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. England as the mother country is a bit 20th century cringe isn’t it. My country is Oz. For my forebears that arrived in the 19th, their mother country was Ireland. A bunch of other folk who arrived earlier, their mother country was an archipelago to the north.

    Colonial power sure, mother country, meh.

  2. From the Guardian/UK

    Dozens of Conservative MPs are prepared to vote against the government in order to block the UK leaving the EU without a deal, one of the leaders of a group of more than 100 Tory politicians has said.

    The warning to Theresa May was delivered on Friday by Andrew Percy of the Brexit delivery group – regarded in the party as a moderate band of remain and Brexit-supporting MPs – who said many wanted to act if the “intransigence” of hardline Brexiters led again to the prime minister…..


    Ian Austin has become the ninth MP to quit the Labour party this week, although he told his local newspaper he had no plans to join the Independent Group (TIG), founded earlier this week by some former colleagues and Tory defectors.

    The MP for Dudley North in the West Midlands has been disaffected with the party leadership for a couple of years and told the Express & Star newspaper there was a “culture of extremism, antisemitism and intolerance” in Labour.

    He criticised Jeremy Corbyn and said he did not want the Labour leader to enter Downing Street, saying: “I always tell them the truth and I could never ask local people to make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister.”

  4. On Friday he said: “I am appalled at the offence and distress Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party have caused to Jewish people. It is terrible that a culture of extremism, antisemitism and intolerance is driving out good MPs and decent people who have committed their life to mainstream politics.

    “The hard truth is that the party is tougher on the people complaining about antisemitism than it is on the antisemites.”

    Austin told the Express & Star that, under Corbyn, Labour had altered. “I think Jeremy Corbyn has completely changed what was a mainstream party into a completely different party with very different values.

    “The hard left is now in charge of the party; they’re going to get rid of lots of decent mainstream MPs and I just can’t see how it can return to the mainstream party that won elections and changed the country for the better.”

    Division is destroying Labour

  5. Momentum, an organ set up to seize control of Labour in the same way the Industrial Groups were set up to populate and control unions and Labor in the 1950s, has succeeded. They are now in the process of turning Labour into a front organisation. Labour will be utterly ruined by this. They remind me of the clappers in the suburbs of Perth who have subverted the Liberal Party and rendered it unelectable.

  6. So far no Labour front benchers have gone, just a bunch of non entities (Umunna excepted), who were not going to get preselection anyway. Briefly can barely contain his glee, when a Labour MP resigns the whip, but not so much when a Tory does. i wonder why that is?

  7. May and Corbyn make Scomo and Shorten look like Churchill and Roosevelt. They make Trump and Hilary look palatable. The UK is in a diabolical shambles. Trying to see how No Deal can be averted other than by going around the two of them through some wholesale parliamentary coalescence against their whips.

    But if i had to put money on one of May or Corbyn winning the endgame, ill bet on May.

    This Cooper amendment vote next week is pretty important as an indication that there are numbers in parliament willing to take matters into their own hands?

    The most straightforward bargain is the one where May’s deal gets passed subject to an extension and a referendum between it and revoking a50. But even that will require defying leadership and forcing their hand.

    This talk of moderates forcing May out and getting a new non-rightwing zealot pm eg Amber Rudd feels about as likely as the Labour Party forcing this Corbyn/ McConnell clown act out in favour of a Cooper/Watson. The only route for either party there is to credibly threaten a permanent break?

  8. The MPs who have jumped ship and joined The Independent Group are adamant there is a gaping hole in politics that can only be filled with exhumed Blairism. Never mind that Miliband lost despite having every opportunity to win the 2015 general election, or that Labour experienced its biggest boost in membership and greatest share of the popular vote in recent memory because of the vitality of Corbynism. And yet these MPs are curiously reluctant to prove this appeal by doing the decent thing and moving to a by-election, standing as independents rather than Labour or Tory candidates. Joan Ryan, the MP for Enfield North saw her vote margin increase tenfold between the 2015 and 2017 general elections. The difference? A new leader of the Labour party. If Ryan genuinely believes her stunning individual performance as an MP is the reason for the huge boost, she should force a by-election and prove it. But she won’t: like fellow splitter Gavin Shuker, Ryan lost a no-confidence vote in her local party in September 2018. I was unable to read her tweeted resignation letter, having been blocked for suggesting that her calling local members “Trots, Stalinists and Communists” was disrespectful and bore no resemblance to reality. For now, the 11 MPs are more than happy to cling to their seats, won with Labour and Conservative money and the hard work of local activists, now abandoned for personal opportunism.

