Brexit day has come and gone

I must have read two hundred tweets about how dysfunctional the British government is, or what a bad leader Theresa May has been.  Really?  That has yet to be demonstrated.  I’ve all along been “vote Remain,” but I also recognize Remain works only if British membership in the EU has a certain amount of internal legitimacy.

What might a process of testing that legitimacy look like?  Long, extended confusion, lots of back and forth, indecisiveness, and inability to form a durable majority for any other option, perhaps?

Right now the chances of Remain seem to be rising, or perhaps some version of Norway plus, and those are among the better options.  I am hardly distraught, noting that I genuinely do not have a strong sense of what will happen next.  I am pleased to see that not one of the seven versions of Brexit could command a majority.

Is it really so tragic and terrible to have all this — whatever comes to pass — revealed only at the last moment?  Isn’t that often how optimal search looks?  Isn’t it how the “to Remainers all-holy EU” so often does its business?  Alternatively, how smooth, open, and transparent did the American constitutional convention actually run?

I’m not predicting triumph or victory here, only that I don’t yet see that anything has fallen off the rails.  Nor is the British pound being hammered in the markets.  Nor do I know many (any?) people who could have done much better than Theresa May.

But now is the time to pay more attention again, these are the proverbial last five minutes of the basketball game…


"Right now the chances of Remain seem to be rising"

So, basically, screw the voters, the mps are going to do what they want.

Well, I suppose that's ok in the UK - the people don't have guns .

Don't try that in the US.

No need to fret - it appears that the EU take care of Brexit for the UK by ending the UK's membership on April 12.

Though in the sort of twist that has marked Brexit till now, May suggests she will call a general election if the deal fails. It will be interesting to see whether the EU will care in the least, in similar fashion that the EU doesn't care what Parliament says about no-deal.

No they won't. They can extend the article 50 notice period indefinitely.

No, the British cannot extend the Article 50 period indefinitely, without agreement from the EU. And of course, the EU cannot keep the British in the EU unless the British ask - such as May asking for a longer extension than the two dates she was actually given.

Delay, defer, distract. Their intent is to keep kicking the can down the road until the citizens accept the elites wishes.

So what? The British are not in control of what the EU decides - and the EU has set two deadlines, both of which are shorter than what May requested. And if April 12 is the date, then Parliament's expressed will to not leave the EU without a deal will be revealed as the sham it always was - Parliament does not get to decide what the EU does.

The EU decides whether the can gets kicked, and though we will see what happens, the EU seems more than ready to get Brexit over with.

It remains amazing how few people seem to grasp that the UK is not the one in charge of getting what the UK wants from the EU.

Clearly. The EU is da boss, which is why the leavers want to leave.

No, the UK is the boss, as Article 50 is solely under the control of the British. The EU can change nothing without the British asking first.

Which May did, with the EU offering two dates for extension, both shorter than what May asked for.

The simple reality is the Brexit is about the relationship the UK and the EU will have in the future - and both sides make their own decisions about what is and what is not acceptable.

This is what is so bizarre from the outside - the British cannot agree on anything, and yet expect the EU to do whatever it is the British ask, though the UK cannot agree about they want.

There are two sides involved, not merely one. And the UK remains the boss - they can still leave basically today, or still revoke Article 50. All other options involve the UK and the EU agreeing.

You misunderstood the statement. The EU intends to rule and the way the EU agreement is written they will rule. A small elite ruling party in Brussels is forcing their will on the citizens of EU countries. That is why England must leave the EU or die. Sadly the British elite prefer to stay and die.

What exactly do you mean by saying England will "die"?

"You misunderstood the statement."

You are correct, he did misunderstand. I was talking about the forest and clock was focused on the trees.

"All politics is local." - Tip O'Neill

Of course Tip meant something different. I think people want local control, starting with the community, then the state, the nation, and world last. Most people in the US don't care about UN pronouncements and never knowingly and willingly turn over control to the UN. Not everyone feels that way, certainly elite, cosmopolitan globalists do not. However, I think, but can't know for certain, the leavers want to wrest control over their communities away from the EU. The big issue, as ugly as the elites think it is, contol over the borders. Thebsteady growth of alien populations within one's community is frightening to all but the most cosmopolitan elite. All the NIH (?) and economic arguments are not interesting.

Those selfsame voters are the ones who are responsible for the hung parliament, elected post the referendum.
Having voted for an ill defined proposition, on which the country was bitterly divided, they elected a parliament which embodies that division.
The ensuing problems are not exactly a surprise.

80% of current MPs were elected on clear Manifesto promises to honour the referendum result and Leave the European Union.

Read the 2017 Conservative and Labour manifestos. It's there in black and white. For good measure, the Conservative one specifically rules out customs union and single market too.

The MPs, 70% of whom voted remain personally, have simply reneged on their promises. They are faithless electors, and should be treated as such.

This is mainly the fault of Leave and leavers in the Conservative Party.

It was them that had no plan for the Irish border. It was them that used false information to promise the public a fantasy Brexit. It was them that pushed May to trigger Article 50 before we were remotely ready. It was them that got supporters of many different ways of leaving to coalesce around one binary and almost meaningless option. It was them that pushed May to adopt a hard Brexit despite the tiny margin of victory.

Britain now wants to Remain, and certainly the younger generation that will actually live with this do. It’s not undemocratic to go back to the people after this disastrous 3 years.

Very similar to the Republicans with ACA repeal and replace in the US.

In what way is it similar?

Both are based on free lunch economics.

