Brexit thread III

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Comments

  • Ricardus wrote: »
    But unless I am missing something, 'No extension without an election or referendum' is different from 'No extension in any circumstance.'
    Yes it is, but the statement is by France's European Affairs Minister, not by the EU.

    As I said, no Member State is going to pre-empt an actual EU position.
    I think it is still possible to have the following sequence:

    I may be wrong, but @alienfromzog seems to think there is no more time for that.

    By the way, @alienfromzog, France Info is my go-to French language news source. And everyone here is currently totally distracted from Brexit by wondering whether Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes has been found (think Lord Lucan only more so).

  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    But unless I am missing something, 'No extension without an election or referendum' is different from 'No extension in any circumstance.'
    Yes it is, but the statement is by France's European Affairs Minister, not by the EU.

    As I said, no Member State is going to pre-empt an actual EU position.
    I think it is still possible to have the following sequence:

    I may be wrong, but @alienfromzog seems to think there is no more time for that.

    By the way, @alienfromzog, France Info is my go-to French language news source. And everyone here is currently totally distracted from Brexit by wondering whether Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes has been found (think Lord Lucan only more so).

    Is there any doubt? Apparently he looks different but the fingerprints appear definitive.

    It's a bizarre series of events (I read that the police in Scotland were tipped off by the French authorities who were informed by a family member) but doesn't seem to be a leading story on British news.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Scrolling back to this:
    I ask this because the only official statement from France I can find in English says this:
    Amélie de Montchalin, France's Europe minister:
    If there are new elections or a referendum, if there is a political shift leading us to believe we could have a different dialogue from the one we have today, then an extension can be discussed

    That reflects the frustration that the EU clearly (and justifiably) feels with the UK for all this nonsense but it is not the 'firm no' you describe. Moreover, as we have been over a lot it does not draw the firm line between an inevitable election and one being called that you think will really matter to the EU. Again, I think you may be right about that but it's still silly... unless it really does force the UK to agree a deal which in the short term is good for the EU.

    AFZ
    Eutychus wrote:
    @alienfromzog a brief search suggests she made the comments in English.

    Her position reflects what I've been saying forever (with a tiny bit more wiggle room) in terms of the conditions for an extension, but it is only to be expected that no Member State will pre-empt the formal position of the Council of Ministers. I still expect a refusal to extend. If there is an extension, Boris is intergalactically out of his reckoning, and so, it must be admitted, am I.

    But unless I am missing something, 'No extension without an election or referendum' is different from 'No extension in any circumstance.'

    I think it is still possible to have the following sequence:

    1. Boris brings back a deal and Parliament rejects it, or refuses to present a deal.
    2. Boris complies with Benn Act with no obvious shenanigans.
    3. EU says no, not without a referendum or election.
    4. Boris defenestrated by a VoNC which immediately leads to a caretaker PM
    5. Caretaker PM goes back to EU and says OK I'll call an election, now can we have our extension please?
    6. EU says yes at second time of asking.

    Point (4) is based on the assumption that when they've reached the last glass at the last barstool in the Last Chance Saloon, the opposition parties will finally get their act together.

    I think this only works if the EU is anxious to do a deal with *anyone* who isn't completely set on an all-costs Brexit.

    It's quite hard to work out if they are. It seems entirely possible that the HoC goes through a bizarre dance to install a Caretaker government only for the EU to say Nope at the last moment.
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    the UK's elected representative. How could it? What would happen if it somehow "got somewhere" with somebody other than Boris? How do you see that playing out, exactly?
    He's not Britains elected representative. He's Uxbridges elected representative. He's Tory party's elected leader. He's Britain's appointed representative or (in theory) the representative of Britain's elected.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    edited October 12
    jay_emm wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    the UK's elected representative. How could it? What would happen if it somehow "got somewhere" with somebody other than Boris? How do you see that playing out, exactly?
    He's not Britains elected representative. He's Uxbridges elected representative. He's Tory party's elected leader. He's Britain's appointed representative or (in theory) the representative of Britain's elected.

    It can't be the way the EU operates, can it. They must always be considering how internal national politics work.

