Brexit! Part 4

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Brexit! Part 4

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Aug 28, 2019, 10:54am

Time for that exclamation mark, eh!

Brexitannia unleashed!

England's own Hitlerlike buffoon gets the Queen's blessing to suspend parliament.

Aug 28, 2019, 5:53pm

It's not really shocking. The Royal family is as conservative as all get out. I kind of expected it. There will be a parachute or a cushion to fall on when things fall apart.

Aug 28, 2019, 6:12pm

The British Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson wants to lead Britain to an exit from the European Union without a specific agreement that would regulate the various details. A majority in Parliament is against leaving the EU without a deal.

Parliament will convene again in early September. The Brexit date is October 31. The opposition planned to seek legislation to stop Brexit and/or to hold a vote of no confidence in the Boris government. This would install a new government with the sole task of preventing Brexit without a deal.

The problem is that the process takes time and Parliament days are limited. The government has several means to prevent Parliament from having enough time to discuss the issue and to vote on it. Today it used a quite effective one.

The Johnson government, only inaugurated weeks ago, asked the Queen to announce its legislative program, a ceremonial event known as the Queen's Speech. Custom demands that Parliament is shut down for several weeks before the Queen's Speech is held. Parliament will thus have little chance to prevent a no-deal Brexit
Boris Johnson has crossed the Rubicon today by announcing the suspension of Parliament at this crucial time, no matter how many days the suspension lasts. The United Kingdom has found itself with the most right wing government in nearly two hundred years. I still find it hard to believe that Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab and Priti Patel hold great offices. Even that minority of those voting who put this Tory minority government in place did not expect that. Now that right wing coup is being doubled down on by the deliberate suspension of the Westminster parliament just as the most crucial and divisive issue in several generations is being resolved.

There is an irony here. Johnson has been able to take over without facing the electorate because of the polite constitutional fiction that it is the same Conservative government continuing and nothing has changed. Yet he justifies the prorogation of parliament by the argument that it is a new government and a new Queen’s Speech is thus needed. Johnson is of course famously in favour of having cake and eating it, but the chutzpah of this is breathtaking.

As countries slip to the far right, the failure of the more decent forces in society to unite and to react with sufficient vigour is crucial. Jo Swinson and others need to stop their caviling and get behind Jeremy Corbyn’s no confidence plans.

Here in Scotland, it ought to be a matter of deep shame if we do not now immediately move decisively to claim Independence.
The decision of British prime minister Boris Johnson to suspend – or “prorogue” – parliament for more than a month as the clock ticks down to the Brexit date of October 31st provoked a predictably huge storm in the UK and will almost certainly incite a parliamentary rebellion that his government is likely to lose.

This is most probably his intention. Such a defeat will likely lead to a general election in early October – if not before – in which Johnson will enjoy significant advantages. Some recent polls suggest that the Conservatives enjoy a strong lead and Johnson’s novelty as a prime minister, as well as his enormous capacity to speak to voters and be listened to, will make him a hot favourite to beat his rivals, especially Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, in a short, sharp campaign. Corbyn remains a key advantage for the Tories.

Crucially, Johnson can go to the country before Brexit – enabling him to run on a promise of delivering Brexit “with or without a deal” on October 31st, his already familiar mantra since taking office in July. (author was the last British Governor of Hong Kong)
Failed states used to be largely the preserve of the developing world, where the institutions of democracy do not have deep roots. But given the extent to which the Brexit campaign has undermined Britain's institutions through lies, it is reasonable to worry that the country will soon come to resemble a tinpot dictatorship.

Aug 29, 2019, 2:02am

What Boris has done is undemocratic and abhorrent, but the Queen doesn't really have the option of refusing. She is an unelected figurehead and politically she does what the elected giovernment of the day tells her to do. Boris, of course, has not been elected Prime Minister by the people, but as long as his Tory MPs are too craven to stand up for democracy and parliamentary sovereignty he will get away with it.

Edited: Aug 29, 2019, 5:56am

I wrote this in another thread and thought I would paste it here. Note that my view is that predicting outcomes is like looking at a tightly fought game of chess and predicting a winner. Boris is clearly being very devious, fighting for an outcome that he knows is neither the will of the people or of parliament.

So without predicting any final outcomes, some analysis of Boris' plan:

1. Boris, from the start, has been angling for an early General Election, but also not one that he calls. He wishes to play the blame game, blaming the EU for not caving in to his demands, and parliament and some "traitorous" Tories for bringing down the Government. He wishes to cast himself as the "man of the people"[sic] fighting those nasty elites. Because he, Jacob Rees Mogg and all his other Eton college friends have impeccable credentials as men of the people!

2. Boris was aware that there was enough time in parliament for a no deal alliance (a clear majority of MPs) to legislate in a manner that forced him to request an extension (or even cancel the A50 notification) if the alternative was no deal on October 31. This could happen before a vote of no confidence, but "no confidence" is fraught with danger that no new government would be in place to request an extension. This is why he has cynically prorogued parliament in a manner that is very deliberately designed to frustrate those plans. Any legislation that does not receive royal assent before the prorogation falls. Thus MPs have precisely 7 working days before prorogation to:

a. seize control of parliamentary time (takes at least a day to effect and requires scheduling which might take several days)
b. legislate (usually takes months, although the commons did show that it could be done in a day for all readings - to the anger of many)
c. pass the legislation through the Lords (easily slowed down so could take several days)
d. receive royal assent (supposed to take several days because the act must be written on vellum. Not sure what the shortest time for royal assent is)

Because of the need to first seize the agenda and then timetable the debate, Boris knows that there is just not enough time for legislation before the prorogation, so he has not just wasted a month, he has wasted 6 weeks of parliamentary time. Also, the Queen's speech and so forth waste more days when the commons returns.

After the Queen's speech, there are a couple of days before the final EU summit. After that there is maybe enough time to legislate, but even then it is tight. There are 10 full days of parliamentary time to fit the above timetable into. Andrew Adonis believes there is sufficient time - Boris may be hoping there isn't if he can further frustrate things by wasting time on the parliamentary agenda such that no legislation is passed. (You need either legislation to attach riders to, or to find a way to introduce a non government bill to parliament, and Johnson will hope to avoid both). There is not then enough time for a General Election though - no confidence would be off the table at that point.

So... Boris' gambit is this: having frustrated opposition plans to prevent no deal, he is looking for and expecting the vote of no confidence, playing in to 1. above. That is his aim. He is daring people to vote down his minority government in the hope of using that to cast himself as the "hapless victim of circumstance"[sic] who is forced by "self interested elites"[sic] to go to the people.

He thinks he can win that. The cynical Tories who all know he is an amoral mendacious power hungry clown think that too, which is why they selected him.

So my prediction remains what it was when he was appointed/selected: we are going to have a general election. Yet I am less sure of that prediction now, because MPs could face down this ploy. Prorogation could be reversed in the courts, or they could attempt to seize control of the parliamentary agenda in October. MPs know what Boris is up to and may choose to throw him a curve ball. He may not get his general election.

Incidentally, Europe knows what he is up to also, which is why Angela Merkel and Emanuel Macron brilliantly played him on his European trip. "Yes, we will listen to your new proposal that no one has thought of to remove the backstop. Come back to us in the next 30 days and we will happily talk".

Boris was relying on Macron to say "non".

It is not insurmountable for Boris. He will just tell everyone that Europe said no anyway. The Boris playbook is simply to make stuff up, delivered with a mischievous smile, and it always has been.

How it ends? I don't know.

Not that it ends on October 31 anyway. Even if Britain falls out of the EU, we have years of this to look forward to, almost certainly ending with Britain rejoining (although sadly not on the advantageous terms we now enjoy).

Aug 29, 2019, 5:51am

>5 sirfurboy: ending with Britain rejoining (although sadly not on the advantageous terms we now enjoy)

That's the tragic irony. Realistically, we cannot remain separate from Europe and in time we will have to rejoin, but as you say, on disadvantageous terms.

Edited: Aug 31, 2019, 7:14am

"There is an irony here. Johnson has been able to take over without facing the electorate because of the polite constitutional fiction that it is the same Conservative government continuing and nothing has changed. Yet he justifies the prorogation of parliament by the argument that it is a new government and a new Queen’s Speech is thus needed. Johnson is of course famously in favour of having cake and eating it, but the chutzpah of this is breathtaking."

Oh there's irony alright, and lot's of it; there are also more than a few constitutional fictions about British government. But the Leave camp has nothing on the irony that oozes from Remainers' claims and arguments.

And this contention,

..."the polite constitutional fiction that it is the same Conservative government continuing and nothing has changed"

is simply flatly false.

There is no such thing. Clearly and obviously, the whole point of former Prime Minister May's departure from Downing Street was, indeed, so that a different Tory leader could assume control of the government apparatus. There's no such fiction, polite or otherwise, that these are the same governments.

There is a new administration in place with Boris Johnson, like it or not, and the reason is that Parliament had very clearly shown Theresa May the "Exit" door, making it clear that her choices were to resign--which she did--or face losing a vote of no-confidence, in which case she'd be forced out of her post. So Parliament demanded and got a new governmental administration when Tory (Conservative Party) members of Parliament chose to install Johnson over all other contenders.

"Johnson is of course famously in favour of having cake and eating it, but the chutzpah of this is breathtaking."

You want irony? Here's irony for you:

Protesters outside Downing Street carrying signs which read,

Defend Migrants
Stop Boris
Stop Brexit

or this!:

(The Guardian (London) : Demonstrators in Westminster protesting against the prorogation of parliament. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Rex/Shutterstock )

These peoplel are amazingly politically-foolish. "Defend Democracy, Resist the Parliament Shutdown" !?

Parliament, in this controversy, is the key obstacle to one of the rare examples of a genuinely democratic initiative in modern British political affairs-the 2016 referendum by which a majority of British voters chose to indicate their preference to see Britain leave membership in the European Union. Want to "defend" "democracy"? Really? Then everything fair, honest and just requires you to oppose those people who, like many in Parliament, would betray that referendum's clear outcome.

Or these comments:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend Parliament was ‘an outrage and a threat to our democracy’, saying he was ‘appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless No Deal Brexit.’ He was part of a chorus of anger from MPs opposing the move to temporarily shut down Parliament from September 11 ahead of a Queen’s Speech on October 14.

This will make it harder for politicians to debate how to stop a no deal Brexit before October 31. Green MP Caroline Lucas said on Twitter: ‘Wasn’t this meant to be about ‘taking back control’? ‘The act of a cowardly Prime Minister who knows his reckless No Deal Brexit will never gain the support of MPs. A constitutional outrage which Parliament and the people will oppose.’

She was just one of many MPs to voice their dismay at the government’s plan: It would be a constitutional outrage if Parliament were prevented from holding the government to account at a time of national crisis. Profoundly undemocratic. — Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) August 28, 2019

This is a constitutional outrage. Shutting down Parliament because Boris Johnson finds scrutiny and accountability difficult to stomach is an insult to the British people. I will oppose it with everything I have. — Luke Pollard MP (@LukePollard) August 28, 2019

If true, this undemocratic manoeuvre to try and shut down Parliament must be fought every step of the way. How totally underhanded of Boris Johnson to make the Queen sign off on this plot it in a secret ceremony up in Balmoral. The House of Commons must assemble and veto this. — Chris Leslie (@ChrisLeslieMP) August 28, 2019

"Supporters claim it is standard practice to suspend Parliament to hold a Queen’s speech, but have been criticised for timing it at a crucial point of crisis.


"Director Dr Ruth Fox said: ‘The Government’s decision to prorogue Parliament may not be unconstitutional or unlawful but it is an affront to parliamentary democracy."

Read more:

"This is a constitutional outrage. Shutting down Parliament because Boris Johnson finds scrutiny and accountability difficult to stomach is an insult to the British people. I will oppose it with everything I have. — Luke Pollard, MP"


Hey, Luke, I want an M.P. who thinks that setting aside, ignoring, reversing, the outcome of a plebecite (referendum) solemnly undertaken and passed with a margin of more than one million votes is "an insult to the British people" and no way to "defend democracy".

Meanwhile, Dr. Ruth Fox is very concerned about an affront to Parliament, to "parliamentary democracy" but she is apparently not at all concerned about affronts to the general voting public, the electorate, which elected the parliament's members.

Aug 29, 2019, 10:08am

>3 davidgn: "Custom demands that Parliament is shut down for several weeks" is not true, the normal duration is 3 days. The longest in recent history is 20 days. The current plan is over 30 days.

What's perhaps more interesting is all the comments made by various dramtis personae in the previous weeks where they stoutly rejected any possibility of doing what they've just done. Only Led by Donkeys seems to be bothering to actual detail and record their statements.

Aug 29, 2019, 10:23am

Interesting that the government whip Lord Young in the House of Lords has resigned not because he is pro-Remain but because he is against the suspension of Parliament.

Aug 29, 2019, 1:57pm

>4 John5918:

But a refusal would have had at least symbolic power. Figureheads are supposed to "figure". She could have, for the sake of history if nothing else, taken a stance for the people, instead of against them and for the tiny ruling clique.

Otoh if this helps to erode the ridiculous popularity of these parasites...

Aug 30, 2019, 12:59am

>10 LolaWalser:

Can't disagree with you on that, but it was never going to happen.

Aug 30, 2019, 1:49pm

All I'm saying is that she had a choice. I fully understand that the royals are ceremonial window dressing, but they are not actually cardboard cut-outs. At least, not until this Rubicon was crossed. You can replace them with Punch and Judy NOW.

Aug 30, 2019, 2:06pm

>12 LolaWalser: I think we can be fairly confident hat the Queen is furious about this, but she was governed by advice and precedent. As you say, she is not a cardboard cut out though, and I am astonished that a prorogation was even requested when it is my understanding that the palace will have advised Johnson on his selection to the office of Prime Minister that he should not ask for a prorogation of parliament as it would politicise the monarchy.

Johnson has ignored the request from the palace, and that is telling of just how cavalier he is with the British constitution. In his audience with the Queen (the one prior to his request, which was presented as a fait accompli) he may have been turned away from an even longer prorogation, but that he asked for one at all showed that he did not care about politicisation of the monarchy, as long as he could get what he wanted.

This has shown a shortcoming in the British system, for sure. It shows that if a PM simply defies the monarch's wishes and chooses to throw the Queen into the midst of political debate, the Queen is powerless to prevent it. The checks and balances fail.

This is similar to the revelation in the election of Donald Trump that the system of electors designed to stop the wrong kind of person becoming president simply does not work and might as well be abandoned.

So too, this failure raises questions as to whether the royal powers are a sufficient check and balance to a populist determined to walk all over constitutional convention. It begs the question you ask about whether a constitutional monarchy is fit for purpose, and that is the very reason the palace instructed Johnson not to ask for a prorogation.

But he did ask.

I hope very much that it all blows up in his face.

When you mess with the constitution itself, the law of unintended consequences most definitely pertains.

