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Thread: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

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    Scotland Avalon Member greybeard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Boris Johnson’s betrayal will leave the DUP with one option – to back remain
    The Guardian Alex Kane,The Guardian


    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/johnson-be...154819626.html

    Northern Ireland has long been viewed as a “place apart” within the United Kingdom. Now, unionists fear it is about to become a “place apart” outside the UK: separated from Great Britain by a new border in the Irish Sea, pushed closer to the EU and, eventually, into a united Ireland. That’s why they are unsettled right now, and indeed fearful.

    Unionists have been here before. In 1972 their parliament at Stormont was prorogued, and direct rule imposed from Westminster. In 1973 the British and Irish governments, with limited input from unionists, concluded the Sunningdale agreement, which replaced majority rule with mandatory power-sharing and an “Irish dimension”. A little over a decade later the British and Irish governments signed the Anglo-Irish agreement, which unionism regarded as a form of joint sovereignty. And in 1993 the Downing Street declaration stated the British government has no “selfish strategic or economic interest” in Northern Ireland.

    Each of these moments represented an enormous political and psychological blow to unionism. Each was accompanied by huge anger and enormous rallies. Yet while there was a fear that unionism was being pushed in a direction it didn’t want to go, Northern Ireland was still an integral and equal part of the UK. Similarly, while sections of unionism, including the DUP, initially rejected the Good Friday agreement in 1998, it was still possible to sustain the argument that Northern Ireland would remain fully within the UK until a majority of its citizens decided otherwise.

    There is an anger across all sections of unionism unseen since 1985 and which may prove very difficult to contain

    Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is very different. If it emerges from the parliamentary debate and scrutiny stages with its Irish sections intact then Northern Ireland will cease to be a full and equal part of the UK. Yes, Johnson could still argue that it would require victory at a border poll for Northern Ireland to formally cease to be part of the UK, but unionists believe that beginning the process of easing the region out – as his deal does – makes it much easier for Irish nationalists to make their case for reunification.

    This is a hammer blow for the DUP. It has propped up Conservative governments since June 2017 and its 10 votes have saved Theresa May and Boris Johnson on several occasions. The unionists, not surprisingly, believe they are “owed” for that confidence and expected Northern Ireland’s constitutional status to be protected come what may. May let them down with the notorious backstop. And now Johnson has let them down. Even the hardline Brexiters of the European Research Group have abandoned the DUP. What makes it immeasurably worse for Arlene Foster’s party is that it made such a song and dance about the influence it had with its friends in high places.

    Related: Grassroots loyalists think this Brexit deal is a sell-out. That’s why tensions are running so high | Henry Patterson

    It is a bigger hammer blow for the rest of unionism, raising the extraordinarily awkward question: if the DUP has been “betrayed” by the party it had kept in power (and whose key players, including Johnson, had come to Belfast to trumpet their loyalty to Ulster unionism) then whom can unionists now trust to protect their constitutional interests?

    So far, that question remains unanswered. Which is why some elements of unionism/loyalism (and while they remain small in number, they have a worrying potential to grow) seem determined to send “some sort of message” to Johnson, the Irish government and the EU. But it is very difficult to send a strong message without damaging their own argument; because it is their own sovereign parliament, to which they are so loyally attached, that is ultimately responsible for their predicament. Put bluntly, it’s very difficult to bully your own national government into treating you “equally” when both your own government and, the evidence suggests, an overwhelming majority of your fellow citizens across Great Britain, seem to have no particular interest in sustaining a link with you.

    It was very noticeable at the party conference on Saturday how much time during speeches and at a fringe event was devoted to the importance of the union and the lengths the DUP would be prepared to go to shore it up and maximise support for it. Indeed, this focus on the union was the clearest possible sign that the party recognises the dilemma unionism is currently facing.

    There is today an anger across all sections of unionism which I haven’t seen since 1985 (one mass rally at the time sparked DUP leader Ian Paisley’s famous “Never! Never! Never!” speech). And, because Johnson’s deal brings the end of the union closer than has any previous pact, it is an anger which may prove very difficult to contain. Which leaves the DUP with some problems: how does it contain the anger, restore its credibility within unionism, block Johnson’s deal, and lessen the chances of an early poll on a united Ireland?

    One thing it now knows for certain is that it cannot trust Johnson: even if the prime minister tries to appease it with a lorry-load of reassurances. The party’s priority must be to find a way of removing itself from the series of hooks it has placed itself on since June 2016, when it backed Brexit. And it will have to admit that the uber-unionist nonsense that accompanied its relationship with the ERG was a monumental miscalculation. For the DUP, as with all Northern Ireland unionist parties, the union eclipses every other issue.

    I suspect the DUP knows all this. Which means it also knows what it needs to do. There is no enthusiasm for Johnson’s deal in Northern Ireland (the nationalists are hardly fans either – they strongly voted remain). Unionists will never agree to anything that changes the constitutional position so significantly. All of which can ultimately lead to only one conclusion: the DUP must now shift towards remain. It will have to – for its very survival.

    • Alex Kane is a former director of communications for the Ulster Unionist party
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  3. Link to Post #1102
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU


    Brexit latest: Boris Johnson loses vote on snap general election

    Yahoo News UK Matilda Long,Yahoo News UK 29
    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/boris-john...190105618.html



    Boris Johnson has lost a vote to trigger a snap general election on 12 December - but immediately signalled he will try again to go to the polls before Christmas

    The Prime Minister failed to secure the “super majority” required to approve the early vote under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (FTPA).

    Under the FTPA, two thirds of MPs (434) need to vote in favour in order for an election to happen less than five years after the last one.

    Only 299 MPs voted in favour of the motion, with 70 voting against and hundreds more abstaining - leaving the prime minister well short.

    Mr Johnson told MPs straight after the vote that the Government will table a Bill this evening calling for an election on December 12.

    He has already had two requests for an election refused.
    Britain's opposition Liberal Democrat party leader Jo Swinson speaks during the Brexit debate inside the House of Commons parliament in London Saturday Oct. 19, 2019. At the rare weekend sitting of Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson implored legislators to ratify the Brexit deal he struck this week with the other 27 EU leaders. Lawmakers voted Saturday in favour of the 'Letwin Amendment', which seeks to avoid a no-deal Brexit on October 31. (Stephen Pike/House of Commons via AP)
    Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson tabled a bill to trigger an election in December. (Stephen Pike/House of Commons via AP)

    The Lib Dems and SNP have offered the PM a lifeline by tabling a bill that would grant an election on December 9 – three days earlier than the PM’s suggested date – as long as the EU grants an extension until January 31.

    The EU confirmed today it would approve an extension, although the official legal process is yet to be completed.

    The draft law, currently scheduled for Tuesday’s sitting, would require a simple majority of 320 MPs to support it.

    The SNP and Lib Dems have said they are prepared to back a pre-Christmas election - but only if no deal is taken off the table completely. That means the Bill would be likely to pass even without Labour backing it.

    Labour has also repeatedly refused to back an election until a no-deal Brexit has been taken off the table - though Jeremy Corbyn has not made clear exactly what needs to happen to satisfy his conditions.

    After the vote, Mr Johnson stated that “no deal is off the table” - though opposition parties have said they don’t trust the prime minister to stick to his promises.

    What they said after the vote:

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson

    “The leader of the Opposition literally and figuratively has run away from the judgment of the people.

    “We will not allow this paralysis to continue, and one way or another we must proceed straight to an election.

    “So later on this evening, the Government will give notice of presentation for a short Bill for an election on December 12 so we can finally get Brexit done.”

    “This House cannot any longer keep this country hostage.

    “Now that no-deal is off the table, we have a great new deal, and it’s time for the voters to have a chance to pronounce on that deal and to replace this dysfunctional Parliament with a new Parliament that can get Brexit done so the country can move on.”

