Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Brexit Mania

by Frank Schnittger Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 07:03:01 PM EST

For some strange reason I am vaguely encouraged by the outcome of the British general election, and it is not because the numbers turned out to be broadly as I expected they would be. Theresa May must be one of the worst leaders that even the Tories have ever produced, and no amount of repetition of the mindless "Strong and Stable" mantra could hide that fact.

Equally, the DUP did more or less exactly as I expected they would do in Northern Ireland, and they too have, in Arlene Foster, a leader who is pretty much the worst of a dire lot of predecessors, including Ian Paisley, the party founder, himself. But it is not really the choice of leaders which has me basically equanimous at the election outcome.

It could have been better, it could have been worse, but the outcome of the first post-Brexit election was always going to be something truly awful. The level of delusion, lies and deceit Brexit has introduced into the mainstream of the UK body politic was always going to produce a uniquely toxic stew, and now we can put a name on it: Brexit Mania.

The first symptom of this condition is the belief that there can be such a thing as a "good Brexit deal for Britain".  Certainly when compared to the past where the UK was a member, in good standing, of the EU, "a good Brexit deal" can, at best, be an exercise in damage limitation.

The EU, as we know, is no utopia, but even at it's worst it offers better solutions to the international conflict that Brexit will now inevitably, at least to some extent, unleash. It may be a slow, difficult, and bureaucratically complex process to bring any sort of meaningful change to a conglomerate of 28 nations, but it is better than a process which pits the interests of one member state against the rest.

The EU is, above all, a political construct designed to prevent war breaking out between its member states, and in this it has been extraordinarily successful. Perhaps the worst example of its shortcomings has been in its relatively recent collective mistreatment of Greece, whereby ordinary Greek citizens are made to suffer for the sins of their past political and current financial elites. German banks must remain solvent even if it means misery and premature death for many Greeks.

However the UK did not exactly cover itself in glory in that fiasco either, and then compounded its malfeasance by requiring that Greece bear the vast majority of the refugee crisis burden caused, in large part, by the UK's own middle eastern policies. That act alone should have made the UK a candidate for expulsion proceedings from the EU, if such a thing were possible. But the fact is that the UK has been a regularly delinquent member of the EU almost since it joined, and the EU's indulgence has only encouraged it to behave ever worse.

Brexit may therefore become one of the best things ever to happen to the EU, and one of the very worst that could ever happen to a former member state. It could, at a stretch, enable the EU to function much more cohesively and progressively, whilst demonstrating to the UK how far it has fallen down the pecking order of relatively advanced nation states.

Brexiteers have wailed that the EU must not act punitively towards the UK once it has left, but that is not really what it's all about: it is the duty of EU 27 leaders to act in the best interests of their collective polity - just as the UK elite should have acted in the UK's best interests. What that means in practice is that the EU will now asset strip the UK of all its EU related economic activities, starting with the City of London and ending with the few remaining British owned strategic businesses in the aerospace, ICT, pharmaceutical and consumer products sectors.

This will have the effect of dramatically reducing the UK's GDP, employment levels, government revenues, Sterling values and the real disposable incomes of its citizens. Theresa May will have her wish: net immigration will be much reduced, and may even be reversed. But it will not be for any good reason: employment opportunities and incomes will simply be better elsewhere.

Brexiteers have argued that the EU will never allow this to happen because "the EU needs the UK as much as the UK needs the EU". At some superficial levels this may almost be true, but it is to misunderstand the nature of the beast that has now been disturbed. If EU cohesion requires that collective action be taken - such as the imposition of tariffs on UK exports to the EU - then that action will be taken, even if EU exporters to the UK and many EU owned industries within the UK are damaged or disrupted in the process. Good corporate strategy directors are already preparing plans to mitigate those risks.

And there can be only one winner in any economic battle between the UK and the EU, and it will not be the UK. Indeed the UK will have the same difficulty when it tries to negotiate trade deals with China, India, Russia, Latin America and former colonies. It's relative economic and political bargaining power will be much diminished. And it had better hurry if its wants to negotiate an advantageous trade deal with Trump's USA. He may lose control of the Senate and its role in ratifying Trade deals after the next mid-term elections.

