Theresa May to resign as Prime Minister

UPDATE: Grania suggested that I add this to the post (her words):

James O’Brien has written a book about Brexit and fields calls from Brexiteers every day on his talk show. The video at the link shows that there is no coherent plan among pro-Brexit proponents of what Leave means. “Leave means leave” is a slogan, not a plan.
David Allen Green (UK lawyer and also an EU skeptic) has written constantly on the subject of Brexit as well and also come to the conclusion that the only sane position is Remain. (As an EU skeptic his initial impulse was to vote Leave.)
I have also been chastised by rude people on email for my ignorance about Brexit. I admitted that below, and sought enlightenment, and merely gave my own uninformed take. I won’t tolerate abuse, however, and those who seek to heap it on me can take a number, get in line, and. . .

_________

I don’t know the ins and outs of Brexit, but what I do know about it makes me think it was a terrible idea fueled largely by xenophobia and a sense that Britain would somehow be polluted—lose its “Britishness”—by being part of the EU. And those who voted for “leave” didn’t seem to realize all the ramifications.

My hope was that there would be another referendum and this time the “remainers” would win. I still don’t know what will happen, except that everything got mucked up and I saw a lot of people yelling at each other in Parliament and in the British media. Now there’s this from CNN (click on screenshot):

I’m still a bit confused because CNN first reported this, implying that she’d leave when Brexit had been “delivered”:

Theresa Mayhas said that she will stand down as prime minister once Brexit has been delivered, according to a Conservative Party lawmaker in a meeting with her.

“She will not be in charge for the next phase,” she told Conservative MPs.

She did not give a date for her departure.

But the next CNN report (a live feed at the link) implied that the deal didn’t have to be completely sealed before she left:

Another Conservative MP who attended the meeting with backbench Conservative MPs has also told Britain’s Press Association that Theresa May would “not remain in post for the next phase of the [Brexit] negotiations.”

James Cartlidge told PA as he left the private meeting at Westminster:

“My recollection is that she said she would not remain in post for the next phase of the negotiations, the implication being that once the Withdrawal Agreement has passed, she would make way for someone else.”

Brits know a lot more about this than I, so weigh in below. Does this mean you have to have Corbyn as your next Prime Minister?

Lagniappe: Jonathan Pie on Brexit (h/t: Stephen):

188 Comments

  1. BobTerrace
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Making the popcorn so I can spectate.

  2. Marou
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Tricky topic this – the U.K. equivalent of the Dreyfus Affair (I exaggerate but not much). I voted Remain and would still prefer to stay in the EU. But the result of the Referendum is undeniable and so is the understanding – shared by both major parties – that it would be acted on. My own view is that there should be a no-deal and precipitate Brexit under a Brexiter-led Government which will be bound to end austerity by turning the taps on or risk wipeout at the next General Election in 2022. But it’s a clusterfuck whichever way topyou look at it.

    • ankersten
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      “…the result of the Referendum is undeniable…”

      No it isn’t. The winning margin was 1.8 per cent, not enough to counter the effects of a dodgy campaign with lies on both sides, but especially on Leave’s (who promised £350 million extra per week for the NHS, which swung the vote for many people, and which has been comprehensively shot down in flames) and possibly dodgy campaign financing.

      The whole mess is David Cameron’s fault. He had the chance of making the margin something that would be undeniably decisive – say, 60 per cent. The sort of margin, in fact, that the US Congress must pass in order to change their country’s Constitution. The sort of margin that is necessary to legitimately be able to say that this is the political course the country wants for the next few generations.

      Instead, he nonchalantly plumped for 50, doubtless arrogantly and ignorantly sure of a shoe-in, and then proceeded to run a Remain campaign that persuaded many people to leave.

      Bring on that second referendum, which polls indicate Remainers will win!

      • DrBrydon
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        I continue to be confused as to why this was a straight majority vote. It is, in effect, a major constitutional change, and I would have expected a much greater show of consensus to enact it.

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          Yet more astounding how 48% appear to have zero political representation. What if a party declares they would forget the whole thing and pretend it didn’t happen, and get elected on this promise? There is a reason why there are elections every couple of years, too, and why those who are elected are in charge. All of this is severely undermined. Perhaps worse is how it showed everyone that honesty is misplaced in British politics, and that blatant lying works just fine.

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          There has not been any great show of consensus when the UK was included in the EU.

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and then he promptly abdicated his responsibility with a parliament with a decent working majority because of his personal beliefs let alone his responsibility as the PM, Resulting in change of leadership, general election ,reduced majority etc etc. Now he leads the good life with the Chipping Norton Set.
        Typical selfish arrogant politician.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        You are spot on, couldn’t agree more.
        Moreover, I think it was a “50%+1” referendum because it was a non-binding referendum. If it had been a binding one, I think they would have insisted on, say, a 2/3rds majority or so.
        Since it was non-binding there is little problem to just ditch the whole Brexit inanity. I like to repeat that: non-binding, non-binding, non-binding. It means that the whole Brexit is unnecessary, and that there is no reason not to hold another referendum.
        I know several British who voted ‘leave’, as a ‘F..k You’ vote to Mr Cameron, confident the ‘remain’ would win anyway*. They deeply regret their vote now. I know not a single Brit who voted ‘remain’ and has changed opinion.
        * [a bit like the ‘Bernie or bust’ voters, or those voting for Ms Stein, confident that Ms Clinton would win anyway]

        • Alexander
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Current polls indicate that 60% of the UK would vote for “remain.”

          • Posted March 27, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            Then shouldn’t it be political suicide for a party to proceed with Brexit?

            • Alexander
              Posted March 28, 2019 at 2:18 am | Permalink

              No, people in the UK as in the US seem to stick with a party like a religion no matter what the antics are.

            • Mark Jones
              Posted March 28, 2019 at 3:35 am | Permalink

              Alexander is exactly right. I hear lots of talk from disaffected Labour voters (who are largely Remainers) saying that they won’t vote for Labour again because of their pro-Brexit stance. I’ve heard this sentiment before down the years, but once a General Election comes along they stick to Labour, and I don’t doubt they will do so again. FPTP encourages this ‘loyalty’.

      • aljones909
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        If we include the nations of the UK there has only been one national referendum in the UK which required an additional hurdle beyond a straight majority. This was the Scottish devolution referendum in 1979. This hurdle was removed in two subsequent Scottish constitutional referendums. None of the other referendums in the UK on constitutional matters required anything beyond a simple majority. So there was no real precedent for a 60% vote.
        “They told lies” is hardly a reason to say a result is invalid. On that basis it’s hard to see how any election would ever be valid.
        I hope there is a second referendum – but I’m not convinced there is a good case for it.

        • ankersten
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 3:19 am | Permalink

          OK, fair enough – but then, doesn’t that shift the problem to a highly complex issue that’s been reduced to s simplistic question: “In or out”? The choice seemed straightforward in 2016 – but has now been revealed as the Pandora’s box it was always going to be. In answer to Nicholaas Stempels above, I have heard quite a few Remainers say they’d vote Leave simply to get the whole stupid mess over and done with. A large proportion of the public is “Brexited out” – they’re sick of it, and especially of the indecisiveness that results from myriad groupings inside and outside Parliament “knowing” what the right course of action is and fuming that all the others can’t see what’s bleedin’ obvious to them. Result: deadlock, as today’s events in Parliament show.

      • Filippo
        Posted March 28, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        “Bring on that second referendum, which polls indicate Remainers will win!”

        Perhaps we USers should bring on a second 2016 presidential election based on polls, and especially based on Hilary Clinton winning the popular vote.

        Perhaps if some kind of referendum Electoral College obtained in the U.K., the Remainers would have won. Then it would instead be the Brexiteers clamoring for a second referendum.

        • GBJames
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          That second presidential referendum is scheduled for a bit more than a year and a half from now.

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      But the result of the Referendum is undeniable and so is the understanding – shared by both major parties – that it would be acted on.

      Had I been a Brit, I would have voted Remain, but the biggest reason to Leave, as I see it, is the deeply undemocratic architecture of the EU. If the referendum is ignored, the irony will be off the charts.

      • Posted March 28, 2019 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        The EU is run by the democratically elected governments of the member states. It has a directly elected parliament and an executive that is appointed by the democratically elected governments of the member states.

        The idea that the EU is undemocratic is absurd and it is a lie that has been propagated by by the anti0EU British media and, unfortunately, bought into by two many voters.

        • Mark Jones
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

          This is true; I have always found the undemocratic EU argument laughable, as if the UK system is some paragon of democracy – the democratic deficit in the UK is one of the things that caused the Leave vote. I’ve been voting in General Elections since 1979 and it has never counted for anything, and never will so long as FPTP is maintained.

