Notes on Trump 46 – breaking news flash on Mueller report liberals outraged

It isn’t entirely clear what they are outraged about but the liberal media is heavily covering Democrat outrage about the Mueller report.

As far as I can make out they are particularly outraged that they won’t be able to convince even themselves that impeaching Trump would be a good idea so they are left spluttering about more Congressional investigations. It looks like Pelosi and the rest of the leadership will successfully avoid the impeachment trap but the sense of total deflation must be quite devastating despite the mutli-stage build down from peak Trump delusion syndrome.

The report is over 400 pages so I won’t be scanning it for any hints on whether Mueller’s team considered my theory that Trump was deliberately encouraging the lunacy. There are certainly no such hints in the two annotated guides I did read on what right minded people should think about the report but I don’t expect the media to be capable of noticing such an outlandish idea. I would be interested if anybody else has time to look for hints although it is only of historic interest now.

Here is a link to searchable pdf (via politico):

Above broken by WordPress. Here’s a working to download from CNN:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/18/politics/full-mueller-report-pdf/index.html

Democrats look likely to switch to a focus on persecution of harmless intelligence agency officials for doing their party duty by trying to bring down a completely unacceptable President who could not possibly have won an election. That plus saving the climate by printing money looks almost as good an election strategy as Hilary Clinton saying it was her turn.

I won’t bother linking to the usual outrage.

Here’s politico’s key findings which pretty much confirm what has been known for many months and was announced in the four page summary by the U.S. Attorney-General a few weeks ago:

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/18/mueller-report-summary-key-findings-1280879

Here’s the New York Times moaning about the same:

[forgot link – fixed]

Even NYT does not seem to be complaining about the redactions that Democrats have been outraged about for several weeks now. Focus is on “obstruction” with not even an ongoing attempt to pretend that there was a crime to investigate in the first place other than the crimes of corrupt intelligence agency officials in leaking conspiracy theories to a corrupt media.

But the tone is one of defeat with lots of reminders about what a wonderful story they had told so many times that it really ought to have been proved true by now.

Brexit – “Remain has won”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu/eu-offers-pm-may-brexit-pause-to-october-31-idUKKCN1RM0LR

Comment by Tory MP on hearing this news: “Remain has won”.

Brexit extension to October 31 with UK participating in European elections. Details here

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/39043/10-euco-art50-decision-en.pdf

1. UK will participate in European elections at end of next month, immediately after the celebrations for the birthday of St Rita, patron saint of impossible causes.

2. UK Independence Party previously led by Nigel Farage was largest UK party in European parliament followed by smaller Labour and Tory parties in elections based on proportional representation within regions similar to Australian Senate. Very low turnout that was mainly of people annoyed with EU since others didn’t care. UKIP now led by far right thugs will be largely wiped out. Brexit party led by Farage will do well and Tory party will be severely damaged. Both pro and anti-Brexit wings of Labour will have to run on a campaign which commits to a “Final Say” referendum. There will be a big turnout of Remain voters and clear majority for Remain.

3. Customs Union supported by Corbyn won’t be accepted by May. Even if went through Parliament cannot change Withdrawal Agreement.

4. Only remaining option is the Withdrawal Agreement being subjected to a “Final Say” confirmatory referendum. New October 31 deadline allows adequate time for referendum and inadequate time for anything else to emerge.

5. No chance of referendum accepting withdrawal agreement opposed by both “Leave” and “Remain”. Lots of Leave* voters will not turn up.

6. Further details murky but Remain has won.

Some earlier discussions among Tories are rather interesting.

https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2019/04/james-arnell-a-second-referendum-is-now-brexiteers-best-chance-of-getting-what-they-want.html

https://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2019/04/does-the-conservative-party-have-enough-money-to-fight-a-european-election-campaign.html

https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2019/04/lord-ashcroft-the-space-for-a-new-party-isnt-just-in-the-centre-of-politics.html

That last item has important information on likelihood of new parties emerging. There is a real possibility of the proportional representation being introduced by the Tories before the next general election as they face near extinction under the present system.

Naturally the precise timing and details of the twists and turns between now and the already known end result cannot be predicted with any certainty.

I am using an unusual grammatical tense that descriibes an inevitable future as though it is already present – as with Marx’s:

Centralisation of the means of production and socialisation of labour at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch32.htm

Or the road runner “runs of the cliff and crashes to the ground” as caption to a long scene in which legs are spinning in mid air at the same height as the top of the cliff with no downwards movement and no crash – yet.

