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

The Blame Game

by Frank Schnittger Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 12:26:14 PM EST

Well that didn't last long...

Johnson allies admit deal hopes are effectively dead

British prime minister Boris Johnson's allies admitted on Tuesday that hopes of a Brexit deal at next week's EU summit were effectively dead after Mr Johnson held a bruising phone conversation with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Sterling fell on the news, as Number 10 began a "blame game" strategy amid dark warnings that Britain would retaliate against EU member states and that talk of "sincere co-operation" with the EU was now "in the toilet".

Elsewhere, EU Council president Donald Tusk accused Mr Johnson of playing a `stupid blame game' in his dealings with the bloc. "What's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game. At stake is the future of Europe and the UK as well as the security and interests of our people," Mr Tusk wrote on Twitter. "You don't want a deal, you don't want an extension, you don't want to revoke," the Council President added, before asking "quo vadis?" the Latin for "where are you going?"

After days of gathering gloom over the possibility of a Brexit breakthrough, unnamed Number 10 sources on Tuesday prepared the ground for failure, claiming that Dr Merkel and other EU leaders had not moved "a centimetre". Although Downing Street has so far declined to comment on the telephone call with Dr Merkel, Mr Johnson's allies accused the German chancellor of vetoing Britain's Brexit plan, which would see Northern Ireland leave the EU customs union.


Meanwhile...
Downing Street `source' blames Varadkar for talks breaking down

A Downing Street source has told a senior British political journalist that Brexit negotiations will probably end this week as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar "doesn't want to negotiate".


The Spectator political editor James Forsyth also quoted a source in Number 10 as saying there were "all sorts of things" the British government could do to scupper a delay. The source warned that if Mr Johnson's plan "dies" in the next few days it would not be revived.

The source said that "Varadkar was keen on talking before the Benn Act when he thought that the choice would be `new deal or no deal'. Since the Benn Act passed he has gone very cold and in the last week the official channels and the backchannels have also gone cold.

---

The source is quoted as saying that it will be made clear both privately and publicly that countries which oppose approving a delay to Brexit past October 31st will "go the front of the queue for future co-operation on things both within and outside EU competences", adding: "Those who support delay will go to the bottom of the queue."

---

Amber Rudd, who resigned from Boris Johnson's cabinet and the Conservative party last month, said she believes the Number 10 source quoted by Forsyth is the prime minister's controversial aide, Dominic Cummings.

Ms Rudd told the Today programme: "It sounds angry and desperate. And the language that is used, I do not believe should be the language of a UK government. There's a fair amount of speculation about where it came from.

"But since it hasn't been denied by Number 10, and no young woman spad [special adviser], for instance, has been marched out of Downing Street, one can only assume it's come from the centre, from the Prime Minister's adviser.

"And the style of it seems to imply that."

So the bottom line appears to be that Dominic Cummings is angry that the EU hasn't bought his marvellous "two borders for four years" plan and is blaming Varadker for not negotiating, despite the fact that Varadker is not negotiating on behalf of the EU, but has offered to meet Boris Johnson to discuss his concerns.

Other "Downing Street sources" blame Merkel, while claiming that other EU member states are less intransigent. Remarkably, Downing St. still seems to believe it can decide which EU countries it can place at the front or the back of the queue for UK largesse - ignoring the fact that the Commission negotiates for all EU countries on trade and much besides.

Meanwhile, without a trace of irony, the DUP is accusing the Irish government of a Dublin says NO mentality

Financial "sweeteners" from London to Ireland to carry out customs checks on the Border after the United Kingdom quits the European Union are of no interest to the Government, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said.

---

"This is not about money or sweeteners or being paid off or anything like that," said Mr Coveney, who insisted that the Government's position is about preserving the stability of Northern Ireland.

The Government is " trying to ensure" that checkpoints, on or near the Border are avoided, and not allowed to have a "corrosive impact on relationships and politics" that have improved since the Belfast Agreement.

Mr Coveney's remarks come as the Democratic Unionist Party accused the Government of adopting a "Dublin Says No" mentality.