All of which brings us to Ireland, the EU's member state most exposed to the consequences of a very hard Brexit. The EU has recognised the importance of the Good Friday Agreement in securing peace in Northern Ireland with it's emphasis on guaranteeing the human (and European citizenship) rights of its citizens, and on the role of the Irish Government as co-guarantor of the agreement. Within "an ever closer Union" the distinctions between British and Irish nationalities were going to diminish and enable the development of a more cohesive society there.

Now all of that has been thrown under a bus: Firstly by the Brexit vote (rejected in N. Ireland), and now by the nakedly sectarian and British nationalist nature of the Conservative DUP government likely to come into office. Expect much wailing and gnashing of teeth when Sinn Fein (the other big winners in the N. Ireland elections) refuse to reactivate the Stormont devolved institutions unless it receives guarantees there will be no hard customs border with the south.

That can only happen if the UK remains within the EU Customs Union (like Turkey) or if the Customs border is moved into the Irish Sea - effectively retaining N. Ireland within the Customs Union - which will become extremely problematic for the DUP especially if tariffs are imposed post Brexit. Most of N. Ireland's trade is still with Great Britain, and any border custom controls between N. Ireland and GB will be absolute anathema to the DUP.

The official position now will of course be that a post Brexit EU UK trade deal will obviate the need for any such controls or tariffs, but that is purely wishful thinking at this stage. As things stand, May's insistence on leaving the Single Market (the UK's one major contribution to the EU) and the Customs Union cannot but mean a hard (and unenforcible) border across 500 km of what was previously bandit country at the time of the Troubles. A smuggler's paradise.

So why my guarded optimism? Firstly, if you expect Brexit to be an utter disaster, it helps if the two most reactionary major parties in Britain and N. Ireland are seen to be directly responsible. With the next general election not due to happen until three years after Brexit, the Conservatives and DUP will not be able to evade the electoral retribution coming to those who wreck such havoc upon their people. Labour the SNP and Sinn Fein will likely be the next majority parties in the UK, Scotland and N. Ireland respectively.

This cannot but bring the prospect for Scottish Independence and Irish unification (in some shape or form) somewhat closer. While both of these developments would be problematic projects in their own right, at least the political classes would be directed towards addressing problems that cannot be addressed in a London centric polity, especially in a declining post imperial and post European state.

Many on the left have argued that a DUP Conservative government cannot last that long. This may well be the case given the exigencies of politics, but it also ignores the fact that they are a natural fit: xenophobic, racist, sectarian, (and for the most part) homophobic and sexist - lead by two leaders of a like mind and competence. If they fall the whole Brexit project may yet collapse; but if they succeed Scottish independence and Irish Unity will be several steps closer - the very opposite to what they proclaim to believe.

The Coalition of Chaos (Labour, SNP, Lib Dem, Plaid Cymru and Greens) may have beaten the Brexiteers (Conservatives plus DUP) by 53% of the vote to 43%. But it is the latter which still hold the political whip hand. It will take more than a few bye-election losses to shift them, and that could take much longer than the fast elapsing A50 negotiating period.

My central expectation is still a hard Brexit with either no or no substantial Brexit deal at all, followed by the imposition of tariffs and a rapid deterioration of economic and political relationships. Northern Ireland will be in the eye of the storm as the winds of change released by Brexit mania play themselves out. Let us hope that not too many people will be hurt or killed in the meantime.

Delusionary politics can have very real consequences, and they are generally not for the better. It is the task of a more progressive politics to mitigate the harm and reduce the costs of transition, painful as they may well be. Either way the EU, the UK and Ireland will never be the same again.

How "encouraging"

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 Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 08:07:15 PM EST
At this stage my central prediction involves Great Cthulhu rising from the deep and crushing mankind to feed his inhuman appetites.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 08:14:36 PM EST
Halfway reading Frank's diary I began to wonder: if this is Frank's generally more bullish take, what the blazes would Colman's be?
by Bjinse on Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 08:54:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More seriously, I'm of the view that the political scene is a dynamic system that people just keep pumping more energy into and it's busily bouncing around without settling onto any attractor. Where it ends up is anyone's guess.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 01:52:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We already have the Tory party. I'm not sure we have room for something more centrist.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 07:32:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 08:04:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The rise of the remainers is about to begin. May's Brexit strategy lies in ruins - Simon Jenkins

The British team's absurdist machismo in advance of talks has never rung true - and would appear to have cut little ice even with a post-referendum electorate. Coupled with the result itself, this should tilt the balance towards a more accommodating approach on both sides. The EU and Britain must clearly compromise, to honour last year's referendum yet without the manifest shambles of a negotiating failure.

