Brexit Linkfest Special 2/26/19

I am departing from our usual practice and publishing Brexit links separately and early. The press has reported on two developments, one of Corbyn saying he would back a second referendum (although note that there still appears not to be enough votes in Parliament to back even a motion calling for one; recall that People’s Vote called on Labour to scuttle a similar motion last month for that reason), the second a potential major reversal by May. I wanted to give readers the chance to discuss these developments separately, based both on analysis that may come before the Cabinet meeting this morning and any announcements coming out of it.

PM set to offer MPs guarantee of binding vote on whether to take no-deal Brexit off table for 29 March ITV. This is from Robert Peston. Bloomberg does have a similar story…with all of one source, that was re-reported by Reuters (as in with “Bloomberg” in the headline). But the Sun and the Daily Mail have similar reports.

Theresa May poised to open the way for delaying Brexit Financial Times. Key section:

Downing Street believes there is now a solid Commons majority against a no-deal exit, suggesting that if Tory Eurosceptics refused to back the deal next month then Brexit would be delayed by perhaps a couple of months….

As Europhile ministers met at Westminster to discuss tactics ahead of a Brexit vote in the Commons on Wednesday, one ally of the prime minister said: “The principal concern is to stop those people from resigning.”

The prime minister will set out her plans to avert the pro-European revolt at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, with tensions riding high over her willingness to countenance a delay to Brexit.

For what it’s worth, the Torygraph has not deigned to promote these rumors. I see nothing at all related to this story on its landing page. This is the top portion:

Plus per Peston, May hasn’t made up her mind. If I were her, I’d wait for the referendum amendment backed by Corbyn to fail (see tweetstorm below, it doesn’t have the votes). Peston claims this would happen Tuesday AM, which I gather is in a ministers’ meeting.

.This move would also prove that her gambit of pushing back the meaningful vote to March 12 was a backfire, that it elicited more pushback than she could manage in the form of the threat of 23 ministerial resignations (the Sun has it at 15). Put this another way, this may be the showdown between the ERG and the Remainers. The Remainers claim they’d vote with Labour on Brexit, but where does the ERG go? A vote of no confidence?

Brexit: this historically dysfunctional process Richard North. North is less convinced as to the significance of the blowup. If I were to summarize his take, it’s that May might get the “no deal Brexit” commitment simply to mean “no March 29 crashout”. The EU has previously said it wouldn’t extend unless the UK had a “settled view” in Parliament, which it doesn’t, and gives a reason for asking for an extension. Even though some EU leader are making clear they’ve softened their position, quite a few others are making clear they’ve had it with the UK, which suggests at most they’d be amendable to only a short extension. For both the reasons of the much greater difficulty of getting a long extension (long = beyond the seating of the European Parliament on July 2, and more likely, two months as the outside from the UK side), May would likely present “short” as in a few weeks to two months.

Put it another way: no one in Parliament has come to grips with the fact that the only way to take a “no deal Brexit” off the table is to rescind the Article 50 notice. I see no willingness to do that, absent the cover of a second referendum, and per below (read the tweetstorm) not enough votes in Parliament for that either.

Consistent with our reading, the Sun presents the Remainer rebels’ ask as merely stopping a crash out on March 29, and not a lasting resolution to that threat:

Theresa May will today propose to Cabinet that she formally rules out a No Deal Brexit on March 29, opening the door to a delay. The decision will mean putting off Britain’s EU exit by weeks or months if MPs still haven’t passed a new divorce agreement in two weeks time.

Pharma industry steels itself for no-deal Brexit Financial Times

Hub in Belgium to keep NHS supplied in event of no-deal Brexit Guardian (Kevin W)

Tony Blair backs the Independent Group as he says ‘truly mind-boggling’ Labour has been taken by populists Independent (Kevin W)

EU debates length of Brexit delay despite May vow to stay on time Financial Times. Views are all over the map. And a lot of hostility to an extension.