    For example some national constitutions require referenda like the Swiss. The EU can't talk to everyone, so whoever they are negotiating with for a Swiss-EU agreement can only be seen as a conduit to the population which ends in a referendum.

    So whilst they may have had some security when talking to a British PM when he has a parliamentary majority, they must now be aware that the current PM cannot deliver anything he agrees to.

    If someone else came along who it was clear had a majority they'd talk to him. Why wouldn't they?
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    If someone else came along who it was clear had a majority they'd talk to him. Why wouldn't they?

    What do you think the conditions for it being "clear [they] had a majority" might be, other than being Prime Minister? Protocol dictates they deal with the elected appointed representative.

  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    If someone else came along who it was clear had a majority they'd talk to him. Why wouldn't they?

    What do you think the conditions for it being "clear [they] had a majority" might be, other than being Prime Minister? Protocol dictates they deal with the elected appointed representative.

    We are in very strange times. Usually a British PM who did not have a clear HoC majority would call a GE for this very reason.

    Parliament is essentially sovereign so if the PM has no stable majority he can't agree to anything internationally.

    If he refuses to quit, then it feels like Parliament could appoint someone else to represent the majority view to the EU.

    It hasn't happened before, but none of this nonsense has happened before.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited October 12
    Blahblah wrote: »
    If he refuses to quit, then it feels like Parliament could appoint someone else to represent the majority view to the EU.

    a) What is this "majority view" of which you speak? Note: more than "we don't want this" is required.

    b) Parliament appointing (how? what's wrong with a VoNC? they've had weeks and weeks to hold one) "someone else" is a very different scenario to the EU unilaterally deciding to talk to someone else because they don't feel they're getting anywhere with Boris, which is what @Hugal suggested and to which I was responding.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    I think it is still possible to have the following sequence:

    I may be wrong, but @alienfromzog seems to think there is no more time for that.
    The impossible (AIUI) step is holding a VonC. The Saturday sitting is immediately after the debate on the Queen's Speech, I can't see how Parliament can vote that they have confidence in the government on Friday and then that they don't on Saturday. Which leaves two options:
    1. Parliament votes down the government in the debate on the Queen's Speech, which would be unprecedented and would also totally screw up whatever plan Mr Johnson has for the Saturday sitting.
    2. The Queen's Speech doesn't include any mention of Brexit, so Parliament votes that they have confidence in the government on every issue except Brexit, leaving the option of voting to say they don't have confidence in the government about Brexit on Saturday. Which would be bizarre, and how could Parliament be confident in a government who presents a plan for the coming session which doesn't include the big issue of the day?

    1. seems plausible, 2. a lot less so. Is Mr Johnson actually planning for losing the vote to accept the Queen's Speech as the means of getting out of having to send that letter?
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    I think it is still possible to have the following sequence:

    I may be wrong, but @alienfromzog seems to think there is no more time for that.

    This is where I may be missing something, but I don't see why there wouldn't be time unless the opposition continues to play silly buggers.

    AIUI, if Mr Corbyn calls for a VoNC, the House is obliged to debate it as soon as possible. If the VoNC passes, there is nothing constitutional that requires a certain amount of time to elapse before Mr Corbyn (or anyone else) demonstrates the confidence of the House - the only limit is the practical question of how quickly he can get the opposition MPs to sign a letter, or similar.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    The EU can have back-channel conversations with whoever it likes, but it will not formally talk to the UK other than through the UK's elected representative. How could it? What would happen if it somehow "got somewhere" with somebody other than Boris? How do you see that playing out, exactly?

    Agreed but if Parliament disagrees with the PM abs they are sovereign who does the EU talk to? The sovereign power or the leader of main party (asfr the last election, they are in a minority now). This is the problem. The PM is bloody minded and may follow the letter not the spirit of the law. If he is not representing Parliament what use is he?
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    I think it is still possible to have the following sequence:

    I may be wrong, but @alienfromzog seems to think there is no more time for that.

    This is where I may be missing something, but I don't see why there wouldn't be time unless the opposition continues to play silly buggers.