Ie, costs can be cut and benefits increased.

Ie, provide no meaans for half the people with medical needs to pay for medical care and they will get more and better care and doctors, nurses, hospitals will increase profits to provide more options to the sick and disabled poor.

Brexit promised the Brits they would have greater freedom to trade and migrate and travel globally while they will be able to limit trade, migration, and travel into the UK, plus continue the EU subsidies to UK entites while paying no taxes/fees to the EU.

Ie, point to any costs listed by Trump and GOP for repeal, point to any costs listed by pro Brexit advocates.

I grew up when economics was always about costs vs benefits. No benefits were possible without costs.

Since circa 1980, cutting costs increases benefits increasingly.

Trump promised a trillion in infrastructure jobs with zero costs, but instead tax cuts.

In contrast, Reagan on Jan 6, 1983 talked about the construction jobs in exchange for a small 125% increase in the gas tax, plus better roads and bridges. Later in April he talked about the benefits of SS being maintained by small increases in taxes and small cuts to benefit payments. Reagan tried free lunch economics and saw unemployment rise to 10.8% while lots of stuff decayed. However, the GOP became totally committed to free lunch economics.

Don't twist yourselves into pretzels. The leavers knew what they wanted and the consequences, and they voted to leave. The elite can't let go, and do construct a self-serving post hoc narrative that preserves their self-image. Basically, they f*cked up, and they f*cked up everything everywhere.

As Kahneman and others point out, smart people can be very wrong and very un-self-aware. They are used to being correct in class, and are good at constructing iron-clad narratives, but they can and do fail miserably.

We are done with that.


Yeah, you can elect 10 Trumps and we are still gonna be elite and you are still gonna be a non-college educated white working class loser in Ohio. But enjoy your whatever you got going there.

Sorry to disappoint you. I have a university degree, including graduate school, in mathematics. I also studied music for a few years in acollege. I have had a good, long career in high tech and traveled internationally. I am in a biracial, bilingual, bicultural marriage with an immigrant from Brazil. We've had kids together.

That said, I am in the first generation to attend university - I come from solid, peasant, blue collar roots, of which I am very proud.

Charles I was certainly an elite for some time. Then he wasn't. Remember.

Similar, as in both had/have a already stated simple solution.

The Brexters already have stated they want to keep on open border with Ireland.

Removal of ACA would revert the system back to the way it was. Not perfect, but better.

How was pre-ACA better?

Smart welfare departments in conservative districts did everything possible to get their charges with chronic untreated health problems classified as permently disabled and onto SS disabillity which two years after date of qualification gets them onto Medicare, with subsidies.

Huh? Pre-ACA is better because a small fraction of people who were sick were put on disability and Medicare?
1. ACA didn't change disability benefits.
2. What about all the people whose preexisting conditions basically prevented them from ever being insured? For example, my brother couldn't get insurance as an individual because of a surgery he had as a teenager.


This is a fundamental incoherence in hard Brexter positions, with the position oof the Northern Irish DUP that props up May's government. They want an open border but they also want out of the customs union, but these are mutually inconsistent. You cannot leave the customs union and have an open border. If you have customs at the border, which you must if you are out of the customs union, then it is no longer an open border. This is pretty typical of the lies and stupidity and fantasies marking the harder line Brexiters.

Cool, but your dad was a professional economist. You’re also a community college ... student/hall monitor?

The EU could sign a free trade agreement with soft borders and be done with it. So why not?

The only plausible answer to this insanity is that the EU is a Trumpian-Esque Mercantilist shitshow.

Anyone who advocates against that is...something. That something is retarded.

You’re the Trump of economics by the way. Brilliant father, idiot son who fails his way into success because of his name.

We can start a community college scholarship fund for literal retards called Rosser Junior Fund. “For autists with smart dads.”

You literally lost a fight against yourself. How pathetic is your life?

How do we down votes jerks like this?


Well, as a hall monitor, one of the things I am supposed to monitor is people who try to talk and chew gum at the same time. It seems that you have been doing so excessively. So, I am sending you to the Principal's office, where I am sure that she will make you write on the blackboard 300 times, "I shall not try to talk and chew gum at the same time."

Yet May, and those responsible for the negotiations, are remainers!!! Do they have any real interest in "succeeding", or is their goal to sabotage the project?

'and those responsible for the negotiations, are remainers'

Please .- neither Davis nor Raab were remainers. Neither was Johnson, for that matter.

Ben: It was them that pushed May to trigger Article 50 before we were remotely ready.

Not really - -

"According to EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, Britain had to proceed promptly. In June 2016 he said: "There needs to be a notification by the country concerned of its intention to leave (the EU), hence the request (to British Prime Minister David Cameron) to act quickly." In addition, the remaining EU leaders issued a joint statement on 26 June 2016 regretting but respecting Britain's decision and asking them to proceed quickly in accordance with Article 50."

"An EU Parliament motion passed on 28 June 2016 called for the UK immediately to trigger Article 50 and start the exit process.[44] There is no mechanism allowing the EU to invoke the article.[45] As long as the UK Government has not invoked Article 50, the UK stays a member of the EU; must continue to fulfil all EU-related treaties, including possible future agreements; and should legally be treated as a member."

Now that the clock is ticking down, Remain's stooges love to portray this as action unsupported by the EU (and all "sensible and competent people", because to them, the EU is "sensible and competent people"). But it's quite clearly the case that at the time this was something the EU wanted and a pre-requisite to negotiation.

