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See this is where it gets truly silly. You may not be wrong about some form of soft-Brexit, or EEA status, but whichever level of closeness you consider that is not "hard Brexit" would have required dropping one of the UK's "red line" issues. Anything else that was not Theresa May's deal needed the EU offering cake and cookies for free. It wasn't so much she couldn't sell it as the hardliners of the Tory party wouldn't take it. For 3 years the UK's negotiating position has been "la, la, la, not listening", whilst asking for the impossible (or cake).

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator summarised it all beautifully in a single slide he put out in about 2016 or 17. Each level of softer Brexit available is ruled out by a UK red line.

Should you want a breakdown, CGP Grey did a short video about "that slide". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agZ0xISi40E






Yes, I've seen that slide. In fact, it was exactly what I had in mind when I said to pytester below that "Barnier has been crystal clear about what is required of the UK and what the options are". Certainly you are right about what has been the Tory negotiating strategy.

I meant, however, that she could have attempted to sell it to the hardliners in her party or, more likely, cross-party as described below. None of the red lines were inevitable, because no one knows why Leave won. Some say immigration, some say sovereignty, ECJ, payments that could "fund our NHS", and myriad other things. Some in Labour are even said to have supported it to get around state aid rules.

So there was a fundamental lack of clarity what the referendum had actually meant shortly after it passed. That was TM's window of opportunity to show some leadership and choose an interpretation of the referendum that could command majority support.

If she had presented a soft Brexit agreement to the house, yes, she would have thrown the DUP and ERG under the bus, but she also would have put Labour, LD, etc into an extremely difficult position. At the time, they all said "we should respect the referendum". If they had rejected a soft WA the blame would be all on them instead of, as it is now, on the Tories. She would have faced accusations of being a closet Remainer, but she got that anyway.

I am convinced everyone hates the DUP and very few like the ERG. Instead of tossing them, the Tories toss Ken Clarke and Nick Soames? Sounds like a bad plan.


You're right. You're entirely right with every word. But politics.

Cameron originally offered and called the referendum expecting a win for remain, to put the Tory lunatic fringe back in the box for a generation. They campaigned terribly, remain lost. So much for putting the hardliners back in line, they were brought front and centre, fed and given a spotlight. Michael Heseltine wrote a good piece about this a year or three back, I forget where. Guardian or FT probably.

The DUP are seriously unpleasant, so it's only necessity that brought them in to prop up a majority-free Tory government. Even then it was a surprise.

Selling a soft-exit deal to those hardliners probably needed not losing the campaign. TM being charisma free and terrible at presentation didn't help. The Tories haven't been good with leaders lately. Yet I don't think anyone could have sold the soft-Brexit deal to the ERG. It would interfere with shorting UK plc with their overseas funds. :)

Labour? Bizarre. They have been unable to take a stand, or we wouldn't be in this mess. Most of the party are remain. They could have voted through any deal at any time. Yet their official stance is "it depends, maybe". They were told to vote against TM's deal. So throwing the ERG under the bus still wouldn't have got enough votes to win.

At heart Corbyn wants Brexit, but some sort of undefined and unexplained lBrexit - leftwing-Brexit - that recreates his view of former 1960s politics. Or something. He avoids explaining. Schrodinger's lBrexit: It's unknowable. :)

Bizarre because on the rest of their policies they damn near got elected, and found much sympathy with voters. A remain Labour could have been running the country by now.

As for losing Churchill's grandson, Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine (now publicly a LibDem voter), and the rest: The acceptable face of the Tory party is gone. For doing what Johnson and the ERG did under May dozens of times. They have kept and become the hardline fringe. Perhaps not yet, but I think they will come to bitterly regret that.

Idiocy everywhere.


> Cameron originally offered and called the referendum expecting a win for remain, to put the Tory lunatic fringe back in the box for a generation. They campaigned terribly, remain lost...

All true, but even then there was the opportunity for spin, especially because Cameron resigned. TM could have said, "I respect the need to leave the EU, but we can't just ignore the needs of Scotland and NI (not to mention business, in the days before fuck business). So we'll do a compromise soft Brexit reflecting the 52/48 vote. It was made clear that Leave didn't mean leaving the SM. Also, David Cameron is an idiot." She didn't.

> Labour? Bizarre. They have been unable to take a stand, or we wouldn't be in this mess. Most of the party are remain. They could have voted through any deal at any time. Yet their official stance is "it depends, maybe".

Tell that to pytester below. I have no idea how anyone could be watching Labour and think that they have ever taken a clear stand this entire time, but apparently, some people do buy into this "kinda-sorta SM and CU but not the actual thing" and "second referendum? uh, no, maybe, yes but we'll be neutral" stuff of Corbyn's.

Labour may well have some good policies, and my wife and her far left American friends think Corbyn walks on water, but they have been punished severely in the polls for this lack of clarity. How could anyone think Corbyn is a good leader when his party is doing so horribly in the polls despite ongoing Tory fuckups is also beyond me.

If the thought process in the UK is anything like the US, presumably staunch Labour supporters simply chalk it up to the 40+% of Tory voters being ignorant, bigoted rednecks. Just as an honest person has to ask some hard questions of Hillary Clinton for losing to Donald Trump, anyone who can lose to BORIS JOHNSON needs to find another job.


Well again I am not going to disagree much.

I don't think TM could have pulled that off. At all. I suspect that Rees-Mogg, the ERG and other fools gallery (BoJo etc) felt their prey had been weakened after referendum, so could push right for hard exit. I'm not nearly stratospherically wealthy enough to understand why that is quite so appealing for the vastly moneyed. It seems like it would come with downside for them too, or maybe they'll all be asset stripping the bankruptcy sale from Cannes.

So where do the votes come from to make up the gap? Labour is dogmatically voting against, SNP are firmly remain, LibDems have no one left, so without Labour or ERG support it's not happening.

Labour have taken a remarkable manifesto that even I could mostly support, a decent election resurgence, an electorate firmly in favour of many of the ideas, and turned it into a huge trail in the polls to the worst government and PM's since Lord North (That minor difficulty in 1776). That's quite an achievement!

Among the Labour supporters I know, the opinion of Corbyn varies wildly. He achieved a remarkable election campaign, and achieved worse than nothing in opposition. He seems terrible in the Commons. Some think his electioneering will swing it come election, as many think he should be replaced before we get 5 years of BoJo (heaven help us).

A cold restart of the system seems to be in order. Bring it back with proportional representation. :)


I love how many people in the UK talk about fundamental changes of the voting system like PR. In the US such a thing would require a constitutional amendment and would therefore be utterly impossible, particularly since the Republicans and Democrats would stand to lose from it. But you don't have a written constitution, so...

But still, even if you got PR, then you'd have a substantial percentage of Brexit Party people in Parliament, making the UK even more of a laughingstock. Doing the same sorts of shit they do in the EU Parliament. And Greens and so forth. Sure that's what you want? I can see pros and cons to it, it is just interesting there is such desire for reform.




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