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A Brexit doomsday scenario

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 at 04:10:22 PM EST

The British Government appears to be blithely proceeding on the basis that it will be able to cherry pick the parts of the EU it wants, whilst at the same time achieving the freedom to do many things that it claims the EU is now preventing it from doing. When you are building an opening negotiating position it is no harm to put forward what you would regard as an ideal outcome of the negotiations. In theory it increases your chances of actually influencing the negotiations in that direction. In practice it may very much disillusion your supporters when they discover that the final outcome falls some way short of their ideal outcome.

But there is also the danger that in hyping your version of how a successful negotiating process should proceed you end up antagonising the other party to the negotiation still further. The EU 27 might well conclude that the UK is living in cloud cuckoo land and that there is no great point in engaging in a serious negotiation at all. Such a response may be amplified if the British media then go on a rampage ridiculing the antediluvian, obstructive, and inflexible EU bureaucrats who simply refuse to see the utter sensibility of the UK proposals. Negotiators are only human after all.

One of the more amusing spectacles of recent times is seeing Leave campaigners argue that they really have the best interests of the EU at heart, and that what they are proposing is in the best interests of all.  After all the EU needs access to the UK market as well, they argue, and a continuation of a free trade zone including the UK can only help economic growth in Europe over all.  But what if the negotiations were to go seriously off the rails and no substantive Brexit deal of any kind were to be agreed? What would a worst case scenario look like both for the UK and the EU? Follow me below the fold for a sneak preview...


Theresa May is currently labouring under a number of weaknesses. Firstly, she has no personal mandate from the British people as Prime Minister. Secondly, she presides over a Parliament a majority of whose members are unconvinced of the merits of Brexit. Thirdly she has no precise mandate as to what to actually look for in the Brexit negotiations. To a very real extent, her government have been making it up as they go along.

In an ideal world, she might actually like to engineer a parliamentary defeat so that she could go to the country in a general election. This could potentially give her a personal mandate as Prime Minister, weed out any parliamentarians in her own party whose loyalty is suspect, add at least another 2 years to her Government's period in office, and provide her with a more precise mandate as to what to seek in the Brexit negotiations. She could put her Brexit wish list to the people and then fetch up in Brussels saying that these are the democratically declared wishes of the British people, and that it would be undemocratic for Brussels to reject them.

Perhaps a Supreme Court finding that Parliament must support the invoking of Article 50, or even a finding that the Good Friday Agreement requires the support of the people of N. Ireland before their constitutional status can be changed would provide her with a sufficient pretext to call an election. She can argue that the final decision on A.50 and on her negotiating mandate should be made by a Parliament elected after the referendum and not before. She can engineer her own defeat by telling her own backbenchers to vote against an A.50 invocation if they have any misgivings about Brexit and then make a run to the country...

A General election would have the added benefits of exploiting the divisions in the Labour Party under Corbyn and a UKIP party riven by internal shenanigans. Only the Lib Dems represent an option for disillusioned Remain voters, but they are more likely to eat into the Labour vote. Indeed the Lib Dems could replace Labour as the main opposition party if they manage to gain a majority of the 48% of voters who voted Remain. Oh the joys, from a Tory perspective!

In any case, given the peculiarities of the British first past the post voting system, May could win an overall majority with as little as 35% of the vote, provided the remaining 65% is scattered between Labour, the Lib Dems, UKIP, the Scots Nationalists and the Welsh and N. Ireland parties which generally don't matter in the Westminster arithmetic. Easily enough done, especially if voting Tory can be painted as a patriotic imperative to strengthen the British hand in the Brexit negotiations. Cue Land of Hope and Glory!

Strangely enough, the EU 27 may see things somewhat differently...  Firstly, they showed that they have no compunction in overturning a national mandate when they peremptorally dismissed the results of the Greek referendum on the bail-out. Secondly, they may argue that what the British people want is their own business. The job of the EU27 Leaders is to represent their own countries, and the nakedly jingoistic tone of the British referendum (and perhaps a general election) makes this more, not less, important. Finally, they may conclude that what is good for British Tories is precisely what is not good for their own political futures and could only help their far right political opponents at home. The proximity of the Dutch, French and German national elections could exacerbate this process on the EU side.

Thus, far from clarifying things, the political processes used to reinforce opposing negotiating mandates may help to transform the Brexit negotiating process from a rational process aimed at maximising mutual economic advantage to a political process required to keep domestic political oppositions at bay. Instead of trying to resolve differences, negotiators will be instructed to see the negotiations as a war between competing national interests where any concessions could be construed as a sign of weakness at home. The resignation of the UK ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, may be an early straw in the wind that this will indeed be the case.

The almost inevitable outcome of this process will be no substantial Brexit deal of any kind. At best there might be a largely technical deal on administrative details, and even this may fail to muster a majority on the European Council if major issues (such as any outstanding UK contribution to the EU budget) remain unresolved. Countries such as Ireland, with the most to lose from Brexit, will be marginalised in the larger political dynamics at play. The best Ireland can hope for is a deal ensuring that any customs controls will be implemented at air and sea ports in N. Ireland and not at the 500 Km land border with the Republic which even 10,000 British troops couldn't seal off at the height of the troubles.

This would create the anomalous situation whereby N. Ireland itself would remain within the Customs Union even as it left the EU and lost access to the CAP and other EU programmes vital to its economy. It would also create the unusual but not unprecedented* situation whereby Irish/EU customs officials would have to operate within UK territory at N. Ireland air and sea ports to ensure that whatever tariffs or customs controls enacted after Brexit were implemented to the satisfaction of the EU. (*The US Immigration service currently operates a pre-clearance service at Shannon and Dublin Airports).

The EU has long tolerated anomalous situations with respect to Greenland, Liechtenstein, the Chanel Islands and smaller economic entities deemed not to matter too much in the greater scheme of things, and avoiding a return of the Troubles might be considered a prize worth compromising for by both the UK and the EU.