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

    “I understand a Bill will be tabled tomorrow, we will obviously look and scrutinise that Bill and we look forward to a clear, definitive decision that no deal is absolutely off the table and there is no danger of this Prime Minister not sticking to his word because he has some form on these matters and taking this country out of the EU without any deal whatsoever, knowing the damage it will do to jobs and industries all across this country.”

    SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford

    “It is clear that there is a desire on the Opposition benches to bring forward a Bill that can give us an election. But we don’t trust this Prime Minister and we don’t trust this Prime Minister for good reason.

    “So the Prime Minister, if he is going to bring forward a Bill, must give an absolute cast-iron assurance that up until the passage of that Bill and the rising of Parliament, that there will be no attempt to bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.”
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  5. Link to Post #1103
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Jeff Taylor

    Old news five hours ago:

    So, we're just waiting for the formal paperwork from Brussels and then Boris Johnson will be required by the Benn Surrender Act to immediately accept the offer and immediately amend the Withdrawal Act 2018 via a statutory instrument to change the Brexit Day Date to January the 31st

    Link to video on YouTube

    But this is the latest, and the previous video didn't know the latest news that....

    guess what everyone? You won't believe it
    Remain MPs block a general election

    Anyway this is Jeffs latest

    Boris Johnson loses Brexit General Election vote!

    Well, what a surprise, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has lost his legitimate call for a general election that might have gone some way to mending the public's view of our politicians.

    Last edited by YoYoYo; 28th October 2019 at 21:10.

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  7. Link to Post #1104
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Here's the BBC news link about the denied election.

    This one includes a count of the political party MPs who blocked an election. Note: you don't have to vote against to block, simply not voting is enough but has the added benefit you don't even have to get off your arse

    How did my MP vote on triggering an early election?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-50215171



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  9. Link to Post #1105
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Another useful Brexit summary-so-far-in-case-you're-really-confused from the BBC, published 3 hours ago.
    Brexit: What just happened with UK election vote?
    28 Oct, 2019

    The UK parliament has just rejected Boris Johnson's bid to call a snap general election - for a third time - despite the prime minister arguing it would help "get Brexit done". But there remains a chance that the UK could have a pre-Christmas election.

    So what just happened?
    How did Johnson lose (again)?

    Well - and this has an element of irony to it - the leader of the UK's governing Conservative Party cannot just choose to hold an early election.

    As a legal requirement, Mr Johnson needs the support of two-thirds of MPs - at least 434 - but is short of seats in the House of Commons, making this tricky.

    Without a majority, he has to convince members of the opposition to vote in his favour.

    Monday's vote was rejected after the leader of the main opposition Labour Party said he did not trust Mr Johnson and would not agree to a poll until the prospect of a no-deal exit from the European Union had been definitively ruled out.

    Labour MPs earlier complained that Mr Johnson's new deal, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), contained plans to dilute workers' rights after Brexit.
    It was also suggested that the prime minister could change the election date after MPs had approved a 12 December poll, enabling him to postpone until after the UK had left the EU, effectively forcing through the WAB.

    Labour abstained in Monday's ballot, meaning that despite 299 MPs voting in favour and only 70 voting against, the bill failed to get the required 434 votes to pass.

    What happens next?

    Believe it or not, another vote on whether to have an election on 12 December.

    That's right; Mr Johnson is refusing to give up on a pre-Christmas election.

    On Tuesday, he will propose a new motion in the House of Commons calling for an early election that will require a simple majority of just one vote to pass in parliament.

    He will seek the support of opposition Liberal Democrat and Scottish National Party (SNP) MPs by making the short bill "almost identical" to one proposed earlier by the two parties for an election on 9 December.

    Mr Johnson's new motion, however, will be subject to amendments - which could draw out the process.

    Will an election sort out Brexit though?

    Not necessarily.

    The Brexit deal agreed between Mr Johnson and the EU is in limbo after MPs voted against the three-day timetable to pass it through the Commons last week.

    But while an election could restore the Conservative Party's majority and give the prime minister more leverage in parliament, an early election also carries risks for Mr Johnson and the Tories.
    Leaving the EU by 31 October "do or die" was a key campaign promise in Mr Johnson's bid to become prime minister but he has since accepted an offer from EU leaders to - in principle - extend Brexit until 31 January 2020.

    As a result, voters could choose to punish him at the ballot box for failing to fulfil his campaign pledge.

    A general election is supposed to take place every five years in the UK. The last election was in June 2017.

    Is another referendum likely?

    A new vote on Britain's EU membership is one possibility in breaking the stalemate over Brexit.

    But organising another public vote would take a minimum of 22 weeks, according to experts at the Constitution Unit at University College London (UCL).

    This would consist of at least 12 weeks to pass the legislation required to hold a referendum, plus a further 10 weeks to organise the campaign and hold the vote itself.

    Also - and this is a recurring theme here - a government cannot just decide to hold a referendum. Instead, a majority of MPs and Members of the House of Lords would need to agree and vote through the rules of another public vote.

    What about the Brexit extension?

    EU Council President Donald Tusk said the latest agreed extension was flexible and that the UK could leave before the 31 January 2020 deadline if a withdrawal agreement is approved by the British parliament.
    The extension will need to be formalised through a written procedure among the 27 other EU nations following agreement from the UK.

    An EU official said they hoped for the process to be concluded by Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Is no-deal still possible?

    Yes.

    While Mr Johnson has formally accepted the EU's offer of a Brexit extension until 31 January 2020, it does not mean that a no-deal Brexit is off the table. Rather, it pushes the possibility further into the future.

    No-deal Brexit: How might it affect the EU? Mr Johnson is likely to continue to try to push his deal through Parliament and if his efforts fail before the deadline for Britain's exit is reached, the UK could leave without a deal.

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  11. Link to Post #1106
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    From the BBC quote above, emphasis mine

    .... A new vote on Britain's EU membership is one possibility in breaking the stalemate over Brexit....


    As if general elections wouldn't have done that, but the BBC twist away the truth; this is the third blocked election, any one of which would have broken the stalemate.

    The EU loves second referendums, if the first doesn't go their way, as has been shown with many other countries (when they tried not to join, then joined). The BBC favouring an 'EU second referendum' speaks volumes

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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Brexit: Boris Johnson abandons bill in new push for December election
    [The Guardian]
    Rowena Mason Deputy political editor
    The Guardian29 October 2019

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/boris-john...213935489.html


    Boris Johnson will abandon attempts to push his Brexit bill through this parliament in a bid to get the Liberal Democrats and the SNP to agree to an election before Christmas – although the parties are still in dispute over the potential date.

    The prime minister failed on Monday to get the votes of two-thirds of MPs he needed to secure an election under existing laws, after opposition parties largely abstained.

    However, he said he would table a short bill on Tuesday that would change the law in order to hold a poll on 12 December. He would only need a simple majority for this plan, so an election could be achieved with the backing of the Lib Dems or the Scottish National party.

    Johnson told the House of Commons: “We will not allow this paralysis to continue, and one way or another we must proceed straight to an election. The government will give notice of presentation for a short bill for an election on 12 December so we can finally get Brexit done. This House cannot any longer keep this country hostage.”

    Related: European leaders expected to grant Brexit delay

    The idea first came from the Lib Dems, who have enjoyed a boost in the polls since backing a policy to revoke Brexit. The party has said its 19 MPs would support legislation for an election on 9 December if the prime minister abandoned his attempts to bring back the EU withdrawal bill.

    A No 10 source said: “The withdrawal bill will not be brought back. This is the way to get Brexit done so the country can move on.”

