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

Politics as a process of persuasion...

by Frank Schnittger Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 10:17:30 AM EST

Is there method to May's madness? From a Bloomberg Brexit email...

Prime Minister Theresa May is gradually dragging her deeply divided Cabinet toward her vision of Brexit - and it's a softer version than the one she originally promised.

Her delaying has irked counterparts in the European Union, who say their patience with the U.K. and its political drama is running out. But by moving slowly, and offering token political gifts to the Brexit-backers along the way, she has clung on to her position - in the face of resignation threats and leadership plots - and shifted the terms of the Brexit debate.

First the Brexiters objected to paying a financial settlement for the divorce. May agreed to do so, peppering the announcement over a few months, and her critics accepted it. Then they objected to a transition period that would keep Britain bound to EU rules after Brexit day. May agreed to one, and they acquiesced.

Then she opened the door to indirect jurisdiction for the European Court of Justice - an institution loathed by euroskeptics as a symbol of lost sovereignty - and they kept quiet. Brexit Secretary David Davis threatened to resign over a plan for the Irish border, but stepped back from the brink after winning a concession from May that is unlikely to survive negotiations with Brussels. (Davis is the one making the most noise in the run-up to the crunch Cabinet meeting on Friday, too.)

Now May is proposing to keep the U.K. aligned with EU rules for trade in goods - an idea that's toxic for Brexit backers because it could reduce the scope for striking new commercial deals around the world, which was a key part of the Brexit campaign's narrative. Michael Gove, a possible leadership candidate, is predicting that no one will resign.

The danger isn't over for May. She could still be ousted. But if she comes out of the crunch Cabinet meeting on Friday with an agreement, it will be something of a victory for a prime minister persistently vilified for her lack of authority.

Bloomberg might have added that the UK side started off believing they could negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement as part of the Brexit negotiations, then meekly accepted that a Brexit agreement had to come first, before substantive free trade negotiations could even begin. Davis even thought he could negotiate with the EU over retaining the European Medicines agency in London... The EU decided unilaterally to move it to Amsterdam. The Irish border question was barely a blip on the horizon for most Brexiteers, to be solved by technological wizardry if they considered it at all. Now it is the central political issue to be resolved.

If you find the Bloomberg narrative credible, it paints a picture of politics as a gradual process of changing expectations. Of moving the Overton window if you will. A masterly example of the art of persuasion. May starts from a hard line Brexit position to establish her democratic credentials and credibility with the Brexiteers. She appoints many of them to key cabinet positions. Then she gradually moves the goals posts, a few inches at a time, and watches as no Brexiteer has the guts to quit.

In the process she of course tries the patience of almost everybody else. Several pro-EU ministers and senior diplomats and administrators resign or are swept aside reinforcing the Brexiteers sense of still being in control. In all this time there is hardly any engagement with the EU side of the negotiation at all. Some desultory and plainly absurd proposals are put on the table in Brussels, and summarily dismissed by EU negotiators. But they were never meant to be a realistic basis for a Brexit agreement. They were part of the process of changing expectations on the UK side.

The problem with this approach, and the above narrative, is that coming up with a coherent and unified negotiating position is only one of the initial parts of a negotiation process, and in this case it has taken almost all the time and oxygen in the room for the negotiations as a whole. The closer we get to Brexit day itself, the more the lack substantive progress on the negotiations as a whole will force the UK side into accepting EU opening negotiating positions almost wholesale if they are to get any kind of agreement at all. If there is one thing that May has not done, it is to change expectations on the EU side. On the contrary, EU attitudes have been hardening...

Indeed, things have not exactly been all quiet on the EU front. Merkel's authority has been gravely, If not terminally, damaged by the refugee crisis. Mutti may not be around to broker any final Brexit agreement, and may not have the authority to do so even if she survives. Italy has a new hard line nationalist government only waiting to give Brussels a black eye for its lack of support on the refugee issue. A whole range of hard-right central and eastern European countries are lining up to re-shape the EU's policies on refugees and much else. The irony is that they would have been natural allies for a Tory government fighting for immigration "reform" from within the EU.

For those who still believe in the EU vision, Brexit has been a god-send. It has divided Tory UK from its natural alliance with other reactionary forces in the EU.

