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

Glimmers of hope?

by Frank Schnittger Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 at 12:54:12 PM EST

Theresa May has survived numerous threats to her leadership to fight another day after a reasonably well received Tory party conference speech and UK Budget. The mood music on both sides of the Brexit negotiations appears to be that a deal can still be done in late November or early December at the latest. The adults have entered the negotiating room and remaining differences are being chipped away. A formula of words will be found to paper over the cracks and arrive at some sort of an agreement.

The markets will breath a sigh of relief and Sterling will rise. Much of he media will hype the achievement of a deal almost regardless of the content. Dire warnings of the consequences of "no deal" have had their effect of dampening expectations and only the churlish will point out how far short the deal falls from the Brexiteer claims of "the easiest deal in history" achieved because "they need us more than we need them".

My skepticism over the prospects of a substantial deal has always centered on May's ability to get any such deal through parliament. Have expectations been reduced enough to make the deal palatable? Are Brexiteers sufficiently desperate to agree any deal so long as it gets the UK out of the EU? Will Remainers vote for a deal so obviously worse than full membership because it avoids the nightmare "no deal" scenario? Can the DUP ever be appeased?


Certainly there has been a lot of "expectations management" going on. The UK government's publication of 80+ "technical papers" on the preparations required for a no deal Brexit have concentrated minds wonderfully. Every day there are more dire warnings of the economic, logistical, and personal impact of a no-deal Brexit and the UK economy has already under-performed it's peers by 2% of GDP since the referendum.

But the UK also brought a lot of economic momentum into the A.50 negotiation period and growth, employment, earnings and tax revenues have remained in positive territory. Leading indicators of reduced world growth, trade wars, and political instability may cut little ice when compared with the promise of an "end to austerity" and increased funding for the NHS. Never mind that there are still have several Billion more in cuts to welfare benefits in the pipeline, and government expenditure on services other than the NHS is stagnant, at best. The really poor vote less, and tend not to vote Tory in any case.

So how much will all of this matter? My baseline scenario is still that Tory hopes of substantial Labour dissident support for a Brexit deal are illusory and that the deal will fail to pass Parliament. May will then face a leadership challenge which she could lose despite retaining majority support among Tory MPs. The Tory membership have the final say and many of these are to the right of Atilla the Hun. There are a huge number of potential alternative candidates, but my guess is that Boris Johnson is still the favourite to succeed despite reports that his star has waned. The ghost of Churchill is too heavily engraved on the Tory soul, and BoJo has modeled his entire career on the wartime leader.

Boris Johnson will then fetch up in Berlin, Paris and Brussels with demands for "a better deal for Britain" failing which he will claim to embrace a no deal Brexit. Normally the EU would be keen to give a newly elected leader the cover of at least cosmetic changes to the deal so he can claim it as a victory, but I doubt that would be the case with Johnson. Politics will have moved on in Brussels as well as London, and no one will be keen to re-open a deal so painstakingly, and painfully negotiated.

Instead the EU27 will have been methodically preparing for a no deal Brexit while Johnson bluffs and blusters on. It is just possible that the EU27 will offer Johnson his preferred Canada +++ style trade deal in the political declaration in return for his agreeing to throw the DUP under a bus and effectively retain N. Ireland within the Single Market and Customs Union. If the DUP vote it down he can call a general election as a proxy for a referendum on his new deal.

If Corbyn is smart he will make negotiating better access for Britain to the Single Market and Customs Union the central plank of his campaign, and offer to hold a second referendum on the outcome of the negotiations where voters will be given the choice of Remaining or Brexiting on whatever terms he can negotiate. Giving voters a second choice will help him to retain the support of both Brexiteers and Remainers within his party. The rationale will be that you call one vote for industrial action, and then a second on whether to accept the results of the negotiations.

I would expect Corbyn, possibly with the support of the Scots Nationalists and Plaid Cymru, to be successful in forming the next government, and proceed to seek an extension of the A.50 negotiating period in order to give time for renewed negotiations and a second referendum to take place. I would expect the EU27 to be heartily sick of the whole process by then, but the promise of a second referendum containing an option to Remain may be sufficient to achieve the required unanimous agreement of the EU Council.

Naturally, not being dependent on the DUP and being in favour of a united Ireland in any case, Corbyn will have no difficulty in allowing N. Ireland to remain within the Single Market and Customs Union. His main focus will be to try and get as many of the same benefits for the UK while regaining some increased Independence from Brussels in key Labour priority areas like state aid for companies, public ownership of utilities, and increased taxation for multi-nationals. A very different kind of post-Brexit deal to that sought by the Tories.

But there will be great public shock and anger when UK public opinion discovers that the EU price tag for giving access to the Single Market - a la Norway - is not all that much different than the net cost of full EU membership at the moment. But at that stage it will be too late - the no deal option will have been taken off the table. The second referendum will offer only two options: Remain or accept the Brexit terms as negotiated by Corbyn. Many in the UK will be tempted to vote for Brexit anyway, as anti-EU feeling will have been increased by perceived EU intransigence, and in the belief that better terms can always be negotiated later.

But then the EU27 will also need to box clever if they want the UK to vote Remain in the second referendum. Rather than simply giving UK voters a choice between Brexit and continued membership of the EU status quo as it currently is, the EU should seek to transform the debate by issuing a political declaration setting out their plans to reform the EU in the future. This would be akin to the political declaration on the future relationship between the UK and the EU27 accompanying the Brexit agreement.

The EU has been in constant evolution in any case, and many EU members and Commission Directorates will have plans for future reforms/developments/extensions of competencies and services in any case. The challenge would be to bundle these into a coherent document outlining a vision for what the EU will look like in the future, and getting it passed, in principle, by a weighted majority on the Council. It would also be critical to ensure that the Corbyn government has had some input into the development of this vision. Effectively you would be setting up a second negotiating strand, one for the revised Brexit deal, and one for any agreement to remain.

For many UK voters, voting to Remain in a second referendum would feel like a humiliation, even if they had voted Remain in the first referendum. It would signal a loss of confidence in being able to make their own way in the world; a failure of negotiation; a failure of democracy, and a failure to stand on their own two feet. Asking people to go back on a decision previously made would simply be rubbing it in.

