So what happens next?

I confess I’ve not waded through the 585 pages of legalese that makes up the draft agreement of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (thanks PCar for the link), but the reaction on Twitter tells me:

1. Free movement of people is ended.

2. The UK remains in the customs union indefinitely.

What’s interesting is Leavers are irate beyond measure which suggests, contrary to their portrayal in the media, they weren’t driven by immigration. If that were the case, they’d not be too disappointed with an agreement which halted free movement. That they are more upset about continued membership of the customs union suggests sovereignty and independence were equally as important as ending free movement. None of this should come as a surprise to those who know any Leave voters.

However, Remainers are equally unhappy, presumably because free movement will end along with a whole load of taxpayer funded schemes which prop up swathes of the middle class left. They’ll be joining Leavers in writing to their MPs urging them to vote against the bill when it’s put before parliament. Jeremy Corbyn, who must be relishing this, has already said he’ll vote against it so May is relying on Labour rebels to offset those in her own party. I think this vote will be the most heavily scrutinised in recent memory, with every MP’s reputation for the next few years depending on which way they cast their ballot. I imagine many of them didn’t get much sleep last night. This is how it should be, and for once it’s nice to see the public – both Leavers and Remainers – holding their representatives’ feet to the fire.

Here’s what I reckon will happen. The agreement will be voted down and May will leave; either she’ll resign or will be shoved out by her own party, along with anyone in the cabinet who assented to it. A general election will be called leaving the Tories with two options:

1. Pick a Remain leader and cabinet and we all start preparing for Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn.

2. Pick a Leave leader and cabinet, win the election, chuck the draft in the bin, and start negotiations again.

Much as though I’d prefer to see No. 2 happen, if the Tories had that sort of gumption they’d have done it already. Unless some have been working tirelessly behind the scenes preparing a realistic plan which can immediately be placed in front of Barnier, it’s just going to be more hot air before we crash out with no deal. I’d not be too disappointed if the Tories’ stated intention is to crash out with no deal, but if that’s what happens by default because they’re too hapless to get a plan together, it’s hardly a demonstration of the sort of leadership Britain will need in the near future.

So I suspect they’ll pick a total wet as leader who nobody will vote for and Corbyn will get in. From what I’m reading on Twitter, which to be fair is probably not a great representation, people are prepared to suffer a Corbyn government rather than continue to support the Conservatives, such are their feelings of betrayal. Oddly, I’m half minded to think Corbyn and Co. could negotiate a better deal than May’s managed. He’d certainly not turn up looking to please everyone, and idiotic his beliefs might be he might inadvertently get Britain out of the EU in a way which leaves Brexiteers satisfied.

What I’d really like to see, though, is the Metropolitan New Labour/Cameron remnants who think the EU is wonderful and the referendum an abomination forced to start their own party, in the same way UKIP was founded to represent those who wanted to leave. Thus far, they’ve assumed they can wrestle back control of the existing levers of power against the wishes of the people. Two anti-EU parties contesting a General Election would be the slap in the face they need to show them they’re no longer representative of the wider UK. There’s little that would make me happier than a bunch of whining London-based media types launching a party and seeing their ideas roundly ignored by all but themselves. They could even make Blair their leader.

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87 thoughts on “So what happens next?

  1. This whole thing is grimly entertaining, in that TM is simultaneously being attacked by both die hard Brexiteers and Europhiles. As such, it’s probably true that she got something approximating the best muddy compromise she could.

    It seems like an awful lot of leavers never really grasped two key points:

    1 – the UK was in a very weak negotiating position, with almost no leverage
    2 – there never was a “negotiation” in any meaningful sense. The EU is a rules-bound, legalistic multinational institution. As such, all it can do is set out a menu of options and let prospective partners decide on their own tradeoffs.

    The UK had the power as a relatively large partner (and ex-member) to shade things at the margin, but this is like swapping out the cauliflower for the carrots. The notion that it was a poker game and there was some super secret negotiating strategy that could pull a unicorn out of a hat was always fanciful, and simply served to avoid domestic politicians having hard conversations about exactly what the goal was.

  2. @Scotched,

    In that the DUP are a single-issue party of total NPCs (except when propping up a failing tory government), as is UKIP, I can see where you and other Brexit-at-all-costs SIFs are coming from. It still isn’t ever going to work though.

    Now, talk of the CSU going national in Germany – that really does have the CDU on the brink of a collective coronary.

