Machiavellianism and Brexit 542


A Cabinet Office source tells me today No. 10 is considering agreeing a second referendum with three choices: No Deal Brexit, May’s Deal or No Brexit. It would be by alternative vote, ie you rate your preferences 1, 2. The thinking is that the first round might go No Deal 23, May’s Deal 37, No Brexit 40. The second round would then go May’s Deal 60, No Brexit 40.

They claim there is opinion poll evidence to support this. But I see a flaw. It is predicated on the current situation, where a lot of Remainers are prepared to support Brexit, to respect the referendum result. But surely a second referendum would release that psychological constraint and the overwhelming majority of Remainers would seize the opportunity to try and ditch Brexit?

The advantage of the ploy from May’s viewpoint is that it presents her “deal” as the only alternative to No Deal or No Brexit, and in an AV vote the compromise position is always boosted. What is more it keeps the numerous other options for deals outwith her red lines – eg EFTA, Single Market, Customs Union, EEA – all off the ballot paper. This limited choice referendum thus appeals to May as “out-maneuvering” the opposition parties. The idea is to sucker them in to talk on a second referendum, then produce this slanted one.

This has not been adopted as policy yet, but No.10 and the Cabinet Office are working on the practicalities of this option.

There will almost certainly be a vote on a second referendum amendment in the government motion debate now starting on 29 January. One very close adviser to Jeremy Corbyn is suggesting to him that he gives a free vote, in order to prevent the row that the convoluted Conference motion tried to put off by focusing on process not substance, but on which time is running out. The adviser’s take is that the Tories will whip against the “People’s Vote” and a Labour free vote will lead to the second referendum being defeated. He was not however aware of the possibility the Tories will push their version of a second referendum, and I was able to brief him on that.

Today I walked down to Tesco to get my milk and, as every day, I passed the huddle of homeless people who sleep in the close. It illustrated vividly how disconnected Westminster is from the very real problems of desperate poverty that exist in our society. Observing the UK in the last phases of decline of a once great Empire, with its entirely dysfunctional political system and its fractured society, I cannot shake the impression of how small and sordid it all is.


542 thoughts on “Machiavellianism and Brexit

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          • Republicofscotland

            Yes but the 27 member states need to agree to do so. Could Spain be a stumbling block over its missed opportunity with regards to Gibraltar recently.

          • Laguerre

            No point in pulling out all the theoretical objections, RoS. EU leaders have said frequently, and it seems to be the policy, that extension to art 50 would only be granted for substantial policy change, such as a referendum or election. The position is pretty clear.

            The greater question is what would be the feelings of EU states if Remain won, and Britain wanted to cancel Brexit entirely. There’s a very high level of annoyance now at Britain, both popularly and governmentally, and a lot of people don’t want to have Britain attempting to f*ck up the EU any more. However wiser heads prefer strength in being together, rather than endless conflict (supposedly driven by Trump and Putin) – that’s the impression I get, at any rate.

          • Republicofscotland

            It’s not a theoretical objection, it’s an observation. The EU 27 must agree that’s how it works. Remember the Canada deal? It took years to resolve because the Walloons of Belgium blocked it.

          • Charles Bostock

            RoS

            Get your facts right – it was months, not years.

            And the “Walloon” delay was with the ratification, not the negotiation.

          • Mistress Pliddy

            No. Just as they have made it clear that there would be no problem extending Art.50, both the EU as such and various influential individual member states have said on many occasions recently that they would have no problem returning to s.q. if Britain decided to call the whole thing off (whether via referendum or parliament).

      • fwl

        I think we want an A50 extension until at least June so that we see what happens in the May EU elections.

  • Loony

    The neo-liberal goons have a long history of smoking their own dope so to speak.

    They masterminded fake opinion polls for both Brexit and the US presidential election. The hope being that marginal voters would be persuaded onto the winning side i.e. to remain in the EU and vote for Clinton.

    This did not work out so well. Whilst they remain devoted to fake opinion polls they are also carrying out some real opinion polls. Current real opinion polls show 57% of the UK electorate in favor of Brexit. Even the “real” opinion polls may not be that accurate as in recent times a part of the population have taken to either lying to pollsters or avoiding them altogether. It seems reasonable to suppose that most people that fall into these categories are likely to be somewhat disenchanted souls. I wonder how many of these people are secretly devoted to the EU.

