Brexit and Bad Faith 696

My long article on the Chagos Islands sat unfinished yesterday, despite my passion for the subject, as I was horribly fascinated by the Gothic twists and turns of the Brexit debates in the House of Commons. I seldom write on the subject, but some observations seem now called for.

The Westminster system of handling business is designed purely to handle binary questions disputed between two major parties. Where those parties are both themselves hopelessly riven by internal conflict, and the issues not simply reduced to a manageable number of binary choices, Erskine May just cannot cope.

Parliament thus ended up yesterday with a vote in which the majority of MPs who voted against May’s Withdrawal Agreement view its Irish Backstop provision as almost the only decent thing in it – an opinion with which I tend to concur. They however were egging on the antediluvian DUP/ERG faction to join them, on the basis of an argument that the Irish Backstop is terrible and could be permanent, neither of which anyone sensible really believes.

It says something about the insanity of UK politics that the debate quite seriously hinged around discussions of what happens if the EU acts in bad faith and used the “backstop” deliberately to trap the UK permanently in the Customs Union. The notion that the EU is acting in “bad faith” is frankly ludicrous. No trading partner has ever accused the EU, which has the most transparent negotiating process on trade deals of any country or trading bloc, of acting in bad faith. In its own interest, yes. In bad faith – ie lying and tricking – no.

The notion that the EU is like SPECTRE, and its leaders sit round a table headed by Blofeld Junker conjuring up evil plots to trap the UK in a customs union, is stark raving mad. It is an absolutely crazed conspiracy theory. Yet pro-EU MPs were pretending to share this conspiracy theory in order to encourage the ERG/DUP nutters to vote down May’s deal. That is madness.

Nobody should be perplexed that the EU has absolutely had enough of May and her government today, having watched yesterday Westminster hold a debate entirely centred on the premiss that the EU acts in bad faith.

The most important demonstration of bad faith now comes from Theresa May. She proposed a motion for debate this evening ruling out “no deal”, but – her cunning plan – specifically ruling out a no deal Brexit on 29 March, so the Government can argue No Deal has not been ruled out on any other date, and also with a clause re-asserting that No Deal remains the default position in law. In live parliamentary proceedings, Yvette Cooper – a person of whom I am not the least fond – appeared the only one immediately to pick up on what May was doing, though I gather amendments now show others have cottoned on.

May’s plan is to ask for a short extension after the next two days’ votes, then pretend to be renegotiating (again), and then bring back her same hard Brexit deal yet again to the Commons for yet another vote, this time with imminent and unstoppable No Deal as the only alternative, the EU having been pissed off to the point where it will not agree to any further extensions.

The truth is, there is a Commons majority for a soft Brexit with a Customs Union. In a free vote without party whips, that would sail through. But it is not what May wants personally as it breaks her “red lines”, all of which are entirely predicated on stopping Free Movement. Hatred of immigrants remains the defining motive of her entire career. Customs Union and Single Market access are not going to be obtainable without Free Movement.

The truth is, it is May who is acting in bad faith. She has no intention of negotiating anything other than her Red Lines with the EU, and has no intention of engaging in any kind of meaningful renegotiation, delay or no. A delay to Brexit is absolutely pointless while May remains Prime Minister. May rightly calculates that her ultra-hard Brexit red lines were required to keep the Tory Party together, and thus keep her in power. She cares much more for being in power than she does for a solution. The comparison with Robert Peel is very apt. He reached across the aisle whilst PM and split the Tory Party to repeal the Corn Laws. There are many statues to Peel around the country. There will never be any to Theresa May.

The party, parliamentary and political system of the UK has simply become dysfunctional. This is a symptom of the much wider fact that the UK is no longer a viable socio-political entity and will not continue to exist much longer. Its system of economic regulation promotes the accumulation of vast wealth by a tiny minority, while not providing a decent standard of living to millions. There is massive disillusion with its political leadership and distrust of its extremely narrow mainstream media.

What we are witnessing at Westminster is plainly not a functional political system. It is essential that the SNP now strike out decisively for Scottish Independence. Westminster will never be held in more contempt by the public, so there will never be a better time to assert the right of the Scottish people to decide for themselves on Independence without being blocked by Westminster. Ian Blackford was very good on this yesterday.

The rise of Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labour Party is not a chance; it is based on popular reaction to the failure of the UK political system to satisfy the needs of, and deliver a fair society for, the general population. Despite desperate Establishment attempts to smear the Left, I suspect these underlying factors may still propel Corbyn to victory. He needs to come to terms rapidly with Scotland’s right to self-determination, and stop regarding Scots as an irritant.

