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The gloves are off

by Frank Schnittger Wed Mar 20th, 2019 at 10:16:12 PM EST

The UK government has requested an extension of the A.50 notification period until June 30th. This creates the awkward situation whereby the UK is still a member of the EU on the 23rd. May, when all members are legally obliged to hold European Parliament elections. It also created problems for EU leaders as the letter requesting the delay came too late for many EU leaders to consult with their parliaments - as they would normally do - before taking a position on it at the EU Council.

Donald Tusk, speaking on behalf of the European Council says "he believes a short extension to A.50 will be possible", but only on condition of the House of Commons voting in favour of the draft Withdrawal Agreement. It is available to enable the required legislation to be passed, but not to engage in further procrastination or discussions on the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

Theresa May, for her part, has spoken directly to the UK People in a TV broadcast over the heads of MPs saying it is time for MPs to stop squabbling and engaging in arcane procedural wrangling. MPs have not responded well, branding her talk pointless, insulting, and arrogant. Dominic Grieve, a leading Conservative Remainer and former Attorney General says "he has never been more ashamed to be a member of the Conservative party" and that he will oppose the Prime Minister unless the Withdrawal Agreement is put to the people in a public vote.


A thousand days after the Brexit referendum, it looks as if everyone has lost patience and trust in Theresa May. Only an actual vote in favour of the deal in the House of Commons will suffice for the EU. Ironically for a process which was to enable the British people to "take back control", the UK's future is now largely in the hands of the European Council.

Theresa May's maladroit handling of the crisis continues apace. She invited opposition leaders to Downing street for talks. Corbyn walked out when he realised former Labour MP Chuka Umunna was also an invitee. As Leader of the Opposition, he  felt entitled to the one on one meeting he had asked for at Prime Minister's questions. Clearly, Theresa May was not intent on having any serious negotiations with the only Leader who could have provided a majority for her deal.

Hectoring and disparaging her opponents has been Theresa May's default setting, and both the EU Council and the House of Commons have had enough of it. Insulting the MPs she needs to support her deal seems a strange way of seeking their support. In reality it was a last throw of the dice. Theresa May is history, and she knows it.

The real question now is whether the EU would even agree to a delay to enable the election of a new Tory leader. Why facilitate the election of an extreme Brexiteer who would only ratchet up the rhetoric and tension still further? The EU has allowed itself to be the bogeyman and fall-guy in this process for long enough.

It is time for the UK to stew in its own juices.

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There's no way for May to be removed as Prime Minister until the 2022 election.  She'll have to resign & fat chance of that.

The House of Commons, with a huge majority, voting against delaying Brexit last Thursday (!) it is quite reasonable of the EU to require the Commons to demonstrate some movement towards sanity before agreeing to extend the deadline.  

Prognosis: No Deal and plenty of UK animosity towards the EU for not kowtowing.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Mar 20th, 2019 at 11:09:34 PM EST
The House of Commons, with a huge majority, voting against delaying Brexit last Thursday(!)

Let me modify that for you...

The House of Commons, with a huge majority, voting against FOR delaying Brexit last Thursday(!)

See Politico - UK parliament votes to delay brexit

by oldremainmer48 on Wed Mar 20th, 2019 at 11:23:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There comes a point where even a leader as obtuse as Theresa May cannot carry on - for example in a situation where half her cabinet resigns - as would have happened had she sought a long extension. Failing that, some MPs will just fail to support her in a vote of confidence. Some will be desperate enough even if it means risking a general election. Things are getting that desperate...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 20th, 2019 at 11:29:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She will have to be winkled out of her bunker by the SAS, who will suffer losses during the operation, probably when their bullets ricochet off her Shield of Obduracy: "FOOLS: You think mere bullets can harm ME, who channels the WILL of THE PEOPLE!"
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 09:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is possible for a British cabinet to become so divided, that its members decide it is not possible to carry on. This last happened in 1931, when the Labour minority cabinet was split over proposed cuts in unemployment benefit. This crisis led to the formation of the National government, which would have seemed improbable just a few days before.
by Gary J on Wed Mar 20th, 2019 at 11:31:35 PM EST
What sense of devotion to the general good (what on earth am I writing?) is there currently that might lead to the compromise necessary for the formation of a National government?

The notion of responsibility (of MPs, of ministers) has been slowly eroded over the 80-90 years since 1931 (but above all, I'd suggest, over the last 50) to the extent that the UK has a non-government hanging on by the skin of its teeth with little prospect of anything but the worst outcome for the country. The queen of "I'm in charge but I'm not responsible" is, of course, Theresa May.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 07:54:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since the leader of the opposition literally can't be in the same room as the other parliamentary groupings, I'd say the odds of any national government  are pretty low.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 09:53:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say it was a calculated move on behalf of May's team to invite Chuka as well Corbyn to a "Party Leaders" meeting. After all Chuka Umunna isn't a leader and isn't even a member of a registered party. Point scoring has always been higher on their list of priorities than moving a process forward.

