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Juncker: Tory Attack Is Getting Personal

by Oui Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 12:17:49 PM EST

I listened to and watched the brief press conference late last night of Tusk and Juncker. There were some words of annoyance, a personal grievance. I estimate Juncker was irritated by UK media and Tory criticism of his person. In addition, I do think PM Theresa May has never understood the internal workings of the Brexit negotiations and the EU. Last summer May went around Michel Barnier to talk to heads of state. On het way to Brussels, May talked to Dutch PM Rutte and German chancellor Angela Merkel. In the UK negotiation tactics, Theresa May changed her team leader as often as a FA Club releases a manager. These are not good signs of a well thought out process to get to a clearly defined goal. At this late stage, the EU 27 are really fed up with the shenanigans of UK politics at Westminster. Time has run out. The no-deal contingency plans are rolled out in a manner there will be no possibility to get the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons in time. May has not delivered. What she promised in her cabinet and in Parliament were no-go proposals for the EU. She should have known.

More below the fold ...

Brexit: Tory resentment of Irish power within EU | BBC News |

A Tory grandee recently sidled up to me to express grave reservations about the Brexit process.

"We simply cannot allow the Irish to treat us like this," the former minister said about the negotiating tactics of the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

The Conservative MP was exasperated that the Republic of Ireland (population: 4.8m) has been able to shape the EU negotiating stance that has put such pressure on the UK (population: 66m).

"This simply cannot stand," the one-time moderniser told me. "The Irish really should know their place."

The remarks explained why Conservatives from both sides of the Brexit divide are so troubled by the negotiations. They also explain why Theresa May might find that any concessions from the EU over the Northern Ireland backstop may fall short of the demands of Tory MPs.

Theresa May says EU must offer backstop assurances to avoid no-deal Brexit | Irish Times |


Cold comfort for May at EU summit | BBC News |

One official once described the Brexit process as continually building more road ahead of Theresa May, to give her more time and space to navigate the political path. But with the EU's flat "no" on Thursday night and Parliament's rejection, they might be all out of new Tarmac.

This is Salzburg 2.0, when after months of being told a pick-and-mix approach to the EU was impossible, the prime minister insisted on pushing on, and presenting her Chequers plan to her fellow leaders.

But guess what? As they said they would, they said "no", leaving her frustrated, embarrassed and without a plan. That's what's happened in the last week - on fast forward.

She said she could get more guarantees from the EU. They have said no, leaving the UK, again, without a clear plan. Her many critics will ask - when does determination to achieve what seems impossible become a dangerous delusion?

105 days, exactly 15 weeks, until Brexit and the UK government is still wandering around and failing to come to grips with reality.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 03:55:42 PM EST
"This simply cannot stand," the one-time moderniser told me. "The Irish really should know their place."

The remarks explained why Conservatives from both sides of the Brexit divide are so troubled by the negotiations. They also explain why Theresa May might find that any concessions from the EU over the Northern Ireland backstop may fall short of the demands of Tory MPs.

And yet these same Tories are in league with the DUP, a sectarian party which commands 28% of the vote in that part of Ireland they control.

But the problem isn't that any concessions the EU might have been prepared to give might not have satisfied Tory MPs, they would most certainly not have satisfied the DUP, a party whose whole existence and identity is build around saying NO.

If I were Varadker at the EU summit, I would have advised the 27 that there are no concessions they could possibly contemplate which would have the slightest chance of satisfying the DUP. Interestingly, EU leaders subsequently criticised May's presentation as being "too vague". It seemed that even she couldn't dream up any specific concessions the EU could give to bring the DUP on board.

So if Tory Grandees are looking for Irish people to scapegoat, they need look no further than their own "allies", the DUP.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 05:01:05 PM EST
From your link ...

Three-option referendum  

Remain 45% : Deal 15% : No-deal 25% : None 17%

Shattering result!
Voters looking for security and take leave of uncertainty or the unknown.

by Oui on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 06:12:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If reflected in an actual referendum where Remain and May's deal were the two options, it would result in a 3:1 victory for remain! In practice, I would expect many Brexiteers to vote for May's deal through gritted teeth, if only to deny Remain such an emphatic victory. But a 2:1 victory for remain wouldn't surprise me.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 06:52:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are not three "options" for UK citizens.

"May's Deal" (EU drafted agreement) is LEAVE 29 March + 21 months delay of effect; text does not guarantee third-country ETA for UK.

"No-Deal" is LEAVE 29 March, third-country immediate effect.

