[The United Kingdom] now has collapsed - politically,
economically, monetarily and constitutionally, and you
will have years ahead of you to get out of this mess.
-- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte --
Some people simply cannot be honest.
The consequence is they are relegated to doing things in a weird, roundabout, rocambolesco manner. They end up being so smart, they are stupid.
Corollary: many of those people become politicians.
Two cases in point: British Prime Minister David Cameron and UK Independence Party chief Nigel Farage, the Remain and Leave leaders of Brexit respectively.
There was another rocambolesco politician at the center of Brexit -- a mysterious Third Man. Without his participation, the current collapse -- Dutch Prime Minister Rutte´s word -- would never have occurred.
Clue 1: The Third Man was not Leave spokesman and new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Clue 2: The Third Man was not a woman -- Theresa May, Conservative Party leader and new Prime Minister.
* * *
Are you in or are you out?
During decades in politics I don´t know how many times I heard that question. Come to think of it, even I asked it and on numerous occasions. I did not like asking it then, and I would not ask it now.
Politics is inseparable from simplification. Make that, oversimplification. In or out; plus or minus; up or down; heads or tales; left or right; now or never; yes or no: big problems are reduced to snap dichotomies. The purpose is to trick the unwary and get them to do something. By adding a pinch of petite drame, an either-or dichotomy heightens the sense of urgency.
The pinch can be literal. A clear-cut hurry-up dichotomy is frequently presented by a leader to instill discipline in a wavering member. Read: manipulate him.
The archetypal political dichotomy is false because if you play it right both of its outcomes are the same -- favorable. For you, at any rate.
Oligarchs, the richest 1%, learn from early childhood how to make and manage win-win dichotomies. They are part of a subculture in which two precepts prevail:
(i) What´s mine is mine. What´s yours is mine too.
(ii) It doesn´t matter if you win or lose; it´s how you played the game. It does matter if I win or lose.
The numerous win-win possibilities afforded by public affairs leads oligarchs to cultivate rocambolesco politicians. Each group needs the other.
The standard oligarcho-politico relationship:
One oligarch serves as the political point man for other oligarchs. It is a literal economy of scale; his friends do not dirty their hands, at least directly.
The point man is most approachable and publicly visible at election time; he often serves as Campaign Finance Chairman. For candidates he is the celebrated Sugar Daddy of song and verse. He can get his friends to boodle up and shower down megabucks at the drop of a fork at a dinner of seen-better-days peas and cookie-cutter, shark meat Coquilles Saint-Jacques.
Regardless of political party, every serious candidate for major office has an embedded oligarch point man. That way, it makes no difference who wins.
Win-win. You just saw the essence of the oligarchy´s ga-game.
The UK plebiscite held June 23 to Remain or Leave the European Union was the latest spin of the ga-game wheel. When all is said and done -- which it was -- I doubt even the oligarchs can believe their good fortune.
Remain/Leave. The ga-game´s indelible watermark is two, supposedly-opposed options which in reality are neither exhaustive nor mutually exclusive.
Rocambolesco politicians operate the ga-game wheel. For the record, their indispensable participation does not garner them one iota of respect from the ga-game´s owners. I will never forget the observation made by an oligarch Grande Dame of "her" politicians: "Squirrels in a cage," she sniffed, over a plate of Belgium waffles.
All you non-oligarch readers out there, who are irredeemably convinced that nobody can have their cake and eat it too, are readily taken in by what for you is a living oxymoron.
Brexit is arguably the greatest living "oxy" (sharp) "moron" (dull) of all times. Why?
* * *
When the owl shows up at the mouse picnic
he´s not there to enter the sack race.
-- Banacek TV series --
Hoaxit can be defined two ways:
(1) Hoaxit = Brexit. Contrary to everything you have seen and heard, Brexit won´t happen. When the dust settles, Britain will remain in the EU.
(2) Hoaxit was the core of Brexit. Given the stratospheric amount of money that changed hands, Brexit was the cover for the biggest swindle ever perpetrated in world history.
Because the either-or terms dished out by the ruling class in win-win dichotomies are not mutually exclusive, neither are the two meanings of Hoaxit.
(1) Hoaxit = Brexit is the null hypothesis of everything you are being told.
