail and then do it the right way.

Let's assume you work in an environment similar to mine and that's not always possible. As a necessity you tell them this time we're going to do it this way, m'kay. Best case you come across as paternalistic. Expected result: Oderint dum metuant, but also some respect. If you're forced to do this often you come across as micromanaging. Expected result: All of the hate, all of the fear but none of the respect.

For democratic decisions this doesn't work well. There's no boss to tell people what to do, only antagonists that disrespect their ideas. The ideas may be appalling but if you don't allow them to fail don't expect gratitude. Expect loathing. Do this for a decade or more and even if they're floating in cash and live in (relative) luxury, they'll dislike you.

Now imagine, if you can, a population not swimming in money in their luxury mansion pools.

Ochlocracy is what you'd get. Incompetents that believe they'd be better off without you. Inconceivable as that may sound, but they might even think they're better off without me.

Of course, we'd call them demos if they're right and ochlos only if they're wrong. We get to make that determination ;-)


OGH gets a Brexit/Laundry hat-tip from the Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) -


In this case, probably to set up the two campaign groups - there having been an official remain and an official leave campaign. And also because you're using the official voting mechanisms, even if the result is defined beforehand as not being binding. You can't just have Cameron standing up and saying something and it having effect, even if some people here think otherwise.


More or less what Bellinghman says at 454: to hold a national referendum the quickest and easiest method of doing so is to co-opt the mechanisms under the Representation of the People Acts. Said Acts don't confer any power on the relevant Minister (Justice Minister? They changed 'em all after I quit, so I'd have to look it up) to order a referendum.

So a new Act is needed to enable a referendum. Efficiency would say amend the Representation of the People Acts to have a standard procedure for referenda but no government will do that because if such a thing is on the statute book the opposition will use that procedure for Horrible Party Political Purposes, the swine.


Wow, I was gone for the weekend and you didn't get to 500 on this one?

In any case, I had what's probably a profoundly stupid idea while driving home, and if anyone's still reading, I'd appreciate knowing if there's a legal reason that it's profoundly stupid, not just that it's just presumably really offensive to the English and the Welsh.

My idea is simply this.

The UK remains in the EU.

England and presumably Wales secede from both the UK and the EU to become (I guess) the independent state of Britain, and the reformed UK consists of whichever formerly British territories chose to remain in the EU. That way, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and possibly Gibraltar (and whichever other islands) get to remain in the EU without having to get pulled out of the EU by the southrons and having to reapply for readmittance at the back of the line, while the English get their wish to go it alone.

The royal family can remain on both thrones for all I care, but I'm not sure whether that kind of dual citizenship is allowed under EU law.

Since no one's mentioning it, presumably it's daft on a pogo stick in a minefield. I'd just like to know whether there's a legal reason it couldn't work.


I don't think secession of the southern territories should be out of the question but then I have no idea about UK constitution and couldn't find my ass with two hands and a special ass map (as Jon Stewart put it) in international law.


I made a similar comment further up thread somewhere. If scotland (and maybe N ireland) get successor status then effectively it is as you say - England and Wales have left the EU & UK.

The interesting wrinkle is you can write it such that they can apply to be readmitted to the UK, and if the 'UK' is still part of the EU ....

At the moment legal is taking a back seat to politics. People are inventing concept on the hoof that will keep lawyers in gravy for years.

And on a related note, I said I thought the EU might be trying to force the UK out fast so that it can play shock doctrine with the remaining countries. And what do we see today, but ""We will... take further steps toward a political union in Europe, and we invite the other European states to join us in this endeavour,".

I hate being right.

All we need to find now is that Farage is actually an undercover agent for the eurocrats and everything will slot into place.


Sorry I missed your comment, Ian.

Well, it will be interesting times while this all gets worked out. Just to add to the fun, I'm sure Russia will sit back and do absolutely nothing while the EU is busy having a breakdown. Oh yeah.


150% WRONG
If De Gaulle had admitted the UK, back in 1963-65 we wouldn't be having this problem, now


Meanwhile, not only is Corbyn in deep shit, but the cracks are starting to show in the EU.
The Czechs are calling for Juncker to be pushed out & the Poles want "us" to be given time to hold a second referendum, as they have presumably realised who, after Germany, is paying th EU bills.
What "fun"


Corbyn in deep shit,

Please explain your reasoning and/or evidence for this assertion.


