• boethius
    51
    So far, there have been no signs of sufficient parliamentary support for a referendum. This may change if it looks like supporting a referendum is the only way to avoid a no deal situation. I am not holding my breath though, the second referendum is very dangerous to the individual careers of politicians.Echarmion

    Yes, I completely agree with this sentiment. The danger to careers is grave indeed; however, disorderly Brexit would be dangerous for the conservative party as a whole and at some point the interests of the country do override careerism.

    At the end of the day (in my view) a second referendum is the only way to have some sort of closure to the situation (now that a soft-Brexit deal is dead).

    That's correct, I thought a referendum would've been impossible in the given time frame before March 29.Benkei

    Though the official time-frames seem unfeasible, the EU is at the end of the day a democratic institution and there's no realistic way for bureaucrats (or the leaders of the other countries) to not acquiesce to giving more time for a referendum if Britain requests it.

    I think the second and better option would be to have a general election.Benkei

    Though I agree a general election would be a good idea, it would likely be a disaster for the Tories so they will do everything to avoid it (and thus make concession to the DUP necessary). I feel strategically, the only reasonable option is to about face and call a second referendum now that the deal is defeated in parliament and there can be a binary "hard Brexit or reverse Brexit" vote. This would provide closure to the situation as well as time for the Tories to reorganize post-massive-ridicule.

    ... Of course the whole point of the first referendum was to resolve internal Tory differences, and that didn't work out so well for them. However, the basic logic that a referendum can provide fairly long term closure to an issue remains sound. Not that reversing Brexit with a referendum wouldn't cause high levels of consternation and lingering bitterness and division, just seems the least bad option of only bad options at this point.
  • Benkei
    1.8k
    [ Well Parliament just voted against no deal and they voted against what the EU says is the best deal possible. How much sense does it make to put the same question to the people in a referendum? And what if it's a piddling majority again?
  • Michael
    7.6k
    We just need to revoke our notice of leaving. It's the only sensible option.

    Come at me @S.
  • S
    8.5k
    We just need to revoke our notice of leaving. It's the only sensible option.

    Come at me S.
    Michael

    I relented ages ago. Better that then making a pig's ear of everything. Or rather, even more of a pig's ear.
  • Benkei
    1.8k
    Third time is the charm apparently as May is going to submit the same deal yet again! I doubt a 100 MPs will be cowed into voting for it after the discussions yesterday. She's obviously out of ideas that she's trying it again.
  • boethius
    51
    Well Parliament just voted against no deal and they voted against what the EU says is the best deal possible. How much sense does it make to put the same question to the people in a referendum? And what if it's a piddling majority again?Benkei

    Yes, the other option is to resolve the issue in parliament.

    However, the vote was for a "no-deal Brexit" in the context of Brexit still supposedly happening. It's not yet a vote to cancel Brexit.

    I agree that parliament can just cancel Brexit, but that's simply not good democratic principles for parliament to override a referendum that they said they wouldn't override. A referendum to overturn a referendum resolves that issue.

    In my opinion, the Tory leadership likely knew there was no way the deal would pass the first or second time (though they needed to advance like they didn't know that, to successfully complete a negotiation with the EU, to both say they tried and for the EU to say it's the best deal available), and so, knowing it wouldn't pass because presumably they know the position of their own members, the strategy was to wind down the clock to be able to push through a resolution of the situation without a general election. Once the solution emerges, either parliament or calling a referendum, the Tories will be all "sorwy, no time for a general election, we're really, truly sorwy". After the situation is resolved, the Tories can then try to outlast the embittering stench of the whole thing and focus the nation on other issues for the next general election. Whereas a general election in the midst of the consequences of your party's total incompetence is bad timing. Also the reason calling a snap election before starting the negotiation, before the impossibility of the task was clear, also helps avoid an election during the deed.
  • Benkei
    1.8k
    However, the vote was for a "no-deal Brexit" in the context of Brexit still supposedly happening. It's not yet a vote to cancel Brexit.boethius

    Wait, they voted against a "no-deal Brexit" right?

    I think your assessment of the Tory strategy is unfortunately quite accurate. We'll see today I suppose.
  • Wayfarer
    7k
    So it’s: “Deal? Or No Deal”?

    NEITHER, roars the house.
  • ssu
    996

    Perhaps the British Parliament chooses this very postmodern choice and simply insists that it hasn't decided on the issue when May brings it the third time to vote.