  3. Who has resigned? @ 20:45

    – Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned, saying he couldn’t “in good conscience” support the draft deal

    – Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey resigned, saying the deal “does not honour the result of the referendum.”

    – Five other ministers resigned
    — Rehman Chishti, Conservative vice-chairman
    — Ranil Jayawardena, ministerial aide;
    — Suella Braverman, junior Brexit secretary
    — Anne-Marie Trevelyan, education minister’s private secretary
    — Shailesh Vara, Northern Ireland minister

    Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade

    Why has he not resigned? May’s surrender agreement makes his job & department irrelevant & powerless

  4. Freddy,

    “This whole thing is grimly entertaining, in that TM is simultaneously being attacked by both die hard Brexiteers and Europhiles. As such, it’s probably true that she got something approximating the best muddy compromise she could.”

    This smells a bit like the BBC who, on being attacked both from the right (because they are obviously out and out communists) and from the left (because still aren’t communist enough), maintain they must have the balance about right.

    The reason TM is being attacked by both leavers and remainers is because the deal is transparently shite and everyone can see that. To some degree it’s actually doing a good job of showing the remainers how unpleasant the EU can be.

    And I struggle with “grimly entertaining”: this will not end well. It really won’t.

  5. How ironic that the EU is so similar to the “religion of peace”, you can join it but you can never leave it. Pretty much sums up the future for Europe.

  6. BiG: there is not an instrument in existence powerful enough to detect my interest in German politics. Germany for the Germs, Britain for the Brits.

    I am perplexed by a hard NI border being a problem. Britain and the Irish Republic joined the EEC in 1973 and despite that, we were closing border crossing points and had checkpoints (including ID and vehicle checks plus car and personal searches at soldiers’ discretion) on the remainder due to the security situation in NI. Both our nations and people coped. Sometimes people crossing the border had to negotiate two checkpoints, first the army one then a customs one further on. We coped. And further random checkpoints from police and/or army all through NI. We coped.
    (Of course, all that was with considerable whining from republican quarters, but that’s what Irish republicans do: whine. Incessantly. Sneeze in their general direction and they’re wittering on about Brit oppression and whinging about the Famine and Henry II.)

    That the security situation has settled down for now does not mean it’s over. Irish separatist violence ebbs and flows: United Irish Uprising of 1800, Fenian Dynamite Campaign 1867–85, Easter Uprising, Anglo–Irish War, England Campaign 1939–40 (f***ers bombed Coventry before Göring had ever heard of it—5 men and women murdered, aged 15 to 82, and 70 injured), 1956–62 Border Campaign, etc. ad nauseam. NI might have dropped from the headlines but there are still plenty of incidents, and people are still dying (last one so far, Raymond Johnston on February 15 this year). At some point the BCPs will be getting closed again and the barriers going back up. Might as well start preparing for Round Umpteen now, plan to build a Morice Line and learn that giving terrorists salaries and expenses does not work as well as a 9-mil severance package.

  7. P-G:

    It’s not “transparently shite” in so much as it defers economic armageddon long enough to allow for the permanent deal to be negotiated. Given that the UK has still failed to announce what its desired end-state is, I’m genuinely curious as to what more could realistically have been accomplished.

    But we are in agreement that it won’t end well. “Grimly entertaining” was ironic. At this point I see the most likely outcome as being the deal is approved by the EU, doesn’t make it through Parliament, followed by carnage in March.

  8. “Given that the UK has still failed to announce what its desired end-state is, I’m genuinely curious as to what more could realistically have been accomplished.”

    Simple. Walk in Day One, ‘Right you are boys, here’s the deal, we want a free trade deal, you want £££, we’ll swap one for t’other. No deal, no dosh. If thats no good to you we’re off to get ready for leaving in 2 years time under WTO rules, and you get bupkis. Incidentally we’ll spend what we would have paid you on making sure no one loses out our end when we leave and we’ll be aiming to be the low tax low regulation business location just off your NW corner.

    Whats that you say? The NI border must stay open? Well, our end will. You can do what you like. Anyway, got to go, got to see a bloke called Donald about a free trade deal. Let us know when you’re ready to talk turkey.’

  9. Oh, that kind of detailed knowledge of what the “wrong side” in the internecine Irish conflict did back in 1342, or last Wednesday for that matter, is especially reserved to the NPC SIFs. Sorry for bothering you, but the rest of us don’t give a shit.

