The Brexit update: a country on hold

Britain’s on hold at the moment (“History-in-the-making is experiencing a high volume of calls right now…”), waiting to talk to someone who can resolve our Brexit problems. Whatever music we least want to hear is drilling its way down our ear canals and into our brains. That’s because parliament was sent home to sit on many scattered naughty steps so that our prime minister, Boris Johnson, can pursue Brexit without being bothered by the country’s primary governing body.

One of the things we’re waiting for is expected in a few days at most: The supreme court (no capital letters, apparently) is considering whether Johnson had the right to send parliament home without dessert. (Yes, I know I’ve changed images and it was the naughty step in the last paragraph. Indulge me. I just sat with friends talking about Brexit and feeling miserable, so I’m going to haul out every half-assed joke I’ve been schlepping around in my backpack, all at once. I doubt they’ll make me feel better but my backpack will at least be lighter.) 

Experts in reading legal tea leaves expect the court to rule against Johnson, setting off a “constitutional eruption of volcanic proportions” according to an unnamed senior legal figure. 

Johnson said he’d abide by the ruling, which is nice of him, given that it’ll come from his country’s highest court, but government figures have been strewing suggestions that he might abide by it and then send parliament home all over again but for a different reason. And stick his tongue out at them as they’re leaving.

If the tea-leaf experts are right and the court does rule against Johnson, what will matter is what grounds they base their ruling on. If they say he misled the queen, at least one expert says he’s had it. 

Why? Because you can shut down your country’s legislative body, you can lie to the public, you can encourage bitter division among your people and bring your country to the brink of what many people think will be disaster, but you cannot get caught lying to the queen. Because she’s the queen.

Don’t expect me to explain this to you. I spent most of my life in the US. I’ll never really understand this queen business.

What’s Johnson doing while sit on hold and listen to music we hate?

He’s told us that, in the great game of Brexit, he holds a card that will allow the backstop* to be replaced with something better, newer, bigger, and, um, better. Now the  European Union has called its bluff and asked to see the card. 

In the meantime–or possibly in response; we can’t know because it’s secret–Britain has proposed something that we don’t know the contents of because the proposals are marked secret. Britain doesn’t even want them distributed to the Brexit representatives of the EU’s member states. They’re marked “Her Majesty’s government property.” 

So are the capital letters in that quote, so don’t mess with them. Her Majesty’s government doesn’t have a sense of humor about capital letters. I’m pushing my luck leaving the U out of humor.

How are the EU member states supposed to evaluate them if they can’t read them? 

That’s their problem.

This news came after the EU handed Johnson a two-week deadline to show its backstop card and the UK said it couldn’t meet an artificial deadline, it would need a year.

Britain’s supposed to leave the EU on October 31, though. What’s supposed to happen on the border between then and when the backstop card is turned face up? 

I have no idea. 

To show that he’s serious about the negotiations, Johnson compared himself to the Incredible Hulk, and demonstrators have been appearing in costume holding “incredible sulk” signs. Headline writers rubbed their hands in glee.   

In the midst of all this, Johnson ducked out of a scheduled press conference in Luxembourg, where he’d planned on telling everyone how well the negotiations were going. That left Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, standing at one lectern and gesturing at the empty one, saying the EU needed “more than just words.” 

The supreme court will hand down its ruling soon. Lawyers on both sides will be combing through every comma and semicolon. In the meantime, your call is important to us. We will be with you as soon as inhumanly possible.


* The backstop: Entirely too briefly, this is part of the treaty negotiated by our former prime minister, Theresa May, and rejected by her supporters and her opponents and even the extra-terrestrials circling the Earth invisibly and shaking their heads over the general incompetence of the human race. The idea of the backstop was to keep Brexit from creating a hard border, with border checks and so forth, between Ireland and Northern Ireland, for fear of restarting the Troubles between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. I’ll spare you the explanation of why it’s a hot button issue, but it is.