    On Monday night the Commons leader, Jacob Rees-Mogg, told MPs that all stages of legislation to trigger an early general election would go through the Commons on Tuesday, adding: “I can assure this House that we will not bring back the withdrawal agreement bill.”

    Earlier Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, said she was not happy with Johnson’s proposed date of 12 December, which is after many universities have broken up for Christmas and students have returned to their home towns.
    She said: “Boris Johnson claims he wants a general election, but he also claimed he wouldn’t prorogue parliament or put a border down the Irish sea.

    “If Boris Johnson wants a general election, then he could have supported our bill for a general election on 9 December. Instead, he has chosen to stick to his original plan for 12 December which we have already rejected.”

    Swinson left the door open for a possible compromise, but there are fears among opposition parties about whether the prime minister really would abandon all efforts to pass the EU withdrawal agreement before the dissolution of parliament next Wednesday.

    Related: Jeremy Corbyn keeps door open to backing December election

    Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader, said his party would need a “cast-iron guarantee” that the prime minister would not try to bring back his Brexit deal to parliament.

    He told MPs: “It is clear that there is a desire on the opposition benches to bring forward a bill that can give us an election. But we don’t trust this prime minister and we don’t trust this prime minister for good reason.

    “So the prime minister, if he is going to bring forward a bill, must give an absolute cast-iron assurance that up until the passage of that bill and the rising of parliament, that there will be no attempt to bring forward the withdrawal agreement bill.”

    Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, also suggested his party could be persuaded to back the idea, with the shadow cabinet convening on Tuesday to discuss its position.

    “We will consider carefully any legislation on an early election,” he said. But Corbyn added that a date needed to be locked down in law to prevent Johnson trying to move it for his own advantage and also suggested he would want it to be earlier than 12 December,saying any plan would need to “protect the voting rights of all of our citizens”.

    For a 9 December election, parliament would need to pass its legislation by Thursday this week, but for a 12 December election it could wait until the middle of next week.

    A motion for a general election


    Boris Johnson has three options to try and call a general election. Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, an election may be called if it is agreed by two-thirds of the total number of MPs. Johnson presented motions for an election on 4 and 9 September and failed on both occasions when the majority of Labour MPs abstained. Johnson tried again on 28 October, and failed again.
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  15. Link to Post #1108
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Quote, " I'd rather be dead in a ditch, if I don't deliver Brexit on 31/10/2019" Unquote. Boris Johnson
    Am I one of many or am I many of one ? interesting .

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    Scotland Avalon Member greybeard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    You know the story of the child that cried wolf (in its imagination) then when there really was a wolf it was disbelieved,
    Same might happen with Boris.
    So the pre-election promises that will be made, by all sides--can they believed or is it just a massive selling job?

    I honestly dont think an election should be about Brexit and anyway it might result in a hung parliament.
    If a referendum was held first that would get out of the way the suggestion that people did not know what they were voting for.
    However thats not going to happen before an election.

    The SNP want an election because probably they will get more SNP MP's elected--the Liberals want it for the same reason.
    The last thing Labour wants at the moment is an election.
    If they got brave and got Jeremy to step aside then that just might get a different result.
    Boris may well win but that does not mean the public want the most recent Brexit plan or exiting without an agreement.
    Without doubt he is charismatic to the point that the work done by previous Tory PM's and Chancellors to get UK back on a solid financial footing has been forgotten by the Tory Party "Faithful" Their opinion counts for nothing.

    I reserve the right to be wrong--smiling
    Chris
    Last edited by greybeard; 29th October 2019 at 11:01.
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU


    Labour will back an early general election as Boris Johnson asks MPs for December poll

    Yahoo News UK Ross McGuinness,Yahoo News UK


    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/labour-ear...110153542.html

    Britain is on course for an early general election in December after the Labour Party said it will back an early poll.

    Jeremy Corbyn told his shadow Cabinet on Tuesday morning it will support the call for an election before Christmas.

    MPs are set to vote on a Government Bill today for an election on December 12, though it is not yet clear which date Labour will support.

    Mr Corbyn said: "No Deal is now off the table so tonight Labour will back a General Election. We're launching the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen.

    “This is a once in a generation chance to build a country for the many, not the few. It's time.”

    But Mr Corbyn’s move does not mean a December election is certain, with Labour expected to support amendments to the Bill that could lead to Mr Johnson pulling the vote.
    Crucial vote today

    Mr Johnson will attempt to convince the Commons to vote for a December 12 election later today.

    He has already been defeated three times - including on Monday evening - but today’s vote will only require a simple majority of MPs to vote in favour.


    However, a December election is not yet set in stone.

    Not only could Labour table amendments that might prove unpalatable to the Government - such as extending the vote to EU nationals or lowering the voting age to 16 - but the Liberal Democrats and the SNP have also appeared reluctant to accept the 12 December date.

    They fear it could still allow time for Mr Johnson to bring the Withdrawal Agreement Bill before MPs ahead of the start of the campaign.

    They have previously signalled support for a poll on December 9, but could put forward a proposal for an election on December 11 - which the Government is likely to accept.

    A Number 10 source told the Press Association: "If there's an amendment to the 11th we could accept."
    What people said

    Green MP Caroline Lucas, who has been working for a second referendum on Brexit, said Labour's decision to back an early general election was "hugely disappointing".

    She tweeted: "Hugely disappointing if true. Why give Johnson exactly what he wants?

    "Election - esp under First Past the Post - won't resolve Brexit.

    "Many examples of majority Govt being returned on minority vote - real risk that the majority in favour of #PeoplesVote won't have voices heard."

    Labour campaign group Momentum tweeted: "Labour are officially backing an election. This is the opportunity of a lifetime to put an end to the shambolic mess the Tories have made and return hope to millions. Let's do this."

    Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: "The only answer to the Brexit mess is to give the public the final say. But if there is to be a general election first, then those whose future is most affected must be given a say - including 16 and 17 year olds and EU citizens living in the UK."

    Ps Its the pantomime season--how appropriate.
    Clowns to the left of me jokers to the right---stuck in the middle with you.
    Stealers wheel.
    Chris

    Last edited by greybeard; 29th October 2019 at 12:05.
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU


    UK Treasury on course to exceed this year's deficit target by £16bn

    The Guardian Phillip Inman Economics editor,The Guardian


    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/uk-treasur...060110436.html

    The government is on course to overshoot its deficit target this year by £16bn after a series of spending pledges, a slowdown in the economy and the spiralling cost of student loans stripped the Treasury of £43bn.

    The Resolution Foundation, an independent thinktank, warned that the £27bn of spending “headroom” set aside by former chancellor Philip Hammond in March to cope with the costs of Brexit had evaporated over the last six months, leaving the government with a hefty deficit.

    In a report that was due to be released ahead of Sajid Javid’s first budget on 6 November, which was scrapped last week, the independent thinktank said the Treasury was going to be left with little option but to break its rule that caps the annual shortfall in spending at 2% of GDP.

    Labour has criticised Javid for refusing to publish official budget forecasts by the Office for Budget Responsibility, which are expected to be cancelled along with the budget, knowing they are likely to show the government has breached its deficit rule.

    A slowdown in the economy this year following a slump in manufacturing and construction activity has reduced government income by more than £10bn in the next financial year, the report estimated.

    Related: Tories increase borrowing by 28% as possible election looms

    Revisions to the treatment of government liabilities, including student loans, many of which are unlikely to be repaid, added a further £19bn to the total deficit. Extra spending commitments on hospitals, police and schools added another £13bn, the report said, increasing the shortfall between income and expenditure since March to £43bn.

    Without tax increases or a retreat on spending pledges, the deficit next year was likely to be nearer 3% and possibly higher should Brexit knock GDP growth, hitting government income further.

    Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

    Richard Hughes, an economist at the foundation, said Javid should ditch inflexible fiscal rules that can only be met with short-term decisions that harm the economy’s future.

    He sad: “Fiscal rules have guided, if not always bound, tax and spending decisions over the past 20 years – from Gordon Brown’s golden rule to George Osborne’s goal of eliminating the deficit.

    “But with the UK’s current fiscal rules set to expire next year, and the government on course to miss them by £16bn anyway, the chancellor should take this opportunity to rewrite the fiscal rule book and set a new framework to guide government policy over the coming decade.

    “The UK’s new fiscal rules should reflect current economic realities such as record low interest rates, and the broad political consensus around the need to invest in improving productivity, tackling climate change, and renewing our public service infrastructure.”
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Swinson, Corbyn and the SNP have condemned us to five years of Boris’ Britain, and they are not going to enjoy it
    The Independent Sean O'Grady,The Independent



    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/swinson-co...132100672.html

    I cannot really improve on the cliché du jour: “turkeys voting for Christmas”. I know that, according to the British Election Study, 50 per cent of the British now call themselves "floating voters”, and that everything is febrile and unpredictable and volatile and all that. Turnout in the dark damp polling day from students and older voters is difficult to predict. I know that the representation of the people act and the obligation on broadcasters to offer meticulously unbiased coverage will give extra profile to the smaller parties including, especially, the Brexit Party. And we’ve not ever had an election like this, at a time like this, on in issue like this, ever.

    All to play for, then? Maybe. It is certainly what that clucking idiot Jeremy Corbyn thinks – “We're going out there to fight an election campaign, and I can't wait”. Jeremy Corbyn says Labour MPs are ready to back a general election – “This is the end of the debate, and we're going out there to win”. With more (selfish) justification, it is also what these other clucking imbeciles, Jo Swinson and the SNP, believe. They’ll probably do “well”, increasing their representation in the House of Commons and, in the SNP’s case, adding to pressure for a second Scottish independence referendum. But they will also bring upon themselves and the rest of us five years – or more – of Boris Johnson doing what the hell he wants with an overall Commons majority.

    By Christmas Day, Britain will be well on the way to a hard Brexit. The Labour party will have fallen into another of its post-election defeat civil wars, and the Tories can get one with delivering the long-delayed Thatcher Fourth Term – liberalising and deregulating the country to create the lusted-after Singapore on Sea, a no-deal Brexit, if needed, and with no interference from parliament or the EU commissioners along the way. God, Johnson could be in until 2029!

    Every single pledge and promise given to the likes of Caroline Flint or Jo Swinson about no deal or workers’ rights can be abolished under a Tory-dominated Commons packed with Europhobic Thatcherite zealots. The "moderates" will stand down or be purged. It’s over for the welfare state.

    The Johnson family, friends, cronies and hangers on will able to enjoy an exceptionally festive champagne break at Chequers like no other. The rest of us can cry into our Baileys.

    Make no mistake: Swinson, Corbyn and the SNP have condemned us to five years of Boris’ Britain, and they are not going to enjoy it. Everyone knows the only reason Labour backed it was because the Tories were going to win the vote on a snap election anyway – thanks to the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. They had a choice of looking cowardly or pretending they are “up for it”. Labour carries, therefore, less of the blame. Still, it is a terrible mistake by most of the opposition parties, and a wonderful gift for Boris Jonson. Only Carline Lucas of the Greens talks much sense publicly. She knows the planet won’t be a winner either.

    Yet the single salient fact in this election is the 12-point opinion poll lead the Conservatives enjoy over the Labour Party. Even with everything that has changed, British general elections are still basically won and lost in Labour-Conservative marginal seats, many in the Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire. The rest is quite distracting noise.

    Farage and Swinson will be able to tear chunks out of the two major parties, and the SNP and Plaid Cymru can do the same with more potency in Scotland and Wales. But mostly the smaller party insurgencies will take place in safer Lab/Con seats, and not enough. The net result will probably be a net swing compared to the 2017 election from Labour to the Conservatives. Johnson will win about 5 per cent less of the vote than Theresa May, say, but Corbyn will lose about half of the votes he won so impressively in 2017 – about 15 percentage points down. That adds up to a very a large swing indeed in historical terms.

    It is also possible that Labour could actually go backwards in the 2019 general election campaign, as a similarly beleaguered Labour Party did in the 1983 general election, the previous low point, at 27 per cent or so of the popular vote. Corbyn's Labour, in other words, could plunge to its lowest vote share since 1918, when they got about 20 per cent. They are certainly divided and confused enough to make fools of themselves, though I freely admit the Tories have more than their share of clowns too. The “constructive ambiguity” on Brexit that served them so well in 2017 will not work again; and recent real-world electoral tests suggest that it just alienates both sides of the argument.

    The closer the Tories get to 40 per cent, and the closer Labour slumps to 20 per cent, the more chance Johnson will win big in parliamentary seats – beating David Cameron and John Major’s previous modest majorities (of 12 in 2015 and 22 in 1992 respectively).

    It is all something of a tragedy. In her many defences of her bold, i.e. foolhardy, move, Swinson argues that the votes in a parliament sadly aren’t there for a second referendum, and there never will be unless (obviously) the Commons is suddenly flooded with liberal Democrats. Not on 18 per cent of the vote, it won’t.

    The point is that the opposition parties have and had Boris Johnson exactly where they needed him – caged. Labour and the Lib Dems could have played hardball with Johnson. They could have said that they would nod through his Withdrawal Agreement Bill – conditional on a confirmatory vote through a Final Say referendum. Eventually he would have caved, because he always does; Boris will sell anyone out, even himself, to stay in power. We’ve seen that a lot. Instead, the turkeys have gifted him a snap election, an election on his own agenda, and the project of remaking Britain in his own image.

    I can only repeat the words of Neil Kinnock in the final desperate moments of the 1983 election as the Tories headed for a landslide, which were prophetic. I make no apology for quoting them in their full, chilling, form, and challenge anyone to say it better now:

    “If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected as prime minister on Thursday, I warn you.

    I warn you that you will have pain – when healing and relief depend upon payment.

    “I warn you that you will have ignorance – when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right.

    “I warn you that you will have poverty – when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can’t pay.

    “I warn you that you will be cold – when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don’t notice and the poor can’t afford.

    “I warn you that you must not expect work – when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don’t earn, they don’t spend. When they don’t spend, work dies.

    “I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light.

    “I warn you that you will be quiet – when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient.

    “I warn you that you will have defence of a sort – with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding.

    “I warn you that you will be home-bound – when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up.

    “I warn you that you will borrow less – when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.

    “If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday –

    – I warn you not to be ordinary

    – I warn you not to be young

    – I warn you not to fall ill

    – I warn you not to get old.”

    You have been warned, and you’ll know who to blame – not Johnson so much, who is only doing what comes naturally, but the tactical ineptitude of Swinson, the SNP and Corbyn.


    "Well thats a somewhat long News Paper Column.
    He does not mess about
    Could he be right?
    Time will tell.
    Chris"
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Quote Posted by scanner (here)
    Quote, " I'd rather be dead in a ditch, if I don't deliver Brexit on 31/10/2019" Unquote. Boris Johnson
    Yes, good intentions by Boris and all that. It was actually an extension beyond the 31st, rather Brexit, he would rather to die in a ditch for.


    Not sure it's Boris' fault though, with MPs saying they'd honour the referendum result then blatantly changing their mind; the only solution: a general election so people can get rid of their unrepresentative MPs. And Boris called for an election, time after time, and said MPs, who changed their minds on their voted promise, blocked the call for election. Obviously they don't want to face the wrath of the people at the ballet box.