  10. @Sgt 73rd Regt – “you can join it but you can never leave it”

    “Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
    ‘Relax’ said the night man,
    ‘We are programmed to receive.
    You can check out any time you like,
    But you can never leave!”

    Cue acid induced air guitar solo……………….

  11. BiG, I had no idea you were the official spokesman for not only our host but every passing commenter and reader. I’m impressed—is it a f/t salaried position?

    You might not care about the many murdered by Irish republicans; but you’re not British so you don’t actually count. Many Britons do care though, having served there themselves, having known or are related to people who have served there, and most particularly if related to any of the at least 2,122 people (so far, and still counting) murdered by Irish republican terrorists.

    Not all of those murdered were British by any means, some were even German, such as Heidi Hazell, 26, the wife of a British soldier; she was gunned down in a car park in Unna-Massen, Dortmund, in 1989. That you ‘don’t give a s**t’ about German women shot to death says everything that needs be said about you.

    There was the tale of Thomas Niedermayer, the 45 year old German managing director of Grundig’s Belfast plant and Consul for West Germany, who was murdered by PIRA in 1973 after being abducted three days earlier; his remains were not found for 7 years. IRA men joked that ‘Niedermayer was in a hole and had been buried face down so he could dig himself in deeper’.
    10 years after his funeral, his widow, Ingeborg, committed suicide, walking into the sea and drowning off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, in the Republic.
    Their younger daughter, Renate, killed herself the following year, in South Africa.
    Their remaining daughter, Gabrielle, took her own life in 1994 near Torquay.
    Gabrielle’s husband, Robert, killed himself five years after that.
    It is reminiscent of the plot of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express where the death of a kidnapped child leads to one death after another; but here there were no ‘12 good men and true’ to exact vengeance on the kidnappers responsible for this spiralling tragedy.

    And now there’s precious few of that family left to care, so BiG, you can sit there ‘not giving your s**t’—you can even throw a party, sing some Rebel songs, and pass round the Noraid tin.

  12. Why in the name of Christ would the Tory Party be dumb enough to call a GE.? May out for Christ’s sake. But what platform would they put up? Her treason and betrayal as the main plank of their manifesto? Fuck that. Nobody is that thick –not even fucking Tory Grandees. And they know what an awful mess Jizza would create. No –there will be no GE until 2022. By which time ZaNu will be in a lot more trouble itself.

    We need May out on her fat, cellulite arse and a Brexit leader and WTO Rules exit. To Hell with all the Project Fear/NI crap and anyone stupid enough to believe it. The Tories could still pull through this. Up the EU arse many of them might be but the EU won’t be paying for all the Tory twats heading to the dole queue if they cock it up. Some body up in the comments lamented that if Gove was not a treacherous little coprolite BoJo and Leadsom would be in now. Well BoJo might do but Leadsom is a vile self-serving bitch who has now doubled down on kissing May’s fat arse after swearing up and down in July that she would accept no more concessions after the orig Chequers crap. Large numbers of political scum in this country need their necks stretching urgently.

  13. The facile guff in these comments about the UK laying down a blunt demand to the EU that they must give us a free trade deal or we’ll flounce off is the hard-Brexit delusion in microcosm. The reality of this position was best surmised by Raab’s recent comments that he hadn’t quite grasped the importance of the Calais-Dover crossing! Headline ‘we’re taking back control’, small print ‘we’re going to leave the Irish border open and we’re sort of hoping that the frictionless EU supply chains we rely on to feed our population and keep them supplied with medicines will still work okay when we’ve taken back control of them’. Utter, utter delusion!

    Britain’s negotiations with what is today the EU started over 50 years ago when we first tried to join the EEC, over the decades we have continuously negotiated on thousands of different strands of economic, political and social policy in operation on a day to day basis. It did not happen by magic. The hard-Brexit fantasy is that we just tear this up, we grandfather some stuff, we ‘go WTO’, and all these thousands of points of integration will magically resolve themselves. Even the more sane Brexiters, the ones who knew we’d have to accept a deal that weakened our economy for decades whilst we laboriously negotiated trade deals from a newly weakened position were relying on others to figure out the important day to day bits.

