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I think you understate the full impact of what the UK government has just done:

  1. Even by just presenting the Bill for discussion by Parliament, the UK has breached the "Good Faith" provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, whereby both parties are supposed to work together to resolve outstanding issues, and failing agreement, to submit to third party arbitration..

  2. If the UK can unilaterally "dis-apply" and over-ride provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, what is to prevent them from doing the same to any Trade Agreement the EU might sign up to?

  3. If the EU does accept what the UK has done and enter into a further legal arrangement with the UK, what is to prevent any EU member - e.g. Poland or Hungary - to similarly "dis-apply" any aspect of any EU Treaty it has taken a dislike to?

  4. At its core, the EU is no more than a series of Treaties by which its members pool their sovereignty and make compromises for the common good. If any member or ex-member is permitted to unilaterally abrogate parts of a treaty then whole edifice falls down. Presumably that is the Brexiteer intention.

  5. The UK appears to assume that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it can rely on WTO rules to enable continued access to the Single Market, albeit with tariffs on some goods. But what if the EU were to retaliate and declare that the UK, as a rogue state, will no longer be allowed a share of quotas currently allocated to the EU and apply tariffs to all UK goods, or indeed fail to recognise UK regulatory standards as equivalent and subject all UK goods to lengthy inspections and delays?

The UK could, of course, retaliate, but with 50% of UK exports going to the EU, and only 5% of EU exports going to the UK, the impact would be an order of magnitude greater on the UK economy compared to the EU. The EU could also use the tariff income to support those sectors - e.g. farmers and auto-makers, most impacted by UK retaliation.

Once you venture into the realm of illegality, there is no knowing when and where it will stop. I have long been of the view that an acrimonious divorce will lead to an ever increasing divide and divergence between the UK and EU, and that only a full scale trade war will be sufficient to force both sides to reach an accommodation.  Basically it will take a revolution in England, probably accompanied by Scottish independence and a united Ireland, before any sort of normality ever breaks out again.

Spain may revisit the Treaty of Utrecht under which Gibraltar was ceded to the British in 1714 and Cyprus may seek to recover the British military bases on its territory. Greece will seek the return of the Elgin Marbles and any number of colonial settlements could be revisited. It comes down to power at the end of the day, and without a supportive Trump in the White House England just doesn't have that much any more.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 13th, 2020 at 09:28:54 PM EST
The whole point of Brexit is to allow the UK to ignore any rules and agreements it feels like ignoring. This was always the key selling point to supporters. Not only would immigrants be told where to go, but there would be no galling outside interference and oversight by anyone whatsoever.

This is what I meant by a complete collapse in the English moral character. A combination of Thatcherite opportunism, public school entitlement, and proletarian oppositional defiance have congealed to produce a mess of incompetent fools who genuinely believe they can do whatever they want, and no one has the right to tell them otherwise.

It's been a long time coming. From tax evading small and large businesses, to estate agents and lawyers who pad their fees, to predatory corporations of all kinds, to politicians who fiddle their expenses and accept secret backhanders from foreign powers - they're all in it for themselves, and there's no longer any concept of community, kindness, self-sacrifice, or shared morality.

Of course there are consequences, and of course they don't understand this. They've been told they should only look after number one, and they will - even if it kills them.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Sep 13th, 2020 at 09:40:43 PM EST
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Yes, but my point stands. They can go off with no deal and break the Withdrawal agreement, but they then have no right to expect others to abide by their commitments under WTO or whatever. They feel entitled to whatever Canada got. They think the EU owes them a free trading arrangement and that WTO rules should apply to others. Just wait for the howls of outrage and protest when no one will trade with them on their terms.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 13th, 2020 at 11:25:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe Gibraltar, Cyprus, etc. could leave the UK and then get together with Scotland to be a new "ex-British Commonwealth" country in the EU. Maybe they could even get some other old colonies to join in the fun!
by asdf on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 10:57:30 PM EST
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