    The drift is pure delusion. A small subset of people who may once have considered themselves left-wing, but have veered to the center and right as the result of advancing age and accumulated wealth, continue to cling to the belief they constitute a far larger demographic than reality illustrates, and have the media connections to agitate and publicize their vanity projects. The Liberal Democrats show what happens when centrism reaches power, as they did in 2010 with the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government: constituting a small minority, the only positive benefit they can claim to offer is to act as the brakes on socially ruinous policies. The reality is worse: centrists are simply whipping boys for the larger party.


    The Lib Dems’ vote has collapsed and Miliband’s campaign failed — whereas a Labour party that proudly calls itself socialist, wants to renationalize utilities, make society fairer, and make low-paid workers better off has done far better electorally. Centrism fails because on the face of it, it tries to be everything to everyone, which invariably means favoring the rich over the poor. But it also carries with it a patronizing tone that pervades politics and alienates voters. Citizens know who they want to vote for, and it’s generally based on party and policies, rather than the name recognition of a mid-ranking London-based celebrity.

    Centrism will always fail for as long as it attempts to sanitize conservative policies in the guise of a vanity project. Come polling day, the “Independent” MPs are in for a sharp shock.


    Ireland will no longer recognise the UK driving licences of people living in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    Under current rules a UK licence holder can swap a licence and preserve the different categories and permissions conferred by their existing permit. It takes about 17 days to process an application. There is a €55 (£48) fee.

    This is probably a minor inconvenience for most Brits, possibly though more of an issue for transport operators and truck drivers. But it’s a symptom of the unintended consequences, which if there enough will cause major problems. I read this as a piling on the sense of urgency to get May’s deal passed.

    And it seems that Ireland too is now preparing for No Deal Brexit. Resentment is almost too polite a word for feelings being aired.

    Leo Varadkar’s government is due on Friday to publish a mammoth omnibus bill incorporating 16 pieces of legislation to try to shelter Ireland from the doomsday scenario of the UK crashing out of the EU.

    “The British plan … echoes tactics used against the government of Éamon de Valera during the Anglo-Irish trade war of the 1930s,” the Irish Independent reported.

  10. N, the Libling chapters in the UK, under the Momentum flag, have succeeded in colonising Labour. They will now destroy it while trying to run it as a front organisation.

    There is no rule that says either Labour or Tory must necessarily continue to have an effective presence in UK political life. The Mo-Liblings and the Faragists have made an alliance. Together they have already broken Labour cohesion. They will carry out their purges and will make it entirely unelectable. Voices that have been committed to Labour for generations will have their tongues cut out and stuffed down their throats for the sake of Faragist/Libling gratification.

    We don’t need to wait to see this in action. It’s already well in train.

  11. bryon
    Friday, February 22, 2019 at 11:29 pm
    England as the mother country is a bit 20th century cringe isn’t it. My country is Oz. For my forebears that arrived in the 19th, their mother country was Ireland. A bunch of other folk who arrived earlier, their mother country was an archipelago to the north.
    Colonial power sure, mother country, meh.

    The use of the term is usually light-hearted these days.

  12. Three cabinet ministers have issued a blunt warning to Theresa May that they will defy her and back delaying Brexit to avoid a “disastrous” no deal scenario.

    Ahead of a crucial votes in the Commons Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke have called on the prime minister they will break cabinet unity to ensure there was more time to negotiate with the EU if it was required.

    In an attempt to stop the Brexiteers in the European Research Group (ERG) from pushing for a no-deal the three senior ministers said it was time to accept MPs would not let the UK crash out of the EU without a deal in place.

