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The Third Tribe of Ulster

by Frank Schnittger Sat Sep 2nd, 2017 at 09:56:33 AM EST

Newton Emerson asks us to remember the Third Tribe of Ulster - one that is largely of Scottish descent, Presbyterian beliefs, and prone to dreaming of an Independent Ulster rather than one tied to either England or Ireland. Politically it is represented by the Paisleyite Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), rather than the previously dominant and anglophile Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and holds the English (perfidious Albion) in almost as much suspicion as do Irish Nationalists, formerly represented mostly by the Social Democrat and Labour Party (SDLP) and now by Sinn Fein.

Historically, he certainly has a point, but there is a another more modern third tribe his analysis ignores: This third, and possibly fastest growing tribe in N. Ireland today is neither Scottish, English, nor exclusively Irish; neither Roman Catholic, Presbyterian nor Anglican. It is neither Unionist nor nationalist. It is secular, disillusioned with tribal politics, and just wants to get on with life, make a decent living, and not be bothered by all the religious and political fanatics who seek to divide and conquer.


This third tribe wants peace and prosperity, a good environment and decent public services. They are prepared to work hard and want a good future for their children so that they don't have to emigrate to London or Dublin to make a living - like so many of the most talented young people of previous generations have felt forced to do. Most send their children to third level college in Ireland or Britain, where they experience the relative freedom of not being defined by their religion, surname, school or place of residence. They want to get on well with all their neighbours, and are frustrated at continually being asked to take sides.

On the face of it, Northern Ireland politics has never been more polarised, with the DUP and Sinn Fein combined obtaining 65% of the vote in the 2017 general election - the highest total for any two leading Unionist and Nationalist parties since 1970. But despite the extreme polarisation of Northern politics turnout has never been higher than 65%. Turnout in the 2016 Assembly elections was less than 55%, and turnout in 2017 - the highest in decades - was under 65%. Some of the 35%-45% who didn't vote may have had legitimate reasons why they couldn't vote, but many simply didn't wish to engage in a process dominated by sectarian parties.

Even the Brexit referendum failed to elicit an increased turnout in Northern Ireland, with a turnout of only 62.7% (the lowest of any region of the UK) and with most of the 44% Leave vote concentrated in the DUP (and Ulster-Scots) dominated north east corner of the territory. So this third tribe, of which I speak, either didn't vote in the Brexit referendum or formed part of the 56% remain vote, suspicious of any change in the Northern Ireland status quo which has brought an uneasy peace since the Good Friday agreement of 1998.

They are now horrified that Brexit is raising all manner of ghosts they had thought were becoming dormant and re-politicising things they were increasingly taking for granted - like an open border with the south, and the maintenance of devolved government within Northern Ireland. Any ensuing instability is their worst nightmare, destroying what fragile progress has been made since the Good Friday Agreement.

They also worry that the English will tire of subventing Northern Ireland to the tune of £10 Billion per annum (roughly the same as the UK's net contribution to the EU) and wish that their more "political" neighbours would spend more of their energy making the Northern Ireland work better and less dependent on the financial support of others. They don't know what will become of them if Brexit really turns out to be as bad as many predict. Some might even wish that an Independent Northern Ireland were possible, but know it is never likely to be sustainable. Not because it isn't big enough, but because it isn't united enough. The EU provided some possibility of an alternative over-arching political identity and unity, and now that is being taken away from them.

They will not forgive the DUP for its stupidity, nor Sinn Fein for it's violence, but where can they turn to now? Some may look enviously to the economic success of the south and wish they could be part of that, if only it didn't come laden with so much political and religious baggage; if there wasn't some vague unease at a residual physical threat or fear of cultural assimilation; if there were, perhaps, some Mandela like leader who could appeal equally to all communities. But they know that too is a pipe dream. Too many people define themselves and profit by our divisions rather than by what joins us all together on this island.

There is just too much history... and not enough of a clearly defined future.