          This does not mean that the EU is perfect – far from it. But we will now be outside an imperfect but powerful trading bloc on our doorstep with no power to affect its policies.

        • Posted March 28, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

          The EU is unbelievably more undemocratic than the Parliamentary system in Britain, especially when it comes to issues of greatest concern to the British public. The European Parliament is a neutered organisation…. real policy decisions rests with the Commission which consists of appointed figures who are never face a public vote. In the lesser issues that the European Parliament addresses votes are allocated in proportion to population of the countries included, which in essence dilutes the “British voice” to a less than 20%. British law and courts do not have primacy in this Union. Worse than all this the objective of the Commission is to move firmly toward a Federal State. Imagine a movement to form a federal state of North America, with its divergent histories, languages and economic systems into such a union – holding primacy over the US Constitution. That in effect is what is happening in Europe and the British rejected it.

          • Posted March 28, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

            The EU is unbelievably more undemocratic than the Parliamentary system in Britain
            Our upper house consists entirely of unelected representatives, some of whom are there by virtue of having a senior job in the Church of England.

            The European Parliament is a neutered organisation

            No it isn’t.

            Real policy decisions rests with the Commission which consists of appointed figures who are never face a public vote

            Policy is made by the European Council. The commissioners are appointed by the elected governments of the EU.

            In the lesser issues that the European Parliament addresses votes are allocated in proportion to population of the countries included, which in essence dilutes the “British voice” to a less than 20%

            So you think democracy is only a good idea if Britain gets a say that is more than warranted by its size?

            British law and courts do not have primacy in this Union.

            So what?

            Imagine a movement to form a federal state of North America, with its divergent histories, languages and economic systems into such a union – holding primacy over the US Constitution.

            This is what the USA is already.

          • GBJames
            Posted March 28, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

            Imagine a movement to form a federal state in North America, states with divergent histories and economic systems into such a union – holding primacy over state constitutions.

            With minor changes you describe the USA.

            • Posted March 28, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

              An effective federal union of Canada, USA, Mexico and Central American States would work? You must be kidding. Even our own country with common language, common origins, common history, and close economic ties suffered a manor civil war with nearly more deaths than all other wars combined. The national divergence in Europe far exceeds our own. The implications of this disparity can be seen in the EU’s treatment of Greece which has been stripped of national assets to pay French and German banks and to prop up the euro – an absurd currency for these nations to share. Youth unemployment peaking to 50% and a mass exodus of skilled workers. Britain will be lucky if it manages to escape.

              • GBJames
                Posted March 28, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

                The world gets more homogenized every day. There is no reason, in principle, why greater political integration can’t work. In fact, I think it is inevitable. Political realities of today will change, as everything else does.

              • Posted March 28, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

                I don’t know the EU politics as well as you do but my spidey sense is tingling, telling me that this is an unfairly biased characterization, to put it charitably. I look forward to reading the responses.

  3. Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I just read in “The Guardian” that she expects to be out by autumn. Please though, not Boris Johnson.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      I recall the joint press conference between Theresa May and Donald Trump (during Trump’s unwelcome visit to Blighty) during which Trump all but endorsed Boris Johnson to be the UK’s next PM.

      The Donald, with his fine sense of decorum, essentially throwing an anvil to a drowning woman.

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Brexshit is a disaster.

      • ppnl
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Well, darth cheeto is America’s brexit.

      • Filippo
        Posted March 28, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Trump is the apotheosis of that singularly Amuricun sense of entitlement. There’s no place on the planet that high Amuricun officials think they aren’t entitled to set foot and hold forth on another country’s internal affairs.

        I’ve been trying to find out how much I and my fellow U.S. taxpayers spent on Obama’s visit to the U.K. to hold forth on Brexit. (Like Trump, was Obama also not “invited”?) I guess he thought a U.N. or Rose Garden speech was insufficient to get the attention of the British public. (Reminded me of Mitt Romney, standing on British soil, critiquing the Brits on the state of their Olympic games preparedness, and their irate response.)

        Strikes me that high gov’t officials of other countries are no less entitled to set foot on Amuricun soil and similarly hold forth to the Amuricun people. (Or would that be “meddling”?)

        Obama has spoken of the U.S. being a “Pacific” nation. I assume he or any other president no less considers the U.S. an “Atlantic” nation. Therefore, since Europe significantly juts into the Atlantic (and after all, it’s called “The Pond”), I think the U.S. should join the E.U. and no less submit to the Brussels authorities. Of course that wouldn’t happen, so assiduously regarding the U.S. is of its sovereignty. Of the sovereignty of the U.K. and other countries, apparently not so much.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          The only time I recall foreign officials displaying a similar hubristic entitlement on American soil was when the two Russian spymasters — former ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov — met with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, in a meeting to which Russian media were invited and US media excluded (and during which the Kislyak and Lavrov were given top-secret code-word classified intel from Israel) on the day after Trump fired FBI director James Comey in order, as he explained to the Russians, “to take the heat off” him about the FBI’s Russian-election-meddling investigation:

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, wrong vid. Here’s the right one:

  4. Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Does this mean you have to have Corbyn as your next Prime Minister?

    The Prime Minister is whoever commands a majority in the House of Commons. Thus if TM resigns then the Conservatives will choose a successor. Of course if there was an election, won by Labour led by Corbyn, then yes he would then be PM.

    it was a terrible idea fueled largely by xenophobia and a sense that Britain would somehow be polluted—lose its “Britishness”—by being part of the EU.

    Not really, it was more about disagreeing with much of EU policy, and so wanting to “change the government” at the EU level. But since one country can’t really do that, the vote was for “leave”.

    It’s not that different from Canadians wanting to be friends with but separate from the US.

    • Danny
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      No, it really was about xenophobia, losing its Britishness and being lied to.

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Yep, that’s the Remainer line, but part of the reason that it didn’t prevail at the referendum is that it’s not that accurate. To persuade the other side you need to understand them.

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          I agree.
          It is not about xenophobia it is much more than simply that. It is about many important things, sovereignty, the change in what was originally the common market, the dominance of the EU by certain countries, unelected EU Commissioners, the Kynocks for example spring to mind after his awful Sheffield performance. Interference by the EU Court of Justice, the list is endless.
          I did not vote even though I could. We left the country some time ago, long before any referendum primarily because we did not like the way the EU is and the way successive UK Governments managed the whole business.This was our solution and choice and we don’t regret it especially now.
          It is not about xenophobia. We do not live in the EU.

          • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

            I voted Remain but I’m sick to death of the demonisation of those who voted Brexit.

          • A C Harper
            Posted March 28, 2019 at 3:38 am | Permalink

            Agreed. The EU is a proto-empire based on protectionist trade and Napoleonic Law but the UK has a much longer history of free trade and common law.

            The two systems were bound to clash (more) eventually, especially with the EU dogma of ‘ever closer union’ gradually turning the screw tighter.

      • JezGrove
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, for decades it was a common trope in British politics to use blaming the EU as a distraction from domestic issues. Boris Johnson has happily admitted to fabricating myths about EU regulations whilst a Brussels correspondent, and these and similar lies weren’t challenged and became accepted as truth. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/15/brexit-boris-johnson-euromyths-telegraph-brussels Even during the Brexit referendum campaign, Johnson claimed that you couldn’t buy a bunch of more than five bananas because of EU rules, even though the truth was easily found out:
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36316094

        • JezGrove
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          Oops, Johnson claimed that bunches of bananas were limited to “two or three” – the BBC Reality Check team mentioned buying a bunch of five.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Hey, who asked the Canucks, anyway? Though if Vancouver’s hankering to defect and apply for statehood status, we Yanks would be willing to give it a long look. 🙂

      That’d be Manifest Destiny I could get behind.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Canada would also consider California joining Canada….also not opposed to Hawaii.

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          You would have to move Hawaii much closer. It’s too far for to travel for holidays especially as we are we are being told to reduce our carbon footprint.😊

          • phoffman56
            Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            (A joke but)I’ve not heard explicitly that the Pacific shrinks as the Atlantic expands. However, at 1 fingernail per year, it’ll be awhile before we can paddle our canoes from that lovely Vancouver Island beach to Honolulu.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

            If I moved to Hawaii, I would never leave to go anywhere else. Except to visit NZ and it’s closer than where I am now and super cheap.