In looking at yesterday’s events in grim despair, in regarding May’s devious plans and contempt for the wider interest with profound distate, be comforted. It is all a sign that the British Establishment has its coat on a very shoogly peg. It is not long now.

696 thoughts on “Brexit and Bad Faith

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  • Deb O'Nair

    “The truth is, it is May who is acting in bad faith.”

    This is the standard modus operandi in the UK today; accuse others of the abhorrent behaviour you are engaged in.

  • Republicofscotland

    Scotland really needs to vacate the ship of fools that is Westminster. Its been more than two years since the Brexit vote and still nothing is decided. What we do know however is that we already possess the best deal the EU can give us so any deal from here on in, is a worse deal than we presently have.

    Now as Theresa May suffers a second humiliting defeat in a parliament that is lurching from ludicrous to shambolic. Scotland must take stock and push to leave this unfit for purpose union. Scotland has absolutely no say whatsoever on the Brexit farce, May isn’t for listening.

    A new Survation poll has found that 60% of Scots want a second vote to break the union. Its now up to Sturgeon to find a way to hold a referendum, and leave the cesspit of Westminster to its own devices.

    • MJ

      “Scotland has absolutely no say whatsoever on the Brexit farce”

      Apart from all those Scottish MPs.

      • Republicofscotland


        When May and her cabinet were formulating their Brexit deal, no one from the devolved nations governments were asked to help decide what would be best for those nations.

        Even the ultra rabid unionist and Governor General to Scotland David (Judas) Mundell didn’t have any input for Scotland.

        • Charles Bostock

          “no one from the devolved nations governments were asked to help decide what would be best for those nations.”

          Indeed not, because treaty making (international agreements) is not a devolved power.

          Westminster is competent in this field and I believe there are 50-odd MPs from Scotland at Westminster.

          Constitutional studies 101 recommended.

          • Hmmm

            Comprehension 101 for you pal. Helping to decide what is best and negotiating treaties are 2 different things. It’s clear from the post that the poster would have liked input into the negotiating position, not actively negotiating. Hope that clears this simple issue up for you.

          • Ken Kenn

            You do know I’m sure that the Supply and Confidence Party have not met in their Parliament for ages due to the avoidance of the fuel for cash scandal?

            Sinn Fein never turn up to Parliament but the DUP always do.

            Not exactly setting a great democratic example to the ‘People ‘ there.

            The Unionist areas voted to Remain in the majority and 57% of Unionists think Arlene is doing a bad job, vis Brexit.

            A united Ireland is on the cards due to the bigger part of The Conservative and Ulster Unionists ( newly revived ) failing like Grayling to deliver what the North wants.

            Scotland will go the same way and I don’t begrudge that at all.

          • Herbie

            Yeah. You’d think that with such a monumental decision such as this, a govt would include as many voices as possible in terms of how to proceed.

            But no.

            It’s all a con anyway.

            Years of confusion and scares in Act 1.

            In Act 2 the Second Vote merchants will take the stage.

            Act 3 will see a large vote for Remain, and everyone lives happily ever after.

            It’s a Comedy.

          • Charles Bostock

            @ Hmmm

            You’re splitting hairs. “Helping the govt to decide” on its negotiating position is, to all extents and purposes, to participate in the negotiation process. Consult Constitutional Studies 101 if you still don’t understand.

          • Hmmm

            I voted to leave. Advisory vote. Am I therefore helping the govt negotiate? Is that how the constitution works? Of course not. You are wrong, confused and flailing. Other than that it was a good post!
            And coming from the Hair-splitter supreme that is a fantastic compliment! Thank you!

        • Republicofscotland

          Indeed Charles, and that’s one of the reasons this union is hanging by a thread, and like May’s government, the penny will also never drop with you either.

  • Sharp Ears

    Agent Cameron piles in.

    Former prime minister David Cameron took a swipe at Brexit supporting MPs insisting they keep voting against an opportunity to leave the bloc. The former Conservative Party leader also called for the UK to rule out leaving the EU with no deal and extend Article 50.

    He was door stepped. He is looking ragged. Wonder what his days consist of now?

    • defo

      Clocking into highly paid, meaningless NED’s?

      When this catastrophe has played out, and a few years have passed, May will only be remembered for making a pigs ear of HIS baby.

    • Ken Kenn

      He’s a Director of Aston Villa or is that Burnley or West Ham?

      He also likes the Arctic Monkeys but doesn’t know they are Northerners.

      I don’t usually swear on comment boards but for an assessment of Cameron’s sincerity I can only refer you to Danny Dyer.

      Cameron’s a Muppet!

  • Goose

    Barnier is now, quite rightly imho, asking, what’s the point of an extension when negotiations are over?