Display:
The above diary is based on many years of reading about and chatting to many people from Northern Ireland of all persuasions. It lacks a truly scientific research base because the third tribe, which I postulate, isn't formally defined, represented, or organised in any way.  Some of those who do vote may vote for non-sectarian parties like Alliance or the Greens, but their defining characteristic has always seemed to me to be an abhorrence of all "politics", especially as practised in Northern Ireland. Brexit is becoming their worst nightmare, because it re-politicises things they had come to take for granted, things like an open border with the south, and an increasingly European identity.

However I am not predicting a political revolution any time soon. Winston Churchill's great rhetorical evocation of "the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone" emerging from the deluge of the Great War with "the integrity of their quarrel" unaffected by the cataclysms of Europe still holds true.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2017 at 10:21:04 AM EST
This is the exact reason I have always regarded the refusal of British political parties to organise in Ulster as moral cowardice and a disgraceful abdication of responsibility.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2017 at 02:39:24 PM EST
If you wanted proof that N. Ireland isn't just another region of the UK, it is the utter failure of either Labour or the Conservatives to achieve a significant presence there. 765 Northern Ireland Labour members voted in Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 2016" (Corbyn 541; Smith 224), but they don't put up candidates because of their small membership and association agreement with the SDLP.

Officially the UK Conservative party is the titled the Conservative and Unionist party and they have had a close relationship with the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). They have also run separate candidates and attracted 0.4% of the vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2016.

So while both major UK parties have some presence in Northern Ireland, their support base is derisory, even from fellow unionists, and most Nationalists would of course not support a UK party, although Corbyn has a long record of supporting a United Ireland.

The bottom line is that the major UK parties don't organise in N. Ireland to a greater degree is because their support base there is, and is always likely to be, derisory. The current Conservative party's confidence and supply agreement with the DUP isn't going to change that.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2017 at 05:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that the labour party refuses any application of memebership from Northern Ireland, referring them to the SDLP. It is my understanding that any LP member will be somebody who is an existing member who re-locates to Ulster.

Sadly, the SDLP seems to have degenerated into a largely pointless organisation which represents no particualr train of thinking within NI.

Many people have, over the years, requested that Labour organise officially there. But they refuse

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2017 at 05:55:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And why is that?
by Bernard on Sat Sep 2nd, 2017 at 08:38:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's a historical hangover from when Ulster, although nominally a full part of the UK, was effectively a colonial state practicing apartheid. A state of affairs that only changed in the 80s.

Previously, the right to vote was restricted to property owners. Loyalist protestant organisations had  massive strangelhold over unionised, well-paid secure employment such as in the docks and shipbuilding, the two principle employers in Ulster. This meant that their workers were able to afford to live in private housing in "nice" meighbourhoods.

Catholics, trapped in low wage insecure jobs, were largely restricted to large council house rented ghetto estates and were, thus, denied the vote.

So, you had the strange anomaly of unions, supposedly a socialist organisation, protecting the rights and privileges of people whose attitude towards catholics was archetypally alt-right.

this state of affairs was heavily protected officially and ahem, deniably. During the late 60s the Labour party was supportive of the demand from Ulster catholics for voting and human rights. Indeed, the army was first sent to Ulster by the then Labour govt to protect catholics from the increasingly violent militarised protestant police force.

However, it is likely that certain secret organisations in whitehall such as, but not only, MI5 began to orchestrate a change of direction in support of the protestant unionists. This led to the needless imposition of internment, detention without trial for indeterminate periods, a situation made worse by increasingly provocative Unionist behaviour during "marching season".

However, by 1972, the Labour party regarded the pursuit of catholic voting rights in Ulster as likely to cause more problems than it solved, so it was dropped.

After that, they lacked crediblity until recently

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2017 at 09:24:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi there Frank, nice diary.

