Monday, 27 June 2016

The Law of Unintended Consequences

The internet says:-

The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.

I think most people would agree that, post the referendum Brexit result, we are in quite a mess and nothing seems clear or straightforward any more. As I wrote the other day, we thought there was a clear decision and as a nation we were on the path to Brexit, but that was to seriously under-estimate the cunning and guile of the political class and it now seems quite likely any exit will either be considerably delayed, or may never happen at all. 

With a Prime Minister nearly gone and an Opposition Leader possibly on the way too, it's anyone's guess what might happen next, but before I throw in my twopenneth, this off Facebook made me chuckle and I hope the author doesn't mind me bringing it to the attention of a wider audience:- 

Right. F*ck this. We're ALL up shit creek and we need a paddle. Now, not in three months.

Fellow Remain voters: Enough already. Yes, we're all pissed off but navel gazing ain't gonna help. Not all 17 million Leave voters can possibly be racist northern pensioners without an O level to their name. Maybe they have a point about this quitting the EU thing? Maybe not. Whatever, we are where we are and no amount a whinging is gonna change that. Allegedly we're the intelligent ones, so get your thinking caps on.

Leave voters: Well done. Good game. We hear you. Now you need to get stuck in to the aftermath and not just piss off back to Wetherspoons. (Just banter, twats!). And the first person to say they "want their country back" gets deported to f*cking Gibraltar. OK?


David. F*ck off. Shut the door behind you. Now.

George. You may be a twat but you're our twat. Plus you know the passwords for our Junior Savers account. Get your calculator. Drop the face-like-a-slapped-ass routine. You're on.

Boris. Sorry mate. That photo of you abseiling by your scrotum over the London Olympics while waving a Union Jack can't ever be un-taken. Plus, you'll never be able to appear on Question Time again without some sturdy Glaswegian nurse asking where the f*ck her 350 million quid is. Not only will she have a very good point, she'll be wearing a T shirt that shows you gurning in front of that f*cking bus! No captains hat for you I'm afraid.

Theresa. You're in charge love. Get the biggest shoulder pads you've got. We need Ming The Merciless in drag and you'll scare the shit out of 'em.

Nicola. Yep. Fair cop. You probably could get us on a technicality, as could London. But we f*cking love shortbread. And oil. And to be honest you're probably the best politician we've got, so we need you on side. Sort your lot out and we promise never to mention that Jimmy Krankie thing again (although it is pretty uncanny) and we'll make you a Dame once we're sorted. Bring Ruth Davidson. She kicks ass.

Opposition party. We'll need one. Someone take Jeremy and John back to the British Legion Club where you found them. Take Nigel as well. Give back their sandals, buy them a pint, then go to Heathrow and collect David Milliband. F*ck it. Lets gets Ed Balls as well. He keeps George on his toes. I think he works on the lottery kiosk at Morrisons now?

Oh. And Mark Carney. Give him a knighthood and tell him to keep that shit coming. We definitely need more of that good shit!

Everyone set? Right. Hold the Easyjet. We're going to Brussels and this ain't no hen party.


Unintended Consequence 1 

The wrong bloody decision. Ok Angela decided she couldn't cut David a better deal, but Project Fear was still supposed to deliver the right decision because, lets face it, who in their right mind would vote Brexit? Well, as we now know, the working class did and they turned out in significant numbers either blissfully ignorant of the official Labour line, or determined to ignore Jeremy's lack-lustre campaign message of being 'sort of 7.5 out of 10' keen on the EU. 

Unintended Consequence 2   

The Prime Minister resigns. When announcing his intended departure from No 10 Downing Street, David says it's up to the new PM to fire the gun by sending the Article 50 Declaration to Brussels. It turns out the referendum result is only 'advisory' anyway and of course with most MP's being for Remain, any PM is most unlikely to obtain a mandate from Parliament authorising the firing of the gun.

Unintended Consequence 3 

The political class choose to circumvent the wrong decision.They cry 'foul' and demand another referendum and start exerting all kinds of pressure as only this group know how. The Brexiteers are made to feel guilty having robbed the young of their inheritance and start threatening to seek revenge on the old. The working class begin to realise they've been screwed over, but also realise there's nothing they can do.

Unintended Consequence 4  

There's going to be a general election. Despite the fact that none was likely until 2020, it looks highly likely there will be one before the year is out in order for the new PM to seek a 'refreshed democratic mandate' over whether we really do Brexit or not. The beauty of this is that it won't be held under that pesky system where every vote counts, but rather first past the post where every vote doesn't count.

Unintended Consequence 5   

HM Opposition implodes. Realising that a general election is only months away and not years, old Blairites suddenly become seized of the view that the chance of electoral success under Jeremy is close to zero, despite his huge popularity amongst individual Labour Party members. They know this is due to a number of factors, including the first past the post electoral system.

Unintended Consequence 6 

Jeremy was never meant to be Labour leader. It started as a bit of a joke and the desire to have a proper debate within the party, but it back-fired spectacularly and he proved hugely popular amongst individual party members, together with significant numbers of 'supporters' only too keen to shell out £3 in order to cause mischief. 

Unintended Consequence 7

It will be impossible to ditch Jeremy. He is highly likely to lose a vote of confidence brought by the Parliamentary Labour Party, but despite efforts to keep his name off the leadership ballot paper, he will be handsomely re-elected to the utter dismay of many Labour MP's.

Unintended Consequence 8     

The rise of UKIP. Having won the referendum, some might have assumed that UKIP no longer had a purpose and would quietly fade away so that politics could get back to normal. This might have been possible, but having had the referendum decision circumvented, UKIP will enter any general election well-placed to benefit from working-class outrage in the previously loyal Labour heartland. They also find themselves well-placed to benefit from outraged Tory Bexiteers in their heartland.  

Unintended Consequence 9 

UKIP become HM Loyal Opposition. Any general election is likely to be fought on the basis of the Tories trying to seek a 'refreshed democratic mandate' for a skilfully-negotiated proper deal with the EU, against a UKIP demand for Brexit. It will be working-class pitted against political class again, but this time under first past the post. I have no idea what the pitch from Labour under Jeremy will be, but it's highly likely that first past the post will deliver them close to oblivion. Remember how many MP's UKIP got in 2015 under that electoral system and 4.5 million votes? 

Unintended Consequence 10  

We stay in Europe with a choice of Tories or UKIP in government. 


  1. Or Jeremy remains Labour leader, maintains that the referendum is honoured and is voted in instead of UKIP because he didn't lie to the Brexiters and unlike the others can be trusted. It really is Labour's only hope at the moment. Soon we the defectors set up their own Blairite party the better - this will put a distance between real Labour and the Chilcott Enquiry and will also give people a choice other than Conservatives for those wanting to remain in EU.

    1. I've seen some quite strong right wing people in Twitter keen to vote for Corbyn precisely because he says he'll honour the referendum vote. It also might be worth considering what one an EDL (not English Disco Lovers this time) supporter said to me - his view 12-24 months ago was was that the government had messed up and that whilst he thought there was a problem with immigration he recognised many of his issues were caused by government policy. How strange would it be if far right voters ended up voting for a left wing leader???

  2. Corbyn is a shocking leader. Clearly none of yu have led before. You're all living in the past. Move on! Its over!

    1. Move on from what? What's over?

  3. This response from a Below the line Guardian Comment has also had a lot of exposure - however - it will be parliament ultimately that has to agree to some sort of resolution in the end - that is really "where the buck stops."

    1. If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.

      Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

      With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.


      Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

      And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legistlation to be torn up and rewritten ... the list grew and grew.

      The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

      The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

      Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

      Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-maneouvered and check-mated.

      If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over - Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession ... broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

      The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

      When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was "never". When Michael Gove went on and on about "informal negotiations" ... why? why not the formal ones straight away? ... he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

      All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.

    2. This via Twitter originally from an FT commenter adds to the explanation as the so called 'Loyal Opposition' continues to tear itself to shreds before the Chilcot Report holds some of their associates who preceded them to account. Might there be a connection - I merely ask?

    3. Adding to the possible explanation for some Labour MPs aiding the self destruction of the Corbyn led Labour "loyal Opposition" there is this from the Independent just a month ago - suggesting some are as frightened of the Chilcot report as they are of the consequences of Brexit - there is much that adds to the article in some of the below the line comments.

    4. It was v telling on Ch4 news yesterday when Jon Snow asked Grayling why he didn't have a plan for post Brexit he replied "why would we?"

