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The beginning of the end?

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 08:24:34 PM EST


Davis, Fox, Johnson and Gove

David Davis and Boris Johnson have resigned from the UK government because they cannot support Theresa May's Brexit proposals which are unlikely to be acceptable to the EU in any case. Liam Fox and Michael Gove may soon follow although both are no doubt trying to position themselves for a leadership contest. He who wields the knife rarely inherits the crown... Meanwhile Theresa May is left to struggle on in what may well be a terminally weakened condition.


There is no Brexit agreement that comes close to providing the balance of benefits which full membership provides, so it is easy to criticise any Brexit negotiating position or eventual deal. The problem is that a "no deal" Brexit is infinitely worse.

However it is also much more difficult to criticise because it does not as yet exist. So Boris & Co. can continue their daydreams of a free and independent Britain once again taking all the current benefits of membership for granted as if the EU will have no choice but to confer them on the UK because "they need us more than we need them".

Unfortunately for Boris, the whole future of the EU will then depend on ensuring that Brexit is as horrible as possible as that is the only way to prove the benefits of membership outweigh the benefits of leaving. Otherwise why would other members not leave? The interests of the EU and the UK would then be diametrically opposed.

It is not possible to go back to the status quo ante EU membership even if that were desirable because the world has changed: Economies have integrated across national boundaries and transnational services and production processes have become much more important.

And somehow the Brexiteers appear to have forgotten what a basket case the UK economy was when it joined the EU in 1973. Since then manufacturing has continued to decline and services have thrived. But very few major companies operating within the UK are now actually UK owned any more. Where will those owners then give priority for investment - a market of 65 million people, or a market of 450 Million?

But the great thing for Boris and Davis et al is that they now no longer have to take responsibility for the clusterf*ck that is the Brexit negotiation saga. They can vote against any negotiation outcome in the Commons and put it up to Labour rebels to provide a Commons majority for any deal.

Corbyn would be right to demand a general election on any deal - it isn't Labour's job to prop up a government unable to muster a majority for its proposals. And neither is it the job of the EU27 to negotiate against their own best interests and provide a life line for Theresa May. The lack of engagement across the negotiating table has meant that they haven't had to move beyond their own opening negotiating positions at all.

So the negotiations will trundle on towards an almost inevitable unhappy denouement. There seems little point in making concessions to a government unable to deliver on it's part of the bargain. At some point, sooner or later, Theresa May will have to cut a deal negotiated from a terminally weakened negotiating position. That deal will then almost certainly be rejected by the House of Commons resulting in a general election.

The task of the Tory Rebels is to force her to resign before that can happen. They are strong enough to terminally weaken her, but are they strong enough to force her immediate resignation?

The question for May will be does she give way to a Boris Johnson or Michael Gove who will in all likelihood lead the UK into a "no deal" Brexit, or does she call an election which will, in all likelihood, be won by Jeremy Corbyn, or worse still, lead to another inconclusive result? Is her prime loyalty to the Tory party or to the country?

She can cling on to the hope that she can win a second general election based on whatever deal she has negotiated but it will be a very hard sell especially with almost half the Tory party against her. Most Britons are fed up with the whole Brexit saga and might yet opt for a clean break, but who then do they vote for? May, Corbyn, or a resurgent Farage led UKIP?

And what problem would a general election solve? Corbyn has almost no friends in Europe and many potential hard right enemies.  Would they want to enable what they see as a hard left government? It is also difficult to see the EU giving a Boris Johnson or Michael Gove led UK government a better deal than they offered Theresa May.

It might be a different story if a general election gave a UK government a clear mandate for a particular negotiating position but with major both parties split on the issue and no leader commanding overwhelming support from his party's voters, that seems a most unlikely outcome. About as likely as the Lib Dems or UKIP leading the next government.


Conservatives blue, Labour Red, Lib Dems Orange, SNP yellow, UKIP Purple, and Greens.

Recent opinion polls give the Tories a small advantage on Labour with the rest nowhere, but which Tory party? And regardless of who wins, will there be sufficient time to negotiate a significantly "better" deal?

The hard fact remains that once Article 50 was triggered a "no deal" Brexit was always the default outcome. Any alternative requires a still unlikely coalescing of parties and legislators around a specific Brexit deal. A new government can always request an A. 50 extension but that requires unanimity on an EU Council increasingly riven by their own conflicts around immigration and other issues. It only requires one government with an axe to grind against Brussels or the UK to block that outcome.

It is still possible that a UK government with a strong electoral mandate could cut a deal May is now most unlikely to be able to deliver. It would probably require last minute crisis negotiations and, perhaps, an A.50 extension to give E27 member states enough time to ratify it. It seems most unlikely that A.50 would be extended in the absence of imminent agreement. The negotiations would have to be effectively completed by March for such an extension to be likely.