In any case, avoiding a return to border outposts along the 500Km land border would be a red line issue for any Irish Government which would face defeat at the hands of Sinn Fein in any subsequent election if they were complicit in such a decision. A Sinn Fein led Government would probably refuse to implement such controls at the border even if they had been agreed by a previous government and an Irish stand-off with the EU would result. Thus any Brexit agreement, no matter how insubstantial in other respects, would have to make such a provision for N. Ireland. EU leaders could hail it as a victory for peace and common sense, and it would take the bare look off a Brexit agreement almost devoid of substance in other respects.

But what would be the consequence of such a minimalist Brexit agreement for the UK and EU as a whole? There appears to be a general presumption that WTO rules will apply if no EU/UK trade agreement is negotiated. However the UK is currently only a member of the WTO as part of the EU membership and so would have to renegotiate its WTO trading quotas, tariffs and rules in its own right. In addition, any current WTO member with an interest in those deals would have to agree those quotas, tariffs and rules and so the UK could, quite literally, be out in the cold with no established legal framework for trading with anyone if another WTO member with a grudge chose to veto. Negotiating separate and new trade agreements with all its main trading partners could take many years and place the UK in a very weak negotiating position if it were seen to be desperate for deals of any kind.

And what of EU/UK trade? One consequence of no substantial Brexit deal could be a very substantial further devaluation of Sterling relative to the Euro. EU exporters simply couldn't live with a situation where Sterling was devalued by say 30%. Many Irish food exporters to the UK operate on very thin margins and have already been seriously damaged by the current c. 10% devaluation since the referendum. Meanwhile UK exporters to the EU could make hay with a 30% trading advantage.

One logical response by the EU would be to impose a substantial, say 20%, tariff on UK goods, to prevent dumping and protect their own industries. This could be further justified if the UK failed to honour its outstanding obligations to the EU Budget or there were other major matters still in dispute. Such a move would be quite straight-forward if the UK had not yet negotiated its WTO terms of trade. This could have the effect of devaluing Sterling still further and necessitating even more substantial tariffs for EU companies to retain a competitive position.

If the UK retaliated, a trade war could result, and this would hit the UK at least 10 times harder than the EU, as 44% of UK exports go to the EU and only 4% of EU exports are destined for the UK. It is easy to see who would be the eventual winner here, even if the highly exposed Irish economy would suffer huge collateral damage. The Euro would probably also be substantially devalued against world currencies in that scenario, mitigating any damage to the EU economy as a whole.

It is important to note that the above scenario could unfold even without any undue political ill-will between UK and EU leaders; each simply protecting their own political and economic interests. The dynamics of the Brexit process itself could lead to a spiralling conflict with both sides increasingly distant from each other and any post-Brexit trade deal becoming increasingly unlikely. EU leaders would simply be seeking to keep their own domestic hard right nationalist forces at bay, protect their economies and preserve the integrity of the EU as a whole. Tory leaders would be desperately seeking to avoid a monumental political defeat, a sustained economic slump and humiliation abroad. Looking to Trump as their saviour doesn't seem a very promising strategy, given his "America First" priorities and anti-trade deal views, and in any case UK US trade is much less than UK EU trade.

So the overall outcome might be a mild slow down in EU growth, mitigated by the capture of some of the City's financial services business, the substitution of British imports by EU manufacturers, the return of skilled immigrants from the UK, and the development of markets elsewhere facilitated by a relatively slight but still substantial Euro devaluation.

For the UK the consequences could be much more severe:

  1. A sustained multi-year economic slump only slightly mitigated by increased foreign investment due to Sterling devaluation and lower corporate taxes;

  2. Huge increases in unemployment created by the decline of businesses dependent on access to EU markets;

  3. A collapse of tax revenues resulting in increased debt and further public sector cut-backs and austerity;

  4. An invasion of up to a million elderly British expats living in the EU as they lose their EU health and residency benefits resulting in severe housing shortages and overwhelming the NHS as it struggles to cope with financial cutbacks, the loss of skilled immigrant staff, and the increased demand these expats create;

  5. An exacerbation of regional and class tensions within the UK and the possible loss of an independent Scotland which will result in a hard EU/England border at the Scottish English border further disrupting both economies;

  6. A destabilisation of N. Ireland and all the Troubles that could create.

All in all, it's hard to find a silver lining for the UK in all those clouds. Just what are those wonderful new freedoms the UK will be able to enjoy outside of the EU other than the ability to cut much more disadvantageous trade deals and making the UK a great little low corporate tax country for billionaires to play in? And as has been pointed out elsewhere, the EU sets only minimum standards on the environment and employment and social rights, so the new freedom is only to do more right-wing things, not more left-wing things:- it is clear what Liam Fox can gain, not clear what anybody on the Left would gain that could not also be done within the EU.

This is also the core fallacy of Andrew Marr's An Optimist's Guide to Brexit. It extols all the wonderful new opportunities that Brexit will create, blithely ignoring that these are either already being done by other nations within the EU, or virtually exclusively for those on the far right of the political spectrum. In fact the EU rarely if ever prevented the UK doing centrist or progressive things. Even EU restrictions on state aid to companies in difficulty were largely led by the UK.

And how will immigration be reduced if (say) India and China demand increased visas for their nationals in return for trade deals and if other developing countries demand the same? The UK will lose many skilled and hard working EU immigrants who payed their taxes and added relatively little demand onto the NHS. Their departure will be a net lost to UK GDP and a potential gain for the EU. Many larger businesses now have operations in many countries and any custom barriers will disrupt their internal supply chains and just-in-time production processes. Will they not seek to relocate at least part of their operations to where they have their largest markets?

Much has been made of the fact that the Brexit vote has not led to an immediate slump in the UK economy despite the fact that economists like Krugman argued that there was no reason for an immediate slump: the real impact of Brexit would be long term and incremental and wouldn't really become obvious until Brexit has actually happened. The problem for the UK is that many of those trends will also be very difficult to reverse: Looser monetary policy, currency devaluation and reductions in corporate tax rates are largely short term and one time boosters of the economy; not a strategy for long-term sustainable growth.