Hypothesis. The UK will leave the European Community. Brexit was an exercise in democracy, reflecting the will of the majority -- 52% voted Leave.
The Hoaxit Null Hypothesis. The UK will not leave the European Community. Brexit was never a serious exit measure or exercise in democracy. Its real purpose was something else:
(2) a monumental financial scam.
Both (1) and (2) were present in the false dichotomy proffered by the referendum. False because not only were the referendum´s two options not mutually exclusive but also because there was a third option that was not on the ballot -- the option which, I believe, most UK citizens favored. We identify it below.
Let´s look first at (2) Brexit as Hoaxit the con game.
These were the referendum´s two options and what they meant to the oligarchy:
Heads, I Win.
The vote to remain in the EU is victorious.
Remain is straightforward. To the oligarchy´s greater dining pleasure, the status quo remains exactly the same.
No elaboration needed.
Tails, You Lose.
The vote to leave the EU is victorious. That is what occurred.
Given (II), what took place following the referendum was dicey, but the end result was exactly the same as (I) Remain: Heads, I Win.
Well, not exactly. With (II) Tails, You Lose the status quo remains intact, only more so. I say that because the oligarchy has more money than prior to June 23.
A lot more.
In order for Brexit´s inner scam to succeed, panic and confusion had to prevail not only on a conscious level but also on an unconscious one -- and on a virtually uncontested, universal scope.
The post-June 23 hysteria and bedlam were nothing new. For over a century such tumults have been described and analyzed in crowd psychology; the stellar text is Elias Canetti´s "Crowds and Power." You might want to look at that title again.
It was P.T. Barnum who made the financial connection: "Every crowd has a silver lining."
Let´s go ahead and call the post-referendum what it was: a stampede.
The quote at the top of this post from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is a prime illustration of the gloom and dread, the governmental defensive retreatism that swept across Europe and America.
Among the bulls leading the stampede:
(i) Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, pontificated:
"This is the worst period I recall since I've been in public service. There's nothing like it, including the crisis — remember October the 19th, 1987, when the Dow went down by a record amount, 23 percent? That I thought was the bottom of all potential problems. This has a corrosive effect which is not easy to go away."
(ii) George Soros is one of the richest men on earth. He gained worldwide fame in 1992, as the British pound buster. By speculating against that currency, he cleared $1.5 billion in one month.
Soros is today -- publicly, at any rate -- an even truer true believer than Greenspan that the sky is falling:
"Now the catastrophic scenario that many feared has materialized, making the disintegration of the EU practically irreversible. Britain eventually may or may not be relatively better off than other countries by leaving the EU, but its economy and people stand to suffer significantly in the short to medium term. The pound plunged to its lowest level in more than three decades immediately after the vote, and financial markets worldwide are likely to remain in turmoil as the long, complicated process of political and economic divorce from the EU is negotiated...
That is where we are today. All of Europe, including Britain, would suffer from the loss of the common market and the loss of common values that the EU was designed to protect. Yet the EU truly has broken down and ceased to satisfy its citizens’ needs and aspirations. It is heading for a disorderly disintegration that will leave Europe worse off than where it would have been had the EU not been brought into existence."
Years ago, Soros defined his investing strategy as reflexivity. In a nutshell, the irrational behavior of investors creates investment opportunities. It logically follows that the greater the irrational behavior, the better for Soros.
As a young man, Soros wanted to be a philosopher -- the wise old owl of proverb and myth. But investing called him, and he became just an owl. He is completely unaware that his latest pronunciamiento exposed the flip side of his reflexivity coin: the unflagging conviction that the ego is strengthened by parading in public.
Catastrophic scenario; disintegration; suffer; loss: Soros words. It seems that in the same way dishonesty results in rocambolesco behavior, reflexivity gives rise to crocodile tears.
(iii) The third VIP leading the post-referendum stampede: Barack Obama. A week after Leave won, he gave a measured but resolutely negative response:
"I think there are some genuine longer-term concerns about global growth if in fact Brexit goes through and that freezes the possibilities of investment in Great Britain or in Europe as a whole. At a time when global growth rates were weak already, this doesn't help."*
More on Obama and his response in a moment. Let it suffice for now to say that if Soros, by openly adding fuel to the prevailing panic and confusion, gave the Hoaxit ga-game away, so did Obama in his idiosyncratic, backdoor-man way.
