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November 6, 2019
[politics] My life in the ethical wild west: our sketch writer on his three years of Brexit hell … John Crace on Brexit. ‘Then there was Chris Grayling, the transport secretary under May, who awarded a ferry contract to a company with no ferries and whose time as cabinet minister cost the country £3bn. We could have paid him £1bn to stay at home doing nothing and still had money left over to build two hospitals. There is Jacob Rees-Mogg, the idiot’s idea of a thinking man, and Mark Francois, the exploding molehill. And, of course, Nigel Farage, who has returned to the fray to lead the Brexiters Against Brexit 12-step group. Then there is Boris Johnson himself, a byword for untrustworthiness, duplicity and laziness who is now our prime minister. Some countries have all the luck.’
October 23, 2019
[brexit] You could have had Brexit by now if you hadn’t been such d*cks about it‘You could have had it! All you had to do was stay in a customs union and you could have stopped immigration, which was all you cared about anyway. But no. Nobody had heard of bloody no-deal before last summer but suddenly that was all you wanted and nothing else would do and look where it’s got you. Now we’re at the point where you’ve got an actual Brexit deal actually passed and the first thing you do is stop everything because you’re not allowed to ram it through in three days. Seriously?’
September 24, 2019
[politics] Has Dominic Cummings Resigned Yet?‘No.’
September 12, 2019
[brexit] This Is How Dominic Cummings Sees The World — And What It Means For Brexit‘One Whitehall source, pointing out that there’s more to government than what Cummings saw at the Department for Education, acerbically noted that the bureaucracy he despises exists to stop poor performances such as departments producing error-strewn financial statements. This was something Cummings’ own department did. Another source familiar with his work offered a particularly withering assessment, describing him as “a man with a history degree — who has seen Terminator.”’
August 28, 2019
[comics] Dr Manhattan – Don’t blame me. I voted for chaos with Ed Miliband. (Hat Tip: @MartinBelam)

August 16, 2019
[blogs] Monster or guru? What Dominic Cummings’ blog tells us about him … Dominic Cummings has a blog and he puts collections of links into PDFs?! 😱 ‘He started it five years ago and has used it as a dumping ground for his thoughts. All of his thoughts. Some entries are only a few lines long while others stretch to 10,000 words. The whole thing, including attachments, has a higher word count than Ulysses. Like Ulysses, it is both focused and digressive, obsessive and uncontainable; all emphatic italics and BLOCK CAPS and (1) numbered points leading to (2) apocalyptic conclusions. Cummings studied history at Oxford but writes knowingly about subjects from bio-engineering to space exploration. His style oscillates between the academic and the hard-boiled. He suggests “bunging a few million quid” to someone to liven up the civil service; claims that “great unconventional hookers and a bit of imagination … get you into pretty much anywhere”; and wonders “what is to stop someone sending a drone swarm across the river and bombing parliament during PMQs”.’
July 11, 2019
[brexit] Why People Want a No Deal Brexit‘Clearly, No Deal presents the opportunity to become part of some uniting national disaster, as if the most alive you’ll ever feel in your country will be when it’s closest to death. What this attitude belies more than anything is not the strength of feeling around Brexit, but a strange predilection for chaos and discomfort at the heart of the nation, a crazed, jingo-masochist complex among the seemingly vanilla. Discourse that might feel most at home in a radical Marxist-Accelerationist seminar has become perfectly ordinary to the Points Of View audience.’
April 15, 2019
[brexit] TV fans delighted as Brexit renewed for another season‘Television critics have never been keen on Brexit and many cite it as the only show which managed to jump the shark before it even began. “Good writing in any genre is founded on truth,” said critic Victoria Dean. “There was just so much unbelievable guff in Brexit’s trailer that it was obviously going to be a shit show. “I mean, all that stuff written on the bus! The ‘breaking point’ poster. The cartoon villains with no shred of humanity.”’
April 10, 2019
[brexit] EU Files Adoption Papers For Scotland, Northern Ireland‘Whereas Wales and England, the older siblings of Scotland And Northern Ireland, both voted to leave the EU and are perfectly happy to do so, the EU is making moves to rescue the ‘poor weans’ in the UK who voted to remain…’
April 2, 2019
[brxit] How the UK lost the Brexit battle … A longread on why Brexit is failing. ‘For many around May, that a crash would come had been obvious for months. As far back as July 2018, senior figures inside No. 10 Downing Street had warned that her deal, as it was shaping up, was unsustainable. There was just no way a majority in parliament could be assembled for the Brexit the EU was offering. In truth, the trains had been set in motion far earlier — the collision was the culmination of decisions taken by both sides within the hours, weeks and months that followed the referendum. The EU’s determination not to cut London a special deal; Cameron’s decision to walk away; May’s sweeping promise not to raise a border in Ireland, while at the same time drawing incompatible red lines — something had to give, and it would not be Brussels.’
March 29, 2019
[brexit] Happy #BrexitDay …

March 22, 2019
[comics] Theresa May and Brexit.

March 18, 2019
[brexit] The simple guide to Brexit … Diamond Geezer’s Brexit outlines. ‘Nationwide chaos’
March 14, 2019
[brexit] Theresa May planned to defeat herself, then decided not to defeat herself by defeating herself, then lost. To herself … Tom Peck’s Political Sketch of what happened last night in Parliment.

Theresa May has spent the last three years saying “no deal is better than a bad deal”. She’s allocated £4bn of public money to preparing for no deal. And then, on Wednesday evening, she was expected to walk through the division lobbies and vote to rule out no deal.

Mad, obviously. Stark raving mad. But it’s at least within the realm of madness that we’re used to. But what happened was a madness to echo down the ages. Not so much another order of magnitude as another dimension.