So all-in-all this doomsday scenario would predict a long term and sustained slump in the UK economy relative to the EU and rest of the world; intensified unemployment, inequality, and austerity; an overwhelming of public services like housing and the NHS; increased regional and class tensions and political instability in the Union; and the final departure of the UK as a major player on the world stage. The UK elite will "Take Back Control" and preside over a much smaller entity, and as usual the poor, elderly and infirm will suffer most.

Brexit may go down in history as one of the worst self inflicted wounds ever suffered by a once great nation: The final decline and fall of an empire. Ironically the EU may have delayed that fate: Few now seem to want to remember what a dysfunctional place the UK was prior to EU entry and for some time afterwards. It used to be called The sick man of Europe in the 1970's. Indeed it injected some of those class tensions into the EU body politic which adopted many UK inspired neo-conservative and neo-liberal political and economic policies such as participation in the Iraq war, the over rapid expansion into ex-Soviet states, and the aversion to fiscal stimulus of depressed economies. But ultimately the EU proved too big and cumbersome for that project to succeed in its entirety.

For the EU, the departure of the UK may eventually prove to be a blessing in disguise, although there is no guarantee that the EU will take full advantage of the opportunities that now arise. However, ultimately, the EU can be a success even if it only prevents its constituent nations making war on each other. Economic and social progress is a bonus which we can't take for granted, but at least now have a greater opportunity to work towards.

Let's hope Brexit fails to fan the embers of a nascent nationalism and xenophobia in Europe and that the cooperative spirit of the EU founders will prevail. If this doomsday scenario for Brexit is even half way correct, the UK will act as a sombre reminder of what happens when nations stop cooperating with one another and when some seek to turn the interests of one nation against the others.

 

Display:
I think you're being overly optimistic about the prospect of a minimalistic agreement covering only Northern Ireland. It is much more likely that a hard Brexit scenario would not include any agreement at all. We should explore the implications of that, especially the obligations imposed by the Good Friday Agreement.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 at 08:13:26 PM EST
Yes, that is a separate exercise that needs to be done. But in the closing months and weeks of the A.50 process there will be great pressure to come up with some kind of a face saving agreement. Something that creates some hope of being built on after Brexit and which shows that both sides weren't being entirely bloody minded.  But yes, it would be a stretch, but I wouldn't discount it.  The UK badly needs Ireland as an ally within the EU even if it can deliver little in the immediate A. 50 period.  It also needs a re-wind of the Troubles like a hole in the head. This is an area where UK, Irish and EU interests can intersect with relatively few implications for whatever else can or can not be agreed.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 at 08:39:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would see NI remaining in the EU as an option (the reverse solution had for Greenland). But dispensing the border with a state outside of the EU would be a major precedent. Not impossible, but a hard sell to the Council.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2017 at 02:09:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm only suggesting the Irish Government seek to have it retain - de facto - within the customs Union.  I agree, anything additional would be a stretch.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 6th, 2017 at 05:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding NI and traffic between Ireland and Britain, I think they will cook up something that's legally total bullshit but will somehow work in practice. Something for the time being until it's tested in a crisis.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 12:25:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TBH I don't believe Ireland even registers with the Tories in comparison with the task of getting anything from the rest of the EU. I appreciate that in Ireland it's a screaming problem that has to be sorted as a matter of urgency, but I doubt that it commands the same attention in Westminster.

While there are cool and wise heads in Westminster, the fact is that Cameron called the referendum in the first place to buy some peace and quiet from his more fractious right wing. Rather than put them in their place, brexit has emboldened them and they now strut around knowing that all major policy flows through them. Yet, there are many in the Conservative party who fundamentally disagree with them.

Most of the time, the disagreements in the Tory party can be papered over, finessed for the greater good. Not now. It's too important because the future of the UK is at stake and there are no obvious paths to economic security. Yet the opposing wings are pulling in different directions.

Theresa May has her hands full dealing with the squabbling children under her feet, let alone worrying about mapping out the path for negotiating with the EU. Ireland is an "any other business" to be dealt with on another day when things aren't so hectic.

It's a mistake, but there's only so many hours in the day and Boris needs burping more often than you'd expect.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 at 08:53:55 PM EST
It is understandable that May is currently pre-occupied with internal Tory politics and trying to come up with a coherent opening negotiating position.  I don't expect Ireland to emerge on the political radar until close to the end of the A. 50 period, and then only when a lot of other subject areas have been closed off by mutually incompatible positions.  Ireland has a very good track record of punching above its weight in EU negotiations - in stark contrast to the UK which often seemed blind to the internal dynamics of other member states. If there is a surprise agreement at the end, expect N. Ireland to be part of it, even if it is a minimalist agreement in other respects.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 at 09:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Resignation raises chance of hard Brexit, say officials
Politicians and senior officials say the resignation of Ivan Rogers, the British ambassador to the European Union, is a worrying sign that a hard Brexit is becoming more likely.

Mr Rogers resigned abruptly on Tuesday - just three months before the formal triggering of the exit mechanism by the British and the beginning of negotiations between the UK government and the EU on an exit agreement.

Amid a growing mood of pessimism in Dublin about the type of Brexit likely to take shape over the next two years, Mr Rogers's sudden departure was taken as a sign that negotiations between the EU and the UK are likely to be rocky.

Irish officials and politicians speculated following the news that the resignation stemmed from an unwillingness in Downing Street to accept the message that patience for the UK in Europe is wearing thin, while one British source said the departure was not surprising.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 at 10:57:06 PM EST
his email to staff on leaving included the lines

Independent

"I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power," he wrote.