Or “the US Democrats and liberal media focus on exposing the Trump as a Kremlin asset and when that doesn’t work out well for them go for changing the climate by printing money and lose bigly”.

Does anyone know the name of this grammatical tense? Perhaps “future present”?

PS Trump’s 51% approval to 47% disapproval does not seem to be an outlier. Same for three of the last four days Rasmussen polls of likely voters. For 9 April it was 53% to 45%.

PPS (sigh) * Fixed typo “Lots of Remain voters won’t turn up”.

Note: added 2019-04-12

There is a significant difference between the texts of the widely reported EU27 meeting’s “conclusion” linked above and the final text agreed by the EU28 including the UK concerning participation of the European Parliament elections:

https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/XT-20006-2019-INIT/en/pdf

EU28 decision European Council decision taken in agreement with the United Kingdom, extending the period under Article 50(3)TEU

(10) …In the event that those elections do not take place in the United Kingdom, the extension should cease on 31 May 2019.

EU27 conclusion:

(3) If the United Kingdom fails to live up to this obligation, the withdrawal will take place on 1 June 2019.

Presumably the change to a milder tone was requested by the UK Government to emphasize that the UK does not need to be threatended to comply with its legal obligations and participation in the European election was forced on them by a recalcitrant Parliament rather than by the EU.

Theoretically it opens up the possibility of Brexiteers further demonstrating their intransigence by trying to prevent acceptance of any statutory instruments needed to hold the elections under UK law rather than under an order to comply with European Union law from the European Court of Justice.

Of course the actual result of doing so would not be a “no deal” exit on 1 June, but another demonstration of their isolation and impotence.

Still, they are not known for tactical brilliance and it is interesting that, so far as I know, there has been no attention paid to the milder decision, than the widespread assumption from the conclusion that a hard Brexit on 1 June would be fully automatic if the UK did not comply with its legal obligations.

Notes on Trump 45 – now at 51% approval to 47% disapproval among voters

While following Brexit closely, I’ve only been scanning the headlines on Trump without reading the articles in the couple of weeks since the Mueller report confirmed “no collusion”, which coincided with the Brexit end game.

The headlines look like just a continuous stream of why people ought to hate Trump more. No sign of shifting to actual policy issues or aiming to communicate with people who don’t already agree with the liberal media. Basically unreadable.

Latest Rasmussen daily poll has Trump on 51% approval to 47% disapproval among likely voters. That may be an outlier but he needs much less than that to win in 2020.

Biggest danger for Trump is that the damage done by Democrat and media tactics is now so obvious that it would cause them to think again. He cannot reasonably expect to succeed in persuading them to just keep on ranting about Russia so his ongoing tweets about “Witchunt!” ought to be rather ineffectual with Democrats switching from conspiracy theory back to normal bourgeois politics.

But even though the focus seems to now be on some other “exposure” (sex with porn star, corruption etc), a lot of the conspiracy theorists are still so fixated on “Russiagate” that they just cannot let go and are hoping to keep it going when they get the “real” Mueller report.

I’ve only looked at this example but I assume it is a genre similar to the sects predicting end of the world on a specific date and then just revising the date with firmer conviction:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/the-witch-hunt-lives-trump-and-the-investigation-that-just-wont-end

Here’s an initial defence of the media lunacy immediately after it fell to bits:

https://newrepublic.com/article/153408/russia-skeptics-committing-sins-despise

It took less than a couple of weeks for the New Yorker to fully return to the theme as above.

But its interesting the initial response actually links to a couple of dissident journalists it was responding to.

Both are well worth reading (even though their rejection of the mainstream enthusiasm for believing US intelligence agencies and authority figures is closely linked to their view of the Iraq war).

Here’s Matt Taibi:

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/russiagate-is-wmd-times-a-million

Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base. As Baker notes, a full 50.3% of respondents in a poll conducted this month said they agree with Trump the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.”

Stories have been coming out for some time now hinting Mueller’s final report might leave audiences “disappointed,” as if a President not being a foreign spy could somehow be bad news.

Openly using such language has, all along, been an indictment. Imagine how tone-deaf you’d have to be to not realize it makes you look bad, when news does not match audience expectations you raised. To be unaware of this is mind-boggling, the journalistic equivalent of walking outside without pants.

There will be people protesting: the Mueller report doesn’t prove anything! What about the 37 indictments? The convictions? The Trump tower revelations? The lies! The meeting with Don, Jr.? The financial matters! There’s an ongoing grand jury investigation, and possible sealed indictments, and the House will still investigate, and…

Stop. Just stop. Any journalist who goes there is making it worse.

