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Admitting a mistake

by Frank Schnittger Tue Dec 19th, 2017 at 02:24:56 PM EST

Admitting a mistake, in life as in politics, is, for many people, one of the hardest things to do. An Independent opinion poll now shows "Remainers" with a 10% lead over Brexiteers and this rises to 11% if don't knows are excluded or pushed for an answer. However most of the change of heart is amongst those who didn't actually vote in the referendum.

BMG Research head of polling, Dr Michael Turner, said: "The last time Leave polled ahead of Remain was in February 2017, and since then there has been a slow shift in top-line public opinion in favour of remaining in the EU.

"However, readers should note that digging deeper into the data reveals that this shift has come predominantly from those who did not actually vote in the 2016 referendum, with around nine in ten Leave and Remain voters still unchanged in their view.

"Our polling suggests that about a year ago, those who did not vote in the referendum were broadly split, but today's poll shows that they are now overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU, by a margin of more than four to one."

So the bottom line is that Brexit remorse is predominantly among those who didn't actually vote in the referendum. Few who actually voted for Brexit have changed their minds.

The same can be said for the political classes in Westminster. Virtually no Brexiteers have changed their minds, although many have been surprised at how difficult and complex the process is proving to be. Those who switched from the Remain camp after the referendum "to respect the vote of the people" have predominantly become soft Brexiteers, hoping to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union in practice if not in name. But the actual number of Remainer rebels in the Tory party have been few - 11 on the critical vote to give Parliament a vote on the final deal - and even they have been careful to stress they are not opposing Brexit per se, only insisting that Parliament have the final say on the deal.

It takes a lot for a polity to change course, and politicians generally need a very strong reason for performing a U -turn. There is too much credibility at stake, and the electorate can be unforgiving towards those who are seen to not stand by their principles. I have therefore been sceptical of those who believed that the UK could yet have a change of heart on Brexit. Both the Tory and Labour party leaderships simply have too much political capital invested in staying the course.

One thing that could change that would be if there where a major change in party preference voting intentions: But the graph shows relative stability:

The graph shows polls conducted for the next UK General Election, including polls released by 8 December 2017. The trend line is based on the average of the last 10 polls.

Labour (red line) is consistently ahead of the Tories (blue) by a small margin, making it unlikely the Tories will call a general election. But the Lib Dems and SNP (brown and yellow) - the only clearly pro-Remain parties - have yet to experience a a major resurgence. Neither have UKIP (Purple) for that matter, despite the gradual softening to the Tory government's negotiating position. The only slightly discernable trend is perhaps that both the predominantly pro-Brexit large parties, Labour and the Conservatives, are experiencing a small decline in support. So the consensus, insofar as there can be said to be one, seems to be converging slightly towards a "softer" Brexit, with the UK seeking something approaching continued access to the Single market and Customs Union - even if it is called something else.

The difficulty here is that such a "soft" Brexit is simply not on offer from the EU without continued regulatory "alignment", relatively free immigration, and adherence to the same free trade agreements as negotiated by the EU. However the Irish border issue has more or less forced the UK government's hand on regulatory alignment. Sterling devaluation, hostility experienced by immigrants, and the relative economic downturn has dramatically reduced net immigration. The EU's demonstrated ability to negotiate new free trade agreements, with deals in the pipeline with Canada, Japan, MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay), Mexico, Chile, Australia and New Zealand may yet lead to a realisation that the UK - with a smaller market and no experienced negotiators - is unlikely to do as well on its own.

So it is possible to envisage a fudge where regulatory alignment is maintained within the British Isles, and hence with the EU, where the de facto decline in immigration is evidenced by some form of immigrant registration system, as already exists in some other EU member states, and where, for the foreseeable future, the UK simply "piggy-backs" on EU trade deals as a nominal third party.