What the EU27 would have to do is to transform this narrative of humiliating failure into one of a new opportunity to be part of a changed EU more in tune with UK sensibilities. People would not be asked to vote for the pre-A.50 status quo, but for an opportunity to be part of a change process within the EU in the future. It would almost be like voting to re-join a changed EU, with the Brexit debate being given some credit for acting as a catalyst for this change.

It matters little in the short term how substantive those "reforms" of the EU eventually turn out to be. The key point will be to give voters an opportunity to change their minds in changed circumstances without feeling that they have been humiliated into doing so. Corbyn will have very different priorities for a EU membership in the future in any case. It remains to be seen how receptive an EU increasingly dominated by centre right and far right parties will be to his ideas for reforms. My guess is not very, and in many instances that will be a pity.

But elections have consequences, and those consequences are not confined to the UK. My hope would be that the whole Brexit episode will be a salutary lesson for all extreme nationalists hoping to hijack the political agenda in their home states in order to leverage sectional advantage against the common good. Just as Brexit could transform the political climate in both the UK and EU, and generally not in a good way, a failure of Brexit could refocus minds on the benefits of working together to address common challenges.

Brexit has been a monumental distraction from the challenges presented by global climate change, migration patterns, growing inequality, government austerity, and a failure of the public good to trump private greed. It has sought to harness the forces of national chauvinism, voter alienation, disaster capitalism, and political narcissism in the service of national elites "taking back control" in order to leverage their interests against the common good more effectively. So far it is too early to say when and if that tide can be turned. The November mid-terms in the USA will be instructive, but defeating the forces behind Brexit has to be a priority for any progressive political agenda.

The scenario painted above contains too many "ifs" and "buts" to be the most likely scenario. It is probably less likely than a no deal Brexit with disastrous consequences. However we must hope for the best, even as we prepare for the worst. The main thing is that it is still possible to imagine a better alternative future. There is still a glimmer of hope.

Display:
There is no most likely scenario, which is quite exciting 140 or so days out.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 at 01:04:36 PM EST
You paint a more hopeful picture than I am currently getting from UK media. There is no new news about Brexit. It can be ignored. The BBC has moved on to the USA mid-terms, climate change and policing policy.

While many businesses may be in despair about the lack of certainty, the rest of the population will continue to dismiss those 80 No-Deal articles as Project Fear 2.0. Not until there is grid-lock at Dover, a lorry park on the M26, Cumbrian and Welsh hill farmers unable to export lamb, and a major car manufacturer announcing the closure of their production plant (as predicted by Patrick Minford) is there a chance of enough people believing that 'they got the vote wrong'.

As the clock ticks, time is becoming of the essence. The Guardian recently pointed to a lengthy article by Lexington Communications which works out the timeline for UK Parliament to get the necessary legislation in place, and taking the 41 days of Mastrich Treaty parliamentary discussions as a template.

It begins

Approving a government motion on the Withdrawal Agreement is just one of two steps needed for the UK to ratify the deal. The second is the passage of primary legislation to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, which must receive Royal Assent before the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019.

It concludes

If things start to go wrong during parliamentary scrutiny of the bill the government runs the risk of missing the deadline for ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement. In such circumstances it may become necessary to appeal for an extension of the Article 50 process - particularly given the knock-on effects that problems in UK ratification could have for the process in the European Parliament. Even if the EU 27 agreed to an extension, unanimously (as is required under Article 50), the practical limit is another six weeks. After that, the UK would need to field candidates for the European Parliament elections. All this underlines the enduring truth that the Brexit process will remain beset by uncertainty and risk until the very end - whenever that is.

I am not qualified to analyse that paper, but at best it semms the UK may need goodwill from the Commission and EU parliament, goodwill which certain Englishmen have done their utmost to destroy.

by oldremainmer48 on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 at 03:08:38 PM EST
The UK media has gone relatively quiet on the actual negotiations themselves, mainly because the actual participants aren't leaking as much. The real bargaining is currently being done and an inappropriate leak could derail the whole process. The DUP rightly smell a sell-out but have no hard evidence to confirm this yet.

Negotiations between professional negotiators rarely fail, because all appreciate the need to make the deal as palatable as possible for the other side. The problems arise when they bring back their proposed deal to their principles. Have they managed expectations sufficiently, or are key principles no longer on board?

Ultimately it will be a few swing votes in the Commons that will decide the issue. Can they be bought off, or persuaded that the alternative is even worse? So far I remain a skeptic - there are still a lot of wildly unrealistic expectations out there - and some may not realize there may be no second bite at the cherry.

Boris et al will shout ME ME ME, I will get you a better deal. I don't know UK parliamentarians well enough to judge how many might buy that line all over again.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 at 08:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a slightly more unlikely scenario of how Brexit could turn out, read Fintan O'Tooles take here. He envisages post Brexit carnage where Scotland votes of independence, and N. Ireland votes for Irish Unity, but the Irish Republic, worried by Northern violence and insolvency says no thanks....

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 at 06:53:33 PM EST
I agree the government should say "no thanks" to Irish unification, because Loyalist Terrorists, but I have reservations they would.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 at 07:10:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be an issue which can only be decided by a popular referendum, as it would require changes to the Irish constitution.

In my view it would only be passed if there has been a very clear and detailed prior agreement between the British and Irish Governments on how the transfer of sovereignty would be managed, how minority rights would be safeguarded, what devolution would remain in place in N. Ireland, what transitional measures would be adopted, how the transition would be funded, and who carries the cost of outstanding pension liabilities, share of national debt etc.

The Irish government, for its part, would have to come up with a convincing economic plan as to how N. Ireland would be made more financially self-sufficient and how the whole process could be affordable without beggaring the Irish people. Some EU involvement would be necessary together with re-location expenses contributions for those who decide they don't want to live in a united Ireland.

The key word above is "detailed". We do not want a repeat of a Brexit referendum which is so vaguely worded it can mean almost anything the speaker wants it to mean. When you are changing a written constitution and seeking to bring people along with you, detail and clarity are very important.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 at 07:37:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If given the possibility of uniting Ireland, perhaps the EU would fund whatever it takes to keep ex-NI solvent.
by asdf on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 at 09:58:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thinks the days of the EU altruistically funding "good causes" are probably over - see Greece. Yes a few million here and there, but not a few billion on an ongoing basis. But there is no reason why N. Ireland could not be economically sustainable in perhaps 15 years if governed well. The problem is getting there, and getting all parts of the community to buy into it.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 04:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still going with No Deal.  