    Also the speaker isn't meant to be leading the remain side, he was meant to be as neutral as possible.

    Add to this the Supreme court (setup under Tony Blair) getting involved in politics in the same way the Queen, very explicitly, does not.
    Last edited by YoYoYo; 29th October 2019 at 22:22.

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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    That photo of Boris--retouched no doubt--reminds me of "Back to the Future" film.
    When does the film of this Brexit event come out?
    Comedy or tragedy?
    Happy ending?
    I await with baited breath.
    I dont like pop corn--pass the mince pies.
    Chris
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU


    What The General Election Could Mean For Brexit

    HuffPost UK Rachel Wearmouth,HuffPost UK
    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/general-el...071243642.html

    Just when you thought it was safe to drink mulled wine ... they’re back.

    The same politicians who ruined most of 2019 with Brexit chaos are determined to wreck Christmas by calling a snap general election on December 12.

    But before, in the name of your sanity/human rights/Strictly Come Dancing, you tune out completely, you should know just how important the election is for the future of Brexit.

    If you care about when, how or if the UK leaves the EU, you should vote - and here’s why.
    Some context ...

    Brexit stands at a crossroads.

    It won’t have escaped your notice that Leavers and Remainers have been at war since the 2016 referendum result.

    Boris Johnson surprised everyone by agreeing a fresh withdrawal deal with Brussels earlier this month.

    Reminder: this ‘stage one’ deal only sets out the terms on which the UK leaves, such as border checks, the divorce bill and length of the transition period, and does not sort out trade. The ‘stage two’ future relationship deal will be part of a different set of negotiations once a withdrawal deal is ratified by the UK and EU.

    Johnson even managed to do what May couldn’t and got a majority of MPs to back legislation for a Brexit deal in parliament.

    But then MPs ripped up his fast-track timetable for the bill, and fearing attempts to soften his deal or trigger a second referendum, Johnson has insisted on a snap general election.

    Meanwhile, the EU has agreed to extend the October 31 Brexit deadline to January 31.

    But now a general election is to happen, Brexit will be decided by whoever wins power. It is all to play for.
    So, what happens if the Conservatives win?

    The prime minister has been clear that he will campaign for his deal.

    If the Tories win a majority then Johnson will have the means and mandate to take the UK out of the EU on the terms he has agreed with Brussels.

    What does his deal include? The UK will leaving the customs union while Northern Ireland will stay aligned with single market regulations on goods.

    The UK will also pay a £33bn divorce bill. Johnson has also agreed a “level playing field” commitment for trade talks, which will see Britain closely aligned to EU regulations with some freedom to diverge.

    There will be a transition period until December 2020, when critics say the UK could again face a no-deal cliff-edge.

    It is worth saying that Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit, maintaining that while he doesn’t want this outcome it is an option the UK must have.

    His deal is also controversial for unionists, who point out the regulatory border in the Irish Sea separates Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

    Proposals for Northern Ireland to give its consent for the plan also involve a simple majority of votes of politicians in Stormont. This has angered some as the Good Friday Agreement, which secured peace in Northern Ireland after the Troubles, stipulates ‘cross-community’ consent from both nationalist and unionist politicians.

    After withdrawal, Johnson will look to strike new trade deals, in particular with Donald Trump’s America.
    And what about if Labour win?
    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

    If Jeremy Corbyn wins the keys to Number 10 Downing Street, it does not mean that Brexit does not happen but it does guarantee a second referendum.

    Despite a large rump of Labour MPs and the party’s membership being pro-Remain, the policy is much more nuanced.

    Corbyn would renegotiate a softer Brexit deal with the EU, claiming Johnson’s agreement puts manufacturing jobs at risk.

    A Labour government would rule out no-deal. It would also seek customs union membership and a close UK relationship with the single market.

    This deal would be put to the public in a second referendum versus remain. Labour has said it would legislate for that vote immediately, so it could mean a referendum within the space of a year.

    Labour has not said whether it would campaign for the Brexit deal or for Remain.

    Corbyn has been hostile to striking any trade deal with America, claiming Trump would aim to cut UK standards and target the NHS.
    The Lib Dems could win, right?
    Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson.

    Yes, it is possible and should Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats do win, Brexit would be cancelled altogether.

    In a bid to sweep up Remain voters, Swinson has committed her party to revoking Article 50 and keeping Britain in the European Union.

    So, to quote the party’s eyebrow-raising slogan, it would be “bollocks to Brexit”.

    The Lib Dems would have to pull off an extraordinary turnaround in their party’s fortunes to secure a Commons majority, having just 19 out of 650 MPs.

    But this may be “the Brexit election” when leaving the EU entirely dominates and really anything could happen.
    What if the Brexit Party win?
    Leader of the Brexit Party Nigel Farage speaks during a Brexit Party event at the QEII Centre in London.

    This is highly unlikely given they are a new party with no MPs but, anything could happen in these strange and wild political times.

    If Nigel Farage’s party sweeps the country and wins power then a no-deal Brexit would happen when the Article 50 deadline expires on January 31 if not before.

    A no-deal Brexit is pretty much Farage’s only policy.
    And what about if nobody wins?
    Stylized line person shrugging its shoulders indicating lack of knowledge, and care.

    No one party winning a majority at the ballot box means the future of Brexit is unpredictable.

    But, judging by the polls, this is one of the likely outcomes.

    It means parties would probably go into negotiations over a coalition or confidence and supply arrangement.

    During the election campaign, all party leaders will swear blind they will not do deals with any of their rivals. There is a good chance this will change after the votes are counted, however.

    The Conservatives have gone into coalition with the Lib Dems in the past but given their Brexit policies are almost polar opposites it is difficult to see this alliance being rebuilt.

    Johnson could, however, do a deal with the Brexit Party if Farage takes seats from them or Labour. A Leave alliance would likely mean a hard Brexit and that no-deal will not be off the table during trade talks.

    Labour’s natural allies would be the SNP and Lib Dems, but both parties would want to reshape Corbyn’s Brexit policy.

    Nicola Sturgeon’s price will be for the UK government to sanction a second referendum on Scottish independence and it is not clear if Swinson’s revoke Article 50 policy is a red line. Both the SNP and Lib Dems have been supportive of a second Brexit referendum in the past, however.

    But there is no surefire way of knowing what trade-offs party leaders will make when negotiating a coalition.
    Related
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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Quote Posted by greybeard (here)
    ...
    Comedy or tragedy?
    ...
    We have a general election at last, after Boris asked four times.

    Election blocking MPs (mostly from Labour, Lib Dems and SNP) are the comedy.

    If you value one person, one vote style democracy, that we've had all our lives, it's a tragedy.

    The mainstream media almost completely ignore The Brexit Party even though they are responsible for all shifts in Tory attitudes towards Brexit, for May stepping down and Boris having a chance.

    But there is some, here's one from the Remainian Guardian

    Tory MPs 'asking Brexit party not to stand against them'


    Tory MPs are asking the Brexit party not to run candidates in their seats at an early general election, according to the party’s chair, Richard Tice, as speculation mounts over the anti-EU party’s potential pacts in leave areas.

    Tice said he received a frantic message from one Tory urging him not to stand a candidate in their constituency because they were facing a challenge from the Liberal Democrats. “It wasn’t the first; it won’t be the last,” he said.


    ...

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics...d-against-them




    --------------------------------------------

    --------------------------------------------


    Last edited by YoYoYo; 30th October 2019 at 19:56.