Some Remainers and commentators still cling to the hope that the A.50 notification could be withdrawn. But what party other than the Lib Dems is likely to campaign on that basis and form a government with a mandate to do so? The end game now is likely to be around whether any kind of deal can be negotiated and ratified in time, or whether there is an unavoidable slide towards a no deal Brexit. Over two long years after the referendum the end is slowly coming into view, and it is not a pretty sight...

Boris may be about to discover he is not a reincarnation of Churchill and the world has changed since 1940. Trump is most unlikely to come riding in to the rescue and the EU27 are not about to abandon their main basis for peace and prosperity since World War II. The Commonwealth may offer some consolation but hardly a return to British imperial rule. Scotland will most probably go its own way and N. Ireland seek salvation elsewhere. And all because a small English nationalist elite wanted to "take back control" from a Brussels elite which would not always do their bidding.

A sad end, to a once great power.

Display:
The difference between the UK and EU is the UK thinks it can hide behind the English Channel and the EU knows they exist cheek-by-jowl.  The Brits neither understand or gave a damn about 'Ever Closer Together' whereas the core of the EU knows 'Ever Closer' is a damn sight better than Yet Another round of mutual slaughter.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 09:24:15 PM EST
By "the core of the EU" I mean the 6 founding countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 09:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could now add Ireland, Portugal and Spain to the list because the EU helped to free us from Fascist/Catholic rule, considerable poverty, and helped bring the Good Friday agreement about. Italy may want to leave the Eurozone but hardly the EU, and if Greece didn't leave over its treatment in the recent crisis, it probably never will.

The Visegrád Group of countries may be recalcitrant now but even they have to acknowledge that the EU helped to transform their living standards. I see their reactionary politics now in a way similar to Ireland's reactionary politics of the 1980's. They will get over it. Brexiteer hopes for a disintegration of the EU are misplaced or at least much exaggerated. They are about to experience just how hard the EU27 will try to stay united at the UK's expense.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 09:44:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our fundamental problem is inherited wealth perpetuated through the public school system, which is designed to turn out exactly the kind of abusively dishonest entitled spivs and chancers that are the backbone of the Tory party.

It's all about class, which is another way of saying it's all about inherited wealth and property, and the  superiority, narcissism, and entitlement that go with them.

The US has the same problem. So does Russia, in its own way. China is about to start suffering from its own version. And of course the Saudis, and to a smaller extent Israel, are also examples.

The Left has been framing this the wrong way since Marx. It's not that he was wrong about capitalism, it's more that he didn't seem to appreciate the extent to which capitalism is just an industrial reinvention of plain old vanilla aristocracy.

Unless you take very active steps to dilute resource accumulation and political power across and within generations, a parasitic, self-destructive, and not particularly distinguished aristocracy is the inevitable outcome.

Conversely societies in which concentrations of wealth and power are tightly controlled are far more likely to be  socially and economically creative.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 10:13:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you accept that all the other EU27 countries are also, at least to a large extent, class societies, then what makes the UK so different? Perhaps it is that the UK has never suffered a catastrophic defeat with humiliating and devastating consequences - which largely destroyed the national ruling class - and so still harbours delusions of leading, rather than being part of a larger empire. Boris and Co. can go around still imagining they are running the world, and in some sense the Rees-Moggs actually are.

What neither have quite processed is that the UK no longer has the military, economic or political wherewithal to be a major power on its own in the world, and that much of its current status and GDP depends on its close alliances with the EU and USA. Both the EU and USA are going to go their own way now casting the UK adrift, attempting, vainly, to be some kind of European Singapore.

Even the Singaporean model has its limitation in an increasingly protectionist world where you need to be part of the big 3 or 4 - USA, EU, China and India -  and with Russia, Israel and Saudi Arabia currently punching above their weight, but at risk of over=playing their hands. It's going to get hot out there...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 10:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you accept that all the other EU27 countries are also, at least to a large extent, class societies, then what makes the UK so different?

You're playing devil's advocate here :)  Of course, all EU countries have a ruling class with inherited wealth having an inordinate political power. But by that metric, Britain (or more to the point: England) is really in a league of its own. The only country I know of in the Western hemisphere with an unelected legislative body, FFS.
by Bernard on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 07:53:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ever notice how the development of the Civil Service really started after the Commons reforms and the expansion of the franchise.  Had to keep the right sort of hands on the tiller, for Heaven's sake!
by rifek on Sat Jul 14th, 2018 at 02:26:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope you're right when it comes to Eastern Europe. But isn't there some difference between the internal struggle of shedding ideological/religious baggage and reversing the project of 'illiberal democracy' that is underpinned by xenophobia? The linchpin issue of immigration is one of the political areas where an itch will be scratched to the bone - no matter how irrational that is.

Insofar, I think the refugee crisis and the events of 2015 have been politically a catastrophe on the scale of 9/11. We all remember how meshugge the US became and still is. And now we're seeing how ugly we can be.