The other problem with this narrative is that uniting her cabinet is only a small part of May's problem. She has yet to unite the Tory party behind her. At some point in this process she may stretch the Brexiteers or the Remainers in her party too far. As the shape of an overall Brexit deal becomes clear, some Remainers may recoil at how much worse it is than the status quo provided by full membership. Some Brexiteers like Rees-Mogg may finally find some back-bone and launch a leadership challenge.

And then there is the DUP. It hard for people outside N. Ireland to full grasp how reactionary and nineteenth century they are in their attitudes. We may all laugh at Rees-Mogg, but at least he can put an an articulate argument together, however grounded in laughable "facts". But the DUP have no one of any vision or intellectual capabilities whatsoever. If Dublin or Sinn Fein welcome a proposal, they are likely to suddenly come out against it, on the grounds that what the nationalists want is bound to be bad for unionism.

Even the hard-line Brexiteers in London, with many ideological affinities and personal friendships with DUP MPs care not a whit about the future of N. Ireland in or outside the UK. May can betray the DUP without alienating many in her party base. If that's what it takes to get a Brexit deal across the line, then that is what she will have to do. Will the DUP then really precipitate a general election that might bring Corbyn or a Conservative government not beholden to them to power? Where is the upside for them?

At best, the UK would then have not a second referendum on the terms of Brexit, but a second General election. And all the while the clock is ticking and the time to renegotiate a revised deal is melting away - regardless of who wins. The EU has moved on to new priorities and new problems. Brexit will have become yesterday's problem which was never going to be a "win win" in any case. Time to cut your losses. Even a future trade deal looks doubtful as Trump rides a coach-and-four through the architecture of international trade deals. The UK could not be leaving at a worse time - for the UK.

May's approach to the negotiations may well have won her some precious time to stay in the premiership. She may even have, as Bloomberg suggests, gained some domestic authority in the process. However it has done nothing to bolster her international stature or negotiating position or guarantee a happy ending. Most likely, it will result in an almighty mess, and her premiership will be remembered as a historic failure.

If you assume that May's only concern is staying in power as long as possible then everything she does - lurching from crisis to crisis unashamed of being too powerless to sack disrespectful ministers - makes perfect sense.

As an attempt to get as good a Brexit deal as possible, it really doesn't: it looks like she won't even have a negotiating position until September at the earliest, which is far too late. More likely October.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 11:07:23 AM EST
That is my take as well. However if you look at it from May's perspective, what is the alternative?

Even if you give her the doubtful credit of not wanting the Prime Ministership for purely egotistical reasons, would Gove, Boris Johnson, Rees-Mogg, or Corbyn improve the situation? She could be forgiven for thinking TINA...

That is why I try to avoid over-personalising politics. There is almost no scenario which enables a good outcome. Perhaps the best outcome rational Brits can hope for is a cock-up so total that the UK is forced to withdraw the A50 invocation, and throws itself at the mercy of the EU Council to accept the UK's continued membership...

Even the Council excepting the UK's continued membership is not guaranteed, but the A50 letter could then be redefined as a clever wheeze to forced the EU to reconsider its attitude to migration and freedom of movement - something which is happening independently in any case.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 11:21:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm half inclined to think that PM Johnson declaring victory by withdrawing A50 notification joining the Euro and Schengen  is still a possible outcome.  It's not as if he'd have any moral qualms or that the media would hold him to account.

There's probably a serious argument that an attempt by the nutters to run the show would bring it all crashing down in short order. May's ability to lurch around without falling means that there's been no resolution - and the only thing she likes about Brexit is being able to stop FoM and escape the rights legislation that she seems to instinctively hate and which is the biggest hurdle to an acceptable (if unstable) outcome.

I'm now convinced that the only two stable outcomes are very hard Brexit and none at all. An infinitely extended transition might be semi-stable but would result in eventual rejoining as it would be democratically unacceptable.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 11:50:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All soft versions of Brexit suffer from being fundamentally undemocratic, somewhat ironically.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 12:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure that's true, because Brexiteers talked about retaining access to the single market during the referendum campaign, and no one had given the exact shape of Brexit serious thought. You might as well argue that 52%  Brexit reflects the democratic will of the electorate perfectly...