The political problem will be that the UK will then, for all practical purposes, remain an economic member of the EU, while having little or no say in the political processes of developing those regulations and treaties. And the political crunch will come when the UK is required to pay for such preferential treatment - a la Norway - and thus make little or no saving on its current contributions to the EU budget. Pride is a terrible thing, in politics as in life, and I could well see the UK rejecting such a fudge even if it is demonstrably in the UK's economic interests to agree such a deal.  

I suspect it would take a major upsurge in the Lib Dems electoral support, sufficient to threaten the Tory/Labour duopoly, to force a change of heart in Westminster by encouraging all those former Remainers to rediscover the courage of their former convictions. Many people who actually voted for Brexit or Remain would have to switch their allegiance to the Lib Dems and SNP, and so far, there is simply no sign of that happening. Britannia remains determined on a Brexit course, and it would take a major upheaval in Westminster politics, or a spectacular failure of governance for such a change of course to happen in time for the end March 2019 Brexit deadline.

And that is before we even consider the question of whether the EU Council would accept a withdrawal of the A50 notification letter, and if so, what conditions it might attach. So the dominant political prognosis for 2018, as we leave 2017, is that Brexit is still very much the UK's chosen political course, despite some signs of a popular change of heart. The only question is how hard or soft it is, and how long any transitional period. More people may be coming around to the view that Brexit has all been a great mistake, but for a government to admit that on the world stage is another matter entirely. May will, in all probability, stay the course. Brexit will happen end March 2019, hard or soft, deal or no deal, and the consequences will be the next government's problem to deal with.

Admitting a mistake is the hardest thing to do.

I'm increasingly of the opinion that, aside from the useful idiots such as Kate Hoey and others, that the major intent of many right wing brexiteers is to create a bonfire of regulations and make the UK into a low wage, low cost, low tax financial bolt hole for the Corporate rich along the lines of such places as Belize, Bermuda and Monaco (although with less sunshine).

None of the pople involved have ever done anything other than fiddle their expenses and cheat on their taxes, there are no brexiteers in manufacturing.

Just as in the US, the major right wing politcial party has been wrested away from the engine of economic productivity and hijacked by spivs and charlatans whose entire world view is parastitcal

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 19th, 2017 at 07:33:58 PM EST
Given that the age profile of those who voted for Brexit leans heavily towards the retired population - who are dependent on rents and dividends for their income - this is hardly surprising. The proportion of corporate revenues going on wages for employees has been in secular decline: all growth has been in profits, dividends, and capital gains.

With an ageing population, and with older people more likely to vote, the balance of political advantage, or the political centre of gravity, has been moving steadily towards the older, more conservative, property owning classes who want to maximise dividends/rents at the expense of the working classes.

The Ryanair dispute is an interesting case in point. Ryanair shareholders have been enjoying exceptional capital gains. Now with Union recognition the share price has plummeted. Investors are clear that with union recognition, a greater proportion of Ryanair revenues will in future go to employees.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 19th, 2017 at 09:30:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder actually. I think that last summer's election demonstrated that a sea change had happened and has left a large amount of the conventional wisdom of the commentariat beached and floundering.

I can't say when the tide changed, maybe it happened at different points for different people. the election of Ed rather than David Miliband was an augury, but Ed felt that, having shown he was more left than his brother, chose to run to the centre.

For me, the break point was listening to Andy burnham criticizing Ian Duncan-Cough from the right, saying he wasn't being brutal enough with welfare. That was when I knew the gig was up, when the Labour party could no longer carry on as they were. They changed or died of irrelevance.

the election of Corbyn as leader was a no-brainer. But he had to endure 2 hole yeras of hate and plotting, both within the media and the Blairite rump of the Labour party (some of whom still won't accept their redundancy).

Maybe it needed that time for the country at large to make up their own mind, that maybe something different was better than more of the same.

But change it has. The Tory party can negotiate brexit, and there is nothing the Labour party can do (even if they wanted to).

