Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament

The betting markets have stayed in the 48-55 range for Brexit by year’s end, even after the suspension announcement.  That to me does not sound like “hard Brexit hell or high water.”

I would sooner think that Boris Johnson wishes to see through a relabeled version of the Teresa May deal, perhaps with an extra concession from the EU tacked on.  His dramatic precommitment raises the costs to the Tories of not supporting such a deal, and it also may induce slight additional EU concessions.  The narrower time window forces the recalcitrants who would not sign the May deal to get their act together and fall into line, more or less now.

Uncertainty is high, but the smart money says the Parliamentary suspension is more of a stage play, and a move toward an actual deal, than a leap to authoritarian government.

That said, I still do not like either Brexit or the suspension.


Best Brexit was the one in 1776. I agree this one kind of sucks.

That was only the first , a lot more Brexits since then from Asia and Africa. When it comes to Exits, no one can hold a candle to the British.

When Singapore brexit'd it turned out well, with HK the results are not looking so good.

Hong Kong is entirely unsurprising; complete absorption by China (no special status) was the obvious high probability outcome at the time.

Britain was unwilling (actually unable) to retain Hong Kong by force of arms (in contrast to the Falklands, or so far, Gibraltar). So the outcome was inevitable. They cut a deal that allowed them to declare victory and leave. I'm only surprised that China has waited this long to "regularize" Hong Kong's status.

BREXIT = Make England great again.

It is rare to see someone be so accurate, since it seems quite imaginable that the Conservative and Unionist party will cause Scotland and Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom due to Brexit.

Scotland is 8.23% of the UK population. I think England would survive.

Why would the NI majority want to leave the UK? But still, its only 2.8% so again, England would survive.

You do know that the United Kingdom is not England, and that England is not the United Kingdom, right?

It is only the United Kingdom that falls apart if Scotland or Northern Ireland leave, not England.

What point are you trying to make?

If the UK collapses, it becomes 3 countries. England can survive the collapse of the UK into those separate countries. The Scots and Irish are a small minority who occupy the poorest parts of the UK.

'What point are you trying to make? '

That Anon was being refreshingly precise, since Brexit is about making England great again, while ignoring the majority of voters in both Scotland and Northern Ireland, who voted to remain in the EU.

In reality, of course, Brexit seems to be about making England matter little, but we will see how things turn out.

I'm still here, you know.

Oops, actually no I forgot.

I see the usual inability to differentiate between a country's leadership and it's inhabitants. Myself I would rather live in a not particularly powerful or influential country, then the leadership maybe would focus more on the living standards of the inhabitants rather than say engaging in overseas adventures even if that boosted the pride of some of the inhabitants. Switzerland seems to get this about right in my view.

If say Scotland did decide to leave the Union, I think overall that would be another help for this. Scotland at the moment is stuck in the welfare trap at the moment, why should they reform their public finances when the rest of the UK is ready to finance them? (currently their deficit is half of the UK deficit despite only having 10% of the population).

On Tyler's comments that he remains opposed to Brexit - I would like to ask him why this is so? I would have thought a small l libertarian would be pleased to see a country escape at least one level of regulation and especially to exit a customs union protecting incumbent agriculture and manufacturing interests. The main downside to me is the free movement of people from the EU to the UK, which has been such a tremendous boon to the UK in recent years as hard working ambitious people leave for the more dynamic UK economy is still sustainable under the new immigration rules proposed by the Johnson administration.

From twitter: :
2018 13/09-09/10
2017 14/09-09/10
2016 15/09-10/10
2015 17/09-12/10
2014 12/09-13/10

HoC recess in 2019 was supposed to be 12/09-09/10.

So recess is a normal thing for them.

Dates like 09/10 and 12/09 are interesting in some places like Canada which sort of have a foot in the day/month British camp and a foot in the month/day American camp. I encountered this problem in Hong Kong once. Years ago I would say it was prudent to default software to the American convention because most software originated in the U.S. but I've grown more confident that localized settings will tend to be of equal quality. If quality is ubiquitous then we have more ambiguity.

If you miss your flight because you thought it was on March 2nd instead of February 3rd they're making some people pay twice for the same trip. It's nice to assume people are not jerks and ignoramuses so when the context doesn't resolve the ambiguity there is some sort of design present. For example, price discrimination or broken-windows stimulus.

Not the "British camp" just the only sensible way to do dates. After all, how do you Yanks do time? Minutes:Seconds:Hours?

'just the only sensible way to do dates'

The Chinese don't agree with you, as they apparently use year/month/day.

And the difference in American and British style is likely based on usage - Americans typically say March 4th, and the British typically say 4th of March.

However, European style makes more sense, just as SI makes more sense for measurements.