For years, every pundit and Democratic pol in Washington hyped every new Russia headline like the Watergate break-in. Now, even Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is out, unless something “so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan” against Trump is uncovered it would be worth their political trouble to prosecute.

The biggest thing this affair has uncovered so far is Donald Trump paying off a porn star. That’s a hell of a long way from what this business was supposedly about at the beginning, and shame on any reporter who tries to pretend this isn’t so.

The story hyped from the start was espionage: a secret relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian spooks who’d helped him win the election.

The betrayal narrative was not reported as metaphor. It was not “Trump likes the Russians so much, he might as well be a spy for them.” It was literal spying, treason, and election-fixing – crimes so severe, former NSA employee John Schindler told reporters, Trump “will die in jail.”

In the early months of this scandal, the New York Times said Trump’s campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence; the Wall Street Journal told us our spy agencies were withholding intelligence from the new President out of fear he was compromised; news leaked out our spy chiefs had even told other countries like Israel not to share their intel with us, because the Russians might have “leverages of pressure” on Trump.

CNN told us Trump officials had been in “constant contact” with “Russians known to U.S. intelligence,” and the former director of the CIA, who’d helped kick-start the investigation that led to Mueller’s probe, said the President was guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” committing acts “nothing short of treasonous.”

Hillary Clinton insisted Russians “could not have known how to weaponize” political ads unless they’d been “guided” by Americans. Asked if she meant Trump, she said, “It’s pretty hard not to.” Harry Reid similarly said he had “no doubt” that the Trump campaign was “in on the deal” to help Russians with the leak.

None of this has been walked back. To be clear, if Trump were being blackmailed by Russian agencies like the FSB or the GRU, if he had any kind of relationship with Russian intelligence, that would soar over the “overwhelming and bipartisan” standard, and Nancy Pelosi would be damning torpedoes for impeachment right now.

There was never real gray area here. Either Trump is a compromised foreign agent, or he isn’t. If he isn’t, news outlets once again swallowed a massive disinformation campaign, only this error is many orders of magnitude more stupid than any in the recent past, WMD included. Honest reporters like ABC’s Terry Moran understand: Mueller coming back empty-handed on collusion means a “reckoning for the media.”

Of course, there won’t be such a reckoning. (There never is). But there should be. We broke every written and unwritten rule in pursuit of this story, starting with the prohibition on reporting things we can’t confirm.

There’s more and its worth reading to understand just how big a favour the media has done for Trump.

Here’s Glenn Greenwald debating one of the journos in denial, also worth reading to understand their complete inability to face the situation:

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/3/25/as_mueller_finds_no_collusion_did

I don’t watch TV but the brain rot suffered by liberal Americans who do must exceed the impact of the press. Here’s a random account of the main liberal cable channel MSNBC:

https://newrepublic.com/article/153435/msnbcs-wild-ride

This is far worse than the notorious Fox news channel and closer to “Infowars” whose anchor recently defended itself from a defamation suit by admitting he was “psychotic”.

Most of the media may shift focus to other “investigations” of corruption etc which is less lunatic than “Russia”. But it still looks like the Democrats will be running a campaign to change the climate by printing money, in which case we’ll be stuck with Trump for another four years.

Hopefully some of the damage will be mitigated by the collapse of Brexit.

Brexit – from blustering and blithering to outright gibbering

Greg Sheridan seemed to have shut up for a few days after another specacular failure to get anything at all right about Brexit.

Previously he thought a “no deal” Brexit and “no Brexit” were equally likely. Then he just said only one thing was certain, Brexit “has a long way to run”.

Yesterday (Wednesday 2019-04-03) he returned to the fray. Now he thinks “there is a real prospect of a general election”.

She (the Prime Minister) hopes these threats (of a general election) will get her thrice -rejected deal over the line, on the fourth or fifth try.

He got that out just in time to be proved wrong the very next day.

In the same issue of The Australian, Janet Albrechtsen at least had the sense to not make stupid predictions. She doesn’t mention that her side has lost, but does tacitly indicate awareness of the real situation by fantasizing about the past instead of the present or future:

May’s other infernal error was not preparing the ground from the start for a no-deal Brexit. Given almost three-quarters of MPs voted to remain, May should have anticipated mayhem in Westminster. By banking on a no-deal Brexit she could better have forced agreement from remoaners….

May offered no explanations … of how a no-deal Brexit can, in the longer term, deliver a thriving UK, untethered from European bureaucracy and rules, trading independently like a Singapore of the north.

