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Brexit built on lies – still suffering.

Written By: - Date published: 5:16 am, October 18th, 2019 - 45 comments
Categories: International, uk politics - Tags: , , , , , ,

In the UK, Boris Johnson has just had a rather nasty setback in trying to get support for his Brexit package. It looks remarkably like the last one – which failed three times in parliament. It looks like the clone with tweaks will fail again.

“Brexit: DUP says it cannot support customs terms in Boris Johnson’s deal – live news”

The background to this is that the DUP vote is going to be absolutely critical to get any legislation into parliament with any hope of  it passing. Earlier reporting gives the background

Boris Johnson is in a race against time to secure the Democratic Unionist party’s backing for his newly negotiated Brexit deal as EU leaders said they were ready to approve the agreement on Thursday if the prime minister succeeds.

Plans to publish a full legal text ahead of the leaders’ summit had to be put on hold to the frustration of EU officials after the DUP raised a series of objections to the tentative agreement.

With time short, Johnson told a meeting of Conservative MPs he was hopeful of a deal but it felt like he was on the Hillary Step of Mount Everest while the summit was “shrouded in mist”.

The prime minister appeared to have the party’s hardline Eurosceptics onboard, including Steve Baker, who said Johnson had briefed them that the whole of the UK was leaving the customs union. But they also added a note of caution that they could not vote for any Brexit deal without seeing a legal text. The 21 former Tory MPs who have recently lost their whip could also rebel.

Basically the Irish on both sides of the border were always going to be the main stumbling block since this could effectively tear up the basis of the Good Friday agreement that ultimately forged enough of a political consensus to stop the civil war in Northern Ireland. 

Which makes it surprising that they weren’t brought into the agreement a lot earlier. But that does appear to be the trademark of the Boris government just as much as it was during the lead up to Brexit. Brash over-confidence and massive under delivery.

But this will dominate the politics in the UK  and Europe for the next few days. It is going to have to get unanimous approval from the EU members including the government of Eire, pass the British Parliament – where it will need to rely on the support of at least some of the members that Boris effectively tossed out of his Tory party last month for disagreeing with him over his actions about Brexit, and pass into legislation.

I suspect that Boris Johnson will try to eat his words and try to get a third extension of time from the EU. Otherwise Boris is going to find out the real underlying powers of Parliament are somewhat more than he can avoid before this comes anywhere close to passing its third reading in parliament.

The problem with getting actual agreement on Brexit was the flawed process followed to get to it. Referendums should never be singletons. That just leads to a great opportunities to lie without responsibility, as was so apparent in the UK’s Brexit referendum. With referendums, there needs to be a definite plan to be voted for or against in at least one of the referendums. 

While both sides exaggerated, what was very clear in 20:20 hindsight was that there was a pretty deliberate campaign to do so on the Brexit side. There are multiple ongoing inquiries into breaches of campaign financing and other breaches of campaign law.

The Brexit side tried to make it look like the whole process would be almost completely painless. Which it was never going to be bearing in mind the regional differences within the UK. The problem has been in details, most of which weren’t highlighted in the Brexit campaigns. Like the implications to the Northern Ireland peace agreement.

What has been apparent is that the EU has been leaning over backwards to be reasonable about the intent of the UK to leave. They have also been responsible about their previous obligations to members like Eire and the agreements like Northern Ireland and many other previously agreed ongoing programs. 

But really all of these things should have been part of the detail of a second referendum. In NZ referendums that have succeeded have all been two part referendums. First to determine a interest in pursuing an option. The second being an option between the status quo and enabling legislation so everyone is really sure what they’re voting for. That has allowed us to avoid the kind of quandary that we’re seeing in the UK.

45 comments on “Brexit built on lies – still suffering. ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Farage is not pleased …

  2. Dukeofurl 2

    DUP is no longer important to the Conservatives. What people are thinking about was the minority Conservatives under May which needed the 10 DUP votes to govern.

    The defections since Johnson came to power mean the 10 votes make no difference , plus Johnson wants an election not a 'working majority' for normal government.

    Heres a deal with the EU , which the people who went to Court were adamant shouldnt happen , now they can vote to leave under those conditions.

    We we see if all the talk about 'stopping a no deal exit' suddenly becomes another referendum or other means to stop Brexit completely- that was the intention all along.