Why is the DUP against shifting the border to the Irish Sea? This is the solution you have long advocated and that Leo Varadkar recently proposed too. It is the easiest way of preserving the status quo and the Good Friday Agreement.

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 Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 06:24:39 AM EST
Thanks. Two main reasons:

  1. N. Ireland does more trade with the rest of the UK than with the Republic, and so is concerned that customs disruption would be relatively greater.  I have not seen any figure for EU trade via the Republic, however, so it is possible the above statistic is misleading.

  2. Psychologically, moving the customs border to Irish sea could be seen as a precursor to moving the Sovereign border there - something which is obviously totally unacceptable to them, and indeed their whole raison d'être.  The DUP are hypersensitive to anything that might be construed as putting distance between Britain and N. Ireland, as "internal" customs posts in the Irish sea would be seen as doing.

However many in the UK see their position as nonsensical - see Peter Hain, Ex-N. Ireland Secretary at the time of the peace process

The future of Northern Ireland after Brexit can only be secured if it remains in the customs union, a former secretary of state will tell the House of Lords on Tuesday.

The Labour peer Peter Hain, who as Northern Ireland secretary helped steer the peace process when the IRA was decommissioning its arms, will tell the Lords that the government's position on Northern Ireland is "delusional, contradictory and potentially very damaging".

Lord Hain told the Guardian that the government's negotiating strategy in Brussels was incompetent. He was particularly scathing about its recently published position paper on Northern Ireland and Ireland, which suggests that an "invisible" border could be maintained if the EU agrees to waive checks on small businesses providing goods and services, including dairy and meat products.

He said the government knew that this was "pie in the sky" because EU law would require Ireland to have checks to prevent products such as hormone-injected beef or chlorinated chicken from the US from making its way into the EU.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 10:05:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Point 2 is the most important, I think. Anything that smacks of division (except, say, different abortion laws and such things).
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 10:42:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I personally doubt whether the UK government would have a huge objection to effectively retaining N. Ireland within the Customs Union and Single Market by establishing customs controls at N. I. air and sea ports. However they can't agree to this while dependent on the DUP for votes.

Crunch time will come if the Irish Government threatens to vote against any Brexit deal which does otherwise. If that becomes critical to the UK achieving a deal it actually wants, the only way May could resolve this conundrum is by accepting that N. I. will remain within the customs Union, lose DUP support, and call a general election to win a mandate for the deal.

I consider this a likely scenario because I can't see the current UK parliament agreeing to any Brexit deal May is likely to be able to negotiate.  Brexit hard-liners will vote against any compromises on the basis that "No deal is better than a bad deal", and the Opposition and a few Tories will vote against a hard brexit deal as clearly inferior to full membership of customs Union and Single market.

So May is going to have to call a general election on the outcome of the negotiations in any case, and has to decide what kind of deal she is prepared to go to the country and campaign on.

I doubt that N. I. remaining within the CU will be a deal breaker for her in that context. The question I have is whether May would be prepared to campaign for any Brexit deal the EU is likely to offer.

In that context, May going to the country and campaigning for a no deal Brexit remains a possibility, although I think she would lose that election.  If so, Labour will lead the next Government, and keep all of the UK within the CU and obviate the entire Irish border problem.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 11:29:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Northern Ireland a sovereign state? (No.)

If it were, would either the EEA or EU accept N.I. gov't application for admission conditional to BREXIT? Scotland and Cataluyna have not successfully secured a continuance from the EU in the event of secession from their respective EU member states.

As it is not, how could the UK disclaim N.I. for the purpose of assigning its severability from UK's withdrawal action without agreement of the EU?
 

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 03:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As it is not, how could the UK disclaim N.I. for the purpose of assigning its severability from UK's withdrawal action without agreement of the EU?