    • uncle tungsten

      Right on Loony and can I add that they even drink their own cool aid. It was Bill Clinton who urged Trump to “have a go” in the repugnant camp primaries. Bill never though he would succeed and was invested in damaging the repugnant brand. Oopsie, shot the missus by mistake and now……

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    I’d want to see the opinion polls backing that scenario. The problem comes in round one. The only person fronting for Theresa May’s deal would be Theresa herself. As the last General Election demonstrated Theresa doesn’t do sales pitches. Whatever else you think about Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, they have their fans and they are practiced charlatans and hucksters. May’s plan is the one that gets knocked out in round one, I feels it in me waters.

    • Kat

      I agree with Vivian O’Blivion, May’s Deal is so unpopular on both sides that everyone will vote the same as they did last time, unless they have changed their minds in the interim. So essentially all you’re doing is reruning the original EURef – with the option of May’s Deal being little more than window dressing.

      • Shatnersrug

        Depends how it’s swung, there are plenty of people that *think* they want Brexit but have *heard* that no deal would be very bad. Having spent a fair amount of time with older people on Essex I am well aware that this is a very common perception. Sadly the ignorance that has come from a blanket trust of broadcast media has created a significant number of poorly informed people.

    • Coldish

      Good points, Vivian and Kat. The effective choice might well be polarized between No Deal and No Brexit. Which in a way is what it has been all along, even during the 2016 first run. Every one of the intervening ‘soft’ solutions is some kind of fudge with limited appeal, whereas both end members can count on solid support. Basically, if you want total freedom from Brussels and/or a ban on worker mobility you will have to get used to the downsides: you may be poorer, worse fed, less healthy and worse educated – but yippee, free! I’m sure someone else can list the downsides of staying in…I just can’t think of any at this moment.

  • jake

    With time running out, why go to the bother of another referendum? Why not just ask the MP’s to vote on these three options using the transferable vote system?

    • Shatnersrug

      Because she would be handing power to the opposition. What May is counting on is having removed Paul Dacre the Mail can be brought in line. I think she could swing it.

  • N_

    The transcript of the conversation between Philip Hammond, Stephen Barclay, Greg Clark and several “business leaders” including the CEOs of Tesco and BP within hours of the government losing the “meaningful vote” is here“.

    If that is a full and accurate transcript then contrary to what is being stated in some parts of the media Hammond did NOT give an “assurance” that “no deal” would be taken off the table.

  • Xavi

    The sordid decline and fractured society are symptoms of Britain having pioneered the world in deindustrialization, financialization, privatization, deregulation, etc, .. in the same way it previously pioneered welfare and nationalization. Similar symptoms are visible in every country that has taken the neoliberal turn, it’s just that Britain is much further down the road than most in Western Europe. However, with Corbyn hope springs that Britain could take another pioneering change in direction, away from rule solely in the interests of the rich. But it will take a good deal more than simply reverting to the status quo of early 2016.

    • Baalbek

      Yes it will indeed. I wonder how many posters here realize that it is going to take more than “voicing their concerns” on the internet to make it happen? The neoliberals are prepared to fight hard and dirty to keep themselves in power. Presently, the opposition to their front is scattered and disunited. That will have to change if neoliberalism is to be decisively defeated.

      A popular vision of a post-neoliberal society that rallies the masses around a common purpose is necessary if we are to win. You can’t replace something with nothing (or rhetoric alone). Either we find a way to unite or we are in for a long and difficult decline into totalitarianism and, quite probably, violence and chaos.

  • Republicofscotland

    The once mighty British Empire where the sun never set, and the mother of all parliaments Westminster, (The Icelandic Athling is the mother of all parliaments) handed down judgements to be carried out near and far, across the vast empire, is now reduced to a pathetic squabbling bunch of infantile self serving politicians who haven’t a clue over Brexit.

    A government, the first to be held in contempt, May’s deal voted down by a huge margin, bungs to the DUP for support. Yes the den of iniquity Westminster is a sorry sordid tacky place. Who knows what convoluted plan B or deal will arise next from the manure heap.

    Sturgeon and Harvey made good noises today at Holyrood on independence, however, they still need to wait and see what stench emits from the front bench of the British government on Brexit.

