One of my pet peeves this election has been the idea of “lending your vote”. The idea that you “lent” the Tories your vote to get Brexit done, but that you aren’t actually a Tory voter.
No. You are now a Tory voter, and your vote for the Tories has helped deliver five more years of Tory rule. You’ve voted for the Bullingdon boys and the credit traders and all the rest of them. At least be honest about it.
Read More · 14 December 2019
Seven weeks left in the EU, a year of tortuous trade negotiations, and years of damage once those negotiations either fail and lead to no deal, or are extended again and again until they’re concluded.
Read More · 13 December 2019
There’ll be bulldozers over/The White Cliffs of Dover...
Read More · 11 December 2019
After three years of banging on about Brexit here at any opportunity, I couldn’t bring myself to repeat it all in the past six weeks, and the General Election itself has been too depressing to contemplate. It seems clear that most people made up their minds long ago, and in far too many cases have done so on the basis that leave means leave, get it done, take back control, three bags full, pigs might fly. The one ray of hope is the surge in new enrolments in November, suggesting that younger voters could lead to upsets in key seats. Perhaps, just possibly, we might yet see the back of this hat-trick of historically awful prime ministers.
Read More · 10 December 2019
A Glaswegian Twitter-user has posted an excellent thread reviewing every national parliament or congress building in the world, the kind of thing Twitter was made for. He courted controversy early on by bagging the Australian federal parliament, which I loved (as well as the old one) when I lived in Canberra in the 1990s. Its 1980s interiors remind me of my youth, and feature some impressive tapestries, and the flagpole towering over the hill makes a great visual shorthand for Australian cartoonists. The building’s confident modernism was a good match for the Australia of the late 1980s and early 1990s—the one that all went to pot in 1996 (cf. UK architecture of the late-1990s and early-2000s). I was dismayed when they fenced off the grass running over the top of the building, as it was so fundamental to the concept and the experience of the place. I haven’t seen it since that was done, and am not looking forward to seeing the fence in person.
Read More · 3 October 2019
Prominent Brexiter Steve Baker MP has quoted a line from Milton’s “Paradise Lost” to exalt No Deal. But it seems he didn’t check whose words they were supposed to be.
Boris Johnson wrote in his letter yesterday to Jean-Claude Juncker that “the proposed ‘backstop’ is a bridge to nowhere, and a new way forward must be found”. If Johnson is an expert on anything he’s an expert on bridges to nowhere.
Ian Dunt excoriates Johnson’s Brexit plan. There’s a lot of presumption in the media today that every MP who ever wanted some sort of deal will want this deal, which isn’t even a possible deal unless the EU agrees to it. The Brexit steering group of the European Parliament aren’t having any of it. The EU is preparing for life without us.
3 October 2019
The Festival of Brexit seems to come sooner and sooner every year. Here are some limericks to celebrate Boris Johnson’s latest proposal, which is sure to win support from the EU, MPs, Leavers and Remainers alike, and isn’t at all designed to fail so that he can blame everyone except himself.
Read More · 2 October 2019 · 2 Comments
With apologies to the late, great Tom Petty.
26 September 2019
Given the sweeping under the carpet of Leave campaign irregularities by UK authorities in recent days, I feared the worst yesterday, and feared that a ruling in the government’s favour would open the door to the neutering of British parliamentary democracy. So it was an unexpected relief to hear the unanimous conclusion of eleven Supreme Court judges that Johnson’s prorogation was “unlawful, null and of no effect”. Parliamentary democracy lives, and parliament itself returned today to try to head off the looming disaster that Johnson seems determined to bring down upon us.
Read More · 25 September 2019
If a week is a long time in politics, the two weeks since Boris Johnson’s government announced the prorogation of parliament has been an age. Johnson has lost his majority, lost (or ejected) 22 Conservative MPS, and lost six out of his first six votes in Parliament. Since the dramatic scenes at the close of parliament on Monday night, we have learned that the government’s act of prorogation is unlawful (subject to an appeal to the UK Supreme Court to be heard next Tuesday), and that even the barest of outlines of Operation Yellowhammer, the government’s contingency plan for a No Deal Brexit, is enough to demonstrate that Project Fear was always Project Reality. (Here’s a pithy Yellowhammer summary in summary.)
Read More · 12 September 2019
I’m not sure they’ve thought the Scottish version through.
Read More · 2 September 2019
There was a lot of buzz in Remain circles last week about a Guardian Long Read article on the radicalisation of remain by Daniel Cohen. (I liked Alex Andreou’s take on it.)
