Brexit, the four directions: nadir

The EUref results map

EU Referendum Results Map

Last week, I wrote and posted a series about the four possible directions the UK can go from where we are.

From a worm’s-eye perspective, the fourth option is least-worst: but the people most likely to face negative consequences for carrying it out and saving the UK from catastrophe or disaster, are the same MPs who would have to vote for it.

And regardless of how bad it is for us in the lower income bands, MPs are all in the top ten percent by income just from their salary: they have a generous expenses system, heavily subsidised food and drink at work, complete job security until the next general election, and a nice golden parachute even if they lose their seats then: they will not directly suffer from the economic disaster of soft Brexit, and though the catastrophe of hard Brexit might hit them, they’re better insulated against it than most.

There is no doubt in any informed person’s mind that Brexit is either catastrophic or disastrous, and Members of Parliament are, as a general class, well-educated and have a sense of civic responsibility towards their constituents, their constituency, and the country. But they are unlikely to rebel against their leadership without some serious and coordinated push to do so, whether Conservative or Labour, and the leadership is pro-Brexit.

Dominic Grieve (former Attorney General for England and Wales, under the Cameron/Clegg government) suggested that the problem is one of groupthink:

“The PM’s problem is that she’s surrounded by people who get louder and more strident by the moment as some of the inevitable problems, which were going to come with Brexit, start to make themselves apparent.”

But when Brexit is so obviously terrible, why are we doing this?

  • Because over a third of the UK electorate voted to Leave, even though it’s now clear most of them didn’t know what the consequences would be

Nearly ten months ago, in January 2017, I posted some answers to the excellent question: Why is the UK leaving the EU?

Private Eye on BrexitRe-reading now what I wrote then, I think it’s an accurate but limited picture of the UK electorate’s internal reasons for supporting Brexit: racism and ignorance, mostly. This is not to say that everyone who voted Leave is racist: but it was shown by polling both pre-EUref and after, that “immigration” was central to the concerns of the majority of people voting Leave. And while not everyone who says they are concerned about immigration is racist, all of the reasons for being concerned about immigration to the UK are racist reasons.

As a study showed earlier this year, the better-educated you were, the more likely you were to vote Remain. Ignorance isn’t an insult: it’s an accurate assessment. Ask someone who voted Leave and is now clamoring for the UK to leave the EU without wasting any more time or paying any more money (and yes, I’ve tried this experiment several times) if this means they actively want the known and inevitable consequences of hard Brexit.

What almost invariably turns out is either that they have never thought about even the most obvious consequences of hard Brexit (the phrase “Irish border throws unexpected hurdle into Brexit talks” is almost amusing: The Sun’s squealing op-ed less so), or else they’re only still demanding hard Brexit because they are quite sure that those known and inevitable consequences can be avoided, somehow.

Somehow.

  • Because the Prime Minister had decided that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, even though it’s far from clear that she and her ministers knew what the consequences would be

Theresa May at the October 2016 Tory conferenceBut ignorance is of course not restricted to the poorly-educated. Theresa May seems to have thought, right up until April this year, just after she invoked Article 50, that she would be able to manage Brexit by leaving the EU but retaining all the benefits of EU membership she had decided the UK should continue to have.

It is not clear to me even now whether Theresa May and David Davis properly understand that it is not possible for them to achieve a deal with the EU where they get to cherry-pick the bits of EU membership they like, avoid paying the UK’s share of the EU’s budget, and have trade agreements with Germany and other EU countries, all before March 2019. According to a BBC report today, a substantial proportion of May’s Cabinet still think they can somehow force the EU to discuss a post-Brexit trade deal by withholding part of the budget-money the UK owes the EU.

In some instances, we know pro-Brexit MPs are lying: John Redwood, Conservative MP for Wokingham, writes in praise of the UK economy post-Brexit for English voters on his MP website, but when writing an op-ed in the Financial Times to advise investors, he notes that his own feeling since July 2016 is that investors should pull out of the UK’s market and put their money elsewhere.

In other instances, we really can’t be sure: is David Davis as clueless as he seems?

Today, we discovered that, because of Brexit, the EU banking agency EBA is moving from London to Paris: the EU medicines agency, EMA, is moving from London to Amsterdam. As late as April this year, David Davis was still telling himself and his civil servants that these two major EU agencies could be based outside the EU in a third country’s capital, that he didn’t accept that both agencies were relocating because of Brexit. He had a spokesman tell the press

“No decisions have been taken about the location of the European Banking Authority or the European Medicines Agency — these will be subject to the exit negotiations.”

