Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Call it a Cameron

David Cameron has done it.  The United Kingdom is breaking apart, the EU is getting ready to toss the Brits and the economic damage already exceeds two trillion, which whatever the Weasel may think is real money.  And oh yes, the torch Cameron lit is being used to burn out those the leavers denigrated.

There was no reason for last week's referendum except Cameron's desire to cement his position in the Conservative Party. The incompetent way that he set the terms of the vote and prepared for it would, were there justice, lead to derision being showered upon him should he dare show his face in public.

Eli proposes that "a cameron" from here on out be used to describe disasters caused by unlimited self regard and incompetence.   Hopefully Donald Trump does not get his turn to pull a cameron

Amongst the link list, James Annan puts it best.  Go there and read his post, but Eli strongly disagrees with 

I can't help but conclude that the best outcome would be for the new Govt to reject the referendum result (and fight an election on that basis). There is no good exit plan or outcome that I can see. Of course it would inevitably destroy a few political careers and we'd have a bit of rioting, but that's better than the alternatives.
This is simply not on offer.  The rest of the EU will not go forward with the UK as a member given the history of special pleading and how the EU became an excuse for everything that was wrong in Britain and the current political situation.  Eli really cannot see the Poles or really any of the others being generous about any terms, let alone continued membership.

So what is on offer? At best membership in the EFTA with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.  The EFTA (European Free Trade Association) gets access to the EU single market under the condition of following all EU rules including those covering free movement of people between all the EU and EFTA members.  The get to follow the rules, but not make them.  The EFTA members favor England and Wales joining because it would allow them to have a bit more input into negotiations with the EU, but to a country the EU is not happy with the Brits so there are no guarantees on that.  Norway is not really on board but offering them the Shetlands would be an interesting bribe.

Of course, that leaves Scotland and Northern Ireland.  If the EU figures out how to cover the transfer payments from the UK to both, then, they are probably gone.  Northern Ireland could rationally have a status as a special administrative area in Ireland that the Unionists might be happy with.  A unified united Ireland is not likely, but as James and others point out, closing the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would wipe out all the gains following the Good Friday Agreements.
The Irish question hasn't been addressed at all, as far as I can tell. It seems near-inevitable that Brexit will rip up the Good Friday Agreement, since that is underpinned by free movement over the border and the primacy of the European Convention on Human Rights. Sinn Feinn are already agitating for reunification, and I can't blame them at all. Even a prominent Unionist politician is openly encouraging Northern Irish to apply for Eire passports (another outcome of the GF agreement) and the Belfast PO quickly ran out of forms. The Good Friday Agreement, which successfully drew a line under 100 years of terrorism and violence in Northern Ireland and the mainland UK, was the one remarkable achievement of an otherwise unremarkable Major administration and it's a great shame to discard it so casually and with so little forethought. I'd think the best outcome we could hope for there would be a relatively straightforward and peaceful reunification process for Ireland as a whole, but there will be a whole lot of unhappy people whatever happens, and the peace there was fairly fragile in the first place.
Eli recommends reading Shoco's series of tweets to get a better idea of the coming disaster if the border is closed.  There are 42 tweets, despair in all.

Scotland is simply gone from the UK.

So, is there any hope for England and Wales.  Not with the current crew. 

England and Wales need a government of national unity that will face up to the cameroning and start to dig out.  There is obviously no one in the House of Commons up to the job. Perhaps there is one in the House of Lords. 

One name suggests itself to Eli, but admittedly Eli is an not a Brit, Gordon Brown. As former Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer he has the tools, and perhaps a dour Scot for a dour time is needed, but certainly the fractured political system can not continue if anything is to be left of the United Kingdom.


FreewheelinFrank said...

They will pull the trigger in the end because it's the electorate's decision and the electorate gets the blame for what goes wrong. My guess is not with Boris, because if things get bad, and an election is called, he'll be a liability. Rather with somebody else who can disown the consequences (whoever she could be).

Thomas said...

"The rest of the EU will not go forward with the UK as a member"

Unless UK officially requests to leave through article 50 the rest of EU can't kick it out. Having UK stay after the referendum will certainly be awkward, and it will have very little power in Brussels for a long time, but in principle UK can stay and hope the referendum will eventually be forgotten.

David B. Benson said...

What Winnie said about the Americans equally applies to the Brits.

FreewheelinFrank said...

"...in principle UK can stay and hope the referendum will eventually be forgotten."

The Conservative party has been at war with itself for a long time over this. If they don't pull the trigger, the war in the party will continue, and they'll face the wrath of the voters.

If they pull the trigger, the war in the party ends, and they get to govern the country in peace, even if it is poorer, and the Leave voters an hardly blame the Tories for giving them what they voted for.

At the moment the Tory tabloids are touting "have your cake and eat it" Boris. (They could hardly say "er... perhaps this wasn't such a good idea after all.")

But the party itself seems to be going for Theresa May (government whips accused of lobbying for her) and the Telegraph had an article praising her.

They must realise that two years plus procrastination down the line they are either going to either give up free trade or accept free movement. (Not to mention Scotland, NI, the HNS broken promise etc.)

With Boris as PM, the voters would blame him, and the government would suffer; with May as PM, the voters could hardly blame her (she was remain). Boris will take the blame, in absence.

I don't think the US voters are going to shoot themselves in the foot in the same way we did, so a female US president and a female UK PM looks on the cards.

Of course I could be wrong and we could have two fat men with stupid blond hair.

Entropic man said...

A golf club analogy is going the rounds.

The UK (or whatever parts leave) is currently a member. For its membership subscription it gets as much golf as it wants and has a say in running things.

Once we leave the club we can still play golf occasionally on quiet days, pay green fees, obey all the club rules and have no say in how the club is run

James Annan said...

The odds on "2018 or later or not at all" for article 50 are shortening daily. 7/2 yesterday, 3/1 today. Expect fudge for breakfast, lunch and dinner for months to come.

Of course the bookies did get the referendum wrong...

davidp said...

Indonesian president BJ Habibie did a spectacular Cameron in 1999 by calling a referendum on independence for East Timor, which voted massively for independence. It is thought that president Habibie expected the region to vote to stay in Indonesia.


What of fears "Brexit may well be swiftly followed by Frexit, Grexit, Departugal, Italeave, Czechout, Oustria, Finish, Slovakuum, Latviaticum and Byebyegium."


A Tags not working again

Unknown said...

With regards to Scotland voting to leave the UK there seems to be a curious disregard of an obvious parallel. If the UK leaving the EU is a bad thing economically, then Scotland leaving the UK must be even worse. Scotland is even more interwoven with England an NI than the UK is with the EU. Being in the EU won't make up for the losses.

So maybe a referendum vote will be closer but I doubt people will discount the "expert's" opinion quite so readily now that they have seen what can happen.

A more interesting question involves any deal to define the post-membership relationship that the UK negotiates with the EU. Will that be put to a referendum?

Thomas said...

Mike, it seems some people in England hope there will be a new referendum about exit conditions, perhaps in the hope they can stay if the vote is no, but I doubt EU will agree to something like that. It has been made clear there will be no negotiations until UK formally applies to leave, and once that application is in, UK will leave in two years on whatever conditions it can negotiate, or if no agreement can be reached, UK will be thrown out with no treaties at all with EU.


Has Eli forgotten which Henry said :

“ 'Who do I call if I want to call Europe?' now has a clear answer: Call Berlin."

and when he said it ?

The Europarliament aint exactly what K=Coudenove-Kalergi had in mind.

Unknown said...

The phrase "Brexit promise" should also be added to the lexicon, meaning a promise that you never had any intention of keeping; a promise that's null and void once you've got what you wanted.

Victor Venema said...

Thomas Palm said: "It has been made clear there will be no negotiations until UK formally applies to leave, and once that application is in, UK will leave in two years on whatever conditions it can negotiate, or if no agreement can be reached, UK will be thrown out with no treaties at all with EU."

According the the House of Lords it is possible to take back the Article 50 request and simply remain EU member. (Thus I also see no reason why you should not be able to apply Article 50 again and have another 2 years, except for increasingly annoyed friends.)

Thus you could also negotiate the conditions of leaving and then hold a referendum whether you would like to keep the current membership or prefer leaving given the new treaties. That would in my view be a fairer referendum than the one of last week. The voter should know what Leave means.

House of Lords: The process of withdrawing from the European Union

We asked our witnesses whether it was possible to reverse a decision to withdraw. Both agreed that a Member State could legally reverse a decision to withdraw from the EU at any point before the date on which the withdrawal agreement took effect.

Thomas said...

Victor, that seems to me like a lot of wishful thinking.

Victor Venema said...

At ATTP Victor Venema says: "The new PM will be elected in October. It should be much clearer by then what the bad consequences of this vote are and how little it solves. Curious if a Leaver will win.

It would be best, however, if a Leaver would lead the conservatives. Only then could you legitimately interpret a new election as a 2nd referendum with better informed voters.

Reply: "It will be Boris. 100% cast iron guaranteed. Elected by the Conservative party, not by the country, note."

Thomas Palm, let's see whether the 2nd referendum will be wishful thinking. :)

Boris or someone from UKIP might be willing to destroy the UK, a somewhat sane politician will find an excuse to ask the population to reconsider. (Even if they do not say this now in public.) Once it is clear what Leave means, it is clear that the answer of the citizens will be that EU membership is the better option.

James Annan said...

Unless something very big happens very quickly, both labour and tory will certainly have leaver leaders and policies. Neither side has the guts to call time on the whole charade - there's far too much po-faced pomposity about how the will of the people must be respected. They will however both want to negotiate before invoking a50, which means the whole thing will drag on indefinitely, for as long as the economy can stand it. Which may not be that long.

FreewheelinFrank said...

Macbeth has done in the king: no more Boris.

EliRabett said...

Eli has not seen this anywhere, but it is a fair bet that the collapse of the Labour Party in Scotland as a consequence of the independence referendum played a large role in Corbyn's attitude toward the Brexit poll.

From Corbyn's POV it almost certainly looked like Cameron was trying to do the same thing in England, drive natural Labour voters away from the Labour party and toward the Tories and UKIP, leaving Labour bereft.

That Corbyn was not clever enough to meet the challenge does not mean he did not see it. That Cameron tried it on again but got caught on the wrong side of the vote does not mean that this was not his strategy.

James Annan said...

11/4 for 2018 or never (article 50). May has already ruled out 2016 (if she wins) and talked about the need for years of negotiations.

EliRabett said...

The EU will not negotiate w/o an Article 50 letter from the Brits and if there is an Article 50 letter they will insist on a two year deadline.


Is this what James Annan had in mind @ 10:10?


Howard said...

The markets are back to square except pound sterling. Oh the humanity. Still waiting for catastrophic brexit collapse.

FreewheelinFrank said...

"The markets are back to square except pound sterling. Oh the humanity. Still waiting for catastrophic brexit collapse."

See what happens if this hits the fan.


DF said...

The Good Friday Agreement, which successfully drew a line under 100 years of terrorism and violence in Northern Ireland and the mainland UK

Several more hundred years than that, I think. English people have been in denial of their starring role in creating and nurturing the troubles here down through the centuries.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Howard writes:"The markets are back to square except pound sterling. Oh the humanity. Still waiting for catastrophic brexit collapse."

Not sure who was suggesting 'catastrophic' - no one that I take seriously. 'Significant'or 'serious' economic consequences are what I heard from trusted sources.

First, the 10% fall in the pound vs the dollar is just a beginning. Most financial analysts see little chance of the pound recovering this loss - indeed most believe it will go lower over the next year or two. Everyone holding sterling lost 10% of that wealth in a single stroke with little chance of regaining it. That's not 'catastrophic,' but it is significant.

Second, stock exchanges (like the FTSE 100) are composed of many global stocks - not just UK ones. So a recovery there is not a clear signal of the health of the UK.

Third, the effects are already being felt in some areas even though Article 50 notification has not yet been given. UK academics are already being asked to take their names off EU grant applications by their collaborators from the EU. Many won't even bother to try for an EU grant now because of the uncertainty. These won't show up in data today, but will show up in following yearswhen the grants would have been received and the money spent. This won't change as long as the status quo continues. Those familiar with the climate debate should be well aware that 'uncertainty is not your friend.' This may be even more true in economics.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Explicating Brexit in one Facebook post courtesy of Benjamin Timothy Blaine

"So, let me get this straight... the leader of the opposition campaigned to stay but secretly wanted to leave, so his party held a non-binding vote to shame him into resigning so someone else could lead the campaign to ignore the result of the non-binding referendum which many people now think was just angry people trying to shame politicians into seeing they'd all done nothing to help them.

Meanwhile, the man who campaigned to leave because he hoped losing would help him win the leadership of his party, accidentally won and ruined any chance of leading because the man who thought he couldn't lose, did - but resigned before actually doing the thing the vote had been about. The man who'd always thought he'd lead next, campaigned so badly that everyone thought he was lying when he said the economy would crash - and he was, but it did, but he's not resigned, but, like the man who lost and the man who won, also now can't become leader. Which means the woman who quietly campaigned to stay but always said she wanted to leave is likely to become leader instead.

Which means she holds the same view as the leader of the opposition but for opposite reasons, but her party's view of this view is the opposite of the opposition's. And the opposition aren't yet opposing anything because the leader isn't listening to his party, who aren't listening to the country, who aren't listening to experts or possibly paying that much attention at all. However, none of their opponents actually want to be the one to do the thing that the vote was about, so there's not yet anything actually on the table to oppose anyway. And if no one ever does do the thing that most people asked them to do, it will be undemocratic and if any one ever does do it, it will be awful.

Howard said...

Kevin O sounds like a panic denier.

From the OP:
"Eli recommends reading Shoco's series of tweets to get a better idea of the coming disaster if the border is closed. There are 42 tweets, despair in all."

"...but certainly the fractured political system can not continue if anything is to be left of the United Kingdom."

As far as a few grant-mongers having to fill out additional paperwork to pay for their erudite lifestyle, no one will notice or care if a few "me too" papers are not published and hidden behind paywalls.

Annan should go down to the local union hall and whinge there. I'm sure the unemployed dock workers and factory drones will lend him a shoulder to cry on.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Howard - more fact-free invective? I'd criticize your analysis, but there was none.

BTW, jobs are jobs. HSBC, easyJet, Goldman & Sachs, JPMorgan ... the list goes on. Obviously many industries will move people (and jobs) to an EU country if the UK leaves. It kinda sounds like you're a job-loser denier. Or maybe that's just loser.


Looks like the Bullers have already talked some sense into Boris.

FreewheelinFrank said...

Looks like it's going to be May against Leadsom. (May is rumoured to be lending MPs to support Leadsom to block Gove). The party members will have a Leaver on the final ballot.

I can't believe either of them will fail to pull the trigger: remember the pain the British put up with during Thatcher's ideological experiment with the Tory press behind her.

Interesting headline in the Express: "Bexit vote was EU's fault". A curious choice of words.

If the Tory press got cold feet, the Tories would kick Brexit into the long grass, but at the moment there are too many people driving around with English flags on their cars (and I don't thinks it's football any more), too many people congratulating themselves that now the EU can't tell us what shape our cucumbers should be, and too many powerful ideologues rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of deregulation.

Howard said...

It's quite the honor to be "K O'd" by the master.
Soy un perdedor

EliRabett said...


FreewheelinFrank said...

Todos somos.

FreewheelinFrank said...

Wow! If anybody thought we'd seen the last political opportunist get knifed in the back, the Mail has dug up a quote from Leadsom (currently campaigning on the basis that the new Conservative leader should be a Leaver) saying that leaving the EU would be a disaster.

Anonymous said...

Aaaand Nigel Farage has found out that he wants his life back, standing down from the UKIP leadership. Of course, this does not mean he would give up his seat in the European Parliament, as well.

FreewheelinFrank said...

Small consolation: Michael Gove is out, and his backer Nigel Lawson will not be pleased.

Andrea Leadsom has said she is determined to act on global warming, but considering that two years ago she was convinced Brexit would be a disaster, that may no mean much.

MPs piled behind Theresa May. My suspicion in my first comment was confirmed by one MP talking to a BBC political correspondent:

"I spoke to one Conservative the other day who said the advantage for the Tories overall in having a Remainer as prime minister is that they themselves couldn't be blamed if there were bumps in the road in the coming years.

They could say they're implementing the will of the British people, but they wouldn't have to be held directly to account for the effects of a decision, to leave the EU, that they didn't advocate."

However, the final decision is down to the Eurosceptic Conservative membership, who seem to favour Leadsom.

At least with Leadsom as PM, the Tories can't disown the result if it does turn out to be a disaster.