I don't see any deal acceptable to the EU also being acceptable to the Brexiters in the Tory Party and DUP.  

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

by ATinNM on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 at 07:23:52 PM EST
The above diary presupposes this but goes on to paint a scenario of what could happen afterwards...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 at 07:39:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian posts a scary photo of Arlene looking like the birthday girl with:

The British and Irish governments have signalled that a Brexit deal is very close after a flurry of official talks and visits on both sides of the Irish border, and a positive statement from the Democratic Unionist party after a separate meeting with the Brexit secretary.


I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2018 at 07:37:59 AM EST
If there is a Brexit deal this is what it will look like
The talk at Westminster this weekend is of an imminent breakthrough on Brexit, with some optimists suggesting Theresa May could bring a deal to cabinet as early as next Tuesday. British and EU negotiators have gone into a "tunnel" of intense talks, conducted in secret, aimed at finding a compromise on the Northern Ireland backstop.

EU deputy chief negotiator Sabine Weyand last Wednesday briefed ambassadors from the 27 remaining member states on the state of negotiations and the shape of a possible compromise. It would see the EU agreeing to write into the legally-binding withdrawal agreement the outline of a bare-bones customs union covering the whole of the UK.

The agreement would still include a Northern Ireland-specific backstop that would require compliance with the full EU customs code and regulations on goods and agri-food products. The UK-wide version would see Britain applying the same tariffs as the EU on imports from outside Europe.

The proposal would mean that there would be no customs barrier in the Irish Sea, remaining within the red line restated by May's official spokeswoman on Friday that Northern Ireland must not be in a separate customs territory to the rest of the UK.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2018 at 12:07:25 PM EST
Trump or Brussels: Brexit and the art of 'No deal' - Anthony Barnett - OpenDemocracy UK
But it will be a victory for the other side, and will be greeted as such by influential figures on the British right - while a can of diet coke will be raised in celebration by the ogre in the White House. For there is no such thing as a `No deal'. There is either a deal with the EU or with the US. ...

Three sources for a Hard Brexit

... First, there is the free-market tank prospectus, second the City of London is indifferent and, most important of all, the United States is keen to break the EU.

... Once more they will proclaim Independence Day. But Trump and all he represents will be waiting for them, welcoming the UK into his anti-EU alliance with generous terms that cannot be refused in the otherwise dire circumstances and Britain will enter the US sphere of corporate servitude.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sat Nov 3rd, 2018 at 08:48:38 PM EST
Berlin's Brexit déjà vu - Politico
Add this to the myriad questions that Angela Merkel's looming departure as German chancellor raises: Will her exit bury London's hopes that Germany will intervene on its behalf and steer the Brexit talks in the U.K.'s favor?

If the short history of Brexit is any indication, the answer has to be "No." Desperation is known to breed false hope; in the U.K.'s case, it has progressed to full-blown delusion.

This week the Spectator's James Kirkup documented how David Cameron misread Merkel from the beginning. "Cake was never on her menu, either before or after the referendum," he wrote.

It seems the more Merkel resisted Downing Street's overtures, the more convinced the Conservative Party became it was all just part of an elaborate negotiating ritual, as if Germans had suddenly become masters of subtlety.

How Cameron's misreading of Merkel led to Brexit - The Spectator

Merkel is also central to the superstitious beliefs of some Brexiteers about how Germany and the EU operates, a view that suggests German carmarkers run Germany's European policy and that Merkel would, in the final analysis, do anything to strike a deal allowing them to sell cars to the UK freely.

"Post #Brexit a UK-German deal would include free access for their cars and industrial goods, in exchange for a deal on everything else," Davis wrote a couple of months before becoming Britain's main Brexit negotiator.

And then in October 2016, Merkel clearly and publicly explained why this magical thinking cut no ice with her: preserving the EU project matters more to her and Germany than accommodating the parochial interests of either the UK government or the Conservative Party:

by Bernard on Sat Nov 3rd, 2018 at 11:46:41 PM EST
The Brexiteers are wedded to the belief that the EU is the Fourth Reich in disguise and that, ergo, Merkel runs the EU. They seem further wedded to the economic determinism of the early Marx, ergo, the Car Companies run Germany.

For all their economic domination, and perhaps because of it, Germany is wedded to the political project that is the EU. Hence they are often happy to defer to Brussels, and even to a minor member like Ireland when a vital national interest is at stake.

No amount of evidence seems to shake the Brexiteer belief that they can ignore Ireland and bypass the Commission. It seems almost beneath their dignity to be dealing with a minor nation or trumped up bureaucrats in Brussels. The real players have to be Merkel, and, at a pinch, Macron.

Pretty soon all their hate figures - Juncker, Barnier, Tusk and Merkel will be gone - replaced by people with less knowledge and less interest in the UK. They had better move quickly if they want a deal at all, and if they don't many in the EU will be happy to simply see them out without a thought of keeping even a window open.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 4th, 2018 at 05:47:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would expect Corbyn, possibly with the support of the Scots Nationalists and Plaid Cymru, to be successful in forming the next government, and proceed to seek an extension of the A.50 negotiating period in order to give time for renewed negotiations and a second referendum to take place.
This after a deal is agreed but voted down by the Commons, May loses a Tory leadership contest to Boris who goes on to agree another deal which is again voted down, and new elections are held, all before March 29?

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 Nov 4th, 2018 at 05:53:14 PM EST
Probably not. Boris might well need an A.50 extension just to get his Canada+++ deal agreed by the Commons, and failing that, to call a general election. The EU27 might very well not be amenable to an extension, but might be prepared to do so if the alternative to Canada+++ is no deal.

Then, if Corbyn wins the election on the promise of holding a second referendum on whatever deal he negotiates, the EU would be faced with the choice of no deal or the possibility of the whole Brexit project being reversed - should they be prepared to offer an extension sufficient to negotiate a deal and hold a referendum.

Of course this would all run into the European Parliament elections, but there is no reason why those elections cannot be held - in the UK as well - on the understanding that the successful UK candidates will lose their seats whenever/if Brexit occurs. Contingency plans have been drawn up to that effect.