The governments can't let the xenophobia go - it's a major source of power and a surefire way to rile up the masses. Culturally, it's even more difficult to dislodge. I hope I'm wrong but I fear it's already split the EU too much. Though not too much when it comes to handling the UK.

Titanic approaching the iceberg. Of course it's the iceberg's fault.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 12:48:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone keeps harping on about how Brexit was fuelled by xenophobia, and Labour is presumed to be running scared and therefore insisting on migration controls.

But...



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 10:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... It's not that I'm an optimist. It can always get worse. But it's never hopeless.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 10:52:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like the effects of 'natural churn'. A few years down the line and any Brexit referendum would have been remain just because of the differences between generations.

Anyway my comment wasn't really about Brexit.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 06:29:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, your comment was about xenophobia. Such a rapid change in attitudes in the UK is remarkable -- perhaps comparable to the turnaround in attitudes to homosexuality, for example -- and requires analysis and explanation, because it runs counter to the prevailing narrative (which ostensibly promotes "tolerance" while condoning the weaponisation of xenophobia).

I don't know whether or not it can be seen as a hopeful sign for central Europe : quite likely, xenophobia lingers longer if you don't have many actual foreigners to measure it against. Just as fear and hatred of homosexuals works better while they stay in the closet.

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

by eurogreen on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 09:41:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't forget 9/11 - well, the offical US narrative around 9/11 - provided the foundation for all the subsequent Islamophobia and the xenophobia it spread out into.

If you attack a dog and starve it, it becomes anxious and vicious.

Voting populations are no different.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 07:04:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
9/11 and Binyamin Netanyahu rejoicing ... the threat of terror has now hit the American homefront.

Using FEAR to equate the Saudi attack on the twin towers as sourced by all Muslims, especially the Palestinians in occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza. Misinformation and propaganda, plus the necessary funding by Israel or one of the many NGOs established to support populist right-wing parties fearing a "Clash of Civilizations".

Xenophobia and Islamophobia

This has been a main theme of my diaries during the past decade.

From my recent diary - EU Takes Measures to Protect Business with Iran.

Creation of chaos has been a tough lesson for Europe where Islamophobia and Xenophobia give rise to populist right-wing parties. These undermine the long-time status quo between conservatives, centrists and socialist oriented political parties.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 06:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beginning of the end?  You mean there was an actual beginning (as opposed to an election that was just a one-star shite parade)?
by rifek on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 09:58:39 PM EST
Statement by Theresa May: : "Our proposal will create a UK-EU Free Trade Area which establishes a common rule book on industrial goods."

The Chequers Conclusion - MEMORANDUM

This memo is based on the press statement issued by the government about the conclusion of the Chequers Cabinet meeting on 6 July 2018, which  lacks  details  in  a  number  of  key  areas.    The  government's proposals can only be fully assessed once their promised White Paper is published.  However,  some  important  conclusions  can  be  drawn  very clearly even on the basis of this limited information.  

Soft Brexit proposal welcomed on both sides of Irish border | The Guardian |



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 11:15:45 PM EST
A Brexit that excludes services and destroys FoM is not soft.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 09:00:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good to see ask present today @ET.

That's been far too long dear friend!

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 05:43:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
`Am I bovvered?' EU shrugs its shoulders at Davis resignation
Others, officials and diplomats alike, were a little bit more forthcoming when asked to "react",  though all off the record.

Most were quick to point out that Davis actually spent very little time in Brussels negotiating. A total of four hours this  year, according to official records. He would hardly be missed. A much-vaunted warm relationship with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier - their shared hillwalking passion was often mentioned - was largely for show.

It wasn't only that Davis's role in the talks was never central, a role assumed week in week out by Olly Robbins, the civil servant who is Theresa May's chief EU adviser and strategist, but the latter had effectively usurped his position in the chain of command. "There have been clear tensions for some time," one diplomatic source observed.

Robbins has drafted most of the policy documents and May's key speeches and many of these have reportedly not even been seen by the now former Brexit secretary until they were about to be delivered. Some reports suggest he had been out of the loop on the White Paper discussed at cabinet, due to be published this week.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 11:36:17 PM EST
Brussels sheds no tears for Davis and Johnson
But neither of them has played a prominent role in negotiations over the U.K.'s departure from the European Union next March. The EU's main interlocutor has long been Oliver Robbins, May's top Europe adviser (poached from Davis' Department for Exiting the EU late last year). The bloc's top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, made exactly that point at an EU summit late last month.

"Davis has only seen him [Barnier] once in three months," one EU diplomat wrote in his notes about Barnier's presentation. "Robbins is the real negotiator."

When I read that, I did a double take: the guy was officially Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and he only met Barnier once in three months? Are you effing kidding me?
by Bernard on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 08:14:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From my quote above: "Most were quick to point out that Davis actually spent very little time in Brussels negotiating. A total of four hours this year, according to official records."

