Friday, 18 October 2019

Brexit; the blame game moves on.


As argued in previous posts Prime Minister Johnson appears to be gaming the Brexit situation and its constitutional implications in order to enhance his chances of wining an election and remaining prime minister.  Many of us believed that he wasn't really interested in negotiating a new deal  with the EU, and, to our surprise, he has succeeded.

But then, so did Mrs May.

And the "new deal" bears a strong resemblance to the one she achieved though  some of the changes appear to make things worse. 

For example there is to be  an effective border in the Irish Sea to cut off Northern Ireland - something that the Brexiteers declared a "constitutional outrage" when this idea was floated in the earlier negotiations.  And the "guarantee," such as it was, of continued protection at at least the EU level for UK  employment conditions and the environment seems to have disappeared.

However, these not inconsiderable "details" aren't mentioned in the headlines, so Johnson can be seen as a "winner.".

I strongly suspect that this deal will suffer the same fate as Mrs May's - that it will be defeated in the Commons tomorrow.  I certainly hope so.

However, even if this happens, Johnson can still declare himself a winner.    He  has succeeded with the potentially intransigent Europeans.  Now this mighty  UK Crusader is held back  by an intransigent parliament.  Role on the General Election.

It cannot be said too often or too loudly that his deal, or Mrs May's, or one that  Labour might be able to negotiate, is nowhere near as good as the deal we already have if we stay in the EU.

if the present MPs do not have the guts to Revoke Article 50 here and now, which they are perfectly entitled to do, then I hope they can devise some method of holding a People's Vote exclusively on Brexit before an election takes place.

11 comments:

  1. Prime Minister Johnson appears to be gaming the Brexit situation and its constitutional implications in order to enhance his chances of wining an election and remaining prime minister

    Yes that's how democracy works. You do what the people want in in return they vote for you. If you stop doing what they want they vote for somebody else instead. Therefore in order to keep being elected you have to keep giving the people what they want.

    This is generally regarded as a feature of democractic societies, not a bug.

    Societies where you can stay in charge regardless of whether you give people what they want are usually not very nice places to live (for the people, anyway).

    For example there is to be an effective border in the Irish Sea to cut off Northern Ireland - something that the Brexiteers declared a "constitutional outrage" when this idea was floated in the earlier negotiations

    True. Northern Ireland has been stabbed in the back by an English politician. But then, it's not the first time (1998, 1985, 1973, just for starters…). And importantly, unlike in May's deal, this arrangement can be terminated unilaterally by a vote in Stormont — the EU doesn't have to agree that 'alternative arrangements' have been found (which it obviously would never agree to). So all we have to do is get a Unionist majority in the next assembly elections and Northern ireland can escape the clutches of the EU too.

    It's not great. I can see why the DUP don't like it. Personally I would prefer no deal and a firming-up of the border. But it's better than May's.

    And the "guarantee," such as it was, of continued protection at at least the EU level for UK employment conditions and the environment seems to have disappeared

    That's because we get the freedom to set our own regulations for employment conditions and the environment. This is, again, a good thing. We could continue to have the same conditions as the EU, if we vote for parties promising that: the important thing is that from now on it's our choice.

    I suspect it will pass tomorrow. I'd rather it didn't, and we left without a deal at the end of the month. But I think it will and, well, it's not great but I can live with it.

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    1. As always your arguments have a superficial logic, but:

      1. Some sort of Brexit is what 37% of those entitled to vote wanted three years ago in a flawed and fraudulently fought referendum. In the November issue of Prospect a lawyer, David Allen Green, claims that "Had that referendum been legally binding , as opposed to merely advisory, there is little doubt the result would by now have been set aside." Subsequent Opinion Polls show that public opinion has now moved in favour of remaining in the EU. So leaving is no longer "what the people want."

      2. I am no expert on Anglo-Irish history, but if, as you argue , the Irish have been shafted by the UK government in the past, that is no excuse for doing it again.

      3. Mrs May recognised the need for safeguards to prevent the UK from becoming a low wage economy with low level employment protection, weak consumer protection particularly with regard to foodstuffs, and destructive of the environment. Clearly this is not a need the Johnson government recognises - in fact the reverse. Hence very good reasons for the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties to oppose the deal, along with One-nation Tories.

