Brexit tea leaves

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Brexit tea leaves

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:02 pm

Boris Johnson asks Queen to suspend Parliament (BBC News)

Anyone willing to predict what might happen (or give their opinion on what should happen) in British politics (especially relating to Brexit) now Boris Johnson (or maybe Dominic Cummings) has revealed the government strategy?

John McKenna
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by John McKenna » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:35 pm

First, before trying to read the tea leaves, let's check the terminology...

Isn't this a big tactical shot by Boris?

(Made with or without the approval of any team of consultants - though it is more likely Boris did analyse it with his team. Only a true Trumpian could wake up then decide to do it, off the cuff, and tweet it in the wee small hours.)

The strategy of Boris and his team is far more obscured and furtive than we can ever know.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:15 pm

What should have happened is the traditional remedy when Parliament is hopelessly deadlocked: a General Election. Attempting to cut Parliament out of the decision-making process altogether is constitutionally very dangerous.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:26 pm

When people were talking about prorogation during the Tory leadership contest, I think it was assumed that the period of suspending parliament would extend across the Brexit date of 31 October, but this proposed prorogation is different. This is a prorogation to start before the conference season (when parliament would have been suspended anyway). Apparently the parliamentary time lost is 'only' three days.

It reduces the amount of time available for parliamentarians (MPs and peers) to do anything sensible, but it does allow them time. It is quite likely that the strategy is to push the 'rebels' into showing their hands and forcing a general election (or failing in what would be a shambles) which will be pitched by Boris (and Dominic Cummings) as a 'Will of the People' (i.e. in the 2016 referendum) vs 'Parliament' election. Presumably the calculation is that they (the Conservatives) can win that election and increase the majority (which is not hard when starting from a majority of one).

What I don't get is the talk that this makes a second referendum less likely. It makes a general election before a second referendum more likely, but the likelihood of a second referendum seems to depend on the result of that general election.

John McKenna
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by John McKenna » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:52 pm

Thanks to Jack for that traditional remedy not yet taken.

And,. to Chris for his strategic interpretation of Boris' tactics.

Reading the leaves is a messy business since the loose tea delivered by first past the post is unbounded and free to go its own way in the bitter end.

Having teabags - round, square or pyramidal - is less unpredictable when trying to discern the shape of things in a crisis.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

NickFaulks
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:14 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:15 pm
What should have happened is the traditional remedy when Parliament is hopelessly deadlocked: a General Election.
Yes, and if every MP who wants to prevent Brexit is willing to back that up by supporting a vote of no confidence, that is what we shall have. The question is, how many of them will risk the instant end of their political careers by doing so?

Interesting times. On Betfair, the probability of leaving on schedule is now trading at 52%, up from 50%, so no big effect.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:48 pm

I got a bit wrong: the effect of proroguing is different from conference season.
Colin Talbot wrote:Prorogation is "very different from the conference recess", he says.

"During the conference recess, MPs can still meet in committee, they can demand government papers, they can put down questions to ministers.

"There are a lot of things that can go on in recess that can't go on in prorogation."

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:02 pm

"It reduces the amount of time available for parliamentarians (MPs and peers) to do anything sensible"

And when did they last do that?

John McKenna
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by John McKenna » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:14 pm

Possibly not since before 6th Dec. 1648 when Pride's Purge was necessary to sort out the Long Parliament...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride%27s_Purge

By now it must have become clear to all but the most obtuse that the inhabitants of the British Isles (including the Irish Republic because it is joined at the hip with the UK) are once again embroiled in a civil war over who rules them.

All talk of deals and the economy, etc. is now subsidiary to answering that basic question - who rules these isles?

Of course this is a costly business but nothing compared to the huge costs of the 'English' Civil War of the 17th c.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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Paolo Casaschi
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:25 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:02 pm
Anyone willing to predict what might happen (or give their opinion on what should happen) in British politics (especially relating to Brexit) now Boris Johnson (or maybe Dominic Cummings) has revealed the government strategy?
Very hard to predict given the players... Watching online chess games I always found that, with the help of a good engine, grandmasters' games are much easier to predict than patzers' games where anything can happen with blunders aplenty :-)

Matthew Turner
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by Matthew Turner » Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:55 pm

It seems to me that we are entering an endgame and perhaps it isn’t so difficult to predict what will happen. It seems very unlikely that peroguing will be stopped, so in my opinion that only really leaves the remainders with two options.

1. They call a vote of no confidence in the government before the recess. This seems very risky because they could well lose and that would be game over. This may well of course increase the prospect of Boris Johnson securing a new deal, if the EU were really that worried about a no deal Brexit

So, then the most likely scenario

2. The remainers make a lot of noise, but the serious discussion takes place in private with the EU. The remainers agree with the EU that they wait until after the EU summit. If agreement is reached then parliament votes on it in a normal way. If agreement is not reached and Johnson pursues a no deal Brexit, then there will be a vote of confidence in the government. If this loses we have a no deal Brexit, if it is successful then we will have a general election and the EU gives the UK a unilateral article 50 extension. That would lead to an election where Boris claimed we had left the EU, but the EU claiming we hadn’t.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:07 pm

Can 'the remainers' really have discussions 'in private' with the EU? Would that not: (a) be impossible in this day and age (by which I mean keeping the discussions private); and (b) contravene several key aspects of international treaties and diplomatic relations? I support remain, but I would not want the EU negotiating with a grouping that might not represent the people of the UK (yes, I know... tricky one). Arguably, neither the current government or the 'rebels' truly represent 'the people' at this stage.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by Matthew Turner » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:23 pm

The EU have discussions with all sorts of people. There is nothing wrong with them having discussions with Jeremy Corbyn - indeed it would be pretty reckless not to do so given he could well be the next PM. Similarly, why not have discussion with Philip Hammond, he is a duly elected representative in the UK. The discussion itself might be relatively simple, if it is just about the timing of a no confidence vote and the EU’s response to a general election.

NickFaulks
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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:31 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:55 pm
and the EU gives the UK a unilateral article 50 extension.
What?

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Re: Brexit tea leaves

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:58 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:55 pm
It seems to me that we are entering an endgame and perhaps it isn’t so difficult to predict what will happen. It seems very unlikely that peroguing will be stopped, so in my opinion that only really leaves the remainders with two options.

1. They call a vote of no confidence in the government before the recess. This seems very risky because they could well lose and that would be game over. This may well of course increase the prospect of Boris Johnson securing a new deal, if the EU were really that worried about a no deal Brexit
After prorogation, there is a new Queen's speech, on which the Commons votes. Isn't this a de facto vote of no confidence? All the MPs who would vote for No Confidence would presumably vote against the Queen's speech. It's certainly a good bellwether. If they hold the No Confidence vote before the prorogation, then they can vote down the Queen's speech later on.

The problem is that'd all be too late; if they win a No Confidence vote, then there isn't time for a General Election before the 31st October. If they vote down the Queen's speech, then while that might result in a change of government, it isn't clear to me that that government would have time to do anything. They might not be able to get the 2/3 majority for an election motion - given the current polls, would the Conservatives oppose it if they can deny that they were the ones who called it? - and it's not clear how they would have any time to do anything differently regarding Brexit, other than perhaps push the departure date back even further. I suppose if they succeed in doing that, they can call a second referendum.

So I think if they go the No Confidence route they have to do it this week. But voting down the Queen's Speech is a final chance for the opposition parties to do something about it, so they've got until 14th October to overturn the working majority of 1 somehow. I think that route would be better for them than the No Confidence route, unless they can do the former this week.

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