|Ravishing guide to|
|God Save the King?|
Brexit (a portmanteau of British exit) serves as a general term for anything relating to the UK's departure from the European Union. This includes: the idea itself; the inevitably tortuous withdrawal process; the equally inevitable (and ongoing) political and economic clusterfuck; and the mass movement of nativist idiots who successfully campaigned for — and then won — a national referendum to leave the EU.
The referendum was held on 23rd June, 2016, with Leave prevailing over Remain, 52% to 48%. After four long years of fraught negotiations and political debate, two general elections, and two changes of Prime Minister, Britain finally left the EU on 31st January, 2020.
Why did this happen?
The Conservative Party was increasingly spooked by the rise of UKIP, a hard-right eurosceptic party. Tory MP Douglas Carswell defected to UKIP in 2014 and the party secured 27.5% of the national vote in the 2014 local elections. In an attempt to shore up his support on the right of both party and country, then-Prime Minister David Cameron had stupidly promised an in/out EU referendum in 2013 and again in the 2015 General Election. Eventually forced to keep his promise, he then tried to use the referendum as leverage to extract concessions from the EU. This daft gambit flopped spectacularly, not least because of Cameron's insistence on immigration reform that ran contrary to the basic EU principle of the free movement of its citizens within the bloc's borders.
Remain: a poor campaign
Cameron and the UK government wanted to remain in the EU. In essence, they argued:
- EU is the UK's biggest trade partner
- We have special status
- Leaving means uncertainty (oh boy they weren't wrong)
- The EU is very rich and gives money to the UK
In practice, however, the Remain side failed to promote the benefits of EU membership, and spent more time acting like leaving the EU would invoke The Rapture. This strategy was derided as "Project Fear" by the Leave campaign and right-wing tabloids.
Ultimately, Cameron fell victim to poor PR, rotten framing of the issues, and a catastrophic misreading of the mood of the electorate, many of whom were itching for an EU-shaped scapegoat after years of Tory economic austerity.
Leave: Or how to successfully run a populist campaign
“”We should leave the EU because it would allow us the ability to dump the European Convention on Human Rights.
|—Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 (Emigrating sounds really good all of a sudden!)|
The official campaign organisation for Brexit was Vote Leave. Its chief executive was Matthew Elliott, founder of far-right libertarian anti-tax organisation the TaxPayers' Alliance, which calls for the replacement of the National Health Service with an insurance-based system, the abolition of the BBC, and opposes all green taxation. Its conveners were Conservative Michael Gove and Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who is coincidentally an immigrant from Germany. Its board included investment banker Stuart Wheeler, foreign exchange trader Peter Cruddas, Thatcherite MP turned investment banker Michael Forsyth, and private health woo-mistress Arabella Arkwright (of chiropractic specialists Core Health & Wellness).
As well as the official Leave campaign, anointed by the Electoral Commission, a number of smaller groups campaigned for Brexit:
- Leave.EU, funded by Arron Banks and taking a strongly anti-immigrant line; Nigel Farage flitted between this and Vote Leave. Leave.EU also courted the support of the far-right Britain First, English Defence League, National Front and the British National Party via Facebook advertisements.
- The Democracy Movement, the descendent of James Goldsmith's Referendum Party, now run by his wife Annabel. It was unclear where his large donations to UKIP and Leave.EU came from and the Electoral Commission referred his case to the National Crime Agency for investigation, though the results were not known until after the March 29, 2019 Brexit deadline.
- Lexit (Left Exit) was a coalition of British leftists who argued against the EU. They fought for control of this ground with similar groups such as Trade Unionists Against the EU, Labour Leave,
the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea. Unlike Labour Leave, the Lexit coalition was not bankrolled by Tory donors.
- David Icke, who oddly enough was mentioned by David Cameron at a summit with François Hollande.
International support for Brexit
Although the international community generally opposed Brexit, it received vocal support from such eminently credible voices as:
- Marine Le Pen, who described Brexit as "the most important moment since the fall of the Berlin Wall", and campaigned for France to leave the EU, saying that she would hold a referendum on "Frexit" within 6 months if she became president.
- Vladimir Putin — an enthusiastic supporter of anything that weakens or disrupts the EU. Suspected of providing funding to Le Pen and pro-Brexit groups in the UK.