  • Mark Russell

    The fundamental problem with the first vote was the 50/50 threshold – any poll that has the potential to substantially impact our lives, should require a higher threshold of say 70/30 to change the status quo. This would avoid an unresolvable division should the poll be marginal (like we now see) and it would indicate an overwhelming and irresistible shift in public opinion if it were achieved. A similar mechanism was used in the Scottish Independence referendum in the 1970s. But the government decided to use a simple majority for the EU vote – that was the mistake and the result very predictable.

    If a second referendum takes place, it should be on a higher threshold vote – BUT we must also respect the simple majority vote in 2016 and recognise that our present default position is to leave. Therefore, a vote to abolish Article 50 would require to meet the higher threshold – and if achieved, it would settle the matter for good.

    This would change the negotiating position of the EU substantially. They may be more receptive to the concerns aired by the UK electorate – in true, the same views and opinions can be heard across Europe. If we do rejoin the EU, it has to be on the basis of prioritising constructive dialogue to address these issues – but they would have a greater chance of success if they were backed by a substantial margin of the UK electorate.

    • Charles Bostock

      re the first two paras:

      I’ve been saying that for ages now : two thresholds for a referendum on a matter of such great constitutional and practical importance. A minimum 65% turnout of all eligible voters and endorsement of the question by at least 65% of those actually voting.

      It is good to see that my voice is influencing even people at the opposite end of the political spectrum from me such as Mark Russell.

      • pete

        I hate to say this but I think Charles has a point about demanding a higher threshold for such a significant decision, but I do worry about running a referendum on different terms than was agreed for the original one – ie just two options and a winner takes all result.
        People do find the transferable vote option confusing, and asking questions that put limited options in front of the voters hardly seems fair either.
        The UK has made itself a laughing stock for almost everywhere else, still, when I see that picture of President Trump proudly presenting a table loaded with McDonald’s burgers I realise that things could be worse.

        • Charles Bostock

          Pete

          “The UK has made itself a laughing stock for almost everywhere else..”

          Actually, if you strip away various bits of foreign press commentary (they have to write about something, don’t they, and this story is sent from heaven) and the occasional “indiscretions” from various foreign politicians (there is usually a reason for them), I wouldn’t say that that’s the case.

          Look, let’s face it, the situation was and is complicated and when you factor in the fact that some political parties are pursuing an agenda that has little to do with Brexit per se, it is hardly surprising that there should be political confusion at Westminster.. What do you expect?

          Given that, should Britain be any more of a laughing stock than France was with the gilets jaunes or its succession of top politicians having their collar felt (Monsieur Fillon being but the latest) or Belgium when it took 9 months to form a government a couple of years ago, or Italy with its rather curious government mix……? I think not.

          • Jo Dominich

            CB we have been made a laughing stock I’m afraid. Go back to Press from the start of the Brexit Negotiations – the EU negotiators were asking the UK to bring something to the table to negotiate – after all it is us who are leaving and it is us who bear the responsibility of negotiating what is best for the Nation. Eu negotiators made repeated requests to th e UK of this nature and also about how time was running out. What was our Government’s response? That it was the EU’s responsibility to give the UK a special deal – so blinkered thinking wins the day. We had negotiators who spent two years insulting EU commissioners and Negotiators rather than enter into genuine dialogue and negotiation. Bojo’s conduct was largely condemned by the EU negotiators – and his rhetoric should also have been condemned here. May, as Tom Watson said in his speech, lacks the skills, empathy, intelligence will and competence to either Govern this nation or to deliver an orderly Brexit. She is a dishonest liar, a gross manipulator whose only recourse now, given the absence of any intelligence in the Tory Cabinet and in May herself, is to try to shift the focus on to Jeremy Corbyn – whose mess it is decidedly not. I am glad he is standing firm because he is right. The truth is the Tory’s can’t come up with anything constructive at the moment and they are being shielded from criticism by the MSM and the BBC. There is no resolution – May has dragged this country into the gutter and has indeed, made us the laughing stock of the world. This country is in a constitutional crisis and a general election is the proper course to follow in these circumstances as a minority Government supported by terrorists is unable to govern responsibly or with the interests of the Nation at heart. It has been declared to be in contempt of Parliament, it has suffered a crushing defeat on a key constitutional issue and it now emerges that this Government has paid hundreds and thousands of tax payer’s money to dish dirt (true or not) on the Leader of the Opposition – this is truly scandalous but has been notably ignored by the MSM. A general election therefore is the only appropriate course of action and Corbyn is right to call for one.