Albrechtsen is vastly more intelligent and perceptive than Greg Sheridan (to damn her with faint praise). But even if she believes that “untethered” stuff herself, she ought to understand that May, like most of the British establishment, does not share her views. Why does she imagine that the UK Prime Minister, who was one of the three-quarters of MPs who voted to remain, would try a “forced agreement” from three-quarters against the view she shares with them rather than carefully and systematically isolating the one-quarter whose policy she opposed (who unfortunately comprise about half of her own party)?

Nearly two years ago, after the last UK general election I wrote the first article in this series:

https://c21stleft.com/2017/06/11/no-soft-brexit/

Even the Economist is blithering that May’s campaign for a hard Brexit has been rejected but there are no grounds to reverse the referendum result.

My recollection is that May opposed Brexit and was given the job of recovering from Cameron’s blunder. She was forced to abandon the pretence that Britain could become the only member of the single market that did not comply with free movement of labor. There never was an option for “soft Brexit” nor any preparations for a “hard Brexit”.

So I assume there will now have to be a second referendum to cancel Brexit. The only reason I think this might be worth mentioning is that none of the articles I have read agree.

I documented subsequent twists and turns heading inexorably towards this outcome in detail under the same category heading here:

https://c21stleft.com/category/brexit/

Nearly two years later, some journalists have started to notice what has certainly been blindingly obvious for weeks and months, if not for more than a year.

Even CNN now mentions:

Senior figures in both main parties raised the prospect of a second referendum to obtain the British public’s backing for any deal — and to offer the choice of remaining in the EU.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/03/uk/brexit-no-deal-bill-yvette-cooper-theresa-may-gbr-intl/index.html

In fact this item basically gets it right:

“The Brexit dream might be fading”

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/03/uk/brexit-no-deal-vote-may-corbyn-talks-intl-gbr/index.html

I had “Brexit Danger Fading” last year:

https://c21stleft.com/2018/11/19/brexit-danger-fading/

Different perspective and less certain, but CNN is now reaching roughly the same conclusion nearly 6 months later.

But of course another item at CNN just blithers:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/04/uk/brexit-may-signs-of-optimism-gbr-intl/index.html

Accusations of incompetence are levied at her by the hour.
However, it is just about possible to see that the prime minister may finally get her own way on Brexit — with a few tweaks. Ironically, this could be happening in the same manner she won the contest to become prime minister nearly three years ago — due to all other contenders falling by the wayside.

Firstly, lawmakers fighting for a soft Brexit deal lost a crucial vote yesterday. The motion to allow a third opportunity to hold indicative votes on alternatives to May’s Brexit deal was defeated by just one vote.
The original vote was a tie, and as a result the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, had the casting vote and went with the government. Lawmakers had already had two chances to back alternative options and could not reach a majority on anything. That route is now closed off, making May’s deal more likely.

[Actually it had become pointless since May had agreed to present options to Parliament and abide by the outcome.]

Secondly, the prime minister has embarked on a new strategy of seeking consensus with the opposition Labour party, through talks with its leader Jeremy Corbyn, which could lead to her normally rebellious Brexiteer MPs (members of Parliament) coming round to her deal….
From May’s point of view, she can use these talks to pursue a double-game: Show soft Brexit and remain-supporting lawmakers that she wants to build a more moderate consensus, but also scare Brexiteers into backing her original deal out of fear of something “worse.” Those two ministerial resignations were triggered by that Brexiteer anger.

[Ignores the fact that lots of Tory Remainers who voted for the deal when they could rely on Brexiteers to block it would join them and Labour to vote against their party whip if that became necessary. A dozen did so recently on the vote that was almost tied even though it wasn’t necessary. The Brexiteer anger is about knowing that they have lost.]

Thirdly, a no deal is becoming increasingly unlikely — meaning, again, May’s deal emerges as a stronger possibility.

[She already convinced Rees Mogg and Boris Johnson that they would never get “no deal”. That still left 58 votes short despite them humiliating themselves. Only some journalists have actually believed “no deal” was still possible since then (though others may still pretend).]

Mentions referendum only as something opposed by both May and Corbyn. Doesn’t mention that May has no other options left and that Corbyn would lose his seat as well as his leadership if he allowed a Brexit agreeement without a referendum since his party and constituency are overwhelmingly for a “Final Say” vote.

Some useful background on Corbyn’s position is in this New Statesmen article although expressed as congratulations to him for his wise choice in accepting having been defeated by Labour Remain supporters.

