Brexit

On Brexit, Everything is Stupid

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Quite a lot happened over the weekend.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson managed to secure a Brexit "deal" with the European Union -- a deal that screws both Northern Ireland and Scotland -- but British parliament voted on saturday to delay approval of the deal and mandated that Johnson ask the EU for another delay of the Brexit.

Now, Johnson once said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask the EU for another delay but, as far as I can tell, he's not dead.

Johnson did send a letter to the EU asking for another delay as required by law, but he also sent another letter that essentially says his first letter wasn't sincere.

In yet another twist to the running Brexit drama, Johnson sent three letters to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council.

First, a brief cover note from Britain’s EU envoy explaining that the government was simply complying with the law; second, an unsigned copy of the text that the law, known as the Benn Act, forced him to write; and a third letter in which Johnson said he did not want an extension.

“I have made clear since becoming Prime Minister and made clear to parliament again today, my view, and the Government’s position, that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us,” Johnson said in the third letter, signed “Boris Johnson”.

If Johnson has a deal, none of this should matter, right?

It shouldn't, but British parliament hasn't approved Johnson's deal and Johnson is still vowing to exit the European Union next week in a hard, no-deal Brexit if he has to.

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government insisted on Sunday the country will leave the European Union on Oct. 31 despite a letter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced by parliament to send to the bloc requesting a Brexit delay. [...]

“We are going to leave by October 31. We have the means and the ability to do so,” Michael Gove, the minister in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, told Sky News.

Gove said the risk of no deal had increased and the government would step up preparations for it, including triggering its “Operation Yellowhammer” contingency plans.

“We cannot guarantee that the European Council will grant an extension,” he said, adding that he would chair a meeting on Sunday “to ensure that the next stage of our exit preparations, our preparedness for a no deal, is accelerated”.

Johnson hoped to call for another vote on his deal, but parliament ruled out another vote this morning.

So here we are and, you know, out of everything that could have happened -- I have to say I didn't see this particular scenario coming. I did not foresee Johnson securing a deal and yet somehow still possibly crashing out of the EU.

As of right now, it appears the only two realistic options are either a delay or a hard Brexit, but I suppose virtually anything could happen in the next week.

I cannot claim to have a comprehensiveness understanding of British politics, but from where I'm sitting it appears that parliament is still trying to have its cake and eat it too by supporting Brexit policy on one hand and semi-permanently delaying the Brexit on the other. They're both for and against actually doing it.

  • muselet

    First, a brief cover note from Britain’s EU envoy explaining that the government was simply complying with the law; second, an unsigned copy of the text that the law, known as the Benn Act, forced him to write; and a third letter in which Johnson said he did not want an extension.

    In other words, Boris Johnson was being a dick. Try not to faint from the surprise.

    A narrow majority in Parliament supports Brexit in theory. However, there are factions within that majority which adamantly oppose various aspects of the deal Theresa May negotiated with the EU and the deal-like thing Boris Johnson coughed up; nobody is willing to give an inch because doing so makes them less influential. It’s a recipe for the sort of endless maneuvering, posturing and stalemates we’ve seen for three years.

    Also, Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, had an interesting analysis of public opinion at BBC News today. Roughly a quarter of those polled support Johnson’s deal, roughly a quarter of those polled oppose Johnson’s deal, and roughly half either don’t know or haven’t heard enough to have an opinion. When Johnson and his cabinet ministers waffle about “the will of the British people,” as is their wont, they’re talking cobblers.

    Vladimir Putin must be laughing himself sick at this.

    –alopecia

  • waspuppet

    And, as with our unutterably stupid situation, it’s not like the sane people in Britain are trying to hold the line against some unstoppable majority.