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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    I don’t have a personal interest in UK politics, but in more general terms, I do want to take a little further the idea of how making choices can refine our instincts, working from a real-life situation. People in labour camps during the war learnt to hold their hand over their chunk of bread to make sure no one stole it. Some survivors still do it to this day. Back then it was their survival instinct; now it is a mere reflex, understandable but no longer appropriate: normally speaking, there is food enough to go round. Even back then, it was based on the crudest possible (black and white) assessment of the situation: it was a matter of Life or Death. In many cases, that would be correct, but by no means always: you read many stories of people sharing their bread with those whose need was even greater than theirs. Many were actually saved who would otherwise have died, showing that altruism is more effective than basic instincts alone. Notice how the sharers found they had a choice when the non-sharers saw none.

    This would make for an interesting referendum question in a country seeking to improve its overall living standards. The hypothetical question might be framed as follows: “In such a concentration camp situation, would you have been a sharer or a non-sharer?” In one scenario, there might well be more sharers in the vote than there ever were in real-life, but that is OK; it would reflect the direction in which people want to improve. Forget the past, look to the future. But if and when a government decided to introduce altruistic legislation based on such a vote, it might become hard to implement because the very people who tipped the balance might revert to type and refuse to put in the required effort. In another scenario, people might vote honestly, and the non-sharers would likely win. This might be seen as a retrograde step since it would be turning their back on altruism even though it has been proven to work. In both cases, a democratic vote leads to no improvement or worse. Some would be voting not only against the greater interest, but also potentially against their own personal interest (since they may one day stand to benefit). The one way a truly beneficial outcome could be achieved would be seen as undemocratic, since the sharers would have to impose their better-informed minority view.

    Altruism generally is the course of the more “enlightened” in this everyday sense of better-informed. But this quality is not evenly distributed among the population and so it sits ill with the notion of democracy. It also sits ill with the notion of better education (see below). It is a value which we should prize more than most others, but we haven’t yet worked out where it fits in with the overall workings of society. We have a very confused idea of how such anti-authoritarian authority might work. However, one concrete example of altruism applied to politics opens up in real time with the upcoming election taking the place of a referendum. The latter is yes or no, but the former makes room for tactical voting. Switching your vote is in a very real sense equivalent to giving your neighbour your chunk of bread and it means that the decried ‘first past the post system’ can be subverted. There is clear evidence that organized use of this option will produce a different administration than the numbers would otherwise suggest. I described in an earlier post how some people were voting against their own interests to produce an undesirable result. Tactical voting is a way of doing that to produce a desirable result. When I say organized, I mean when voter override their individual interest towards a collective goal.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics...election-study

    In political terms, altruism is a core value of the left. As such, it is much more than just me helping you, it is all of us helping all of us. And yet I never cease to be amazed at the extent to which forums like this one, claiming to a degree of spiritual awareness, are aligned with the right, and even the hard right. This probably comes from America, where the so-called “left” is actually the same liberal establishment as the Tory party in the UK – The Ivy League elite is actually based on the English public school system. There are many things money can buy, including a better education. But you can’t buy a better mind, you can nurture what you have and develop this spiritual nous I am talking about; but this doesn’t depend on who your parents are. The hereditary thing leads to degeneracy. For example, the son of a rags-to-riches man is not going to be another selfmade man, he is more likely to be an entitled wealthy layabout, because the money is already there without lifting a finger. And even when a great mind is born into that environment, it is limited by its background. I am thinking of Norman Mailer, whose brilliant critiques of the establishment are blunted by a secret admiration, for he is one of them, and he knows it.

    On the other hand, anyone remotely progressive will get hammered. No amateur theatricals about wanting to die in a ditch, a politician who genuinely tries to help the people will often get murdered: literally in the case of Julius Caesar or JFK. I know, they didn’t do very much, but it was enough to warrant extreme prejudice (see books by Michael Parenti). Right now, Labour in general and Corbyn in particular are being given a very hard time, doubtless because they represent a genuine threat of doing good. The implication is that they are communists. ‘Communist’ is a derogatory term for trouble-makers that was eventually supplanted by ‘conspiracy theorist’. Forty years ago, those most vociferous against what is now called the New World Order were the communists, who in the late 1970s came perilously close to government in France and Italy. In those days, even the Vatican was more leftwing than virtually anyone today. Paul VI had ties of some sort with the communist movement, and John Paul I was likely murdered for taking action against its enemies. So you see, conspiracy theory is not the rightwing phenomenon it is often made out to be: that is part of the trap into which many in the alternative media are being drawn, and as a consequence they are attacking their own allies. (When I say allies, I don’t mean monolithic entities like ‘The Vatican’; everything is changing far too fast to have any time for such monoliths.)

    For all the baubles of nobility etc. , many among the hereditary wealthy – but also many nouveaux riches – are like the camp survivors still clinging onto their bread after 60 or 70 years: it is a hangover from the survival instinct dealing with the fear of going without. But it is worse than that: they need all the bread they can lay their hands, yours and mine included. I think Wade Frazier talks about the scarcity society: scarcity is the commodity that makes the elite tick (the ‘oligo’ in ‘oligarchy’ actually means ‘few’). A while back, I visited a château with a display of a coffee set dating back to when coffee was exceedingly rare and expensive. Not so today. In the fifties and sixties, you had to go to the cinema to see what the inside of an airport terminal or an airliner looked like. Nowadays you can board a plane for coppers, and the once glamorous air hostess turns out to be a very ordinary waitress. Democratization. What can the oligarchy do these days to remain a breed apart? Instead of improving the survival instinct through altruism, they are aggravating it through greed. They are trying to confiscate everything: wealth itself of course – and now even altruism with slogans that simply cannot be true, like defending the will of the people.


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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Joseph P. Farrell just addressed a recent so-called "protocol" (see: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...t-EU-here.html) in his latest NEWS AND VIEWS FROM THE NEFARIUM OCT 31 2019


    I am really so appalled of the murky legalese that are put out to cut the sovereignty of other countries.

    I commented the following:
    Quote This protocol is soooo gross! This is what politicians really should do is to expose and remedy such b****t! This has nothing to do with democracy but self-interests. What about transparency and honesty and authenticity? Great job, Joseph!
    "The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own."
    -- Benjamin Disraeli

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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    Jeff Taylor ON BREXIT DAY!!!!

    But he's renamed it now, it's 42 days to the General Election.

    Voters are not blaming Boris Johnson for Brexit delay!

    It may be that the electorate is not blaming Boris Johnson for the Brexit delay - if anything his support base is growing.


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    Default Re: The UK Brexit vote to leave the EU

    This is a longish and thought-provoking article from philosopher and commenter John Gray on Brexit and the current state of politics. I recommend it.

    Quote The closing of the conservative mind: Politics and the art of war

    Rather than being the creation of a fanatical Eurosceptic minority, Tory populism is a sign that the Conservative Party is reinventing itself again just as Britain becomes ungovernable.

    BY JOHN GRAY

    The current parliament has run its course. Fuelled by a mix of calculating opportunism, ideological immobility and rancorous emotion, the House of Commons has slid into factionalised anarchy. In the course of this descent, politics has become an exercise in irregular warfare.

    A common response to this situation is that it reflects a crisis of conservatism. The Tory party has become a revolutionary sect under the control of the Robespierre-like figure of Dominic Cummings. The solution to Britain’s ills, some have argued, is to return to true conservatism as expressed in the enduring verities of Edmund Burke. Instead of abstract ideas and principles, politicians should rely on the slowly accumulated wisdom of past generations. Practice and tradition, not theories spun from the conceit of human reason, should be the basis of government.

    No discussion in polite society of the state of politics is complete without a reverential genuflection to the 18th-century parliamentarian. Get rid of Cummings and Boris Johnson, along with the right-wing libertarians in the cabinet, recover Burkean moderation, and all will be well.