        • Charles Bostock

          Russel

          I certainly do know your political views because they are clear from your blog, which I follow avidly.

          And it is a shame you haven’t read any of my comments until now – but still, it’s never too late to learn.

      • Shatnersrug

        Charles, I think this is the only tho g we’ve ever agreed on, if what Craig says is true, it gives the public the last chance to ditch Brexit. I would be very surprised if they do, but that all depends whether they get the youth vote out.

      • Jo1

        Fair points both, but not points worth considering, apparently, by Cameron and his team at the time. (Or, incidentally, by Parliament, or even by the media!)

        Two phrases, “advisory” and “not legally binding”, were attached to the 2016 referendum. Incredibly, these were ignored too and we were hurled into, “The people have spoken, we must obey!” territory. All in response to a 51.9% – 48.1% result.

        Democracy clearly ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.

    • N_

      Mandate thresholds higher than 50%+ in referendums are crazy.

      The Scottish referendum in 1979 was for devolution, not independence, and its threshold was a combined one of >50% of voters and >40% of the electorate. The first was exceeded (52% voted Yes), the second wasn’t met (33%).

      If we do rejoin the EU“… Are you advocating leaving the EU first, negotiating terms for rejoining, and then holding a referendum?

  • Republicofscotland

    “Today I walked down to Tesco to get my milk and, as every day”

    But you wouldn’t get your National newspaper there, if you bought it that is, because they refuse to stock it, as do ASDA.

    Only unioinst rags for them.

  • James

    Very noticeable how out of touch the elite is now.

    Listen to their BBC mouthpiece and you would think economy is booming, no unemployment, UK universally admired etc, etc.

    But walk around almost any sizeable town and you see homeless people in places where you never saw them before and in numbers you’ve never seen before.

    I am staying in a seaside town on the south coast that many would regard as “posh”, but it now has people sleeping in virtually every seafront shelter, in doorways and in local woods. Authorities doing nothing about this – just volunteers trying to help.

    UK is literally turning into a failed state.

    • michael norton

      No obvious homeless people where I live.

      If Theresa May is to agree to another Referendum, will she be crossing some of her own red lines.
      No new Referendum, the people have already given their choice = Leave.
      There should only be two choices
      1) Cliff Edge Brexit
      2) Remain

      • John A

        I live in Tunbridge Wells and there are a lot of homeless people here, mostly in the doorways of shops that have been boarded up for a long time.

  • Laguerre

    I’m glad to hear that no 10 is considering a new referendum. It’s the only way of finding legitimisation for the future direction. If people do indeed confirm a vote for for No-Deal Brexit, then it should be accepted, of course. I’m sure you’re right though that if it comes down to an alternative vote, the final count will be for Remain, if there are two versions of Brexit on offer.

    Of course any vote will not end the rancour – that is inevitable, since Cameron launched the referendum horror. But it is the only way to come close to calming feelings. That is, without a major war, where Britain is defeated and forced to change, as happened with Germany. And, not surprisingly, I don’t want that.

    It’s good news.

    • Republicofscotland

      “I’m glad to hear that no 10 is considering a new referendum.”

      But wouldn’t that mean asking the EU for an extension for several months to organise it? Would the EU 27 even agree to such a time period?

      One stumbling block could be the EU elections in May, what if the UK were still in the EU then, it would obliged to participate in the elections. The EU would be worried that Britain would elect more eurosceptics to its parliament.

      • Laguerre

        All this cr*p about it taking six months or a year to organise a referendum is nonsense. A GE can be done in six weeks, why not a referendum?

        As for the Euro elections in May, I’m sure a form of words can be found to get round the problem, such as a later date for Britain, after the referendum. A bit of creativity there will be quite enough.

        • Republicofscotland

          I admire your optimism Laguerre, however in reality it’s taken two and half years to get to here, and where is here? We still haven’t a clue.

          So to say that this truly inept government and split opposition could whip up a referendum in no time is well, hopeful at best.

        • Spencer Eagle

          ‘Why not a referendum’ In case you missed it, there’s been one and the vote was out.

