In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Posts Tagged ‘brexit mudge and fudge’

Enter Captain Corbyn!

Posted by seumasach on September 27, 2018

Cailean Bochanan

27th September, 2018

The analogy coming forcibly to mind of late was of Britain as a ship adrift without a captain heading towards the rocks as the crew below indulged in an endless brawl, unaware of or indifferent to the grim fate awaiting them. But my spirits have been lifted by the Labour Party conference; could it be that someone has emerged who can put the ship of state back on course to somewhere that is not the abyss. In other words, can Corbyn finally end his highly ambiguous stance on Brexit and at the crucial moment come out for Remain.

Without of course stating anything of the kind, Corbyn has pointed to that as the only logical outcome. The bare facts are that there is a consensus now in the Labour Party that Labour will vote against any deal negotiated by Teresa May which doesn’t satisfy the criteria that Labour has set down and that Labour will oppose a no-deal Brexit. Well, no deal which could conceivably be negotiated by May could satisfy those criteria therefore Labour will vote down whatever she comes up with. That means that deal would fail to pass the Commons leaving us with a no-deal Brexit. Opposing this at any cost, Labour would then campaign for a referendum with the two options being: Remain or the deal negotiated by May. They would win support for this in the Commons and the country would vote by a clear majority for Remain.

This was the logical kernel of the fudge agreed upon at the LP conference. But it was a tiny island of logic in a sea of fudge. Truth-telling is political suicide in the contemporary world: everything must be approached obliquely, through dissimulation, through fudge. Labour haven’t actually come out for Remain. It has been tentatively suggested as an option; all options are on the table, therefore, Remain is on the table. It could even be on the ballot paper (how could it not be!) should it come, in extremis, to a second referendum.  

The main element of dissimulation is the claim that Labour prefer to have a General Election so that they can take on the Brexit negotiations, so that they can take on May’s hopeless conundrum. As if they hadn’t learnt the one clear lesson of the last two years: there is no such thing as a Soft Brexit! They must have worked out by now that the Soft Brexit scenario was merely an invention of the hard line brexiteers to help sell a Hard Brexit i.e. Brexit by lulling the people into a false sense of security and then blaming Europe for a Hard Brexit and the whole mess that would flow from it. Incidentally, why they would want a mess in the first instance is a very good question that, with a bit of luck, we will learn the answer to in the years ahead. Anyway, returning to Labour’s fudge, they’re professed aim of demanding a General Election provides a very good alibi in anticipation of  any accusations of being closet Remainers and helps smooth over divisions in the party between those with the perfectly achievable goal of Remain and those who insist on pursuing the impossible mirage of a benign Brexit, a Brexit for jobs, a Brexit for Ireland and other such nonsense.

I’m being a bit unfair. There is a benign Brexit option: the Norwegian option. This could come in handy if Labour are unlucky enough to win a General Election called, for some reason, by Teresa May. After all, it would be very difficult for them to call a referendum after reaching their heart’s desire of a chance to negotiate a “Brexit for jobs”. So they could leave the EU but remain in the single market, maintain free movement etc.. Only, they wouldn’t have any input into the EU project. That wouldn’t be the end of the world. The EU has developed quite nicely without our input: they’re already working with Russia and China to bypass US sanctions against Iran and uphold the Iran deal. Britain would just have to sit things out for a while in the sin bin, quarantined from a world that is passing us by. But the ship of state would still be afloat!

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May surrenders as Brexiteers agree to go quietly

Posted by seumasach on December 9, 2017

Cailean Bochanan

9th December, 2017

On a historic day, yesterday Britain resigned its role as a junior partner in the Atlantic Alliance and embraced a new role as a junior partner in the European Alliance.

Something had to give way as the impossibility of Brexit became increasingly obvious. I had anticipated that it would be the government and the Tory party. Instead they both emerged intact at the expense of Brexit itself.

The thorn at the heart of the Brexit gorse bush had been the question of the status of Northern Ireland. Given the impossibility of a hard border between north and south Northern Ireland had to be given special status meaning de facto, continued membership of the Single Market and the Custom’s Union. The loyalist veto of this arrangement meant instead that the whole UK has been given a special status: the UK will remain in both the Single Market and the Custom’s Union. Officially, this arrangement is only temporary, for the duration of the so-called transition. However, since the Irish border problem will not simply go away the UK’s special status will continue indefinitely to be finally resolved, presumably, by our renewed integration into the EU. There is no alternative.

