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Has the backstop back-fired on Ireland?

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 01:27:14 PM EST

The back-stop is that part of May's now half dead deal with the EU whereby all parties committed themselves formally to what they all claim to be committed to in practice: No hard policed customs border in Ireland. Initially the UK proposed to do this via yet to be invented new technology which would magically make any border controls invisible. When no practical solution on these lines emerged they proposed to do so by retaining Northern Ireland within the Customs Union and Single Market until such time as another solution to keeping the border open could be found.

This was absolutely unacceptable to the DUP as it would entail a customs border "down the Irish Sea" between the EU and UK and, in their terms, threaten the constitutional Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The DUP is absolutely opposed to any and all divergence between Northern Ireland and Great Britain for this reason, except when it is not: On abortion rights, marriage equality, minority language rights, transparency of political donations, animal disease controls and some agricultural product standards, for example.

Theresa May's solution to this conundrum was to propose retaining all of the UK within the Customs Union until such time as an alternative solution could be found, thus giving Ireland, North and south, the best of both worlds: unhindered access to both the EU and UK markets, and calming the fears of most of UK business about barriers to trade with the EU for the foreseeable future. This has proved to be the single most unpopular feature of May's proposed deal in the UK, and is widely blamed for it's massive defeat. But it was actually a UK proposal and a massive concession by the EU - for which it has gotten zero credit.


It was unpopular among Brexiteers because it prevented the UK from negotiating its own trade deals which might differ with the rules contained in EU trade deals. It was unpopular with Remainers because it was so obviously inferior to full EU membership as the UK would become subject to rules it had no direct say in formulating. It was hated by the DUP because it did not achieve their unstated objective of ring fencing "Ulster" (in reality 6 of the 9 counties of Ulster) from the rest of Ireland.

It was also a major concession by the EU because no other third country has been given such unfettered access to EU markets without paying a heavy price: in the case of Norway, something approaching the UK's current, and much hated, net contribution to the EU on a per capita basis. Although everyone agreed it would be temporary, no one believed there was any other way of keeping both the Irish border and the Irish Sea open. Neither the Norway+ or Canada+++ free trade deals mooted by the UK as a basis for their future relationship with the EU would have kept the Irish Border open.

The Irish government, supported by the EU, pursued a hard line on retaining the backstop within the agreement despite a lot of pressure from the UK to back down. Doing so would have meant accepting that, sooner or later, border controls would be required once the transitional arrangements, and any extension thereof, had expired to be replaced by some form of trade deal, however extensive. The risk of that happening would also have been a powerful lever for the UK to force further concessions from the EU in the future - effectively unfettered access to EU markets indefinitely - without having to pay Norway like contributions to the EU budget. Effectively the UK objective of "having its cake and eating it" would have been achieved.

But there were also powerful domestic factors forcing the Irish government's hand in all of this. The centenary of the Irish Civil War 1922/3 is coming up, a war fought over the Anglo Irish Treaty which created the Irish border in the first place, and which has continued to shape Irish politics ever since with the two main political Parties - Fine Gael and Fianna Fail representing opposing sides in that war. One of the great achievements of Irish politics has been the relatively peaceful resolution of that civil war in the south, and, much more recently, the resolution of that conflict in the North through the Belfast Good Friday Agreement of 1998 (GFA) which guaranteed "equality of esteem" to both the Nationalist and Unionist traditions there.

The GFA was successful largely because both Ireland and the UK were members of the EU and committed to "an ever closer union" which has gradually dissolved the hard edges of British rule in Northern Ireland, enabled some devolution of powers to N. Ireland, and reduced the border to some long abandoned check-points and military fortifications. It did so while scarcely having to mention the EU because A.50 of the Lisbon Treaty didn't exist then, and no one gave a thought to the possibility of either Ireland or the UK ever leaving the Union.

The DUP, for its part, opposed and resisted the GFA, and only very reluctantly came on board after the 2006 St. Andrews Agreement which enabled Ian Paisley to become First Minister in a devolved administration which also included Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein as deputy First Minister. The pair developed an excellent working relationship, much to the chagrin of many of their supporters, and became known as the "Chuckle Brothers" for their jovial and harmonious relationship in public.

But that was then and this is now. Personal and political relationships gradually deteriorated under Ian Paisley's successor, Peter Robinson, and then fell into free fall under his successor Arlene Foster, to the point where Martin McGuinness pulled Sinn Fein out of the devolved administration shortly before his death in 2017, an administration that has never been revived. Relationships deteriorated even further due to Arlene Foster's responsibility for the Renewable Heat Initiative Scandal and then the DUP's support for Brexit, even after it was decisively defeated in the referendum in Northern Ireland by 56-44%.

The DUP is a very right wing hard line (British) Nationalist party which would have been ideologically well disposed to Brexit in any case, but in this situation Brexit also represented an opportunity to get one over their opponents Sinn Fein, who campaigned for Remain. It was an opportunity to emphasise N. Ireland's distinct identity from the rest of Ireland, and emphasize its closer alignment with Great Britain.

The DUP claims any customs controls in the Irish sea would undermine the Constitutional integrity of the Union while seeing no difficulty with greater (virtual or otherwise) controls across the Irish border. But if some greater controls in the Irish Sea (in additional to current animal and food safety checks) represent a change to N. Ireland's constitutional status - which under the GFA requires majority agreement - how much greater a Constitutional change is Brexit itself, which has been explicitly rejected by a large majority of the people of N. Ireland?

The Irish government was explicitly opposed to Brexit for all of these reasons, but failing that, the least it could do was to insist on a backstop which prevented the re-emergence of a hard military and customs border in Ireland in all circumstances. Unionist commentators are now arguing that Ireland has overplayed its hand and now faces the prospect of a hard border re-emerging on the 29th. of March should a no deal Brexit occur. This would be economically very damaging for Ireland, North and South, but even these economic considerations are trumped, for the Irish Government, by the political implications of the re-emergence of a hard border for peace and stability on the island.