But that labour party will inherit that future and, because of that, it will turn out to be VERY different to the one the brexiteers thought they were arranging.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 19th, 2017 at 10:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but if the economy craters after the Tories lose power, Corbyn and Labour and any left wing policies they implement will end up copping the blame for the crash, even if anyone with any sense knows the cause was Brexit and the policies Corbyn implemented have actually ameliorated the impact of Brexit.

Obama was unable to gain congressional approval for a "Stimulus bill" large enough to offset the full effects of the Bush crash. His failure resulted in the Stimulus bill being blamed for increasing the deficit, and his opponents claimed that this failure proved stimulus didn't work.

Of course we know that Republicans are concerned with deficits only when Democrats are in power and their criticisms of Stimulus is entirely hypocritical. But that didn't prevent Republicans sweeping the boards.

My own view is that the long term impact of Brexit will be to consolidate the hard right in power, even if Corbyn successfully limits the damage of Brexit sunbstantially in the short and `medium term.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 19th, 2017 at 11:10:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe. I think the Tory party tearing itself apart between the funda-brexiter true believers and the practical business oriented "third wayers".

I can't see the 3rd wayers joing the LibDems but I can see them forming an extra-parliamentary pressure group using the Daily Express now that it's moved to Trinity Group ownership.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 11:41:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My own view is that the long term impact of Brexit will be to consolidate the hard right in power...

You have now destroyed any optimism I had retained.

I had hoped that there was indeed a "cunning plan", possibly concocted by May and Ollie Robbins. Robbins, (not Davis, perish the thought), is apparently the real decision maker in the UK negotiations in Brussels. This might explain why Davis' department has got away with no real analysis and why the whole cabinet has only just got around to discussing what they might want as an end point, (though the need to delay blowing up the whole cabinet  may be more relevant).

The "deep and special relationship", the impossibility of which everyone, other than May & Co apparently, can see, takes us inexorably towards the cliff edge. It should force some major businesses to announce hard decisions on re-location in the next three months.

I had hoped that this loss of business would destroy the credibility of the Leavers, early enough to avoid taking us completely over the cliff edge. It is likely to be presented in the UK by them as confirmation of the "intransigence" and failure to negotiate in good faith by the EU. Given the power of the press, that would resonate.

Frank suggests that the right will be bolstered not diminished; my naivety is confirmed.

An alternative view is that May and Co really do believe the statements they make. They have so little concept of WTO rules, the implications of  a special deal for the UK and favoured nation status, that they believe that the "deep and special relationship" is achievable. They really do believe the cohesion shown so far by the 27 will not be maintained in the complexity of phase 2; cherry picking and cake-having-and-eating will be on offer. They don't want a hard border in Ireland, so if one is introduced, it is the fault of the EU, not the inevitable response to international regulations on trade.

Whichever way it goes, the UK has a problem (!) There has been a faction in both parties, particularly John Major's b--t--ds, with persistent intent on reversing the 1973 and Maastricht decisions. If they don't get the opportunity now, the disruption will continue and they will never be satisfied. If they do succeed, the UK is out on its own and the memory of our disruptive membership and departure will not be forgiven for generations.

Perhaps England (UK?) must have the opportunity to find (or be shown) its influence and role in the modern world, "unhindered" by the EU. Perhaps the lost seat on the International Court of Justice is just the first hard sign of that diminishing role.

May, "may you live in interesting times".

by oldremainmer48 on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 01:52:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, much less your "youthful" enthusiasm or naivety! As it happens I have a story in the works which takes a somewhat more optimistic view but I'm not yet sure I can bring it to a logical conclusion you might like (or hate somewhat less).  Watch this space!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 06:52:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 02:24:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sesquipedalian bullshit, that article.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 10:37:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of my excuses for not making more of an effort to learn Spanish is that I am still trying to learn English...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 10:59:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ultimately, members of my father's generation--generally defined as those born between 1946 and 1964--are reaping more than they sowed. They graduated smack into one of the strongest economic expansions in American history.