    It is a familiar narrative in the opinion-forming classes, and all the more appealing for being baseless. The notion that Conservatives have ceased to be conservative ignores transformations in other parts of the political spectrum. Labour has also abandoned any small-c conservative disposition and become a vehicle for anti-Semitism and a version of Marxism that deems working-class values of place and community racist when they are expressed as concern about continuing mass immigration. The Liberal Democrats have become hyper-liberals, making the nullification of a clear democratic mandate their signature policy. Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is not simply a right-wing splinter movement but a response to a state of affairs in which large sections of the population are unrepresented. Rather than being the creation of Boris Johnson and a fanatical Eurosceptic minority, Tory populism is a sign of the Conservative Party reinventing itself – as it has done many times before – in order to survive.

    Burke has been resurrected by self-styled moderates because he lets them off the hook. Having previously supported the American Revolution, he reacted to the French Revolution in his celebrated Reflections of 1790 with uncomprehending horror. Burke was unhinged by the revolution in France because it subverted his Whig belief that incremental progress was part of a providential design ordained by God. Prescient in predicting the Terror, he ended up regarding the French Revolution as divine punishment for human sinfulness. The ideas that fuelled popular discontent were demonic lies, used by wicked demagogues to appeal to the base instincts and low intelligence of the masses. The people had been prised from their proper deference to higher minds, and chaos and tyranny ensued.

    For centrists rattled by the rise of populism it is a flattering tale. No responsibility for the condition of politics is ascribed to them. Reason has been tossed aside because the masses – encouraged by amoral rabble-rousers – have been allowed to vent their ignorant passions. It is not hard to detect the reek of class hatred in this ruling liberal narrative. But there is something more powerful here than mere snobbery: the belief that politics can be governed by formulas derived from some large theory. In the past, such theories were derived from Marxism and positivism, utilitarianism and Fabianism, among other ideologies. Today they emanate from the prevailing variety of rights-based liberalism promoted by philosophers such as John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin. The key feature of this liberalism is that it transfers decision-making from political to judicial institutions. Liberals are turning to law to entrench values and policies for which they cannot secure democratic assent.

    When Britain’s Supreme Court ruled that the Prime Minister acted unlawfully when he prorogued parliament, it argued that it was simply restoring authority to parliament, and in particular the House of Commons. In this sense, the judgment can be interpreted as a conservative ruling. Yet it would be disingenuous to pretend that the Supreme Court has left everything as it was. Until the court’s verdict, there were no legal standards against which the prorogation could be assessed; a significant body of expert opinion believed and still believes the question was not justiciable. By setting a precedent for further judicial intervention, the ruling has initiated a fundamental shift in British government away from the executive and towards the legislature and the courts.

    Inevitably, there will be more lawsuits attempting to overturn what were once accepted to be political decisions. As a consequence, it may not be long before judges are chosen by a political process, as in the United States. In a recent speech in the Commons, the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox raised the possibility that Supreme Court judges could be appointed after being questioned in parliament.

    Pressure for a written constitution will increase. But since a trusted institution where such a document could be written cannot be found or established when politics is so intensely polarised, the process will be bitterly contested. Given the beliefs and attitudes of many lawyers, the likely upshot would be to entrench today’s version of liberal values, which large sections of the population do not share. In that event, the descent of politics into warfare, ever more nasty and brutish, will continue.

    ***

    Since liberals exculpate themselves from any responsibility for this situation, it is only to be expected that they should pin the blame on an ideological takeover on the right. My own earlier work may have played a minor role in shaping this curious view. In The Undoing of Conservatism, a pamphlet published by the Social Market Foundation in 1994, I argued that conservative thinking had become an unstable mix of neoliberal economics with cultural traditionalism. The effect of free markets is to subvert inherited ways of life. The restless mobility of capital and labour makes any strong attachment to a particular place or company dysfunctional. An unceasing stream of new technologies undermines life-long careers, while the privileging of choice in the market promotes a transactional view of human relations throughout society. Friedrich Hayek and his followers promoted an ideology in which economic life could be a vortex of creative destruction while communal, familial and personal life remained governed by traditional norms.

    It was a fantastical combination, and something had to give. Conservative movements would fracture, some holding to doctrinaire free-market ideology and others embracing reactionary nativism, as has since happened on the American right and in European countries such as Sweden and Germany. In power, conservative parties would try to combine the two, but the balancing act would be difficult. The scale of social dislocation produced by unfettered markets would unleash powerful forces, which conservative parties and governments could not control. I did not suggest that “true conservatism” – if such a thing ever existed – could be recovered. Rather, I suggested that if conservative thinking was to have a future it would have to renew itself in a post-liberal form – one that renounced hyperbolic market individualism while securing personal freedom and social cohesion under the aegis of a strong state.

    Since then, the undoing of conservatism has been completed by the centre right. David Cameron and George Osborne promoted a neoliberalism more extreme than any entertained by Margaret Thatcher. While Osborne oversaw an austerity campaign that ravaged core structures of the state – the police and the armed forces as well as welfare services – Cameron’s deadly mix of the Brexit referendum with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act has left Britain in effect ungovernable. It was these self-styled modernisers that led the country to its present impasse, and it has been the ultras of the extreme centre that have locked us into it.


    Centre ground: Edmund Burke is venerated as a moderate conservative and anti-populist

    ***

    The proximate cause of the breakdown in British politics is the extreme lengths to which the Remainer elite has gone in their attempt to derail Brexit. Hard Brexiteers also sought to derail Theresa May’s agreement because they wanted no deal; but most proved ready to compromise when the time for a final decision arrived. In contrast, for the haute-Remainers that dominate many public institutions there can be only one rational position. For them, Brexit is not a political issue but an eschatological struggle between light and darkness.

    The haute-Remainer mind is an example of what the 20th century’s subtlest and most original conservative philosopher called political rationalism. Michael Oakeshott (1901-90) used the term to describe totalitarian ideologies such as Leninism and National Socialism, but he was clear that any kind of political tradition could succumb to rationalist ideology – including conservatism. (His own version of conservatism – an ultra-liberal variety, in which the ideal role of the state was that of an umpire – itself did.) The core of rationalism in politics is an idea of politics itself. Rather than being a practice in which people negotiate the terms on which they co-exist with one another, politics means the imposition of an idea. The idea is self-evidently true; anyone who questions it is ignorant and stupid, or else wilfully malignant. Though they claim to embody reason in politics, haute-Remainers cling to a view of the EU in which facts are secondary or irrelevant. They fulminate on the dangers of Brexit without ever mentioning that Paris has been convulsed by riots while Barcelona has become the scene of mass demonstration, burning streets and police violence. No mere fact can be allowed to cloud the vision of a sacred institution.

    This kind of thinking underlies many of the absurdities of politics at the present time, on left and right. When the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt praised the EU as an emerging empire at the Liberal Democrat conference last month, the assembled delegates could hardly restrain their enthusiasm. The dream of a future European empire supplies an alternative patriotism for progressives who despise the nation-state. In practice the European project has itself become a variety of nationalism, though it celebrates a nation that does not exist. The reality throughout the continent is the onward march of nationalists of a more familiar kind. Like much of the rest of Europe, Verhofstadt’s native Belgium is rotten with far-right movements, which his hyper-federal project would only further empower. Preferring not to face these realities, the liberals who cheered him are possessed by a grand idea.

    Oakeshott understood politics as a practical skill. In a celebrated essay, he wrote:

    Quote In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination. The enterprise is to keep afloat on an even keel; the sea is both friend and enemy, and the seamanship consists in using the resources of a traditional manner of behaviour in order to make a friend of every hostile occasion.
    It is a poetic and (to my mind) true image of the open-ended nature of politics. The flaw is in Oakeshott’s understanding of tradition. He writes as if there is a body of practice, uncorrupted by theorising, to which conservatives could revert. Here he is not unlike Burke. During the dozen or so years in which I knew and talked with Oakeshott he rarely mentioned “the founder of modern conservatism” and never with approval. He disliked Burke’s Whiggish faith in progress and much preferred the cool scepticism of David Hume. But Oakeshott’s idea of tradition has many of the difficulties of Burke’s defence of what he described as “just prejudice”. Both of them preferred the tacit knowledge embodied in practices to the abstractions of rationalist intellectuals. They passed over the fact that tacit knowledge often consists of fossilised remnants of fashionable ideas.

