The (short) Brexit update, with pumpkins

It gets weirder over here by the minute. First, the House of Commons passed Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill. Only that wasn’t a decisive vote. It was the bill’s second reading, which is (the name’s a bit misleading) the first chance the Commons gets to debate a bill. If a bill passes the second reading, all that means is that the Commons approves the general principle of a bill, and then–at least in any normal situation–it goes to a committee, which considers all the clauses, the amendments, the commas, the footnotes, and the implications. Then the Commons can make a more informed decision.

But Johnson was demanding that the bill go through all its stages in three days, one of which had already been mostly used up, so it was second hand by the time the schedule was put to a vote. Commons would have to forget the commas, the clauses, the 110 pages of text, the fact that the chancellor had refused to issue any prediction about the agreement’s economic impact. To keep up with the schedule, the bill needed to leave the ball before the horses turned into mice and the coach turned into a pumpkin.

Why? Because Johnson said Britain would be out of the EU by Halloween and he had his sizeable ego caught up in this thing. Which is convenient, since it gives me a headline. 

We’ll cut to the chase here. After the bill passed its second reading, the commons voted down his timetable, at which point Johnson said he’d withdraw the bill and call for an election. Then he said he’d pause the bill but Britain would still leave by October 31.

He also said he’d talk to EU leaders about an extension–preferably a short one. Donald Tusk, the EU council president, has said he’ll recommend a three-month extension that can end earlier if a deal is finally completed.

Do we have an election coming up? Hard to say. Johnson would love to leave the ball right now, if only to return with a new dress, two slippers, and a mandate. Do you know how awkward it is to run around in one high-heeled slipper, especially a glass one with no flexibility? On the other hand, he may think he can get his deal through, in which case he’ll want to do that first. 

Will Labour support an election? Possibly. The experts are still reading the tea leaves on that.

Most predictions are that any election would return another deeply divided parliament, but I wouldn’t recommend putting money on any of this. 

66 thoughts on “The (short) Brexit update, with pumpkins

  1. They’ll just do what they always do – bring us to stalemate, call an election, lose said election so the opposition become the government; then the former government – now the opposition – blame the government for getting us into this mess – and everyone believes them! The clowns really ARE running the circus.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I know you don’t like Boris because you keep calling him ‘Johnson ‘ which nobody else does, and sets my teeth on edge. My instinctive feeling about Boris is that he is what we need, right now, for all his eccentricities. I don’t care, frankly, about the size of his ego. Can you think of a male national leader without an ego? That’s what makes men Men And leaders Leaders.

    We had Mrs May who, if she had any ego, or indeed personality, hid it so well that she got stomped all over and shat upon.

    My own feeling, though nowadays nothing can be predicted, is that if the actual People – as opposed to the hypothetical British People politicians are so fond of speaking for – do finally – finally! – get a chance to vote in a general election, the opposition may find themselves far less popular than they imagine, especially if the loathsome Old Goat remains.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Elections are notoriously hard to predict, especially lately, when pollsters have been unusually unreliable. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but my gut instinct is that it will, again, be a divided parliament. We’ll see, eventually.

      About names. I know he’s generally called Boris. Sorry calling him by his last name doesn’t sit well with you, but Boris feels roughly that same to me. Theresa May was often called Mrs. May. I preferred May, as Corbyn’s Corbyn and Cameron was Cameron. If nothing else, at least it’s consistent. I’d agree about egos. It’s only when they get to be a problem that I think they’re worth mentioning. These people aren’t our friends and don’t have to be, so I’d judge them by different standards than the people I hope to spend time with. I mention Johnson’s (sorry) because in this case I think it is getting in his way. He made a rash commitment and is having trouble backing off it, although it would, I think, give him far fewer problems if he could adjust.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. “But Johnson was demanding that the bill go through all its stages in three days…Commons would have to forget the commas, the clauses, the 110 pages of text”

    Rank amateurs. When Obama and the Dems passed healthcare they insisted the 2,500 pages be vote on sight unseen, because they didn’t have enough time to print all of the required copies before the date they wanted it voted upon.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. ‘his sizeable ego caught up in this thing’…..why should this conjure up an image of Johnson with his genitalia caught in a mangle a la Widow Twankey? An image which a cup of Earl Grey and a severe talking to have failed to dispel.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. At least now he has discussed affirmatively asking for an extension, even s short one. That is some progress.
    How long does it take to have new elections and form a new government. Does not seem to be time for that. Seems like the people in office should make the decision considering that midnight is approaching.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Compared to the US, elections take no time at all–and less money’s poured into them, although the faster they’re set up (I read recently) the more it costs local governments to rent places where people can vote. I’m not really sure what the minimum amount of time it, now that you ask.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In my opinion, in a representative democracy, the elected representatives make the decisions, doing what they think is the right course for the country. It appears to me they should put on their big boy pants (or as someone says in England, their big girl blouses) and decide what is to be done.