"I hope that you will support each other in those difficult moments where you have to deliver messages that are disagreeable to those who need to hear them."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 at 11:41:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

In sum Ivan Rogers says we lack:
A. Plan
B. People to implement plan pic.twitter.com/MH2461smV2

— Ciaran Jenkins (@C4Ciaran) January 3, 2017

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 12:01:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by epochepoque on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 12:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not a bug, it's a feature.
by rifek on Thu Jan 5th, 2017 at 06:37:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Dan Roberts - Our man in Brussels : Hounded out after daring to tell the truth

The resignation of Britain's ambassador to the European Union is seen on both sides of the ever-widening Channel as a sobering reminder that the country is heading for the hardest of Brexits.

Regardless of whether he was pushed or chose to jump, Sir Ivan Rogers was more than just the government's representative in Brussels. He was also Britain's best hope of a negotiated compromise with other member states over the terms of its departure.

For hardliners in Westminster, the resignation will be seen as a late Christmas present. The Tory right has long accused Rogers of offering "little but doom and gloom" by focusing on the gulf between what they believe could be achieved through determined British bargaining and what the other 27 governments want.

A good analysis of what consequences there will be for the UK with his departure

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 01:27:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wrote this diary before I heard of Rogers' resignation, but this confirms exactly what I said:

"The political processes used to reinforce opposing negotiating mandates may help to transform the Brexit negotiating process from a rational process aimed at maximising mutual economic advantage to a political process required to keep domestic political oppositions at bay. Instead of trying to resolve differences, negotiators will be instructed to see the negotiations as a war between competing national interests where any concessions could be construed as a signs of weakness at home."

Rogers resignation is latest sign Britain is heading for hard Brexit

The former EU commissioner Peter Mandelson said: "In terms of knowledge and experience of the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers is second to none in Whitehall. His resignation is a serious loss for us in Brussels.

"Our negotiation as a whole will go nowhere if ministers are going to delude themselves about the immense difficulty and challenges Britain faces in implementing the referendum decision."

It looks as if Rogers was hounded from office not for the crime of disloyalty but because he was too negative - not capable of seeing the opportunities that May claims are around the corner.

Signs continue to abound that British Eurosceptics still inhabit an entirely different planet, let alone continent, from everyone else in 2017.

Earlier on Tuesday, Michael Gove's thinktank Change Britain claimed that far from destroying trade, leaving the EU customs union would create 400,000 jobs by allowing hitherto unrecognised opportunities in the rest of the world - a claim dismissed as "fantasy figures" by the rival group Open Britain.

In this context, Rogers represented a dangerous tendency to try to bridge the divide. For politicians on either side, it will now be that little bit easier to shout past each other rather than seek common ground.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 01:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just hope that all of the chickens come home to roost on the Tories' watch. Not that they'll do anything other than deflect blame

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 02:15:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As usual it will be the Government which inherits the problems which will cop most of the blame, not the government which caused them.  Most Republicans blamed Obama for the Economic Crash even though it was created and happened on Bush's watch. This is because they felt most of its effects during Obama's terms. Before that it was just another big news story effecting other people - disaster porn if you like.

My guess it will take 5 - 10 years for the true horrors of Brexit to unfold hitting ordinary people very hard.  In the meantime any doubters and naysayers will be accused of weakness, defeatism and lack of resolution - as Rogers is being pilloried now.

Will Labour be back in power in that time-frame?  If so they will be blamed for the economic disaster, failure to negotiate wonderful trade deals, public service melt-down, Scottish independence, and not getting rid of N. Ireland quickly enough...

Their one "success" will be to reduce immigration from the EU.  Sterling devaluation and economic melt-down would have seen to that anyway.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 02:47:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see Labour winning anything in the near future.

Even when Corbyn first won the leadership election, he was unlikely to be Prime Minister. He doesn't have that sort of personality to be a modern leader, but it was much to be hoped that he would put forward a set of policy initiavies that would cement the move of Labour away from slavish neo-conservative economic policies.

Sadly, Corbyn has not stepped up his game; he is by nature a protester and a quiet worker behind the scenes when what was needed was somebody who could seize the PLP by the scruff of the neck and bring them to his bidding. However, he is more noted for absence than presence. Even the policy ideas have failed to materialise. If there is an alternative Labour vision of Britain post-Brexit, even in outline, then so far he has failed to let anybody know what it might look like.

And fialing that, Labour will continue to come second. Good grief, even the Lib Dems have more idea of who they are right now.

Britain needs a new conservative set of ideas to combat a near 4 decades record of utter failure. Labour needs a new leader, Corbyn has failed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 06:18:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, the Tories will have this failure hung around their necks.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 06:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That last paragraph should read;

Britain needs a new conservative set of ideas to combat a near 4 decades record of utter conservative failure. Labour needs a new leader, Corbyn has failed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 08:18:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is he even doing that badly? Overall labour seems to hold out OK in by-elections. The polls look bad but I'm not sure they tell us much at this point. Or at all really. The wage development in the UK looks like Greece. Unexpected things will keep happening. Though what's needed is for Momentum to become what it is accused of being. A party within the party that conspires against the PLP. Kill it with fire.

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Thu Jan 5th, 2017 at 05:48:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, he is doing that badly. Holding your strongholds was acceptable when Corbyn was being attacked everyday in the papers as much by senior Labour figures as by actual Tories.

But Corbyn hasn't moved from a defensive crouch, he isn't creating a new ideology, people like Steve Kean and Varoufakis were brought in with great fanfare to advise on economic ideas and then were ostentatiously ignored.

There are no grand plans for jobs, nor for homes, welfare or services. It's all a big vague nothing. Corbyn was elected to change the direction of policy, but he just seems storm-tossed and adrift.

I still think he is better than a return to Blairite neo-conservatism that was on offer from at the original election nor from the faux-socialism allegedly offered by Owen Smith. As I said at the time, he's just a place holder, but he's not even doing that much.