Actually Nissan is owned by Renault, so even if its headquarters are in Japan, you could argue that it's a French company (it's actually a multinational, so it's neither) through a jointly owned alliance company that's registered in Holland which also owns Russian Lada.

The CEO is French, born in Brazil of Lebanese parents and is a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. So he's about as mulitnational as a human can be.

Nissan and Renault have demonstrated that they're happy to close factories at a moment's notice if they're not making money. If it becomes cheaper for them to build in Europe and import they'll do what they did in Australia and close the plants. I guess it depends on how the negotiations pan out.


"I would like to see a return to the internationalism that the EU was founded on. The business of the EU is not promoting the interests and ideology of Germany and, to a lesser extent, France. It is to make peace and create and maintain prosperity in Europe."

I'd say the rise in racism and anxiety about immigrants is a sure sign that the EU is not doing their job. I would also note that it's not possible to simultaneously impose austerity and expect people to be kind to strangers.

The unwillingness to accept Syrian refugees is disturbingly similar to the refusal of the U.S. to accept Jewish refugees from Europe prior to WWII.



Sorry, that's all I have at the moment.

Not to say 'haha', but... expect the entire country to be drunk for a week, a new national holiday and so on. Many many babies will be born in 9 months time.

Oh, and: I do not expect the Queen to stick her finger in the buzzing, sparking, shorting constitutional mains socket: you can bet your life that she will if it saves the larger power arrangements.

She's made the history books (longer than good old Victoria)... now...

All she has do to is kick ass and save her nation's sense of pride and decency.

No, really.

You really think this is being gamed on the level of a public plebiscite?

If it is, you're doooomed [Spike Milligan].


This is so cute and 1970's.

So human.

So touching.

So innocent and guileless in its attempts to offend.

So utterly wrong.


This is just the Solstice stuff.

In the spirit of your guiding memes: "Winter is Coming".


Yes, the parallels had occurred to me also.

I'd forgot, but I had a second paranoid break while driving home, and came up with another amazingly stupid idea:

How many of the secessionists and isolationists are getting funding from Russia? Given where Russia is right now, one could legitimately turn all the old Cold War spy tropes about commies under the bed 180 degrees and look for who is supporting the right wing nut cases.

For example, Donald Trump won't talk about his funding, but he keeps going away for a few days and coming back with millions of dollars to play with. Common sense says that he's either getting some liquidity by hocking some part of his marketing empire or seeing his mob connections, but what if (paranoid music)...he's a Russian mole, getting money from his handlers? In many ways he's perfect for it.

Would BoJo fit the mold? How about Le Pen? How deep does the rabbit hole go before it becomes a case of CRIS?


Sigh. Old Men's Minds:

How many of the secessionists and isolationists are getting funding from Russia?

Quite a few.

Then again, it's all open and audited and if you really want you could look into RT's paid staff and so on.

Russia is playing the "open book" game with the EU / USA - they obviously pay those with compatible view-points (in some cases correctly, in others not so much - but then again, it was the FUCKING FRENCH WHO MINED A GREENPEACE SHIP YO, NOT THE RUSSKIES): then again, the 3-letter agencies fronting NGOs and then doing shit behind the front has a long history and also a damaging one (you might want to look into the CIA, Pakistan, Bin Ladin and fake vaccinations... which then caused the actual NGOs to have people kidnapped and killed due to it).

Oh, but yeah: Russia. Terrible people.

That's not important though since your mind has already sectioned off an interesting question into a Black/White spot test.

Russia isn't funding Trump: H. Clinton's lot are.

BJ is being funded by [redacted - UK forum] but it's not the Russkies or Chinese.

Le Pen takes money from whoever: Russia is one, America [naughty-naughty-on-the-QT] is another. He's a whore.


Anything else in your land of myopia?


...and here's the CRIS already.


If you want references and documents, just ask. We're rather good at finding them.

You're showing your age, old man.


The question was asinine.

Riddle me which banks have had a stock crash recently, and which ones have not.