The British style may be more logical than the American but the American might be more convenient in practice. I rather like the the yyyy/mm/dd style though I suppose it should ideally incorporate CE/BCE too. (i.e. Christian Era and Before Christian Era.)

CE/BCE is a replacement for AD/BC. It doesn't refer to Christian Era or Before Christian Era (even though it does and refers to the same years). Rather than "Christian," the C stands for "common," or sometimes, "current."

There's an ISO for time/date - ISO 8601.

"CE/BCE is a replacement for AD/BC."

Yes, Newspeak.

Still based on one life no matter what initials one uses.

This is one of those cases where the Chinese systems looks most logical; it specifies the information with increasing specificity, This is how most filing systems work.

Interestingly, postal addresses work the other way around, in decreasing specificity, like the British date system. Perhaps this makes sense in a system dominated by short-term/local retrieval where the higher order categories are "known/shared" between successive queries (most dates are going to be current year, most addresses are going to be same country). Hence most of the actual bits of information is in knowing the date, not year.

The less said about the US system, the better.

I worked enough with Europeans that I adopted the 29 Aug 2019 format; its unambiguous and works for mixed audiences. Memory is no longer so expensive that saving a byte or two matters.

I also use the day/month/year format, but it is because I grew up living on military bases where they call this format military time.

You know, there's an international standard for this. Today is 2019-08-29.

Anyone who writes things like 11/07/12 is either an idiot, or adheres to their group's stupid convention, despite knowing full well that it can't be unambiguously interpreted, as a way of trying to assert dominance.

Or is not an idiot but is trying to communicate with people who are committed to using the illogical MM-DD-YYYY system, as Americans seem to be.

No, because recess and prorogration are different things. When parliament is in recess, questions can still be asked, ministers held to account and much other business still goes on. During prorogation all business of parliament is ceased.

Furthermore, the recess would have had to have been debated and voted on, and it is entirely likely that the commons would have chosen not to hold it, in light of the circumstances.

The comparison you are drawing is utterly specious.

Recess != Prorogation.
Recess voted on by MPs.

Indeed, it's only a stage play. The problem is that the play started 4 years ago while the rest of the world keeps moving. That's stagnation.

The political class simply refuses to admit that it lost an important vote. It will keep stringing the issue out forever if it can, and stagnation is just one weapon in that fight.

Hi Tom. The probably is not as simple as the “political class” refusing to admit it lost the vote. The people are bitterly divided on the future strategic, economic, and cultural direction of the country.

We are in a vortex of Condorcet Paradox right now. It was clearly foolish to Leave without a supermajority as no preference can now command a majority.

The only thing that was foolish was requiring a referendum to leave. The EU is evil.

“Leap to authoritarian government” ??

The prorogation is not an example of unusual constitutional chicanery, it’s a normal thing that happens (almost) every year. If the new government wants to legislate it should introduce a Queens Speech, and before that the House is prorogued.

This prorogation only reduces the number of days the House will be sitting before 31st October from 15 days to 12 days, as for most of the period it was already going to be in recess due to the conference season.

True, the PMs use of a normal constitutional device has reduced _slightly_ the amount of time the anti-Brexit MPs have to force a delay to Brexit, but the raw number of days is probably not the limiting factor compared to the bigger problems of (a) getting their act together and (b) actually having the votes.

Most of the confusion here is that a much more contentious plan was discussed: to prorogue Parliament all the way past the exit date. My understanding is that this _would_ have been unusual (though not unprecedented, Major did something similar to avoid the publication of a unflattering report before an election) and though legal definitely an example of chicanery!

However, that’s not what’s actually happening. I’m not sure but it seems that a lot the outrage here was pre-prepared for the contentious plan option and when something that had the same name happened it was “too good not to run” (or tweet) without checking the details.

No. We are going to be CUCKED!!! The EU is going to impose the May deal on us! We’ve been CUCKED!!!

I wish to register a complaint. The chap who writes these fake comments is a cuckadoodledoo.

That made me cuckle with mirth.

'The prorogation is not an example of unusual constitutional chicanery'

The Canadians just might have a different take on that, considering that Johnson seems to be following the Harper playbook. 'The 2008–09 Canadian parliamentary dispute was a political dispute during the 40th Canadian Parliament. It was triggered by the expressed intention of the opposition parties (who together held a majority of seats in the House of Commons) to defeat the Conservative minority government on a motion of non-confidence six weeks after the federal election of October 14, 2008.'

There are differences, but the similarities do seem to suggest something more along the lines of 'constitutional chicanery' involving a PM whose party does not actually have a majority.

Right, proroguing Parliament to avoid a Vote of No Confidence does seem a bit dodgy, yeah.

