Breaking: EU grants May extension – but only to 22 May

The EU has told Theresa May it will grant an extension – but not to her wished date of 30 June. A Brexit date of 22 May will be granted, but only if she can get her deal through Parliament next week.

The EU’s decision makes May’s astonishing statement last night, in which she alienated MPs by blaming all of them for her incompetence in language calculated to incite extremists, look even more ill advised.

May is now at the mercy of MPs across the Brexit-Remain spectrum, having just done everything she can to turn them against her.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. That gives Jezza plenty of time to sort things out after the General Election on 2nd May

    1. Albert Swift – a mere 20 days. Would he then be revoking Article 50. Cause EU clearly state that Maybots deal is the only deal, and they not gonna reopen negotiations.

      1. Of course not. Despite all the Brexiteers’ misinformation, the EU position has always been perfectly predictable and rational.

        I’m always mildly surprised at the enthusiasm of notional Lefties helping JRM and friends to enhance their excessive bank balances in expeditions of total delusion under the misapprehension that Brexit is other than a rightist scam.

        For a Labour Party member, the question is whether the leadership has clocked the obvious that most members did a long time ago.

    1. This year 2nd. May is the first Thursday in May, specified by FTP as GE day every 5 years.
      Since the 1930s GE has been on a Thursday.

      Incidentally, the petition “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU” stands at 3,047,041 and the parliament.uk site is struggling to cope.

      “Labour heartlands” are showing much less enthusiasm for the petition, showing as little as 0.5% support – some constituencies are showing ten times that.

      Despite believing we should remain I think such a petition – without an equivalent petition (if such were possible) for leavers to sign and at such a fractious time – isn’t in the best interest of democracy.
      It’s reminiscent of olden times when elections were held over a period of days and a build-up of momentum/snowball effect could distort the result.

  2. So lets hope Bercow can stand by his guns and prevent this shit from being presented again to the HOC .
    I really can’t help thinking that this is all some cunning plan ” Baldrick” and she has been secretly ensuring that Brexit never happens by all the enemies she has made and people she’s pissed off to get to this catastrophic point in the proceedings
    If that’s not the case then effing hell we have one utter nut job for a PM

    1. “she has been secretly ensuring that Brexit never happens ”

      I think that’s too clever for May.

      … but she would be working in the interests of the country for a change if it were true. I’d have to eat a lot of words.

  3. Brexit is falling apart and so it should. This act of constitutional vandalism should be consigned to the tip with May and all the right wing Tories who have brought us to this crazy poition.

    1. Brexit fell apart as a concept a long time ago. It’s been a brain dead patient kept on life support by incompetent doctors who can’t manage modern technology.

      It’s difficult to gauge the numbers of the current on-line petition for withdrawal of Article 50 as a barometer – but they’re significantly higher than anything else like it – and the map of the continuously growing numbers is very interesting in terms of social geography. Basically a confirmation of the divisions that we already know about.

      Ironically (despite the chaos in the Tory Party), I think this situation is more of a test for Labour and Corbyn as leader. I hope both can rise to the occasion and go for the obvious next step towards ditching Brexit. Pissing about with a ‘deal’ is not a gateway to any sort of rational future.

  4. Who said ‘we’ll get a good deal from the EU, they always cave in at the last minute’…. Ha.

  5. I’m counting on Bercow to kibosh the whole thing! If he denies the vote the whole thing is over !

  6. The totally uncritically pro EU Trolls are out in the usual small , but fanatical, numbers I see. That the EU is itself a neoliberal “scam” , enforcing a large set of extreme free market rules on member states which makes both trades union wage bargaining very difficult (unlimited labour supply) , always prioritises the rights of businesses against workers (the ECJ and Competition policy) , and enforces a “balanced budgets rule which ensures permanent Austerity – and in the Eurozone, destroys the manufacturing base of the less efficient southern European economies to the advantage mainly of German Capital, is of no interest to these economic and political nitwits. Yes, let’s just tar the whole idea of pursuing a Left social democratic economic programme with national sovereignty to choose our national priorities, by creating the straw man caricature that Brexit only relates to the offshore , deregulated, financialised tax haven economy goal of the globalist Tory Brexiters. These dishonest Trolls have one purpose on here, to confuse and split Jeremy’s support base.