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          If Vancouver had colonized Hawaii in 1793 when he presented Ka’ahumanu with the Union Jack, Canada might have had a warm provincial paradise now.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            Yes, except it was England back then as Canada didn’t become a country until 1867 so it’s England’s fault. All they cared about was stupid beaver fur for stupid beaver fur hats! 🙂

            • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

              They are not getting our beavers!
              We have a lovely family on our property. Have to protect some trees though but small price to pay for such engaging neighbors
              😻

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Respectfully Vancouver and British Columbia is perfectly well without the USA.
        Statehood of the USA would be a retrograde step. Unless you are joking of course it is somewhat condescending to suggest that Vancouver would even be willing to be given a long look by the USA let alone “apply” for statehood.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Of course I’m joking … we Yanks would never actually consider the likes of Vancouver for statehood.

          PS – I’m joking again. (Matter of fact, anytime I say anything snarky about our revered Northern neighbors, go right ahead and assume it’s in jest.) 🙂

    • phoffman56
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      “It’s not that different from Canadians wanting to be friends with but separate from the US.”

      There is some merit to that.

      But there have come to be some very decisive differences in law, which I think don’t apply nearly as much to UK versus the ‘continent’ part of EU.

      A couple of good examples are gun laws in Canada versus US (though Canada could use big improvements in gun safety in addition), and the example of the US Supreme Court making big corporations into ‘citizens’ with respect to speech and steering big money into politics.

      And the degree of material inequality is not nearly so bad in Canada. Maybe I’m misinformed, but I understand it’s exactly the opposite over there, with inequality much worse (compared to the continent) in Britain, that beginning in Thatcher’s day.

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        I’m betting that the differences in legal systems and how the country is run are bigger between the UK and, say, France (which come from very different traditions), than between the US and Canada.

        As for inequality, it’s not really that different. The UK does have a substantial wealth disparity between London and everywhere else — but then does a higher salary really benefit you if you have to pay double the amount for a house and have a long commute?

        • phoffman56
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          The legal systems, yes, but the laws themselves not so much. It’s a sort of ‘guilty till proven innocent’ in France’s criminal law, IIRC.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:59 am | Permalink

            A common misconception:
            “In France, article 9 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen 1789, which has force as constitutional law, begins: “Any man being presumed innocent until he has been declared guilty …”. The Code of Criminal Procedure states in its preliminary article that “any person suspected or prosecuted is presumed innocent for as long as their guilt has not been established”[12] and the jurors’ oath repeats this assertion (article 304).[26] However, there exists a popular misconception that under French law, the accused is presumed guilty until proven innocent.[27]”
            from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence
            Note that presumption of innocence is also considered a basic human right by the UN. I do not see any EU country in breach of that.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          Well, there are a few interesting nuances and Quebec uses the French legal system. I thought this article was interesting. I learned about “at will employees” here on WEIT – that’s something completely unheard of in Canada.

          https://dspace.ucalgary.ca/bitstream/handle/1880/48043/Bowal_Tendifferences2002_LawNow.pdf?sequence=1

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          Agreed. Living and working in the UK our individual salaries were substantially larger than where we live in Canada. However our housing costs here are a fraction of UK prices unless you live in the remote parts of the UK and then your salary is usually less.
          Our quality of life is 100% better though primarily because there a far less people.

          • phoffman56
            Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

            On that population density matter, certainly it’s not a factor in Brexit, and I agree that Canada’s is much more agreeable. Better than US too.

            On that matter, if Brexit succeeds, the Scots should secede, and consider asking Norway if maybe (as old Viking buddies?), they can unite in some sense. not likely, then they’d re-join the EU if possible.

      • phoffman56
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        I’d forgotten to mention above, but the differences in the health systems is vast, between Canada and the US, much less in Europe and UK.

    • Posted March 28, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      I doubt if many of the people who voted to leave could have told you what EU policy is.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted March 28, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Hardly anyone could. That’s the reason we have a parliamentary democracy in the first place, rather than simply calling a referendum on every single issue: it’s telling that if I were to say the following out loud in today’s Britain a lot of people would be outraged, but _politicians do actually know more about politics than the average person._

        Forgive the digression, but I remember watching Question Time one day, in the run-up to the referendum, and there was some poor sod of a Remain MP on the panel, desperately trying to get across to the studio audience just how bad of an idea Brexit actually was.
        The entire audience for the episode in question(it was filmed at a heavily pro-Leave constituency) was practically vibrating with fury. Then one member of the audience, a very loud and visibly agitated man, stood up and said something like ‘so you’re saying you know better than me?’. And of course the MP had to splutter an apology, and mutter ‘of course not, no, not at all’.

        In reality _of course he knows more._ That’s why we elected him in the first fucking place. But if he, or any politician at all for that matter, had responded by saying “well, I don’t mean to be rude, but yes, I do actually know more than you, I’ve spent my entire career learning about this subject, I’m embedded in it on a daily basis, and _it’s my job to know more than you_”, then his career would’ve most probably been over. He would have been eviscerated by the audience and by the media. All for doing nothing more than politely describing the purpose of his job.

        That kind of attitude towards politicians and their opinions is the wellspring of populism.

        • Posted March 28, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          But if he, or any politician at all for that matter, had responded by saying “well, I don’t mean to be rude, but yes, I do actually know more than you, I’ve spent my entire career learning about this subject, I’m embedded in it on a daily basis, and _it’s my job to know more than you_”, then his career would’ve most probably been over.

          I’d have taken the risk. But then, my livelihood doesn’t depend on it.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted March 28, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            I can’t imagine any politician, regardless of how charismatic or likeable, getting away with saying it. They’d get flayed alive. Which for a small subset of Tories is something they normally have to pay for.

            The tabloids have done such a superb job over the last few decades of portraying the political class as sneering gits whose education cuts them off from the ‘common sense’ of the white van man.
            I’m not saying that politicians themselves haven’t also done their bit too, with the expenses scandal, etc., but the tabloids have succeeded in making the public both suspicious and contemptuous of any politician who openly demonstrates traces of expertise, intelligence and(particularity) dispassionate rationality. It’s no wonder the warnings from the political class about Brexit fell on deaf ears.

            • Posted April 1, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

              The trick, if one can pull it off, is to teach without looking like one is doing that. I think all us experts encounter this challenge from time to time.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Parliamentary systems work by electing a party and the PM is the leader of that elected party. If the leader steps down, the party elects another leader so it all depends who the party picks as the leader.

    • Jez Grove
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. To answer Jerry’s specific question, Corbyn couldn’t become prime minister as a result of May’s resignation. May stepping down is the same as Trump resigning / being impeached, with the difference that in the UK we don’t have a vice-PM so there would automatically be a leadership contest within the ruling party to choose her successor. The Conservative Party would remain in power until the next general election.

      With both of the major British parties split over Brexit, it is difficult to see how changing the PM, whether through an internal leadership contest or a general election, would break the impasse on Brexit and lead need to a different Brexit outcome. Indeed, as things stand it isn’t clear how either Labour or the Conservatives would agree on a clear election manifesto on Brexit. This is the reason that many in the UK think that a second referendum – either to revisit the original choice or to confirm a deal agreed by parliament – would be the only way of settling the issue. Even then, the result may be as narrow as before and the present divisions would continue.

      Interestingly, ALL British citizens – including those ineligible to vote in the Brexit referendum – are able to petition parliament and so can support either the ‘Revoke Article 50’ or ‘Leave the EU without a Deal’ petitions at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. To answer Jerry’s specific question, Corbyn couldn’t become prime minister as a result of May’s resignation. May stepping down is the same as Trump resigning / being impeached, with the difference that in the UK we don’t have a vice-PM so there would automatically be a leadership contest within the ruling party to choose her successor. The Conservative Party would remain in power until the next general election.

      With both of the major British parties split over Brexit, it is difficult to see how changing the PM, whether through an internal leadership contest or a general election, would break the impasse on Brexit and lead need to a different Brexit outcome. Indeed, as things stand it isn’t clear how either Labour or the Conservatives would agree on a clear election manifesto on Brexit. This is the reason that many in the UK think that a second referendum – either to revisit the original choice or to confirm a deal agreed by parliament – would be the only way of settling the issue. Even then, the result may be as narrow as before and the present divisions would continue.

      Interestingly, ALL British citizens – including those ineligible to vote in the Brexit referendum – are able to petition parliament and so can support either the ‘Revoke Article 50’ or ‘Leave the EU without a Deal’ petitions at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        A PM that favors a second referendum would help a lot. As I understand it, May refuses to consider one.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          As some have suggested elsewhere on this thread, the referendum itself was flawed in that it didn’t require an overwhelming majority – just a plus 1 or something along those lines. This is the same thing that happened when Quebec held a couple of referendums (years apart) in my youth and it scared the crap out of us. For big decisions like this, if you’re going to put something to referendum, you need it to be an overwhelming majority that wants to leave not just one extra vote…..which is a long way of saying, I agree with you but they need to change how the referendum works.

