Author Topic: Various bits re Brexit and Economics  (Read 7256 times)

seafoid

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Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« on: February 26, 2019, 11:07:01 AM »
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To kick off here is a really interesting line from William Hague

"The whole landscape of British politics is at stake over the coming weeks – whether the referendum can be honoured, whether government can be carried on, whether a great political party can stay together."

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/25/labour-imploding-brexit-balance-tories-need-stick-together/

With Labour imploding and Brexit in the balance, the Tories need to stick together
•   
William Hague
25 February 2019 • 9:30pm



 Brexit is within sight, but Conservatives must find a greater sense of unity than in recent weeks CREDIT: LEON NEAL /GETTY IMAGES EUROPE 
While I think the three MPs who left the Conservative Party last week were wrong to do so, their departure should alarm every sensible Tory in the land. I have known quite a few defectors over the decades but, until now, they have been lone individuals leaving for personal ambition or after an agonising change in their own beliefs.
These three acted together and left in order, as they see it, to stick to their guns. Whatever you think of them, they are people who believe in an enterprise economy, individual freedom and a well-defended country – in other words, they are basically Tories. When Tories start leaving the Tory party, we should be very worried. Their loss cannot be shrugged off just because the Labour Party is in an even worse state.
Their act of leaving without changing their views is a poor reflection on the Conservative Party, but it isn’t great news for the new Independent Group either. That group now mixes real Tories with social democrats, without knowing if anything enticing can be created out of such an exotic cocktail.
Their ability to present themselves as a centre-Left alternative to an extremist Labour leadership has been damaged at the outset by bringing in the centre-Right. The defections of Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston might therefore be the first in history to weaken both the party they left and the one they joined at the same time.
Whether the Independent Group can be made into a viable party that threatens the existing party system remains to be seen. It faces more than the well-known hurdles of our electoral procedures and the conundrum of how to co-exist with the Liberal Democrats without merging into them.
Its challenge is actually global in scale – to create a centrist philosophy and programme at a time when everyone from US Democrats to President Macron is struggling and failing to do so. When those 11 MPs sit in a room and think, they will have to come up with an electorally appealing centrist message, something that has eluded Hillary Clinton and most European leaders, and that Vince Cable has shown no sign of discovering.
Their most immediate problem will be if an orderly Brexit happens on schedule, leaving the one policy they have in common – stopping Brexit – irrelevant. The immediate threat to the Conservative Party is the exact opposite: that Brexit either doesn’t happen or is not at all orderly. Unfortunately, the Tories are about to face a terrible choice between those two unpalatable alternatives unless they find a greater sense of unity than in recent weeks.

With less than five weeks to go to Brexit day, and no sign of an agreement that can both pass the Commons and be agreed in Brussels, Theresa May’s famous reticence about her intentions, should all her efforts fail, is an important asset. If the EU is going to make any meaningful concession, it will only do so at the last minute and because it fears the consequences of a no-deal exit. And if the Commons is ever going to pass a deal, it will only be because time has run out for all other ideas and because people on both ends of the argument fear the worst from their own point of view.
The best approach for a cohesive governing party in this situation is to keep its collective nerve for another few weeks, extract a change to the legal durability of the Irish backstop allowing the deal to be voted through, and delay Brexit for only as long as needed to pass the legislation to implement it.

That unity may actually be easier to achieve now that the opposition seems to be discussing a second referendum more seriously.
We could then proceed to deliver Brexit, enter the transition period, open negotiations on a free trade agreement with the EU, and provide the country in the meantime with a steady government. Labour would be left to be deservedly consumed in its own flames of hatred, extremism and anti-Semitism, and the Tories could focus on finding the right leader and direction for the 2020s.
This is essentially what Mrs May is trying to do. If her whole party joined with her, behaving like a single giant poker player, she would have a reasonable chance of pulling it off. But that would need mutual trust, a quality political parties require to function and that is now in short supply. Inside Labour, trust has collapsed. Among the Conservatives, the departure of the three defectors shows how much it is already evaporating.

Tory ministers and MPs who are horrified at the practical implications of a no-deal Brexit no longer trust the ardent Brexiteers, the ERG, to vote for an improved deal even if it can be negotiated. Hence the desire among many of them to vote this Wednesday for the move by Yvette Cooper, enabling Parliament to seize the power to prevent a no-deal Brexit on 29 March, by passing a law to that effect in defiance of the Government.

Yet if this is passed, Mrs May’s efforts to win any improvement to the backstop will be undermined. And if ministers defy their Prime Minister to vote for it, the full-scale disintegration of the Government will be underway. The whole landscape of British politics is at stake over the coming weeks – whether the referendum can be honoured, whether government can be carried on, whether a great political party can stay together.
How can the Prime Minister keep negotiating effectively with her options still open, but give those Conservatives who think a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster the chance to prevent that happening? How can she avert the collapse of her administration if it has to choose between no-deal and delay?

The best way, of course, is to reach agreement with the EU that the backstop will only ever be temporary, and then for her whole party to vote the deal through. But the Cabinet could make clear now that in the absence of that happening, the Commons would have a free vote on the choice between no deal and asking for the delaying of Brexit day, with ministers able to vote as they wish.
Without some such safety valve in prospect, March is quite likely to see Parliament take control from ministers to delay Brexit anyway, and the Government begin to break up. The three defectors would think themselves proved right. There isn’t much time left to prove them wrong.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 02:23:43 PM by seafoid »
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seafoid

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Daily Telegraph editorial

The Torygraph is rabidly pro Brexit, the harder the better

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2019/02/24/brexiteers-must-stand-firm-not-panic/

24 February 2019 • 6:00am


The old political order is in its death throes: Brexit has finally forced MPs to rethink their labels and even break from their party. The new Independent Group, although also a revolt against Labour’s disgusting anti-Semitism, is largely a Remainer bloc; more may yet resign their whips to sit with it. But the creation of the Group doesn’t actually change the mathematics in Parliament and will eventually help the Brexiteers in the country. Every MP who allies with the Independents was always against Brexit and will continue to be – and pro-Brexit MPs should not be spooked by all this political excitement into thinking that the advantage has moved to the Remainers.

To use a phrase popular with Theresa May, nothing has changed. Her Withdrawal Agreement is still a terrible document, it needs serious rewriting (at best) and a no-deal should not and cannot be ruled out. If anything, any further defections from Labour that genuinely give the Independent Group some momentum will split the Left and deliver a majority to a pro Brexit Conservative Party at the next election, strengthening the hand of the next prime minister when it comes to our future negotiations with Brussels.

Therefore, even though this week will probably see the most dramatic attempt yet by Remainers to block the whole process, this is not the time for Brexiteers to panic. A group of MPs and ministers is trying to pressure the Prime Minister by backing a Commons move to take no-deal off the table and delay the Brexit date. This would be the equivalent of being caught in a “Hotel California” arrangement, whereby Britain never quite leaves. Of course, a new prime minister could force yet another showdown with the EU, but it would be even harder. As the Northern Ireland minister John Penrose writes, ruling out trading on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms would completely undermine negotiations because Brussels would know we could never walk away without an agreement. It could and would impose on us the worst terms possible: remember what happened to Greece in 2015.