It was them that got supporters of many different ways of leaving to coalesce around one binary and almost meaningless option.

If we were presented with many divisive options for how to leave, we should've been presented with as many divisive options about how to Remain a part of the EU (remain with Euro, remain with Schengen, push for a European defense force, push for return of powers etc.).

But there's nothing really more inconsistent with the idea that we should make a decision to leave then sort out the detail later than there is to remain and do the same. We didn't do that because graceful concession doesn't seem to exist much on the remain side.

'An EU Parliament motion passed on 28 June 2016 called for the UK immediately to trigger Article 50 and start the exit process.'

Which the UK completely ignored, submitting its Article 50 notification on 29 March 2017.

'that at the time this was something the EU wanted and a pre-requisite to negotiation'

Of course - the EU actually suffered from the belief that the British government was competent in handling its affairs in terms of its future relations with the EU. The last 3 years have shown just how utterly distant from reality that EU perspective was.

Well, there was a little legal case that ran on (R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union) that argued that Parliament had to be in charge of activating Article 50 which had to be resolved before Article 50 could be activated (that presented some constraints).

But if you're arguing that Britain did not activate Article 50 immediately enough as it should have done, even despite EU pressure, then I guess you can argue that. But to do so is certainly basically the opposite of the current Remain talking point in Britain (see Ben's post) which is that there was no external pressure to activate Article 50 and the Tories simply chose to activate it too soon out of a kind of zeal to leave, and this shows their incompetence.

The whole setup for the Brexit vote was ridiculous. To launch a change of this order on a 51:48 vote was doomed. With 2/3s you'd have a chance. It never should have been set up as simple majority.

And no, you don't go grab your guns because a 3 point lead might slip.

I'd argue that even if it were 66:33 the other way, leaving would be legitimate. Stay in an ever closer, ever more federalizing union that 1/3 of the population doesn't want? It's surprising that we're even debating staying in a union like that which 52% doesn't want.

In the US we use 2/3s for various momentous things. I don't think the idea is purely that a "supermajority" is more correct. I think it is also meant to smooth transitions. A supermajority is unlikely to fold in the short or median term.

Now, in terms of 1/3 hold out votes, or spoiler votes, I'm not sure I see the merit. For the same reason. They are unlikely to become the majority position anytime soon.

I can see the merits of 2/3 votes in having a constituency that's likely to hold, and have enough muscle to keep on winning.

But I think it would be really hard to argue in the case of anything like a ref on the EU in Britain where you can get up to a 1/3 by recruiting mostly an economic elite + naturalised first generation migrants + the radical left. Because then you really could have the masses being sort of imprisoned in a ever evolving, sovereignty pooling structure in the long term by a relatively small 34% of dissenters composed of social elite.

It's less of a horrible idea when a vote is unstructured by any strong economic interests or ethnic/national structure. If there are any such to be found.

An additional reason it's a horrible reason in Britain now is because the 1974 referendum to *enter* the EU (or really what the EU was and not what it has become, as the tentacles have extended) *was* a simple in+out majority vote.

So you'd be saying that "Oh, a momentous change like our decision to enter the EU doesn't require 2/3... but when we ask you, belatedly, 40 years later, if you've changed you mind... it takes 2/3".

There's also the horrible optics that the Scottish IndyRef was a simple majority vote - so you'd also be saying "For Scotland to exit the UK, it only takes a simple majority... but to leave the EU takes at least 66%".

So there are particularist reasons to the composition of the vote bae and historical reasons that a supermajority vote would've been a really bad idea in this case.

Hi mouse!

"And no, you don't go grab your guns because a 3 point lead might slip"

Not in the UK.

In the US, armed Bernie Bros show up for baseball practice.

They liked shooting up churches and synagogues and mosques?

Neither should you be confident going into the "last five minutes of the basketball game" with a 3 point lead. At that point the outcome is guaranteed to be random.

Democratic government should aspire to more than random outcomes.

I had a different take on the analogy... the last five minutes of a (modern) basketball game is when you turn the tuner to something else. Those 5 minutes will take *at least* 30 minutes real time to complete, and will be generally dull (one team is inevitably stalling, the other fouling).

Definitely, the last five minutes take at least half an hour, and it isn’t really even basketball.

Because of all the confusion and vote cycling, no Brexit and hard Brexit are the two most likely outcomes. That's because, with all the in-between options rejected, only the extremes remain.

And if I had to put money down, I'd bet on a hard exit--mostly because that's what arises if no majority forms to support a different outcome. And given the chaos and division, parliament is likely to remain paralyzed.

So I'm not hopeful.

Not co-incidentally, those are the probably the only two options which would be countenanced by the DUP, on whom the government’s continued parliamentary majority depends.

No deal is less likely than you think.
No deal has essentially been ruled out by May because it would undoubtedly threaten the union of the United Kingdom. Parliament will not vote for it, either.
One of the EU leaders would have to essentially abandon not only Britain, but Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands that stand to be seriously hurt from a no deal exit.

'No deal has essentially been ruled out by May'

So what?

'that stand to be seriously hurt from a no deal exit'

No deal exit is not in the EU's hands, it is solely for the British to decide. Of course the British can ask for an extension - and the EU is free to say no.

Sure, the UK can choose no deal Brexit unilaterally. But then you get to wonder whether Northern Ireland prefers to remain British in that scenario: Good luck closing that border again. Even Scotland independence gains strength in that scenario.