As with all those who treat the Boom as a a single group, the writer doesn't know history and apparently can't do math.  There is a HUGE difference between the Front Enders (1946-1953) and us Back Enders (1954-1961, sorry but that's when the Boom really ended).  1974 was the watershed, the year the OPEC Oil Embargo put paid to the American Dream.  Were you 21 yet in that year or not?  The Front Enders were.  They were launched or at least effectively done with college.  I was entering high school but still being sold the old BS about how to get ahead in an America that already no longer existed.  We "graduated smack into one of the strongest economic expansions in American history"?  Congratulations Mr. Tankersley, you just went full retard.  Stop confusing me for your dad.

by rifek on Fri Dec 22nd, 2017 at 12:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Were the 70s just as bad as now? Why did only the USSR collapse soon thereafter?!
by das monde on Fri Dec 22nd, 2017 at 07:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The 70ies were economically bad for the US because of rising oil prices. This in turn was a combination of the US losing its position as oil exporter and instead became an oil importer, and the rise of OPEC.

Oil prices came down in the 80ies, which was good for the US, but bad for oil exporting USSR. Also, the USSR was dependent on importing grain. Lack of food was a political problem for the USSR, because it lacked the sophisticated market system of the west that can handle starvation by dispensing it (and industrial waste disguised as food) with an invisible hand, making the poor blame themselves. In the USSR the hand of the state was visible, and thus could be blamed.

by fjallstrom on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 12:35:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The population and life expectancy of the USSR were healthily growing. This confounds the convenient  assumptions of food scarcity and poor diet. Yeah, life quality and food supply there were not satisfactory and respectable for Maslow's higher levels of existence. But you say, lack of food... starvation... industrial waste disguised as food??? That is highly disagreeable, if anyone would care about the Soviet legacy.

Looking back, the USSR breakup looks more like some-colour revolution than an "organic" collapse, where massive discontent was organized for a grand narrative while the real action was between cynically knowledgeable and candidly clueless elites. Later Soviet inefficiencies could as well be features rather than bugs of the system, with the change of population dynamics exactly the goal possibly.

In the same 80s, the West started to shift to neoliberal economics, with no reversals so far. It just takes more time in the West?.. Look at the poor blame themselves in modern trailer parks and tent cities, their destitution and diet.

by das monde on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 06:12:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The industrial waste would be the pink slime and clorinated chickens that the invisible hand provides for those who can't afford better food. As far as I know, the USSR didn't serve such fare.

I didn't write that the soviet population was starving, I wrote that the USSR could not afford to let them starve. I left out the steps that the USSR used in the 80ies to keep the grain import going, like taking loans in western banks, scaling back on support for client states, etc. There were also other imported goods, but I think grain was the most important.

The USSR eventually broke down because the military did not accept Gorbachev's gradual process of giving up the empire and did an inept coup, resulting in the breakup of the USSR. I have a very hard time picturing that scenario as a plan, even more so considering that the archives has been opened without showing signs of such a plan.

by fjallstrom on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 11:51:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia says:
Soviet foreign trade played only a minor role in the Soviet economy. In 1985, for example, exports and imports each accounted for only 4 percent of the Soviet gross national product [...]

[...] Trade with the industrialized West, especially the United States, fluctuated, influenced by political relations between East and West, as well as by the Soviet Union's short-term needs. In the 1970s, during the period of détente, trade with the West gained in importance at the expense of trade with socialist countries. In the early and mid-1980s, when relations between the superpowers were poor, however, Soviet trade with the West decreased in favor of increased integration with Eastern Europe.


In the 1980s, the Soviet Union needed considerable sums of hard currency to pay for food and capital goods imports and to support client states. What the country could not earn from exports or gold sales it borrowed through its banks in London, Frankfurt, Vienna, Paris, and Luxembourg. Large grain imports pushed the Soviet debt quite high in 1981. Better harvests and lower import requirements redressed this imbalance in subsequent years. By late 1985, however, a decrease in oil revenues nearly returned the Soviet debt to its 1981 level. At the end of that same year the Soviet Union owed US$31 billion (gross) to Western creditors, mostly commercial banks and other private sources.

