Well, let's put it this way: I have started stockpiling food. That's not a joke.
Pretty much zero progress has been made in over two years. The 'best' that the government has managed to achieve in that time is the so-called Chequers 'deal'.
It's not actually a 'deal' because the EU hasn't agreed to it, and as has been pointed out by many clued-up analysts, since it directly contravenes several of the positions the EU have unequivocally stated are non-negotiable (their 'red lines'), they won't, if at any point it is formally presented to them.
As of today, it hasn't been formally presented, because several senior members of the Government, within a day or two of leaving The Big Summit Meeting where the Government thrashed this out and they agreed to it, disavowed it and aligned themselves with the swivel-eyed far-right loons who want a no-deal. It hasn't been presented to Parliament for a vote as to yea or nay on 'this is our agreed position as a country'. There is very, very little likelihood of Parliament as a whole voting for it as the agreed UK exit position/agreement.
And...that's the best they've been able to do in two years.
The Met police have cancelled all leave around the end of March next year, as they anticipate severe civil unrest (potential food riots, basically). The army has also been asked to prepare plans to deliver food, medicines and fuel in the event of a 'no deal Brexit. They may also be used to maintain public order.
So. I'm quietly laying in extra tins, batteries, candles, and so on, becasue nothing that's happened so far fills me with any confidence that this isn't suddenly going to lurch sideways.
If anyone is thinking of travelling to the UK around March/April next year, I'd think carefully about re-scheduling.
For anyone on your side of the world still interested in Brexit:
1) Here are the main upcoming dates for your calendars:
- EU leaders meeting Sept 20th. It's likely that they will simply rubber-stamp a 'carry on on the present course' arrangement, with perhaps minor alterations.
- UK Conservative Party Conference 30th Sept-3rd Oct.
- EU summit Oct 18-19. Practically speaking, this is the last date by which a withdrawal agreement can be made, to finalise points such as customs arrangements, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, UK citizens living in the EU, mutual financial commitments, how to keep the Irish border fully open, etc.
2) It's still an absolute fucking disaster. This is not hyperbole.
At the moment, the most likely outcome appears to be 'leaving with no deal', which will apply as of March 29th 2019, if no agreement is in place. If the UK leaves with no agreement, then all treaties which the UK was a signatory to as a member of the EU cease to apply. There is nothing at the moment that will replace them.
Having spent the last two years essentially arguing amongst themselves and ignoring the ticking clock in the background, the government is only just very belatedly and extremely dimly (and I'll heavily emphasise that they are extremely, extremely dim*) realising that this might not be A Good Thing. Not only do multiple industries rely on a seamless and fast supply chain across borders within the EU that are effectively nominal and in practical terms non-existent, not only do dozens of flights per day into and out of the UK rely on the UK being a signatory to these treaties (and are illegal without them), but the food, power, and medicine supply chain is also utterly reliant on it. It is estimated that without a deal in place, regions such as Cornwall and Scotland will start running out of food in a couple of days, and hospitals will start running out of medicine in a couple of weeks.
The UK goverment is now looking at stockpiling food and medicine, and is making not-all-that-reassuring statements such as 'rest assured citizens, there will still be adequate food' (I wish I was joking - this is a very slightly paraphrased actual government announcement). It's absolutely flabbergasting that a (supposedly) rich and developed country, in the 21st-Century, with no imminent threat of war or overwhelming natrual disaster, should be attempting to calm the rumblings of citizenal disquiet by making statements like this.
At no point in the negotiation process have the UK appeared to be taking the negotiations seriously. The EU has presented a range of possible options, which can be summarised on a single powerpoint slide. The UK has, in turn, provided....nothing of any substance. This is mainly because the government is caught between it's own extremist fringe and it's moderates. There are no options available that will not be unacceptable to the extremeists, and the government is cripplingly weak and needs the extremeists in order to stay in power, and therefore simply doesn't have enough power to effectively sideline the extremeist faction and make a choice, and so has instead settled for kicking the can down the road towards the edge of the cliff.
