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Webchat with three experts on Brexit and the EU: Friday 15 March at 10am

(107 Posts)
BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 14-Mar-19 12:54:32

Hello

Following on from this week’s ongoing events in Parliament, we thought it would be interesting to have a webchat with our friends at The UK in a Changing Europe on Friday 15 March at 10am.

As some of you will know they’ve joined us a few times before - you can view their previous webchat in January here.

Here’s some information about the guests and their backgrounds:

Professor Jonathan Portes is senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London. Previously, he was principal research fellow of the National Institute of Economic & Social Research. Before that he was chief economist at the Cabinet Office, and previous to that chief economist at the Department of Work and Pensions.

Professor Catherine Barnard is senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe; Professor in European Union Law and Employment Law at the University of Cambridge; and senior tutor and fellow of Trinity College. Catherine specialises in EU law and employment law.

Professor Barnard will only be able to join us for half an hour, as she is kindly stepping out from a four-hour meeting for this (!)

Professor Anand Menon is Director of The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London. He has held positions at Sciences Po, Columbia University and NYU. He has written on many aspects of contemporary Europe and is a frequent commentator on national and international media and you may have seen him on Question Time last week.

Please do join us on Friday to talk about what’s going on, what might happen next, and what’s going on (again). If you can’t make it, please post your question on this thread in advance. Please bear in mind the webchat guidelines one question each (follow-ups allowed if there’s time), and please be polite. Also following recent chats/guest posts we’ve updated our guidelines to let people know that, if one topic is overwhelmingly dominating a discussion with a guest, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. Rest assured we will ALWAYS let guests know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Thanks
MNHQ

LouiseCollins28 Thu 14-Mar-19 14:21:20

Looking forward to this and the little pen sketches given above are interesting, thank you.

Can you please ask your contributors named above to state, from the outset, their own position on Brexit. This should include if they voted in the Referendum in 2016, and whether (if they did) they voted for Remain or for Leave?

Many thanks

HazardGhost Thu 14-Mar-19 14:50:10

If I post a question now it'll probably be out of date by morning.

Thanks for joining us again smile

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 14-Mar-19 14:56:01

agree with Hazard, thank you for joining us again.

KennDodd Thu 14-Mar-19 15:25:48

I think if this whole Brexit farce has taught us anything it should be that actually we DO need experts so thank you in advance.

Yaralie Thu 14-Mar-19 15:25:49

After the scandal of illegal activities by some campaigners and the covert use of social media by firms such as Cambridge Analytica, how we be sure that our democracy is not highjacked yet again by foriegn interference, cheating, lying, and extreme bias in the media if we have another public vote?

Songsofexperience Thu 14-Mar-19 15:27:43

Thank you so much for joining the chat again. I found your answers last time incredibly helpful.

If we end up not leaving or are granted a significant extension, to what extent has the UK's participation in EU projects already been affected and how easy or difficult would it be to pick up where we left off?

Littlespaces Thu 14-Mar-19 15:58:49

Why has the criminal manipulation and dark money used to fund and influence the first referendum not been at the forefront of the argument?

borntobequiet Thu 14-Mar-19 16:03:03

Hello again, and thanks.
Given that the DUP has opposed, since its inception, all attempts prior to the Belfast Treaty to ensure peace in Northern Ireland, can we infer that in its stance on Brexit it has returned to its traditional raison d’être, and is using the Referendum outcome above all to thwart the peace process - especially as NI will potentially be very badly affected? Why is it not coming under pressure from NI business to desist from its stance? How can Parliament marginalise and defuse the DUP?

dontcallmelen Thu 14-Mar-19 16:32:57

Yy borntobequiet question, also littlespaces question & why does television/papers get away with such manipulation of the truth & facts & why when the referendum was such a close result, the remain vote is usually ignored by everyone, thank you.

Maryschu Thu 14-Mar-19 17:33:49

Thanks for joining us really like to be involve in this discussion.

MyNameIsArthur Thu 14-Mar-19 17:52:47

PMK

lonelyplanetmum Thu 14-Mar-19 18:39:30

Thank you for joining the discussion again.

Why has been so hard to achieve an indicative vote on any positive plan that would command a majority in Parliament, and what plan do the panel think could realistically command a majority now.

Bluesmartiesarebest Thu 14-Mar-19 19:22:50

Hello

As experts do you predict that the UK will actually leave the EU?

Thank you

herecomesthsun Thu 14-Mar-19 19:46:30

Sheesh, can we not just stop this, you know, go back to where we were?

If we did, how much damage do you think all this will have done?

Baffled how we can have been lied to so badly, how the campaigning was so dishonest, and then so much store is set by a referendum result that should be void.