"Remain" requires REVOKE A.50 acts by UK parliament, with or without popular poll on the question before 29 March, to restore 2017 EU privileges and obligations status quo.

All decisions require GFA compliance by UK on points of international treaty law, independent of EU withdrawal agreement conclusion or status of PM in UK gov.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 08:53:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU defending its member states interests. And exhibit #935489 of the Tories having no clue whatsoever of how the EU works (or how the world outside the British shores works, really).
by Bernard on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 09:08:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't really understand how the world works within the British shores either.

In Toryland they tell other people what they need to do to make the Tories rich, and they go off and do them.

If other people can't be persuaded with a direct appeal, they can be persuaded with lies, outright scamming, propaganda, and class intimidation - which is more than the oiks are worth, frankly, but needs must.

And that's the Tory party - a criminal organisation which believes the entire world exists for its benefit, a band of thuggish muggers with a veneer of mostly inherited money and class poise. It never occurs to them that they may not get their way, and they're terribly, terribly put out when it happens..

Now that the EU has said "Non" you can hear their heads exploding.

This is not a caricature. This is how the Tory party actually works in the UK. The only good thing about Brexit is that it has pulled off the mask and revealed - to those whose brains haven't pickled by the lies - that the reality is quite breathtakingly self-serving and corrupt.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2018 at 09:26:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Bernard on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 09:29:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BorderIrish is wickedly funny. LolCat Bible funny. Looking forward to the gift of a BorderIrish wiki.

I think, we have either eurogreen or generic to thank for this comedic relief. (Stand up, whoever you are!) The last time I posted from the thread, I caught up with prior weeks' posts, enjoyed the remaining hours of the day drowned in tears.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Dec 15th, 2018 at 06:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure whether this qualifies as a wiki, but this site has unfolded the Twitter thread where BorderIrish explains (is that 'Bordersplaining'?) the "Meaningful Vote" in the British Parliament. Priceless.
by Bernard on Sat Dec 15th, 2018 at 08:12:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
master of wiki est'd 2008
lolCat bible translation project

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 16th, 2018 at 04:57:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I envision a ('bordersplaining', Tory dialect) translation project.

BorderIrish's first electronic book, a 6-page primer, has been well-received by followers. < wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Dec 16th, 2018 at 05:01:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 09:50:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From 'nebulous' to 'kissing': 'Robust' May-Juncker dispute dominates EU summit | Sky News |

This evening, Brexiteers Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage and Kate Hoey were among a number of speakers at a Leave Means Leave event held at the QEII Centre in London.

Labour MP Kate Hoey told the audience: "We didn't spend 30 years suffering IRA killings of soldiers and civilians in Northern Ireland to see a united Ireland imposed by a few jumped up EU bureaucrats and a complicit prime minister."

Earlier, the DUP's Sammy Wilson told Sky News: "Nobody likes to see their prime minister being humiliated in the way in which Theresa May has been humiliated.

"It's a reflection on our nation as well as on her as an individual. I think it says a lot for the leaders of the EU, that they feel they can toss her around like some kind of political rag doll."

by Oui on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 10:08:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As Marx wrote, "Hegel remarks somewhere that all Brexit facts and personages appear twice. He forgot to add: the first time as stupid, the second time as even more stupid."


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

by ATinNM on Sat Dec 15th, 2018 at 03:03:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Dec 15th, 2018 at 06:54:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the DUP's Sammy Wilson told Sky News: "Nobody likes to see their prime minister being humiliated in the way in which Theresa May has been humiliated.

Like having had to go through a full blown leadership contest from within her own party, you mean?

All in all, May has been treated much better by Juncker and Tusk (and Rutte, and Merkel and...) than by her fellow Tories.

by Bernard on Sat Dec 15th, 2018 at 12:58:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Links added are mine - Oui]

Brexit will destroy my late grandfather's dream of an open Irish border

At 16, he nearly died from appendicitis on the floor of a smog-blackened terrace on the Isle of Dogs. He'd come to the shipyards of England to work as a welder - having been unable to ply his trade on the loyalist docklands of Belfast's Harland & Wolff - only to be met by the braying of Cockney foremen who told him, Sorry Paddy. No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish. He spent the next 15 years going back and forth between England and home, often experiencing horrendous abuse at the hands of his English foremen and the sectarian "B-Specials" police force.

In 1911 the Titanic was launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard

So Brexit is the 21st century Titanic for Northern Ireland, how ironic! No need to explain the iceberg, 90% underneath the surface PM May is facing. :(

by Oui on Sat Dec 15th, 2018 at 08:34:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice read this morning ....