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/04/tories-self-destruct-over-brexit-jeremy-corbyn-s-new-stance-has-been-vindicated

The Guardian, is also hopeful that there is now a “slim chance” for a referendum. (Presumably their campaign for it was in the same spirit of utter hopelessness as with climate change or “Not In Our Name” rather than intending to win).

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/03/may-corbyn-brexit-talks-solution-mps-final-say

The BBC maintains its more traditional “wobbly lower lip” focus on “sticking points” blithering about various reasons why an agreement would be unlikely with no mention of a referendum:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47799848

The latest developments include the government and opposition agreeing to work for an extension that will require UK participation in EU elections and passage of a (basically pointless) Bill requiring the government to seek that extension from the EU.

That makes it pretty hard to just keep on blustering and blithering about any other possibility than a referendum on the “deal”. So now we get outright gibbering.

Here’s WAPO’s gibbering:

It leaves the country in an extremely perilous situation. The government’s latest wheeze, expressed in a statement from May on Tuesday night, is to extend Article 50 again and try to bring opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn on board to see if they can find a deal that works for both Labour and the Conservatives.

But even this attempt, which shows an openness the prime minister has not exhibited before, faces the same problems: If the plan does not include a People’s Vote, Corbyn loses a chunk of his supporters, inside and outside Parliament. If it includes a soft Brexit, those People’s Vote types still won’t support it, and May loses most of her own party in the bargain. Whichever way you look at it, political puritanism makes the mathematics of a Brexit majority hard to imagine.

The country is stuck, frozen in indecision. Parliament is reenacting the end of “Reservoir Dogs.” And still the clock ticks mercilessly down. Puritanism has provided no answers whatsoever, except pain and failure. Unless MPs quickly rediscover Britain’s tradition of pragmatism, things are about to get very ugly indeed.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/04/03/brexit-has-turned-british-politics-into-zombie-horror-movie/?utm_term=.f982009bc291

That spells out very precisely the mathematics of a Brexit majority, which have been obvious for a very long time. Instead of the last paragraph one would expect a simple conclusion following the second paragraph:

“Therefore the most likely outcome is a “Final Say” People’s Vote on the Withdrawal Agreement already negotiated with the EU”.

At the very least one would expect an analyst who disagrees with that rather natural conclusion to explain why not. Instead they just gibber.

Here’s The Economist with more measured gibbering, but likewise spelling out the positions that point to the obvious compromise but resolutely ignoring the implied most likely outcome without any attempt to explain why.

https://www.economist.com/britain/2019/04/03/can-theresa-may-and-jeremy-corbyn-compromise-on-brexit

Here’s Nick Miller gibbering in today’s The Age, under headline ‘Unity’ Brexit bid reeks of failure:

No mention at all of the most likely outcome, even to explain why he thinks it is not worth mentioning. Instead:

Apart from anything else, the UK still has the power to unilaterally revoke Brexit if, at the last, that is seen as a better option than plunging off the cliff of a “no-deal” Brexit.

And this all may have been a cunning plan by May to focus Brexiteer minds on the alternatives, swinging them behind her original deal.

If not, all May’s announcement on Tuesday may have achieved is spreading the blame for a no-deal disaster on April 12.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/was-this-a-brexit-breakthrough-frankly-it-smells-more-like-fudge-20190403-p51a6e.html

Its hard to understand what is going on, but somehow the politicians who kept insisting that they must avoid participating in the European elections (next month) because it would spell out the end of Brexit bullshit, have still not admitted that is precisely what will now happen.

Officially, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition are negotiating how to achieve a short extension until the birthday of St Rita, patron saint of impossible causes, which is May 22, the day before European elections so that the UK won’t have to take part. The political parties and the electoral commission are officially only making “contingency” preparations for actually holding the elections because current law says the UK will not be in the EU then as the current exit date of April 12 has not yet been changed.

But the EU already specified and has repeatedly reminded everyone that any extension beyond April 12 will require participation in the elections.

So everyone actually following the Brexit saga does know. Here’s the details:

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/03/holding-european-parliament-elections-easier-mps-think

But that doesn’t stop them from simply not mentioning it and pretending they are working towards an exit before May 22.

It ought to stop anybody else from believing the pretence. But it certainly hasn’t stopped them from gibbering.