  4. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, I see the greatness in this blog, this post hit me just were I live. Thank you good knight (sic)!!! come on iceland/england/wales/et al

  5. If nothing else the referendum has exposed politicians for what they are. We all know that they lie and manipulate but usually it is covert in the name of austerity or whatever is in vogue at the time.

  6. Mostly it's Tory politicians that lie and manipulate. It's second nature to them. Never trust a Tory.

    1. Its 99% of them, regardles of their affiliation; its an Essential attribute. Almost all were dipping into the expenses pot, almost all benefit from undisclosed freebies, etc.

  7. Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee!!!

    No other words are needed.

  8. Shadow justice secretary - Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East

    1. Burgon was only elected an MP last year. We have no PM, no opposition party & no national football team manager. Its the End of Days!

    2. I thought Burgon had been around for many years. Maybe he lost his seat previously...

    3. Richard Burgon (born 19 September 1980) is a British Labour Party politician who is currently the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leeds East, first elected at the 2015 general election.

  9. Let us celebrate our escape from the Dictatorship from the Dictatorship of Brussels and junking the Emperor of Europe Jean-Claude Juncker.

    Markets re-act to scares, the scares were created by the remain campaign. I am old enough to remember going into Europe. I was told I would be 6d in the pound (2.5%) better off, I never noticed it. Leaving the Union will likewise have a similar trivial effect on ordinary people.

    Its time to start planning, like how we get our fish stocks to recover, we had to share our fishing area's with Europe when we joined. Without Eu pillaging, we should be able to establish a healthy inshore fishing Industry, maybe follow the very successful Norwegian Fishery management example.

  10. Just watched the uber-bonkers Farage deliver a predictably offensive & utterly off-the-wall speech to the EU parliament; and Junckers' response was to tell him not to bother coming back seeing as he doesn't want anything to do with the EU. HILARIOUS!!!

  11. Farage is so insulting this is even more damaging for Britain - he has been chastised firmly by Juncker after telling the chamber that none of the members have done a days work in their lives. HUGE boos as he finished. God save us all if he gets any power, he is showing himself as a poor man's Trump.

  12. sorry - it wasn't Juncker - I had just switched on and walked into other room, so I just heard rather than saw the tail end of Farage's disgraceful rant.

  13. What interests me is the argument that the anti-Corbyn rhetoric from all sides indicates that the average Labour voter is out of touch with the Parliamentary Labour Party and with the wider electorate. Meanwhile, the pro-Brexit vote is supposed to have indicated that the political classes are out of touch with the working class. Which is it, peeps? It can't be both.

    Personally, I think that the wave of support for Corbyn at the time of his election to the leadership remains broadly intact. I even know people who have joined the Labour Party SINCE the referendum result was announced. I believe a lot of the criticism of his approach is right wing media mischief. The working classes see more of themselves in Corbyn than in Boris, Farage and the rest of the millionaire classes. The rhetoric of being a leader comes from the same space as the managerialism that is crippling public services. Maybe it is the rhetoric around what makes leader that needs to change rather than the leader himself.

    1. The wave of support (approx 400000 voters) is still there - trouble is, they seem to be the only ones that like him. Since they equate to about .5% of eligible voters, they need to get rid of him quick, or he'll bury Labour so deep they'll never find the bones...

  14. Grayling is brazen there was never a plan beyond arguing for 'Brexit'; IDS & Boris now deny any of the Leave claims had any meaning; Jeremy *unt is saying the UK needs to know what the deal is before activating Article 50, which is not how the game is played; Farage is just galumphing about insulting anyone & everyone whilst hand feeding the extreme right wing across Europe; as a consequence the majority in the EU chamber this morning were understandably very upset and united in insisting that if UK wants out, get Article 50 submitted NOW & piss off.

  15. It will take alot of time for the uk to fully withdraw from Europe, but brexit will prove to be the best option. Working people in Britain had legitimate (non racist) concerns about opening the labour market to 580 million workers. Europe has also demonstrated an inability to address the migrant crisis, and the associated islamisation of nation states. Failed integration policies to address incompatible cultures has also led to a deterioration in female rights / gay rights as seen in cologne and Sweden. Brexiters have also been concerned about debt ridden countries such as Greece and portugal being treated appaullingly by Germany, which seems very content with seizing national assets as debt collateral and humiliating proud peoples. Europe is far from an appealing option!