    1. “the totally uncritically pro EU Trolls”

      Wey-hey! Ha’penny off again on his illiterate Penny-farthing pseudo-left rickety bike (+ square wheels).

      La La Land as a socialist paradise – but let the real workers go hang (sacrifices in the pursuit of politico-religious purity).

      Come back Wolfy – all is forgiven. You at least had the excuse of youth and less history.

    2. Your points are valid and the only argument against them is to resort to insults.

      1. I wonder if he’ll identify them – accurately in this case – as anti-Corbyn ‘trolls’. I’m not holding my breath.

        Meanwhile, I note that the petition for the withdrawal of Article 50 has passed the 2m mark. Obviously, quite a few have looked at the Wolfie prospectus of an imaginary socialist La La Land (courtesy of Trump) and decided that – despite imperfections – the EU is a more realistic prospect.

      2. RH there is not a cat in hell’s chance of jp identifying the JLM correctly because it will give away his own positon. Support for the Zionist JLM is to support the pretense of backing Corbyn whilst stabbing him in the back.

    3. jpenney 21/03/2019 at 6:59 pm

      These dishonest Trolls have one purpose on here, to confuse and split Jeremy’s support base.

      I’m curious what purpose did you have in mind when you wrote this.

      John Penney says:
      January 10, 2017 at 9:16 pm
      ………………. Jeremy’s politics are actually a complete rag bag of inconsistent beliefs and policy proposals – drawn from ,variously, traditional reformist radical socialism, Stalinism, moralistic liberalism, Quakerish pacifism , identity politics, top-down old Labour Leftism, a rebel but also a profound believer in ” Labour Unity above all”.

      And all bundled up in a man who spent a very comfortable 40 years as a “Left maverick” in the PLP/Labour party, constantly flirting with the Far Left , and sundry campaigns, but NEVER expecting to be in the “Leadership” of the Labour party today, and utterly hemmed in by the PLP Right and Centre .

      And this shambolic political mish mash with which Jeremy navigated for 40 years in the risk-free, responsibilityless role of a powerless “PLP Leftie, for so many years, is now proving increasingly useless to lead the newly resurgent 500, 000 strong Labour Party Left-oriented members into decisive battle to win the Party Machine from the dead hand of the Right, Or construct a credible radical Left Reformist Political Programme to win mass support back to Labour.

      Time for us on the Labour Left to put pressure on Jeremy and his over-tiny team of trusted colleagues to drive decisively , coherently ,Leftwards, democratise the Party , using Momentum and his mass support base to take on the Party Right to do so.

      1. SteveH You’ve cracked it – jpenney to a ‘T’. Feigns support for Corbyn whilst hiding the knife behind his back – typical sly Zionist.

  7. The EU reflects the wills of its countries’ governments. It is no surprise it is neoliberal. If governments wanted a more progressive and accountable administration they could easily get things changed.

  8. RH – I for one would have more respect for your position on the EU (although I disagree with it), if you would honestly engage with the arguments against it put forward by jpenney, rather than indulging in a somewhat puerile ridicule of his/her name. But perhaps you do not have a counter-argument, in which case it might be wiser to keep your feelings to yourself and remain silent.

    1. Redveg, as another remainer who wants the people to have the finaI say hope you don’t mind if I intervene.

      It is imperative that voters get to confirm or change their original positions because so many negatives have become evident since the original vote.

      Just a few which spring to mind:

      New trade deals will be the easiest ever – they won’t

      We will have over forty trade deals in place by Brexit day – we won’t

      When we leave we will have exactly the same benefits – we won’t

      They need us more than we need them – they don’t

      We will get a good trade deal – we haven’t

      They will cave in at the last minute – they haven’t

      Leaving the EU will make us more prosperous – it won’t, who says so? our own government.