Riddle me which banks (BoA, HSBC etc) are into the long dark night of grey / black economies and laundering.

Riddle me the NGOs banned by Russia and those attacked by the special forces of NATO countries.

And so on.

You're not asking anything interesting.


If you'd asked nicely, I'd have given you a PDF of UKIP and Russian money and at the same time a PDF of a NGO in the Ukraine with USA money.




Grow up old man.


And by "PDF of a NGO in the Ukraine" I meant direct dollar transactions to political parties now "in control" of the country.


Is this supposed to be an insult?






Add a T and you might have an insult [no, wait: your generation also perverted Christianity as well! Bonus fucking round]

Church should apologize to gays & women for ill treatment – Pope Francis RT, 27th June 2016 - link ironic: no propaganda here.



You're reacting extremely well to something said in pure sarcasm to poke at paranoid conspiracy theories. I couldn't have hoped for a better reaction, and I do appreciate you rising to the challenge.


I'm not sure one has to be conspiracy-minded. The natural human tendencies to forget history and behave corruptly satisfy Occam's Razor quite nicely. The forgetting of history seems to take about 60 years - note how we killed Glass Steagal in the 1990s, about 60 years after we passed it. The EU seems to have lost its way sometime after 2000, about 60 years after the start of WWII... The Germans do remember the Weimar Republic, and of course austerity is a wonderful way for the rich to line their pockets...

I give it around 10-15 years until we have war in Europe again if the EU doesn't get their shit together.


And you're showing an extremely naive and limited understanding of what reality actually does. If you missed it, I was attempting to go beyond your old man Mind and hit something a little bit bigger.

Russia is funding the far-right anti-EU groups.

USA is funding the anti-Russian / Israel groups.

Russia is funding Media contra the USA.

USA is funding NGOs to destabilize and change governments.


Bonus Round:

Which one bombed a quasi-modern state into the stone age recently which has now devolved into fundamentalist barbarism, lack of order and destruction of infrastructure.




Hint: I'm not seeing many Russians in these cases.

Oh, sorry:



No, you didn't fish.

You got fucked.


Oh, and: Rule 101: anyone using the term "paranoid conspiracy theories" is either an idiot, a paid contractor or so devolved into their safe space bubble that they need to label the entire world outside of it "Mentally Ill" for it to work.


Not just a CIA term, also a conditioning term.

Well done for proving your generation fucked the world and are egotistically insane.


Oh, and to answer OP

Brexit campaigner admits he set up second EU referendum petition signed by three million people Independent 26th June 2016.

This isn't even going to make Parliament, let alone Law or 50.


And no: Hetero - you've been lied to all your life. Grow up. You've no idea how it works and nor do most here. The pay-off was you lived a happy life in a little bubble and so on and so forth.

Count yourself lucky and stop spewing shite.


Your reference to CRIS reminds me of this item which was in the news recently here. Doesn't Ouroboros refer just as well to non-reflexive, recursive reasoning?


Rule 101: anyone using the term "paranoid conspiracy theories" is either an idiot, a paid contractor or so devolved into their safe space bubble that they need to label the entire world outside of it "Mentally Ill" for it to work.

How do we know you're just saying that to manipulate us into distrusting our benign but inscrutable secret police.


For what it's worth, US Intelligence is spreading the same paranoid theory that you are, with "senior British government officials" backing them up:

On the other hand, this is the same crowd that was working hard to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had an active WMD program before Bush deposed him -- and they have a grudge against Russia now for reasons that have nothing to do with whatever they may or may not be up to in Western Europe.


"This is Wayne, my rubber plant. He's really good at tranquillity."


Allow me to introduce Duranta repens "Geisha Girl", although we call this particular specimen "Ninja Girl" because...


Heteromeles @ 467:
We do know who is funding Trump, he has to declare it in his Federal Election Commission filings if someone donates more than $200 in one calendar year. So far his campaign is funded entirely by individual donors and loans from Trump himself and nada from outside groups. The same goes for the outside PACS supporting Trump.