    The Remainer coach is rolling

  13. The Remainer coach is rolling

    IMO they will need more than opposition to No-Deal Brexit to pull that off. Emotions are ruling. Simply delaying would just feel like postponing an inevitable.

    So a delay must have a purpose, to forge something better. The argument might be something like…
    (1) Brexit can’t be made to work.
    “We’ve really tried”, followed by reasons why it can’t ever work.
    (2) We need to do something that actually works (to solve the real problems).
    That means properly acknowledge the lived inequities generating the angst…
    (3) Something like THIS.
    I don’t know what THIS might be but it better be good and very easy to communicate. As much as I appreciate Stephen Fry’s efforts he’s too intellectual for this. Jonathan Pie though?

  14. Splitters Anna Soubry and Chris Leslie wouldn’t even get their deposits back if they submitted themselves to a by-election.

    Soubry voted for austerity and thinks it’s a good thing, whereas Leslie wants to reduce corporate tax and shift the burden on to individuals. These are not Labour people and the party is well rid of them.

    It is duly noted though that none of the splitters (including the Tory splitters) believes in their convictions enough to submit themselves to a by-election. Parasites.

  15. Again, I think calls for by-elections are hypocritical. The only politicians who can credibly call for a by-election are those who’ve never changed their position on something they took to an election. I don’t think those people exist.

    The system is: you vote for someone you trust to make investigations and decisions on your behalf. That person is then duty bound to carry out those investigations and make decisions with their best judgement. The fact they’re employed to look at all the aspects on an issue means they have more time to investigate, more resources, and they are better informed than the electorate.

    The political parties have exhaustive processes to pre-select qualified people who support their position. So, if those qualified people find that with all the resources of the parliament they cannot support their party’s position any longer, then maybe there is a problem with that position.

    Demanding that MP’s who split with their party face a by-election is akin to saying the party position takes precedent over an MPs duty to the electorate as a whole.

  16. From the following article:

    Goodwin says TIG are right to argue there exists space in British politics for something new. Unfortunately for them, he says, it’s not in the political centre. The public aren’t crying out for an anti-Brexit liberal party, a kind of British-style Macron movement.

    “Research shows there is more space for a party that is economically on the left but culturally on the right,” he said this week. That is, precisely the opposite of the anti-Brexit, pro-market TIG.

    In case you missed it: That is, precisely the opposite of the anti-Brexit, pro-market TIG.

  17. Libling – as in ducks and ducklings; Lib-siblings …

    The Gs ride shotgun for the Liberals…campaign incessantly against Labor….they are Lib Siblings

  18. Jeremy Corbyn wants to:

    Protect and extend public health.
    Protect and re fund public education.
    Widen environmental protection.
    Improve wages and conditions of employment.
    Re nationalize trains and water.
    Hire more police.

    Briefly’s analysis…he’s an extremist. ha, ha, ha!

  19. Ah Clem, your generosity is unlimited. Thank you again. You precede me and take all the trouble. I doubt I can repay your kindness.

  20. Clem,

    I don’t doubt that a Corbyn government would want to do those things. They are pretty standard Labour aims, and pursued, with some success, by the much-reviled Blair government.

    The question is, given that Brexit will drain the British Treasury for the next decade or so, how will they pay for any of it? Yes, they can increase taxes on the better off, but this is generally less lucrative than many suppose. To start with, there aren’t that many wealthy people compared to what’s required, and any wealthy person with any salt will have the dosh in an off-shore tax haven before dawn on election night. This obviously will happen regardless of Brexit, it’s just that ongoing payments to Brussels along with compensation required to those most directly affected, there won’t be much left to buy back the trains.

    This is why stopping Brexit is so crucial for Labour, especially, and why Corbyn’s ongoing inaction is so maddening.

  21. Yep, I agree with your analysis re Brexit, I’m just pointing out Briefly’s flawed ‘analysis’ of Corbyn’s policy position.