    If Mogg, Raab, the ERG, Minford, Farage etc really had a plan that could handle the hard details they would have shown it by now. Calling the EU’s bluff is no longer viable as both sides know there is no viable plan for hard-Breixt. As for the EU inflicting a defeat on the UK, maybe they have, but it’s the hard-Brexiters who have failed to come up with the solution. The idea that the people Britain will never forgive the EU but will forget the hard-Brexiters were hopelessly clueless is rather optimistic. I don’t like the EU, but I cannot blame the EU because the hard-Brexiter strategy was based on an ideological dream rather than a firm grasp of details.

  14. The mistake the government has made from Day 1 is that they assumed that this would be a mutual agreement amongst friends. The EU apparatchiks are not our friends and never have been. All of them to a man and woman are cut from the same cloth as those who supported Hitler, Mussolini and Franco and the Vichy – it’s all about control. their control. The UK has not been forgiven for rescuing the European continent from totalitarianism twice in the past century. Brexit was always going to be a stick they could beat us with. Every time the government has gone to the EU to negotiate concessions or reform the answer has always been “Non/Nein”.

    Let’s face it the government never expected the Brexit vote to be anything other than remain. But you can only pull the wool over people’s eyes for so long before it begins to unravel. Apart from the Brexit vote being 2 fingers up to the EU it was also 2 fingers up to the political establishment. Yet they haven’t heeded those warnings and have continued to fuck it up from the get go.

    I’m with Jim, should have triggered Article 50 as soon as the result was announced and told the EU “We’re off. You’re on your own.”

  15. MJW–Tired boilerplate Remainiac mouth. The “Hard Brexiteers” are the people of this nation and the fact that bureaucratic scum have tried to stitch us up in a vast web of bullshit–which offal like you doubtless endorse–is supposed to be the reason we can no longer be our own free nation.

    The more remainiacs and their shite I read the more I want a civil war.

    Jim called it right.

  16. @ Mr Ecks
    Instead of complaining about ‘bureaucratic scum’ and remoaners stitching them up why don’t hard-Brexiters please, please, please show us a serious detailed alternative, not just say ‘lets go WTO and hope decades worth of detailed integration just sort of, umm, works itself out’? Seriously, Brexiters have been planning Leave for years, yet in the final analysis their only negotiating strategy boils down to ‘we’ll just threaten to collapse our own economy if the EU doesn’t give us what we want’. Even if it’s not a bluff it’s not the most commanding of position!

    As for talk of civil war, it’s more magical thinking. Whose going to organise it, will the actual plan be subbed out to the same people who were supposed to deliver Brexit?

  17. MJW, you are making the mistake that it is Brexiters doing the negotiating. They aren’t. May made no secret of her leanings towards remain and has done her level best to fuck up the Brexit negotiations.

    The deal that should have been done is exactly as Jim described. Had the government had the collective balls to do that, the EU would have had no option but to concede. We all know that the vindictive, treacherous scum in the EU establishments have no other but their own individual interests at heart they needed to make leaving as difficult as possible so that none of the other countries got the same idea. A bit like trying to leave the mafia, you don’t leave but end up at the bottom of the Hudson River with concrete boots.

  18. MJW,

    I have some sympathy for your viewpoint. I don’t think it is necessarily fair to dismiss your comments as just boilerplate remoaning.

    I think however that we are – as is usually the case for really contentious political arguments – at cross-purposes.

    Your voicing of the remain case is – and I hope this is a fair summary – that we have had 40 years to develop incredibly far-reaching trade integration, which is incredibly difficult to unravel and without which we will be considerably poorer. The Leave side must therefore demonstrate how it will sort all this incredibly fine detail to prevent such disruption.

    The Leave case is that the EU is a profoundly anti-democratic institution which is entirely about political integration using trade as a stalking horse and 40 years of this political – and trade – integration has hollowed out our body politic as all our politicians have had to sign up to the lie that it is only about trade. The direction of travel of the EU as a whole is only ever for further centralisation and for strenuously ignoring the grubby views of the populace, even as that populace becomes more and more restive. In particular, no-one involved in the creation of the Euro has ever acknowledged that it was going to cause massive problems. The behaviour exhibited will not end well because it provides no outlet for popular discontent. If you can’t elect even a Trump, you’re putting a lid on a pressure cooker and you will end up brewing something much nastier.

    Thus, even though leaving the EU will cause short term disruption, it MUST be done. Even we know and accept that there will definitely a short term disruption, it is vitally necessary to leave the EU, and if the disruption is anything more than short term, we will be in a position to hold our own elected representatives’ feet to the fire. Pictures of piles of rotting food at ports will concentrate minds rather wonderfully. Problems at the borders WILL get sorted. Plus we have the chance to play for a longer term upside as we free up our trade with the rest of the world.