As for the idea that Parliament should take over the process, the rise of the Independent Group is a depressing reminder that MP numbers do not reflect the strength of pro-Brexit opinion across the country. The voters are watching. MPs who are Leavers or, like Mr Penrose, have reconciled themselves to the referendum result, know that there is mounting anger at the mismanagement, delay, even sabotage of Brexit – so they must vote against any attempt to weaken Britain’s position or to dilute our withdrawal.
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https://www.ft.com/content/7d973c06-39c5-11e9-b72b-2c7f526ca5d0

   Theresa May opens way to a Brexit delay if her deal is rejected
      
      
               Prime minister says if meaningful vote fails, MPs will have choice of no-deal or extension
Theresa May said that MPs and business were worried that 'time is running out', adding that parliament needed to have its voice heard on the way forward
Theresa May has told the House of Commons that if her Brexit deal is rejected on March 12, MPs will be given the choice between a no-deal Brexit or extending the Article 50 exit process from the EU.It is the first time that the UK prime minister has openly accepted that Brexit could be delayed, having insisted for months that the UK would leave the EU on March 29 without a deal if necessary.The move — which Mrs May suggested could ultimately delay Brexit for up to three months beyond the scheduled date of March 29 — is aimed at heading off resignations by about a dozen pro-EU ministers who are determined to prevent the economic harm of a chaotic departure from the bloc.Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Mrs May said that MPs and business were worried that “time is running out”, adding that parliament needed to have its voice heard on the way forward.The prime minister, whose initial Brexit package was rejected by a record 230-vote margin last month, said the “meaningful vote” on a revised deal with the EU would take place by March 12.If the Commons still rejects the deal, there will be a vote by March 13 to decide whether parliament instead endorses a no-deal Brexit.

“The UK will only leave without a deal on 29 March if there is explicit consensus in the House for that outcome,” she said.She added that if parliament rejected no-deal, MPs would then be asked by March 14 whether they wanted a “short limited extension to Article 50”. If they did, the government would subsequently seek the EU’s agreement for a delay and bring forward the necessary legislation. Theresa May offers vote on Brexit extensionSome business groups welcomed the shift but called for much greater reassurance that Britain would avoid a no-deal Brexit.“While this is a giant political leap for the prime minister, this is only a small step towards the clarity and precision that businesses need to chart their future direction,” said the British Chambers of Commerce. “The overriding priority is still to assure businesses and communities that an unwanted no-deal scenario will not happen by default on March 29.”The Institute of Directors added that “while an extension is not an end in itself, it may become a necessity to achieve an orderly exit”.

However, Mrs May warned that no extension should last beyond the end of June, since otherwise the UK would need to participate in elections to the new European Parliament, which will take its seats at the beginning of July.“I do not want to see Article 50 extended,” she added, arguing that the only way to take no-deal off the table would be to either revoke the UK’s request to leave the EU — an option she excludes — or to agree a deal.“Ultimately the choices we face would remain unchanged,” she added. “Leave with a deal, leave with no deal or leave with no Brexit.”Only a minority of MPs in the Commons would back a no-deal Brexit while there is thought to be a majority for extending Article 50 if necessary.

But Mrs May’s strategy risks a split with the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs as well as Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party, which provides her government with a majority in parliament.Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, told Bloomberg: “I don’t think an extension is going to solve any of the issues that are already there. Often in negotiations you need that compression of time to come to a deal.”Responding to Mrs May, Jeremy Corbyn said the government was “grotesquely reckless”, suggesting Downing Street was deliberately running down the clock.

The Labour leader said his party would back amendments designed to rule out the “reckless cliff edge” of a no-deal Brexit.“She promises a short extension but for what?” Mr Corbyn asked. “If the government wants a genuine renegotiation it should do so on terms that can win a majority of this House.”Labour has proposed a softer Brexit, involving a permanent customs union with the EU. A Labour amendment setting out such a goal is widely expected to be rejected in a vote on Wednesday, after which the party is due to swing its support behind a second referendum that would have an option to remain in the EU.But Mr Corbyn hinted that Labour would only offer a second referendum if the Commons passes a deal. “If it [a deal] somehow does pass in some form at a later stage, we believe there must be a confirmatory public vote to see if people feel it is what they voted for,” he said.
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seafoid

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https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/may-using-nixon-s-madman-theory-to-play-chicken-with-brexit-1.3807003


May using Nixon’s ‘madman theory’ to play chicken with Brexit
Threat of UK crashing out of EU having profound impact on unfolding events

Bobby McDonagh


 
Former US president Richard Nixon’s reported strategy was to put it about that he was volatile and irrational. This would in turn, the theory went, make hostile leaders bend to his will since they would be afraid of provoking him.
 
Michel Barnier is a busy man these days. The Brexit endgame probably allows him little time for reading. Nevertheless, I would recommend that, as he seeks to negotiate with a UK government behaving in an increasingly irrational way, by insisting that “no deal” is on the table, he should at least dip into the “madman theory” of negotiation.
Richard Nixon’s administration, in its approach to the Soviet Union and others, was a proponent of the “madman theory”. Nixon’s reported strategy was to put it about that he was volatile and irrational. This would in turn, the theory went, make hostile leaders bend to his will since they would be afraid of provoking him. The proximity of Nixon’s finger to the nuclear button was a crucial ingredient in the strategy.
The “madman theory”, of course, did not begin or end with Nixon. Machiavelli argued that sometimes it is “a very wise thing to simulate madness”. More recently, Donald Trump’s approach to North Korea, and to arms control generally, bears hallmarks of the strategy.
The appearance of madness requires a high degree of verisimilitude and is all the more effective if its proponent really is wired to the moon
Brexit clock
As the Brexit clock runs down, the time for pussyfooting around has passed. Most people must now take it as a given that Jacob Rees-Mogg and his cohorts are stone-cold crazy.
The urgent question which should now be asked is whether Theresa May herself, although sane, has built the “madman theory” into her negotiating strategy. To put it another way, is the British bulldog showing symptoms of the rabid tail that has been wagging it?
•   Brexit Borderlands: The Irish Times maps Ireland's border crossings
•   Brexit: An idiot's guide to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union
•   Brexit: Political movement in Westminister as clock ticks down
 
BREXIT: The Facts
Read them here
The “crazy guy” strategy, as it is sometimes called, is of little value in the UK’s negotiating approach towards the EU. The major flaw is that the “no deal” button over which May’s finger now deliberately hovers would, if triggered, rain down its destruction principally not on the EU-27 but on the UK itself. For the EU to give any credence to the threat of volatility and irrationality, it would have to believe that the UK government is not only completely mad but also colossally stupid.

