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

Brexeternity

by Frank Schnittger Sun Nov 10th, 2019 at 04:02:49 PM EST

In all the sturm und drang around a no deal or a Boris deal Brexit, it is easy to forget that this is just the prologue. All the Brexit deal does is settle some outstanding details arising out of the UK's departure: It does very little to decide the shape of the future relationship between Great Britain and the EU.

I use the term "Great Britain" advisedly, because the one aspect of the future relationship between the EU and the UK that has been decided in the deal is that N. Ireland, will remain, for all practical purposes, in the Customs Union and Single Market (CUSM) - whatever Boris Johnson might say otherwise.

But for the rest of the UK, aka Great Britain, all options are still on the table - all the way from a no deal trade war, through trading rules dictated by WTO Treaties, to Canada+++ or Norway---; whatever that may mean. As Boris Johnson has demonstrated, it's all about the marketing: His slightly reheated and amended version of May's deal is suddenly acceptable to the hoards of hard-line ERG Brexiteers who voted against her original version three times.


But one of the consequences of the repeated extensions of the A.50 notification period has been to run down the clock on the Transition Period, which was intended to enable the UK and EU to negotiate the terms of their future trading (and other) relationships. Now only 11 months separate the latest Brexit date - Jan 31st. - and the proposed end of the transition at the end of 2020, and Boris Johnson has repeatedly said he will not seek a further extension to the Transition Period.

Chris Johns is inclined to take him at his word on that, while believing little else Johnson says. So we could be faced, in a little more than 12 months time, with a hard no deal Brexit after all, everywhere except in N. Ireland. Apparently no one in the EU believes it will be possible to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal in 11 months, and I am inclined to believe them on that.

Indeed, perhaps that is why so many hard Brexiteer "no-dealers" are prepared to go along with Johnson's deal: They will get want what they want in a little over a year in any case.

So why might they think this would be a good idea? As Chris Johns also notes, this will be the first time anyone has tried to negotiate a trade deal which actually increases rather than reduces barriers to trade. And why would even disaster capitalists want that?

My guess has always been that the Brexiteers real intent is to create a situation where, in their view, the EU will be forced to give them all they want - the benefits of free trade - without the costs of EU membership and all the political compromises entailed by that.

Absent a deal, the EU will be forced to erect trade barriers with the UK - harming their own economic interests, to some extent - with the Brexiteers claiming all the while that they will be erecting no barriers a all - as Boris Johnson said in his "rambling" speech in a safely unionist part of Northern Ireland.

No doubt the Brexiteers are gambling that, faced with such a choice, the EU will baulk and effectively give in by allowing free trade to continue, effectively extending the Transition period indefinitely, which will then be the path of least resistance.

All this talk by Barnier et al of not allowing dumping, of maintaining a level playing field, of not allowing the UK to undercut EU workers rights and consumer and environmental standards is regarded by Brexiteers as so much guff. Another version of "the EU needs us more than we need them".

And this is where I think they are terribly mistaken. If the absence of a trade deal had resulted in a hard border in Ireland, the EU would, indeed, have been in a quandary. Now that that danger has been effectively taken off the table, not so much. The EU can impose tariffs on UK exports with alacrity, and even justify them by reference to the loss of the UK contribution to the EU budget.

But for Johnson all of this is just so much speculation. In his mind this election is about "getting Brexit done" by January 31st., if not before. What happens after that is a problem for another day. His time frames do not extend beyond the imminent general election and his return to 10 Downing St. with an overall majority. After that it will be bluff and bluster all over again.

You would think that after 3 years of humiliation at the negotiating table, some Brexiteers would start re-evaluating their strategy and their tactics. But for them it isn't really about the economics of economic integration and free trade. It's about winning a power struggle within Great Britain, and particularly within England, before it is to late - far away from those interfering socialists in the Brussels bureaucracy.

I am reminded of the Catholic Church in Ireland having its political allies insert a clause in the Irish constitution banning abortion, and defeating a proposal to liberalise the constitutional ban on divorce in the 1980's. Both were illegal in Ireland at the time in any case, but the point was to prevent some future "liberal" government from legislating for them. We all know how that turned out...

The Catholic Church was seeking to legislate for eternity by ensuring the Irish constitution reflected Roman Catholic dogma and which their faithful could be relied on to safeguard for ever. But Boris Johnson's deal cannot legislate for Brexiternity, indeed the real negotiations will only be beginning in 2020, and you would need 20/20 vision to figure out where those will end up.