    In this context, the Remain case worrying about trade integration is missing the point. It is somewhat similar to the Soviet Commissar asking “who determines the supply of bread for London?”.

    The Leave case is answering “no-one” and that, to the Commissar, is a horrifying thought.

  19. @MJW – “In 15 years time how will our GDP compare to France, an economy and population of similar size to UK?”

    Not sure on actual GDP forecasts but in terms of individual wealth levels over the next ten years in the top ten countries and according to New World Wealth, Europe is not the place to be, all the high growth will be outside of Europe. Over the next ten years UK wealth levels will drop by 2%, French by 11% and Italian by 19% which means that the gap between the top non Euro countries by wealth will increase significantly, Germans will have zero growth which after inflation means it’s people too will become poorer.


    “Over the last decade, China and India have more than doubled their wealth. Meanwhile, developed economies like the United States and Japan have increased wealth at modest rates – and some, like Italy and France, even lost modest amounts of private wealth over that duration of time.

    Finally, it should be noted that the United Kingdom’s decrease above is mainly due to the depreciation of the GBP, which dropped in dollar terms from roughly $2.00 to $1.35 over the decade in question.”

    “How is global wealth expected to shift in the future?

    According to New World Wealth, the same 10 countries will dominate the landscape – but the order will change considerably over the next decade.

    France will continue its descent down the ranking to 9th place with just 10% growth in a decade, and Australia will increase wealth at a rate that is very impressive for a developed economy. By 2027, it’s expected to be the world’s seventh richest country in terms of private wealth, with a total of $10.4 trillion. That will rival powerhouses like Germany and the United Kingdom, each with private wealth near the $11 trillion mark.”

  20. @ Henry Crun

    Have you considered the reality of taking a ‘psycho’ stance in the negotiations? Day 1. Davis walks in and says to Barnier ‘if you don’t let us cherry pick the bits of membership we want to keep we’ll drive the UK economy off a cliff. This will be bad for the EU because of our close relationship, nowhere near as bad as for UK due to our dependency on frictionless trade and the political situation in Ireland and Scotland, but still it’ll be bad for the EU’. Drops the mic and walks out.

    Davis goes home, May stands up in front of the nation and says, we’ve given them the ultimatum, if they don’t let us cherry pick we’ll blow ourselves up’. Now there’ll be an element of ‘is she bluffing?’, a lot of it informed by whether there’s actually any serious mitigation e.g. start building stockpiles of key material. On the plus side there’s now no need to waste time on those stubborn details, but then the hard Brexiters were never bothered with them anyway. And as a silver lining a bunch of hedgies in bed with ERG make a killing as the economy and government starts to implode.

    Meanwhile the EU leaders get round the table and weigh it up. Their worst case is allowing cherry picking as if they do that then it’s game over. So there’s no chance of that. So what’s the next bad case? Well, the UK blowing up it’s economy is probably the next worse case, but as all the remaining scenarios are worse for the UK they can sit back in the knowledge that they are the one’s with the stronger position, crucially they have all those laborious trade deals in the bag…

    So what happens next in this hardball scenario? Does magical thinking become reality? Is there some Deus ex Machina waiting in the wings to save our plucky hard Brexiting heroes? This delusion cannot survive contact with reality!

  21. I don’t understand how you can join a club, pay hefty leaving fees (which were never part of the original signing up details) and then find out you can’t actually leave.

    The EU has sought to punish the UK for even daring to think of leaving. I don’t see any reason, once we continue our membership, that they won’t continue to think that way. The elite in Brussels and their bosses in Berlin really are a nasty piece of work.

    Anyways, the one thing all this has proved beyond and shadow is that whatever politicians say, they don’t mean it. Cameron didn’t mean it when he said we would leave if so voted and May didn’t mean it when she said she supported leaving. Corbyn doesn’t mean it when he says he cares for the British working classes.

    My prediction, FWIW, is the EU will fall apart with or without us. It is a monster that tries to devour everything in its quest for greatness but is more likely to die of indigestion. I’d have rather watched from the outside but apparently our London-based ‘friends’ want us to be up close and personal with it all.

  22. @ The Pedant-General

    I think your summary of my views is fair and accurate.