Holding EU parliament elections in the UK in May might also be a useful proxy for a referendum, providing a more authoritative indication of pro/anti EU feeling at that time, although there is also the risk of a high protest vote at how long and difficult the process is proving to be.

However with UKIP currently on 16 seats, and the Liberal Democrats on only 1, it would not be difficult for the pro-EU camp to register very significant gains and thus a psychological advantage heading into a second referendum, if there is to be one.

But as I said above, they whole scenario is littered with so many maybes, ifs and buts, that the net probability of such an outcome must be very low. Possibly as many as 6 sequential key events/decision points would have to go in a particular direction, and if we ascribe an arbitrary 50:50 probability to each one, that results in a net 1 in 128 or a less than 1% probability of a particular end outcome occurring.

For me the key events/decision points are:

  1. Commons approves/fails to approve May deal
  2. May loses/does not lose leadership (possibly by calling a general election before a challenge can take place)
  3. EU approves 3 Month A.50 extension
  4. New leader negotiates Canada+++ deal which is approved/not approved by Commons
  5. General election results in Corbyn win on promise of "better deal" and referendum to decide on it
  6. Second referendum results in vote to remain.

You could add further decision points  - like UK/EU not agreeing any deal in the first place - and you could certainly dispute the odds at each point. But even if we agreed an average 50:50 probability at each point, there is less than a 1% chance of a particular final outcome.

However I think it is worthwhile to work through the various stages a process would have to go through to result in a particular outcome. There are a huge number of possibilities, and as Colman has suggested above, possibly no particular outcome that has a very high probability of occurring.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 4th, 2018 at 08:14:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can stop at step #1--which is unlikely to occur before the holidays and conclusion to debates in both chambers.

To which I must add the ruckus that will ensue were May to exercise the unilateral authority of the government, which you may recall parliament enacted last year.

The EP has already given notice that its members require a settlement document by 6 March plenary session.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Nov 4th, 2018 at 09:04:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is for the Council to decide whether A.50 should be extended, not the Parliament. The House of Lords can delay, but not ultimate veto a decision of the House of Commons. All deadlines can me moved, if there is a will to do so. The threat of a no deal Brexit may persuade some to do so.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 4th, 2018 at 11:09:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, you work with that.

British want soft Border deal to last just 12 weeks

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 at 03:34:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You've got to ignore the noise. Raab is playing bad cop trying to keep the Brexiteers on board.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 at 11:03:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Notice, you've no response to the latest "cherry" picked by Tory gov.

It is for the Council to decide whether A.50 should be extended, not the Parliament.

Look here. This is not the first flow chart or negotiation document from EU that I've posted to remediate UK press trash or call out internal inconsistencies of various theories about how the UK may interpret TFEU rights and responsibilities under the A50.

The European Parliament will be important in determining the final withdrawal agreement. Whilst it has no formal role within the Brexit negotiation process, other than the right to receive regular information on its progress, the Council needs to obtain the European Parliament's consent (Article 50 (2) TEU), voting by a simple majority of the votes cast, before it can conclude the withdrawal agreement.

Therefore, the European Parliament's right to withhold consent to the final agreement offers it political leverage to influence the agreement and effectively makes it a veto player.

Why would the Council nullify the implied right of EU parliamentary consent and explicit withdrawal date of A50 action in order to placate Tory gov -- the first and worst model member to secede from the union?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 at 09:53:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not either or. It's the EU Council (by weighted majority), AND the EU Parliament (by simple majority) which must agree a deal. Given that each government has it's own parliamentary processes to go through to agree a deal, the hurdle of getting a weighted majority on the Council is probably a lot tougher than getting a simple majority of the EU Parliament (many of whose members will probably just be delighted to see the back of Farage et al by any means possible).

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 12:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You didn't answer the questions, but introduced a false dichotomy into the political interests of EP and Council in preserving any semblance of democratic EU institutions.

Deflection is Tory talk.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 01:36:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry Cat, but often I simply don't understand what point you are trying to make, or what questions you would like to see answered. Often, they don't seem relevant, or pertinent to any argument I was trying to make. So the UK government is trying to cherry pick again? Not exactly breaking news...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 04:06:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An article 50 extension is not likely to exceed 6 weeks in order not to bump into the European elections. Nobody wants the UK to take part in those.

So I still don't believe your scenario fits in the time available.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 10:30:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
" Nobody wants the UK to take part in those."

Who, and why?

It would be a delicious irony for the UK to have to take part in a democratic exercise in what they claim is a profoundly undemocratic institution.

Frankly, from an EU27 point of view it matters not a damn whether EU Parliamentary elections take place in te UK or not. It could even provide a useful platform for Remainers to keep their campaign on the road in the absence of their preferred second referendum.

The big hole in my scenario is that it requires unanimity to agree an extension, and any country for any reason could block it.  But other than that, other than for reasons of sheer boredom and a wish to move on, there is no constitutional or legal impediment to several extensions, and every reason to agree to them if they increase the prospect of a more favourable outcome from an EU27 point of view.

In the scenario above such an extension would reduce the risk of a no deal Brexit, and even improve the probability of Brexit being reversed.

Most of the deadlines associated with the process are moveable, if people want them to be.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 03:42:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" Nobody wants the UK to take part in those."

At least not UKIP chief Gerard Batten:

UKIP chief calls colleagues `snivelling quislings'

Fourteen MEPs from across the political spectrum wrote: "Despite our political differences, as U.K. MEPs we are united around one fact: if you wish to allow the U.K. to remain within our EU family, then all ways to do so will necessitate an extension of the Article 50 timetable. Whilst we acknowledge that many details of the next few months remain unclear, it is in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and respect that we ask you, our European friends, to start thinking about this possibility and be ready for this eventuality."

Batten wasn't impressed.

He wrote in response that the Brits who signed the letter "have revealed themselves for what they are. They are a bunch of snivelling quislings who are desperate to keep their seats on the EU Parliamentary gravy train."

by Bernard on Thu Nov 8th, 2018 at 12:21:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if UKIP can't work up any enthusiasm to stand for the elections, should they happen, even on a Sinn Fein style abstentionist platform, then all the better for everyone else. I could see Remainers dominating the results and greatly increasing the pressure for a second referendum.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 8th, 2018 at 01:27:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry I've not been in theis diary. There have just been too many rumours and counter rumours.