In a sense that was partly correct; David Davis had made no decisions about the location of these two agencies. The decision was never in his hands, and of course would never be part of the exit negotiations. As Alex Andreou noted on Twitter, the EU’s planning about relocating these EU agencies from London began in July 2016: and the UK’s planning on how to replace the work the two agencies do for UK banking and all medicines used in the UK, should have begun two years ago.

The EMA and the EBA are only two of the 30+ EU agencies that the UK, as a third country, will no longer be able to access after 29th March 2019 if Brexit goes ahead. No work has begun on setting up the UK’s replacements for any of them. We have no idea if the Department for Exiting the EU has even completed the impact assessments that David Davis claims exist but no one can be allowed to read them.

  • Because a significant proportion of the UK electorate believes that things are now so hopelessly bad for them and for their children that Brexit can’t have any worse consequences for them

Britain Isn't EatingGiles Fraser points out that the level of poverty in some parts of the UK is such that people who were told by the Conservative government “vote Remain or the economic consequences will be disastrous” voted Leave because first, it meant giving the Establishment a bloody nose, and second, they couldn’t see that the economic consequences for them could get any worse.

That’s understandable, but likely mistaken: for anyone already struggling at the margins, the catastrophe of hard Brexit may be lethal.

Is Giles Fraser being insincere when he supports Brexit? No, I doubt it; he wrote an angry/sad article in May 2015 about democracy being a religion that has failed the poor: he simply hasn’t bothered to think through that even for people at the bottom of the heap, things can always get worse, and post-Brexit, they will.

  • Because cheap-work conservatives see Brexit as an excellent opportunity to make the rich richer and everyone who has to work for a living poorer

Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-MoggJacob Rees-Mogg talks blithely of an “open window of post-Brexit freedom” and dreams of a UK in which the government pursues policies of free trade, reduced regulation and lower taxes for the rich.

In yet other instances, some of the richer Brexit supporters – cheap-work conservatives – are well-informed about what hard Brexit will mean for the lower classes, and are taking a positive view that hard Brexit will mean lower taxes for the rich, less burdensome legislation and fiddling regulations protecting the working classes, and therefore an excellent opportunity for the very rich to get even richer. James Dyson and Wetherspoon’s Tim Martin are both looking forward to deregulated labour laws and of course, less taxation.

Jamie Whyte, the director of the right-wing think-tank Institute of Economic Affairs, which doesn’t disclose to anyone where it gets its funding, gloated in the Telegraph a few months ago that making Britain a tax haven after Brexit would make “us all” richer.

And by “us all”, Jamie Whyte didn’t mean to include you and me. We won’t benefit from the UK becoming an offshore tax haven.

  • Because the Opposition party in the House of Commons is the other party of Brexit

stopwar.org.uk - Jeremy Corbyn MP speaks at anti-drones rally, 27 April 2013Jeremy Corbyn is blandly holding the Labour Party together in the hopes of a Tory collapse, a general election which Labour would win, and a Labour government gone back to its moderate-socialist roots before Tony Blair remodelled it and lost so many voters living in poverty. He has committed the next Labour government, if he’s Prime Minister before March 2019, to a transition period post-Brexit in which the UK would stay within the single market for “as long as necessary” – a slow car-crash into a brick wall instead of Theresa May’s cliff-edge.

This plan of Corbyn’s for Brexit is better than Theresa May’s – one reason why it’s receiving so little media attention – but it still commits Labour to Leave, and so ensures no significant political leadership within the House of Commons to lead MPs against Brexit.

So that’s five reasons why we’re doing this, even though the dismal facts show at best, Brexit will be disaster: because of the UK’s own basket of deplorables, because of Conservative groupthink, because the poorest think nothing can get worse for them after Brexit, because the ultra-rich see Brexit as a golden opportunity to get richer at our expenses, because the Labour Party has no anti-Brexit leadership.

I could have written the above in January, even before Theresa May invoked Article 50 and held a general election: the past ten months have clarified and expanded what we knew then, but not changed it.

But then there’s what we didn’t know in January.

  • There is a sixth set of reasons – murky with money and odd political connections to Russia and to Wikileaks and now to the Trump administration

Nigel Farage, a former investment broker, successfully presented himself as the representative of the common man and UKIP as the party for the English underdog. But Farage has a set of strange connections, which are outlined in detail here.