          • Mochyn69

            Oh, Spencer, do wake up! We had an advisory opinion poll, and that’s the root of all the trouble that has rendered Britgov inoperable for the past two years.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Don’t dress this crap up by dragging in poor Machiavelli: it’s just letting the vile fox a free run in the hen house.

  • Loony

    No doubt the dishonest and mendacious charlatans will be busy congratulating themselves by coming up with a cunning ploy to split the leave vote. Hopefully all will be well and the UK can remain in the EU.

    I wonder how these very same people will react when Marine Le Pen sweeps to power and burns the whole rotting edifice to the ground. No doubt they will be bemoaning racists and zealots and will be determined in their refusal to recognize these racists and zealots are a simple manifestation of themselves.

    That which cannot persist for ever will not persist for ever. It is all quite simple really.

    • N_

      What might the cunning ploy to split the Leave vote be? There’s no way this is going to be decided by 3-option FPTP.

    • Laguerre

      “I wonder how these very same people will react when Marine Le Pen sweeps to power and burns the whole rotting edifice to the ground. ”

      Classic Brexiter ignorance. She’s not made that much progress, after her rout in 2017, not enough at any rate to correspond to Brexiter dreams of fascist victory.

      • Charles Bostock

        I do wish you would stop conflating Brexiteers with Le Pen supporters. Why do you kept doing it?

        Reminder : I speak as a non-Brexiteer (in case you’ve forgotten yet again)

        • Laguerre

          I didn’t make that conflation, nor was I addressing you, Bostock. There are a great many Brexiters who speak warmly of fascist victories in Europe, and one in particular was being referred to.

          • Charles Bostock

            I don’t care who you were addressing, Laguerre. The important thing is to draw people’s attention to the fact that you, as a Remainer (which is fair enough), seeks to talk down the Brexiteers by saying that they are of the same stripe as Le Pen’s supporters(and that is a smear).

            The only Brexiteers who count are those with the right to vote in the UK and the only Le Pen supporters who count are those with the right to vote in France. That is, Brits in the first case and French in the second. So stop conflating the two.

          • Laguerre

            “seeks to talk down the Brexiteers by saying that they are of the same stripe as Le Pen’s supporters(and that is a smear).”

            Loony just said it out loud.

          • Charles Bostock

            Loony is Loony. But you have used that smear in response to other commenters and, indeed, have deployed it against Brexiteers in general. So, just for once, have the grace to withdraw and/or apologise, this is suopposed to be a discussion blog, not a political meeting at Nanterre.
            Over and out.

          • Jo1

            Laguerre
            There are a great many Labour MP Remainers who, right now, are continuing in their devotion to the war criminal Blair and taking their cue from him. He is still being heavily courted by the media and those MPs still take their cue from him. Their priority, even after the Brexit vote, was to bring down or repeatedly undermine Corbyn and they’ve never given up on that. They’re still doing it. You speak of fascism. Well, there are equally awful things in this debate right now. That group of Labour MPs are following something sinister for sure. In my view they are scum.

      • J

        Loony is a PR specialist. He exists to polarise opinion and shepherd that opinion into useful camps. “Brexiter dreams of fascist victory” for example, because as you earlier identified, no such dream exists among the mass of people, even as Loony and his cohorts are striving to create it. Why else would he swoon for Yaxley-Lenon but not for Le Pen? Divide and rule.

      • Loony

        Well there are European elections coming up soon. Watch out for Le Pen, the AfD, the Italians and the Hungarians. No need to worry about the Poles as they are already in place

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNUFpvW2fv4

        …and just to think you want to be in an economic and political union with such people. In the Orwellian world in which we live I guess supporting Nazis just proves your tolerance, and wanting nothing to do with Nazis proves you are a bigoted racist.

        • Charles Bostock

          None of the groups you refer to are Nazis. They are more or less unpleasant nationalists.

          Chucking the word “Nazi” around to describe anyone you’ve taken exception to is hardly likely to enhance the persuasiveness of your arguments.

        • J

          What kind of arsehole thinks Le Pen and Yaxley-Lenon are meaningfully different? I have no idea. This fellow above wants us to think they are.

    • Northern Sole

      Nothing persists forever. Not even couthy epithets. Haven’t you studied Physics? Or Buddhism?