- Donald Trump, the embodiment of the put-upon working man. Talked some unhelpful rubbish about an Irish border wall and saw rich NHS pickings for US health companies in a post-Brexit trade deal but probably not for US exports of chlorinated chicken.
Interestingly and probably not surprisingly, Brexit appears to have somewhat neutered support for leaving the EU among sceptical voters in other EU member states.
The damn bus
Eurosceptics claimed Brexit was the only way to secure the UK's borders against the oncoming horde of (mostly Muslim) migrants sure to wash over the UK if it remained in the EU. This ignored the fact that many economists believe that Europe is in need of more migrants, rather than fewer. The anti-migrant hysteria was often clearly Islamophobic in nature, and found enthusiastic support amongst the racist elements of British society, despite the UK only hosting a tiny fraction of the people seeking asylum in Europe.
Free movement of labour within the EU was blamed for the displacement of workers already employed in Britain. These concerns, however, were generally unfounded. In addition, eurosceptics often neglected to mention the 1.2 million British citizens employed elsewhere within the EU. The UK also has an aging population and a weak birth rate. Clamping down on immigration leads to the demographic trap in which Japan currently finds itself, with a shrinking working-age population struggling to fund and staff the services required to care for a rapidly increasing number of retirees.
Anti-immigrant sentiment is partly fuelled by a sense of feeling overcrowded, and finding it hard to get affordable accommodation and access public services. This is perhaps due to the UK's consistently poor investment in health, education, housing and other areas. England has fewer doctors per person than most OECD nations, fewer dentists than most of western Europe, one of the highest average school class sizes, and fails to build enough homes to meet demand with a steep decline in house-building since the 1960s.
Take back control
Brexiteers made a lot of noise about reclaiming British 'sovereignty', highlighting things like EU courts overruling British courts, whilst ignoring the UK's significant exemptions from key EU agreements, like participation in the Schengen Area and Eurozone. Brexiteers also conveniently omitted the fact that non-member countries with EU free trade agreements (e.g. Norway, Iceland and Switzerland) must accept the vast majority of EU regulations to gain access to the common market, but have no say in shaping or reforming them. The same would obviously happen to Britain: accept EU rules or forget selling products across the Channel.
Jo Cox assassination
“”My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain.
|—Thomas Mair, when asked for his name in court|
On 16th June 2016, Labour (and pro-Europe) MP Jo Cox was murdered by Thomas Mair while campaigning for Remain. Mair was a far-right advocate with links to American neo-nazi groups. Mair reportedly shouted "Britain First!" the moment before opening fire. Mair was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.
Whilst the right-wing rhetoric of swarms, invasions, floods, unelected eurocrat dictators and terrorists sparking some violence was grimly predictable, the referendum polling barely budged in response, with Leave retaining a 3 point lead over Remain.
The Bresult and immediate aftermath
Surveying the wreckage
In response to Leave's four point win (52% - 48%), the pound nosedived from $1.4672 to $1.2994 - a low not seen since 1985. The FTSE went into a one-day freefall of more than 8%, not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Several banks (including Barclays and RBS) took major hits, while shares in the housebuilding sector fell by up to 50% (as in the case of Bovis Homes). UK government bond yields also hit a new record low as investors rushed to safety.
David Cameron announced his resignation, and Theresa May emerged as the last woman standing after a bruising leadership contest, and was installed as the new PM on 13th July, 2016. There was a certain irony in Brexit having foisted fresh and unelected leadership upon the country, given the sport the Brexiteers had made of railing against unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. And in a fitting tribute to the savage Shakespearean drama of the leadership contest she had just won, it quickly became apparent that May was now in possession of as poisoned a political chalice as it was possible to imagine.
Leaving the EU was never going to be easy, but chaos and political disaster were baked right in from the start by the lack of any clear consensus on what a "successful" Brexit might look like. Leave voters, for the most part, simply wanted "out", and in this relative vacuum, Brexiteer-ing politicians and interest groups were free to duke it out amongst themselves over their preferred versions of Brexit, largely unencumbered by such trifles as political, economic, or diplomatic reality. Supposed cooler heads and saner voices across the political spectrum (and continent) mostly dismissed the prospect of the UK actually voting to leave, right up until that sickening moment when the Leave votes started rolling in.
I want a puppy! No, not that one!