    AIUI, if Mr Corbyn calls for a VoNC, the House is obliged to debate it as soon as possible. If the VoNC passes, there is nothing constitutional that requires a certain amount of time to elapse before Mr Corbyn (or anyone else) demonstrates the confidence of the House - the only limit is the practical question of how quickly he can get the opposition MPs to sign a letter, or similar.

    I believe it is the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011.

    If there is a VoNC, the incumbent PM has 2 weeks to try to form a stable majority. If he frits away that time, a new government cannot stop Brexit.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    If he refuses to quit, then it feels like Parliament could appoint someone else to represent the majority view to the EU.

    a) What is this "majority view" of which you speak? Note: more than "we don't want this" is required.

    b) Parliament appointing (how? what's wrong with a VoNC? they've had weeks and weeks to hold one) "someone else" is a very different scenario to the EU unilaterally deciding to talk to someone else because they don't feel they're getting anywhere with Boris, which is what @Hugal suggested and to which I was responding.

    I believe it is possible for a new law to be passed which appoints a parliamentary representative to meet the EU to discuss Brexit

    It would be outrageous and difficult and bizarre. But basically the UK parliament can do anything it wants if there is a majority for it.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    This is where I may be missing something, but I don't see why there wouldn't be time unless the opposition continues to play silly buggers.
    Don't bank on that anytime soon. I think the only thing that might bring them to their senses is the scenario I've outlined above.
    Hugal wrote: »
    Agreed but if Parliament disagrees with the PM abs they are sovereign who does the EU talk to? The sovereign power or the leader of main party (asfr the last election, they are in a minority now). This is the problem. The PM is bloody minded and may follow the letter not the spirit of the law.

    The EU will continue to talk to the UK's appointed representative. The rest is domestic politics.
    If he is not representing Parliament what use is he?

    If he's not representing Parliament then Parliament should take steps to remove him, full stop. Why it does or doesn't do that is Parliament's responsibility, and most definitely not the EU's responsibility to second-guess. The EU's diplomatic responsibility is to deal with the appointed representative, whoever that is.

  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Which comes back to the question of how desperate they are to get a sensible deal and how much fudging they'll do to get it.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Hugal wrote: »
    The PM is bloody minded and may follow the letter not the spirit of the law. If he is not representing Parliament what use is he?

    The Speaker represents the HoC. Not sure these days who represents the Lords but t used be the Lord Chancellor. Still could be.

    I'd be surprised if the Queen's PPS had not thought hard about what would happen were the Commons to reject whatever Johnson comes back with or if there is a VoNC.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    I think it is still possible to have the following sequence:

    I may be wrong, but @alienfromzog seems to think there is no more time for that.

    This is where I may be missing something, but I don't see why there wouldn't be time unless the opposition continues to play silly buggers.

    AIUI, if Mr Corbyn calls for a VoNC, the House is obliged to debate it as soon as possible. If the VoNC passes, there is nothing constitutional that requires a certain amount of time to elapse before Mr Corbyn (or anyone else) demonstrates the confidence of the House - the only limit is the practical question of how quickly he can get the opposition MPs to sign a letter, or similar.

    I believe it is the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011.

    If there is a VoNC, the incumbent PM has 2 weeks to try to form a stable majority. If he frits away that time, a new government cannot stop Brexit.

    My reading is that the 14 days is for anyone to demonstrate they have a stable majority. That is, if no-one does, then Boris has 14 days before he has to call an election (which would be post-Brexit), but if Corbyn can show on day #1 that he has a majority, then he becomes PM.

    From the House of Commons Research Library:
    The Act specifies that early elections can be held only:

    if a motion for an early general election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the whole House or without division; or
    if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is confirmed by the Commons within 14 days. [My bold]
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited October 12
    Blahblah wrote: »
    I believe it is possible for a new law to be passed which appoints a parliamentary representative to meet the EU to discuss Brexit

    Great! Who do you think might fill this position, why do you think they will command a majority, and what do you expect their negotiating position to be?
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    if Corbyn can show on day #1 that he has a majority
    I'm pretty sure that's the flaw in this plan.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    if Corbyn can show on day #1 that he has a majority
    I'm pretty sure that's the flaw in this plan.