But I agree it would not be a stable outcome, as the UK became increasingly resentful of having to accept regulations about which it had little say and which might, increasingly, come to reflect EU27 interests rather than the UK. Also a Norway style EU budget contribution for market access would not represent a significant saving on the UK's current net contribution.

Even by Boris' shamelessly brazen lying standards, joining the Euro and Schengen would be a step too far. The best outcome would be a much diminished UK sheepishly keeping its head down and making dodgy alliances with far right government to annoy Brussels - and a very angry leave voter base in the UK.

The end of the Tory party, I would imagine...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 12:26:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a start, the flawed opinion poll which is fatally undermined by breaches of election law is hardly democratic.

Secondly,I meant that the soft versions all involve giving up U.K. democratic input into the laws they'll be required to follow.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 12:43:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Three outcomes:

  1. Result declared void because of foreign influence and criminal abuse of campaign laws. This is the fairest and most democratic outcome, and the least likely politically.

  2. Indefinite transition period. I think this will gain in probability as we get closer to the final date. The EU may well cave and say "Fine, here's another year or two to get your shit together." But this could just be wishful thinking, because the cost/benefit analysis for the EU is ambiguous at best.

  3. Hard Brexit, with attendant economic disaster, followed by a more overt coup, followed by outright fascism for a few decades. This is probably the most likely outcome politically.

Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, and other countries all had periods of extreme nationalism followed by periods of unrest and left-wing pushback following the loss of empire. The UK hasn't lived through this yet, so my guess is we'll see the UK's version of a Franco/Salazar/Mussolini/etc fascist dictatorship with extreme poverty and loss of progress, until whatever is left of England comes out of the other end and rejoins Rest of World.

Historically, this often takes at least a decade and can take four or five. So I'd guess we'll see the eradication of all Attlee-style post-war social democracy and its replacement with violent nationalism and authoritarianism.

Brexit looks very much like this, of course.

I don't see Soft Brexit as politically viable. The fascists won't stand for it, and May doesn't have the authority to face them down.

I certainly don't see a 180 from Johnson. He's nailed his colours to the mast of fascism, and he'd rather rule in a fascist hell than serve in a social democratic Euro-heaven.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 03:35:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Theresa May's keynote speech at Tory conference - Oct. 2016

I want it to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within the Single Market - and let European businesses do the same here.

But let's state one thing loud and clear: we are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration all over again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. That's not going to happen.  

We are leaving to become, once more, a fully sovereign and independent country - and the deal is going to have to work for Britain.

And that Britain - the Britain we build after Brexit - is going to be a Global Britain.

British Conservatives are closely allied to the Republicans in the US on free trade, less regulations, ecology, pollution and labor rights, or lack thereof. The Lisbon Treaty is a major stumbling block for Britain. Primarily, David Cameron and the right-wing of the Tories want to rid Britain of the legislation and jurisdiction of Brussels.

Their ideal world will end in no deal, thus a hard Brexit. I see no option whatsoever and the clock ticks.

The UK Referendum and the UK Environment - An Expert View (2015)

Related reading ...

How Xenophobia and Targeted Funding Sank Democrats
The Immigration Crisis in the American Southwest by Man Eegee on Jun 21st, 2005

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 01:08:26 PM EST
and US common law: The apple does not fall far from the tree. Famous last words
There have been Brexit-related suggestions in some quarters that, because the UK is "leaving Europe", English contract law will be a less attractive option in international commerce as the chosen governing law of contracts. Actually, reason and experience indicates otherwise. English law has been the pre-eminent choice of governing law for international business contracts for decades, since long before the UK entered the EU.

9 March Draft Highlights, Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, pp 130

[W] Art. 153, Jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union concerning Parts Three and certain provisions of Part Five
Are not agreed at all.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 03:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
heh and coincidentally*, Bradwell v. The State, 83 U.S. 16 Wall. 130 130 (1872)
"It is to be remembered that at the time this statute was enacted we had, by express provision, adopted the common law of England, and, with three exceptions, the statutes of that country passed prior to the fourth year of James the First, so far as they were applicable to our condition."
Some here may still be amazed how often this sentiment recurs in US American common law and restatements. Orders of magnitude greater by contrast to cursory acknowledgement, if any, to "international law." US-UK do. not. do. international law, 'k?