All principal actors and institutions were woefully unprepared for a Leave victory, and scrambled to formulate a coherent response. Parliamentary opinion coalesced around preventing Tory zealots forcing a catastrophic "no deal" Brexit, but beyond that, MPs were hopelessly divided on the key questions of whether:
- The referendum's expression of the "will of the people" obliged them to ratify any good faith, not completely catastrophic deal that May could extract from the EU;
- Their duty of care and conscience obliged them to reject, or seek to amend, any deal they believed ran contrary to the UK's best interests;
- The people should be given the final say on approving or rejecting any Brexit deal via a second referendum.
No deal Brexit
Leaving the EU without a deal would have forced the UK to trade under basic WTO rules and tariffs, and was widely predicted to have a disastrous economic impact, with British supermarkets saying it could lead to fresh food shortages. As a measure of the government's due care and diligence in preparing for this worst case scenario, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling memorably awarded a shipping contract to a company without any ships. The deal was eventually cancelled when real companies with real ships declined to provide them to Grayling for his sham shipping company.
Theresa May's deal
Remarkably, May's deal managed to displease everyone, and her failure to get it through Parliament would eventually lead to her political downfall.
Norway + Iceland ÷ Canada
This option involved remaining in the European Economic Area, with the "Canada" referring to Boris Johnson's deluded view that the UK could somehow quickly replicate the arrangement Canada has with the EU (the CETA Free Trade Agreement), despite that having taken six years to negotiate.
Jeremy Corbyn favoured maintaining a customs union with the EU, and offered to support May's deal if it included one. The majority of Labour MPs and rank and file Labour Party members wanted him to fight for a second referendum instead. This led to an awkward standoff between Corbyn and most of the rest of his party: mildly Eurosceptic himself, Corbyn was also acutely aware that party opinion was at odds with great swathes of traditional Labour voters, who had enthusiastically embraced the idea of Brexit. The result was months of prevarication and flip-flopping, and a bust-up with Keir Starmer, his Shadow Brexit Secretary and an ardent Remainer.
2017 election: May pwns self
“”Your Prime Minister, your MP, Theresa May, called this election about Brexit. Have we heard from her what she plans to about Brexit? No. This is mad. On Thursday, you are going to be faced with Prime Minister May, or Prime Minister Corbyn against 27 Prime Ministers from the European Union. It, will be, a shitshow.
|—Perennial candidate Lord Buckethead, predicting the future|
May's Conservative government had a working majority of 17, leaving it extremely vulnerable to backbench rebellion from the sizeable, hard-right Eurosceptic wing of the party, and vulnerable - in theory, at least - to the same from a smaller group of pro-EU Tories. With negotiations on the withdrawal agreement scheduled to begin mid-June 2017, May faced the impossible task of plotting a Brexit path that would satisfy both these Tory extremes and garner enough support from opposition parties to make it through both Houses of Parliament. Thus, despite repeated promises not to do so, in April she called a snap election for 8th June 2017, in the hope of increasing her majority and giving herself more room to manoeuvre in negotiations with the EU.
It seemed like a great idea. The Tories were riding high in the polls - up by 20 points in some - and looked on course for a 100+ majority at the time of May's announcement. And although the polls tightened significantly in the run-up to the election, most firms were still predicting her gamble would pay off. They were wrong: the Tories slumped to 318 seats (-13 from 2015), and were forced into a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the DUP for their 10 seats. This gave May a working majority of 13, four less than she had started with.
The upshot of this epic electoral fail was that May entered negotiations with the EU humiliated and doubly hamstrung: both by the old Tory schisms on Europe, and now with the DUP's sectarian time bomb ticking loudly on the table right in front of her, instead of quietly in the background as before.
The withdrawal agreement closes
Contempt of Parliament
All the way back on the 13th of November a Humble Address was passed in the Commons, meaning that the Government should publish all legal advice given to the Government relating to Brexit. This would become the legal basis for the contempt ruling. The Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, was contracted by the Government to give legal advice on the deal which was obtained from EU negotiations. The Government did not immediately publish the legal advice instead of opting for a Q&A with MPs This was felt by the opposition parties as the Government withholding information, the Attorney General responded by telling MPs to "grow up".