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 09:18:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But, that would mean doing actual work! Surely, that is for the little people?
by fjallstrom on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 01:56:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it could mean just eating in good restaurants. But he couldn't bother even doing that.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 02:08:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Tory's idea of a good restaurant doesn't work very well on the continent.
by rifek on Sat Jul 14th, 2018 at 02:14:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I quote Friday's Guardian Editorial in full (cos it's 5 days old) because it needs to be read in its full withering vitriol. Remember, this was written before the Chuers summit and before Davis and Johnston flounced out

The outcome of today's Chequers cabinet summit on Brexit policy was not yet known at the time of writing. Yet the 11th-hour proceedings, and everything that has led up to them since well before the 2016 referendum, underscore a huge and continuing political truth. That truth is not affected by the Chequers outcome - and it is not sufficiently often stated either. Yet it blights every aspect of our political life as a nation.

Most revolutionaries have a plan for what they want to do after the revolution. Cromwell had one. So did Washington and Robespierre, Lenin and Mao. The plans may have been good ones or terrible ones, but at least they were plans. These revolutionaries were desperate to implement their projects.
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Britain's Brexiters are not like that. They want their revolutionary act - leaving the European Union - and they have got it. But they accept absolutely no responsibility for what comes afterwards. Instead they arrogate to themselves the right to carp, criticise, reject, undermine and denounce as betrayal every aspect of every attempt to define the consequences of their revolution. They have no doctrine other than dislike of the EU. They have no programme to replace it. Their revolutionism is a performance not a project. It's an act - vacuous, hollow, infantile, fanciful and foolish.

The Chequers meeting has been a classic illustration of this fundamentally frivolous and destructive approach to politics. After two largely wasted years, and with the clock ticking towards Brexit in March 2019, Theresa May finally came up with a plan this week to try to give the Brexiters what they want - Brexit - but on terms that many remainers can live with. She and her officials have spent months trying to craft a compromise that would combine Brexit with terms that allows Britain to keep its promises on Ireland and to maintain jobs and the economy.
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And the response? As soon as they got the Chequers draft, the Brexiters did the only three things they ever do. First they denounced the draft as a betrayal, then they leaked their version of it to the anti-European press, and finally they closeted themselves away to threaten and plot against Mrs May. Detailed alternatives? Different drafts that might resolve difficulties, bring disputants together or persuade the EU? Dream on.

Never at any stage do the Brexiters ever accept the practical duty of producing a detailed post-Brexit plan. Instead, David Davis smirks through meeting after meeting, Boris Johnson gabbily chases cheap headlines, Michael Gove spins a wordy web of courteous waffle and Liam Fox insists that black is white and white black. Mr Davis said this week that Mrs May's ideas would not work. So, what might work instead? There was, predictably, no answer from Mr Davis. There never is. The Brexiters created the mess and the burden with which Mrs May has to wrestle. But it is never, ever, their fault. Nothing ever is. It is only, ever, Mrs May's fault - or someone else's fault: the civil service, the judges, business leaders, the Irish, the liberal elites or Brussels.

Before the Brexit vote and since, the Brexiters have never put forward a detailed plan of their own. They did not do so this week. They spent 12 hours at Chequers not doing it. They won't do it next week either. They don't do plans. They only do fantasy. They spun a fantasy of takeover by Brussels; now they spin a fantasy of liberation from it. They have held our country, its politics, its press and its shared life hostage to their lazy second-rate dreariness for too long. It is time to take the fight to them.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 11:40:24 AM EST
Good sentiments.  At least three years too late.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 01:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are like 4 year olds who keep shouting "I Want, I want I WANT" in response to every attempt to reason with them and who, even if they get what they say they wanted, immediately find fault with what was given and want something else. It is the sense of entitlement of rich kids, who expect never to have to do the actual work of creating something worthwhile.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 09:54:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ever since the referendum, we have all known that Brexit was going to be a train wreck. The only question being : which side will the train fall? Soft or hard?

There would be a certain amount of satisfaction in watching Boris take over to serve a Full English Dog's Brexit, then lose an election and disappear into the dustbin of history with David Cameron (remember him?). Then the next government can come begging :

Or May might survive and serve a soft-boiled Brexit, with full costs, taking rules and not making them, and no added value. Then the next government can ...

... turn the message around :

When I say Norway Plus - what is the plus? Well, people including some of my comrades in this country and in this party, say to me that the problem with the Norway solution and the difficulty the Labour Party has in supporting it, is because it turns Britain into an EU rules-taker.

This of course is correct  - this is the price you have to pay for being inside a transnational market. But it doesn't have to be that way. Britain does not have to be an EU rule-taker if it strikes a Norway-style agreement.

Allow me to be very specific in three areas here. One is labour market standards and protections for wage labour. Secondly, environmental standards and the protection of the environment. Thirdly, financial regulation. Nothing stops Britain in a Norway-style agreement from setting for itself and for any company working within the United Kingdom, higher regulatory standards for the City of London, higher environmental standards, higher minimum wages and higher standards for defending wage labour.