The border between the south and north of iteland will not close under any forseable circumstances. Border checks are only one way of enforcing different rules on different sides of a border. Most enforcement in fact happens away from the border because there are more people trying to avoid those same rules and taxes within a country as when moving between. Countries have exited for many centuries, but border chrcks are a relatively recent.

I do think that may has been woeful. She pulled the trigger in order to create pressure to get something, because she didn't think anything would be agreed to without it. Duh. Then she didn't drive the kind of open consultation that would have been needed to have any chance of carrying anyone with her. Then, when her deal was rejected the first time, she should have gone back to the EU and paused the process immediately. Now she just looks like the pinnacle of stupid, and she has pretty much no one on her side. That's a real achievement.

She's pretty much playing from the standard conservative playbook around the world right now: when reality doesn't conform to your dogma, pretend it does anyway. I'll go back to being a conservative when they start dealing with reality.

Perhaps all of the chaos and confusion was inevitable. But harder things have been done without the chaos and confusion.

I think you're confused. Brexit itself, as it was sold to voters, was predicated on lies about the kind of deal that could be reached. May's boring and uncharismatic yet competent governing has done the hard work of negotiating the best deal that's actually on the table short of a customs union, but it doesn't have majority support because it is in fact unpalatable. It's not her fault that it's unpalatable. This turd is the reality of Brexit, vs. the fantasy that was sold to voters.

(And that is why, although remote, there is some chance that a second referendum will be put on the table -- now that people have seen what Brexit _really_ means)

oh I agree with the turd that is brexit but I do not think her approach with brexit has been competent - you can execute process all you like but if the outcome is impossible, then it's just stupid.

You act like there's some alternative approach that might work better.

I think that's delusional.

What's happening is in fact "just stupid", but it's the stupidity that 52% of Britons voted for.

Is it impossible to avoid a hard Brexit, if it is to happen? That's what we're still finding out. It is certainly beyond extraordinarily difficult. May deserves our admiration on this point; you don't naysay a statesperson just because she does everything she possibly can to achieve a desired end, but fails -- because in the end, it proved to actually be impossible.

Like seriously, step back a minute. Your problem with May is that she's failed to do the impossible.

'but it's the stupidity that 52% of Britons voted for'

Probably not 52%. Many people who voted leave believed in fantasies like these, expressed by Liam Fox in 2017 - '“The free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.

We are already beginning with zero tariffs, and we are already beginning at the point of maximal regulatory equivalence, as it is called. In other words, our rules and our laws are exactly the same.”' Delusional to the core, obviously, at least in terms of what leaving the EU has entailed.

And of course, Liam Fox is still the UK's international trade secretary today.

The EU decided to try to force the UK back into the union by not offering a reasonable exit deal. It seems they may succeed.

'was predicated on lies about the kind of deal that could be reached'

Why be so harsh? Delusional fantasies seems at least as accurate as lies.

I've never quite understood how so many of the Remainers settled on a political message of "we think you're so stupid for falling for a bunch of lies that we want to strip away the result of your referendum vote, and that's why you should vote our way in a second referendum." Given the power of the parties to restrain democratic initiatives, the Remain view may well succeed, but it seems like arguing, "trust me, I'm the only one who knows how dumb you are," is simply going to expose contempt, rather than unite people.

Actually, the stupidity has been on public display for a while now, with this being just one solid example. '“I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.

And that is one of the reasons why we have wanted to make sure we have a specific and very proximate relationship with the EU, to ensure frictionless trade at the border … I don’t think it is a question so much of the risk of major shortages, but I think probably the average consumer might not be aware of the full extent to which the choice of goods that we have in the stores are dependent on one or two very specific trade routes.”' Dominic Raab, then Brexit secretary - and a man who voted against what he was in charge of negotiating.

Where there is a market, there will be goods.

The world outside of the EU is very large, and the UK has ports.

There was a time when GB was a global, seafaring, trading nation.

Indeed. Our EU share of trade is 42%. And falling 0.6% per year.

It has been falling for 40 years. As has European share of global GDP and productivity rankings. The EU leads a continent dying on its feet.

The Remainers have no planning for the long game but "muh Europe!". By which they mean "More bureaucracy and patronage!". But they think they are the future. Maybe they were....50 years ago.

The future belongs to Asia and the Anglosphere. Europe is augering in (from "The Right Stuff"). The dam holding back the Middle East and Africa will burst and the blood dimmed tide will be loosed. The benefits gradient will suck Africans and Arabs into Europe. The only question is how demand for German cars will be met.

The long, slow decline has already begun.

>I've never quite understood how so many of the Remainers settled on a political message

The likely answer is that they voted Leave, but want to publicly pose as a Remainer.

Eric Crampton has a look at this and concludes he doesn't now what the hell is going on.
I'd agree except to add a referendum is never a good way to resolve internal conservative leadership disputes.

It's not just conservatives on this one - both parties are split, though labor not quite so much

But it is Corbyn who is a Brexiter - for whatever reason. Meaning that to the extent Labour follows its leader (an open question), Labour is pro-Brexit. And has notably resisted several possible ways that the current state of affairs could have been dealt with, if enough lead time had been involved.

The UK has wasted a huge amount of everyone's time, not just its own, leading to a nation being patently unprepared to accept what it voted for. Or at least, what it thought it was voting for, which was the having your cake and eating it too fantasy world of an extra 350 million pounds a week for the NHS. As an example only - other fundamental examples would be along the lines of how the German car industry would tell Merkel what to force the EU to do, as the road for Brexit goes through Berlin, not Brussels.