It couldn't. But my reading of their respective positions is that the EU would be only too happy to retain N. Ireland within the CU and Single Market if that were to secure the Republic's agreement to a deal and obviate the obvious problems a customs border along the 500KM land border would otherwise create for all.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 04:13:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok. Thank you for persuading me to search for myself relevant EU "position" documents. I thought I'd missed some turn in negotiation. I'd read the UK "future partnership" tripe. UK press is rife with speculation about "leverage". But EU still has not published a position a/o 31 Aug that contradicts EU construction of its rights and obligations w/r/t Ireland and UK (NI) or the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) as reported in EP briefing, "The Impact and Consequences of Brexit for Northern Ireland".

This statement is
>>the EU would be only too happy to retain N. Ireland within the CU and Single Market<<
is exaggerated. Nothing in the briefing encourages, offers, or supports NI severability from the EU-UK withdrawal agreement unless a NI referendum ("border poll") affirms NI secession from the UK (ie. IE "unification" which EP expects "Westminister" is unlikely to honor per recent High Courts' decisions on NI home rule). The briefing does in many instances affirm the GFA is a peace treaty, not a trade agreement, between the signatories, IE and UK. The briefing does in many instances affrim EU commitment to arbitrate civil rights ("protections") stipulated in the GFA --specifically "open border," or CTA, free movement of people, specifically not goods-- in the event the signatories, either IE or UK abridge those dual-nationals' rights under the ECJ.

This statement,
>>to secure the Republic's agreement to a deal and obviate the obvious problems a customs border<<,
is unfounded. Ireland's BREXIT veto or approval power is immaterial until EU-UK table a settlement ("deal"), and it provides no unilateral authority to "secure" a settlement or a extension of UK membership ("transitional period"). In any case, (1) EU position is, regardless of settlement terms of aqreement, UK membership terminates on the date of withdrawal; (2) a/o 31 Aug UK and EU have actually agreed to several ex-pat "entitlements"; moreover, (3)

Customs controls on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland operated on both sides of the border until the end of 1992, when the Single European Market came into force. The imposition of tariffs and return of customs controls - a harder border - for goods travelling to and from Northern Ireland seems inevitable in the event of abolition of a customs union, although the UK Government has listed access to the EU Customs Union and tariff-free trade as an (optimistic) negotiating priority. [...] The chances of approval of a bespoke deal benefiting only the UK and Ireland and at odds with core EU principles may be remote. One option would be for Northern Ireland to remain part of the EU Customs Union whilst the rest of the UK withdraws. This would permit tariff-free trade across the border.However, it seems inconceivable that the EU would permit such an arrangement in the event of a UK Brexit, given that Britain would be a beneficiary of the onward transfer of goods from Northern Ireland. [...] Any attempts at bespoke deals between the UK and Irish governments may meet opposition within the EU from those wanting sanctions against the UK, feeling that the (cherry-picked) benefits to the UK are not accompanied by any fulfilment of obligations. The Interlaken Principles [41] make clear that the EU will a) prioritise internal integration over relations with non-member states and b) the EU will always safeguard its own decision-making autonomy. The Principles declare that any relationship with the EU must be based on a balance of benefits and obligations. Non-member states will not be able to choose what aspects of EU integration they particularly favour. As such, prospects for a bespoke, tariff free Northern Ireland-EU cross-border trade arrangement appear slim, whilst a continuing Common Travel Area is in jeopardy, with all the possible ramifications outlined above [p 9]

Conflating GFA jurisdiction, IE/UK immigration controls, and CU/EEA/EU customs controls is a UK dissembling tactic to exaggerate IE/EU dependence on its trade and evade EU surveillance of third-country duties wherever the UK finally proposes to draw NI ports.

If you are referring to other documents, please provide a links.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 04:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
">>the EU would be only too happy to retain N. Ireland within the CU and Single Market<<"

The EU maintains anomalous trading relationships with non sovereign territories -e.g. Greenland - and there is no treaty requirement for the CU to extend only over sovereign entities. However such outcomes tend to happen in consequence of last minute compromises required to secure agreement on greater issues and I would not expect such outcomes to be flagged in briefing documents in advance.