So instead of thinking of the EU single market rules as the ceilings: think of them as the floors! And think of Labour as the party that will campaign out there for improving the environmental standards, labour standards and financial regulation standards of Brussels and Frankfurt.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 02:38:56 PM EST
yea, because obviously the EU was a dead weight on the tory free marketeers preventing them from introducing higher standards.

You only have to look at who the brexiteers are to recognise where this project will go, who will benefit and who will end up paying the price for it

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 03:55:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, the tories won't because they don't want to.

But the article is correct that being outside the EU, also lets countries move ahead in a faster pace. For example, Sweden's chemical regulations had to be weakened after joining the EU (free market in stuff that is bad for you), and that lasted until REACH. The greens here spend half the time thinking up clever ways to get local government to buy more locally and organic produce, without running afoul of EU regulations. And freedom of movement and enterprise has repeatedly been used as a bludgeon to lower standards of employment, and so on.

So yeah, the tories won't. But Corbyn could.

by fjallstrom on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 02:10:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an encouraging take, euro green.  I resonated with that.
As regarsd the EU in its totality, I guess it's, I've everything difficult and challenging, first you do it wrong, so that then you can do it right knowing the traps second time around.
The main tension to resolve from where I stand is between the intention behind the whole project and how it was marketed to Europeans. So many positives we saw in the 90'same, Erasmus, Schengen being the main attractors.
But were these just the honey in thee trap?
Was the secret intention all along to homogenise Europeans so their identification with the project outstripped their own nationalistic tendencies (so far, so good) to the point that with the growing sense of unity and freedom from weird anomalies that were part of national identities (and all the tariffs that slowed trade) and collaborate on a superstate that would take the best from all the individual nations and weld it together for the good of all, or was it just marketing and the intention was to yoke all national financial enterprise to the diktat of an all-powerful central bank, and thus enrich the already wealthy at the cost of austerity for the poor. A giant ruse in other words in order to suscitate unity while further driving inequality, turbo capitalism, the financialisation of everything, neoliberalism, neoconservative adventures, trickle down theory and all the toxic rest of it.
If that was the pig, now the lipstick is coming off and we are moving towards a Macronesque new Europe, less workers' rights, more plutocracy, more police state, all still dressed in fluffy, exceptionalist rhetoric.
The truth will out.  

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 08:26:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aargh spellchecker, my bad for not previewing :(

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 08:28:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We all know the Tories hate the EU because it isn't neo-liberal enough for them. There are still vestiges of the social market, public healthcare, consumer standards, regional funds, social funds etc. despite the emergence of hard right governments in several member states.

But what's Corbyn's problem? Could he not have argued, as Yanis Varoufakis says, for higher labour standards, greater environmental controls, stricter financial regulation? Did he even try to make the case or present an alternative negotiating position? Beyond fudged attitudes to the Customs Union and Single market, what is it he actually wants from the EU?

If his problems are increasing inequality, austerity, centralisation, lack of accountability, excessive migration - could he not have presented an alternative set of reforms which would make the EU more acceptable to him? Then, if the EU rejects his proposals, he has a rational basis for leaving. If they negotiate an agreed set of reforms, he has an alternative (to Brexit) proposal to put the the British people.

But right now he has contributed nothing, except perhaps an even more ambiguous "me too" to Theresa May's already vague ideas. No wonder neither the Remain nor the Leave side see him as an alternative to May.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 09:47:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Corbyn's a bit of an old-timer, and he analyses, correctly, that the UE in its current form is an obstacle to socialising the means of production :).

Specifically, state aid etc.
So, socialism in one country...


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

by eurogreen on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 09:06:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and clearly that is what the British people have voted for...</snark>

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 09:26:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He did campaign for staying in the EU, arguing for reform from the inside.
So what do you expect him to contribute at this point? Magically organise a majority in parliament so Brexit goes away and the right can continue as before? There is no good solution and the least damaging will still involve painful concessions toward European capital.

Now that doesn't mean that I have any confidence in his ability to handle the negotiations if the task would end up on his desk. And I find Labour HQ's economic messaging to be pretty weak. If you still believe taxes fund spending.....
However, Varoufakis had pretty good economics and it didn't help at all.

by generic on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 11:17:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"So what do you expect him to contribute at this point?"

He needs to differentiate his approach more from May's. Both seem to want a soft Brexit involving a close relationship with the Customs Union and (most of) the single market. I doubt most voters can understand the difference in their positions...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 08:01:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there were elections now they wouldn't be about Brexit. At the moment only the far right really cares so they can be relied to rally to the banners against anything that remotely looks like a workable compromise. And there is no counterbalancing enthusiasm on the other side of this issue. Rallying around the status quo is not something you'd expect after a decade of austerity. So having a workable Brexit plan would be an electoral liability now. And if the elections are held at the regular time, the EU - UK relation would already have to be settled.

Doesn't mean there shouldn't be a sensible plan, but I can't really think of any likely scenario where having one will be of any use.

by generic on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 08:35:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I don't get about Labour right now is that they seem to have lost track of the whole idea of international socialism. Seems to me that the EU enables you to have (roughly) equivalent worker rights and standards across a larger population, which should be good.

What is the socialist theory that supports it working better in an isolated country?

by asdf on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 06:05:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Little Englanderism"
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 07:30:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stalin proposed the theory of Socialism in one country in 1924 in opposition to Leon Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution. .

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 09:21:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we all kinda lost track of that in 1914. If anyone has an idea how to bring it back...
by generic on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 09:48:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In theory, socialism is international. In practice, every time a socialist party has got into or even close to power, the practicalities of ruling turns it into a party focused on a particular country.

Sure, one can cite Stalin, but the same can be seen in the rest of Europe. Already during world war one, the socialist parties turned towards supporting their particular state. This was quite a turn as they earlier had stopped an outbreak of war by threatening with general strike in all the involved countries. You have some splitters, but in the main the big parties supported their state. The split later turned into the reformist/revolutionary or social democratic/communist divide, but the lines go back to the war and internationalism.

by fjallstrom on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 10:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed you could argue that war and nationalism have been the primary devices used by capitalism to keep the global dispossessed divided - and Brexit is a form of war by other means... All the more reason for Corbyn to support EU reform rather than EU schism.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 10:51:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
War is the highest form of struggle for resolving contradictions, when they have developed to a certain stage, between classes, nations, states, or political groups, and it has existed ever since the emergence of private property and of classes.

"War is the continuation of politics." In this sense, war is politics and war itself is a political action; since ancient times there has never been a war that did not have a political character.... However, war has its own particular characteristics and in this sense, it cannot be equated with politics in general. "War is the continuation of politics by other . . . means."

typically, bribery, also known as pandering and block grants, to induce cooperation from competitors for exclusive use of wtf.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 11:50:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really want to read up about the French revolution once I find the time. From the little I know that was the first time the European elite went all in on nationalism to head off human progress. And keep their heads attached.
by generic on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 08:43:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I may make a recommendation, begin with Louis XIV and his right-hand man Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Their project to pacify the ambitions of two"estates" created a lucrative professional political economy, dividing the third, in the Estates General. Within a couple generations this faction got quite out of hand. In the National Assembly.

That is the impression my daughter's International Baccalaureate (IB) textbook history left with me.

possibly related reference
émigré(e), Fr., n., exile; "a person who has left their own country in order to settle in another, usually for political reasons"; idiom. asylum seeker, asylee, syn. refugee

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 03:59:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Suppliants

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 04:07:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Louis XIV pre-dated the Revolution by at least 120 years. His reign arguably represented the apogee of the French monarchy: France was the most powerful and most populous country at that time. Louis cemented his absolute power over the French institutions (the word absolutism was coined then) and waged war all over Europe: Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain...

The French Revolution did happen at the end of the following century and was preceded by weakened kings (Louis XV & Louis XVI, descendants of Louis XIV) and new Enlightenment ideas about freedom and equality (plus that thing that happened over, in the Americas). Another contributing factor reportedly was a series of famines in the countryside, following the eruption of a volcano in Iceland in 1783.

by Bernard on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 08:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then the World Wars showed the plutocrats how disruptive modern war had become, so they established transnational regimes that would keep the wars limited, thus keeping trade flowing while still providing for war profiteering.
by rifek on Sat Jul 14th, 2018 at 02:10:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Mensajes que me llegan: 😂😂😂

BRITAIN is now officially a banana republic with constant sunshine, collapsing government, depreciation currency and a good football team.

— Amparo Polo (@Amparopolo) July 10, 2018

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 03:01:37 PM EST



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 10:51:18 AM EST
The Sun is preparing its readers for all possible outcomes (as is the government apparently) so that must be true, then.

Ministers draw up secret plans to stockpile processed food in case of a `no deal' Brexit

which has been picked up by other popular sources - [iNews].

The government is about to start stockpiling processed food in case of `no deal' Brexit

And there was I thinking I could leave stocking up the larder til early in 2019.

by oldremainmer48 on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 01:52:10 PM EST
Things be getting heated.

Tory vice-chairs quit over Brexit - and a `no confidence' vote in May seems imminent

Two more Conservative MPs have quit their roles in defiance against Theresa May's lousy `Chequers plan' for Brexit. Neither is a great loss but it is possible that they may have written the letters that pitch the prime minister into a battle to retain the Tory leadership.

Of course neither one is smarter than the average gerbil, Bradley was the guy who said unemployed people should be sterilized, Caulfield the gal who thought women were too stupid to be in charge of their own bodies.  