The key problem with proposed deal is the "backstop" which is the contingency plan to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and The Republic. A soft border needs to exist on the island of Ireland because of what was known as The Troubles which was only resolved by 1998's Good Friday Agreement, these Troubles were basically a military conflict between those who wanted a United Ireland and those who wanted to remain in the United Kingdom, kind of like a militarised version of Brexit with plenty of death and terrorist attacks. However the backstop could possibly lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom by giving Northern Ireland a closer connection to the EU than the rest of the UK. During The Attorney General's statement and Q&A he admitted that there was no way the UK could unilaterally leave the backstop meaning that if it was activated the only way to leave is have both sides agree to overturn it with superseding legislation.
This did not please Parliament mainly because the Government defied a Humble Address which was seen by SNP MP Peter Grant as a "Government who have already taken a dangerous step down the road from democracy to dictatorship". Later on the 4th of December 2018, the House of Commons ruled the UK Government was in Contempt of Parliament for refusing to publish the full legal advice it had been given by the Attorney General. And the following day, the advice was published. The advice revealed that the UK could possibly be in "protracted and repeating rounds of negotiations" and confirmed that the backstop would endure indefinitely unless superseded by arrangements which complied with International Law. As a measure of how fucked things are, note that this is the first time the UK's sitting government has ever been found in contempt of parliament.
Theresa May is well known for her recent tunnel vision, always insisting that her "This is the best possible deal, it is the only possible deal", even though she earlier stated "no deal is better than a bad deal". Showing that her advisers don't understand consistency and her denial about her deal being bad. In Theresa's usual fashion for inconsistency and confusing everyone, she pulled the "Meaningful Vote" (where in which MPs get to vote on her deal) because she knew she would lose. This went down really really well with everyone and it was Ian Blackford,the SNP Westminster leader's, turn to accuse Theresa May of Dictatorship.
This was so utterly confusing because the Leader of the House of Commons and sources at Number 10 were saying the vote was still going on up until the day before the vote. In response Labour demanded an emergency debate on her pulling the vote which resulted in a Leadership Challenge from her own party by the end of the next day.
Theresa won the No Confidence vote from her own party, with 200 out of 317 of them voting against the motion. Her power was greatly wounded by this motion and also by operating in what was essentially a minority government. The vote ingrained divisions within the Conservative Party, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling Brexiteers "extremists". This motion of No Confidence was mainly tabled by the influential European Research Group whose most prominent member, Jacob Rees-Mogg, called for the Prime Minister to resign even after winning the No Confidence Motion.
Oh, it's EU again
Theresa May was welcomed back to Brussels with isolation and being called "nebulous" by Jean Claude Juncker. The reception from the party who were propping her up was also a little frosty with its Leader, Arlene Foster, saying to get rid of the backstop. However, that seemed pretty much impossible as both Jean Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk had said that renegotiation could not happen. To make it worse it was reported that May did not prepare for meetings with EU leaders and she even put off some EU figures from ever talking to the British Government again. She also managed to make the EU go back on their previous agreements, eliminating positive language and an entire sentence of reassurances.
Labour table a vote of confidence... Or do they?
Pressure had been building on the opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to force a No Confidence vote in the Government. On the 17th of December 2018 he finally gave in, but tabled a motion that referred specifically to the Prime Minister rather than the Government as a whole, which was significantly less intimidating. Even worse for him, this political misfire was apparently called off at the last minute in much the same way as the "Meaningful Vote" earlier. This weird turn of events might be explained by the fact that top Shadow Cabinet members in Labour were split on when to table the motion of No Confidence. Number 10 responded by dismissing the motion and refusing to table a debate on the issue.
Is the vote meaningful yet?
After cancelling the vote the first time like an insolent child, Theresa May promised that the vote was definitely, totally, absolutely going ahead now on January the 15th 2019. For once Theresa didn't lie, I'm shocked too.
New year, new crisis
Can the Government win anything?
Well, apparently not. Yvette Cooper, a Labour MP, and a cross-party alliance of 20 Tory rebels defeated the Government on a finance bill - something that last happened in 1978 and another impressive milestone in the May "Government". This defeat was marginal (by 7) but meant that the Government couldn't raise money for a No Deal Brexit without prior Parliamentary Approval.