There was a point early last week where Hammond (Chacellor of the exchequer) and McDonnel (Labour Shadow chancellor) seemed to be very publicly planning an end run around their respective leaders to pull an agreed rabbit out of the hat.

However, all went quiet on that front. The completely crap Budget speech may have had a lot to do with it, where McDonnel and Corbyn reluctantly voting for it for tactical reasons but have made plain their contempt.

However, interestingly, the 20 right wing Labour rebels defied their party line and voted against it. These are the very 20 votes May could be looking at to push through her bexit deal. Especially as Blair has come out and said that any deal will be awful for the country, but nothing will be as bad as a no deal.

tbh the various factions of Labour seem to be having an "opposite day" moment. Worrying about their viewpoints at this time is, sadly, becoming irrelevant.

Now Robert Peston (the journalist who first realised that the 2008 crash was actually happening) has an interesting view on the timeline, basically it's this month

Robert Peston FB

So at last, we really really really are entering the crunch phase of Brexit talks. You have heard this before but this time it is true.

Because the British government - not Brussels, not the EU 27 leaders - has decided that unless there is a deal this month, the default option of a no-deal Brexit becomes the probable outcome.

"We don't want no-deal. But because of the parliamentary timetable it becomes very hard to avoid if talks continue past this month" said a senior member of the government. "And that is why negotiation have massively shifted up a gear, with officials working through the night".

The important dates are tomorrow, when the prime minister briefs her cabinet on the likely shape of a deal, and (probably) next Monday - which is the probable cut-off day for organising an emergency Brexit council of EU leaders.

Or to put it another way, a week from today is when a comprehensive framework for withdrawal from the EU and the future relationship will need to have been settled, or preparations for a no-deal Brexit will have to be massively stepped up.

What are the obstacles?

The daunting one is the same as ever it was - how to keep open the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Now the EU felt (rightly) it moved very significantly towards accommodating May's sensibilities last week, by belatedly agreeing in principle that the insurance policy or backstop to avoid any border checks on the island of Ireland could include the whole UK staying in a customs union with the EU and not just Northern Ireland - so as to prevent the creation of a UK-fracturing hard border between Great Britain and NI.

But it is not enough for May and her cabinet. And on its own, without associated constraints on the UK's freedom to manage its economy, there remain problems and concerns for the EU 27, especially France.

For example, a backstop that was only about avoiding tariffs being levied at Dover and Calais would still introduce friction at those ports - thus damaging British industries dependent on frictionless trade.

So May would prefer a backstop that also allowed for continued regulatory alignment between the UK and EU - such that British-based businesses with global supply chains did not risk falling off a cliff when the so-called Brexit implementation period, or our temporary status as a non-voting EU member, ends on 31 December 2020.

But to many Brexiters that would look like the UK as the EU's vassal or enslaved state - since such a backstop would see the UK following EU rules for business, the environment and competition and having no right to agree free-trade deals with other countries.

And for many in the EU it would look like the UK having and eating that notorious cake.

So both sides, the UK and the EU, have an interest in making it crystal clear that the backstop cannot be forever.

But.

Neither side wants the other side to have the unilateral right to end the backstop period - for the normal if depressing reasons of national and supranational pride.

There will have to be a dual control mechanism for deciding when the backstop is no longer needed.

Here is what will electrify UK politics and outrage many Brexiters.

The dual control mechanism will be seen by Brexiters as the EU27 having a right to veto any decision by the UK to terminate the backstop.

And they would be right. The EU will not agree any Brexit deal that does not give the EU27 the ability to overrule any request by the UK to exit from backstop arrangements.

So there will only be a Brexit deal if enough Brexiters can be persuaded to trust that the EU has no interest in keeping the UK in backstop arrangements forever - but reserves the right for legitimate reasons to assess whether the border in Ireland could be kept open by means other than the backstop.

In the short term, the risk for May of Brexiters cutting up rough is that a few members of the Cabinet may prefer to resign than endorse what they would see as backstop (the UK as vassal state) in perpetuity - and most ministerial eyes are on the Brexiter Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, because he has been publicly posturing that the UK must have a unilateral right to terminate the backstop.

"What none of us know is whether that is theatre for the benefit of [the Brexiter] ERG, so he can say to them that he did his best to rein in the PM" said one of his colleagues. "Or whether he is really on the point of quitting".

Another said: "The PM can probably get the Brexit deal she wants through the Cabinet but possibly not without saying goodbye to some colleagues. As I said, for a variety of reasons this is a big week".



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 at 08:30:00 PM EST
our temporary status as a non-voting EU member, ends on 31 December 2020

This opportunity --along with binding third-country trade restrictions--is entirely contingent in the first place on the UK signing a withdrawal agreement --with the consent of the EP and the EU Council on or before 29 March 2019. 29 March 2019 is the UK "cliff" per A50.

he has been publicly posturing that the UK must have a unilateral right to terminate the backstop.

More of the same. They run down the clock with trash talk rather than face up to their constituencies what a craven, vindictive lot of politicians they are. That is prepare the nation for the consequence of their actions. I suppose, Robert Preston will not be last struggling to make sense of it. But he ought to stop "enabling" them.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 at 10:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every time I read the latest ruse by Brexiteers to screw Ireland or whoever I have this monumental urge to wish the very worst possible no-deal Brexit on them - if only cut through all the Brexiteer crap for once and for all.

And then I remember that it is ordinary people in the UK and Ireland who will suffer the most from such an outcome and try to become all responsible and think through a scenario where a little common sense can win through.

It is very easy to wreck stuff and very difficult to rebuild any of it afterwards after everyone has been inflamed and a lot of people have been hurt.

This has the potential to go very wrong indeed, to the point it could take a generation to fix, and yet most people seem to be happy to let the Brexiteers have their fun and games. Some of these guys make Trump look responsible.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 01:04:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still remember that the DUP's avowed aim is to wreck the GFA. All they have to do is be extra intransigent, knowing that the Tory party will cave to each and every one of their demands, and they presume they will get their happiest dream.