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

by ATinNM on Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 05:02:53 PM EST
Folks like that may be stupid, but they're still in charge on both sides of the Atlantic.  And what does that say about the brain wattage of the people who keep returning them to power?
by rifek on Sat Jul 14th, 2018 at 01:56:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would take several books to detail why the Right continues to win.  The tl;dr version is: the Right knows what it wants and how to get it and the Left, in the US, doesn't exist and in the EU is bewildered at the turn of events and bereft of ideas.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Jul 14th, 2018 at 02:44:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right-wing politics is the art of conning people into acting against their own interests.

The Left shouldn't be too hard on itself about this. It's impossible to overstate the weapons-grade moral and political cynicism that keeps the Right in power. Most educated middle class adults simply don't have the brain space or the moral precedent to comprehend the required extremes of murderously criminal self-interest.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2018 at 08:48:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is very good at analysing some of the psychology behind brexit. I found myself agreeing with rather a lot of it. I believe Anne Applebaum has written something similar in WaPo today as well

Guardian - Martin Kettle - Boris Johnson's Brexit was never a dream. It was pure fantasy

It is not possible to understand Brexit without understanding that Brexit is, as Johnson called it, a dream. Many different dreams, in fact. For some it has been a dream of sovereignty, for others a dream of freedom, or of restored greatness and much else. There is nothing necessarily wrong or ignoble with dreams, or even some of those particular dreams. But in the end dreams exist in the imagination, not reality. They don't put food on the table. They don't balance the accounts. Dreams are never enough. That has been this government's achilles heel.

The fundamental practical difficulty that all Brexiteers have faced since June 2016 is that dreams of this kind oversimplify a world full of complexity. Brexit was offered as a single liberating proposition, when in fact it involved multi-layered consequences and implications that require negotiation with others. It is hardly surprising that the May cabinet and the wider Tory party have struggled to come up with a defined view of Brexit because, in the end, Brexit isn't a plan at all. It's an attitude, not an agenda.

It is more important for Brexiteers to "believe" in Brexit than to implement it. It's like believing in your football team. It's why Brexiteers are so suspicious of Brexit betrayal. In their minds, Brexiteers own the result in 2016 - and regard it as absolute - but are unwilling to own the practical consequences. Faced with a choice between Brexit and a plan for Brexit, they will always choose the former. As a consequence, most of the practical detail has had to come from the realists, some of whom are against Brexit altogether, while others are supporters of what Johnson this week called "semi-Brexit".



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 03:36:40 PM EST
Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Märchen.

Herzl's epitaph to Altneuland (one of the funniest books I've ever read). If it worked for Zionism, why shouldn't it work for Brexit?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 03:39:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
from wiki describing plot of oldnewland;-

The duo arrives at the time of a general election campaign, during which a fanatical rabbi establishes a political platform arguing that the country belongs exclusively to Jews and demands non-Jewish citizens be stripped of their voting rights, but is ultimately defeated.

the trouble with fantasies is that they only bear the slightest resemblance to actual reality. In real life, the rabbi won.

It may now represent the zionist fantasy, but I don't think we're at the end of history just yet and there are more whirlwinds to be harvested yet

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 05:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

UK's latest Brexit plans likely to cross EU red lines, Barnier hints | The Guardian |

EU diplomats had already warned that the white paper proposals would probably not be good enough, while a source who had seen an earlier draft described the UK approach as "cake", a reference to the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson's one-liner about being "pro having [cake] and pro eating it", meaning that it could not be accepted.

The UK proposal to create a single market in goods is likely to meet resistance in the face of the EU's longstanding demand that there can be no-cherry picking of its internal market, nor division of its "four freedoms".




Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 05:17:33 AM EST
Wait a little longer ... with Brexit and May has delivered the Union Jack without ECJ interference.

    "If you want to address the causes of populism, it
    was necessary, in my view, to have a referendum."

[David Cameron, former UK Prime Minister in Dec. 2016]

We all knew and it has been proven, the Brexit referendum and the upset election win by Donald Trump was a well planned and managed coup of the new digital age to undermine democracy through social media ... and bots. Disinformation is the master of politics ... the head man sits in the Oval Office ready to destroy any competitor. Welcome to the game of capitalism. The economic heart of the EU is Germany and Chancellor Merkel as representative. Lots of fun to destroy the economic union of Europe. The EU is at the heart of peace after two devastating great wars across the continent.

Trump is an excellent traveling salesman looking for clients for US military goods, upping spending in NATO  from 2 to 4% of GDP.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 05:19:10 AM EST
After some consideration I disagree. Boris is a very fitting heir to Churchill, even if his quibs aren't as funny. After all, all military ventures he touched he screwed up. The Italian campaign in WW2, the Ottoman front in WW1.... And then he killed something along the line of 3 million Indians in an artificial famine out of pure malice. And somehow nothing ever sticks to him.
by generic on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 08:32:23 AM EST
Oh come on. Boris hasn't done anything like Churchill putting Britain back on the gold standard - the closest he's come is wasting London's money with his Boris buses.