*I was looking for something else, Harris vs. Quinn (2014), an event that had me quite out of joint at the time, into Taft-Hartley, and RAYGUN (1981). So it goes, the hand-wringing, too little, too late.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 04:45:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what a load. WaPoo "explainers" from 1981.
Union Leaders Support PATCO Walkout
Federal Labor Panel Rules Against PATCO

Studs Terkel, AUDIO/EN
Jim Paulei of PATCO discusses the air traffic controller's strike and describes a day on the job.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 04:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Supposedly the final deal is supposed to be agreed in October. There just isn't time. And EU27 leaders are tired of the UK negotiating with itself.

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 Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 04:49:27 PM EST
I expect the EU trade negotiation bureaucrats to have a proposal written up. Not their fault UK didn't participate in the drafting process. With no UK input, it likely will represent the worst outcome for the UK in most aspects. And if history is a guide May will demand a lot, get a small thing or two and then fold.

Then things get interesting. With an agreement on paper, will DUP revolt? Frank asks what they would gain, but if they are as nutty as they appear, maybe they think if they demand the impossible, someone will provide it? Will the Brexiteers revolt? And if so, will Labour and the rump Tories pass the agreement or will they have an election first?

by fjallstrom on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 10:34:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Prediction: May is out by Friday the 13th of July.
by asdf on Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 10:19:24 PM EST
Very much no. May is doing a lot of lateral movements, but the EU and the UK still have clearly mutually exclusive red lines. Now if we run this process for another 20 years we might happen on an agreement by brownian motion alone, but May's new position looks very much like her old position of picking and choosing random parts of membership.
by generic on Fri Jul 6th, 2018 at 07:50:06 AM EST
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jul 6th, 2018 at 09:37:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gordon Brown is no longer PM...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 6th, 2018 at 10:10:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Best laugh of the day ... Thx

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jul 6th, 2018 at 10:45:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jul 6th, 2018 at 02:00:09 PM EST
I always like Ian Dunt's analysis.

Week in Review: Wherever Brexiters look, they see dead ends

The counter-strategy of Brexiters around the Cabinet table could have involved preparation, organisation and the construction of viable alternatives. Instead, it has been to talk. They have talked incessantly, about the will of the people, about how 'no deal is better than a bad deal', about how 'they need us more than we need them', about imaginary WTO rules and trade deals with the US. But they have not done anything at all. [...my emphasis...]


[The current proposal] is all completely bananas. It is bananas in its priorities, given Britain is a services economy. It is bananas in its proposals, because the EU is not about to hand a foreign power responsibility for its external border. And it is bananas in its proposition, because the tech solutions you'd be using for regulatory alignment do not exist even in the fevered imagination of these sixth-form nationalist poets.

It is simply an insane thing for a British government to be suggesting. The speed of decline in the quality of governance of this country - in terms of objective, rhetoric and strategy - has been truly humbling.

by oldremainmer48 on Fri Jul 6th, 2018 at 08:04:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The purpose of the new "fudge" is not to come up with a workable or practicable solution to real problems, but to come up with a formula of words which can satisfy all sides in the cabinet by giving the appearance of "taking back control" while the reality will be as similar to the status quo as possible.

The new fudge will have done its job if it preserves governmental unity for a few weeks and keeps the Brexit negotiations show on the road. The EU can always be blamed for being "inflexible", "unimaginative", nitpicking and of wanting to "punish Britain" when it fails to agree to whatever the UK government thinks it has proposed.

When the final agreement turns out not to incorporate these proposals it will be explained that current arrangements will continue "as a transitional measure" until the new arrangements can be put in place. Both sides will agree to "explore" the potential of the new proposals, while it reality little will happen, and the status quo will remain in place almost indefinitely.

Until the next crisis. It turns out that the EU27 is constantly evolving and, without the membership of the UK, it may do so in ways which are inimical to UK interests or at least against the policy preferences of the next UK government. Cue "SHOCK HORROR, EU CHANGES REGULATIONS TO SUIT THEMSELVES" headlines, as if the EU should follow the dictates of a non member.