John Bercow makes his own party mad
According to Parliamentary procedure a Speaker can select Amendments to existing legislation at his own discretion. One Amendment that was selected was submitted by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, and this Amendment was also voted through the house. The Amendment was that, in the event of Theresa's deal being voted down, she would have to come back with a plan B within three Parliamentary Days instead of 21. The issue here was that the Speaker chose that Amendment over others, giving the impression to Tory MPs and some in the media that the Speaker was biased in favour of Remain. Suspicion was further raised after Commons Clerks had advised him against selecting the Amendment, as they wanted him to submit his legal advice in the same vein Geoffrey Cox was forced to.
On the day before her Brexit vote Mrs May made a speech outlining to MPs why they should vote for her deal. During the speech she unveiled the new reassurances she got from the EU about the backstop, these assurances according to both Tusk and May have "legal weight". However there has been no changes to the Withdrawal Agreement Treaty, so its legal weight is dubious at best.
Nigel Dodds said that "Rather than reassure us, the Tusk and Juncker letter bolsters our concerns." Sammy Wilson wasn't amused either telling the BBC that the deal was designed to trap the UK in the EU.
Theresa May lost the Brexit Deal vote by 230. After the losing the vote, she faced an actual confidence vote by Jeremy Corbyn. Because Theresa May is like a zombie that can't die she won the confidence vote by 19.
Renegotiating a deal which you agreed to without the other party, aka unicorn hunting
If the EU don't want to renegotiate, why not renegotiate by yourself? That's what the UK Government is doing when proposing supposed solutions to the backstop. These alternative solutions are fantasy basically, and were even debunked by Theresa May two days before the Referendum. Leo Varadkar shot down the assertion of finding alternate arrangements to the backstop, and this was echoed by Juncker.
Meaningful vote part 1.5: Parliamentary unicorn hunting
On the 29th of January 2019, MPs voted for the Graham Brady Amendment. This Amendment stipulates that the Prime Minister should negotiate alternatives to the backstop. Great, except the EU have said again that you can't change the backstop because it's no longer a backstop and that you can't reopen the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement.
Unicorn hunting in Northern Ireland
Theresa May visited Northern Ireland on 5th February 2019 to discuss the backstop. As you were expecting they didn't lead anywhere constructive. Theresa May has decided that trying to remove the backstop isn't her best option, so her only option is legally fudging it - something that ERG Brexiteers or the DUP like. By trying to appeal the DUP exclusively she's managed to make no one happy.
Meaningful vote 1.75: The start of the Tory civil war
Delaying the inevitable
High noon cancelled
She then put forward this timetable to try and quell uproar in her own party.
- 12th March, 2019 - Meaningful Vote Two
- 13th March, 2019 - Symbolic No Deal Vote
- 14th March, 2019 - Extension Vote
Meaningful vote 2.0: Damage control didn't work
She lost the "meaningful vote" by 149, instead of 230. The Tory whips instructed their members not to support Caroline Spelman's amendment to the main no deal motion, but it still passed 312 to 308. Cabinet Ministers voted against the Government, but didn't get fired.
The extension vote: she actually won something!
Hilary Benn Amendment
Would have given MPs direct control of Brexit, using a series of indicative votes to determine what MPs really want. But alas it was not to be.
The Main Motion: will we leave on 29th March?
A majority of 211 voted to delay Brexit. However, as that delay would have required the agreement of the EU's other member states, legally the UK was still on course to leave on 29th March, 2019.
May finally realized that she wasn't getting anywhere with Parliament and the DUP, and resigned.
Enter the... Brexit Boy
Before May's resignation on June 7th, the Tory leadership election had to take place. The winner - dear old Boris. Kinda deserved, given that the person who started the whole thing should be the one to clean up the mess or actually just make it worse. He started really well, by losing his first
seven more than eight parliamentary votes and a Supreme Court case that ruled he (or more accurately his pet Victorian Jacob Rees-Mogg) lied to the Queen.
Out with the traitors!
These defeats began a series of witch-hunts within the Tories. First to go were the liberal wing of the Party, who kept defying his whip on Brexit. In September, 21 Tory MPs had their whip withdrawn - i.e., they were not Tories anymore. Next was John Bercow, whose term as speaker ended in November. By convention, the outgoing speaker should get a seat in the House of Lords, but you could guess what happened this time.
The November election
With Parliament still an intractable mess for him, Boris wanted an election. The price was the postponement of Brexit to January 2020, which he was forced to accept. With the election scheduled for 12th December, 2019, the election campaigns began.