It seems the usual imperial strategy of paying off the local tribal headmen isn't going to work this time around. But neither will extortion:

A report in Monday's edition of the London Times claims Michael Gove's Brexit Operations Committee has compiled a list of pressure points that could be imposed on Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.


These would include warning that the Republic could suffer a shortage of medicines, potential loss of fishing rights off the North of Ireland, disruption of the movement of horses between the Republic and UK and traffic back-ups at Holyhead in Wales from customs checks.

Responding to the report, Mr Coveney said there was "nothing new here for us. We've been talking about the downside of a no-deal Brexit for many, many months. If a no-deal Brexit were to happen, it'll be a lose, lose, lose for everybody - for the UK, for Ireland, for the EU. All of the pressure is in London right now and that is where it should be because it is a British prime minister who has decided to ask for a significant change to a withdrawal agreement."

He added: "All 28 governments in the EU, including the British government, signed up to [it] . He is asking for change; we are happy to facilitate that as long as we can find a way of protecting the core issues."

Perhaps Mr. Gove needs to be reminded that Ireland is the only European country with which the UK has a significant trade surplus with Irish exports of $19 Billion to the UK and imports of $23 Billion from the UK. The UK will thus lose more exports than Ireland if blockages are put in place, and in any case, Ireland needs to diversify away from the UK market because Sterling devaluation is making Irish exports to the UK increasingly uneconomic.

I have been warning since Day 1 after the UK referendum that a no deal Brexit is the most likely outcome because of the disparity in expectations between Brexiteers and the EU. Those chickens are now coming home to roost. Far from being "the easiest deal in history", it is going to prove to be the most difficult and intractable. And No Deal means economic war.

Wolfgang Münchau has argued that the EU should think twice before rejecting Boris Johnson's proposal and that the biggest problem with a no-deal Brexit is not the thing itself but who is held responsible. That is an utterly fatuous argument. The real effects of Brexit will be felt long after whoever is deemed to be at fault has passed into history.

As I write this, Paschal Donohoe, the Finance Minister, is unveiling the annual Irish budget which will be framed on the assumption of a No Deal Brexit. He is expected to provide for a €1.2 Billion no deal contingency fund to help farmers and businesses in the worst effected sectors. A projected small budget surplus will instead become a c. 1% deficit.

It is unlikely that his package of measures will be sufficient to offset the economic dislocation and loss of jobs Brexit will cause - not to mention the growing instability in the North of Ireland. But with the EU's help, Ireland will muddle through. For the UK, on the other hand, no bottom to the potential downward spiral is in sight, and blaming Boris Johnson or Varadker or the EU is going to be of little consolation.

Winning a blame game never put bread on the table, and in reality there are only losers.

Display:
The memo to The Spectator, doubtless from Dominic Cummings, has to be read to be believed.

Expect Cummings to appear in public with a pronounced limp. But perhaps his problem is that Goebbels had Hitler, while he only has Goering.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 03:21:36 PM EST
We don't want lower bread prices, we don't want higher bread prices, we don't want unchanged bread prices--we want National Socialist UK Freedom bread prices!

Source

 

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

by ATinNM on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 03:57:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cummings makes a very persuasive case for the EU to refuse an extension. Those who threaten war had better be ready for it if it comes about...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:37:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cry "Brexit" and let slip the dogs of economic war.
by rifek on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 02:55:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ian Dunt dows a good take down:
Dominic Cummings memo reveals contradictory Brexit policy with demented overtones
Empathy is a generally an underrated quality and especially so in the world of political strategy. People who enjoy gaming negotiations like to think in terms of ruthless self-interest. But when you lack empathy, that self-interest becomes harder to satisfy. Unless you understand your negotiating partner, you'll find it harder to get what you want from them.

That foundational mistake is written into every sentence of a crucial memo from No 10 special adviser Dominic Cummings and sent to the Spectator magazine on Monday night. We don't know it's him of course. It was sent by "a contact in No 10". But the length, lexicon and attitude of the writing indicates it could only ever have come from him.

The whole cultural approach of anonymising the briefing is starting to become a real problem, allowing the British government to distance itself from aggressive commentary and providing a semblance of plausibility to otherwise quite deranged commentary. The memo was from Cummings and we should say so.

