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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Indicative votes: Results in sequence and plan for Monday

Analysis of Wednesday's "indicative votes" on the way forward for Brexit.

Results in the order voted on and announced, For-Against:
160-400 No Deal
188-283 Common Market 2.0 (aka Norway+)
65-377 EFTA & EEA (single market without customs union)
264-272 Customs Union (basic permanent customs union for starters)
237-307 Labour's Plan ("a" customs union and strong single market links, rights etc.)
184-293 Revoke Article 50 (if necessary to avoid No Deal)
268-295 Public Vote
139-422 WTO Terms

Arguably, Speaker Bercow made a mistake in declaring after each verdict "The Noes have it" because no one option "has it" yet. Instead, if you take account of the difference between Yes and No, you get this sequence:

Results in order by "goal difference" (all negative):
1. Customs Union: -8
2. Public Vote: -27
3. Labour's Plan: -70
4. Common Market 2.0: -95
5. Revoke to avoid No Deal: -109
6. No Deal: -240
7. WTO Terms: -283
8. EFTA & EEA: -312

However, it's simpler to forego "goal difference", and you get almost the same sequence by taking number of Yeses for each option, though the top two options swap places, which clearly could be significant*.

By focussing on the number of Yeses, it's easy to see how many votes are to be redistributed, each time the option with the least votes is eliminated. More importantly, the Noes are irrelevant for these purposes, since what we want to discover is the option of which most MPs are in favour. If someone doesn't put a Yes beside an option, that's effectively a No anyway. Therefore let's just count the Yeses from now on.

Results in order by number of Yeses:
1. Public Vote: 268
2. Customs Union: 264
3. Labour's Plan: 237
4. Common Market 2.0: 188
5. Revoke to avoid No Deal: 184
6. No Deal: 160
7. WTO Terms: 139
8. EFTA & EEA: 65

So on Monday, eliminate number 8 (EFTA &EEA) and ask its 65 supporters to vote again for one of the remaining seven options (eight if Mrs May's Deal is added). The next option to be eliminated would be whichever one ended up last out of the remaining options, probably either WTO Terms or No Deal - but we will only know when the votes are recast.

The process of elimination should be repeated, preferably discounting the Noes as irrelevant, till only two options remain. At that point the top one is the most favoured compromise option and should be adopted by the government.

Rearrangement of the ballot paper to separate two procedural options

1. In Wednesday's selected options, the Public Vote option was an anomaly, as it doesn't describe a future relationship. This can be resolved by moving it to a separate section of the ballot paper, to apply irrespective of which option is selected.

2. The same can be said for the Revoke to Avoid No Deal option, as that is not a way forward, simply an emergency brake in the event of no other plan being agreed. That too could have its own separate section on the ballot.


Suggested ballot paper layout & possible wording for Monday's vote

The option "EFTA and EEA" has been eliminated, having received the fewest votes. Additionally, the options "Public Vote" and "Revoke to Avoid No Deal" have been separated from the rest as they are procedural matters, which apply regardless of the other results."

Vote for one only of the following options. The option with the fewest votes will be eliminated and the voting procedure repeated with the remaining options:

1. The government's recommended withdrawal agreement and future arrangement
2. Customs Union basic foundation for a new deal as proposed by Kenneth Clarke
3. Labour's Plan for a form of Customs Union, close single market arrangement, rights etc.
4. Common Market 2.0 aka Norway+ which joins EFTA but not necessarily indefinitely
5. Leave with No Deal
6. Leave on WTO Terms

Answer Yes or No to the following questions:
a) In the event of no deal agreed with two days to go, revoke Article 50?: Yes or No
b) Should the eventual deal agreed be put back to the people with an option to Remain?: Yes or No

* 29/3/2019: Correction: Changed text to show that you don't get the same sequence by taking only the Yeses, rather the top two options swap places. Also added a mock-up of the possible ballot paper as a basis for Monday's votes.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Short Story of the Month, April 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

April 2019: Name by Sergey Bolmat

He looks at Anne with marked indifference, as if expecting her to introduce herself and explain the purpose of her visit, and then, after a second, makes a little twitch with the left corner of his lips indicating a smile.

‘Well,’ he says, ‘look who’s here.’ 

Photo: Sergey Bolmat by Natalia Nikitin (detail)
Photo by Natalia Nikitin (detail)
Sergey Bolmat published his first novel in Russia to great critical acclaim. To date, he has published three novels, two collections of short stories, many articles and essays in various periodicals, and a biography of Nikolay Chernyshevsky. Some of these books were shortlisted for literary awards, translated into many European languages, adapted for radio, and optioned and developed for film. His first short story written in English appeared in The Higgs Weldon.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The old dead tree has fallen

Willesden Herald Exclusive (tada!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

End of the line for the Water Poet pub

According to this, the Water Poet corner pub in Folgate Street is closing to make way for "a corporate plaza." London is disappearing, welcome to nowhere.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

EU Settlement Scheme sign

Bus shelter, Greenford Road
The sign says, "I'm an EU citizen, how can I find out more about staying in the UK? To find out more about the EU Settlement Scheme, including how and when you need to apply, visit http://gov.uk/euexit".

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Car wreck on Wood End Road





Car wreck on Wood End Road, Harrow today. Let's hope no one was badly hurt.