My guess: not in a good place for Great Britain. It will be plucky little England against the massed hordes of Brussels bureaucrats in the fevered imaginations of Brexiteers still trying to relive the glories of World War II and with President Trump expected to come to the rescue... Good luck with that.

Display:
In Ireland, Leo Varadker is being given a lot of credit for maintaining a hard line on the Irish Border, which eventually forced Boris Johnson to concede a "border down the Irish sea" in their talks at Thornton Manor outside Liverpool.

However in my view the real turning point was the Merkel Johnson phone call some days earlier where Merkel effectively told Johnson that N. Ireland would never be allowed to leave the CUSM thereby creating a hard border within Ireland.

Downing Street leaked the contents of the call, describing it as "a hugely clarifying moment", perhaps thinking it would provoke outrage in Britain at Germany's dictatorial attitude. When no outrage (beyond the DUP) materialised, Johnson promptly caved in his talks with Varadker paving a way for the deal to be agreed at the EU summit some days later.

And still there is no outrage outside the realms of the DUP, whom Johnson has sought to mollify and confuse by flatly contradicting the contents of his own deal. But no one in N. Ireland is in any doubt that Johnson sold the DUP down the river by agreeing what "No UK Prime Minister" would ever agree to.

The DUP basically over-played its hand by voting against May's deal, thereby encouraging a lot of ERG members to do likewise. This may or may not have immediate repercussions for them at the polls despite attempts to bolster unionist solidarity by saying only a strong DUP representation in Westminster can stop the deal going through.

But bethinks, that horse has bolted, regardless of whether or not Boris wins. Any deal negotiated by Labour will include the same provisions. Logically unionists should now be campaigning on a Remain platform as the only way of preventing a border down the Irish sea.

But of course they won't. Logic was never their strong point and admitting they could ever be wrong is an absolute no-no. No Surrender!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 10th, 2019 at 07:09:44 PM EST
Remember this?
Labour approaches Tory rebels and DUP in bid to force through amendments to PM's deal, 20 Oct

With dissolution the EU(Withdrawal) Bill 2019 is dead as are many assumptions about opposition parties' intention to revise "enabling legislation" and the Withdrawal Agreement (IE/NI Protocol) entry into force. The next government of the new parliament will see to it.
HoL, European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill: interim report, 5 Nov

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Nov 10th, 2019 at 11:42:44 PM EST
well, well, well, look what turned up at WoS
EXCLUSIVE Boris Johnson's Brexit Withdrawal Bill 'Power Grabs' Torpedoed by House of Lords Peers.
The report draws attention to the ramping up of the so-called Henry VIII powers under the Northern Ireland protocol to allow ministers to change or repeal laws without parliamentary legislation.
[...]
It also points out that there is no provision in the law for any consultation procedures with the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly or the Northern Ireland Assembly during negotiations with the EU for a new trade deal. Each body will simply be informed about the progress of the negotiations.
etc. such as shall we say "enhancements" to dormant delegation of powers in EUWA2018 which have received scant attention by MPs of any party for the past two years. None are prepared to present an intelligible alternative served with Letwin v2.0. These are "single-issue" floggers, not administrators.

Equally alarming is a SPICe briefing for SNP, The European Union (WithdrawalAgreement) Bill-Implications for Scotland. Brooding over devolved "consent" buried by SCOTUK, the Scotland Act 1998, and perceived "competitive advantages" bestowed by the Protocol on NI duty-free status within the union (a/k/a "level playing field").

The first act of parliament in the new year will likely be a request for extension of the A.50 period, because WA ratification would be too intelligent.

archived
Tue Oct 22nd, 2019 at 09:28:39 PM EST
Duplicity

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 07:39:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect you read more of this stuff than the average Lord or MP. They've been ranting about a few paragraphs while missing huge tranches of stuff of equal significance. Ever thought of being a legislator?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 10:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I enjoy reading. Is that habit, observation, or attitude toward the known and unknown universe "scholarship"? Not really. I am however endowed with an extraordinary amount of leisure attributable to long-term unemployment and curiosity about how people work, how they communicate (especially their "arts"), and how they do--or--do not organize themselves and to what ends. Necessity requires that I know who and what I am dealing with and who I will trust, as any toddler would tell you had they adequate vocabulary.

Because of these journeys I learned very early on that I do not possess the temperament for successful practice of litigation or legislation. Nor do have the inclination to cultivate one at this late date. As it happens, I'm certain that I will be unable to fulfill my jury duty next week because of my medical condition. And that is a pity as I was looking forward to my part in it, likely my last opportunity to make the cut, statistically speaking.