Aug 30, 2019, 5:02pm

>13 sirfurboy:

I'll take your word on the supposed fury, as I haven't got the slightest inkling as to these people's real character.
I do find the notion of "apolitical" monarchy deeply odd, that is to say, impossible to countenance. A paradox much more difficult than "both a particle and a wave". However, I realise that the English believe they've squared that circle successfully, so no discussion there.

Edited: Aug 31, 2019, 6:44am

Of course the royal family are political. The idea that the queen was somehow "dragged ino" this eminently political controversy is the sort of lunacy which so amazes me about the politically ignorant. Royalty is inherently political--no pun intended but there is one, not that those too foolish to miss the obvious fact that royalty are by nature politically concerned, involved, etc., could and would notice it.

No one dragged the queen into anything. She is known by those who deal personally with her to be utterly political, completely capable of cold, calculating political manoeuvers; it's her warm, charming, personable attitude which is the assumed put-on guise. Her default state leaves her at ease with Darth Vadar and Machiavellian princes. Just ask Prince Charles or his first wife, Diana Spenc---oh, wait!* ...

It's one or the other, for pity's fucking sake! :

either, (A): the queen in fact had no choice but to appove of the "request" from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to prorogue (suspend) Parliament, leading to a freshly invoked term, in which case she's simply not responsible for the 'decision'-- as it was never up to her to decide (and therefore wasn't "dragged into" anything because she did nothing of her own volition) or (B) : she had a choice in the matter and, having exercised it, she chose to approve the request, thereby taking part in the matter in a manner which she could have decided differently, namely, denying the requested approval.

But not both at once. In neither case was she "dragged into" the 'Brexit' mess.


* Diana Spencer (b. 1 July, 1961, Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England -
d. 31 August, 1997, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France)

Aug 31, 2019, 6:36am

This reckless confrontation with parliament is just what millions of voters want (Guardian)

The forces lining up to oppose Johnson’s proroguing must find a way to win over those who have lost faith in representative democracy...

Aug 31, 2019, 7:01am

>16 proximity1: Your analysis is, as ever, pithy and off the point.

You will note in >13 sirfurboy: that yes, the palace exercised a choice. They did not exercise it in saying no to the request - on that the Queen will have been advised that the precedent is that she must agree the request. Her choice, behind the scenes, as I said, was to advise the new PM that he should not make the request. The fact that Johnson made the request shows contempt for the tradition that one does not ask the monarch to get involved in politics.

Not for the first time either. Johnson and Gove were responsible for leaking the spurious and false claim that the Queen supported Brexit.

Aug 31, 2019, 8:43am

More often than not when someone tells me I must do something---I do the opposite of what they want. I don't like the suggestion of not having a choice. You always have an option--even doing nothing can be an option.

So I don't buy that the Queen couldn't have told Boris and his goofy haircut to get the fuck out. The way I see it is she's chosen a side. She's done exactly what he wanted and it's not really a surprise because in general the aristocracy in Britain is very conservative and if a would be conservative prime minister asks her for help her tendency will be to give him/her help.

Aug 31, 2019, 8:56am

The Queen doesn't want her legacy to be the dissolution of the UK, so while she acquiesced, I bet she exercised her right to advise!

Edited: Aug 31, 2019, 11:45am

>20 margd:

..."doesn't want her legacy to be the dissolution of the UK"...

... "so while she acquiesced" ... ?

She "acquiesced"? If so, that conforms to the circumstances I described above as "(A)" -- she had no choice--in which case she didn't "choose" at all.

Dissolution? Owed to Britain's leaving the European "Union"? (LOL!)

There's an even better argument to be made for the concern that the danger to Britain --as a dissolution would be seen as being-- would be and is even greater by remaining in the E.U.,. This view doesn't seem to have occurred to the British television pundits and chattering classes in this controversy; to read the press, one would imagine that there isn't and could never be any existential risk to Britain by its remaining in the serial-train-wreck known as the "European Union." Typical!

Your asumption--that is, that leaving the E.U. poses a higher risk of a dissolution-- also fails, logically, in so far as, whatever happens to the U.K.'s condition as a kingdom, united or dismembered of one or more of its present member-national entities, it won't be in any particular degree the queen's "legacy" since she won't have had any voluntary part in it. It should be, rather, the twin legacies of the present government and, to some extent, some parts, and not, mainly, the least privileged of them!, of the present populace of Britain--these, working foolishly, would leave this imagined dissolution as a legacy to succeeding generations. ( ETA Rather than blaming today's public, future generations of British are, I believe, more likely to one day be grateful for this initiative to get the country out of the E.U.'s membership. Britain shall probably be the first to exit but I am confident that, if it is, it won't be the last. Other E.U. member-states' publics are almost certain to come to similar conclusions--and for similar motives and reasons. The E.U. "dream", once full of promise, has been badly botched. For that we must "thank" the global corporate-order that has come about since the end of the second world war. )

Where do you get this stuff? Never mind. I know the answer from what I read in your usual hilarious nonsense.

"Acquiesced" means

ac·​qui·​esce | \ ˌa-kwē-ˈes
acquiesced; acquiescing
Definition of acquiesce

intransitive verb
: to accept, comply, or submit tacitly or passively

The "Brexit" controversy is a symptom of rather than a cause of Britain's present deplorable political insanity and confusion. "Remain" or "leave"--either way, the British people have some very serious matters to deal with which concern their capacities to understand and effectively act on a correct and healthy grasp of who they are and how they ought to live and work together as a functioning political order. The evidence that they are up to this challenge is missing or it's obscurred by the fact that the most influential parts of the political establishment won't get out of the way of a more politically-astute public which knows far better than press and parliamentary grandees what it wants and what is best for itself.

But "dissolution" is still not the "to-be-assumed-outcome" of the manner in which the Brexit affair is settled.

You'd do better to stick to consistently misanalysing U.S. political affairs. Your specialty.

Aug 31, 2019, 12:12pm

>21 proximity1:

The very real risk of the dissolution of the UK is that Scotland will secede as it wishes to remain in the EU, and that a hard border on the island of Ireland will bring the eventual unification of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland a step closer. If either of the two entities, Scotland or Northern Ireland, leaves the UK, then that constitutes the dissolution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Edited: Aug 31, 2019, 2:48pm

#22--the Unionist parties of Northern Ireland have now and again played an essential role in keeping the Tories in Westminster in power. If the link between them and Britain's conservatives is broken their power will be greatly diminished. The Unionist population of Northern Ireland see themselves as British even if the majority of Britons see them as Irish. It's an identity thing for them--that they are loyal to the crown and as they see it superior to the Catholic population because they're not loyal to the crown. That's their perception anyway. I don't think that for the most part the Unionists are at all interested in unification with the 26 counties of the Irish Republic and I suspect there will be a lot of trouble--maybe a re-ignition of the troubles and for their own politicians being subsumed into the Irish Republic's govt. pretty much puts all their power at a local level--they lose any ability to inform or leverage power on a national level---something they've got away with for quite a while in Westminster. So I wouldn't think unifying with the Irish Republic in the Dail Eireann would be very enticing to them. As long as they stick with a Tory govt. in Westminster their power is enhanced. That's where they want to be Brexit or no Brexit. EU or no EU. Open border or hard border. Civil war or no civil war. They'll not give up anything without a fight.

So the real question for them is can they hold their own side together--because logistically the populations aren't far away from even-ing out. But really I think this situation could explode again real easily.

Aug 31, 2019, 3:03pm

>23 lriley:

I think you underestimate the importance of the open border to all communities on both sides of the Irish border, and also the importance of the Good Friday peace agreement which enshrines it.

Aug 31, 2019, 5:10pm

#24--Maybe. But I think you're more optimistic than I am.

Aug 31, 2019, 7:27pm

>19 lriley:

My opinion as well--the idea that one can have some "apolitical" i.e. not-conservative hereditary monarchy is nonsense.

Sep 1, 2019, 6:49am

Beth Rigby @BethRigby (Sky News) | 5:07 AM · Sep 1, 2019

When I pushed Johnson on food shortages at G7 he said it was "unlikely". Hancock & Gove used exact phrase: people will get "the food they need". So, not the food they want? Shortages in some supplies or spike in prices on some food stuffs? Lots of questions still unanswered

Trump: Let them eat soybeans(?)

Sep 1, 2019, 10:44am

#26--well the status quo (tradition) needs to be maintained at all costs. There's some version of it (monarchy or not) wherever you go though. People that are too powerful to be touched.....and maybe the most grotesque example of that is right here in the United States with our current POTUS who can flout any number of laws without consequence. The Queen is more a figurehead than a head of government all the same.....and despite her siding with Johnson she's not on a level with the likes of those who are heads of state like Trump, Bolsonaro, MBS, Putin or Netanyahu so there are limits to the damage that she is done. In this case though I don't think she was manipulated at all. She's protected herself and her family's interests over the will of her own people which isn't nice.

Edited: Sep 3, 2019, 2:43pm

What the "Brexit" impasse reveals about Britain's politics and political order


In Britain one finds one of the most fundamental political misunderstandings possible:
an astounding, stupefying, amazing, fatal confusion about what political "sovereignty" actually means in theory as well as in practice.

Many britons--even many people supposedly well-educated and highly-placed in professions which are in goverment, partisan politics or even higher education--will assert the nostrum, "Parliament is sovereign," meaning that it is parliament as an institution that is the ultimate political decision-making entity.

That, though stubbornly asserted as a fact, is simply not a fact in any real-world sense.

And it is this intellectual and theoretical "disconnect" which explains and accounts for a political mess now more than three years old and continuing.

To assert that the U.K. parliament is "sovereign" makes no more sense than to assert that the United States Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) is the sovereign power in the U.S. political order.

Any well-informed middle-school sudent in the U.S. would explain that, on the contrary, it is the public electorate--which elects Congress-members--who comprise the sovereign political power. There is no appeal from the ballot-box's results except other susequent ballots, given by subsequent electorates similarly qualified to cast a ballots on ensuing issues or other regular general or special elections of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States.

Parliament has demonstrated in the most spectacular manner imaginable that it is not capable of settling the Brexit affair. The elected British executive authority, the office of the Prime Minister (chosen by parliament's members in the House of Commons as either a majority-party's favourite or that of a coalition of parties' members voting for their favourite), is no more inherently capable of settling the Brexit affair than is Parliament itself. This was demonstrated, again, in the most spectacular way imaginable, by the elimination of Theresa May as prime minister. Her abject failure and her depature made many historic shipwrecks seem dignified by contrast.

What we're witnessing is the excruciating process of a supposedly august political institution taking an agonizingly long time to come to the most patently obvious of facts about its lack of genuine "sovereignty". Currently parliament is trying to insist on asserting a position which claims, in effect, "We (i.e., parliament) are not bound, whether formally or informally, to recognise, respect and implement the expressed will of the British voting public in its majority-results--no matter how urgent, how essential or how important to the voters their expressed will may be in any given matter. Rather, we are free to do whatever we please to do or not do as it suits our whims and our capacities or incapacities to act."

A fresh general-election is in the offing now simply because, as a matter of fact, there is no other political entity which can settle the matter--as it ought to have been recognized to have done in the first place when, in 2016, by referendum, qualified British voters cast ballots which, by a clear majority, chose to take the United Kingdom of Great Britain out of European Union membership one way or another, by whatever means necessary--for that was the implied upshot of their vote: Britain's choice to leave meant that, under the then-existing terms of the European Union treaties in force, Britain, at a date certain, after invoking Article 50, would end its membership with or without a consensual agreement guiding the implementation of the departure from membership as a default and de facto result of the implementation of article 50--for it states these terms and conditions and the voters have to be supposed to have understood this was implied in their ballot-decisions.

If--in the event that they should lead to a reconfirmation of the 2016 referendum's outcome on a vote to remain a member-state or quit the membership in the European Union--a new round of parliamentary elections' results are not better recognized and respected, the electoral processes shall then be clearly shown to be hostage to a body which is again in open defiance of the only real sovereign power in the nation: its adult electorate.

Now the nation needs political maturity from its parliament's members. So far, there is no sign from parliament that this political maturity exists. Parliament has already refused to recognize and honour one clear electoral outcome concerning Brexit.

Wide-open civil insurrection would be the next logical and ordinarily expected consequence of a parliament which refused a second time to honour a clear electoral mandate to exit from European Union membership.


See also :

"Jonathan Pie" ( "Boris Suspends Democracy"

Sep 3, 2019, 1:44pm

>29 proximity1: Arguing that parliament is not sovereign by recourse to the US system shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the difference between the two systems of government.

In the UK, Parliament is sovereign. That is the constitutional position.

This position was reaffirmed as recently as R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (2017).

Sep 4, 2019, 4:36am

A cite from the link in >31 John5918:
"A man who spent years in estrangement from the truth is unlikely to seek its company now."


Sep 4, 2019, 4:40am

>32 bnielsen:

I also liked the opening sentence, "Brexit is not the first thing Boris Johnson has found difficult, but it might be the first difficult thing he cannot simply abandon." As you say, ouch!

Edited: Sep 5, 2019, 6:14am

,,, " 'for the first time in modern history, Britons in some areas are living shorter lives' and dying more 'deaths of despair' (The New York Times). It doesn’t mince words in identifying the reasons; it points the finger at austerity.

"The fact that Britain has been broken by a devastating decade of government cuts isn’t exactly news. However, it is always instructive to see how you are viewed by outside eyes and it is sobering to observe just how grim the view of Britain from America has become. This country is more than just a laughing stock, it’s an object of abject pity."


"Food banks and early graves – how the US sees the UK now" by Arwa Mahdawi

The Guardian (London)

A land divided between those who live lives of obscene opulence and those--the vast majority--who live lives of charity-shops, unemployment or miserable, poorly-paid "gig-economy"-jobs to which they travel morning and evening, if in greater-London, crammed like sardines into a mass-transit system's buses and subterranean trains which are already straining and routinely failing under an inability to cope with the current population--which is growing. Ghettos of third-world alien-culture immigrants, whole neighborhoods where one might as well be in Cairo, Lahore, Islamabad or Mumbai.

This is a fucked-up, failing, dysfunctional state; it's full of people who are resigned to their miserable plight. On any rush-hour commuters' route one sees everywhere the blank-faced looks which seem to say, "we expect nothing better and we keep our misery unmentioned."

... ("Britain is mired in democratic crisis – but it goes much deeper than Brexit" by Aditya Chakrabortty)

..."Put bluntly: yes, Britain is mired in a democratic crisis. But it is one that is older, wider and deeper than this week’s debacle over Brexit and parliamentary sovereignty, and it features across our everyday lives.
It’s there in our privately run academy schools, which will get another wodge of cash in Wednesday’s expected spending round from chancellor Sajid Javid. Under the auspices of today’s arch-Brexiteers, Cummings and his then frontman at the department for education, Michael Gove, turned our schools system into what an LSE study calls 'highly opaque', marked by 'little transparency, democratic accountability or public or parliamentary scrutiny'.