And you get an extra Antidote du jour for your trouble. This one from martha r seemed fitting:

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  1. Pavel

    If anyone had any doubts about the pseudo-political party “The Independent Group” (they registered as a company and are thus need not be transparent about their funding, among other items), they now have war criminal Tony Blair’s blessing. Enough said.

    It seems clear to me that T. May’s priority is staying in power — she knows it won’t be for too much longer but seems to derive some perverse pleasure in stringing everything along, kicking the can down the road, and playing Groundhog Day with the EU. As Yves and many others have noted, the latter is getting thoroughly fed up and at some point will just tell the UK to piss off without a deal. They’ll miss the £39 billion “divorce settlement” but their collective sanity and desire to sort out their own multiple other crises will take priority.

    I’ve been following UK politics since the early ’80s and I’ve never seen such a shambolic and inept bunch of politicians. Of course the useless UK media are also very much at fault.

    1. Redlife2017

      Yes, I find it fascinating that Tony Blair could be seen as something other than someone to run far far away from. NOBODY likes him that is not in the Westminster Bubble.

      I’ll go with Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s take on Tony Blair when asked what he thought of George W. Bush (in one of his last interviews):
      The worst thing about Bush, he added, was that “nobody now gives the United States any respect, apart from a handful of fascist Brits and that simpering little whore Tony Blair.”

    2. Jon Cloke

      TIG, also known as the Blair Rich Project or Ka-ching! has Tony Blair’s blessing… because he paid for it, at least in part, with his Iraq war blood money – why do you think it’s registered in Panama, FFS?

      Carpetbagger Chuka was bought off to head it with his $40K ‘head centrist’ role last year and Ali Campbell has played a blinder in lining up a series of remain MPs to leave in a steady trickle up to March 29th so that they constitute a blocking group, to act in concert with his astroturf movement PeoplesVoteUK PLC

      The antisemitism smear is Blairite Labour’s new WMD; it’s basically the Blairites saying “Labour is *our* party and if you don’t give it back to us we’ll make sure no-one can have it, take our bat and our ball and go and play on our own..”

  2. David

    It needs to be repeated time and again that « no deal « is not an option to be ruled out but an outcome to be avoided. Whenever you start a negotiation the possibility exists that you will fail to reach an agreement :so no deal. You cannot stipulate in advance that negotiations will be successful. Failure is only not an option in the movies.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Exactly. The only way a no no deal option can be workable is if it is replaced with another default. In other words, failure to agree to a deal leads to an automatic A.50 rescindment. But nobody seems to be willing to say this.

      1. Joe Well

        Wait, they’re not setting a default position in all these “no no deal” motions?? I assumed the default was Article 50 rescinded. So rather than “May’s deal,” no Brexit or no deal, it was just the first two.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, no one is advocating rescinding Article 50. This is another unicorn, that you can have “no no deal Brexit,” not approve May’s deal, and not relax a big red line or two and then get a huge waiver time-wise from the EU to negotiate a radically different deal. As indicated, whip counts say there aren’t the votes even for a non-binding motion calling for a second referendum, even before you get to the fact that Labour appears not to be whipping for it.

          1. Synoia

            Choose one of these:

            1. rescinding Article 50 (Stay in EU, for a while)
            2. Crash out
            3. The Brexit deal

            Umm: 4.

            Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast

            And after breakfast?

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              To clarify: May is not discussing rescinding A50 which does not require approval of the EU but possibly a delay, which requires unanimous approval.

              She cannot rescind A50 without having the Withdrawal Act repealed, among other things.

          2. Joe Well

            This is another unicorn, that you can have “no no deal Brexit,” not approve May’s deal, and not relax a big red line or two and then get a huge waiver time-wise from the EU to negotiate a radically different deal.

            Thank you for clarifying that. So the implication is that they will get an 18-month extension, which might be barely enough time to renegotiate the agreement they haven’t been able to negotiate in the last 24 months. Basically, kicking the can.