Incidentally, Andy Burnham, one of the Gang of 3 from 2015, is now vying to be Labour's candidate for Mayor of Manchester. His pitch is to position Manchester as creating "Northern Labour" as opposed to Corbyn's metropolitan Labour. His catch-phrase is "protecting the safety of our streets"

Guardian - John Harris - The rise of a northern Labour party

And in the buildup to the campaign, with the tacit support of some MPs, he has come up with a new definition of what he wants to represent: "Northern Labour" - which, he says, "needs to speak very directly to people and represent them properly in terms of the way [they] think and feel".

This does not take much decoding. While Corbyn and his inner circle have rejected any calls for Labour to sound tougher on immigration, Burnham has been on manoeuvres, controversially claiming that Labour's stance is undermining "the safety of our streets" and the vote to leave the EU was partly about "more control in our immigration system"

Which, as I've always said, is Tory-lite, racist-lite and probably with a kicking for welfare recipients to prove that they are tough on society's "freeloaders"

That's not Labour, that's ukip. Andy Burnham has lost his way

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 5th, 2017 at 07:21:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There goes the crowd.  I am their leader.  Therefore I must follow them.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 5th, 2017 at 09:53:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Burnham is given a lot of positive press for organising the new Hillsborough inquests, and selling the story that he was behind this so is good for the north. However the story is somewhat spun.

Burnham went to a Hillsborough memorial service to announce a series of platitudes and do nothing, but was shocked by the amount of hostility received

His fear of the loss of his local seat being a Liverpool MP was the thing that got the party policy turned round and the Inquest started. his Northern Labour rubbish is entirely dependent on his campaign to be mayor of Manchester, where it is thought that several districts of Manchester may go UKIP

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2017 at 11:01:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you are far too negative here.  Leaders won't save us and we shouldn't expect them to. And when was the last time one created a new ideology that was more than a rebranding of old ideas? Frankly in more normal times I'd have little objections to Corbyn's stance. In so many questions the correct answer is "just don't". And the Tories are a ready source for those. Just don't cut social services, privatize the NHS, deliver weapons to Saudi Arabia....
Sure the outreach to economic experts was completely bungled and McDonald's economic statements are worrying conventional very serious person reassurance noises. But then no one close to power anywhere else is offering anything close to a reasonable economic program either. Sanders' program wasn't really either. And just as in the case of Sanders the most important thing here is that he can serve as both a focus point of organization and a showcase that leftists can actually win. Getting either no or slanderous media attention is what every socialist can expect. That's neither here nor there. Of course that leads to a natural tendency to only get news from friendly sources which blinds one to real missteps and irreversible wrong turns.
Which is a good place to place a failure condition. According to the latest I heard on the bureaucratic infighting front team Corbyn now has the majority on the NEC again. If they don't get to revoking the frivolous expulsions within the next few months the party is going nowhere.
And yes I left out Brext. At the moment there really is very little that can be done about it and every position the labour party takes can only hurt their fortunes.

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Mon Jan 9th, 2017 at 07:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course the moment I write a positive piece we get another blunder.
Jeremy Corbyn: I've not changed mind on immigration - BBC News -
"Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle, but I don't want that to be misinterpreted, nor do we rule it out," he said.

From reading the rest he clearly hasn't changed his mind on immigration. So who thought putting that in the speech was a good idea and what was it supposed to signal? Loss of nerves?

I also must agree with Richard Seymour that "the populist turn" still needs some work:

Corbyn, the Unlikely Populist | Jacobin -

But as Bernie Sanders demonstrated without conceding an inch to this sort of politics, it is possible to articulate a class hatred sincerely and effectively. One can, in the name of every casualty of capitalism, uncompromisingly revile the "billionaire class" and its political advocates, without giving ground to bigotry.

Corbyn, though, is currently too nice to be a populist: hate is not his metier. If Labour really wants to go down this path, he will either have to draw out the more lupine aspect of his appearance and character, or delegate nastiness to one of his colleagues.



Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Tue Jan 10th, 2017 at 11:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because it is not entirely clear from my comment: The fracas started with a press release including the first sentence without the qualification. The quoted one is a clarification from an interview afterwards. But even from the first version it was relatively clear that there wasn't any real change of policy here. So why lead with this?

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Wed Jan 11th, 2017 at 01:32:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So fed up with this slagging off Corbyn.. gratuitous,  cruel, defeatist and unnecessary. Worst of all not recognising that although old, he is actually proposing a completely novel approach to politics, not personality based, not charisma based, not a recycled drabber-than-thou, pie in the sky, promise them the moon bullshit we have all been weaned on.
Sneer at him if it makes you feel intelligent or superior,  but put up an alternative or find more deserving targets for your scorn, please.
Happily the so-called experts are more wrong than right these days, and hundreds of thousands of new lefty voters signing up means the experts are wrong as per usual when they dissect the entrails of public opinion.
This is the really bitter aftertaste of turd-way Bliarism, that commenters may be smart enough to see his criminality in retrospect but remain fascinated by his media massage and (barf) charisma.
What the pundits get so wrong in this case, and his voters get so right, is that those values of so-called 'electability' are rotten to the core and Corbyn offers instead a different attitude to modern politics, ie, just be yourself.
Of course as always his success will depend more on whether he can get a quality, dedicated group of similarly minded individuals to form a government with were he to be elected.
What's the point of grand plans when the wheels are coming off? Designing a new liner as the Titanic hits the berg!
The Tories are patiently assembling their collective hari-Kiribati.  They-re fucking impaled on their own stupidity, all Corbyn has to do is hold steady and the whole shebang may well fall in his lap without a 'media makeover' or other drivel that would make him just another politico blowing smoke.
Stop fellating the media's distorted, inhuman, petty version of who he is and just help the Tories self-immolato, please.
Knocking him just plays right into Tory hopes you'll do exactly that.
 Nothing personal, Helen. I just get so fucking pissed off when I saw Kos doing it to Bernie, then Booman too.
Let the guy be FFS, he's getting a shit load more votes than you, I or anyone here will ever get, yes he has political weaknesses seen through the dumbed-down reductionist lens, but you don't get yet in my opinion is that same weakness is his secret sauce.
Hard enough the row he has to hoe, without this cheap, 2c peanut hurling from the gallery to sabotage him further. Nice company you put yourself with there, you really want birds of that feather around you?
Kill him and there is nothing doing for Labour, NOTHING! just the usual crapola that voters are finally, thankfully getting fed up with and stay home without voting for. If Corbyn gets aced you know you're just going to get another Millibland clone, or worse, if there is such an animal.
Petty, destructive, internecine carping is raised to a fine art in GB, sad to say.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2017 at 12:09:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We shall see how the Supreme Court ruling turns out.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 at 11:38:32 PM EST
Is there any reason to suppose it will be any different to the very clear and decisive High Court ruling?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 at 11:44:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's thought to be unlikely, however the government did appear to screw up massively in its case by arguing in a way that re-introduced Scottish and Irish relevance to the argument which they'd managed to avoid in high court case. Things could come out much worse in the Supreme court case