    Sure, but that comes under the heading of 'opposition playing silly buggers' rather than lack of time.

    I think you are depressingly likely to be right, but it isn't completely outside the bounds of possibility. Whatever the merits of the Benn Act, passing it required an impressive degree of coordination, and I think the opposition parties were able to do this because they believed their backs were to the wall and they only had a week left of Parliamentary time. As soon as Parliament was un-prorogued, they had the illusion of more time, and reverted to dithering. In the scenario I've been describing, they would be in 'backs to the wall' mode once more, so maybe they could yet manage another feat of coordination ...
  • I know it's the Daily Mail, but this piece sets out a rationale for Boris' new stance. The rationale isn't quite the same as mine, but the predicted outcome is.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited October 12
    From the article -
    With trademark bravado, Boris Johnson has repeatedly said he’s willing to take Britain out of the EU without a deal. But I have always suspected that has been partly bluster.

    Confronted now with no wriggle room to deliver a No Deal Brexit, he has accepted that a deal must be struck with Brussels.

    There is one principal reason for this: fear of the consequences of No Deal and a dawning realisation that it could result in electoral defeat for the Tories.

    Yes, I agree - he has got by on bluster so far in life and thought it would work for negotiations with the EU.

    “They need to believe we’ll leave without a deal.” became such a mantra I think he believed it himself.

    Ah well, not too long now before we see how this pans out. I’d rather deal with what is happening than with what might happen.

  • Boogie wrote: »
    Ah well, not too long now before we see how this pans out. I’d rather deal with what is happening than with what might happen.

    I would far rather change how it pans out. I don't see how we can possibly deal with the total national self-destruction which seems to be our Prime Minister's settled will.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited October 12
    I would far rather change how it pans out.

    Of course, but in the new mantra of this thread, politics is the art of the possible. The experience since May's departure suggests there is no will or ability to remove those currently pursuing negotiations.
    I don't see how we can possibly deal with the total national self-destruction which seems to be our Prime Minister's settled will.
    If the Mail article is anywhere near correct, the interests of Boris and the EU in securing a deal are now aligned.

    To my mind, keeping those interests aligned, and minds concentrated, requires the EU not to grant an extension. In not doing so, it is helping Boris fulfil the keystone promise of his mandate and thus potentially handing him a major political victory. It is also allowing the EU to extract huge concessions from him: he is clearly not a man of principle, but he is someone who can present black as white so in a good position to put the case for fudge. Especially to a Parliament doubtless reluctant to effectively vote for (or at least not against) No Deal. Face-saving on all sides.

    But (and this is important) this manouvering also (in theory) produces a Deal. To my mind any deal is orders of magnitude better than No Deal, and no other conjunction of people and circumstances have produced a votable one yet. And as and when that's done (by which I mean the decision has been taken, not all the loose ends tied up), the country can get back to regular politics and anyone voters feel is not bent on total national self-destruction can be elected (or at least their local representative can...) at the ballot box.

    Oh and @Blahblah, it turns out not to be De Ligonnes.

  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Hugal wrote: »
    The PM is bloody minded and may follow the letter not the spirit of the law. If he is not representing Parliament what use is he?

    The Speaker represents the HoC. Not sure these days who represents the Lords but t used be the Lord Chancellor. Still could be.

    I'd be surprised if the Queen's PPS had not thought hard about what would happen were the Commons to reject whatever Johnson comes back with or if there is a VoNC.

    Sorry there was a mix up. The PM represents Parliament to the EU.
    I agree they could send another representative and they have considered this.
    I don’t share the grudging respect for Boris that some have stated on here. I don’t find him charismatic. I believe on Super Saturday he will lay out the plans to leave as though the Benn act never happened. Ignore it all f he can. I find it difficult to believe he has changed much. I hope I am wrong for all our sakes.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »

    Oh and @Blahblah, it turns out not to be De Ligonnes.

    Holy socks, batman. Who is it?
  • God help us all.
  • I give up.

