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by Frank Schnittger Thu Jan 31st, 2019 at 12:52:12 PM EST

FT: The EU cannot rescue Britain from Brexit chaos

May's government has shown it can no longer be counted as a trusted partner

I had intended to address a slightly sheepish plea to Britain's European partners. Even at this late hour, the EU27 should show forbearance with the Brexit shenanigans at Westminster. The prize of an amicable parting of the ways -- or, in the best case, a change of heart in a second referendum -- was worth it. My shaky resolve collapsed after Theresa May's latest swerve. The EU could now be forgiven for simply throwing Britain overboard.

The prime minister's embrace of her party's hardline Brexiters was breathtaking in its cynicism. Only weeks ago she was immovable about the arrangements in the EU withdrawal agreement for the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Now she promises to try to rewrite them to suit the prejudices of her party. What of the Belfast Agreement, the treaty underpinning peace on the island of Ireland? It ranks second, it seems, to appeasement of Brexiters such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The mandate the prime minister claims to have secured to rewrite the Irish "backstop" is worthless and incredible. Worthless because all the other options for the Irish border have been exhaustively explored, and discarded, during the Article 50 negotiations. Incredible because the hardliners who backed her this week do not want an agreement. Supporting Mrs May now was a diversion. The real strategy is to run down the clock all the way to a no-deal Brexit.

What must be doubly maddening for the EU negotiators is the assumption among so many Tory MPs that the Irish arrangements were designed permanently to lock Britain into a close trading relationship. Nothing could be more removed from the truth. Governments across the EU fear the backstop, were it ever to be implemented, would give Britain an unfair advantage -- unique access to the European market without any responsibilities. The EU27 would be as eager as any Brexiter to ensure such a regime was short-lived.

And therein lies the rub. Whilst the conclusion of a Withdrawal Agreement was a significant achievement by EU negotiators - not least because it kept the EU27 united - it also contained major concessions by the EU for which it has gotten zero credit. Norway pays a hefty price for Single Market access, not dissimilar, on a per capita basis to the UK's hated net contribution for full EU Membership. There has been no talk, to date, of the UK paying a similar price - which would also serve to undermine the basis for the Norwegian contribution.

So there is a case for the EU27 (if not Ireland) to regard a no deal Brexit with a sort of equanimity, even if only as a short term expedient to lower UK expectations and result in a retrospective acceptance of May's deal. But there has to be a considerable doubt that May's deal, or something very like it, will even be on offer after Brexit, especially if the no deal divorce has been nasty and accompanied by much Brexiteer triumphalism.

EU politicians have Parliaments they must answer to as well, and there are EP elections coming up. My guess is that if the UK doesn't accept May's deal in full very quickly after Brexit day then it will be withdrawn and far harsher terms of engagement will apply. The UK will have to join the queue of third parties looking for FTA's with the EU, and discussions won't even start until the 45 Billion have been paid upfront, the rights of EU citizens in the UK have been protected, and guarantees on the border have been honoured.

No deal Brexiteers want to avoid as much future "entanglement" with the EU as possible, to enable the UK to become "Global Britain" and be free to engage with the world on its own terms. They may find the rest of the world, no less than the EU, will not be overly enthusiastic about engaging with a UK that cannot be trusted to keep its word or deliver on its commitments.

The priority for the Irish government must now be to achieve an "understanding" with the Commission that they will tolerate an open border within Ireland in exchange for tight controls at Irish air and sea ports to prevent UK goods using Ireland as a backdoor into the EU. "Chlorinated chicken" and the smuggling of tariff free goods will then become an internal problem for Ireland to resolve - one that is doable because so much of UK/Ireland trade is through air and sea ports anyway, and so much of the rest of it is by a handful of major supermarket chains and agri-food producers and importers who can be policed on an on-site basis.

The EU is aware that Ireland will be most badly effected by a no deal Brexit. For much of the rest of the EU27 it isn't such a big deal. Some tolerance towards Ireland would be a small price to pay in return for continued EU27 solidarity and cohesion. Brexiteer dreams that German car-makers will quickly bring the EU27 to heel and result in more advantageous trade terms for the UK are just that - dreams. This could all get seriously nasty before it gets resolved, if ever.

Hardly anyone in the UK has any conception of how difficult this could get unless saner heads prevail. The EU was created to promote peace in Europe, but on its borders instability prevails - Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia, Turkey, Libya, and N. Africa more generally. We do not want N. Ireland to join that list. Even within the EU, democracy is threatened in Hungary and Poland and perhaps Romania and Bulgaria.

The EU has to be seen to protect and defend the interests of its member states, or else it too could disintegrate. If that has to be at the cost of non-members like the UK, then so be it. When trust breaks down it can be incredibly difficult to recover. Brexiteers like to talk about "our friends in Europe" as if their actions were without consequence. Their regard for the problems their alliance with the DUP is causing Ireland borders on contempt.