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 12:05:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well argued.

I think that in addition, the failure to reach an agreement - or reaching an agreement that is punitively bad for the UK - will benefit the parties calling for exit in other countries, because it will feed into the EU is evil empire narrative.

Yes, from a standpoint of rational actors it would make leaving harder, but TINA is a hard sell politically. After all, the treatment of Greece was surely meant to encourage the others, yet it was Leave that used it to argue for leaving. If Article 50 turns out to be useless, then there is no real freedom to leave, hence we are being kept whether we like it or not, so we must rise up.

The more you tighten your grip, etc.

by fjallstrom on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 12:25:12 AM EST
It takes a pretty twisted logic to argue that because Brexit was a disaster for the UK, we must support Frexit or whatever.  You can't blame the EU for everything, even what happens to a country which has left the EU.  If it turns out that the opportunities in the free trade world are less than as wonderful as claimed by the Brexiteers, why should the EU take the blame for that?  

The UK looked for its "freedom" and got it.  If it turns out it can't hack it in the "free" world that is it's own problem, and the more so the longer it has left the EU.  Why should the EU be deemed to owe an ex-member special treatment?  A. 50 is there to provide an exit mechanism, not a free ride thereafter.  If anything, it proves that maybe the EU wasn't so evil after all.

The Leavers were happy to use any argument which appeared to support their cause.  So the EU was ghastly to the Greeks?  In reality the EU was only enforcing Brit led neo-liberal policies.  Did the UK show the slightest inclination to get out of line to help the Greeks?  

That is not to say that there isn't a leftist argument for leaving the EU, and it may be much stronger for Greece than for the UK. The Brexiteers were happy to use any argument to support their cause - left, right, populist, anti-establishmentarian, libertarian, racist, bigoted, white supremacist, nativist, sentimentalist - to appeal to different sets of voters.  That does not mean that a post Brexit UK will implement more left wing policy stances as those leftists who supported Brexit are about to find out.

If Brexit proves anything, it proves it is possible to leave the EU if you really want.  Want happens afterwards is your own affair.  As it should be, and as you asked for it to be.  The moral is: be careful what you ask for , because you might very well get it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 01:11:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Political narratives don't tend to be logical, especially in a downward spiral. The 'argument' born from 'experience' would be that everything the EU touches turns to shit. Akin to "government is always bad". Therefore, "EU always bad" and "Let's all run to the exit!"

Meanwhile, it's high time that the Eurogroup finally get a grip on the Euro problem. There has to be a mechanism for countries to leave the Euro or something like it. Somebody somewhere needs to be smart enough to come up with an idea. Otherwise, it's game over for the whole EU sooner or later.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 02:35:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is not to say that there isn't a leftist argument for leaving the EU, and it may be much stronger for Greece than for the UK.
Here's Owen Jones right after the Greek referendum: The left must put Britain's EU withdrawal on the agenda
Owen Jones
Progressives should be appalled by European Union's ruination of Greece. It's time to reclaim the Eurosceptic cause.
He then went on to campaign for Remain as he saw Brexit as a neoliberal wet dream.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2017 at 08:14:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Owen Jones made the classic mistake of mistaking the Euro for the EU. Anybody should have been apalled by the ECB's treatment of Greece, but Britain was insulated from that by having retained the pound.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 5th, 2017 at 09:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you could still make a "not in my name" case, as the Euro is an EU creation. Being insulated from the consequences is not necessarily a sufficient reason for refusing any association.

Of course, the tories want to inflict the same pains without even the semi-plausible justification of the Euro, so leaving during Tory times would hardly achieve that goal...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Jan 6th, 2017 at 10:05:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nigel Farage says Irish will consider EU exit if UK fares well
Sir Ivan Rogers, Britain's ambassador to the EU, resigned amid divisions with Downing Street over Britain's approach to forthcoming negotiations on the UK's departure from the EU.

In a message to staff Sir Ivan urged his former colleagues not to hesitate to speak truth to power.

"I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power.

"I hope that you will support each other in those difficult moments where you have to deliver messages that are disagreeable to those who need to hear them."

Irish politicians and senior officials said that the departure of Sir Ivan, who had warned that exiting the EU could take 10 years to negotiate and was criticised by pro-Brexit campaigners, was a sign that Britain was more likely to move towards a hard Brexit.

A hard Brexit deal would likely leave the UK without full access to both the single market and EU customs union. A soft Brexit would leave relations between the UK and EU as close as possible to the current arrangements.

The Irish Times has learned that Irish officials have held a number of meetings with the European Commission's Brexit negotiators in recent weeks to discuss the future of the common travel area (CTA) after Britain leaves the EU.

At a meeting in Brussels on December 16th, the Irish delegation said maintaining free movement between Ireland and Britain would have no adverse consequences for other member states and would not violate any EU rules.