The crazy thing is that as of June his campaign had less than $1.3 million in cash on hand. That's barely enough enough to keep the lights on. He likewise has about 30 paid staffers, which is probably less than what Clinton has working Cleveland. So there's one ray of hope, Trump is really, really shit at running an actual presidential campaign.

A large amount of his campaign expenditures go to companies controlled by himself and his family; I guess he always has an angle for making a buck. There also was $35k paid to Draper Sterling, the fictional ad company in the TV series Mad Men. The company shares it's address with an ex-Navy SEAL who is president of a medical startup called Xeno Therapeutics. That whole tangent is kinda weird.


1d) Power to act: IIRC for communication or even conclusion of treaties in international law national legal authority is entirely irrelevant, as long as the lack of authority is not obvious.

I'm no lawyer, but the briefings I've been reading do say that parliamentary approval is required for treaties that affect national legislation (hence there having been such a requirement for the European treaties).

In this case, it's far from clear how that applies to Article 50: invoking the Article itself would seem not to directly affect legislation on the face of it, but exiting Europe *would*. As the legal opinion published by UKCLA argues,

'[T]riggering Article 50 would be cut across the Act and render it nugatory. Once a withdrawal agreement took effect, or if not deal was reached, the 1972 Act would be left as a dead letter. It would instruct judges to apply the Treaties which themselves declare they had “ceased to apply” to the UK.'

It's hard to see how the executive could invoke the Article when it would thus abrogate constitutionally-guaranteed power from Parliament two years down the line - this would seem to have the effect of breaching the constitutional principle that “..the King by his proclamation… cannot change any part of the common law, or statute law, or the customs of the realm…”

If the PM does not have the constitutional right to invoke Article 50, any such invocation would be invalid by the terms of Article 50 itself, so who actually can make the invocation needs to be clarified. Legal advice can give guidance, but any attempt by a PM to use prerogative powers would very likely be subject to legal challenge. I can't see that being resolved speedily or efficiently.

The UKCLA opinion also argues that 'For the courts to hold otherwise would place the rights of British citizens at the mercy of the Government and would be contrary to Parliamentary supremacy.' Fascinatingly (in a train-wreck kind of way) in this case it is British citizens who have directly made their will known, while Parliament is opposed to the public will. MPs, however, have no obligation to follow the public majority opinion on policy - their duty is to represent the *interests* of their constituents, not their expressed desires. It could very fairly be argued that approving the invocation of Article 50 would be a failure of that representation of interests.

Eh, this thing is a fractal constitutional nightmare. It's rabbit holes all the way down.


Not that I actually believe it, but it's not clear to me this stops Trump being funded by $paranoid_fantasy_funder. If the money is largely coming from Trump they simply give it to him, and he loans it to his own campaign. He's known to be a billionaire so it's not implausible he can turn up liquidity in big chunks when actually it's his secret paymasters giving him the modern equivalent of another suitcase full of used $100 bills.

Or, if they're a bigger organisation, in terms of numbers, they have all their members make $199.99 donations. Since they're clearly legal and above board, they couldn't possibly have false identities or lie about their identities to do this several times.


A large part of the idiot membership, who are mostly members of "Momentum" - a marxist-religious group back Corbyn.
No sane MP or voter does, however.

There are "momentum" members in my local constituency who are trying to unseat our amazingly popular female MP, because she "Isn't socialist (read marxist for that) enough"
She has a majority of approx 20 000, when it should be about 8 000, but, for ideological purity, they want to get rid of her.


Re this business of the same bum on different thrones, it used to be common enough.

To take just one example, the Elector of Brandenburg was also King of Prussia. Brandenburg was inside the Empire, Prussia was outside.



From that article:

"Dave Sparks, a councillor in Dudley and a former chair of the Local Government Association, has warned that if Mr Corbyn stays, Labour will be wiped out. He told the BBC that if the leadership does not change both its leader and its course, the party is looking at its support disappearing in England as it has melted away in Scotland."

Wrong, Dave. It is if Corbyn goes that Labour risks being "wiped out", and the comment even gets close to the reason why, but doesn't recognise it.

Labour got buggered in Scotland for two reasons:

1) They were crap over the Scottish independence referendum.

2) That same referendum and the support for the SNP it engendered made the SNP a viable mainstream choice for left-wing voters.