Cummings's lengthy missive is angrier than the type of material put out by Theresa May's administration, but in one central area it is uncannily alike: It shows almost no understanding whatsoever of European incentives, political systems or domestic sensitivities. It is what happens when you base your negotiating posture without any empathy or interest in the other side. It's really not much more sophisticated than playing Battleships.

It starts with Leo Varadkar, who is increasingly turning into the chief villain of the piece among the hysterics on the Tory benches. The emotional origin of this newfound hatred comes from the fact that they are not used to Ireland having the upper hand against Britain. It goes against their sense of the natural order.

"Varadkar doesn't want to negotiate," Cummings insists. "He wants to gamble on a second referendum." This is pretty much the standard Brexit narrative now. The Taoiseach has strategised against Downing Street to win domestic support and is now unable to move because of his own unnecessary red lines. There is almost no recognition of the reason he has reached his position, which is that customs checks would create a poisonous combination of economic deterioration, political volatility and security targets.

The ignorance extends to the EU's position and the practical realities of what no-deal entails. "As things stand," the memo goes on, "at the end of this week they may say `OK, let's do a Northern Ireland only backstop with a time limit'."

It is quite extraordinary that Cummings believes the EU will offer this. He would not need to research very extensively to discover that it will not. It has stated it over and over again. And yet the hope still lies there, undisturbed by the most basic understanding of his negotiating partner's repeated statements.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 05:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can see why Forsyth simply published the memo.  Who wants to summarize and paraphrase a psychotic episode?
by rifek on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 02:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whether the EU is a loser depends on the Economic Policies enacted in response to the UK leaving.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 03:53:26 PM EST
COMISH portfolio citations, please?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:18:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've given up reading Munchau, and that article illustrates why...
The volume of trade between the EU and the UK was £634 billion in 2018. The total trade volume between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic was £5.4 billion. This is a ratio of more than 100 to one. I understand why the rest of the EU places a higher value on the interests of Ireland than the UK. I do not understand why they place so little value on their own interests.

Shorter Munchau : Fuck the Irish. And the Sudetenland too. The fellow clearly has an impaired sense of history. Appeasing someone who has no interest in being appeased...

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

by eurogreen on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:01:29 PM EST
With the loss of the UK Neo-liberals have lost a guaranteed Veto of any move away from their orthodoxy.  Further, with the loss of the UK it is as certain as anything can be the EU will either have to give-up Austerity or watch the whole thing come down in ruins.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:06:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Munch-cow is a putz.  That is all.
by rifek on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 09:13:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is mildly Keynesian, to take off the sharp edges of a no deal Brexit. The main elements of a  €1.2 billion Brexit related package includes €220 million to be deployed immediately. Other measures include:

  1. €650 million for agriculture, enterprise and tourism sectors to assist the regions and populations most affected

  2. €85 million for beef farmers and €6 million for other livestock farmers and the mushroom sectors.

  3. €14 million for the fishing industry

  4. €365 million for extra social protection benefit expenditures

  5. €45 million to assist people transition to new work.

Despite Brexit, the Minister expects a net additional 19,000 jobs to be created. GNP growth is expected to decline from 8.2% in 2018, an estimated 6% in 2019, and perhaps 2% in 2020. But as yet, no recession is forecast. The main Brexit related disruption is expected to be in the beef and dairy sectors.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:04:36 PM EST
To what extent can the beef and dairy sectors move "up market" and thus closer to the final consumer euro?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:08:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd bet a wooden nickel if I had one that Phil Hogan knows better than Frank.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:22:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Already happening - 5% of Ireland's total milk production goes into Bailey's and there is an increasing variety and volume of cheeses and ready meals containing beef. I haven't seen any public commentary on it, but I suspect Irish beef and dairy producers are planning to displace UK equivalent products on EU supermarket shelves. However Trump's imposition of 25% tariffs on Bailey's and the proposed Mercosur trade deal come at a really bad time for both sectors.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:24:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump's imposition of 25% tariffs on Bailey's

And Jameson.  And Kerrygold.  The man is truly a walking buttplug.

by rifek on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 09:17:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the restrictions imposed on Euro-Zone members any Irish policy could only be mildly Keynesian.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 05:21:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes but a Varadker led government probably wouldn't want to push the boat out too far either - Fine Gael is the most socially and economically conservative major party in Ireland.