  3. Dukeofurl 3

    "since this could effectively tear up the basis of the Good Friday agreement that ultimately forged enough of a political consensus to stop the civil war in Northern Ireland. "

    This is incorrect and is part of the ‘scare’ campaign. I have looked through the Good Friday Agreement, theres pages of details about the way the Northern Ireland Assembly works – a compusory parrallel consensus with unionist and nationalist ( Sinn Fein and DUP). the Northern Ireland Police and so on . Pages and pages.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-belfast-agreement

    The border is barely mentioned, and then only about removing military posts. These arent returning. ( Britain and Ireland have had freedom of movement since 1922)

    However the most important part of the GFA about the Northern Ireland Assembly has been broken with no longer a functioning government under GFA rules. Wheres the breakdown in civil order over this ?

    This is far more important than customs rules for not important border

    This why its important to go beyond the opinions of guardian columnists, especially from the Republic

  4. Dukeofurl 4

    Headlines change everything

    "Jean-Claude Juncker said there will be NO extension beyond Oct 31st if MPs reject it – leaving Remainer rebels backed into a corner"

    Guardian spins it differently, which cant make a difference now

    "EU leaves door open to Brexit extension, in blow to Boris Johnson

    Member states decline to follow Jean-Claude Juncker, who ‘ruled out’ further delay

    There is no separate approval required from Dublin either. Johnson has been meeting privately with Varadker to get him on board

    • Varadker is irrelevant, he is towing the EU line…..Boris needed the DUP on board and they are going to vote against the deal, not abstain.

      If the DUP accepted this deal it would mean they would be accepting a giant step towards Irish unification across the whole island.

      There is a slim possibility that even without the DUP the deal could get through-Corbyn should threaten to remove the whip from any Labour members who vote for the deal or abstain because it flies in the face of Labour Party values, especially workers rights.

      • Dukeofurl 4.1.1

        No he doesnt 'need' the DUP. Tories are 35 short not the 6 short under May for running a government.

        This is only for the Deal approval as a new Election will follow immediately. As well the major parties are split amoungst themseves, so the normal party lines dont seem to count.

        The EU Commision had said there is no extension to this deal and now the EU Council has given their unanimous approval. ( Tusker said they might not agree)

        ""The European Council endorses the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community," the European Council conclusions read.

        • Bearded Git 4.1.1.1

          The EU will grant an extension if MP's reject the deal. FIFY.

          This will be a fascinating election. Arise PM Jeremy I predict.

          • Dukeofurl 4.1.1.1.1

            Juncker has ruled that out. Do you not read the papers

            "Jean-Claude Juncker said there will be NO extension beyond Oct 31st if MPs reject it –"

            I get you are 'under 25 yrs old' and think that things happen because you believe them to be so, is spite of no evidence to back it.

  5. mpledger 5

    What the UK should have done on such an important issue was to make the change based on a 2/3 votes rather than 50/50. For such a significant change you want the country to be with you and you don't get that on a 50/50 vote.

    If you get a chance to see "Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History" ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008c47 ) it's worth watching to find out who the DUP are. It's pretty ballsy of the BBC to commission it but maybe they thought every day English people needed to know who the Conservatives are brokering deals with and what things could return to in Northern Ireland.

    • mpledger 5.1

      How making a UK/EU boarder in Ireland is going to be difficult (with pictures!)…

      https://www.irishcentral.com/news/brexit-border-northern-ireland

      • Dukeofurl 5.1.1

        That border has existed like that since 1922 long before the EU existed.

        There was supposed to be border realignment along religious grounds and sort out the wiggles after partition. This was instead of the ancient county boundaries. The deal that Eire made to keep the 'old' border was because the UK kept all the debt.

    • Dukeofurl 5.2

      Scotland independence referendum was only a majority one. Should that 'big deal' be 2/3 ?

      • mpledger 5.2.1

        Yes, I think so. You've got to have a significant majority heading in the same direction or else every decision going forward becomes factionalised rather than argued on its merits.

        I think that once opinion tips off 50/50 then it will race to 66%.

    • Dukeofurl 5.3

      Did you not know that the DUP grew out of the Paisleyists and the unionist militia?

      Did you not know that Sinn Fein comes from a similar background?

      • mpledger 5.3.1

        There is a difference between knowing and seeing things told in a coherent way and through the many eyes of the people who experienced it. And it was told in a pretty even-handed way given it was for a UK audience.

  6. Gosman 6

    I am actually impressed with what Johnson has negotiated. He probably cares less about the DUP than peeling off some Labour party MP's who are from leave constituencies. If he successfully does this then he has a chance of getting his deal through. If he manages that then he is pretty much guaranteed victory at the next election.

