Explosive video: Tusk destroys May’s scant hopes with “special place in hell” for Tory Brexiteers comment

“A special place in hell” – Donald Tusk this morning

This morning EU Commission President Donald Tusk has set fire to Theresa May’s hopes of bringing the hard-Brexit Tory fringe with her on any vague ‘assurances’ she might hope to wring from the EU over the Irish ‘backstop’ in her dire withdrawal agreement.

Tusk said he and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were preparing for a ‘fiasco’ from the UK government – and made an extraordinarily severe comment about the Tories who drove the Brexit issue in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum:

Speaking of a UK ‘fiasco’, Tusk wondered about a ‘special place in hell’ for the Tory and UKIP Brexiteers who drove the Brexit issue in the build-up to the 2016 EU referendum.

Leo Varadkar, speaking next to Tusk immediately afterward, re-emphasised that the EU will not give a millimetre on the Irish backstop aspects of the withdrawal agreement.

This means that the additional, non-binding ‘assurances’ May might have been hoping for will meet with a frosty reception from ERG Group and other pro-Brexit Tories who will no doubt be offended and outraged by Tusk’s frank and public assessment.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Donald Tusk just threw Theresa May into a bear-pit – and the experienced politician will not have done so accidentally.

This was no ‘outburst’. It can only be viewed as a calculated manifestation of Tusk’s contempt and frustration, not only for the Brexiteers ‘without even a sketch of a plan’ – but also for May’s incompetent arrogance throughout what has passed for ‘negotiations’.

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  1. He also said “At the moment, the pro-Brexit stance of the UK prime minister, and the Leader of the Opposition, rules out this question.”

    “Today, there is no political force and no effective leadership for Remain. I say this without satisfaction, but you can’t argue with the facts.”

    When will Labour DO anything?

      1. Exactly, this is a wholly Tory mess, both Cameron and May are remainers and May is doing all she can to subvert Brexit while disingenuously claiming she respects the EURef result.

        It feels like we are entering a totalitarian era brought in under the chaos of Brexit, wall to wall propaganda, fearmongering and endless warmongering.

      2. wish people who have a go at labour would realise they are not in government. Jeremy Corbyn was told after the result in 2016 that his input was not welcome or needed. I am of the opinion that Jeremy Corbyn has a solution to this mess,it does not involve been hand in glove with this government though

      3. Yes Maria, it’s all an act by May to please the ruling elite, like Johnson who didn’t really believe in Brexit (he saw this as his best ticket to win the Tory rank and file and the Tory Leadership).
        It’s May’s Mirage of Brexit, half-in. Half-out, to please the City of London and Big Business (capital).
        There were perhaps always 2 ways to build a left wing democratic socialist society as an example to the World – (a) to collectively try to break Neo-Liberalism in the EC (Remain & Reform) which LOST or (b) via what we would want – left wing democratic socialist independent nation states.
        I was amused when post-Brexit the London Stock Exchange called off it’s proposed merger deal with the German Bourse (the German Stock Exchange) but then again Neo-Liberal Lightweight Capitalist Adventurer, Boris Johnson, probably thought the Bourse was a chocolate bar?
        Perhaps implicit in Tusk’s disgusting comment is an attack on all those who voted to leave.
        But I believe in self-determination for countries and perhaps dear friends you can see why the Right Wing Neo-Liberal Barbaians in the EC have jusg backed the Right Wing Neo-Liberal Barbarians in the US against Venezeula – to paraphrase the song “If you tolerate this, you are next!”

      4. Quite. So the perception seems to be that they are not capable and are as incompetent as the other lot. Not much statesmanship around either from Jeremy.

    1. Lets remember who created the problem of a referendum in the first place was the Tories, kept in office by the Libdems. The Libdems could have at any time brought the Tories down, but kept them in office, had they done the right thing there would not have been a referendum.

      What do you want Labour to do? Back those that lost a referendum and lose the votes of those that voted in good faith. A vote has been taken perhaps you don’t like the decision but that’s democracy, we can’t just keep voting because the losers think we should.

      Europe has not been properly discussed or debated because the corrupt media have not laid out the basis for a proper conversation and those that believe Europe (which over the last thirty years has been transformed into a corporate state), is some social democratic paradise that will keep us from the harmful effects of Neo-Liberal hegemony, simply do know that It has enshrined Neo-Liberalism into the Maastricht treaty which must be completely destroyed, and turned into a proper social constitution to effectively protect us from the ravages of today’s capitalists.