But in this case, Parliament will be able to hold a vote of no confidence exactly as early as they otherwise were going to be able to, as Parliament still returns on 3rd September.

Additionally, a Queen’s Speech is itself a vote of confidence. So the PM has himself scheduled the confidence vote the opposition have so far declined to do so.

So they can still vote the government out and attempt to form another before Brexit, for instance, I don’t think that timetable has changed.

It’s just not that big of a deal. Prorogation happens every year in order for the government to have a Queens Speech. This one is utterly normal and doesn’t affect the anti-Brexit MPs plans much at all.

'It’s just not that big of a deal.'

To use an American term, it is the optics. There is no question that since Brexit started, things have been unusual. Such as having the current Parliament session be the longest in modern history.

'and doesn’t affect the anti-Brexit MPs plans much at all'

Well, it is not about anti-Brexit, it is about a no-deal Brexit, something that even 49% of Leave voters reject, at least according to yougov. And there is little question that Johnson requires the support of Brexiters to remain PM, yet even among Leave voters, many oppose no-deal. This just seems a way to again put off trying to square the circle. Basically, Brexit would have never happened if its proponents had said we will deliver a no-deal Brexit, regardless of what anyone in the UK wishes (well, apart from 92,000 Conservative Party members, that is).

Johnson faces a lot of challenges, and having a general election after a no-deal Brexit may still look to him as the best way to remain PM - and to ensure that no one in Parliament can effectively oppose a no-deal Brexit. Something that happens automatically on Oct. 31, unless the UK political system is able to ask the EU for another extension (an extension that the EU is not really likely to grant at this point - that the British remain in a state of chaos does not mean the EU has any interest in Brexit except for it to be finally over).

Ah, I was wrong about some stuff! This is good on the implications for the parliamentary schedule, looks like it has quite an effect on the legislative schedule (though not, as I said, the VoNC route):

(It also has some confusing sections. For instance, it says the PM may refuse to resign on losing a VoNC. But ... there’s no expectation that the PM resigns if a VoNC is lost. That would leave the country without a PM. So does the article mean that he will refuse to resign if he loses a VoNC AND an alternative leader wins a VoC in the two week period? That would be extraordinary but it doesn’t say that... or maybe I don’t understand everything...)

I mean, I agree with you that that we’ve ended up at No Deal is kind of disgraceful, and I hope the parties that voted against the deal are held accountable by the public in any forthcoming election.

Actually, I went a bit far in that last sentence, saying that it doesn’t affect the anti-Brexit plans at all.

If the opposition wish to hold a vote of confidence and form a temporary letter-writing government, then that is not made more difficult by this prorogation (I think)

If they seek a legislative route to block it, then the reduction of three days of parliamentary time will make a difference. I don’t know enough about parliamentary procedure to know it it’s critical for some reason or just a bit more difficult.

'to know it it’s critical for some reason or just a bit more difficult'

Basically, no one really knows, as this is uncharted territory, with Johnson more or less directing the course. Which assumes he actually has a course in mind, apart from staying in power as long as possible, regardless of what that costs the UK as a whole.

What many people seem to believe is that this move makes a no-deal Brexit much more likely, regardless of the will of Parliament to stop no-deal (not stop Brexit, as Parliament has already voted that Brexit is what the UK will do). There is another line of thinking, which is Johnson is somehow trying to get a deal together which will not lead to him being thrown out as PM, in part by trying to convince the EU that it needs to deal with him to avoid a no deal Brexit. As with many Brexiter delusions, this is based on a glaring ignorance of how Europe is looking at Brexit these days, including the fact that for many in the EU now, Oct. 31 cannot come fast enough.

Sorry, but this is highly unusual and well outside of norms.

To begin with, this is a government which has faced parliamentary scrutiny for all of 1 day. Johnson can only advise the queen because he is assumed to have the confidence of the house, but he's doing all he can to avoid parliamentary scrutiny since he knows he probably doesn't actually have the house's confidence, and certainly doesn't for a no deal brexit. This by itself is bad enough, but the prorogation (as I have explained elsewhere) is different from the recess for conference, in that much of the normal business of the house can continue during recess unlike during prorogation. Conflating the two, as you have done, is a pretty big error. Furthermore, MP's would have debated on, and probably voted against, holding the conference recess, for reasons which I should hope are blindingly obvious.

There are also reports coming out of downing street ( ) that they are preparing other tools to try to frustrate scrutiny. Things like calling public holidays at short notice, to stop the house from sitting on those days. This is not normal!

This is a nakedly political manoeuvre to attempt to avoid parliamentary scrutiny. Pushing accepted norms and rules to breaking point in this way is deeply dangerous and very unhealthy.

Both you and Tyler are absolutely wrong that this is not a big deal.

