Deal or no deal

It has been observed that discussion of Brexit, a matter kind-of-but-not-exactly within the ambit of this site, is taking up a disruptive amount of space on the main threads. Even if this isn’t truly the case at present, it seems to be that it will be soon enough at the rate things are going. So with that in mind, here is a thread dedicated to discussion of the mother country’s ongoing political crisis.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

170 comments on “Deal or no deal”

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  1. U.K.’s Theresa May to Consider Delay to Brexit Date

    Prime minister is mulling an extension to March 29 deadline

    Move would come as Corbyn embraces idea of second referendum

    U.K.’s Theresa May Is Said to Consider Delay to Brexit Date

  2. Victoria @ #151 Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 – 8:57 am

    U.K.’s Theresa May to Consider Delay to Brexit Date

    Prime minister is mulling an extension to March 29 deadline

    Move would come as Corbyn embraces idea of second referendum

    U.K.’s Theresa May Is Said to Consider Delay to Brexit Date

    Hmm. This is the only link I could find. Do you have another one?–business.html

    May is expected to let her Cabinet discuss extending the deadline beyond March 29 at a meeting on Tuesday

    Tue 26 Feb 2019 06.24 AEDT

    Jeremy Corbyn has at last promised a public vote. He needs to campaign hard for the significant majority who want to remain

    MPs have shown me an avalanche of emails from local party members resigning over Corbyn’s Brexit feebleness. Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has been the hero of this long march to a sane outcome, soldiering on, pushing, pulling, persuading his leader, as Labour supporters began to suspect Corbyn was himself a Brexiteer. From now on, Labour’s over-riding mission is to do all it can to prevent any kind of Brexit, and let voters decide.

    when it is explained that after leaving, still longer and more complex trade negotiations lie ahead, that, says Cooper, “brings focus groups to horrified silence”.

    I notice though that the “big problem” still seems to be the difficulty of trade negotiations.No mention of the Irish border.

  4. I predict that Theresa May will kick the Brexit can further down the road as possible. How far that can can go is anybody’s guess, that is all she can do.

  5. Tristo

    I had thought that May would run down the clock on even getting Parliament to vote on some sort of ‘new’ deal, then if it got knocked back she would get an extension. I am not clear how late into the process this could happen.

    Maybe they will just keep kicking the can down the road (as the alternative of actually working out a comprehensive plan for a future under Brexit is so hard), and the whole thing can become one of those ‘frozen conflicts’

  6. Rocket Rocket

    Kicking the Brexit can down the road is only going to be endured for so long by the EU27, where it is already seen as a distraction from dealing with other issues. I would be surprised if more than one extension were allowed. But even if Brexit continues for decades I’m not sure that will “save” the UK. I would expect a steady exodus of talent and resources (money) until a new equilibrium establishes. (A better word than “equilibrium” might be “attractor”, about which a state orbits.) While a delayed Brexit might be safer for Ireland, allowing a measured reunification, I can imagine a new equilibrium for Britain similar to the situation for the poorer nations across the world, who suffer a brain drain to and continuing exploitation by more attractive and more powerful nations. My guess is that it might take 10-20 years to establish and then no more than one or two decades again before something gives. Who knows…?

  7. Late Riser

    The situation is crazy. It reminds me of some terrible 1950s sci-fi film I saw years ago where I think maybe an asteroid is on a collision course with earth (like Deep Impact and Armageddon). But the funniest part is they show a newspaper headquarters where they have the ?lithotype casts for two different front pages, ready to roll off the presses depending on collision/no collision.

    “Asteroid Hits, World Ends” and “Asteroid Misses, World Saved”

    or something like that. It’s funny, because why would you buy the first one if it happened : it’s not like you could keep it for your descendants for posterity!

    Anyway, went over to the Daily Mail for a laugh

    Headline “May SURRENDERS to Remainers”

    May SURRENDERS to Remainers: PM holds crisis Cabinet ‘to sign off two-month Brexit delay if her deal is rejected’ after more than a dozen ministers vow to quit in extraordinary rebellion.

    Theresa May (pictured centre in Egypt yesterday) is gathering her senior team as tensions hit new heights, with negotiations deadlocked in Brussels and just weeks to go until the UK is due to crash out. Cabinet sources told MailOnline there were ‘encouraging’ signs that Mrs May is now ready to delay Brexit to avert mass resignations by ministers who are determined to rule out no deal. But the expected concession will cause fury among Eurosceptics such as Penny Mordaunt (left arriving at No10 this morning) who have been adamant the option of leaving without an agreement must be kept on the table. Ministers are bracing for stormy clashes during the crucial session in Downing Street this morning. Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay (second from left) is also attending the meeting. A group of 23 dissidents met secretly at the Commons last night to discuss how to stop Britain leaving the EU without an agreement on March 29, with as many as 15 said to be ready to resign. In an article for the Mail today, three of the ministers involved (Richard Harrington, pictured second left, inset, Claire Perry, pictured to his left, and Margot James, to his right, inset) say they are prepared to back a Commons move by rebel MPs tomorrow to force the Prime Minister to seek a Brexit delay if her deal is voted down. Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Business Secretary Greg Clark (right) were seen heading into Number 10 this morning, just days after threatening to rebel against the PM to avoid a no deal.