*As an example of how dim they are, and I'll emphasise that this is simply an average recent example out of literally dozens I could have chosen, the current Secretary of State for Northern Ireland stated in a recent interview that before she was appointed (and I quote): "when I started this job, I didn’t understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues that there are in Northern Ireland. I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice versa.”
She's 48, slightly older than me. She grew up during the conflict. I can remember bombs going off in the UK. I can remember mortars being fired at Downing Street. I can remember riots during marching season. I've probably heard or read the word 'sectarian' (as in: 'sectarian violence in Northern Ireland') literally thousands of times. It's hard to emphasise how basic that is. Possibly something like being appointed Minister for the Deep South, and not realising that the KKK might not vote for a black candidate. And this is the woman who is in charge of the region of the UK that has the only land border with the EU.
BTW the latest right wing made up term "virtue signalling" really confuses me, as far as I can tell it means "saying nice things", is the problem that the left are not saying the right nice things? not saying saying the right things are nice? not saying that the right are nice?
It's basically saying that 'the left' only say nice things to make themselves look good/virtuous - they don't really mean them in a heartfelt sense, or have any other reason for doing it (like it being the right thing to do).
It's a cousin to 'white knighting' which is where a 'leftie' is only saying supportive things to women/a woman because he wants to get in her pants - not because it's actually the right thing to say, or something that he believes.
Like most of the supposed insults that get thrown by the right, it says more about the thrower than the target.
I do rather feel that they’re basically internet trolls, largely trolling for the money – they showed up charging a large amount of money for something the could have done on any street corner for free, and without the venue issues.
Ignore them and hope the numbers drop off but reactionary clickbait seems to be an end in itself?
They deliberately play into that dynamic and social media is the perfect communication technology for them to do that.
It's possibly worth a reminder at this point that the 'loose change' 9/11 guys deliberately set out to make a 'clickbait' documentary (having failed at their orginal goal of making an accurate one), knowing full well that it was 1) full of inaccuracies, ommissions, and untruths, and 2) that it's OTT sensationalism and 'hidden truths' would make them a lot of money.
Pinker argues “don’t worry about it”
That’s a very unfair characterisation of his views.
I disagree. If you read 'better angels', that's exactly what he argues in relation to, say, ww2. 'Yes, sure this was horrible, but compared to the Mongols or Vlad the Impaler, not so bad, really. And bonus! Those guys didn't get treated as villains, but Hitler did. So....winning!"
Pinker also completely ignores or handwaves away various elephants wandering around the room in order to show that the trend on the graph will comtinue it's slow upward rise over the course of centruies, even if we have a few rough decades (but come on chaps, what's a few rough decades between friends, amirite?) I'd challenge you to read 'better angels' and find any discussion of global warming, for example. And our recent ability as a species to cause our complete annihilation (via nuclear war, for example) and not just localised chaos is dismissed as 'well, it hasn't happened yet, so probably won't', which does tend to go against his other arguments that we have to look at the bigger/longer picture, and not just a few decades.
Now introduce him to Bolt Thrower.
collecting and precisely painting Warhammer figurines
That's awesome. I spent literal days at a time as a teen painting my Chaos Eldar army.
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!
I get the feeling we are on one of those downwards jags of a plotted graph line so loved by scientists et al to show how we are generally improving in some way or other.
Yeah, this is exactly Pinker's modus operadi, and my biggest problem with his hypothesis.
"Well, you may not feel like you're living particularly well, what with Trump and Putin and everything, but think about how much worse off those medieval peasants 600 years ago were than you! Look how much progress we've made! If you, uh, just take the long view...."
Yeah, that's great. Thanks for the pep talk, Steven. Ya dick.
the Trump administration's steady suffocation of the Appellate Body at the World Trade Organisation. The US government has blanket-banned approval of new appointments to what is essentially world trade's appeals court, and the point is approaching when that court will not be able to operate.
Well, gosh, this is going to be fun when the UK hard brexits is 281 days and reverts to WTO rules! What larks!
The use of politicized judicial processes to hound your opponents and re-litigate electoral outcomes you don’t like might now be business as usual now in the USA, but it just adds to the perceptions that much of what is reported in the MSM is fake news.
Mueller is a Republican, appointed by a Republican, currently investigating a Republican administration.