Common sense indicates that, at the day's end, Britain must somehow stay within the regulatory regime of a European customs union. Since that would leave migration as the chief bone of contention, and since some deal on the movement of workers is vital for British industry, it is now possible to see negotiations slithering towards a "Norwegian" version of a single market. If so, this election could prove a blessing, albeit in heavy disguise.

Personally, I don't see it yet happening.

by Bjinse on Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 09:03:57 PM EST
Wolfgang Munchau (behind FT Paywall)
The fall of the Berlin Wall changed the history of Europe, and so did last year's Brexit referendum. Last week's UK general election belongs in a different category -- that of the things that shine brightly in the darkness of an election night, but fade away in the harsh light of the following morning. The election is important for domestic politics, and for Theresa May. But it is almost entirely irrelevant to Brexit.

Much of the commentary I have read in the past couple of days overlooks three fundamental points.

The first is that Brexit, hard or soft, is not the UK's decision alone. It is not even primarily the UK's decision. The second is that the Brexit process is driven by the legal procedures of the EU, not whether commentators think a UK prime minister has a mandate or not. And finally, from a European perspective, it does not matter whether the UK has a minority government, a coalition or a governing party with a 100-seat majority. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, never achieved a result as good as Mrs May did last week.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 09:40:17 PM EST
Theresa May's election victory will prove pyrrhic indeed - Larry Elliott - Guardian
Labour would have to conduct devilishly difficult Brexit talks at a time when people were getting poorer. Far better to let the Tories clear up their own mess. ...

The pro-EU wing of the Tory party is small but, just like the DUP, has become more influential in a hung parliament. ...

All the ingredients are there for a Conservative schism not seen since the repeal of the Corn Laws in the 1840s. Then, as now, the Tories were divided, on that occasion between its free trade and protectionist wings. The split damaged the Tory party so badly that it was unable to form a majority government for 28 years. All Labour needs to do is sit back and watch events unfold. As Napoleon once said, never interfere with an enemy that's in the process of destroying itself.

Suppose it all passes as predicted. Brexit and this curious coalition prove a toxic cocktail that in two years at most will fail in spectacular fashion. Will people be able to connect the dots and sweep Labour into power? In one of your last diaries you said most popular reactions to calamities in Europe have been regressive (indeed reactionary) rather than progressive. Would this time be a real turning? Or simply cyclical political behaviour aided by conservative incompetence?

I'd love for Elliott's prediction (Leaver!) to come true and the Tories self destruct for a generation. But the roots maybe go deeper than that?!

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 10:18:17 PM EST
Where I differ from most commentary is that I see Brexit as an incremental negative with its effects getting gradually worse and worse over time. So I make no predictions for 2 years time - probably 5 is the minimum required for the really bad effects to become clear, and 10 is more likely for major changes like Scottish Independence or Irish re-unification.  It may even take longer than that for the political consequences of economic decline to become clear.

For instance, former Alliance party leader, John Cushnahan argues that Sinn Fein should abandon its abstention policies because the slight DUP vote increases, the decline in the SNP vote, and the increased influence of the DUP on a Conservative government will make a border poll unlikely for the foreseeable future.

Yes, but such a poll was never going to happen in the next few years in any case, and will only be winnable by Sin Fein if Brexit is as big a disaster for the DUP as I expect. Most Brexit economic and political punditry has been very short term in it's focus.  Brexit is a long term, historic, incremental disaster.  I don't expect fundamental political change in the next five years and it does not invalidate my argument to say that it won't happen in that time-frame.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 11:07:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A DUP-Tory alliance could make unionism unacceptable
Things look different now the prime minister has survived the weekend and cobbled together a deal with the DUP.

While the arrangement is obviously fragile, the Tories have little choice but to try and make it durable. They will not trigger an election that Jeremy Corbyn's Labour might win - suddenly a realistic prospect.

They will even struggle to rid themselves of May. Rightly or wrongly, the British public expects prime ministers to have a personal mandate. A minority government with an "unelected" head looks untenable.