            The problem being, the EU won’t or possibly can’t agree to that. But it was only just kicking the can, anyway…so…my head explodes…

            …unless the deeper implication is that they will keep kicking the can for 18 months every 18 months indefinitely. Kind of a national procrastination, like a dream deferred, like someone who never says they won’t clean the attic but never actually cleans it, either.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Its all multidimensional chess, as played by people who don’t seem to understand the rules of chess.

    If, as seems right from the reports, Corbyn has focused on more detailed calls for what amounts to BINO, along with a second referendum, then that’s certainly good politics from his point of view. It cuts the legs from under the Independent group, and forces Remainers in the Tory party to make a decision. Conveniently for him, this is also in line with the official Labour Party stance as voted on in the last convention. It raises the interesting possibility of a no-deal occurring precisely because Parliament insists on voting for BINO and a referendum. In other words, they vote for something May can’t and won’t deliver. From Corbyn’s point of view, this would be a win-win, as its pretty clear he doesn’t care if there is a no-deal.

    As for the EU, I think they are flailing a little, unsure of what to do. My interpretation of the leaking stories about the EU offering an extension to 2020 means that the EU is split on how to avoid a no-deal. The only thing they certainly will not accept is a series if short extensions. They know May can’t deliver in March, and probably can’t deliver in June either. I suspect they are investigating internally to see if there is any way an extension to 2020 can be done without creating constitutional issues for the EU. I strongly suspect the answer to this is ‘no’. The European Parliamentary elections create an enormous obstacle. I also think that there is a certain amount of muscle flexing behind the scenes from a number of countries, especially Spain. Other countries are just so bored with the whole thing they will do anything to get it over and done with. The EU will do everything it can to avoid the embarrassment of losing a vote on an extension, which is why so many trial balloons are being released. My guess is that they will only offer 2-3 months.

    It should be said that the British newspaper reports are quite different from the normally very well connected Tony Connelly articles on RTE. He doesn’t say anything about long extensions – he thinks the focus in the EU is on getting some sort of wording on the backstop that will give cover for May to get the deal over the goal line.

    But the ERG still have plenty of cards to play. They know that chaos is their friend. There is every possibility of a no-deal occurring simply because the government is unable to get anything agreed and legally/procedurally tied up by the end of March.

    1. Frenchguy

      It probably was linked already at some point but it was intersting to see that businesses may actually think that a short extension is the worst possible outcome. Companies that are preparing for no-deal have all pencilled in 29 March. At least the date is known, changing it would ruin their preparations (think of auto manufacturers that have planned to shut down production the first week of April in any case…).

      “EU businesses urge clean break from UK or long Brexit delay” (FT)

      1. PlutoniumKun

        That’s an interesting issue, although I suspect that the number of companies that have properly prepared for a no-deal could be counted on the finger of one hand.

        EY did a survey a few months back and, to paraphrase their results, found that while a number of the very biggest financial companies had prepared fall back plans, the majority of smaller scale ones were not just unprepared, they simply didn’t know what they didn’t know. A few months would at least buy some time for emergency provisions.

        1. Frenchguy

          You are probably right to think that few firms have really prepared for no-deal. On the other hand, won’t a delay just confirm to the other businesses that no-deal won’t happen ? Whatever happens, I doubt no-deal will be an official policy until the very end…

          1. Ignacio

            I am thinking on Spain veggie producers. High season starts in June. But the must plan in advance. I will try a search later on this.

              1. vlade

                And the sick old UK pensioners being sent home to queue at NHS (arguably Spain may receive some of its youth back in exchange, who, if jobless, may have problems of their own..)

                1. Ignacio

                  First smiles, now tears: A recent study foresees a 5,4% decrease in spanish agricultural exports to UK in 2020 compared with 2017 in no deal case and just 1% decrease if a deal is agreed. 8% of agricultural exports go to the UK. link In spanish.

                  Note they talk about 2020. No mention of possible major disruptions just after brexit.

