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No-deal? May 22, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Can’t find much to disagree with Cliff Taylor in this pessimistic assessment in the IT this week.

UK politics simply can’t cope with Brexit, and against this backdrop another extension of the article 50 deadline in the autumn, if this is needed, must be very much in question. Why bother when things in London just keep going around and around the same circle? For Ireland, unfortunately, this means the threat of a no-deal Brexit continues to linger even if the Government, in pre-election mode, is choosing to keep on spending and hoping for the best.

The problems are many and they multiply. The very fact of European Elections in the UK exacerbates the instability in that polity. They serve to further undermine May and any hope that her agreement can get through, and perhaps even worse they make the divisions within the UK even greater between the various strands of opinion on Brexit.

I’ve long noted the absurd reality that the hardest forms of Brexit have come to define a ‘real’ Brexit in the popular and political imagination there – I think the BLP have to shoulder some of the blame in this by being unable or unwilling to fully pin their colours to a soft Brexit mast. Who one blames – whether Remainers or covert hard-Brexit proponents within the party is a matter for individual taste I imagine.

But that definition of Brexit has poisoned all else.

There is, and I dislike the word intensely but it fits, no small level of stupidity in all this. As Taylor notes, ‘frictionless trade’ for the UK is a fiction and a myth, as is a customs union that can address all the contradictions that those proposing it seem to want. And he is absolutely correct about the Border. He concludes on that:

With no – feasible – agreed way forward from London, this pushes the likely outcomes to two extremes – a no-deal crash-out or some kind of final political reckoning in London, perhaps via a general election or some kind of second referendum, perhaps the only events which would give a clear case for yet another extension.

I think that there is so much delusion, and indeed deliberate obfuscation, so many who see in this crisis a means for progressing their right wing agendas, and some on the left who appear unable to grasp the actual balance of forces in play, that a crash-out is very very likely indeed.

Comments»

1. Roger Cole - May 22, 2019

It is absolutely crystal clear that Macron and Merkel want the EU to continue, and indeed massively accelerate, the process of the destruction of the national democracies of its individual member states, and its transformation into an Imperial State with its own EU Army. There is of course no guarantee that these two very powerful politicians will get their way, but they certainly are more powerful than any others and they have the total unquestioning support of FG and FF who look like they will do very well in the upcoming local and EUP elections. In such a context, why is it such a surprise that a clear majority of the people of the UK voted for Brexit (in England it was a 11% majority). In Ireland we rejected the the Lisbon Treaty that via PESCO laid down the legal basis for the formation of an EU Army. We were forced to vote again and overturned the first vote, a vote ensured by the massive support for an EU Empire with the IT, RTE and the rest of the corporate media, the spending of €millions by the EU Empire Loyalists and the abolition of the National Forum on Europe which encouraged a real debate in the first referendum by the Minster Martin of FF. Those EU Empire Loyalist in the UK, like the warmonger Tony Blair, however should be careful what they wish for in demanding a second referendum expecting that like the Irish people, the people of the UK will crumble before the Empire. I think they will be making a very big mistake as Farage’s vote will suggest. In short, the English, like the Irish in November 1918, view this as a struggle for national Independence against an Empire. The decision of the Social Democratic parties throughout the EU to support the emerging Empires policy of perpetual war and neo-liberal economic policies meant that it was absolutely inevitable that the anger against the EU in the other EU states would result in a major surge towards nationalism as well, which we shall also see the EUP election results.

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GW - May 22, 2019

Those who agree with you have plenty of (very) shy Lexiteer choices: Socialist Party, Socialist Workers (Irish franchises thereof) and the Workers Party. 🙂

They hope to be elected to a body that they wish to see abolished.

Now that never stopped Farage in the past, and allegedly boosted the takings of those bars in Brussels that sold English ales significantly.

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Nigel Farage - May 22, 2019

Thanks for this ringing endorsement Rog. For a while there I was worried we wouldn’t get it.

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2. GW - May 22, 2019

“It is absolutely crystal clear that Macron and Merkel want the EU to continue, and indeed massively accelerate, the process of the destruction of the national democracies of its individual member states, and its transformation into an Imperial State with its own EU Army. ”

There is absolutely no evidence of this. If anything they are regressing into greater national autonomy within the EU.

But if it’s an existentially sustaining phantasy of yours, go ahead.