However, this is no longer 1975 and things have changed somewhat; the Republic is now the strong economy and Ulster is the poor relation. Equally, post-brexit, Westminster will no longer be willing to bankroll the apartheid regime the DUP think they can re-introduce and so Ulster faces a hard choice in the medium term. Either allow for sustained and continuing population loss as the young drift across the border in search of work or face the inevitable that the DUP, being an old people's party with nothing to offer Ulster in the 21st century are literally dying off and the time has come for the 6 counties to come home.

Either way, the DUP's short term tactics have destroyed their hopes to achieve their objective


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 08:32:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What were the tactical reasons to vote for the budget?
by fjallstrom on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 09:07:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
apparently there were some useful tax cuts for the lower paid, but I've heard several contradictory statements by various people and, frankly, I no longer care to work out what is or what is not true concerning statements by the Parliamentary labour party.

It's all kabuki

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 12:16:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One wonders how long it would take to get emergency legislation through the UK and EU parliaments to enable temporary frictionless trade. To prevent mass starvation, I mean.
by asdf on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 at 10:03:54 PM EST
They are already working on it. If it comes to that they can roll out the emergency legislation in days.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 10:25:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 01:48:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hopefully within a week, per Sainsbury's.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-46139486/sainsbury-s-boss-warns-food-can-t-be-stockpiled-for-no -deal-brexit

by asdf on Fri Nov 9th, 2018 at 12:16:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Financial Times: Brexit is teaching Britain its true place in the world:

The philosophy of Brexit was that, freed of EU constraints, the UK would take its rightful place in the world. This is indeed what is happening, but alas that place is not as the great power of their imagination.

And meanwhile the British establishment simply refuses to learn the lesson.

by IdiotSavant on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 at 10:27:33 PM EST
nobody learns lesssons when their paychecks depends on not learning it. The UK elite are going to do very nicely indeed out of brexit, cos it's all designed that way.

they're tories, they don't give a shit about the rest of us or the country. Just their own personal bank balance


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 at 10:54:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can I register a formal objection to the abuse of the word "elite" in that sentence? The best and the brightest they're not.

A small number of Brexiteers may benefit in the short-term. The wider Establishment is going to get fucked though.

It's quite clear that they don't understand the consequences of their actions in any time frame: it was being reported yesterday that May and her circle were surprised to find that a customs union with the EU would require adherence to assorted EU standards to avoid a race-to-the-bottom, something which would have been entirely obvious to pretty much anyone hanging around ET.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 12:20:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's review history.
The so-called elite are not "the best and the brightest" as they say.

In truth, they are the ones with the guns.

Please make a note of it.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 01:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought that the phrase "best and brightest" came from David Halberstam's book about the origins of the Vietnam war, and so was meant ironically from the start. So it would apply perfectly to the Brexiters.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 01:39:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
case closed

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 01:49:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it was being reported yesterday that May and her circle were surprised to find that a customs union with the EU would require adherence to assorted EU standards to avoid a race-to-the-bottom

LMAO

Thanks, I needed a good laugh today.

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

by ATinNM on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 05:15:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On Irish reunification, under the GfA can the Republic refuse if the North votes for it?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 10:33:02 AM EST
(GFA p.30) The two Governments:
(i) recognise the legitimacy of whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people
of Northern Ireland with regard to its status, whether they prefer to continue to support the
Union with Great Britain or a sovereign united Ireland;
(ii) recognise that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the
two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of selfdetermination
on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to
bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved
and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of
Northern Ireland;
(iii) acknowledge that while a substantial section of the people in Northern Ireland share the
legitimate wish of a majority of the people of the island of Ireland for a united Ireland, the
present wish of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, freely exercised and legitimate, is
to maintain the Union and accordingly, that Northern Ireland's status as part of the United
Kingdom reflects and relies upon that wish; and that it would be wrong to make any change in
the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people;
(iv) affirm that, if in the future, the people of the island of Ireland exercise their right of selfdetermination
on the basis set out in sections (i) and (ii) above to bring about a united Ireland,
it will be a binding obligation on both Governments to introduce and support in their respective
Parliaments legislation to give effect to that wish;

Wikipedia:
Regarding the right to self-determination, two qualifications are noted by the legal writer Austen Morgan. Firstly, the cession of territory from one state to another state has to be by international agreement between the UK and Irish governments. Secondly, the people of Northern Ireland can no longer bring about a united Ireland on their own; they need not only the Irish government but the people of their neighbouring state, Ireland, to also endorse unity.

From which it's clear that both sides have to agree on unification, therefore the Republic can block it.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 11:18:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not widely appreciated or understood in the UK that in order for the Good Friday Agreement to come into force, the Irish Republic had to make major changes to its constitution by popular referendum. Specifically, the GFA required that the Irish Constitution be amended to radically revise articles 2 and 3 of the constitution to remove the claim to the territory of N. Ireland and the claim to have jurisdiction over it.

Re-unification can only take place if the constitution is again revised to include N. Ireland within the territory and jurisdiction of Ireland. As such it can only be agreed by referendum. As noted above, in practice, this means an international Treaty between the UK and Ireland to transfer sovereignty, and to deal with all sorts of transitional issues, including the costs of transition.

For the Irish Government to even agree to hold such a referendum, they would have to have a convincing plan as to how the risks of violence could be reduced, and as to how the costs could be absorbed without beggaring taxpayers in the south. We don't do vague "Brexit means Brexit" referenda.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 04:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most British voters want Brexit compromise, but Tories don't - Politico.eu
According to the poll of 3,006 voters carried out between Monday and Friday, the public is so set against "no deal" it would prefer to remain in the EU than leave without a divorce agreement. By 53 percent to 47 percent, voters say they would prefer Britain stayed in the EU than leave without a deal.

The result is likely to spark further calls from anti-Brexit campaigners for a so-called People's Vote on the terms of Britain's EU divorce, with the option of remaining in the bloc on the ballot paper.

By 47 percent to 35 percent, voters also want the U.K. prime minister to "compromise" with the EU to get a deal, rather than walk away without one in March.


But there's a hitch:
Despite apparent public willingness to compromise to reach an acceptable agreement with Brussels, the views of Conservative voters are much more hard-line, posing a major strategic headache for the prime minister.

Overall, 48 percent of those who voted Conservative in the 2017 election who took part in the survey would prefer May walking away without a deal to a compromise, compared to 41 percent who would prefer her to compromise.