That SNP popularity then threatened to spread to England, with purely English voters considering voting SNP despite their Scottish focus because of it looking like the closest approximation to getting their views represented. And if Labour don't want to lose votes in that way they need Corbyn to stay.

In England, for flippin' ages there has been no mainstream choice for left-wing voters. Said voters have been effectively disenfranchised by Blair et al turning the Labour party into Tory-lite. And the idiotic Blairite faction refuse to acknowledge this. You'd think that Corbyn being voted in by ordinary voters against the wishes of the Blairites might have given them a hint, but instead their reaction was to wish they hadn't allowed ordinary voters to vote, which serves only to piss people off even more.

Labour with Corbyn, in England, provides that left-wing mainstream choice. That's why he's there: because people want that choice. It's a choice a lot of people have never even had. Corbyn can make voting in parliamentary elections a positive act rather than a negative one, in many cases for the first time.

I for one am sick to the arse of not having anyone to vote for. Sick of the only options being either to vote for a party none of whose policies I favour in order to keep out one I favour even less, or to vote for some titchy party who are guaranteed to be effectively a wasted vote because of our crappy unrepresentative voting system. You might call it "disenfranchisement by stealth".

Corbyn, in effect, gives me my vote back. I'd vote for a Corbyn Labour party. I wouldn't vote for a Blairite one. Sure I don't agree with everything Corbyn says, but it's not realistic to expect to, and he certainly beats the crap out of voting for someone I don't agree with on anything.


My first post here so a brief introduction: Italian expat living and working in Germany since 2014, EU-skeptic.

I do not know much about UK internal politics so I would like to get your opinion on this:

"Is really any chance for a second referendum?"

I would expect that whoever proposed this (except the Queen herself) would lose any credibility in the future and this would be a sort of political seppuku.
Not only as a political figure, but as a political party. I mean, could you ever expected to be voted in the future if you say "ok, folks, your vote was not what we wanted to so vote again (until we get the result we wanted from the start)?".

Maybe UK voters are more pragmatic than idealistic, understand that the consequences are really too bad (and that the original promises of the Leave side were unfounded) and wouldn't mind, but to me it looks that deciding that voting is "not valid" because it is not what I wanted when I asked you to vote seems the negation of Democracy.

So, which party could take such a risk, and how big the risk is, in your opinion?


Common dilemma and I empathise. It sounds like what you actually want is a mixture of preferential voting and proportional representation. It's taken 20 or so years, but over here the Greens are the mainstream left-leaning party. The ALP has been at best centrist since the 60s and definitely centre-right since the 80s. The conservative coalition, after a high-water mark of liberalism in the 70s (I guess the point when the Overton window was furthest to the left in Australia) has been drifting to the right ever since. There's been a suggestion that Abbott's leadership marked the furthest extent of that, but I really doubt it.

Anyway, the Greens have spent that 20 years in a slow transition from protest party to credible alternative government. I suspect that even the most misty-eyed supporters agree we're not there yet, but the momentum is certainly in that direction. If you can measure success by your enemies, and use that to calibrate your vision, then the Greens certainly have the correct enemies.


Agreed. For the last I think it's three elections, I've voted Green because they're far closer to my politics than Labour under Blair, Brown or Milliband. There's no hope in a safe Labour seat that I'll get a Green MP. If there was a chance that either a Tory or a UKIP MP might be elected by the backdoor because of my vote I would consider voting tactically against that but where I live Labour's majority rose at the last election despite us having a new MP.

Under Corbyn there's a chance, when we see Labour's policies come the next election that I'll return to voting Labour. Mind you, Greg's opinion of my sanity is certainly up for debate.

I heard an interview with Dianne Abbott this morning. She didn't quite say it in so many words, but she strongly implied that the PLP is out of step with the Labour Party as a whole and if, as seems likely, there's another leadership election and Corbyn wins the PLP needs to suck it up.


El @ 485:
Fake individual donors ain't gonna cut it, you'd need around 200,000 just for Trump to catch up to the current Clinton war chest.

As for funneling money to Trump personally, candidates are also required to file their personal finances with the Office of Government Ethics. Anyone who thinks there are secret forces funding Trump can go knock themselves out combing though the OGE form 278e he filed last month.