The House of Commons was a Benny Hill chase on acid, running through a Salvador Dali painting in a spaceship on its way to infinity.

It was a kind of death-defying, window-shattering, epoch-shaping, never-to-be-surpassed lunacy.

The details are extravagantly complex, and if you can’t face them all, the key bit to remember is that Theresa May planned to defeat herself, then decided not to defeat herself by defeating herself, then lost. To herself.

October 17, 2018
[brexit] Diamond Geezer’s 100 Brexits‘8) The one with a permanent customs union but called something different.’
July 30, 2018
[brexit] That sinking feeling … Charlie Stross on Brexit. ‘A Hard Brexit, on its own, would be a very dubious but probably long-term survivable scenario, with the UK economy taking a hit not much worse than the 10% downsizing Margaret Thatcher inflicted on it in 1979-80. But a hard Brexit, coinciding with the worst harvest failures in decades, ongoing climate destabilization, a fisheries collapse, and a global trade war being started by the Tangerine Shitgibbon in the White House is … well, I’m not optimistic.’
July 27, 2018
[brexit] From anxiety to Zuckerberg: an A-Z of Brexit‘Hard Brexit – As the Pet Shop Boys presciently asked: which do you choose, the hard or soft option? The metaphor of a “hard Brexit” appealed to soft-fleshed types who dream of being manly and thrusting, while a “soft Brexit” still sounds altogether too submissive. Having newly discovered a concern for hygiene, Tory rebels now say they want a “clean Brexit”, not the filthy, presumably French kind.’
March 12, 2018
[brexit] What are they after?: How Could the Tories? … What do the Brexiteer Tories Want From Brexit?… ‘For all his idiosyncrasies, Johnson typifies something about contemporary conservatism, which might best be understood biographically. The cultural forces shaping the new conservatism resolve in a particular stereotype: men born between the mid-1960s and the early 1970s, with some constellation of expat backgrounds, famous fathers and first careers in the media. All four things apply to Johnson, but a Venn diagram of these various characteristics would also include Michael Gove, Douglas Carswell, Daniel Hannan and Jacob Rees-Mogg. The result of these disparate characteristics is a comfortable familiarity with the myths and rituals of the British state, but a blasé indifference to the impact of policy.’
June 13, 2017
[brexit] Britain: The End of a Fantasy … some strong analysis on Brexit and the current mess the United Kingdon is in …

Theresa May is a classic phony Brexiter. She didn’t support it in last year’s referendum and there is no reason to think that, in private, she has ever changed her mind. But she saw that the path to power led toward the cliff edge, from which Britain will take its leap into an unknown future entirely outside the European Union. Her strategy was one of appeasement—of the nationalist zealots in her own party, of the voters who had backed the hard-right UK Independence Party (UKIP), and of the hysterically jingoistic Tory press, especially The Daily Mail.

The actual result of the referendum last year was narrow and ambiguous. Fifty-two percent of voters backed Brexit but we know that many of them did so because they were reassured by Boris Johnson’s promise that, when it came to Europe, Britain could “have its cake and eat it.” It could both leave the EU and continue to enjoy all the benefits of membership. Britons could still trade freely with the EU and would be free to live, work, and study in any EU country just as before. This is, of course, a childish fantasy, and it is unlikely that Johnson himself really believed a word of it. It was just part of the game, a smart line that might win a debate at the Oxford Union.

But what do you do when your crowd-pleasing applause lines have to become public policy? The twenty-seven remaining member states of the EU have to try to extract a rational outcome from an essentially irrational process. They have to ask the simple question: What do you Brits actually want?

May 16, 2017
[press] Is the editor of the Daily Mail the most dangerous man in Britain?… The Guardian on on Paul Dacre and Brexit… ‘His own success at the Mail has bought him schooling for his two sons at Eton, membership of the Garrick, a chauffeur, a house in the country, flat in town and a shooting estate in Scotland (generously subsidised by the EU). He rarely rubs up against the people he believes he represents. “It always amused me that his shoe leather never wore out,” one reporter told Addison, “because every day he was on a carpet in the office; he strode out the door and was in a car which deposited him either at home or a restaurant. He would be horrified at what modern Britain had become – but he was never part of it.” Despite this insulation, Dacre has always presented himself as having a unique “feel for the emotions of ordinary people”. He still apparently locates this feeling in the 1950s London suburb of Arnos Grove in which he grew up, and which persists as the model of the Mail’s middle England.’
July 15, 2016
[brexit] Everything you need to know about Theresa May’s Brexit nightmare in five minutes … TL;DR – We’re fucked basically…‘An interim agreement. This would deal with her main problem, which is time. The Article 50 timetable is just so punishing no nation could come out of it safely. She could skip all this two-year stuff and agree an interim arrangement where the UK stays in the single market while it negotiates its ultimate Brexit deal, with a deadline of 2020 to coincide with the general election. Then she could go to the country looking for a mandate to sign that deal. That would calm the markets, provide a better situation for a decent deal with Europe and other countries, and generally make the whole process a lot less frightening and hysterical for all involved.’
July 11, 2016
[brexit] Brexit: a coup by one set of public schoolboys against another … Brexit – it’s all about the Oxford Union apparently … ‘The moment Brexit was achieved, Johnson and Hannan airily informed Britons that immigration would continue after all. No wonder, because the public schoolboys don’t care about immigration. Whether Poles and Bangladeshis live in unfashionable English provincial towns is a matter of supreme indifference to them. The public schoolboys turned out to have no plan for executing Brexit. I’m guessing they considered this a boring governance issue best left to swotty civil servants. Johnson actually spent the Sunday after Brexit playing cricket. In the great public-school tradition, he was a dilettante “winging it”.’