Blue Billywig Video PlayerCentral UK threat
There would, it is true, be some fallout beyond Britain’s shores from a no-deal Brexit. But the central UK threat is that, if it doesn’t get its way, it will punish itself. The EU naturally hasn’t the slightest intention of undermining the insurance policy for the Belfast Agreement which was painstakingly negotiated with the full input of the UK government . The EU may be willing to provide further reassurances about what the withdrawal agreement means but, even on that, they are conscious that nothing will satisfy Mogg’s European Research Group pipers who have been calling the tune.
Nevertheless, elsewhere the “madman theory” is having a profound impact on unfolding events. The threat of the UK crashing out of the EU is a vitally important weapon on the second front in May’s war, namely her campaign to compel a majority in the House of Commons to support her deal.
The madman theory does not wash with Brussels. But, it continues to shape the debate at Westminster
Most MPs, including many of those who voted for Brexit, care deeply about their rightly beloved country, not to mention the voters in their much-beloved constituencies. They understand well the havoc a no-deal Brexit would wreak on Britain. They probably also get it that the implied threat of mutually assured destruction, a policy captured perfectly by its popular acronym, MAD, would in this case be MUSH: Mad Unnecessary Self-Harm.
Immense damage
However, where the “madman theory” comes into the parliamentary calculations is not the assessment that May, in the privacy of her own mind, would consider inflicting the immense damage of a “no-deal” Brexit on her country.
Rather , it is brought into play by the not unreasonable fear among many MPs that the clock will be run down so far, the atmosphere so febrile, the tabloid press so irresponsible, the parliamentary procedures so complex and the lunatic minority so loud of voice, that a combination of confusion, incompetence and the unpredictability of the battlefield, rather than deliberate government policy, could lead to national catastrophe.
The “madman theory” does not wash with Brussels. However, it continues to shape the debate at Westminster. May can’t get the EU to play chicken; the game only works if your opponent shares your fear. In parliament, however, chicken is now pretty well the only game in town.
Bobby McDonagh is a former Irish ambassador to the EU, Britain and Italy
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seafoid

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Senior Conservative Party hurling


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/26/cabinet-descended-vitriol-brexit-delay-remainers-accused-appalling/
Tears of rage, 'appalling disloyalty' and kamikaze Remainers: Inside the remarkable Brexit Cabinet meeting

 Theresa May leaves a 'bruising' Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the details of which were leaked to The Telegraph CREDIT:  WIKTOR SZYMANOWICZ / BARCROFT IMAGE
•   Steven Swinford, DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR
27 February 2019 • 6:57am


Andrea Leadsom could barely conceal her anger. Turning to Remain ministers around the Cabinet table who had campaigned publicly for a Brexit delay, she said their behaviour was "appalling and disloyal".The Leader of the Commons appeared close to tears as she accused Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark of breaching collective responsibility, damaging the reputation of Cabinet and the Conservative Party in doing so.


It came after the Prime Minister was forced to bow to pressure over Article 50 after the trio of ministers threatened to resign over the issue along with as many as 15 other Remain ministers.
In a microcosm of the clashes in Cabinet that resulted, Ms Leadsom was seated next to Claire Perry, the Energy minister and a prominent Remain minister.
That very morning Ms Perry had penned a joint article in which she had threatened to quit the Cabinet unless the Prime Minister committed to extending Article 50.
Ms Perry wasted no time in hitting back at criticism over her article. She insisted that former Remainers had supported the Prime Minister throughout.
According to one source, Ms Perry argued that she and her Remain colleagues had been the ones publicly defending the Prime Minister's deal on shows like Question Time, describing their appearances as some of the "worst nights of our lives".

The rifts erupted around the Cabinet table. Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, hit out at the "kamikaze" activities of Remainers in undermining the Prime Minister by attempting to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
She said that their behaviour was not helpful to Brexit negotiations or the "credibility" of the nation as a whole.
Another source said Mr Hammond appeared to take exception to Ms Leadsom's suggestion that Remain ministers had been "disloyal.

The Prime Minister made clear to her Cabinet that she did not want to extend Article 50, and believed that doing so would only create more problems.
She suggested that a delay would only serve to create a "bigger cliff edge" at a later date and increase the risk of a no deal Brexit.
However in a bid to avert mass resignations by Remain ministers she committed to offering the Commons three votes.
The first, a meaningful vote on her deal by March 12. The second, should her deal be rejected a vote on a no deal Brexit. The third, should the Commons reject no deal a vote on extending Article 50.

Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, warned Britain risked losing control if it committed to extending Article 50 and that the delay could end up being significantly longer than expected.
While the Prime Minister suggested that there would be a maximum three month delay until the end of June, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission, is said to be considering a two year extension
The Defence Secretary is said to have suggested that a two month extension to Article 50 could turn into two years, putting Brexit at risk. Mr Hammond also warned of the risk of a lengthy extension if Article 50 Mrs May's deal is defeated.
A total of eight Cabinet ministers were said to have warned against delaying Brexit including Mrs Leadsom, Ms Truss, Mr Williamson, Alun Cairns, Jeremy Wright, Julian Smith, Brandon Lewis and James Brokenshire.

One source told The Spectator magazine that Mr Brokenshire was "as angry as he has been at Cabinet" over the behaviour of the three Remain Cabinet minsters.
Mr Lewis, the chairman of the Conservative Party, told Ms Rudd that the Conservatives need to be "careful" in warning against no deal. He said that many party members do not believe warnings about no deal.

There were also rifts about the purpose of the extension. Cabinet Remainers including Ms Rudd are said to have argued a 90-day extension should be used to build a "new coalition in Parliament" to secure a deal.
Mr Hammond is said to have suggested that the Prime Minister should hold "indicative" votes to determine the type of Brexit the House is willing to pass in the event that an extension is needed. A source said the Prime Minister "slapped down" the suggestion.
However Mrs Leadsom and Ms Truss are said to have argued that the time should be used to prepare Britain for a no-deal Brexit.
For their part Mr Gauke, Ms Rudd and Mr Clark were relatively brief in their comments, highlighting the risk of no deal but significantly less provocative than in previous weeks.
Gone were the suggestions that a no deal Brexit is a "unicorn" that needs to be slayed. "They were trying to be magnanimous in victory," said one. "They got what they wanted. They knew it was going to be bruising".
While the Prime Minister has committed to a vote on extending Article 50, for both ministers and backbenchers significant questions remained.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, asked in Cabinet whether the vote on extending Article 50 will be whipped. He did not receive an answer.
The Daily Telegraph understands Downing Street is yet to decide. "We're focusing all our efforts on trying to win the meaningful vote," a source said.
The Cabinet meeting lasted until shortly before midday, which some ministers speculated was part of a bid to stop details of the meeting from leaking.
However details of Mrs May's briefing to Cabinet were leaked to The Daily Telegraph half an hour before it formally broke up.