    We're totally and royally screwed.
  • Hugal wrote: »
    I agree they could send another representative and they have considered this.
    Same question as to @Blahblah : who is this person, how do they command a majority, and what is their negotiating position?
    I don’t share the grudging respect for Boris that some have stated on here. I don’t find him charismatic. I believe on Super Saturday he will lay out the plans to leave as though the Benn act never happened.
    He is perfectly entitled to do that if, as I predict, the EU reject the request for an extension. And on current evidence, I'd say it's the least bad course of action, if he has a deal on the table.

    In my view it's only the real threat of crashing out on October 31 that has produced the right environment for a deal that actually stands a chance of passing Parliament. One can hate the combination of factors that have led to that state of affairs, but one can also be a little relieved that the potential at least exists.

    If the EU were to grant an extension, it pretty much sends the UK into further political chaos and judging by Parliament's performance since March 31, won't produce any tangible proposal for the EU to consider. MPs are united only in what they don't want. They don't wan't No Deal. So we need a situation in which they are forced to vote for an actual, positive alternative OR No Deal. Super Saturday might, just might, produce one.
    I find it difficult to believe he has changed much.
    What makes you think he's changed at all? His policy direction is changing like a weathercock, but that's nothing new. He's seeking his own political interest and survival. The fact is that for a brief interlude it looks as though that might actually coincide with seeking a deal that can actually get through Parliament. If so, so much the better.

  • No. The mistake is to think that the deal that is possible is materially better than no deal. It is very much so in the short term. But in the medium to long term it is not.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    Parliament has stated that they can send someone who better represents their view. I don’t know how but that has been stated on Sunday political TV.
    He cannot carry on as if the Benn act didn’t exist if there is no deal. Plain and simple. The EU cannot have said they will not give an extension because they have not been sent said letter. Under your own logic they can talk unofficially but no agreement happens until it he sent it. Super Saturday is the day he has to send it.
    I also disagree with your thinking on Parliament. Parliament has tried several ways to sort this out. The whole stretch of late votes for a start. The Benn act. I do think there is an agreement among most politicians for some kind of referendum. You are never going to get every one to agree but that is what the get from the political reporting in the TV.
  • From where I'm sitting, it's realistically achievable, whereas staying in the EU is not, realistically.
  • I find this annoying - and surely Theresa May must find it even more so - because Johnson's deal appears to be May's original deal ("NI-only backstop"), before the DUP stymied it. But now the DUP appear to be supporting it!
  • That's because they are no longer in the strategic position they were before of providing the Tories with a parliamentary majority, so they are now weakened. And probably don't want to be seen to be tearing up the GFA.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited October 12
    No. The mistake is to think that the deal that is possible is materially better than no deal. It is very much so in the short term. But in the medium to long term it is not.

    The withdrawal agreement (either one) resolves nothing about the medium or long term. The badness or otherwise of the medium to long term depends on what trade deal is eventually agreed.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    That's because they are no longer in the strategic position they were before of providing the Tories with a parliamentary majority, so they are now weakened. And probably don't want to be seen to be tearing up the GFA.

    So... if only Theresa May had done even worse in the 2017 election, so that she wouldn't have had a majority even with the DUP, she'd have been in a better position to get a deal???
  • It seems to me that the EU are in a difficult position (aren't we all?). In normal times they should only deal with the legally appointed Head of State. To have had talks with Hague behind Blair's back would have been a waste of time, and showed serious disregard for the British form of democracy.

    However, we are not in normal times, to say the least. Johnson hasn't won a General Election, and could yet become the shortest serving Prime Minister in history. Given the chaos that is British politics at the moment I find it hard to believe that some EU officials aren't talking to some people in Britain outside the Government, no matter how unofficial and deniable such talks are.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    No. The mistake is to think that the deal that is possible is materially better than no deal. It is very much so in the short term. But in the medium to long term it is not.

    The withdrawal agreement (either one) resolves nothing about the medium or long term. The badness or otherwise of the medium to long term depends on what trade deal is eventually agreed.

    This is true, although when they were talking about May's deal I believe the EU were suggesting it was also the kind of shape they wanted for a trade deal.