The simplest and legally least risky way for mysterious benefactors to anonymously give gobs of money to a presidential candidate is still to start up a 501(c)(4) social welfare group and give 49%* of the money the group raises to the campaign or the campaign's PACs (see e.g. Karl Rove's American Crossroads). But like I said, no one's actually done that yet for Trump.

*That magic number means the group technically doesn't have politics as it's primary purpose and so allows the donors to remain anonymous.


If they filter the signatures on the ePetition and the numbers calling for a second referendum exceed the "Leave" total, someone like Ken Clarke (who is standing down I think in 2020 and a well known pro-EU voice) could propose it and in theory get it passed if there was sufficient shilly-shallying and breaking of political kneecaps without it being political suicide by the whole of the Conservative Party.

Parliament is obliged to consider the petition pretty much and it won't come from a party. However, since the MPs vote by publicly visible ballot it's likely they'll be good and vote no because the public has spoken - despite the fact lots of them think it's the wrong choice. That might not happen if there isn't a good, solid plan from the various Tory leadership candidates - particularly an inclusive one on Brexit since they campaigned on a cross-party platform - so the new awkward squad (the vast majority of pro-EU Tory backbenchers) combine with Labour to say "Fuck the lot of you" and protest vote in favour of a second referendum.


He's a real estate tycoon. It's the easiest thing in the world to channel him money. You simply buy some property from him at too high a price. The FSB could set that up in their sleep.


Teresa May is talking about pulling out of the ECHR on the basis of the referendum. Does she have a mandate to do that? The referendum was "Should remain in the EU" or "Should leave the EU" but the ECHR is a body of the Council of Europe, not the EU.


Of course, we had a referendum on reforming the voting system not all that long ago... and it was a hopeless failure.

We seem to have established a pattern for British referendums: the Sensible side assumes their case is self-evident and trusts people to be sensible; the Silly side starts yelling and screaming all sorts of emotionalism and scaremongering (in the case concerned, "you won't get who you vote for"); the Sensible side sees people believing all this crap and can't believe what's happening, then try to counter it with rational argument; rational argument doesn't work on people who need to be told what to think; the Silly side wins, or at least does vastly better than expected.

I do sympathise with the various Sensibles. A day or two back someone tweeted a collage of comments screenshotted off the Daily Mail website, of people admitting that they need to be told what to think and complaining about being told wrong. Even with the evidence in front of me like that I still have enormous difficulty in accepting that people can not only be so staggeringly dumb, but aren't even ashamed of admitting it in public.


Yeah, if this country had the same PR as NZ I'd vote labour for my local MP and Greens for the party in a heartbeat. If the SNP was an option, I'd support them all the way, because they are generally politically centrist outside their main issue.

I *really* want the Greens (and to be reluctantly fair UKIP) to have around 10-15% of the MPs. That way their supporters opinions have weight, and have to be considered. I don't want them to have much more than that because I disagree with a fair number of their policies (or all of them) and lets face it half the backlist are raving nutters.

It also should have the positive effect of dragging the two major parties back into a more centrist position. At present the PLP and the Conservatives are both so far right wing from my point of view they are barely visible.


a collage of comments screenshotted off the Daily Mail website, of people admitting that they need to be told what to think and complaining about being told wrong.

Yesterday I was in a shop where the two guys were watching a video of an Essex Girl whose reason for voting Leave was resentment of the noise and nuisance of the football championship, which I believe shares a name with a certain currency (here, anyway). Then the interviewer had some fun with her regarding pizza division, to nail down the picture of her as being as thick as a docker's sandwich (for those of us who remember dockers).

The two guys were, not unnaturally, going "Are they all like this over there?"

I pointed out that the chav probably had a certain intelligence, but that system resources were being so hogged by clothes, hair, nails, tats, intimate piercings, who's in and who's out, what clubs are fashionable and what not, that, as Apple might say, other applications were not responding.


Deliberately a hopeless failure.
They set the referendum up to ask "should we replace our existing system with this specific new one", to which the vast majority said no.

They should have asked "should we replace our existing system with some form of proportional representation?" and then had a second question later asking "what sort".