          • Posted March 27, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Agreed. Lots have been written on the problems of direct democracy. It sound good if you don’t think about it too much.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 27, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

              I’ve concluded that direct democracy only works when your population is all equally well educated. Otherwise, we vote in people who are supposed to be competent enough to govern so we don’t have to vote on every single thing.

              • Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:38 am | Permalink

                I agree but in my mind it is more a matter of efficiency. I don’t think it makes sense for everyone to learn everything about an issue before voting on it. No one really does anyway. Instead, we depend on knowledgeable and trustworthy sources on which we base our voting decisions. Perhaps the best education the populace could receive is one that allows them to analyze sources, tell fact from fiction, and apply rational thought.

      • Stepve Pollard
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        In theory, the Government could put May’s deal to the Commons once again, and make it a vote of confidence. If they still turned it down, that would set in motion the steps that might lead to a General Election.

        It’s going back a bit, but Neville Chamberlain actually won the vote against the motion of censorship on the Norway campaign in 1941, but with such a reduced majority that he felt he had option but to resign. May, however…

    • Posted March 28, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      I’m not a constitutional expert but as the Tories do not have an absolute majority in the House of Commons, Corbyn could theoretically be the next Prime Minister without there being a general election if he could form a coalition of all the non-Tory members; although I conceded that is a highly improbable state of affairs.

  6. Scott
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Jonathan Pie has a new video about Brexit (published March 22) and offers a convincing explanation. *NSFW*

    I can’t escape how the explanation given for Brexit, parallels Trumps rise to presidency.

    The similarity is un-canny, if you (mentally) substitute the words US for UK, Trump for Brexit. Then, by the end of the video, the explanation still makes sense.

    Also, there is a youtoube channel

    ‘TLDR news’

    that give a pretty good update as to what is going on. An upcoming video is on the ‘speaker’ of parliment.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      “… the explanation given for Brexit, parallels Trumps rise to [the] presidency.

      Both got strong illicit support from Vlad the Impaler.

      • Jez Grove
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        And Cambridge Analytica, allegedly…

      • BJ
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Hopefully that article isn’t another one written on the basis of information by New Knowledge.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          Whatever one thinks regarding whether or not the Trump campaign gave aid and assistance — or was a mere passive but welcoming third-party beneficiary — there’s no doubt at all (except maybe in the claims spilling forth from Our President’s addled brain) that the Russians did indeed meddle in our 2016 election.

          Just as the Russians sought to do in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

          • Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            Even more importantly, Trump is not doing anything to stop Russia’s meddling in future elections. I’m sure this is because it would taint his 2016 election as somewhat illegitimate. I can’t think of a clearer example of where Trump puts himself before country.

            Our hope is that the intelligence services are doing what they can to combat the Russian interference on their own volition. Trump could hardly tell them not to, not publicly anyway. Of course, he can fail to fund their efforts but perhaps they have enough discretionary control to get the job done regardless.

            • Alexander
              Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

              Yes that, and Brexit weakening Europe politically. The Puppet Master in the Kremlin is rubbing his hands…there is almost no more skin left…

          • BJ
            Posted March 27, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

            This seems to me to be another one of those overblown things. It appears the main Russian agency spent about $46,000 in the run to the US election. Moreover, even Nate Silver admitted on 538 (long before we found out that a significant portion of this Russian interference story was overblown by the media) that Russian interference likely had nothing to do with Clinton losing.

            You were careful with your words regarding Brexit in your response to me because there’s no conclusive evidence that Russia did meddle. Regardless, the big dog that did it was Cambridge Analytica. People are very angry about the role that company played in both the Leave campaign and Trump’s campaign, but, as far as I’m concerned, what they did is just the natural evolution of using social media data for political campaigns. It’s also a natural evolution of the platform that Obama’s campaign built for the 2012 election. Rather than their methods being spurned, they will become the new norm over the coming years, and that’s what really scares me. The Russians spending a few thousand dollars on ads frightens me far less than the actual campaigns spending tens of millions to use people’s data and target them with ads.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted March 27, 2019 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

              According to the link you supplied, “the Russians still reached 126 million Facebook users, as well as 20 million Instagram users.”

              And, of course, that was just part of the active-measures disinformation arm of the Russians cyber-attack on our 2016 election. There was also the hacking of the DNC and Podesta computers, and the release of the information so stolen through Russian military intelligence’s western publication arm, Wikileaks — the stolen information flogged by Donald Trump every day and night during his last month on the campaign hustings. Let’s recall as well that the main tranche of those stolen emails was dumped when Trump needed it most, just 45 minutes after the campaign-threatening disclosure of his “Access Hollywood” hot-mic tape.

              But the worst part of all is that Trump has shown no inclination at all to do anything to deter the Russians from doing the same — or, likely, worse (including, perhaps, taking another run at our vulnerable voting-machine system that they breached in 2016) — in 2020. Indeed, I suspect Trump would once again welcome Putin’s help given that he lost the popular vote in the last election by 3 million votes and, since taking office, has yet to have an approval rating that matches the mere 46% of the vote he received in 2016.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted March 27, 2019 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

              Also, I take it you’ve read this indictment, which sets out that the Russian Internet Agency had a $1.25 million monthly budget, and hundreds of employees, attempting to interfere in our election. Much of these efforts were targeted at traditional Democratic voters, including black voters, in an effort to suppress voter turnout.

              As Nate Silver concludes, it is impossible to know for certain what impact the Russian meddling had on the 2016 election outcome. I for one think the American electorate deserves much better.

      • JezGrove
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        And from Cambridge Analytica, allegedly…

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:37 am | Permalink

        Yes, Vlad knows his history: dīvide et imperā

        • Posted March 28, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

          Just like illiquid prices fluctuate by upsetting the balance at the margins.

  7. Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if Coel has more insight into the minds of the Leave voters, but the posters for Leave that I saw were based on flatout lies about economic consequences and the prospect of massive not-quite-really-white such as Turkish immigration (Turkey ofc is not part of the EU, nor likely to be, nor is any country not overwhelmingy white)if we remained

    As to Marou’s idea of turning the taps (of Govt spending?) on after a hard Brexit that would deeply damage the economy …

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      There was a lot of mis-information on both sides of the referendum. It’s unclear how much voters believed their own side’s misinformation. (The “remainer” line is that the brexit voters were all dupes, suckered by the misinformation; that might have been partially the case but I think it’s a lot more complicated than that.)

      Note that at the time Turkey was less Islamist than now (it was before the attempted coup and its aftermath), and it was then in formal accession talks with the EU, and it was UK government policy to support Turkey’s accession [on which point, remember that the leave vote was as much as protest about successive UK governments’ policy on the EU as anything]. It was also not long after Merkel’s decision to admit a million Syrian immigrants (I suspect that without that event the vote would not have been to leave; it contributed to a feeling of lack of control).

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        It’s not accurate that Merkel decided to admit Syrians (implied, into Europe). In reality, refugees already gathered in huge numbers in Hungary, leading to a crisis there. There were also a few deaths already that made the news. Then negotiations failed, largely because the East Europeans refused to take refugees, and Hungary’s Orban escalated by threatened to bus them over to Austria, but by then, the Balkan route already grew further into Austria. Hence, Germany and some other countries stepped up and released some of the pressure.

        Also, a reminder, Merkel is herself of the conservative party. I add this because the right wing has concocted a fantasy reality where Merkel is “the Left” and invited everyone over.

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          1) Merkel decided to admit not only Syrians but anyone who would show up. The opportunity was used by Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans, Moroccans, sub-Saharran Africans and many others.
          2) Refugees gathered in huge numbers in Hungary and elsewhere along the route because of well-founded expectations to be admitted.
          3) East Europeans, many of whom have an Ottoman past, were of course not very happy to admit large masses of Muslim refugees, but nevertheless admitted them at this point. However, most refugees used Eastern Europe just as a trampoline to the West. Eastern Europeans are lucky that their countries cannot offer the living standards that most refugees want and apparently feel entitled to.
          4) The “pressure” to be relieved was due to Merkel’s single-handed policy. When she decided to reverse it and made a shameful deal with the dictator Erdogan, the pressure disappeared.
          5) Your last paragraph presents in a nutshell the problem of Western democracy: the elected elite arrogantly betraying its voters. Germans voted for the conservative party, a clear message that they did not want a mass immigration, and nevertheless Merkel decided to behave like the Left and invite everyone over. Such acts of treason explain why Europeans in desperation turn to far-right parties.