    On your point about the Leaver belief that the significant pain of exit being a price worth paying in the long-run, I can accept that as a genuine belief, but crucially, amongst all the talk of what ‘sort of Brexit’ people voted for, hard-Brexiters are not highlighting this belief as one the public voted for. Leave campaigned on the basis of a Brexit dividend, of 350m a week for the NHS etc… it did not lead on the basis of ten or fifteen years of economic misery to eventually be replaced by the land of milk and honey. It may be a price hard-Brexiters think is worth paying, but it is most definitely not the price they advertised to the voters they now complain will have been misled if they don’t get a hard-Breixt.

  23. Some of the arguments being paraded above, MJW’s are the latest, are bollocks on stilts. Nations don’t trade with nations. People trade with people. The only role governments play in international trade is getting in the way.
    Do you really see the people either side of an EU erected trade barrier putting up with it for more than a few weeks? Just because governments say so? WTF do you think smuggling’s all about? Would you like to be the French government representative telling a French farmer his crop can rot in his field because Brussels, via his government, is going to prevent it reaching British shops? That’s a French government representative looking at a lynching.
    The doom being predicted will not happen because people will not let it happen. Their governments try & make it happen they’ll be getting themselves some new governments.

  24. @MJW

    Firstly, can I note that there is substantial cause for hope? We are clearly on opposites sides of this debate, but appear to be completely capable of discussing the merits of each other’s cases with caution and civility and without misrepresentation. This is good. It has been lacking and is sorely missed.

    ” it did not lead on the basis of ten or fifteen years of economic misery to eventually be replaced by the land of milk and honey. It may be a price hard-Brexiters think is worth paying, but it is most definitely not the price they advertised to the voters they now complain will have been misled if they don’t get a hard-Breixt.”

    True, it’s not what was advertised. I think in my original comment I noted this, and it’s a perfectly reasonable point.

    However, where we differ is that I don’t think it’s going to be 10 or 15 years of economic misery.
    – Markets will drop leading up to the actual date, but will price this in gradually in the lead up rather than having a sudden crash so won’t be as newsworthy.
    – I think we will see possibly quite noticeable disruption for some weeks immediately after March. This will force the really big changes out of the woodwork. HMG will have to make some uncomfortable changes like not being actually insane at the border. Lorries will be waved through and people won’t starve.
    – HMG will also rather suddenly be focussed on things that actually matter. This will also sort, quite quickly, who is a total waste of space and who is actually quite sensible. Things that civil servants do will be immediately noticeable. This will be a good thing. Not coincidentally, this is at least part of the reason why the civil service is so terrified of Brexit.
    – HMG can also make some sensible decisions on external tariffs, but we need to start yelling about this now.
    – There may well be medium term effects too: investment will be lower until the dust settles and this will have an effect at the margin.
    – However, by the time this sort of negative effect would really begin to bite, I would hope that we would have shown that the sky is not falling in, that things are still functioning and that – say it softly – other countries do want to trade with a sensible post-Brexit UK.

    A sharp cut in corporation tax would be good too.

    This is, however, predicated on HMG being evenly moderately sensible. This necessarily requires May to be kicked out. And I suspect JC not to be elected in her place.

  25. Woah – “ten or fifteen years of economic misery” – blimey!

    MJW is a Panicky Pete.

    As bloke in spain pointed out, it’s people that trade. Nobody on either side of the border wants to lose money. You think, in the absence of clear laws governing cross-border trade, all these businessmen will be paralysed with fear?

    What will actually happen is that trade will continue more or less unabated. Some of the trade will be legally iffy, and some small number of people might even end up losing their shirts because of it. But prices will rise to compensate for the increase in risk, so trade will continue regardless.

    Higher prices will last as long as higher risk, and will translate to enormous political pressure, so unless MPs want to lose their job, they’ll figure out a way to relieve that pressure before the next election.

    The hard cases around the margins might take longer to settle, but so what? Nothing’s ever going to be perfect: the courts are always jam-packed with hard cases from the margins, and will always be so.

    All the integration with the EU that’s taken place over the last few decades, and is so complicated and important: it’s not real. These constraints are entirely artificial. Laws can be changed, and pretty easily too, despite what lawyers and bureaucrats say. (An added side-benefit to a hard Brexit: we’ll see just how little we needed all those bureaucrats, which might be what’s got them so scared.)