    It could well be, that the EU deny any extension unless the UK intends to either hold another ref, or remove its red lines.

    • Iain Stewart

      “It could well be, that the EU deny any extension unless the UK intends to either hold another ref, or remove its red lines.”

      An extended deadline would need the unanimous approval of all the other 27 nation-states, most of whom are now saying “good riddance” (not least Ireland, now why could that be?) after all those years of special treatment, constant whining (1) opt-outs, Tony Blair (dragging in all those ex-Soviet bloc states in 2004 before they were ready) and Neil Kinnock (whose inept reforms wrecked the EU civil service after 2002). A constant theme in the European press (apart from holding the UK up as a convincingly dissuasive scarecrow) is to wonder why at a time of grave national crisis the British have become incapable of putting short term factional interest to one side.

      (1) I may hate Margaret Thatcher but she did impose the single market.

      • Loony

        I too wonder why Ireland is adopting the position that it is.

        After all Ireland;s debts stand at some 312% of GDP – this after a barely understood amendment to GDP calculation methodology that saw Irish GDP “increase by 26% in 2015.

        Something like 34% of all Irish exports have an end destination of the UK .

        If Brexit is going to have adverse consequences on the UK then the consequences for Ireland are going to be devastating. I am not sure who Varadkar is representing but I am 100% certain that he is not representing the citizenry of Ireland.

        • Isa

          Loony , Ireland’s debt in relation to GDP is 68%.

          while it’s true many exports go to the U.K. there’s two points to be made :

          Part of these exports actually are only passing through the U.K.

          Most that are destined to the U.K. as a final destination are food and medical products that I’m quite sure will still be cheaper for the U.K. to import from Ireland than from a non EU country when you factor in transport & time .

          I’d be more worried that your main exports are precious metals and nuclear reactors which you actually import yourselves from Singapore and Malaysia , etc .

          In fact I’d take a look at your manufacturing figures if you want to get proper frightened and your export figures at 5 digits classification in your excellent statistics office . That should be enough to make you nervous .

          • Loony

            You are referring to government debt. I am referring to the aggregate of private and public debt. I should have been clearer.

            If you are Irish then I suggest you work out for yourself just how perilous the position really is, and just how little the EU cares about Ireland. The EU intend to use the Irtish as economic suicide bombers against the British. Given that roughly 6 million people in the UK have at least one Irish grandparent then the EU is effectively seeking to use the Irish as economic suicide bombers against themselves.

            If you are happy with this then press on. If you are not so happy then wise up and do something about it.

        • Isa

          Irish household debt stands at around 44% to GDP loony .

          Although high in eurozone it is actually below EU average at 57%.

          If you compare it to percentage of disposable income it is higher at 126%

          Private sector debt is at its lowest since 2007 to 239% of GDP , roughly the same as the U.K. at 229%.

          The EU is not perfect but the world trades in blocks so my view is that EI countries will benefit from being part of a single market , customs union and freedom of movement of people and capitals .

          The methodology you mention in 2015 had to do with aircraft licences . These were domiciled in Ireland and counted for GDP and that changed then and it’s no longer counted .

    • Jim Sinclare

      The EU would grant an extension for a referendum or General Election, not for more negotiation.

  • Goose

    Despite being ‘obsessed with immigration’ , as you correctly state.

    It’s well know that theresa May didn’t know the difference between the European Convention on Human Rights(incorporated into UK law) and the European Court of Human Rights (Non-EU) and the EU’s own, separate, Charter of Fundamental Rights, which the ECJ uses and rules on.

    This, when she was at the Home Office.

    To this day, she is threatening to pull out of not just the ECJ , but the European Court of Human Rights, which would be an outrageous move.

    • Mary Pau!

      So where does the ECJ fit into this? Why are there so many different and confusing courts and acts?

      • Isa

        The ECHR is Part of the council of Europe which encompasses over 45 countries , some in the EU many not . On a note , it was the U.K. that drafted most of the European convention for human rights that rules the decisions of the ECHR.

        The European Court of Justice is the one that is part of the EU and decides on compliance of EU Law among member states ( did you transpose s directive , did the country apply it or complied to it , etc ).

        Hope this helps .

  • Sharp Ears

    O/T but this is another example of Boris Johnson’s outrageous commentary. This one is especially crude and vulgar like the person he is.

    Boris Johnson faces calls to apologise for claiming child sex abuse inquiry money ‘spaffed up the wall’
    Ian Lavery calls his “disgusting comments” an “insult to every survivor”, following the former foreign secretary’s outburst.

    • Keith

      Yes, what sort of personality would produce a comment like that?

      As is the case, by their very nature such crimes may well only come to light long after – and for obvious reasons.