I don´t think I need to establish further the general post-referendum acceptance of The Chicken Little Thesis. I do, however, need to look deeper into a question swirling in, over, around and through that thesis:
What made it possible?
* * *
What if, dear reader, public opinion polls determined the law of the land?
That would mean, for example, the fact that Hillary is beating Trump in the latest Economist poll 42%-37% would automatically and legally accord her the presidency. Future changes -- the fact that Trump may pull ahead of Hillary next month -- would have no legal standing. Hillary wins the White House. Case closed; over and out. Have a nice day.
No doubt you see through the subterfuge. He who determines which poll questions are asked and when, how they are worded, how the sample of respondents is drawn, etc., would rule the roost.
That brings us to the foundation of Brexit = Hoaxit the swindle.
Sssshhhh -- it is something both Leave and Remain leaders desperately want hushed up:
The referendum held June 23 has no legal standing. It was a public opinion poll, nothing more.
Did that simple fact come as a shock? If so it is only because both sides of Brexit and the mass media have feverishly sold the referendum´s Leave majority as obligatory, legal tender. As we will show, for certain British leaders who supported Remain up to June 23, Leave has even become The Thirteenth Commandment.
Why the incredible hard sell?
Stock and currency markets tell the story.
$3 trillion in assets disappeared from global markets on the Friday and Monday after the Brexit vote. The amount is more than the gross domestic product of California. It was the greatest two-day loss ever. That is what panic and confusion can do -- and did.
If Cameron and Farage had told the truth from the very start that the Brexit referendum was only a public opinion poll, they would have eliminated the tumult and with it the unparalleled opportunity for the oligarchy to
(i) transfer into its bank account
(ii) money from your bank account.
Otherwise stated, had Leave and Remain leaders acted responsibly, The Chicken Little Thesis would never have gained currency (curious expression). No panic in the streets, boardrooms or bedrooms.
No megabuck transfer of wealth either. Chicken Little would not have been transformed into Chicken Licken.
Behind the glittering store window of democracy, oligarchs were playing their ga-game. They got the Little People -- the scornful term the hyper-rich employ in private -- to sell when they should have been buying (June 24), and to buy when they should have been selling (the run-up to June 23).
I want to directly address spooked mom and pop investors who were stampeded into selling their assets:
(i) When you were selling, somebody was buying.
(ii) Who was that somebody who was betting exactly the opposite way from you?
Given the exceptionally high trading volume the day after the referendum, one thing is certain. The buyer wasn´t your Aunt Mary. It was somebody big.
Time to sum up Brexit as Hoaxit the con game. I will do it in a way every British person can relate to:
Never before in the course of human endeavor have so few, done so little, for so much.
* * *
We now turn our attention to the other meaning of Hoaxit: Hoaxit = Brexit.
There were three warnings that Brexit was not what it claimed to be -- the straightforward exit of Britain from the EU:
(1) The day after Leave won, Prime Minister Cameron solemnly announced that Britain "requires fresh leadership." He also said he was staying in office until October to "steady the ship of state over the coming weeks and months."
Wait a second. The two statements conflict. If Cameron had truly meant what he said about fresh leadership, he would have stepped down asap and let that leadership begin.
By announcing but delaying his departure, new questions, more questions, serious questions arose. Who would be Cameron´s successor? Would he or she favor or oppose Brexit? What about a new referendum? New parliamentary elections? War on ISIS? Nuclear weapons policy? Immigrants?
I suspect Mr. Point Man called. Cameron´s minders and keepers wanted to prolong a while longer the uncertainty and irrational behavior that create investment opportunities.
The Dow chart above tells the tale. The oligarchy made markets rebound in July. (Note the decline in volume accompanying that rise. Insiders sneak through a lot more on a quiet day). The S&P 500 and Dow did not merely recover; on July 14 they hit record highs and the FTSE 100 was in bullish territory. And so, the $3 trillion in assets that sunk beneath the waves three weeks earlier mysteriously re-surfaced.
The simple fact was that, as sellers of stock bought at fire-sale prices, the super-rich had no further need for unbridled uncertainty.
No further need for Cameron either.