  22. clem, you must have mistaken me for someone else. I don’t think I’ve promulgated any analysis of Corbyn along the lines you suggest. I know, for example, I have not described Corbyn as ‘extremist’.

    I support all those objectives. Every one.

  23. This is terribly saddening for me…

    …..The chair of the Wavertree constituency Labour party (CLP) is Alex Scott-Samuel, a former academic at Liverpool University, who has appeared on a show broadcast by conspiracy theorist David Icke, claiming that: “The Rothschild family are behind a lot of the neoliberal influence in the UK and the US.”

    The Rothschild trope is a conspiracy theory popular among antisemites. The fact that Wavertree’s chair was promoting it placed the CLP in the spotlight, causing its executive members to become tight-lipped around the media. But some days ago, the CLP defiantly broke its silence with a tweet detailing “what the press won’t tell you”.

    Contrary to that claim, I can tell you that the tweet went on to say that Wavertree CLP had taken the following decisions: “1. To condemn the dictatorship in Sudan and the Tory links to it. 2. To support the campaign to get the UK to commit to take 10,000 refugees. 3. To oppose the US-led coup attempt in Venezuela.”

    No call, then, to reopen the post office.

    There are plenty of other Derek Hattons in Wavertree CLP but nothing seems to happen despite numerous complaints

    Clare McIntyre, one of Labour’s three councillors in Wavertree, told me that she dreaded going to party meetings because she had been subjected to a campaign of harassment. Though an avowed socialist who has twice voted for Corbyn, she says she has fallen foul of the Momentum group which, according to her, has a stranglehold on the CLP executive.

    Her crime, she said, was to have supported Berger against antisemitic attacks – “I’ve seen up close the sheer level of abuse and racism she’s suffered” – and to question why Corbyn wasn’t doing more to tackle the issue.


    Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has directly challenged Jeremy Corbyn to address what he called “a crisis for the soul of the Labour party”, or risk many more defections to the Independent Group in the days ahead.

    In a forthright interview on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, Watson urged Corbyn to take personal leadership of efforts to tackle antisemitism in his party and to reach out to MPs from the social democratic tradition.

    “My message to our Labour party, to our half million members, is: look, I know we’re in a crisis. The departure of our colleagues is a real blow to us, and we need to understand why they felt they need to go – because if we’re going to be in government, we need to address those concerns,” Watson said

    On antisemitism, he said he had received 50 complaints from colleagues in the past week, which he had forwarded to Corbyn, asking him to take a personal lead.

    “Jeremy needs to understand that if we are going to be in No 10, he needs to change the Labour party,” Watson said. He needs to take a personal lead in reviewing those cases, and recommending to the national executive committee (NEC) what needs to be done.”

    Details of the dossier, seen by the Guardian, include Labour members sending tweets linking Hitler and the Rothschilds; accusing Jews of murdering children, and questioning whether Jewish MPs and councillors have “human blood”.


    MPs may have to wait until 12 March for a meaningful vote on the government’s final Brexit deal, Theresa May has said in an intervention that will deepen splits in her cabinet.

    The prime minister confirmed on Sunday that she would not hold the vote this week as she flew to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, where she is due to discuss Brexit on the margins of an EU summit with Arab leaders.

    It is a critical week for May, with many in the House of Commons having been expecting to vote on her deal.

    Without a reworked withdrawal agreement to bring back to MPs, she had promised to table an amendable motion, which would have allowed backbenchers another chance to try to block a no-deal Brexit.

  26. Brexit could be delayed until 2021 under plans being explored by the EU’s most senior officials, at a time of growing exasperation over Theresa May’s handling of the talks, the Guardian can reveal.

    A lengthy extension of the negotiating period is gaining traction as the EU’s default position should the Commons continue to reject May’s deal, and a request emerge.

    Replacing the 21-month transition period with extra time as a member state would allow the UK and the EU to develop their plans for the future relationship with the aim of making the contentious Irish backstop redundant.
    Theresa May’s Brexit vote delay: what does it all mean?
    Read more

    Brussels is determined to avoid offering a short extension only to have to revisit the issue in the summer when the government again fails to win round parliament.