Ireland's debt/GDP ratio ballooned from 25% to 120% during the crash and banking crisis which has left a bit of a debt-phobia scar in the national psyche, although not on the same scale as Germany's.

However the problem then wasn't even the level of public debt - private and corporate debt had reached 430% of GDP. This has been coming down slowly since 2016 to about 380% - still v. high, driven by corporate debt and Ireland's high rate of owner occupation and mortgage financing.

Since then the absolute volume of national  debt has remained roughly constant at c. €210 Billion although the has declined from 120% to 65% of GDP largely due to the "Leprechaun economics" growth in Irish GDP.

The Irish statistics office has developed an alternative measure of the size of the Irish Economy stripped of the distortions caused by the activities of global corporates in Ireland called GNI*. By this measure Ireland's debt/GNI* ratio is currently 104%, still high by international standards.

Every now and then the papers publish scare stories about Ireland having one of the highest national debt/capita ratios in the world, at €44,000 or €90,000 for every worker. This, of course, ignores the fact we also have one of the highest incomes.

With interest rates at record lows, this is, of course a good time to borrow and to recycle past debt. Ireland has paid €60 Billion in interest on its debt in the past decade but this burden has been coming down each year, from €8 Billion in 2014 to €4.5 Billion next year.

But with concerns about the sustainability of Ireland's corporate tax take - due to international reforms of the corporate taxation system - the government is taking a conservative approach to additional borrowing for anything other than infrastructural or Brexit related expenditures.

Nevertheless I think we are in relatively good shape to take a no-deal Brexit related hit to our economy and finances. The problem is more the asymmetrical nature of any shock - hitting farming and agrifood businesses in more rural parts which are already doing much less well than Dublin and the urban centres.

Politically this is dynamite for Varadker's hopes of re-election, as he is already perceived of as representative of the urban professional property owning middle classes and insensitive to rural and more working class concerns.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 09:54:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guess what?

UK goes third-country. Round II of Fresh or Refrigerated Meat? summit immediate begins.

EU-UK ENVOYS schedule the first of annual bi-lateral trade negotiation. The UK [Crown in the] parliament debates and passes a raft of block no-deal bills, because the current PM (whoever the fuck that is) said in an interview that all tariffs are off the table.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:38:01 PM EST
There won't be any substantive post no deal Brexit EU/UK trade negotiations until 3 core issues of Withdrawal Agreement are sorted first:
  1. 39 Billion
  2. Rights of EU citizens in UK
  3. Irish border, Good Friday Agreement, all Ireland economy.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:49:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I said!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 05:25:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ya coulda fooled a dummy like me ;)

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 07:28:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am possessed by an extremely refined sense of humor.

Now my Robert was an uncanny soul, yanno a textbook scorpio, who scarcely tired of Three Stooges comedy. Sometime he'd stop a bit on the cable telly. He squeezed shut his eyes. A long wheeze would pass between his lips. The cigarette dangling between his trembling fingers would wag. That's how we knew. Our child and I were frequently astonished by his laughter. "What happened?" we'd ask.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 03:20:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany shrugs off British leaks of Brexit phone call between Johnson and Merkel
Germany has shrugged off British leaks of a Brexit phone call between prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Angela Merkel.

Dr Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that, as was usual, he would not comment on "private, confidential" talks between government leaders.

Around Berlin on Tuesday, however, the British breach of diplomatic protocol and subsequent spin in Tory-friendly media was greeted with a weary sigh.

German officials and politicians said the British portrayal of the conversation was more revealing about the British position.

A No 10 Downing Street source told broadcast journalists that Dr Merkel had "made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on [the UK] leaving the customs union".

While the Downing Street source claimed the conversation was a "useful clarifying moment", Norbert Röttgen, a senior official in Dr Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and head of the Bundestag foreign affairs committee, said there was "no new German position on Brexit".