When was the last time you were called to judge a peer (not that peer, the other one)?


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 04:53:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have never been called for Jury duty. The luck of the draw, perhaps, or perhaps my strange name. Funny how these things work...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 05:19:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before Dissolution. This means the Bill will make no further progress.
on the bright side, Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill [HL], passed in the wash up.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 12:25:06 AM EST
HoC Library | Planning for a no-deal Brexit
In the absence of UK and EU ratification of a withdrawal agreement, a no-deal Brexit remains the default scenario unless the UK revokes the Article 50 notice.
HoC Library | Revisions to the Political Declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 12:42:15 AM EST
BBC | General election 2019: Who's in charge during an election?
The silver lining is that ex-MPs do get severance pay - a Loss of Office payment. The amount depends on their age and the length of time they've been an MP.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 12:49:28 AM EST
I've now arrived at the conclusion that most likely outcome is a Johnson government with a slim majority, elected with a very small % of the vote, dragging the UK out of the EU against the wishes of most of the constituent nations and most of the population. Scotland and NI try to leave the UK in the relatively short term, the Tories become increasingly English nationalist and authoritarian to distract from the economic damage, resist the attempts to leave, and the whole fucking thing is in significant danger of burning down.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 02:20:47 PM EST
yes. Although I stll think that a Tory win is not a forgone conclusion. Strong rumours that strongly Remain Tory strongholds in the south east are vulnerable to the LibDems.

It's genuinely hard to call. I wouldn't believe the polls one iota

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 05:07:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not even paying attention to the polls, just my perception of the mood of the country, based on my recent interactions with English people. My instinct is you/we are most likely screwed.

What worries me is that the universe normally manages to undershoot my expectations even when I allow for its tendency to undershoot my expectations ...

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 05:14:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe.

My impression is there's a solid core of Tory voters who are disgusted by the current state of the party, and will either vote LD or stay at home.

The Tories are going to be wiped out in Scotland, so they need to win about 40 seats over the 2017 total to have a clear majority.

MeanwhileJohnson is an exploding gaffe machine, and the odds of him making it to the middle of December without an unbelievable fuck up of some kind are somewhere close to zero.

So IMO it's still too close to call. The campaign is just getting started, Remain still has options, while the other side has played its cards already and is being threatened by an entire furniture store of skeletons in closets.

I wouldn't put money either way, but I'm not unreasonably pessimistic about how this could go.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 12:15:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 03:26:17 PM EST
He's really not good at this. I idly wonder what prevented him pursuing a employment as an academic.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 05:09:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too academic to have enough fire in his belly to pound Bojo into electoral pulp, too idealistic-ideologcal to vegetate teaching poli-sci in the redbricks?
Corbyn has been a voice in the wilderness for half a century, perhaps he is still in mild shock at his rapid ascent to popular leadership of a polyhedric labour party disgraced - defaced - by Blair and Brown decades, reduced to the pusillanimous, wet blanket leadership of the Millibands.
He waited out New Labour's love-fest with war and finance, he outlived the opprobious smear media campaign against him, yet it isn't the 70's, he's not in his prime, he doesn't have the solid team he'd need to have a smidgeon of chance to turn a ur-mercantile society in a compassionate, progressive direction.
And yet... there he stands, centre-stage with a huge burden on him, to influence history definitively or go home and watch the country going pear-shaped, wondering what it was they saw in him, these new young Labour supporters in the first place. Surely warmed-over Trotskyism was fodder for historians, not current times!
Yet Marx' Capital is a best-seller, and capitalism seems ever more late or last-stage without its former Communist counterpart to negatively justify its continued and growing inequalities, injustice and ecocide.
Remembering when the commies did/do ecocide, they are no slouches either. I didn't see Greta visiting Putin or Peking, did I miss something?
I wish Sanders and Corbyn would do some co-strategising, why is the famous UK-US alliance so under-represented by their social democrat electorates today? Different planets! Yet their platforms share many planks.
We need the early enthusiasm of communism grafted onto a social democrat, anti-totalitarian stock, and the two old codgers could do more united than not. Mutual legup.
Corbyn lost a lot of traction hedging on Brexit and TV-duelling with May and Johnson in Parliament while standing on equivocal political ground.
If they lock up or at least successfully gag Boris and Mogg till the election Bojo has a chance with the old county Telegraph voters to ace it and produce another hung parliament to negotiate a post-hard brexit reality with.
Or Corbyn could end up with the (impossible) job of turning England into something else than a nation of shopkeepers with a constitution needing badly to be written, (seeing how previously successful gentlemen's agreements need a minimum number of gentlemen present to be effective).