    And anyway, where it isn’t in people’s interest to comply with the law, they won’t do it. Consider the relatively small number of people in Britain who consume cocaine, heroin, etc. Somehow all the laws against it don’t stop the drugs trade from flourishing. Do you really think a bit of legal uncertainty is going to stop people who see a profit in trading food, medicine, or flat-pack furniture?

    (Businesses wishing to hedge against that uncertainty might purchase insurance. Remind me again where all the insurance brokers are headquartered?)

    Everybody involved has a powerful interest in seeing the new equilibrium arrive, and quickly (except Remainer bureaucrats, but they will be very outnumbered); when all these selfish interests converge on a common goal, great things can be achieved.

    It’s not going to be the land of milk and honey, but neither is it going to be the seventh circle of hell. Stop panicking!

  26. MJW–Pure remainaic crap.

    Stephan Molyneux calls it right.

    We are– let’s say–going to free the slaves.

    “But wait “says Big Treason “Who will fetch and carry and tote that barge and cut the cotton. Not a single slave can be released until we have a plan that shows EXACTLY who will do what each slave is presently doing” .


    So here is the solution your to all your worries SJW : Fuck Off. We leave and the chips fall where gravity dictates. The Project Fear shite has already proved to be a pack of lying rancid remain cockrot. And any problems that arise we will solve. Your quasi-panic “falling off a cliff ” remainiac buzzword shite clearly shows your origins and what you are.

  27. So many esoteric arguments being raised, so I just checked the voting card and voters were required to indicate their preference to either leave or remain in the EU. That’s it, yet we have metric tonnes of documentation and new arguments raised outside the requirements of this very simple question.

    On the economy, its mostly driven by demand, does anyone think that the overall level of consumer demand for goods and services anywhere in the world would drop significantly the day after the UK done what its subjects requested and left the European Union?

    Its not like existing consumers will disappear off the planet and stop buying things post-Brexit.

  28. The top 40 horrors lurking in the small print of Theresa May’s Brexit deal

    In summary:

    The supposed ‘transition period’ could last indefinitely or, more specifically, to an undefined date sometime this century (“up to 31 December 20XX”, Art. 132).

    We can only leave the transition positively with a deal. But we sign away the money. So the EU has no need to give us a deal, and certainly no incentive to make the one they offered ‘better’ than the backstop.

    The European Court of Justice remains sovereign, as repeatedly stipulated.

    Perhaps most damagingly of all, we agree to sign away the rights we would have, under international law, to unilaterally walk away.

    The top 40 horrors – I’ve picked out a few:

    May says her deal means the UK leaves the EU next March. The Withdrawal Agreement makes a mockery of this. “All references to Member States and competent authorities of Member States…shall be read as including the United Kingdom.” (Art 6). Not quite what most people understand by Brexit.

    The EU admits, in Art. 184, that it is in breach of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which oblige it to “conclude an agreement” of the terms of UK leaving the EU. We must now, it seems, “negotiate expeditiously the agreements governing their future relationship.” And if the EU does not? We settle down to this Agreement.

    The UK is forbidden from revealing anything the EU told us or tells us about the finer points of deal and its operation. (Article 105).

    Any powers the UK parliament might have had to mitigate EU law are officially removed. (Article 128)

    The UK agrees to spend taxpayers’ money telling everyone how wonderful the agreement is. (Article 37)

    Art 40 defines Goods. It seems to includes Services and Agriculture. We may come to discover that actually ‘goods’ means everything. The “goods” and the term “services” we are promised the deal are not defined – or, rather, will be defined however the EU wishes them to be.

    The agreement will last as long as the country’s youngest baby lives. “the persons covered by this Part shall enjoy the rights provided for in the relevant Titles of this Part for their lifetime”. (Article 39).

    The UK agrees not to prosecute EU employees who are or who might be deemed in future, criminals (Art.101)

    The agreement will be policed by ‘the Authority’ – a new UK-based body with ‘powers equivalent to those of the European Commission’. (Article 159)

    Any disputes under the Agreement will be decided by EU law only – one of the most dangerous provisions. (Article 168). This cuts the UK off from International Law, something we’d never do with any foreign body.

    And, of course, the UK will agree to pay £40bn to receive all of these ‘privileges’. (Article 138)

    The more I read, the angrier and sadder I become. Truly horrendous

    Traitor May has internationally humiliated the UK with her surrender – I’ve seen several USA news saying “UK Humiliated”

  29. @ScotchedEarth – “No sovereign monarch would have submitted to the then-EEC’s laws being given primacy over our own.”