      Please listen to this Academic and syriza politician who explains why ordinary workers are better off outside Europe:

    2. Chris, try to recall, but the Leave position won the 2016 Referendum . You lost. All Labour MP’s stood on a 2017 Manifesto, promising to “respect the outcome of the Referendum”. The Referendum outcome is not nullified just because the Tory globalist Brexiters told loads of lies, particularly failing to explain their special neoliberal globalist offshore tax haven version of Brexit. But the Reman argument was also massively bolstered by a farrago of lying scaremongering from every major economic institution, from The Treasury, to the IMF, to most Establishment economists. They all warned, bogusly, of “huge economic costs” (and a loss of income figure PER PERSON !) immediate upon a vote to Leave. Utter twaddle, as has been proven – but this “project fear” stuff is also proof that Brexiters were indeed prepared to accept being poorer, at least for a while – as long as they could escape the neoliberal straightjacket of the EU, particularly the consequences for the lower paid and poorer communities of unlimited labour supply.

      There is a party wholly committed to ignoring the Referendum and staying in the EU on the same terms as before – the Lib Dems. Why don’t you go and join them ? Labour has a perfectly clear strategy for the sort of Brexit required to both respect the Referendum outcome AND protect jobs and standards . Not good enough for the Left liberal middle classes desperate to continue to be able to feed off the cronyist , career opportunity, and sundry forms of largesse teat of the gravy train EU bureaucracy.

      1. Thanks. That was a great illustration of the exaggerated caricatures and fantasies that lie behind Lexit.

  2. Tory Brexit does not represent all Brexit voters (Lexit).

    Tory Remain does not represent all Remain voters.

    Either way we voted Leave – and I just wish we would. Theresa May’s incompetence over the issue will be her damning legacy.

  3. David McNiven
    Feb 3
    Replying to @BBCPolitics
    Trick to making sure stuff gets done on time and on budget is to solve the hardest problems first – that way you know early if the plan is good or a money pit.
    Irish border was obviously the biggest block – it was infantile to leave it to last.
    UK Brexit negotiators behaved as recklessly as an advancing general leaving an enemy force of unknown size to his rear – but with a far greater potential for disaster.

    1. I think you’re almost too kind. The appalling incompetence of not even having a draft fag-packet plan at the time of Article 50 was a dereliction of duty, fuelled by incompetence that is hard to match even by the standards of the charge of the Light Brigade.

      There again – it is a fairly common story in the *true* history of British imperialist dreaming, exemplified in the Brexit debacle.

      Now : disclaimer first. I don’t have a lot of time for Jonathan Powell in general, Dancing cheek to cheek with Blair is not a good ‘Strictly’ look.
      Nor do I much rate the judgment of someone who thinks that Labour has a problem with ‘antisemitism’ rather than a problem with false accusations.

      But he has written (if you extract the useful stuff) a useful and interesting take on politics now in the current issue of the ‘New Statesman’. It takes off from Max Weber’s analysis of the rise of the professional politician about a hundred years ago.

  4. This has been owned by the Brexiteers since day one. When The Blonde Twatwaffler went into hiding, and the they all went, “Plan, we have no plan, we don’t need no evening’s plan.” You have to say that in a Mexican bandit’s voice in a spaghetti western!

  5. This is obviously a Tory disaster created by the far right Brexiters but Tusk is correct. Who the heck is speaking up for the 63% of the electorate who didn’t vote to leave and almost half of the voters who definitely voted to remain?

    It’s no good just repeating ‘we want an GE’ .If Brexit goes ahead in any form we won’t get one, where will be the Tory insentive?

    Another referendum is the ONLY democratic answer.

    1. Can’t say I’m keen on the idea from a practical or consequential viewpoint.

      But, yes. I can’t otherwise see a way out of the constitutional mire created by a sloppy and indecisive referendum thrown off to sort the Tories’ internal problems.

      I’m afraid Emily Thornberry was still voicing ‘Peeple Swill’ bollocks today.

      Which makes me sad at the current low level of political rhetoric and honesty. Even Farage admitted that the sort of result that the referendum actually produced settled nothing.

      Test the claim.

    2. Jack just for general information, I voted remain but will if there is a another referendum vote out of the EU.

      I have no objection to referendums but when you say that a referendum is the democratic answer, and dismiss a call for a general election, then I have to ask what your version of democracy really means.

      Surely if a government has proven itself so incapable of governing the country should have every right to call for an election, and isn’t it the duty of a government to seek a new mandate from the people to continue in office. Isn’t that real democracy?

      Those that call for a referendum, already know that we are fast approaching EU elections and that a referendum is already beyond that election, so becomes meaningless, so can we in reality presume that those calling for this non existent referendum only do so to undermine the Labour leadership?