    2. David

      British incompetence and disunity have put the EU in a horrible position where there is no pain -free solution. The normal rules of politics suggest that they will try to find the least damaging solution for the largest number of states, accepting that some damage will be inevitable. Curiously I think the EU actually over-estimated the UK’s common sense and competence, and they now can’t quite believe the fine mess the UK have got them into. This is why I think extension to the end of 2020 might be the least worst option. A shorter extension will inevitably be followed by demands for another and another. A longer extension provides the time for the cards to be reshuffled.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        My impression is having the UK sit in the European Parliament is unacceptable to quite a few EU members. It’s not just the risk of a constitutional-level mess; in fact, this argument may be face saving for the real problem: the UK was consistently disruptive and disrespectful. And that was before Brexit was in play. Sending Nigel Farage as the EMP was a stick in the eye.

        The EU now has way too many centrifugal forces acting on it. It’s bracing for having a lot more right wingers of a nationalist stripe seated. The last thing it needs is the UK as a co-conspirator with a lot of seats. This IMHO and not the matter of fine legal issues is why the input to the well placed reporters was a uniform no to the idea of anything more than a few month’s extension. Why Tusk has lost his sense of proportion is beyond me. Or maybe this is actually a complicated game where the EU is seeking to bend over backwards, knowing the UK can’t or won’t deliver.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The fact that this 2020 story has been floated in the more clueless branches of the media (i.e. the UK media) while ignored by the genuinely connected journalists leads me to suspect its a deliberate plant. I can’t see any way May could get such a postponement past her party, even if the EU could resolve its difficulties.

          I think the motive is to pressure hardliners to support May’s deal (on the basis that a long postponement might kill Brexit altogether), as well as the usual reason of making the EU (and the high profile individuals involved) look like they are making genuine attempts at resolving an issue which I think they know full well can’t be resolved. It might backfire though in giving Remainers hope that voting down the deal could lead to breathing space.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes, this could be designed to test the ERG. The problem, though, is the core group (and I have no good fix on how many diehards there are, I guesstimate minimum 30) are of the “fight them on the beach” types. They will not capitulate. But it’s not clear if these dedicated ideologues have the numbers to sabotage the Remainers’ push.

        2. David

          As I said I don’t think there are cost-free options for the EU. The final judgement will be which option is the least painful. It’s clear that the EP is a problem, and European governments are worried about a nationlist surge in May. But, At least in France the assumption is that the nationalist breakthrough in the UK will be less serious than in other countries and so there would be actual advantage in the UK having MEPs. Whether this outcome is realistic of course is another question. I can’t in fact see a way out of this for the EU which will not be controversial and quite possibly unacceptable to some nations in the first instance.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The other way of looking at it is that a really catastrophic no-deal would do a very good job in scaring voters away from Eurosceptic parties across Europe – or at least that’s how the mainstream parties may look at it. Fear of nurse for fear of something worse may well be the best strategy for many struggling government parties all around Europe.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Yes, that was the original assumption behind the EU’s unified stance, that even though they knew they’d suffer, the UK would suffer even more, and if a big country with its own currency had tons of troubles, how could the rest of them expect to fare?

              I think EU leaders are so tired of Brexit and so busy with other problems that they aren’t thinking very clearly. Their reactions are looking addled by burnout.

              1. Clive

                Yes, I was flabbergasted by Tusk going around implying that an extension to 2021 was a way forward. It’s not that it isn’t a way forward, but there’s so much legwork needed to make it viable and Tusk clearly hadn’t spoken to the Commission to get any kind of feasibility done on it or even a vague impact assessment. The EU does not function on a make-it-up-as-you-go-along basis — Tusk of all people knows this, so his firing off of trial balloons does indeed suggest fatigue.

                1. David

                  Much depends obviously on whether the idea gains any traction in the serious media. In France the media is reporting Tusk’s comments as « the EU is ready to give the UK more time » (Le Parisien) and « the EU opens the door to a delay «  (France 24). But no details are given beyond that. Meanwhile, Le Monde has a more analytical piece which certainly reflects official thinking, at least in the MFA. Discussing the possibility of a longer extension it points out the problems this would cause, not only in respect of the EP’ but also the budget negotiations for 2021-7. But it also says:
                  « A delay until the end of 2019 or even beyond ? Why not if the British decide to organize a new referendum or call a General Election ? …. But if it is just to prolong the prevarication in the House of Commons? » A diplomat from « Northern Europe » is quoted as saying that « a bit more time » won’t do the UK any good. The overall tone of the article is dubious but not totally dismissive. Interestingly the article in Le Parisien begins by asking « will Brexit ever happen « ? using a formula from the title of a play by Giradoux, « The Trojan War will not take place » often employed ironically in uncertain circumstances.