Nationalist commentators on the other hand, point out that the crushing defeat of May's deal has made a reversal of Brexit much more likely, and that this was, rightly, the Irish governments preferred outcome all along. Either way, it is a high risk, high stakes, poker game, with the outcome still in the balance. It is a game which the Irish government very much would have preferred not to have to play in in the first place, but the historical and political situation gave it no choice but to go all in and play every card it had.

There will undoubtedly be huge recriminations within the Irish political system if a no deal Brexit occurs and huge damage is done to the Irish economy. The EU will want to secure its external frontier with the UK within Ireland, and yet it will be politically impossible for the Irish government to comply. It has even been suggested that the Irish government would pay EU fines rather than seek to enforce controls at the border. Parallels have been drawn with trade across the East/West German border prior to formal re-unification and incorporation into the EU.

At the very least, stringent controls will have to be enforced at Irish air and sea ports to prevent UK goods entering the rest of the EU via the "back door" of N. Ireland. This would make legitimate Irish exports to the EU subject to "rules of origin" checks to ensure they hadn't originated in the UK and thus could cause some delays and costs. However there are very few UK exports to the EU which could be shipped economically via N. Ireland and the Republic and so spot checks on specific products, and trucks known to have originated outside of the Republic would probably suffice.

This would not prevent UK goods having access to the Irish market via the border. However the vast majority of these are shipped directly from Britain through Irish air and sea ports, and even those which do cross the border are largely imported by major supermarket chains like Tesco which could be subjected to onsite inspection and VAT like duty payment systems. The amount of goods, subject to WTO tariffs, transported across the border by private individuals and small businesses is trivial in an EU context and will probably be officially ignored for quite some time.

The Irish government's case to the EU will probably be that the "No deal" scenario is temporary, subject to ongoing discussion between the EU and UK, and there is no point in putting in expensive and complex permanent solutions to what might well be a transient problem. Many - and soon a majority - of citizens in the North are eligible for Irish, and therefore EU citizenship and should not have their freedom of movement hindered.

So the argument that Ireland and the EU's hard line insistence on a backstop has backfired is dependent on a number of misconceptions:

  1. Firstly the backstop was never primarily about trade in the first place. It was about peace and stability in Ireland, and therefore essentially non-negotiable.

  2. Secondly, to have placed a time limit on the backstop would have exposed the EU to a lot of pressure to give the UK unfettered access to EU markets - in order to keep the border open - after the transition period when the EU would normally only give such access  to a third country at considerable cost.

  3. Thirdly, while the back-stop was the issue which provoked DUP opposition to May's deal, only 45 Tory MPs gave it as their primary reason for voting against the deal. So even adding a time limit would not have come even close to bringing the deal across the line.

  4. Fourthly, while the crushing defeat of May's deal has made a no deal Brexit more likely, it has also made the Irish government's preferred option - reversal of Brexit - more likely.

  5. Fifthly, even in a worst case scenario, where a no deal Brexit occurs, post Brexit negotiations will undoubtedly take place, and the Irish Government's and EU's red line of an open Irish border will have been burnt into the political landscape. The UK will not get a deal negotiated post Brexit that will create a hard border any more than it could before.

  6. Lastly, the DUP will not hold the balance of power forever. A future Labour led government, or even a Tory government not dependent on DUP support will not be slow to jettison DUP interests if the UK's economic interests require it. Ultimately, very few in Great Britain care a jot whether N. Ireland remains in the Single Market and Customs Union or not, and customs controls in the Irish sea will barely raise an eyebrow.

Display:
Is Robinson a very common surname in Northern Ireland? Or is DUP leadership in the hands of Arlene Foster ... ;)

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 02:59:00 PM EST
Both. Corrected. Thanks!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 03:01:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

A Chara,

Your correspondent, Newton Emerson, Opinion, Jan 17th. argues that Ireland's insistence on a backstop has backfired because it has increased the probability of a hard "no deal" Brexit which would turn the border into an external EU customs border on the 29th. March.

Conversely, your correspondent, Noel Whelan, Opinion, Jan 18th. argues that it has increased the probability of Brexit being reversed, and thus resulting in the outcome most favoured by the Irish government all along. Only time will tell, who will ultimately be proved correct.

However Newton Emerson also fundamentally misunderstands why insisting on a backstop was so important to the Irish government:

Firstly the backstop was never primarily about trade in the first place. It was about peace and stability in Ireland, and therefore essentially non-negotiable.

Secondly, to have placed a time limit on the backstop would have exposed the EU to a lot of pressure to give the UK permanent unfettered access to EU markets - in order to keep the border open - after the transition period when the EU would normally only give such access to a third country at considerable cost. Norway's per capita contribution for market access is equivalent to the UK's much hated net contribution to the EU. The UK would essentially be "having its cake and eating it."

Thirdly, while the back-stop was the issue which provoked DUP opposition to May's deal, only 45 Tory MPs gave it as their primary reason for voting against the deal. So even adding a time limit would not have come even close to bringing May's deal across the line.

Fourthly, even in a worst case scenario, where a no deal Brexit occurs, post Brexit negotiations will undoubtedly take place, and the Irish Government's and EU's red line of an open Irish border will have been burnt into the political landscape. The UK will not get a deal negotiated post Brexit that will create a hard border any more than it could beforehand.

Lastly, the DUP will not hold the balance of power forever. A future Labour led government, or even a Tory government not dependent on DUP support will not be slow to jettison DUP interests if the UK's economic interests require it. Ultimately, very few in Great Britain care a jot whether N. Ireland remains in the Single Market and Customs Union or not, and customs controls in the Irish sea will barely raise an eyebrow.

Kind regards,

Frank Schnittger



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 02:59:19 PM EST
I witness no perspective for a resolution from the people occupying seats in the House of Commons, nor by the Tory leadership and #10 Downing Street. Most discussion and debates here @home are about the process and why the arrogance by these people to prefer infighting than to work towards a tangible goal.

The Tory leadership has mismanaged the UK membership of the EU for many years. Failed negotiations on the preference of the British in Brussels, the option of the referendum by David Cameron, the call by Theresa May for new elections to "increase" Conservative majority and her position to negotiate a good deal with Europe. She failed on all accounts and got the DUP as a breaker of any viable deal as a first result. It became a non-starter with the pure arrogance to place further Tory party red lines.

Am still surprised, as you are, for an acceptable deal for all 28 parties laid down for the vote before Parliament. Not uncommon, the British are in no hurry, they cue in line for each to take a stab at proposals for Brussels "to eat cake".

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

by Oui on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 03:12:33 PM EST
You can imagine the uproar, in the UK, if the European Parliament refused to ratify the deal negotiated and agreed by the Council.

The problem, now, is there is no good way out. May's deal, no deal, or a second referendum are all divisive options and few want to put their head on the block by opting for one.  All are hoping that the final decision is made by others who will then reap the electoral damage.

I still think there is a small chance the European Council won't agree an A.50 extension if requested by the UK merely to extend the stalemate. Again, imagine the uproar if, say, Romania voted against extension effectively booting the UK out on March 29th.!

The Westminster debate is all about the UK and what various factions want. No one listens to the EU or Ireland and assumes that they will simply roll over and give the UK what it wants once they can agree on something.

Ridiculous proposals about a "managed Brexit" or the EU agreeing sectoral deals post Brexit are concocted out of thin air without any conception of how the EU actually works.

Apparently everyone has to change their laws and constitutions to accommodate the latest UK wheeze. Unreal...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 04:55:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Complete impasse in London ... no  courage for clear decisions, just outrage from more than one side. 🕸🕷Time has run out ... all EU states are firm in contingency plans due great risk of a hard Brexit. All EU leaders and spokespersons allude to is a UK quest for a softer break, staying in the single market.

Clowns like Boris Johnson should just shut up!

STOP THE NONSENSE great BRITAIN 😡😪

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

by Oui on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 05:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, imagine the uproar if, say, Romania voted against extension effectively booting the UK out on March 29th.!

From memory, one of the amendments proposed for the discussion on Tuesday 15th was that the UK should ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, subject to writing in unilaterally their own end date to the Backstop! That amendment was not proceeded with. Even before considering A.50 extension, I could imagine that attempting to modify the WA would have caused several of the 27 to reject the WA in the EP.

I found the opening contribution of Sir Geoffery Cox, Attorney General enlightening [top law adviser to the UK government]. I was surprised that 432 "lawmakers" chose to ignore his advice.

Orderly exit from the European Union would always require a withdrawal agreement along these lines. No alternative option now being canvassed in the House would not require the withdrawal agreement and now the backstop. Let us be clear: whatever solution may be fashioned if this motion and deal are defeated, this withdrawal agreement will have to return in much the same form and with much the same content. Therefore, there is no serious or credible objection that has been advanced by any party to the withdrawal agreement.

My emphasis added

It is useful to know that one government advisor has read Article 50, and understood the process, its inflexibility and consequences.

The complete official record of his contribution is here but more difficult to follow because of all the interruptions and his Shakespearean delivery.

by oldremainmer48 on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 11:23:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 04:20:30 PM EST
Questions: should Brexit happen with no deal, what would happen at the Irish border?

Would the Irish government be compelled to implement checks on goods entering the Republic from the UK?

Failing that, would it push EU27 countries to start customs checks on goods from Ireland as well as from the UK?

It has always one of the Brexiters "solutions" to pull Ireland into a "UK customs union", obviously away from the EU Single Market.

by Bernard on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 07:55:42 PM EST
I have tried to answer that question in outline in the story above. Literally no one in Ireland is even discussing this issue in any detail.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 08:05:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We all need to stop electing cretins to run the place.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 11:36:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found this backgrounder quite interesting; it even explains some of your reactions that, at first, I didn't fully understand.

Why Dublin won't yield on the backstop - Eurointelligence

If border checks have to go up as a result of no deal, it may look materially the same, but it is politically a different story. For one thing, the responsibility for the debacle would rest squarely with London, particularly as seen from the narrow vantage point of Irish nationalism. The government in Dublin would still be shielded from Irish nationalists' accusation of having accepted some deal with London entailing the possibility of a return to border checks. To be clear, this is not just a question of appearances, but one of a possible revival of now-latent tensions in Irish politics, comporting a possible threat of Irish-on-Irish terrorism.

Just as importantly, the unspoken Irish gamble is that border checks as result of no deal would sooner or later be overcome. The hope is that the UK would find a no-deal relationship with the EU economically and politically so uncomfortable that reason would ultimately prevail. A chastened London would come back to the negotiating table to work out a deal with the EU entailing the restoration of an open inner-Irish border, this time for good.

by Bernard on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 07:53:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by Bernard on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 08:41:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At one level, the government is playing a long game - looking forward to a time when the DUP will no longer hold the balance of power, and UK objections to N. Ireland remaining within the customs unions disappear.

Sinn Fein is actually pushing for a referendum on Irish Unity in the event of a no deal Brexit. That would solve the border problem too, but most doubt such a referendum is winnable in the short term, and there is also the small matter of the £10 Billion p.a. London subsidy of the North, which Dublin cannot afford.

The official position is that this is a problem for the UK to resolve, either now or even after a no deal Brexit. It is a game of chicken. Dublin is hoping Brussels won't be too legalistic or impatient, and allow the situation to linger until a solution on the lines of N. Ireland remaining within the customs union is agreed. After all this only reflects the democratic wish of N. Ireland to remain within the EU.