Brexit 'delusions' risk putting UK into crisis, warns Ivan Rogers | The Guardian |

In an excoriating denunciation of the British political class that goes to the top of government, Ivan Rogers said the Brexit debate had suffered from "opacity, delusion-mongering and mendacity on all sides" and predicted the public would not forgive politicians.

"The whole conduct of the negotiation has further burned through trust in the political class," he said in a speech at the University of Liverpool on Wednesday. "We shall need a radically different method and style if the country is to heal and unify behind some proposed destination."

Without naming May, he said the country required "leadership which is far more honest in setting out the fundamental choices still ahead, the difficult trade-offs between sovereignty and national control".


Since leaving the civil service, he has maintained a low profile, but has offered occasional scathing reviews of British political debate on Brexit in a series of lectures. In October he took aim at the "pinstriped Robespierres" of the anti-EU European Research Group, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg. He has also argued that British delusions and the EU's technocratic approach mean both sides risk "sleepwalking into a major crisis".

His latest lecture offers a stark warning about the democratic crisis that could result from a Brexit debate characterised by "evading and obfuscating choices". Eurosceptics advocating a no-deal Brexit, he said, were "lying openly" about the extent to which World Trade Organisation rules would provide a safety net.

Brexit: May returns to UK to face MPs after Brussels knockback

A new referendum won't heal the differences in British society, let alone at Westminster.

Posted earlier in my diary - Brexit Stop: 48 Letters Trigger No Confidence Vote.

by Oui on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 05:49:22 PM EST
PM May returns empty-handed ... Juncker tells UK to come forward with solutions, not a Xmas wish list.

EU leaders reject May's idea to salvage her Brexit deal | The Guardian |

EU leaders delivered a devastating knock-back to Theresa May after she appealed to them to hold "nothing in reserve" and work with her to salvage her Brexit deal by putting a 12-month limit on the unpopular Irish backstop.

The embattled prime minister had pinned her hopes on a last-ditch effort to persuade the European Union to work with her in devising a legal guarantee, known as a "joint interpretative instrument", that she believes could get her Brexit deal through parliament.

The idea of the EU having the target of terminating the Northern Ireland backstop no more than a year after it was put in force had been supported by Germany's Angela Merkel and Austria's Sebastian Kurz.

But it was opposed by France, Sweden, Spain and Belgium, who voiced doubts that the prime minister would be able to sell the technical concession to hostile MPs in Westminster.

Following an address by May before a dinner, and subsequent discussions among the 27 member states, the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said there was no form of deal that could get through parliament, and that it was not up to the EU to satisfy the demands of rebellious MPs.

Both the UK and the EU will push forward with no-deal contingency preparations.

by Oui on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 at 06:15:59 PM EST
I still suspect that there is strategy being played out here.

At this point, the discussion seems to be focussed entirely on the Irish backstop. The broad spectrum of arguments across many, many economic and social and geopolitical issues seems to have been boiled down to that one specific point.

A possible action for May now would be to arrange an all-Ireland vote on unification. Throw the DUP overboard. It is not as if they are exactly helping her at this point.

If such a vote passed, specifying unification with effect by March 2019, then the backstop would no longer be relevant, which would clear the decks for approval of May's plan in Parliament.

by asdf on Sat Dec 15th, 2018 at 03:03:41 PM EST
by Oui on Sat Dec 15th, 2018 at 06:03:20 PM EST
Great summary Frank ... thx for your insight and stamina.

Sorry for using the word "stamina" but Mrs. May has been lauded with this character virtue this week. I haven't caught anyone lauding the PM for her insight in the Brexit negotiations, debate or leadership.

As all parties involved are playing hard-ball, there certainly is a stalemate in UK politics and how to go forward with the only EU-UK deal or Withdrawal Act. The EU Commission has made the promise to move forward with the trade negotiations as soon as the EUWA is ratified by the House of Commons and the European Parliament.

    Ignorant about its leverage and ignorant about the EU,
    the U.K. is coming across as clumsy and caddish.

    [Source: Politico]

EU chief Jean Claude Juncker: "Ireland First in Withdrawal Agreement."

by Oui on Sat Dec 15th, 2018 at 06:15:50 PM EST
PM May's deadlock in ministers cabinet ... "better no-deal than a bad deal?"

Government to escalate planning for no-deal Brexit, No 10 says | The Guardian - 1 hour ago |

I'm just back from the Number 10 lobby briefing. And the key line was that the government is going to escalate planning for a no deal Brexit.

