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Brexit question from an amateur ..

(33 Posts)
smallereveryday Sat 22-Jun-19 08:47:57

Hi Brexit Gurus - I have really tried to follow the labyrinthine twists and turns of the mess we have got ourselves in but I am confused by the leadership contenders asserting they will 'leave come what may 31 October ' ... can you people 'mark my Brexit homework synopsis' and tell me which bits I have wrong because I thought I had it.

1. The 'deal' that TMs government negotiated cannot be agreed by parliament because not enough MPs will vote for it - it is too much of a tie in to the EU for Brexiteers and remainders don't want it anyway . It also includes the Irish 'backstop' which is something I don't really understand, however the DUP who prop up the governments majority- will never vote for it.

2. The EU will not renegotiate. From their standpoint it's this deal or no deal.

3. We can only leave without a deal if there are enough votes to do so but there aren't. Again Northern Ireland is an insurmountable issue . No deal will mean a hard border and contravene the Good Friday agreement (which has bought peace to NI) and very few MPs have an appetite for this.

Is this an accurate explanation? Have I got something horribly wrong ?

Mistigri Sat 22-Jun-19 09:01:09

Remember that leaving with no deal is the default unless the government either (a) gets the WA through parliament or (b) asks for an extension (and is granted one - not certain). Or revokes A50 but this is highly unlikely at this point.

1. The 'deal' that TMs government negotiated cannot be agreed by parliament because not enough MPs will vote for it - it is too much of a tie in to the EU for Brexiteers and remainders don't want it anyway . It also includes the Irish 'backstop' which is something I don't really understand, however the DUP who prop up the governments majority- will never vote for it.

Yes, unless the new PM can get a cosmetic change to the political declaration that satisfies some Tory rebels (unlikely). The EU will not open the withdrawal agreement itself.

2. The EU will not renegotiate. From their standpoint it's this deal or no deal.

Or revoke, which is outside of the EU's control.

3. We can only leave without a deal if there are enough votes to do so but there aren't. Again Northern Ireland is an insurmountable issue . No deal will mean^ a hard border and contravene the Good Friday agreement (which has bought peace to NI) and very few MPs have an appetite for this.^

This is not strictly true. As above, no deal is the default - it's what happens if we do nothing. So assuming that parliament does not agree a deal, and that the govt does not request and receive an extension, what could prevent no deal? It may be that the only way to prevent it now is a vote of confidence in the government - this would require the DUP and several Tories to vote with the opposition. We know that several Tories would vote down the government to avoid no deal - Clarke, Grieve and a handful of others. So it is likely, but not certain, that no deal could be prevented this way. (This is why Brexiters talk of suspending parliament to force no deal through).

whymewhynow Sat 22-Jun-19 09:11:24

Pretty good synopsis - I'd say that Remainers don't generally want the WA because it cuts too many ties with the EU and it does not give the UK any guarantees about future dealings - which will all be part of the trade talks once we have left (and are sketchily outlined as aspirations in the Political Declaration).

The Irish Backstop is basically an insurance policy to keep the border between the RoI and NI open and invisible - it means that NI will remain in a customs union with the EU and will be aligned to the single market. The DUP are opposed because it means NI is "different" to the rest of the UK although, as many have pointed out, they don't mind NI being different in terms of gay marriage, abortion rights etc. The DUP has also always been unenthusiastic about the Good Friday Agreement and might quite like the idea of a hard border. The EU/UK originally hoped that any trade deal would allow for an open border but that is looking less likely - mainly because of May's red lines - hence the need for the backstop. Having signed up for the backstop - and to keep all of the UK in it in order not to upset the DUP - the Conservative party are now kvetching about it and want it to be, at minimum, time limited although with no clear proposals of what would replace it when this period ends.

The EU is clear that it will not renegotiate. Many Leavers feel this is a bluff.

Can we no deal without Parliament's agreement? That is what is currently being argued over. I would hope not but Johnson has said that he is prepared to suspend Parliament in order to get us through no deal which is the default when our deadline expires. I'd like to think that no one would be that reckless and that there are ways out but the House of Commons voting against stopping No Deal 10 days ago doesn't fill me with confidence sad.

MockerstheFeManist Sat 22-Jun-19 10:30:05

Can we no deal without Parliament's agreement?

The suggestion is to have a lock-out. But parliament is sovereign, and can vote not to lock itself out. Could lead to the amusing situation of govt. staying away but opposition turning up.