      Immigrants are harming our economy etc. – they aren’t

    2. Redveg – You’ve asked a reasonable question. I have often engaged with the ‘arguments’ that jpenny puts forward, as have other ‘Remainers’ here. In a nutshell, we find the concept of a ideal socialist state in an an isolated position totally unrealistic to an absurd degree.

      It is not that we are uncritical of the EU (as jpenny constantly reiterates), but that we see the sort of alliance that it represents as the only viable structure for opposition to the steamroller of corporate capitalism (David McNiven eloquently ouitlined this position the other day.

      Our analysis is that a free-floating UK will be at the shit end of any new trade deal, not having the clout to negotiate. This is underlined by current US noises. We don’t fancy being a satellite of the US; the possibility of change within a neighbouring alliance is a better, if not certain, prospect, even if we are unhappy about some of the structures and the (irrelevant) set-up and actions of the EMU.

      We note that the neoliberalism of this country has always been more extreme than that of the EU in general – largely homegrown, and not inflicted on a ‘victim’ UK. We also note that Brexit is as much an establishment project as the status quo – but promulgated by the extreme right whose eyes are on the gains to be made from the big-time gambling industry (hedge funds etc.).

      Also, the leading figures of the shit-show are so far from anyone’s ideas of humanitarian co-operation and basic competence as to make a Lexit outcome as unlikely as a snowball in hell.

      Beyond that, the project of unravelling decades of co-operation has proved what we feared – a reduction of the country to an international laughing stock

      Apart from the basic economics, there are the complex networks of co-operation that have been manifestly beneficial in this wider context. If you have any experience of such, and the seamlessness of contact that the EU brings, you should be aware of the benefits. Many of us have children who see the fact of being European as an integral part of their identity. That is why there is a steep age gradient in attitudes – a gradient that makes the current debate old hat, unsupported by coming generations.

      Then there is the basis upon which this course of action has been taken – a minority vote dominated by misinformation from right wing propaganda which produced only 37% of the electorate in support. This has now moved to even that sort of split vote being in favour of ‘Remain’. At the very least this needs to be formally tested.

      Then – the response to jpenny.

      He gets short shrift because of his repetitive insults, such as :

      “The totally uncritically pro EU Trolls are out in the usual small , but fanatical, numbers I see…..”

      “These dishonest Trolls have one purpose on here, to confuse and split Jeremy’s support base.”

      Now, you may be right that such frothing at the mouth should simply be ignored – but the sarcasm and hypocrisy is entirely justified when aimed at a supporter of the ERG’s agenda who is happy to ignore the facts of opinion within the Labour vote.

  9. The problem with EU/EEA membership or “close alignment with the Single Market” is that it obliterates our prospects of transferring wealth and power “from the few to the many”.

    That objective cannot be achieved without a comprehensive planned economy and without a significant extension of public ownership so that the government’s plans can be made to stick.

    Since the EEC was created mainly to defend European capitalism and prevent its being replaced with European democratic socialism, it is unsurprising that the EU protects the existing level of private enterprise.

    It does so by enforcing marketisation of sectors thereby preventing sectors being taken into public ownership.

    Companies threatened with nationalisation can simply apply to their local national court and enforce their fundamental rights. This is the corporate “freedom of establishment” in the Member State involved.

    In all likelihood the private firm would be awarded an interim injunction to stop public ownership in its tracks immediately.

    The sort of nationalisation implemented by the 1945 government, of whole economic sectors, would therefore be entirely illegal.

    Just as illegal would be the sort of public ownership favoured by the Labour Left, which would be driven a comprehensive economic plan and which would involve a healthy measure of industrial democracy.

    The EU/EEA/Single Market is therefore a marvellous instrument for those who want to avoid disrupting the status quo.

    It dooms a Left Labour government to preserve durably the balance between private enterprise and public ownership of the Thatcher-Blair consensus, never mind how many banking crises and housing crises cripple our nation, and how much austerity those crises generate.

    Thus the main “fundamental right” which workers have in the EU/EEA/Single Market is the fundamental right to live under neoliberal capitalism for the rest of their lives.