">>to secure the Republic's agreement to a deal and obviate the obvious problems a [500km land] customs border<<"

Any Brexit deal has to secure the weighted majority support of the EU Council and any extension of the A50 period or subsequent trade deal requires unanimous consent. (The question of whether a trade deal could effectively be "contained" within a Brexit deal, and thus require only weighted majority agreement is less clear in my mind, and any light you can throw on that issue would be welcome).

EU negotiators will therefore be extremely mindful of retaining the confidence and support of it's member states, and particularly that of Ireland, as the member state most intimately and dramatically impacted by Brexit. This is reflected in the fact that Irish border issues have been elevated to one of the three most important issues on which substantial progress must be made before the Brexit talks can mover on to other issues - including those prioritised by the UK.

There have also been direct and ongoing discussions between Barnier and the Irish government to ensure both are aligned on issues of vital national interest to Ireland.  This does not amount to Ireland seeking to negotiate bilateral deals with the UK, rather that the EU takes Irish concerns into account in its negotiating plan.

I have no doubt that the UK is also seeking to use the various Irish issues as part of a broader strategy to undermine EU unity and strength in it's negotiating response.  All the more reason for close cooperation between EU negotiators and the Irish Government.

It may be taken as a given that any customs controls at the 500KM land border will be porous, at best, even if Ireland were to formally agree to implement them - something that would probably lead to the downfall of any Irish government which agreed to do so.

It is in the EU's pragmatic self interest, therefore, to seek to ensure that the Customs Union extends as far as the island of Ireland.

The UK Government cannot agree to this whilst it remains dependent on DUP support. Instead it has proposed that any cross-border trade is limited to private vehicles and small traders (which are immaterial, in volume terms, in the greater scheme of things) but that any commercial or container trade, or onward trade from Britain is controlled.

It has suggested that his could be done by implementing checks at Irish Land and sea ports and allowing unimpeded transit only of consignments originating in the Republic, with certificates of origin, and from trusted traders. Cameras with number plate recognition technology at approved border crossing points for commercial vehicles would help ensure that goods originating in the UK were identified at ports.

According to the UK, this would prevent Ireland from becoming a back door for UK/EU trade seeking to evade tariffs or regulatory controls. It would not, however, prevent small scale smuggling of repackaged goods. It is not difficult to see why the EU would prefer controls at all Irish Air and sea ports for any trade with Britain.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 10:18:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't imagine there's going to be much enthusiasm in Ireland for bearing the costs of Brexit. It's bad enough bearing the costs of their aversion to Schengen.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 10:35:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I still get the feeling that analysing the thrashing about of a wounded government trying to implement an impossible project is something of a waste of time.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 10:38:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
increasingly that's my feeling.

It's kinda like looking at what Trump does and imagining there's a strategy there .. somewhere

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 04:03:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who gets to keep the tariffs collected at border crossing points, the EU or Ireland, and if the EU, can Ireland deduct the cost of collection?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 11:16:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Afaik, the member states bears the costs and gains the incomes from borders. At least, I have never heard it mentioned otherwise regarding the Swedish-Norwegian border, or the incomes of the European union.
by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 11:36:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wiki:EU "own" resources funding of budget
Traditional own resources[21] are taxes raised on behalf of the EU as a whole, principally import duties on goods brought into the EU. These are collected by the state where import occurs and passed on to the EU. States are allowed to keep a proportion of the revenue to cover administration (20%[22]). The European Commission operates a system of inspectors to investigate the collection of these taxes in member states and ensure compliance with the rules. The effect of a state failing to collect these taxes is that other states will have to contribute more to the budget, so there is a potential conflict of interest on the part of the collecting authorities. Countries are liable to make good any loss of revenue due to their own administrative failure.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 12:21:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Countries are liable to make good any loss of revenue due to their own administrative failure."