It will be one wrangle after another, souring relations, and making the EU and UK thoroughly pissed off with each other. Not only will there be no smooth transition, but there will be an increasingly acrimonious divorce, resulting in trade wars, spats over immigration and pretty much everything else.

Left with few alternatives, the UK will try to turn itself into a USA beachhead into Europe, further souring relations with the EU, and not doing much for the US or UK either. In short it will slide into economic, political, and strategic irrelevance abroad and sullen resentment at home - if not outright civil disorder. Scotland will leave and N. Ireland will be forced to look for a new home, if they are lucky enough to be offered one.

And Corbyn will be to blame, if he is stupid enough to win the next election.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 7th, 2018 at 09:05:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are two views.

One is yours - that the fudge is nonsense, but is designed to keep the cabinet together.

The other is that it's close enough to EU requirements to need only a few Norway-style adjustments to get Brussels to agree to it. At which point the Brexiters will have been defeated.

An interesting point is that it gives the EU what it wants politically - a chance to develop without the UK's malign and distracting influence on policy. UKIP and Farage will no longer have MEP seats, and the UK will have no power to prevent federalisation.

Crucially, the fact that services aren't included means the UK is still outside the new EU tax regulations - which is all that really matters to the Leavers who driving Brexit.

The UK may well turn into Airstrip One, but it may not be for long. As the older skeptics die off, pro-EU sentiment will only rise here, especially when people compare the quality of life on the mainland with the UK's brutal privatised economy.

The fact that everyone who matters - Barnier, The Sun, The Mail, and even the Brexiters - were all making accommodating noises yesterday suggests no one is particularly unhappy with the way things are going.

If so, it will be a rare success for May. I was expecting a leadership challenge.

If it all falls apart, that will still happen. But this looks like it has the possibility of a fragile agreement that will keep everyone happy long enough for the transitional period to start without a car-crash hard Brexit, and gives the Leavers enough red meat to shut them up while still giving Remainers some hope a future vote will reverse the damage.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 7th, 2018 at 12:17:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The two views are not necessarily incompatible: It can be both a fudge and a step on the road to an accommodation which can at least avoid a hard, no deal Brexit. The scenario I described above wasn't necessarily for a no-deal Brexit, but of a very unhappy one, as the UK discovers it has all the disadvantages of EU membership and few of the advantages.

The deal offered by May may well contains elements acceptable to the EU, certainly as an opening negotiating position. This is where the UK should have been at before it delivered the A.50 letter. Now there is very little time for real negotiations left.

The Brexit deal itself will probably consist mostly of boiler plate text already prepared by the Barnier team. All the more difficult issues will be put off until the transition period, by which time the UK is no longer a member and has very little leverage.

Any post Brexit deal requires unanimity on the Council and could be derailed by any member with an axe to grind - e.g. Italy demanding the same immigration controls as the UK, only from inside the EU. The UK will then be hostage to factors outside its control.

The mere fact of the UK leaving gives the EU what you say it wants politically - "a chance to develop without the UK's malign and distracting influence on policy" - this is gift Brexit has already given the EU and not something May can now offer as part of a horse-trading deal.

The fact that it doesn't include services is absurd from a UK point of view. The UK doesn't have much of an economy without them, and they are the basis of the UK's post Thatcher recovery.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 7th, 2018 at 06:17:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The benefit for Brussels is - ironically - the EU gets some chance to cherry pick the elements of the relationship with the UK it wants to keep.

Certain kinds of trading relationships: yes
Regular financial contributions: yes
Control over worker movement: yes
The UK's political influence: no

Keeping services outside of the agreement allows the UK to continue being the world's tax evasion haven - which will certainly appeal to the UK, and may also appeal to certain elements in the EU.

So essentially trade in physical goods, and other kinds of cooperation continue - which of course they wouldn't with a car-crash no-deal Brexit - but tax evasion and money laundering can continue without EU oversight.

Meanwhile David Davis has resigned (...will anyone notice?) so this week we get to see if May can face down the inevitable leadership challenge.