  10. I note that the Article 50 petition has now topped 3,000,000.

    Now – an on-line petition is that, and only that. But it is worth noting that the number here is double the margin of the supposed Brexit ‘victory’.

    So – pretty significant. Certainly significant enough to justify a new referendum.

  11. So now the accusation is that Jeremy Corbyn is a ‘notional leftie’. Remoaners in the Labour Party are dishonest in their pretence of support for JC. If you want Tim Farron’s proposal & to revoke Article 50, you admit that parliamentary democracy is an illusion as the vast majority of MPs voted for it & Keir Starmer or Vince Cable speaks for you & not Jeremy Corbyn. Lib Dems represent your interests.

    1. Sorry, Steve – that’s just a self-serving fantasy, treating Corbyn as the Messiah (and you know what his mother said about that ) 🙂

      The fact is – quite straightforwardly – that there is no substantive majority in the country or in parliament for this exercise in incompetence. Never was, and is even less now. Let alone a credible rationale.

      I don’t pay my Labour Party dues in order simply to give an obeisant nod and wink to anything that comes out of the Leader’s office or the NEC – especially if it runs contrary to the instincts of the grass roots and Labour voters. Didn’t for Blair, and won’t for Corbyn, much as I like him and many of his qualities.

      The position that Labour is in at this critical time was underlined as I listened to ‘The World at One’ this lunchtime. This is not something that I often do – it just happened to be the case.

      In half an hour of focus on Brexit, there was nary a voice from the Party. They were all Tories representing different positions.

      Now – we can argue about the degree to which the Beeb is an active Tory conspiracy or just a reflection of a dominant hegemony. But the fact is that – at a time when the number signing a petition for the withdrawal of Article 50 is at a level *twice* that of the margin between ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ three years ago – the official opposition is treated as having nothing much to say.

      Now that’s not a good position – and it’s no good polishing a turd as a mark of dumb party loyalty. You just end up with the same old turd.

      What is most worrying is that the evident arrogance of the BBC in ignoring Labour (except when repeating slurs) reflects the views of many sympathetic potential voters, in the sense of feeling that Labour has abandoned them and become irrelevant to one of their major present concerns. We’ve got a negative feedback loop operating here that doesn’t bode well.

      If things change over the coming days, I’ll willingly admit it, but that does depend on a new initiative.

      1. RH, I don’t believe in Messiahs – we all have feet of clay – but Corbyn has at least given the left some hope.
        Every right wing element on the planet is ranged against him yet he sticks to principle while they wilt with the effort of maintaining the attack and, last time I looked, his support was still growing.
        Gandhi wasn’t a Messiah but he was able to snap the spine of the British Empire with a resistance so dignified and quiet that it echoed around the world.
        No, I’m not saying Corbyn’s a Gandhi, that would be ridiculous.
        All I’m saying is that nobody else is a Corbyn.

      2. I cannot tell a lie…..your first comment made me laugh, however………there never has been a parliamentary majority in parliament for Brexit, despite the outcome of the referendum & there has never been support for Jeremy Corbyn as leader, by most Labour MPs. It would appear that MPs are once again the problem as Article 50 was agreed by the vast majority of MPs & now…….que pasa? Do MPs have trouble making decisions? Well Yes & No? Now MPs can take over.
        It would appear that JC’s reluctance to immediately implement another ‘neverendum’ does not meet with your approval, perhaps time for another leader? Do you really think there is another Socialist MP worth a balloon, to lead the Labour Party? I wonder why he lacks your enthusiasm?
        Don’t worry, the Neo-Liberal elites will never allow Brexit.

      3. Steve & David – You both raise important issues about Corbyn. And I don’t fundamentally disagree – which is why I have generally supported him – as have most of my acquaintance in the Party when the occasion arose.

        However, I also note some blind spots that have particularly emerged in dealing with the Brexit quagmire – a creation of the Tory right. Don’t mistake – I think dealing with this quagmire asks a lot because the whole process was flawed at the outset.