Britain First in its own headspace could well lead to Britain Last as far as the rest of Europe is concerned. The UK could be gaining the illusion that the World is only waiting to offer it more favourable trade terms than the EU at the loss of the best friends it ever had.

The title of this article is incorrect. It is misleading.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jan 31st, 2019 at 03:11:43 PM EST
Can you suggest a better one please?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 31st, 2019 at 03:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Antonym: Anti-trust  :}
by Oui on Thu Jan 31st, 2019 at 06:17:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This could be the funniest piece of

Brexit news so far this year

A "simple human error" by BBC producers made it appear as if Theresa May was travelling to Brussels in a fleet of second World War planes to reopen negotiations with the EU.

During Wednesday's News at Six, footage of planes flying over Biggin Hill airbase was shown as newsreader Sophie Raworth recapped the British prime minister's visit.
The section was meant to be accompanied by footage of Mrs May.

Instead, clips showing planes over the air base were shown,  suggesting Mrs May was travelling to Brussels in a fleet of RAF bombers.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 31st, 2019 at 04:18:01 PM EST
[No accident - part of my recent post - Oui]

Remind the Germans: "We Won!"

    "Wars are not won by evacuations," Churchill said.
     That may be true, but it is hard not to see
     Dunkirk as a pivotal moment in the war.

So the Tory MPs are back into name-calling as they are lacking in arguments for a clear debate! What a complete mess the Tory party is in.

Pro-Brexit MP criticized for 'anti-German' remarks about Airbus chief | DW |

After saying that Enders was "a German paratrooper in his youth," Francois said the CEO's video displayed the "Teutonic arrogance" of the European Union.

"If he thinks because he runs a big company [that] he can bully British MPs on how to vote, he's going to be sorely mistaken," Francois told the BBC. "My father, Reginald Francois, was a D-Day veteran. He never submitted to bullying by any German and neither will his son."

Living in an alternate universe. As I have said before, the British MPs lack leadership and basic knowledge what the project EEC was or EU is all about. Many signs of a return to the global pause in development human kind from a century ago. Poland too is fighting a battle most nations won 50 years ago ...

by Oui on Thu Jan 31st, 2019 at 06:26:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also mentioned in this funny Irish Border twitter thread: Peter and Jane Renegotiate.
by Bernard on Sat Feb 2nd, 2019 at 11:29:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Theresa May, January 14, 2019: There has to be a backstop.
Theresa May, January 29, 2019: Backstop? What backstop?

by Bernard on Thu Jan 31st, 2019 at 09:04:52 PM EST

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2019 at 01:40:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole thread is hilarious.
by Bernard on Tue Feb 5th, 2019 at 09:16:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank: Brexiteers like to talk about "our friends in Europe" as if their actions were without consequence.

Close friends, like Sweden, for instance.

Swedish foreign minister: I `cannot forgive' UK for Brexit

Margot Wallström, Sweden's foreign minister and a former European Commission vice president, lashed out today at Britain's political class over its handling of the country's EU exit.

"I cannot forgive them for this," Wallström said of Brexit.

She called Britain's approach to the issue "dangerous" and "badly handled," adding "I just think that they've made such a historical mistake and they've really created a problem for all of us."

Her comments, at a foreign policy conference in Helsinki, reflect a trend of increasingly harsh rhetoric from European politicians about their British counterparts.

by Bernard on Thu Jan 31st, 2019 at 09:11:17 PM EST

Grabbed from Twitter, no idea who the artist is.

by Bjinse on Fri Feb 1st, 2019 at 01:16:20 PM EST
Quite puzzling ... Male (l) and Female (r). 🤨
by Oui on Fri Feb 1st, 2019 at 01:29:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Oddly enough, the previous post didn't show in the Firefox browser. So this is a local copy.

by Bjinse on Fri Feb 1st, 2019 at 03:50:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Add "electrical outlet standardization" to the list of items to be dealt with when England petitions to rejoin the EU in 2025.
by asdf on Fri Feb 1st, 2019 at 04:10:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hold your horses: Ireland, north and south are also using  these "type G" plugs, along with Scotland and Wales, who might have very well split from England if things continue to devolve at this rate.

Even on the continent, there are two main standards for outlets (essentially French and German), but German and French engineers have sat at a table decades ago to specify a power cord compatible with both types of outlets. This power cord type has been used all over Europe for donkey's years now.

* Swiss exception may apply.

by Bernard on Sat Feb 2nd, 2019 at 11:10:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, Ireland will have to change. Apparently there was a study of what it would take to unify EU outlet standards and it was decided that it would cost many millions and take many decades to complete.