The role of foreign trade was not that minor, after all. The West could look at the trade balance dynamics with confidence, especially after Chernobyl. If the Soviet government was preoccupied with not affording starvation, that is just another side of the population growth coin. The break-up solved the "unaffordable" problems immediately.

There is also this detail:

United States grain embargo against the Soviet Union

The United States grain embargo against the Soviet Union was enacted by Jimmy Carter in January 1980 in response to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. It remained in effect until Ronald Reagan ended it in 1981 upon taking the office of president. American farmers felt the brunt of the sanctions, while the Soviet Union was not affected [...]

The effect of the embargo on the Soviet Union was minimal as they were able to receive grain from other sources. These sources included most of South America such as Venezuela and Brazil. These crops were cheaper than the American grain as the labor cost was much cheaper. The Soviet Union still received grain from the United States with regard to the grain agreement in 1975 between the two countries. The agreement said that the United States was required to send 8 million tons of grain to the Soviets. The embargo was a blessing in disguise for the Soviets as they were able to see that they didn't need the United States' grain. Instead, they could cultivate their own in Ukraine and import the grain from South America. Even after the embargo was lifted the Soviets still relied on the grain from Ukraine and South America and reduced their interaction with the U.S.

by das monde on Mon Dec 25th, 2017 at 02:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A response just off the top of my hat ...

    ○ economic expansion after the ruins of WWII
    ○ Marshall Plan for Western Europe
    ○ electronics transistor-computers-ICs-space flight
    ○ costs of Vietnam War 1963-1973
    Bretton Woods dollar gold
    ○ Nixon's Watergate
    ○ Yom Kippur War 1973
    ○ high inflation in 1970s
    ○ massive unemployment early 1980s
    ○ stock market crash Asia 1987
    ○ banking corruption in the US

"By 1995, the RTC had closed 747 failed S&L institutions nationwide, worth a total possible book value of between $402 and $407 billion."

Yeah, I got lucky ... in August 1971 I bought AmXpres travel cheques in dollars (honeymoon). After the first weekend it's value dropped 15% ;-)

I did do well buying a home in 1974, before the period of high inflation. Although the mortgage interest rate was booming too! In the early 1980s when employment was quite difficult, I started to work for myself and made some wise investment decisions for the new company. That really paid off well.

Of course I count myself as very fortunate as a baby boomer. Mostly it's the rearing in the 1950s when we lived by the day and possessed nothing except a happy life.

by Oui on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 07:19:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Mostly it's the rearing in the 1950s when we lived by the day and possessed nothing except a happy life. "

Nothing is more subversive of out capitalist consumer economy than people being happy with almost nothing... Damn you! :-)

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 10:41:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Recession causality is multivalent. But the Working Group's solution --in defense of USD credit-- is always interest rate manipulation. It would be prudent now to recall Volker effects on retail interest rates--expecially RR mortgages--through the '80s and how that squeeze effected consumption and investment by the Greater 80% until Clinton admin blew up the dotcom bubble around the FX carry trade crater in Japan. The Lost Decade indeed: Who were the "millennials" '85 - '95?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 01:13:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the 70s were "bad" for middle-class families USA. I was born in '63 in synch with a 10-year recession cycle that hit every "life-changing" threshold in the economists' playbook for rational economic actors. And I have vivid memories of the embargo fallout over Michigan in that decade. NBER can kiss my ass.

Reagan entered '81. USSR officicially collapsed in '91. Then came '01.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 12:48:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

from the comments.