Another bridge burned.

 

'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 Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 01:11:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And a return to form, I see. I always enjoy your prose and the uniquely angled autumnal sunlight dappling through goldening leaves enlightening it. We don't see enough of you around here any more!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 01:21:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ever more appreciative of others' contributions Frank, such as your good self.
Ever more aware of what I don't know too!
Hoping reduced quantity will lead to improvements in quality, many thanks for the warm welcome.

'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 Dec 1st, 2019 at 09:22:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Farage's decision not to contest Tory held seats (while contesting Labour seats) more or less stymies Remainers last hope of winning against a split Leave vote.  Unless the Lib Dems & Labour can come up with a pact to stand down against each other I doubt Boris can now be stopped. It really is pathetic that the dislike of Corbyn on the part of the Lib Dems can hand this election to Brexiteers on a plate.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 05:39:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that said, the dislike of Farage is forcing One Nation Remain tories to consider a vote for the noticably tory-lite LibDems.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 07:53:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It perhaps confirms the 317 seats the Tories held in last Parliament. But in the marginals they need to win to obtain a majority, the BP will still be running, lowering Tory chances.

Since I don't believe Farage is doing this without a quid pro quo, Johnson will have to offer something spectacular to get the BP completely out of his hair. A measly peerage won't cut it.

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 Nov 12th, 2019 at 07:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you be a member of the House of Lords and European Parliament at the same time?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 08:05:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit will be delivered (Hark! The herald angels sing!) and Farage will cease to be an MEP and become Lord Farage of Beerswill.

Just an example of a bauble he could be offered. In fact, for him to really cement Johnson's future majority, a government agreement aka coalition would have to be on offer.

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 Nov 12th, 2019 at 08:16:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How can a party with no MPs form part of a coalition? Boris could offer Farage the ambassadorship to the USA - thereby prompting the resignation of half the diplomatic service, thereby reducing costs... another Brexit Bonus to add to the NHS!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 09:05:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't saying that I thought an electoral agreement/ coalition was in any way likely. Particularly as it would prompt a greater split in the Tory party between right wing and centre-rightists.

It's also quite possible that the BP deflates like a punctured tyre and gives up completely.

However, if they do field candidates in seats Johnson absolutely needs to win, they'll arguably be reducing his chances.

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 Nov 12th, 2019 at 09:41:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With the Tories almost certain to lose seats in Scotland, they have to do more than just hold their current seats in England - they have to win some seats currently held by Labour or the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems are more likely to to hold theirs now that Boris is so openly allied to Farage and thereby losing some Remainer, "one nation", and moderate Tory voters to the Lib Dems.

Farage's decision probably also improves Labour's chances of holding seats in northern England. A vote for Farage is now no longer a protest vote - it is a vote for the conservative incumbent Boris - and the Conservatives are seen as responsible for much of Northern England's woes. So more of the Brexit party is likely to return to Labour than the Tories.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a case of the Brexit party self-harming and I would Expect the Brexit party polling numbers to start going down with Labour and the Tories the chief beneficiaries. Doesn't change the over picture much, though.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 03:57:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the overall picture is a hung Parliament, I think the odds are on that. But it's a situation in which feathers may weigh in the balance.

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 Nov 12th, 2019 at 05:08:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one ever seems to mention incumbent advantage when discussing how marginal constituencies might go. In Ireland it is huge with people often voting for the person, not the party, if s/he is perceived as popular/hard working/competent etc. To what extent will that reduce churn in seats? Or does Brexit over-rule all other considerations?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 02:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the logic is that the Brexit party running candidates in the south of England would increase the chances of a Remainer government being elected, why does that same logic not apply in the North of England? Farage has just destroyed the raison d'etre for his own party everywhere.

We may not like Boris and all he stands for, but he has just won round one - defeating the Brexit party as a credible competitor. The Tory party now IS THE Brexit party and there is no point in having another - if you are a Leaver.

Meanwhile the Remain vote is hopelessly split... Interestingly, the last Remain-Leave poll still showed at 10% Remain majority. Will they vote tactically Labour or Lib Dem depending on who has the better chance? What proportion of the UK electorate are sophisticated enough to vote tactically and know who HAS the better chance in their constituency?

And finally, will the Lib Dems and Labour be able to work together even if they secure the larger number of seats?

Me thinks we could be grasping at straws here...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 09:01:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if you are a Leaver

There's the rub. You wonder (perhaps rightly) if Remainers have the nous to reflect on their vote in an informed manner. The same question may be posed re Leavers, in spades.