On the other hand, the laptop computer companies and the cell phone companies seem to have no problems changing their connectors every three or four years for no apparent reason...

by asdf on Sat Feb 2nd, 2019 at 03:13:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You forgot about Italy....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 12:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A more perversely flaky system would challenge any genius to design.

'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 Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 09:13:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It delivered a big smile ... have a chuckle ...

[To delay springing the surprise, I did anonymize the name of the State - Oui]

The Irish Obsession As I See It

There's a particularly sweet spot in the enormous technology deal the state has just pulled off.

Over the next five years, the tech giant Intel will invest a whopping $11 billion in a new semiconductor fabrication plant. The investment will be worth around 0.7% of the state's gross domestic product and is expected to produce thousands of jobs.

The sweet spot is that in securing this deal, the state beat off competition from Ireland. For Ireland has become the most extreme State-bashing country in the West.


The Irish government may yet block the bill. It was promoted in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil, the largest opposition party and on which the ruling minority Fine Gael party depends.


Whether or not the bill becomes law, it once again raises the question of why Ireland is so consumed by the obsessive hatred of the State it so regularly displays.

One obvious answer is that, as a country which believes itself to have suffered under British colonialism, it identifies with other peoples acknowledged by anti-colonialists as similarly "oppressed" among whom the "Indigenous" enjoy iconic status.

With the island of Ireland divided between the Irish Republic and the UK province of Northern Ireland, Irish republican terrorists have waged war against the UK on and off over the past century with a fragile peace finally brokered in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Strangely, the State issue has become emblematic in this battle over Irish identity, with the Protestant Unionists identifying with the State and the Catholic Republicans identifying with the "oppressed".

As a slavish EU member, Ireland has allowed Brussels negotiators to use the fraught issue of the post-Brexit border with Northern Ireland as a weapon to force the UK to surrender its independence even after it formally leaves the EU.

[Source: the State]

Fundamentally Freund: The muck of the Irish

by Oui on Sat Feb 2nd, 2019 at 12:10:29 AM EST
by Oui on Sat Feb 2nd, 2019 at 12:22:31 AM EST
Greenland is not a sovereign state.

"issue of the footnote"
"The territory is registered on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories of the United Nations, subject to decolonisation."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Feb 2nd, 2019 at 03:36:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU has left the UK behind in their fantasyland ... in the mindset of mainland EU, the Brits will crash-out with an historic Tory no-deal. The unfortunate lack of leadership will be on their plate forever in the history books. Unlike Churchill, PM May will not get the chance to write her version in the books. The EU is moving on ... the writing is on the wall in the footnote.

Theresa May lighting the fuse ...

by Oui on Sat Feb 2nd, 2019 at 09:11:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A new UK Constitution, Aug 2016
Could a 'reverse Greenland' arrangement ...

## Mental disorder is a communicable disease.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 06:04:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of trust:

EU capitals agree to visa-free Schengen access for Brits

EU ambassadors want to allow British citizens entering the Schengen travel area post Brexit to stay for up to 90 days without a visa, the Council said Friday.

The allotted 90 days can be taken in any 180-day period, the Council said, and adds the U.K. to a list of countries that already includes Australia, Canada and Brazil.

The Council said its decision is based on an assumption of reciprocity by British authorities for EU country nationals heading to the U.K. for a short stay, and warned that visa requirements would quickly be imposed should that not be the case.

by Bernard on Sat Feb 2nd, 2019 at 11:14:51 AM EST
by Cat on Sat Feb 2nd, 2019 at 03:43:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaining support in latest poll opening a seven point lead on Labour - The Guardian. Very poor showing and lacking trust in Jeremy Corbyn. Dreadful prospect for near future.
<have visa, will travel>
by Oui on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 01:10:51 AM EST
by generic on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 02:42:55 AM EST
To where would she be evacuated?

  • Scotland, AKA "soon to be part of the EU"
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • South Africa
  • Germany, specifically Saxe-Coburg and Goth
  • The US of A
by asdf on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 03:36:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And what about the rest of the family?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 06:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many of them might as well be in Hollywood anyway.
by asdf on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 08:09:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She could take refuge on one of the British channel islands or perhaps the Bermuda Triangle. She could stay at one of the villas in Florida on the Trump golf resort parks ... nice to have a conference with PM May and AngloSaxon Czar Trump.

Her Majesty know all about Towers, isn't that true?

Perhaps her colony between a Rock and a hard place.

by Oui on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 07:37:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Coburg is a good idea. They seem to be fond of the English (though they don't go in for that UK nonsense.)