Details of the drama requiring the Prime Minister to seek an extension she has already admitted to needing are here:

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8541

If in fact the Government wished to defy both overwhelming votes and basic survival instincts by not requesting an extension the Bill would have no effect. It would simply be refused assent or more politely, not presented for assent in time. It is reasonable to assume the House of Lords will be able to adopt it in time, even if they have to stay up all night, as they are about two to one in favour of doing so. But cabinet ought to refuse assent anyway, just to remind people that responsible and accountable government requires a Parliament to confer confidence only on Ministries that it supports rather than issuing daily instructions on precisely what motions a Ministry it has no confidence in must propose in Parliament. That would also add some drama right up to the last moment this Wednesday, which is hardly sustainable by merely spouting gibberish.

The only point of the Bill is that it has provided a convenient way to avoid more embarassing displays of Parliamentary impotence with “indicative votes” instead of no confidence and a general election.

Theoretically it could also have had the effect of getting journalists to stop gibbering about the consequences of “no deal”. Its too soon to tell but I doubt they can stop. For example, instead of just explaining that the Bill is a distraction, we get expert gibberish arguing that it is also “dangerous” as it could add to the (imaginary) danger of “no deal”.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/03/cooper-letwin-brexit-no-deal-distraction

Here’s a collection of philosophers gibbering learnedly about the democratic solution to Brexit:

https://iai.tv/articles/what-is-the-most-democratic-way-to-solve-the-brexit-crisis-auid-1225

Only the last of them has a clue:

Silete theologi in munere alieno!” (Trans: “Silence, theologian, where you do not belong!) -Gentili (Italian humanist lawyer telling the Papists just where they get off, 1588 AD).

Of course nothing can ever be certain.

Especially when The Economist manages to make even their call for a referendum indecipherable by tacking it on at the end of some stream of consciousness gibberish:

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/04/04/theresa-may-takes-a-step-in-the-right-direction-on-brexit

This may be the result of alarm about the collapse of mainstream politics into a far right nationalist populist Tory party against a pseudo-left populist Labour party. A plausible description of that is here:

https://www.economist.com/britain/2019/04/04/the-tories-are-transforming-into-a-party-of-populist-nationalism

But it seems safe to say that when the PM and Opposition Leader agree on the obvious this will appear to the gullible as miraculous as pulling a rabbit out of a hat after first having put it there while misdirecting the audience to look the other way.

Here’s the Director of an “Institute for the Public Understanding of Politics” using exactly that expression about rabbits and hats to express his confidently and expertly helping the public understand that he does not have a clue:

https://theconversation.com/all-too-hard-understanding-brexit-theresa-may-and-the-british-humiliation-114644

Its interesting that he has essentially the same incomprehension of May’s successful tactics as Janet Albrechtson. But being on the opposite side he blames Theresa May for having gone “too hard” instead of “not hard enough”.

It takes real skill to convince all one’s opponents that they are much smarter than you are while defeating them.

Brexit blustering and blithering

I had better post this now. Cabinet meetings are now being livestreamed to a Financial Times journalist who just tweeted at 2200 Melbourne time:

Political cabinet is discussing how to try and get the Brexit deal through the Commons. One option to be discussed is whether it could get through with Labour votes if a confirmatory referendum was tacked on. Surprisingly little hope of getting of the DUP back on board.

https://mobile.twitter.com/SebastianEPayne/status/1113038561924845568

Here’s what I drafted before seeing above.

It isn’t just Australian journalists demonstrating complete incomprehension about Brexit.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s representative at Brexit negotiations just announced that a no-deal Brexit is “nearly inevitable”. This is a substantial escalation from the usual vaguely menacing talk of “increasingly likely with each day”, which accurately describes a slow increase from 0 over the 10 days till latest revised deadline.

The other deadline for an orderly exit on 22 May, birthday of St Rita, the patron saint of impossible causes, has already gone. So the likelihood does indeed increase daily from near 0 now to 100% on April 12 if there has been no decision to participate in the European elections by April 12. But it remains close to zero since the UK Government has made it absolutely clear it will do whatever it takes to avoid crashing out without a deal, as endorsed by an overwhelmingly majority of the House of Commons. It only jumps suddenly to 100% if that last day arrives without a decision to participate in the European elections and request for a postponement.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_of_Cascia

Ireland has made no preparations for a no deal Brexit because they have a good understanding of British politics. Angela Merkel is dropping by to urge them to at least join in the pretence of being worried. But why should they?

It is natural for EU as well as UK politicians to be striking dramatic poses for the journalists and equally natural for journalists to be joining in the dramatization.

But surely there would be some British journalists with analysis pointing out the obvious. Even though Australian journalists are fully clueless, why wouldn’t some British journalist want the kudos of having got it right?