    One amusing aspect of the Daily Mail is their links to imporant sections at the top of the page after you click on “UK”. Important sections like “Syria” “Russia” “ISIS” “Migrant Crisis” – all well and good, but they still after two years don’t have “Brexit” in that line!!!!

    ps – The best “asteroid collision” book I read was “Lucifer’s Hammer (1977)” by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven, who also collaborated for “The Mote in God’s Eye” which I have been waiting hopefully for years to be made into a film.

  8. Rocket Rocket

    I think you’re right to laugh at the Daily Mail. More desperation I guess. What are they going to accomplish in 2 more months that they have been unable to do in the last 2 months?

    I read “Lucifer’s Hammer” so long ago that while I’ve remembered the title I’ve forgotten the plot. 🙁 I’ve got the book, in a box, somewhere… “The Mote in God’s Eye” though is another matter. I still remember that one vividly. Vague memory too of a sequel, but there’s a lot of water under that bridge. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  9. It does look like No Deal is about to be taken off the table by both May and Corbyn…maybe to be followed by a new plebiscite in which the choices will be to Remain or to accept May’s half-in/half-out deal.

  10. So how about this three stage vote proposed by May overnight?

    Vote 1 on her deal; if voted down then vote 2 on no deal; if voted down then vote 3 on an extension.

    If we get to vote 3 then….?

    If it passes then unless its a 2 year extension to start again then what can the govt do with a three month extension?

    And if it fails then what happens on March 29 – sounds like no deal gets two bites at the cherry?

    The nature of the extension has to be relevant… a short extension to facilitate a referendum between remain and no deal makes sense; a long extension to conjure up another deal makes sense. But just nothing… sounds like an epic joke in the making?

    Doesnt this framework increase the probability of no deal?

  11. Expat Follower

    The nature of the extension has to be relevant

    I think that’s the key point. But if I take the framework you describe and allocate probabilities to each path through the framework I get something like this.

    100% chance to vote for current deal
    – 10% chance agree (10% combined chance, path ends)
    – 90% chance disagree (next…)

    Next Step:
    90% chance to get to this Step
    chance to vote on no deal
    – 10% chance agree (9% combined chance, path ends)
    – 90% chance disagree (next…)

    Next Step:
    81% chance to get to this Step
    chance to vote on extension
    – 90% chance agree (73% combined chance, path ends)
    – 10% chance disagree (8% combined chance, path ends)

    There are two ways to get to No Deal (aka Hard Brexit) , one path to Deal and one to Extend. Adding up the SWAG percentages I get:
    10% chance of Soft Brexit
    17% chance of Hard Brexit
    73% chance of Extension

    I don’t have any feel for the probabilities, but I could set up a spreadsheet to calculate odds if you have some thoughts.

  12. LR interesting take. The outcome probabily logic is easy enough to follow. All im suggesting is that a ~17% no deal outcome is higher than it would be if the framework wasnt there and the Cooper amendment had to be voted on.

    Separately, i can agree “extension” is the most probable outcome… but an extension to do what exactly???

  13. The framework outlined by Expat Follower looks set in place.

    MPs pass Cooper amendment by majority of 482
    The Cooper amendment has passed by 502 votes to 20 – a majority of 482.

    If I work through the language I think this is what it means.

    UK Votes on DEAL before March 12
    ..Accept: It’s over. It is a Soft Brexit.
    Reject: UK Votes on NO DEAL
    ..Accept: It’s over. It is a Hard Brexit
    Reject: UK, on March 14, votes on SHORT EXTENSION
    ..Reject: It’s over. It is a Hard Brexit
    Accept: UK asks EU for a short EXTENSION
    EU Decides on Short EXTENSION
    ..Reject: It’s over. It is a Hard Brexit
    Accept: UK gets a SHORT EXTENSION

    I think a short extension is now likely, but as before I still can’t see the point. I think it just leads back to DEAL or NO DEAL in another 2 or 3 months. And as Expat Follower has pointed out there are three ways this causes a HARD Brexit, one way it causes a SOFT Brexit, and one way that just resets the clock a few months, and only then if the EU wants to keep going.

  14. Expat Follower, after factoring in the EU process, where they have to accept the request for an extension, the probability for an extension reduces even further and the probability of a Hard Brexit goes up by the same amount.

    The EU have said they would consider a long extension and don’t like a short version. But while exasperated with the UK, I expect they would allow it. If I put the EU acceptance of a request for a short extension at 90% I calculate the chances for a Hard Brexit go up to 24%, and only a 66% chance of a short extension. Soft Brexit stays at 10%. (

    France would block Brexit delay ‘without a clear objective’, Macron says

    Spanish prime minister warned …”Prolonging uncertainty by postponing deadlines is not a reasonable nor desirable alternative.”

    Another article saying much the same thing.

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