On Brexit 16 Nov 2018

Yesterday the Brexit deal was presented. The draft deal is available here.

Today almost everybody in the UK seems to believe there is no way Prime Minister May will have the agreement agreed to by the House of Representatives. Watch this video Can May Get Her Deal Through Parliament? to seek the answer to the question of the day.

The bottom line is that not only the British society is divided over the issue, but so is the Conservative Party of the UK. There are three approaches to Brexit within the Tories, and PM May’s is only one of three. Most people have heard about Boris Johnson and other hard liners from the European Research Group. The further away from the Union, the better – seems to be what this approach argues. Probably this group not only is against a deal May has negotiated; many of the hard liners are probably in favour of the no-deal Brexit on 29 March 2019.

The second approach is supportive of the deal and PM May. This approach can be summed up this way: we are in a business of negotiating a lose-lose, so we are negotiating not exactly the best of the worlds, but limiting the negative consequences of Brexit. There might be an alternative vague positive universe somewhere down the road (remember Global Britain?), but for the moment the London government is in the business of limiting the outflow of jobs and capital from Britain.

The third group are the Tory supporters of the Second Vote, like the ex-transport minister Jo Johnson. The argument goes: the Brexiters lied in 2016, the nation took a decision misled and today the pros and cons are more clearly visible. Let the nation vote again for only now we can know what the British want.

The problem with this approach is that it is unclear what happens if the current majority would be “for staying” in the EU, because this option will be off the table as of 29 March 2019. If Britain has a Second Vote after 29 March, it is effectively a vote to start accession into the Union. Accession terms today might look very differently than they looked in 1970s. It may well be that Britain would no longer secure its many opt-outs, most visibly, from the Eurozone.

If you divide the cake into three, who gets the biggest piece? And, what if we talk not even the half of a cake, but just under 50%? Here’s the House of Commons membership:

  • Tories, 316 seats – divided over the Withdrawal Agreement (WA)
  • Labour, 257 seats – mostly opposed to the WA
  • Scottish National Party, 35 seats – most likely opposed to the WA
  • LibDems, 12 seats – opposed to the WA
  • DUP, 9 seats – unknown (probably opposed)
  • Others, 11 seats

Clearly if the House was to vote today it would be a negative vote.

The next opening is crystal clear. It is PM May who holds the cards in the process. The alternative to the deal is a no deal Brexit. She will negotiate with partners to obtain a majority vote. As negotiations go, there could be new developments and surprises.

I wish for this miracle to happen: in order to get a “yes” to the deal from the House’s various corners what if PM May made a U-turn on the issue of the Second Vote? What if she was to promise that following the Brexit in March 2019 the “future deal” would actually include a renewed UK’s membership in the EU and for that to happen there would need to be a Second Vote?




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Tectonic changes in US politics

There are mid-elections coming up in the US this Tuesday. Democrats are expected to take over the control over the House of Representatives, but lose seats in the Senate. This is not, however, focus of my today’s post.

The focus of my post is to detect the tectonic shifts in US elections between 1990 and 2010 as regards how many seats in the House each state has. In the US the seats are reallocated every 10 years, following the census. Last time round the House mandates have been redistributed, again, to reflect the changes in demographics between states. Who is the winner and who is the loser in the process? The biggest “gainers” are Texas (+6 mandates, 1990-2010), Florida (+4) and Georgia (+3), whereas the biggest “losers” are New York (-4 mandates), Ohio (-3) and Pennsylvania (-3).

When I saw this I thought: how strange, the three states that got new mandates have a recent history (2016) of voting Republican in US Presidential elections. Mind you, seats in the House are identical (+2 Senators per state) to the number of electors, who chose the US President. Texas votes for Republican candidates for US Presidency since 1980 every time. Florida is more a flip-flopper and usually goes with the winner, voting for a Republican in 2016, Democrat in 2008 and 2012, Republican in 2004 and 2000. Georgia votes Republicans continuously since 1996. In 2016 all three voted Trump.

New York votes Democrats since 1988 every time, Ohio bets on the winner since 1964 (hence, a flip-flopper) and Pennsylvania is more consistently voting for Democrats, having voted for Trump in 2016 more as an exception than the rule. Between 1992 until 2012 PA state voted for Democratic candidates for Presidency.

Hence the result: three “winners” are 2 Republican states (TX, GA) and a flip-flopper Florida. Three “losers” are 2 Democratic states (NY, PA) and a flip-flopper Ohio.

The conclusion is the following: the tectonic shifts in US demography has been favourable for the Republicans. The only viable strategy in the future for the Democratic party is to take the ball to the states with a growing population: Florida and Georgia is where the focus should be. Texas is the obvious test ground already in 2018: the senatorial clash between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke is an outlook for the future: does the “old” Texas still hold, or the dreams of electing O’Rourke is just a wishful thinking of coastal liberal opinion providers? The answer shall come shortly.

#US #Elections #USElections #MidTerm2018 #USvotes2018 #UnitedStates

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Debata o przyszłości UE, Słupsk, 17.10.2018


Słupsk 2018

Trzecia z październikowych konferencji, a taka pierwsza. Punkt Europe Direct w Słupsku zorganizował debatę o przyszłości Unii Europejskiej w ramach konferencji o „Polityce regionalnej Unii Europejskiej w aspekcie regionu słupsko-koszalińskiego”. Miałem przyjemność wziąć w niej udział dyskutując o wyzwaniach stojących przed UE, w tym Brexicie, sytuacji politycznej we Włoszech, czy powyborczej w Belgii, Luksemburgu i Bawarii.

Oczywiście nawoływałem do wzięcia udziału w wyborach europejskich 26 maja 2019!

Zapis wideo całej konferencji jest dostępny tutaj, a mojego wystąpienia szukajcie od minuty 1:09:30 i później udział w debacie.


Słupski Inkubator Technologiczny (SIT), Słupsk 2018



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