The argument that Parliament had not had enough of an opportunity to scrutinize Brexit, or even to contemplate the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, is simply ludicrous. Moreover, after years of nakedly political maneuvering to thwart the Brexit vote, the well-I-never tut-tutting about how "he's doing politics!" rings completely hollow.

Firstly, I said that Johnson himself was trying to avoid parliamentary scrutiny, so how about you respond to that eh? You're also wrong that Parliament hasn't had a sufficient chance to scrutinise the legislation required for a deal, since a very significant amount of it has never been put before the house, including draft bills on trade, agriculture. Indeed a feature of both the May and Johnson administrations has been how strenuously they have tried to go around parliament. And, frankly, parliament can take as long as it damn well pleases. This is probably the most complicated legal and political exercise undertaken anywhere in the world in the last 100 years. Rushing it is asking for trouble.

You're also wrong to conflate the legitimate political maneuvering by people in the house - which was done with the aim of allowing the house to have a say and to take back control from an over-extended executive. Parliament being soverign, after all. This latest ploy goes against that by seeking to do an end run around it.

In summary, your arguments are weak and you're wrong about everything.

Don't be daft.

Parliament has had more than ample time to debate the options for Brexit and exert their supremacy. Not the least of which was the last general election where the Conservatives ran, explicitly, on a "Clean, quick, and efficient Brexit".

Hard Brexit is about as clean and quick as can occur; efficient, at this point, seems to lie in that direction as well. The people explicitly returned a parliament running on Brexit as both the Conservatives and DUP campaigned leave explicitly.

Since that election, there were plenty of times where parliament could have called for no confidence; Corbyn finally got around to it in January, failed and then moved on. Further, it was no secret on the day that May resigned Johnson or some other hard Brexiteer might win out. Again the opposition failed to table a no confidence vote.

It is not like parliament was unaware that the current state of affairs terminated in hard Brexit on a date explicitly adopted by act of Parliament.

But Parliament was too busy fussing about who would get which spoils, with Corbyn holding out for PM at all costs. Great, the House implicitly voted that they preferred leaving the status quo intact to making the compromises needed (and the careers ended) to force a general election before crunch time.

The were many, many times Parliament could have changed course here: they could have voted for May's plan, they could have gone no confidence when May failed to get her deal through, and they have united on Corbyn for PM. They choose to do none of these things.

I realize things are complicated by the Fixed Term of Parliament act ... but again that could have been voted into oblivion as well. It may be politics, but at the end of the day no one in Parliament has been willing to stand up pay the price needed to change the status quo. Given that the status quo reflects the will of the largest electoral voting block in British history (backing both Brexit in referendum and combined leave parties in a general election), this is not exactly a tragedy.

If you dislike the government's policy, bring it down if you can. If you are worried about a specified date that is critical, bring it down with time to spare. Do not cry foul when you delay until the 11th hour and find that suddenly the core feature of a national referendum and a general election may come through in a fashion you dislike.

Honestly, it's not worth my time to point out what a disingenuous crock of shit all your arguments are.

Right, but it was worth it to post that line. We got it.

At the end of the day there was a referendum, it voted leave. There was a general election, it was won be leave parties running explicitly as such. Parliament explicitly voted on to extend the negotiating window a finite amount of time and in so doing voted explicitly to reject making the project contingent on new votes. It also voted against seizing control of the calendar explicitly.

Remain parliamentarians had plenty of time of call for no confidence. They had a bevy of amendments that would have stopped Johnson's maneuver shot down on March 14th.

Exactly how many times should parliament have to vote to leave Europe? I mean seriously, Asquith managed to ram through Lords reform and Irish Home Rule with less direct support than Brexit has ever had.

It cannot be helped that the loyal opposition ignored the Fixed Terms of Parliament Act and opted to wait until the 11th hour. Hopefully they will either learn or scrap that act. Either way Parliament faces the same choices it did in March - take the deal Europe offered through May (+/- cosmetic changes), revoke Brexit, crash out, or hope to convince Europe that it might crash out and needs concessions. None of the end games are whit different than the last time Corbyn failed a no confidence vote and nothing is substantially changed from previously voted upon arrangements. All that is different is that Johnson intends to follow through on the course which is currently approved by popular referendum, general election mandate, and parliamentary vote. If only the opposition had not been coy and just staked out a straight forward alternative plan sooner.

At the end of the day 64% of constituencies voted Leave; the Tories made a plank of honoring that vote in multiple general elections. Time to follow through.

@Sure: What happens after a clean break No Deal?

If the logic of Brexit is to negotiate our own trade deals, then surely it must follow that immediately post-No Deal we will be knocking on the door of our largest trading partner to secure a deal? What is the best and most liberal arrangement we can make with our trading partners?