Dependence on a handful of Northern Ireland MPs can in contrast be surprisingly tenable. One SDLP MP propped up a Labour government through the last half of the 1970s, before bringing it down in a no-confidence motion.

The DUP's 10 MPs are a solid support by comparison, giving the Conservatives a working majority of seven.

So no election for several years is plausible and the autumn timetable for restoring Stormont once again looks doable. The DUP unquestionably remains desperate to get back into office in Belfast. Power in London is glorious but fleeting, as it knows.

Despite Newton Emerson's argument that Sinn Fein needs to get back into a devolved Government in Belfast, I remain unconvinced they will be in any hurry to do so, unless they can use it to swing very significant concessions from the DUP/Conservative Government on welfare cuts, support for Irish language initiatives, and above all on Brexit:   No hard border with the South.

How May squares that circle will be interesting. Either she has to reverse course on the Single market and the Customs Union, or she has to negotiate some kind of special status for N. Ireland - something the DUP have said they are against.

However, if the EU were agreeable to N. Ireland becoming some kind of free trade zone between the UK and the EU, a very advantageous Brexit deal for N. Ireland might be possible. The problem would be to prevent N. Ireland becoming a smuggler's channel bypassing any Tariffs that might arise between the EU/UK. A system of customs pre-clearance and customs Certificates of Origin might just be feasible given good will on all sides and might be acceptable to all if Tariffs were seen as a temporary necessity pending the agreement of a more comprehensive free trade deal.

Temporary arrangements have a way of becoming permanent however, and the EU might well be wary of such an arrangement. The Irish Government would be an enthusiastic backer, however, and could threaten to veto any post Brexit deal requiring unanimity unless a way is found around the hard border issue.  

A hard border would destabilise the Irish Government as well as the Northern peace process, so a perhaps surprising congruence of interests between the British and Irish governments, Sinn Fein and the DUP could emerge. There are other similar anomalies within the EU in small territories such as Andorra, Gibraltar, Jersey, and Lichtenstein.  The question is, is N. Ireland small enough not to matter too much in the grand scheme of things?

We are a long way from any such agreement just yet, but I could see it becoming viable as the end game approached and it made all the difference between a post Brexit deal being agreed or not. Watch this space.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 10:38:29 AM EST
However, if the EU were agreeable to N. Ireland becoming some kind of free trade zone between the UK and the EU, a very advantageous Brexit deal for N. Ireland might be possible. The problem would be to prevent N. Ireland becoming a smuggler's channel bypassing any Tariffs that might arise between the EU/UK. A system of customs pre-clearance and customs Certificates of Origin might just be feasible given good will on all sides and might be acceptable to all if Tariffs were seen as a temporary necessity pending the agreement of a more comprehensive free trade deal.

Given that this would require active participation by those evil EU bureaucrats, I don't see how it can happen.

by rifek on Thu Jun 15th, 2017 at 12:00:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is either a customs border between Ulster and Britain or between Ulster and the Republic. I doubt there is a halfway house.

The sensible, practical answer is with Britain. But sense and practicality are uncommon visitors in that part of the world

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 15th, 2017 at 09:14:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This will be news to the denizens of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan...;-)

Ports and Airports are by far the easiest to police although you could have spot checks for commercial vehicles at the land border as well, I suppose, but that would be extremely sensitive politically.

Customs law already requires goods in transit to have certificates of origin specifying where they are primarily manufactured and determining which duties (if any) are applicable.  Goods leaving Republic of Ireland air/sea ports for EU destinations would then have to have certs specifying their origin in the Republic (and that they are therefore not goods-in-transit from the UK via N. Ireland). UK authorities might require similar controls at Irish Ports if goods are destined for UK and might therefore attract import tariffs.

A system of online barcoded import/export pre-clearance documents specifying goods, tariffs paid, transporting vehicle no. plate etc. could enable a customs checkpoint not dissimilar to a road toll booth where all the driver has to do is scan the export/import document and go on their way.