In the short-term the problem may be relatively trivial - while there is no regulatory divergence or widespread imposition of tariffs. But the German's aren't noted for their ability to tolerate ambiguity - an Irish trait - and so sooner or later a crisis may occur.

The Commission should be wary of doing the UK's dirty work for them - and caving in to DUP obstinacy when the majority in N. Ireland clearly  want to live and work as part of the union. They have rights too.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 09:34:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sinn Féin accused of 'taking the Queen's shilling' in Brexit row | The Irish Times |

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 09:47:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure that Britain can afford £10 billion pa for N Ireland after brexit. There's a lot of things we won't be able to afford, but propping up a bunch of bigoted medievalists is one of the more easily removed.

I have long felt that if Westminster wants to sort out N Ireland, then the mainland non-sectarian political parties should organise there. Whilst they refuse to do so and allow sectarian parties to dominate political debate in Ulster to the exclusion of all else, then there will never be progress there.

The deliberate propagation of sectarianism by the Westminster Establishment is the most sure sign that Ulster is a colonial project. In consequence, all talk of it being an indivisable part of the United Kingdom is complete tosh, a knowing and deliberate lie promoted at the expense of community harmony for the sake of fostering a false sense of superior citizenship on the part of Protestants, against a catholic minority.

If non-sectarian parties organised, this sense of superiority would be revealed as baseless. Historically the Westminster Establishment never wanted to risk that inevitable sense of betrayal on the part of the protestants because of the importance of Befast to the defence establishment. I really don't don't believe Ulster is that important anymore. Ulster is disposable, even if Westminster won't admit it. Yet.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 10:17:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU27 already have customs surveillance for third-country import in place at its ports.

EU27 already have indicated to comical effect willingness to overlook low-value "slippage" between UK("NI") and IE.

The dilemma for UK is how to export bulk quantities of raw and finished goods (high-value) from the Big Island to EU27 and ROW without detection.

This board has been given many indications over the prior 6 months as to how EU27 intends to modify procedures and personnel, regardless feigned "technical" helplessness from UK gov.

To catch a pirate, one must think like a pirate.

The more pertinent and vital question is: How might EU27 facilitate movement of people between UK("NI") and IE in the event UK gov goes "full" North Korea?


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jan 18th, 2019 at 09:47:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 10:39:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Republic of Wales, natch

Alternatively, Rest Of World

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

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 11:10:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the difficulty with "the big island" "exporting" goods to Wales or the rest of the world post Brexit?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 11:14:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
container (TEU) --load, transit, unload

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 06:35:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wherever it appears in my remarks, past or future

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 06:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit is essentially a dispute between countries that are currently within the EU. Trade with the rest of the world need not be impacted one way or the other, except perhaps by Sterling depreciation, and perhaps some depreciation of the Euro relative to the $. EU27 trade with the UK could be effected very greatly indeed, depending on the precise shape Brexit eventually takes, but trading with the ROW will be governed largely by the same WTO rules and FTAs as now.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 08:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct.

What are the consequences for UK trader given exit from EU? My remarks concern the consequences for UK traders on exit, given NI and IE are significant supply nodes in UK manufactures and distribution of ("marketing") unfinished and finished goods to EU27 and ROW.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 09:19:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is generally not a good idea for an island dependent on other nations to help manufacture, distribute or sell their products to piss off said nations...

Hence Ireland is (i) keen to remain in the EU, and (ii) anxious to maintain as functional and friction free trade with the UK as possible.

The UK doesn't seem to be as concerned about this, or else thinks that the ROW can't manage without them...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 10:52:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tory gov labors with the belief that UK manufacturer (any industry) will be able to replace trade with EU27, in part or wholly.

To accomplish this feat manufacturers require access to diverse, international air and sea ports as well as long-haul transport. Manifest and customs inspection will be inescapable.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 09:25:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
long-haul capacity

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 09:26:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I recall that trading with the ROW has been flogged here and elsewhere to no certain conclusion, except that it will not be simple and easy as implied in your comment by tagging along to existing WTO and phantom FTA rules. It will be a desolate chore to disentangle the island from 40 years of EU legislation and provisions and ferret out trade agreements on advantageous terms with the world's economic giants.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 10:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"It was about peace and stability in Ireland, and therefore essentially non-negotiable."

Seems to me the whole problem with Brexit is that there is a set of incompatible "non-negotiable" red lines. Why is this one more non-negotiable than the others?

by asdf on Sat Jan 19th, 2019 at 03:16:29 AM EST
All parties involved agree on the essentials GFA except for 10 seats DUP. Should be an easy choice. It's not about the border... the 1922 treaty apparently still is an open wound.

"Ireland can correct their mistake and join the Union." Or NI should choose to reunite w its neighbour.

Seems with the rise of nationalism old conflicts resurface and done over looking for a different result. See the White Supremacist of the Trumpistas ... Civil Rights and the Great Civil War and legacy of president Abraham Lincoln.

Key words | brothers | battle | bloodshed | society | revolution | blowblack | gdansk |

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

by Oui on Sat Jan 19th, 2019 at 07:06:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colonization, exploitation, and empire: It has been said that the East India Company is the model for modern transnational corporation. I would go further to postulate the model for modern fascism, given its royal charter from 1600 until their "private governments" rivaled the monarchy. Other Europeans were not so systematic and acquisitive as they in sowing "plantations" (an Elizabethan term like "niggar") wherever they sailed. (Find correspondence at the British National Archive online between Jamestown to Charles I, II, for example) Not even the Dutch who succeeded truly uncouth Portuguese with cannon, rounding the Cape in 1498. They didn't have a patch to practice Roman disciplines for a few centuries like this particular "species" of vitamin D deficient, neandertal- and denisovan-allele bearing hominids did, I think.

Step 1.