According to an internal commission report, the meeting was attended by 11 Irish officials drawn from the Departments of the Taoiseach, Justice, Social Protection and Foreign Affairs as well as four members of the commission's Brexit negotiating unit, led by deputy chief negotiator Sabine Weyand.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 01:04:33 PM EST
Yeah, there is enough knowledge out there how to make an economic disaster, if the world ever needs.
by das monde on Thu Jan 5th, 2017 at 12:51:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another reason why the EU can't afford to see Britain do well and Ireland do badly out of Brexit:
Nigel Farage says Irish will consider EU exit if UK fares well
Mr Farage said: "If the British government gets on with Brexit and two or three years down the road, we are clearly better off, better off democratically because we are running our own affairs, better off economically because we've reached out to the world, better off in terms of some of our industries and we've got our fishing waters back, then the pressure will be on Ireland and public opinion in Ireland will very much move in our direction."

The former UK's Independence Party (Ukip) leader told RTE's Today with Sean O'Rourke show it was "one of the great stories" that is pushed about Ireland that it was a "very pro EU country".

"Yet twice in the last 16 years the Irish people in referendums have rejected European treaties."

The big issues what could push Irish opinion in favour of Irexit would be if Brexit created a hard land border with N. Ireland and if something isn't done about fishing quotas in Irish waters.  Ireland has lost more in potential income from our fish stocks in territorial Irish waters than it ever got in EU grants and subsidies.  It is an issue which really rankles in coastal communities and fishing towns and is beginning to resonate more generally.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 01:12:52 PM EST
Brexit - A Warning From 1929

"In Wall Street, as elsewhere in 1929, few people wanted a bad depression. In Wall Street, as elsewhere, there is deep faith in the power of incantation. When the market fell, many Wall Street citizens immediately sensed the real danger ... This had to be prevented. Preventive incantation required that as many important people as possible repeat as firmly as they could that it wouldn't happen ... As an instrument of economic policy, incantation does not permit of minor doubts or scruples".

Thus the description of the prelude to the greatest economic disaster to strike not only the United States, but arguably most of the Western world, as taken from J K Galbraith's seminal book The Great Crash 1929. The belief in talking up the economy's prospects, and dismissing those of inconvenient view, is now manifesting itself in Britain.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 at 08:01:32 PM EST
by das monde on Thu Jan 5th, 2017 at 12:47:48 PM EST
Asia? The rate we're going we're gonna be lucky if we end up as a trading partner with the Falklands.

OR, if anybody remembers the Goodies comedy show, August Bank Holiday Island, which is half way between Easter Island and Christmas Island and is still, thanks to winning the Commonwealth Games, running the British CommonWealth.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 5th, 2017 at 01:10:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German media sympathetic to Irish Brexit fears
"The citizens will not accept the return of a hard Border in Ireland," said Mr Kenny to the leading Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) daily.

Saying he "didn't like but accepted" the UK's decision to leave the EU, the Taoiseach warned of incalculable risks for 50,000 cross-Border commuters and trade ties with Ireland's larger neighbour worth €1 billion weekly. To speak nothing, he said, of the risks to the fragile peace process in the North.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 7th, 2017 at 12:02:02 AM EST
The limits of `possibility': Splitting the lamb-mutton quota for the UK and EU-27 - Trade β Blog
An exercise in applying the "latest 3-year average" rule to the tariff quota on lamb and mutton. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has announced the UK will "replicate as far as possible" the EU's commitments in the WTO. This is a sound approach. But how far is "as far as possible"?


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jan 7th, 2017 at 12:32:01 AM EST
I have read through quite a few links from your quote and am little the wiser as to how the UK/EU can disentangle their WTO commitments.  The requirement for consensus and the huge number of interested parties involved seems to make any kind of agreement in any kind of time-frame impossible to predict. It is also not clear what will happen in the interim period between the UK leaving the EU and some kind of agreement being reached.  The only conclusion I can reach is that I wouldn't want to be a UK farmer right now - their future is very uncertain indeed.  Also I wouldn't want to be a banker or supplier extending credit to UK farmers. The only people who should be happy are the lawyers...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 7th, 2017 at 01:22:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank, you are the only person I know on the web writing about the WTO issue. If I am allowed to, I would ask you to dive further into this issue on one of your next writings.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Sat Jan 7th, 2017 at 07:13:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
how far is "as far as possible"
Newspeak for 'as little as we feel like and can get away with'

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jan 7th, 2017 at 11:32:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you follow the links you very quickly get into the weeds of how quotas and tariffs are calculated and allocated to different countries/suppliers and the whole system seems very complex and, in parts, opaque. What Fox appears to be saying is that the UK will be looking for a proportionate share of current EU quotas but precisely how that proportionality is calculated is anything but straight forward and open to disagreement and negotiation and may even re-open the can of worms of how they were arrived at in the first place with new countries/suppliers trying to get in on the act and making agreement very difficult.

Who'd have thunk free trade could be so complicated?

Nigel Farage, who likes to extol the wonderful free trade opportunities awaiting the UK outside the EU, and who also likes to accuse fellow parliamentarians of "never having done a days real work in their lives" has probably never read a trade agreement, never mind negotiated one. They are hideously complex...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 8th, 2017 at 12:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing about "free" trade is that it always was just a PR term with very little about it being free. And lately the "trade" part has also earned scare quotes.
Turns out there are problems that PR can't solve.

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Mon Jan 9th, 2017 at 07:36:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and this is just one form of trade, will be the same for evry other item, and some will depend on others, "if you get an increase quota of lamb then we need this part of your quota on Mangos, but country Y will want you to do this deal on machine tools if you do this deal on mangos" and round and round we go taking extra time

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2017 at 02:09:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Donor vows to stop funding Tories if May takes UK out of single market
A Tory donor has said he will stop funding the party if Theresa May takes the UK out of the single market.

Sir Andrew Cook said jobs and exports were at risk if Brexit meant membership of the single market was sacrificed in order to curb immigration.