    It seems quite likely that a withdrawal agreement will influence the discussion on a final trade deal.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited October 12
    So... if only Theresa May had done even worse in the 2017 election, so that she wouldn't have had a majority even with the DUP, she'd have been in a better position to get a deal???
    As Ian Paisely snr. once famously said, "that was then, this is now". What's for certain is that May had the DUP voting against her in each WA vote, thus helping to ensure its defeat, and then wholly cynically (in my view) voting for her immediately afterwards in the VoNC.

    This time round, Boris' deadline cast in stone and the stark realities of a potential No Deal are causing some to waver, I think. Although some hardline Unionists seem to have noticed what's afoot.
    I find it hard to believe that some EU officials aren't talking to some people in Britain outside the Government, no matter how unofficial and deniable such talks are.
    I'm sure they are, but the idea that the EU could somehow officially sidestep Boris simply because he isn't some people's preferred UK representative sounds about as sensible as 'is there someone else up there we can talk to?'

  • Sorry, missed this earlier:
    Hugal wrote: »
    Parliament has stated that they can send someone who better represents their view. I don’t know how but that has been stated on Sunday political TV.

    'Parliament' can't have stated. Who stated this? And what is their view? What is their brief? It can't just be to ask for an extension. It has to outline a proposal.
    He cannot carry on as if the Benn act didn’t exist if there is no deal. Plain and simple. The EU cannot have said they will not give an extension because they have not been sent said letter.
    How do you know that? Or: how do you know he won't send it between now and the 19th? As far as I can see from the Act, he has to send it "no later than" the 19th, but unless I'm mistaken nothing stops him sending it earlier at any time of his choosing (article 1(3)).
    Parliament has tried several ways to sort this out. The whole stretch of late votes for a start. The Benn act. I do think there is an agreement among most politicians for some kind of referendum.
    But this does not amount to a negotiating position with the EU. "Please given us extra time because we haven't managed to remove Boris yet" doesn't sound very convincing to my ears.

    If (big if) there is a deal on the table by October 19, and if (big if) an extension has not been ruled out already by the EU, voting against the deal in the hope that Brussels will grant an extension subsequently looks like a huge risk to me.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    No. The mistake is to think that the deal that is possible is materially better than no deal. It is very much so in the short term. But in the medium to long term it is not.

    The withdrawal agreement (either one) resolves nothing about the medium or long term. The badness or otherwise of the medium to long term depends on what trade deal is eventually agreed.

    This is true, although when they were talking about May's deal I believe the EU were suggesting it was also the kind of shape they wanted for a trade deal.

    It seems quite likely that a withdrawal agreement will influence the discussion on a final trade deal.

    True, but if the WA is agreed and then Mr Corbyn wins the election, and says he wants a permanent customs union, I doubt the EU would say 'Nope, that's not what Mrs May and Mr Johnson said' ...
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    So... if only Theresa May had done even worse in the 2017 election, so that she wouldn't have had a majority even with the DUP, she'd have been in a better position to get a deal???
    As Ian Paisely snr. once famously said, "that was then, this is now". What's for certain is that May had the DUP voting against her in each WA vote, thus helping to ensure its defeat, and then wholly cynically (in my view) voting for her immediately afterwards in the VoNC.
    But from a DUP perspective surely this means they previously made a big misjudgement. If your big deal-breaker is divergence of NI from the UK then May's final WA is much better than the NI-only backstop. They should be kicking themselves and saying "why didn't we get May's deal through when we had the chance", surely?
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited October 12
    It seems to me that the EU are in a difficult position (aren't we all?).

    I agree, but it follows that if the opposition parties want favours from the EU, then putting them in a difficult position is not a good start.

    The EU comprises 28 democracies with their own independent concepts of what constitutes legitimate government. The EU itself has no gold standard for legitimacy beyond what each member state considers legitimate. It cannot be expected to act as a kind of constitutional super-arbitrator.

    I have lived in France and the Czech Republic. France practises separation of powers like the United States. The President and the Assemblée nationale are elected separately and perform separate functions. Mr Chirac's party lost its majority at some point but Mr Chirac did not thereby cease to be President. A French Benn Act would be unthinkable; the Assemblée would be acting outside its powers.