Mike Ortiz
1 year ago
Does anyone know when this video was filmed?
Looks like the 90's. But therein lies a sad part of it. This song came out in 1971 where the message was of the time. Some 20+ yrs later a video is filmed, because the social atmosphere has not changed. Here were are 45 YEARS LATER & THE MESSAGE REMAINS AS POIGNANT & RELEVANT AS EVER.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 01:25:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Marvin Gaye - Inner City Blues

A music video for the song was not released until 1994, when the Hughes brothers co-directed a video of the song for the reissue of What's Going On. The video was shot in Harlem over the course of five days, featuring visuals of poverty and inner-city depression. The brothers also filmed firefighters putting out a fire, claiming to police to have been shooting a documentary.

Inner City Blues Lyrics

by Oui on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 07:45:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the US issued the world's reserve currency while the USSR issued a punchline currency.
by rifek on Wed Dec 27th, 2017 at 09:59:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The more red lines it proposes, the more the UK cascades down the ranking list of close partners of the EU.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 10:49:48 AM EST
The original tweet, if you want to zoom into the slide details:

As you can see, the first level of "UK Red Lines", No ECJ jurisdiction, No free movement, No substantial contribution and regulatory autonomy, immediately rules the "Norway option" out.

The next step down is Switzerland, then Ukraine, then Turkey.

In the end, it's Canada (or South Korea), or... No deal.

by Bernard on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 09:03:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you think we feel listening to brexit politicians spout their crap? It is really distressing to see how delusional these people are.

They have no plan and no clue. If at least they understood the difficulties we face, it would help them to begin to move forward, but they don't. It's all rose petals and bullshit

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 10:17:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading the comments ....

It's strange that Leavers still don't know the UK is not going to be able to use the EU WTO rules, that was scragged back in October of this year.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 09:36:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In any case, British politicians talk about WTO rules as if they are a free trade agreement slightly less advantageous than Single Market membership.
by Gag Halfrunt on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 12:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, absolutely.

There are so many people in and around Westminster who talk about "no deal" as if it wasn't a disaster for the UK that you begin to realise  they genuinely don't know what they're talking about.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 07:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's quite clear that the chief ministers of HMG have less clue about trade and international agreements than most commenters here, who at least know they're really complicated and the detail is a job for experts.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 12:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The [UK] government had planned to enshrine the exact date and time of Brexit - March 29, 2019 - in law, but bowed to pressure and agreed to compromise by allowing ministers to move the date if necessary.
"I haven't begged the European Union for two more years," [May] said, arguing it was to allow businesses and governments time to make necessary changes.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 10:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just when Conservatives are arguing among themselves over how long a transition deal they want, Barnier has to step in and put a stop to their fun.  Now that they've been told it can't be longer than 20 months, no doubt they will complain about the "inflexibility of the EU". Funny that. It wasn't so long ago no one in the UK had even mentioned they might like to have a transition deal.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 04:54:23 PM EST
So it turns-out Item 7

Set artificial deadlines ...

from your Lessons Learned diary was needed to force the UK to stop the blather and get real about Brexit?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 06:26:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's funny how Barnier just has to say something and the media immediately treat it as immutable fact. End of story. No negotiation required. Next!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 at 08:15:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trust is a probability function.

With respect to Barnier's statements and actions --the facts-- since 2008 in commission of his duties on behalf of the EC and ECB, you ought not be surprised that EU press trusts he will do as he says. He is a consummate fixer. He evidently has the trust of the Council, because Barnier made the ESM out of the EFSF, and that was no mean feat.