The ignorance of the Brexiters about the EU has been astounding, though obviously the expected result of having proudly ignorant people in charge of dealing with something they clearly do not understand. However, the Remainers also seem poorly served by what appears to be a fairly dishonest UK media framework. However, at this point, it is getting increasingly hard to blame internal UK political problems on the EU.

Useful to add that we should not assume political wish fulfillment that Parliament (or US Government) will "find a way" along with the other fallacy of "cometh the hour cometh the man".
History gives us regular examples of major leadership and "wise" government fails. The Irish famine could have been at least mitigated or even avoided but for wisdom in government. The lead up to the US civil war was a failure of governance at state and federal level.
This isn't to argue against democracy, but to say don't assume democracy and related government leadership will avoid failure. Sometimes groups and leaders are to in the game to be able to consider out of game actions or consequences.

Fallacy it may well be, but it's certainly remarkable what a long stretch it's been since cometh, to leadership in Britain, any man worth remembering. The best sit out politics, as here? Maybe, subconsciously, this mediocrity was a small factor in people's minds, vis-a-vis Brexit.

“But it is Corbyn who is a Brexiter - for whatever reason.”

The reason is simple: he’s a Stalinist, and it is his opinion (and hope) that England has a greater chance of becoming socialists.

Well, that is part of the reason, as he certainly considers the EU a neo-liberal conspiracy to keep the working class from achieving paradise on Earth. Which is kind of bizarre, when you think that Tories think the EU is a socialist conspiracy designed to keep the well-off from achieving paradise on Earth.

However, another major reason is that Corbyn would like to be prime minister, and he too is only thinking of partisan advantage and increasing his power.

As already noted, the UK is being poorly served by it politicans. Scotland, on the other hand, seems quite capably represented - except those doing the representation do not want to part of the UK. And actually feel more than a bit betrayed at their own referendum, which was not based on the idea of Scotland leaving the EU 5 years later.

Scotland should have a care.

If the EU referendum is subverted, what are the chances that any later successful referendum on Scottish Independence will be honoured? Great Danger for their cause, but they do not see it.

'That has yet to be demonstrated.' - Possibly, you need to stop reading two hundred tweets and pay some actual attention.

'What might a process of testing that legitimacy look like?' -
Like internal party power politics that have little to do with anything but power? That is a test of the legitimacy of a functional political system, not of EU membership.

'Right now the chances of Remain seem to be rising' - Not in the eyes of many in the EU.

'or perhaps some version of Norway plus' - In which case, the UK should just stay in the EU - something the Norwegians keep saying, actually.

'Isn’t that often how optimal search looks? ' - Well, the Brexiters seem to think it was a negotiating tactic, as they were quite public about saying how the EU would blink, and give the Brexiters whatever it is they wanted.

'“to Remainers all-holy EU” so often does its business' - Considering just how many UK businesses don't care about anything but their all-holy bottom line, this is a bizarre way to frame what those companies consider a vital economic issue.

'I’m not predicting triumph or victory here' - Of anything particular side or position - you have a real career in astrology.

'But now is the time to pay more attention again' - One assumes this means no more wasting time on twitter.

I don't know much about Brexit, but will say that "Tyler reacts to Twitter (with thinly veiled contempt)" would not have met the bar for an MR post five years ago.

If you recognize that May was a Remainer before the referendum, then it is likely that she is still one, right? If she were intent on putting forth plans that cannot be approved by Parliament, thus keeping Remain in play, what would she have done different than she has?

From the various votes taken, it appears that there are over 400 MPs that want to remain in the EU, but they can't put that vote forward because it would be a direct repudiation of the referendum, and they don't want to have to do that.

If I had to guess, I think they may opt for snap elections, get a long delay from the EU, and then have the election run, constituency to constituency on the question of Brexit vs Remain. Whatever faction ends up in a majority in Parliament will then declare this a de facto 2nd referendum, and then cancel the Article 50 notification.

'then it is likely that she is still one, right?'

Just like many other Tory party leaders and members - Brexit splits both major UK parties.

'and then cancel the Article 50 notification'

The EU seems to be leaning towards April 12 as the day to take back control, so such things are no longer a concern of the UK government.

As always, we will see. But it is another Brexiter delusion to imagine that the EU wants to keep the UK in. Though it is true that the way to the EU does not go through Paris any more than it goes through Berlin, it should not come as a surprise that the nation that blocked the first two applications of the UK to join the EU seems quite eager to have them gone. Sort of like pushing a meowing cat out the door.

How are the chances of Remain rising? The EU straight up said that the extension to April 12 was the last one unless Parliament voted for the May Deal, and they just decisively voted that down for the third time. They'd only be getting an even longer extension if the whole EU set agreed to do so, and judging by the response of the European Commission after the latest failure vote on the May Deal they seem to be resigning themselves to a No-Deal Brexit.

Well, Prof. Cowen has been spending a lot of time on twitter recently - you cannot expect him to actually follow what is going on at the same time, can you?

What did Cowen do to you? You seem unable to avoid personal attacks on him for long.

So, this post starts with these words - 'I must have read two hundred tweets about how dysfunctional the British government is....'

Do you think that the time spent reading those tweets was useful? I don't, obviously. And that was all I was referencing - since I don't use twitter at all, I can see how it might be misinterpreted. You would possibly know better than I whether apart from reading those two hundreds tweets whether Prof. Cowen has been spending time on twitter.