                  1. Jabbawocky

                    This is not how I read it. The idea behind the long extension is for the UK to remain in the EU instead of the transition period. This removes the need for the dreaded NI backstop. The U.K. simply stays in the EU until the future relationship is agreed.

                2. Candy

                  Yes, I was flabbergasted by Tusk going around implying that an extension to 2021 was a way forward.

                  It’s about MONEY.

                  The EU had assumed that the Withdrawal Agreement would go through, with it’s transition and money. Note the extension suggested by Tusk is the same as the transition period in the Withdrawal Agreement.

                  None of them factored in a bolshy parliament.

                  If the agreement went through, £7bn net contributions would have been due from the UK on April 30th.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    The EU did not assume the Withdrawal Agreement would go through. They’ve recognized crash out as a large risk since at least the early fall.

                    And Bruegel had an analysis of the impact of a crash out on EU finances, and it showed it wasn’t that bad, actually way less bad than widely assumed, that the remaining Member States would be able to handle it with relatively little difficulty.

    3. Clive

      I do wonder to myself if this is all May’s way of flushing out (probably knowing the answer or, if there’s multiple possibilities what the implications are of each one) what extension options there are.

      I can’t come up, like you, with any permutation other than a two or three month extension. Which would be insufficient to change anything apart from to allow the legislation for either May’s Deal or No Deal to pass. It wouldn’t be enough to finalise another variant of the Withdrawal Agreement such as Corbyn’s BINO subspecies. Definitely no second referendum either. No resolution of the backstop other than more wording tweaks from Juncker or Tusk.

      What it would do — and we’ve certainly seen this before — is allow for another run through of May’s demonstrations of passive-aggressive faux weariness: “Okay, I’ve asked for an extension like you told me to and this is the extension we can have but I don’t know what you’re expecting me to do with the extra time that you’ve made clear to me you either would, or wouldn’t, want me to do before now. What are you saying you want to happen next?”

      All factions are now starting to finally get there’s no more unicorns left alive and no cake, either. That process will accelerate once the true dimensions of an extension are known.

      1. Pavel

        May’s demonstrations of passive-aggressive faux weariness


        She is steadily angering just about everyone in the UK and EU with her pathetic antics. Does she have any friends left?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Well there is the problem right there. If you have a dog you tell it what to do. When you have a cat, you have to learn about the art of negotiation as well as how to be patient. The UK needs a Prime Minister who is a cat person.

            1. Tony Wright

              Another nail on the head Kev. Britain still cannot seem to get its collective head around the fact that it is no longer in a position to be the dog owner and tell the rest of the world (the dog) what to do as it did throughtout the colonial era. Hence the complete shambles we are now all watching with a mixture of bemusement and horror.
              In other words, the dis-UK needs to use pull technique rather than push technique. Almost like having to speak a foreign language….

            1. ambrit

              I think that she might actually believe that she can.
              Seriously though, for Peter Sellers characterizations, have a look at “The Pink Panther.” ‘Inspector May,’ and her ever suffering European Union Bosses. (Imagine Herbert Lom as an EU Minister!)

                1. ambrit

                  Hmmm…. In “Dr. Strangelove” Sellers played three persons, and that might be May’s problem; she’s all of them!

      2. ChrisPacific

        I’m not convinced by your last paragraph. Unicorns are sneaky creatures. Yes, there is a general realization that they aren’t achievable in the time available, but that just seems to have translated into a general conviction that there has to be an extension because, well, anything else would be unthinkable! The EU’s role in this, if it’s acknowledged at all, is assumed to be a fait accompli – typically by dropping it into articles as an afterthought (“in order for this to happen, the EU would need to approve it”).