    • tc 6.1

      Agreed, my what a wonderful world we currently have with all these 'leaders' about the place.

      Hidden marrionette strings, supplied scripts and an undermined opposition from both within and outside their own party.

      It's democracy Jim, but not as we knew it.

    • Dukeofurl 6.2

      This tells you that the Tory 'government' has 288 seats out of 650 .

      Do you think 10 from the DUP will matter when they are 38 'short' of a bare majority ?

      You are still thinking of the situation when May was PM. Everything changed with various resignations and expulsions.

      There are 36 independents.

      • Gosman 6.2.1

        Many of those independents voted for May's deal. I doubt they will object to voting for Johnson's one. It would make them look like they are deliberately spoiling Brexit. If Johnson offers to let them come back in to the Tory party fold I suspect most will happily oblige.

        • Dukeofurl 6.2.1.1

          They have thrown in towel without being offered return to Tory party. Their electorates might not want them now. But as is the norm in Britain they can shop themselves around to other electorates who could be interested. Dropping out of parliament( or Cabinet) doesnt seem to hinder a political career for permanent politicians

          Latest news

          "This comes as Winston Churchill’s sacked grandson Nicholas Soames announced he and fellow Tory rebels will vote in favour of Mr Johnson’s deal.

          He told the BBC: “My quarrel with the PM was over nothing, except for No Deal. So there is a deal, and I will vote for it and so will many of my colleagues who had the whip taken away from them.”

    • You may be right Gos that the deal might sneak through (see my comment above) and for this reason Corbyn should threaten to remove the whip from any Labour MP who votes for the deal or abstains.

      One has to ask whether a deal that has sneaked through 51.9 versus 48.1 and 318 versus 317 is ever going to be accepted by what is now clearly a pro-EU population.

      • Dukeofurl 6.3.1

        Pleeeese.. What 'acceptance' , the optionis to leave with an agreement or leave with no agreement. There is no 3rd option

        The deal to leave was the policy of the Tories and labour for the 2017 election, where both increased their votes substantially . The SNP and the LDP ( remainers) didnt do so well. That was your 2nd referendum.

        The die has been cast , the Brits will queue for anything . Its been France who has been paralyses by violent demonstrations and Germany which didnt have a new government for 4 months after its elections

        • Bearded Git 6.3.1.1

          17 million voted to leave and 16 million voted to remain.

          In such circumstances a confirmatory referendum, with all the facts on the table THIS TIME is entirely reasonable.

          • Dukeofurl 6.3.1.1.1

            Politically unacceptable. How could even frame questions like 'Northern Ireland follows EU VAT rules and Customs rules for Agriculture and manufacturing ( but excludes tampons)' or how Stormont votes on ending the Backstop?

            Look at the list of the EU referendums

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendums_related_to_the_European_Union

            Major changes were done with Single referendums most places had none

            Single European Act

            Maastricht Treaty

            Treaty of Amsterdam

            Treaty of Nice

            European Constitution

            Mostly change was offered as a yes/No vote.

            many places that had second referendums were only to reverse a No vote.

            Norway voted twice to not join EU but in practice they are part of the EU by other means

            The Greek Bailout Referendum of 2015 was rejected by the Greeks ( 61%), but their government then accepted even harsher bailout terms. The EU dont play nice

            • Craig H 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Easy enough – 2 votes. Vote on remain vs leave, and this deal or no deal. If remain has a majority, that's the outcome. If leave has a majority, then there's a deal if that vote has a majority, or not if that's the vote.

              • ScottGN

                Or the Commons votes on Boris’s deal. If it passes then, that’s it done UK leaves. If it fails then I guess the Benn Act kicks in and we see if an extension will be granted, supposing Boris agrees to write the letter. Then I guess we go through it all again 3 months down the line…

          • ScottGN 6.3.1.1.2

            Is that Remainers last stand now BG? A ‘confirmatory’ referendum? Keir Starmer was banging on about it the other day. Pity they didn’t think to include that requirement in the initial enabling legislation for the referendum as held in 2016.

            • Dukeofurl 6.3.1.1.2.1

              Historical minutiae

              Labours 1974 manifesto had an EU membership renegotiation and referendum provision.

              The 1975 UK referendum about EU membership – from the then minority labour government after Ted Heaths previous Conservatives had taken UK into the then EU.

              official party positions.

