Wednesday 22 May 2019

How is May still there?

Gosh has the political discourse of this Country changed in this decade. It must be considered amongst the most radical with the 1970's, 1940's and 1920's in the last century.

Firstly, our latest example is today, where Prime Minister May has managed to make her unpalatable Withdrawal Agreement more unpalatable. She has the chance to offer Labour the Brexit they wanted in return for getting it through - but in reality they would not trust each other even with this offer.

So now her new deal has goodies for both sides - a possible referendum, possibly reneging on the Irish backstop. This was never going to work, you can't offer more to the two extremes at the same time without annoying both of them.

Her deal, which I will remind everyone who wants to listen was the best compromise ever likely to be available, is now going to garner even fewer votes than before. In fact, I am going to bet on it getting less than 200 in Parliament.

Yet, she has not yet resigned. her key platform and policy is in ruins and the Country's reputation and standing lies with it. Thatcher, Blair and Cameron all went for lesser reasons. People are admiring her tenacity but at this point it is just Brown like brutishness, hanging on for no good reason.

It is a truly through-the-looking-glass world that she does not see the light and go to the Palace. It is obvious to everyone that this method of Withdrawal will not work. The choice, unfortunately, is going to come down to WTO leave or Remain and we will get there by Referendum or General Election.

Secondly, the more crazy thing is the Brexit Party is going to win an election tomorrow with a single policy which is a stupid WTO based Brexit. I won't be voting for such a silly position when the Country needs unity at this time and not further, partisan, division. I can agree with some of the anti-politics rhetoric given the truly terrible performance of the Government and Parliament these past to two years. But it is not enough - the Brexit Party needs some positive policies as well as he anti-politics drive.

Finally, and most comically, is the rise and fall of Change UK. Celebrated by the FT and elites as the anti-dote to the anti-politics, they have simply flopped - Anzio style. No good has come of it and it shows again that the current set of Wesminster politicians are just not up to it - they are not even good at political campaigning which is their job.

In truth, though a general election might lead to place as hard as now, it is really needed. Then we can vote out every member of the current Parliament and start afresh.


Swiss Bob said...

I concur with much of what you write. However I'd caution a general election may not be a fresh start as many Labour candidates will be handpicked by Momentum and we should see the Conservative associations reciprocate by picking their own dogmatic candidates as both parties appeal to themselves rather than actual voters.

BlokeInBrum said...

"Secondly, the more crazy thing is the Brexit Party is going to win an election tomorrow with a single policy which is a stupid WTO based Brexit. I won't be voting for such a silly position when the Country needs unity at this time and not further, partisan, division."

Who would you rather hold on to the levers of power?
A party whose leader is a continual liar?
A party whos cabinet and senior politicians constantly flip-flop as they lack even a single iota of integrity or competency.
The Stupid Party, a party so monumentally dumb and incompetent, or something like the Brexit Party, founded barely weeks ago and already wiping the floor with eveyone else.

When your Party is lurches from one catastrophe to the next in the same vein as the latter half of Gordon Browns premiership, you know you're doing it wrong.

Nigel Sedgwick said...

The so-called Withdrawal Agreement fails in so many ways that further considerations of it are a waste of time.

In particular, it contains no final agreement. At best it contains an outline of the future relationship between the UK and the EU; so not actually any real agreement. And this after close to 3 years of negotiation or posturing - with every expectation that such lack of sense would continue unendingly.

The so-called WA also contains a transition period of unspecified duration (to December 2020 and then unspecified extension). This would, if accepted, surely lead to an ongoing senseless limbo of just the sort we are currently experiencing. One must ask why this time we (UK and EU27) are spending is not used to refine (sorry, that should be define) the final arrangements?

A major advantage of leaving on WTO terms is that there would be a final and complete agreement on the future, now and immediately.

Of course, nothing societal or governmental in the future is ever fixed, so there could be immediate and/or subsequent opportunities to change the final agreement, as the UK and the EU27 went along trading together. And those things not changed would remain on WTO terms: a definitive arrangement - with much less motivation for delay and for posturing about it all.

Best regards

CityUnslicker said...

Thanks for the comments there are no easy answers as we all now know. I just don't think BP is the answer after much consideration - it is a protest party of anti-stuff. If you want that, vote Labour.

As for the WA - WTO Brexit will cause a lot of regulatory and financial discord. It will send us early into the recession which is somewhere on the horizon. it will disproportionately affect some of our most valuable industries and workers in our weaker regions. For me personally, it might even be great. But it is a rubbish idea. The WA - which indeed has the faults Nigel outlines - also has the benefit of avoiding this and being a compromise.

