Miller-Domi Baby

So let me get this straight. The British people voted to leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum. Gina Miller, a random person who didn’t want Britain to leave, challenged the authority of the government to invoke Article 50 without primary legislation subject to a parliamentary vote, and won. A little later, Dominic Grieve, a Tory MP who also didn’t want Britain to leave, attempted to scupper a hard Brexit by ensuring parliament has a “meaningful vote” on any final agreement negotiated with the EU. At the time, both Miller’s victory and the requirement for a meaningful vote were seen as setbacks for those wishing to leave the EU.

Only now it is the meaningful vote that has scuppered an agreement which would have seen the UK remain tied to the EU in perpetuity. Had this meaningful vote not been imposed, Theresa May’s government could have unilaterally signed the agreement and outflanked all but the most concessionary of Brexiteers. The European Court has ruled that Britain can withdraw Article 50 unilaterally but, thanks to Gina Miller’s fine efforts, that will almost certainly have to be done via primary legislation subject to another parliamentary vote, which would fail.

If Britain does indeed leave with no deal on 29th March of this year, I believe hard Brexiteers ought to crowdfund a bronze statue of Gina Miller and Dominic Grieve for services to their cause. It could never have been done without them, and they are owed a debt of gratitude.

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39 thoughts on “Miller-Domi Baby

  1. I’m in – could they please be depicted naked and engaged in canine carnality to commemorate their intentions towards the UK?

  2. 29th. 23:00 thereon.

    I originally put that, then for some reason changed it to 19th. Thanks.

  3. Also May, for calling an election that she thought would boost her majority, allowing her to easily get a Brexit deal through parliament, which backfired.

  4. Broadly correct but there does appear to be a majority for yanking A50 if Corbyn doesn’t whip and Tories rebel.

    Current thoughts on Speccie daily podcast is that there could be enough Tory Remainers leaving at the next GE to bring the govt down in a no confidence vote. We’ll find that one out very shortly.

  5. Yes indeed. Cracking post!
    Gina has shafted the remainiacs. I am sure they will be so grateful.

    The road to Hell may be paved with good intentions, but the foundations are the bones of do-good-ers. Grieve is there too, and that loud vacuous Irishman (what has it to do with him?). He was priceless for Leave.

    It’s hard to see anything being achieved in Westminster now, before Freedom Day. And even if they managed to get a Bill through both Houses, all the Queen has to do is to delay Royal Assent for a few days…

  6. A parliamentary vote to withdraw A50 would fail?
    I hope you are right, but it’s not obvious. Indeed my guess is that a remain-dominated HoC would love to withdraw A50.

  7. @Gary – I’m sure they’d personally love to withdraw A50, but I’m not sure many of them would love the reaction of their constituents if they voted to leave…

  8. Hmm. Would Corbyn not whip? Not sure about that. If he does whip, he can force Labour rebels to jump; if they do, he can use that to continue the Momentum’s entryism by deselection. On the other hand, if he exposes the Labour rebels, he’ll also explicitly expose the tensions within the party, allowing the media* focus to shift away from Tory divisions. Tricky, really.

    I keep thinking about 1975 and the Gang of Four. I suspect that May and Corbyn are now locked in a race to keep their own parties together just long enough for the other to fail. A Labour split would be a vertical one, a la the SDP, with Continuity Labour being Corbyn/Momentum. A Tory one would be horizontal, MPs vs. the local associations. Which would allow a new party (or a group of independents) to form from the bottom up, resolving the Remain/Leave divisions at constituency level. The possibility being that this could happen quite quickly, before the 2022 election, and probably leave Labour (whole or not) as a solely metropolitan party.

    *Assuming anyone, bar MPs, really gives a shit about it.

  9. And a modest memorial for Brown as well, for refusing to join the Euro. Something along the lines of the manneken pis.

  10. @abacab Sure, but they will be more than happy to rationalise it as Burkean ‘leadership’. Right side of history and all that.

  11. On the Tory side it’s as much the party as the constituents. There are already moves to deselect Nick Boles for his recent cunning plan.

    On the Labour side the membership are remainers but the leadership are leavers so the chances of a free vote are somewhere between slim and none.

    I’ve always assumed that, unless they just said sod it and applied to join EFTA, the deal would be done the afternoon of the 29th March. Interesting times…

  12. “but there does appear to be a majority for yanking A50 if Corbyn doesn’t whip and Tories rebel.”

    There may be a theoretical majority but would they dare to do it? Thats the beauty of the WA being deep sixed, the alternatives from a Remain standpoint are fundamentally anti-democractic, in your face anti-democratic in fact. If Parliament withdrew A50 then there would be a riot, and I’d be part of it.