GirlsBlouse17 Thu 14-Mar-19 20:00:23

Do you think that it is ironic that the most reluctant member of the EU is less able to cut ties with the EU than the likes of France and Germany (if ever they wanted to!)

Did anyone realise at the time of the Good Friday Agreement that it would tie us to the EU for always?

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 14-Mar-19 20:12:30

My question is:
What now?

jasjas1973 Thu 14-Mar-19 20:16:30

As a political commentator said yesterday "the most crazy thing is that 15 years ago, no one gave a stuff about the EU" so at the time of the GFA, it was an irrelevance but surely protecting peace in NI is more important?

I also would like to ask why the fraud/over spending and foreign influence isn't a bigger issue? or is electoral law in the UK unfit for the 21st century?

Snog Thu 14-Mar-19 20:37:37

Lol but I don't think anyone is an expert on this

XingMing Thu 14-Mar-19 20:38:11

IS this really the car crash we all fear, or simply bombast?

If we don't leave, do you think the UK's leavers will be sufficiently powerful to frustrate the Eurocratic drive to turn all EU countries into provinces of Brussels?

QueenOfTheCroneAge Thu 14-Mar-19 21:13:18

Do you predict civil unrest over the vote in favour of a request for an extension of article 50?

cherin Thu 14-Mar-19 22:54:06

The divorce deal was supposed to be the easy part, and we know how it’s going. Assuming it goes through at some point...How long do you predict it will take to negotiate the real deal, the trade deals? And what strategy is at the base of the tariff proposal published yesterday by the government?

wheresmymojo Fri 15-Mar-19 01:22:12

If we make some assumptions about what might happen next (stay with me, I know these might not come to pass..)

- The WA passes
- May steps down
- Replaced by someone altogether more 'Brexity' (BoJo et al)

What would you anticipate any future relationship and trade deal with the EU to look like?

Have we, as far as you are aware, made any in roads to developing a strong negotiating team (one can only hope this is the plan, not to make the same mistake twice)?

lonelyplanetmum Fri 15-Mar-19 05:06:11

This is a question about the politicians and the public who (ignorantly) deny input from experts and expertise. Its a cheeky second question.

The explanations you have given on previous web chats have come to bear with precision and prescience. Thank you. You accurately explained on the last web-chat that the most likely outcome would be an extension and, of course, you have been proved right.

Do you think the fashion for denial of experienced expert knowledge is uniquely British and American phenomenon? Why has it happened? Will wider respect for knowledge and deeper understanding return within our lifetimes?

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 15-Mar-19 07:21:08

What are your views on Russia’s involvement on both the initial referendum and the leave campaign?

Sanguineclamp Fri 15-Mar-19 09:06:23

Please can you confirm definitively that if the EU member states attach "unacceptable political conditions" to an extension to Article 50, that the UK could at any time until 29th March, withdraw it's Article 50 notice?

And would this right presumably continue during any short or longer extension period if agreed?

Motheroffourdragons Fri 15-Mar-19 09:17:57

Thank you for coming back here.

My question now is with news coming in this morning that Eurosceptics are coming round to May's WA, do you think that this is what we will end up doing, or do you think the House of Commons will agree to a long extension of Article 50 if the EU allows it?

OlgaArsenievnaOleinik Fri 15-Mar-19 09:38:47

I'm giving you 5 minutes with TMay and 5 mins with JCorbyn. What would you say to them?

They will have voluntarily taken a drug which makes them shut up and listen for 5 mins!

onegrapeshortofabunch Fri 15-Mar-19 09:52:05

If we stayed in the EU, are there any opportunities for reform? Both for the EU and for the UK, which has been irreparably damaged by this situation anyway.

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:00:49

Good morning! Look forward to answering as many of these questions as I can..

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:03:18

BojanaMumsnet

Hello

Following on from this week’s ongoing events in Parliament, we thought it would be interesting to have a webchat with our friends at The UK in a Changing Europe on Friday 15 March at 10am.

As some of you will know they’ve joined us a few times before - you can view their previous webchat in January here.

Here’s some information about the guests and their backgrounds:

Professor Jonathan Portes is senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London. Previously, he was principal research fellow of the National Institute of Economic & Social Research. Before that he was chief economist at the Cabinet Office, and previous to that chief economist at the Department of Work and Pensions.

Professor Catherine Barnard is senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe; Professor in European Union Law and Employment Law at the University of Cambridge; and senior tutor and fellow of Trinity College. Catherine specialises in EU law and employment law.

Professor Barnard will only be able to join us for half an hour, as she is kindly stepping out from a four-hour meeting for this (!)