"David, we think it would be best... " If Point Man made a second phone call, it would explain why on July 11 Cameron cavalierly flipflopped on his commitment to stay until October. Unceremoniously handed his walking papers, Cameron unceremoniously walked out, humming a little ditty. The moving van arrived early.
I think you are starting to get the picture. Even among the rocambolesco leaders of Leave, the UK was never intended to actually leave the EU; Johnson´s aide is saying as much. From the outset Brexit was Hoaxit -- a phony war with blanks fired by both sides, with one-after-another Maginot Line.
Brexit as Hoaxit the inner con game has come and gone. It accomplished its purpose. If Brexit as exit is a failure and Britain stays in the EU, the inner Hoaxit scam will make it a successful failure.
(2) The second hint that Brexit was not what it seemed:
Null Hypothesis: the installation of Theresa May as the new prime minister is the opening move for the UK to Remain in -- not Leave -- the EU.
True, she is now (July 11) feverishly proclaiming exactly the opposite of the Remain position she so fervently supported up to June 23. The old song got it right: "What a difference a day makes; 24 little hours."
There is a maxim politicians everywhere follow: whenever you see a crowd, step in front of it. After Leave carried the day, May put her best foot forward and displayed all the zeal of a recent convert:
"The referendum was a vote to leave the European Union...Yet so many of our political and business leaders have responded by showing they still don´t get it. There are politicians, democratically elected politicians, who seriously suggest that the government should find a way of ignoring the referendum result and keeping Britain inside the European Union. And there are business leaders whose response has been not to plan for Britain´s departure or to think of the opportunities that withdrawal presents, but to complain about the result and criticize the electorate. Well, I couldn´t be clearer. Brexit means Brexit, and we are going to make a success of it. There will be no attempts to remain inside the EU. There will be no attempts to rejoin it by the back door, no second referendum. The country voted to leave the European Union, and as prime minister I will make sure that we leave the European Union."
Brexit means Brexit. Sounds firm, resolute, final. And yet ...
To enact Brexit, at first May claimed she wanted preliminary discussions with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. May: “In the European negotiations I have been involved in, you often have preliminary talks before you actually reach the formal position. This will be a point of discussion.”
Often? Point of discussion? Weasel words, at best. But why were they there?
Here´s the rub:
In order for Britain to leave the EU, Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon must be invoked. The Article is simply the formal notification by Britain to the EU of Britain´s intention to leave.
May´s proposal for "preliminary talks" was born in a coffin; Juncker refused to consider it. He went so far as to impose a "presidential ban" on commissioners from even informally talking to UK officials until Britain invokes Article 50. Juncker: “There can be no preliminary discussions. No notification, no negotiation. I don’t think we should condone shadow boxing or cat and mouse games.”
Insisting; demanding; steely -- that is Theresa May according to the British press. Ah...sorry. Not even in office yet, she is already engaging in the same rocambolesco shadow boxing in which Cameron knocked himself out.
You are probably wondering along with the rest of the world: why do the Brits keep kidding around? Why didn´t Cameron (and May now) get the Brexit show on the road and invoke Article 50?
The simple reason is, he couldn´t.
Throughout the Brexit campaign, Cameron and the media gave the impression that a referendum supporting Leave would automatically trigger Article 50. That is not true; the British Government -- not the public -- must invoke Article 50 by formally notifying the EU.
How, then, is formal notification made?
Cameron and the media implied after Leave won that Article 50 can be activated by a simple letter from the prime minister to the EU. That too is untrue.
A vote by the UK Parliament is required to revoke the 1972 European Communities Act that brought Britain into the EU.
At present, members of parliament who support Remain vastly outnumber members who back Leave. To repeat, the referendum was purely advisory; MPs are free to vote however they want.
Parliament will not vote on Brexit before November. Obviously, many things can change by then. In a moment we will present one that could be decisive in more ways than one.
The tough, firm, resolute, cold, competent Iron Lady II, Prime Minister May ... quickly and totally caved in to Juncker, abandoning her idea of preliminary discussions. She is now saying "there should be no decision to invoke Article Fifty until the British negotiating strategy is agreed and clear – which means Article Fifty should not be invoked before the end of this year."