    “If leaders see any purpose in extending, which is not a certainty given the situation in the UK, they will not do a rolling cliff-edge but go long to ensure a decent period to solve the outstanding issues or batten down the hatches,” one EU diplomat said.

    “A 21-month extension makes sense as it would cover the multi-financial framework [the EU’s budget period] and make things easier. Provided leaders are not completely down with Brexit fatigue, and a three-month technical extension won’t cut it, I would expect a 21-month kick [of the can]. It is doing the rounds in Brussels corridors. Martin Selmayr [the European commission’s secretary-general], among others, also fond of the idea.”

  27. Holden Hillbilly: The talk of a delayed Brexit sounds desperate. It is a desperate situation to be sure, but the article seems more in hope than with optimism.

    People are talking about the extension of article 50 as if it solves the issue when of course it won’t. It defers the point of decision. There comes a point when we must make that decision.

    Hopeful talk.

    There is growing support, however, among MPs for an amendment

    EU officials are understood …

    Given the state of negotiations (fruitless?) what does make sense is that any extension should be decent one, not an uncertain rolling 3 month period. So talk of 21 months is I suppose somewhat possible,

  28. A 21 month extension as the only extension permissible by the EU – the potential twists keep on coming

    Is this more likely to push enough brexiters who voted against May’s deal to now support it, or is it more likely to be enough of a comfort to remainers that they let go of a 2nd referendum platform in favour of this extension and kick the can way down the road – or both?

    This Cooper-Letwin amendment is massive. Has to pass or else i think it will come down to a May vs no-deal choice in the week before the end of March. I think (really desperately hope) it will pass…

  29. Try again – amended for clarity (!) …

    Expat Follower @ #134 Monday, February 25th, 2019 – 10:40 am

    This Cooper-Letwin amendment is massive.

    This is how ridiculous UK politics has become … a group of anti Brexiters propose to prolong Brexit to try and prevent a hard Brexit, and this is supported by a group of pro Brexiters who believe that this will make the hard Brexiters support a soft Brexit.

    The UK is really screwed 🙁

  30. It’s clear that by themselves the Tories cannot either enact or forestall or reverse Brexit. It falls to Labour and the SNP to resolve the situation, yet they cannot. The SNP lack the numbers. Labour lack the will.

    To choose a No Deal Brexit is to choose austerity for many years – possibly for decades. Labour will have to decide whether they will endorse austerity or not.

  31. It is a pity that the UK don’t have real referenda – as in popular votes for a specific change to the Constitution. Then again as I understand it they don’t really have a Constitution like we have, or the USA has.

    So this plebiscite – to use the American expression voting for “a pig in a poke” (sight unseen) – has turned out to be a disaster because no-one can even agree on what was truly voted for.

    Imagine for a moment if Cameron hadn’t been so stupid and had instead presented a two-stage plebiscite. I suppose if he thought the vote might get up he may have spent a little more time contemplating a better plan.

    Stage One – various questions
    – do you want the UK to leave the EU?
    – do you want the UK to remain in the European Single Market
    – do you want the UK to allow free movement of people between the UK and the EU
    – etc – other parts of this – I am no expert

    Stage Two – if the main Brexit question gets up, then the results of the other questions are used to negotiate a deal in Parliament (rather than just the Conservative Party). This deal agreed to in Parliament (with whatever EU restraints are required) is then put to a vote.

    – do you want the UK to adopt this agreed deal concerning leaving the EU?

    *ps – just found out that the origin of the ‘pig in a poke’ expression is medieval, where people who thought they were purchasing a suckling pig in a bag actually get sold a cat or dog! Sort of what the Brexiteers will have done to the British people if the ‘no deal Brexit’ goes through.

  32. I still maintain that there will be no Brexit occurring on 29th March. As to do so is a bona fide disaster. Just cant happen.
    Those who cooked up the Brexit in the first instance are all tied up with the dark money and more time is required to sort this mess out.