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 Nov 12th, 2019 at 09:48:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Farage seems to agree with you ;) :

Brexit party will only stand in seats where there is no possibility it will affect the result

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 Nov 12th, 2019 at 08:38:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Is someone tricking the Conservative party into funding Labour ads?

by generic on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 09:18:34 PM EST

I think it's a variation on the classical grandparent scam where you trick a technologically illiterate racist old person into funding advertisments for the opposition party.

by generic on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 at 09:41:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What if Corbyn offered Sinn Féin a Border poll?  

"Corbyn is effectively a Sinn Féin fellow traveller. During the 1980s and 1990s he was the closest thing the party had to a sitting MP".

The question is obvious and voters in Northern Ireland have a right to an answer before they go to the polls on December 12th. What will Sinn Féin do if the election results in a hung parliament? More specifically, what will it do if its votes could make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister and he makes the party an offer it surely can't refuse?

The offer is this: take your seats to vote me into office and support me on any confidence motions, and in return I will give you a Border poll. Does Sinn Féin really rule out such a deal? And if not, it surely needs to be honest with voters and prepare them in advance for the possibility that the policy of abstentionism is not as absolute as party dogma has always claimed it to be.

I know, of course, what Sinn Féin's immediate answer to the question will be: we don't do hypotheticals. But everything about UK politics is hypothetical right now. Every objective observer accepts that the electorate is more volatile than it has been for generations.

In 2017 the Conservatives and Labour got 83 per cent of the vote between them - the highest combined total since 1970. In this year's European Parliament election, they got 23 per cent between them - the lowest total in the era of mass democracy. A binary first-past-the-post system now has four major parties squeezing into it. Small shifts could produce momentous results. Nobody knows how many voters will decide to vote tactically. Nobody knows anything.

The problem with this scenario is there is no way Corbyn could make a deal with Sinn Fein prior to a general election as he would be crucified by the hard right as a terrorist fellow traveller - not that they don't do this anyway, but a Sinn Fein deal would add credibility and immediacy to the charge.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 08:33:29 AM EST
A Corbyn/Sinn Fein deal would have to be secret until after the election. So watch for any indications that Sinn Fein is preparing the ground for an abandonment of the non-participation stance.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 05:10:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's that (yawn), and the more prosaic truths: (1) SF is isolated in IE/NI and doesn't sit in parliament; (2) Labour has no purchase in NI (or Scotland); (3) Corbyn is 30 years older than that dalliance, as is everyone else not "diaspora" in Britain which is indifferent to--dare I say ignorant about--gang rivalries on the little island. More bluntly, he doesn't need SF any more that HRM BoJo needs Farage to achieve their desired results.

What are their desired results? For the hide-bound observer, to each his own mere capture of PM chair. As for hypothetical domestic legislative agenda ("policy") onto which redundant MPs will glom while they canvass, deregulation/devolution (BoJo), centralized/majoritarian "reform" (Corbyn). Semi-refined ideological conflicts with occasional "Trumpian" augurs served by columnists are canards. Both support secession from the EU as a means to obtaining his paramount goal.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 07:00:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US donations to Sinn Fein exceed £11m after Manhattan event, 700 patrons
Party sources told Sunday Life the majority of the cash has been ploughed into election campaigns in Northern Ireland as strict rules in the Republic prevent large foreign donations being used by political candidates.
I don't expect it will be sharing these gains with Labour for Corbyn do you?

and btw, the crypto-unionists' "deal" for DUP contested seats already shows signs of cracking in Belfast Telegraph despite u-b-my-bitch threats:
Jon Tonge: It's shaping up to be a cliffhanger poll even before the parties set out their stalls and UUP leader Steve Aiken to challenge DUP's Sammy Wilson in East Antrim, for example. Is the deadline to "stand" end of this week or next?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 07:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eilis O'Hanlon: SF chortle at polls that show a majority of Britons would dump NI to get Brexit done... that wouldn't have anything to do with 30 years of murder and mayhem, would it?
YouGov survey suggests a heavy price is already being paid for DUP standing in the way of England's desire to leave the EU
[...]
"We need to be honest, folks," [Sinn Fein's Foyle MP, Elisha McCallion] said. "They (Britons) don't care about Ireland. They don't care about nationalists, they don't care about unionists and they don't care about anyone in between. They only care about England."
[...]
Just 34% of Labour supporters and 27% of Liberal Democrats said they wanted Northern Ireland to stay in the UK. The equivalent figure for Tories was 49% - still worryingly low from the self-styled "Conservative and Unionist Party", but way ahead of other potential candidates for government.
[...]
Northern Ireland is suffering the collateral damage from this experiment in devolution. Unionists have to decide whether thwarting Brexit will slow down that process, or dangerously accelerate it. ... Unionists may be furious with Boris [cutting them loose to DEVOLVE], but can what they ultimately want most survive without him?


