Pro-Brexit parties punished in UK local elections

The UK's governing Conservative Party lost 1330 council seats in local elections, but the opposition Labour party failed to make the expected gains, losing 84 of its own. The big winners were the Liberal Democrats, picking up 704 seats, the Greens, picking up 194, and 605 new independent candidates. The far-right UKIP lost 145 seats and now holds only 35.

The Conservative Party's rough night is mostly about failing to deliver Brexit, say analysts, but the explosion of support for the Liberal Democrats and Greens (and the near-annihilation of UKIP) does rather suggest that the taste of Brexit itself is increasingly bitter. Read the rest

Old British rabies paranoia films

Britain is free of rabies; the specter of it being imported from Europe was an omnipresent whisper of menace in public information ad spots and print ads when I was a lad. Here's are three chipper segments from the early 1980s that I recall.

Here's another!

And another!

Read the rest

Brexit is cratering London house prices

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' latest UK house price survey blames Brexit for continued declines in property prices in London and the southeast, "the worst slump since the financial crisis," with far more supply than demand. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Fear that far-right terrorists will stage attacks if Brexit is canceled

The world's law enforcement agencies have a terrible blind spot when it comes to far-right, white supremacist terror groups, treating them as unimportant lone wolves despite their prolific and bloody acts of violence. Read the rest

Brexit Crisis: Church of England to host Emergency Tea Parties

With the Prime Minister's Brexit deal failing for the third time to receive Parliament's blessing and the looming possibility of crashing out the EU without a deal, or a snap general election, or a second referendum, or another series of Parliamentary votes, or a general-purpose popular uprising, or alien intervention, the Church of England has a plan: tea parties.

Churches are being encouraged to host “informal café-style meetings” over the weekend of 30 March “to bring together people of all standpoints and encourage open discussion.” The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and John Sentamu, have today backed newly-commissioned resources to invite people to “get together and chat over a cup of tea and pray for our country and our future”.

Under the slogan “Together”, the packs include specially-chosen Bible passages, prayers and questions designed to prompt conversations. The introductory notes urge participants to have “respect for the integrity of differently held positions, encouraging communities which feel the same about the issues to use their imagination to consider the viewpoints of those who feel differently.”

Photo: AS Food studio / Shutterstock Read the rest

British parliament rejects Prime Minister May's Brexit plan for third time

This time she'd promised to resign if they approved it, paving the way for new leadership to execute Prime Minister Theresa May's deal with the European Union for Britain to depart the bloc. Dangling the keys to Downing Street reportedly won over a few power-hungry Tories like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, but not enough. Her Brexit deal was defeated again, for the third time.

The vote on Friday might have been Mrs. May’s last chance to succeed on the issue that has dominated and defined her time in office, and the result left open an array of possibilities, including renewed demands for her resignation and early parliamentary elections.

The defeat appears to leave the increasingly weakened prime minister with two unpalatable options in the short run: Britain can leave the bloc on April 12 without an agreement in place, a chaotic and potentially economically damaging withdrawal; or Mrs. May can ask European leaders – who have ruled out a short delay if her plan failed – for what could be a long postponement.

It wasn't quite the thrashing as the first two votes — 344 votes to 286 — but still so far off that the sheer surreal chaos of it all impresses once again. Read the rest

#Brexit: Actual footage of UK trying to leave EU

Accurate. Read the rest

UK parliament votes to delay Brexit

Britain's parliament voted Thursday to delay Brexit, giving the government breathing room after its repeated failure to gain approval for an exit deal with the European Union. The EU must also agree to the delay, but it will likely do so quickly to help Britain avoid crashing out of the bloc on March 29. However, all states must agree to the extension, and it isn't a done deal.

Mrs May says Brexit could be delayed by three months, to 30 June, if MPs back her withdrawal deal in a vote next week.

If they reject her deal again then she says she will seek a longer extension - but any delay has to be agreed by the 27 other EU member states.

A spokesman for the European Commission said extending Article 50, the mechanism taking the UK out of the EU on 29 March, would need the "unanimous agreement" of all states.

Parliament voted Wednesday against leaving the EU without a deal, after rejecting Prime Minister Theresa May's deal on Tuesday. Read the rest

UK Parliament votes not to leave EU without a deal

Ending the widely-feared possibility of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a Brexit agreement, Parliament voted narrowly against the no-deal "option" Wednesday evening.

MPs have voted by 312 to 308 to reject leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. It is not a legally-binding decision - and it does not rule out the UK leaving the EU. But it means MPs could now get a vote on delaying Brexit. That vote would take place on Thursday, and if it is passed - and the EU agrees to it - the UK will not leave the EU as planned on 29 March.