    The Czech system has a President and a PM. When I was there (the rules have since changed) the President was elected by the Parliament for a fixed term; once elected he remained in position for the duration of his term even if the composition of Parliament changed. The PM, as in the UK, is whoever commands the confidence of the Lower Chamber. Most executive power resides with the PM but the President can bang heads together when the executive falls apart.

    The PM when I was there was Mirek Topolánek, whose coalition collapsed after a series of scandals that included him being photographed naked chez Silvio Berlusconi. President Václav Klaus then negotiated a caretaker government under Jan Fischer, the head of the Czech Statistical Agency, a man who had never been elected to anything and whose only previous party affiliation was Communist. Fischer remained in position for months because apparently it takes a long time to organise proper elections in the Czech Republic.

    The point of these anecdotes is that I doubt the European Council are thinking 'Gosh, Mr Johnson is clearly not legitimate'; more likely, Emmanuel Macron is thinking 'This is what happens when you don't read Montesquieu', and Andrej Babiš is thinking 'Why doesn't the Queen just get Sir Ian Diamond to do the job?'
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    more likely, Emmanuel Macron is thinking 'This is what happens when you don't read Montesquieu'

    ROTFL, that is so what a French politician would say (and indeed probably is)!

    @TurquoiseTastic I can't presume to be in the DUP's heads, but they don't strike me as very long-term thinkers...

    In other news, I've just picked up this week's print edition of The Economist. They seem to have gone to press before the Varadkar/Johnson talks, but appear convinced the discussions at the EU are about the reasons for granting an extension, not whether or not to grant it, so I'm well at odds with them and @alienfromzog may find some more comfort.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    No. The mistake is to think that the deal that is possible is materially better than no deal. It is very much so in the short term. But in the medium to long term it is not.

    Thinking about it, isn't this a departure from your previous position that leaving with a deal and leaving without a deal are fundamentally different things that just happen both to have the word 'leave' in them, and the referendum provided a mandate for one but not the other? If in the medium-to-long term both end up in the same place, wouldn't that suggest they are in fact fundamentally the same?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    No. The mistake is to think that the deal that is possible is materially better than no deal. It is very much so in the short term. But in the medium to long term it is not.

    Thinking about it, isn't this a departure from your previous position that leaving with a deal and leaving without a deal are fundamentally different things that just happen both to have the word 'leave' in them, and the referendum provided a mandate for one but not the other? If in the medium-to-long term both end up in the same place, wouldn't that suggest they are in fact fundamentally the same?

    Only in the sense that walking to work five miles in the pissing rain carrying a load of equipment is fundamentally the same as getting a taxi there and the equipment already being in place.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    No. The mistake is to think that the deal that is possible is materially better than no deal. It is very much so in the short term. But in the medium to long term it is not.

    Thinking about it, isn't this a departure from your previous position that leaving with a deal and leaving without a deal are fundamentally different things that just happen both to have the word 'leave' in them, and the referendum provided a mandate for one but not the other? If in the medium-to-long term both end up in the same place, wouldn't that suggest they are in fact fundamentally the same?

    Only in the sense that walking to work five miles in the pissing rain carrying a load of equipment is fundamentally the same as getting a taxi there and the equipment already being in place.

    No, because the claim is that either way the destination is equally shit. So it's the choice between walking five miles in the rain to get to the slurry pit you've decided to bathe in, and getting a taxi to that same slurry pit.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 13
    Ricardus wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    No. The mistake is to think that the deal that is possible is materially better than no deal. It is very much so in the short term. But in the medium to long term it is not.

    Thinking about it, isn't this a departure from your previous position that leaving with a deal and leaving without a deal are fundamentally different things that just happen both to have the word 'leave' in them, and the referendum provided a mandate for one but not the other? If in the medium-to-long term both end up in the same place, wouldn't that suggest they are in fact fundamentally the same?

    Only in the sense that walking to work five miles in the pissing rain carrying a load of equipment is fundamentally the same as getting a taxi there and the equipment already being in place.

    No, because the claim is that either way the destination is equally shit. So it's the choice between walking five miles in the rain to get to the slurry pit you've decided to bathe in, and getting a taxi to that same slurry pit.