Her postponement of Article 50 until 2017 is even longer than the October date given by Cameron. We are looking at an event at least five months away.
Again, why wait? What game is May playing? Well, the same one as Cameron when he announced his resignation but stayed on. Out as prime minister yet still in as prime minister: a vintage oligarch win-win false dichotomy. In/Out: Cameron wanted Both of The Above, hence Neither of The Above. A Third Way.**
May is obviously waiting for conditions to ripen to suit her. In the meantime, regarding Leave/Remain, like Cameron before her she wants Both of The Above, consequently Neither of The Above. Shadow-boxing.
I suspect May believes that procrastinating will strengthen her negotiating hand with Juncker. Frankly, I doubt it. Britain´s basic position can be compared to that of the United States during the Vietnam War peace talks in Paris, 1967-72. Henry Kissinger pranced and preened before nightly news cameras -- gosh, the weight of the world was on his shoulders -- when the reality for the U.S. was something else entirely: do we get out now or do we get out later? In a word, as events on April 30, 1975 proved, poor Henry had nothing to negotiate.
One thing is certain: May´s further delay puts her even more in direct conflict with Juncker and the EU...
Early on, Juncker spotted a petit drame:
“Britons decided yesterday that they want to leave the European Union, so it doesn’t make any sense to wait until October to try to negotiate the terms of their departure.”
He pledged that the EU would take a “reasonable approach” to negotiations, but added: “It’s not an amicable divorce, but it was not exactly tight affair anyway."
Juncker´s motion for the UK to get out fast was seconded by France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. European Parliament President Martin Schulz also called for "speedy" exit negotiations: "We have to take note of this unilateral declaration that they want to wait until October, but that must not be the last word.” To that end, Schulz said he was studying ways to hasten the triggering of Article 50.
Juncker and Schulz know full good and well what you just saw: Britain´s withdrawal process cannot begin until the UK parliament approves it in November. So, why did the EU insist that Britain do the impossible -- get out now?
(i) Pressure on Britain to Leave asap created a sense of urgency, i.e., tension. Tension reinforces uncertainty, hence irrational behavior -- hence opportunities for a handful of mega-wealthy reflexivity investors.
And so, exactly like Cameron, Juncker and Schulz were doing the opposite of what they were saying about the need to reduce uncertainty. Their behavior was to be expected: the EU has the same minders and keepers as the rest of the West.
(ii) By calling on Britain to start the exit process right away, the EU will have housebroken Britain in the event Leave falls through.
As Juncker and Schulz insinuated above, Britain was never a full partner in the EU. French President Charles de Gaulle vetoed the entry of Britain twice, claiming the UK was basically hostile to Europe and a Fifth Column for the U.S.
If the UK parliament rejects Leave, Britain will find its leverage substantially reduced within the EU. The eternal question, Are you in or are you out?, will have been answered -- finally. To wit:
There is an old saying in legislative politics: You can´t vote "maybe." For over 40 years, their over-understood threat to leave the EU gave UK politicians the leverage to vote "maybe." It is how time after time they won concessions, exceptions, exemptions, privileges.
If you are out -- Juncker is now saying -- you are out; hence ... get out. He is terminating Britain´s "maybe" once and for all by reducing the entire Brexit matter to a dichotomy. We are looking at the time-honored way to manipulate a wavering member.
(iii) The third reason why Juncker is pushing to be rid of Britain.
Cat-and-mouse, rocambolesco politicians are by no means confined to the UK. By taking a hard line on Britain, Juncker discourages other EU members from leaving.
(iv) The fourth and final reason Juncker wants Britain out fast is up close and personal. In 2014, Cameron openly opposed Juncker -- "the wrong person" -- in Juncker´s bid for the presidency of the EU Commission.
End result: (i) no exit by Britain or other EU members; (ii) greatly reduced power for Britain in the EU; (iii) more power for Juncker as a person and the EU as an institution.
(3) The third clue that Brexit was never the simple, cut-and-dry Leave/Remain issue its supporters and opponents claimed:
Read again Barack Obama´s words quoted above voiced a week after the referendum: IF in fact Brexit goes through. You mean ... there´s a doubt?
Obama inadvertently gave the oligarchy´s ga-game away. A little man and Chicago politician, Obama has always been over his head in British affairs. Incidentally, it was Obama´s clumsy and naive "if" that started me thinking about Brexit as Hoaxit.