After a complete clusterfuck of a campaign, which included Boris hiding in fridges to avoid debates, Corbyn talking in duck-speak when it came to Brexit and antisemitism, and Swinson pissing off nearly everyone and taking her approval ratings underwater, it was time for voting. When the results were out, the Tories had swept the country, trouncing nearly everyone else; the SNP swept Scotland, trouncing everyone else there, but Boris got his majority, which meant that the SNP wouldn't get any bargaining room.
And yes, the Lib Dems. They were destroyed for the third time in a general election, and were reduced to eleven seats, with Swinson losing her own seat.
Up, up and... away?
Boris got his majority, and implemented a half-baked deal that involved a one-year transition period, a hard Brexit and loss of access to the Single Market, and a trade border down the Irish Sea. So on 31st January, 2021, Britain left the EU, and the whole chaotic saga was at last, for good or bad, over. Or so we thought.
Trade negotiations (a.k.a. staring competitions)
For all his bullshitting about an "oven-ready deal", Boris' deal was an imperfect and messy one with many loopholes left to fill. So began the trade negotiations, between the equally arrogant and stubborn British and EU negotiating sides.
While Brexit was on everyone's minds, attention shifted for the next few months to two things - COVID-19, from China, and the George Floyd protests, from the US - both were now in Britain as well. Boris, too, was now busy trying to make himself look good - his opponent was no longer a nutcase, but the highly talented and skilled Keir Starmer, who roasted him in PMQ after PMQ. Meanwhile, the negotiation teams did not budge in their respective positions.
Time for some Russian roulette
Around September, however, everyone started to look at Brexit once again. The negotiators, however, continued the staring contest into October, November, and then December. Finally someone talked some sense into them, and they came up with... another hotch-potch deal. One of the main sticking points was the right the EU had to catch British fish - a lightning rod for Brexiteers. In the end, they came to a weird compromise, with Britain getting full rights over 25% of the catch and the EU getting the rest. And there will be another transition period, at the end of which fishing rights will revert fully back to Britain. As always, Boris will keep his word on that.Do You Believe That?
We apologize for the inconvenience
If your economy is humming along at nearly full employment, and a significant percentage of those employed are unskilled immigrant workers, then it may not be the wisest idea to kick them out of the country unless you can come up with some mitigation strategy for the economic gaps this will obviously produce. Since much of the vote for Brexit was fueled by hostility to immigrants, however, it is no surprise that in 2020 (despite the warnings of economists), Boris Johnson chose to undertake this path by implementing a points-based immigration system that favored high skilled workers. Consequently, in 2021, labor shortages partially induced by Brexit-fueled immigration reform contributed to some significant supply chain issues in key sectors of the economy. Although other factors (such as COVID-19) were also involved in these supply chain issues, it was clear that in many cases, Brexit policies, specifically the Brexit policies Boris Johnson pushed, made these supply problems worse.
In August 2021, there was widespread reports in the media of empty shelves in many grocery stores across the country. Labor issues partially induced by Brexit, as well as the additional bureaucratic complications caused by leaving the single market, were cited as significant elements in what caused the shortages.
In September 2021, the National Farmers' Union and other food groups called for an emergency visa to allow firms to recruit workers from outside the UK. A spokeswoman stated that "without it, more shelves will go empty and consumers will panic buy to try to get through the winter". Farmers previously heavily depended on immigrant labor — according to the NFU, only 11% of seasonal workers in the 2020 season were UK residents. Some farmers, unable to attract domestic workers to an industry with a reputation for being a form of "modern slavery" that exploits migrants, resorted to giving away their product for free rather than seeing it left to rot.
Similar shortages were also reported in meat production. Pig farmers in early September 2021 reported that the lack of employees at pork processing plants (due to a exodus of workers in the wake of both Brexit and COVID-19), combined with processing delays due to Brexit restrictions on exports (as well as the suspension of exports to China from some plants), would lead to pork production being cut by as much as 25 percent, and a situation where healthy pigs might have to be culled because there was no processing availability. Similar labor issues (both with packing plants and lorry drivers) impacted the poultry industry, leading to a chicken shortage that forced fast casual chicken restaurant Nando's to temporarily close some restaurants in August 2021.
