Sunday, 26 June 2016

No Brexit After All!

The fallout from Brexit continues, especially where the political class are concerned. Forget all that crap about the democratic will of the people, the wrong decision was delivered on Thursday and it's not binding anyway, only advisory. Here's David Lammy MP on twitter demonstrating his democratic credentials on behalf of the metropolitan political class:-

View image on Twitter
I guess the working-class never did stand a chance when up against the sheer guile of the political class who make for very sore losers indeed. As I write, they are in the process of collecting zillions of signatures on a No10 petition crying foul and demanding another referendum. It is suggested that Thursday's vote has no legitimacy because:-
"We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60%, based on a turnout less than 75%, there should be another referendum."
It's a great wheeze, like that of David Lammy's, but for a variety of reasons won't or can't get anywhere - but it turns out that nothing is exactly as most people might be tempted to think it is. We might have voted for Brexit, but that doesn't mean we have yet and maybe we might not at all. This on the Jack of Kent website:-

Why the Article 50 notification is important

On Thursday 23rd June 2016 there was a historic referendum vote. A clear and decisive majority – though not a large majority – voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. And the following day, Friday 24th June 2016, something perhaps just as significant did not happen. The UK did not send to the EU the notification under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on European Union which would have commenced the withdrawal process.

The Article 50 process is the only practical means by which the UK can leave the EU. There are other theoretical means – which would mean effectively the UK unilaterally renouncing its treaty obligations – but as the UK wants to be taken seriously in future treaty making, such approaches would lose credibility. And so unless and until the Article 50 process is commenced and completed, the UK will stay as a member of the EU.

If it is a notification which can be made by a Prime Minister once the referendum vote result was known, then it was a notification which could have been sent yesterday. That such a speedy notification would be made was certainly the impression David Cameron sought to give when the referendum was announced back in February:
Then there is the legality. I want to spell out this point very carefully. If the British people vote to leave there is only one way to bring that about – and that is to trigger Article 50 of the Treaties and begin the process of exit. And the British people would rightly expect that to start straight away. Let me be absolutely clear how this works. It triggers a 2-year time period to negotiate the arrangements for exit. At the end of this period, if no agreement is in place then exit is automatic unless every 1 of the 27 other EU member states agrees to a delay.
If you read this carefully, you will spot that it is quite deftly worded: Cameron was not committing himself to making the notification. It was instead something which would be “rightly expected”. He did not promise to meet that “expectation”. But in his (resignation) statement yesterday, Cameron said something different about Article 50:
A negotiation with the European Union will need to begin under a new Prime Minister, and I think it is right that this new Prime Minister takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU.
So Cameron has gone from it being “rightly” expected that the notification be made by him straight away, to it being “right” that the decision be made later by somebody else at the time of their choosing. The fact is that the longer the Article 50 notification is put off, the greater the chance it will never be made at all. This is because the longer the delay, the more likely it will be that events will intervene or excuses will be contrived.
There will be those who will say: of course, the notification under Article 50 cannot take place straight away – don’t you realise it is part of a process? The UK should negotiate as much as possible before the notification is made and the two year deadline is triggered. They may have a point, but pretty soon they will perhaps become self-conscious of explaining away why the notification has not been made quite just yet. It may dawn on such people that the notification may never be made at all.
And so long as the Article 50 notification is not made, the UK continues to be a full member of the EU as it was before the referendum took place; indeed, as if the referendum never took place at all. The Article 50 notification also has another side to it: unless and until it is made, there is no obligation on the European Union to negotiate with a Member State about to leave. As I set out yesterday at the Financial Times, this means there is a stand-off:
Nothing can force the UK to press the notification button, and nothing can force the EU to negotiate until it is pressed. It is entirely a matter for a Member State to decide whether to make the notification and, if so, when. In turn, there is no obligation on the EU to enter into negotiations until the notification is made. There is therefore a stalemate. If this were game of chess, a draw would now be offered. Stalemates can last a long time. And unless there is political will to resolve it, this stalemate will not resolve itself.
There is no indication that UK politicians – including those like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove who are possible successors to Cameron – are in any hurry to make the Article 50 notification. It is not impossible to imagine that the Article 50 notification will never be made, and that the possibility that it may one day be made will become another routine feature of UK politics – a sort of embedded threat which comes and goes out of focus. The notification will be made one day, politicians and pundits will say, but not yet.

And whilst it is not made, then other ways of solving the problem created by the referendum result may present themselves: another referendum, perhaps, so that UK voters can give the “correct” result, or a general election where EU membership is a manifesto issue, or some other thing.

This will not please Leave campaigners, and rightly so. It means the result of the referendum will be effectively ignored. But that was always possible, as it was set up deliberately as a non-binding referendum (unlike the Alternative Vote referendum, which was designed to have binding effect if there was a “yes” vote, which there wasn’t).

“Of course, they will respect the popular vote. They would dare not ignore it!” is the cry. People saying this have a good point, but they should also remember a ship which never did get called Boaty McBoatface. In my view, if the Article 50 notification was not sent yesterday – the very day after the Leave result – there is a strong chance it will never be sent.

If this view is wrong, it remains the case that those with a sincere interest in the issue of UK’s membership – whether Remainers or Leavers – should keep their eyes on the Article 50 notification, regardless of noise and bluster and excuses. As long as the notification is not sent, the UK remains part of the EU. And there is currently no reason or evidence to believe that, regardless of the referendum result, the notification will be sent at all.


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Quite a few people have been writing about how the referendum result can be circumvented and a new term has entered the lexicon, the need for a 'refreshed democratic mandate' as espoused here:-
Some have mooted that our Parliament could simply ignore the referendum result. Although that may be right in legal theory I don’t, myself, consider it a practical likelihood. But, what democracy has commanded shall be done it can also command to be undone. Or, to put the matter less grandly, a second vote, this time for Remain, would undo the democratic imperative of the first. So I see a refreshed democratic mandate as key. 
How might such a thing be delivered? I can see two routes. First, were we to have an early General Election fought by one party on an explicit Remain platform and were that party to prevail it would, I think, amount to a ‘refreshed democratic mandate’. The electorate would have spoken such that the result of the Referendum would be superseded. Second, even without such a General Election, Parliament might decide that circumstances had changed sufficiently, as in Ireland, to put the proposition to the electorate again.
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A reminder how we got here by James Galbraith on the DiEM25 website:- 
The Day After
The groundwork for the Brexit debacle was laid last July when Europe crushed the last progressive pro-European government the EU is likely to see – the SYRIZA government elected in Greece in January 2015. Most Britons were not directly engaged with the Greek trauma. Many surely looked askance at the Greek leaders. But they must have noticed how Europe talked down to Greece, how it scolded its officials, how it dictated terms and how it made rebellious country into an example, so that no one else would ever be tempted to follow the same path.
If the destruction of Greece helped set the tone, Leave won by turning the British referendum into an ugly expression of English nativism, feeding on the frustrations of a deeply unequal nation, ironically divided by the very forces of reaction and austerity that will now come fully to power. The political effect has sent a harsh message to Europeans living in Britain, and to the many who would have liked to come. The economic effect will leave Britain in the hands of simpletons who believe that deregulation is the universal source of growth.

That such a campaign could prevail – leading soon to a hard right government in Britain – testifies to the high-handed incompetence of the political, financial, British and European elites. Remain ran a campaign of fear, condescension and bean-counting, as though Britons cared only about the growth rate and the pound. And the Remain leaders seemed to believe that such figures as Barack Obama, George Soros, Christine Lagarde, a list of ten Nobel-prize-winning economists or the research department of the IMF carried weight with the British working class.

Since nothing happens, at first, except the start of negotiations, the immediate economic effects may be small. If the drop in sterling lasts, British exports may actually benefit. If the world gets skittish, the dollar will rise and US exports may suffer, with possible political consequences in America this fall. Otherwise, in the most likely case, the markets will settle down and British life will continue normally at first – except, of course, for immigrants. This will further give the lie to the scare campaign.

Over time, however, as they apply to the United Kingdom, the structures of EU law, regulation, fiscal transfers, open commerce, open borders and human rights built over four decades will now be eroded. Exactly how this will happen – by what process of negotiation, with what retribution from the spurned powers in Brussels and Berlin, by what combination of slow change and abrupt acts, with what consequences for the Union of Scotland to England – is clearly unknown to the leaders of the Leave campaign. This morning they appeared on British television in equal parts triumphant and clueless.

And the crisis now erupts everywhere in Europe: in Holland and France, but also in Spain and Italy, as well as in Germany, Finland and the East. If the hard right can rise in Britain, it can rise anywhere. If Britain can exit, so can anyone; neither the EU nor the Euro is irrevocable. And most likely, since the apocalyptic predictions of economic collapse and “Lehman on steroids” that preceded the Brexit referendum will not come true, such warnings will be even less credible when heard the next time.

The European Union has sowed the wind. It may reap the whirlwind. Unless it moves, and quickly, not merely to assert a hollow “unity” but to deliver a democratic, accountable, and realistic New Deal – or something very much like it – for all Europeans.

James Galbraith is author of “Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe.


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Here's Fraser Nelson writing in the Wall Street Journal explains how the die was cast:-

Mr. Cameron has been trying to explain this to Angela Merkel for some time. He once regaled the German chancellor with a pre-dinner PowerPoint presentation to explain his whole referendum idea. Public support for keeping Britain within the EU was collapsing, he warned, but a renegotiation of its terms would save Britain’s membership. Ms. Merkel was never quite persuaded, and Mr. Cameron was sent away with a renegotiation barely worthy of the name. It was a fatal mistake—not nearly enough to help Mr. Cameron shift the terms of a debate he was already well on the way to losing.

The EU took a gamble: that the Brits were bluffing and would never vote to leave. A more generous deal—perhaps aimed at allowing the U.K. more control over immigration, the top public concern in Britain—would probably have (just) stopped Brexit. But the absence of a deal sent a clear and crushing message: The EU isn’t interested in reforming, so it is past time to stop pretending otherwise.


With no deal, all Mr. Cameron could do was warn about the risks of leaving the EU. If Brits try to escape, he said, they’d face the razor wire of a recession or the dogs of World War III. He rather overdid it. Instead of fear, he seemed to have stoked a mood of mass defiance.

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Finally, a powerful piece by John Pilger on the Counter Punch website:- 

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “Remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life.

A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancient regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.

Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but at the top. The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East – first Iraq, now Syria – are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United States, France, the European Union and Nato. Before that, there was the wilful destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the imposition of Israel.

The pith helmets may have long gone, but the blood has never dried. A nineteenth century contempt for countries and peoples, depending on their degree of colonial usefulness, remains a centrepiece of modern “globalisation”, with its perverse socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor: its freedom for capital and denial of freedom to labour; its perfidious politicians and politicised civil servants.

All this has now come home to Europe, enriching the likes of Tony Blair and impoverishing and disempowering millions. On 23 June, the British said no more.

The most effective propagandists of the “European ideal” have not been the far right, but an insufferably patrician class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the 21stcentury zeitgeist, even “cool”. What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes and ancient instincts of their own superiority. In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day after day, at those who would even consider the EU profoundly undemocratic, a source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as “neoliberalism”.


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Is it just possible that when things calm down in Brussels, rather more wise heads may prevail and that in order to stem a very ugly move by electorates in other Member States for exiting, some serious negotiations begin behind closed doors for both EU reform and a proper deal that keeps the UK in the club?

32 comments:

  1. So the sore losers are busy signing a retrospective petition, so poorly worded it can only lead to neverendum. Meanwhile the blairites think the answer is to dump corbyn. And replace him with who exactly??

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    1. Maria and Angela Eagle!! Every day of the week and twice on Sunday. We the Democratic and Independent peoples of Liverpool and Wirral offer as the best to bring unity and gravitas, 21st century socialists

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  2. The Blairites are busy resigning. Perhaps they'll start their own party. If Article 50 is not invoked then the next General Election will be fought in the basis of who will do this, again dividing the country and making it more likely that UKIP or their ilk would get in. This is not what we need. I voted remain but the country did not so we need to leave - now - and start focusing on the politics of the future.

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    1. Well said and the same can ne said about TR. NOMS voted privatisation so its time this blog is brought to a close and we focus on the benefits of TR

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    2. Excellent! You start us off with what the benefits of TR are exactly.

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    3. There are no benefits of TR, its a bad mess getting worse day by day.

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    4. The Blairites don't seem to realise that the Blair era has been over for around a decade and they are holding on to dreams of a "glorious" past that has proven to be completely toxic. They should split off from the Labour party and would soon realise that no one wants their brand of politics apart from them

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    5. Thanks for bringing those articles together.

      No matter what Cameron or anyone else said, the UK's form of democracy makes the UK parliament the supreme UK wide decision making body, and that includes the right to change its mind.

      Meanwhile amidst all the posturing, and I have just watched the Andrew Mart programme including an interview with Hillary Benn, who dodged direct questions, there has been no mention of NOW devising a fair votes system of democracy, so we the people are proportionally represented in that supreme decision making body.

      Nor is their any talk of criminal justice, so our system is left to struggle on, with its 30 forgotten Resettlement Prisons and split centrally controlled, part privatised probation system, which most will ignore unless there is a breakdown of social order aka The Sovereign's Peace.

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  3. Yes but TR is a roaring success is it not?

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  4. What would Frank Underwood do in this situation?

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    1. Wikipedia:-

      The character speaks with a Southern accent. During season 1, he is the Democratic Majority Whip in the United States House of Representatives. In season 2, he is the newly appointed Vice President of the United States, before becoming President of the United States in the season finale.

      Frank is described as manipulative, conniving, Machiavellian, sociopathic, and even evil. Throughout the series, he manipulates and destroys several people for his own ends, and commits murder twice.

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  5. Huffington Post:-

    A clip from the 1980s BBC comedy ‘Yes Minister‘ is being shared widely online in the wake of the EU referendum vote.

    In it Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby explains to minister Jim Hacker why the UK has such a tumultuous relationship with the EU.

    Appleby says: “Minister, Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last five hundred years: to create a disunited Europe.

    “In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Germans and Italians.

    “Divide and rule, you see. Why should we change now, when it’s worked so well?”

    Then it gets a bit too real.

    Appleby continues: “We had to break the whole thing up, so we had to get inside.

    “We tried to break it up from the outside, but that wouldn’t work. Now that we’re inside we can make a complete pig’s breakfast of the whole thing.”

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  6. Fair points made here about Labour: https://t.co/ziVBR5N2p6

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    1. That from Paul Mason above is very good, thank you Anon at 13:44 it goes well with Nick Cohen on Brexit https://goo.gl/hCtz73

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  7. Looking forward to hearing the Brexist plans Boris,Chris and co have made.They need to get on with it pronto.Boris and Chris are such masters of detail.

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  8. Anon at 09.19, I'm waiting with baited breathe to hear the positives of TR? You can't just leave us hanging like this. I'm not too bothered by the recent referendum, as nothing's gonna happen! We'll be waiting for that Article 50 until - em, hell freezes over! So in the meantime, please let me/us in on what you know!

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  9. Probation Officer26 June 2016 at 20:17

    More propaganda, albeit post referendum. We've already seen the dire consequences of the vote, imagine the aftermath of Article 50 is invoked.

    The majority vote was achieved on a minimal scale as there was a mere million between in or out. I don't see a democratic decision I see a country divided. In or out we now have to look forward to the problems associated with the shift to the nationalist right in the UK which is coinciding with the rise of the far right across the EU.

    It's anyone's guess if the EU will survive, and I think in any case an EU superstate of the biggest players, including Britain, will emerge. I expect there will be a general election and that Scotland will not be allowed a 2nd referendum or to leave, neither will Northern Ireland. Yes a brave decision by the British but there will be consequences if it is as we all suspect, that most (or all races and classes) that voted leave did so because of immigration and many had underpinning bigoted, if not borderline racist, views. In my view, a vote to Leave was a vote for UKIP. and Britain First.

    I've signed the petition.

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131215

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    1. People voted to leave for many different reasons and who are you to say that people who voted are racist. Would you be agreeing with another referendum if the vote had gone the other way. People voted to leave because they have become powerless and the politicians had lost touch with the people on the ground.

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    2. I don't need to say it, as Nigel Farage said it for you. And if you believe that stated in the title post then you and the rest of the 17 million are still powerless. Or maybe you actually believe Boris Idiot Johnson is going to lead you to your immigrant free utopia.

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    3. What's the matter is it going to upset your nice middle-class life. I didn't vote to leave but I do respect the outcome of the vote.

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    4. Yes because of the knowledge that 17 million neighbours, colleagues, family and friends made such a huge decision based on "immigration".

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    5. I voted leave, I'm not racist and my decision wasn't based on immigration! Sovereignty was at the heart of my decision amongst other factors. I for one am excited about the future!

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  10. And so it all falls apart like a soggy, over-immersed Rich Tea biscuit. Dodgy Dave's work is done, Osbourne has disappeared over the horizon, whilst Boris & co have been laying plans during a cosy weekend retreat in the country. Meantime the Labour Party has been suffering from some kind of political Lupus (one of many disorders of the immune system known as autoimmune diseases. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system turns against parts of the body it is designed to protect) and Tom Watson has been doing his best hippo impression wallowing in mud at Glastonbury. The 11 ex-shadow cabinet members might be England's best hope against Iceland tomorrow.

    What would Maggie do? Or Tony? I know, let's have a war... or re-introduce Foot&Mouth Disease...

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  11. 17:46 Charlie Falconer, the shadow justice secretary, has just become the ninth shadow cabinet member to resign.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/06/live-blog-jeremy-corbyn-hit-shadow-cabinet-revolt

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  12. Hatton 12 have gone. I think Corbyn needs to do1

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  13. IDS denies making any pledge or promise or saying anything at all about £350M being fed into the NHS each week; 1 sacked & 10 resign; Earth Wind & Fire at Glastonbury on the telly. cushty!

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    1. Sorry, 1 sacked & 11 resign.

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  14. petition to sign re another vote is also on Probation Officer Twitter, just beneath the Probation Blog site.

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    1. The petition is everywhere. Over 3.5 million have signed.

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    2. Yeah, because bollocks to democracy eh? Why not just have reruns of general elections too, if some aren't happy with the result?

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    3. Didn't you know, a general election is on the cards!

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  15. Corbyn is a fool. He has destroyed the labour party

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