Basically, it was an attack concerning the utter worthlessness of twitter, particularly as a way to get information. Prof. Cowen is by far the only person suffering from a belief I consider misguided, at best. The same way I have nothing but scorn for the idea that twitter is important in any sense.

You are welcome to read hundreds of tweets that support another position, of course.

Oops 'by far not the only person'

Interesting to see this viewed from the perspective of preferences and voting theory - but in a political campaign consisting of a series of votes in the presence of tactical voting it is not obvious that votes will reflect real preferences, and that apparent preferences will be consistent. In the secretary problem, if I end up selecting the last applicant, my choices do not appear consistent to an observer who assumes that I have all of the available information ahead of time. Even where motions are available ahead of time, I do not know everything, because I do not know how other people will cast their votes. This is a bit like the secretary problem where I know the ability ahead of time of every applicant in a very long list, but I don't know whether any given applicant would in fact accept the job, if offered it.

In the conspiracy theory, Brexit has been the subject of sustained attack by the powerful and those with large legal budgets. It would not be beyond the bounds of possibility for some of the unsatisfied brexiteers to in fact be remainers who want to appear brexiteers to their constituents. It is interesting that the UK-centric description of Wrecking Ammendment on Wikipedia includes the phrase "Wrecking amendments can pick up more votes than motions against, because observers tend to focus on who voted in favour and against the Bill in the final count, rather than looking at the amendments made during the passage through the legislature. "

Starting from the position that she didn't want Brexit, I suspect that she's done as much as possible to balance trying to get an agreement as Remain-like as possible with the referendum, the slimness of her majority, and the makeup of her party.

If someone had instead been trying to negotiate the best possible deal for Britain regardless, it would have looked like:

1) Invoke Article 50.

2) Announce that Britain will not in any way erect any internal borders.

3) Declare that Britain will keep all its other treaty commitments to an open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as they are an essential element of the peace on the island, and expects that Ireland will do so as well.

4) Announce that Britain is willing to form an association and customs agreement with the EU close enough that it that allows the EU to avoid establishing a closed intra-EU border with Ireland, but in case of such an agreement every substantial British concession will have to be matched by a substantial EU concession.

Under such a framing, declaring the Irish border as the whole point of the Article 50 negotiations on day 1, the character of the negotiations changes. It's not about what is Britain is demanding from a club it's leaving, it's what is necessary to prevent Britain's exit from excessively disrupting a small, innocent EU member state.

So rather than the EU-27 being able to take up a united front as condescending to allow an ungrateful Britain to retain some of the benefits of membership if Britain accepts enough conditions, the negotiations become in part an intra-EU struggle about how much the big states are willing to bend to accommodate small, innocent member states. Which is, of course, one of the great fault lines in EU politics, and thus something the EU has to be careful about.

Sure, the EU would have tried its best to reject that framing. But once it's been framed that way loudly and publicly, it's something that the Euroskeptic factions in every small EU member state will take up, and thus a factor in the decisions of every government of every small EU state, and thus in all EU politics. Thus, even if Britain could not have been able to make it the standard framing, they could have still reaped benefits.

However, it's now much too late to perform such a framing and run negotiations where the EU has to work around it.

All that's left is for the Remainers to finally recognize that May cannnot deliver a second referendum or other cancellation of Brexit, and thus they have to approve the deal she negotiated to prevent a total crash-out.

'Under such a framing, declaring the Irish border as the whole point of the Article 50 negotiations on day 1'

You do realize that on day 1 after invoking Article 50, May had a majority in Parliament, and did not require a minority party representing a minority in Northern Ireland to support her government?

This has been a tragedy of the Commons, in a certain sense - every time a Conservative leader attempts to gain power in the party in terms of handling the issue of the UK's relationship with the the EU, they lose it instead.

And it appears that whatever happens, the UK will lose an immense amount of influence in terms of the EU. All pretty much due to intra-Conservative party power games.

"I must have read two hundred tweets about how dysfunctional the British government is, or what a bad leader Teresa May has been. Really?"

This is about how a vote cast expressing the popular will was thwarted, the will which politicians are bound to respect has been denied. It is not about how you feel about "remaining" or how a compromise might yet be made. The referendum was a fraud, a con, and a transparent lie. The fact that you cannot or will not see this charade is also why you question the premise upon which the dysfunction exists and the search for legitimacy is and will always be a sham.

'expressing the popular will was thwarted'

Really? Because at this point, unconditional Brexit on April 12 does seem the most likely result.

Unless you mean the popular will was based on delusional fantasies about the EU, and thus its thwarting is simply along the lines of reality trumping dreams.

You’re obviously emotionally invested in Brexit, given your tendency to post endlessly on any Brexit threads.

Honestly, The entire thing seems absurd to me.

Why not just throw a free trade agreement in and be done with it? The question to me is : “why is the EU against a free trade agreement?”

It’s like being against NAFTA, it makes zero sense. Unless Europeans are vociferously against free trade?

I would guess that the EU wants to make the process LOOK as painful as possible as a signal to other countries that leaving is a bad deal.

That said, hard Brexit will undoubtedly hurt the EU too. The stance that hard leave or deal on the table is up to Britain's Parliament strikes me as a negotiating tactic and little more.

I guess we will see on April 12. My guess is that the can gets kicked down the road and the EU continues to bluster.

Yes, May is an awful leader. The key is her behaviour as Home Minister when she opposed immigration and free movement. (Sound familiar?) As a result she has ignored the seriousness of the Irish border (see: and the possible consequences of a UK breakup given the Scottish desire to be in the EU (which might be assuaged by remaining in the common market). Now her manoeuver has been to run the clock down in order to get her way.