"Frankly, a deal on the basis of Johnson's proposals until October 31st has been unrealistic from the beginning and yet the EU has been willing to engage," he wrote on Twitter. "Blaming others for the current situation is not fair play."

---

Last April in Dublin she [Merkel] said it was "moving" to learn about daily life from people living on and around the Border.

As a former East German, she said she "knew only too well what it means once borders vanish, once walls fall, and that one needs to do anything in order to bring about a peaceful co-operation".

Her discussions that day, she said, had left her mindful of the heavy death toll from Northern Ireland violence, and would "encourage" her to ensure the "peaceful" Good Friday agreement was upheld.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 04:59:01 PM EST
Politico's Florian Eder (who's from Germany):
In case you missed it, according to a U.K. government official's account of the call, Merkel told Johnson the U.K. cannot exit the EU without leaving Northern Ireland in a customs union with the EU forever.

As if. The German government confirmed the call took place, but wouldn't comment on what was said, pointing to its rule that such conversations are treated as confidential by the chancellor. But as if anyone has ever heard Merkel speak in absolute terms such as "never" or "forever." If Johnson's plan was to sabotage both the talks held in Brussels and the EU's trust in him, it went exactly according to plan.

Those who know Merkel know this: There's only one thing the chancellor hates more than people briefing out a confidential talk with her, and that's people inaccurately briefing out a confidential talk with her. Now raise your hand if you think the British account is accurate. We'll wait ... Anybody? ... Didn't think so.

by Bernard on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 08:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris was due to undertake a "whirlwind tour" of key EU leaders prior to the EU Council summit next week in order to persuade them of the merits of his plan.. Unfortunately Merkel and Macron couldn't meet him citing diary conflicts. I wonder why? Perhaps Merkel had a pressing engagement opening a beer-fest or something...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 10:06:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a list of UK trade balances by country, see here. The UK claims a large trade surplus with the USA, but the USA claims the reverse, so we must discount those figures. Of the rest, the UK's highest trade surplus is with Ireland, it's sixth largest trading partner. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Suppose I'll just have to get used to buying Aldi Branston pickle. It's much cheaper anyway...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 05:32:41 PM EST
BEA | U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, June 2019, pub'd. Aug 2019
The June figures show [US] surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($4.8), Hong Kong ($2.3), Brazil ($1.3), and United Kingdom ($0.1). ...
yanno, BEA publishes data every month. wikiwtf? ONS? not so much. LOL

BEA | U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, August 2019

The August figures show [US] surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($5.0), Hong Kong ($2.2), Brazil ($1.4), OPEC ($0.8), Singapore ($0.7), United Kingdom ($0.6), and Saudi Arabia ($0.3). ...

GIGO
BEA that as it may, all third parties rely on gov reporting even before "transformation of the data," methodology, and retrospective "revisions". So. We're all on the sidelines wondering who is and has been the better "expert" ahem objectively speaking.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 06:32:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NSO does monthly trade stats. For August 1919, they say the set will be published on Thursday morning (10/10).

It's all bullshit anyway, I read it on Twitbook.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 07:41:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 06:23:24 PM EST
by Bernard on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 06:41:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I shall add your definition to my Brexit Glossary...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 08:59:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blame the border :)
by Bernard on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 07:14:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the Brexiteers certainly are!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 09:00:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The blame game will start to be important when Brexit starts to have an impact on British households. On the street, it won't matter who is at fault; the issue will be the foreigners still wandering around in England.

My guess is that racism and xenophobia will explode. "We voted for Brexit to get the Polish plumbers out of here, and Johnson brought us Brexit. Why are the plumbers still here???" A few high-profile cases of violence could trigger an exodus by EU citizens who are even more obviously not wanted.

November will be interesting.

by asdf on Tue Oct 8th, 2019 at 07:55:40 PM EST
Given how full of crap Brexiteers are, you'd think they'd want as many plumbers as possible.  Oh dear, I just used "Brixiteers" and "think" in the same sentence.
by rifek on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 09:21:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leave.EU has made a rare apology for a tweet the organisation posted which showed a picture of Angela Merkel with the words: "We didn't win two world wars to be pushed around by a Kraut."