Obama was The Third Man. His passive participation was indispensable for Brexit as Hoaxit to get off the ground and stay there. Here´s why:
The lack of honesty and stewardship of the public good on the part of British flaky, peekaboo politicians handed Obama a golden opportunity. To prevent the collapse, the turmoil, the catastrophic scenario, the worldwide hysteria, all he had to do was mention offhandedly before June 23 that the UK referendum was merely a public opinion poll, advisory nothing more, with no legal standing.
He didn´t do it.
Judging by his golfing buddies, Obama has more than one oligarch point man around to "advise" him. But Obama had an additional reason to keep silent about the non-binding nature of the Brexit referendum:
With an estimated net worth of $14 million when he leaves office, Obama is an oligarch.
* * *
Where does Brexit leave us today?
Cameron pledged there will be no new referendum -- that the "decision" of the British people must be "respected."
Brexit is Brexit: Prime Minister May repeated Cameron´s pledge.
We ask: what decision?
By "decision" we assume Cameron and May mean a meaningful decision. In other words, a consensus.
A consensus is a general agreement about something. So, on June 23 was there a consensus favoring Leave?
Here are the final vote totals: 16,141,242 for Remain; 17,410,742 for Leave.
Out of over 33 million votes, a margin of 1,269,500 is slim pickings. If 634,751 Leave voters change their minds, Remain wins. More people live in Leeds.
Thus, contrary to what Cameron and May are saying, the correct interpretation of the referendum is not that the UK consensus was Leave but rather there was no consensus.
I will amend that statement shortly.
We come to the upcoming November vote in the UK parliament on whether or not to invoke Article 50 and thereby start the two-year process of exit negotiations. Will MPs follow May or will they vote the desires of their constituencies if they favor Remain?
Theresa May already has doubts that her own Conservative Party MPs will follow in lockstep with her freshly-minted, Leave party line. She complained (see above) that there are democratically-elected politicians who want to ignore the Brexit vote.
Did we just see Leave´s last gasp?
May´s position was dutifully echoed by BBC legal correspondent, Clive Coleman. He acknowledged that parliament cannot be ignored in invoking Article 50. He further acknowledged that the majority of parliament favors Remain. Nonetheless, "it seems constitutionally inconceivable that Parliament would fly in the face of the Leave vote secured through a national referendum and refuse to pass an act that gave the prime minister authority to begin the 'divorce' process."
Sorry, Clive, the Leave vote gave no such authority legally or otherwise. I will say it again, the referendum was only a public opinion poll; it is nonbinding on MPs or anybody else.
I have performed and analyzed more public opinion polls than May ever will. I have also worked on more referenda -- everything from re-certification elections for judges and pay increases for legislators to beer/wine licenses for restaurants -- than she ever will. I can tell you from experience that the Leave margin is too small by any reasonable standard to constitute a consensus. A larger majority than 52% is required for a referendum result to qualify as a consensus, e.g., 55% with a 70% turnout. That is especially true for a measure as important as Brexit.
Summing up, Leave is not yet a done deal.
In or out, then?
There are two reasonable ways to break the current dilemma:
(i) Hold new parliamentary elections so that a new parliament will reflect post-referendum Britain.
(ii) Hold a new referendum.
Parliamentary elections take place every five years. The last ones occurred in 2015. However, new elections can be held before 2020, if
(i) 2/3 of the House of Commons votes to have them.
(ii) A new government cannot be formed within 2 weeks of a vote of no confidence.
Prime Minister May has rejected both a new referendum and new parliamentary elections. Case closed; over and out. Have a nice day.
That rejection will sink her Conservative government if the opposition Labour Party plays its cards right.
Our post of June 1, 2012 "Lobbyists (5): The Big Movida" described how we busted a Republican-conservative Democrat coalition that ruled the House of Representatives where I was Chief of Staff of the Majority Floor Leader.
Our strategy was political Jujutsu. It took the arrogant rigidity of the people in power and turned it against them. The result was their public statements and votes on legislation were out of step and out of touch with the desires of their constituencies. Either represent the party leadership or represent your people: faced with that very real dichotomy, enough coalition members defected to scuttle the coalition.
Sometimes, you lack the power to defeat an opponent. That was our case in the House of Representatives. However, no man lacks the power to defeat himself. We had much less to work with than Labour has now. We had to create things whereas Labour has the two pledges of May.
Here´s the takeaway: May´s Conservative Party has only a working 16-vote majority. Her double-edged inflexibility in and of itself is enough to wipe out that majority and remove her from office.
* * *
Yes, the people of Britain have spoken.
But what did they say?
I lived a year in the UK. I think the people wanted something that was not on the either/or, Leave/Remain, manipulative ballot.
They wanted to stay in the European Union but not as it is currently run. On June 23 they wanted to send Juncker et al a message, and did it the only way that was available to them.
Above all, the EU leadership must change its attitude.
For readers who do not live in Europe, I will demonstrate the EU attitude problem with a concrete case:
In 2005, a proposed EU constitution was submitted to a national referendum in France. Juncker´s stance: "If it's a Yes, we will say 'on we go', and if it's a No we will say 'we continue'."
That is a classic verbal expression of the oligarchy´s win-win ga-game.
Here is what happened:
The French voted No by 55%. A subsequent Dutch referendum rejection doomed the constitution. I was living in Europe when it happened. Everybody swore Juncker and other EU leaders lost.
The EU leadership repackaged the failed constitution as the Treaty of Lisbon. The format was changed so as to avoid referenda. The Treaty of Lisbon went into effect on December 1, 2009.
You just saw a vintage, win-win false dichotomy in action.
I close by answering a question:
Why did we say May´s position that the Leave decision is final could be the last gasp of Leave?
All arguments based on the "will of the people" will metamorphose overnight if upcoming Gallup, Harris, and other public opinion polls show -- as a result of all the dire predictions, uncertainty and turmoil -- the UK populace favors Remain. Such an outcome is not far-fetched: over a million Leave voters said they would change their vote to Remain if given the chance.
If public opinion changes, what will May do? As we noted, at the end of the long, tortuous "May-be" trail, we may see
(i) The Conservative Party lose its majority in parliament and consequently Prime Minister May lose her post;
(ii) Britain remain in the EU but with far less power;
(iii) The EU and Britain´s arch foe Jean-Claude Juncker acquire more power.
One or more of those outcomes created by British politicians´ hide-and-seek, cat-and-mouse, rocambolesco maneuvers would confirm that, just as there is a point where parallel lines meet, there is a place where smart and stupid converge.
It is not a new political geometry lesson.
NOTE of August 2, 2016: Prime Minister Cameron intimated that, with a wave of his hand, he could invoke royal prerogative and bypass parliament to initiate Article 50. Aside from major constitutional problems that invocation would instigate, there are political ones. The highhandedness of the EU which UK citizens found so unacceptable would come home to roost in London.
In a word: use of royal prerogative to ramrod Brexit would be the perfect political deathtrap for May and the Conservatives.
*For readers issuing a where´s the beef? challenge to Obama:
(i) In a press conference two days after Leave passed, Obama´s press secretary Eric Schultz stated that Obama´s threat made back in April that if Brexit passed Britain would move to the back of the queue in trade negotiations, was still valid.
(ii) A powerful instrument of United States foreign policy, the IMF, echoed Obama´s concern about the international economy. Because of Brexit, the IMF said, it shaved .5% off its estimate for 2016-2018 of Europe´s economic growth.
**European leaders are too busy looking at their watches to be amused by rocambolesco politicos whose watchword is not solve problems but keep your options open. A CNN report of July 20:
Artur Fischer, head of the Berlin Stock Exchange, is dismissive about British ministers saying they want full access to the single market while also wanting to strike their own trade deals and have less regulation.
"It is about having a cake and eating it! You can't have it both ways," Mr Fischer tells me.
"Either you have free access to the market and you play by the rules or if you don't want to play by the rules you can't have free access."
Both of The Above, hence Neither of The Above was the heart of Prime Minister Tony Blair´s loudly-trumpeted Third Way.
Curiously, The Third Way was the original title of the book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, published in 1923. It was changed to The Third Reich from which Hitler took the name of his regime.
Today, nobody anywhere talks about The Third Way. "Maybe" that is to be expected.