Nigel, if we ran another referendum on no deal versus remain, remain would win 60-40. It is just madness to pretend that this is a democratic outcome the country needs or will benefit from. Rather than speculate, my hunch is we will come to find out in 2019 as another referendum is on the cards if Parliament bottles revoking article 50.

Jan said...

It doesn't really matter at this point if the Brexit party don't have any policies except for leaving the EU. We just need them to get us out on WTO rules and then we can have a general election. It needs to be decisive and fast. I'm not sure how they can do it without any MPs but maybe all the leave MPs already in parliament form a government with Nigel Farage co-opted in. Or perhaps with a decisive win tomorrow it forces TMs hand and she has to announce her resignation and a member of the ERG takes the helm.

I predicted months ago she would have to be prised out. She will likely be dragged out of no 10 kicking and screaming. I don't understand why she feels the need to hang on when she must know the game's up for her.

BlokeInBrum said...

We're not in a position any more where we are seeking the best possible outcome.

The dithering and sheer incompetence of the Government and MPs have ensured that.

Whats left is trying to find the least worst option available.

Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

He also said "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former".

He clearly had politicians in mind when he came up with that.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the purpose of the WTO to encourage world trade ? How can that be bad for Britain ?

The purpose of the EU's Customs Union seems to be to protect various European companies by stifling trade and competition. Protection is never a good long term policy.

Don Cox

Timbo614 said...

Im' with Jan.
Good points but all irrelevant. We all know that Nigel is a one trick pony. All my associates (who are going to vote for Nigel's Party) realise that. There is no future for the Brexit Party post brexit so funding, long term interests, polcies are simply being ignored by leavers in favour of firmly indicating that we want what was voted for, in a word - Brexit!

Anonymous said...

CU - I remember people on this blog were pretty optimistic in 2016/7 that the grown-ups in the room on both sides of the table would sort out a mutually acceptable deal with the EU. I was a lot less optimistic, having seen what the EU was prepared to do to Greece. Politics trumps economics, and the last thing the Empire wants is a constituent part doing well on its own.

Mrs May, faced with EU intransigence, could - and should - have placed the issue before Parliament in the most robust terms. Forget about the country needing unity - you mean the unity of surrender, surrender to the EU and to the fifth column which glories in every EU rebuff. There can be no unity in such a situation. And, as Churchill pointed out in his dealings with another European bloc in 1940, a robust attitude was the only chance of getting a deal which was not a humiliation.

She would, I'm sure, have got a response even from this Parliament of placemen. The Guardian and FT would have hated her, but the public would have responded. And maybe then the EU would have taken a step back. Now they're looting her baggage train and bayonetting the wounded.

"The Country needs unity at this time and not further, partisan, division"

We had a vote. It's not been honoured. To hell with unity with Amber Rudd, Nicky Morgan, Wes Streeting or Chuka Ummuna. Or Blair or Tom Watson.

The post-war economic settlement died maybe 20 years ago. The post war political settlement is on its last legs. We see a "Conservative" Government mandating LGBTQ+ lessons for toddlers, and the head of West Midlands Police telling people not to demonstrate against them. Who voted for him? We see people arrested forsocial media posts, while election candidates have bricks thrown at them and the police in attendance stand by. You never hear the expression "it's a free country" any more.

We are rapidly becoming a third world country, politically, economically, demographically. Just waiting for the British Steel looting operation to end as the British Leyland looting operation did.

Anonymous said...

"the last thing the Empire wants is a constituent part doing well on its own"

And it's working - from today's Guardian

"Rutte has said he wants to challenge the FvD over its championing of the Netherlands leaving the EU, known as Nexit, a policy from which Baudet’s party has publicly backed down in recent months given the split among its supporters in the light of the UK’s troubles with Brexit."

CityUnslicker said...

I am interested in everyone's responses. I too thought I would vote BP for a long while. It is just that in the end I can see that anti-politics won't be the long term solution for the UK. We need a better outcome than no deal or remain.

Of course, I am likely wrong. I thought Parliament would have revoked by now and in a small way am disappointed they have not as that would have brought some decision instead of the interminable dithering.

But we shall all see - I don't doubt BP are going to win handsomely on Thursday and that also is nothing that the more traditional parties deserve more.

Charlie said...