One would have anticipated an immediate backlash against this arrangement by the Tory brexiteers but they have simply rolled over. The British ruling has shown again some of their more positive, traditional attributes: an ability to act pragmatically and to discard useless ideology. What cannot be cannot be, and Brexit cannot be.

That begs the question: what was it all about in the first place? That is beyond my meagre intellectual abilities. However, two things may be pertinent. Firstly, the EU shows no sign of falling apart as was hoped and expected by the neocon wing of the Brexit movement. Euroscepticism is not on the rise and the Catalan declaration of independence, which elicited a brief frisson of excitement in the Brexit camp has not triggered a cascade of regional movements towards the CIA’s favourite Europe of the Regions outcome. Secondly, Trump has adopted a hostile attitude to the UK and has already, effectively, ended the Special Relationship with the result that Britain just has nowhere to go.

These changes may also explain why the Europeans have conceded what they said they would never concede, namely, that the UK can leave the EU and still enjoy the benefits of membership of the EU. But, of course, the unspoken, unspeakable reality, from the brexiteers point of view, is that we aren’t really leaving the EU, except in a purely formal sense. But for the meantime we are in a state of limbo with a special status under a kind of EU mandate.

Ultimately, this astonishing outcome reveals the level of disconnect between ideology and reality. All the current ideologies flow from the Anglophilosophy  and the presuppositions of Anglo-American globalization- globalization from below at the expense of sovereign structures. This is perfectly embodied in the Brexit cult of “free-trade”. What we seeing now is globalization accompanied by global governance stemming from sharing of sovereignty. The Single Market reflects that but it will be even more evident as the One Belt, One Road project takes off. Who is going to regulate or “nationalise” the high-speed trains which will soon connect China and Europe? Who will regulate international trade and an international means of payment now that the Dollar-fiat reserve currency system is coming to an end? Of course, some of these agencies of global governance already exist but they will undoubtedly be transformed, extended or replaced in the coming years.

Britain has, as of yesterday, begun to resolve it’s relationship with the nascent multipolar world order. The fact that Brexit is only a virtual event, or, at least, a real non-event and that that is understood by all will have immediate effects. Most importantly, our deal with are major creditor, China, should be back on to the accompanying smirk of George Osborne. Major problems lie ahead concerning uncontrolled debt, speculative bubbles and lack of income at personal, corporate and national levels with the banks once again looking vulnerable. But, as of yesterday, we will resolve them within a European and multipolar context.

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Brexit: Don’t let Remain supporters stall

Posted by seumasach on August 21, 2016

It is not the Remain camp which is stalling Brexit so much as the Brexit camp itself. They are yet to come up with a program for Brexit. They did not do so in the course of the referendum campaign apart from vagaries about trading with the rest of the world, except China as it turns out. They will never come up with a program for the simple reason that there are no good options and no options at all that they can agree on. Without agreement on a future framework for Britain article 50 will not be triggered. The brexiteers have dedicated entire lifetimes to reaching this point and they just don’t know what to do.

Telegraph

21st August, 2016

Iain Duncan Smith has urged Theresa May to crack on with Britain’s divorce from the European Union as he accused Remain supporters of trying to delay the process.

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Bookmakers have lost faith in Article 50 ever being triggered

Posted by seumasach on August 4, 2016

Independent

4th July, 2016

Bookmakers have shortened their odds that Article 50 — the two-year notice period the must give to officially leave the EU — will never be triggered.

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UK PM Theresa May: Government won’t activate ‘Brexit’ article until a ‘UK approach’ is agreed upon

Posted by seumasach on July 15, 2016

May will not trigger Article 50 until she has the agreement of those who don’t want to trigger Article 50 to trigger Article 50. Until Nicola Sturgeon agrees to commit political suicide by agreeing to Article 50 being triggered.

Business Insider

15th July, 2016

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday that the government would not trigger Article 50, the formal trigger of divorce talks with the European Union, until a “UK approach” had been agreed.

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