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seafoid

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This is very good

https://www.ft.com/content/d69fe31e-38f0-11e9-b856-5404d3811663

   A second Brexit referendum is now essential

If democracy means anything, it means a country’s right to change its mind

Martin Wolf

Theresa May’s aim is to convert fear of a no-deal Brexit into acceptance of her bad deal, which would leave the UK at the EU’s mercy. In the end, the rhetoric about “taking back control” has come down to a choice between suicide and vassalage. This march of folly needs to be stopped, for the UK’s sake and Europe’s. The only politically acceptable way to do this is via another referendum. That is risky. But it would be better than sure disaster.Let us count the ways in which what is now happening is quite insane. In just over a month, the UK might suddenly exit from the EU. But the government and business are unprepared for such a departure: to take one example, the government is still fighting over what farm tariffs to impose. Such a no-deal Brexit would damage the UK — and the EU. If a no-deal exit did happen, negotiations would need to restart at once, but in a far more poisonous and, for the UK, more unfavourable context. Even if the prime minister’s deal were ratified, a new set of negotiations would have to start over the future relationship. The UK is unprepared for such negotiations. These new negotiations would also inevitably end up with an unsatisfactory outcome, because the UK has never confronted the trade-offs between access and control inherent in all trade negotiations. Finally, this entire mess would make only the EU’s enemies — Russian president Vladimir Putin, above all — happy. Britain has, in brief, launched itself on a perilous voyage towards an unknown destination under a captain as obsessed with delivering her version of Brexit as Ahab was with Moby-Dick. Has a mature democracy ever inflicted such needless damage on itself? Why has the UK done so? The simple answer is the marriage of the widespread dissatisfaction of the British people to copious Brexit illusions.One illusion was that the meaning of Brexit was obvious. In practice, it could cover anything from a high degree of integration to very little. The decision to leave did not determine the destination.Another illusion was that Brexit could mean unbridled sovereignty. In practice, the deeper is a trading relationship, the more it must compromise with its trading partners on the exercise of national sovereignty. If the UK negotiates trade deals with the US, China or India, it will also be forced to accept many limitations on its sovereignty.A further illusion is that it would be easy for the UK to trade on the terms laid down by the World Trade Organization.

 In practice, a no-deal exit would worsen the terms of access to markets that account for about two-thirds of total UK trade. Yet another illusion is that the WTO covers most of the things the UK cares about. Alas, it does not. What it fails to cover includes road haulage, aviation, data, energy, product testing, including of medicines, fisheries, much of financial services and investment.It was a dangerous illusion to suppose that it would be simple to strike a trade deal with the EU, because we started from full convergence. The opposite is true. The UK is leaving in order to diverge. Such divergence is precisely what EU rules exist to prevent. The EU would never allow a country the right both to benefit from EU rules and to diverge from them, at its discretion.
A really big illusion was that if the UK were tough with the EU, the latter would come swiftly to terms. But, as Ivan Rogers, former UK permanent representative to the EU, argues, the EU would not — partly because preservation of the EU is, naturally, the EU’s dominant priority, and partly because the EU is sure the UK would be back the day after that no-deal Brexit. It is surely right on that.So right now, parliament faces a choice between the impossible — no deal — and the horrible — the prime minister’s deal. If accepted, the latter would be followed by years of painful trade negotiations, with, at present, no agreed destination. At the end, the UK would be worse off than under membership of the EU. Its people would be as divided and dissatisfaction would remain as entrenched as they are today. Is there a better way than this? Yes. It is to ask, once again, whether the people want to leave, now that the reality is clearer. There should be a second vote.Some will argue that this would be undemocratic. Not so. Democracy is not one person, one vote, once. If democracy means anything, it is the right to change a country’s mind, especially given the low and dishonest referendum campaign. It is nearly three years since that vote. Much has happened since then, in both the negotiations and the world.

As Ngaire Woods of the Blavatnik School of Government has noted, since 2016 Donald Trump has been assaulting the EU and the WTO, western relations with China have become more problematic and the extent of Mr Putin’s assault on our politics have become more obvious. This is not a time for Europe to inflict the wound of Brexit on itself.If, as seems plausible, parliament cannot stomach the vassalage of the prime minister’s deal, then the sane options are to ask for a lengthy extension of departure or, better, to withdraw the Article 50 application altogether. Both would give the time needed to discuss how to organise such a referendum. Mrs May’s suggestion of a direct vote on no deal might get us there.It is now clear that the UK has no consensus on Brexit, but only division and confusion. In order to get her bad deal through, the prime minister has been reduced to threatening parliament with something worse. That is mad. If a country finds itself doing something sure to damage itself, its neighbours and the fragile cause of liberal democracy on its continent, it needs to think again. Now is the last chance to halt the journey to ruin. It is parliament’s duty to do so.
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The great Brexit betrayal is nearly complete – but Theresa May still has the chance to be a national heroine 
•   
Nigel Farage
26 February 2019 • 5:02pm
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 Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? CREDIT:  JACK TAYLOR/GETTY
Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? If so, I am not aware of it. I have been writing about the great Brexit betrayal since July 2017. Now it is nearly complete. And the ramifications of the endless broken promises to which the people of this country have been subjected could have a catastrophic effect on our politics for years to come.
First, let’s focus on the Labour Party. Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s years as a Bennite anti-EU campaigner, often making comments about Brussels that were even stronger than some of my own, he has capitulated. Labour now backs a second referendum.
There are two reasons for this U-Turn. The Parliamentary Labour Party is dominated by a North London metropolitan elite whose outlook is overtly Remain. And, furthermore, Labour is terrified of more defections to The Independent Group from its pro-EU MPs and those sickened by Labour’s anti-Semitism problem.  Even if this second referendum idea fails in the House of Commons, it will be Labour’s policy until the next general election.
This is astonishing. It’s as though Labour’s chiefs don’t realise that five million members of the electorate who backed Leave in 2016 went on to vote Labour at the 2017 election. This group is intensely Eurosceptic. Many had previously voted for Ukip. They insist that immigration must be drastically cut. Now, any bond that existed between them and Labour has disintegrated.
This is a big problem for Labour. Two thirds of Labour seats in England and Wales are in Leave-voting constituencies. More importantly, the vast majority of marginal seats in the Midlands and the North of England that Labour need to win to form a majority also voted Leave.
If the Conservative Party can hold itself together – not a given by any means – Labour has just lost the next general election. Moreover, Chuka Umunna and his chums in The Independent Group will discover that the second referendum ground in British politics, which they had to themselves for about a week, is now somewhat overpopulated.
The disconnect between parliament and the people is becoming more obvious in the Conservative Party too, however. Theresa May’s endless assertions that she will deliver the Brexit the people voted for is beginning to look as if it was a deceit from the start.
Article 50, which parliament backed overwhelmingly, states that the UK will leave the EU on March 29 with or without a deal. The no-deal option is crucial to any negotiating position in Brussels. To remove it from the table would be like fielding a football team without a goalkeeper. Yet when cabinet ministers openly defy the government position and demand that no-deal is ditched, no action is taken. How Mr Juncker must be enjoying his booze-filled lunches in Brussels this week.
There is now no prospect of the appalling Withdrawal Agreement, the worst deal in history, being changed, and the argument for the extension of Article 50 has come to the fore. The moment that decision is made, all trust between Tory voters and their party will be broken too.
The ludicrous suggestion that an extension could be for just two to three months misunderstands that there would be no-one to negotiate with during this period. Brussels closes down in April as the European elections campaign begins. After that, the elite European Commission will be replaced. If we extend once, we will extend again and again. Voters’ fury in this scenario should be not underestimated.
The only way Brexit can now be delivered, and faith kept in our democratic system, is to leave on March 29 on WTO terms. If we apply to the WTO, and Article 24 of the GATT Treaty is used with both the consent of us and the EU, we would have a minimum of two years with no tariffs and quotas during which a trade deal could be concluded. More importantly, we would be outside the EU, the single market and the customs union. If May holds her nerve and keeps the current legislation in place, we will leave on the due date. She still has a chance to be a national heroine, albeit a slim one.
Another possibility is that the government and parliament are stupid enough to request a very short extension of article 50 which is vetoed at the EU Summit on March 21. By then, time would have run out, there would be no other alternative.
Those of us who want Britain to be an independent country again must accept that Westminster’s politicians are about to betray us. But we can beat them and win this great prize if we are prepared to stand up and fight.
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seafoid