Co-founder Arron Banks admitted it "went too far".

Just a teensy-weensy bit.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 08:25:22 AM EST
Kind of sums up Brexiteer attitudes, though, doesn't it? Also a great way to promote EU solidarity...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 10:14:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe it was a mistake, merely a rousing of the troops.

Just as TWBJ's lying is, perversely, a symbol of his authienticity, these provocations are intended to retain the purity of the faithful.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 07:57:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson news - live: Number 10 'has lost it' as bizarre plan to defy Queen emerges, amid dire Brexit warnings
Boris Johnson and his advisers are reportedly ready to tell the Queen she cannot sack him, even if he loses a no-confidence vote in the Commons later this month - a plan ridiculed by lawyers and historians.

It comes as the Court of Session in Scotland decides this morning whether a clerk or another government official can sign and send a Brexit extension letter on the prime minister's behalf if he refuses to do so.

With talks in Brussels thought to be close to collapse, Mr Johnson spoke to his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar over the phone on Tuesday night and the pair are expected to meet in person later this week.

What can the Queen do if Johnson refuses to resign if asked? Abdicate? That should send BoJo's approval numbers skyward amongst his own Tory faithful... And would a King Charles be any more amenable?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 10:21:39 AM EST
Bash him over the head with the royal mace?
by generic on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 11:51:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"What can the Queen do if Johnson refuses to resign if asked?"

These questions keep coming back, for whatever reason.

In the case you present there, the ex-PM has no more power to command any servant of the Crown (Ministers, advisers, civil servants, police, army). No one will obey him. As I've said before, he can hide in the broom cupboard at N° 10 if he wants, but some discreet political policemen will come to take him away.

Unless (as I've said before) the tanks are in the streets on his behalf. Don't forget that the Queen is also C-in-C of the armed forces. Mutiny against the Queen? Not going to happen.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 12:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's "Boris Johnson and his advisers" raising the question, not me. And is he an ex-PM if he has refused to resign? These questions keep coming back because there are no precedents for guidance and no clearly written Constitution to refer to.

Personally I'd love to see BoJo marched out of Buck Palace between two soldiers who have orders to lock him in the Tower, but I doubt that is going to happen either.

In a normal democracy, even raising the possibility of defying the Head of State would be disqualifying for Office, but it seems BoJo and his advisors can think, say, and do what they like without consequences.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 12:41:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In which case the US, with its written constitution, is not a "normal" democracy either. Last night I heard a French "US expert" explain that, in the end, the whole American constitutional structure worked if the president was a decent person who respected the spirit of the institutions etc, which Trump evidently doesn't. The same can be said of the UK. Could also have been said of Germany before Hitler was elected.

The problem is not with constitutions, it's a matter of a shameless far-right takeover. It's purely political.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 03:29:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of the US are profit seeking and piracy ... pursuant to the letter of laws, enacted by successive sessions of the US Congress.

So.

What annoys Team Trump detractors "at the end of the day" is that they've yet to discover illegal conduct by the president or the creepy, homicidal maniacs--in gov and outsid it-- who defend the authorities vested in the office as earnestly as every.single.administration which preceded his.

except Garfield, McKinley, JFK, and Lincoln. Possibly Harding.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 04:27:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with the US Constitution is that its almost impossible to change it, so it hasn't been amended as problems became apparent. The last successful amendment was in 1992, and it took 202 years for it to be passed. An amendment prohibiting child labour, for instance, has been pending since 1924, with no sign of it being passed... It is hardly surprising that a document, largely the product of 18th. century thinking, is no longer fit for purpose.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 10:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the US problem is the same as the UK: voters trend to the right and the ultra-right takes over on a populist ticket. Same things threatens to happen in France, which has a much more recent (and amendable) written constitution.

It's political in the broad sense.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 07:15:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you mistake current political trends for a universal principle of politics. Yes, countries have their populist right wing periods, but they can also have good and constructive leadership and progressive periods.

The fact that the Catholic Church and conservative allies managed to insert an outright ban on abortion into the Irish Constitution in 1983 doesn't mean that it could never be reversed, because the democratic processes were there to do just that.