Also of note:
Even starker, British voters would prefer (by 59 percent to 41 percent) to have the power to strike independent trade deals even if doing so means a hard border in Ireland.
by Bernard on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 02:13:58 PM EST
British voters still don't understand what's going on.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 03:00:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sheep are so much easier to herd into the truck if they don't know if going to the slaughterhouse

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 03:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
percentage difference figures in single figures or the teens don't matter anymore. Those drenched in heriditary power and entitlements who are driving this bus of the cliff for their own enrichment have got the result they paid for 2 years back and nothing will dissuade them now.

Public sentiment will only break against brexit when the public really knows what it means, which judging by what's happening in the US, will take 18 - 24 months to sink in.

By which time it will be well past the point where anything could be done about it. Even marching on Westminster will be futile cos all the guilty will have already stashed their ill-gotten gains in Monaco and Bermuda and be sunning themselves on their brand new yachts.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 03:41:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not a fan of misplaced precision either.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 03:55:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit is teaching Britain its true place in the world
Perhaps we should step back from the bloviated rhetoric. Humiliation is too strong; a national humbling is more accurate. The philosophy of Brexit was that, freed of EU constraints, the UK would take its rightful place in the world. This is indeed what is happening, but alas that place is not as the great power of their imagination. The UK's place in the world is hardly terrible but, as Mr Johnson learnt during his brief but undistinguished term as foreign secretary, our emissaries no longer bestride summits like Castlereagh.

For far too long British politicians, journalists and voters have enjoyed a patently distorted vision of the nation as indispensable world player. Now the nation is facing the painful truth that the UK is not as pre-eminent as it has liked to believe.

For proof, look at the negotiations over the Irish border. One need not get into the rights and wrongs to see that the UK has essentially been pushed around by Ireland, because the EU has thrown its weight behind the demands of its continuing member. The hard fact is that the power imbalance has meant the UK is being forced to choose between the chaos of a no-deal Brexit or undermining the constitutional integrity of one of its four sovereign parts and signing up to a significant amount of rule-taking. This is what happens when a single country that is not America or China negotiates with a global trading bloc.

From the sequencing of the negotiations to the empty scorecard of British wins, the entire process has been a lesson in power politics. Few who saw the TV programme on America's London embassy will forget the smirks as an US official described the British Brexit delusions: "They sort of see it as a negotiation between two equal parties."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 05:07:18 PM EST
all the more brutal for being 100% correct

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 10:19:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why Caligula should be Theresa May's role model
It is probably not a good sign that the best role model for Theresa May as she approaches Brexit's make-or-break moment is Caligula. The most notorious of Roman emperors needed a military triumph to bolster his faltering authority. He gathered legions and supplies, the historian Suetonius tells us, "on an unprecedented scale" and led them towards the French coast facing the English Channel.

He wrote despatches berating the people of Rome for enjoying themselves while he was facing all the hazards and hardships of war. He staged a few harmless skirmishes in Gaul, after which he awarded himself and his sidekicks victory crowns decorated with the sun, moon and stars. Finally, he got to the Channel, ready, it seemed, to embark on an invasion of Britain.

Suetonius tells us that Caligula then drew up his army and his great siege machines in battle array on the shoreline. "No one had the least notion what was on his mind when, suddenly, he gave the order `gather seashells!' He referred to the shells as `plunder from the ocean'...and made the troops fill their helmets and tunic-laps with them".

He then wrote to Rome with orders to "prepare a triumph more lavish than any hitherto known". This incident is generally taken as evidence of Caligula's "brainsickness" and perhaps it is. But the world would be a better place if all glory-hunting megalomaniacs instructed their soldiers, instead of carrying out futile massacres, to collect shells on the beach.


Caligula himself would have known the line from Horace: Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. The mountains labour and give birth to a ridiculous mouse. The people who were promised a glorious Brexit are entitled to ask: Is that it?

And yet it is in everyone's interest to declare the mouse a lion, and to hail May as a negotiating genius who has forced the EU - and the uppity Irish - into submission.

Ireland is going to get what it wants and needs: no hard border and, in effect, the softest available Brexit.

The British will get, in return, a declaration that if it can solve the Irish problem it can have its Canada-style trade deal - which is like saying that May can win Strictly as soon as she learns to dance.

But we must button our lips and look glum. The British are still going on about Dunkirk - a retreat reimagined as a glorious victory. It is crucially important that May is allowed her Dunkirk moment.

And to do that she must be allowed to talk up her success in getting all the great things that will follow if the Irish problem is ever solved. Don't say: good luck with that. Do say: oh, what lovely seashells!  



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 08:58:51 PM EST
The item I keep wondering about is the Assembly.  Either solution, dry border or wet border, would be a Constitutional amendment for NI.  My read is that requires some action by the Assembly.  How does that happen when the Assembly is nonexistent and will remain so in any meaningful timeframe?
by rifek on Tue Nov 6th, 2018 at 09:54:06 PM EST
The UK Government have the power to impose direct rule on N. Ireland should they so wish, and especially if the devolved institutions aren't working. In fact this is the preferred option for many Unionists, as it emphasizes their "Britishness" and bypasses the institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement, about which they have, at best, ambivalent feelings, and at worst, outright hostility.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 8th, 2018 at 01:30:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson's brother quits ministerial post over Brexit deal
Jo Johnson says choice between `vassalage and chaos' and urges second referendum


    With great regret, I'm resigning from the Government - I have set out my reasons in this article and the video below. https://t.co/hzimcS8uiR pic.twitter.com/hUN9RLzDfq
    -- Jo Johnson (@JoJohnsonUK) November 9, 2018

He said the public were being offered "an agreement that will leave our country economically weakened, with no say in the EU rules it must follow and years of uncertainty for business" or a no-deal Brexit "that I know as a transport minister will inflict untold damage on our nation".

"To present the nation with a choice between two deeply unattractive outcomes, vassalage and chaos, is a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 9th, 2018 at 06:13:30 PM EST

The MP for Orpington and rail minister published an article saying he could not vote for the deal which Mrs May is expected to bring back to parliament within weeks - and instead would be campaigning for a second referendum.

Emphasis mine.