It is pretty hard to maintain the drama under a headline that reminds everyone that a long postponement is available instead of a “no deal” crash by simply calling a general election or a referendum and explains that the EU would be even happier with ANY of the softer BRINOs considered in Parliament than it is with the deal already agreed:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-delay-barnier-article-50-extend-general-election-theresa-may-a8850371.html

Since “no deal”, a general election and ANY of the softer BRINOs under consideratin would be immensely damaging to the governing party the remaining option of a referendum on their version of BRINO is a foregone conclusion. But as far as I am aware NOBODY ELSE IS SAYING SO.

Here’s The Guardian’s inimitable Simon Jenkins fantasizing:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/01/common-sense-customs-union-theresa-may-cross-party

The “Leave”campaign is too busy being outraged to actually explain that they have lost.

The “People’s Vote” campaign is too busy whipping up fear of “no deal” to explain that they have won.

This news item is relatively sane:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-news-second-referendum-peoples-vote-theresa-may-commons-a8850401.html

It accurately reports facts about aspects of the referendum “compromise” that is being prepared. But it doesn’t actually analyse by explaining that the idea of cabinet accepting a referendum on customs union is sheer fantasy and the whole point of the exercise is that cabinet will inevitably have to agree that the only way for the deal they want to be even considered is via a referendum.

Here’s a roundup of the blustering and blithering from The Independent:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-news-live-theresa-may-no-deal-cabinet-vote-debate-election-a8850266.html

Here’s the BBC blithering:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46393399

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47783127

Here’s The Guardian’s roundup of European incomprehension:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/02/wholesale-slaughter-of-brexit-continues-eu-papers-reach-for-the-apocalyptic

Finally, here’s the Guardian’s live stream including above tweet:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2019/apr/02/brexit-latest-news-live-cabinet-theresa-may-barnier-says-extending-article-50-again-to-help-uk-would-pose-significant-risks-to-eu-live-news

Brexit – exhausting the alternatives

Greg Sheridan seems to have shut up, but fear not, Fairfax’s Nick Miller provides equally incompetent “analysis”.

“So now we come to Brexit Plan B”, The Age, Sunday 2019-03-31 p26. Online at:

“The best-case Brexit scenario could still happen. It probably won’t.”

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/the-best-case-brexit-scenario-could-still-happen-it-probably-won-t-20190330-p5195f.html

Includes final sentences omitted from The Age after “Quite the pickle”:

… As one anonymous Labour MP told The Times:

“When the result was announced and the government motion was rejected, I didn’t remotely feel like cheering. This isn’t a game and there are no winners. We come back on Monday.”

Also on p26 from Nick Miller:

“Three-time loser May plans fresh showdown”.

This quotes an unnamed cabinet minister, asked why May had brought on a vote she knew she would lose: “F— knows, I am past caring, it’s like the living dead in here.”

Actually it is quite obvious why. Not only have charlatans like Boris Johnson humiliated themselves by voting for a deal they correctly said was worse than remaining in the EU, but they are also now stuck with nothing to campaign about in claiming “leadership”. Everybody now knows that “no deal” won’t happen and within the next 10 days the UK will have to decide on participating in the European elections and request a long extension. That unambiguously settles the final outcome – no Brexit.

By “everybody” I do not of course include journalists, as demonstrated by the above article continuing in Greg Sheridan’s tradition of invicincible incomprehension.

Goldman Sachs should also be exempted. They still only estimate a 40% chance of no Brexit, 45% chance of a modified deal being approved even after a long extension with participation in the European elections and 15% chance of a crash out with “no deal”.

https://qz.com/1584156/odds-of-brexit-cancellation-rise-to-40-says-goldman-sachs/

Unusually, The Guardian has a relatively sane list of 5 possibilities despite concluding “there is no plan” in the face of a well executed plan to exhaust all other options and reach “No Brexit”:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/31/what-is-future-for-brexit

Each of the 5 scenarios considered as a “way out of chaos” is described as having “pitfalls”.

It is of course hard to work out precisely what route will be followed to the conclusion that necessarily follows from the large majorities in both major parties who agree with overwhelming majorities in minor parties and a smaller majority of the public now in favour of Remain. This is difficult to follow in detail because apart from the minor parties most of the politicians are publicly committed to pretending that they are trying to implement the referendum  to Leave. So everything they actually do has to be presented as just “chaos”.

But its worth going through the list of scenarios and “pitfalls” to understand why things have developed exactly as I said they would and are likely to continue in the same direction. I won’t repeat many of the less important pitfalls mentioned in the article.