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WorldbyStorm - May 22, 2019

+1 GW . Roger it is worth keeping in mind farage has criticized some in the EU because it will impact on NATO. How that or the Brexit vote equates with ‘a struggle for national independence’ escapes me. Indeed that surge to ‘nationalism’ or as some of us recognize it right- authoritarianism comes hand in hand with in many instances adherence to NATO as in Poland etc etc.

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Roger Cole - May 22, 2019

I am not suggesting the surge in English Nationalism is a good thing. I am saying that is is happening, and it is becoming a right wing force because the war mongering social democrats like Blair are insisting that the people be forced to vote again

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WorldbyStorm - May 22, 2019

So how do you explain the SNP or other forces who were anti Iraq war etc who also want a second vote and/or are Remain? Are they also causing the tilt to the far right by doing so?

Btw I don’t agree with a second referendum but I do not believe the dynamics in play have anything much to do with leavers being a pacific bunch riled by Blair etc.

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GW - May 22, 2019

A large majority of British Labour Party members want a third referendum on Brexit. As do a majority of Labour voters.

But of course they are all Blairites, even the Corbynistas and Momentum members.

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WorldbyStorm - May 22, 2019

+1 GW. My gripe with the original comment is, whatever my views on a second referendum, that it links entirely distinct issues which have little or on bearing on the issue whatsoever, and in doing so makes huge generalisations as to the motive of people, like those you just mention who do want a second referendum. It’s guilt by association with Blair – but that makes no sense given that Momentum and Corbynistas are precisely in opposition to that sort of politics. I don’t doubt the sincerity of the underlying philosophy RC holds, but I think there’s a danger that arguments are being over-egged and in such a way that it impugns the worst of motives on people who hold diametrically opposed views to those like Blair.

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3. GW - May 22, 2019

Most likely at this stage is Boris as Tory leader. Nothing substantive happens on Brexit until October. No general election in the UK certainly.

At that point The Right Hon B Johnson will either try to push no-deal through in the face of the UK Parliament, or that body will grow the ovaries and associated organisational ability necessary to force a third referendum.

It will be necessary to go to the brink to get a referendum. There is no middle ground left between no-deal Brexit and remaining.

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4. Roger Cole - May 22, 2019

GW, absolute bullshit. Macron and Merkel have made it crystal clear they want an EU Army.

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GW - May 22, 2019

Firstly I’m not sure that Merkel’s half-hearted commitment means the same thing as Macrons. The German government keeps promising more cooperation and money, partly to keep the US happy, but in practice very little happens. Apart from a little military Keynsianism. (Which is not say that German-headquartered capital doesn’t continue to produce and sell weapons of death throughout the world, just like the Brits.)

Secondly, Macron’s enthusiasm does bind any other country into taking part.

Thirdly the adoption of the EU Army proposals by some don’t justify any more of your narrative about a phantasy empire.

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5. Roger Cole - May 22, 2019

I watched Game of Thrones on the basis it was fantasy. The emerging EU Empire with its EU Army is not fantasy, but has a real legal basis in the Lisbon Treaty. Read the latest comments by the German Minister for Defence (or War as it used to be called) who backs up Merkel’s statement.

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GW - May 22, 2019

Von der Leyen, you mean? What comments did she make about an EU Empire? She’s not that dumb.

BTW – the Bundeswehr notoriously seem unable to purchase a rifle that works or a helicopter that flies. And are having serious problems with recruiting in what remains a country with no discernible military ambitions.

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Paul Culloty - May 22, 2019

France and Germany can pool their own military, should they wish to do so, but we will retain the Triple Lock to determine when our own armed forces can be deploy, along with a specific exemption in the Lisbon Treaty.

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6. An Sionnach Fionn - May 22, 2019

“I’ve long noted the absurd reality that the hardest forms of Brexit have come to define a ‘real’ Brexit in the popular and political imagination there”

That’s a great point, WbS. The hardliner Leavers have made a no-deal or “WTO” Brexit the “real” Brexit; the very definition of Brexit. Therefore everything that falls short of that no-deal or WTO scenario is not a “real” Brexit.

And the moderate Leavers and the Remainers have made little inroads in challenging that notion in the popular imagination of a considerable chunk of the British (England & Wales) general public. To the benefit of the Faragists.

Which makes me think that a “fair deal WTO Brexit” is more likely than not. If 30%+ of the UK electorate is tacking that way it will drag the UK political class in its wake.