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/27/theresa-may-has-sparked-beginning-end-conservative-party/

Theresa May has sparked the beginning of the end for the Conservative party
•   
Andrew Lilico
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27 February 2019 • 1:21pm
Yesterday, for Theresa May, the prevarication was over. The appointed time of choosing was here. Was the Conservative Party to be surrendered to the likes of Margot James, Richard Harrington and Claire Perry, the three fearsomely pro-Remain ministers who had threatened to resign if she didn’t take no-deal off the table?
Or was it to be the party of its mainstream members, over 70 per cent of whom want to leave the EU either with no deal or with a straightforward Free Trade Agreement? People like me. People like the 117 MPs who voted against Theresa May in December’s no confidence vote.

In the end she sided with the Remainer MPs, a group whose obsession with remaining in the EU at all costs is so great that they are content to see the largest democratic vote for anything in UK history overthrown, the British political system smashed, the Conservative Party rent and the country return, humiliated, to the EU begging to be let back in.
On the Ides of March, she will cross the Rubicon and begin the process of cancelling Brexit and with it destroying a party to which she has given her life.
The first step will be seeking a two month delay, an outcome which is likely to be put to Parliament on March 14. The EU may not grant that — it might insist on a longer delay from the off. But it matters little. That delay will not make her deal pass, it will not make the EU offer any change to the backstop and it will not give the two Labour Parties (the Corbynites and the TIGgers) any reason to shift from their own commitments to cancel Brexit.
Conservative MPs committed to actually leaving the EU could have accepted some sort of delay if this is what it took to deliver a proper break with the EU. After all, it would be silly to quibble over whether we leave at the end of March or the end of May.
The problem is that, given nobody thinks two months will be long enough to make any material difference to the political situation, the short delay has only one purpose: to make clear to Theresa May's Conservative opponents that they really will have to choose between her appalling deal and no Brexit (in the form of a second extension so long it essentially means leaving the EU is, for now, over).

With this scenario sketched out in front of them, true Leaver Conservative MPs must now know that their time in the Tory party is running out. It has split like this before, in the 1840s, when most of its MPs rejected Robert Peel’s repeal of the Corn Laws. His small front bench joined the Liberal Party after his death and it was only then that his Protectionist opponents re-named themselves the Conservatives once again.
Leavers today will, at the latest, have to quit the party when May cancels Brexit. They could go earlier, and hope to collapse the government, forcing a general election and a no-deal Brexit, although this strategy carries risks. Corbyn’s Labour is only on 23 per cent in the latest opinion polls and we could end up with four fairly evenly sized parties. In that scenario, it’s plausible that some sort of coalition in favour of rejoining the EU could be stitched together.

They may be better off waiting until the end of May, when the Prime Minister announces the second "extension" of Article 50 which would decisively herald Brexit’s cancellation. By then, with the right preparation, Conservative MPs who believe in Brexit would be in a far better position to split off and form a new True Leavers Party. Such a party could win a General Election in due course.
Remainers continue to dwell under the delusion that if they manage to engineer a situation where Britain reneges on the referendum it will mean us staying in the EU. They're wrong. We are not leaving because of the referendum result. Rather, we held the referendum because it was clear we were going to leave the EU and we needed to decide when. That fundamental logic will re-assert itself quickly if May cancels a 2019 Brexit, and when it does so, a new True Leavers Party could reap the electoral rewards.
The Conservative Party was a magnificent institution. For nearly 190 years it strode majestic upon the political stage. It helped create our mixed constitution and to protect it and British liberties for centuries. It saw off enemies of freedom, both domestic and international, and promoted peace, order and prosperity. I am proud to have been a part of it.
However, realistically, nothing lasts forever. By taking the first steps towards cancelling Brexit, May has made her choice. Now, or very soon, alas, those Conservatives that believe in Brexit will have to make theirs.
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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/27/theresa-may-has-sparked-beginning-end-conservative-party/

Theresa May has sparked the beginning of the end for the Conservative party
•   
Andrew Lilico
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27 February 2019 • 1:21pm
Yesterday, for Theresa May, the prevarication was over. The appointed time of choosing was here. Was the Conservative Party to be surrendered to the likes of Margot James, Richard Harrington and Claire Perry, the three fearsomely pro-Remain ministers who had threatened to resign if she didn’t take no-deal off the table?
Or was it to be the party of its mainstream members, over 70 per cent of whom want to leave the EU either with no deal or with a straightforward Free Trade Agreement? People like me. People like the 117 MPs who voted against Theresa May in December’s no confidence vote.


Remainers continue to dwell under the delusion that if they manage to engineer a situation where Britain reneges on the referendum it will mean us staying in the EU. They're wrong. We are not leaving because of the referendum result. Rather, we held the referendum because it was clear we were going to leave the EU and we needed to decide when. That fundamental logic will re-assert itself quickly if May cancels a 2019 Brexit, and when it does so, a new True Leavers Party could reap the electoral rewards.
The Conservative Party was a magnificent institution. For nearly 190 years it strode majestic upon the political stage. It helped create our mixed constitution and to protect it and British liberties for centuries. It saw off enemies of freedom, both domestic and international, and promoted peace, order and prosperity. I am proud to have been a part of it.
However, realistically, nothing lasts forever. By taking the first steps towards cancelling Brexit, May has made her choice. Now, or very soon, alas, those Conservatives that believe in Brexit will have to make theirs.

More insanity. What world do these people live in?
Andrea Leadsom would be deadly dangerous had she but a brain. Thankfully, she reminds one of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

seafoid

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/27/theresa-may-has-sparked-beginning-end-conservative-party/

Theresa May has sparked the beginning of the end for the Conservative party
•   
Andrew Lilico
Follow the author of this article
27 February 2019 • 1:21pm
Yesterday, for Theresa May, the prevarication was over. The appointed time of choosing was here. Was the Conservative Party to be surrendered to the likes of Margot James, Richard Harrington and Claire Perry, the three fearsomely pro-Remain ministers who had threatened to resign if she didn’t take no-deal off the table?
Or was it to be the party of its mainstream members, over 70 per cent of whom want to leave the EU either with no deal or with a straightforward Free Trade Agreement? People like me. People like the 117 MPs who voted against Theresa May in December’s no confidence vote.


Remainers continue to dwell under the delusion that if they manage to engineer a situation where Britain reneges on the referendum it will mean us staying in the EU. They're wrong. We are not leaving because of the referendum result. Rather, we held the referendum because it was clear we were going to leave the EU and we needed to decide when. That fundamental logic will re-assert itself quickly if May cancels a 2019 Brexit, and when it does so, a new True Leavers Party could reap the electoral rewards.
The Conservative Party was a magnificent institution. For nearly 190 years it strode majestic upon the political stage. It helped create our mixed constitution and to protect it and British liberties for centuries. It saw off enemies of freedom, both domestic and international, and promoted peace, order and prosperity. I am proud to have been a part of it.
However, realistically, nothing lasts forever. By taking the first steps towards cancelling Brexit, May has made her choice. Now, or very soon, alas, those Conservatives that believe in Brexit will have to make theirs.

More insanity. What world do these people live in?
Andrea Leadsom would be deadly dangerous had she but a brain. Thankfully, she reminds one of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.
The last 3 years have been insane in the UK

This is from 2016

“There are two significant strands of thinking in government,” said one person who had attended the Whitehall meetings. “One strand is gung-ho and wants to drive on without fully understanding the consequences, the other is more measured.”

And it has been like that ever since
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seafoid

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The Tories have a historic opportunity to destroy Labour once and for all
 
By

Allister Heath

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/27/tories-have-historic-opportunity-destroy-labour-could-still/

 Allister Heath

 27 February 2019 • 9:30pm   



Utter, abject incompetence is the new normal in British politics, and that could yet prove the Conservative Party’s saving grace. Not since Lord North was prime minister in the 18th century has Britain been governed so appallingly, and yet the Tories could paradoxically still end up crushing Labour and winning the next election with a massive majority. As Friedrich Nietzsche put it in Beyond Good and Evil, “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”

For now, at least, Jeremy Corbyn’s failings as a political strategist are proving to be even more crippling than Theresa May’s. His first misjudgment was to have underestimated the potency of what he wrongly calls “Blairism” – in reality, European-style social-democracy of a kind practised by Gordon Brown.

Corbyn also confused the increasing distrust of capitalism caused by the housing crisis and stagnant wages with an embrace of his own toxic brew of radical socialism, cultural Marxism, tolerance of anti-Semites and support for enemies of the West such as Shamima Begum, the jihadi bride. The fact that many voters want to renationalise the railways doesn’t mean they aspire to live in a council home or want the police to be soft on crime. The public is simultaneously more Left-wing and more Right-wing than those used to traditional ideological divides tend to realise.






Just as critically, Corbyn’s cowardly quest to have his cake and eat it on Brexit was always going to be exposed as a sham, alienating both sides. Corbyn has run out of time: he cannot be ousted, but faced for the first time with real competition on the centre-Left he will struggle to hold on to much more than a quarter of the electorate, despite the strength of Labour’s brand.

The early polling is crystal-clear: The Independent Group’s (TIG) pro-Remain, social-democratic identity will dramatically split the Leftist vote. YouGov puts the TIGs on a hypothetical 18 per cent were they to field candidates nationally, with Corbyn’s Labour on 23 per cent (down from 40 per cent at the election) and the Tories on 36 per cent (down from 42.4 per cent). Such numbers need to be taken with buckets of salt: the TIGs aren’t even a real party yet. But the fact that Labour now half-supports a second referendum doesn’t mean that everything will suddenly go back to normal. The rupture is upon us, as it was when the SDP was formed in 1981.

So far, so astonishingly good for the Tories. But their present leadership specialises in blowing historic opportunities, so this 13-point lead (and the dozens of extra seats it implies) could easily come to nought. The main threat to their ability to divide and conquer – Brexit – is also their greatest opportunity. The Tories must be the party of those who want to leave the EU for real, or they are nothing. If the “Left-wing” vote can split, so can the “Right-wing”. A cancellation, a permanent delay or a Brexit in Name Only will infuriate at least a fifth of voters, who will then peel off to whatever new Vote Leave-style party is created, just as pro-Remainers will embrace the TIGs.



The Tory vote would collapse, putting Mr Corbyn back into contention. One can win majorities with 25 to 30 per cent of the vote in a multi-party system under first past the post, so anything would be possible. We would be back to a more embittered, nastier version of where we were before Nick Clegg fatally trashed the Lib Dem brand and when Nigel Farage was riding high.

So far, Mrs May appears to have misunderstood all of this, and could therefore be poised to ruin her party’s extraordinary (and undeserved) lucky break. Delaying Brexit by a couple of months is ominous but manageable; betraying it would be calamitous.

She is desperate to prevent more defections from among her Remainer MPs and Cabinet, but she is placating the wrong side. There are not that many more Tory votes to be lost to the TIGs, and just a handful of seats at worst. The big hit took place in 2017, where Remain strongholds with lots of students and graduates shifted to Labour. Almost all current Tory voters are pro-Brexit. She needs to prevent more resignations, of course, but not at the cost of compromising Brexit, which would destroy her party.

Mrs May is wrong in another way. Her domestic agenda lacks any distinguishing features; she seems broadly aligned with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s world view, and its distaste for commerce, capitalism and conservative values. A focus on fighting “injustices” may sound caring but amounts to reheated Milibandism, minus the mansion tax. It will be no different to whatever policies the TIGs come up with and, as such, will do nothing to appeal to the aspiring classes who don’t consider themselves to be “victims”. There will be nothing in the Tory package for those who want to get on in life.

A U-turn is urgently required. The Tories need to focus on creating and spreading wealth, including among the “somewheres” who are ready to vote for a pro-Brexit party: the stress should be on housebuilding, an enterprise revolution, empowering consumers, providing a hand up and, yes, lower taxes and cheaper goods and services, harnessing competition, deregulation and free trade.

The Tories should be targeting at least 40 per cent of the electorate, a Brexit coalition of centre-Right middle-class voters (there are plenty left, especially in the shires and suburbs), the patriotic working class, and aspiring immigrant communities. They should forget about prosperous uber-Remainers in Islington or Wimbledon – with the arrival of the TIGs, the Left-wing, “progressive”, self-righteously metropolitan component of the middle class is now a lost cause – and target instead those groups that should be voting for a Brexit Tory party but aren’t.

More ethnic minorities backed Brexit in 2016 than voted Tory in 2017, according to Runnymede Trust research. Why not court such voters? Ditto in London, where 40.1 per cent of the electorate voted Brexit, but Mrs May’s lot are on just 30 per cent.