Cook, who has given more than £1.2m to the Conservatives, said the country could "sleepwalk to disaster" if the prime minister decided to go down that route, the Times reported.

Cook, the chairman of William Cook, which produces components for applications including rail, energy and defence, highlighted how much his company relied on exports to mainland Europe and the supply of skilled labour from the continent.

Speaking from Sheffield, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I'm trying to explain how critical the single market is to the real economy. Two miles away is one of my factories, with 200 people employed making engineering parts that go to France, Germany and Italy for pumps and so forth.

As Frank noted: 44% of UK exports go to the EU and only 4% of EU exports are destined for the UK

by Bernard on Sat Jan 7th, 2017 at 06:09:24 PM EST
If he puts £1.2 milion into a party whose leader has a manifesto committment to having a referendum on committing suicide and then respecting the result, I'd suggest that he's somewhat responsible for the destruction of his own company.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 8th, 2017 at 09:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can just see it now: Brexit talks break down and the UK accuses EU leaders of "playing politics" and being afraid of their own hard right oppositions at home and not having the courage to do the "statesmanlike thing"..

This conveniently forgets the fact that Brexit IS, in essence, a hard right political initiative, and that refusing to concede to UK demands is as legitimate as any political policy especially if it is in the interests of the EU27 as opposed to the UK interest..

The EU 27 leaders have actually been playing this quite smart: staying united, acting schtum and letting the UK body politic tear itself apart all on its own:

Rule 1 of politics:  Never interrupt your opponents when they are busy tearing themselves apart...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 8th, 2017 at 05:48:13 PM EST
The EU 27 leaders have actually been playing this quite smart: staying united, acting schtum and letting the UK body politic tear itself apart all on its own

Sometimes the path of least resistance is not the worst one to take. Imagine the EU27 had to find a more nuanced common position than no talks before official start.

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler

by generic on Sun Jan 8th, 2017 at 06:59:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This should have been all about the UK dividing and conquering 27 EU leaders with disparate interests.  We'll see how things change as talks progress - or don't - but so far all the recriminations are on the UK side.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 8th, 2017 at 07:29:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So far, Boris Johson & Theresa May have managed to get the EU27 united... against them.

Things could change of course: there are elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany. In any case, this is going to be long and protracted.

by Bernard on Sun Jan 8th, 2017 at 07:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Irish EU Commissioner Phil Hogan urges Ireland to keep distance from UK on Brexit

"The UK can be expected to argue strongly, if regrettably at times incoherently, for its own interests in a European Union which it has shunned.

"It would be a fundamental error on our part to place an excessive reliance on our bilateral relationship with the UK as the best means of ensuring that Ireland's strategic interests are best protected in the Brexit discussions," he added.

The commissioner said that while nobody in Ireland desired Brexit, it was now a reality that we had to face.

"Unwittingly Brexit may be presenting Ireland with the chance to seize the next phase in our development and maturity as a sovereign state. It will force us to forge relations and shape our destiny within the EU without the presence of our nearest and strongest ally since 1973



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 9th, 2017 at 01:20:30 AM EST
FT | Beppe Grillo bids farewell to Farage parliamentary alliance

Beppe Grillo, the comedian leader of Italy's populist Five Star Movement (M5S), has bid farewell to a parliamentary alliance with Britain's Ukip, after its members voted to leave the Eurosceptic anti-establishment grouping in the EU parliament.

[...] M5S is instead seeking membership of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe led by former Belgian prime minister and federalist Guy Verhofstadt. Just under 80 per cent (78.5 per cent) of the populist party's members voted to join the liberal group.

You can not make this stuff up.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Mon Jan 9th, 2017 at 02:21:25 PM EST
Nothing to do with politics. It's merely a technical decision.
Secondo Luigi Di Maio si tratta di una scelta "tecnica". "Nell'Europarlamento la scelta del gruppo è una questione tecnica - afferma il vicepresidente della Camera - vedrete le nostre scelte quando voteremo. Se l'adesione a un gruppo fosse per affinità politica, allora avremmo sbagliato gruppo".
I can't make this stuff up either.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jan 9th, 2017 at 02:29:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it seems ALDE members rejected the deal Verhofstad negotiated. So now that they have voted to leave, where do they go?
by fjallstrom on Tue Jan 10th, 2017 at 06:30:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back to square one, it seems...

Five Star Movement alliance with Ukip back on after MEPs block split

Nigel Farage and Beppe Grillo, the bombastic head of Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), plan to continue their alliance in the European parliament despite an embarrassing rupture earlier this week, according to a statement by the former Ukip leader.

The move offers Farage a lifeline in Brussels, because the departure of M5S's MEPs could have led to Ukip losing some of its funding in the European parliament.

The two Eurosceptic leaders appeared to have made amends less than 24 hours after liberal members of the European parliament rejected an attempt by Grillo - who had publicly dumped Farage - to join a more powerful grouping, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

by Bernard on Tue Jan 10th, 2017 at 09:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One wonders if describing Grillo as a former comedian is quite accurate.

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler
by generic on Wed Jan 11th, 2017 at 07:38:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit dampens Irish food and drink exports by €570m

Trade with the UK fell by 8 per cent, due in part to challenging exchange rates and uncertainty arising from Brexit.

However, there were increased exports to international and emerging markets including North America (adding €200 million), China and the rest of Asia.

Overall, there was a 13 per cent increase in shipments to international markets, reaching a value of approximately €3.5 billion.

There was also recovery in EU markets, adding 3 per cent to reach €3.53 billion.

The euro strengthened by 13 per cent against sterling in 2016 while there was little change in exchange rates with the US dollar.

According to Bord Bia estimates, the underlying weakness and volatility of sterling negatively affected the competitiveness of Irish exports reducing the value of trade by a potential €570 million.

Overall it seems remarkable how quickly even the most traditional sectors of the Irish economy are adjusting to Sterling devaluation and the prospect of Brexit by diversifying away from the UK market.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 11th, 2017 at 11:32:21 AM EST


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