Nobody likes road toll booths, but at least they can be very efficient and wouldn't mark out the border as being especially different.  Private cars would be exempt - unless they are actually paying a road toll - and so small scale local smuggling would be possible but curtailed with occasional spot checks, as at present at most international borders.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 16th, 2017 at 08:53:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that you then have a fun incentive to restart the war and make spot checks infeasible, like in the good old days.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 16th, 2017 at 09:36:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Brexit Mania
Expect much wailing and gnashing of teeth when Sinn Fein (the other big winners in the N. Ireland elections) refuse to reactivate the Stormont devolved institutions unless it receives guarantees there will be no hard customs border with the south.

Despite reading your eminent reporting on North Ireland politics, I scratch my head and ask why those institutions are not active today? I know they had an election and that the DUP was involved in a scandal but I thought coalition building in North Ireland was a matter of simply voting and applying the D'Hondt method?

by fjallstrom on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 02:19:59 PM EST
I went and found something myself:

You need to read this Twitter thread about Northern Ireland

The following Twitter thread is from the comedian and script writer Jack Bernhardt. He openly admits to being "no expert" but in one Twitter thread he's given a clearer description of the absolute mess in Northern Irish politics than anything I've seen in the mainstream media (before or after Theresa May's vanity election).

The short version is (I think): Sinn Fein is boycotting DUP's current leader for her role in the corruption scandal. This leads to stalemate. If another electio is called and there is another stalemate, direct rule looms. UK sends a representative to try to break the stalemate, he has so far failed. Now the general election means DUP is part of UK government so UK can not be an effective arbiter.

And North Ireland could really use a government, given the role of the Irish border in the Brexit negotiations.

Does that hit the essential beats?

by fjallstrom on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 03:11:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Power sharing was originally designed as a process to mitigate the polarisation between the Unionist and Nationalist communities by forcing their political representatives to work together if they wanted to have a modicum of local power.

Initially this involved the Official Unionists and SDLP having to work together. However the more they worked together, the more the Unionist and Nationalist vote migrated to the more extreme DUP and Sinn Fein parties who were suspicious of the whole process: Sinn Fein, because they really wanted a united Ireland and thus didn't want N. Ireland to be a viable entity, and the DUP who regarded Sinn Fein as terrorists they really didn't want to have anything to do with.

Eventually Sinn Fein and the DUP became the majority parties in each community who had a veto on anything happening. It was thus all the more remarkable that the two hard-liners Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness (ex-IRA chief-of-staff) found a way to work together, and in fact did so very well.  So much so that peace was restored even if many wounds remained.

But on the ground things remained polarised and Arlene Foster exacerbated tensions by being nakedly sectarian (and incompetent and corrupt) in her approach.  Eventually the goodwill and stability created by McGuinness and Paisley (and his immediate successor Robinson) ran out and Sinn Fein withdrew consent. Ministers are appointed by the d'Hondt method but the main representatives of both communities have to agree to participate and thus effectively have a veto on the whole process.

Sinn Fein may be hankering after the old days when they weren't interested in making N. Ireland "work", and instead advocated for a United Ireland.  The DUP are hankering after the old days when Unionists had untrammelled power and didn't have to work with Nationalists who they regard as terrorist sympathisers.

So it would take a lot of leadership to put the whole jigsaw back together again. Enter, stage left, an incompetent Tory Government now formally allied with the DUP. In addition to this, the Tories were trying to make the devolved government do their dirty work for them by forcing social welfare cuts.  This was especially embarrassing for Sinn Fein as they are a left wing party criticising the Irish government for doing just that down south...

Meanwhile the relatively moderate Official Unionists, SDLP and Alliance have lost all their Westminster seats and did relatively badly in the local assembly elections. So there isn't much of a market for moderation...

Sinn Fein thus have little incentive to engage and every excuse for vetoing the whole process.  They can set very difficult pre-conditions  - such as no welfare cuts, increased investment, support for Irish language, and above all, no hard border and watch the DUP/Conservatives struggle to deliver...

Given that the EU, too, has made a resolution of Irish border issues an early priority in their negotiating mandate, and the Irish Government is absolutely opposed to a hard border, the British Government has an immediate problem on is hands: how do you have a soft border with the UK out of the Customs Union and Single Market?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 06:55:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This has been discussed various times here before, but is worth calling it out again: Turkey is not in the EU Customs Union, by the simple reason that it is not a member of the EU. Only EU members are part of the EU Customs Union. Once out of the EU, the UK will be out of the EU Customs Union.