    Yes, this is significant, she broke her coronation oath made with the people to govern in accordance with its laws. Specifically, by giving Royal Assent to a foreign power any form of authority or superiority over her subjects.

    Yet they make nice movies and cool series on Netflix about her.

    Serious question, is anyone in the UK demanding redress from their Monarch on her unconstitutional subjugation of British sovereignty to the EU project, including when Ted Heath got her to provide her assent to giving the farm away in the first place?

    My direct family in the UK are all Remainers and they think that Britain under the EU is legitimate and don’t see any problem with it at all. I can kind of get it that they don’t see the need to question the lawfulness of it, but what about others?

    And the Brexiteers is their ire directed at the vicars daughter only?

  30. What happens next? Not a clue guv’nor, but a little thing like that won’t stop me.

    Before I begin though : That Esther McVey; I would.

    Aside from that, I suspect that either the Conservative No Confidence vote won’t go ahead, or that May will survive it. Largely on the grounds that the Conservatives are a minority government, and replacing May won’t change that. There’s a dynamic within Conservative MPs (and the House generally, certainly Labour under Corbyn have a similar problem) of increasing factionalism/segmentation and hardening attitudes, coupled with risk-aversion. Leaving May in position is the least worst option.

    Secondly, the “deal” – effectively a framework agreement for future unconditional capitulation negotiation still has to be dealt with by the incoming leader and cabinet. Either the existing (whoever May manages to get into the room) or a new Cabinet rejects the agreement out of hand (leading to the obvious accusation of denying the Commons a vote on it) or puts it to the House. Where everybody (Leave and Remain alike) is so thoroughly pissed off as the agreement is perceived to be so stonkingly piss-poor*.

    So the agreement goes to the House. Where Corbyn decides to order a Labour absention. He’s done this before; the advantage is that the focus will be on Conversative divisions and rebels, at the expense to handing the role of the Loyal Opposition to the the SNP. It also enables Corbyn to go missing again, so that he won’t actually have to make a decision or provide any actual leadership. Faced with having to abstain, Labour MPs will have to rebel against Corbyn to vote on the agreement; which gives them a problem.

    Because of Momentum. It seems likely that a Labour MP, rebelling against Corbyn and voting either way on the agreement (or any agreement), could have the Whip removed, and face the threat of de-selection from Momentum activists within their constituencies. If this were to take place, there would be a new set of Momentum-leaning MPs as Official Labour Party candidates in any forthcoming GE, whether that be as scheduled in 2022 or sooner. Alternatively, since the Conservative majority is so thin, only a handful of strategically selected by-elections would do.

    At which point, Corbyn either just has to wait (doing nothing) until 2022, the agreement with the DUP collapses or someone moves for a No Confidence vote on the Government – which could easily be the SNP. Alternatively, any Budget could be voted against, consistently, for the same effect.

  31. @Mr Ecks

    Good analogy with slavery.

    But as for “Let the chips fall where gravity dictates”: I’m all for this. But it has to be acknowledged that there might be a considerable period of economic instability. Uncertainty tends to have this effect, and any actual Brexit will be a source of short-term uncertainty. It seems to me that the solid argument for Brexit ought to be that this price is worth paying, not that Brexit is all flowers and unicorns and nothing else.

  32. ERG publish Your Right To Know – the case against the Government’s Brexit deal
    Four days after the release of the 585-page draft Withdrawal Agreement for the UK’s exit from the European Union, the European Research Group (ERG) of eurosceptic Conservative MPs today publishes a concise guide making the case against the putative deal.

    In Your Right to Know, the group – chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg – seeks to put the case against what Theresa May has agreed with the EU in plain English – and BrexitCentral is exclusively publishing the full text of the 7-page document.

  33. Politico:

    Rabb said the final straw was hearing news that the EU intended the backstop customs arrangement, which was negotiated to prevent the need for a border in Northern Ireland, to form the basis of the U.K.’s eventual economic relationship with the bloc. POLITICO was first to report that Tuesday night.

    Asked if someone on the U.K. side had prevented him from knowing earlier he said, “Yep.” When asked who, he said: “I don’t know. I’ve asked how this change was made and who licensed it and there’s not been a clear answer.”

    See Andrew Marr Show Dominic Raab Sun 18th November

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