"It’s plain as day in the London borough of Barnet, where the Tory council outsourced the vast bulk of local authority functions to giant private businesses and then – when the evidence of service failure and ballooning costs grew too thick – this summer gagged local residents from asking too many questions at council committee meetings. It’s there in the sweetheart deals big builders cut with local councils and the one George Osborne cut with Google over their tax bill.

"The master-text on the moment we’re in was published nearly 20 years ago. 'Coping With Post-Democracy' was an alarm sounded by the British political scientist Colin Crouch towards the end of Tony Blair’s first term as prime minister. He coined the term 'post-democracy' to refer to a country that still had its ballot boxes and elected chamber and rowdy journalists – only all were being drained of meaning." ...


Edited: Sep 4, 2019, 9:18am

Boris Johnson's secret plan?

Karl Brophy @KarlBrophy | 9:58 AM · Sep 3, 2019
1. Have election.
2. Tories win handsomely, get rid of dependency on DUP.
3. Demand EU gets rid of UK-wide backstop.
4. EU says: "Sure, it was your idea in the first place."
5. Revert to Northern Ireland only backstop
6. Declare victory
7. #Brexit with a deal on Oct 31.


"you great big girl's blouse"?? Wish we had question period!

BBC Politics @BBCPolitics | 7:43 AM · Sep 4, 2019:
"Call an election, you great big girl's blouse"
Boris Johnson goads Jeremy Corbyn during #PMQs

Boris Johnson goads Jeremy Corbyn during PMQs
BBC News
Live updates: 0:02


BBC Politics @BBCPolitics | 7:58 AM · Sep 2, 2019:

"The Brexiteers are laying a trap, to seem as if pushed into an election whilst actively preparing for one"

Tony Blair warns Jeremy Corbyn not to back a general election called by Boris Johnson, and push for a referendum on Brexit instead

tap to expand ( )

Sep 4, 2019, 9:24am

>35 margd: Karl Brophy's "secret plan" has a couple of issues, event though the thrust is perhaps correct.

1. The deal with an NI only backstop is still not acceptable to many hardline Brex maniacs in the "no longer conservative nor unionist party". He would have to win a landslide majority to get that deal through.

2. Even if he managed such a majority on October 15, there is simply not enough time to go to the EU and get the deal renegotiated and agreed by EU leaders and parliament before October 31. That is a ridiculously short timescale, and even if by some miracle (and it really would have to be a miracle) that were possible, there would be no time for the enabling legislation required. Thus we are into the realm of requiring "technical extensions". The only Brexit possible on October 31st is a car crash Brexit. Everything else must come later.

Sep 5, 2019, 12:44am

A nice quote from Nicholas Soames, the veteran Conservative MP and grandson of Winston Churchill, who voted against Johnson:

“In a debate in the House in 1938, Chamberlain accused my grandfather of undermining his negotiations with the Germans... I think history will prove my grandpapa to be right under the circumstances. And I think I will prove to be right.”


Sep 5, 2019, 2:19am

The wind is changing on Scottish independence (Times)

Advocates for leaving the European Union have been inclined to dismiss claims that Brexit could undermine Scotland’s continued membership of the United Kingdom. Our exclusive YouGov poll today casts doubt on that assertion.

It can no longer be presumed that Scotland would vote “no” again in an independence ballot...

In other words, the Conservative and Unionist Party (the official name of the Tories) is, through it's pursuance of a no-deal Brexit, increasing the chances of the break-up of the United Kingdom which its official name claims to be protecting.

Sep 5, 2019, 3:17am

The New Statesman explains the oddity yesterday whereby an amendment that was set to fail was passed, because the Government neglected to provide tellers:

Basically another sign of why you can't trust this Government to act fairly.

Edited: Sep 5, 2019, 7:21am

Had to look up "tellers". If anyone else was wondering:

Tellers are appointed to verify the count when there is a division* in the Commons or the Lords and to report the result back to the House.

Four tellers are required for a division to take place: two representing those voting for the motion and two representing those voting against. Two tellers - one from each side - are present in each division lobby to ensure a fair count. The result is then reported back to the occupant of the Chair, or the Woolsack, in the Chamber.

Tellers, who are often party whips, are not counted in the totals of those voting for or against a motion. They are, however, taken into account when a quorum is required for a division.


* When a vote is held the Speaker in the Commons - or Lord Speaker in the Lords - asks Members to call out whether they agree or not. The Speaker will then judge whether there is a clear result. If this cannot be determined, the Speaker or Lord Speaker calls a division by announcing 'clear the lobbies' (in the Commons) or 'clear the bar' (in the Lords).

...During a division, Members literally divide into two separate areas. These are called the Aye and No lobbies in the Commons and the Contents and Not Contents lobbies in the Lords.

As they pass through the lobbies, the Members have their names recorded by clerks and are counted by tellers. Once the lobbies are empty the Speaker (Commons) or the Lord Speaker (Lords) announces the result of the division. The whole process takes about fifteen minutes....

Sep 8, 2019, 10:02am

Irish archbishop warns against ‘dangerous’ uncertainty posed by Brexit (Crux)

Britain and Ireland are going through “a period of dangerous political, social, and economic uncertainty,” according to the president of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh pointed to the lack of a sitting Northern Irish Assembly, an increase in sectarianism over the summer, and the Brexit crisis as the main drivers of this uncertainty...

“Our faith makes us want to cry out at the extent of homelessness, poverty, addictions and violence, criminality and corruption on the streets of Ireland. It moves us to weep that so many of our young people resort to self-harm and taking their own lives,” he said. “We cannot ignore the plight of the refugee and those who are hungry, persecuted, trafficked and exploited in our world. We rightly feel ashamed and repulsed by the horrific revelations of child abuse and other shameful episodes where the reputation of the Church was put before the compassionate call of the Gospel to protect the vulnerable and reach out to the marginalized”...

Sep 11, 2019, 5:51am

:D I know the Queen can't enter the House of Commons, but Black Rod is new to me! (Apparently Canada, Australia, and NZ also have a "Black Rod". Who knew??)

Who is Black Rod and what do they do in Parliament?

Anand Giridharadas @AnandWrites | 9/10/2019:
Just when you thought you were starting to understand British politics, something or someone called Black Rod enters the scene.

Keva (kay-va) 🏳️‍🌈 @Synergy3k | 10:30 PM · Sep 9, 2019
Black Rod is not here for your nonsense.

...Black Rod is best known for the State Opening of Parliament, knocking on the door of the House of Commons to summon MPs for the Queen's Speech.

When Black Rod summons MPs to the House of Lords to hear the Queen's Speech, she (or he) has the door to the Commons slammed in her face, and has to knock three times to gain entry.

Black Rod is the Monarch's representative in the Lords and the routine is symbolic of the Commons' independence from the Crown....

Sep 11, 2019, 7:23am

#42--the Labour MP and former coal miner Dennis Skinner almost always makes a quip during this ceremony--some are LOL funny.

Sep 11, 2019, 8:51am

BBC News - Brexit: Scottish judges rule Parliament suspension is unlawful

Mr Johnson has previously insisted that it was normal practice for a new government to prorogue Parliament, and that it was "nonsense" to suggest he was attempting to undermine democracy.

But the Court of Session judges were unanimous in finding that Mr Johnson was motivated by the "improper purpose of stymieing Parliament", and he had effectively misled the Queen in advising her to suspend Parliament.

They added: "The Court will accordingly make an Order declaring that the prime minister's advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect."

The Court of Session does not criticise the Queen's decision to prorogue Parliament at Boris Johnson's request; it rules on the advice the Prime Minister gave the Queen. But the ruling raises questions for the Palace and the constitutional role of the Queen.

Meanwhile, a hearing at the High Court in Belfast into the implications of a no-deal exit is continuing, with a campaigner for victims of the Troubles arguing that it could jeopardise the Northern Ireland peace process.

Edited: Sep 11, 2019, 11:38am


"But the Court of Session judges (note: a Scottish court) were unanimous in finding that Mr. Johnson was motivated by the 'improper purpose of stymieing Parliament', and he had effectively misled the Queen in advising her to suspend Parliament."

It would seem, then, that it's illegal (de facto) for a governmental official to do anything which some judges take it into their damn fool heads to determine as having "stymied" Parliament--whatever the hell that may be. We discover these things on a case-by-case basis as and when the court judges, as suits their whims, make things up as they go along.

LOL! "mustn't 'stymie' parliament", ya hear? What happens then when parliament "stymies" itself!?--as it has been doing so well now for more than three years!

As far as I can see, if, rather than undertaking the prorogation of Parliament, the prime minister had done its opposite, namely keeping parliament in session beyond a date certain, that, too, by the same token, could be held to be similarly illegal ---provided that the damned court's judges ruled that the "purpose" of keeping parliament in session was one of "stymeying" the legislature.

Britain's parliament now enrolls its judiciary in the work of helping it blaze new trails in making itself an interntional laughing-stock.

This shall pobably be appealed. Otherwise, why have a prime minister at all? Why not simply turn every issue over to the administration of parliament's members?

Maybe the answer is that this isn't done because, so often, as is the case now, parliament is simply incapable of determining how a matter should be settled. It's hopelessly divided, paralyzed between two or more competing courses.

Parliament is a hopeless, helpless slobbering, staggering drunk and the Scotish Court of Sessions has just ruled that it is illegal for anyone to "stymie" its ambitions to get to the bar and order another drink. A few hours later, an English court ruled that parliament, when too inebriated, can be refused further drinks.

Members of parliament are behaving as spoiled little juveniles who'ved gotten drunk and are now very angry that an pseudo-adult figure (compared to their own childish behavior) has intervened and denied them more booze.

"The prime minister’s decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks was a political matter and not one that should be reviewed by the courts, English judges have declared. (The Guardian (London) )

"Two hours after the Scottish appeal court ruled that Boris Johnson’s advice to the Queen to suspend parliament was 'unlawful', three of the most senior English judges explained why they had come to a diametrically opposed conclusion.

"Last week, the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, the master of the rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, and the president of the Queen’s bench division, Dame Victoria Sharp, dismissed the challenge by the legal campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller.

"On Wednesday, the judges gave the full reasons for that decision in a 24-page judgment, which concluded with sentence: 'In our view, the decision of the prime minister to advise Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue parliament is not justiciable in Her Majesty’s courts.' "

Amazing but true: Britons have a governmental establishment which is run by people who are stupider by far than is the average man or woman on the street!


Sep 11, 2019, 2:38pm

>45 proximity1: "This shall pobably be appealed"

This will definitely be appealed, and whether the Supreme Court upholds the judgement is not at all clear. Neither I nor you can really make a good judgement on that because it relies on evidence that is not in the public domain.

If the PM misled the Queen (as the court has found, and the Supreme court may or may not uphold next week) then not only is this judgement right, but the PM's position is constitutionally untenable. He should resign. With this amoral man, however, don't hold your breath.

Lying to parliament is sufficient cause for a minister to resign. Lying to the monarch is technically treason. If the man told the Queen that the reasons for prorogation were X when he told others that the reasons are Y, then he will have misled the Queen, and failed in his constitutional role.

Did that happen? Well, almost certainly yes. However, the question is whether he left a clear evidential trail that this happened. If he did that, the Supreme Court would uphold the judgement. If the evidence is lacking, the case will be overturned.

We shall see.

Sep 11, 2019, 5:55pm

>46 sirfurboy: And following up my message, here is a radio interview with a lawyer who explains why the Scottish court were forced to reach the decision they reached, and the smoking gun that it points to (that no one will put their name to a witness statement that the prorogation was for the purpose of a Queen's Speech):

David Allen Green's take on Scottish Prorogation Ruling

Sep 12, 2019, 6:55am

>46 sirfurboy: It is interesting that the Scottish court has taken the step of releasing into the public domain the evidence submitted to the hearing - including the documents proving that the PM was considering prorogation a fortnight before he denied considering it.

On that evidence, he has definitely lied to Parliament, which should normally require his resignation.

He may well have also lied to the Queen. However I can find nothing in the law to confirm your statement:
Lying to the monarch is technically treason.

On which statute are you basing this assertion?

Edited: Sep 12, 2019, 2:16pm

In the opinion of a London court, the prorogation of parliament is a political matter and not justiciable--if so, it would follow that those bringing suits against P.M. Johnson are presuming standing to sue where they have none.

This question is going to be reviewed and ruled on by a panel of judges of an appeal court--the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

If the court, on final appeal, rules in favor of the parliamentary malcontents then this fucking idiot nation is even more lost and hopeless than I imagine it to be.

It's sheer folly for a judiciary to intervene in such a matter. If the court can overrule the prorogation in this case then it's going to find itself having to settle each and every instance in the future since there shall always be those in the House of Commons who object to the prorogation in any highly-charged political circumstances--and those are simply too common to avoid.

The British people have got to start showing that they deserve better than this bullshit from their national legislatures. If they don't, they're going to prove instead that they don't deserve better and are getting just the fucking insanity their own insanity indicates they deserve.


— (The Evening Standard (London)) ( News Politics )
“Brexit legal challenge thrown out by high court in Belfast” — Bonnie Christian (12 September, 2019)

"A legal challenge that argued the Government's Brexit strategy will damage the Northern Ireland peace process has been dismissed.

"Lord Justice Bernard McCloskey delivered his ruling at Belfast's High Court on Thursday morning on three joined cases against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's handling of the UK's departure from the European Union.

"The trio of challenges contended that a no-deal Brexit on October 31 would undermine agreements involving the UK and Irish governments that were struck during the peace process and which underpin cross-border co-operation between the two nations.

"But the judge, in his written ruling, judge said: 'I consider the characterisation of the subject matter of these proceedings as inherently and unmistakably political to be beyond plausible dispute.'

" 'Virtually all of the assembled evidence belongs to the world of politics, both national and supra-national.'

" 'Within the world of politics the well-recognised phenomena of claim and counterclaim, assertion and counter-assertion, allegation and denial, blow and counter-blow, alteration and modification of government policy, public statements, unpublished deliberations, posturing, strategy and tactics are the very essence of what is both countenanced and permitted in a democratic society.' "



(Business Insider )"Leaked resolution reveals the EU is preparing to grant the UK another Brexit extension"

Thomas Colson, Adam Payne and Adam Bienkov ¦

The European Parliament is preparing to grant the United Kingdom a third delay to Brexit, a leaked resolution seen by Business Insider suggests.

The resolution, which is due to be approved by members of European Parliament next week, says an extension should be offered to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

The members will also support a fresh Brexit delay to create time for a general election or a referendum, the resolution says.

One member of the Parliament's Brexit Steering Group said after a meeting with Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, that she believes an extension will be offered.


