Monday 10 December 2018

Should we cancel Brexit?

So here we go for a momentous week in UK politics (and business/economics).

The kick-off has already begun, with the ECJ ruling that Brexit can be cancelled with no changes allowed from the EU side. This cuts both ways, it means Article 50 can be extended and there is nothing the EU Commission can do and also that we can reject the deal offered and remain on the current terms that we have.

This is crucial, as it guarantees that May will lose her job this week. I guarantee it now! (regular readers will know, I am wrong a lot of the time).

OK, why so confident when I can look silly in a few days - well first off, there is no incentive for anyone to pass her Remain Minus deal that she has negotiated. The Brexiteers can see that they can takeover and try again with another few months bought for negotiations and/or No Deal preparations. Meanwhile Remainers are in rapture at the idea of Parliament voting against the people and making the whole thing go away (hmmm, some problems with this, but he ho, I am not a remainer so they can figure it out).

So which of these choices should we take? I have been a fan of May's deal, because although terrible it started the journey towards leaving which is in big danger from a Remain dominated Parliament. This unexpected ruling from the ECJ - timed like film-script too! - does change materially the situation; It has both weakened the EU position AND strengthened the Remainers.

No one will vote for the crap deal now, as there is literally no need too. Remainers will vote it down and that alone is enough, but the DUP and ERGers will vote it down too, meaning May faces a cataclysmic defeat.

OK, there is a small chance she is bright enough to see the EU's position weakened and to try further negotiations as a trick to keeping her in 10 Downing St, but there is very little chance of not receiving an internal vote of confidence from the party to trigger a leadership election. So, May is toast, diddums.

However, there is one bigger consideration, even for me. Given the choice between a terrible Deal of May's and Remaining (now without any change to current circs) would should we do. Even I am tempted to say remain, for the deal is indeed bad and in that false choice (which may come to us by way of the machinations of Parliament given a minority Government) scenario would Remain actually be better in both the long and short term? It is not an easy decision that. With tRemain, there is a chance to re-gather for future battles with the EU newly weakened by its own court.

Oh how things can change in Politics and it is only Monday!


John in Cheshire said...

My understanding of this decision by the ECJ is that they can alter any legislation, at any time, for any reason, to suit their own purposes.

With that in mind, if our swamp dwellers vote to withdraw our exit from the EU, what's to prevent the ECJ from abolishing Article 50, so that neither we nor any other country can enter leave?

I think whatever means we have must be used to ensure the swamp dwellers take us out of the EU, by March 2019 at the latest.

AndrewZ said...

There’s nothing “unexpected” about this ruling. It would have been very hard for the ECJ to argue that the decision to leave was irrevocable regardless of what might change during the two-year negotiation period – for example, it would mean that if a new government was elected with a mandate to revoke the notification to leave then that government would still be bound by the decision of its predecessor. The only way to justify that position would be to argue that nothing can be done unless it is explicitly authorised by the text of the relevant treaty, which would severely limit what positions the EU or the ECJ would be able to take in future. No surprise that the ECJ didn’t want to impose that “backstop” on itself.

But you also suggest that “Article 50 can be extended and there is nothing the EU Commission can do”. How do you get that from this ruling? It says that the Article 50 notification can be unilaterally revoked, but stopping the process is not the same as extending it. In theory it would be possible to revoke the current notice to leave and then submit a new one later on, but that’s a very improbable scenario.

tolkein said...

Take the deal.

There'll be a technical solution to backstop. EU bound legalistically to consider solution.

We get out in 2020/1 and get out of Customs Union.

personalmusing said...


That is just wrong, clauses requiring the other party to negotiate in good faith get chucked into documents when people can't agree on an issue - they have zero legal utility.

It is trivial to show good faith - just keep talking - and if the EU doesn't like what we want then they have the right to reject it and force us into the backstop.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Neither. There isn’t a binary choice between “the deal” and remaining. Thanks to Gina Miller the U.K. will default to a WTO no-deal.

How anyone can support May’s steaming pile of treasonous ordure is a mystery to me. It combines the disbenefits of staying in without the benefits of leaving, trapped in perpetual vassalage. Normally we would have to defeated in war to accept shit like this.

Jan said...

You turncoat you CU! How could you even suggest remain is an option after all this 2 years of nonsense. The people voted to leave so we have to vote down her proposal as it's BRINO.

Nick Drew said...

Only Monday ???! it's only Monday morning!

Several sources reporting the vote is off for tomorrow. In a perfect world this would mean May is taking the ECJ ruling + some size 12 hobnail boots to Brussels and telling them to make a simple change to the backstop

unfortunately ...

Scan said...

ND, we're here because Cameron tried negotiating with an institution which is unwilling or unable to negotiate because of their political goals. Why would the EU now renegotiate with someone who's never had any intention of asking them for anything?

Tsukemono said...

I don't see what's changed since December last year when this slide was published:

The UK has resembled a dog chasing its tale for the last 12 months and gone nowhere.

Investors - apart from bargain buy takeovers - are staying clear. It'll take a lot to tempt them back given the additional risks, like intra-Conservative chaos and Corbyn.

andrew said...

The side that wins is the side that promises to leave the electorate to watch strictly without being interrupted by any stupid questions.

As CU says, its no deal or stay.
That was obvs 2 years ago

E-K said...

Wonderfully concerted, isn't it.

Lord Blagger said...

There's a simple choice.

May's messy brexit, or a clean brexit where we walk away.

It's far better to walk away. Even Macron says France would vote to leave, and they are in the Eurozone.

It won't take long, Macron has messed up, and that means Melanchon or Le Pen. Take your pick. Both want out of the Euro so the can print the cash.

What's the EU going to do about France issuing a A50 letter? France can always rescind it. New law announced by the courts today.

So we should pull out. If the EU play's silly buggers, play tit-for-tat.

But start with sensible things. No income support or welfare for EU nationals. No recourse to public funds. That sends a clear message, that the UK will implement EU rules in full

Tony Harrison said...

Anyone who doubted May's capacity for vacillation, procrastination and breaking her word must surely have learned something from today's announcement that despite its having been carved in stone outside Number Ten as recently as yesterday, the vote is off... Unless Parliamentary gurus say it can't be postponed, that is, and May is forced kicking & screaming to accept the ruling. Really, you couldn't make it up. It's not only depressing, it's the most embarrassing set of events I can recall since first taking an interest in politics aged about 12. Think I'll have another G&T...

Tucker said...

The view in Brussels in March of this year during a "study trip" for local councillors was.

1. All the UK needs to do is withdraw A50. There was no doubt (even without the later ECJ ruling) that this could be done.

2. The need (on the EU side) for the withdrawal of the A50 letter is the size of the UK economy and its proximity to the EU. They don't want a 300lb economic gorilla unchained on its doorstep.

3. It's all about taming the UK and having it on some sort of leash e.g. Norway +.

4. The Irish issue is the Irish issue. It has nothing to do with the EU as they don't want it. No one wants NI and truth be told, neither does GB.

May has been running down the clock so that #3 comes into play. "No deal" is like the Irish issue - so unpalatable that no one in their right minds would contemplate going there.

Finally if you think the EU are difficult, try the US.

James Higham said...

It’s not a case of “bright enough”. It is that she is committed.