Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
As you know I am no admirer of May. But at least the EU have been able to come to some agreements with her. It is the House of Commons which is completely dysfunctional with no majority for any positive proposal. Ultimately there are only two solutions to this:

  1. Take it out of the hands of the Commons and have a "people's vote" on May's deal.

  2. Have a general election fought on the specifics  of her deal, no deal, and no Brexit and hope the results throw up a clear majority for one of the above.

Either is a perfectly rational solution to the problem whereas a delay simply to prolong existing EU/UK negotiations will get absolutely nowhere.

I would imagine the EU Council would agree an A.50 extension only if the UK commits to 1. or 2. above.  So absent one of those two options, the EU Council could end up booting the UK out on 29th. March despite any requests for an extension that might have come from the UK.

Would May agree to hold a General Election/Second referendum if the UK was on the point of being booted out of the EU with no deal? Would Corbyn support a second referendum if he can force a general election?

I suspect those calls will only be made in the days/hours leading up to 29th. March. A general election might actually be the best option, because voters would have the choice of voting for parties supporting No deal (UKIP and half the Conservatives), May's Deal (half the Conservatives) or No Brexit (Lib Dems).

Labour would presumably try to have it both ways and campaign on the basis of giving voters a choice between a better (softer) Brexit deal (which they would negotiate) or to Remain in a subsequent referendum.

However the bottom seems to be falling out of the middle ground in UK politics. Is there a danger Labour could disappear down the middle? The winner might well be determined by which vote - Remain or Leave - is split least badly. My worry is the Remain vote would be split quite badly between Labour and the Lib Dems, while the Tories gain the lion's share of both the May's deal and no deal vote.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 07:41:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah but both of those options should have been done months (or years) ago. Sort of hard to have a public vote of any sort now.
by asdf on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 11:47:21 PM EST
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No. There are reasons why the current psychodrama has to run its course. But yes, both would require an A.50 extension which I believe the EU should only grant subject to May saying she needed the time to hold "a major constitutional event".

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 09:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2. Have a general election fought on the specifics  of her deal, no deal, and no Brexit and hope the results throw up a clear majority for one of the above.

I don't know what that looks like. Our FPTP elections are (at best) fought on manifestoes (for those who bother to read them). Given only two significant parties, both divided into multiple factions, how would you represent three definitive options in two GE manifestoes? The current Labour proposal is not even one of those three.

The chance of a GE resolving this chaos is, I believe, minimal. A referendum would be clearer, with those three options on the paper.

But a referendum that returned "Stay In" leaves the ERG to carry on the 50 year fight of their predecessors and leaves the UK disrupting the business and evolution of the EU, whatever that path is. With the damage already done to the UK economy and other global uncertainties of the next years, the inevitable UK further decline would be blamed by the Leavers on the EU and Staying In.

'No Deal' is not only looking more likely; it may be the only way to break out of the current delusions, albeit a very dangerous path and painful lesson. My impression is that a number of leaders of the EU27 have concluded that.

At least it will teach the proponents of WTO the difference between "WTO Rules" and "WTO Default Terms".

by oldremainmer48 on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 09:55:21 AM EST
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I think it is clear the EU is better off without the UK.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 03:39:14 PM EST
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Yes, that has been clear for quite a while. The UK has been the epitome of 'perfidious Albion', trolling the EU from within and stepping it up on the way out.

It's always about the benjamins for the Brits, a nation of shopkeepers. The idealism, however ingenuous, felt in the EU for a closer unity has had its share of pragmatism for sure, but for the UK that's all there is.

A cynically insular posture that completely misses the point of having an EU at all.

Tawdry and embarrassing... and not over yet!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Mar 15th, 2019 at 08:32:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]