          • Posted March 27, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

            Your timeline does not align with anything, it’s completely unhinged from reality as we know it.

            Let’s start with the basic facts: Merkel is singled out by the Right Wing, because she represents the fiction of a secret EU Fourth Reich.

            Key facts: asylum seeker peak for Germany was in November 2015, indeed after Merkel’s statement, but the increase is consistent with the trajectory before. It falls off steeply afterwards, and few month later, is stable on about 10% the peak. Apparently, the refugees in Italy, Greece and from Hungary were processed, and the numbers stabilized. In other words, Merkel’s statement was after refugees reached Europe, and before as right wingers want you to believe.

            The reason is not Merkel, but America’s Wars leading to a vacuum and then the Islamic State, the war in Syria, and other conflicts in the region, which may have been exacerbated by breakdown of civilisation, religious fanatism and tribalism, and climate change. The crisis was going on and growing for years and was a staple of every evening news. It’s astonishing how all of that simply vanished.

            Mid 2011 — refugees in significant numbers begin to turn up in Lebanon, Jordan and especially Turkey, which welcomes them. Eventually, there would around 3 million in Turkey alone. Erdoğan would increasingly become authoritarian and use the refugees to haggle with Europe.

            Mid 2013 — the war continues, and the pressure around Europe, especially Turkey and Greece, mounts. Border fences are erected to control the masses towards Syria, but also some adjacent countries in Eastern Europe begin to add border fences towards Turkey. Many European nations agree to take in Syrian refugees.

            Mid 2014 — by now this is a humanitarian crisis. UN, WHO and Unicef have sounded alarms. Lebanon now has a million refugees. Situation gets worse in the camps around Europe, and more are displaced due to emergence of the Islamic State and their “caliphate”. Various high ranking officials say Europe needs to take more people, not Merkel though. She wants a quota.

            Mid 2015 — borders get fenced up in cascades, which lead to more refugees trying to travel by boat. Several hundreds, perhaps thousands, drowned by now, and the pictures give a face to the humanitarian crisis (e.g. Alan Kurdi). The crisis has hit Greece, Italy, and Hungary, with full force, where the problems continue to worsen. Disease and malnutrition spreads in the camps. The crisis reaches France, Macedonia, even the UK, Austria and other countries in southern and eastern Europe (e.g. in Calais, refugees try to board lorries). Germany and other countries want a quota system, other countries refuse. The Islamic State continues to make things worse. Also Europe tries to combat smugglers, but rescue refuggees on high seas. Also, now northern Africa is involved, e.g. Lybia.

            At this point, most of the refugees are in Europe already.

            September 2015 — Merkel agrees to take in the refugees (estimated at around under a million by then) relieving the burden from Greece and Italy.

            In conclusion, your story is backwards, at best, and ignores basically everything. For sources, start with timelines, e.g. here

            • Posted March 28, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

              Agree with much of what you say. But no mention of economic migrants and this has been going on since the 60s. The numbers have grown exponentially. Stationed with the RAF at Gibraltar in 1962 we were seeing migrants attempting to cross the straits and dying in the attempt in the most dangerous waters, just not the same numbers. Poor living and prospects compel people to seek a better life and we of the richer countries could do much more than just say we have a migrant problem. Helping people to succeed and live in their own countries I am sure would be more preferable to many migrants.

              • GBJames
                Posted March 28, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

                For some reason, the very people who get most worked up about migrants are least interested in foreign assistance.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 28, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

                It’s consistent if you think of it as part of an overall “fuck you” if I don’t know you personally, attitude. They probably cut in line at movies and don’t let people merge onto the highway as well.

              • Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

                Higher on my list would be US exploitative imperialism, for which Americans themselves have almost no awareness. I see the super crooked schenanigans of US oil firms where the CEOs, board members, stakeholders are tightly integrated into politics, and such things. It’s extreme, yet Americans seem not to care. They find it normal that people get shot for standing at the wrong corner in a country on the other side of the globe. Americans, left and right, support this and just don’t care.

                When it comes to big politics, and large patterns, where lots of money and power is involved, I don’t believe in chance, or “mistakes”, especially if they end up benefiting the US Right Wing. So I think US politics pretty much wants to set off huge numbers of refugees, and religious fantaticism. The former destabilises Europe, and other rivals, the latter gives Americans the excuse for continued presence.

                The US is also pretty unique in its position to Climate Change, endangering all of humankind. US propaganda think tanks also fuel right wing climate change “skeptics” in other countries.

                It was often laughed off that the Islamic State and climate change might have a connection, but it wouldn’t be the first time that peoole turn to extremism when they feel threatened and deal with scarcity. The US also supports Saudi Arabia, who export fundamentalist islam. This doesn’t let Islam as a doctrine off the hook, but it can’t be ignored which versions get funds, and which conditions are promoted.

      • Jez Grove
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Turkey’s accession negotiations were nowhere close to being agreed by the EU, for a variety of reasons, long before the 2016 Brexit referendum. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2018/02/08/did-the-unfounded-claim-that-turkey-was-about-to-join-the-eu-swing-the-referendum/

      • JezGrove
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Turkey’s accession negotiations were nowhere close to being agreed by the EU, for a variety of reasons, long before the 2016 Brexit referendum. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2018/02/08/did-the-unfounded-claim-that-turkey-was-about-to-join-the-eu-swing-the-referendum/

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 28, 2019 at 1:12 am | Permalink

        Note that Turkey has been in accession talks for many decades, but it never happened, mainly due to Turkey’s abysmal human rights record. And now under Mr Erdogan’s dictatorship it is less likely than ever. A (more or less) functional democracy and adherence to human rights are conditions sine qua non for accession to the EU.

  8. Malcolm
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    The problem has been that while the ballot paper said leave people who voted for this did not agree at all what this meant while there is of course only one version of remain. Since the referendum it has become much clearer what the result if leave will be such that a large number of people who voted leave in the referendum would now vote remain. This is shown by the current polls the revoke article 50 petition (signed by 5.8m, and the march last weekend. The Tory party is now so desperate to leave that they seem willing to go to any lengths to make sure that there is no confirmatory referendum despite May’s leave plan being like nothing anyone envisaged at the referendum. It deems that the people are to be denied a say in what they decide is meant by leave and are not allowed to change their minds. It is also a major point that although this referendum is being treated by May as bunding it was advisory only but if it had been binding being unsafe and an illegal referendum. Tis was admitted in court by the Gov’ts own lawyers.

    It makes one wonder why the Tory party is so bent on leaving.

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      +1

      The Leave campaigns scattergunned a range of Leave options, which allowed them to appeal to a much wider constituency than would have been attracted by a specific, unambiguous Brexit plan. They recognised it was the only way they could win, and this also explains why they are so desperate to avoid a second referendum on *any* deal that has been written down; they understand there really is no specific deal that would command a majority of the voting public.

      This means it is correct to say, as some do in these comments, that Brexit was not all about xenophobia. Indeed. But the evidence suggests there was a racist constituency that was successfully appealed to by elements of the Leave campaigns, so I think it’s safe to say some voted Leave to reduce immigration for racist reasons.

      And I expect some voted Leave who wanted to leave the EU, but not the Single Market, as some Leavers claimed would be a good idea.

      And I expect some voted Leave wanting to leave the EU and the Single Market but have a customs union.

      And I expect some voted Leave to finally say “Up yours Delors!”, to leave without any deal, saying good riddance to the SM and CU.

      And I expect some voted Leave to be free of the globalist, corporate friendly monolithic right wing EU, to allow the introduction of genuine socialist policies to benefit all.

      And there are more possibilities.

      So, you can see how a wide range of opinions were attracted to Leave.

      But this sets up a trap, because it’s logically impossible to satisfy all those leavers, and this logical impossibility has caused paralysis in Parliament, as we have seen. A compromise deal has been rejected by Leavers and Remainers alike! And inevitably too, most Leave voters will be unsatisfied by Brexit.

      This was inevitable the moment Brexiteers succeeded in squeezing a Leave vote out of a population made desperate by austerity.

      And I fear the likeliest outcome is still No Deal, because that is the effect of the law that has been passed so far, and Parliament won’t have the gumption to agree any other laws.

      As a consequence we will suffer under some pretty desperate right wing administrations in the coming years 😦

    • Posted March 28, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Something like 80-90% of Tory party members are in favour of Brexit. Any MP that stands up for Remain is in serious danger of being deselected before the next general election as a result.

      If Brexit doesn’t happen, I think Theresa May foresees the destruction of her party.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Goes to show that popular referenda are no way to run a representative democracy. Look at the king hell mess California has had with the propositions put to a popular vote per its referendum process.