      1. Rotzeichen. I too would prefer a GE asap but it’s important to note that I said IF Brexit goes ahead, at least in the near future, we won’t get one.

        There is the point that once the damage of Brexit becomes evident voters will clammer for one but probably by then, the normal time table will intervene.

        NOW is the time action needs to be taken. Not once the damage is done.

    3. Jack, it might turn out to be a mirror image of 2010 – where they blamed Labour for their past (Thatcher’s) and future (Cameron, Osborne and May’s) incompetence.
      This time they have to throw the election though – because that’s the only way they can hang this latest frock-up on Labour.

      1. That’s a possible scenario. Except that current Labour policy, as I see it, is putting it’s own head in the noose.

  6. Shame on Skwarkbox for glorying in such a deeply anti-working class comment which is just as much aimed at anti-EU people from the Labour Party such as Dennis Skinner and Kate Hoey.

    The clear meaning is wearily familiar: the plebs and proles who voted Leave were incapable of thinking for themselves. They have been living in an organisation for 40 years but that lived experience counts for nothing since they are incapable of forming their own judgment being of the “lower orders”.

    Tusk is a right wing capitalist who hardly deserves publicity from Skwarkbox. His comment is so typical of the snobbery against Leave voters which the political class have spent the last three years spreading and with which too many of the overwhelmingly middle class Labour Party Blairite MPs and too many party members connive.


    1. “The clear meaning is wearily familiar: the plebs and proles who voted Leave .”

      A simplistic caricature of the ‘Leave’ voting population. In the south, it was bolstered by the aged well-to-do. The whole shambolic mess cut across party and class lines, despite the clear tendencies in voting behaviour, such that the younger and the better educated were more likely to support ‘Remain’

      The issue isn’t whether Leave voters “were incapable of thinking for themselves” , but whether they *did* think for themselves beyond regurgitating tropes from the plutocrat right-wing propaganda press that are clearly very prevalent when opinions are recorded.

      Sorry – the ‘prole virtue’ trope doesn’t work.

      A better informed electorate (admittedly marginally) now tends in the opposite direction, and irreversible decisions need to be clear – not confused. That’s democracy.

      Admittedly, we should never have been here in a set-up that wasn’t the legendary brewery piss-up. But when in a hole, it’s time to stop digging.

      1. ‘The whole shambolic mess cut across party and class lines…’. That is a correct observation, RH.

        From your previous comments, one can surmise that your opposition to Brexit is that it is an act of self-harm for reasons that you have quite adequately and clearly explained. There is only one problem with that ‘economic self harm’ argument: It is made in the context of prevailing and dominant global neo-liberal economic perspective. Yes, when viewed that way, all the economic modelling will return the same result which supports ‘economic self-harm’ argument. Even that so-called ‘economic self-harm’ has been distilled to one argument: frictionless trade between the EU and Britain. Hence the sticky point of the Irish Backstop.

        But there is a different view from the prevailing neo-liberal globalist capitalist model. Britain is a fairly advanced industrialized economy capable of producing almost anything it needs. It has a fairly skilled human resource base. Meaning to say, UK was manufacturing vehicles before Nissan came to set-up here. UK was manufacturing airplanes before Airbus came to set up factories of some of its parts here. UK was producing medicines before Pfizer came to set-up here. As a matter of fact, currently, just to borrow the neo-liberal economic standard of measure, UK has a trade surplus with the rest of the world, and trade deficit with the EU. The bottom line is, UK can produce almost every product it needs and import that which it can’t. There is no need to prepare for food and medicines shortages. If that happens, it will be because of lack of planning and sheer incompetence of the current government, not because of Brexit per se. UK can still trade with the EU as it does with the rest of the world.

        You are also quite correct when you point out that this Brexit No-Deal mess is a Tory-Right wet-dream. But we have the potential to turn it into their worst nightmare with proper democratic socialist planning. So, in conclusion, it is better for all of us to work towards putting Labour in government rather than calling for a second referendum. Regrettably, the train has already left the station with regard to the second referendum debate. The referendum ‘minority’ argument is a circular one, because one might counter that by pointing out that we have respected GE results where there was even fewer turnout than at the referendum. Also, just for argument’s sake, if we want to re-join the EU, we can re-negotiate and have another referendum on re-joining the EU.

      2. Stewart – Thanks for a rational reply that addresses the issues.

        Where I essentially part company with you, is, firstly on the chances of the UK establishing a different economic model in the subject situation that the country will find itself in outside the EU. It will be on the receiving end of trade negotiations with bigger blocs …

        … which links to the other disagreement that I have, which is about the underlying structural flaws in the UK economy. I see this as much more threatening than you do,

        It embodies an imbalance towards services (particularly finance, which will be hard hit by Brexit, whether we like this emphasis or not) and a weakness in advanced production. The Tory-dominated short-termist shaping of the economy has seriously undermined our skills capacity, and has perpetuated antiquated, crap models of management.