    There are 3 scenarios from here – a) WTO Brexit (hurrah) , (b) amended WA passes HoC (unlikely as the EU won’t budge on the backstop) or (c) HoC votes to fundamentally ignore the 2016 vote (bring it on, theres a few hundred of them and 17m of us).

  13. Whatever HoC wants to do about A50 (do they need a new Act of Parliament to change the existing law, or can they just make it up on the spot?. If the former, there isn’t time left), don’t forget the EU need to agree.
    For a new A50 date, that needs unanimous agreement of 27 member states. Not gonna happen anytime soon, certainly not by Mar 29th. Everyone will want their little angle: Gibraltar for starters.
    For an A50 retraction, the ECJ ruled this could be unilateral, providing the ECJ agreed that is was permanent (interesting definition of unilateral there).
    So if a temporary retraction; it needs acceptance by 27 member states…etc.
    It could only mean a permanent retraction and a total end to Brexit.
    Therein lies civil unrest, disobedience and most likely violence. MP’s cannot hide in Westminster forever. They will need to face their constituents eventually. The constituents need to be lucky only once etc.
    Don’t they learn ANYTHING from history?

  14. the ECJ ruled this could be unilateral, providing the ECJ agreed that is was permanent

    Yeah, I’d forgotten that. I bet there are a few wishing cooler heads had prevailed and that last condition not stuck on the end, allowing May et al to kick the can down the road.

  15. There is a 4th option – sweet talk Norway and join EFTA. It’s implicit in the EEA agreement that you need to be in the EU or EFTA but we haven’t given notice so technically we’re still party to it.

    That would go down like a cup of cold sick with the ERG and the hard-line remainers (although not paying £39B might help) but it would mean we’re out relatively painlessly.

  16. Norway is not out and it’s not painless. Norway still contributes about £140 per capita (versus the current UK contribution as a member of £220 per capita), plus you know that the EU would still have the ability to fuck us via the EFTA by gradually turning it into EU Associate membership (i.e. all the bullshit with no say).

    So EFTA might seem like an answer, but it only seems that way given the current membership (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), if the UK was to leave the EU and join EFTA then the characteristics of EFTA would start to change quite quickly.

    One thing I am amused by is the current suggestion that Theresa May is playing 4D chess and that “Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design”. Given Theresa May’s unbroken record of incompetence, I found that hard to believe.

    My current view is that Article 50 has been served and the only thing which can stop a “hard BRExit” (i.e. leaving the EU and trading on WTO terms) is the passage of an act of parliament for which there is no consensus.

    Given the route of “do nothing” / “achieve nothing” is always easiest and carries the fewest political consequences (since everybody can blame everybody else), that is what I expect to happen at this stage.

    Sure, there will be plenty of activity and attempts to get a deal, but it will all crash on the rocks of EU intransigence and May’s incompetence. Those predicting A50 extension or withdrawal don’t seem to realise that as well as being “courageous” (in the words of Sir Humphrey Appleby) it would be a slap in the face to half the electorate and genuinely risk physical reprisals. So “hard BRExit” on 29th March 23:00 hrs is still the most likely option.

    Sir Humphrey: If you want to be really sure that the Minister doesn’t accept it, you must say the decision is “courageous”.

    Bernard: And that’s worse than “controversial”?

    Sir Humphrey: Oh, yes! “Controversial” only means “this will lose you votes”. “Courageous” means “this will lose you the election”!

  17. Even easier than “Norway” (which isn’t Leave anyway) is for the UK to join Jersey. Think about it….unilateral…already not part of EU with all trading/border/etc already in place…and historically amusing too.

    On the 4D chess thing…indeed, thick as sh*t, but just wait until the memoirs come out….

  18. Think it’s a bit early to start building monuments. This deal may have been voted down but it’s clearly because each faction still thinks they have time to win more from the debate.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if what is agreed at 23.59 on the 29th March (or whenever it is) looks very similar to May’s deal. We know the EU supports it. The softest Brexiteers support it. The remainers could be brought around at the last moment simply by refusing to extend Article 50 (assuming May really is aiming for something like her deal) – what are they going to do, vote it down?

  19. R le J: Brown doing a golden shower on the other two? I’m sure Rocco could come up with something more tasteful though…

  20. The slightly weird thing is what has not happened to May’s “Deal”* since the meaningful vote was delayed until yesterday.