But that has too high a chance of getting a Yes vote, and neither of the two main parties wanted that to happen.


lets face it half the backlist are raving nutters.

I have seen such things here, with the party psychologically akin to your Kippers plus other fringe parties trying to get started ... You see, we have a party list system, so everyone has to field 50 or so candidates, even the likes of Wing Commander Boakes.

So, where the Sensibles actually ask people whether they want to be on the list, the scuzzbag parties just pick names out of the telephone book. If the cards fall the wrong way, therefore, the equivalent of OGH (a known name, after all) might find himself No. 12 on the list of the Kipper equivalent or much, much worse.


Deliberately a hopeless failure.

It has been said that saying "No" is the default value of the Norwegian mind, so that if only they had made the referendum question, "Should Norway go it alone?" we might be members now.

What do people think about a possible British emotional bias to Yes or No? And if there is one, how does it map to Leave/Remain?



You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you appear to think it means.

Others have responded as to why Corbyn's a good thing for Labour, and therefore the country.


Thomas Jørgensen @ 494:
That's less good than it sounds at first blush, since:

1. Trump is a real estate tycoon who likes to slap his name on everything, which increases the risk of someone noticing the mysterious sweetheart deal (Trump sells Scottish golf course for twice market price! Who is Totally Not Russia, PLC?)
2. Trump's real estate income primarily comes from rent and management fees from hotels and resorts, not sales, magnifying #1
3. it requires Trump to be knowingly complicit in a felony (or see #6)
4. real estate deals take time
5. Trump's business partners need to be involved in approving the sale*, which worsens #3 and #4
6. You have to trust Trump to not just pocket the money


It sounds like what you actually want is a mixture of preferential voting and proportional representation.

Well, yes, the current method of holding elections is terrible. The fact that a major chunk of the poltical spectrum is missing from it entirely is a rather more pressing concern, though.


6. You have to trust Trump to not just pocket the money

Since his election spending returns reveal that he is in large part doing exactly that anyway, that's rather a tall order. I kind of want to believe in Trump the Evil Genius who's Up To No Good with buy-in from Sinister And Shadowy supporters. I would be highly amused by Trump the Cunning Distractor there to euthanase the Republican Party by destroying its credibility for a generation, doing it as cheaply as possible (and still winning, remains to be seen whether the way he's been doing things will work in a general election).

Signs, however, point to Trump being on a promotional tour for his own merchandise - books, DVDs, TV Series, branded goods and services - that got seriously out of hand.


We have proportional and preferential voting. I've heard it called the gold standard for a fair system.

Yet it delivers a choice between two far right parties who are absolutely identical in every way except the colour of their logo. A leader in Abbott who OGH said was very useful in that if he was ever a complex situation and he was unsure about what was right and what was wrong, he'd see what our PM thought and know that the opposite of what he thought was right.

Concentration camps, subsidised coal, cuts to pensions to fund tax cuts for mining companies.


Sorry, should have said "here in Australia we have..."


In relation to Northern Ireland, while they voted to Remain, there is probably a majority in their Assembly to Leave (DUP are solidly for Leave, the other unionists are split and there are a few scattered votes in the other parties, much like the odd Labour Leaver).

But that's not really the point, because the instant the vote comes up to approve the change, Sinn Fein will raise a Petition of Concern. At which point the vote is no longer by simple majority; it's by separate votes in the two "communities", each by majority. And the Nationalists will vote against in a landslide.

Also, it might need the agreement of the government of the Republic of Ireland, and possibly a referendum there to unpick the Good Friday Agreement.

I'd love to hear the reaction of Farage et al when told that Gerry Adams has a veto.


Oh, and any analysis of Northern Ireland that doesn't use the words "Petition of Concern" is bollocks and can be safely ignored.


I suspect that a significant proportion of the people voting out don't know what a multinational is.

I am absolutely certain that the French do not have honorary non-foreigner status.

Thus, Fuck Off Foreigners applies to Nissan whether it's Japanese or French, and post Brexit Sunderland will enjoy the many benefits of a foreigner-free environment sooner rather than later.