        I think this is the realization of the general “something will be worked out at the last minute” conviction that you found so prevalent among voters. The unthinkable won’t happen because it’s unthinkable. Something will be worked out. If nothing can be worked out, then more time will be made available until something can. Of course it will be made available because the alternatives are unthinkable (see point one).

        This is why I think May’s brinkmanship will fail. She thinks she can stall to the point where it’s her deal or No Deal. I think Parliament will perceive the choice as No Deal or extension, and will throw all its hope behind the latter, whether or not there is any justification or basis for it in reality. Any suggestion that the EU might not agreed to it will be greeted with angry incredulity, or simply ignored.

  4. DaveH

    Naked Capitalism, 20th September 2017

    UK Government, four week to go

    The UK government is due to hold emergency talks with industry leaders today after discovering that the country doesn’t have the right pallets to continue exporting goods to the European Union if it crashes out without a deal next month.

    Pallets are wooden or plastic structures which companies use to transport large volumes of goods. Under strict European Union rules, pallets arriving from non-member countries must be heat-treated or cleaned to prevent contamination, and marked to confirm they meet a series of EU rules

    Edit – I remembered the specific article as it was seeing the author, delighted that he had been referenced by this site that brought me here for the first time.

  5. The Rev Kev

    It would be supremely ironic if both the Conservatives and the Labour parties proved themselves so incompetent this year through their handling of the Brexit deal and the media so mendacious in it’s behaviour, that after the next UK election on 5th May 2022 that people wake up to find themselves with Prime Minister Tommy Robinson. Tell me that after all this mess that this could never happen.

    1. DaveH

      Nothing is impossible. But it’s pretty unlikely that any political party that he formed / was parachuted into would have the funds and administrative machinery to field 650 candidates across the country and take enough votes from the arse-ends of Labour, Conservative, UKIP and the rag-tag bunch of unaffiliated protestors to return enough MPs to form a Yaxley-Lennon led Government.

      So, not impossible in the literal sense. Highly improbable though.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Normally I would agree with you. But chuck in the next financial crisis and all bets are off. There is nothing in the history of the two major parties over the past two years to indicate that they would be up to the challenge of such a financial crisis and would be capable of coping. And that is how smaller, fringe parties get a look-in.

      2. vlade

        I’m sure funds could be found.

        The admin machinery – possible (as enough cash, if deployed with reasonable heads-up, can buy a lot of that).

        That said, he’d have to change his rethoric a bit (even the infamous Austrian had to be careful around some issues in early 1930s) – see say here on how to do it.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        The UK electoral system of course makes it almost impossible for new parties to gain power. But I could certainly see a scenario where an independent Scotland removes the ‘natural’ left wing majority from the UK and a ‘clean skin’ type of fascist (say, a Bolsonaro type outsider or a smoothie Moggie type) could take over a reformulated Tory Party as a far more right wing alternative with a strong populist edge. All bets are off really for the next few years, anything could happen.

        And lest anyone doubt extremist far right wingers can be elected and get power in the UK, just look up the letters D – U – and P.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, PK.

          I agree with you.

          The organisations to facilitate that remake of the Tory party exist and have done so in plain sight for decades, e.g. the Monday Club and Freedom Association (known in Ireland for its links with Ross and Norris MacWhirter) and who’s left of the defunct Western Goals Institute and Monarchist League. There are overlaps with the some relatively new fronts campaigning for Brexit and low taxes (for the rich) and facilitating online campaigns. Readers can guess the names from my descriptions. What’s even better is that many of the new fronts are often fronted by a “diverse” mix of people, e.g. three young women from the colonies at the low tax alliance (Australia and Bangladesh) and economics think tank (USA).

          I don’t get the impression that the British Left recognises the threat and how well funded and prepared these groups are.