In 2021, there was a shortage of HGV (heavy goods vehicle) drivers, which previously had employed a significant amount of immigrant labour. By September 2021, the lack of lorry drivers contributed to a significant shortage of gasoline. This, in turn, affected plants that produced fertilizer from petroleum products. Which, in turn, affected the production of carbon dioxide gas (a byproduct of fertilizer production). Which, in turn, led to some supply issues in the many industries that use CO2, ranging from carbonated drinks to meat packing plants (CO2 is used to stun animals before slaughter) to packaged goods. Other companies who were affected by the shortage of HGV drivers include Ikea and McDonald's. The shortage of drivers even affected the supply of beer, causing some pubs to run out of the suds of certain brands in early September 2021.
General unease among the public concerning this situation, combined with a leaked announcement by BP that a handful of pumps had run dry due to delivery issues, set off a big round of panic buying in late September 2021 that temporarily resulted in 50 percent to 90 percent of petroleum pumps being dry in some areas of Britain, and resulted in some chaotic scenes at pumps across the country (including brawls and fights in some stations). The crisis was significant enough for Boris Johnson to put the army on standby in case some additional assistance was needed to help fuel reach petrol stations.
- Lies debunked by the EU Commission in one handy graph.
- "British Lose Right to Claim That Americans are Dumber" — Until the 2016 election, when 46% of America said Hold my beer.
- EU referendum: Why it may have been the Telegraph, Sun, Express and Mail 'wot won it' for Leave
- But holidays to Spain £15![No, not The Onion]
- Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum
- EU referendum: Cameron sets June date for UK vote David Cameron sets the date
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- Cameron's letter to Donald Tusk
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- Project Fear 2
- Via Sky News (featured on the official Vote Leave campaign website for a bit). The irony is the ECoHR is not even an EU document - it is condition for joining the Council of Europe, which has fuck-all to do with the EU and which none of the Brexiteers has even mentioned, let alone stated an intention of leaving.
- See the Wikipedia article on Vote Leave.
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- See the Wikipedia article on Gisela Stuart.
- See the Wikipedia article on Michael Forsyth, Baron Forsyth of Drumlean.
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- maybe actually bankers
- 20,000 over the next 5 years. Source:BBC
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- Brexit has thrown the UK’s two major parties into civil war Vox
- Government Explanation
- Labour's terms for backing deal The Guardian
- Brexit: How large is Theresa May's Brexit majority? BBC News
- General election 2017: Why did Theresa May call an election? BBC News
- Theresa May calls for general election to secure Brexit mandate The Guardian
- Pollsters believe general election is 'foregone conclusion The Guardian
- 2017 UK General election polls: how Labour drew almost level with Tories The Guardian
- Election 2017 Results BBC News
- Q&A: A guide to the DUP-Tory deal one year on BBC News
- What is British PM May's working majority? Answer: 13 votes Reuters
- Attorney General questioned on Brexit legal advice Attorney General questioned on Brexit legal advice
- Geoffrey Cox makes statement to MPs about Brexit legal advice
- Moment Attorney General Geoffrey Cox tells opposition to 'grow up and get real' over withheld Brexit legal advice
- Brexit explained: Why does the Border matter and what is the backstop?
- DUP fears Brexit deal will break up UK - Foster flies to London as May prepares to face Cabinet
- Brexit deal latest news: Being 'indefinitely committed' to backstop a risk worth taking, Attorney General tells MPs
- Peter Grant
- U.K. legal advice confirms London can’t unilaterally leave Brexit backstop
- Screenshots of the Legal Advice
- Theresa May: 'This is the best possible deal, it is the only possible deal'
- Theresa May delays vote on Brexit deal and admits she faced 'significant' defeat
- What is the 'meaningful vote' on Brexit?
- Ian Blackford
- Mixed Signals.html
- BBC News Political Editor
- Labour Demands Debate
- Sir Graham Brady Confirms She is Facing Leadership Challenge
- Graham Brady says she won
-  Philip Hammond calls Brexiteers Extremists]
- Mogg says Resign
- Poor Theresa
- Poor Theresa 2
- Arelene Foster Tweet
- Jon Stone Tweet
- Political Editor of BBC's Newsnight
- Europe Editor of the Daily Telegraph
- Backbench Labour MP
- SNP puts Pressure on Jez
- Jeremy Gives In
- Does Labour Know What it Thinks?