      Perhaps the money he ‘spaffed’ on Garden Bridge and removing the ‘ugly’ safety barriers on Westminster bridge could have been better spent…

      • Herbie

        “Yes, what sort of personality would produce a comment like that?”

        He ought to know that these monies are spent to give an impression of due process. They all end in cover-up of course but most people outside those directly involved will think the matter looked at and sorted.

        Lessons learnt etc.

        So these are matters of statecraft. Managing affairs. Managing narratives when the mask occasionally slips. Housekeeping, they call it.

        I mean, Boris is basically rejecting elite principles of good governance going back thousands of years.

        Hard to understand why he’d do this.

        What’s his alternative way of managing a population.

    • N_

      I didn’t even know what “spaff” meant until I just looked it up. Only a sociopath of some kind would use that kind of language in the context in which he used it. He’s signalling, probably without knowing it, that he thinks child sexual abuse isn’t much of a crime. His comment is indeed an insult to every survivor. He’s the kind of “person” who thinks victims of pretty much anything should stop whingeing and bothering their abusers and “betters”.

      Got to wonder what else the guy may have in his cupboard that might be worse than what has been reported about him so far.

      No way is he going to be prime minister.

  • J Edgar

    In any sort of representative democracy, a leader who wants to conclude a treaty must conduct two simultaneous negotiations. One of course is with the foreign leaders who are to be the other party with the treaty. But the other set of negotiations that must be conducted is with the legislative body that must then approve the treaty negotiated by the leader. The negotiations must run in parallel, and a leader can only claim success when both negotiations reach common ground on what can be agreed by the foreign powers and by the country’s legislature. Human nature says that leaders have oversized egos, but in the case of negotiations a representative democracy says that the leader is not the all powerful being that decides what will be, but is really just a middle-woman running back and forth between two forces determining what is acceptable to both.

    PM May has shown herself to be a completely incompetent leader by her failure to understand this. She negotiated a deal with the EU, then thought that she’d be able to force through her Blackmail, Blindfold Brexit by running down the calendar combined with her constant calls that its either her deal or no deal. Not only is she an incompetent negotiator as a leader, but it is also quite apparent that she is incompetent as a politician in that she failed to anticipate that this would only anger the Parliament an “Put their backs up” against her BBB deal.

    I can’t help but to notice that these days its the head of the spies who becomes leader. As Home Sec, I understand that she was in charge of GCHQ. Did May become PM by the old political method illustrated by J. Edgar Hoover’s file cabinet full of blackmail material? And, if that is true, if May”s eavesdropping powers got her the votes to be come leader, isn’t it now completely obvious that this is a lousy way to pick a leader, and that the result is a leader who fails to have the political understanding and skills to be an effective leader?

    • michael norton

      It is possible that Mrs.Theresa May was always wanting Cliff Edge Brexit,
      her Bizarre blinkered actions have always been to slip this over the net, in the last few moments.

      • N_

        Agreed. She could have been an ERG asset all along. One could speculate to the contrary that she’s actually been trying to ensure Brexit happens against strong Remainer opposition, but that isn’t true and more importantly it’s not how many in the electorate perceive it either.

    • Dungroanin

      The 1994 WTO treaty was signed upto under Major with no vote or discussion in Parliament, never mind a referendum.

      The plan has been a long time brewing

    • Herbie


      The Brexit negotiations have been steered through the Cabinet Office.

      May is just the puppet. The fall-guy.

      When you see this level of incompetence and confusion, you know it’s just a game. Like all that nonsense in the US about Russian interference in the election, but Trump’s OK now according to Pelosi and Schiff, his major antagonists. All cobblers. All distraction.

      Make no mistake. Those who run the major states are very very smart people. They know what they’re doing.

      They’d much prefer you thought “events” caused all the problems, even that they were ineffective or incompetent in response.

      Than you thought it curious that stuff never happened in favour of the peeps, only ever the elites.

      And that were they stupid they’d make a mistake in our favour every now and again.

      But, no.

      Not once.

        • Herbie

          It’s to put the Brexiteers to bed once and for all.

          They’ve been a major problem to the Tories in particular for at least 30 years.

  • John2o2o

    “Hatred of immigrants remains the defining motive of her [Teresa May’s] entire career.”

    I am no fan of Teresa May, but this is bullshit Craig.

    There are very good and rational reasons for limiting migration, none of them based on racism.

    Limiting freedom of movement is very popular in this country. Please read Peter Hitchen’s views on this issue if you wish to be better informed about this matter.

    And please stop accusing people of racism, you sound like Tom Watson.

      • Loony

        Anyone can spew invective and anyone can impugn the motives of others.

        It remains seemingly impossible for non-racists to come forward with a logical view as to the optimum population of the UK. Is it the current population? the current population plus 10 million, or plus 100 million or plus 1 billion?

        Anyone would think that you people suffer from arithmophobia – and we all know how hateful it is to manifest any form of phobia.

        • philw

          It is so difficult to have a constructive discussion of immigration when people wilfully or moronically equate a desire to limit immigration (the phenomenon) with a hatred of immigrants (the people, which is of course racism).

          It is not just the final figure that is important, it is the rate of immigration (can housing, health, education and other services be provided in a timely fashion). Also, if the economy is booming and there is high demand for unskilled labour then it is far easier to accommodate immigrants than in a depression.

          Obviously the ‘hostile environment’ is a crass and cruel way to try and reduce immigration. There are also racists for whom any immigration is too much. Both of these are deplorable. But this doesn’t mean that immigration should be totally uncontrolled.

          • Huw Manoid

            There is no one calling for uncontrolled immigration, and no one planning uncontrolled immigration. The UK could and still can apply the restrictions that other EU counties do, Blair and everyone else since in power has chosen not to apply these rules. The UK has complete control over immigration from outside the EU.

            There is no, and will not be, “uncontrolled” immigration. The UK gov does nothing about immigration, even though they can, because they both need immigration for industry to funtion and for the ability to blame these same immigrants, when needing an excuse for home made problems.

          • N_

            I say it again: of course there have been and are problems for working class people attendant on immigration. Many on the left don’t want to notice it, but often immigrants are used by the boss class to compete with indigenous workers so as to drive wages down. It’s ideal for the bosses when they can do that. Traditionally Irish immigrants were used in Great Britain for that purpose. Now many from eastern and southeastern Europe have been allotted the role. The solution is stronger trade unions that encourage immigrants to join on the same basis as workers who are already here. On a more “cultural” level there also needs to be more mutual sharing of experiences without the present level of fear that people might get called racist or Islamophobic or terrorist sympathisers or other names. Middle class types can be expected to shy away from any genuine development of this type, given that few of them have any real understanding of what working class life is like or much desire to find out. For instance they tend not to have much clue about the weight of gangsterism in Britain in various parts of the economy, which I would have thought is one of the things working class people from different backgrounds would want to talk to each other about once they get going.

          • J Galt

            Into a basket case of an economy?

            If I was a prospective immigrant I would think twice. Why would I come here, just so me and my children can work all hours in shitty low paid jobs with crap conditions in order to pay taxes to help the incompetent idiots who run the place pay for the unemployable idle natives rotting on state charity in the useless eater reservations such as East Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire?

            No, hard working prospective immigrant, take your talents elsewhere!

          • Jo

            A reply to mr Gault below….because for the many Romanians working in care homes looking after our elderly…the crap wages in UK are far better than crap wages in Rumania if you can get a decent job out there… for example.

    • Ultraviolet

      “There are very good and rational reasons for limiting migration, none of them based on racism.”

      That is a matter capable of legitimate political debate.

      What is not a matter of legitimate political debate is that deporting long-term legal British residents after having destroyed the proof of their legality is a truly criminal act. The “go home” vans were an incitement to racial hatred. Her failure to get on top of the immigration backlogs speaks of utter contempt for those from other countries. Her repeated grandstanding over deportations of alleged terrorists cost the country millions and made us less safe than if she had just done what the court asked of her in the first place. And her law to make landlords act as immigration officers has just been struck down for being too racist to be legal.

      Mr Justice Spencer said the scheme had “little or no effect” on its main aim of controlling immigration and even if it had, this was “significantly outweighed by the discriminatory effect”.

      He added that the evidence “strongly showed” the scheme was causing landlords to discriminate against potential tenants because of their nationality and ethnicity.

      The scheme, the judge said in his ruling, appeared to be having a “real effect” on people’s ability to find accommodation and the MPs who voted for it “would be aghast” to see its consequences.

      And on top of all that, she refused point blank to take any steps that actually WOULD have limited immigration. Instead, as Home Secretary in a Government that had pledged to reduce the figure from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands, she not only failed to hit the target, she oversaw an INCREASE.

      The woman is both utterly racist and utterly incompetent.

    • FranzB

      In her 2016 Tory party conference speech she said

      “Today, too many people in positions of power behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road, the people they employ, the people they pass on the street, …..But if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what citizenship means.”

      She could have taken a short cut and talked about ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ instead. The phrase ‘international elites’ looks suspiciously like dogwhistle speak for you know who. Hungary’s Orban would have drawn his own conclusions.

      Here’s an article on the AfD if the penny hasn;t dropped yet.

  • Caratacus

    “The notion that the EU is like SPECTRE, and its leaders sit round a table headed by Blofeld Junker conjuring up evil plots to trap the UK in a customs union, is stark raving mad. It is an absolutely crazed conspiracy theory.”

    Mayhap – but the potential loss of many billions of pounds in future years will concentrate less than noble minds into all sorts of unsavoury and potentially damaging directions.

  • Paul


    Its not about the EU “acting in bad faith” that they are worried about. Its about a brexit leading to Ulster effectively breaking away from the UK and indyref2 delivering a real hard border.

  • Carl

    Devious is right, and also staggeringly inept. Yet even now I’m hearing her talked of as a brave, dogged battler for Britain. It defies logic we are still lumbered with her after her election humiliation and historic defeats for her wretched deal. She should have been gone long, long ago.

  • Anon1

    Onasanya, wearing her electronic ankle tag, to vote again tonight against the will of the people. An utter disgrace.

  • Anon1

    Strange for someone whose hatred of immigrants is the defining motive of her entire career that she should have admitted more into this country than any Home Secretary before or since.

    • Ken Kenn

      Ahh……….but you have to realise that once Shemima Begum had her ‘ Britsish ‘ born baby that Sky referred to her as ‘ Shamima ‘ as they did when Sir Cliff went to ‘ Richards ‘ and was rehabilitated after the Court case as ‘ Cliff .’

      The wretchedness of the MSM knows no bounds and Patrioitism really is the last refuge of the scoundrel and you are a scoundrel alongside them.

      Thank God for Sky News I say.

      They’re all heart just like your hero Donald Trump.

  • William Purves

    Scotland and Ireland have had to export their people all over the world because of the treatment of their respective countries by Westminster over the last 300+ years.

  • William Purves

    Scottish and Irish people have emigrated all over the world because of the treatment of their respective countries by Westminster over the last 300+ years. No one ever mentions this fact.

    • N_

      Ah, so that’s who the Duke of Sutherland was working for when he caused the Highland Clearances – the Duke of Westminster!

      How about you stop blaming foreigners?

      • Herbie

        Yeahbut, the Duke of Sutherland will have been working to external interests.

        Whatever they were.

        Internal interests would not destroy the already existing internal social infrastructure.

        • N_

          I would neither romanticise the clan system nor blame it. Typically Highland lairds wanted lots of money, partly to marry their daughters off in Edinburgh society. They began to act in a larger-scale market, yes, but they still came from where they came from.

          • Herbie

            I’m just looking at it structurally. It’s the external interests that destroy the social infrastructure.

            We’re still going through that process today.

  • N_

    According to Jacob Rees-Mogg the Torygraph‘s anonymous leader writer, “an extension would be a national humiliation”. But never fear, because “preparations for no-deal have been well advanced in Whitehall for months, but the Government has chosen not to advertise the fact”.

    This article deserves reading for its sheer rabidness. It contains gems such as “the consequence of (Theresa May’s) capitulation to Remainer Cabinet ministers who threatened to resign”.

    Was Geoff Cox an ERG sleeper who got his call-up papers yesterday? Or perhaps they nobbled him somehow. Anyone who wants to argue against this idea should reflect on the fact that there has been practically no reference in the mainstream media to the known ERG personnel in the cabinet. They include Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, David Gauke, and Liam Fox. Ex-cabinet ERGers include David Davis. Why is the ERG still often referred to as a backbench group when it is NOT?

    Interestingly one former cabinet minister not known to be an ERGer is Boris Johnson.

    Bear that in mind when considering just how fawning John Bercow is to Rees-Mogg compared to how unpleasant he has been on occasion towards Johnson. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bercow is an ERG asset too. The “Bollocks to Brexit” car sticker will have served him well if he is. You gotta admit he’d be a great asset for the ERG.

    So would someone else I can think of. As well as Cox, another possible ERG asset in the cabinet is Theresa May. Reportedly when she was Home Secretary she blocked an investigation into alleged crimes committed by Arron Banks in relation to funnelling money to the Leave campaign. A bit of a giveaway? It’s easy to get mesmerised by a particular day’s sh*tshow in the Commons to the extent that we forget the remarkable acts of vote postponement that have contributed to the game now being at the stage it’s at.

  • Ben McDonnell

    “Hatred of immigrants remains the defining motive of her entire career.”
    I’m not so sure. If she was so hate motivated she would have increased the border patrol while Home Secretary, and wouldn’t have rubbished her own police force so much. I think she just likes seeing herself in the papers.

    • Deb O'Nair

      That was all part of the Hegelian dialectic (problem → reaction → solution) which has been pivotal in getting the UK out of the EU. Allowing mass illegal immigration, destroying public services by slashing public spending etc. then telling the electorate that it’s all the EU’s fault.

  • Dungroanin

    Absolutely agree with CM but i think he holds back a little bit, diplomatically perhaps, with the root cause : “[our] system of economic regulation promotes the accumulation of vast wealth by a tiny minority, while not providing a decent standard of living to millions.”

    Watching parliament TV from across the world tonight as May and the cohorts she represents to deliver plan A for brexit – a No Deal on the 29th and claim it as a legal outcome to the 2 year limit built into Article 50. That is what the game theory they would have always counted on. It would have been much easier if their partners in crime in the opposition had stayed in control of their party – indeed the baton would have been passed to them to run it home, like they did with all the privatisations under Blair.

    The Corbynites are the spanner in that stitch up. I’m glad JC goes campaigning in Scotland. I believe that a cooperation with the Scottish politicians is the way forward – as was used as one of the bogey scares against Labour at the last election – that they may form a coalition!
    Nobody mentioned the 10 DUPpies who hardly represent NI.

    I can hear and see the fear in the hard Brexiteers eyes that they may just about not be able to drag it over the line in two weeks.

    Fox is on the run and lying. Disgraceful. But hillarious. Not giving way!

    • N_

      the 10 DUPpies who hardly represent NI

      Being stuck in 1690 doesn’t prevent those nutters from taking their seats the way being stuck in 1922 prevents Sinn Fein.

      • remember kronstadt

        Q. why would a republican swear allegiance to the crown?
        A. because they are hypocrites

    • Ken Kenn


      I can only put this as honestly as I can.

      An attack on Labour is an attack on the SNP.

      The common enemy ( even pre Independence ) are the Tories and unfortunately (but not surprisingly ) the DUP and the TIGs and sadly some other Labour MPs.

      I would not trust The Lib Dims s far as I could throw them neither.

      In total we have roughly 34 MPs who could save this wretched government and that worries me.

      We shall see what happens on Thursday and I do think that it’s imperative that all the genuine Opposition to the Tories and their supporters get their act together and at least show the electorate that they mean business and in the same actions prove to the electorate that there are MPs’ out there who would rather this crappy government survive rather than have a Coalition or even a Corbyn led majority government.

      The Independence supporters may have their criticisms of the Labour Party and under Kezia et al this was understandable but Corbyn is a different kettle of fish.

      He wants a United Socialist ( British – not Cuban ) UK political society but from what I know about his views I don’t think Scottish Independence is anathema to him or the Labour leadership. It certainly isn’t to me and nothing would delight me more if the Scottish discovered elements of a valuable and expensive nature just to stick it to the Tories.

      so , what I’m saying is that at the moment we have a common enemy and to quote Malcom X ‘ we need to use any means necessary ‘ to get shut of them.

      Not only are they an obstacle to progress – they have become downright dangerous.

      Time they went but they won’t leave without force.

      Parliament need s to force the government out via a General Election.

      May is not going to steer the ship away from the iceberg.

      She is the Captain of the iceberg now – not the Titanic.

  • giyane

    Mrs May loses the final vote on her government ‘s handling of brexit.
    When is no confidence not no confidence?
    When the person running the government is playing dumb like common criminal instead of cooperating with the houses of parliament

  • fwl

    I suspect that Yanis Varufakis would disagree with Craig’s statement that it is ludicrous that EU negotiates in bad faith.

    See Varufakis’ account: Adults in the Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment.

    His account of Greece’s negotiations, which he covertly recorded, reveal Bad Faith as being of the essence of the talks.

    • Charles Bostock

      An example of what is meant by the EU negotiating in bad faith would be the following (already hinted at by President Macron) : no deal on the future economic relationship (seen as duties, access to the internal market, etc) unless accompanied by a deal on fisheries. A deal which, naturally, is going to demand for foreign flagged vessels at least what they get at present by way of quotas and access at present.

      • fwl

        More generally, using the talks with the UK to teach the other members a lesson would also be bad faith.

        Politics is not commerce and I suspect that to some extent bad faith is a more common fellow of the negotiating politician than the negotiating businessman.

    • John Goss

      Yes, when I get a few spare minutes I will settle down in a chair and plough through the 562 pages of what I know from the introduction will be a very good read. It awaits me. First I have to finish Jonathan Haslam’s “Near and Distant Neighbors” to learn a little history of the Russian secret services before it became a free economy.

      • John Pillager

        Every other aspect of FB is fine….only problem I have is not being able to post anything at all from Craig’s blog.

        • Clark

          Is your browser up to date? What browser are you using?