Corbyn isn't really into the PR thing and left knowing there would be bad press. As if his presence at the meeting would have solved anything. May had to be seen to be "trying to bring the country together". Insulting her MPs, telling them its all their fault, and exploiting divisions in the opposition is obviously the way to do this...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 10:49:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Getting both the pope and the anti-pope in the same room to crown you king. Strong and stable. Not that it matters in the slightest. On the merrits Corbyn's softer kinder Brexit may be a plan the majority of government can live with, but it's not something May would accept and there is just no time to remove her.
by generic on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 11:43:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The actual content of May's deal - or any other deal - is irrelevant at the moment. It's all about the political optics and being seen to be on the winning side. Everybody needs a crutch to get off their high horses, but the EU has run out of crutches, and May thinks cutting people off at the knees is a better approach...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 12:13:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"May thinks" is a contradiction in terms. She just has a basic gut determination to hang on to her horse, high or low, and not let go. The obduracy of Thatcher without the acumen.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 01:40:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, it's just avoiding being on the losing side, which is May.  The Tory Brexiteers are safe with that.  Corbyn, though, hasn't so he needs to avoid her like she's a prison inmate marked for a hit.  Which she is.
by rifek on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 06:58:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eschaton: Corbyn Derangement Syndrom
Much of the politics in Britain these days isn't even about Brexit. It's about how most of the elite political class (Tories, most of the press, and the Blairites in Labour) hate Jeremy Corbyn. The guy isn't beyond criticism and certainly if you don't agree with his politics you aren't going to like him. Brits have a slightly more open if still complicated and confused version of our own "what does it mean to be a journalist instead of an advocate" question. But it really is at the point where if Corbyn wears a hat one day they decide that's evidence he's unfit, and if he doesn't wear a hat one day they decide that's evidence he's unfit.

In terms of Brexit, what the political press wanted (including the ones who are paid to be racist liars for right wing publications, mostly) was an Oxford debate between the anti-Brexit forces and the pro-Brexit forces, with the former led by a Labour leader who wanted nothing more than to dissolve his own party and form a new third party containing anti-Brexit Tory and Labour members, which would otherwise be basically a Tory party. The anti-Brexit forces would defeat the other side with Facts and Logic, Ben Shapiro-style, and somehow Brexit would be over. It's their version of the third party fantasies our press has here. Maybe Howard Schultz is a UK citizen?

by generic on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 07:04:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New Statesman on Corbyn.
Meanwhile, what of Comrade Jeremy? For somebody often painted as a dangerously impulsive radical, Corbyn's greatest political skill may turn out to be his talent for delay. He lets events come to him. Under his bo tree, he quietly sits, and sits, and takes the hits - as, for instance, on the referendum issue - waiting for his moment. Unblinking, he watches as Tom Watson launches his party-within-a-party. He knows that this will stop more centrist Labour MPs defecting to the Independent Group... and so he does nothing rash or angry. He is a radical socialist in his beliefs, no doubt, but he is a milky-mild Fabian in his tactics. Is this surprising? I think it is the result of all those long hours waiting in his allotment for plants to sprout, buds to uncurl, fruit to ripen. He is a watcher. He thinks a long time before acting. This is a new and largely misunderstood politics: gardeners' socialism.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 07:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Last 40.  Maggoty Blather was the death knell for politics as any kind of calling to service.
by rifek on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 06:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Ironically for a process which was to enable the British people to "take back control", the UK's future is now largely in the hands of the European Council."

One of many examples of the EU controlling the UK to come, as negotiation begins to define the relationship between the world's largest trading community and a small island.

by asdf on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 04:22:24 PM EST
"the world's largest trading community": I don't know about that (by value, volume, armament, or census)

"a small island": Happy Vanuatu Day!

--
The pertinent questions to ask oneself, again and again, and has not been answered honestly are: What stops UK gov from seceding from the EU? What form of UK gov do its citizens desire?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 05:25:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Really? I thought the EU was clearly the largest single economy.
by asdf on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 11:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Theresa May, for her part, has spoken directly to the UK People in a TV broadcast over the heads of MPs saying it is time for MPs to stop squabbling and engaging in arcane procedural wrangling. MPs have not responded well, branding her talk pointless, insulting, and arrogant. Dominic Grieve, a leading Conservative Remainer and former Attorney General says "he has never been more ashamed to be a member of the Conservative party" and that he will oppose the Prime Minister unless the Withdrawal Agreement is put to the people in a public vote.
I think you may be mixing up May's intervention at Prime Minister's Questions in the morning and her TV speech from Downing Street in the evening. Dominique Grieve was reacting in the afternoon to May's PMQ intervention.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 06:06:27 PM EST
Not to mention the "delicately coded" message of Elizabeth II, Regina, on 25 January 2019.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 06:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are indeed correct, but I doubt Dominic Grieve's opinion would have been improved by her TV broadcast... and he certainly hasn't walked his comment back in the meantime...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 31st, 2019 at 09:44:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know we're talking about the UK with its magical unwritten and/or invisible ink constitution, but if the Speaker says no more votes on the same deal, the EU says HoC must approve the deal before it will issue an extension, and May asks for an extension until late June, and the EU has previously said Britain can't an extension past May 22, really wtf?
by Andhakari on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 06:35:02 PM EST
Apparently, the UK parliament can send the MPs riding home to their burroughs, and then take up the issue again when they return to London. Of course, the break can be as short as needed, in effect meaning that they can restart just after closing the first session. However, the Queen must still perform the rituals of re-opening. Or at least that's how I understand the invisible constitution.