The EU, very sensibly, has refused to negotiate prior to Article 50 being invoked; the markets place a very heavy premium on stability and planning, and an unspecified period of drift where no one knows what's happening is the antithesis of that.


Ruth is busy angling to become the first Prime Minister of an independent Scotland -- if she doesn't shoot herself in both feet by opposing oor Nicola too hard while she does the heavy lifting.

(Complexity: Ruth Davidson is leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party. As such she has to oppose IndyRef 2. On the other hand, she's too young/junior -- and not a UK MP -- so can't tackle the big job in London. Her best hope is that the SNP get their IndyRef 2 and win, at which point she can reconfigure her party as a purely Scottish Conservative party, and stand a good chance at leading the nation as soon as the electorate get tired of the SNP.)

(NB: I live in Ruth Davidson's constituency. I did not vote for her and do not support her, but I respect her. Also, if you've got to have a Conservative representative, pick the kick-boxing lesbian instead of the boring old white guy in the suit: at least there's some hope of her being marginally aware of the needs of those who aren't members of the P7 -- the Pale Patriarchal Protestant Penis-People of Power.)


Two options if they wanted to go that route (I'm pretty sure they -- and she -- don't):

a) Appoint Ruth Davidson to the House of Lords.

b) Dodgy Dave is resigning, so have Ruth stand in his (safe, conservative) seat for by-election, and fast-track it. However she'd have to resign from Holyrood, and as the most recognizable face of conservativism in Scotland they'd effectively be giving up on Scotland entirely -- at this point, that'd be as good as running up the white flag ahead of IndyRef 2.

Option (c) would be to reverse their decision not to compete in the Jo Cox successor by-election, which would be so despicable that quite possibly not even the Conservative party could stomach it (and whichever candidate did so would appear in the House of Commons covered in rancid faecal matter: not a great start to a prime ministerial career, and I don't think they'd be stupid enough to try it). Oh, also: safe labour seat even before the assassination.


Reply to PaMar @ 489

(I'm not a lawyer.)

'Gee, we want a different result' is only part of the reason another referendum could potentially be wanted (ditto 'It was all lies and it's all gone wrong!!11!). On the face of it, you're right - it looks like political suicide.

However... at this point we can't even figure out who needs to trigger Article 50. If it's just the PM, then problem solved (pending the lengthy legal challenges). But if it's Parliament, as some legal experts are arguing, then that means MPs voting - and we have no constitutional law or precedent to say whether or not that means MPs have an obligation to vote such an Act through. (Individually, they certainly don't; in practice it would probably mean a whipped vote, which might or might not result in a backbench rebellion. Probably would.)

Constitutionally, MPs are supposed to represent the *interests* (NOT the will) of their constituents. How they do so, and how they weigh this against other responsibilities, is supposed to be up to them. What does that mean in this case? Should MPs vote through an Article 50 trigger even if they think it is against the interests of their constituents? What about the interests of their constituency itself? Presumably an MP from a Remain area represents Remainers. Can they vote against it? What if the balance of opinion in the area has changed?

What's more, they should represent the interests of their *constituents*, not just those who voted. Even if we turn that into 'what they say they want', what should the MP do if a majority of voters in his or her constituency said leave, but a majority of constituents are for remain?

It's a total mess, basically because the referendum was a screw-up from the word go. Article 50 demands a constitutional solution, and this referendum simply doesn't gel with the constitutional mechanisms we have in place. The real case for a second referendum is not to change the result, but to make it possible to implement the result without a constitutional meltdown.

Could there be another referendum in reality? If Parliament cannot or will not pass an Act to trigger Article 50, then yes, I think so.

Either way, a referendum would need Parliamentary approval, so basically at the moment would have to be a cross-party effort. Alternatively, if a general election is held before triggering Article 50 (which is not impossible in the context of a constitutional crisis) it could be an election pledge. That would arguably nullify the plebiscite of the first referendum.


Just because the Australian electorate is so far to the right that it makes the American electorate look sane and liberal doesn't mean that the voting system doesn't accurately and fairly represent their views.

Any system of representative democracy aggregates votes somewhat. Our big parties get an MP for every few tens of thousands of votes, (the SNP and DUP did best at