          What are you trying to post – text? links? And what happens when you try? Can you paste it into the window? What happens when you click the ‘Post’ button or whatever it is? Does your browser seem to go through the process normally, but then nothing appears? Have you tried any experiments, like posting text but no link? A link from a different site?

          I used to fix tellys. People would often tell me “my telly’s blown up; can you fix it?”. I’d say “how many pieces is it in?”

    • bj

      The story about these “mystery assailants” in The Independent is very strange; the last paragraph takes a sudden turn away from the main story, to add this seemingly unrelated bit of info:

      “Kim Hyok Chol was ambassador to Spain until September 2017, when the Spanish government expelled him and another diplomat following Pyongyang’s round of nuclear tests and missile launches over neighbouring Japan.

      Mr Kim has since become a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.”

      • Isa

        It’s very odd and I’m amazed El País published it in the English edition . I’ll kerp an eye for the court case . It should be funny .

  • Wrecksiteer

    It seems to me that it is and has always been imperative to the princes of the EU that the UK suffers due to it’s decision to exit, that it becomes a cautionary tale. No hierarchical power structure cedes power voluntarily, that’s simply not how the kind of human beings who rise to the top of such structures behave. If the UK was to make a success of going it alone it would greatly damage the integrity of the EU. Many seem to make the mistake of thinking that the EU believes it’s economic interests are more important than it’s political cohesion.

    Money is not real, power is. The EU will do all it can to ensure the UK either never leaves or suffers greatly. What really confuses me is why the May regime is doing their job for them.

    • Ultraviolet

      We voted to leave the EU.

      Why do you regard the EU saying that as we are no longer a member, we cannot have the benefits of membership, as them trying to punish us?

      The default position on our departure is that the EU owes us nothing. For everything we want, we MUST offer them something in return. That is how the world works. Not that we stamp our little feet and demand that the rest of the world gives us what we want in return for nothing.

      • Wrecksiteer

        I took some care to avoid using the word “punish”, because that implies some kind of moral context. I am making no comment on the rights and wrongs of this situation, just sharing my view of the political situation. Please do not mistake me for a British nationalist or a stereotypical brexiteer.

        I am not saying that the retraction of the benefits the UK currently receives as part of the EU is a punishment, or that it is improper. I am saying that the people who run the EU know very well that if the UK was to make a success of leaving it would encourage further fragmentation and quite possibly lead to the end of the EU as we know it. I believe the EU will do all they can to prevent that. From an EU perspective brexit must be a disaster, and they are quite prepared to endure some economic pain if that is required.

        As I said: no hierarchical power structure cedes power voluntarily. The kind of people who rise to the top of such structures, the ones who make the big decisions, are driven to accrue more power, resources and status, the structure is a vehicle for this. They will not willingly allow their power to be reduced, it’s not in their psychology. Again, I am not making a moral point here, morality has nothing to do with it, it’s just “how the world works”, or so it seems to me.

        I have held this view since before the referendum and it is independent of what faction my own personal beliefs most closely align with, remain/leave, brit/european.

  • BrianFujisan

    well said Craig, Scotland needs out of this Shambles.

    I wonder if we could soon Finally be rid of our so called Scottish Secretary after abstaining on the Government’s motion to rule out a no-deal Brexit..

    Will he resign this time.. or be sacked ?

  • Tonyandoc

    To borrow insight from the Eagles “Hotel California”,
    The UK government is discovering…
    “You can Brexit any time you like, But you can never leave!”

  • Michael Leigh

    I noticed in the current news channel, that the British Prime Minister is being driven around in an all new mid green Jaguar hybrid awd saloon car, which of course is the property of the Government car pool based in the old Regents Park barracks. And as is the custom first ministers are given the option of buying their H M Government car upon their own

    And given the millionaire status of her spouse ( in Suisse and Singapore ) it is probably her husband’s idea of a bargan
    given that he will be retiring from all the corporate entities which currently trade very successfuly, if highly incompetently, with his spouse’s current government.

    This only my guess, but based upon my knowledge of these economic business parasites who can never have enough.

  • Dennis Revell


    I concur: It seems unlikely that a better time will come up for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to immediately run IndyRef 2 – or even just go right ahead and declare independence (risking Tianamen Sq. like scenes at Hadrian’s Wall and elsewhere); and so ignoring Westminster’s insistence that its permission is needed – Craig and others have pointed out that in international law and precedent the wishes of the entity from which independence is sought are irrelevant.

    I hope the cringing cowardice and hypocrisy of Jeremy Corbyn-The-Compromiser-Too-Far that started to become evident shortly after he became leader of the “Labour” Party isn’t contagious, and so also infected Nicola Sturgeon and the rest of the SNP leadership.


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