56 thoughts on “The Brexit update: a country on hold

  1. After following the issue misty in your post and somewhat on articles found on google, in others words, based on almost no facts and understanding other than reading a lot of English and European history, it seems to me that the UK should leave on October 31. Take the plunge and commit and work out the details later. Damn the torpedoes and full steam ahead. Let the lawyers work out all details.
    I don’t understand the Queen business either. I thought her job was to maintain the palaces, smile and waive. The idea that she had any real power is scary. Partly because if she does it would go up her oldest son Charles when she dies. UK should get over that. I guess having said that I should not visit the UK. But I did not plan to anyway.
    Thanks for the update and have a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It has been all sorts of emotions as I have watched Trump attempt to take down the USA and now you as a transplant have your own nightmare in Johnson. You absolutely cannot make up these absurdly ridiculous situations. Who had charge of the key that unlocked the asylum doors and let these two free…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I arrive at Gatwick from California on October 8th. Two nights near Alfriston and then to Kensington for seven. Hmmm. Wonder what I’ll be on scene for, depending upon this supreme court ruling.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The backstop was proposed by the EU to prevent smuggling of goods from a potentially low tariff U.K. to a high tariff E.U. Republic of Ireland.
    A sort of Continental Blockade in reverse.
    Thus the E.U. set up an obstacle to fulfilment of the Good Friday Agreement and are busy blaming the U.K. for not finding a solution, which is, of course, to let the Irish continue smuggling to maintain a cultural tradition.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Don’t think they should do that. Think of the possible disruptions in medical supplies that keep people alive and well. Think of the food supply chain. Think of the multinational corporations that employ people. Damn the torpedoes never works to the advantage of the people and should be left to second rate movies starring actors of limited intelligence like Ronald Reagan. Trump would love your suggestion so US corporations could move in and destroy the NHS, tax strand benefit system that made post-World War II UK a decent place to live. I’m sure Trump is licking his lips thinking about how he could make one of his disastrous attempts to actually be among the filthy rich that always result in failure, bankruptcy and harm to employees and communities. So, no, not a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m on a roll today while house sitting by the sea in marvelous little Los Osos CA. Two energetic Australian Shepherds, three lovely cats in the house, all rescues, one likes to wash the faces of the dogs and wrestle a bit with them, and one wonderful rescued calico cat living in the shed because she doesn’t like other cats. Despite all the walks, food and water distribution, poop scooping and pet hair everywhere management, I have time to read email and sound off on Brexit. Do not be apologetic about giving us your take on Brexit. I eagerly await every word because you have a unique perspective and I’ve come to respect your thoughts and integrity. Now off to give food and love to cat in shed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Boris Johnson in green face a la incredible Hulk would be a nice complement to Canada’s PM Trudeau in brown or blackface, which is the latest bombshell in our current federal election campaign. (Not nearly as bad a scene as Brexit, though.)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An article appeared yesterday saying that many “leave” in Wales, were actually English incomers and most of the Welsh-speaking areas voted to stay in the EU. Well, I am an English incomer and I certainly did not vote to leave but I do know a couple of Welsh remain voters whose parents voted leave, so it may be a generational thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It seems the U.K. is as bitterly divided over Brexit as Americans are about everything else. From across the pond, it seems you have more to lose than gain and no one has a plan for how to deal with it once it’s done. Welcome to modern politics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That could be a problem with the writing–I put it together quickly–or it could be a problem with reality. Or both. Either way–well, I was about to apologize for both of them, but I’m really only responsible for the one.


  10. Problems are universal. The real culprit is, of course, human beings. I often wonder what the Creator was thinking. In a million years humanity has managed to evolve technologically but is now regressing rapidly back to barbarism. You have my empathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Exactly. Community, consideration for others, planning for the long term is what we need to get back. It is especially hard here in the US when you have powerful interest groups and individuals who have come together to do the opposite with one group doing their best to acquire and keep all wealth for themselves and the other group determined to destroy civil society so they can hasten their journey back to their maker in some fantasy they call the rapture. Add in climate change, crop fails, desertification all leading to desperate migration plus all the marketing that gave us Trump as a TV star and then President. We are in a bad spot. This is the worst of times in human behavior. Right now I’m waiting to see what your Boris is going to do in response to that supreme court ruling. While waiting, I have to continue writing the disaster plan for my mobile home park that doesn’t include any plans for all of the above.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Even with the TV off and Bobby Darin warbling softly in the background I’m still stuck in this mess. Pretty bad when writing a disaster plan feels like an escape. More escape: filling refrigerator/freezer with bottled water in case PG&E, our for-profit power provider, turns off the juice to avoid their lines causing a fire on this windy 98 F day. Crazy! I’d best finish this plan. We may need it.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: The Brexit update, with shampoo | Notes from the U.K.

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