And I think the takeaway from the date discussion is that both sides agree that the UK will leave before the next parliament. The disagreement is whether this is the election or the seating of the next parliament. I don't think it really matters, because May doesn't have a time table to pass and implement the Withdrawal Agreement, she just wants as much time as possible to browbeat parliament.

by fjallstrom on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 07:40:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the EU proposing an extension with a definite date conditional on the Commons passing the Withdrawal Agreement, the "Meaningful Vote 3" becomes a "substantially different" proposition from the previous ones and Bercow's ruling no longer prevents it.

Not that the Commons could not have voted to overrule the speaker if they wanted to vote on the deal for a third time.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 11:42:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still supposing, though, that there is a majority to be found to support the WA.
by asdf on Fri Mar 22nd, 2019 at 03:11:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]

European Union set to offer delay until May 22 - five weeks shorter than May's request
"The European Union commits to agreeing, before March 29 2019, to an extension until May 22, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week," read a draft agreement seen by Reuters as EU leaders met in Brussels.
[...]
But Mr Varadkar said that if the UK does end up leaving the EU without an exit deal - it will be entirely by their own choice.

"We all need to bear in mind that nobody wants a no-deal here. But no-deal, if it happens, will be a British choice," he emphasised.

The Taoiseach said it was the UK who chose Brexit in the first place and it was they who fixed the March 29 deadline.

What is this?
They needed nobody's permission to revoke the Article 50 exit process - and resume EU membership right up to the deadline, he stressed.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 07:22:28 PM EST
provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week

It is highly improbable Parliament will approve the WA next week ... or next month or next year.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 07:55:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should MPs vote to support the deal by Wednesday March 20, May will request the short-term extension when she heads to an EU leaders summit in Brussels, which is taking place on March 21 and 22.
Sooo they vote to accept the WA and an extension? ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 09:20:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unbelievable.

Theresa May pleads for Brexit delay at crucial European summit

May has managed to alienate the EU leaders ....

May opened the session with other heads of state by reading part of the letter she sent a day earlier, a move that may have frustrated leaders who were hoping for deeper explanations of her plans. Then the leaders, sitting around a ring-shaped table, peppered her with questions about how she could pass the deal in Parliament despite it having failed twice already, according to an E.U. official familiar with what happened in the room.

"You could feel the patience running thin," the official said. The official and others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door discussions.

and the House of Commons ....

On Wednesday night, May appeared at the lectern at 10 Downing Street and charged that lawmakers were blocking Brexit. Speaking directly to the British people, she said: "You are tired of the infighting. You are tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows."

She added, "I am on your side."

Lawmakers across the parties shouted that it was May who had bungled Brexit -- and that it was her Conservative party and 75 hard-line Brexiteers who have blocked passage of her exit deal.

After this fit of stupid incompetence there's no hope for avoiding a No Deal Brexit while she is Prime Minister.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 07:52:58 PM EST
This is not incompetence. This is not hubris. This is not nostalgia. And it's not now "alienation". Rather, as I have said several times before, it is malice aforethought.

US-UK. do. not. do international law.

GET A GRIP.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Mar 21st, 2019 at 09:24:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rafael Behr in the Guardian :

If May flunks another meaningful vote, the extension gets shorter - 12 April is the new cliff-edge that comes into view. That date marks the point at which Britain would have to start organising European parliament elections, should it want another even longer extension. A national change of heart on the whole Brexit business would still be welcome in Brussels but it is not expected, and the priority is to escort a troublesome ex-member off the premises with a minimum of disruption before those MEP ballots get under way.

Does May like this plan? It doesn't matter. She wasn't in the room where it happened. The summit conclusions were handed down to the petitioning nation as it paced around an antechamber. This is the power relationship between a "third country" and the EU. Britain had better get used to it.



I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Mar 22nd, 2019 at 10:18:40 AM EST
A good article, but then, in the Guardian, he is preaching to the converted. I quoted a long extract from the Dail Mail, not because it says anything different or anything better, but because it has been the main mouthpiece for Brexiteers in the popular press. When they give up on Theresa May, it probably matters a lot more.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Mar 22nd, 2019 at 03:51:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The next general election in the United Kingdom is scheduled to be held on 5 May 2022 under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

Ima bet every mofo in HoC has deeper pockets than a Daily Mail subscriber.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Mar 22nd, 2019 at 04:32:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently having roused from a multi-year coma ...

Brexit: MPs push to prevent no-deal in law

by requiring May to request an extension on the extension.

EU response

President Macron told reporters that the EU "cannot be hostage to the political crisis in the UK", and the government must come forward with "credible" reasons for an extension.

He said these could include an election, second referendum, or alternative proposals for the future relationship, such as a customs union.

Further

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Apr 2nd, 2019 at 04:14:23 PM EST


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