The Statutes of Kilkenny in 1366 commanded that "if any English, or Irish living among the English, use the Irish language amongst themselves, contrary to this ordinance, and thereof be attainted, his lands and tenements, if he have any, shall be seized into the hands of his immediate lord ..." This ban on the Irish language was accompanied was accompanied by an anti-miscegenation law.13 A later law required Irishmen to take on English surnames or forfeit property.14

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat... until 1920 or so.

Step 2. Reward assimilated estate agents such as Irish, Scots, and Welsh.

Step 3. Export religious conflict

and so forth ...

It's gonna take a while for ROW to get over it,

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jan 19th, 2019 at 10:05:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
from British landmarks! Not even a plaque. This I never knew until Lecture 4. A pretty radical pressage for the present reckoning due Tory gov.

Likewise British America.

< wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jan 19th, 2019 at 10:24:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is this one more non-negotiable than the others?

Unlike other red lines from the UK governments, the Good Friday Agreement is also an international treaty between the governments of United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, two sovereign countries. The treaty included many interesting things, like the removal of any territorial claims from the UK to the totality of Ireland and from the Republic to NI, the disarming of paramilitaries: essentially, the goal was to bring an end to the only remaining civil war within the EU.

The main effect of the GFA has been to remove pretty much all checks at the Irish border. A no-deal Brexit could change that however, but the Brexiters don't seem to have considered any effect on Ireland, North and South.

by Bernard on Sat Jan 19th, 2019 at 07:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's all very well having red lines which seek to establish the supremacy of British Law and Courts over the EU, establish the right to negotiate your own trade deals or implement immigration controls incompatible with EU law. These things are arguable policy objectives which may or may not have real economic and social consequences over time, but they are hardly matters of life and death or of the stability of the entire political system. Re-imposing a hard border undermines the peaceful resolution of a civil war North and south, and so is hardly a matter any Irish government is going to accept as negotiable.

In reality, Leo Varadker, and the minority Fine Gael government he leads is the least nationalistic major party and government possible in Ireland. Fine Gael is descended from the faction which supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922 and accepted the partition of Ireland and the creation of the border as a price they had no option but to pay as the cost of obtaining freedom for the south from the British Empire.

There has always been a lingering sense that the N. Ireland nationalist community were betrayed as the price for independence for the south. Leo Varadker can't afford to be seen as betraying them all over again, failing in his duty to act as joint guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, and indeed failing to give expression and support to the fact that a majority in N. Ireland voted against Brexit and voted to remain citizens of the EU.

Keeping the border open is therefore an existential issue for the government. Why should the DUP, which received only 28% of the vote in the last Assembly elections be allowed to hold the rest of the country to ransom? Supporting Brexit may have been a legitimate political choice before the referendum. Supporting it after it was decisively rejected by a majority in N. Ireland is a wanton act of political sectarianism calculated to undermine all the improvements in cross-community relations which have occurred since the GFA was ratified by referenda by majorities of 71% in the North and 94% in the south 1998.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 11:10:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you speak in greater detail about factional/legislators' support and opposition to Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922? This history is quite provocative, given the faint impression I for one have been left in USA that immigrants to north America are entirely responsible for fomenting civil war in Ireland.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 06:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 1922 Anglo Irish Treaty caused a split in what was then Sinn Fein into factions for and against, which later became Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. Some families were divided by this split, but as a generalisation, Fine Gael was made up largely by a bourgeoisie of larger farmers, small businesses, the professions and those who had a stake in maintaining the economic status quo. Fianna Fail, on the other hand, had a slight preponderance of smaller farmers, the landless, jobless, and those with a lesser vested interest in the status quo.

It could be as simple as a split between oldest sons (who inherited the family farm/business, and their siblings who had almost no prospects.

I would not be surprised if a large majority of those who emigrated to the USA during and after the civil war were those with a lesser stake in the status quo, lesser economic prospects, and disillusion with a political establishment who had traded their dream of a largely secular united Ireland with a much lesser 95% Roman Catholic dominated, conservative, repressive, 26 (out of 32) county state.

However I have never seen any data on the political allegiances of those who emigrated to the USA during this period, so this must remain a conjecture.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 08:57:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the pacified Irish border is an innocent bystander in the current clusterfuck, and it it is unconscionable that it should become roadkill in the UK's psychodrama.

The UK populace, and its political class, need to learn that decisions have consequences. That they might be unintended consequences doesn't get them off the hook. If they want to be able to strike new trade agreements -- a stupid idea, but that's their decision, it would seem - they need to do it in a manner that keeps the border open.

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

by eurogreen on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 01:26:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the populace no longer wants Brexit, so it's not fair to blame the majority of the British people for the beliefs and actions of a noisy fascist minority.

The anti-Brexit march last year turned out 700,000 people. When Leave try to organise a march or a rally, they're lucky to get hundreds.

The reality is that Brexit is a creation of the UK's insane ruling class and their compliant media, who have been known to manufacture the illusion of consensus against popular sentiment.

While there's some hardcore support, it's neither very active nor very widespread, and not really any larger than equivalent racist movements elsewhere.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 02:56:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the populace no longer wants Brexit, so it's not fair to blame the majority of the British people for the beliefs and actions of a noisy fascist minority.

Doesn't look obvious to me: many polls show a majority for Remain, but not by such a wide margin: 12 percentage points at best. We're not talking a 2/3 - 1/3 majority (and for some polls, the gap narrowed recently to 5%). I remember that the polls were predicting a clear Remain majority for the 2016 referendum.