    If the EU thinks this is simply a no-deal Brexit, perhaps the British will say otherwise.
  • boethius
    51
    Wait, they voted against a "no-deal Brexit" right?Benkei

    Yes, I meant to say voted for no "no-deal-Brexit".

    Yes, I don't see any other interpretation available. The idea that May didn't see losing by the largest margin ever, doesn't stand muster. Their strategy has worked surprisingly well so far, but there still has to be some definitive action at some point, so it will be interesting how they do that and what the fallout will be. Will the whole Brexit thing just be a bad memory that everyone wants to forget? Or will the Brexiters come roaring back? Of course, presuming Brexit is now dead, which I think it is.
  • ssu
    996
    Will the whole Brexit thing just be a bad memory that everyone wants to forget?boethius
    That really would be the thing. If now, some 15 days before Brexit should happen somehow the UK would say "Nah. Forget it. I won't leave" it would be... I don't know what it would be. What has then the UK government done for a long time? Months of agony for nothing?

    I would though want to see the faces of Brexiteers then.
  • Benkei
    1.8k
    excellent idea then of Tusk to try and give her an extension... :rofl:
  • Wayfarer
    7k
    this is unbelievably tedious. So now all this blathering and dithering is going to go on for months, or even years. Terrific. :rage:
  • Benkei
    1.8k
    Now that Parliament has voted in favour of an extension, Brexiteers are faced with the choice of May's deal or a possibly long extension in which a lot can happen. Looked at that way, Tusk did May a favour by offering an extension making that risk more real.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    The future of Britain is now in Germany’s hands. Again.
    *
  • Pattern-chaser
    801
    If our elected representatives cannot find a way to implement the result of the first referendum - and it seems so far that they can't - is there any alternative to a second referendum? Must Parliament not return to the people and say "we tried to implement your wishes, but we have failed to find agreement. All the available options we can find are these: XXX YYY ZZZ. As we cannot choose between them, we return to the people for your decision."

    What (democratic) alternative is there?
  • ssu
    996
    The newspaper Helsingin Sanomat pondered about the problem of the next elections to the European Parliament. What if the UK is still a member? What happens to the seats that now have been already have been planned to be divided to others when the UK leaves? And just how willing will the British be to participate in EU elections when the country is leaving the EU?
  • Pattern-chaser
    801
    All good points. It would seem that British participation in the forthcoming elections makes as much sense as allowing 90-year-olds to vote on Brexit, when they will never live to experience the result of their actions. [Many have already died since the referendum.] So I agree with you, that Brutish [Freudian slip?] participation in the EU elections looks like a Bad Thing for all concerned.
  • boethius
    51
    If our elected representatives cannot find a way to implement the result of the first referendum - and it seems so far that they can't - is there any alternative to a second referendum? Must Parliament not return to the people and say "we tried to implement your wishes, but we have failed to find agreement. All the available options we can find are these: XXX YYY ZZZ. As we cannot choose between them, we return to the people for your decision."

    What (democratic) alternative is there?
    Pattern-chaser

    Yes, this is more-or-less the position I've been debating with, mostly @Benkei. A more or less standard governing principle is that things can only be overturned by an equally authoritative process. A duke cannot overturn the ruling of a king etc. A lower court cannot overturn a higher court. In this framework, then we'd normally conclude only a referendum could overturn the results of a referendum. If government represents the will of the people, then their can be no higher authoritative deliberation process than a vote that directly represents that will. One can argue it's the will of the people to not be consulted directly in referenda (including a will to not have a referendum about having referendums), but once a referendum is held it's difficult to argue less direct expressions of the people's will, such as representatives, can overturn that vote.

    So, this is why I think this logic can ultimately not be escaped and without a second referendum there can be no closure (in a no-Brexit scenario, which seems very likely due to the parliament votes against and for reasons discussed below), and why I think it's ultimately likely (that the EU will give whatever time is needed to have another referendum, so the "running out of time" issue is not a fundamental obstacle.

    The problem is that referendum aren't a real thing in the UK (unwritten) constitution, so technically it was an advisory referendum to just poll the sentiments of the people .... but, the conservative government promised they'd treat it as final (presumably thinking Brexit would lose and they could declare the issue final).