    Personally, I would have thought that support could have been bought from Remain and Leave by adding a sunset clause, such that MPs would continue to vote on the ongoing EU negotiations every 12 months or so. This would be similar to the old Prevention of Terrorism Act. The advantages of doing this would be that the bill could evolve yearly according to the situation, and both Leave and Remain positions would evolve as well.

    The fact this hasn’t happened is revealing.

    *Worth remembering that it isn’t a deal in any useful sense. It’s akin to a framework agreement that sets the conditions and parameters for future negotiation with the EU. Strikes me that there’s a bit of a bait and switch going on with this change in language.

  21. “I would have thought that support could have been bought from Remain and Leave by adding a sunset clause, such that MPs would continue to vote on the ongoing EU negotiations every 12 months or so.”

    How can that happen? We can’t amend the WA without the EU’s agreement. Its a legal document – sign it as is, or don’t sign it are the options, not writing something new at the bottom and signing that version. Parliament can’t say ‘We’re signing it now, but we can withdraw that signature in a years time if we vote differently’

    The whole problem with the WA is that its legally binding forever, if no other trade agreement is reached. There is no sunset clause, and the EU won’t give us one, they’ve made that very clear.

  22. The whole problem with the WA is that its legally binding forever, if no other trade agreement is reached.

    How can any agreement be binding forever?
    Surely the next parliament can come along and just say
    “nah, WTO from here on. Suck it.”

    Not necessarily great for reputation, but didn’t Trump do something similar with the NAFTA agreement?
    And if it’s an unfair agreement, the rest of the world would probably be quite understanding…

  23. @William of Ockham on January 16, 2019 at 11:28 am said:

    Don’t forget a statue of Eddie Izzard in a pose with him wagging a pink manicured hand at Northerners.

    Also Geldof on gin-palace on Thames insulting fishermen
    and
    Obama’s “Back of the queue”

    .
    @Roué le Jour on January 16, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    +1 despite Brown’s no Euro being to anger the Blair creature

  24. Norway option sees us pay the same as now (the figures up thread are before rebate), subject to freedom of movement, and takers of rules. This latter not so bad for goods, as who wants different rules for eg, electrics, but awful for services, especially financial services. Services dominates the UK economy and UK is much more competitive internationally than EU.
    Transition period gives industry enough time to sort out data adequacy, contract continuity and find tech solution to backstop. I don’t understand why Brexiteers think the deal is so bad. Looks OK to the City and CBI and it gives the UK time to set about free trade deals.

  25. “How can any agreement be binding forever?
    Surely the next parliament can come along and just say
    “nah, WTO from here on. Suck it.””

    Thats the terrible thing about the WA – its unique in agreements between governments (if you call the EU a government), it has zero way for one side to get out without the agreement of the other. No other treaties have this – they have escape clauses that either side can trigger unilaterally. Yes there might be consequences, but there is a legal mechanism to get out. The WA has none of those. The only way would be to unilaterally repudiate it contrary to international law. Which is fine if you’re Chairman Mao, or Stalin, but not going to happen with the amount of lawyers that exist in Western politics today. Plus illegally repudiating a treaty has consequences – no-one believes you in the future, and there can be legal ramifications too – the EU could then take the UK to some international court and get a judgement against us etc etc. Its not a get out of jail card you want to play lightly. Better not to tie yourself in like that in the first place.

  26. If I were of a cynical persuasion, I would be wondering if about now is about right for a false flag outrage to tarnish the Leave supporters. The Establishment could do with a few disposable martyrs.
    Going back to the OP, Gina Miller and Dominic Grieve would both fit the profile, but Michael Gove would be perfect, with added political benefits.
    And having seen what they did to Craig Murray, no, I don’t think this is too fanciful.
    For once, I pray that I’m wrong.

  27. I don’t understand why Brexiteers think the deal is so bad
    What Jim said. No get out clause plus for me the Customs Union which means we could kiss goodbye to an independent trade policy.

    Personally I decided I wanted out when the Powers-That-Be ignored the French & Dutch referendums on the European Constitution about 10 years ago. I figured if they were willing to stitch up the French we’ve got no hope.

    The rest of the extended family split 50:50 depending on whether they were more concerned about the economy or sovereignty. The only one who was in any way upset was my daughter who missed the vote as she was on holiday in France.

    Of the remainers I’ve met there are very few true believers. Most either are worried about the economy or (as with the people I meet at work) think that the work involved is a colossal pain in the arse for very little benefit.

    In my view EFTA/EEA which Daniel Hannan has been banging on about for years would split a significant chunk of them off from the true believers. It wouldn’t be ideal and WTO would be better but it would get us out. Once we’re out the Commission will take the opportunity to grab as much power as possible (*cough*…tax policy) so I doubt there will be a great deal of pressure to go back.