If anything, the British society is still very divided by the issue: it is more than a fascist minority.
Would the present Remain majority survive a second referendum? This would turn into a heated controversy about the establishment respecting the results referendums in the first place...

by Bernard on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 09:02:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hyperbole
"massacres" of < 10 persons,
"landslides" of < 5% margin,
"systemic" [INSERT DEROGATORY]

repetition
of experts' conclusory remarks about statistical description of [INSERT DEROGATORY] in lieu of interpersonal communications

trivial evaluation
comparison of hyperbole and repetitive facts to self-criticism (stereotype)

Some people may be relying on the wrong "tools" to identify and achieve mutually beneficial goals.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 11:32:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depending on what we mean by the word 'most'.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 21st, 2019 at 08:00:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'most': More than half the people who talk to a typical London-based journalist.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jan 21st, 2019 at 08:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is one group or another joining the backstop debate? #BrExit

Northern Ireland: Suspected car bomb explodes in Londonderry | DW |

A suspected car bomb exploded in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry late on Saturday, police have said.

"As far as we know no one injured," police wrote on Facebook.

A photo posted by the police's Twitter account showed what appeared to be a car in flames outside of a courthouse near the city center.

Officers said they were evacuating people from the location of a second suspected car bomb elsewhere in the city.

[...]

PSNI receives warning before car bomb explodes in Derry | The Irish Times |

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

by Oui on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 07:47:30 AM EST
in order to open consideration of inter-gov "diplomacy" PR to achieve specific goals for EU27:

"Peace and stability" is a platitude.
That condition can be satisfied by violent subjugation. (UK gov) Or by cooperation within the opposition to in order to obtain specific, vital resources: (1) negotiated settlement, (2) non-violent disobedience, desuetude, evasion, material safety (3) retreat (BATNA).

Absent re-incarnation by Sun Tzu, a reasonable observer could confidently state, negotiated settlement has failed. That outcome is not "shameful", IF one has learned from the experience how to act in order to foreclose future risks of failure.

Forget polling. Forget Foster. Foster is one. Foster is one of many lying SOSs who dominate UK gov and discourse on withdrawal in UK. Whatever UK gov says will not respect what they do. UK gov is regrouping in predictable impolitic fashion.

Theresa May seeks bilateral treaty with Ireland

The Sunday Times said aides to May believe a deal with Dublin would remove the huge opposition to the [UK] withdrawal agreement setting out its divorce from the European Union.
NB. further, change in terminology: "one group of MPs plans to table a motion this week that would suspend the country's withdrawal process under the EU's Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty."

Typical "divide and conquer" rhetoric in motion on one flank; arming subversives in disputed territory on the other.

Ethics lesson: For each, given my knowledge and belief, how should I do? How will I act?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 06:12:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian view on Brexit and Ireland: a danger to peace  | Editorial |

    That past, where symbols summon deadly emotions, has been revived by English nationalists in the Tory party who appear comfortably ignorant of the Troubles. Erasing the border in Ireland, once dotted with watchtowers and checkpoints, was necessary. But Brexit put the deadly issues of the Irish border and sovereignty back into mainstream debate. Dissident republicans have been blamed by the police for the van bomb attack on a Derry courthouse. Their ideological patrons have long recognised Brexit's potential to reignite the conflict, with one quoted in academic Marisa McGlinchey's new study Unfinished Business as saying it was "the best chance we've had since 1916".

Derry on alert: Police respond to reports of abandoned vehicle, homes evacuated

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

by Oui on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 09:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody in Ireland (or at least v.v. few) want the violence to return, or even to use the threat of violence as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations. But it wasn't Irish people who put the border back on the agenda by their wanton disregard of the effect of Brexit on Ireland and the flippant reference to "new technology" as a means to solve all problems.

The DUP knew well enough the potential of Brexit to restart the culture and sectarian wars in N. Ireland, but carried on regardless even after Brexit had been decisively defeated in the referendum in N. Ireland. Theresa May either didn't know or didn't care what the effect of aligning herself with the DUP would have on the politics of the island, and consequently on her negotiations with the EU.

If the outcome is a "no deal" Brexit all these chickens will come home to roost. Ongoing conflict between the UK and EU, a possible trade war, economic decline in the UK, political instability in N. Ireland, and perhaps a return to violence. Who put these idiots in charge?

Is It Derry or Londonderry?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 12:10:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's remember that any Brexit, no matter how soft, undermines the peace process because it removes the shared layer of EU citizenship.

Whoops.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 12:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet many, although by no means all, Northern Unionists were happy enough to ditch that shared citizenship, presumably because they were not pushed about sharing anything political with nationalists at all... even where it did not impact on their precious Union with Great Britain.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 01:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, because they miss the fucking civil war. Their glory days.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 01:59:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet many, although by no means all, Northern Unionists were happy enough to ditch that shared citizenship ....

[As I expect you are aware], some "signifcant" unionists (strangely) recognised the value of continued EU citizenship in 2016, despite campaiging for 'Leave'.

Apply for Irish passport if you can, advises DUP MP Ian Paisley

Pity about their subsequent actions and of their friends.

by oldremainmer48 on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 06:04:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a syndrome, perhaps best described as political Schizophrenia, whereby Unionists, and even hard line unionists, see no contradiction between lambasting nationalists and the Republic at every opportunity, and yet send their kids to Trinity College Dublin, go to rugby matches in Dublin, and generally spend quite a lot of their business and leisure time "down south".

Most are uncomfortably aware that the south is thriving economically while the North is stagnating, and that their favourite stereotyping of the south as a priest ridden papal fiefdom is increasingly out of date. But never let the facts get in the way of a good slogan or a bit of "other bashing". Brexiteer bashing of the EU is very tame by comparison.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 09:10:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fintan O'Toole: Hard Brexiteers think Germany will blink first
Last week German foreign minister Heiko Maas made an unnecessary journey. He got up very early and flew to Dublin. At 9am he was in Dublin Castle to address the annual gathering of the Irish diplomatic corps. And at first, it seemed hard to understand why he had bothered. His speech began with a corny story that Simon Coveney had told him about how he and his siblings were in the middle of the ocean on a sailing trip.