              Stay : Conservatives, Liberals

              Neutral: labour

              Leave: SNP , Plaid Cymru , both Ulster Unionist partys

  7. Sanctuary 7

    The British public seems to be sick to death of Brexit, or more to the point sick to death of the thrashing about of a technocratic governing elite that is bitterly dived between authoritarian and technocratic neoliberal ultras who want to remain and the fake populists of the disaster capitalist reactionary chancers and grifters who want to leave.

  8. It's interesting to see who or what are most exercised by the Brexit fandangle in this post.

    I think that what is behind this is that the Consevatives want to wind back Britain to a mix of Victorian morals and bold business adventuring with big fortunes for some, and permanently low incomes for the majority, coupled with the USA busy casting its QE money around the place. They will be sold the NHS and make money out of selling the sick and dying nostrums as big pharma is trying to do here. They will set out to scoop up worthwhile bits of UK and will create the same false sense of wealth in UK as selling our resources and private and public infrastructure has given us.

    Meanwhile the English speaking nations will become the least favourite nations of the world seen as voracious and predatory as they ally themselves to any government trying to similarly squeeze its people and land for anything that it can monetise. They will act in effect to take the physical resources of the planet and vapourise it, despoiling the planet to build intricate machines used to go into space, or explore for anything else to be found. And backing all this will be the IT despotic regime that will remove the ability to freely act and think in a straightforward and individual way without using a device of some sort that funnel thoughts of action and ideas past surveillance or checks and the will will need permission to be used by most ordinary people.

    That's my prognosis after watching, reading and listening for some decades. What we are achieving now is trying to limit the loss and damage caused by the increase in affluence which has enabled rampant consumerism but has not led to more time in thinking and philosophy and ethics. We are all sinking into the grossness of the nouveau riche – I hope that watching Mr Creosote actually does illustrate something to us. If you go to the end after brief disgust at gut-wrenching Mr C, there is the lovely meaningful skit 'Monty Python Society For Putting Things On Top of Other Things'.

    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v29QfOyuZ3Y

    No doubt someone will wish or think they should throw a bucket of cold water over me. But at present I am reading about how Hungarian Jews were treated at the end of WW2. No doubt if someone had advised them of their future prior to 1939 they would have felt the same.

    • Dukeofurl 8.1

      So you start off with Brexit and end with genocide with a farrago of thoughts in between.

      So the EU isnt going to be doing what Britain outside the EU does? Trade, sell consumer goods ( H&M , Mercedes, Airbus)

    • Dukeofurl 9.1

      There is no 3rd option of a new referendum. The EU says no extensions, Johnson doesnt want one either.

      What has Captain Cook got to do with it? You should check what happened to The people of Rapa Nui when the Spainish arrived, taken into slavery in peru

      • Paaparakauta 9.1.1

        Did Tangata Whenua have the option of referendum ?

        By the standards of the time Te Tiriti was an enlightened move, but also pragmatic wrt logistics of war. That came later with von Tempsky and the NSW militia.

        It is also why I have a high regard for 'Utu', filmed by a Victorian graduate.

    • Gosman 9.2

      I love now that Captain Cook is regarded as some kind of evil villain…

  9. Ad 10

    Boris Johnson will get his bill through just fine.

    The Labour Members whose electorates voted Leave – and there were plenty of them – will give him the numbers.

    Unfortunately such Labour floor-crossers won't be rewarded for it, because Johnson will rise with his triumph like a mastermind of Churchillian brilliance. Rather than be known for what he actually is.

    With Corbyn seeking to achieve the most unpopular move in the country – vote for another Brexit delay – the Conservatives will streak ahead in popularity. With that goes the election. The Conservatives will romp in.

    The consequences for the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish societies will be pretty bad (other than from London southwards). Also deeply, deeply corrosive for Labour. Also deeply, deeply corrosive for democracy itself in the UK.

    Unfortunately there's no coulda-woulda-shouldas with this one. They won.

    • Paaparakauta 10.1

      What would be the best UK Labour strategy ?
      They need a positive alternative.

    • Treetop 10.2

      Vote the Johnson deal. The May deal is dead. The stay is history and a delayed Brexit just draws it out and may be more expensive.

      Corbyn has nothing better to offer.

  10. Sacha 11

    Half hour interview with Blair's old spin-doctor Alastair Campbell about the manoeuvering https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018718416/alastair-campbell-brexit-latest

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    3 weeks ago