With the Left split, this is a historic opportunity for the Tories, but they will lose everything if they betray Brexit and turn their back on their core values. Is anybody listening?
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The great Brexit betrayal is nearly complete – but Theresa May still has the chance to be a national heroine 
•   
Nigel Farage
26 February 2019 • 5:02pm
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 Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? CREDIT:  JACK TAYLOR/GETTY
Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? If so, I am not aware of it. I have been writing about the great Brexit betrayal since July 2017. Now it is nearly complete. And the ramifications of the endless broken promises to which the people of this country have been subjected could have a catastrophic effect on our politics for years to come.
First, let’s focus on the Labour Party. Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s years as a Bennite anti-EU campaigner, often making comments about Brussels that were even stronger than some of my own, he has capitulated. Labour now backs a second referendum.
There are two reasons for this U-Turn. The Parliamentary Labour Party is dominated by a North London metropolitan elite whose outlook is overtly Remain. And, furthermore, Labour is terrified of more defections to The Independent Group from its pro-EU MPs and those sickened by Labour’s anti-Semitism problem.  Even if this second referendum idea fails in the House of Commons, it will be Labour’s policy until the next general election.
This is astonishing. It’s as though Labour’s chiefs don’t realise that five million members of the electorate who backed Leave in 2016 went on to vote Labour at the 2017 election. This group is intensely Eurosceptic. Many had previously voted for Ukip. They insist that immigration must be drastically cut. Now, any bond that existed between them and Labour has disintegrated.
This is a big problem for Labour. Two thirds of Labour seats in England and Wales are in Leave-voting constituencies. More importantly, the vast majority of marginal seats in the Midlands and the North of England that Labour need to win to form a majority also voted Leave.
If the Conservative Party can hold itself together – not a given by any means – Labour has just lost the next general election. Moreover, Chuka Umunna and his chums in The Independent Group will discover that the second referendum ground in British politics, which they had to themselves for about a week, is now somewhat overpopulated.
The disconnect between parliament and the people is becoming more obvious in the Conservative Party too, however. Theresa May’s endless assertions that she will deliver the Brexit the people voted for is beginning to look as if it was a deceit from the start.
Article 50, which parliament backed overwhelmingly, states that the UK will leave the EU on March 29 with or without a deal. The no-deal option is crucial to any negotiating position in Brussels. To remove it from the table would be like fielding a football team without a goalkeeper. Yet when cabinet ministers openly defy the government position and demand that no-deal is ditched, no action is taken. How Mr Juncker must be enjoying his booze-filled lunches in Brussels this week.
There is now no prospect of the appalling Withdrawal Agreement, the worst deal in history, being changed, and the argument for the extension of Article 50 has come to the fore. The moment that decision is made, all trust between Tory voters and their party will be broken too.
The ludicrous suggestion that an extension could be for just two to three months misunderstands that there would be no-one to negotiate with during this period. Brussels closes down in April as the European elections campaign begins. After that, the elite European Commission will be replaced. If we extend once, we will extend again and again. Voters’ fury in this scenario should be not underestimated.
The only way Brexit can now be delivered, and faith kept in our democratic system, is to leave on March 29 on WTO terms. If we apply to the WTO, and Article 24 of the GATT Treaty is used with both the consent of us and the EU, we would have a minimum of two years with no tariffs and quotas during which a trade deal could be concluded. More importantly, we would be outside the EU, the single market and the customs union. If May holds her nerve and keeps the current legislation in place, we will leave on the due date. She still has a chance to be a national heroine, albeit a slim one.
Another possibility is that the government and parliament are stupid enough to request a very short extension of article 50 which is vetoed at the EU Summit on March 21. By then, time would have run out, there would be no other alternative.
Those of us who want Britain to be an independent country again must accept that Westminster’s politicians are about to betray us. But we can beat them and win this great prize if we are prepared to stand up and fight.

Like all good middle Englanders our Nige skirts over the border issue and assumes the EU are only too willing to play ball on Article 24 of the GATT treaty on WTO terms for another two years of British bullshittery.

seafoid

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https://www.ft.com/content/55d0b260-3aa6-11e9-b856-5404d3811663

   Britain has a chance to think again on Brexit

But first Parliament must reject Theresa May’s fraudulent deal

Philip Stephens

In the ever more cynical effort to salvage her Brexit deal, Theresa May has notched up one victory. For the prime minister, the splits and swerves at Westminster have served as a useful diversion. Her proposed settlement with the other 27 EU member states has gone largely unexamined. Yet the one constant in the present political chaos is that Mrs May is still determined to sign up Britain to a truly rotten agreement. A week ago she was insisting that parliament had to choose between her deal and no deal. Now, under pressure from some of the saner members of her cabinet, she presents another binary choice. MPs can opt for her deal or they can ask for a strictly limited extension until June of the Article 50 negotiations. The first of the prime minister’s propositions was transparently fraudulent. The second is equally so. If they seize the moment, MPs now have a range of options from which to choose. These reach from a short extension to a long timeout or revocation. Britain can actually restore to itself the space for the careful deliberation and consensus building that has been blithely disdained by Mrs May. And, yes, if it so decides, parliament has the unilateral right to revoke Article 50 and allow voters an informed choice in a second referendum.

Stopping the clock, of course, requires the consent of the EU27. All the signs are that they would concur, in spite of the problems this would throw up for this summer’s elections to the European Parliament. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, has said as much. Even before Mrs May’s latest U-turn, senior figures in Berlin could be heard talking about an extension lasting quite possibly until the end of 2020. For all their fully-justified exasperation with the prime minister’s duplicitous antics, Britain’s biggest partners still want it to stay in the EU. With a lengthy timeout, parliament could make time both for a general election and a referendum that would present the people with the facts denied to them in 2016.To the extent there has been any debate about the agreement with the EU27 struck by Mrs May, it has been the wrong one. The arrangements in the withdrawal treaty to retain an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are a necessary contingency to underpin peace on the island of Ireland.

 The charge laid by the Democratic Unionist party and by kamikaze Tory Brexiters that the EU has a secret plan to imprison Britain in a permanent customs union is palpable nonsense. Such an outcome would privilege the UK over the EU27 by conferring rights without responsibilities. No, the real fear of Brexiter opponents of the so-called backstop is unconnected with concern for Northern Ireland. It is that the provisions might be deployed at some future date by those who want to preserve a sensibly close economic relationship with the bloc after Brexit.


All in all, there is nothing remarkable about the withdrawal treaty. Alongside the Irish border question it settles Britain’s EU membership bills and safeguards the rights of British and EU citizens after Brexit. The stunning failure of Mrs May’s bargain lies in the document setting out the proposed future relationship.