    Finally if it does become a pain the get out clause for the EEA is a hell of a lot simpler. 1 year notice, 1 conference, job done.

  28. Dear Cynic

    We’ve been in the EEC/EU Customs Union since Jan 1973. We’ve been in 46 years already. So what if the day we leave is not 31 December 2020, but a few months later?
    I do think that businesses need time to get everything sorted (and in particular financial services) and I do not understand why people whose jobs and businesses are unlikely to be affected by disruption (and I don’t pay much attention to scare stories about ports backed up, planes not flying, etc) are prepared to ignore the realistic pleas from business for transition. From what I see and know (and I’ve been speaking with HMT and DCMS and various other interested parties) there would be quite a bit of short term pain with no deal.

    It might well be that the longer term benefits would be worth the short term consequences of no deal, but I don’t see the upside, which is why I think the May deal is OK (and I’m not Tory).

    In passing, most of the people I speak with in the City and Government departments voted remain, like me, but are all horrified at the idea of a second referendum, as undemocratic (never mind the whole issue of what question should be on the ballot paper). We voted to Leave and that’s what we should do.
    And that’s quite a wide spread attitude.

  29. “And that’s quite a wide spread attitude.”

    Yep. I voted remain, but would vote leave in a second referendum on principle, against my better judgement (and deep remainiac beliefs).

  30. @BiG

    Heartfelt kudos for that. Respect.

    Still, I suspect you’d be heavily outnumbered in a second ref by Leave voters who just give up voting altogether (eg if the Leave option is the May deal or EEA and they don’t think that’s properly leaving anyway) or who have had a change of heart after seeing the country’s political system virtually implode into a nervous breakdown from even getting this far with the Brexit implementation.

  31. So what if the day we leave is not 31 December 2020, but a few months later?
    Not a problem. Say it were written as “SM + CU until 31/12/2020 with the option of 3 month extensions by mutual agreement”. I would be happy could live with that. But it’s not.

    It’s written as the backstop (ie SM + CU) until an agreement is reached or the ECJ (not the most apolitical of courts) agrees that keeping it going any longer is taking the piss. Since SM+ CU is one of the EUs aims in negotiation it doesn’t exactly place them under pressure to make a deal. Admittedly I am a cynical old git but it doesn’t fill me with confidence.

    I voted remain, but would vote leave in a second referendum on principle
    You’re not alone. My brother in law said as much a fortnight after the vote.

  32. T the C; “I would be wondering if about now is about right for a false flag outrage to tarnish the Leave supporters. The Establishment could do with a few disposable martyrs.”

    Ahh, the Jo Cox strategy. Doesn’t appear to have worked all that well, really.

  33. Jim;
    “We can’t amend the WA without the EU’s agreement.”

    True, but May’s problem is getting support – across party lines – within the Commons. By guaranteeing a future vote over the status of the WA, and the situation at that time, I think she would have gained more support. Going back to Brussels with a narrow defeat – look guys, one more leetle, tiny waferrr, we’re nearly there – is a hell of a lot better than going back after you’ve taken a fucking kicking.

    A sunset clause in domestic legislation passed to enable the British Government to sign the WA shouldn’t impact the EU position. It’ll end up getting signed, which gives Barnier & Co what they wanted (or at least, what they agreed to). From their point of view, a sunset clause in UK domestic legislation creates the situation where the need to gain unanimous agreement to extend the Art.50 period from the remaining states doesn’t exist, as the the WA would have been signed within the initial period. Additionally, such a clause is entirely in keeping with the judgement delivered by the Supreme Court in the Miller case; it guarantees Parliament a meaningful vote on the situation in the future. It also formalises the situation that existed anyway; that being sovereign, Parliament can withdraw from any treaty at any time of it’s choosing (yeah, technically, it’s the Crown In Parliament and HMG exercises delegated powers, yadda yadda yadda).

    As I said, it’s revealing that such a clause has not apparently been put forward.

    “Its a legal document”
    True, but not quite in the normal, everyday sense that applies to me and thee. To point out the bleedin’ obvious, international law relies upon the consent of parties to abide by agreements, given the absence of any useful institution capable of enforcement, which ultimately boils down to the “how many divisions” question anyway. Same point again; if Parliament decides to withdraw, it can do so.

    From your later comment..