    The experience of the French arch-reactionary Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) may be worth recalling. At the start of the 19th century he was sent to Russia as a diplomat. An ardent opponent of the philosophes of the Enlightenment, he hoped to visit a country that had not been “scribbled on” by intellectuals. What he found was aristocratic elites babbling about Voltaire and Diderot. Then as now, there was no traditional wisdom to which a conservative could default.

    Today the tacit understanding of liberals in all parties is that the world would be far more civilised if the grubby business of politics was replaced by the legal adjudication of justice and rights. The evidence for this view is – shall we say – patchy. In the US, Donald Trump’s capture of the White House enabled him to begin reshaping the judicial system, including the Supreme Court. When political issues become the province of courts, the law is politicised. At the same time, because so many are unrepresented and the void left by liberal legalism must somehow be filled, politics becomes more polarised and vicious.

    ***

    It is a meme among bien-pensants that Britain’s disorder is the work of Dominic Cummings, among others in the Johnson government. Cummings’s penchant for the ancient Chinese text The Art of War is cited as showing his disdain for traditional ways of conducting politics. Yet he is not alone in thinking of politics as a branch of warfare. Putin’s close adviser, Vladislav Surkov, the postmodern media guru, pseudonymous novelist and theorist of hybrid warfare; Steve Bannon, the head of Trump’s presidential campaign and short-lived White House consigliere; Seamus Milne, Wykehamist, Bolshevik and chief architect of the crumbling Corbyn project – each of these have approached politics as an exercise in warfare. What is significant in Cummings is not any supposed commitment to hard-right ideology. While he may admire Bismarckian statecraft, the more important point is that for him strategy takes priority over any ideology.

    There is nothing singularly British in this development. Though the term political technology first emerged in post-communist Russia to describe the use of new media in military-style strategies of deception, it is something practised in many countries. The mutation of politics into warfare is contagious in much the same way that freedom was once supposed to be contagious.

    The technologists of power are today’s true rationalists. That superior intelligence is found among the practitioners of populism is a fact of our time. When liberals talk about reason they mean a mishmash of ideas they picked up at university. Scraps of Rawls, Dworkin and Thomas Piketty, together with a smattering of modish conspiracy theories, form the folk wisdom of the thinking classes. Rationality means deferring to this ragbag of ephemera and ignoring enduring truths about the deciding forces in politics.

    Liberals have become what John Stuart Mill, describing mid-Victorian Tories, called “the stupidest party”. Stupidity in politics is not an inert condition. It is dynamic, inventive and cumulative. The Remainer elite believe they can reverse Brexit by bypassing democratic politics: incessant legal challenges and procedural machinations in the Commons will be followed by a referendum without a no-deal option; an all-Remainer “government of national unity” will oversee the process. Of course, this would involve a good deal of political chicanery, particularly between the SNP and Labour. But the aim is to return to a sunlit place where politics is once again under the control of higher minds. Some Brexiteers have bought into this story, seeing haute-Remainers as diabolically clever conspiracists who have succeeded in denying the people what they voted for. The chief feature of the story, however, is that the politics do not add up.

    An enduring Remainer coup is a fantasy. The EU cannot negotiate with a shifting coalition of opposition MPs or a recklessly partisan Speaker, nor could it rely on a jerry-built “temporary government” the largest part of which would be a chronically divided party, whose leader will likely be gone in months. A rigged referendum excluding no deal may be the plan, but it would also exclude around a third of the electorate. Like a written constitution, a second referendum would have to be drafted by a body that is trusted to be impartial – a type of institution that, the monarchy aside, no longer exists. Any idea that a “confirmatory” referendum cobbled up by the Remainer political classes could bring closure to Brexit is laughable. Equally, the predictable result of revoking Article 50 – in the event there were ever a Commons majority for such a move – would be to trigger a major populist challenge to the legitimacy of parliament.

    ***

    The Remainer elite has been guided by the ruling philosophy of liberal legalism, which is essentially anti-political. But sooner or later, politics is bound to assert its primacy over legal and procedural manoeuvres. Despite talk of a pact with the Liberal Democrats, Tory Remainers are all but extinct as an electoral force. Driving them out of the party may be a prerequisite of its continued existence as a party of government. Without the constant threat of a mutinous faction, Johnson is more likely to achieve a workable majority. If he can attract most Brexit Party voters, he could win by a landslide.

    The most serious electoral threat to the Johnson government comes from Nigel Farage. Under the leadership of Corbyn and Milne, Labour has reached a dead end. Becoming an all-out Remain party will not help. It is too late. There already is a party for the woke bourgeoisie – Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats. (Though it is unclear what the party’s reason for existence will be once Britain has left the EU. If it becomes a Rejoin party it could end up a bien-pensant version of Ukip, beached on the fringes of politics.) Labour’s economic programme – the only part of the Corbyn project that was ever popular – has been superseded by Johnson’s strategic break with austerity. But Johnson needs to go further if he is to defuse the threat from Farage. Brexit Party voters are the key to winning a majority, and many belong in the social group most hostile to globalisation.

    Ukip in its earlier days contained a faction that was critical of corporate capitalism. But Farage has never wavered in his commitment to libertarian economics, and today this is a clear vulnerability. Johnson has to show he is committed to using the power of the state to repair the damage inflicted on society by markets, something that Theresa May and her adviser Nick Timothy briefly aspired to do.

    ***

    The future of the British state is at the heart of the crisis. Remainers repeat that no deal would mean the break-up of the United Kingdom. But if Brexit were reversed through a Labour deal with the SNP, another Scottish referendum could have the same result. The break-up of the UK may be the price of staying in the EU. Remainers point to the threat of a hard border in Ireland in the event of no deal. But a hard border will be imposed by Brussels, in order to protect the single market, not by Westminster or Dublin. Whether the EU wants to keep an unstable and obstructive state in the fold is another question.

    Though they have yet to recognise the fact, Britain’s haute-Remainers have ceased to be useful allies for the EU. If Remainers persist in their wrecking tactics and their delusion that Brexit can be reversed by another referendum, they will find themselves cut loose by Brussels with the same ruthlessness with which Johnson despatched the DUP. One way or another Brexit is going to happen, and for the EU the best way is via the swift passage of Johnson’s deal. The effect of any further delay will be to increase the prospect of a disorderly exit. The EU will be extremely reluctant to incur the responsibility for no deal. But its leaders are notably more intelligent than haute-Remainers, and recognise that continuing uncertainty is the worst outcome of all.

    As Thomas Hobbes learnt from the English Civil War, the deciding factor in politics is the need for a state with the power to act. Hobbes thought of the state as a way of escaping what he regarded as the natural human condition – continuous mistrust and conflict. Paradoxically, the upshot of British politics over the past several years has been an artificial state of nature. It is possible that Britain will continue to drift, a semi-failed state without a functioning government. But if the impact of Brexit is to reconfigure British politics, victory will not go to the forces that have paralysed government. The winner will be the party that can act resolutely and secure a period of peace.
    From: https://www.newstatesman.com/politic...cs-and-art-war
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

  40. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Cara For This Post:

    BMJ (2nd November 2019), greybeard (1st November 2019), Jayke (1st November 2019), Longjohn (18th November 2019)

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