Gove, who is Murdoch's stooge, is supporting May for now, so it looks as if this attempt at a deal has friends in high places.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jul 8th, 2018 at 11:26:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Junior minister Steven Baker quit shortly after Mr Davis ... more to come

David Davis steps down as Brexit secretary in blow to PM - live updates | The Guardian |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 01:17:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It will be a soft Brexit on agro, food and goods; a hard Brexit on services [financials, banking for the City?]  According on how the people voted, or is it just in reverse?

Theresa May secures approval from cabinet to negotiate soft Brexit | The Guardian |

Theresa May has secured approval to negotiate a soft Brexit deal with the European Union, signing up her fractious cabinet at a Chequers awayday to a controversial plan to match EU standards on food and goods.

The prime minister released a statement following the critical afternoon session of the long-awaited summit that alarmed Tory hard Brexiters, in which she confirmed she had won over the cabinet to new customs arrangements ending political deadlock on the issue.

May said the cabinet had "agreed our collective position for the future of our negotiations with the EU". That included a proposal to "create a UK-EU free trade area which establishes a common rule book for industrial goods and agricultural products" after Brexit.

Chequers summit statement

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jul 6th, 2018 at 10:47:34 PM EST
I do not understand the recent news at all.

According to the BBC:

The main details of the "Chequers statement" are as follows:

    The UK would accept continuing "harmonisation" with EU rules on the trade in goods, covering only those necessary to ensure frictionless trade

    Parliament would have the final say over how these rules are incorporated into UK law, retaining the right to refuse to do so

    There will be different arrangements for trade in services, including financial products, with greater "regulatory flexibility" and "strong reciprocal arrangements"

    Freedom of movement as it stands will come to an end but a "mobility framework" will ensure UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other's territories and apply for study and work

    A new customs arrangement will be phased in, with the goal of "a combined customs territory"

    The UK will be able to control its own tariffs and develop an independent trade policy

    The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will end but the UK will pay regard to its decisions in areas where common rules were in force.

Mrs May said this was an "important step" in the process of negotiating the UK's smooth exit from the EU.

Sounds to me it's more like the Cabinet got together and went to tokin' on the funny weed.

Example, the UK will undergo "harmonisation" with EU rules on the trade in goods necessary to ensure frictionless trade except when Parliament says nay.

They've got 256 days until 29 Mar 2019 and this intellectual garbage is supposed to lead to an agreement by October?  

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

by ATinNM on Sat Jul 7th, 2018 at 03:19:51 AM EST
Taking these  announcements seriously is a mistake. They're still negotiating with themselves, the only aim is to lurch among for another few months.

I fear that the entire cabinet has become unmoored from reality: they have no idea what's going on.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jul 7th, 2018 at 07:28:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 10:58:34 AM EST
I always thought it to be an attempted power grab to become Chancellor and take Germany on a "Trump style" course to the far right and new elections. #Seehofer #CSU #Grenell ... undermining the unity and solidarity of EU member states.

Brexit letter: German government distances itself from Interior Minister Horst Seehofer | DW |

he conservative Interior Minister told the European Commission that it should aim for "unconditional security cooperation" in Brexit negotiations with Britain. Berlin reportedly didn't sign off on that request.

The German government took the unusual step of distancing itself from German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer after he requested the EU strive for "unconditional security cooperation" with Britain after it leaves the bloc, German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday. His move has angered the EU Commission, which is trying to present a united European front in the Brexit negotiations.

Seehofer made the request in a letter to the EU Commission, the bloc's executive arm that has been leading negotiations for EU national governments, in late June.

Bundesregierung stellt Seehofer bloß

Die SPD-Vorsitzende hat US-Botschafter Grenell für seine Einmischung in den Handelsstreit kritisiert ...

"Wir sind doch keine Bananenrepublik!"

Next to "persuasion", I see an awful lot of bullying too!

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 12:45:53 PM EST
whoa. That is a super creepy agency problem.
I think this dude just over played his hand.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 01:26:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Politicians come and go, the problems they have caused the people remain."

I watched some of the debate in British parliament today. Q and NO Answers! Quite frustrating ... waiting for another "white paper" which will set out the negotiations with Barnier of the EU. Ready or not, we're heading for a Brexit.