The fact that the situation is contentious and fraught with possibilities of failure does not mean that her failure can be used to coverup just how awful her "leadership" has been now or over the past two years.

Can you explain why the British would be the ones patrolling the border? I can understand why this is an issue for the EU who would not want tariff free goods coming into their protected zone, but the UK surely won’t care if the EU exports this way.

'Can you explain why the British would be the ones patrolling the border?'

Really, this is not hard. It involves various organizations that tend to use the letters I, R, and A and trying to prevent them from returning to their old habits in the UK. Such as smuggling, for fun and freedom.

'but the UK surely won’t care if the EU exports this way'

Except for meat and diary, where the UK is planning to impose a tariff. The opportunities for profit are spectacular, particularly when avoiding these tariffs involves a major exporter of such products to the UK just happening to share a land border. '“Smugglers are very clever. It wouldn’t take them long to see where the opportunities are,” added Billington.

There would be little to stop them importing cheap meat from Brazil, putting it in a bonded warehouse in the republic, smuggling it into Northern Ireland in broad daylight, changing the cab of the articulated lorry to a vehicle with a British number plate and driving it into Britain. “It would take seconds to change the cab,” said Stephen Kelly, the chief executive of Manufacturing Northern Ireland.'

The Guardian. Lol.

And the actual quote about switching the trailer is from Stephen Kelly, the chief executive of Manufacturing Northern Ireland. Almost as if he has an idea of what he is talking about concerning how easy smuggling Brazilian meat into the UK through Northern Ireland would be, regardless of who quotes him. Lol

Very good post Tyler, nice to see an independent analysis. I do wonder why there is so much emotion by none involved people on this subject. I am reminded of the irritating kid in the Simpson’s whose only contribution is to sneer “Ha Ha” at the participants.

The people love reality shows and Brexit is just another one. Asking why is so much emotion involved is like an actor on the stage asking why everybody is looking at him.

Your decision-making process is collapsing due to polarization and special interests. Ha ha ha.

Maybe read fewer tweets and more articles and then you can see what an orderly Brexit could have looked like and how UK leaders could have done better.

Nicolas Sarkozy would have done WAY better as a UK prime minister. He would have never triggered article 50. He would have bullied and harassed all his pro-brexit ministers. He would have posed a ultimatum to the EU asking them to act some reforms. He would have received some minor concessions (enough to say "the EU changed blablabla"). Then he would have come back to his Parliament saying that the EU changed and asked for a new vote to the Parliament but not a referendum.

I'm a bit surprised of the short-term perspective of Tyler when talking about the British pound.

It took 50+ years to South Korea to grow. Who expects decline in a single day?

What can be assessed now are the structural changes. So, are supply chains to be disrupted by Brexit? YES. It won't happen in a day but manufacturing is going to decline even more in the UK. Are bank international links being disrupted? YES. Expect slow but effective changes.

Every short term analysis is almost worthless considering the referendum thing started 3 years ago. Lots of people won't live enough to the see outcome, perhaps that's the driver to focus on the short term and say "nothing happened".

It takes time for a fever to subside. In the meantime, avoid actions that might increase the fever. The Brits have their fever, and the Americans have their fever. Thank goodness for Dr. May and Dr. Mueller.

Lol. Twitter.

Now discuss Trump. Same type of volatility designed to push away from local sub optimal equilibrium. Is it violent enough of a push? Will a better equilibrium be found? Is politics an equilibrium or a process?

"I’ve all along been 'vote Remain.'"

Voting day was come and gone in 2016, Tyler. As with the Trump election, the willingness of the opposition to attempt to do immense political and constitutional harm under the assumption that the vote can be overturned is dispiriting.

'under the assumption that the vote can be overturned is dispiriting'

Thankfully, there are some fully supporting the right of the UK to leave the EU. This woman, for example - “There is chaos, there is confusion,” Loiseau told the French channel BFM TV. “I’m against a new referendum because it would be a denial of democracy. Britain must leave.” Wonderful, isn't it, to hear that the person previously in charge of Brexit for France fully respects the right of the UK to leave the EU.

Then there is the violence they are willing to do to common sense; as in the clip I saw of the Sky News reporter asking Roger Daltrey if he is worried that Brexit means he won't be allowed to tour in Europe anymore. Its Brexit, and not the fact that they're a hundred years old, that will ground The Who.

'if he is worried that Brexit means he won't be allowed to tour in Europe anymore'

Basically, all British musicians that do not also have an EU passport will now need to follow the same rules as an American musician to play in the EU. You may not be aware of this, but there are not many American musicians playing in the EU, in much the same fashion that there are not too many EU musicians playing in the U.S. - the paperwork is fairly daunting.

Paperwork that no British musician currently playing in the EU needs to deal with.

It is a real concern among the British music industry -

That would be a real shame. A friend is a talented musician in an unlistenable band. They spend 6 weeks or so in Europe each year. Haven't heard her mention the paperwork. Some adventures with equipment rental/transportation. Last time we talked about it, she was pleased because the band members had made almost enough money to cover their trip. Or their lodging at least.

A plethora of paperwork for a touring band, tells you not why the EU is great and necessary, but why the EU is f****d.

They serve unicorn burgers in Brussels, where the only billion dollar industry is fining US tech giants on arbitrary charges.

"...the willingness of the opposition to attempt to do immense political and constitutional harm under the assumption that the vote can be overturned is dispiriting."