Increasing economic inequality has been driving political polarisation in most "western" countries with the right in the ascendant. It need not, and won't always be that way...

I also agree a written constitution is no panacea for other ills, but it places the ownership of a state in the hands of the people rather than in the hands of an elite of lawyers, politicians, royalists and murky background money.

In time the people can learn to exercise their ownership wisely: the problem with the UK is that the constitution and FPTP electoral system makes politics an irrelevance for most people, and so their ignorance of what is really going on becomes profound.

People don't engage with what they cannot control. In this case the EU became the fall-guy, when the real problems are much closer to home.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 11:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Queen does have at her disposal the Queen's Guards. She could order them to seize Johnson and sequester him in one of the basement rooms of Buckingham Palace. That might be more practical than sending him to the Tower, although, in the Tower, Johnson could be confined to the room used for Sir Thomas Moore, but that might interfere with the tourist trade unless he was made the main attraction. I believe the Yeoman Warders are still part of the royal household guard.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 03:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh horror  ... the thought ... Boris behind bars in the dungeon!

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 04:49:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She has more than the Queens guard, she is the ultimate commander of all military forces in the UK. There is absolutely no question about the chain of command.

I imagine that MI5 & MI6 would know where their bread is buttered as well, and they know whre the skeletons are buried and how many children TWBJ really has.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 08:04:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dead right.

All of which Johnson knows full well. He'll bluster until it gets dangerous for his big fat arse, and then he'll stop.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 07:18:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe.

Considering that we have an outbreak of copycat "big men" all over the planet, all playing the same games, a happy ending is not a given.

And considering the rhetoric around the Supreme Court judgement and the Benn Act, I think Johnson genuinely seems himself as Emperor-in-Waiting - like Trump, but with added classical references, even more drugs, and less dementia.

The fact that both are seriously disordered individuals is neither here nor there.

Realistically, they have no interest in precedent, morality, convention, or fair dealing. As far they're concerned they're in power, we're not. That's all anyone needs to know.

If a constitution is founded on the principle that leaders act with at least a minimum of integrity and force is never necessary, you have a problem if it becomes obvious that force has to be applied - because you're in uncharted territory, having to make difficult decisions about who is qualified/required to apply the force, under what circumstances, and with what limits.

And if there are back-channel conversations where your Emperor-in-Waiting is making threats of force of his own, or using bribes to override the usual constitution limits, or blackmail, or some other chicanery, your problem becomes far more serious.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 11:45:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If a constitution is founded on the principle that leaders act with at least a minimum of integrity and force is never necessary,
I mean, the Americans thought that the other branches of government would be jealous of their power. Which was blatantly silly even then, since the people involved were Senators second and owners of slave plantations first.
by generic on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 12:50:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question at the top of this thread was: if the Queen sacks Johnson and he refuses to go, what happens? My response is that he can only get away with that if he has the army with him. Not impossible, but imo very unlikely.

As to the rest of your comment, I don't disagree. I'm not out to defend the British mess of a constitution. I'm not sure I see a good example of a well-functioning written constitution, though. (Doesn't mean there can't be one).

Overall, right now, I think we're being trolled by Johnson bluster and Cummings venom. They've got everybody jumping around and guessing. Keep everything in a state of flux where no one really knows wtf is going to happen, is the game.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 06:34:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You miss the point: No such thing exists.

All law "functions" because of obedience to and enforcement of it by people.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 07:04:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't miss the point. I say that I can't see one (though I concede it might exist).

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 07:17:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All law comes into being because people perform it. Whether they write it down or speak it is one of its attributes, not a factor of its function, product(s), or value--beneficent, perverse, or punitive.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 07:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why Do People Follow Bad Leaders?
Most of us want our leaders to be strong and confident, but too many of us confuse arrogance and narcissism for strength. That is wrong. Research clearly shows that the very worst leaders - those who become tyrants - are very narcissistic and arrogant.
The flip side is: Why do people not follow apparently good leaders? Perhaps "being" emphatically non-arrogant, non-narcissistic, non-charismatic, non-manipulative leaves you without a chance to be trusted with leadership. Nice leaders gonna be very slow learners?