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 07:38:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 07:42:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sinn Fein is the second largest party in N. Ireland challenging the DUP for pre-eminence. It is the third largest party in the Republic where it does take its seats. No Scottish/English/Welsh party has any purchase in N.I. Corbyn campaigned for Remain in the referendum. Whether or not SF would have any influence in the next Parliament were they to take their seats is as yet unclear, and depends on how "hung" a hung parliament it turns out to be. Most likely, neither they nor the DUP will/would hold the balance of power.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 09:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
State of the parties
excluding 21 present in the Dáil Éireann, AFAIK not voting in any chamber of UK parliament.

"English" ennui, superceding effects of GFA/Belfast with EU rearguard, and recent parliamentary acts upon NI have loosed E-W ties the chieftains slowly realize. HRM BoJo's purported "betrayal" of DUP mightn't be such a bad "deal". After all Stormont ministers are left to divvy the golden egg of exclusive, E-W port traffick "rebates". Now who wouldn't fudge a wee bit of N-S declarations and spite for that--if need be?

Scottish ministers are envious so it must be good.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 01:15:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone campaigning in NI yet proposed a double "rebate" for south-bound traffic?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 01:21:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The deal puts N. Ireland in a uniquely advantageous position with access to both the British and Single markets regardless of whether an EU/UK FTA is ever agreed - but the DUP are too thick to realize that.

And yes, some "miss-documentation" aka "smuggling" may also eventuate, but under the deal it will be the British who will be "policing" the "Border down the Irish sea" in accordance with Single Market rules.

If they want to give EU goods free, un-policed, access to the British market via N. Ireland, that is their business. I doubt the EU would object.  So Boris may even be right that N. Ireland firms will not have fill out customs declarations to "export" to Britain.

But no way will the EU grant GB goods the same privileged access to the Single Market. Therefore there will need to be effective border controls for goods passing from GB to N. I. intended for the Single Market - aka the Republic.

What I can't figure out is what is to prevent GB exports "exporting" control free to N. Ireland, and then for those same goods to be sent across the Irish border invoiced as N. Ireland "exports".

Given that N. Ireland is supposed to maintain "regulatory alignment" with the Single Market, those goods will have to comply with EU standards - policed at the border "down the Irish sea".

The problem may not be so much "chlorinated chickens" bypassing controls, but EU regulation compliant chickens evading any tariffs due by being invoiced first to N. Ireland customers, and then re-invoiced as N. Ireland produce for the Single Market.

In theory, customs "rules of origin" should apply, but who will police them if there is no border within Ireland? Probably some "intelligence led" spot checks at Irish air and sea ports where "unusual trading patterns" have been observed. After all there are only so many "chickens" N. Ireland producers can produce.

The same problem could also apply in reverse. What is to prevent EU goods arriving in N. Ireland via the un-policed Irish land border and being re-invoiced as N. Ireland goods and "exported" control free to the UK?

How long, in the absence of reciprocal agreements, will GB be happy to allow EU goods such privileged access to the GB market via a N. I. "loophole"?

Probably only for so long as the amounts involved are immaterial in the larger scheme of things. Ultimately some kind of "trusted trader" scheme will have to be introduced to enforce rules of origin and prevent N. Ireland becoming a new smugglers "silk road".

But for bona fide N. Ireland producers, access to both markets could put them in a uniquely privileged position, especially in the absence of a comprehensive UK/EU FTA.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 10:59:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well done. Your perception of fact, possibilities, and goals has moved, figuratively speaking, from one perspective (point A) to another (point B) on an arc circling that distant object known as The island of Ireland and its inhabitants.

The first statement (introduction) and the last (conclusion) express one proposition (thesis or detectable fact pattern): Intercourse and conditions which the body politic has inhabited have altered its future state (not that state, the other one). Expectation of individuation, so to speak, have emerged from narration of an ambiguous process, labeled UNION.

I see: The body of the comment however expresses doubts in that thesis rather than articulating proofs of ahem Truth's existence--supporting facts, exhibits or examples, as youthful essayists are trained to say by their teachers. The body disagrees with the proposition. Why is that?