CU, of course you are completely right that anti-politics isn't a long-term solution. But it appears to be the only short-term solution to the miserable offers currently being made by the two main parties. That is why a third of voters are going to put a cross in Farage's box tomorrow. The country just needs to get Brexit over with, frankly. Three years have been pissed away and you can't turn the clock back. Is there anyone who wants another three years of it?

...and if a massive win for BXP in the EU elections is ignored by the Tories, well I think we may well see PM Farage in the next year or three. We're always asking ourselves, "where's our Trump?". He's here, and the current rump sitting in Westminster created him.

Timbo614 said...

@CU. It's not anti-politics, surely this is our democracy in full swing and operating at its best.
How else could Nigel Farage have taken a new political entity from non-existence to 37%(?) in the lastest polls for Euro Elections in a matter of weeks?
You have to hand him something and that is that he "gets stuff done" albeit not any physical stuff yet but you have to admit it is impressive.
The country is crying out for someone to "get stuff done" we have had nothing but procrastination for 3 years. Nigel Farage hits that spot - things get done/created.

To be clear I don't want him as PM but I don't really want Boris either. This is the hour...where is the (wo)man?

Anonymous said...

No, it isn't anti-politics. It is anti the two current parties, but so was the initial growth of the Labour party. Labour replaced the Whigs, and perhaps TBP will replace the Tories.

From another point of view, I see Farage as a fighter for independence, like Kenyatta and other independence leaders in the British Empire.

Don Cox

BlokeInBrum said...

And again, the Conservative party have kicked the can with the '22 Committee giving May a free pass.
How bad do things have to get before the Conservatives finally defenestrate her?
As for strategy and tactics; voters are perfectly aware that they have been lied to constantly. What other options are open to people who voted for leave and want to see their wishes carried out as they were promised? A vote for the Brexit Party is a good an indication as any, it's the only party with the exception of UKIP that is pro leave.
A vote for the Tories at this point will be taken by them as condoning their (in)activity and they will simply then carry on regardless.
It looks like a bit of creative destruction is required now. If the party isn't willing to reform as to more accurately represent their activists and voters then maybe it has to be destroyed and be rebuilt from the ground up.

DJK said...

Besides the BP, the SDP are in favour of Brexit. They apparently have one MEP. I'm not sure if he is standing tomorrow, or if they have any other candidates.

Anonymous said...

Boris is perfectly capable of a May-style betrayal. I'd back Andrea Leadsom, if only because she was right about May, which is one thing more than May has ever been right about. We are seeing the consequences of May the Home Secretary on our streets every day.

While principled MPs may avoid Boris, if the Rudds and the Morgans sniff a deal/sellout I could see it happening, under the rubric of "uniting the party".

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day it's the EU elections, deciding to vote Brexit Party in these is very different to voting Brexit Party in a General Election.

If we do Remain, I'd rather have an MEP that is going to support Britain's interests in the EU (accepting the fact that MEP's don't really have much power)

If we don't remain then it doesn't matter, so use this vote as a reminder to the British political class of what we actually voted for in 2016.

I firmly believe the political elite honestly believe that us mere mortals were confused about what we voted for and so believe they are acting morally to save us for ourselves and our own stupidity for not wanting to be part of the EU.

Now of course by Brexit party doing well this is just going to cause them to double down - they'll believe we're even more stupid then they originally thought, because why on earth, given where we are today, would we still want to leave.

So who knows where this will end up, but don't see what other choice there is currently.

SubOptimal said...

Completely leave with WTO or enthusiastically join the EU are ideologically pure extremes that don't seem that popular with actual voters. The great british public always seem happier with a messy compromise than a purist extreme. The most likely ending for this has always been either a feather soft leave or remain - so in my autistic way I just don't get the intensity of the arguing over such similar outcomes.

As a programmer I am familiar with temporary solutions staying in place for rest of the product life, so I can see a soft leave staying in place and not ever turning into a real exit. Remain seems a slightly more plausible 'slippery slope' to me, though weirdly even vehement Remainers often aren't enthusiastic about joining the eurozone.

So does anyone really think remain will turn into eurozone membership in the foreseeable future? Or that soft leave will become hard exit after our civil servants have another go at negotiating - in at least a decades time when the demos has become more pro-remain?

Quoting from another blog about economics and politics (and hit and miss humour) I read recently

"Same with the 70% Tax! meme. To the progressive, especially one looking to move our society much further left, it stands for a willingness to finally do something about wealth inequality. It stands for the belief that the poorest in our society shouldn’t be struggling to get by while the wealthiest select new layouts for the galley in their yacht. It stands for workers. It stands for single parents. It stands for funding the policies and programs that would support them. It stands for equality and fairness. And yes, to some, it stands for sticking it to some rich people we don’t especially like.