  • N_

    If anyone in Tory or Whitehall circles is pushing a 3-option AV referendum with the idea that No Deal will be eliminated first, they have been duped by those whose aim is a No Deal win.

    In any case there is no way that Remain will score 50%+ of first preferences in such a referendum, regardless of what YouGov found in yesterday’s fieldwork.

    Using R Remain, L Leave, D Deal, N No Deal, YouGov found as follows:

    (referendum)
    56 R 44 L in R versus L;
    65 R 35 D in R versus D (adjusted for self-reported likelihood of voting);
    59 R 41 N in R versus N (ditto)

    (preference)
    52 R 39 N 9 Norway Plus
    54 R 38 N 8 Stay in Customs Union

    YouGov don’t seem to have asked the R-D-N AV question, but if for the sake of argument we give these results some credibility they suggest Remain would win in such a referendum (good luck with finding some Leave to Remain switchers to support that view), but they also suggest that No Deal would do better than Deal. I think if that were to be the state of play between Deal and No Deal at the START of a campaign, it would be extremely unlikely that Deal would proceed to overtake No Deal before voting day. In an R-D-N AV referendum, No Deal would make it through to the final two.

    No prizes for guessing which way to vote would be viewed by many as really sticking it to the government.

    • N_

      If there’s to be an R-D-N AV referendum, which way will Theresa May encourage people to vote? How about Jeremy Corbyn?

      • Charles Bostock

        Hearing Mr Jeremy Corbyn PC, MP twisting and turning on Brexit these past few days really made me laugh. Is this the great “man of principle” so often vaunted here and elsewhere? As for his front bench shadow colleagues, Messrs Keir Starmer’s and John McDonnel’s faces (to name but two) are a sight for sore eyes!

        I listened the other day to Mr Ian Lavery (he is, apparently, the Chair of the Labour Party and a left-winger) replying to a question asking “what would the Labour Party put in its manifesto re, Brexit if there were, as Labour keeps asking for, a general election now?”. His answer was : “That will be for the Labour Party membership to decide”. YCNMIU !!

      • seydlitz

        rightly or wrongly people will vote with their own preconceived perceptions of what they think the position of Britain is important in the World which is my mind very little.

  • djm

    Is the Cabinet Office source aware than an attempt to implement this would unleash unholy hell upon the inhabitants of the Westminster Bubble ?

  • Mighty Drunken

    From this Telegraph story yesterday, people “voted” Remain (41 per cent), no deal (29.7 per cent) and May’s deal (21.5 per cent). For the 2nd ranked votes May’s deal gets 46%, no deal 20.3% and remain 13%. AV works by removing the loser from the first rank and transferring their lesser ranked votes over. Repeating this process until one gets more than 50%.Therefore this poll predicts May’s deal loses the first round and therefore remain would most likely win. (It depends on how the May preference voters voted as their 2nd option).

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/15/brexit-latest-polling-public-hate-theresa-mays-deal-still/

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      And those numbers apply before an actual campaign to appeal to the public as to the benefits of the three propositions in round one. As we witnessed in the last General Election, Theresa couldn’t sell a free, gourmet meal to a starving man. Boris Johnson on the other hand will lie, cajole and charm (to a certain audience). He will promise the earth in the event of his Clean break Brexit. The “I wants my country back!” lot will lap it up.

    • Tony Little

      Why would No Deal leavers have a second preference of Remain. Surely the majority (if not entirety) would have May’s deal as the ‘soft’ second choice?

      • Mighty Drunken

        You are right Tony, not many “No Deal” supporters would have remain as their 2nd option. However if the poll shown in the Telegraph article represented the actual referendum results then it wouldn’t matter. The no deal voters would have their first choice, so it all depends on how supporters of May’s deal are split on their 2nd ranked vote.

        Unfortunately the Telegraph article did not breakdown how the second rank voters were spread according to the first rank.