To deny the reader the pleasure of The Truth with a litany of systematic police devices to detect, deter, and punish malefactors hiding in the "we" is rhetorically perverse. Point A--those questions--have been and will be addressed, answered, implemented, and adjusted in "plain sight" for eons. That point imbues the next with insufficient meaning of the whole ahem system, it is true.

Point B allows us to accentuate dispositve arguments regarding socially acceptable conduct at present. That is to acknowledge de facto agreement in words as well as deeds which demonstrate the greater "good" in those people who daily bring responsibility for one another into being. The the dude who stops at traffic signals is the same character--but different form--who will submit true declarations and tax, reject violence, abjure liars as well as "bad" law, and so forth, because they can in spite of the obscurity of their labors and mistrust of "leaders" de jure.

Now what do you say? How accurately do elected officials represent the actual will of the people who inhabit NI and IE?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 06:50:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In theory, customs "rules of origin" should apply

According to investigative journalism accounts in Italy (a country with a lot to lose export-wise for this reason) cheating is rife in this field, full of dodgy provenance and vague, sometimes counterfeited/replaced labelling.

'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 Dec 1st, 2019 at 09:35:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour would only allow second independence referendum if SNP wins Holyrood majority in 2021, party sources claim
No referendum in the first term for a Labour government ...
wut. we have here --at least-- is a failure to communicate when the next GE is scheduled. amirite.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 02:48:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 06:33:32 PM EST
Seven months ago ....

Tory Islamophobia row: 15 suspended councillors quietly reinstated | The Guardian |

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

by Oui on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 06:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let us assume core and committed party supporters vote for their respective parties - surveys indicate these are a declining number with voter churn higher than ever.

So the election will be decided by people not very committed to any party and who probably don't think much about politics or politicians and who probably haven't made up their minds to vote, and if so, how.

So who do you vote for if you are generally pissed of with politics and Brexit and all that shite? The Brexit party was a handy vehicle for that protest vote the last time around. Farage seemed to annoy the establishment and upset the apple-cart.

But now he has joined the establishment by supporting BoJo and self-impaled his own party. Isn't he Trump's guy?

Brexit - which was an anti-austerity, anti-immigrant, anti-government, anti-everything  - protest has become a monumental bore. People don't so much want to get it done as get rid of it altogether.

Also the economy doesn't seem to be going quite as well as it was. Public services are still starved of funds, the High streets are dying and nothing seems to improve.

Oh, and by the way the Tories have been in power - like forever. Cameron, May, Boris - the names change but has anything changed for the better recently? Haven't they had enough chances to get things done?

OK some people - like that bloke Rees-Smug seem to be doing very well, but hasn't he reinvested his funds in Ireland? Who's looking out for the little guy?

Is it not time to give that other guy - whatshisname - a go? He seems to annoy the establishment even more. He seems like a grumpy old man, buts that exactly how a lot of people feel right now.

What time's the match?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 12th, 2019 at 10:11:50 PM EST
UK election polls: Boris Johnson's lead over Jeremy Corbyn narrows as Labour makes gains
The Tory lead over Labour has narrowed ahead of the general election on December 12, the latest Survation polls show.

Labour made a 3 per cent gain, jumping from 26 to 29 per cent, while the Conservatives made marginal gains with a 1 per cent rise to 35 per cent. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party both fell by 2 per cent, dropping to 17 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

The data was collected between November 6 and 8 from 2,037 people over the age of 18.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 03:38:04 AM EST
After one poll puts Tory lead over Labour at just 6 points - is the election race tightening?
A Survation opinion poll gives the Conservatives a 6-point lead today, the lowest since early October - so does this mean the election race is becoming closer?

Survation puts the Tories on 35 per cent and Labour on 29 per cent, a result that could give Boris Johnson a majority of just 18 seats, according to the model used by the Electoral Calculus website.

Given how many seats can change hands if there are small shifts in national shares of the vote, a projected majority of 18 is hardly secure - leaving alone the dramatic shifts in opinion that happened during the election campaign last time.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 03:41:34 AM EST
Opinion polls in the UK have been notoriously unreliable and even the average of polls is of dubious value in predicting seat outcomes. For instance the latest YouGov poll - the only one taken since Farage announced the Brexit Party would not be standing against the conservatives - shows the Tories with a 14% lead. The average hasn't shifted significantly since I wrote this story.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 11:38:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I got curios about the collapse for the Brexit party.