      In addition I think the attempt to bounce the Commons into making a decision - the most important in several generations - in less than 48 hours, is hardly conducive to thorough and thoughtful discussion, an essential feature of a mature democracy.

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  2. So leaving is no longer "what the people want."

    Rubbish. Almost no one has changed their mind. You haven't, I haven't. Boris's Conservative party has a double-digit lead in the polls — how do you explain that if the country is dead set against leaving the EU now?

    I am no expert on Anglo-Irish history, but if, as you argue , the Irish have been shafted by the UK government in the past, that is no excuse for doing it again.

    True; but do you not find this sudden concern for the Union on the part of Remainers who have spen the last two and a half years throwing every insult they can at the DUP rather amusing? Why it's almost — almost — like they don't actually care about Ulster, and are just looking for any reason they can find to argue against the deal, and would stab Ulster in the back even more readily than Boris if that would get them closer to their goal of canceling the Leaving process.

    Mrs May recognised the need for safeguards to prevent the UK from becoming a low wage economy with low level employment protection, weak consumer protection particularly with regard to foodstuffs, and destructive of the environment.

    Nothing in the deal forces the UK to change any of its regulations. If employment regulations are changed, it will be because the people of the UK elected a government to change them. That is how democracy is supposed to work.

    You seem to be suggesting that you want t remain in the EU because you don't trust the people of the UK not to elect a government with an approach to regulations that you disagree with, and so you want the EU to be able to step in if they are so rude as to do so and prevent that government form doing what the people elected it to do.

    Well, I think that the people of the UK are responsible adults and if they vote in a government that promises to reduce regulations then that is the government they want and that government should be allowed to do whatever it was elected to do.

    Even if they are stupid enough to elect the anti-Semitic terrorist-loving Marxist with the beard. I trust them not to be that stupid.

    In addition I think the attempt to bounce the Commons into making a decision - the most important in several generations - in less than 48 hours, is hardly conducive to thorough and thoughtful discussion, an essential feature of a mature democracy.

    This deal has had far more public study and discussion since it was first presented by Theresa May than all integrationist EU Treaties since Maastricht put together. Yet you were fine for governments to sign them, and by doing so transfer vast areas of sovereignty over to foreign control, without 'thorough and thoughtful discussion'. What's the difference with this one?

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    1. What do you make of today's non-decision - a no-score draw?

      Re your comments:
      1.Opinion polls show that Remain is marginally ahead. Maybe not by much, and maybe not so much by people changing their minds as old Leavers leaving the registers and young Remainers joining.

      2. The point about Ireland is the incredible U-turn - from "a policy no British Prime Minister could possibly contemplate" to acceptance. No wonder people are turned off politicians. You can't believe a word some of them say. Yes, I know, including Liberal Democrats on student fees.)

      3. So you agree: this is essentially a re-hash of Mrs May's deal?

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    2. What do you make of today's non-decision - a no-score draw?

      The never-ending nightmare continues. A parliament 'decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.'

      Opinion polls show that Remain is marginally ahead. Maybe not by much, and maybe not so much by people changing their minds as old Leavers leaving the registers and young Remainers joining

      Opinion polls showed Remain marginally ahead in 2016 too. But opinion polls are just samples with statistics applied. Only one poll actually matters, the one in which every adult citizen gets a vote, and that gave a clear answer.

      ('leaving the polls' is a nice eupahmism, I credit you with not explicitly rejoycing in the death of those who disagree with you as much as some hardcore Remainers)

      The point about Ireland is the incredible U-turn

      Ah, so you admit you don't actually give a toss about Ulster? Yes, Boris went back on his word and stabbed Ulster in the back — but I don't think you can in good faith use it against him when you admit you'd have happily done the same if it let you stay in your precious EU.

      So you agree: this is essentially a re-hash of Mrs May's deal?

      It's Mrs May's deal with amendments, I don't think anyone has claimed otherwise. The Spectator even published the text with strikethroughs and colour to show what had been deleted and added.

      The amendments — especially with regards to the loss of the backstop, and the exit mechanism for Northern Ireland — make it just about acceptable. But not enough has changed to make it preferable to leaving without a deal — which, thanks to Sir Oliver Letwin (the political version of Mr Bean, it seems), we are now firmly on course for in a little under two weeks.

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