        One aspect of this has been the way in which education policy has been aimed at producing a subservient under-class for the gig economy rather than seriously attempting to invest in skills and raising wage-levels etc. whilst promoting a more egalitarian set-up.

        So – I tend to have a much bleaker view of the prospects of turning this around under the cosh of further economic downturn.

        My view has always been that the necessary turn-around would be difficult enough with a fair wind, but the handicap of Brexit would be a drag, not a stimulus.

    2. Tusk’s words were clearly aimed at the architects of the referendum – the only people who could be criticised in terms of not having a plan or a clue.
      Our present circumstances prove Tusk’s assertion conclusively.

      To argue that “Brexit voters” knew exactly what the result of their vote would be – when the politicians with access to every expert have unknowingly brought us to this present impasse – is nonsense.

      NOBODY KNEW so please stop complaining that you’re being treated as idiots.

    3. I totally agree Danny. A thousand per cent.

      The sneer Tusk is wearing comes from his contempt for the working class and anyone else who challenges his luxurious, undemocratic privilege.

      How dare the slaves revolt.

  7. “The sneer Tusk is wearing comes from his contempt for the working class ”

    Do, please, give up on this myth-based appeal to imaginary class rectitude. It is totally unconvincing and doesn’t stand up to even cursory examination.

    Remember – Marx and Engels – and Lenin – and Trotky – or even Atlee – and etc. etc. weren’t, and never aspired to be, members of the ‘working class’, however defined. Their arguments, whatever you think of them, weren’t exercises in a brain by-pass by faux-virtue inherent in chanting ‘I’m a prole, fol-de-rol’

  8. Taken as a whole, the Tusk rant doesn’t look like a rant at all but rather a calculated attempt to trash the ERG/Tory right and simultaneously trash the Labour leadership bolstering a putative cross party consensus behind Theresa May’s deal, which is Brexit in name openly and leaves the UK as a rule taker and fee payer with zero political influence. This will be good news for the banking sector, the CBI, the EU commission, the centrist majority in the Tory Party, the Lib Dems and the anti-Corbyn faction of the PLP – in short the British state. Genuine socialists and the vast majority of working class people in Britain will be rightly appalled. As numerous Irish and other referendums remind us: the EU does not take NO for an answer.

  9. Doesn’t the political imbecile Tusk realise that there are a small minority of hotheads perhaps on both sides.
    We have had an MP killed, and other people threatened.
    Is this statement a Hate Crime – it would have been the same if someone had made the same comment re Remainers.
    Sack Tusk, report him to Interpol!

    1. “the political imbecile Tusk”

      I think this country has its own massive political imbecility to cope with – see ‘Brexit’.

      You can hardly fault Tusk for calling it out, even if truth hurts.

  10. Accept the Referendum result.
    Democratic control of labour & capital supply.
    Migration adjustment funds for councils.
    Tariff free trade companies EC but Govt pay collective fee – no need backstop, protects Peace Process.
    Trade unionise migrant workers.
    Deals workers rights, environment, student exchanges, policing, security, rights UK citizens to live, work & study EC.
    It is possible to have internationalism outside of a Neo-Liberal structure.

    1. “Accept the Referendum result”

      Of course – there’s the question of “What ‘result’?”

      Then there’s the question of ‘Why?’

      We don’t accept that the last GE result was immutable into some unending future.

      By all means argue against alternatives, but do make an *argument* rather than asserting the holy writ of the last referendum.

  11. Have just heard Mark “my father landed on D Day I will not be bullied by the Germans” tell the BBC that the intemperate language used by Tusk is outrageous .Suprisingly went unchallenged by interviewer.

  12. Bazza my friend, none of these things will come to pass whilst the Maybot is in power. I thought Patrick Cockburn summed it up really well: “Brexit remains the strangest of crises because, as many have pointed out, the whole country is being invited to board the Brexit train without knowing its destination. That may be in some far distant land or, perhaps more likely, could simply be on another platform in the same railway station.” – a less well-lit platform strewn with discarded syringes and chip wrappers, he might have added. The only way forward is to get rid of the Tories and their Brexit question which has nothing to do with the EU and everything to do with the war between globalist and nativist exploiters of British working people.

  13. But Labrebisgalleoise Mon Ami, Patrick had not seen my suggested platforms leading to the left wing democtratic socialist station for the World Ha! Ha!

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