          As I was e-discussing with Redlife, Corbyn seems to be buffeted by events and have been dragged into support for a second referendum. The above mentioned groups think much further than just a headline to get through a difficult week, in the case of Corbyn, backing a second referendum to get past the ritual and never ending smear of anti-Semitism.

          It does not help that the Labour leadership, especially the likes of Abbott, Gardiner and MacDonnell, are not strategic thinkers, kid themselves that the middle class kids running Momentum care about Labour and won’t move on from Seumas Milne’s family feud with the Rees-Moggs and (and their type).

          Synoia, who one hopes will chime in, and I went to school and worked with and for the type of people who fund and run the above organisations. My money is on them, not Momentum, to decide what will happen to Brexitannia.

          With regard to PK’s mention of the DUP, as the Tories distanced, or to use Cameron’s word, detoxified), themselves from the above, they moved towards the Unionists. Readers outside the UK may not know that some Unionists sat with the Tories and the Tories are officially the Conservative and Unionist Party. The Unionists were not unknown to the above organisations, especially as many saw the Irish Republicans and liberation movements in Africa and elsewhere as the same threat. Again, the old right, now better known as neo-con and neo-liberal, acts across borders. The left does not or does not appear to understand that it should.

          1. vlade

            Talking about this, where does Gavin Williamson fit in? (certainly not defense, as trying to strong-arm someone only works if you actually have the strenght).

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, Vlade.

              Good question.

              Even before his latest gaffes, he was eyed with suspicion. Reaction, a Tory blog run by the grandee Marquess of Salisbury, called out his manoeuvres and ousting of Michael Fallon.

              I think that, long-term, a Tom Tugendhat, well-connected, and Sara Newton, or someone from that generation, will lead the Tories and have to make a deal with the resurgent right. Tugendhat is desperate for office, hence blowing hard about Russia nowadays.

              The new right wing mob could even get Sam Giymah or Chuka Umunna to front the show and tick the diversity box.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            Thanks CS. Its a shame the Trots on the left who welcome Brexit forgot so many Leninists turned to the right and taught the right the utility of ‘useful idiots’.

            As you say, there is a very well funded network of right wing groups that pretend to be ‘respectable’ right, but really are very far off the spectrum who think long term and see Brexit as the perfect vehicle for radical change. These people have been funding the DUP for a long time in addition to various think tanks.

          3. Avidremainer

            I think 55 Tufton St is well in the cross-hairs of the left. ” Who funds you?” ” You are not a charity ” and ” You are a right wing lobby ” are questions they frequently get asked. Even the BBC gave the IEA a tough time recently. They will lose their “Charity” status sooner rather than later.

                1. Colonel Smithers

                  Thank you, Ignacio.

                  As the son of Mauritian immigrants, we oppose the islands being returned to Mauritius. Mauritian politicians use the Chagossiens and treat them like dirt. Most of the Chagossiens in Mauritius live in the slums of Port-Louis. The Indian / Hindu kleptocracy that hijacked Mauritius at independence could not care less about the African and Catholic Chagossiens. In fact, these kleptocrats want to sell other islands to India. WTF?

                  The islanders should be allowed back and keep away from the US base. They can either become independent or join Seychelles.

  6. Anonymous2

    Well, confusion reigns does it not? May is to make a statement in an hour’s time supposedly to take ‘no-deal ‘ off the table. This is said to be to prevent a significant section of her cabinet resigning. But maybe she will have changed her mind by then and announce that no-deal it is to be because another section of her cabinet have threatened resignation? Does she even know herself what she will say?

    The English have gone insane.

  7. Anonymous2

    It appears that the UK government has now realised that a no-deal Brexit on 29 March is impossible as it does not have enough of the right sort of pallets for the UK to be able to export to the EU on 30 March.

    You could not make this stuff up.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The pallet issue was highlighted here by NC last year. Its a seemingly small thing, but one of the many little issues that have enormous potential for screwing up trade.