        One of the reasons I like Corbyn and support him is that he has been a dissenter who hasn’t simply ticked a box when presented with the party line. The Labour Party is rooted in dissent whilst retaining loyalty to shared objectives.

        And no, I don’t see an alternative leader with any credibility. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll shut up when I see mistaken strategy or tactics.

        Steve – in answer to your question “Do MPs have trouble making decisions? Well Yes & No?” – the answer is ‘Yes’ – as a body, they certainly do.

        Without going into the wider questions about the emergent qualities of the present parliament, there is a clear reason for the current impasse – namely the process from which it emerges : a stupidly binary question passed to a mickey-mouse referendum process and given a non-decisive answer.

        The current situation accurately reflects the attempt to make an obvious non-result into a decisive one – thus reflecting the wider confusion of the electorate.

        Bluntly, the whole situation needs a reset, as the support for the withdrawal of Article 50 – now approaching 4 million – recognises. The problem is that stating the obvious lack of a proper democratic mandate, or serious rationale, for Brexit requires political courage.

      4. RH, it seems to me you keep skirting around the issue of Corbyn’s leadership – maybe not quite damning with faint praise but often hinting at something unstated – if you have in fact previously made the case for a different leader I’ve missed seeing it.
        Please would you just name your preferred choice if that is in fact your agenda? Beating around the bush isn’t something I associate with your posts on other subjects.
        Corbyn’s my age – the question of his replacement will definitely be something he thinks about so I’m confident he won’t be offended if he’s a Skwawkbox fan.
        I’ve said often that Labour should be constantly grooming future MP’s and the fact that I don’t see any, let alone a whole raft of potential successors is of concern to me so please – let’s have your input.

      5. David. You’re reading too much into my comments about Corbyn. There is no agenda. You see what there is – much like the Party at large as diagnosed in the British Election Study – support for the policy agenda and approach but qualified by strong reservations about the handling of Brexit and the consequences that flow from that in terms of his and the Labour Party’s profile and the link to its potential constituency – as well as the issues involved, of course.

        I think I made that pretty clear in my previous post – and that I had no predilection for any alternative. I want him to succeed.

        You, me and Corbyn – all much the same age. So yes, the issue of succession is indeed important, and the present state of the PLP and its Blair legacy poses problems in that respect.

        The issue also relates to Brexit and the future for *my* successors in the form of children and grandchildren : I really don’t want the fresh direction that led to Corbyn being elected to be eclipsed by a major strategic electoral blunder that could rob the Party of its new impetus and play into the hands of the old right. I’m observing too much shrugging of shoulders at present.

  12. Once the UK is out of the EU it’ll be in the worst possible negotiating position to achieve favourable trade deals – having none and desperately needing to replace every single one the thousands it’s just thrown away.
    We won’t be able to see the sky for the circling vultures.

    Tories will boast of “inward investment” as it happens but there’ll be fear in their eyes as they finally understand that there’s no recovery for a picked-clean carcass.

  13. Your analysis is absolutely correct. Bluntly, any credibility that Brexit had has been stripped away in the process of scrutiny, leaving only the tattered threads of a semi-religious garment as a remnant.

    But what to do about it? I note your earlier scepticism about the Article 50 petition. But, in lieu of alternative routes to sanity and credibility, it is worth considering as an indicator, given the rather greater number of the electorate expressing a view than the minimal pseudo-majority of the referendum.

    Certainly, as you note, there is a distinct geographical divide in the petition vote, as there was in the referendum. Essentially, it represents an older, conservative UK (old industrial + traditional rural) on the one hand and younger, liberal (in the old sense) and urban UK on the other. Presenting the former as an anti-establishment progressive impulse is, of course, laughable, depending on hitching simplistic and inaccurate notions of class virtue to a socio-geographic fact.

    So – we’re left with this imperfect method of demonstrating the asininity of the original referendum and the need for a complete reassessment of the false premises that have formed the basis of the last three years’ clowning – with ‘Leave’ now a definite minority position in even the simplistic sense.

    Whether there is a majority in parliament to see the obvious way forward and the guts to take it is another matter, admittedly

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: