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Partition the UK

There's no way this could possibly go wrong.
(+1, -1)
  [vote for,

The current state of play in the slow motion train-wreck that is Brexit - is that Theresa May has spent the last 2 years arranging a deal no- one likes, running down the clock then repeatedly offering it up in the hope MPs will change their mind, and now there's very little time left and parliament is dead-locked on what to do.
Meanwhile, Europe is increasingly exasperated.

The basic issue is that there are several different positions on what the binary referendum result actually meant - and of the options, most people, or more importantly most MPs hate most of them.

One thing I haven't seen suggested is Partition. Divide up the country into two parts, one of which can remain in the EU and the other part can leave to do ... whatever it is they want to do.
There would be a hard border, and people have to move if they decided they were in the wrong section, but legislation could presumably allow relatively free resettlement of those who are currently resident or UK citizens for a very long transitional period (perhaps the rest of their lives). Perhaps the border could be redrawn occasionally over a predefined range as a result of any net migration.

As I understand it, the part which remained in the EU would need to retain the "united Kingdom" name for legal reasons, so we need a new name for the other part. The brexiteers can decide on that, but for argument's sake let's call it "Albion" for now.

How do we divide the country?
Well, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted predominantly remain, and we keep those as single blocks. This fortuitously solves all the legacy political issues which stymied previous proposals. The rest of the country we divide up along as sensible lines as we can manage, avoiding small enclaves, (and large enclaves as far as possible). Perhaps this could be arranged at a local level by county- level referendum, each with about six options.

(Edit - changed recommended name of the leaving part to something I think they'd generally like more. Trying really hard to be diplomatic.)

Loris, Mar 28 2019

some discussion of implementation of granular opt in opt out Brexit status Choose_20your_20own...res-Brexit_20status
[calum, Mar 28 2019]

Disappointed! https://www.youtube...watch?v=_O1hM-k3aUY
[DrBob, Mar 28 2019]

Most successful partition of all time https://www.youtube...watch?v=pZ12_E5R3qc
not likely to be safe for work [calum, Mar 29 2019]


       I think you all just need another national vote, this time without Facebook, Russia, and the like. Clearly everyone hates the whole concept.
RayfordSteele, Mar 28 2019

       Actual physical division isn't necessary. There's no reason why you can't have two (or more) countries occupying the same physical space, in the same way that multiple service providers can supply the same area. So, in the same way as you have a choice of phone network providers, you could have a choice of countries to whom you owe allegiance, pay taxes, etc. For administrative reasons, you'd be allowed a maximum of one switch between the UK and Brexitstan (or "GammonLand") a year.
hippo, Mar 28 2019

       //I think you all just need another national vote//   

       Yeah, well that does seem like it would work. Except that it was proposed as an option and the majority of MPs were not for it.   


       //There's no reason why you can't have two (or more) countries occupying the same physical space, in the same way that multiple service providers can supply the same area.//   

       Apart from the practical and also the intractable political reasons, you mean?
Loris, Mar 28 2019

       There's a poetry - maybe just a symmetry - to this: the last true act of Empire was Partition, the last act of Britain, the husk of Empire, should therefore also be partition of itself. The people of Punjab will at least get the mild shuddering thrill of schadenfreude.   

       Probably the quickest way to deal with this is to have it sorted by Westminster constituency. This means that the Scotland remains inviolate, the bowler-hatters of Norn Iron get what they want while the rest of NI gets what it needs and England is fucked into a patchwork of cosmopolitan urban centres walled off from wild, Riddley Walker-style badlands.
calum, Mar 28 2019

       //Apart from the practical and also the intractable political reasons, you mean?// - well obviously, but this *is* the Halfbakery

[calum] That sounds a fine suggestion, as I'd end up a citizen of the ludicrously prosperous city-state of London.
hippo, Mar 28 2019

       I think people should be allowed to choose an EU passport or a UK passport. Once you elected your citizenship, everything would work around that re prices of products/services/taxation rates/health care etc. For example - those electing to have Irish passports would begin paying the 40% tax rate and the 50 Euros for each doctor visit. Or course they would also earn twice as much as their UK equivalents etc etc. It would take a good bit of working out, but it could be worked out and the ownership of choice would make everyone happy..... wouldn't it?
xenzag, Mar 28 2019

       If course it would ... and little woolly lambs will skip through sunlit meadows, the airways will be thick with porcine aviators, nor shall Man make War any more. Welcome to the Land of Cockaigne ...   

       // Europe is increasingly exasperated. //   

       Can you please explain why this is in any way important ? They are, after all, only foreigners.   

       // multiple service providers can supply the same area. So, in the same way as you have a choice of phone network providers, you could have a choice of countries to whom you owe allegiance, pay taxes, etc. //   

       It has long been recognized that the era of the geographically-bounded "nation state" is almost over. The transition to the "service provider" model is very close; there are numerous commercial entities which are much larger and more powerful than many national governments.   

       The imminent demise of the EU is just a symptom of this, and will happen sooner than most people realize.   

       // intractable political reasons //   

       ... which can easily be taken care of by disposing of the intractable politicians, preferably by a slow, painful and public method. We are in favour of burning at the stake, or wicker men.   

       // The basic issue is that there are several different positions on what the binary referendum result actually meant //   

       It meant "Eff Off, Johnny Foreigner". "Leave" doesn't mean "Stay" in the OED.   

       // of the options, most people, or more importantly most MPs hate most of them. //   

       But to compensate, most people hate and despise most MPs, so there's a nice symmetry there.   

       // the bowler-hatters of Norn Iron //   

       What about the brown-hatters of Westminster ? Do they get what they want, and if so, which - if any - bodily orifices are involved ?   

       We pose the following questions to the class:   

       1. "How often (in percentage terms) does representative democracy deliver the best and most appropriate government policies for the electorate ?"   

       2. "Based on that confidence figure, would you accept a system with the same performance record for:

       (a) Air Traffic Control
(b) Dispensation of criminal justice
(c) Diagnosis of serious and life-threatening medical conditions*

       *It must be considered that there are many such conditions for which there is still no reliable test, but research is continuing.
8th of 7, Mar 28 2019


This idea started so well with the word 'partition' but then got sidetracked into thinking that it was the country that was the problem that needed to be partioned rather than the politicians. A classic case of treating the symptoms rather than the cause.

// brown-hatters//
sp: mad-hatters
DrBob, Mar 28 2019

       Is there any sort of theoretical arrangement that any sizable subset of MP's are *for*?
RayfordSteele, Mar 28 2019

       Yes, a pay rise.
DrBob, Mar 28 2019

       //// The basic issue is that there are several different positions on what the binary referendum result actually meant ////
//It meant "Eff Off, Johnny Foreigner". "Leave" doesn't mean "Stay" in the OED.//

       Yeah, that's what some people think.   

       Other people think it meant "Retain control of the law in the UK"   

       or "There will be more money for the NHS" (n.b. this promise was retracted as soon as the votes were in)   

       or perhaps "Up yours, David Cameron"   

       or indeed a variety of other things, and a significant proportion are almost certain that it didn't mean "lets see if we can kick off the Troubles again for no good reason".   


       //"How often (in percentage terms) does representative democracy deliver the best and most appropriate government policies for the electorate ?" //   

       Ah, yes. Basically never, of course. And the entities in the assimilating business pointing this out /may/ not have an ulterior motive at all, although they're always suspiciously sketchy with their preferred method of governance.
Loris, Mar 28 2019

       It's one-life-form, one-vote direct democracy, with Collective responsibility ...   

       // Basically never, of course //   

       "Would you mind holding for a bit longer? They're just debating whether to make 19 or 25 the active runway, and the 'lights in or off' issue is subject to an opposition amendment ... "
8th of 7, Mar 28 2019

       Please, put him down on the ballot paper as just "Donald T." ... we want to see [xenzag] spontaneously combust.
8th of 7, Mar 28 2019

       When you're done with him, can you send him our way?
RayfordSteele, Mar 28 2019

       The referendum globbed about 17 million slightly different Brexits into a single pot called "Leave", and labelled the status quo as "Remain". The two competing Leave campaigns clearly explained how Leaving would mean:
a) definitely exiting the Customs Union,
b) nobody suggesting we'd be exiting the Customs Union,
c) paying lots more money into the NHS (or more precisely, on closer inspection, not)
d) kicking out all the foreigners
e) "not using foreigners as bargaining chips"
f) using foreigners as bargaining chips,
g) a new era of tariff-free, low-regulation, hyper- capitalism, without all the neo-socialism forced on us by the nasty EU
h) a new era of tariff-heavy, protectionist hyper- socialism, without all the neo-capitalism forced on us by the nasty EU
i) a new era of middle-ground practical no-big- dealism, kind of like what we have now, but with a more Baltic flavour
j) a jolly good kick in the teeth to the Tories, after all, it'll never actually happen
k) kicking out all the Muslims, because obviously, if there's one thing everyone knows about Europe, it's that it's all run by Muslims
l) I once read an opinion piece on bendy bananas (the details of which, unbeknownst to me, were blatantly warped from their original intent into a scarcely coherent tissue of loosely associated smears) and it sounded like a load of old bollocks, also bloody bureaucrats, who needs actual laws anyway?
m) I have nothing, and other people have stuff. That's not fair, so I'll vote to take away the stuff that I believe other people have, so there. Also, fucking Londoners can fuck off.

       And a few less coherent reasons besides.   

       The point being, a single, known option on one side, and a clusterfuck of a thousand different competing wishlists on the other.   

       People voted for the contradictory wishlist, in marginally higher numbers than for the single, known option.   

       And now, because the govt venally got into place by pretending that the collection of wishes was a single, implementable, unified position are finally running into the reality of their position. A bit more honesty, and we'd never have gotten into this situation in the first place.
zen_tom, Mar 28 2019

       Yes, all of that, please, and a double portion of the stuff about Londoners.
8th of 7, Mar 28 2019

       Can you guys just appoint [zen_tom] as head council or something.   

       I mean... it's been a couple of decades of listening to the dudes reasoning... and, like, elect him already.   

       -Straight shooter.
-Doesn't pull punches.
-Isn't afraid to speak against popular opinion if needed.
-Yet to state a single statement which hasn't made me question my assumptions before finding out that I didn't know enough to comment.


       Had my vote for a long time now.   

       Get on it people. Chop. Chop.   

       I agree with the general idea of partition, but I disagree regarding the size of the partitions.   

       Instead of cutting the country in two, we just need to tesselate it with remain/leave squares (or triangles or hexagons if you really insist). The squares need to be, oh, maybe 50cm on a side. This will have innumerate advantages, such as:   

       (1) In the event of an argument between myself and Mrs. Maxwell Buchanan, she can go and stand in Europe while I stand in England, or vice versa. The separation will probably give us both time to reflect. Best of all, whichever of us stands in Europe can pick up some decent wine or cheese while we're there, as a sort of reconciliation gift. Even bester of all, we can talk to eachother while one of us is abroad, without paying costly 'phone bills.   

       (2) The whole trade process will be vastly simplified, at least for goods smaller than 50cm. The goods can simply be delivered into the relevant (EU/England) squares. If needs be, they can be enjoyed and/or consumed there, without their ever having to cross a border.   

       (3) We will be able to stand in the England squares and shout or throw things at the Europeans, which can only be a good thing.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 29 2019

       If the tesserae are sufficiently small (approximating to the Planck length) then the UK csn be simultaneously both in and not in the EU, thus making everyone happy (or not).   

       Perhaps the answer is a Schrödinger agreement ;there IS an agreement, but it's sealed in a box, and therefore both good and bad - in a state of quantum indeterminacy.   

       It's all wonderful as long as no-one opens the boxBORIS PUT THAT CROWBAR DOWN RIGHT NOW AND STEP AWAY !
8th of 7, Mar 29 2019

       It would make more sense to get rid of the MPs and recruit the cast of The Muppet Show.   

       The Muppets are likeable, amusing, and set a good standard for personal morality and social responsibility - things to which the current Westminster infestation are completely alien. Since neither of them are married or in a relationship, even Miss Piggy's relentless pursuit of Kermit can hardly be classed as sexual harrasment - just unrequited affection. .
8th of 7, Mar 29 2019

       <actual lyrics follow>   

       It's time to play the music/ It's time to light the lights/ It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight./   

       It's time to put on makeup/ It's time to dress up right/ It's time to raise the curtain on the Muppet Show tonight./   

       Why do we always come here/ I guess we'll never know/ It's like a kind of torture/ To have to watch the show/   

       And now let's get things started/ Why don't you get things started/ It's time to get things started/ On the most sensational inspirational celebrational Muppetational/ This is what we call the Muppet Show!/ (Gonzo blows his trumpet) _______   

       Yep, this would make an excellent theme song for ALL political parties* everywhere in the world.   

       *'parties' include: sitting in the House, all meetings, electioneering events, any politician seen in public. Homework: download the Muppet theme song to your device, and play it whenever you see a politician anywhere, doing anything.
Sgt Teacup, Mar 29 2019

       [2fries] whilst I pay full tribute to your impeccable judgement, I worry many would find themselves aghast at the prospect of my finding myself head of anything. But I did feel genuinely happy at reading that today. Straight back atchya!
zen_tom, Mar 29 2019

       Since when does the definition of sexual harassment require that one of the parties have a partner?
notexactly, Mar 29 2019

       Would that be the party of the first part ?
8th of 7, Mar 29 2019

       Never go to parties of the first part. They'll just be a handful of people standing around awkwardly trying to loosen up and mingle. Go only once they're into the second or third parts. Obviously eat first, because Sturton will have eaten all the nibbles during the first part.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 29 2019

       <blatantly stolen from some stand-up comic who's name I can't remember>   

       "First time I had sex I was scared. I was real scared. It was dark... I was all by myself..."   


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