Bercow has indicated he will resist. Students of English history will recall Charles I and what happened to him.

Careful, lads.

smallereveryday Sat 22-Jun-19 11:11:00

I am very grateful to all of you for your clear concise and easy to understand explanations. Everyone of you should have a job on the BBC current affairs team as NO ONE has been able to put it all across in such an easy to understand way.

... and this , I think is a problem for the leaver camp. I think the average Joe just doesn't understand it - and what's at risk if they do do it.. and perhaps if they did, then they would finally realise what an awful decision they have made.

bellinisurge Sat 22-Jun-19 18:41:17

Thing is @smallereveryday , we are all amateurs. Everyone is an amateur. Including MPs. And ERG/BeLeavers in particular. That's what's so ghastly.

smallereveryday Sat 22-Jun-19 18:49:29

bellinisurge the thing is you are right. What I don't understand though is the whole 'we had a democratic vote and it was to leave' .. so why on earth do leavers not want ANOTHER democratic vote ? Surely if the DEMOCRACY want to leave then that just reinforces-their argument....

1tisILeClerc Sat 22-Jun-19 19:10:18

smallereveryday
You have to stop asking awkward questions, none of this makes any real sense!

AnnaComnena Sat 22-Jun-19 19:28:46

so why on earth do leavers not want ANOTHER democratic vote ? Surely if the DEMOCRACY want to leave....

Well, exactly - Leavers want to Leave, not faff around having endless re-runs because some people don't like the result. It's already been three years, how much longer do we have to wait?

Mistigri Sat 22-Jun-19 19:33:44

Everyone is an amateur.

I think this is probably true of everyone posting here on MN, but one of the great things about the internet and social media is ready access to insights from people who are experts and who often share their expertise for free to people with an enquiring mind.

None of us has a crystal ball - we don't know what will happen - but if we listen to experts we can get a pretty good idea of what won't happen.

CurlyWurlyTwirly Sat 22-Jun-19 21:49:44

Thanks for the summaries.
Could someone tell me what Theresa May’s red lines are?

Mistigri Sat 22-Jun-19 22:00:41

May's main red lines were

- no FOM (ie leave single market)
- UK able to make own trade deals (ie leave customs union)
- "sovereignty" (ie leave jurisdiction of ECJ)
- no hard border in Ireland

Unfortunately these are mutually incompatible.

onalongsabbatical Sun 23-Jun-19 09:39:06

@AnnaComnena how long do you have to wait? How about as long as it takes you to solve the British border in Ireland issue? Because in all the hundreds - nay, thousands - of discussions and debates and articles and so on I've listened to, read and taken part in, I feel I've yet to encounter a leaver who even understands what this issue actually is, let alone how to manage it. So the ball for not leaving is over to you.

CrunchyCarrot Sun 23-Jun-19 09:52:00

Regarding May's red lines, I find this diagram useful:

lljkk Sun 23-Jun-19 10:04:15

It's already been three years, how much longer do we have to wait?

OP hasn't talked about the EU. They have options, too.

(Easy is obviously a relative word) The easiest option in 31 October is for EU to refuse an extension. Then UK crashes out. Might be new PM or GE, or whatever going on, too, but doesn't really matter, coz UK will finally accept the WA within 1-2 yrs after crash out.

AFTER THAT, UK can finally move to phase 2 which is talking about trade deal. Negotiating this will probably take much longer than the stated transition period, too. And involve further upheavals & flaps & rollercoasters & twists & turns in status, maybe even a further spell on WTO terms.

If the trade-deal takes 5-6 yrs to sort out.. we could be looking at a good 10 years for the entire Brexit process to play out (2016-2025/6).

But that's ok, coz "everyone who voted Leave knew what they were voting for."

1tisILeClerc Sun 23-Jun-19 10:37:09

Thanks for posting that chart Crunchycarrot.
The 'departure' proposed by the EU is a structured plan which would be the 'best', or rather least damaging for the greatest number of people.
Stage 1, was the writing of the WA which required a huge effort by negotiators and lawyers from all 28 countries, who together produced the WA document.
The WA with it's associated paper, the Political Declaration was approved by Theresa and the rest of the EU in December last year.
At that point, it should have been ratified by parliament which fixes the WA which is largely procedure, plus the exit 'bill', citizens rights and a backstop plan for the issue in Ireland.
The signing of the WA signifies the start of a transition period, originally estimated as 2 years, although that looks very tight.
Stage 2 will be working through the PD, amending as necessary, which while the UK is in a transition period, the exact nature of the relationship between the UK and UK can be hammered out, meaning the UK can chose from the steps shown on the chart, or using one step as a starting point, customise it to suit the UK.
The Norway 'step' for example works for them as their trade dealings are a lot simpler than the UK needs, hence the 'Norway + or ++, being the extras. Using a template makes the actual dealing a lot quicker to be ratified.