'That to me does not sound like “hard Brexit hell or high water.”'

The only person that can stop Brexit on Oct. 31 as of today is PM Johnson. However, the EU does not need to grant an extension if asked, and again as of today, is quite unlikely to do so, as the ongoing chaos in the UK in this area remains, well, ongoing. As noted in humorous fashion here - 'The French EU minister, Nathalie Loiseau, has called her new cat Brexit. “He wakes me up every morning meowing to death because he wants to go out,” she says. “And then when I open the door he stays put, undecided, and then glares at me when I put him out.”'

The French, for one, are looking forward to the chance to put the UK out the door, even if the UK asks for a further extension. And compared to March, the French position has gained support as the EU has watched a further 6 months of the utter inability of the UK to actually do anything constructive to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

(Admittedly, there is another thing the UK can do without requiring the EU to agree, but no one realistically expects this farce to end with the UK revoking Article 50, saying it was all just a bad dream. Of course, realistic has not described anything involving Brexit till now, so who knows.)

'I would sooner think'

Keep thinking what you wish - it has been quite entertaining till now.

'His dramatic precommitment raises the costs to the Tories of not supporting such a deal'

You seem to forget that the Tories have a slight challenge, though oddly neither the name of the party (nor of its leader) is mentioned. Hint - it is the party that won the largest amount of UK votes in the EU Parliament elections.

Did I write 'slight challenge'? Try terrified of losing power due to many Conservative voters not voting Conservative in a general election.

The EU is very likely to grant another extension if one is requested. Some leaders have been making noise to the contrary, but at the end of the day, they don't want Britain to leave. Another extension increases the odds that they won't.

Granting an extension might be tied to the UK holding an election or referendum. However, it's inconceivable that there would be an extension with no election, so this demand will be met.

I guess the one possibility I see is perhaps Boris will try to make the extension request in bad faith, and be as unhelpful as possible in hopes that it gets turned down, and he can blame the EU for No Deal. I think this is unlikely to work, though.

'he EU is very likely to grant another extension if one is requested.'

All 27 EU nations need to agree. The French were extremely skeptical about the Oct. 31 extension, and absolutely nothing that has occurred in the UK since that extension has shown the French were wrong. And it is not as if the French are famous for being team players - basically, the French will have little problem at this point in defending voting against an extension. They might have some problems hiding their delight at doing it, however.

'they don't want Britain to leave'

This is a fundamentally wrong, at least in the sense that the British voted democratically to leave, and basically everyone in Europe respects that decision. It is another one of those Brexiter delusions that the EU remains desperate to keep the UK a member, particularly after the last 3 years.

'Another extension increases the odds that they won't.'

Sure, there are people like Tusk who consider(ed?) this a valid strategy. However, he was never that hopeful that this strategy would pay off, and these days, well, who knows? Things have gotten so strange with the UK that making a rational prediction has become impossible. Maybe Sinn Fein will show up in Parliament to make its first vote ever - and they will vote to support Johnson and no-deal, so as to ensure that Northern Ireland will finally become part of the Irish Republic.

'Granting an extension might be tied to the UK holding an election or referendum.'

That was pretty much the intent of the Oct. 31 extension. Clearly it did not help.

'and he can blame the EU for No Deal'

After a generation of blaming the EU for every problem in the UK, don't worry, whatever happens will be the fault of the EU, at least according to the Brexiters. Certainly for Johnson, with his recent kippers example again publicly demonstrating how utterly ignorant top Brexiters are.

We shall see (maybe). However, I don't think Macron is willing to stand alone on this issue and be seen by many as "the man responsible for No Deal".

Macron's real goal is to be the most influential leader in the EU. He advances this goal by making lots of noise, extracting concessions, but ultimately being the guy that brokers an extension deal--not by refusing an extension and making other influential members unhappy.

Possible of course, but this is the sort of scenario that many in the UK are counting on (Leave and Remain both), without thinking that the EU has other priorities than dealing with Little England.

And the French already pointed out that the EU granting an extension would be meaningless, so why not simply get Brexit over with as soon as possible? Absolutely nothing from the UK since the Oct. 31 extension was granted has shown that the French position was wrong. Including the fact that it appears that a no-deal Brexit is what will happen anyways, as there seems (right now) little chance that Johnson will allow an extension request to be made. That seeming to be the reason for prorogation - which is not a 'suspension' as this post title says. 'Prorogation (pronounced 'pro-ro-ga-tion') marks the end of a parliamentary session. It is the formal name given to the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament that begins the next session. The parliamentary session may also be prorogued before Parliament is dissolved.'

Admittedly, there is also a belief that Johnson is expecting the EU to blink any minute now, and give the Brexiters what they want, with his actions being meant to show how serious he is about leaving.