Nigel Farage, we now know, is linked to Julian Assange: and though Julian Assange has outwaited the Swedish statute of limitations and so can’t be tried for sexual assault or rape, he has made clear he won’t forgive even the attempt to make him face his victims in a Swedish court. Assange hates Hillary Clinton, and the EU for their arrest warrant… and the UK. (UKIP has claimed the European Arrest Warrant for Assange on charges of rape and sexual assault, was ‘political’, at least since 2011.)

Further, while the FBI and the outgoing Obama administration were clear in January 2017 that Russia had interfered in the US elections to get Donald Trump made President and ensure that Hillary Clinton did not become President, the full details of the links between Donald Trump Jr and Wikileaks, the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, between the Trump Organization and the Russian mafia, were not then clear at all: and there’s likely still more the US’s investigation will uncover.

Back in January 2017, we had not yet heard from Carole Cadwalladr about how Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections Ltd may have gamed our electoral process.

Nor had we yet heard from Open Democracy about the strange sources of funding received by the Leave campaigns.

Also, most of us didn’t know in January 2017 that entities in Russia were promoting fake news on Twitter and Facebook to support the UK leaving the EU, just as they were supporting Trump in the US. Even Theresa May knows that now. (Twitter knew of a large trove of fake/inactive accounts with Russian and Ukrainian IP addresses as early as 2015, but chose not to delete them at the time.)

No such investigation as the US authorities have been carrying out over the past year, has been carried out in the UK about any Russian interference in the EU referendum. But the US investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal keeps uncovering links to London and to the British government and Brexit.

In April, the Electoral Commission began to look into Leave.EU, and as as Open Democracy outlined: the DUP received a considerable amount of money to campaign for Leave in Northern Ireland.

But three weeks ago, the Electoral Commission announced they intended to investigate Arron Banks, who donated over £9m to campaign for Leave, along with Better for the Country Limited: and today, the Electoral Commission also announced they intended to open an investigation into Vote Leave Limited, Veterans for Britain Limited, and Darren Grimes.

But what will an Electoral Commission investigation actually do? The Electoral Commission has no power to declare the results of the EU referendum void: we are back to the difficulty that only Parliament can prevent Brexit now, and MPs who declare opposition to Brexit – even in the slightest degree – are being attacked in the media and on Facebook and Twitter.

Meantime, the EU will move on: with a UK-shaped hole in its budget if the hard-Brexiters have their way, but essentially unharmed, if not unchanged.

Meanwhile, Carole Cadwalladr, under attack, writes:

Leave.EU is now the subject of two Electoral Commission investigations into potentially illegal sources of funding, the first of which followed an article I wrote in March. They’ve been calling me crazy for months and I thought this would be more of the same. But it wasn’t. The video was a clip from the film Airplane!, in which a “hysterical” woman is told to calm down and then hit, repeatedly, around the head. The woman – my face photoshopped in – was me. And, as the Russian national anthem played, a line of people queued up to take their turn. The last person in the line had a gun.

So far, so weird. Here was a registered political organisation that had gained the support of millions of law-abiding, well-meaning people, promoting violence against women and threatening a journalist. It was a “joke”. A joke underpinned by violent menace. From an organisation that has also made no secret of its links to the Russian state. Leave.EU’s Twitter account retweets Russia Today and the Russian embassy as a matter of course.
…..
I’m not biased. I’m furious. I’m boiling with rage. The bullies are winning. Lies are winning. This assault on truth, justice, democracy is winning. And we can’t even see it. That video – created by a British political organisation, facilitated by a global technology platform – will have an impact on other women. On other journalists. It’s another line crossed.

Where is the line for us?

Brexit: How the campaigns were linked

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13 Comments

Filed under Brexit, EU referendum, European politics, Politics, Tax Avoidance

13 responses to “Brexit, the four directions: nadir

  1. Pingback: Interesting Links for 21-11-2017 | Made from Truth and Lies

  2. “As a study showed earlier this year, the better-educated you were, the more likely you were to vote Remain. Ignorance isn’t an insult: it’s an accurate assessment.”

    Nope, some of the poorest and least well educated people in the country looked at the EU and saw something that had completely eluded their “betters”: it doesn’t work! Maybe these “ignorant” people were simply more internationalist. Maybe they considered the growth around the rest of the world, and then compared it to the basket-cases that comprise many of our closest trading partners. It is kind of easy to spot – you don’t even need a degree!