"Game, Set, Match, Johnson"


Sep 12, 2019, 11:16am

>48 -pilgrim-: Okay, yes, "treason" under its legal definition would be wrong in this case (although there are some historical cases from centuries ago of people being executed for misleading the monarch). The offence of misleading the monarch in advice on matters of state, such as this was, would more properly be sedition. The sedition laws were repealed in 2010, so Johnson is not going to the Tower over this one, but technically it is still sedition.

Sep 12, 2019, 11:29am

>49 proximity1: "In the opinion of a London court... "

The court was in London, but you are talking about an English court. Johnson's advice has been found to be misleading by a Scottish court. You are aware, I take it, why there are two legal systems?

I can think of no other time in my lifetime when there has been anything remotely controversial about prorogation. You are, of course, perfectly well aware of why this is a very special case in the middle of a constitutional crisis. Your analysis of the implications appears to assert your ignorance of that fact, but I suspect you are not as ignorant as you are pretending.

Sep 13, 2019, 5:08am

Britain Outlined the Impact of a No-Deal Brexit. It’s Not Pretty.
Megan Specia | Published Sept. 12, 2019. Updated Sept. 13, 2019,

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has minimized the potential damage of a no-deal Brexit, an internal document warns of many of the same dislocations the critics have talked about.

Choice and availability of food will decrease and prices will rise.

Huge waits at border crossings.

Risk for the health care industry.

Protests and riots are a possibility.

The Irish border will be a big problem.

Sep 13, 2019, 5:10am

>52 margd:

A document which the government refused to release until forced to do so by parliament.

Sep 13, 2019, 5:18am

>53 John5918: And by all accounts have not yet complied fully - there are documents they have not released that are captured by the request.

Moreover they edited the document before release to change the wording "base scenario" to now read "worst case scenario" to allow government spin doctors to get to work. They also redacted the part about government policy causing the collapse of the British oil refining industry with the loss of thousands of jobs and causing fuel shortages, with all the adverse effects that would bring.

Edited: Sep 13, 2019, 8:56am

We don't vote to decide a government, never to revisit the question. Why one vote on Brexit?

such a close referendum vote,
suspected Russian skullduggery,
prospect of Scotland leaving the UK,
prospect of Irish Troubles resuming,
near-certainty of upheaval and deprivation, and
likely having to negotiate a post-Brexit US trade deal with a weak hand--
SURELY it's worth letting the British people vote again.

As Quebec can attest, one can always reconsider at a later date if one chooses to stay,
but once cut, ties are difficult to mend. At best, terms likely will be less advantageous.

Sep 13, 2019, 8:59am

>55 margd:

Agreed. I can't see any argument for not having a new referendum. If the Brexiteers are so confident that they represent the will of the majority, they have nothing to fear. Indeed Nigel Farage himself said a few months ago that he would welcome another referendum, as he was convinced that it would return an even greater majority for Brexit and would thus strengthen and speed up the leaving process. Let's see.

Sep 13, 2019, 9:11am

Passionate politicians took us into Europe. A poisonous press is dragging us out (Guardian)

A new book* reminds us how the idealistic architects of our entry into Europe have been undone by a Europhobic press...

How was it done, that 1975 result of 67% to 33% in favour of staying in the EC? As in its fateful 2016 reprise, almost all heavyweight figures in all parties, business voices, writers and thinkers backed belonging in Europe. Those now searching for reasons why that same heavyweight backing failed this time often blame exactly that establishment phenomenon: an angry electorate opted for the outsiders, the insurgents, rebelling against know-it-all authorities.

But whose rebellion was it really and led by whom? Radice reminds us of the vital salient fact too often ignored, or dismissed, because it’s so blindingly obvious as to be banal. In 1975 only one newspaper – just one – advocated voting against the simple question “Do you think the United Kingdom should stay in the European community?” It was the Morning Star. All the others, yes, the Mail, the Telegraph, the Sun, the Times – every single other one – advocated staying. What a contrast with the 2016 referendum, when the majority of UK papers was controlled by a handful of virulently Europhobic offshore press barons, who strongly influence the broadcasters’ agendas.

For 40 years the poison dripped from their pens in the wake of Rupert Murdoch’s arrival, when Margaret Thatcher broke our ownership laws to allow him to take over nearly 40% of all British press. The Eurocrats became the foreign enemy, with every British negotiator setting off as to war with Brussels. Never underestimate that colossal cultural influence, even if deeper sociological reasons for the leave vote are more interesting. Every prime minister was bullied by newspapers into anti-European fist-shaking. EU elections came and went ignored by the parties. None dared sing the EU’s praises, not even Tony Blair – and now he does when it’s far, far too late...

* A Love Affair with Europe: The Case for a European Future by Giles Radice

Edited: Sep 13, 2019, 12:31pm

>55 margd:

"We don't vote to decide a government, never to revisit the question. Why one vote on Brexit?"

Yes, why "one vote on Brexit?" why not two or three or four?

As you point out, "We don't vote to decide a government, never to revisit the question," however, as much as you despise him, in the election of Donald Trump, there was one and "only" one "vote" (i.e. electoral contest) to decide the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Many people were shocked and outraged at the election of Trump and they not only wanted to get rid of him at any cost and through any means, they stopped at virtually nothing to obtain just that result--get rid of an electoral result they hated. This included everything --even insisting that the election was so "flawed" that it's outcome had to be set aside. That is just what those opposed to the Brexit referendum's result are still trying to do just as they've been trying to do ever since the referendum's result.

But Trump's opponents didn't succeed. He was inaugurated and took office--just as he ought to have done because that was the outcome of the election at which he was chosen. There was no "let's have a 'do-over.'"

And here is the point: Yes, in electoral affairs, questions, issues, are "re-visited" so to speak; but they're not--under ordinary circumstances--supposed to be annulled, rejected, overturned, before they are put into effect. There's a vote and the outcome is respected, FFS! Not denied, not rejected, not undermined by all means most foul and dishonest.

Where the vote was open, fair and as reasonably and honestly done as is generally the case and as was very clearly the case here with the Brexit referendum, that vote's reuslts are accorded the courtesy of being implemented--tried out, FFS! because this was the expressed intent of the majority of the electorate participating--the "50%-plus 1" at a minimum which democratic votes require; and are not set aside just because the outcome is offensive to society's social, financial and political "glitterati."

A decision was made--in British English parlance, "taken". It was supposed to be put into effect.

Instead, a hysterical reaction sprang up immediately and all Hell broke loose as lots of people (but not a voting majority in this case) decided they'd do everything possible to undermine their fellow-citizens' electoral majority choice.

That "ain't 'cricket!,' "dear."

As though this is somehow novel or news to you! Get a goddamn fucking clue. This is not "rocket-science".

Sep 13, 2019, 1:01pm

>58 proximity1: A decision was made--in British English parlance, "taken". It was supposed to be put into effect. Instead, a hysterical reaction sprang up immediately and all Hell broke loose as lots of people (but not a voting majority in this case) decided they'd do everything possible to undermine their fellow-citizens' electoral majority choice.

No. The government of the day spent three years trying to implement the decision in the best possible way, ie with a deal which would safeguard British interests rather than with a no-deal Brexit. They failed, in large part due to the intransigence of the pro-Brexiteers in their own party who were unwilling to make the necessary compromises. Now it seems that the Brexit possibilities are a deal which seems to satisfy nobody or a no-deal which would be a disaster. Surely it's time to put those options to the electorate again, particularly as neither option matches the promises of the Brexit campaign during the earlier referendum?

Sep 13, 2019, 2:37pm

#58--a democratic election where the 'winner' got 2.9 million less votes than the 'loser' is not flawed? It even seemed flawed to Donald himself. That's why he insisted for long afterwards that so many of those who voted for Hilary were illegals and why he went on and on about voter fraud.....because the optics of that voter disparity were even obvious to him. He didn't win a majority--he wins because of a flawed and undemocratic electoral college system.

Sep 13, 2019, 2:41pm

U.K. Stock Market Increasingly Indicating Brexit Is Dead (Forbes)

The U.K. stock market is increasingly telling us Brexit is dead. This possibility in the almost unfathomable Brexit crisis has become totally feasible...

Sep 13, 2019, 5:24pm

>58 proximity1: “it was supposed to be put into effect”

But what was? Vote Leave, on their website promised (a) that article 50 would not be triggered until we had a deal and (b) that it might not be triggered at all if we got a better deal as a result of our vote to leave.

Promises that were not kept - but you see how this muddies the waters? So what exactly did the voters ask for, according to the Government?

The Government promised that if voters voted for leave then the government and parliament would investigate the options and find a model for leaving. They indicated that Norway, Switzerland, Canada and other models would be looked at.

And, in fact, they have done that. They implemented the vote to leave inasmuch as they have done what they promised - and discovered that there is no majority for ANY model of Brexit.

Now they should apologise to the British people for presenting a choice they cannot implement. But it is clearly ludicrous to argue that we should take no account of what the people think now, after all that investigation has come up short.

You know this, of course. We have been through it and you fully understand and see the case for a confirmatory referendum. The problem is that you, and others who oppose such a referendum, suspect what the rest of us are pretty confident about: that the will of the people has changed. That a majority would like to remain members of the EU. That this is the only option that commands any kind of majority support.

You are afraid that the will of the people will be betrayed by the will of the people. And, of course, that is impossible. The people cannot betray themselves. If the majority, at this point, wish to remain in the EU then to do anything else is simply iniquitous.

Sep 13, 2019, 11:57pm

>62 sirfurboy:

Thanks for articulating it so simply and clearly.

Edited: Sep 14, 2019, 1:43am

I note that government webpages now have a banner headline stating: Britain is leaving the EU on 31st October 2019.

Sep 16, 2019, 1:10pm

I have already said I wondered if the government was going to use the Kinnock amendment they caused to be passed to the Benn Brexit bill to try to squirm out of the bind they find themselves in. Well it seems there is evidence that plans are indeed afoot to do just that:

Edited: Sep 24, 2019, 7:04am

11-0... One month to go...

Boris Johnson’s Suspension of Parliament (for 5 wks) Was Unlawful, U.K. Supreme Court Rules
Mark Landler | Sept. 24, 2019

...“The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification,” said Baroness Brenda Hale, the president of the court, speaking for the 11-judge panel that heard the case.

“The prime minister’s advice to Her Majesty was unlawful, void and of no effect,” she said. “Parliament has not been prorogued.”

...The Supreme Court judges “have vindicated the right and duty of Parliament to meet at this crucial time to scrutinize the executive and hold ministers to account,” said John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, who presides over debate. “As the embodiment of our parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons must convene without delay. To this end, I will now consult the party leaders as a matter of urgency.”

As a practical matter, it was not clear how much the decision would change the government’s immediate approach to Brexit. In the days before they were dispersed, members of the House of Commons pushed through a law — over the prime minister’s fierce opposition — that would prohibit Mr. Johnson from pursuing a “no-deal Brexit.”

But in symbolic terms, the court ruling was a stinging rebuke for the prime minister. It raised the question of whether he had misled Queen Elizabeth II in asking her to prorogue the Parliament. And it added to the perception that his Conservative government was running roughshod over Britain’s most hallowed political conventions in its zeal to extract the country from Europe...

Edited: Sep 24, 2019, 2:42pm

Given that the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has undertaken to govern the nation in the stead and place of its otherwise duly-constituted governing executive and legislative institutions--these being either or both the government's prime minister and his or her ministers or the members of parliament as a legislative body--then it seems to me that the next logical move is to seek the supreme court's opinion on whether, having submitted itself to a legally-binding international treaty, namely the "Treaty on European Union" (Official Journal C 191 , 29/07/1992 P. 0001 - 0110)" parliament may, at its sole discretion, determine whether the terms high-lighted in bold-face, below, are merely "suggestions" from the European Union authorities or, rather, are binding on member states and, as part of a supposedly legally-binding and formally-adopted treaty, may not simply be superseded by an act of the member-state's national legislature :

"Article 50–Treaty on European Union (TEU)*

(1). Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its ownconstitutional requirements.

(2). A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shallnegotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangementsfor its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on theFunctioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf ofthe Union by theCouncil, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.(3). The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period."

(emphasis added)

What say you to that, my lords and ladies of the court?


* See: Briefing February 2016 EPRS "Article 50 TEU: Withdrawal of a Member State from the EU" ( European Parliamentary Research Service | Author:Eva-Maria Poptcheva | Members' Research Service ENPE 577.971)


Other things parliament might determine ought to be prevented, by passage of a formal Act:

Late, defective or over-crowded public-transport --trains, trams, underground, buses, etc.

"PMS" in fertile women,

Male pattern-baldness,


Lying to the public while holding elective public office,


homelessness and poverty-- nah, they'd never outlaw those!

Sep 24, 2019, 11:41am

>67 proximity1: The part you highlight in bold is not in any dispute, of course, so no need to ask the supreme court its opinion on that.

Your post suggests you know what Jonhson sought to deny though. He said the prorogation was not about Brexit. You appear to think otherwise.

As for "undertaken to govern..." - that shows again a lack of familiarity by yourself with the British constitution which has long had a separation of powers model, as described by Baron de Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws (published 1748). The judiciary ruled on matters of law, and if you read today's verdict you will see that they have ruled based on existing precedent. There is nothing novel here. They have not sought to govern, but have reasserted that Parliament is where UK sovereignty lies, and that Parliament may not be prevented from exercising its right to govern (to legislate and to hold the executive to account).

It is the language of the uninformed to suggest that the court has "undertaken to govern". They have done no such thing. There is no constitutional change here. What we have is a decision that uses precedent and evidence to defend the constitutional settlement.

Sep 25, 2019, 12:06am

What is interesting in this thread, in its rather dreary way, is the determination of proximty1 to steadfastly demonstrate how scanty is their familiarity with and grasp of the Westminster system.

I have no interest in annotating the errors and misunderstandings that pervade their posts, but I do want to point out to others who have read this far that any conclusions proximity1 reaches here are based on a deeply faulty understanding of the parliamentary system and the British constitution.

Edited: Sep 25, 2019, 10:20am

I do understand the idiotic "British parliamentary system." It, like so many pseudo-democractic systems, is a flagrant and disgusting political fraud upon the British electorate.

That the British public submits to this absurd and indefensible idiocy is not an excuse for it. Word-play about "sovereignty" is not an excuse for it. Tenth-rate, patently bogus political theorizing about "democracy" is not an excuse for it. Pretending that, somehow, "TINA" ("there is no alternative") is not an excuse for it.

Blithering codswallop such as, "Oh, well, ours is an unwritten constitution," is not an excuse for it.

Britain's parliament is a standing insult to intelligence--generally; it's a moral and an intellectual disgrace. The recent Supreme Court ruling is the best recent example of this I can think of.

Here's a link to an editorial--in British parlance, it's known as a newspaper "leader", LOL!--which illustrates current political elite stupidity--this is from the editor of City A.M. a free London daily, which is worth less than its cover-price.

Read it. It reeks of the fear, moral and intellectual defensiveness and insecurity which is now rife among the City financial big-shots.

