Friday, 18 January 2019

Sharing Platforms

Eddie Marsan points out to his Twitter followers that Jeremy Corbyn behaves very strangely when it comes to 'sharing platforms' with political friends and foes.

I think its fair to say that the Labour leader is keen for Brexit to go ahead and for this to happen under a Conservative-led Government.

Which explains why he is against a People's Vote and is defying the clear will of the vast majority of Labour Party members and supporters.


   

Burn-It-All-Down Brexit (16/01/19)


Daniel Finkelstein hits the nail on the head with his column in The Times on Brexit. 

The Brexiteer rebels are now saying something they never said in the referendum. That Brexit could mean leaving without any trade deal, breaking the Good Friday agreement, failing to settle financially with our continental allies and departing without a transition arrangement. They claim only this is truly Brexit. And only this is what “17.4 million people” voted for.

Nonsense. Complete nonsense. But all right, if they really believe that the majority of voters support this burn-it-all-down Brexit, let’s put it to the test. Let’s have another referendum and ask the electorate. If they are so confident that this is the will of the people, surely the Brexiteers won’t mind.

The Fink is right you know - it's time to call a halt to this nonsense, face down the ideologues on the left and right of politics - and demand a People's Vote on the final terms of any Brexit Deal or No Deal.

  


Blame the Brexiteers for last night’s farce

By Daniel Finkelstein - The Times

Tory Leavers who once advocated pragmatic changes to our relationship with Europe have become reckless zealots


In the late 1960s, a group of young Frenchmen sat down to discuss current affairs. And as they talked, something strange happened. Initial mild support for General de Gaulle became much stronger, while opinions about American foreign aid turned from a little bit sceptical to downright hostile.

The conversation was one of the earliest studies of something called “group polarisation”, the tendency to become firmer and more extreme when discussing subjects with those of like mind.

There have been dozens of similar experiments since then, covering topics as diverse as feminism, the behaviour of judges, racial prejudice, even the willingness of burglars to take risks. Each shows the same tendency for group opinions to polarise. And in his 2009 book Going to Extremes Cass Sunstein collects them together.

If he were to publish a new edition, he would surely be tempted to include Brexit. Look at what has happened to the supporters of Brexit. Last night we learnt that people who once were quite pragmatic about the sort of relationship we should have with the European Union after leaving have become more doctrinaire. Only the hardest Brexit is now real Brexit. Nothing else will do. Any alternative is a betrayal.

These are people who once talked about how the EU was fine “when it was a common market”, or who said we might become members of the European Free Trade Association (Efta), or be like Norway. People who argued that we would arrange tariff-free trade with the EU. People who argued to remain in the customs union even after Brexit.

And now? They haven’t even noticed that they have shifted their position. Just as Sunstein’s theory predicted. They have spent so long knocking around with each other, egging each other on, setting each other purity tests, that they have drifted, drifted, drifted until we are in the ridiculous position where the prime minister negotiates to leave the EU and they turn it down.

Only chaos will do and they are willing to break their leader, break their government, break their party or even break Brexit as long as they don’t have to compromise. Forgetting, as they do, that they are being asked to compromise with positions they publicly advocated not that long ago.

Patience with this position has been hard to maintain, and with last night’s vote mine, at least, is now exhausted.

I have never believed that Brexit was wise or in the national interest. But I did accept that we had a free and fair referendum. So I felt that parliament, which offered that referendum, had a duty to implement the outcome. I have supported it in doing that duty

I endorsed triggering Article 50, even though I thought that the country was making an error. And I backed negotiations to gain as much freedom from EU institutions as was compatible with a close trading relationship, peace in Ireland and the unwinding of a deep legal entanglement.

To find myself cheering on a Brexit I think is foolish, while its advocates vote the other way, is an absurd position to be in. And there are many others in the same position. We have gone along with Brexit because we thought that it had a democratic mandate. But now? I’ve reached the end of the road.

Brexiteers like the feeling that they have been betrayed by the political establishment. Well, I’m sorry, but you have not been betrayed. Brexit meant Brexit. Leave meant Leave. A deal has been negotiated that would allow us to leave in two months’ time and it’s you, the Brexiteers, who defeated it. Brexit is there. It’s on the table. It’s ready for you to carry away. Don’t you dare accuse me of bad faith if you fail to pick it up.

It is we who have been betrayed. Those who faithfully and diligently tried to make Brexit happen smoothly and on time, even though we had our doubts. We’ve been left high and dry.

The Brexiteer rebels are now saying something they never said in the referendum. That Brexit could mean leaving without any trade deal, breaking the Good Friday agreement, failing to settle financially with our continental allies and departing without a transition arrangement. They claim only this is truly Brexit. And only this is what “17.4 million people” voted for.

Nonsense. Complete nonsense. But all right, if they really believe that the majority of voters support this burn-it-all-down Brexit, let’s put it to the test. Let’s have another referendum and ask the electorate. If they are so confident that this is the will of the people, surely the Brexiteers won’t mind.

Every day since the Brexit vote in 2016 I have resisted the idea of a second referendum. For parliament to be unable to implement the result of the vote it called is a ghastly failure. And all the arguments against a second referendum are as strong as ever — if a second, why not a third? And what will the question be?

But if the alternative is to be made to acquiesce in a no-deal Brexit then I’m prepared to wear this difficulty. I think this is quite a moderate response to being sorely tested.

I am more pessimistic than most people about avoiding no deal. Things look prohibitively difficult for the prime minister’s deal after it was defeated by 230 votes last night but no other arrangement seems to have much promise either. I still fear Jeremy Corbyn will not support a second referendum and until he does, Mrs May is right to try whatever she can and she should be supported in this until it becomes obvious something else can command a majority.

But for me, at least, last night was a watershed. Any viable alternative — Norway, a permanent customs union, a second referendum — needs now to be actively considered and I am certainly ready to support them.

One final thing. Leavers aren’t the only people who suffer from group polarisation. I know I am even more sceptical about Brexit now than I was two years ago. And there are many Remainers who have now persuaded themselves that the first referendum was invalid and that we can simply withdraw our Article 50 notification without further ado.

Of course we can’t. If parliament can’t deliver Brexit, it would have to go back to the people. But all I would say to the Brexiteers is that if parliament can’t deliver Brexit, it isn’t my fault. It’s yours.

daniel.finkelstein@thetimes.co.uk

Magic Grandpa (15/01/19)



I liked Morten Morland's cartoon in The Times which portrays Jeremy Corbyn coming to the rescue with his 'magic' touch and inane gobbledegook about a 'Job First' Brexit.

   


Corbyn is a Clown (13/01/19)

 

Mark Irvine
As a former full-time trade union official, Jeremy Corbyn is arguing (with a straight face) that people can get all the same benefits of trade union membership - without being a member of a trade union! 

What a complete tosser.