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The Stormy Petrel - May 22, 2019

Perhaps if Roger Cole speak to a few Brexit supporters in Britain he might realize that their objection to the EU is not based on objections to militarism; actually they want a return to when the Royal Navy really did rule the waves

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7. CL - May 22, 2019

“Many voters now feel their primary allegiance is to Leave or Remain….
it now seems inevitable that the Conservative membership will elect a hardline Brexiteer to succeed Mrs May, probably Boris Johnson, shifting the party even further to the nationalist right….
Jeremy Corbyn’s prevarication on Brexit has satisfied neither working-class voters who opted for Brexit nor liberal cosmopolitans….
As long as the European question remains unresolved, the two main parties will continue to fragment….
As voters reckon with the consequences of global warming and environmental degradation, the Greens are speaking with a seriousness and urgency that the political moment demands.”
https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/05/leader-old-political-order-crumbles

The European question is likely to remain unresolved for some time; the WA agreement is merely a preliminary to negotiating the relationship between the UK and the EU, but the HOC is unable to even get beyond this first step. .
May’s imminent departure rather than resolving anything will add to the chaos.
The implications of this ever-increasing turmoil for the other island are enormous but impossible to predict.

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WorldbyStorm - May 22, 2019
8. Alibaba - May 23, 2019

I do wonder if there could be a second referendum. Brexit is a crisis that the powers-that-be have created. They haven’t been able to resolve it. Nor has Labour stepped forward to fix it for them, with this qualification, so far. Should Labour be unable to cut a Brexit deal with the Tories before next October, there is a compelling logic in putting it to the people. And it’s even possible that Remain could marginally win.

Even if I am entirely wrong on this one, a general election will follow which will be the real deal. It won’t just be the protest vote that the Brexit Party will get in the European Parliament elections. It will be a punishment exercise for the Conservative Party, and could even lead to a split. Labour has had its split, via Change UK, to no great avail. Labour will emerge with the biggest vote but not the one it could have won if its Brexit prevarication hadn’t alienated so many of its supporters, who were overwhelmingly pro-Remain.

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9. Roger Cole - May 23, 2019

One of the main people constantly on the British media is Blair’s press secretary, so the UK warmongers are playing a major role in demanding a second referendum, and it is the Blairites like Watson that are continually undermining Corbyn. Of course there are parties like the SNP (though it supports NATO) and groups like Momentum that are not out and out militarists, but by demanding a second referendum instead of accepting the decision and supporting Corbyn’s call for a customs union, I think they are undermining him, and the vote to leave the EU and its emerging Army. I think the Brexit party is going to do very well largely because a large number of English people who previously voted Labour in the northern part of England and who voted no because they have experienced the effects of neo-liberalism of the Blair era, plus his love of war will switch to them.At the same time the better of people in southern England will vote LD. Corbyn is the first genuine anti-imperialist leader of the British Labour Party. If he falls it will be because for to many liberals etc, including liberal imperialists refused to accept the decision of the British people.

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WorldbyStorm - May 23, 2019

That doesn’t follow logically that because Blair’s press secretary is on about Remain that he is ‘playing a major role’. You’re deliberately for rhetorical effect reifying one individual or a small number over parties like the SNP and groups like Momentum. Can you not see the logical disconnect there. YOu’re cherry picking to make an argument and it’s not sustainable. And dragging in the EU Army at every instance makes it even less sustainable because you’re simply flat out wrong that anti-war sentiment drives the Brexit vote (again it’s completely illogical given that those who are most wedded to Brexit are most pro-NATO, and also the strong strand of actual imperial nostalgia running even in submerged fashion in their thinking).

As to ‘refusing the accept the decision of the British people’. I”m against a second referendum, but the democratic arguments against it are far from unequivocal, indeed the matter is finely balanced. More to the point actual British people of many different political persuasions disagree with your and my view on this matter. Frankly I think it’s up to all of the British people to determine the way forward – albeit I would argue vehemently that the case of Northern Ireland (and arguably Scotland) are different.

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WorldbyStorm - May 23, 2019

One other thought. You and I argue against a second referendum. on that side of the fence are Britain First and any number of further right, far right and outright Neo-Nazi formations. Do you think simply because they are anti-a second referendum and actively so that delegitimises our stance on it? The Brexit Party is led by someone who has made allegedly racist and xenophobic statements. Does that invalidate our stance? Because your own logic suggests that it does.

Or could it be that all this is pretty complex, that there’s no easy answers and trying yet again to squash it into one preconceived framework or another just because that framework exercises us is not very useful and it would be much much better to try to work through it on its own terms?

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