With my customary bad timing, here is a piece about how the Commons is blocked on Brexit (and actually The Independent Group does not really change this).

So, we know that there are various factions in the House of Commons, each with varying degrees of organisation/coherence and of different sizes.

(This diagram isn't exhaustive.)

Importantly, these groupings do not sit on party political lines (as we saw yesterday morning), so it is not simply a reproduction of what has been the dominant organising force, nor is it possible to operationalise the usual procedure of whipping a majority.

What marks out each of these groups is that they all think they have a killer argument in their favour.

We can leave whether that is actually true to one side, because it is the self-image that matters.

Depending on what you care about, each of these groups can make a strong case for holding their ground, because each is working from a very different starting point and to very different end points.

Two problems, though.

Firstly, none of these groups holds a majority, even ephemerally, let alone structurally, so they need to get some allies.

Secondly, each has a pretty bad flaw that holes them beyond the waterline: it is hard to see how any of these could be addressed without involving some radical change.

So, there is a paradox: you need to flex to get allies, but the flex needed probably does for your preferred outcome.

That is made more frustrating by the number of possible alliances you might imagine being possible.

(Again, a non-exhaustive diagram, with just the ones that sprang to mind.)

So, you could do it, but here we run into the final problem.

Everyone else has a really bad flaw in their position, and you have got a great proposition, so why should you be the one to give ground, especially if it means badly compromising your position?

And so we get stuck.

The shuffling of the party-political chairs (as yesterday) does not change this basic situation (although it might allow for a bit more flexibility on voting): you would need a wholesale restructuring of parties for it to make a difference and that is not on the cards.🔷

In sum:

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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.)

(Cover: Pixabay.)



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Professor at the University of Surrey. All aspects of Brexit and EU-UK relations, plus some learning and teaching.

Guildford, UK. Articles in PMP Magazine Website