Professor Anand Menon is Director of The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London. He has held positions at Sciences Po, Columbia University and NYU. He has written on many aspects of contemporary Europe and is a frequent commentator on national and international media and you may have seen him on Question Time last week.

Please do join us on Friday to talk about what’s going on, what might happen next, and what’s going on (again). If you can’t make it, please post your question on this thread in advance. Please bear in mind the webchat guidelines one question each (follow-ups allowed if there’s time), and please be polite. Also following recent chats/guest posts we’ve updated our guidelines to let people know that, if one topic is overwhelmingly dominating a discussion with a guest, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. Rest assured we will ALWAYS let guests know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Thanks
MNHQ

Hi there
Good to be back - I'm ready to answer your questions

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:03:46

I did vote in the referendum. I don't disclose my vote but I've always made my position as an "expert" clear: when I give my views, they are my independent, objective analysis on the topics at hand.

As an economist, I (like almost all serious economists) think Brexit is likely to be economically damaging. But that is a statement of what economics tells us, not a political view or a view on the wider merits of Brexit one way or the other.

LouiseCollins28

Looking forward to this and the little pen sketches given above are interesting, thank you.

Can you please ask your contributors named above to state, from the outset, their own position on Brexit. This should include if they voted in the Referendum in 2016, and whether (if they did) they voted for Remain or for Leave?

Many thanks

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:05:13

Since, up to now, nothing has changed legally, UK's participation in EU projects hasn't been seriously affected (it's possible UK academics and firms have been informally excluded or less likely to be considered but, overall, the impacts probably haven't been very great). Impact on business of uncertainty has been more important.

Songsofexperience

Thank you so much for joining the chat again. I found your answers last time incredibly helpful.

If we end up not leaving or are granted a significant extension, to what extent has the UK's participation in EU projects already been affected and how easy or difficult would it be to pick up where we left off?

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:05:19

OlgaArsenievnaOleinik

I'm giving you 5 minutes with TMay and 5 mins with JCorbyn. What would you say to them?

They will have voluntarily taken a drug which makes them shut up and listen for 5 mins!

Please can you set up a cross party group of GOATS (government of all the talents) to work out a way forward. This will be particularly important for teh second stage.

TresDesolee Fri 15-Mar-19 10:06:29

I’m off-topic, but Catherine - did you enjoy being on Question Time? Do you have any thoughts about how the British punditocracy (I exclude you from this wink) has contributed (or not) to this chaos surrounding Brexit?

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:06:43

No, I think this is quite unlikely. People are (understandably) bored/annoyed/irritated with the actions of government/Parliament- and business is, equally understandably, furious - but I don't think civil unrest is a likely result.

QueenOfTheCroneAge

Do you predict civil unrest over the vote in favour of a request for an extension of article 50?

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:07:27

Sanguineclamp

Please can you confirm definitively that if the EU member states attach "unacceptable political conditions" to an extension to Article 50, that the UK could at any time until 29th March, withdraw it's Article 50 notice?

And would this right presumably continue during any short or longer extension period if agreed?

Yes, that's right. The UK can withdraw its withdrawal notification provided that decision to withdraw is unconditional (see the Wightman decision). The same applies to any extension period.

BlueEyeshadow Fri 15-Mar-19 10:07:42

How likely do you think it is that we'll still crash out due to incompetence rather than intention?

Thanks for joining us again!

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:08:57

Because Parliament is split (at least) three or four ways, and there is no majority at the moment for any specific plan. My view is that on a free vote (which May/the government won't allow) there might, under some circumstances, be a majority for a much "softer" Brexit, keeping us in the Single Market and customs union (which is close to Labour policy and that of some moderate Conservatives).

lonelyplanetmum

Thank you for joining the discussion again.

Why has been so hard to achieve an indicative vote on any positive plan that would command a majority in Parliament, and what plan do the panel think could realistically command a majority now.

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:09:51

TresDesolee

I’m off-topic, but Catherine - did you enjoy being on Question Time? Do you have any thoughts about how the British punditocracy (I exclude you from this wink) has contributed (or not) to this chaos surrounding Brexit?

Thanks for this. I enjoyed it once I got started. Although experts is a dirty term now, what was encouraging was the desire among the audience for some facts and some law, and organisations like UK in a Changing Europe, which Anand, Jonathan and I all work with, and FullFact have been set up to do just that.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 15-Mar-19 10:10:22

After yesterday's votes what are the realistic outcomes at this stage (and what do you think is most likely?)

Sanguineclamp Fri 15-Mar-19 10:11:09

Thank you Professor Bernard! Much appreciated!

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:11:20

It's unlikely the "real deal" (the long-term relationship) will be negotiated by the end of the transition in Dec 2020, so that will probably have to be extended. Perhaps by some time in 2021 or 2022.

The tariff proposal published by government only applies in No Deal - it's basically designed to minimise the pain to consumers of price rises resulting from new tariffs on EU goods/products while protecting some vulnerable UK producers.

cherin

The divorce deal was supposed to be the easy part, and we know how it’s going. Assuming it goes through at some point...How long do you predict it will take to negotiate the real deal, the trade deals? And what strategy is at the base of the tariff proposal published yesterday by the government?

Sanguineclamp Fri 15-Mar-19 10:11:54

Sorry, that should have said Barnard! Apologies!

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:12:43

Hi everyone Have now figured out the login. Sorry to be late!

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:13:59

Sanguineclamp

Please can you confirm definitively that if the EU member states attach "unacceptable political conditions" to an extension to Article 50, that the UK could at any time until 29th March, withdraw it's Article 50 notice?

And would this right presumably continue during any short or longer extension period if agreed?

They can attach conditions, yes. But I don't think it's in their interests to make them unacceptable to the UK

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:14:05

Motheroffourdragons

Thank you for coming back here.

My question now is with news coming in this morning that Eurosceptics are coming round to May's WA, do you think that this is what we will end up doing, or do you think the House of Commons will agree to a long extension of Article 50 if the EU allows it?

Thanks for this. If the PM's WA is agreed this week in the Meaningful Vote 3 or next week in the MV4, then there will still need to be a so-called 'technical extension' until June so that the key piece of legislation, the Withdrawal and Implementation Bill, can be passed which will give effect to the agreement in UK law. If the MV is not passed, then we shall need a longer extenstion to (1) have a Genearl Election (2) a People's vote or (3) come up with a new plan. But the extension must be agreed by the EU-27 and they will want to know what we plan to do with the time. If there is no extension, we shall crash out with no deal on 20 Mar 2019 which is the default position.

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:14:28

We have done quite well in developing a negotiating team at a technical level - that is hiring and training up civil servants from scratch to learn about trade. But we've done almost nothing about the wider politics/stakeholder engagement to get public behind whatever deal we negotiate - we know from the current mess that May is incapable of building/seeking consensus.

On where we end up - I think the most likely future trade deal will be a continued customs union (ie the backstop, made permanent) but we will be outside the single market, although we'll still end up having to follow EU rules on lots of things.

wheresmymojo

If we make some assumptions about what might happen next (stay with me, I know these might not come to pass..)

- The WA passes
- May steps down
- Replaced by someone altogether more 'Brexity' (BoJo et al)

What would you anticipate any future relationship and trade deal with the EU to look like?

Have we, as far as you are aware, made any in roads to developing a strong negotiating team (one can only hope this is the plan, not to make the same mistake twice)?

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:15:45

ItsAllGoingToBeFine

After yesterday's votes what are the realistic outcomes at this stage (and what do you think is most likely?)

Bizarrely after more than two years, all outcomes seem feasible still. I think a referendum looks unlikely as there just don't seem to be the numbers in parliament, but that may change. It remains possible that Mrs May gets her deal through at the third or conceivable fourth time of asking. If she doesn't, I suspect we might enter General election territory.

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:16:50

BlueEyeshadow

How likely do you think it is that we'll still crash out due to incompetence rather than intention?

Thanks for joining us again!

Less likely than before, at least on 29 March 2019. Although there is much gashing of teeth on the EU side, they are still likely to give us an extension until end of May, possibly the end of June. The magic of these dates is the timing of the European Parliament elections at the end of May (MEPs don't take their seats until 2 July).

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:16:58

Thank you! To be honest, whilst people talk about not listening to experts, it really has not been my experience. We do lots of events round the country, and I've found that people come and ask questions and listen to the answers.

lonelyplanetmum

This is a question about the politicians and the public who (ignorantly) deny input from experts and expertise. Its a cheeky second question.

The explanations you have given on previous web chats have come to bear with precision and prescience. Thank you. You accurately explained on the last web-chat that the most likely outcome would be an extension and, of course, you have been proved right.

Do you think the fashion for denial of experienced expert knowledge is uniquely British and American phenomenon? Why has it happened? Will wider respect for knowledge and deeper understanding return within our lifetimes?

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:17:10

Nope. We can legally go back to where we were by revoking ARticle 50 - but that doesn't turn back the political or economic clock. Economic damage so far has been significant (reduced investment, loss of economic confidence) but limited, and could be mostly reversed if the situation was resolved. Politically the effects are much more profound..

herecomesthsun

Sheesh, can we not just stop this, you know, go back to where we were?

If we did, how much damage do you think all this will have done?

Baffled how we can have been lied to so badly, how the campaigning was so dishonest, and then so much store is set by a referendum result that should be void.

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:17:59

QueenOfTheCroneAge

Do you predict civil unrest over the vote in favour of a request for an extension of article 50?

I don't, to be honest. Certainly some people will be disaapointed and you can't rule out a little trouble round College Green where the protestors all gather, but I don't think we really do unrest in this country the way, say, the French do.

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:18:54

OhYouBadBadKitten

My question is:
What now?

I suppose the only answer I can give is 'God knows', but things are at last moving, and will be much clearer one way or another by the end of next week, so ask me again then!

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:19:26

It's hard to say for sure, but if you made me give my best guess, I'd say yes we will.

Bluesmartiesarebest

Hello

As experts do you predict that the UK will actually leave the EU?

Thank you

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:20:48

Formally, not at all in that we remain a member state. But I think two things have happened. First, we have lost a lot of our influence or 'soft power' in Brussels, as we have burned our reputation as a reliable partner with some member states. Second, the process has impacted already on our economy in terms of a loss of investment and falling business confidence.

Songsofexperience

Thank you so much for joining the chat again. I found your answers last time incredibly helpful.

If we end up not leaving or are granted a significant extension, to what extent has the UK's participation in EU projects already been affected and how easy or difficult would it be to pick up where we left off?

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:21:02

onegrapeshortofabunch

If we stayed in the EU, are there any opportunities for reform? Both for the EU and for the UK, which has been irreparably damaged by this situation anyway.

Refomr has proced to be terribly hard to do in the EU. This is partly because the major structural reforms needed require Treaty revision and that in turn wil require referenda in a number of Member States and, from the EU's point of view, referenda have not produced the 'right' result in a number of Member States. So there is deep concern about starting a process which will end up with the requirement of treaty refrom. This means more things are being done 'intergovernmentally' ie outside the EU institutional structure and that is less democratic.

Caffeinesolution Fri 15-Mar-19 10:21:12

Hello, thanks for coming back for another webchat! Are any of you stockpiling anything just in case?

ChiaraRimini Fri 15-Mar-19 10:21:16

Late to the party!
May has totally failed to build consensus and we now are a badly divided nation.
What do you think should be done to try and bring the nation of individual voters together behind whatever the ultimate outcome is?

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:21:32

The EU has always and will continue to "evolve" (whether you consider it to be "reform" depends on your perspective. Certainly it faces a lot of challenges now - either with or without the UK. The risk is that it is detracted by internal political squabbling (Italy, Hungary, etc) from confronting the big long-term economic challenges (ICT/digital economy etc).

onegrapeshortofabunch

If we stayed in the EU, are there any opportunities for reform? Both for the EU and for the UK, which has been irreparably damaged by this situation anyway.

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:22:11

It's impossible to be sure. I am not convinced she will get the votes to get it through on Tuesday, though it will be closer than this week, I think. IF the vote fails on Tuesday, the PM is committed to going back to Brussels to ask for a delay though she hasn't specified how long for. That will be an interesting discussion with EU leaders!

Motheroffourdragons

Thank you for coming back here.

My question now is with news coming in this morning that Eurosceptics are coming round to May's WA, do you think that this is what we will end up doing, or do you think the House of Commons will agree to a long extension of Article 50 if the EU allows it?

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:22:48

Not me! Although I do know people who are, and if I was dependent on specific medications produced outside the UK I would at least think about the options.

Caffeinesolution

Hello, thanks for coming back for another webchat! Are any of you stockpiling anything just in case?

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:24:17

Blimey! It's certainly true that if May is replaced by someone more Brexity, they might try to negotiate a rather minimal trade deal. That's one reason why the Labour party, legitimately, is not keen to wave this deal through. One thing that may happen is that the PM offers parliament some kind of 'lock' on the trade deal - a binding vote on the negotiating mandate, or even on the trade deal itself as a way of assuaging these concerns.

wheresmymojo

If we make some assumptions about what might happen next (stay with me, I know these might not come to pass..)

- The WA passes
- May steps down
- Replaced by someone altogether more 'Brexity' (BoJo et al)

What would you anticipate any future relationship and trade deal with the EU to look like?

Have we, as far as you are aware, made any in roads to developing a strong negotiating team (one can only hope this is the plan, not to make the same mistake twice)?

Motheroffourdragons Fri 15-Mar-19 10:24:39

Thank you for answering my question.

Another if you don't mind.

How likely is it now that Scotland will have a second independence referendum as a result of all this?

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:24:45

lonelyplanetmum

This is a question about the politicians and the public who (ignorantly) deny input from experts and expertise. Its a cheeky second question.

The explanations you have given on previous web chats have come to bear with precision and prescience. Thank you. You accurately explained on the last web-chat that the most likely outcome would be an extension and, of course, you have been proved right.

Do you think the fashion for denial of experienced expert knowledge is uniquely British and American phenomenon? Why has it happened? Will wider respect for knowledge and deeper understanding return within our lifetimes?

Thanks for your kind words. As an 'expert' it is hard to explain. It may be we are at fault for not being willing enough to engage. But it is also the case that large parts of the public are operating based on their own gut feelings at the moment - here and in the US - because they think that experts have not delivered for them. Indeed it was (some) experts who advocated austerity since 2008 and I think austerity is the reason behind much of the situation we now find ourseleves in.

Weetabixandshreddies Fri 15-Mar-19 10:25:39

What are MPs hoping to achieve by constantly voting against May's WA, if it's not to revoke A50?

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:26:18

Motheroffourdragons

Thank you for answering my question.

Another if you don't mind.

How likely is it now that Scotland will have a second independence referendum as a result of all this?

Significantly higher, I think, especially if the backstop ever comes into effect because it will advantage NI to the signficant detrmiment of Scotland. However, all the tactics that the EU has used against the UK over 'independence' will be applied by the UK against a Scotland looking for independence. So it will be very messy.

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:26:30

The trouble with reforming the EU is that all member states need to agree the reforms, and they all have very different ideas about which reforms are necessary. So it's hard, but I should say that, as a member state, the UK had a very good track record of securing things it wants - Thatcher drove the creation of the single market, while we secured opt outs from things we didn't like - the Euro, Schengen etc

onegrapeshortofabunch

If we stayed in the EU, are there any opportunities for reform? Both for the EU and for the UK, which has been irreparably damaged by this situation anyway.

onegrapeshortofabunch Fri 15-Mar-19 10:26:45

thank you for answering my question!

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:27:21

To May: Your approach has failed. You should withdraw your opposition to allowing Parliament a series of indicative votes on realistic options (as proposed by Yvette Cooper/Nick Boles), so that Parliament at least (and hopefully the country) can at least find a majority for a viable option.

To Corbyn: Labour needs to offer a clear and deliverable policy that can unite most of the Labour party and at least some of the Conservative Party. That means either REmain via a second referendum, or a soft Brexit that includes customs union and single market membership - including some form of freedom of movement.

OlgaArsenievnaOleinik

I'm giving you 5 minutes with TMay and 5 mins with JCorbyn. What would you say to them?

They will have voluntarily taken a drug which makes them shut up and listen for 5 mins!

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:27:35

Weetabixandshreddies

What are MPs hoping to achieve by constantly voting against May's WA, if it's not to revoke A50?

Views are split - and this is where ultra remainers and ultra leavers meet. The former want to vote against the PM's deal because they think it is bad and want to stop the whole process. The latter want to vote against TM's deal becaue they think it is not 'leave' enough.

twofingerstoEverything Fri 15-Mar-19 10:28:25

Is it time to eat my stockpile, or should I keep adding to it? grin
(I've built up a smallish stockpile to try to mitigate against any supply chain issues and because I would find it difficult to weather any price increases related to Brexit.)

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:28:28

Different factions want different things - that's why there is a majority against May's WA but not a majority for anything else. Some want No Deal, some a 2nd ref, some a softer Brexit.

Weetabixandshreddies

What are MPs hoping to achieve by constantly voting against May's WA, if it's not to revoke A50?

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:28:33

Much easier said than done! The country is profoundly divided over Brexit and those divisions are deep. That being said, I think one way of trying to overcome the divisions would be to start thinking about policy again. Remember, most people will judge Brexit not in terms of the trade deal we sign with the EU, but as a function of what happens inside the UK once we've left.

ChiaraRimini

Late to the party!
May has totally failed to build consensus and we now are a badly divided nation.
What do you think should be done to try and bring the nation of individual voters together behind whatever the ultimate outcome is?

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:28:52

BlueEyeshadow

How likely do you think it is that we'll still crash out due to incompetence rather than intention?

Thanks for joining us again!

Less likely than before, at least on 29 March 2019. Although there is much gashing of teeth on the EU side, they are still likely to give us an extension until end of May, possibly the end of June. The magic of these dates is the timing of the European Parliament elections at the end of May (MEPs don't take their seats until 2 July).

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:29:15

Short term I think unlikely. Medium term quite possible

Motheroffourdragons

Thank you for answering my question.

Another if you don't mind.

How likely is it now that Scotland will have a second independence referendum as a result of all this?

brizzlemint Fri 15-Mar-19 10:29:28

Thank you for joining us.
Why do you think the PM is repeatedly asking for these votes from MPs when nothing has changed?

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:30:00

Caffeinesolution

Hello, thanks for coming back for another webchat! Are any of you stockpiling anything just in case?

No, I'm not. I have thought about it but I think there will be a deal eventually.

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:30:12

I'm not sure it would do much good. They both know what they are doing, which is, partly at least, playing for party advantage rather than thinking through what Brexit might be best for the UK

OlgaArsenievnaOleinik

I'm giving you 5 minutes with TMay and 5 mins with JCorbyn. What would you say to them?

They will have voluntarily taken a drug which makes them shut up and listen for 5 mins!

Weetabixandshreddies Fri 15-Mar-19 10:30:54

Thank you for answering.

A quick second question - what needs to be done/ can be done to break the stalemate?

Songsofexperience Fri 15-Mar-19 10:31:25

@ProfJonathanPortes, @ProfAnandMenon

Thank you both for answering my question!

Just a quick one: are you worried about UK MEPs joining a populist alliance should there be a long extension and is that threat enough to make the EU refuse such a long extension?

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:31:57

The DUP is indeed now coming under pressure for NI business who are very worried about No Deal, but it is unclea whether that will be enough to persuade them to change their stance. Their leverage in Parliament comes from the fact that Theresa May needs them to sustain her government - and she has been unwilling to seek a cross-party consensus on a different form of Brexit which would make her less dependent on the DUP. But that has been a political choice by her designed to keep her own party together and to preserve her own red lines more than anything else.

borntobequiet

Hello again, and thanks.
Given that the DUP has opposed, since its inception, all attempts prior to the Belfast Treaty to ensure peace in Northern Ireland, can we infer that in its stance on Brexit it has returned to its traditional raison d’être, and is using the Referendum outcome above all to thwart the peace process - especially as NI will potentially be very badly affected? Why is it not coming under pressure from NI business to desist from its stance? How can Parliament marginalise and defuse the DUP?

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:32:03

HazardGhost

If I post a question now it'll probably be out of date by morning.

Thanks for joining us again smile

Think how we feel about our answers!!

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:32:59

GirlsBlouse17

Do you think that it is ironic that the most reluctant member of the EU is less able to cut ties with the EU than the likes of France and Germany (if ever they wanted to!)

Did anyone realise at the time of the Good Friday Agreement that it would tie us to the EU for always?

What is striking is just how little attention was piad to the NI issue in the run up to the referendum and it is not clear to me that when the PM announced her red lines at the Tory party conference in October 2016 she was aware either of the implications of those for the situaiton in NI. People are no far more educated on the issue.

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:34:04

HazardGhost

If I post a question now it'll probably be out of date by morning.

Thanks for joining us again smile

and thanks for having me!

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:34:39

Electoral law in the UK clearly needs to be modernised/updated radically to take account of social media/direct targeting of voters etc. But legally none of this matters much in this context because technically the referendum was only "advisory". It's a political, not a legal, judgement as to whether events around the referendum "invalidate" the result, and so far politicians have been very reluctant to suggest that is the case.

jasjas1973

As a political commentator said yesterday "the most crazy thing is that 15 years ago, no one gave a stuff about the EU" so at the time of the GFA, it was an irrelevance but surely protecting peace in NI is more important?

I also would like to ask why the fraud/over spending and foreign influence isn't a bigger issue? or is electoral law in the UK unfit for the 21st century?

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:34:59

I am worried about us having the election, yes. I think EP elections are a way for fringe parties to gain both money and profile - it's exactly how the National Front came to prominence in France in the 1980s. And of course this shapes the calculations of MPs - there are a lot of incumbents in the North in particular who worry that, if Farage's new party gets oxygen via EP elections, they can win enough votes in domestic elections maybe not to win seats but to have an impact on who does win them

Songsofexperience

**@ProfJonathanPortes**, @ProfAnandMenon

Thank you both for answering my question!

Just a quick one: are you worried about UK MEPs joining a populist alliance should there be a long extension and is that threat enough to make the EU refuse such a long extension?

Littlespaces Fri 15-Mar-19 10:35:23

Wondered if you had seen this question as two or three posters have asked about it.

Why has the criminal manipulation and dark money used to fund and influence the first referendum not been at the forefront of the argument?

twofingerstoEverything Fri 15-Mar-19 10:36:14

or a soft Brexit that includes customs union and single market membership - including some form of freedom of movement.
Prof Portes' post above refers...
To me this seems like a very sensible compromise, but do you think this would ever be acceptable to hardline Brexiteers, and, if not acceptable to them, do you think that matters, ie. at this stage, should a compromise be the country's priority, rather than pandering to hardliners?

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:36:33

If Parliament had voted for the Cooper/Boles amendment yesterday for a series of indicative votes that might at least have shown whether there was a specific realistic option that could command a majority. It could still do that next week.

Weetabixandshreddies

Thank you for answering.

A quick second question - what needs to be done/ can be done to break the stalemate?

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:36:56

Well, because that is up to the law enforcement authorities in the first instance, and I have not yet seen convincing evidence presented. We certainly need to think in terms of beefing up our laws when it comes to online campaigning and how to ensure referenda are fairly contested.

Littlespaces

Wondered if you had seen this question as two or three posters have asked about it.

Why has the criminal manipulation and dark money used to fund and influence the first referendum not been at the forefront of the argument?

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:38:44

This would clearly not be acceptable to hardline Brexiteers - they think May's deal is too soft. Nor to hardline Remainers. And it has significant disadvantaged - we'd have to accept lots of EU rules with little or no say. I think we have to accept that there are no perfect - or even good -options, and nothing can make all sides happy. The advantage of this option is that it respects the result, minimise the economic damage and is the nearest thing to a possible compromise/consensus.

twofingerstoEverything

^or a soft Brexit that includes customs union and single market membership - including some form of freedom of movement.^
Prof Portes' post above refers...
To me this seems like a very sensible compromise, but do you think this would ever be acceptable to hardline Brexiteers, and, if not acceptable to them, do you think that matters, ie. at this stage, should a compromise be the country's priority, rather than pandering to hardliners?

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:41:29

Because she thinks - to some extent correctly - that hardline Brexiteers will come to realise that if they continue to vote down her deal then an extension is more likely than No Deal. But this is a very risky - arguably irresponsible - strategy, and is not good for the reputation of the UK/government/Parliament.

brizzlemint

Thank you for joining us.
Why do you think the PM is repeatedly asking for these votes from MPs when nothing has changed?

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:43:17

Great question. Brexit has had a fascinating impact on Scotland. On the one hand, for those convinced about the case for independence, Brexit has confirmed everything they ever thought about the English! They see the case for separation now as overwhelming. On the other hand, Brexit makes Scottish independence more difficult practically. If Scotland became independence and both Scotland and England were not in the Customs Union and Single Market, you might need checks on the Scotland-England border. Most of Scotland's trade is with England, so that could be costly. So the brief answer is it cuts both ways. And, finally, the polls still seem to be stuck at about 55-45 against.

Motheroffourdragons

Thank you for answering my question.

Another if you don't mind.

How likely is it now that Scotland will have a second independence referendum as a result of all this?

Littlespaces Fri 15-Mar-19 10:43:32

Thanks for answering. My worry is that law enforcement is investigating but it will be too late to do anything if illegal activity is found.

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:44:46

Remember that legally the referendum was just advisory. So whatever law enforcement finds won't directly change the course of political events.

Littlespaces

Thanks for answering. My worry is that law enforcement is investigating but it will be too late to do anything if illegal activity is found.

Anlaf Fri 15-Mar-19 10:45:41

Ooh wonderful.

We're talking a lot about The Deal just now - but this isn't this just the Withdrawal Agreement to 2020 (or 2022)? Do you think negotiating the future relationship with the EU be as painful or even more painful than the shenanigans we've seen so far?

Any favourite biscuits we should lay in in case of No Deal grin

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:47:21

More painful. The trade negotiations will be far tougher because everyone needs to come out of it feeling they have won something, and the member states will do us no favours. And of course we will be out by then so far less of a priority.

And Mars Bars. Apparently in the case of no deal we might run out in a fortnight.....

Anlaf

Ooh wonderful.

We're talking a lot about The Deal just now - but this isn't this just the Withdrawal Agreement to 2020 (or 2022)? Do you think negotiating the future relationship with the EU be as painful or even more painful than the shenanigans we've seen so far?

Any favourite biscuits we should lay in in case of No Deal grin

brizzlemint Fri 15-Mar-19 10:49:10

Thank you Professor Portes.

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:49:46

Think Anand has already answered, but on the second part of the question I don't think we should be too hard on ourselves! The public debate in Italy, say (on topics like economic reform and immigration) is at least as bad if not worse than in the UK. Nor should we pretend there was some "golden age" in the past when experts were listened to uncritically. Politics is messy. What we can try to do is hold our politicians to account and not let them get away with lying, manipulating or misrepresenting facts.

lonelyplanetmum

This is a question about the politicians and the public who (ignorantly) deny input from experts and expertise. Its a cheeky second question.

The explanations you have given on previous web chats have come to bear with precision and prescience. Thank you. You accurately explained on the last web-chat that the most likely outcome would be an extension and, of course, you have been proved right.

Do you think the fashion for denial of experienced expert knowledge is uniquely British and American phenomenon? Why has it happened? Will wider respect for knowledge and deeper understanding return within our lifetimes?

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