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Referenda are a terrible idea but it was a referendum that took us into the Common Market (as it was called) in the first place.

      • Graham Martin-Royle
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Incorrect. The UK entered the EEC under the premiership of Ted Heath and the tory party. The referendum that you are referring to took place under the premiership of Harold Wilson and the Labour Party. It had pretty much the same question as the second referendum held in 2016, should the UK stay or leave.

      • Ross Foley
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Uh, no it wasn’t. It was Ted Heath’s government that took us into the Common Market in early 1973. It provoked a lot of griping such that Harold Wilson, when PM in 1974, promised a referendum on membership to “settle the issue.” If I recall, the majority on that 1975 referendum was something like 62% for staying in – much more convincing than the thin majority of 2016 which is now to be cast in stone for a generation as The Will Of The People. !7.4 million is the WOTP in a nation of 65million. Come off it!

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      As a Californian, I would like to see the threshold to put a proposition on the ballot significantly increased, so that we don’t see a whole card on the ballot taken up by measures that shouldn’t be the subject of popular vote, but I disagree that it is a “king hell mess” – when push comes to shove, Californians tend to vote sensibly when it comes to propositions.

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Except perhaps for Prop 13.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          The Briggs Initiative was no bargain, either (although it thankfully failed at the ballot box).

          Prop 8 did its fair share of damage (until it was ruled unconstitutional), too.

  10. phoffman56
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    As I’ve said a couple of times about essentially 180 million USian registered voters producing Drumpf, the Brits have ‘made their own bed, so let them sleep in it.’ I did my Ph.D. there about 99 years ago, married a Brit, did a couple of sabbaticals there, etc., so have lots of fondness for the Brits; but less than I did before that referendum. At least in this case, you don’t have a bunch of assholes who could easily wreck entire human progress (not just their own country), with climate change and possibly even a nuclear war.

    Not Corbyn; the next UK Prime Minister would be whoever the Conservative Party produces as its leader, at least until an election occurs (by 2022).

    I had pretty closely predicted what has happened until now; and another referendum, resulting in no Brexit at all, would give my predictions good accuracy. We’ll see.

    Actually I think a fair situation would be possibly a pair of new referenda:

    In the first one, choose one of:
    1/ Brexit with no deal; or
    2/ Brexit with May’s deal, the only one agreed by EU; or
    3/ no Brexit.

    In the unlikely event that one of these gets a majority, that’s it. But more likely, the two top ones, both under 50%, go at it in another referendum, deciding the matter, without any dicking around in Parliament.

    If the fools fall for liars Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage again, so be it. But they’ll need new lies for any voter the least bit knowledgeable of what has been happening.

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Or alternatively you could keep on having referendums until everyone’s need is satisfied. There better be a referendum to make sure that it’s the right referendum.
      The referendum delivered a result and liking it or not that is the result. The UK has to get on with what was voted for.
      The government should govern.

      • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        But your Parliament keeps voting again and again about the same thing until it (presumably) gets the result it wants. Why are they allowed do-overs when the people are not?

        /Grania

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          Very good question. Poor government in my view. Also not my parliament although the Canadian version is similar in that we have a Parliamentary Democracy.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          For the same reason the townfolk in Shirley Jackson’s short story kept holding an annual lottery?

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Excellent point.
          I also seem to remember that the Brexiteers vowed to keep asking for a new referendum if they would lose this (the 2016) one.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          ut your Parliament keeps voting again and again about the same thing until it

          That got stopped about 10 days ago by the Speaker pointing out that the practice of the House is to NOT permit the re-debate and re-division of the house on a substantially unchanged proposition twice in one session. May got two bites at the cherry because there were some minor differences between version 1 and version 2, then it got stopped.
          Bercow – the Speaker, much though it pains me to say this, is one of the few politicians to come out of this mess relatively well. Well, maybe Varadker comes out of it a bit better, but it’s not his parliament opening cans of worms with high explosives. I’m sure he’s got a few clogs to throw in over the next couple of weeks. Sabots for the delicate balance of Parliamentary sanity.

      • TreenonPoet
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        @Robert Ladley
        ”The UK has to get on with what was voted for.”

        The UK did not have to get on with what was voted for. The Referendum was advisory. Parliament has never been allowed a proper debate on the momentous issue of whether the UK should leave the EU, taking into account the result of the Referendum (amongst other factors).

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        There are also provisions in Article 50 to prevent countries trying to shilly-shally around, trying to get a better deal by squirming on the hook. They’ve got one extension, and that’s probably going to be it. As the French politician who named her cat “Brexit” would probably do, at some point, fairly early, the door gets shut with the cat in a very non-Schrodinger certainty of being In or Out.
        Oh, bugger, I haven’t done my French lessons for the day. Or my German. Or my Swahili. That’s much more profitable than worrying about politicians.

        • Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          That makes sense but I have to think the EU doesn’t really want the UK to leave. The EU is perceived as weak right now so losing the UK just makes it weaker and it might end up being the beginning of the end. Also, if the UK decides to remain, I doubt whether it will mess with leaving for many years. That said, I don’t hear the EU campaigning for UK to remain. Perhaps they do behind closed doors or would if they thought May would listen. Campaigning publicly would put them in a weak position as far as negotiating terms of the exit.

          • Posted March 28, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

            The EU probably thought that the best thing was not to campaign for Remain because it might produce the opposite effect.

            If they publicly said “please go, you’re a pain in the arse” you might get some Brexiteers to advocate staying in the EU to “stick one on Johnny Foreigner”.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            If the UK does leave, then try to re-enter, then they’re going to get the full works. Adopt the Euro before entry. No rebates. No exclusions from rules that apply to other countries (in particular, no special deals on tax laws for minor territories like the Channel Islands, IoM, Falklands, Gibralter). In short, a considerably worse deal than we’re getting at the moment.
            The EU may not have wanted us to go, but they most definitely don’t want this CF to carry on, and will not countenance it re-starting. They’d rather have another enclave (like Switzerland) than a continuation of this uncertainty.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:44 am | Permalink

          There is no objection from the EU side to revoke Article 50. The European Court ruled that Britain could at any time revoke it, and remain, without any consequence or sanction.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

            A50 can be revoked. But extensions and changing the details of A50 process are very limited and at the discretion of the EU. Precisely to STOP efforts at blackmailing negotiations.
            Basically, Britain is being given a lesson in “you’re not playing gunboat diplomacy any more”.

    • Paul
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think those three options are reasonable. They split leave votes across different categories which would allow remain to win more easily.

      Perhaps:

      Stay/remain first question.

      Second question: if voted leave, would you prefer…. A,b,c

      • phoffman56
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        “They split leave votes across different categories which would allow remain to win more easily.”

        You don’t seem to realize there would necessarily be a second referendum here. And what you say is the whole point of the second referendum. All the leavers will necessarily get a second chance to again vote leave, but then they have to ‘put up or shut up’, instead of waltzing around picking up votes from people who might like to leave, but only under some mythical conditions entirely different from their own.

        I could argue that my suggestion is overly helping the leavers, not the remainers: It would automatically be the case that leavers get a 2nd chance to vote for leaving. I doubt it, but possibly the remainers would even come 3rd in my first referendum. But then at least they’d have a chance to affect the conditions of the leaving by their vote in the second one.

        But your system I’m sure leavers would be quite happy to have as well, because at this point, the remainers would likely win the first referendum in your system, and the second just would not occur.

        If I understand what BBC has been reporting for months now, the leavers are very frightened of any new referendum at all, and they should be.

        I think there have been several quite decisive arguments here showing why it is not anti-democratic to hold another referendum. One more such argument is along the lines that this is something affecting younger individuals much more than older ones. It’s not just something that can be fixed after 4 or 5 years or less, when governments are elected. Maybe ages 20-40 should get 3 votes, ages 40-60 get 2 votes, and old farts like me get only 1.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 28, 2019 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      Should you not have added Jacob Rees-Mogg under the prominent liars?

      • phoffman56
        Posted March 28, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        Yes.

    • Posted March 28, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I think one referendum with two questions:

      1. Should we leave with Theresa May’s deal? yes or no?

      2. In the event that the answer to 1 is no, would you prefer a) to leave with no deal, b) to stay in the EU.

      • phoffman56
        Posted March 28, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        My suggested (possible) 2nd referendum, depending on the result of the 1st, allows people to vote for any one of the three which are possible at this point. The EU apparently will not agree to anything else, despite the silliness in Westminster yesterday.
        Your suggestion suffers from the question of why the first question is not one of the other 2 possibilities, rather than May’s deal. There seems no compelling reason why her deal has this pre-emption opportunity.
        Better to first eliminate the least popular (almost certainly ‘no-deal Brexit’).