Secondly, it will not be a customs union agreement (nor an FTA) avoiding border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Only within an arragement whereby the ECJ (or at best the EFTA court) has jurisdiction over Northern Ireland can the border be entirelly open to goods.

Apart from that, I generally concur with your thoughts. I perhaps see it less likely for this Parliament to last until 2019.

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 Jun 12th, 2017 at 02:53:36 PM EST
On 31 December 1995, a 6 March 1995 Decision of the EC-Turkey Association Council, established by the Ankara Agreement, to implement a customs union (Turkish: Gümrük Birliği) between Turkey and the European Union, came into effect.[1] Goods may travel between the two entities without any customs restrictions. The Customs Union does not cover essential economic areas such as agriculture (to which bilateral trade concessions apply), services or public procurement.

In 1996 a free trade area was established between Turkey and the European Union for products covered by the European Coal and Steel Community. Decision 1/98 of the Association Council covers trade in agricultural products.

In addition to providing for a common external tariff for the products covered, the Customs Union foresees that Turkey is to align to the acquis communautaire in several essential internal market areas, notably with regard to industrial standards.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 07:01:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mostly correct. Turkey is not part of the EU Customs Union, it rather has a customs union agreement with the EU.

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 Tue Jun 13th, 2017 at 06:13:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there are some things in there that will prove false.

The SNP tried too hard and flamed out. There will be no independence referendum in the near future.

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Tories, had a good election and returns to Holyrood (she is an MSP) with her hand strengthened. I imagine there will be some feisty exchanges in the months ahead as she roasts the SNP for their own hubris. It will be intersting if ther are moves afoot to trasplant her to Westminster pending May's departure.

She is a genuine One Nation Tory of an old fashioned kind who cuts a very different figure in comparison the the banksters and grifters currently littering the Government benches. I suspect there will some genuine fireworks between May and Davidson over the DUP as they become involved in legslation.

The new significance of the DUP at Westminster has made London based journalists suddenly curious about who they are and what they stand for. I suspect that they will not enjoy their new prominence as their cupboards are full of skeletons, some literal. Equally, I doubt that moderate Tories will enjoy being associated with people of such truly wild beliefs. Especially in the light of their recent attempt to tar Jeremy Corbyn with dubious associations to the IRA and Hamas.

You are right that that the catastrophic nature of even the best of brexits will not be revealed for some time. In this the remainers were badly advised to suggest that the world would end the day after the referendum or on the day A50 was invoked. That was never likely.

Rather they should have warned of the gradual unwinding of the UK economy, they should have said that every month things were worse was a direct consequence of brexit. It would at least have had some relationship with known facts.

But if the tories had ignored the issues that brexit faces on Northern Ireland, I doubt they'll be doing so going forward. And I think the more they get to know about it, the more likely they are to start worrying about what they've gotten themselves into. that alone will be fun.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 05:03:57 PM EST
As I understand it, the SNP weren't looking for indyref2 before the A50 period has expired, and if they are wise, they will wait at least 5 years after that for the full effects of Brexit to become clearer. There will be time enough for the SNP to recover sufficient ground to demand a referendum once Brexit has done it's worst...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 07:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Really? Did Nicola Sturgeon know that cos there was an awful lot about indyref2 in the aftermath of the referendum and the tories were certainly drawing blood over it.

I don't think they were doing that over a non-policy

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 07:45:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure I recall an interview with her saying that they were looking for a second referendum when the outcome of the Brexit negotiations was clear.  Brexit is, after all, the reason they have for calling for a second referendum, given that Scotland voted against.

But calling for it right now it can come across as stabbing the UK in the back as it prepares for the Brexit negotiations. They want to leave on good terms.

If I were advising her, I'd be saying that they should be calling for a second referendum after Brexit, but without a fixed timescale, and in practice not for a few years after Brexit.

They should also seek to negotiate the terms of Scottish independence in more detail before a referendum - in order to reduce as much uncertainty as possible.  This could include how the national debt would be apportioned, the future of military bases, the currency to be used, and any transitional measures that might be required.

They can point to the Brexit referendum as an example of how not to do it - with much confusion as to what Brexit would actually entail.

In practice, I doubt indyref2 will ever be held while the Conservative and Unionist party is in power...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 08:15:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]