As for quibs, I'm sure that with time lots of other peoples quibs can be attributed to Boris, as has happened with Churchill.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 10:23:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He isn't even PM yet. Give it time.
by generic on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 11:27:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not even Chancellor of the Exchequer, surely a necessary first step for a new Churchill.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 11:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, but surely the point is not whether he is truly comparable to Churchill, but that he models himself on Churchill and imagines himself the inheritor of Churchill's political legacy...?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 11:38:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he models himself on Churchill

So he's going to volunteer to fight in Afghanistan?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 12:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lessons from Winston Churchill: Withdrawal from Afghanistan
As America's long decade of war in Afghanistan draws to a close in 2014 with the end of combat operations against the Taliban, it is perhaps worth reflecting on the conclusions the young Winston Churchill reached about the futility of waging war there. "Financially it is ruinous. Morally it is wicked. Militarily it is an open question, and politically it is a blunder."


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 12:34:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the end of combat operations against the Taliban,

???

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 12:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Written in 2014...


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 01:16:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
paving the road to hell and all that

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 04:02:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who are you accusing of having good intentions?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 08:14:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Jul 13th, 2018 at 08:37:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, he isn't a Younger Son That Something Needs Done With, for starts.  Does he drink like Churchill?
by rifek on Sat Jul 14th, 2018 at 01:47:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How did Trump go from bad joke to good bloke in the UK press?
This amazing transformation from bad joke to good bloke is largely about the newspapers' domestic political agenda and can be traced to Boris Johnson's claim five weeks ago that Trump could handle Brexit better than May. The leave-supporting press thought Boris was on to something and piled in behind him. In effect, they agreed that we shouldn't continue with all this time-consuming negotiating business. Let's just leave and be done with it.

Bashing Merkel and May fits the pro-Brexit bill, as does backing Boris. So, having conquered their initial distaste for Trump's vulgarity and wilfully turning a blind eye to his sexual peccadilloes, Brexiter editors decided they liked his brand of politics. Not only that, they also found much to admire about his blunt political modus operandi: tweet first and think later.

by Bernard on Sun Jul 15th, 2018 at 02:19:32 PM EST
May uttered the two words of Trump's advise: "Sue EU".

What stupidity to repeat this before UK press, pointless and indication May is at a complete loss. Admiration for Der Trumpf?

Lost another minister today about some pervert tweets ... nice set of Tory ministers coming and going.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sun Jul 15th, 2018 at 02:46:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
May uttered the two words of Trump's advise: "Sue EU".

At least she could have asked him in which court. ECJ? US SC? ICJ?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jul 15th, 2018 at 05:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jul 15th, 2018 at 02:56:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just goes to show how right wing most of the UK press has become. Trump's nihilism towards the EU suits the agenda of many of these papers which are mostly in favour of a no-deal brexit.

We face a situation where most of the press have more or less thrown in their lot with racists and the alt-right because it suits their owners corporate agenda

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 15th, 2018 at 05:04:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kabuki theatre

I can't help it, but these last weeks of Downing Street 10 appears to me part of a Kabuki theatre of the Tories with May, Johnson and Davies in the lead roles.

There is no way Michel Barnier and the EU nations will accept the Chequers White Paper as a new start for negotiations. Intent to let the "negotiations" fail and place blame on EU intransigence.

Once the talks have failed, the real Brexiteers will become part of government again, perhaps under a new Tory leader.

That's my take of things that pass. It couldn't be utter stupidity, can it?

Dear EU, please take Britain's Brexit plan seriously. It may be our best offer | The Guardian - Opinion |



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Sun Jul 15th, 2018 at 06:28:33 PM EST
Intent to let the "negotiations" fail and place blame on EU intransigence.

I think it's been the plan from day one.

by Bernard on Tue Jul 17th, 2018 at 06:21:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to be honest, it's gotten so bad here that Theresa May whipped (compulsory voting) her party to defeat her own bill in order to appease the brexiteers.

Other votes were only won with the collusion of pro-brexit right wing Labour traitor MPs.

Government in the UK is collapsing right in front of us

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 17th, 2018 at 07:31:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Government in the UK is collapsing right in front of us

The fact nobody in the Tories has clue fucking one what is going on has to please the SNP.  

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

by ATinNM on Tue Jul 17th, 2018 at 10:00:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Rudderless State
What we also now know though is that they have not a clue as to what comes next. These revolutionaries are aimless. Their only desire is harm.

And as a result we are now rudderless, with parliament being suspended early in a desperate attempt to curtail the damage to which this government, hopeless as it is, also has no answer.

We are, quite literally, a country adrift. We have no effective government. No effective Parliament. No effective allies. No effective vision. No undertsanding of what our state is any more. Or our country, come to that. No idea where it is going. No popukar philosophy telling us that there is an alternative. No effective opposition to promote another option. We have nothing at all.

by generic on Wed Jul 18th, 2018 at 01:47:37 PM EST
And current is going to dash them on the rocks.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 18th, 2018 at 02:01:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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