This could become really contentious if the EU insists on 500Km land border.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 12:23:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of which isn't even land (Foyle river, for example). How hard will they be to control?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 12:30:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK is in the dock for that offence too. (March 2017)

UK faces €2bn fine over Chinese imports scam, say EU investigators

by oldremainmer48 on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 02:03:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In any case, (1) EU position is, regardless of settlement terms of aqreement, UK membership terminates on the date of withdrawal;

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 04:41:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IE veto or approval power
it provides no unilateral authority to "secure" a settlement or a extension of UK membership ("transitional period").

WHEREAS IE is not the sole member in possession of such authority, any one of 25 other members may exercise the same contradicting IE beneficence.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 04:56:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[that] "the EU would be only too happy to retain N. Ireland within the CU and Single Market"
is exaggerated.

The document published this morning and subsequent statements by Barnier do suggest a "special" status for NI.

Guiding Principles for the dialogue on Ireland/Northern Ireland

They also indicate that it is up to the UK to come up with a workable solution and that that solution will not form the basis for the future relationship between the whole of the UK and the EU.

The  onus  to  propose solutions  which  overcome  the  challenges  created  on  the  island  of  Ireland .... and the internal market remains on the United Kingdom.
by oldremainmer48 on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 02:31:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this extremely timely update.

As I said above, EU still has not published anything contradicting the EP briefing. The GFA is not a trade instrument conferring NI severability from the UK withdrawal agreement. It is a peace treaty. And thus EU affirmation of "special status" specifically promotes "open border"/CTA free movement of people (GFA provisions for IE-UK partisans' shared home rule notwithstanding &tc).

I am amused to see the EU emphasize in this document, it will not tolerate UK attempts to shift cost of customs controls, surveillance, and tariffs on to IE wherever UK proposes to establish ports.

Eurotrib debate about customs border location has been seductive but spurious, given EU long ago calculated the value and volume of IE-NI land trade and NI-UK "onward trade" by air or sea. I expect, we shall see EU further throttle UK enthusiasm for a "porous 512km" pipeline of mere doilies and dairy kegs.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 03:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears >
The EP briefing even floats EU Most Favored Nation tariff premium (3.2%) to tease UK "future partnership" vision. This is such a low "cost of business (or smuggling)" benchmark to which I could only allude, when I pulled up WTO 2017 data in another, earlier eurotribe thread entertaining punishing, RETALIATORY! actions by the EU.

I believe, I predicted anything greater than 1% would induce "permanent insanity."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 04:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears >
re: World Tariff Profiles 2017 in "Sterling devaluation: Cause and effect"
Again. I think it prudent to examine tables in the WTO's 2017 publication in order to obtain at least a more accurate understanding of bound and applied rates in effect AND ratio of premia >15% (applied to scheduled G&S) by signatory.
EU's ratio is extremely low --AS IS "free trade" commitment-- by comparison to that which so-called developing nations impose on imports from any and all trade "partners". And you can bet that 0.4 summarizes trade sanctions imposed on NATO's "adversaries."
[...]
But whichever cost the other 99.6% bear is sufficient to tip the UK into a permanent state of insanity or piracy. As it is, no one can say if the gov't has prepared for any EU demand for reimbursement of the cost of inspection and compliance (abrogated by UK in its retarded position paper) on to the balance of charges on EU budget outstanding.

&tc

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 05:18:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears >

Are this tears of sadness or laughter?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 05:21:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as is the custom.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 05:40:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I took them to signal sarcasm or contempt

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 06:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
interesting.