    So the situation is unprecedented and has no firm legal basis; what does the verbal promise of the last prime-minister to treat the results of an advisory referendum as more than what it is legally mean? No one knows. The situation is also unprecedented because a government who's official policy was to stay in the EU called am unnecessary referendum on a thing that if passed they had no plan to achieve. Normally referendum are called when the party that promotes the policy is in office and has either an actual plan to carry the policy through or the will to deal with the chaotic fallout (for instance, the Quebec referendum happened when the separatist party of Quebec was in government in Quebec, so there was no doubt what would happen if the separatist party won a referendum on separation). In the case of Brexit, the conservative party believed in the democratic right of a referendum and promised one to appeal to voters on the far right anti-EU (stem vote-bleed to UKIP) as well as settle any internal debate within their own party.

    The result of this is total ambiguity of what the referendum meant legally, but as importantly a political situation for the governing conservatives that has no solution. Their brand isn't "screw the EU, economy be damned", but rather "fiscal responsibility" (of course, their fiscal policies of privatization and lowering social investments of all kinds, in particular immigration integration while being tough of immigrants but also letting in as many as possible to drive down wages, and support of the oil industry, arms manufacturers and banks at all costs, leads directly to the economic dislocations that inspired people to vote Brexit, but usually over a longer period of time that goes unnoticed by an uneducated population which is achieved through low social investments, closing the circle of ignorance that the conservatives need to prosper). Suffice to say, making a swift work of impoverishing people is noticeably off-brand. An analogy would be that you're a sadistic bus driver trying to drive some clueless voyagers of a cliff; but on the way you run into a tree and people lose confidence in your bus riding skills and start to question the whole project of going to cloud-world (like, cloud-world sounds great, especially if you just need to just enjoy the ride to get there without doing anything but trust the leaders ... or maybe cloud world is a mirage and the leaders are just pocketing your fair and bringing you to drown in a flood of poverty): point is, rock your own boat and you maybe out of a job and you don't get to destroy society, it's bad for business. So an actual Brexit isn't an acceptable solution (for the conservatives interested in keeping a job); "soft-Brexit" that carries all the costs of staying in the EU but less benefit and no say in its governance no sane politician would vote for (it's like a restaurant running low on supplies that decides to deliver rotten food to their impatient clients; the joy of being served is short-lived); and reversing Brexit would re-ignite (with much added fuel) the internal debates and vote-bleed to UKIP and demonstrate total incompetence in every way imaginable.

    As I mentioned in my last post, the only viable strategy is to run-down the clock and then have a referendum (the least bad option, as at least you can hide behind "the will of the people"), then manufacture other crisii before the next general election, probably war and violence and fear.
  • Benkei
    1.8k
    Well, the EU just screwed everyone by putting demands on the short delay. Brexiteers do not fear the option of a no-deal Brexit so it does exactly 0 to improve the chances of a deal Brexit. Then May started blaming MPs which does exactly 0 to improve her chances of them supporting her, however right her assessment is.

    If the goal is to avoid a no deal brexit. The EU should offer a 2 year extension, no strings attached but that the UK continues to meet all its obligations towards the EU during that period. That offer is mutually beneficial and can be done based on the friendship that exists and is Brexiteers' worst fear because a lot can happen in 2 years.
  • ssu
    996
    The EU should offer a 2 year extension, no strings attachedBenkei
    Oh God. This nuisance just pushed forward for 2 years and then started again.
    Yes, that would be so typical EU.

    Let's get it over with it. Let's have a no-deal Brexit. It's not a big deal.

    And while we are at it, lets demand visas from British coming here and similar immigration procedures from those British citizens living in the EU as we demand from others non-EU citizens, like Afghans, Syrians and Somalis or Americans living here. This actually would help the Brexiteers to get the backbone to enforce their objective in a similar fashion to deport all the EU migrant worker scum, all those Poles and Lithuanians, that the for-Brexit people didn't want in their country anyway. When the EU would do it first, they would have a clean conscience of having been forced to do the same.
  • unenlightened
    3.3k
    I think the EU has more or less reached the 'fuck off and die' position, where a no deal brexit is preferable to having to deal with this miserable madness for another 2 years. They surely don't want dozens of Farages elected by the UK to screw up their governance for the next 5 years. But perhaps Europe is more selfless and kind than I give them credit for? In some ways, a no deal chaotic brexit would suit the EU mandarins quite well, pour encourager les autres.
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