    Or maybe they didn’t. I guess the downside of having a secret ballot is that you can’t access the privacy of people’s minds and so you can attribute all sorts of malign motives to them.

    This post is genuinely terrible from you – it’s just a wail. Nobody can ever be in government in a democracy, or wield political power, when they are selling economic stagnation as indispensible. You must understand how depressing it is to see somebody who had previously spoken the language of the Left to be not only on the side of the capitalists, the generals, the system, but to be on the wrong side of the poorest majority.

    Brexit is magnificent. It stands in the tradition of the Chartists, the Suffragettes, the fight of democrats against Fascism and Stalinism, and the idea behind every democracy: that the people should be in charge and have their orders obeyed. Promptly!

    • I suppose someone who regards the oligarch-owned tabloid newspapers as the epitome of free speech would regard Brexit as “magnificent”.

      Is the end of the Good Friday Agreement included in your pleasure at the magnificence of Brexit?

      • It’s hardly my specialist subject, but I suspect that peace in Northern Ireland depends on ongoing democratic support rather than on the legalism of the GFA.

        • Given that Brexit is to be imposed on the people of Northern Ireland against their majority vote, and given that the DUP was the recipient of some rather oddly-sourced money from Leave.EU to campaign for Brexit, and given that the DUP is now in a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the Conservatives in exchange for money that will go to benefit DUP-voting areas in Northern Ireland only, I think we can certainly say that the UK government has no democratic support for Northern Ireland at all.

          But the Good Friday Agreement has been a peaceful and democratically-achieved solution to the Troubles and kept the peace since 1998: it will terminate, if the UK Brexits, on 29th March 2019. Again, I ask you, is ending the Good Friday Agreement part of the Brexit “magnificence”?

          • ” The GFA did not keep the peace since 1998. The will of the people achieved this.”

            This thread has got hyperextended: I moved my reply to new thread.

  3. Hi Tychy, sorry, the thread seems to have gone out of control. Let me begin a new thread. Your comment, which I am for some reason unable to reply to onsite (probably due to the comment threading getting too long) is in bold.

    “Democracy seems to be a persistent sticking point here. The GFA did not keep the peace since 1998. The will of the people achieved this.”

    I think you don’t know much about the Good Friday Agreement at all, or indeed much about the history of Ireland, to claim this. I would suggest you do some background reading, but in all honesty, starting from this point, I don’t know where to suggest you begin.

    The Good Friday Agreement ensures a completely transparent border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland: mandates that any citizen of Northern Ireland can count themselves legally either Irish or British or both entirely at their own personal preference: and lays down that the final resolution of Northern Ireland’s status shall be dependent only on the confirmed will of the people of Northern Ireland. I’m summarising: you can read it for yourself if you wish. The Good Friday Agreement brought peace to Northern Ireland at the will of the people of Northern Ireland; and the GFA was completely dependent on the UK and the Republic of Ireland both being inside the EU.

    Take away Northern Ireland’s UK membership, and you take away the Good Friday Agreement. From reports from within Northern Ireland, the first stirring of the Troubles are beginning again, with Catholic families living in Protestant-dominated areas feeling under threat.

    ” But perhaps it is now natural for a supporter of the EU to downplay people and society in order to talk up technocratic management.”

    You feel that expressing concern for people and society is “technocratic management”? I don’t quite follow how that works. I do not want the Troubles to start again. I do not want mass unemployment as the UK’s “just-in-time” manufacturing fails. I do not want the lights to go out because the UK can no longer run nuclear power plants. I know that no matter how bad things are, things can always get worse for the people at the bottom of the heap: Brexit means more and more households experience food insecurity. Your notion that all of this means I have no concern for “people and society” and only for “technocratic management” is frankly bizarre to me.

    “But I think that I am devaluing Brexit by agreeing to bring Northern Ireland into it at all. Isn’t it that case that a mass participatory democracy is so precious, and such a jewel, because so many people have fought for it?”

    So we should ignore the participatory democracy of Northern Ireland, in order to value Brexit?

    Again, how does that work? Do you want the people of Northern Ireland to start fighting again so that the people who fight hardest, who have the most guns and bombs, can eventually achieve by violence what generations of peace under the Good Friday Agreement might have accomplished – if not for Brexit?

    “From the victims of the Peterloo massacre to Suffragettes who campaigned for “the Vote” (note the capital letter) to Polish airmen in the Battle of Britain. And therefore we surely wouldn’t sell it away for anything as trivial as short-term economic growth or a bunch of laws in Northern Ireland?”