    “Thats the terrible thing about the WA – its unique in agreements between governments (if you call the EU a government)”

    One of the things that the EU should be very keen to avoid indeed, is to have the fact that it is not a nation state cruelly exposed. Remember this https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/trump-eu-ambassador-officials-fury-washington-dc-mission-state-department-a8717356.html?

    “The only way would be to unilaterally repudiate it contrary to international law. Which is fine if you’re Chairman Mao, or Stalin, but not going to happen with the amount of lawyers that exist in Western politics today. Plus illegally repudiating a treaty has consequences – no-one believes you in the future, and there can be legal ramifications too”

    Ok. This seems true enough, particularly the bit about trust.

    “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

    Oh.
    If you couch the referendum result as an issue of self-determination, there is no legal problem with the WA. If it is used to restrict self-determination then it is itself “illegal”. Under UK contract law, it would be null and void, as no party to a contract can require the other(s) to carry out an illegal act.

    Here’s another thing;

    “At almost every turn Cameron, advised by officials like Ivan Rogers and Tom Scholar, sought ways to get reform within the existing tramlines of EU law, rather than advancing the political proposition that the fundamental reform he had promised at Bloomberg involved tearing up some of the laws and conventions of the EU and ordering Rogers to act accordingly. Brussels’ rules are often there to be broken

    That’s from the conclusion to Tim Shipman’s book, All Out War, with added emphasis.

    International law is somewhat more fluid with regard to politics than people often like to let on.

  34. WTO isn’t the end of the world, but the direction of travel in international trade means the UK will almost certainly end up as US rule takers; great for ERG types trousering lobbyist cash whilst flying the ‘free trade’ flag of convenience, but lots of shit storms when the millenials are told EU standards they’ve grown up with are being replaced with hormone stuffed beef and pink slime.

    I think we’ll see a shift from the EU’s corrupt gravy train, to a more US style corrupt corporatism. There’ll be a window for certain folks to milk this, but then demographics will kick in. Older cohorts who prioritise sovereignty over all else will die off, leaving younger cohorts who grew up under the EU regime, they lean Remain, and they will despise US style corporatism with a vengeance. So I can envision the UK rejoining the EU later, only minus all the current advantages we have negotiated.

    The whole you ‘can’t use democracy to undermine democracy’ schtick won’t wash for long, that’s not how democracy works, and an advisory referendum is certainly not an exception. The sleazier end of Leave know this already and just desperately hoping they can stretch it to end of March. They know bait and switch tactics are busted and the ERG types have miserably failed to offer any realistic path to the land of unicorns. But, if A50 gets delayed I think they’ll have difficulty stopping a second referendum, which they’ll have no choice but to fight as a straight choice between sovereignty and economic stability (the unicorns having been well and truly slaughtered). There will be a hoo haa, probably even a ‘stab in the back’ myth for folks who can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but this being the UK the majority will just get on with it.

  35. they’ll have no choice but to fight as a straight choice between sovereignty and economic stability

    This presumes that the EU represents stability – both political and economic – in the long term. I think one of the strongest arguments in favour of leave is that while it will cause the UK disruption and some economic pain, it will be nothing compared to what will happen when the EU disintegrates.

  36. “Presumes EU represents stability – both political and economic”

    Nope. Instability as irrational & anti–competitive changes:

    The BBC don’t seem to be reporting this: EU moves to control taxation

    “…The EU needs to centralise more to back the Euro and to complete its political union. It also underlines why many of us do not want this future for the UK, where we want to vote for those who tax us and have the right to sack them if they displease. As The EU’s latest document says, it wants to stop member states offering lower taxes as incentives to businesses or rich individuals. It wants ” a fair tax environment for all” which they say only the EU could guarantee for member states.

    The ideas set out in “Towards a more efficient and democratic decision making in EU tax policy” concentrate on removing the ability of a state to veto a tax proposal. The EU also wants to introduce powers for the European parliament in this area.

    They are keen to press on with a common corporate tax system, VAT, a Financial Transaction Tax and a Digital Services Tax. They claim “co-ordinated EU action in taxation is essential to protect Member State’s revenues”.

    They claim “In today’s larger, modern and more integrated EU, a purely national approach to taxation no longer works and unanimity is neither a practical nor an effective way of decision making”.

    They want a standard system of VAT with a single form instead of 28 varieties as at present, and the ability to stop Ireland and others undercutting corporate taxes to attract business

    You cannot be an independent country and have others impose taxes on your citizens and set your budget. The UK is getting out just in time. If we stay in or bind ourselves to their laws after technically leaving we could end up with their new taxes that would damage our businesses and our consumers.

    EU works on the “If we can’t all have it, nobody can have it” principle.

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