  • Ian Miller

    In such a situation my conscience would tell me to vote for “No Brexit” but the Machiavellian devil on my other shoulder would be telling me to vote for “No Deal” as this would be more likely to result in Scottish Independence. I have never before been a tactical voter but, there again, I have never lived in an Independent Scotland. I never thought I would become politically devious but I feel I am being driven in that direction by self-serving politicians.🤔

    • michael norton

      Politicians have not been this despised for decades.
      Nick Cleggover wanted PR
      the people said if that liar Cleggover wants it, I don’t want it.
      Cameron wanted to stay in the E.U. the people voted against Cameron to leave the E.U.
      This week the M.P.’s have rounded on May are blasted her deal, how could Maydeal be on a new Referendum, it is deader than the Dead Sea.

  • Charles Bostock

    Craig Murray

    You keep telling us about all your “sources”. In the FCO, now in the Cabinet Office.

    I simply can’t believe that any professional, loyal civil servant would be briefing and leaking to a someone with your track record in the manner you claim.

    If they are, their behaviour is appalling and they should be sacked.

    • Republicofscotland

      “I simply can’t believe that any professional, loyal civil servant”

      Even Diogenes with lamp would struggle to find an honest civil servant at Westminster these days.

    • Sharp Ears

      Does it annoy you that Craig has friends and sources in high places and you haven’t?

    • Shatnersrug

      Charles, very unrealistic of you here, have you never worked in the civil service?! Bunch of gossips. And anyway who does all that leaking if they’re so responsible and loyal?!

      The only problem with this solution is it appears to competent for this government to accept

  • David

    I think they will word it differently Craig.

    1) Remain
    2) Hard Brexit
    3) Mays deal

    That pretty much splits the leave vote in half and give the elite what they really want… the UK to remain in the EU.

    • Shatnersrug

      And proves that a referendum can be manipulated for whatever result you want, given that, Cameron’s original referendum looks even more ill thought out than before

  • Mist001

    I’m sick of the whole thing now and maybe that’s the point of all this talk of deals and so on?

    I’d like them to simply say ‘No deal or no Brexit’, either one of the two and that’s the end of it all.

    • michael norton

      Agree Mist001

      their aim is to wear everybody down, to take it to the wire.

      However, although May, must know her deal is dead, what is she actually after, is it Remain or is it Cliff Edge Brexit?
      I really do not know.

    • seydlitz

      Don.t you think this part of the overall plan to keep the non commited voter getting fed and voting the government choice.

  • George K

    If there is a 3-way referendum, then Remainers will put as second choice the May’s deal, and Brexiteers will put as second choice May’s deal too. So it will win. Unless May’s deal gets the lowest score and then its votes are transferred (is that how it would work?). In which case the three-way referendum is pointless, as the same result would be produced by No Deal – Remain question.

    • Bill Marsh

      But you do not need to give a second choice. Which is what I would do if I wanted one outcome to the exclusion of the others.

  • Wikikettle

    My blood boils every time I am subjected to the sounds and sights of Blair and Campbell on the MSM. Gove was upfront and congratulated the likes of Watson, Benn and the rest of the pro war Labour MP’s that Jeremy has by his side and back ! It is however a problem for the government not having a clear ‘directive’ from across the pond on Brexit. Trump happy, MIC not. I hope Germany resists US control vis a v Nord Stream and Iran Nuclear deal. No doubt France will look more and more to Germany and both to Russia !!! Interesting times of flux…

  • fredi

    It illustrated vividly how disconnected Westminster is from the very real problems of desperate poverty that exist in our society.

    It usually illustrates how alcoholism and drug addiction create homelessness and poverty, what precisely is Westminster’s role in that?

  • The 62%

    Over two years of May’s incompetance and doublemindedness, and people and business are still in the dark about the final outcome of this Brexit shambles.

    There seems to be a “scunner” the populace with Brexit, so they accept anything, coming from both the UK and EU side.

    May gets the biggest defeat in the history of parliament, and decides she is still fit to be running the show. Shameful. I would love to be a fly on the wall in Buckingham Palace during the Queen and May’s weekly meetings. I feel also that the Queen should abdicate, as her government is a shambles.

  • GFL

    The arrogance and hubris of the P.M. is absolutely mind blowing, like a lot of her ilk they can’t possible conceive that they could ever be wrong. If she was to buy a lottery ticket for Saturday’s draw and didn’t win she would demand the machines be checked, thinking I could not have picked the wrong numbers, the machine must be faulty.

    • seydlitz

      She is the face of British capitalism therefore she has to act and promote what she has been told, that has been explained to her after her minister finished his meeting with the power who control the Britsh State.

