January 17, 2019

The Future of Brexit

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote in the British parliament on Wednesday… Lawmakers voted 325 to 306 that they had confidence in May’s government, just 24 hours after handing her European Union withdrawal deal a crushing defeat that left Britain’s exit from the bloc in disarray.”

See past issues

From the Left

The left urges a softer Brexit, arguing that a no-deal one would be economically disastrous.

“This day spent debating the no-confidence motion now leaves Parliament with the same problem [it] started with: The UK still doesn’t have a Brexit deal — and maybe never will.”

“Theresa May just can’t win. Theresa May just can’t lose… Despite the denials and ultimatums from all sides, a host of alternative paths forward—including a softer Norway-style Brexit, a no-deal Brexit, and a new referendum—are all very real possibilities. It also seems possible the deadline could be extended and British politicians will continue to debate the intricacies of the Irish backstop until Earth is engulfed by the sun. Theresa May will probably still be prime minister when that happens.”

“Immediately after Wednesday’s vote the prime minister offered talks with leaders of opposition parties to break the impasse. It is a welcome shift in tone, but there is no indication from Mrs May’s record that she has the diplomatic skills required to make such a consultation fruitful. She has clung compulsively to her original negotiating ‘red lines’ and still seems unaware that the Brexit model they defined is beyond resuscitation…

“There are models of a soft Brexit that have been developed by groups of Labour and Tory MPs… It is not enough to affect a change of tone in the aftermath of a fierce parliamentary debate. The shift in style is welcome and long overdue. But the prime minister must now urgently show readiness to compromise on the very substance of Brexit.”
The Guardian

If there does end up being a second referendum, it “shouldn’t be just a binary choice between stay or leave, but must acknowledge two very real things: the actual price tag of leaving and the long-term economic harm, and an explanation of what the EU must do to address genuine issues of national sovereignty if the U.K. stays. Regardless, the nation must confront the pre-referendum promises made by leave advocates, strip out the ones that have since been proven false, and work with what’s left.”

“After almost 45 years in the customs union neither Britain nor its trading partners have in place the infrastructure that you need to operate a border, even a friendly one. If you aren’t in a customs union — if goods have to clear some kind of border procedure — you need to have a sufficient number of customs inspectors, an adequate computer network, and so on. Without those you’ll experience massive delays…

“While the long-run effects of Brexit would probably be moderate… the short run could be much worse — both for Britain and for the E.U.”
New York Times

Many note that “Biden’s opposition to [marijuana] legalization… puts him at odds with the great majority of Democrats, 75-plus percent of whom back legalization. Biden’s opposition even puts him at odds with the median Republican, with polls showing that even a majority of Republicans support legalization. Politically, then, legalization should be low-hanging fruit… Yet Biden is not quite there… It’s an especially bad look for Biden. He has a long record of pushing for punitive criminal justice and drug policies — not just supporting but actually writing many of the laws in the 1980s and ’90s that helped shape America’s modern war on drugs. For Biden to hang on to marijuana prohibition, then, just reinforces one of the major concerns that criminal justice reformers like Booker have about him.”
German Lopez, Vox

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right is critical of May’s proposed deal, arguing that a no-deal Brexit would be preferable.

From the Right

The right is critical of May’s proposed deal, arguing that a no-deal Brexit would be preferable.

“2.5 years after the Brits narrowly voted to leave the European Union, lawmakers still have no consensus on what Brexit means or what they would want from a potential deal.”
Washington Examiner

“The reason that a majority of Britons voted to leave the EU was the simple and reasonable demand that the decisions that govern their lives be made by representatives they can vote for or against in elections. Brexit was, at its heart, about democracy and sovereignty

“[Meanwhile] May’s deal offered only a two-year transition period - with a multi-billion-pound price tag attached - that would essentially keep the UK subject to key aspects of EU law, prevent the UK striking independent trade deals, and defer the big decisions about the future relationship with the EU to a further round of negotiations. Her ‘Brexit deal’ was no such thing: it was not really a deal and it didn’t deliver Brexit.”
Fox News

The best chance for Brexit success was for the Tories to embrace the will of the people in 2016 and sell the public on the reforms necessary to turn Britain into a magnet for investment and human capital. Even now a hard Brexit could succeed if some Tories showed any desire to lead public opinion like Margaret Thatcher rather than follow it. But no one has been willing to make that case, not even the most ardent Brexiteers. Thus everybody has defaulted to Mrs. May…

”Even the 118 Conservatives who opposed [May’s] EU deal supported her as PM, as did the 10 members of the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party who prop up her government but also opposed her on Brexit. These folks enjoy griping from the sidelines about Brexit policy, but no one else wants to catch the spears that go with being in charge of the process.”
Wall Street Journal

“The media, the establishment, and an unstable Remain majority of MPs want to avoid a No Deal Brexit — or in ordinary English, Brexit — at almost all costs. Their difficulties are that all the other options have major and perhaps even disabling flaws… All these parliamentary maneuvers by Remainers, moreover, are being proposed and discussed under the shadow of the fact that public support for Brexit refuses to change more than marginally despite an astonishing barrage of Remain propaganda.”
National Review

One former UK Independence Party candidate writes, “A hard Brexit is still the simplest, easiest option for the UK… [The] default is [leaving] without a deal. That's what the current law is. We invoked Article 50, we're leaving. It takes a positive act for anything else to happen [which] needs a majority in the House of Commons. But there is no majority in the commons for anything.”
Washington Examiner

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

Pa. police department is looking for a few good people to get drunk.
Penn Live

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