Much of the article is reasonably straight reportage of the general landscape of Remain activism, particularly the Twitter side, but the tone is skewed by Cohen’s use of the term “remainist” to make it seem as if hardcore remainers are some sort of extreme fringe. The label “remainer” seems perfectly adequate to me. We’ve had no trouble distinguishing between different types of remainers to date—people have talked about Remain voters versus Remainers, or “hardcore remainers” as the Guardian puts it in the lede of Cohen’s article. “Remainer” means more than just “somebody who voted remain”, because at least some remain voters are now leavers, just as some leave voters are now remainers. It’s also flexible enough to include those who are generally supportive of remaining, through to those who are passionate enough to go on a march, tweet or post to Mefi Brexit threads, through to those who have given up their day jobs to devote themselves to the cause. It’s a broad church, and it isn’t defined by #FBPE.
Read More · 18 August 2019
Two months ago I gathered a handful of links to mark the massacre in Christchurch, but couldn’t collect my thoughts sufficiently to post them here. The city has been one of my favourite places ever since J. and I lived there for a few months in 1997, and as often happens with awful events in places I love, I found it hard to disentangle the events from my memories of the place.
Read More · 28 May 2019
The European Elections are out of the way, and soon Theresa May will be as well.
Read More · 27 May 2019
The BBC reported yesterday that Australians will remember Bob Hawke for breaking a beer-drinking record and being a good bloke, which was a pretty feeble eulogy. Australians will remember him for a bloody sight more than that.
Read More · 17 May 2019
Remember when it was early December, and we were all in agony awaiting the first Meaningful Vote on May’s deal, which ended up not happening that month? That was only four months ago. If we have six more months of this, we’re not even halfway through the end of the beginning.
Read More · 12 April 2019
56 hours to go, and we still don’t know if we’re going.
Read More · 10 April 2019
Once again the UK is potentially days away from crashing out of the EU with no deal, with no clear path to avoiding it. Theresa May is in talks with Jeremy Corbyn about reaching a cross-party agreement which could trade away our freedom of movement and any chance of a people’s vote for some vague statements about post-Brexit negotiating aims. On Monday in Parliament Labour whipped in favour of three indicative motions to find a way forward, but not for Joanna Cherry’s crucial emergency brake, on which many of its MPs abstained. If we crash out because of that, or leave on the barest of terms with Corbyn’s approval, many voters will be abstaining from voting for Labour.
Read More · 4 April 2019
I’ve long thought that Labour’s switch to selecting its leader via a direct membership vote was a wrong turn, and that the next Tory leadership battle will be disastrous for the same reason.
Read More · 23 March 2019
Two weeks until a possible No Deal, and we’re all having to twiddle our thumbs for five days until Meaningful Vote 3 to see what fresh hell awaits us.
Read More · 15 March 2019
With three weeks to go, Britain is unprepared for any kind of Brexit and unable to decide which way to turn, with May’s government operating under a cloak of secrecy and considering prolonging the indecision if parliament’s second vote on her Withdrawal Agreement fails next week. The endless Brexit lies have left us in an Orwellian nightmare, with some MPs receiving death threats every single day. Now new lies are doing the rounds of social media, as questionable money buys who knows what amount of under-the-radar campaigning in advance of a possible second referendum. Bookmakers, though, consider the odds of a second referendum to be worse than those of No Deal (5/1 versus 4/1 respectively), with the odds of the latter shortening.
Read More · 8 March 2019 · 1 Comment
I’d better post something to mark our penultimate month in the EU. Since the parliamentary votes at the end of January I’ve been resigned to the worst, and too ill for most of the month to pay the daily ins and outs much attention, but here are a few things I noticed and briefly commented on along the way.
Read More · 28 February 2019
Another precious week has passed with no sign of progress on Brexit, as everyone waits for next week’s next parliamentary vote.
Read More · 26 January 2019 · 1 Comment
Tom Watson played a blinder in his speech to the House during the no-confidence vote. Just look at May’s laughter when he points out the impact of the past thirty months on EU27 citizens living in Britain. Nervous laughter, or laughter at the idea that she’s failed to give them reassurance, or outright indifference: whichever it is, it’s a terrible look.
Read More · 20 January 2019
I’ve been thinking about what I’d say to Lexiters, and any other Brexiter who’s willing to listen, that might get past the whole “will it/won’t it be a disaster” debate with firmly held positions on both sides. I’m not sure it would help in most cases, but it might in some...
Read More · 17 January 2019
The meaningful vote is due in something like six or seven hours, and the anticipation is hard to bear.
Read More · 15 January 2019 · 1 Comment
Two short sentences in a comments thread woke my inner satirist.
That’s an argument, not a story. A story gets an emotional reaction.
Read More · 11 January 2019
Now that Christmas is out of the way, Parliament’s vote on the EU withdrawal agreement, delayed by Theresa May in December, is imminent. The ever-reliable Ian Dunt has explained Wednesday’s extraordinary events in the Commons, which came two days after a small group of Brexit supporters staged a yellow vest protest and three days after the government staged a fake traffic jam intended to show that we could survive without a deal, so there.
Read More · 11 January 2019
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