What do you see?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Sep 8th, 2017 at 01:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Donald Trump
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Sep 8th, 2017 at 03:15:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a very special case

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Sep 8th, 2017 at 02:45:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone hiding...and throwing up aggressive diversions

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 8th, 2017 at 04:34:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are incorrigible, Frank "Special Case" Schnittger.
< sniff >
The correct locution is "micro-aggression."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Sep 9th, 2017 at 02:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the best articulation of "the special case", see here

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 11th, 2017 at 11:27:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's surprisingly insightful.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 12th, 2017 at 05:53:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Frank. That (IMHO) is one of the best analyses of the English condition and its origins that I have read. One is tempted to quote several bits but I shall limit myself to

Things that nation-states do not like--ambiguity, contingency, multiplicity--would have to be lived with and perhaps even embraced. Irish people, for the most part, have come to terms with this necessity. The English, as the Brexit referendum suggested, have not.
by oldremainmer48 on Thu Sep 14th, 2017 at 10:12:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
alternativel,

You are incorrigible, Frank "Special Case" Schnittger.
< pick teeth, suck vigorously >
The correct locution is "micro-agression.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 9th, 2017 at 02:40:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It looks more like a nano-agression to me.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Sep 9th, 2017 at 02:59:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The line between common courtesy and poor taste may not exist depending on to whom one address oneself.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Sep 9th, 2017 at 03:58:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A shooter squatting, guns blazing?

'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 Sep 9th, 2017 at 12:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
< squint >

(drove the crew at calculatedrisk mad)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 9th, 2017 at 02:42:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rather amusing, considering the medium by which so many communicate ... something ... relies on emojis, memes, likes, and up/down voting.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Sep 9th, 2017 at 02:50:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would Monsieur Le Chat like to tell us what he sees in it? ;)
Does 'squint' mean you have trouble seeing the shooter?
Seems horribly obvious to me but then that's why I need a lot of therapy!

'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 Sep 10th, 2017 at 07:37:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barnier has specifically signalled that the Irish Border will be treated as a special case and cannot be used as a trojan horse for the EU-UK border in general.
"The UK wants the EU to suspend the application of its laws, its Customs Union, and its Single Market at what will be a new external border of the EU. And the UK wants to use Ireland as a kind of test case for the future EU-UK customs relations. This will not happen."

---<snip>---

It insists, as Mr Barnier has repeatedly done, that it is the responsibility of the UK to spell out such solutions and "ensure that its approach to the challenges of the Irish Border in the context of its withdrawal from the European Union takes into account and protects the very specific and interwoven political, economic, security, societal and agricultural context and frameworks on the island of Ireland".

Ensuring the avoidance of a hard border on the island of Ireland is central to protecting the gains of the peace process underpinned by the Belfast Agreement, the paper argues. It accepts that a new border arrangement on the island will be unique in the EU, but insists these solutions must respect the proper functioning of the internal market and the Customs Union, as well the integrity and effectiveness of the EU's legal order.

Mr Barnier said that he was personally and politically deeply committed to the Irish strand of the talks, a commitment, he said that went back to discussion in the mid-90s with "Nobel winners" John Hume and David Trimble who had impressed on him their sense of the importance of the EU engagement to the peace process.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 06:24:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You Brexit, you fix it
Under the so-called `transparency' rules, the Commission publishes the minutes of its weekly meetings but always with a big delay, which gives the hapless spokesperson the chance to claim that the context has changed in the meantime.

heh
[Barnier] added the UK appears to be going backwards on agreeing on a financial settlement and said he was worried about the UK's paper on Ireland and Northern Ireland, because, in his words, London wants to use Ireland as a kind of test case for the future EU-UK customs relations.

"This will not happen," Barnier said. In its new position, the Commission makes it clear that the solution to the Irish border problem is strictly Britain's responsibility.

EURACTIV asked an Irish diplomat what he thought. He commented that it was up to the UK to propose a workable solution. "You Brexit, you fix it", he said. They created Brexit after all (although it was EURACTIV that indirectly coined it).

Who ya gonna bet on? Barnier or ... Patrick Smyth?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 10:39:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Patrick Smyth, Irish Times Europe correspondent?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 8th, 2017 at 04:32:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You betcha! The very one whose article titled Do not use Irish Border as test case for EU-UK border, says Barnier to which you refer: "Barnier has specifically signalled that the Irish Border will be treated as a special case  ...