As a joke they sent out a message that they were having a birthday party and all nearby ships were welcome to join. But, said Maas, a German yacht heard the words "Irish" and "party" and suddenly appeared alongside them, bringing a keg of beer.

So far, so toe-curling: Ireland, parties, beer. Was this cliched stuff really worth getting out of bed so early for? Except that Maas then went on to make a passionate defence of the Irish backstop to the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, claiming the avoidance of a hard border not as an Irish issue but, remarkably, as "a question of identity for the European Union".

And in his peroration, the point of the cheesy story he had begun with was made clear: "When seas get rough, don't forget that a friendly German boat may be close. " His nautical metaphor acquired further resonance this week when floundering Brexiteers seized on Maas himself as the lifeboat coming to save them...

<snip>

It is hard to overstate the importance of this possibility in the minds of those who have driven the Brexit project. What they have always believed is that the EU is essentially a front for Germany. In the weird psychodrama that has been running in their heads, the Germans effectively reversed the result of the second World War.

The EU allowed them to do by economic and political means what they had failed to do by military means: dominate and control Britain. But this dark fantasy has in their minds a happy ending: since the Germans really run the EU, the whole tedious business of negotiating with Brussels is a sham. In the end the deal will be done in Berlin.

<snip>

So all Britain has to do is hold its nerve up to and beyond a no-deal exit. Then the Germans will understand that the British pluck that saw them off in 1945 is still alive. They will issue the appropriate orders to their minions to drop the backstop and give Britain all the benefits of EU membership with none of the burdens.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 11:41:22 AM EST
And hard Brexiteers will be emboldened by the reports of German industry finally voicing its concerns (as they always said it would) reported in several UK papers and in Politico: Chaotic Brexit getting `dangerously close': German business group

Germany's BDI business group said Thursday it fears a "chaotic Brexit" is "dangerously close," and warned that such an outcome could dent German economic growth.

"A chaotic Brexit is now getting dangerously close to happening," BDI President Dieter Kempf said in Berlin. "Companies are looking into the abyss in these times."

and that the following also appeared in Politico - Merkel urges EU and UK to find Brexit compromise

"To the last day, I will work towards finding a treaty-based solution for a deal for the U.K.'s exit, and I will work towards having the best kind of relations afterward," she added.

"No Deal" is off the agenda on both sides of the channel, but not in Downing Street, nor in UK law as it currently stands?

by oldremainmer48 on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 12:19:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The hard Brexiters' belief that the German car industry will make the EU bend to their will has always been one of their central tenets, as you described about a year ago.

Actually, they believed that already before the 2016 referendum, even Cameron, as argued here.

The main lesson is that they've been constantly misreading Germany, and still do: I saw a bit of BoJo on TV essentially promising that Germany would blink on the brink. Germany's message has always been consistent and is not going to change at the last minute.

German industry cannot save Britain from hard Brexit, warns Merkel  - Torygraph - October 2016

German car makers and other major industrial lobbies will not be able to insist that Britain gets an easy deal in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, the German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned.

In a further hardening of the line against Britain, Mrs Merkel told the annual conference of German industrial federations, the BDI, that defending the principle of free movement and the internal cohesion of the European Union would come before defending German exports to the UK.

"If we don't say full access to the internal market is linked to full freedom of movement, then a movement will spread in Europe where everyone just does whatever they want," she told business leaders in Berlin.

by Bernard on Sun Jan 20th, 2019 at 06:08:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU members want clarity in call to refrain from political power play.

PM May promised to be flexible in forthcoming plan B. Today she comes with more of the same.

EU wants PM May to alter her red lines.

Labour leader Corbyn wants PM May to drop no-deal option and to alter her red lines. Interesting for the Prime Minister to start her statement with an attack on the opposition leader Corbyn. Once again a show of Tory hate for the Labour leader.

IMO narrows PM May her choice to a no-deal or the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement with an adjustment to the backstop clause to favor Tory hard Brexiteers and the DUP unionists. Once more walking blind-folded into a dead end street. Nothing surprises me anymore.

A second referendum will not happen. The Labour leader strives for a soft Brexit in a Single Market.

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

by Oui on Mon Jan 21st, 2019 at 05:55:51 PM EST
See Independent.ie headlines today. It's a hoot.
Forget "Polish Intelligence" on borders.
"Plan B" is re-writing the GFA to "guarantee" open border ... on or before 29 Mar?

Pull the other one, laddie!


Hear the "freer hand" clapping with the "invisible hand"?

< wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jan 21st, 2019 at 06:18:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU migrants from Poland were used as scapegoat to fearmonger a Leave vote in the Brexit referendum.

Brexit: The view from England's "Little Poland"

My earlier diary - UK Brexit Problem: Migration not Immigration [Jan. 2017].

An idle threat for Plexit to rattle fellow member states and Brussels ...

The proposed constitutional referendum questions

    President Andrzej Duda first announced his concept of a constitutional referendum in May 2017 during celebrations of the 226th anniversary of Poland's May 3, 1791, constitution, known as the May 3 Constitution.

Rumsfeld's  "New Europe" and the love for Poland from Trump and Netanyahu ...

Trump's Revival of anti-EU Sentiment in Warsaw
Xenophobia, Israel, Alt-right and the Jewish Question

After Brexit Europe will still be troubled by their new member states used as proxies to anger Russia.

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

by Oui on Mon Jan 21st, 2019 at 07:52:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm of the mind, "exasperation" is the better fit, all around, ahh ceteris paribus and wutnot.

Question: How would you comment on the media reports suggesting that it was Abigail McCourt, 16, who was the first to help Sergei and Yulia Skripal after they were poisoned?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jan 21st, 2019 at 09:09:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fintan O'Toole: It is not just the economy, stupid - Brexit is about belonging
There is a long-term crisis of belonging in the UK. Brexit is its most lurid symptom, but it is not a cure. Theresa May's appeal to the "precious, precious union" is mere denial about the rise of English identity. The hard Brexiteers, under the cover of nationalism, want to unleash an even more virulent form of globalisation that will destroy what is left of working-class communities.  

