David Garcia on Thu, 17 Jan 2019 17:33:24 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> notes from Brexania in limbo...

My friend Eric Kluitenberg asked for my local view of the current situation in Brexania. It gave me the chance 
to pull some threads together. Some caveats this is a view from the sidelines. The journalists are all suffering 
from as much confusion and exhaustion..as the rest of the population.

I read nearly everything written and watch the parliamentary debates and follow commentators including  
my dear Uncle Fred (who is dead by the way and so should know a thing or two about the after life) and the only 
consistent message that emerges is that "no one knows anything”. 

So this is what I think I know becoming less certain as you go down the bullet points:

* Although Parliament rejected May’s deal Parliament does not know what it wants instead.

* No majority for any plan and so Parliament is deadlocked

* The only Parliamentary majority is to avoid ’no deal’ 'crash out' but no can agree 
how to avoid it as the date is set in law and cannot be repealed without
a new law being passed. 

* May will not take ‘no deal’ off the table as it is her principle means of 
terrorising parliament to get her way on her be-hated deal.

* Though she denies it May is running down the clock till we get so close to
the precipice that parliament votes for her deal out of sheer terror.

* Even after the biggest defeat in parliamentary history she continues to 
pursue this strategy that some called gritty and brave and others (me) 
call rigid and pathological. 

* There is reason to believe that the current ‘consultations’ with
other parties (May in listening mode ha ha) are tokenistic cover for her continued 
pursuit of the ticking clock strategy.. tick tick tick….

* The evidence for this is her refusal to take ’off deal’ off the table.. tick.. tick 

* This is why Corbyn may be right to refuse to talk to her because until ’no deal is 
off the the table’ the discussions remain a tokenistic delaying tactic. But it does
make Corbyn look intransigent…so risky.  

* Corbyn is heavily criticised for not backing a ‘public vote’ 

* It could be strategic.. His calculation may be to let the different options play themselves out 
in parliament until a new referendum is the last option left standing. But it is not yet clear how
these options will unfold sequentially in the way imagined as Parliament has little time and no 
clear method.

If the leave voting working class Labour voters (particularly in the North of England) 
are not to feel betrayed a public vote must be seen as the last option standing. 

Then Corbyn can turn to those constituencies and say "look I have tried my best 
to deliver Brexit on terms that do the least damage but was not possible. So over to you
the public” not my fault gov...

* If I am right this is a high risk strategy.. but maybe political intransigence mean that high risk 
is all that is left-short of backing May’s deal…. aahhh

* Traditional (neo-liberal) transactional politics is dead in the UK some might say good riddens. 
Conservative historian Peter Hennesy described ‘Brexit’ as a kind of secular version of the "wars of religion”. 
But instead of Protestants and Catholics we have ‘remainers’ and ‘leavers’ representing two very different and 
irreconcileable versions of ‘patriotism’.… but thats an argument for another day

* If we do have a chance to fight a third referendum (remember there was a referendum to join the EU in 
1975) it will carry many risks of re-igiting toxicity. So we should keep in mind that enlightenment Philosopher, 
David Hume, wrote "reason is, and ought to be, the slave of the passions". In other words reason is inextricably 
linked to embodied emotions. In the struggle for the social mind Remainers (like me) should avoid sounding like the 
disembodied and controlling voice of pragmatic reason. We must argue from the heart and engage the passions 
as well as reason in our attempts to change the minds of the millions who voted to leave.. It is be no means certain 
that we will prevail. 



On 16 Jan 2019, at 19:24, Eric Kluitenberg <epk@xs4all.nl> wrote:

HI David,

Hope you are doing fine!

Well, as expected the Br deal was voted down and May survived the motion of no confidence.

I was curious, how do you evaluate the situation right now? Where are we on both sides of canal?

all bests,
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