This is no time to turn fire on the judiciary

Wednesday 25 September 2019 5:43 am

"The decision of the Supreme Court to find Boris Johnson’s conduct unlawful was truly momentous and will have consequences not just for immediate political considerations but for the future understanding of our constitution.

"The judgment itself also allowed those who would seek it to find some perspective, relying as it did on a court ruling from 1611. That was the year the King James Bible was first published, and we must surely allow ourselves a moment to reflect on the wonder of a sitting Prime Minister being frustrated by a 400-year-old ruling that 'the King hath no prerogative, but that which the law of the land allows him.'

"Well, Johnson isn’t the King and the Supreme Court has reminded him that he can’t act like one. For some people, the sight of unelected judges scuppering a Prime Minister’s plans has been too much to take.

"Parliamentarians and pundits for whom Johnson can do no wrong have painted the Supreme Court as the latest weapon deployed by an anti-Brexit establishment. Such talk is dangerous and wrong.

"This country is governed by an intricate web of executive authority, parliamentary sovereignty, legal precedent, convention and political chicanery. Perhaps it was this web that inspired Lady Hale’s spider brooch that attracted so much attention as she read out the Court’s decision.

"The case before the Supreme Court was of course political, but it does not follow that the Court was politicised through hearing it. In their extensive judgment, the Justices make clear that 'the fact that a legal dispute concerns the conduct of politicians, or arises from a matter of political controversy, has never been sufficient reason for the courts to refuse to consider it'.

"We may feel queasy to see judges holding such vast political sway, but that’s the way the system works – for now. Our constitutional future is now a matter of open debate and there’s no point shying away from it.

"There are grumblings in Westminster that our Supreme Court judges should be subject to a more open nominations and confirmation process, but politicising the appointment of judges would be a mistake.

"John Bercow thinks the time has come for a written constitution, but though our unwritten one can lead to tension between the various sources of authority, it still works – and it should be defended."


"City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M."

(the paper's own disclaimer)


Whenever an appeals-court decision contains the caveat that the circumstances from which the court's ruling ensues and, so, the judges' predicament,

"arises in circumstances which have never arisen before and are unlikely ever to arise again"

telling a supposedly intelligent, aware public that the court's decision

"is a 'one off' "

then the audience should beware that it is about to be presented with a load of sophistic bull-shit; from a jurisprudence point of view, it is worthless, establishing neither a legal precedent nor being based on any principled theory in justice or law. It's the high-court equivalent of "making shit up as one goes along."

"But our law is used to rising to such challenges and supplies us with the legal tools to enable us to reason to a solution."


These judges have no fucking idea!

"There is fury at the highest levels of government over the judgment. On the call, other senior ministers also raised questions about the ruling. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, the government’s chief law officer, suggested that the ruling overturned decades of precedent. He told the phone call that he didn’t believe ‘any prorogation over the past 50-100 years would have survived today’s judgment.’ "

If the court can overturn any suspension of Parliament merely because, in the personal opinions of the judges, the decision to suspend does not suit their ideas of what is "reasonable", then, logically, we're faced with the task of leaving this matter up to the judges' personal whims.

Prior to the ruling, absolutely no one did have or could have had any hunch as to the legal reasoning on which the ruling was going to depend. It was obviously going to depend on nothing more or other than these judges' personal whims of the moment.

This is British high-court appeals "judgment" on public display and it is, like practically everything else currently in British government and political affairs, a laughing-stock.


The Chinese are going to buy out Britain, sell off much of it as scrap-yard refuse for salvage merchants and turn the rest into a combination colonial holding / movie-set for-hire / and tourist spot for wealthy Arab and Asian muslems.

Sep 25, 2019, 6:27am

>70 proximity1: Oh go on, tell us what you *really* think :)

Here is some Winston Churchill, quoted from Hansard in 1947 but oh so relevant today (I added some emphasis):

All this was comprehended by those who shaped the Parliament Act and the settlement which developed upon that Act, so that it was never mentioned again for 36 years until now. That is what the Government are seeking to mutilate, if not to destroy.

The object of the Parliament Act, and the spirit of that Act, were to give effect, not to spasmodic emotions of the electorate, but to the settled, persistent will of the people. What they wanted to do they could do, and what they did not want to do they could stop.

All this idea of a handful of men getting hold of the State machine, having the right to make the people do what suits their party and personal interests or doctrines, is completely contrary to every conception of surviving Western democracy. Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made, Some patient force to change them when we will. We accept in the fullest sense of the word the settled and persistent will of the people.

All this idea of a group of super men and super-planners, such as we see before us, "playing the angel," as the French call it, and making the masses of the people do what they think is good for them, without any check or correction, is a violation of democracy.

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

Sep 25, 2019, 9:02am

>70 proximity1:

Thank you for so convincingly affirming my point.

Sep 25, 2019, 9:07am

>13 sirfurboy: I am astonished that a prorogation was even requested when it is my understanding that the palace will have advised Johnson on his selection to the office of Prime Minister that he should not ask for a prorogation of parliament as it would politicise the monarchy.

I missed this. Where did you see it — did it come out in the Scottish court hearing?

Sep 25, 2019, 9:57am

>73 librorumamans: No, the advice will have been privileged and will not be made public. My understanding may be treated as supposition here. The palace does everything it can to keep the Queen out of politics, and having been asked for prorogation, that will include not releasing details of her private advice to the PM requesting he not make the request.

My belief that such a request was almost certainly made is based solely on my knowledge of how such advice is made behind the scenes. It was mooted by people I know who will have been in a position to know that such advice was made, but it would not be appropriate for me to go into any greater detail on that, nor, clearly, to cite any sources.

So I offer no evidence to back up my supposition, and I am sure you will therefore treat it with appropriate caution.

Edited: Sep 25, 2019, 10:24am

>74 sirfurboy:

Thanks. Yes, even without your off-the-record access, I imagined that there may have been some private secretary to private secretary negotiations prior to the invitation to form a government. It's significant — especially after Tuesday's court ruling — that those may have included an explicit warning about prorogation beforehand.

Edited: Sep 26, 2019, 5:14am

>73 librorumamans:

... it is my understanding that the palace will have advised Johnson on his selection to the office of Prime Minister that he should not ask for a prorogation of parliament as it would politicise the monarchy."

I missed this. Where did you see it — did it come out in the Scottish court hearing?

LOL! No, no. You don't understand: he simply makes this shit up out of thin air and his even thinner imagination.

"it is my understanding that the palace will have advised".....


I'm tutored by likes of these people?! What a fucking joke this place is.


>75 librorumamans:

"even without your off-the-record access" ...

LMFAO! there's no "access", period; no "on-the-record access" and no "off-the-record access". Zero access.


“A session of Parliament is terminated by prorogation, ... Parliament can be prorogued by the Sovereign in person, but since 1854 it has always been prorogued by commissioners. … The effect of a prorogation is at once to suspend all business until Parliament is summoned again. Not only are the sittings ended, but all proceedings pending at the time, except impeachments by the Commons and appeals before the House of Lords, are brought to a close. Every Bill which has not secured a passage through all its stages is required to be reintroduced at the new session if it is to received further consideration. ...”

Norman Wilding and Philip Laundy,
An Encyclopedia of Parliament (London: Cassell & Co. Ltd., 1972, Fourth edition, revised; p. 618 )

Appendix 1 (pp. 819-20) Wilding & Laundy,

(with supplemental information drawn from Wikipedia's pages on parliaments of Great Britain, of the United Kingdom and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

Parliaments (from the reign of Queen Anne)

Queen Anne (†) 1705-1713: parliaments of Great Britain (1707-96) 1st-4th
George I (1714-27) : parliaments 5th & 6th
George II (1727-54) : parliaments of Great Britain 7th - 11th
George III (1761-96) : parliaments of Great Britain 12th-18th
George III (††) (1801-18) : parliaments of the United Kingdom (1801- present) 1st-6th
George IV (1820-30) : parliaments 7th & 8th
William IV (1830-38) : parliaments 9th-12th
Victoria (1837-1900) : parliaments 13th-27th
Edward VII (1906-10) : parliaments 27th-29th
George V (1910-35) : parliaments 30th- (part) 37th
Edward VIII (1935) parliament (part) 37th
George VI (1935-1951) : parliaments (part) 37th-40th
Elizabeth II (1952- present) : parliaments (part) 40th-57th


† numbered from the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain (1701)
†† numbered from the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801.

So, according to "Sirfurboy" 's "logic", then, I suppose we're to assume that with each of these changes in parliament, with each prorogation over the history noted above, the king or queen on the throne found, nolens volens, his or her "monarchy" "politicised".

That would be some eighteen "politicisations" from 1705 to 1796, to which we add fifty-seven politicisations of the "monarchy" from George III (already "politicised" since the 12th parliament in 1761) in 1801 to Elizabeth II today. And Elizabeth's monarchy has obviously been "politicised" as a result of the succeeding parliaments over the course of her reign some seventeen times! O! The humanity!

Notice, too, that, for a good deal of the history of Britain's / the United Kingom's parliaments, numerous of these suspensions, these prorogations, often endured for months and months!


Date dissolution
Year 1715

Date for which summoned 17 Mar. 1715

Dates of sessions

17 Mar. 1715-26 June 1716

20 Feb.-15 July 1717

21 Nov. 1717-21 Mar. 1718

11 Nov. 1718-18 Apr. 1719

23 Nov. 1719-11 June 1720

8 Dec. 1720-29 July 1721

31 July-10 Aug. 1721

19 Oct. 1721-7 Mar. 1722

Date dissolution 10 Mar. 1722

So what do you suppose was doin' between, say, 15 July 1717 & 21 Nov. 1717? Or between 11 June 1720 & 8 Dec. 1720? Hmmm?

These are apparently periods from the end of one session and that of the opening of the next.


Now--- Just where the fuck was the "genius" of our present-day Supreme Court judges—Baroness Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Kerr, Lords Wilson, Carnwath, Hodge, of Lady Black and of Lady Arden? Where the stunning genius of Lords Lloyd-Jones or Briggs, of Lords Westbourne and Lord Kitchin? Where, back then, did one look for the supposed keen legal insight of a Lord Pannick, learned counsel for the plaintiffs against the prime minister—and the 17,410,742 voters who'd voted "leave" thinking that it really meant something?, that it wasn't all just a cruel fraud upon them? —Back then, they had to make do with the treatises of Bracton and some common-sense; the "Unanimous Eleven" who've smacked down Prime Minister Boris Johnson for putting the parliament out to pasture for a coupla weeks, max, know so much better.

Yet,surely the judges of earlier generations in England had been no less aware of this 1611 so-called "precedents" on which today's judges fabricated their silly lighter-than-air legal "reasoning"—according to which it is simply and, of course, by (these judges' definitions) "unreasonable" of the prime minister to have sought the suspension of parliament—despite the facts that this a routine procedure and one which has always entailed the immediate cessation of debates, of regular business of the Houses of parliament. Each time it has occurred, these were the normal and the fully recognised and accepted terms and consequences.

How dared all those prime ministers (since 1854) go suspending parliament--by the queen's or the king's expressed leave each time! How dared they!?

Stupid parliament—stupid, stupid, stupid. Stupid and viciously underhanded "Remainers," stupid & vicious, stupid & vicious, stupid & vicious!

Don't you lecture me about this fucked-up nation's grand political institutions and its storied democratic heritage.

Bull-shit! British electoral politics today are a fucking disgrace! And a hell of a lot of the electorate—whose solemn votes have been callously trashed—know it!

There's no "constitutional 'crisis'" going on. Rather, there's a political scandal by which part of the nation's most privileged and powerful are using their power and their money and privileges to go and get from their stacked-card, corrupt system what they couldn't get from the voters at the ballot-box back in June of 2016.

Fuck your fucking parliamentary sovereignty and your damned supreme court sell-outs with their nauseating propagandistic corporate press.


Proponents of the new Bill to stop No Deal face a significant dilemma over Queen’s Consent
| (MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit have now published their Bill. Robert Craig (LSE) explains why the existence of Queen’s Consent means that they face a complex legal Catch-22 in their efforts to stop the Prime Minister. This post has been updated after the MPs’ bill was made public.)


"Gentlemen, you're invited to withdraw to the combination-room where cigars and after-dinner drinks are now being served."

"Thank you, Franklin. Well, then, shall we?"

"After you, my dear fellow."


"Good evening, sir."

"Good evening, Morrison."

"Good evening, your lordship. I took the liberty, sir, to ready your lordships' cigars."

"Thank you, Morrison."

(taking their seats at the fireside)

"My great-grandfather sat in this chair."

"As you've said. And my grandfather had it re-upholstered."

"A fine job he did of that, too! Not, of course, that he did the labour himself."

"Please! I nearly spilt this excellent brandy! Allow a chap to—

"To what shall we drink?"

(rising to his feet) "To his majesty's health, of course."

(rising to his feet) "To his majesty's health! And, I shall add, to English tradition."

"To English tradition!"

"You know, I once met a fellow who refused to honour certain venerable English traditions for no other reason than that he regarded them as nonsense."

"You don't say!"

"Upon my word!"

“Well, I once met a fellow during a cruise-ship voyage who told me of a neighbour of his who had a grand-nephew who couldn't be persuaded to wear a bowler, a neck-tie or pin-stripes!”

“Imagine it!”

“This nephew's father was banker—and his father before him and his before him, all bankers, going back nine generations.”

Sep 25, 2019, 11:56am

>72 librorumamans: You may also be amused to note that proximity1 has been showing his ignorance of the British law and constitution in another Brexit thread here:

I should point out message 200, (replying to my message 193 and earlier of his) where he confused Parliament with very specifically the House of Commons, forgetting the House of Lords and the remainder of parliament existed at all. His reply, when this was drawn to his attention: 'When I refer to Parliament, I mean the "Commons."'!

Also in that thread:

- He denies the existence of EU citizenship, even after I quoted the relevant portion of the Lisbon Treaty establishing it (see message 187)
- He denies the principle of parliamentary sovereignty (see message 189 and his repeat of the error in 197)

I am pretty sure there are other examples.

Sep 25, 2019, 12:58pm

Sep 25, 2019, 2:11pm

Putin tells May to 'fulfil will of people' on Brexit
Andrew Roth | 20 Dec 2018

0:33 'There was a referendum, what can she do?': Putin tells May to fulfil Brexit – video

Vladimir Putin has said the UK should not hold a second referendum on Brexit, insisting Theresa May must “fulfil the will of the people”.

Offering public support that the embattled British prime minister could probably do without, Putin said he understood May’s position in “fighting for this Brexit”.

“The referendum was held,” the Russian president said from Moscow during his annual press conference, which is broadcast on national television. “What can she do? She has to fulfil the will of the people expressed in the referendum.”