Fear not, Frank! Unity is in hand! The Republic has already priced it -- the true "special case"!

Irish PM warns turning goodwill into border solution looks `extremely difficult' June 2017

"From my meetings in Brussels and elsewhere, there is a real understanding of the issues that are unique to Ireland, a sympathy for us and a lot of goodwill," Varadkar told a conference."
[...]
Varadkar, who took over from Enda Kenny as prime minister this month, maintained his predecessor's view that Dublin would ask the EU for specific assistance in dealing with the economic fallout from Brexit.

Ireland's top civil servant overseeing Brexit planning said last month one of the areas being examined was a potential exemption from EU state aid rules, enabling Ireland to provide financial support to companies adversely affected by Brexit.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Sep 9th, 2017 at 09:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew Patrick Smyth vaguely in college.  He was never a member of Sinn Fein or various republican organisations. and his ambitions do not stretch to Irish unity.

Survival is the name of the game for the Irish agrifood sector at the moment, already struggling with 20% plus Sterling devaluation. As Barnier himself said, there are no winners from Brexit (except perhaps the European financial services industries).  All else is damage limitation and risk mitigation.

Ireland, in and of itself is not important enough to swing a Brexit deal one way or the other as far as the UK or the EU is concerned. The positive flip side of that, is that it is not big enough in the context of the EU as a whole, to prevent the adoption of a "temporary" solution which may be anomalous in the broader context - so long as any such solution does not have major implications for other EU members.

In that context, private and small trader cross border trade is not material. Using the border as a back door to facilitate major EU/UK trade bypassing tariffs and other controls would be. Allowing the first while preventing the second is the trick that has to be performed. A combination of Certificates of origin, trusted traders, online pre-clearance procedures, number plate recognition cameras, customs spot checks, and customs controls at all Irish ports and airports may accomplish it. But I wouldn't expect anything to be finally agreed until the small hours of the last morning... when the lawyers have all gone to bed.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 10th, 2017 at 05:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PS - I would regard any such "solution" to be less problematic for the EU than relaxing state aid rules -which could create all sorts of unwanted precedented for other EU countries.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 10th, 2017 at 05:13:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You Brexit, you fix it
Under the so-called `transparency' rules, the Commission publishes the minutes of its weekly meetings but always with a big delay, which gives the hapless spokesperson the chance to claim that the context has changed in the meantime.

heh
[Barnier] added the UK appears to be going backwards on agreeing on a financial settlement and said he was worried about the UK's paper on Ireland and Northern Ireland, because, in his words, London wants to use Ireland as a kind of test case for the future EU-UK customs relations.

"This will not happen," Barnier said. In its new position, the Commission makes it clear that the solution to the Irish border problem is strictly Britain's responsibility.

EURACTIV asked an Irish diplomat what he thought. He commented that it was up to the UK to propose a workable solution. "You Brexit, you fix it", he said. They created Brexit after all (although it was EURACTIV that indirectly coined it).

Who ya gonna bet on? Barnier or ... Patrick Smyth?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 10:39:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
agrees to waive checks on small businesses providing goods and services, including dairy and meat products.

Nice try!
You have to hand it to them...

'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 Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 01:42:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if there will be an advantage for London banks to package all their relocation expenses into one fiscal year. If so, and if their fiscal years typically begin in April, then the mass relocation of employees and infrastructure will start in April, 2018.

Will the resulting collapse of the London economy convince the DUP that they would be better off in the EU? Or are economic arguments moot in this discussion?

by asdf on Fri Sep 8th, 2017 at 01:49:26 AM EST
As far as the DUP is concerned, economic arguments are moot. If you can believe in creationism, all evidence is moot.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 8th, 2017 at 04:35:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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