- No Time for Corbyn
- Government background
- Brexit: 20 Tory rebels inflict no-deal defeat on government
- Theresa May’s government becomes first to lose Finance Bill vote since 1978 – full list of Tory MPs who voted to thwart No Deal Brexit
- Official Parliamentary Procedure
- Brexit: what is the ‘game-changer’ Grieve amendment?
- We now know John Bercow is as out of control as Brexit itself
- Brexit: what does the latest parliamentary upset mean for Theresa May?
- Commons Speaker John Bercow accused of flouting rules to thwart Brexit: Fury at ruling
- EU letter seeks to reassure UK on Irish border backstop
- Nigel Dodds' Comment on the Letter
- BBC Sammy Wilson Interview 1
- Is anyone Surprised?
- Will She Ever Go Away
- Theresa May Contradicts Theresa May
- He Must Get Bored of Saying the Same Words
- Juncker Echo
- This won't work
- Barnier Quote
- The EU Say No, Again
- PM to Visit Northern Ireland-ITV News
- No Closer to Backstop Deal
- May Not Trying to Remove the Backstop
- Arelene Foster: "The prime minister has to regard what parliament has given her a mandate for. And parliament’s mandate is to replace the backstop."
- Good Work Theresa
- ERG Government Defeat
- Tory Civil War
- Looking Strong and Stable
- From Parliament Website
- Delay Vote
- EU Permission Slip
- Theresa May resigns over Brexit: What happened?
- Mikhailova, Anna (4 September 2019). "Boris Johnson to strip 21 Tory MPs of the Tory whip in parliamentary bloodbath". The Daily Telegraph.
- Government to break with 250-year tradition and deny John Bercow a peerage as MPs set out their stalls to replace him
- Results of the 2019 General Election
- Boris Johnson's 'oven-ready' Brexit had a secret footnote: we'll rehash it later
- PMQs: Keir Starmer presses Boris Johnson over care home deaths
- Brexit: Face-to-face trade talks between UK and EU begin in Brussels
- "Boris Johnson's Brexit choices are making Britain's fuel and food shortages worse"
- "Boris Johnson’s New Immigration Rules Will Harm Britain’s Economy" by Philippe Legrain, Foreign Policy, 2020 February 21
- "The Guardian view on empty shelves: a crisis made in government", Editorial, The Guardian, 2021 August 25
- "Food firms warn of panic-buying this Christmas", BBC, 2021 September 23
- "Modern Slavery: dark secrets of rural Britain" by Clive Aslet, Telegraph, 2014 October 3
- "Fens migrant workers 'exploited', BBC finds" by Jo Taylor and Julian Sturdy, BBC News, 2013 September 30
- "UK worker shortage: Farmers give fruit and veg away for free" by BBC News, 2021 September 1
- "Worker exodus after Brexit putting pig farms at threat" by Andrew Woodcock, Independent, 2021 September 4
- "Brexit to blame for fast-food chicken shortages as ministers fail to help, industry says" by Rob Merrick, Independent, 2021 August 19
- "How serious is the shortage of lorry drivers?" by BBC News, 2021 September 27
- "Fuel, beer and chicken: Why Britain’s shortages keep coming" by Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, 2021 September 26
- "Ikea apologises for supply shortages blaming Covid and Brexit" by Robert Dex, Evening Standard, 2021 September 3
- "McDonald’s runs out of milkshakes in all UK restaurants" by Rachael Burford, Evening Standard, 2021 August 25
- "Fancy a beer in Britain? In some pubs, supplies are running low." by Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, 2021 September 1
- "What’s Causing the U.K. Fuel Crisis? One part Brexit and one part coronavirus have derailed Britain’s transportation system—and given the government a huge headache." by Zinya Salfiti, Foreign Policy, 2021 September 27
- "'Crazy': Britain puts army on standby as panic buying leaves gas pumps dry" by Reuters, reposted by NBC News, 2021 September 28
- "Fuel crisis: Social media blamed as panic-buying continues" by Matt Mathers, Independent, 2021 September 28
- "Boris Johnson puts army on standby amid fuel supply crisis" by Rowena Mason, Aubrey Allegretti, Dan Sabbagh, and Richard Partington, Guardian, 2021 September 27