1) Parliament tries to force May’s hand by agreeing an alternative Brexit plan

Pitfall: (Not mentioned) even if there was a clear majority for the most widely supported alternative (Customs Union) there is simply no way cabinet could be forced to hand this victory to Jeremy Corbyn when they have the easy alternative of accepting the offer that has already been made by Labour to put their deal to a “confirmatory” referendum (where it will be rejected). Brexit to a Customs Union would be far worse for the Tories than simply being defeated at the referendum.

2) May brings her deal back

This could theoretically be successful against worse alternatives such as a customs union (especially if combined with an irrevocable threat of immediate snap election).

“If May wins it is game over. The UK would leave on 22 May.”

Pitfall: (Not mentioned) But it would not be “game over”. Masses of legislation would be required and at some point an “accidental” victory would be reversed by tacking on “subject to confirmation by referendum”. A point to watch for is whether the government introduces the statutory instrument for participation in the European elections before any such further attempt. That needs to be done before April 10.

3) MPs vote for a second referendum

Pitfalls “There is limited Tory support for a second referendum, and considerable opposition to it on the Labour benches. Many MPs fear that it will cause a public backlash and a loss of faith in British democracy. There are also fears it would deliver another close result which would leave the country as divided as it is now.”

Above is the reason for “exhausting all other alternatives” first. But having done so there is nothing so easily punctured as an outraged backlash against being allowed to take a vote. The embarassment is purely because the leaders of both parties spouted this nonsense.

There is little fear of a close result when the choice is between Remain and a BRINO exposed as significantly worse than Remain by its own advocates. The Remain voters will turn up but many of the Brexit voters will just stay home, “outraged”.

4) No deal. Parliament fails to agree and we crash out

Pitfalls (As correctly stated by the article). “In reality, the EU will do everything it can to avoid no deal and the vast majority of MPs will too. Even if May has no plan to put forward on 10 April, the EU will still probably give the UK more time.”

5) May tries to call an election

That could well happen, especially as it could enable the Tory MPs to choose a leader quickly to fight the election rather than risk Boris Johnson being chosen by  the general membership.

Pitfalls. Tories would suffer greatly (as the article states).

Items 3 and 5 both guarantee an extension with a fork in the road away from Brexit by participating in the European elections. A general election now severely damages the Tories and prolongs the agony while still having to end up with a referendum eventually. Agreeing to the referendum before 10 April will be much easier for the government to “reluctantly accept as a compromise as the only way to get the deal through despite parliamentary obstruction” and is what they have in fact been working towards.

 

 

 

 

Brexit – straws in the wind for UK election

I have ignored the possibility of a UK election because it requires a large number of Tories to vote for losing their seats.

But as it is the only thing not being bloviated about at the moment it is worth further consideration.

There are some recent reports of government discussions about possibly calling an election and recent statements by May opposing everything else that might happen on the grounds that she is obliged to support the manifesto she was elected on. She didn’t hint at any possibility of calling an election and all the bloviating has been about her untenable position with demands to resign immediately with no particular replacement or plan in mind.

Now that cabinet has lost control of Parliament the traditional procedure under the Westminster system would be to either replace the government or replace the parliament.

Parliamentary politics has become so ritualistic under the two party system enforced by single member electorates that they have fogotton the basis for their rituals. Recent changes from the Westminster system have produced a “fixed term” Prime Minister until December and a “fixed term” Parliament until 2022. This absurdity is now confronted with deadlocked decisions that must be resolved within 3 weeks.

One way or another, the UK will request an extension beyond April 12, which requires participation in the EU elections in May. That is a major fork in the road away from Brexit which will split the Tory party and outrage a lot of blowhards.

I still think the most likely way, after exhausting all other options, will be to accept the proposed Withdrawal Agreement deal, subject to confirmation by a referendum.

But another possible way is for the Government to propose an early election and whip sufficient Tories into supporting it for there to be the two thirds majority required. Getting two thirds against a government whip would be impossible. With government support it would be easy.

The EU would of course grant an extension on that basis.

Some of May’s more “inexplicable” behaviour could be explained, as could the defeat of a vote to force a recall of Parliament if no deal within 7 days of deadline.

May’s speech blaming Parliament for the mess helped defuse the efforts to blame the EU at her own expense from the viewpoint of MPs. But it also sets the stage for having been forced by Parliament to hold elections for Members of the European Parliament despite a referendum to withdraw and insisting that the UK Parliament must itself also face elections.

Either way, I don’t see any long delay between the next (long) extension and a final decision for No Brexit after holding European Elections.