And yet these liars and fantasists have been allowed to own the most potent political emotions - collective pride, identity, belonging. The willingness to sacrifice economic comfort for a sense of the greater good or a higher ideal is not innately self-destructive. Nothing noble or decent is ever accomplished without it. The Right has turned it into a sharp blade and told people to cut themselves with it. Those people think they are making a sacrifice when they are merely being sacrificed. The Left has to speak, not just to their rational desire not to make themselves poorer, but to the bigger reasons why they don't think it's all about money.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 01:25:57 PM EST
Another one where I'm gonna question his reasoning. The people who voted leave were NEVER doing well economically, the leave vote was predominantly amongst the precariat and the barely managing.

This was almost exactly the same rural vote that gave Trump the Presidency, an entire segment of the elctorate who have been abandoned by most domestic politicians of all parties; Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and then Cameron had absolutely no concern for these people at all.

People who might, a generation or two ago, have had appreticeships and gained skills, peer respect and decent wages, who might have aspired to buy a house or at least a half decent council house, a car. But those jobs, those opportunities have gone, they resent having to compete for the shitty jobs, they resent that benefits that might once have enabled them to retain a certain status and dignity have been withdrawn, that they have to crawl and lick spit to get the right to queue up at the food bank.

And every (tabloid) newspaper they read tells them that it'sBrussels and the metropolitan elites who are to blame for it for brining in people who are stealing their jobs.

And then Cameron and Osborne, almost the poster boys for remote posh boys who laugh and scorn the precariat and working classes, give them a chance, in their arrogance, to kick back at the lot of them. And are then surprised when they take that chance to give it to them right in the nuts.

this wasn't people voting against their financial interests, this was people who didn't think they had anything to lose

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 06:26:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a toxic combination of a brainwashed precariat out for a grumble vote, confused pensioners, a smattering of angry racists, and a good few shire Tories.

I used to live in the heart of shire country and many of my horsey neighbours voted for Brexit. I heard "But shouldn't we believe in Britain?" from them long before it became a Leaver catchphrase. The vote split the village as it did the country.

Having moved here, I've realised something interesting - the UK has no future. I mean it literally has no vision for where it wants to be ten, never mind fifty, years from now.

Europe does have a vision. You can - and probably should - argue with the details, but there's a sense that there's some sort of goal, and it may even be modestly humane one, as opposed to the excuse for outright narcissism and banditry that the US tries to sell as capitalism.

The UK only has nostalgia. The present is awful, the future is incomprehensible, so let's relive our heroic WWII victory, and hurrah for Magna Carta.

To a large extent, British identity is defined by nostalgia. It's all castles and cosy cottages - Victorian this, Georgian that, and Tudor everything else.

If you take away the UK's history you're left with a damp and rather windswept island with no idea what it wants to be when it grows up.

This was a problem in the 70s when the UK was floundering around, but Thatcher's solution made it far worse, by using the nostalgia in a very calculated way to disguise the values at the heart of the British establishment - war, violence, slavery, and fraud.

So of course the peasants are angry - and of course it's easy to make them believe Europe is the problem.

The country may or may not pull out of this Brexit tail spin in time, but it's going to take a much bigger change to give it a future.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 09:17:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet the UK has a pretty outstanding record in music, the arts, technological innovation and creative design more generally. Much of this may have been created by misfits and immigrants, but it was created within the society of its time.

Now we're down to the nostalgic costume drama and bellicose nationalism; rapacious disaster capitalism, exploitative marketing and fraudulent "service" industries. Much of the infrastructure and larger more successful businesses are foreign owned - many with no absolute requirement to stay in Britain.

Something has changed, and it is more than the decline of empire. The moneyed can live out their lives in the style to which they have become accustomed. The royal family and the soaps on TV can provide the circuses for the masses. But who is going to provide the bread?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 24th, 2019 at 01:17:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No say on trade deals for UK in EU customs union, says ex-WTO chief Pascal Lamy | The Guardian |

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 06:49:36 PM EST
by Cat on Tue Jan 22nd, 2019 at 07:02:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No-deal Brexit could mean [customs] checks move to France, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Cyprus air and sea ports

jobs saved and created!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 02:22:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably not an issue. When the British economy collapses, imports to the UK will drop off, as will visits.
by asdf on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 02:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ahem
P&O to change flag of UK ships to Cyprus ahead of Brexit

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 08:10:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a perfectly reasonable part of the post-Brexit program to reconstruct the British Empire circa 1950, of which Cyprus was a part.
by asdf on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 at 11:28:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
older than dirt

ARTICLE 3, Territorial Scope, ¶ 1, final draft 17 Nov 2018

(e) the overseas countries and territories listed in Annex II to the TFEU having special relations with the United Kingdom1, where the provisions of this Agreement relate to the special arrangements for the association of the overseas countries and territories with the Union.
(d) the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus, to the extent necessary to ensure the implementation of the arrangements set out in the Protocol on the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Cyprus annexed to the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic to the European Union;
[...]

1. Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

UK Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus
Protocol Relating to the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom in Cyprus
ARTICLE 2 -- Customs territory of the Union
[...]
  1. All goods intended for use in the Sovereign Base Areas shall enter the island of Cyprus through the civilian airports and seaports of the Republic of Cyprus, and all customs formalities, customs controls and collection of import duties related to them shall be carried out by the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus.

  2. All goods intended for export shall exit the island of Cyprus through the civilian airports and seaports of the Republic of Cyprus and all customs export formalities and customs controls related to them shall be carried out by the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus.

archived
EC Draft Withdrawal Agreement (pdf) FEB 2018

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Jan 24th, 2019 at 03:47:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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