Ladies and gentlemen, the table is set. Enjoy the picnic and popcorn the coming months.

by Bjinse on Tue Nov 13th, 2018 at 11:02:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is as delusional as the Brexiters.  Actions have consequences.  The letter has been sent.  The UK is out of the EU.  

I don't understand why that is so difficult to grasp but then I don't suffer from psychosis.

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

by ATinNM on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 05:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU has always said that any Brexit deal is sub-optimal and that its preferred option is for the UK to change its mind. If there was a firm decision to hold a second referendum issued prior to 29th. March I suspect the EU Council would even agree to an extension of the A.50 deadline to facilitate this. I don't see this happening without a change of government in the UK and even then the chances are slim, but that doesn't mean that campaigning for it is delusional. Merely optimistic!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 05:37:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US would have been and would be massively better off without the Confederate states.  The UK is never going to 'get with the political program' of the EU.  Long term the EU would be better off without the UK.

But we've had this discussion a'fore.


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

by ATinNM on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 01:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexiteers fear price rises, not return of Irish border - Politico.eu
Few things are likely to change the minds of the British public on Brexit -- and the Irish border almost certainly isn't one of them.

While the debate in Westminster, Brussels and Dublin is now almost solely focused on efforts to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, most U.K. citizens appear largely apathetic. According to an exclusive poll for POLITICO by the consultancy Hanbury Strategy, they are far more concerned about the possible effect Brexit will have on prices in the shops.

But less than 22 percent of these voters said that the creation of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would shift their stance on Brexit, while 42 percent said that it was unlikely to.
by Bernard on Fri Nov 9th, 2018 at 07:22:10 PM EST
if they don't understand what something means, how can they be concerned about it.

This has been a proble all the way through the process, right from when Cameron first mooted the idea of the referendum. Almost nobody really understood what was at stake let alone what the sticking points or the issues were.

Nor did anybody ever explain it to them. In fact, how could anybody explain it, simply because nobody in either campaign really understood it either. Not that the campaign was ever about the facts of membership, just the psychodram between Cameron and Boris.

So, we are at a point, with 6 months to go, with a foreign secretary who doesn't realise that Britain is an island which imports an awful lot of food from that mysterious place just across a sea he's discovered he's named the Channel.

We also have a minister for Ulster in charge of sorting out the border who doesn't know the difference between Unionists and republicans.

And a Cabinet which, collectively, doesn't know its arse from its elbow


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Nov 9th, 2018 at 08:10:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should British people care about a border in Ireland, or one down the Irish sea for that matter. It will, quite literally make no difference to them, unless it leads to a return of IRA terrorism on the "mainland". This is only a major issue because the DUP have made it so, and May is also ideologically committed to the "Union".

It is the UK government, at the behest of the DUP, which has sought to leverage the border issue as a means to leverage a deal from the EU whereby the whole of the UK can remain, at least temporarily, within the Customs Union, thereby angering both Brexiteers and Remainers, and leaving the EU27 queasy about the implications.

But as Newton Emerson asks:

What is the point of being inside the EU's customs union but outside its single market?

That is the proposition UK prime minister Theresa May is about to try and sell to her cabinet, parliament and the country: a UK-wide backstop to ensure there is no hard border in Ireland should the UK and the EU not agree a trade deal after Brexit.

Many within her Conservative Party and beyond believe the backstop likely to come into effect, and will be permanent if it does.

---<snip>---

May's backstop is essentially the Turkey option, which few have ever seriously advocated. Turkey cannot strike trade deals, yet still faces non-tariff barriers to EU markets - the worst of both worlds for a Brexit sold on a free-trade vision.

Although Labour and the Conservatives have reasons for wanting out of the single market in particular, both find those reasons awkward to promote.

The Conservatives want to be seen to have regained control of immigration - this is said to be May's personal bottom line. Labour wants the freedom to nationalise and subsidise industry. Each cause is too flawed and contentious to justify an overall Brexit policy. So instead, both parties are implying they want to leave the EU in its entirety but might have to stay in the customs union to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

This is no way to sell the English a Turkey. Surveys consistently show a majority of Brexit voters, overwhelmingly in England, would ditch Northern Ireland for a full EU departure - not a sentiment Westminster can disregard for ever.

Officially the British government is aiming for a Border solution that will allow the whole UK, including Northern Ireland, to leave the customs union and the single market. But there are doubts that this can ever be practical. If the choice comes down to an unpopular UK-wide backstop or a "proper" Brexit, Northern Ireland will be cast adrift - consigned to the backstop to the backstop, whatever that turns out to be in any withdrawal agreement.

The DUP already smell a rat.

I told you so months ago...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 9th, 2018 at 08:10:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Conservatives want to be seen to have regained control of immigration - this is said to be May's personal bottom line.

Brexit means Little-Englandness. A part of this -- by no means all of it -- is being, at a minimum, suspicious of foreigners.

It's not a new observation that being an island nation is a defining characteristic. If you live anywhere near a land border, intuitively you know that there's nothing all that extraordinary about being a foreigner.

I fear that most of those who voted Brexit don't like the Irish, nor even the Scots or the Welsh, come to that. Perhaps it will do the English psyche good to establish some land borders in Great Britain.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 12th, 2018 at 11:09:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think the average voter thought much about the implications of Brexit at all. Some Expat Brits here in Spain are still getting responses from friends and relative who voted leave like "oh, so does Brexit effect you?" !!!

Those Brits who were/are against Brexit are doing their nut here because they don't know the implications for public health benefits or the Sterling exchange rate. Most are on pensions and don't have a lot to spare and couldn't afford to move back.

A lot also don't have Spanish residency even though they have lived here for years. So they don't know the implications of becoming tax resident, or how Brexit might effect non-resident property taxes.

Of course some also voted for Brexit because there are "too many immigrants in the UK" - read brown people in England. They see themselves as expats, not immigrants to Spain. The difference is apparently a matter of skin colour, because few of them work in Spain. They have my sympathies. NOT.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 12th, 2018 at 09:01:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've wrtten before that it is impossible to know if Theresa May is  racist but, given the policy choices she has pursued most vigorously over her years in office as Home Secretary and Prime minister, it would be hard to deny that she is happy to be seen as one.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 12th, 2018 at 10:04:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Xenophobic at best. But its some trick to blame the EU for Commonwealth immigration.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 13th, 2018 at 12:04:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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