       Downing Street said there would be an announcement "shortly" about how an extra £2bn will be allocated for no-deal Brexit planning. The cabinet will discuss this issue at its regular meeting tomorrow, and Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has already said that an announcement about how the £2bn will be spent is imminent.  

Tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph front page, the 3,000th issue - Hunt: UK will flourish without a Brexit deal #tomorrowspaperstoday

by Oui on Mon Dec 17th, 2018 at 12:50:35 PM EST
Is everyone blind-folded in Westminster? More chaos in London today ...

George Osborne in today's Evening Standard:

In his "editor's reply" column in today's Evening Standard (which he edits), the former Conservative chancellor George Osborne says people close to Theresa May have been considering the case for holding a referendum on Brexit as a way out of the impasse.


       The Tory whips still have hopes of persuading Labour MPs to back [May's deal] very early in the new year, which is when they're now looking to schedule the vote - but that seems far-fetched to me. So too does the prospect that all the Tory hard Brexiteers come onside, because their plan is to run down the clock. Equally, while I think the case for a Norway-style arrangement is well made, I can't see how it gets the majority needed.

        There's no majority for "no deal", as Amber Rudd has made clear.

        So that leaves one of three options: delay our exit (with EU consent), hold a referendum or have an election. That's why weekend reports that people close to Mrs May have been considering a multi-option referendum are true.

May has repeatedly she is opposed to this idea, and she is due to make that point again in her statement to MPs this afternoon. According to extracts from her speech briefed in advance.

Brexit: Amber Rudd says Plan B options plausible

Asked why she had previously refused to speculate on possible alternatives to Mrs May's agreement, Ms Rudd said: "We are getting closer to the vote. People are saying why they are not going to vote for it and I'm just pointing out if you don't vote for it, these are the other things that could happen. Are you sure you want them more?"

PM May still on cliff's edge ... cartoon nearly 400 days ago!

Even as the Brexit clock ticks, many choices remain open | The Economist - Nov 16, 2017 |

by Oui on Mon Dec 17th, 2018 at 01:31:29 PM EST
A ridiculous comparison of UK's decision to leave and the brittleness of a vase [Delft Blue?]. Trending in Dutch media #vaasje

'Vase of Rutte' ridiculed on social media | AD |

Netherlands PM uses Britain's Brexit 'chaos' as cautionary tale | The Guardian |

In a full-page advert in the Algemeen Dagblad, Rutte said he saw the Netherlands, "a country that isn't perfect but where we do make progress", as a "precious possession" that belonged to everyone but "was brittle ... and can easily break".

He compared the country to "a fragile vase" held by its 17 million "ordinary and exceptional" citizens who "do not only want a good life for themselves and those around them, but also want to contribute to the happiness of others".

Making sure the vase stays in one piece often requires "compromises ... in which difficult problems are solved in a sensible way," he said: "I almost never get my way. I water down my demands because I have a responsibility to keep that vase intact."

People who refuse to compromise and work together are "gripping the vase so tightly that it breaks", Rutte, who has been prime minister since 2010, continued. There were examples of societies that have collectively "dropped the vase", he said.

"Look at Britain. There, the country's politicians and people have forgotten what they have achieved together. And now they are caught up in chaos," Rutte wrote.

The Hague was Theresa May's first stop on her unsuccessful whistle-stop tour last week aimed at winning concessions - or at least assurances - from EU leaders that would allow her to get her Brexit deal past a mutinous House of Commons.

The Netherlands, a major trading partner and longstanding EU ally of the UK, has been watching the confusion surrounding Brexit with increasing concern. Analysts have calculated a no-deal Brexit would knock 4.25% off Dutch GDP.

How improving Dutch business climate dictates everything | Erasmus University |
Dutch PM survives broad motion of censure in dividend tax debate | NL Times - April 2018 |
Mark Rutte's friend lost the HQ battle to move Unilever to Rotterdam

Related reading ...

UK Tory ally and friend of Theresa May, Mark Rutte wishes the March 29th departure date to be flexible ...

Dutch PM describes breakfast meeting with Theresa May as 'useful'
The resignation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the rise of neoliberal Mark Rutte by Nomad @EuroTrib on June 27, 2006

by Oui on Mon Dec 17th, 2018 at 07:30:56 PM EST
What a piece of work, that one.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 08:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like the Tories are going to start opening their meetings with a rousing version of "Croppies Lie Down".
by rifek on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 07:27:53 PM EST

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