Bingo. The willingness of Remainers to subvert and destroy the entire civil and political settlement over what should be a reasonable point of democratic disagreement is the great tragedy here. How can you live with people who will break an agreement and discard a convention as soon as it becomes convenient to do so? As Chesterton said; this is the mark of an animal, not a man.

I think about Remainers, and their defection behaviour, a lot. I think about counter-defection; about the meta-game, and the old game, before the Law. Heaven forbid! I think about circumstances where the rule of law would no longer protect their lives. I wish they would think about these things too.

" I think about counter-defection; about the meta-game, and the old game, before the Law. "

You mean violence, of course. I don't see that happening in the UK. I think the Brits are too soft now. I could be wrong.

I don't see it in the US either, but then again I remember NNT describing the chaos of Beirut and how the people were in denial.

They say people living below the dam are more in denial than anyone else. They have to be.

I know. It's easy to think that "it will never happen".

But...yeah...Beirut. I did a quick check of the run-up to civil wars that actually happened.

The thing one noticed them until they pretty much happened. The shift in the Overton window was extremely quick. Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Rwanda, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Syria, Libya. I was struck by how little warning time there was before things went south.

So I have low confidence in my "it will never happen" position.

Crash-out's in two weeks. Can't wait.

As for the Irish border, make the wall 50 feet high and top it with concertina wire.

"I am pleased to see that not one of the eight (was it eight?) versions of Brexit could command a majority."

Mr. Cowen, revoking article 50 was one of the eight (indeed) rejected options, so revoking Brexit does not command a majority either. This could have been verified with minimal effort and raises the question, to (mis)-quote Wittgenstein: if you don't know what you're talking about, why are you talking about it?

I see that this can be misunderstood, so I edited, but think more carefully about when a writer might be joking.

My God, he reads the comments.

Everyone. Best behaviour.

Remain is for the complacent class.

The UK needs to control it's own trade deals again. To innovate. And find solutions for Ireland without resorting to hard borders.

Obviously no-deal will cause huge disruption so you cannot expect politicians to vote for that.

But will any one of the EU-27 leaders veto an extension for their own benefit? I guess we'll soon find out.

'But will any one of the EU-27 leaders veto an extension for their own benefit? I guess we'll soon find out.'

We already did - the EU did not grant the extension that May asked for. And the French were publicly pushing for no extension, the person who was the French Brexit minister has said the UK 'must go.'

You can always count on the French to say Non!

Despite 52% willing to risk huge disruption and 48% for complacency, it's still impossible for the UK to actually take the risk of escaping the EU cult. Maybe the only way forward is for an external party to trigger the great reset.

'it's still impossible for the UK to actually take the risk of escaping the EU cult'

Nope - the only people that can revoke Article 50 is the British, and as of today, they will be leaving on one of two dates - both set by the EU, and both shorter than the extension that May asked for.

Sorry, BB, but you are another of the fantasts. Talk of "finding solutions for Ireland without hard borders" in the context of a full Brexit is rank nonsense. If UK leaves the EU customs union, there will be a hard border, if not necessarily one with a 50 foot wall like the ones still in place in parts of Belfast. The Irish issue has always been the hardest part of Brexit, and one of the more important parts that those voting for Brexit were not thinking about (along with thinking it would save their health service lots of money, not).

Nothing wrong with a hard border. Complaints about it are OCD shtick.

And if Barkley's on one side and I'm on the other, make that wall 50 feet high.

A Caing,

So, are you Irish at ll from either side? Do you know anything about this really? Note that while you may think a hard border there is just fine, almost nobody anywhere in Ireland does. This is why the Northern Irish DUP holds its contradictory position of opposing a hard border while also supporting removing from the EU customs union. This is nonsense. There was long running war and violence in Ireland, especially in the North. Are you for going back to that Caning? That is the danger many fear.

BTW, I have seen those walls in Belfast. Not pretty, and the people there are glad there is peace, but on each side they are really deeply split, and violence is in fact gradually reappearing. This is serious.

I am slow of understanding, Barkley, so perhaps you can help me.

Why, exactly, would a hard border re-start the troubles? Why exactly would the remnants of the continuity IRA look up from their drug running and extortion ventures in Derry to give even the remotest c**p about customs posts and cameras? Why would shooting at them be in their interest or their capability to sustain such a campaign in the face of zero support from any community?

But that's ok. If you are worried, we Brits can keep the border open with a zero tariff option and let the beloved EU build it's own infrastructure as it chooses, whipping little Ireland into line.

Presumably, the IRA will then shoot up the Garda and the EU flags on the southern side of the line. Maybe you can have the EU army sent to reinforce Dublin, eh?

Oh my, "we Btis" and "little Ireland." Alistair, you are a genuine specimen of a twitty Little Englander nitwit.

Perhaps you have forgotten that when "The Troubles" were seriously afoot, it was not all just shooting them up on the border in Ireland, much less all that bloodshed in bloody Belfast. The IRA took their war to London and even after the royal family, doing in, among others, the late Lord Mountbatten.

But then as a genuine Little Englander nitwit you do not live in London, so do not care. You are probably in Codpiece-over-Nothing, where one cannot even find a chicken tikka. Bur maybe the one pub in town has a decent steak and kidney pie for you to chew on in your senility.

You didn't answer my question. Just....rambled...I guess.

And so you answered my actual question. I was pretty sure before, but it was nice to hear you not say it.

Thank you.

brexit was always a really stupid idea

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