Britons may see some irony in a lesson on democracy from a fourth-term president who has co-opted or crushed any substantial opposition in his home country. In a statement, the former foreign secretary David Miliband, who has backed a second referendum, said it was “an insult to the United Kingdom that he should be lecturing us on our democratic process”.

Russia is seen as a possible beneficiary of the UK’s exit from the EU, and a prominent financial backer of the leave campaign, Arron Banks, met Russian embassy officials repeatedly during the run-up to the referendum in June 2016.

In a nod to recent accusations of election meddling, Putin coyly suggested he was hesitant to give advice on Brexit “lest they accuse us once again of something”.

But he then went on to criticise the idea of a second referendum or “people’s vote”, which could offer the possibility of Britain staying in the EU. A no-deal Brexit has recently become significantly more likely, with May’s deal expected to be rejected by the UK parliament.

“Was it not a referendum?” the Russian president said. “Someone disliked the result, so repeat it over and over? Is this democracy? What then would be the point of the referendum in the first place and what is the sense of direct democracy?”...

Edited: Sep 26, 2019, 4:45am

>79 margd:

"Putin tells May to 'fulfil will of people' on Brexit
Andrew Roth | 20 Dec 2018

"0:33 'There was a referendum, what can she do?': Putin tells May to fulfil Brexit – video

"Vladimir Putin has said the UK should not hold a second referendum on Brexit, insisting Theresa May must 'fulfil the will of the people'.

"Offering public support that the embattled British prime minister could probably do without, Putin said he understood May’s position in 'fighting for this Brexit'."

Speaking of tradition, there's one: Having nothing in sound reason to say for their case, Remainers typically hold up someone like Putin, when they can't manage to work Adolf Hitler into the picture, and try to tar their Brexit adversaries by use of this guilt-by-association tactic.

Shocking, I know, but the mere fact that a person as beyond-the-pale as is Vladimir Putin can still cite and pronounce an intellectually rigorous and valid point on a matter of political principles does not, simply because it is a Putin-like person is saying it, make the point false or invalid.

But guilt-by-association is typical of the bull-shit you post here, 'margd.' It's a genuine main-stay in the 'Remain' tool-box. As a matter of fact, it's the only thing in the 'Remain'-ers tool-box.

Let's be very clear about this: With virtually no doubt about it, Boris Johnson, the current prime minister, does not personally give a good fucking damn about the sanctity of the electorate's ballot. He, like Theresa May before him, is surely just using this extremely compelling point of principle as an arguing-point for a position which he holds for motives and purposes which have absolutely nothing to do with any general respect on his part for the will of the voting-public. Johnson and May are Tories, after all. And Tories shit on the "will of the public" every single minute of every ordinary day—from the moment that public-will cannot be made to serve the ends of entrenched wealth-and-privilege's interests and objectives.

And so what?! None of that makes the point the slightest bit less valid and essential.

Edited: Sep 26, 2019, 9:32am

Memo to the honourable Member of Parliament for Dewsbury :

RE your high-dudgeon-style objections* to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's choice of terms to describe parliament's passage of a Bill—namely, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019, commonly known as ‘Cooper-Letwin’— which attempts to foreclose an outcome which is an integral part of an international treaty which the parliament itself duly debated and passed into law: "I'm sick of it."

You're "sick of it"? That's your problem, ma'am, not the prime minister's.

As a fellow once said about politics, he being personally engaged in that profession's arts,

"if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen,"

or, as I'd phrase it :

Go fuck yourself.


* "I'm sick of it."

Edited: Sep 30, 2019, 10:52am

I want to return to a point I believe was mentioned already:

Parliament adopted the treaty terms now in force. These terms (such as they are) specify the manner of a member state's leaving the European Union and, according to them, departure in the absence of an agreed set of terms is the default course. That is, any departing member leaves without any specified terms for the post facto relationship with E.U. member-states as such unless otherwise provided by agreement.

Unless I've misread or misunderstood the usual case, an international treaty, once adopted and ratified by law, binds its signatories to the treaty's terms and these terms supersede, have legal precdence and priority over, any ordinary subsequent legislative acts which conflict with the treaty's terms.

Therefore, a treaty's terms cannot be simply set aside, ignored or over-ruled by simple susequent legislative act. The only exception would be, indeed, the formal and legal abrogation of the whole treaty. Other than that, the treaty's terms shall apply as they are written.

So, Boris Johnson could sue parliament--just as it brought suit against his prorogation--and argue that parliament cannot suspend portions of the treaty at its whim. It's a take-it-or-leave-it "package deal."

This ought to have already been quite clear to the "unanimous Eleven" of the U.K. supreme court, those legal "luminaries" who decided that the prorogation was "null" and "without effect."

Here we have a fresh opportunity for these same to come to that conclusion.

Do they possess that much legal good-sense?

I very much doubt it.


Follow @EuropeanLawMoni

EU Legal Principles

EU Law: Does European Law Override National Law?


Written by Claire Bradley

Published: 06 November 2006
Last Updated: 04 January 2016

Does European Law Override National Law?

Yes it does.

Is this stated in the Lisbon Treaty Yes

Is this anything new? No.

The principle of European law overriding national law has actually been around since 1963, when it was decided that European law could not be applied in different ways in the Member States, without fundamentally undermining any chance of acheiving the Treaty objectives.

Treaty objectives are agreed by the member governments when a new Treaty is being drafted. The EU can only propose new laws to fulfill the completion of those Treaty objectives, and should not come out with measures outside of that framework.

Basically, the governments agree a 10 year plan, which is then put into Treaty form. They then tell the Commission to implement these policies by coming out with legislative proposals to fulfill the agreed Treaty objectives. Once a law has been passed, the different countries agree to implement it, and allow it to override national law.
Does the UK accept this principle?

Yes, and it has done since 1972, when Parliament passed the European Communities Act (per Wikipedia*) . Since then, if there has been a conflict between national law and European law, the UK courts have to give priority to European law.

What happens if they don´t?

If you join the EU, then part of that package means you are fundamentally obliged to take all appropriate measures, whether general or particular, to ensure fulfillment of the obligations arising out of a Treaty.

Equally, member states are fundamentally obliged to implement any laws agreed in Brussels, which means that it is up to governments and businesses to get the best deal they can when new acts are proposed by the Commission.

Finally, any government must abstain from doing anything which could jeopardize the completion of the agreed Treaty objectives.

If a government does break this fundamental obligation, then they can be taken to court and fined (sometimes very heavily!)

... ...

((CC) Creative Commons use) WIKIPEDIA : European Communities Act 1972 (UK)

Main article: European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

"The United Kingdom voted for withdrawal from the European Union in the 2016 EU referendum held on 23 June 2016, and afterwards there was speculation that the act would be either repealed or amended.(13) In October 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May promised a "Great Repeal Bill" which would repeal the 1972 Act and import its regulations into UK law, with effect from the date of British withdrawal; the regulations could then be amended or repealed on a case-by-case basis.(14)

"The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 13 July 2017. It was passed by Parliament on 20 June 2018, and received royal assent on 26 June 2018.(15) The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 provides for the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 at the time the United Kingdom exits the EU, on 29 March 2019 at 11:00 pm.(16) However, in a July 2018 white paper, the government announced its intention to amend the Withdrawal Act to provide for the continued effect of the ECA until the end of the "transition period" (31 December 2020, as of July 2018), therefore allowing EU law to continue to apply in that period. (†)(17)"

(emphasis added ( (†) LOL!) )

R (Factortame Ltd) v Secretary of State for Transport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Factortame)

R (Factortame Ltd) v Secretary of State for Transport(1) was a judicial review case taken against the United Kingdom government by a company of Spanish fishermen who claimed that the United Kingdom had breached European Union law by requiring ships to have a majority of British owners if they were to be registered in the UK. The case produced a number of significant judgments on British constitutional law, and was the first time that courts held that they had power to restrain the application of an Act of Parliament pending trial and ultimately to disapply that Act when it was found to be contrary to EU law.

Ha-ha!! (LOL!)

Sep 30, 2019, 10:10am

>82 proximity1:

But if agreement is reached between all the member states, then there is no need to leave without a deal. The British parliament has told their Prime Minister to get a deal, which is basically what the Brexit cheerleaders were campaigning for during the referendum.

Edited: Sep 30, 2019, 10:31am

>82 proximity1: You are not a lawyer are you!

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on European Union (TEU) reads as follows:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That
agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

So your argument above hinges around paragraph 3 when you say:

>82 proximity1: So, Boris Johnson could sue parliament--just as it brought suit against his prorogation--and argue that parliament cannot suspend portions of the treaty at its whim. It's a take-it-or-leave-it "package deal."

But notice the words: "unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period."

Nothing is being set aside. If the UK asks for an extension and the EU-27 unanimously agree the extension then the TEU continues to apply. The withdrawal period is automatically extended, and as you suggest, any domestic law that says otherwise in a manner not in accordance with international law is set aside. The UK is governed by the TEU until such a time as the TEU is repealed, and the TEU is not repealed if all agree an extension.

Interestingly the TEU is also not repealed if the UK simply refuses to ask for an extension, because parliament must pass a statutory instrument to bring a section of the withdrawal act into force to effect the repeal of the TEU. Should parliament decline to do that, then we are in a very interesting situation that *will* see an appeal to the Supreme court.

You see, paragraph 1 says that the decision to withdraw from the TEU must be in line with the member state's constitutional requirements. In the UK, only parliament can repeal an act of parliament. An act of parliament cannot be revoked by default. Should parliament decide not to effect the statutory instrument bringing the withdrawal act into force, then we would be in the case where the notice period under A.50 would have expired, but the withdrawal would not be in line with the UK constitutional requirements.

The action that will be brought in such an eventuality is to argue that A.50 has lapsed, and must be considered void. The default case, it will be argued, is that the UK remains a member of the EU.

No one wants to test that in court, of course. Arguments will be made both ways - but you can be absolutely certain it will go - not just to the supreme court, but to the European court, as it is a matter of treaty law. Still, it has never been the case that we can simply fall out of the EU against our will (as I have pointed out to you on several occasions).

Oct 14, 2019, 10:55am

Brexit is a necessary crisis – it reveals Britain’s true place in the world (Guardian)

A determined ignorance of the dynamics of global capitalism is bringing about a long-overdue audit of British realities

Oct 16, 2019, 4:46pm

Oct 16, 2019, 6:00pm

Edited: Oct 19, 2019, 8:05am

If the US ambassador to the EU had not been distracted by corrupt schemes in Ukraine ... maybe US interests would not go unspoken in most important EU negotiations in decades

The U.S. Is Abandoning Its Interests in Brexit
David Frum | 10/19/2019

...At this point, though, it probably matters less that the (US) administration is perceived as obnoxious than that it is perceived as AWOL. As the saying goes, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. And in the Brexit negotiations, the U.S. has not been taking many shots.

There are variations of Brexit that will add more friction to U.K.-EU trade and investment, and variations that will add less...that minimize (or maximize) potential ill will between the separating parties...that do less (or more) damage to the future strength and cohesion of the transatlantic alliance...

The United States should care. It is the largest investor in the United Kingdom, by far. More trade friction will tend to detract from those investments...

These economic concerns are dwarfed by strategic matters. A depressed Britain will field less capable military forces and offer a less helpful partnership to the U.S. around the world. An EU minus Britain is more likely to be protectionist, statist, and neutralist.

...To the extent that Trump and his administration have involved themselves, it has been to urge on the most radical possible Brexit.

A widening plurality of the British public now thinks the country was wrong to vote for Brexit. Yet the Trump administration spurs it onward, anyway...

...Whatever his motive (Russia, affiliation with right wing counterparts), Trump has left Britain alone in the room when it most needed a friend—and abdicated the American interest, dating back to 1945, in supporting the development of Europe into a single market for goods, services, and investment; trading freely with the world; strategically bound by NATO to allies in North America. Those commitments secured the nations of Europe against the temptation to cut separate deals with non-U.S. power centers like Russia or China...

Oct 19, 2019, 8:13am

Anti-Brexit campaigners plow giant message into an English field
October 18, 2019 / 6:54 AM / a day ago

LONDON (Reuters) - Anti-Brexit campaigners have plowed a protest message in giant letters reading “Britain now wants to remain” into a field in rural southern England, as Britain’s exit from the European Union hangs on a knife edge.

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 9:55am

Brexit referendum should never have been called, say majority of voters (Guardian)

Twice as many people now think it would have been better never to have held a referendum on Brexit than believe it was a good idea, according to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer.

Asked to consider the difficulties the government has had in reaching an agreement, 57% of UK adults surveyed said that they believed it would have been better not to have had a public vote in June 2016.

This compares with 29% of voters who believe it was right to hold the referendum on whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU...

David Miliband: Brexit is wrecking British democracy (Guardian)

Former foreign secretary says use of outmoded mandates shows UK system needs an overhaul

Oct 27, 2019, 9:34am

Incidentally, it seems right to acknowledge here that more than a million people turned out to demonstrate against leaving the EU last weekend. At least two of my friends were amongst that number, as I would have been if I had been in UK at the time.

Edited: Oct 30, 2019, 7:36am

From the "Parliament is sovereign" Dept. of Common-place Idiocy :

"Speaking earlier in the House of Commons, Johnson argued that a 'new and revitalised' parliament was needed to take Britain out of the European Union. 'We are left with no choice but to go to the country to break free from this impasse,' he told MPs.

This is a piss-ant democracy.


Nov 1, 2019, 11:36am

>92 proximity1: There is no doubt that Johnson cannot govern without a majority, and his sham government that politicised the crown by holding a Queen's speech for a programme for government that he had no intention of delivering really had nowhere to go. So yes, an election is needed. Yet, in what way does this suggest parliament is not sovereign?

Surely the point is reinforced: the executive cannot govern without a majority in the sovereign parliament.

Nov 1, 2019, 6:39pm

>91 John5918:

And I was among them too, in a three-generation family party aged from 15 to 85.

Edited: Nov 1, 2019, 11:43pm

>93 sirfurboy:

It is ironic though that after May and Johnson both continued despite losing vote after vote in parliament, Boris now calls a general election after actually winning a vote and after finally getting a Brexit deal passed.

>94 affle:


Nov 2, 2019, 4:56am

>95 John5918: Ironic, yes. Although he did not get the deal passed. The vote was to take it to committee stage where it was bound to be amended.

But yes, one can hardly blame parliament for wanting a deal that involves compromise to represent the whole nation rather than the deal that satisfies only a right wing faction of what used to be thought of as the conservative party.

Nov 2, 2019, 7:46am

>96 sirfurboy:

Indeed. It still amazes me that the narrative that crashing out of the EU without a sensible deal was the result of the referendum, despite the fact that that option was not explicitly stated at the time, has apparenty become accepted unquestioningly by so many people.

Nov 8, 2019, 11:32am

Johnson accused of misunderstanding own Brexit deal after NI remarks (Guardian)

Boris Johnson has been accused of misunderstanding his own Brexit deal after he told businesses in Northern Ireland to “throw in the bin,” the customs forms the government has previously said will be required when exporting to the rest of the UK.

The Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, told the House of Lords last month that businesses would need to complete “exit summary declarations” when sending shipments from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK.

But in answer to a question on Thursday night from an exporter in Northern Ireland about whether his business would have to complete such forms, Johnson said: “You will absolutely not.”

He recommended that if any business is asked to fill in such paperwork, they should telephone the prime minister, “and I will direct them to throw that form in the bin”.

Answering questions after a rambling speech that was captured on video and went viral, the PM said: “There will be no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind: you will have unfettered access.”

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said: “This is a prime minister who either doesn’t know the details of the deal he has negotiated or isn’t being straight about it.

“If this deal comes into force, it’s an international treaty that will be legally binding. It’s not for Boris Johnson to waive or ignore the obligations in the deal he has negotiated. Boris Johnson’s making it up as he goes along. This is no way to seek to run the country”...

Nov 10, 2019, 12:22am

United Kingdom might not exist in a decade, half of UK citizens think: poll (Reuters)

The 52-48% vote in 2016 to leave the European Union has strained the bonds that tie England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland into the United Kingdom: Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay while England and Wales voted to leave.

As the United Kingdom heads towards its latest Brexit deadline of Jan. 31, there are growing demands for an independence referendum in Scotland and for a vote on Northern Ireland unifying with the Republic of Ireland...

50% thought the United Kingdom would not exist in 10 years, up from 43% in 2014. Just 29% said it would exist in its current form in a decade, down from 45% in 2014.

In the shorter term, the fate of the union - which traces its history back to the 1707 Treaty of Union - was also uncertain: 42% said the United Kingdom would exist in five years' time and 44% said it would not...

Nov 10, 2019, 8:48am

Russian Tory donors named in secret report
Intelligence agencies are ‘furious’ over No 10’s block on publication
DAVE M BENETT | November 10 2019

Nine Russian business people who gave money to the Conservative Party are named in a secret intelligence report on the threats posed to UK democracy which was suppressed last week by Downing Street.

Oligarchs and other wealthy Tory donors were included in the report on illicit Russian activities in Britain by the cross-party intelligence and security select committee (ISC), whose publication was blocked by No 10.

Some Russian donors are personally close to the prime minister. Alexander Temerko, who has worked for the Kremlin’s defence ministry and has spoken warmly about his “friend” Boris Johnson, has gifted more than £1.2m to the Conservative Party over seven years...

Nov 28, 2019, 10:41am

EU net migration to the UK falls to lowest level since 2003 (BBC)

Net migration from EU into UK at lowest level since 2003, ONS says (Guardian)

This snippet comes on the day when Nigel Farage is claiming 'immigration is not being talked about enough'...

Nigel Farage: 'Immigration is not being talked about enough' (Guardian)

Brexit party leader attempts to woo Labour voters saying pressure on public service is down to over-population

Dec 2, 2019, 11:55pm

First Dog on the Moon: You know you're not legally required to like Jeremy Corbyn in order to vote for him right?

But, heavens. The dirty socialist might raise taxes on the precious super-rich.

UK's six richest people control as much wealth as poorest 13m – study

Dec 7, 2019, 10:37am

British diplomat in US resigns, saying she can’t ‘peddle half-truths’ on Brexit (Guardian)

The British diplomat in charge of explaining Brexit to the US government, Congress and public, has resigned, saying she was no longer prepared to “peddle half-truths on behalf of a government I do not trust”...

Edited: Dec 13, 2019, 1:26pm

Don is NOT your friend...

UK's post-Brexit trade at risk as WTO's top court shuts down
Daniel Boffey | 11 Dec 2019

The UK is at risk of being left at the mercy of the EU in its trading relationship in a year’s time after Donald Trump engineered the shutdown of the World Trade Organization’s top court.

The US president’s refusal to approve the appointment or reappointment of any judges on the appellate body has left it unable to function.

From midnight on Wednesday, the WTO court will no longer adjudicate on trade disputes, putting the world at risk of a free trade free-for-all in which the largest blocs have greater freedom to use their economic weight to do as they wish...

Dec 14, 2019, 12:40pm

Well, after the election Brexit can finally get done. One may hope. Although, given the intransigence of the anti-democracy crowd, I hope Johnson's security detail has been enhanced.

Some notes on the BS economic arguments against Brexit. For the last few years, we’ve been subjected to news stories, every time Brexit looks more likely, to the effect that UK stock markets and/or the pound fall. (Really, who gives a shit? I’m economist and *I* don’t care that much. The issue is self-determination.)

In any case, the movements in those markets on the news of the landslide Tory victory give the lie to all that nonsense:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed victory in the general election last night and when the exit poll emerged, the pound rose about 2 per cent against the dollar to reach $1.3469 and was up 1.6 percent against the euro at 1.2054.”

(London stock index) "FTSE 250 hits all-time record high in post-election wave of relief" of the best days on record for the pound, which climbed almost 3pc...

Dec 14, 2019, 11:27pm

I post the following because in various threads on LT since the Brexit referendum, some of our right wing "usual suspects" consistently accused those who wish to remain in the EU of only challenging the result because we lost. This was also the narrative being put forward by the Bresiteers. Some of us responded that the biggest problem was the closeness of the result - a 2/3 majority, for example, would have been unchallengeable, but the almost 50-50 split raised questions. I for one gave the example of the UK's only other nation-wide referenda (on remaining in the the European community in 1975, and on proportional representation in 2011), both of which were decided on a roughly 2/3 majority.

Now we see one of the most prominent right wing Brexiteers, an influential figure in Boris Johnson's entourage, admitting that he too would have challenged the referendum result had they lost by a narrow margin.

Dominic Cummings: If Leave had lost Brexit vote, I’d have queried result as invalid (Guardian)

Boris Johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings would have challenged the EU referendum result as “invalid” had Vote Leave lost the Brexit campaign.

According to documents seen by the Observer, the prime minister’s chief aide told the UK’s data watchdog that he would have contested the result because UK elections are “wide open to abuse.”

In an email sent in 2017 to the information commissioner’s office, Cummings, the former head of the Vote Leave campaign and architect of Johnson’s stunning election victory, said: “If we had lost by a small margin I would have sought to challenge the result as invalid.”

The UK voted to leave the EU by the slim majority of 52% to 48% in the 2016 referendum, with many Brexiters subsequently attacking the losers as “Remoaners” who refused to respect democracy. On Friday, Cummings openly criticised “educated Remainer campaigner types” for failing to understand the country and “driving everyone mad”...

Dec 14, 2019, 11:31pm

>107 John5918:

Classic Dom

Dec 14, 2019, 11:36pm

"we are racist pigs because Remainers drove us mad"--sounds like someone preparing for Nuremberg

Dec 15, 2019, 4:59am

Election result: 52% of votes go to pro-referendum parties despite decisive victory for the Tories (The Independent)

More than half of voters backed pro-referendum parties at the polls despite Boris Johnson’s decisive general election victory.

Analysis of election vote share reveals nearly 52 per cent supported parties in favour of a Final Say vote such as Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the SNP, compared with 47 per cent who supported Brexit-backing parties, such as the Tories and the DUP.

The split in vote share echoes the ratio of the 2016 Brexit referendum, where the Leave campaign scored a victory by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

It is also likely to reignite the debate about the UK’s electoral system, known as first-past-the-post, which means votes are wasted if they do not go to the winning candidate...

Sadly we lost the proportional representation referendum in 2011, when the two main parties refused to back it. Labour may well have to reconsider its stance now. I think all the smaller parties favour some form of proportional representation.

Dec 16, 2019, 5:58am

The battle for EU membership is lost, but a European England is still possible (Guardian)

History to the defeated / May say Alas but cannot help or pardon.” WH Auden’s lines from the Spanish civil war now apply to the British Europeans. We fought to keep our country in the European Union and we lost. The half of Britain that wants to leave the EU was united around Boris Johnson while the half that still wants to remain in the EU was divided against itself...

But now I answer Auden with a great saying from the leader of Poland’s struggle for independence in the early 20th century, Józef Piłsudski: “To be defeated and not give up, that is victory. To be victorious and rest on your laurels, that is defeat"...

One of the many unpleasant experiences awaiting us in Britain over the next months is to hear silver-tongued demagogues such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, who have done more than anyone to tear this country apart, now smoothly repeating the mantra of “bringing the country together”. Yet the likely consequence of Brexit is not just that the United Kingdom will be weaker, poorer and less influential, but that it will in effect cease to exist as a single state. That is the other clear signal from this election.

Under Johnson’s EU withdrawal deal, Northern Ireland will already be in a different economic and legal space from England, Scotland and Wales. Now Northern Ireland has, for the first time, elected more nationalist than unionist MPs. While it will probably remain constitutionally part of the UK for some time to come, since a formal break could return the province to bloodshed, in reality it will be ever more integrated with the rest of the island of Ireland.

Scotland, meanwhile, has voted as emphatically for the Scottish National party (SNP) as England did for the Conservatives – and that on an explicit SNP commitment to a second Scottish referendum in which Nicola Sturgeon’s party will argue for Scotland to leave the British union in order to rejoin the European one...

That result would take us back to the 17th century, before the 1707 union, and some would even say back to the 16th century, when only England and Wales were united under one sovereign. There is a huge irony here. Brexit, which has been fuelled at the top by English post-imperial delusions of grandeur, is the very thing that will probably end up demolishing even the original, smallest English empire, the one embracing these islands...

The battle to keep Britain in the EU is lost; the battle for a European England has only just begun. When we remainers marched in our hundreds of thousands through the streets of London, bearing our improvised posters and European flags, we were not just defending British membership in a particular set of European institutions. We were also defending a certain idea of Britain and, within that, a certain idea of England: open, tolerant, internationalist, civic and civil, attentive to the social foundations of individual liberty and not just to its raw economic expression. These are values we share with millions of other Europeans.

In this sense, we were also standing up for a European England. And we can do so still. In this hour of defeat I feel impelled to say, with Orwell: I believe in England, and I believe that we shall go forward.

Dec 17, 2019, 5:53pm

Excuse me for posting without reading any of the last 100 posts or so but as a USA citizen who dutifully looked up Ireland on a map I am thinking that maybe part of Ireland being in the EU and a part sharing a border not being in the EU will create economic opportunity through smuggling? There must be some post Brexit margins that can be taken advantage of.

Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, was on CNBC today and mentioned that those who think Brexit will result in positive economic results are in for a disappointment. He was immediately jumped on by a couple of guests.

Dec 17, 2019, 7:23pm

Smuggling what?

Dec 17, 2019, 8:24pm

>113 LolaWalser:
Leprechaun oil. Maybe turtles stuffed with Tide pods

Dec 17, 2019, 9:30pm

>114 mikevail:

Ah! Excuse me while I get on the blower with my goblin financial advisor... shares backed by Rheingold are not to be missed.

Dec 17, 2019, 9:37pm

>113 LolaWalser:

Common sense?

Dec 17, 2019, 9:48pm

>116 librorumamans:

Heh, the bottom fell out for the price of that commodity, mon ami.

Dec 18, 2019, 5:43pm

Never buy leprechaun products without the EU PGI certification.

Dec 18, 2019, 8:30pm

EU, schmEU... Brexitannia's paddling westward to Trumplandia, the leprechauns are getting away with murder.

Well, it's all over for the Brits, the eggs have been broken, the omelette is a great big mess, Labour and Corbyn sinking into history--but. There are lessons to be learned yet...

Verso has a free report (all you need is to register) on the smear campaign against Corbyn and Labour as "antisemitic".

It should be read, it should be known, just how dirty, how insane, how stupid and mean it was. Because it will happen, is happening, to others.

Dec 19, 2019, 5:38am

>119 LolaWalser:

I guess Rebekah Brooks is a self-loathing misogynist.


Dec 19, 2019, 4:57pm

...the smear campaign against Corbyn and Labour as "antisemitic".

A leftist getting upset at allegedly false accusations of bigotry. The mind boggles.

The left has spent the last few decades trying to normalize the use of frivolous accusations of "racism," "misogyny," "antisemitism," etc. as a way of taking out political opponents.

They got their wish.

Edited: Dec 26, 2019, 9:57am

Post-Brexit UK always welcome back in EU, says Timmermans (Guardian)

Well, that's good news anyway. When everything goes pear-shaped and the great British public finally realises what a cock up they've made of the whole thing, there's a chance for us to return to the fold which we should never have left in the first place. But I fear we're unlikely to be able to rejoin with the favoured conditions which we currently enjoy, and we'll just be the twenty-somethingth new member accepting bog standard EU conditions. And by then an independent Scotland might be a member of the EU already, and Northern Ireland might have united with Ireland and thus be a member by default, so it will just be the two small nations of England and Wales rather than the by then defunct UK begging for admittance on the EU's terms.

Dec 26, 2019, 10:10am

Would an independent Scotland remain in the Commonwealth?
Would they keep the Queen/King as their head of state, do you think?
(Like Canada.)

Dec 26, 2019, 12:30pm

>122 John5918:

The country presiding over the UK's exit is Croatia. That should steel the British resolve to stay away from the EU riffraff for a good while yet. :)

Dec 26, 2019, 10:35pm

>123 margd: Probably not. The independence movement is talking about a 'Republic of Scotland.' Although it would be interesting if they revived a separate Scottish monarchy.

Edited: Jan 14, 4:39am

Remainers aren’t going to vanish on 31 January. We fight on, sure of our cause (Guardian)

Making the point that while the battle to remain in the EU is lost and that we will leave according to whatever timetable Bori can hammer out with the EU, nevertheless being part of the EU is supported by just under 50% of the population, and so campaigning to rejoin is a valid political position for opposition parties such as Labour, the LibDems, Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru, etc, and for individual citizens, civil society orgaisations and pressure groups.

Jan 21, 7:10am

ICYMI, Britain's geological Brexit, hundreds of thousands of years ago:

Geologists unveil how Britain first separated from Europe – and it was catastrophic
Simon Redfern | April 4, 2017

More recently, a catastrophic release of water from a North American glacial lake (Mackenzie R? Great Lakes?) drove people from Doggerland. Sounds like a scenario that will be repeated in low-lying lands (Bangladesh, Miami) in some of our lifetimes, not just self-inflicted Brexit...

Doggerland - The Europe That Was

Jan 26, 11:44pm

Independence Day will expose Brexit as a ruse to free an imaginary nation (Guardian)

But here there is a great irony: Britain is not and never has been a nation state. For most of its history as a state, it has been at the heart not of a national polity, but of a vast multinational and polyglot empire. And the UK is itself a four-nation amalgam of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is no single pre-EU UK “nation” to return to. There is no unified “people” to whom power is being returned. And this is the contradiction that the Brexit project cannot even acknowledge, let alone resolve.

