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Whose Brexit? December 15, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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William Keegan makes a basic point in relation to the broad process, that for all the delusions amongst Tories and UKIP cheerleaders:

The last thing that the Europeans we are supposed to be “negotiating with” are prepared to do is let Britain off lightly: they are rightly terrified about a domino effect. It is “Brexit or nothing”. Yet in the fantasy land of current British politics, Brexiters and others are kidding themselves into believing that the others do not mean what they say. All this stuff about “soft Brexits” and “medium Brexits” is pie in the sky. I can hear Paul Whitehouse, in a revival of The Fast Show, asking: “How do you like your Brexit, madam? Rare or medium – or perhaps well done?”

In other words, as the headline notes, this is going to be ‘a Brexit that suits Europe, not one that suits us [i.e. the UK]’.

I still fundamentally disagree with him that Brexit, in the broad sense, is open to being blocked. I’m sure it’s not, and I’m pretty sure that would be a bad idea. But I do agree that the nature of Brexit was never sufficiently determined in advance and therefore any situation short of membership of the EU would accord with the intent of the vote.

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1. sonofstan - December 15, 2016

I wonder what odds I could get on a) the Tories NOT winning the next election (or at least an overall majority) and b) May not surviving till then?

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CL - December 15, 2016

At Paddypower ‘no overall majority’ is at 9/5.
A Conservative majority is at 8/13, and a Labour majority is 5/1.

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2. 6to5against - December 15, 2016

‘…But I do agree that the nature of Brexit was never sufficiently determined in advance and therefore any situation short of membership of the EU would accord with the intent of the vote…’

I couldn’t agree more with that. Too much of the coverage takes as its starting point not just that Brexit must now take place in order to respect a majority vote, but that it must be a Brexit that serves the simplistic, narrow-minded, racist approach of some of the more prominent Brexit campaigners. That simply isn’t so.

There was no vote on immigration. There was no vote on common customs areas. There was no vote on human rights legislation.

It would be absolutely within democratic legitimacy to negotiate an EFTA-style agreement. That would lay bare the absurdity of the vote last summer, of course – meaning in essence that the UK was more or less where it was before, and had to follow EU decisions but had lost the power to control any of those decisions. But the absurdity of the vote last summer is going to become evident at some point no matter what exit is negotiated. Better at least to maintain some sort of normality in the meantime.

How could it be done politically? By working on popular perception: by carrying out detailed surveys, for example, that teased out the immigrant issue in detail. Any results that showed even a small majority accepting intra-Europe migration would begin to de-legitimise the racist, nonsensical tropes that are currently dominating debate. with the apparent imprimatur of the May government.

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3. 6to5against - December 15, 2016

All of which is a long winded way of saying I’m vey much taken with SoS’s question. May’s current approach seems to me to be doomed to failure.

All the talk of how far Labour is from power avoids the fact that this government is sooner or later going to have to face its own absurdities. At some point in the not-distant future, an opportunity to replace them will present itself to any half-decent opposition.

A coalition of Labour, the SNPs and one or two others is entirely possible at the next election. And I think that could be a really good government – particularly compared to what’s there now.

Or we could have a UKIP supported minority conservative govt of course. Which would be awful.

Am I being entirely delusional – given all the evidence of the last year – to be a little hopeful?

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4. ivorthorne - December 15, 2016

Just a quick question for CLRs: If you think a second referendum should not happen when more details of Brexit emerge, why?

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6to5against - December 15, 2016

Can it happen? There can’t realistically be any more details of substance until after article 50 is triggered, and I think that at that point, departure is legally inevitable?

But if a last minute vote on the negotiated package is possible, I’d say it should take place.

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GW - December 15, 2016

As would I. The actual result is likely to be far wide of what people were told that they were voting for at the referendum, so democratic principles would suggest that voting on the actual rather than the fictive exit agreement would make sense.

However, I fear that once and if May’s divided rag-tag government ever get’s round to triggering article 50, it’s a one way street with no ‘wait – let’s call the whole thing off!’ possibility.

But then I’m one of the “ever so clever people who really think that voting should be restricted to the readers of the Irish Times.” Which excludes me, because I haven’t perused that threadbare organ for a good long while.

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5. sonofstan - December 15, 2016

At our Xmas works do the other night, there was something called a ‘Europizza’ on the menu (no, I don’t know why) – cue speculation as to what a Brexit one would look like. Smaller than you expected and you’d keep paying for it long after you’d eaten it was the consensus (even from the leavers)

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6to5against - December 15, 2016

surely a brexit pizza would be a good old fashioned cheese and tomato sandwich…

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GW - December 15, 2016

Cheese on toast. Cheddar. White bread.

No garlic or any of that foreign muck.

What did the Continentals ever do for us?

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6. Phil - December 15, 2016

The whole thing’s insane. Ask any of the Brexiters what kind of access to the Single Market they want, and they’ll say they want the fullest possible access; May’s even used the word ‘within’. The last thing anyone wants is to be in a position where Germany & France & your good selves could impose tariffs on us. (And let’s not even mention the border. But then, why would we mention it, nobody has done so far.)

So it’s Single Market, yes please. Obviously this isn’t remotely compatible with the block on EU migrants which we all apparently want… except that we don’t want to stop highly-skilled and qualified Europeans coming here, and – as it turns out – we don’t want to stop unskilled Europeans coming here to do seasonal labour, either.

So basically what ‘we’ want is pretty much the same in terms of the Single Market and pretty much the same in terms of free movement, and we’re open to the idea of paying some sort of fee. And to achieve this glorious end we don’t mind massive devaluation and turning our country into something between a horror story and a laughing stock. Insane.

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