  33. Victoria @ #139 Monday, February 25th, 2019 – 4:36 pm

    I still maintain that there will be no Brexit occurring on 29th March. As to do so is a bona fide disaster. Just cant happen.
    Those who cooked up the Brexit in the first instance are all tied up with the dark money and more time is required to sort this mess out.

    There are 32 days 14 hours to go. I’ve posted and sadly now lost the link (Guardian article), but apparently there are built in delays in the British legislative process. I think it’s to allow MPs to rethink what they’ve just done and allow it to be undone. Decisions are reconsidered before they become irrevocable. May is saying her deal or no deal. I can only imagine something extraordinary would be needed to stop Brexit at this stage. And I can’t think what that might be.

  34. Excellent summary in The UK Guardian on immediate effects of no-deal Brexit on individuals in UK

    Brexit: what happens the next day if there is no deal?

    Taking your car to Europe – You’ll have to request a green card from your insurer if driving to Europe after 29 March

    Driving with a UK licence in Europe – You will have to buy an International Driving Permit to drive in Europe, at a price of £5.50, with different ones required for France and Spain

    European Health Insurance Card – They will no longer be valid and buying travel insurance will become essential

    Visas and travel – Visa-free travel to Europe ends, paving the way for possible £52 90-day visas

    Flight compensation – The government promises to keep EU flight delay payouts, but airlines could use changes to fight having to pay out

    Pets – The EU pet passport scheme ends for UK travellers and their cats and dogs – replaced with expensive tests every time they travel

    Mobile phone roaming charges – Phone companies say they have no plans to reintroduce charges – but don’t rule them out either

    Pensions and investments – Retirees to Europe should worry about the future of their state pension, but private pension issues were largely resolved this week

    Bank accounts – The EU-mandated £85,000 safety net will remain and the vast majority of UK account holders should be unaffected

  35. As this year began I thought Corbyn might be PM by the time of Brexit – that window of opportunity has well and truly passed. And paradoxically it may be now Labour which suffers worst after Brexit, which I had never expected to be the case.

    It reminds me of the Lib-Dems who gleefully went into Coalition with the Tories after the 2010 election. Five years later their voters punished them for getting into bed with the Tories (who themselves did better and got an outright majority) and Clegg’s party went from 578 seats to 8. The shift seems to have been permanent – they only got to 12 seats in 2017 despite the Tories losing their majority.


    Labour has a much larger number of members who hold “hardcore antisemitic opinions” than previously thought, Momentum’s founder has said.

    Jon Lansman, who is chair of Momentum and also a member of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), said antisemitism was a widespread problem in the party and that he felt “regret, sadness and some shame” at the decision of the Jewish MP Luciana Berger to quit the party last week.

    The gravity of this problem has yet to be properly acknowledged.

  37. briefly

    So it looks like all those ‘momentum-labourites’ will have the perfect group to scapegoat if it all turns to crap.

    1919/2019 : Blame a certain ethnic/religious minority for the problems affecting your nation after it has become a bit of a pariah in Europe.

    On the weekend on BBC I heard some interviews with French Jewish people seriously wondering whether they should leave France. There is a malaise in Europe and the UK which has never disappeared.

  38. Rockets….Jon Lansman is also Jewish. This must be causing him a great deal of anguish. He has to confront the demons face to face. You’re right about scapegoating. It is just very disheartening. I’ve seen it in my own life more than once. It is grievously destructive. I also think it’s necessary to find our voices….to speak clearly against racism and against stereotyping in general.

  39. Dan

    Yes it is a worldwide phenomenon – but like William using that quaint term “mother country” for Australia, it seems that the home of anti-semitism is Europe for the last about 2000 years.

  40. Rocket Rocket @ #149 Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 – 4:00 am


    Yes it is a worldwide phenomenon – but like William using that quaint term “mother country” for Australia, it seems that the home of anti-semitism is Europe for the last about 2000 years.

    Obviously as it’s also the home of a variety of Christian faiths, particularly the Roman one. The Romans had to differentiate themselves from their Jewish antecedents as well as distract away from the fact that it was actually the Romans that executed their Christ. Hence the Jews being made the scapegoats for that as well as any number of other “evils”.

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