Scotland and Northern Ireland rejected Brexit even more emphatically in the general election of 2019 than they had done in the referendum of 2016 and a clear majority of voters in the UK as a whole voted in 2019 for parties that promised a second referendum and an opportunity to stay in the EU. So while Johnson likes to talk of 31 January as “this pivotal moment in our national story”, there is neither a settled nation nor a shared story. Brexit is not Northern Ireland’s story. It is not Scotland’s story. It is not even London’s story. It is the national origin myth of the place that Anthony Barnett, co-founder of openDemocracy, calls “England without London”...

Jan 31, 4:09am

Brexit: Do Britons now agree about leaving the EU? (BBC)

Despite the Conservatives' election success, polls conducted during the campaign suggested - as they had done for the last two years - that there was a small but consistent majority in favour of remaining in the EU.

On average, the last half dozen polls before the election put Remain on 53% and Leave on 47%...

Jan 31, 7:47am

>129 John5918: You posted on norms thread "Dissatisfaction with democracy 'at record high'" (#74).

Today, Britain leaves EU and it looks like US Senate will not call witnesses, nor oust Trump. Majorities of our people wanted to stay in EU, call witnesses, throw the bum out. Maybe they heed their people, these European countries bucking dissatisfaction trend--Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and the Netherlands...

Feb 1, 6:23am

The UK has left the EU -- and the implications for the world are huge (CNN)

in a world of shifting geopolitics, whatever path Johnson decides to walk will have implications beyond Britain's borders. The key question that needs answering in the next 11 months: Will the UK stick with its European neighbors and their multilateral view of the world? Or will it drift across the Atlantic and team up with an increasingly confrontational American foreign policy?...

Feb 1, 6:34am

Our global war isn't just a hot one...

A Map of George Orwell's "1984"
Frank Jacobs | 23 July, 2010

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’, the world is ruled by three (inter-continental superstates that divided the world after a global war)
Unfortunately, there’s not much ‘super’ to these states except their size.

(See map at web page) )

Feb 1, 10:58am

>132 margd:

It's years since I've read 1984, but wasn't Britain referred to as something like "Airstrip One", ie it was seen simply a launching pad for US attacks? Or am I thinking of another dystopian novel?

Feb 1, 11:27am

#130--there's a disconnect between those who rule and the people they supposedly represent. Polls have been done showing how little acting governments act on public wants in comparison to corporate needs or those who lobby and it skews heavily in favor of the corporations and their lobbyists.

As an example---we can get the USMCA done almost in record time (because that's something business interests wanted) and in the middle of an impeachment but back in 2011 what set off the Occupy movement was student loan debt which hasn't been fixed at all--is only much worse today. Climate is much worse as well. People wanted out of endless wars--that doesn't happen either. The majority of people do want a medicare for all health care system---that's impossible if for no other reason we'd bring a large chain of health care industry lobbying to a screeching halt but it's parsed out as unaffordable even though we're paying much higher prices for our medical care than anywhere else in the western world.

Governments and politicians have gotten used to ignoring or fobbing off the public with bullshit.

Feb 1, 11:57am


Feb 2, 6:41am

Police called in after poster tells residents of flats to speak English (Guardian)

A poster telling residents of a block of flats “we do not tolerate” people speaking languages other than English in the building has been reported to police...

Apart from the obvious xenophobic and racist connotations, the writer is obviously ignorant of the fact that there are a number of non-English languages native to Britain, including Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish and Manx. And like most of the people who cannot tell the difference between an immigrant and a descendant of a subject of the former British Empire who was brought to this country (often under some form of duress) under the auspices of said Empire, it ignores the fact that Irish, Urdu, Hindi and many other languages have now also been native to Britain for generations. Pathetic.

NB: "Flats" is the British English word for what are known as "apartments" across the Pond.

Edited: Feb 2, 11:19am

Ugly. Also, illiterate:

Addressing residents, it said the “Queens (sic) English is the spoken tongue here” and hailed the moment “we finally get our great country back”.

Maybe "apostrophe" sounds too foreign to countenance.

I shudder to think how many instances of this sort of thing are now happening and will happen. We'll never be apprised of more than a minuscule fraction.

Edited: Feb 2, 12:50pm

>137 LolaWalser:

On the subject of illiteracy, it reminds me of an incident a few years ago where a British mob attacked the home of a paediatrician because they didn't know the difference between a paediatrician and a paedophile...

Incidentally the police are now treating the ugly poster as a hate crime.

Feb 2, 12:49pm

And as for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, comprising four countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), these two articles reflect on what the Tory party has done. Remember that their full name is the Conservative and Unionist Party, and they are supposed to be the party that defends the union of the four countries in the United Kingdom...

For unionists in Northern Ireland, Brexit has backfired badly (Guardian)

they got what loyalists and many other unionists of a less staunch stripe, who had other reasons to support Brexit, are calling the betrayal act. In the interests of keeping a soft border with the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland is to remain in closer economic alignment to the EU than the rest of the UK, and is to be separated from what unionists think of as the mainland by what is being described as “a border in the Irish sea”.

The Brexit deal was unanimously rejected by the newly reinstated Stormont assembly last week. Boris Johnson doesn’t care. The glummest faces were those of the Democratic Unionist party, which had with such enthusiastic arrogance sold its votes to prop up the Tories at Westminster in exchange, it thought, for power and a hard Brexit. Now the DUP feels betrayed by the British, and loyalists feel betrayed by the DUP. There is no more talk of “our precious, precious union”. And there are moderate nationalist SDLP and cross-community Alliance MPs taking their seats in Westminster, so the DUP can no longer claim to be the voice of Northern Ireland...

A century after the foundation of the Northern Irish state, unionism is demoralised. Brexit has backfired on them, and the English nationalists who drove it have not hidden their contempt for the most British of Britain’s subjects in this last fragment of the empire, now that they no longer need them...

Sinn Féin has seized on Brexit as a way to pave the route to a united Ireland. Most nationalists and a growing minority of unionists can see the attraction, given that this would mean a return to the EU...

Tusk: EU would be enthusiastic if Scotland applied to rejoin (Guardian)

Donald Tusk, the former president of the European council, has said there would be widespread enthusiasm in the EU if Scotland applied to rejoin after independence.

In remarks that will boost Nicola Sturgeon’s campaign for a second referendum, Tusk told the BBC he had great sympathy with the desire of many Scots to rejoin the EU after Brexit...

“Emotionally, I have no doubt everyone would be enthusiastic here, in Brussels and more widely in Europe, but still we have treaties and formalities. But if you ask me about our emotions, there’s a genuine feeling. You will witness only, I think, empathy”...

Edited: Feb 2, 1:13pm

An apolitical Facebook group on Hebrides culture saw lots of sad folks going to bed early, promising to leave the light on, etc. Usually a pretty upbeat group...

Feb 2, 1:54pm

LOL@Tusk trolling the Little Englanders...

Feb 2, 5:46pm

HMNB (Her Majesty's Naval Base) Clyde in Scotland is the location of the of the Trident submarines that are the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons delivery system. If Scotland were to have another referendum on independence that will be an issue. For precedent as part of the deal of the pro-treaty Irish IRA/IRB irregulars with the British govt. in the 1920's which split Ireland into the 26 counties of the Republic and the 6 in Northern Ireland--Britain was able to maintain Naval ships in Irish Republic ports for a period of time which ended (I'm pretty sure) after WWII. The Irish Republic by the way maintained neutrality throughout WWII and those ports became a thorny issue between the Churchill led British govt. and the De Valera led Irish Republic govt. Both Churchill and De Valera were shitbirds by the way.

In any case Scotland (probably with the support of the EU) will likely want England to relocate those submarines whether or not the British Navy have facilities capable or not in English waters.

Edited: Feb 4, 10:11am

Let them leave us–those who moan,
"Now we're beaten and alone!"
“Now our problems are our own!”

Better our problems than another’s
Here are our problems and here are our brothers.

That same by others, sore aggrieved,
Let us recite, so much relieved:
We’re neither beaten nor alone
At last our problems are our own!

When the table is laid before us,
It's that same table we'd laid ourselves:
Better our solutions than another’s
Here are our solutions and here are our brothers.

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Edited: Feb 4, 11:59am

Two satirical pieces from very different sources, Al Jazeera and the Grauniad respectively.

Former European colony declares independence

Shapeshifter? World King? The PM could be seriously unwell

Edited to add yet another piece of satire from the Grauniad

David Squires on … what football can expect in the aftermath of Brexit

Edited: Feb 4, 11:40pm

Scottish independence surveys 'show Brexit has put union at risk' (Guardian)

One of the UK’s leading pollsters has warned that Brexit has put the union at risk after another survey showed a narrow lead for Scottish independence.

Sir John Curtice, of the University of Strathclyde, said the poll by Panelbase putting the yes vote at 52% confirmed a trend showing a gradual increase in support for leaving the UK, post-Brexit.

Three polls in the past five days had put the yes vote at 50% or higher. “The pursuit of Brexit is putting support for the union at risk, that’s the very clear lesson,” Curtice said...

Feb 5, 12:31am

Brexit: Croatia wishes the UK 'good riddance' on leaving EU (BBC)

The message to the UK from Croatia's EU ambassador ahead of Brexit may have been abrupt, but it was apparently all meant in jest.

Irena Andrassy told British counterpart Sir Tim Barrow: "Thank you, goodbye, and good riddance."

Her parting shot came last week as she chaired the last EU meeting involving the UK as a member state.

The UK envoy took the comment with good humour at the weekly meeting of EU ambassadors...

"The Brits saw the funny side and understood how it was meant. But history will show that these were the last words from the EU to the UK's ambassador before Brexit"...

the remark came during "a humorous exchange between friends and in a closed session; it was warm and friendly and with the best intentions". The two ambassadors were on very good terms...

Feb 5, 2:02pm


o how the mighty have fallen

Feb 5, 11:58pm

Pie's latest is just brilliant.

Feb 6, 6:44am

>149 davidgn:

Exactly. One day on the site, more than a quarter million views. And one of his longest videos with the most supporting actors.

Feb 6, 6:50am

>149 davidgn:, >150 proximity1:

Yes. I think my favourite line was when he was trying to describe Brexit without using the word "clusterfuck".

Feb 9, 10:42am

Brexit is a crisis, not an opportunity. But we’ll see that too late (Guardian)

The language of Leave is already shifting from optimism to realism, but awareness of what awaits us is dawning too slowly...

The prime minister tells us he wants to bring the country together. This is rich from the politician who made a major contribution to tearing it apart.

In theory, Johnson is monarch of all he surveys: the British political system resembles, in Lord Hailsham’s famous phrase, an elective dictatorship. And Johnson already manifests dictatorial tendencies.

We Remainers have lost. Great Britain has officially left the European Union (it is not at all clear that Northern Ireland has). But, in fact, Brexit has only just begun.

In his acceptance speech when recently being awarded the Olof Palme prize in Stockholm, my good friend John le Carré noted that the shabbiest trick in the Brexiters’ box was to make an enemy of Europe...

I suspect that people will gradually wake up to the absurdity of Brexit as it begins to affect them in different ways. But by then it will be too late.

Feb 13, 11:04pm

Two articles from the Economist on the likelier break-up of the United Kingdom, and one from tghe Guardian on one of the "small" details for Britain in no longer being part of a large multilateral bloc. Gibraltar won't be far down teh road either!

Irish unification is becoming likelier

Scottish independence has grabbed headlines since Brexit, but it is time to recognise the chances of a different secession from the United Kingdom. Sinn Fein’s success at the election is just the latest reason to think that a united Ireland within a decade or so is a real—and growing—possibility...

Brexit and Sinn Fein’s success boost talk of Irish unification

All major political parties in the republic are, in principle, committed to seeing the six counties which remained in the United Kingdom in 1922 rejoin the 26 counties which gained their independence, and thus create a united Ireland. Sinn Fein, though, sees that cause as a real and pressing ambition...

In wake of Brexit, EU to put Cayman Islands on tax haven blacklist

The Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory, is to be put on an EU blacklist of tax havens, less than two weeks after the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc.

In a clear indication of the country’s loss of influence on the EU’s decision-making, the bloc’s 27 finance ministers are expected to sign off on the decision next week.

The EU’s blacklist is an attempt to clamp down on the estimated £506bn lost to aggressive tax avoidance every year but member states are not “screened” in the process of drawing up the blacklist.

Territories linked to member states have also avoided the blacklist and the UK had heavily lobbied to protect its overseas territories from such scrutiny in the past...

Feb 27, 11:39pm

UK to withdraw from European arrest warrant (Guardian)

The UK is to abandon a crucial tool used to speed up the transfer of criminals across borders with other European countries. Acting against the warnings of senior law enforcement officials, the government said it would not be seeking to participate in the European arrest warrant (EAW) as part of the future relationship with the European Union...

So Brexit is good news for criminals!

Edited: Feb 28, 1:07am

>153 John5918: Just the Caymans? Plenty of other British territories on deck. cf.

And now ripe for whipping-boy status, notwithstanding they're probably playing second fiddle:

Feb 29, 11:27pm

UK races to find extra 50,000 staff for post-Brexit paperwork (Guardian)

A race to hire 50,000 people in the next six months to process Brexit paperwork is under way after the government confirmed they would be needed for border operations.

But experts have warned it will be a challenge to train enough people in time to be competent in the complexity of customs declarations and the second layer of red tape involving entry and exit declaration forms that are mandatory for trading with the EU.

The Road Haulage Association has warned that the number of declaration forms for tariffs alone will rocket from the current 50m a year to 200-250m a year.

In addition, the exit and entry forms introduced after the 9/11 terror attack in New York to ensure safety on ferries and planes will involve another 100-125m forms being processed every year.

Michael Gove, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who is responsible for readying the country for full Brexit at the end of the year, confirmed in parliament on Thursday afternoon that the RHA estimated 50,000 new recruits would be needed in the next six months...

Mar 7, 9:40am

Sorry! (Mulvaney appointed Special Envoy to Northern Ireland)

The Trump administration continues its policy of "maximum unhelpfulness" on Irish peace and reconciliation
Image ( )

- David Frum @davidfrum | 8:59 AM · Mar 7, 2020

Edited: Mar 7, 9:54am

Mick Mulvaney replaced s Trump's Chief of Staff, dispatched as Special Envoy to Northern Ireland. He DID want to go there a while back...

Chris Murphy (US Senator) @ChrisMurphyCT | 11:56 PM · Mar 6, 2020:

So the thing about Mulvaney’s new job...
For last 3 years, the parties in Belfast were boycotting parliament. They needed a U.S. envoy, but Trump wouldn’t send one.
Then, 60 days ago, they finally reached agreement, restored parliament. Crisis over.
And now we send an envoy.

It’s obviously a little more nuanced than that...there’s always more reconciliation to happen in Northern Ireland.
But it’s crazy that at the very moment their political crisis is over, we send over Mulvaney. They must be shaking their heads in wonder in Belfast.
This topic was continued by Brexit! Part 5.