    Work, slurry pit, both places I'd rather not be.

    Point is both get you somewhere you don't want to be but one does it in a considerably more unpleasant way.

    I forget sometime that some people actually enjoy their jobs which might have spoilt my metaphor a bit.
  • Interesting quote from the Belfast Telegraph, "paramilitary groups are making contingency plans", in case Boris "shafts" N. Ireland. Heads you lose, tails you don't win.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    No. The mistake is to think that the deal that is possible is materially better than no deal. It is very much so in the short term. But in the medium to long term it is not.

    Thinking about it, isn't this a departure from your previous position that leaving with a deal and leaving without a deal are fundamentally different things that just happen both to have the word 'leave' in them, and the referendum provided a mandate for one but not the other? If in the medium-to-long term both end up in the same place, wouldn't that suggest they are in fact fundamentally the same?

    You make a good point. In my defence, I was very grumpy on Saturday...

    Seriously though, I was being very imprecise and conflating two separate things and this is a fair criticism of what I said. It should also be taken in the context of what you said above: i.e. the thing that matters most is the shape of any future trade deal. Part of my disgust is how the set-up at the moment virtually guarantees a terrible future arrangement, although, as you noted the WA itself is not strictly the determinant.

    To be clear: Leaving the EU without a deal will create a very big economic shock. It will make a meaningful and useful trade deal with our nearest neighbours all-but-impossible for at least 5 years and is totally at odds with all that was promised in the EU-referendum* and thus there can be no rational case for there being an argument for leaving with No Deal. That remains my position.

    Does that mean that any deal is better than a bad deal? Yes, up to a point. Avoiding the cliff edge and having time to adjust is vital in offsetting the very worrying short-term effects of No Deal. However, the WA as written by May does not avert No Deal, it can still happen at the end of the transition period. From what we know of Johnson's proposals, this is still true. Moreover, the WA impacts the final destination (long term trading arrangements with the EU) and whilst avoiding No Deal remains a major priority, a bad WA will make the final destination very similar or even the same as No Deal.

    My argument here is not a democratic one (although I would still argue about the lack of mandate, that's a much more subtle and complex argument here) - my argument is a practical one. One of the things that @Eutychus has been consistent on is that those of us who oppose Brexit (i.e. sane people) should accept something like May's Deal because it's so much better than No Deal. I agree with the logic but I analyse it differently because (and God help me for this), I still see a path to avoiding Brexit and whilst I think No Deal is catastrophic, the marginal risk (as it were) of making No Deal more likely by not accepting May's WA is worth it for the potential of improving the situation markedly. It's a trade-off because what May had come up with was so bad (in the medium to long term) and didn't actually avoid No Deal necessarily) nor did it resolve much in the way of uncertainty that has led to virtually zero investment in the UK for the past 3 years. So the choice was to accept May's deal which was awful or take the risk of opposing it. My analysis was always that the things were so bad, the risk of making it worse was worth it for the potentially huge upside. If we really get down to a bad deal vs No Deal** then my position is different.

    AFZ

    *Given all that was said in the Leave campaign; leaving with No Deal is indefensible. It gets a lot more complicated with May's Deal. It does achieve some of the things promised, like the end of freedom of movement and removal from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The problem comes when you realise that all of the other things promised are not compatible with these 'achievements.' However, I would not argue categorically that May's WA (or any other for that matter) does not have a mandate in the way that No Deal clearly does not.
    **The short term shock of No Deal is huge and whilst 5-10 years out it probably comes to the same thing, the costs are big enough that one should accept a bad deal if it really is only these two choices. There is a counter-argument to this which I am impressed by but as yet not persuaded. If you read the proper analysis by economists who focus on trade, the expectation with a deal is not a big shock, but a slow long-term decline. Think austerity, only slightly worse. The great danger here, as with austerity is that the perpetrators can get away with denying that they caused the problem in the first place. Which is the worst possible thing for our democracy. It means a total and complete absence of accountability. Thus, some argue that No Deal is preferable as the damage done by Brexit will be so obvious, no one will be able to deny it. (Clearly, there's an even bigger discussion here).
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