        Liked by 3 people

        • One thing that’s been missing in this whole sad saga is any attempt to bring the two sides together and see if there’s anything that would satisfy both to at least some degree. Instead, it’s been rip up the floorboards and destroy the other side. Which is one reason we are where we are.

          Liked by 1 person

            • My sense–and I’m not sure of that I’ll be able to explain this coherently–is that in the US the two sides are more genuinely divided, in part by the long and bitter history of racism and in part by a long history of division over social programs–not to mention abortion and gay rights. In Britain, the last three are relatively minimal divisions. Racism’s alive and kicking, although very different, and in both countries the division over immigration’s sharp and real. But my sense is of a less divided country, with a division being cooked up for political benefit. People feel–justifiably–unrepresented and are being represented by people who will do nothing in their interest.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Mr Johnson is doing his best in a difficult political situation. If there is an element which seems very likely, Mr Johnson is likely to win. This not totally sure as we saw in Canada only a few days ago. After this event hopefully we will have a move forward. Would you not agree?

    Liked by 3 people

    • If the polls are right–which isn’t a sure thing–the Conservatives would be the largest party in a new parliament but would be well short of a majority. I don’t know if Johnson’s doing his best, but I don’t think that matters. In my opinion, his best isn’t what’s needed right now. Someone else might be able to find workable compromises–something neither he nor Theresa May have had any inclination to try.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Both May and Johnson have signed up to deals which leave the U.K. subject to E.U. legislation in the long term…disagrements to be adjudicated by….the E.C.J. and a body appointed by the E.U.
    You cannot compromise with the E.U. if you want independence. I know it is not a popular view…and I am no longer living there…but a no deal stance is the only one which will bring results and allow the U.K. to revitalise its infrstructure and its industrial sector.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have to disagree with you there. I think what a hard Brexit would set off would be a race to the bottom–the elimination of workplace, consumer, environmental, and human rights protections. The cost money, all of them. And as a writer in I can’t remember which newspaper reminded us recently, even a no-deal Brexit will involve deals–you can’t be part of the world economy without them–but they’ll be negotiated later.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. “Why? Because Johnson said Britain would be out of the EU by Halloween and he had his sizeable ego caught up in this thing. Which is convenient, since it gives me a headline.” 😂😂😂 Loving this turn of phrase… and loved the title.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We-e-ll, Brexit got a majority in a referendum. But it was one of those badly worded monsters that leaves everybody wondering what exactly the majority voted for. A no-deal Brexit? A soft Brexit that leaves us in the customs union? Any one of a number of variations in between? No one knows, and an awful lot of people are happy to jump in and claim that the yes vote was for the variation that they happen to support.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I too refuse to call him Boris. PM Johnson it is.
    The first name term feeds in to the mythological character that he has propogated over time, the bumbling, not serious or prepared enough to be dangerous buffoon. The image created to distract you from the actual Alexander Boris dePfeffel Johnson, the old Etonian ‘he didn’t get to where he is by actually being any good at anything’ man himself. A chancer and a liar but with family generated connections.
    In fact, his (failed) intended avoidance of this ‘deal’ being looked at too closely smacked of a second-hand car salesman showing you the gleaming paint job and trying deparately to close the deal but avoiding any discussion of the mechanical condition under the hood and just plain lying about the lack of a service history.
    People see through the ‘you can trust me, I’m just harmless old bumbling Boris’ now. Mainly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My sense is that he’s smarter than Trump–talk about damning with faint praise–but nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is. He’s the product of elite education, and an elite family, all of which tends to convince people that they’re smarter than they are. He’s also cultivated an image as a bumbling rule breaker and manages to get away, shamelessly, with things that would drive anyone else out of public office. His closest adviser, Dominic Cummings, is a master of the dark arts of campaigning but hasn’t been as clever at actual politics. Is that any help?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A modicum of good news here (Canada) … we now have a minority government, which will, if nothing else force the parties to at least pretend to communicate effectively with each other and focus slightly more on each issue rather than the usual dick-wankery. It’s the best we could hope for really.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Ellen, I appreciate your Brexit posts. Thanks for keeping us informed. and Thanks for linking up with us at the GATHER OF FRIENDS LINK PARTY 9. Pinned

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for doing that. I’ve never been able to make much sense of Pinterest. (I tried briefly, then fled.) I can see where it works for crafts and travel and things of that sort. But what on earth category would you use for something like the Brexit posts?

      Like

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