Juncker warns May not to 'go over Michel Barnier's head' "lock-in", Oct 2017
"I'd be surprised as hell, if Barnier --after what he's been through wrangling "banking union"...." state of play, Sep 2017
British journos reporting bogus claims about a Eurocrat
"Who ya gonna bet on? Barnier or ... Patrick Smyth?"
"Michel Barnier published a paper last year, on the importance of ... joint defence capabilities at the EU level." Sep 2016

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 02:01:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear President Tusk published 29 March 2017
iv. ...In order to avoid any cliff-edge as we move from our current relationship to our future partnership, people and businesses in both the UK and the EU would benefit from implementation periods to adjust in a smooth and orderly way to new arrangements.

gov.UK | Future customs arrangements: a future partnership paper published 15 Aug 2017

5. ... The Government believes a model of close association with the EU Customs Union for a time-limited interim period could achieve this.
46. ...In order to avoid any cliff-edge as we move from our current relationship to our future partnership, people and businesses in both the UK and the EU would benefit from an interim period [...] 47. Agreeing an interim period would: [...] 48. ... The length of the interim period needs further consideration and will be linked to the speed at which the implementation of new arrangements could take place.[...] 49. The Government would need to explore the terms of this interim arrangement with the EU across a number of dimensions.[...] 50-51. This agreement would support customs and duty free trade and could sit alongside any other interim arrangements...

52-61. Solicits business stakeholders' advice on "interim period" length and does not itself proffer any schedule after the Withdrawal date. 62.-64 invokes UK special commitments to devolved administrations, Crown dependencies, and Overseas territories "to understand the practical impact of new customs arrangements in different parts of the UK." Certainly we can agree that 1 April - 1 Dec UK gov permitted the press to broadcast lengths of and punitive barriers to "transition periods" demanded, while UK ministers flogged "custom" trade prerequisites to all other terms of the A50 settlement. Pretending otherwise serves no purpose.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Dec 23rd, 2017 at 11:52:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't so long ago no one in the UK had even mentioned they might like to have a transition deal.
The document you refer to was only published in August 2017 - more than a year after the referendum. - hence "it wasn't so long ago..."  There was no mention of it during the referendum campaign that I can recall. For most Brexiteers, the two year A50 notification period was the transition period, and some wondered why it even had to be so long. Brexit couldn't come soon enough for them.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 24th, 2017 at 03:32:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, frankly, it's chaos, criminally negligent.

they've never even discussed brexit in Cabinet!!!!.

I mean, if you were going to enact a major change to a ccountry's constitutional arrangements wih regard to its borders and closest trade relationships, you'd think somebody would want to discuss how it would be done. But even the so-called 58 detailed documents supposedly prepared by the department for leaving Europe are simply fictional.

If I wasn't living here I'd be laughing at their incompetence, cis you can't believe adults could be so stupid

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 24th, 2017 at 08:53:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the have cake and eat it narrative was essential to win the referendum. In the post truth, fake news world we now live in, the narrative is all and facts are irrelevant. But as a direct consequence the government have been so incoherent since they don't seem to realise the EU has already stolen their lunch!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 24th, 2017 at 02:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politico.uk - Jonathan Lis - All that's left for May to get through is the unyielding wall of reality

There are clear reasons why the EU cannot commit to Canada-plus. First, it is cakeism of the highest order, and the UK long ago squandered any goodwill that might have allowed some cherry-picking.

Second, the Most Favoured Nation clauses in the Canada and Korea deals ensure that those countries must be offered any extra benefits afforded to new third-country partners such as the UK. Unless, that is, the UK remains within the EU's 'regulatory architecture' - or more simply, the single market.

Third, we encounter the small issue of the phase one deal agreed twelve days ago, which requires 'full regulatory alignment' with the single market and customs union on issues affecting the Good Friday Agreement and the all-island Irish economy. This rules out not only Canada-plus but any Canada-style deal at all, because such an agreement necessitates a hard border, both in terms of regulation and tariffs. The entire purpose of the phase one agreement was to rule out a hard border of any kind. So when the EU diplomatically informs us that we can take Canada or Norway, it does so in the knowledge that the UK, whether it realises or not, has opted not to choose Canada. The only 'plus plus plus' deal on offer is Norway: the EEA, plus agriculture, plus customs union, plus membership of various EU bodies - and minus formal representation.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 08:40:01 AM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 21st, 2017 at 01:45:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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