Beyond the normal diplomatic niceties and expressions of good intent, the agreement does nothing to assure Britain of privileged access to its most important market, of access to the co-operation vital to underpin national security and law enforcement, and of a voice in shaping Europe’s approach to shared regional and global challenges. Instead the framework promises years more of uncertain negotiations. Hidebound by the red lines drawn by Mrs May to appease her party’s English nationalists, the agreement foresees the break-up of supply chains by new barriers to trade in goods, and offers nothing to the services businesses now dependent on a place in the European market. Any concessions that might be secured would rest entirely at the discretion and goodwill of the EU27. The essential truth about the Article 50 process is that it gave Britain precious little by way of negotiating leverage. Once it has actually left the Union, the government in London will be left entirely dependent on the choices of the EU27. At every turn they would know that an agreement was more important for the UK than for the union.
All this has been to a single, selfish end — to satisfy Mrs May’s desire to redeem her premiership with a place in history’s footnotes as the leader who presided over Brexit. The interests of the nation — whether its prosperity, its security or its standing in the world — are to sacrificed to her chosen epitaph
.

The horrifying thought is that she might yet succeed. The threat of a delay could win over both Tory Brexiters and those backbench Labour MPs who have been running scared of the voters in their Brexit-backing constituencies. Mrs May has offered the House of Commons three consecutive votes during the second week of March. In the first of these MPs must seize the opportunity to throw out for a second time the prime minister’s wretched bargain. Then they should decide by an even larger margin to rule out a no-deal Brexit. In the last and final vote they should back a lengthy extension of Article 50 so that the nation can think again before inflicting upon itself the terrible act of self-harm that is Brexit.
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seafoid

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The great Brexit betrayal is nearly complete – but Theresa May still has the chance to be a national heroine 
•   
Nigel Farage
26 February 2019 • 5:02pm
•   
•   
•   
•   
Save


 Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? CREDIT:  JACK TAYLOR/GETTY
Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? If so, I am not aware of it. I have been writing about the great Brexit betrayal since July 2017. Now it is nearly complete. And the ramifications of the endless broken promises to which the people of this country have been subjected could have a catastrophic effect on our politics for years to come.
First, let’s focus on the Labour Party. Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s years as a Bennite anti-EU campaigner, often making comments about Brussels that were even stronger than some of my own, he has capitulated. Labour now backs a second referendum.
There are two reasons for this U-Turn. The Parliamentary Labour Party is dominated by a North London metropolitan elite whose outlook is overtly Remain. And, furthermore, Labour is terrified of more defections to The Independent Group from its pro-EU MPs and those sickened by Labour’s anti-Semitism problem.  Even if this second referendum idea fails in the House of Commons, it will be Labour’s policy until the next general election.
This is astonishing. It’s as though Labour’s chiefs don’t realise that five million members of the electorate who backed Leave in 2016 went on to vote Labour at the 2017 election. This group is intensely Eurosceptic. Many had previously voted for Ukip. They insist that immigration must be drastically cut. Now, any bond that existed between them and Labour has disintegrated.
This is a big problem for Labour. Two thirds of Labour seats in England and Wales are in Leave-voting constituencies. More importantly, the vast majority of marginal seats in the Midlands and the North of England that Labour need to win to form a majority also voted Leave.
If the Conservative Party can hold itself together – not a given by any means – Labour has just lost the next general election. Moreover, Chuka Umunna and his chums in The Independent Group will discover that the second referendum ground in British politics, which they had to themselves for about a week, is now somewhat overpopulated.
The disconnect between parliament and the people is becoming more obvious in the Conservative Party too, however. Theresa May’s endless assertions that she will deliver the Brexit the people voted for is beginning to look as if it was a deceit from the start.
Article 50, which parliament backed overwhelmingly, states that the UK will leave the EU on March 29 with or without a deal. The no-deal option is crucial to any negotiating position in Brussels. To remove it from the table would be like fielding a football team without a goalkeeper. Yet when cabinet ministers openly defy the government position and demand that no-deal is ditched, no action is taken. How Mr Juncker must be enjoying his booze-filled lunches in Brussels this week.
There is now no prospect of the appalling Withdrawal Agreement, the worst deal in history, being changed, and the argument for the extension of Article 50 has come to the fore. The moment that decision is made, all trust between Tory voters and their party will be broken too.
The ludicrous suggestion that an extension could be for just two to three months misunderstands that there would be no-one to negotiate with during this period. Brussels closes down in April as the European elections campaign begins. After that, the elite European Commission will be replaced. If we extend once, we will extend again and again. Voters’ fury in this scenario should be not underestimated.
The only way Brexit can now be delivered, and faith kept in our democratic system, is to leave on March 29 on WTO terms. If we apply to the WTO, and Article 24 of the GATT Treaty is used with both the consent of us and the EU, we would have a minimum of two years with no tariffs and quotas during which a trade deal could be concluded. More importantly, we would be outside the EU, the single market and the customs union. If May holds her nerve and keeps the current legislation in place, we will leave on the due date. She still has a chance to be a national heroine, albeit a slim one.
Another possibility is that the government and parliament are stupid enough to request a very short extension of article 50 which is vetoed at the EU Summit on March 21. By then, time would have run out, there would be no other alternative.
Those of us who want Britain to be an independent country again must accept that Westminster’s politicians are about to betray us. But we can beat them and win this great prize if we are prepared to stand up and fight.

Like all good middle Englanders our Nige skirts over the border issue and assumes the EU are only too willing to play ball on Article 24 of the GATT treaty on WTO terms for another two years of British bullshittery.
He will say the people were stabbed in the back if Brexit is stopped
It's a complete mess
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seafoid

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2019/02/28/lettersthe-brexit-debacle-means-death-conservatism-trust-democratic/


SIR – They gave the nation a referendum. The nation voted Leave.
They promised to execute the result, and put it in an election manifesto. The nation voted for it again.
But the Parliamentary Conservative Party has another idea. Not to leave.
With Tuesday’s announcement by Theresa May of the three votes opening the way to delay Brexit, the Conservative Party has died.
Iven Chadwick
Poynton, Cheshire
 
SIR – They gave the nation a referendum. The nation voted Leave. – What we are witnessing is something far worse than “appalling and disloyal behaviour” (of which Andrea Leadsom was reported yesterday to have accused rebellious Cabinet ministers) or a threat to the Conservatives’ credibility. The Tory party lost credibility long ago, and none of us, I suppose, much cares whether Amber Rudd and David Gauke are loyal to Mrs May or she to them.
What is truly being destroyed is faith in the British political system and in the dogma that ultimate power rests with the people. All my life I have seen the same establishment types effectively dictating what “the people” ought to want, or should be made to want – on no subject more relentlessly than on Europe.
They have invariably had their way; they never met a rebuff; and hitherto they were able to pretend that they spoke for “the people”. On June 23 2016 that mask was torn away, and they reacted with all the incredulous resentment of a spoilt child.
Having lost the argument and the verdict in the country, they have laboured ever since to undo the decision, to deny the right of the people to decide at all, endlessly complaining (like the pampered child) of the “unfairness” of a contest they had failed to win.
Now, at last, they scent success and are indecent in their triumphalism.
The appalling disloyalty is to us, the people.
Dr M R Maloney
London N3
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