    Well, so far we’ve established that you don’t value the people of Northern Ireland, their lives, welfare, and participatory democracy, at all: you think of them as just “a bunch of laws”. For some reason, you think your dismissal of the people and society of Northern Ireland makes you a supporter of people and society while I only care for “technocratic management”?

    And as a Brexit supporter, you are standing against the rights of present-day Poles in the UK. Bringing up “the Polish airmen” seems more than a little weird to me. Brexit is, above all, an attack on immigration: and you think that’s “magnificent”?

    The act which reforms the EU legislation current in the UK is being established with Henry VIII powers – that is, government ministers, without oversight from the House of Commons or from parliamentary committees, will simply decide what the law of the land is. You may see this is “magnificent”: I see it as a poisonous attack on our system of parliamentary and participatory democracy.

    • Thank you for rescuing my comment!

      I know enough about the GFA to suspect that our wrangle about it is in danger of becoming rather silly. Peace in Northern Ireland was brought about by the military defeat of the IRA and popular exhaustion with the Troubles. In attributing the peace to the GFA, you’re possibly confusing a result of it with its cause.

      But there is something needy and exploitative about the relationship of supporters of the EU to Northern Ireland. In truth, Nothern Ireland is the latest in a long ignominious list. Brexit was supposed to be stopped by Gina Miller’s court victory, but then it wasn’t because the UK parliament voted to trigger article 50 anyway. Brexit was supposed to be stopped by a resurgence in Scottish independence, but then it wasn’t because it turned out that most Scottish voters didn’t care enough about the EU to get actively involved in saving it. Fancifully, some people thought that Brexit could be stopped by the House of Lords. Now, next up on the list, is Northern lreland. Presumably, after everything settles down in Northern Ireland again, there will be calls for Brexit to be stopped by an intervention from the military.

      All of this is by the by, because I think that Ireland will inevitably leave the European Union as well at some point. But 17 million people voted for Brexit – and a great deal more accept the result – and only 2 million people live in Northern Ireland. It would be a democratic outrage if heebie-jeebies about the Troubles cancelled out a gigantic vote for democracy.

      “Brexit is, above all, an attack on immigration: and you think that’s “magnificent”?” Brexit means that ordinary people will decide the immigration policy in general elections. It means that our immigration policy will have active democratic consent. This is only an “attack” on immigration if you somehow believe that people are so “ignorant” or racist that they cannot be trusted to be in charge it. I don’t think this.

      • “Peace in Northern Ireland was brought about by the military defeat of the IRA and popular exhaustion with the Troubles.”

        Terrorism is never defeated by military force nor by popular exhaustion. There were few actions by the IRA in the years before 1998 because John Major had begun covert negotiations with them. His government was unable – they felt – to take open action, because they were very dependent on the loyalist MPs who would have opposed any open deal with the IRA. Didn’t you know? I lived through that period, but it’s recent history that’s readily available.

        Terrorism is defeated by ensuring that terrorists are unable to convince young people to join their cause and become terrorists in turn.

        The Good Friday Agreement did that.

        The Good Friday Agreement didn’t resolve the tensions simmering in Northern Ireland. But it did remove the primary stimuluses for getting young people stirred up/outraged/prepared to fight for their cause.

        The tensions simmering are still there. There are people alive today who fought with the IRA or the loyalists. The Orange Lodges still exist and Orange marches still take place in Northern Ireland. The financial discrimination against the Catholic-majority provinces is very real, as the DUP’s diversion of funding to Protestant-dominant areas of NI showed.

        When Brexit happens – if Brexit happens – the Good Friday Agreement goes away. It was constructed based on the assumption that the entire island of Ireland would be within the EU. Now the Westminster government wants to remove Northern Ireland from the EU and quite evidently hasn’t considered at all how to create another peaceful democratic settlement.

        And because of the way the EU negotiation works, the Republic of Ireland has an absolute veto over any deal offered to the UK that doesn’t properly consider Ireland. For the very first time in the history of interaction between Ireland and Great Britain, it’s Ireland who has the more powerful hand, and I don’t think that Westminster politicians have yet accustomed themselves to that political reality.

        “But there is something needy and exploitative about the relationship of supporters of the EU to Northern Ireland. In truth, Nothern Ireland is the latest in a long ignominious list.”

        Wrong. One of my key reasons for voting to Remain (there were many of them) was that I could see that leaving the EU would end the Good Friday Agreement. That people who supported Leave didn’t seem to understand that was bewildering to me.