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 4th, 2019 at 09:20:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The British government in exile in Paris..."
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 11:19:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unrecognized and scorned by the legitimate government in Westminster, led with bulldog determination by Field-Marshal Boris Von Pétain, 13th Duke of Marlborough, Eton (total prick), Oxford (gentleman's third), Motto, Honi soit qui bien y pense.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 at 07:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Honi soit qui bien y pense

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2019 at 07:16:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2019 at 10:01:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is used as the motto of The Blue Book, a guide to prostitutes in Storyville, New Orleans published 1895-1915
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 4th, 2019 at 10:07:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Tories and Labour are neck and neck in the polls. The only secular trend in UK politics right now is for both the Tories and Labour to lose support.

Support for a second referendum and for Remaining in the EU fluctuates wildly depending on timing, context, and the precise question asked, but averages about 10% majority in favour in both cases.

However there is no way for this changed political reality to articulate its way into the Westminster bubble and the media narrative remains that a second referendum would be extremely divisive, of uncertain outcome, and could well spark civil unrest.

Of course when extreme Brexiteers spark civil unrest that's not perceived as a problem, more an excuse to let them have their way.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 5th, 2019 at 10:31:47 AM EST
Former United Kingdom of England and Wales

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 5th, 2019 at 01:59:11 PM EST
After a decade or so of squabbling, they will change it to "Southern Britain"

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2019 at 03:00:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UKSB: United Kingdom of Southern Britain (and Northern Ireland, if nobody else wants it.)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 5th, 2019 at 03:30:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope. There is a deep state strategy playing out here.

  • First, get the UK separated from the EU, almost done.
  • Second, separate the remainder of the UK into component parts: England and Wales. (Assume NI will merge with ROI in mid-2019, and Scotland joins EU.)
  • Third, argue that there should also be another level of separation, possibly London and Wessex as two new subdivisions. That gives you four territories.
  • Fourth, apply to the US of A for four new states, with three of them promising to vote for DJ Trump in 2020.

by asdf on Tue Feb 5th, 2019 at 04:10:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there isn't an armed insurrection during the first 3, there will definitely be one for the 4th.

As Joe Namath might say, "I guarantee it"

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 5th, 2019 at 09:37:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me that the trustworthyness of the PM depends on what you think her goal is. If one accepts that her goal is to run out the clock and force Parliament to choose between hard Brexit and her deal, what she is doing makes perfect sense. Her statements about borders and trade agreements and referendums are just meant to preclude any other options gaining momentum. She seems to be succeeding.
by asdf on Sat Feb 9th, 2019 at 04:17:56 PM EST
Only problem with that strategy is why would the EU (or anybody else) negotiate an FTA (or anything else) with the UK in the future - if they can't be trusted to stand by deals they have negotiated?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 9th, 2019 at 05:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
although you can't help wonder if she's not telling Junker, Varadker and Tusk what she's doing.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 9th, 2019 at 10:51:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If that is the case it is absolutely remarkable that all three of them have managed to keep their mouths shut at the same time!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 11th, 2019 at 10:34:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Money, money. The world keeps turning and even a political zombie like May has an expiry date. FTAs are a somewhat different beast. Brexit negotiations are a one-off. Also, there is blood in the water and the sharks are circling. If this and subsequent governments are desperate to come up with wonderful new trade deals as fig leafs for Brexit then this is a great opportunity to take everything from Britain. It's already happening with the existing FTAs they are trying to roll over. Big trust doesn't have to be there. Greed is the driver.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Feb 11th, 2019 at 01:28:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If, six weeks from now, the UK parliament has finally approved May's deal, then the UK WILL have stood by the negotiated deal. The sausage-making internal process that gets them to making that decision is not the point, it is what is finally delivered.
by asdf on Mon Feb 11th, 2019 at 02:32:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is finally delivered may very well be both a national catastrophe and a giant windfall for the elites who stage managed this ugly farce.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2019 at 03:37:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very true. My remark is chiefly directed at those Tories who seem to think that a No deal Brexit will be a great thing and that everyone will be falling over themselves to do deals with the UK afterwards.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 11th, 2019 at 10:39:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The risk premium goes up if a party is deemed to be untrustworthy and they will only be able to do deals by offering a considerable discount on the type of deals that might otherwise have been available and which the EU will continue to be able to achieve.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 11th, 2019 at 10:42:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if it is agreed at the 11th hour, then it will probably be something of a pyrrhic victory.

The increasing uncertainty and paralysis that has infected UK business and politics over the least 6 - 9 months is already a national catastrophe. The idea that merely pulling out of a nosedive just in time to avoid ploughing into the ground is some sort of victory should be regarded as frankly daft. The plane will still crash; Britain, as an economy, isn't going anywhere. There will be pain, blood and a galling lack of in-flight refreshments.

In 10 years, Mrs May will be on the telly exhorting us to eat cake when there's no bread.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 11th, 2019 at 07:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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