At a finance conference in San Francisco, a billionaire jerk just made a sexist comparison.

by das monde on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 07:27:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PM may face contempt proceedings if he fails to adhere to Benn act
"Jolyon Maugham QC has sought legal advice on starting court proceedings for contempt next week in the Scottish courts, after senior judges in Edinburgh delayed a decision on ordering the prime minister to comply with the Benn act."

m'k. No more info @JolyonMaugham.

There is however an odd stab at US GAAP to explain Uber VAT "liabilities". uhhh. DUDE, back away from principles of accounting in the US as if remotely similar to those in the UK. Sadly, I am an LBS grad and have crossed those paths. (1) FSAB is a trade organization devoid of legal authority. (2) No VAT in USC. (3) FSAB "guidance" on revenue recognition is a deep, deep, bottomless rabbit hole.

next ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 05:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pony up for advice from an international firm like StCharter, Deloitte, or PWC;

or call the IRS and see how far that gets you.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 05:57:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Viewed from Kenya:


by Bernard on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 08:22:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems the EU have collectively decided that its not worth their while meeting Bojo because his red lines are incompatible with theirs, and because he has no prospect of getting a deal ratified by the House of Commons anyway.

So its either a general election which BoJo can win with 30% of the vote with the Remain vote fairly evenly divided between Labour and the Lib Dems, or a referendum in which he has to get 50%.

You'd think that would concentrate the minds of the anti-Boris majority wonderfully and force them to vote no confidence and form a caretaker government with a mandate to extend A.50 and organise a referendum.

But NOOO! Apparently Ex-Labour MP Woodcock thinks Jeremy Corbyn could do more damage to UK National security in `few short weeks' as caretaker PM than Cambridge 5 spy ring did over decades.

With that level of madness, hatred, and division in the opposition ranks, it seems even the chaos of a no deal Brexit is preferable. Some of these people need to grow up, but there is too little time to change the nappies now...

PS I have just become a grandfather again, so changing nappies is on my mind...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 12:53:25 PM EST
Oh everything's fine then
Boris Johnson has promised centrist Conservative MPs he will not go into an election arguing for a no-deal Brexit and would never make a pact with Nigel Farage.
Damian Green, the leader of the One Nation group of 80 Tory MPs, told the Guardian that Johnson "looked [him] in the eye" as he pledged that he party will not shift to endorsing a no-deal Brexit as the Conservatives' central policy.
Green said he believed Johnson's reassurances

It's not his eye he should be watching. It's his lips. Did they move?

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

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 04:01:55 PM EST

... a private ceremony then?

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

by eurogreen on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 12:54:30 PM EST
And what a gorgeous couple they would make... Trouble is Varadker already has a partner and Boris' current mistress might object...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 03:05:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leo plays the game very well

"I had a very good meeting today with the prime minister and our teams together. It was very positive and very promising. I am now absolutely convinced that both Ireland and Britain want there to be an agreement that's in the interests of Ireland and UK and the EU as a whole," he said.
The meeting lasted significantly longer than expected, with the two prime ministers agreeing that there had been enough movement to form a basis for substantive negotiations.
Varadkar said he believed the outline of a deal would be possible in time for the crunch summit of EU leaders next Thursday although "there was many a slip between cup and lip" and challenges remained ahead.
"What I would hope that what happened today will be sufficient to allow negotiations to resume in Brussels," he added.

There are a couple of dangling issues...

"There are of course issues yet to be fully resolved, the first is the issue of consent and democracy ensuring that any long term arrangement that applies to Northern Ireland has the consent of the people of Northern Ireland, the second is the whole issue of customs ensuring that there is no customs border between north and the south.

Nothing much...

Don't blame me if it goes pear-shaped...

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

by eurogreen on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 at 04:29:43 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries

Does anyone care?

by Frank Schnittger - Oct 10
68 comments

Spain is not a democracy

by IdiotSavant - Oct 14
3 comments

The Blame Game

by Frank Schnittger - Oct 8
67 comments

EU-UK Relations: Trading Blows

by Oui - Oct 8
22 comments

John Major's Encore

by ARGeezer - Sep 27
29 comments