To the opposition, the 70% Tax! meme is about encroaching influence of central planners and socialists. It is about those who would take economic freedom from us to implement their own idealized view of the world. It is about institutionalized hatred of the rich and successful. It is about crippling economic growth, creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit in favor of making everyone poorer, if more equal.

Except it isn’t really either of those things. It’s a policy that isn’t going to happen. Even if by some miracle/nightmare it did, it’s a marginal tax that doesn’t raise much money, which after new and existing deductions probably won’t end up costing rich people anything, which won’t fund a single program, which won’t stop a single new venture from being formed, and which won’t change a thing about wealth inequality."

I've read this blog for years but hardly ever posted. Its weird to think how much energy has gone into arguments over the symbolic importance of two different ways to trade with the EU without joining the eurozone.

E-K said...

WTO would not be forever. WA is shocking.

E-K said...

May is still in office because her EU handlers are as powerful as the ones who deposed the mighty Thatcher after a single speech.

Whichever way you vote you get EU and socialism.

Nick Drew said...

the funny thing is, Kev - the EU isn't socialist

but it is 100% non-democratic: a hierocracy (or hagiocracy / jesuitocracy / secular theocracy, whatever you want to call it)

AndrewZ said...

Change UK resembles a group of middle managers who’ve spent their entire working lives at one large corporation before they suddenly leave to set up a small business of their own. They think they know everything there is to know about running a business, only to find out the hard way just how much more difficult it is when you don’t have the backing of a huge organisation with an established brand. It’s a classic case of bureaucrats trying to be entrepreneurs, with entirely predictable results.

Anonymous said...

Our current governing system has, partially, morphed into an aristocracy, and is heading ever moreso. So I'm not really buying into the anti-politics part, we've been in uncharted waters since the Blair era subsumed the media and undermined various independent bodies, and ever since something different to traditional politics has been uncomfortably wearing the skin of said traditional politics. The rips are showing.

Brexit has both become the point we've left the shallows of those waters and also something of a revolution.

Remain have been foolishly trying to repeat the last war, when they should have been gearing up to argue returning to the EU, and that has been the root of the divisiveness.

Along with May's abject failure to involve Parliament from the start, failure to hold the Remain campaign to account for binding her hands by themselves defining Brexit as out of the Single Market and Customs Union and complete lack of competence, we're in a bit of a fragile period.

At this point I care little if we're back in the EU and spending Euros instead of pounds in 5 years, but leaving is paramount to ratcheting us back towards unity. If Brexit is frustrated I fear the consequences. The Far Right and Far Left will lap up the disaffected, our already damaged political system will find a few more spokes kicked out.

And if that happens, along with communities increasingly doing their own policing, we may not see much in the way of unity for a couple of generations.

Sobers said...

"Her deal, which I will remind everyone who wants to listen was the best compromise ever likely to be available,"

Utter utter utter bollocks. A) the 'deal' is an abject surrender, there was never any 'negotiations' taking place from the UK side whatsoever, it was just a case of taking exactly what the EU wanted, and B) the WA is akin to the rapist telling his victim she can either be raped, or 'legally consent' to sex with him. The effect is the same, but the latter is worse because she can't even accuse him of a crime. The WA is like being in the EU, only worse. Its has to be one of the worse treaties agreed by a government, ever. Anyone from the UK who agrees with it must hate their own country to want to subject it to such a humiliation.

CityUnslicker said...

Sobers - none of that stops it being the best DEAL that was going to be available with the shitty EU on the other side of the table.

Sobers said...

"none of that stops it being the best DEAL that was going to be available with the shitty EU on the other side of the table"

So do you walk into a car show room and say to the salesman 'I'd like to buy a car. But first we must negotiate the price. Once thats done we can then negotiate which car I'll get for that price'? And then walk out all happy because getting a second hand 100k banger for £30k was the very best deal that you could possibly have got in the circumstances?

Anonymous said...

I spoke to Farage at a party last year and congratulated him on his achievement, ie his sole political aim of leaving the EU. I asked him what was next and his response was 'I don't care, I blew up British politics'

You can draw your own conclusions from that but my view is that he's pretty good at saying what he thinks is wrong with the world, but offers nothing in terms of how to work to make it better.

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