Of course there has been a massive hiccup. Since promises were made by the Leave campaigns primarily that the UK could just 'pick and mix' things from the EU with no regard for the legal basis that the EU runs on, no one is 'happy' with the WA. The UK wants 'cake' without paying for it but it won't get it.
Thus after 3 years the UK has failed to make it to the first step and is busy throwing it's toys out of the pram because the EU are not prepared to break the founding principles of the EU to give the UK cake.
The EU countries that have been greatly 'inconvenienced' during this process, and being forced to pay out billions of Euros to accommodate revised customs arrangements, manufacturing schedules and a zillion other bits related to the upheaval have been very patience thus far and are to be commended for this.

Towelsareblue Sun 23-Jun-19 10:58:30

Thank you very helpful

1tisILeClerc Sun 23-Jun-19 11:22:02

Maybe a way of looking at the 'leave' promises could be that you are at a party and there is a gorgeous smorgasbord buffet with foods from all over the world. The 'kicker' is that everyone HAS to have a piece of everything, and some of you are allergic to fish, others to dairy, and so on.
No one is allowed to eat unless everyone is 'satisfied' with the choice.

Peregrina Sun 23-Jun-19 15:36:26

The analogy of a meal is a good one. Theresa May, based on her HO experience thought the relationship with the EU was a buffet where she could go and pick the items of food she wanted, and then perhaps go back for a second helping if necessary. So she thought she would opt out of everything and then would be pressed by them to take some food and start opting in. So I will have a helping of Security, oh and a helping of Euratom, on reflection looks quite enticing.

Instead it's a banquet with fixed courses and you eat what is put in front of you.

Songsofexperience Sun 23-Jun-19 15:51:11

The big mistake here (and you nailed it peregrina) was for May to adopt a "nothing" default position rather than saying "we're currently 100% in, what are the bits that we can remove?".

1tisILeClerc Sun 23-Jun-19 16:10:13

I feel that Theresa understood what she had signed up to but could not fight against the ERG and others as the 'Brexit means everything to everybody' mantra had gained too much traction. As evidenced now, there is hardly a strong 'all in or all out' mandate and it is guaranteed that Leavers and Brexiteers will not be happy having achieved 'out'.

Peregrina Sun 23-Jun-19 18:10:47

"we're currently 100% in, what are the bits that we can remove?".

An alternative way would have been to say, "The UK wants out, but what bits can we live with to find a compromise?"
As I believe was the starting point for the Good Friday Agreement.

As it stands - some people want more money for the NHS, and I don't think they were thinking of everyone being able to afford private medical care. Others on the extreme right of the Tory party, want to scrap public provision altogether. The two are mutually exclusive.

At some stage, Leavers (or Leaver decision makers) will have to confront these issues.

CurlyWurlyTwirly Sun 23-Jun-19 18:28:24

Some really great explanations here; I’m finally starting to get it.

So basically the smorgasbord where you have to try a bit of everything is the Withdrawal Agreement?

And what is the political declaration?
The picture with the steps above?

Do you think Boris understands any of this?

smallereveryday Sun 23-Jun-19 18:34:05

No. I don't think Boris understands any of it.. or at least doesn't WANT to understand it.

We all know that Boris is a Europhile . He comes from a europhile family and doesn't believe any of this Brexit crap any more than I do.. he simply sees it as nailing his colours to a specific mast , that will get him in to Downing Street. !

MockerstheFeManist Sun 23-Jun-19 19:15:36

How about this?

We had a vote and decided that we were going to move house. But as yet we have no new home to move into. Some don't want to leave the neighbourhood. Others hate the neighbours and want to emigrate. Some say we must move out on the agreed day and live in a tent if necessary or we might never leave. A few, a 48% few, might think that wasn't such a bad idea, now that the unlimited extra bedrooms and self-cleaning swimming pool turn out not to be in the package, as promised.

Etc.

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