Thursday 9 January 2020

Sic transit Brexit

The Brexit bill had just three days of debate before it passed the House of Commons today. Yesterday the debate ended four hours early, because so few MPs wanted to speak.

This was the bill, pared of concessions made before the election to Remainers, which the House had refused to pass in three days in time to meet Boris's pledge of achieving Brexit by 31 October. 

I caught my old friend from university David Anderson, now Lord Anderson QC, informing Radio Four's Today programme in October that, though as a crossbench peer he could not get involved in politics, he could say the bill would require a year to eighteen months for Parliament to scrutinise properly. 

This strengthened my view that lawyers do not understand politics and that judges should not be allowed to overrule Parliament. Judicial activism is as undemocratic as international or EU law.

Had Boris kept his promise to achieve Brexit by 31 October and then held an election, when finally permitted to do so, what would the election result have been? Labour would not have betrayed the referendum result by fighting the election on a promise of a second referendum and the Liberal Democrats would have been released from their promise to remain in the EU without bothering about a second referendum. Lifelong Labour voters who had voted Leave would not have needed to vote Tory in order to secure Brexit. 

How full of ironies history is.

Another irony is that Jeremy Corbyn could have had the soft Brexit he said he wanted, kept the UK in a Customs Union with the EU, held onto Labour Leave voters, prevented the Liberal Democrats attracting Labour Remain voters, split the Tory Party and left Theresa May in power as a lame duck Prime Minister, had Jeremy Corbyn stuck to what he claimed were his principles and agreed to a more left-wing version of her Withdrawal Agreement. Instead the Soft Brexiteers and Remainers in the Tory party have been defeated as badly as Labour.

From my Brexiteer point of view, Great Britain had a very lucky escape indeed. As for Northern Ireland, it is set to flourish as the ideal place in the UK for foreign investment, straddling as it will two customs areas.

The blame for Labour's catastrophic mistake was not Jeremy Corbyn's alone. He has always been a Brexiteer in secret and knew that for electoral reasons the referendum result had to be honoured. He tried hard to resist the demands from Keir Starmer, in particular, to pledge a second referendum. The blame is shared not only with Keir Starmer, but Lady Nugee and the rest of the people who want to be the next Labour leader. 

But great praise has to be given to Boris for turning Labour's folly into a comprehensive remaking of the Tory party and leading it to a historic victory. Widely despised by journalists, he has shown that he has the stuff of greatness.


  1. 'I also intend to turn off from thinking and writing about Brexit and British politics.'

    Monday, 6 January 2020

    1. I extended it just now rather than publishing a new post on Brexit.

    2. Good.

      unhappy business/ painful occupation/ sore travail

      I... applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with.
      Ecclesiastes 1 NRSVCE

      And I proposed in my mind to seek and search out wisely concerning all things that are done under the sun. This painful occupation hath God given to the children of men, to be exercised therein.
      Ecclesiastes 1 DRA

      And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
      Ecclesiastes 1 AKJV

    3. Şi m-am sârguit în inima mea să cercetez şi să iau aminte cu înţelepciune la tot ceea ce se petrece sub cer. Acesta este un chin cumplit pe care Dumnezeu l-a dat fiilor oamenilor, ca să se chinuiască întru el.

    4. Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity

      In this research, we test the “brain drain” hypothesis that the mere presence of one’s own smartphone may occupy limited-capacity cognitive resources, thereby leaving fewer resources available for other tasks and undercutting cognitive performance. Results from two experiments indicate that even when people are successful at maintaining sustained attention—as when avoiding the temptation to check their phones—the mere presence of these devices reduces available cognitive capacity. Moreover, these cognitive costs are highest for those highest in smartphone dependence. We conclude by discussing the practical implications of this smartphone-induced brain drain for consumer decision-making and consumer welfare.

      Adrian F. Ward, Kristen Duke, Ayelet Gneezy, and Maarten W. Bos
      Journal of the Association for Consumer Research

  2. What do you think of this point of view?