Johnson has completely lost ability to blame Dublin/Brussels for no hard Brexit —he owns it. How many Tories wanna go down with this ship?

92,000, since one assumes they all knew precisely what they were voting for.

Remember, prior was wrong about the previous extension.

Got a link?

This one - seems properly conditional, as no one can predict the twists and turns of Brexit even 12 hours into the future.

Then there is this one - where you seemed unaware that the only reason that the UK voted for MEPs was because the UK asked to remain in the EU longer.

But please, you have every opportunity to easily prove what you say, and thus enjoy the well earned pleasure of pointing out how wrong I was. Though considering how many times I have been wrong in my life, it will be no surprise to have it demonstrated again.

p.s. I agree that Boris is not planning to try to get a version of May's deal through.

I don't think the calculus has changed on that deal. A large portion of conservatives will never support it, because they prefer no deal. A large portion of the opposition will never support it, because they think they can delay and eventually cancel Brexit, or because they hope to take power through this mess (Corbyn doesn't fear no deal Brexit enough to take drastic measures to avert it. I think he'd be fine with a no deal Brexit that made him PM).

Corbyn is fine with anything that makes him PM - essentially, he and Johnson are mirror images that way. And Corbyn is completely fine with the UK finally escaping the evil clutches of the rapacious capitalists that run the EU, who keep the UK from finally being the workers' paradise that it was always destined to be. The UK political system has grown quite addicted to blaming the EU for everything, it is not not just the Tories.

+1 great comment. I fully agree with your assessment of Corbyn.

UK politics for the next decade will be focus on EU now they're on their way out... crazy

I still bet that Brexit doesn’t happen. EU will extend once again - if you consider that the Germans/Merkel really do only care about their export markets they are willing to continuously give extensions to the UK. Brexit will basically just paralyze UK politics for decades to come but yield nothing.

It may drag on for awhile, but "decades"?

It has been 3 years since the vote in June 2016, 4 years since the Queen announced it on May 2015, 6.5 years since the ex-PM David Cameron talked publicly about it for the first time on January 2013 ( According to the BBC article, the referendum was discussed for at least half a year before the public announcement.

Depending on what you consider the start date, Brexit is between 3 and 7 years old. Decades is not crazy anymore.

If we take Cameron's promise of a referendum as the start date of Brexit "paralysing UK politics", the process would still have to extend 3.5 more years to January 2023 to be even one decade long, and this is infeasible.

It has been a long process, but almost all of that time was expected and built into the process: the need to campaign, have an election, schedule a referendum, and then go through a pre-specified two year withdrawal process.

The process has only "dragged on" beyond the expected timeline for five months (add a few more months if you want to include the delay in invoking article 50). It's inconceivable that the current limbo extends from five months to four years. The current uncertainty benefits no one.

Perhaps one could conceivably imagine the UK failing to either reach a Brexit agreement or withdraw article 50 for several years, but the EU is not going to grant extensions forever. I disagree with prior above, arguing that they will grant another extension--but he is right that at some point they will refuse to do so. Are they going to grant four more one year extensions? I don't think so.

"but the EU is not going to grant extensions forever"

I pretty much think they are though, or some kind of super-managed very long drawn out Brexit takes place which pleases no one and ends up dragging on as a constant theme in British politics for a while. Maybe I exaggerated with decades but still.

'I pretty much think they are though'

Only if the UK asks for one, and the smart money is betting that Johnson's actions are intended to prevent any UK request for an extension being made in the first place. Who knows what will happen at this point, but Johnson seems to be acting in the fashion one would expect to bring about a no deal Brexit, representing the democratic will of 92,000 members of the Conservative and Unionist Party (the 'unionist' clearly being there for laffs at this point).

'they are willing to continuously give extensions to the UK'

Germany is. The French? Not so much. And as noted above, the French criticism of the Oct. 31 extension remains accurate, basically.

Unfortunately, I do not recall the German source, and may not recall correctly, but I believe the UK has already slipped from no. 3 to no. 5 for German exports.

Ah, here is some English language information - 'Dropping for the third consecutive year in 2018, nominal German exports to the UK were down by over 7% compared with 2015, the year preceding the Brexit referendum. The depreciation of the pound sterling and economic uncertainty in the UK were the key drivers behind the downturn. On the sectoral level, the pharmaceutical industry suffered the sharpest declines. In this sector, German exports to the UK look set to have nose-dived by more than 40% between 2015 and 2018, whereas auto exports to the UK plunged by over 20% in the same period.

In 2015, the year preceding the British referendum on the exit from the EU, the UK accounted for 7.5% of German goods exports. Back then, the country took third rank in the list of Germany's key export markets – behind the US and France. By 2018, German exports to the UK had declined for the third year in a row, falling by over 7% on 2015 in nominal terms. By contrast, aggregate German goods exports in the period from 2015 to 2018 likely rose by around 11% (final annual data for 2018 is not yet available). Accounting for "only" around 6% of total German exports, the UK has been surpassed by China and the Netherlands in the ranking of Germany's major export markets.'

Do not believe the Brexiter delusions - Germans accept that the UK is leaving the EU, regardless of what Germans think about it as a decision. And after the last three years of utter British political chaos, there is not much interest in having Brexit stretch out.

Money is important, but it appears that Germans seem more confident about an actual Brexit than the Brexiters are apparently able to comprehend. Nobody outside of it cares that much about Little England these days.

We will see, of course.

Unfortunately for the EU’s long term viability the French don’t call the shots the Germans do and the Germans are short term. They only care about what the level of exports are next quarter. With a major slowdown I the industrial sector even if exports to the UK have slipped the Germans will be desperate for them not to slip further. I see extensions and concessions being forthcoming from them.

'Unfortunately for the EU’s long term viability the French don’t call the shots the Germans do'

Oddly, I don't actually know any Germans who believe that. Even more oddly, a lot of Brexiters do, but that is because they apparently know more about Germans than the Germans. Just as Brexiters seem to know more about the French than the French, etc.

'and the Germans are short term'

Have you ever tried to buy tickets to a concert here? They normally go on sale about 12 months before the concert date. Germans are many, many things, but short term is not one of them, in my experience - that would mean they could even start to be spontaneous, after all.

'if exports to the UK have slipped the Germans will be desperate for them not to slip further'

Desperate or realistic? I personally don't expect the Mini to be made in Little England in five years, for example. It would not be a surprise if BMW had started initial planning for moving its production sometime in 2016, with actual planning for a move in 2021 having been started in 2018. We won't really see too much about that in terms of details, admittedly.

'I see extensions and concessions being forthcoming from them.'

Sure, the Germans feel that an EU with the UK is considerably better off than an EU without the UK. But it is an illusion to think something like this - 'The first calling point of the UK's negotiator immediately after #Brexit will not be Brussels, it will be Berlin, to strike a deal' - David Davis May 26, 2016 Of course, Davis was the first British Brexit minister, so one already knew in 2016 how delusional the Brexiters actually were.

This might be an interesting challenge in its way - it is child's play to find pure idiocy and ignorance from Brexiters concerning the EU. Does anyone have a Brexiter quote showing something resembling reality? No need for it to be insightful or even intelligent, just something that is not as laughably stupid as this, from 2017 - 'The free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.'

Or this, from just 2 months ago - '“It is absolutely vital that we prepare for a no-deal Brexit if we are going to get a deal. But I don’t think that is where we are going to end up – I think it is a million-to-one against – but it is vital that we prepare.”'

"But it is an illusion to think something like this - 'The first calling point of the UK's negotiator immediately after #Brexit will not be Brussels, it will be Berlin, to strike a deal'".

But can't a British Prime Minister return from Germany bringing peace with honour?

What makes that comment so utterly apt is that Chamberlain was a member of the Conservative and Unionist Party.

I see. I guess history really repeats itself as farce.

This is indeed an interesting development. Years of political uncertainty, no growth and GBP depreciation make the UK less relevant for German exports.

The argument of "they have to sell their BMWs somewhere" becomes weaker with time. Thus, whatever terms can be negotiated today are worse that what could be negotiated back on 2016. The silver lining is that terms negotiated today will be better than those negotiated on 2020.

'The argument of "they have to sell their BMWs somewhere" becomes weaker with time.'

Even worse from the perspective of the British car industry, the argument that BMW has to make Minis in the UK is becoming weaker with time too.

They put the UK in cUcK.

If Boris's intention was to entice the Remainers into making themselves look even more hysterical, incompetent, and dishonest than usual, he may well have succeeded.

Further, if it was also his intention to make the UK government look even more hysterical, incompetent, and dishonest than usual, he may well have succeeded in that too.

From the outside no one cares about Leavers and Remainers. We only see one ship named UK where the captain ignores an incapacitating hull breach. Good luck on the search for the guilty as the water rushes in.

We’ve always done best when we’ve embraced our true Cuckedness!

'From the outside no one cares about Leavers and Remainers'

The sadly amusing thing is that Brexiters think the entire world cares.

'Good luck on the search for the guilty as the water rushes in.'

Who needs luck - Brexit is clearly an EU plot to destroy the UK. Just read or listen to any Murdoch owned UK media property.

>I still do not like either Brexit or the suspension.

None of the other statists do, either. Fortunately, you don't get a vote.