My thought on the "debate" ... just another Shakespearean Act!

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 05:37:20 PM EST
Boris Johnson quits as UK Foreign Secretary; second Brexit resignation in 24 hours | DW |

"This afternoon, the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary," an emailed statement from May's office said. "His replacement will be announced shortly. The Prime Minister thanks Boris for his work."

Johnson had been expected as co-host of an afternoon summit on the Western Balkans in London on Monday but did not show up. His resignation was announced around an hour after he was set to open proceedings.

Both Davis and Johnson are said to now believe that a "no deal" Brexit would be preferable to May's plans.

Johnson: Brexit 'dream is dying'

In his resignation letter, released later on Monday, Johnson accused the government plan of relegating the UK's status to effectively that of a colony.

"We are now in the ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law, without changing an iota, because it is essential for our economic health -- and when we no longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made," Johnson wrote. "In that respect we are truly headed for the status of a colony ...

"The dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt," he added.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 05:55:19 PM EST
Don't see how the Tories can avoid a leadership battle.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 07:06:44 PM EST
the last 25 years have been marked by a psycgodrama in the tory party between irreconcilable views on Europe. It wrecked the latter days of John Major's Premiership, it bubbled away and festered while tony blair and Gordon Brown pissed away golden chances to instill new ideas of governance.

Then it erupted all over again like a rash of boils the moment Cameron became Prime Minister. Both Cameron and Osborne were instinctive remainers, which gave penty of opportunity for leavers tocreate mischief. It didn't help that Osborn'es misguided austerity and Iaiin Duncan-Smith's needless cruelty at the DEWP sured a public on government in general.

And here we are. It was always impossible to craft a brexit that would satisfy all of the factions of the Tory party, the fanatical free trade libertarian Leave faction simply have no common ground with the business first soft brexiteers, let alone the Tory remainers.

If it weren't for Ulster, they might hav cobbled something together, effectively selling the 6 counties to the Republic as the price of holding the party together. But needing the votes of the DUP made that impossible. And on that rock the good ship brexit has foundered.

It's all very well laughing as all the rats leave the inking ship. But you hav to remember that you're watching it happen while you're still trapped below deck

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 07:49:42 PM EST
Nobody's laughing but neither are we trapped below deck. Ireland and the EU27 will survive. The question is will the UK, and at what cost.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 08:38:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK will not survive. I think the financial catastrophe of border controls willl wreck Ulster's economy and that the large minority who now accept re-unification will swell rapidly, DUP or no DUP.

As for Scotland, Westminster has already made a power play that rips apart ideas of devolved government, but it remains an absentee landlord and, given the likely economic conditions of Britain will deteriorate rapidly, I imagine that Scottish resentments will escalate rapidly. If the SNP can only bide their time till the polls reach 65%+ instead of leaping into the dark at 50.1%, Scotland will rejoin the EU.

But England and Wales aka Britain will simply spiral in unstoppable economic decline. With luck mobs of angry people will tear those repsonsible apart limb by limb, but such small satisfactions apart our future is bleak.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 07:12:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Historical moment for the British ... a leap into the dark, quite different from Thatcher joining the EU with all arrogance.

Any thoughts on comparable crossroads from the past?

Or just a reverse of British fortunes from that decision in the 80s

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 07:38:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a comparable act of national self-harm??

I can think of activities by various governments that any sane person could foresee would damage the country, but nothing to the extent we are currently anticipating.

Frankly, there is still a significant minority of leavers who simly don't understand the problem of "no deal"; my sister among them. They genuinely believe that german car manufacturers among others would revolt at losing so much business from Britain. It's all based on a delusional sense of Britain's importance and economic consequence utterly divorced from reality. You simply cannot penetrate such imaginings.

Of course, these ideas originate with ultra brexiteers who have a much more sinister purpose in pursuing a no deal brexit. Dominic Raab is an ultra, a man who genuinely thinks that low wage, no regulation free trade libertarianism will provide us with first world lifestyle, ignorning the somalification of most of the country. And if he thinks his great lifestyle will be possible while the rest of the country descends into barbarism, then he really is as stupid as his blue rosette suggests

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 11:10:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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