The vote increases the likelihood of a softer Brexit or even none at all, though it's anyone's guess how it will shake out. A vote to ask the EU to extend the UK's deadline comes next, but a new referendum, a general election and further negotiation with Brussels are all on various power-players' agendas. Prime Minister May may even try to save her twice-thrashed deal. Read the rest

This superb Straight Outta Compton/Brexit mashup is so good it nearly alleviated my Brexit anxiety for a fraction of an instant

As Theresa May continues to pilot the United Kingdom toward a catastrophic, epochal collision with the Brexit iceberg -- even as her ministers are busy slashing every available lifeboat -- Politics Joe have released a flat-out brilliant video casting the PM and her Minister for Ghastly Cosplay Jacob Rees-Mogg (that is, "Snoop Mogg") as the stars of a very Brexit version of Straight Outta Compton. Read the rest

British parliament rejects Brexit deal again, this time by 149 votes

Prime Minister Theresa May's "Brexit" deal with the EU crashed to defeat for the second time Tuesday. Even with the now-likely prospect of Britain exiting the EU without a deal (or not exiting it at all) the sprawling agreement fell 149 votes short in the House of Commons.

The PM said MPs will now get a vote on whether the UK should leave without a deal on 29 March and, if that fails, on whether Brexit should be delayed. She said the EU would need to know what use any extension would be put to. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the prime minister should now call a general election.

Despite weeks of constant negotiation, the deal was largely unchanged from the version defeated by an even larger margin two months ago. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has denounced May's strategy as "running down the clock" in hopes of forcing parliament to choose between her deal and oblivion, and the deal's time has run out. Read the rest

London's awful estate agents are cratering, warning of a "prolonged downturn" in the housing market

London's estate agents were notorious profiteers of the property bubble, listing on the stock exchanges and rewarding investors with soaring share-prices that reflected the human misery of a city where life got harder and more expensive every day, where communities were shattered, and where subprime lending and other sleazy financial practices helped to destroy the global economy in 2007-8, triggering more than a decade of crisis from which we have yet to recover. Read the rest

UK Labour party backs a second Brexit referendum

Jeremy Corbyn favors a public vote to ”prevent a damaging Tory Brexit.”

France fines UBS €3.7b for helping rich French residents launder more than €10b

Swiss banking giant UBS has been hit with the largest fine in French history: €3.7b, the result of a 7-year investigation of the bank's role in helping the wealthiest French citizens hide €10b from tax authorities. The fine is more than ten times larger than the next-largest fine in French history, when HSBC paid €300m over its wrongdoing. The fine represents 92% of the bank's 2018 profits. Read the rest

Tory voters: are you happy with your purchase?

British political satirist Jonathan Pie (previously) has a pointed question for Tory voters on the eve of the omnishambolic Brexit collapse: "Are you happy with your purchase? "Because this is what you get when you vote Tory." Read the rest

Prime Minister's Brexit plan defeated by 230 votes

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan was not expected to pass, but it was brutally murdered in a far larger margin of defeat than was expected: 432 to 202. This is the largest parliamentary defeat for a sitting government in history.

The options for the Brits now include a no-deal Brexit on March 29; desperate negotiations for a new plan; or asking for an extension from the EU while a fresh hell is organized, such as a new referendum or a general election.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately tabled a no-confidence vote in May's government.

"Time is almost up," wrote EU chief Jean-Claude Junker on Twitter within minutes of the lawmakers' vote.

May's plan, assuming she wins the no-confidence vote, will be to stall until all parliament can do is choose between a no-deal Brexit (widely expected to be a disaster) or a largely-unchanged version of this dead-on-arrival deal. And then they'll pass it, because misery is preferable to mortality. Read the rest

Parliament to vote on Brexit today

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal with the European Union finally comes before parliament for a vote today. The deal is expected to fall short, leaving Britain with several more difficult choices, but the margin of May's defeat will be a strong influence on which way it goes.

No-one really knows what will happen, but there's some agreement on the margin-of-defeat issue.

╔══════════════════╦══════════════════════════╗ ║ Margin of Defeat ║ Possible Outcomes ║ ╠══════════════════╬══════════════════════════╣ ║ May wins ║ Frankenbrexit ║ ╠══════════════════╬══════════════════════════╣ ║ 50 votes or less ║ EU offers concessions ║ ║ ║ Quick 2nd vote ║ ╠══════════════════╬══════════════════════════╣ ║ 50-100 votes ║ More negotiations ║ ║ ║ Late 2nd vote ║ ╠══════════════════╬══════════════════════════╣ ║ 100+ votes ║ No deal Brexit ║ ║ ║ Soft Brexit ║ ║ ║ General election ║ ║ ║ 2nd Referendum ║ ║ ║ Vote of No Confidence ║ ║ ║ Backbench rebellion ║ ║ ║ Currency collapse ║ ║ ║ Zombie horrorcaust ║ ║ ║ Global Thermonuclear War ║ ╚══════════════════╩══════════════════════════╝ Read the rest

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