I don't understand why low odds on leaving by year's end imply the smart money thinks there will be a deal. If there's a deal, the UK still leaves on Oct 31st

Why are we not focused on the far more important Jeffery Epstein affair?

Because nothing Tabbarrok / Cowen care about is at stake there. One of two things happened: officials of the Bureau of Prisons were corrupted and allowed an assassin to kill Epstein (which is chilling), or a perfect storm of incompetence allowed him to kill himself. Both incorporate a problem with ruined institutional cultures in public sector bodies, about which neither genuine libertarians or poseur libertarians have any ideas.

Do you think it is just that he doesn’t care? Tyler Cowen has a lot of connections at Harvard. Do you think he knows more than he’s letting on?

Barry Gardiner, Labour Shadow International Trade Secretary said last night, “I think what we’ve done (the opposition) is we’ve forced him (Boris Johnson) to overplay his hand, today he has overplayed his hand.”

I’m not entirely sure we should congratulate him on this. The Remainers played a very risky game by forming a practical alliance with the most hard-core Leavers to vote down Teresa May’s deal three times (though to his credit, Johnson voted for it on the third go). They know that the default outcome is a no-deal Brexit, which they also know is not popular with even most Brexiters. So they feel it is possible to defeat no-deal and have a BINO (Brexit in name only) or no-Brexit. However, the train keeps on trundling down the track to no-deal.

Being that Labour's principle tactic is a vote of no confidence followed by a national unity government (which no one voted for) - it might work or it might not - either way though this may be constitutional, it is not much more democratic than Boris’s (also constitutional) prorogation.

Boris doesn’t want a no-deal, he wants to remove the backstop and believes the only way to get that is by a game of chicken with the EU. Who knows what will happen, but this is the opinion of Julian Reichelt, editor-in-chief of Bild: “I predict we will end up with something that’s a no-deal Brexit with so many side agreements, that it’s basically a Brexit deal. That is the classic way of Angel Merkel: not giving in, but giving in.”


"Boris doesn’t want a no-deal, he wants to remove the backstop and believes the only way to get that is by a game of chicken with the EU."

How is that different than crashing out?

The EU originally wanted to have the 'backstop border' be the Irish Sea, meaning that only Northern Ireland would be part of a customs union, and avoid a hard border between the two parts of Ireland. And since ships are easily handled through normal customs procedures in ports, it would not really be much of a difficulty to implement.

Not surprisingly, the minority of a minority DUP (the party that keeps the Conservatives in power) claimed that this was unacceptable, so the deal was changed, at the insistence of the UK, to include all of the UK.

There is speculation, of the mainly wishful kind, that Johnson might be angling to return to the EU's original position, while proclaiming the EU has given in and thus getting a basically unchanged withdrawal deal through Parliament.

Sadly enough, though there is little doubt that Johnson would politically knife whoever he needs to, the fact that precisely none of the UK figures talking with EU figures regarding new approaches to the backstop have presented any ideas about how to change the backstop at all, suggesting that such a practical and potentially face saving 'compromise' is not in the works.

To be honest, it is extremely likely that the EU would happily 'concede' to British pressure to make the backstop border the Irish Sea, but there is basically zero indication that Johnson is thinking this at all.

"vote of no confidence"

Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the existing government can in effect wait 14 days after a successful vote of no confidence to resign and call new elections. The election could be either before or after October 31.

Why would Johnson advise the Queen to set a pre-Halloween date when by waiting a few days, Brexit occurs?

Boris, for all his faults, is more cunning and more ruthless than the midgets like Corbyn arrayed against him.

That said, I still do not like either Brexit or the suspension.

Well, you value the wrong things. If justice and prudence is served, you'll be crying into your fusion food in two months.

What's your solution to the Ireland-Northern Ireland border?

It is not "normal" to suspend Parliament to prevent it having any say over a bitterly controversial decision that will define the country's position in the world for decades to come.

Parliaments problem is that in stands in the way of Conservative Party members divine right to rule.

"That said, I still do not like either Brexit or the suspension."
Just what you would expect from a courtier, prefer a satrapy to an independent nation, more opportunities for graft and advancement. Keep those smelly proles in their place.

The flaccid Johnson is a terrible poker player, he has no hand and has overplayed it many times over. This is all a bluff which is pissing most hard core brexiters off . They want a hard 'no-deal' brexit ala the Fromage strategy with his looney Brexit Party.. They are what is really scaring Johnson.. not the dis unity of the remainers.. Also the Johnson wants others to do the actual work , he is not about to start actually figuring out the backstop .. Like Trump , he is good at threats, insults and provocations so as to unsettle the enemy.. Johnson will be one of the shortest PM's in UK history.. Remember all he wants is a statue , but he is no Churchill..

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