        Almost the first thing that came to mind, when I woke up on that awful morning of 24th June, was that this could kill peace in Northern Ireland.

        This reality – this awful, tragic reality of an end to peace in Northern Ireland after twenty years – does seem to have been last on the list for consideration by the Westminster government, and entirely ignored by Leave voters – you’re far from the first I’ve discussed it with who really didn’t seem to understand – but your projection of your own indifference on to us is just that – projection. You didn”t care, and still don’t, so you think we can’t either.

        “, because I think that Ireland will inevitably leave the European Union as well at some point. “

        You are free to assume that, but I doubt if any more countries will leave the EU so long as the catastrophe of Brexit is a clear lesson why that’s a bad, bad idea.

        The trade is actually the least of it. Each EU country shares in and pays for 31 decentralised agencies. The UK is going to have to either do without – which means doing without testing new medical drugs, doing without nuclear power, to name the two biggest problems – or somehow manage to set up replacement agencies between now and 29th March 2019. And as far as we know, the UK government hasn’t even started that process yet. Ireland won’t leave to share the UK’s catastrophe.

        “But 17 million people voted for Brexit – and a great deal more accept the result – and only 2 million people live in Northern Ireland. It would be a democratic outrage if heebie-jeebies about the Troubles cancelled out a gigantic vote for democracy.”

        Well, I guess your willingness to restart the Troubles in Northern Ireland lends a certain clarity to your definition of fighting for democracy. The Troubles went on for thirty years; they are beginning again in Northern Ireland, so NI witness report, merely at the threat of Brexit. This will not be okay.

        As discussed above, it seems that most of the 17 million people who voted to Leave the EU had no real notion of what that would mean for them. (See my most recent post on the EU Capital of Culture: apparently even the Leave.EU campaign didn’t see that when the UK leaves the EU, the UK can’t take part in EU-funded projects.)

        “Brexit means that ordinary people will decide the immigration policy in general elections. It means that our immigration policy will have active democratic consent. This is only an “attack” on immigration if you somehow believe that people are so “ignorant” or racist that they cannot be trusted to be in charge it. I don’t think this.”

        Then I have to say, you evidently haven’t been listening to your fellow Leavers moan about immigrants, or noticing at all what Theresa May as Home Secretary and as Prime Minister is doing to immigrants. I have.

        • I’ve heard a lot of Brits claim that Ireland will inevitably follow Britain out of the EU. That is frankly nonsensical, and it’s telling that I usually hear it expressed by people with no connection to Ireland. There is no popular support within Ireland for leaving the EU whatsoever. Our most Eurosceptic party was Libertas, who wanted Europe to be more federal and managed to elect a whopping one MEP.

          That’s not to say there’s not scepticism about direction of travel sometimes – we did famously vote down both Nice and Lisbon before then voting in favour of slighty amended versions – but Ireland doesn’t share the strange view of Europe as an undemocratic monstrosity that’s prevalent in the UK. Not even after the bailout.

          As for “heebie-jeebies”, a massive cache of Semtex bound for the North was seized in Dublin this year: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/new-ira-bomb-plot-foiled-after-6kg-of-semtex-is-seized-in-city-35783978.html. That’s just the most dramatic of the many news stories about recent attempted bombings. There is definitely a resurgence in terrorist activity.

          One Brexit ‘deal’ hurdle that nobody has really mentioned yet is the Irish constitutional requirement to hold a referendum on any significant amendments to the Treaties. If, miracle of miracles, Davis manages to hash out a deal that gives him all the sweeties he’s after, there is still the possibility that it might get Nice’d.

          (Hi, I still read this blog, thank you for writing it.)

          • “One Brexit ‘deal’ hurdle that nobody has really mentioned yet is the Irish constitutional requirement to hold a referendum on any significant amendments to the Treaties.”

            I knew that, as an element of Ireland’s constitution, but for some reason – probably, as you say, because no one’s mentioned it yet – I hadn’t linked it with Brexit.

            So: David Davis has to propose a solution that is acceptable to 51% of the voting population of Ireland?

            I think he should resign now and save himself ever so many steps…

  4. Just read through all these 5 Brexit posts and they’re very good….but depressing.

    • Thank you.

      I was at the Scottish Green conference and one of the evening presentations was on Brexit. I took some notes and realised that as far as I could see, there was now no good direction left.

      These five posts were the result.

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