  8. Clive

    If you can stand it, and you will need to pull on your galoshes and take a Dramamine or two but the otherwise execrable Guido Fawkes has a good summary of where this (May’s statement to the House today — a statement that was remarkable for stating the obvious and changing nothing* but has apparently had the effect of getting everyone to shut up for a while) has left the various amendments

    Short version: they’ve all sloped off

    * okay we did learn that the U.K. government won’t be passing the necessary legislation to participate in the European Parliamentary Elections in May and this gives a maximum extension ‘til June with anything beyond that “very problematical”

    1. vlade

      So May got what she wanted – in exchange for promises (which she’s known to treat like expendable ammunition), she got no-action. Which works very well for her, but you’d have thought that those “Rebels” have learned from the past.

      That is, unless it was all a charade to give May some cover on delaying the MV (again) w/o an obvious revolt.

        1. flora

          Thanks for the clip.
          I think I saw the faintest Cheshire cat smile, complete with a twinkle in the eye, cross JRM’s face when he said,
          … move the date of exit from March 29th to the 30th of June, but there’s no evidence that a new deal can be agreed that would be acceptable to Parliament in that period, …

          And so, crash out no-deal. That’s apparently his end goal.

          Listening to JRM reminded me of Andrew Dittmer’s series republished at NC over the New Year’s break; that a small group of elite ‘fanatics’, for lack of a better word, seriously believe what Hans Hoppe and others have written about the “elites”.

          [Code Name Cain]: It has to start with a small elite. As Étienne La Boétie said, these are “the men who, possessed of clear minds and farsighted spirit, are not satisfied, like the brutish mass, to see only what is at their feet, but rather look about them….”

          CNC: We will work to “create a U.S. punctuated by a large and increasing number of territorially disconnected free cities – a multitude of Hong Kongs, Singapores, Monacos, and Liechtensteins strewn over the entire continent” [291]. – Hoppe

          Why do I imagine JRM is delighted by the prospect of recreating the UK in the image of Liechtenstein or Singapore? Because the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) – a UK sister organization to ALEC and Heritage in the US – has shepherded ERG’s efforts through this Brexit process.

          The other images that come to mind are from fantasy and science fiction: Mrs. May and her cabinet, played by Alice and the Mad Hatter’s tea party vs ERG and ultras, played by the Daleks from Dr. Who.

          1. flora

            adding: thanks, Clive, and all UK commentors who are providing excellent analysis in real time. I’m watching this from the US as it unfolds; there’s hardly a mention of Brexit in the US MSM.

            1. ambrit

              As far as the Internet portion of the US MSM goes, there is nothing of importance going on in Europe except The Royals.
              Rather than reminding me of the book ‘1984,’ the Internet MSM is making me seriously think of the 1985 English film, “Morons From Outer Space.”

  9. vlade

    On Corbyn U-turn.

    IMO, this actually makes the most sense strategically for Labour riht now.

    First, there are two things that are extremely unlikely:
    – GE anytime soon, unless a catastrophic Brexit occurs (in which case being able to say “we wanted it stopped” very clearly is a plus)
    – second referendum

    So this gets Remainers back into St. Jeremy’s house. Yes, it may get some leavers angry, but if the referendum never eventuates (>99% likelyhood IMO), it’s irrelevant for the next elections, as then Brexit will be a done deal.

    Given that then it will be either May’s deal (which if it turns sour, Labour can say they wanted people to have a say on) or no-deal (see above), I doubt that p-off the leavers right now is going to be critical anymore. But the Remainers who would have left otherwise will be still there, which is the important bit, as TIG polling was showing Labour that they could have taken out some votes in marginals, almost definitely stopping any chance of Labour getting majority even with say SNP and LD.

    The one thing that could throw in a wrench into this is if May calls another GE in 2019 post Brexit (assuming May’s deal) as she did in 2017, and puts in the argument that Labour would be soft with the EU since it wanted to remain. That said, Labour would have a ton of counter-ammunition for that. And Tories would likely want someone else than May to run that election too.

  10. Janie

    Thank you, Yves, for covering Brexit so well; and thanks to the knowledgeable commentariat for their incisive and timely posts. The time you take to share your observations is much appreciated in this household.

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