        • Posted March 28, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

          May’s deal is the deal that is on the table and that has been agreed by the EU. Finding out if the deal that exists is acceptable to the electorate is the logical place to start.

          • phoffman56
            Posted March 28, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

            ‘No Brexit’ is also “on the table” as you say, that is, acceptable to EU.

            ‘Brexit with no deal’ cannot be stopped by EU, is somewhat painful to them, much more so to Britain.

            So all three have the same status with respect to being doable. Nothing else does.

            As I said, despite being geographically removed, I think either of our suggestions, if carried out, will result in ‘no Brexit’. So would just a repeat of the original referendum. Personally I hope ‘no Brexit’ happens. But really it’s none of my business, I suppose.

            • Posted March 28, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

              So all three have the same status with respect to being doable

              But they don’t have the same status with respect to the negotiations. A deal has been negotiated between the UK government and the EU. The first step is to decide whether it is an acceptable deal. Only if the answer to that is no, is it time to look at what alternatives there are. That, by the way, is exactly what is happening in Parliament. They have rejected the deal on the table but they can’t agree on what alternative to take. In a way, it is unfortunate that the EU is allowing an extension to article 50 because that means there are still more than two alternatives to May’s deal.

              You’re right, by the way, that either of our referendum structures will result in no Brexit. Personally, I think that is as it should be: Remain almost certainly has a majority with the British public at this time. Also, it’s the best option available.

  11. TJR
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    The big problem is that Labour is lead by a Leaver. Corbyn almost certainly wants to leave the EU but doesn’t want to formally admit it.

    The looney left are anti-EU because it is too capitalist while the rabid right are anti-EU because it is too socialist.

    As Sir Humphrey Appleby pointed out 35 years ago, the main objective of British foreign policy has always been the prevention of a united Europe, whether under Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler or Merkel (obviously he wasn’t so prescient as to mention Merkel by name).

    The EU produces an awful lot of nonsense and there are many good reasons to want to leave, but the middle class left have continuously tried to present it is a result of working class xenophobia.

    Personally I think there are even more good reasons to stay (better on the inside pissing out etc) but the demonisation of sensible Leavers (as again the rabid right Tory ones) always irks me. Mind you, maybe they are the equivalent of the moderate Xians who provide top cover for the nuts?

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Corbyn would join the Warsaw Pact if it still existed.

    • Posted March 28, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Demonisation has been a big problem all round. In fact, I think that it played a part in hardening the attitudes of some potential Brexit voters before the referendum.

  12. Danny
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    “Brits know a lot more about this than I….”
    I wouldn’t bet on that.

  13. TJR
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I was arguing last week about who would be a worse PM, Johnson or Corbyn.

    I’ve decided that my Bayesian prior is that Johnson’s “damage to the country” distribution is roughly normal, with a large mean and moderate variance.

    However, Corbyn’s “damage to the country” distribution is very long-tailed to the right. It has a lower median than Johnson, but much higher variance and hence probably a higher mean as well.

  14. GBJames
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    sub

  15. Steve Pollard
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Dear me, it’s all very mixed up. Even the MPs don’t seem to be clear about what they’re supposed to be doing.

    At present they are supposed to be considering the way in which we withdraw from the EU. The deal that May – or rather her Civil Servants – have negotiated delivers this. It’s not a bad deal, on its own.
    But detailed discussions have yet to start on the future relationship. The lack of clarity on the latter has infected the process of trying to agree the withdrawal process.

    As far as I can see, May’s hint about her resignation depends on her withdrawal agreement getting through, That would mean a new PM being responsible for negotiating the new relationship agreement. The trouble is that many people assume this would have to be a hard Brexiteer, such as Boris Johnson, who is a lazy, superficial fantasist. Some of the others, such as David Davis, are the same, but thick into the bargain.

    Much as I would prefer to Remain, I don’t think that will happen. But I have little confidence in the ability of any of the Brexiteer politicians to negotiate a coherent way ahead. Maybe the best we can hope for is that they are all so idle that they have to leave it to their dull bureaucrats. As a one-time member of the latter, I wish them luck!

    • John Crisp
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Steve, I have to take issue with your “It’s not a bad deal, on its own,” though I agree with everything else you say. It’s a terrible deal, whether you are a remainer (as I am) or a leaver. If you are a remainer, it means that the UK gets a quarter of what it currently has as a member, and absolutely no say (control) in the future. If you are a leaver, it means all of the above, plus no guarantee of actually leaving. And in any case, despite the almost 3 years of negotiation, it actually means that further long negotiations will be needed to decide what is actually going to happen, with the result that anyone whose livelihood or residency is linked with European arrangements faces further and continuing uncertainty.

      In what other circumstances would one of the parties emerge from negotiations with immeasurably less than they started with, and call it “not a bad deal”? That in itself is a recognition that the starting position was one of extreme weakness, further exacerbated by the idiocy of the initial chief negotiator (as you say, the thick David Davis) and the robotic rigidity of the Prime Minister.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        John, thank you for that corrective. I absolutely agree that whatever we end up with is bound to be less to our advantage than staying in.

        The question is whether we are prepared simply to ignore the result of the 2016 referendum. I would like to think we can; but I fear for the consequences for our democracy if we do.

        If May’s deal prevails, there is a chance of superseding it if we can get a technological solution to the Irish border issue. I don’t see much sign of that with any of the other options – especially the “Norway +/-” suggestions, which depend on hard negotiations not only with the EU but also with EFTA. What a shambles!

        I would just add that at least our European partners are better prepared in some ways than we are. Two of my children work in the EU (France and Italy); both have been given assurances that their residence is safe; but both are planning to take out dual citizenship, just to be sure!

        • GBJames
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          “…technological solution to the Irish border issue…”

          AKA “magic”.

          • JezGrove
            Posted March 27, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            But how lovely to have unicorns and leprechauns doing customs checks…

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 27, 2019 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

              The people of Scotland didn’t get the memo about having to select a real animal for their official animal.

  16. DrBrydon
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Not an expert on Brexit or British politics, but it’s my impression that May is being optimistic to think she will last until after Brexit is decided.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      May is being optimistic to think she will last until after Brexit is decided.

      The actual details of Brexit are unlikely to be fully decided before some time in the 2020s as the “political relationship” gets worked out.
      Going on the normal rates for such proceedings, the putative trade deals will start being signed in about 2025.

  17. Alan Clark
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    So she will quit if she succeeds in getting her deal accepted, but remain as PM if she fails? Shouldn’t it be the other way round?

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      I agree. If she manages to get her moribund Brexit plan through after all of its previous defeats, she should be considered a political genius and kept on as PM.

  18. jpetts
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    The Jonathan Pie video is scarily accurate.

  19. Curtis
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    The problems with a second referendum are:
    1) There are three options and none have a majority.
    2) May’s deal is most people’s second choice but probably the least popular first choice.

    What do you do with a vote that is
    Remain – 45% First Choice, 10% Second Choice
    May’s leave – 15% First Choice, 80% Second Choice.
    Hard Brexit – 40%, 10% Second Choice

    Do you choose remain because it the most popular even though most people want to leave? Do you do use ranked voting and get May’s deal which is the least popular?

    Parliament’s inability to make a decision is a reflection of the peoples indecision.

    • phoffman56
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Just do the double referendum which I suggested above in 10. That seems a sensible solution to exactly the problem you discuss, namely 3 options, no majority. Being sensible, and likely to result in ‘no Brexit’, the politicians aren’t likely to let it happen.

  20. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    It was such a long time ago when I was in Britain, they changed the money system while I was there. I did enjoy my three plus years there and hope they come out of this in one piece.

    I suspect they, just like us but for different reasons woke up one day and realized they had made a big mistake. To vote yourself out without a proper plan. What we did was put a freak in charge with no plan at all except to fill his own pockets. What a surprise, that is what he had always done and was not fit to be mayor of the toilet, let alone the country. Survival is always a close thing and this time we have gone past close. All the best to you.

  21. Harrison
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    The pols have no easy outs. No deal is bad, a bad deal is bad, a good deal is unattainable, and just reversing course entirely, while the economically sensible move, is a thumb in the eye to the democratic process, as would be holding another referendum just because the last one didn’t get the result you wanted (and fate preserve you if you lost again). Procrastination is the only thing they feel comfortable doing.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I disagree that another referendum would be a thumb in the eye of democracy (it was presented as a non-binding one), nor keeping referenda until you get the result you want.
      In 2016 Brexit appeared, well, feasible without much pain, but it has become clear that it cannot be painless. So much more has clear, the whole outlook has changed now.
      And it has particularly become clear that, whether we like it or not, the UK is to a great extent bound to EU regulations at any rate. The choice appears to be: will the UK have some say in the EU (Bremain), or will it have no say (Brexit).