  • Pascale Gillet

    My god, what a post. Crazy… and upsetting in equal measure. Thanks.
    Sharing it now on my FB.

    • seydlitz

      when people are upset and annoyed over poverty they should look at the last hundred years of the of history of Great Britain the working class who has suffered terribly.Only the after second world war due to a increase in political awareness did goverement conceade concessions to labour organisations. T,he last thirty years this has been eroded, all the this EU nonsense is way of to drive the working class back in the box so they are are cowed ready to be screwed when that is required.

  • Sharp Ears

    You and the homeless outside Tesco, in Edinburgh today.

    Me and the homeless outside a Sainsbury’s today in one of the 11 Tory Boroughs in leafy Surrey where houses are on the market in £millions. There is consolation that there is a night shelter. There are also food
    banks in this borough.

    • Charles Bostock

      I try, in my modest way, to help the homeless by donating to Centrepoint (look them up) every month.

      I say that not to boast or signal virtue but to point out that there are other, more practical ways of trying to help than posting on the internet.

      • bj

        So the ‘boast or signal virtue ‘ are serendipitous to the point you’re trying to make, are they?

      • Ken Kenn

        Building a few million genuinely affordable ( rent and buy )houses would help then.

        The price to pay for that though, is that the prices of the already existing houses would drop.

        Not a good signal for the virtuous Conservative to support.

        p.s. I don’t think modesty suits you Charles.

        Pack it in – it’s scary

  • Sharp Ears

    Latest 4 mins ago.

    Corbyn asks all Labour MPs not to participate in May’s Brexit talks until no deal ruled out – Politics live
    Labour leader says he won’t meet with PM until she takes no-deal Brexit off table, after May narrowly win no-confidence vote in parliament
    ______________
    May will stick to Brexit ‘principles’ in cross-party talks, says No 10
    Philip Hammond tells business no-deal Brexit will be stopped
    In the Speaker’s corner: Europeans praise Bercow
    Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit speech and Q&A – Summary and analysis
    Lunchtime summary

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/jan/17/brexit-deadlock-as-theresa-may-and-jeremy-corbyn

    • seydlitz

      How the working class get so upset over this issue is beyond me it has no effect on their participation in what way they vote they will face the same problems of every day life if we are the in the EU or not it the same for Scottish so called independence you will be governed by the same system.Just look at Ireland are the better off then they were under the British overlords I do not think so.

  • Wikikettle

    Hilary Benn pays a visit to No 10. I don’t know why he and the rest of his MP mates leave Labour and start a new party or join the Lib Dems !

    • Wikikettle

      Yes, I know, that would be 70% of all Labour MP’s. That’s Jeremy’s problem and elephant…

    • GFL

      I agree with you, his dad must be rolling in his grave, I just hope his,( it’s time we did our bit in Syria) speech haunts the murdering so and so for the rest of his life

      • Charles Bostock

        His dad was a nutter and completely without principle. He disagreed with Wilson for most of the time but, curiously enough, hung onto his cabinet post like a leech. So perhaps Hilary’s not that different from his dad?

        • Jo Dominich

          Wrong Charles. Tony Benn was a genuine, committed politician. He was brilliant in fact and it was always for the many he advocated not the few. He is a politician that is worthy of high respect and commendation as he spent all his political life fighting for what he believed was right, for the people and for the country. Unfortunately, his son belongs more in the Tory Party than he does in the Labour Party.

    • freddy

      I met his dad once, he [Tony] came round our workplace, thanks to someone who knew someone. Unlike anyone else, he showed compassion, genuine interest in the work we were doing, polite and respectful to all.

      I’d agree he’d be turning in his grave over Hilary.

    • Ingwe

      @Wikikettle-they won’t join the Lib Dems or start a new party as their natural home is the Conservative Party for some and UKIP for others (if you can tell these two parties apart). Labour should deselect these Blairites soonest. None of them are principled enough to step down from the party and stand on their own account. Instead they take all the benefits of being in the Party and bitch from the sidelines.

    • Jo1

      His explanation was that he and Cooper were participating as chairs of particular Commons Committees. If you had asked me which two would be first in to talk to May I would have named them both. They have functioned, since Corbyn, like Independents. They still do. Like many of their colleagues they still worship at the blood spattered altar of Blair.

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