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      One could revote the referendum but require a supermajority in order to overturn the first referendum. The supermajority could be for the remain vote to exceed the percentage of votes for leave in the first vote.

  22. Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Evidently May is trying to trade her resignation for votes for her Brexit plan. I don’t know enough about UK politics to understand how that would work. Surely a politician could accept her resignation and then vote on Brexit however they please.

    The thing that really angers me is the argument against a second referendum made by the Leavers. They argue that it would be somehow undemocratic when clearly they are afraid that a second vote would favor Remain. Are people not allowed to change their mind after a couple of years of hearing about what Leave will entail? Since polls indicate that Remain would probably win a second referendum, it is the failure to have a second vote that is undemocratic.

    • Ross Foley
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, Paul, on your second paragraph. The other annoying thing is that Leavers berate Remainers for not shutting up, for being bad losers. Yeah, just like the Eurosceptics who never shut up for the last 45 years of membership.

  23. Alexander
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    The referendum happened 3 years ago! In the meantime you probably have about a million young people who now can vote, and who would like to get jobs in Europe, or get on the Erasmus university system, or do research in Europe, etc.

    Also, now the Brits have learned what awaits them with a hard Brexit. In Belgium, my UK friends (who lived here for five years or more) are applying for Belgian nationality.

    Just remember: The days after the first referendum, the most frequent question on the internet in the UK was: what is the EU? So figure…

    I was amazed that Mrs May apologized for having changed her mind. What is wrong with changing your mind? It is a sign of intelligence. If we didn’t, we would still believe that the Sun turns around the Earth!

    • Alexander
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Sub

    • Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      “Also, now the Brits have learned what awaits them with a hard Brexit.”

      In other words, a leaving Britain will be punished so that nobody else tries to break away in the future.

      • Alexander
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Not that, but UK nationals in living in Spain, for example, will drop off the national health system, they will not be able to bring their pets from the UK, etc.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        ‘Punished’?

        You mean, lose the privileges of membership?

        Well golly gosh, who would have thought that would happen. [/sarcasm]

        cr

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 28, 2019 at 1:25 am | Permalink

          Yes, ‘losing the privileges of membership’, that is putting it correctly.
          And losing a say in the EU policies.

        • Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          No, I mean having worse trade terms with the EU than Norway and Switzerland.

  24. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    what I do know about it makes me think it was a terrible idea fuelled largely by xenophobia and a sense that Britain would somehow be polluted—lose its “Britishness”—by being part of the EU.

    Some of us have been actively undermining the concept of “Britishness” as being a worthwhile thing since our school days. It comes from … errr, being British, living in Britain, and having very clear sight of the undesirable aspects of Britain and Britishness.
    The racism and xenophobia surfacing since the Brexit referendum (it was always present, but more below the surface than these days) is utterly unsurprising. Predictable, and predicted.

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      I think (and I’m going by what I read, since I live in California) that it’s more than xenophobia in the same way that Trump’s support here is more than just xenophobia – it’s a longing for the “way things were”. In the US, that might mean for someone in the Rust Belt the kind of well-paid and secure jobs that used to exist in the auto and steel industries; in the UK equivalent, probably the same but with two strengthening factors: (1) not only are jobs being exported, just as they are from the US, but people can move within the EU to take jobs in the UK in a way that cannot be done in the US – our immigrants seem to be at the top or the bottom of the food chain, high tech in California, slaughterhouses in Iowa; (2) EU laws and regulations imposed “from the outside”, again a factor that doesn’t apply in the US.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted March 27, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        I think that may have something to do with it. Some people think, or have been told, that “immigrants are coming over here and taking all our jobs”, at the same time that austerity, unaffordable housing, and the gig economy have made people in many parts of the country feel insecure. This despite the fact that immigrants keep the NHS, the social care system, and the agricultural sector going; and that employment across the UK has never been higher.

        And of course the jobs argument works both ways: millions of Brits work in the EU, and want to keep on doing so.

        And even if we do finally separate from the EU, we will still have to be tied to them in so many ways: if we want to export, work or travel there, for instance. How the Brexit headbangers think we can possibly thrive in the real world I have no idea.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        So, people within the US can’t move from one place to another to take up jobs? That is how I, as a European, view my moving across three countries within Europe for work, and how I view my Spanish, French, Latvian, Norwegian and Lithuanian colleagues doing the same.
        (Norway is a complicating factor – it’s not in the EU but it is part of the Single Market for goods, services and free movement of workers. Which is why several of my colleagues have chosen to live and work there.)

  25. Steve Gerrard
    Posted March 27, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Come on, Jonathan, tell us what you really think!

    Replace Parliament with Congress, and you get the USA in a nutshell. We are behind the UK going down this path, since we are never #1 anymore, but we will be there soon enough.

  26. ankersten
    Posted March 28, 2019 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    I’m a “long view” kinda guy. From where I sit, Brexit is part of an uncomfortable trend that includes Trump’s America, Orban’s Hungary, Poland’s Law and Justice party, Italy’s League, Turkey’s Erdogan, the Philippines’ Duterte and Brazil’s Bolsonaro, not to mention the host of ultra-right movements in various countries. These are all inward-looking movements that privilege their “tribe” and demonise the “others”.

    Way I see it is this: In the first half of the 20th century there was no EU. European countries were sovereign and acted in what their leaders perceived to be their own best interests. Result: what some historians call “the European Civil War 1914-1945”, with the best part of 100 million dead worldwide and the continent devastated from Moscow to London and Narvik to Palermo. In the second half of the century the EU and its predecessors developed. Result: not one single European killed by another at the behest of their government.

    So Britain loses a little sovereignty. Bring it on, if the alternative, or even its possibility, is the one for which we have the starkest possible historical warning, and towards which the various rising ultranationalist movements are again moving.

    I suspect the IPCC might have a word or two to say about what our priorities as a species should be.

    • Mark Jones
      Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:07 am | Permalink

      +1

  27. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    Jonathan Pie is great, but I also like John Oliver’s take:

  28. Mr Paul Woodcraft
    Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    This is sadly accurate.

    BTW if any UK Citizen who is eligible & hasn’t signed the revoke Article 50 Petition (now approaching 6m & the Biggest in UK History) please do so N.B. You must confirm using valid email or your vote won’t count.
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 28, 2019 at 4:47 am | Permalink

      I love the flower importer who voted leave, and realises now that he basically destroyed his own business. He would ‘have second thoughts now’, as he put it.

      • Posted March 28, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

        There have been so many instances of the turkeys voting for Christmas. The idea that everyone who voted for Leave were voting for exactly the same thing is entirely specious.

        I think the the Ladybird Book Of Brexit hit the nail on the head when one character who voted for Leave, only did so because there was not a third option in the referendum: to throw the Prime Minister out of the window. For a lot of people it was about giving David Cameron a kick in the nuts and not caring about the consequences.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 29, 2019 at 4:22 am | Permalink

          The Ladybird Book of Brexit – it looks delightful.

          But there’s an even more important one in the series, and right On Topic for this site. Someone should get Prof. Ceiling Cat a copy:

          cr

  29. Posted March 28, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I have also been chastised by rude people on email for my ignorance about Brexit.

    …but what I do know about it makes me think it was a terrible idea fueled largely by xenophobia and a sense that Britain would somehow be polluted—lose its “Britishness”—by being part of the EU. And those who voted for “leave” didn’t seem to realize all the ramifications.

    … I still don’t know what will happen, except that everything got mucked up and I saw a lot of people yelling at each other in Parliament and in the British media…

    …I’m still a bit confused …

    Apart from the fact that I know a few more of the technical details about how politics work here, from the quotes above, I’d say your level of knowledge is fine. And I’m not really joking. Anybody who tells you they are not a bit confused about this is probably lying.

    For example I read a story last night that says May will resign if she wins. Normally politicians resign if they lose and stay on if they win.

    • Posted March 28, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Screwed that up: “your knowledge is fine” should be “your knowledge is similar to mine”.

  30. Dominic
    Posted March 28, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Nothing matters very much, & most things don’t matter at all.

  31. Posted March 28, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I am also admittedly ignorant about Brexit except that I am able, despite that ignorance, to recognize idiocy when I see it.

  32. Posted March 28, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I don’t spend much time trying to keep up with Brexit or what the UK is doing. I think the UK will find a way to continue either way. Someone once said that England will continue to muddle on. Or forward. (Or something like that)


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