Turns out, in that poll they changed form of the headline question from selecting between all parties to selecting between candidates known to appear in your constituency. Though this is fair as a measurement on election result (you can't vote for a condidate that isn't there), it creates the illusion of a change. Also it creates even more possible distortions from the polling, depending on where those polled claims (it is yougov after all) they live, and which candidates are availeble there.

If one looks at the same question that they asked last time where the respondents are chosing between all parties the changes are:
Lib dem -1
SNP -1
Plaid Cymru +1
Brexit Party -1
Greens +1
Other +1
And that is all. Probably no statistical significant changes.

Of course, a poll that creates the impression that Conservatives are pulling ahead has an effect on the debate and can thus create the effect it claims - byt hasn't - measured. Which is probably why they do it.

by fjallstrom on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 12:17:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For those who can read French:

by Bernard on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 09:04:50 PM EST



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Wed Nov 13th, 2019 at 10:48:38 PM EST


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 02:49:03 PM EST
President Hillary agrees.
by generic on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 02:51:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That has the look of the sort of comment he may come to regret in the future...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 03:00:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An overall majority is probably unlikely, but beecoming the largest party is well within the bounds of possibility.

Boris is becoming a massive liablity on the campaign trail, he is nothing like as popular as the media think he is and I'm reading stories every day of how they cover up gaffes on his behalf (Cenotaph being the most flagrant). And they have nobody else !!!!

His reception in flood hit areas of Yorkshire could cause a collapse in a reliably tory area. Even if those votes go to the LibDems, the Westminster beneficiaries are likely to be Labour.

turnout is key. Polls can only go on past performance, but Labour are most popular with the young and it really depends if they, the most fickle of voters, turn out on the day. If turnout goes over 70% then Corbyn will walk into number 10.

Now I fully conncede 70% is unprecedented in recent history, but such has been the alienation of the young that I actually wouldn't be surprised.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 08:57:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How will the Dec 12 date, foul weather, and the fact that some students are going home from college around then effect their vote?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 09:00:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FSM only knows.

However, legally you can be registered in more than one constiuency, but you may only vote in one. So students are currently being briefed on where to vote for maximum effect.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 09:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They can always adopt the Sinn Fein motto: "Vote Early, Vote Often!"

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 10:55:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Recently, yes it has been below 70%, but far as I can find every UK general election between 1922 and 1997 had a participation rate above 70%. Then it suddenly went below 60% and still have not quite recovered though recently it has approached 70% again.

Maybe, and this is just a theory, but maybe a system of elected government that promotes a two party system, needs the two major parties to actually be different for people to come out and vote.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 12:14:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turnout at the 2017 General Election was 68.8% and was the fourth successive election where turnout increased. The highest turnout recorded at a UK general election over the last 100 years was in 1950, 83.9%.




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 Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 08:25:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 03:00:19 PM EST
Newton Emerson: DUP should be forced to admit Labour is its only hope
Setting its face against a Corbyn government feels like one more corner the DUP is backing itself into
Yet the DUP is still escaping scrutiny over what it would do with Westminster influence, even while campaigning to maximise its influence.

Logically, it must favour Corbyn over Johnson.

There has been a complete breakdown in relations between the DUP and the prime minister. No unionist party in Northern Ireland supports Johnson's deal and no wing of the Conservative party advocates changing the deal for unionism's benefit. If Johnson wins a majority, he will ram his Brexit through. If he needs the DUP's help to get into office then everyone will be back to where they are now, which is not where anyone wants to be.

Labour, by contrast, is promising to negotiate a soft Brexit withdrawal agreement that would solve the DUP's sea border problem, followed by a second EU referendum that could solve all the DUP's Brexit problems. Brussels has vowed to facilitate the necessary talks and extensions.

DUP leaders have said their preferred alternatives to Johnson's deal are a "sensible deal" or no Brexit but they cannot bring themselves to admit this means preferring Labour.

By refusing to accept that a Labour government is its only hope, the DUP is trying to avoid difficult questions about past misjudgments and future strategy. Its denial is becoming too ridiculous to sustain.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 07:28:08 PM EST
I'm sure you posted an article which said that of all the DUP Arlene Foster is the most stubbrn and her refusal to change tack or accept she might have made a mistake is both a brittle strength and a colossal achilles heel.

Seems like that's where they live now.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 08:49:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a rubbishy sort of disguise for his political ad-- Labour for Corbyn, addressed to UK voters, because no NI Labour constituency.

The author's reasoning is difficult to follow, given the one NI candidate quoted explicitly contradicts his "logic." Also, no mention of the blob (of "unionists") what supposedly voted remain, no insight to contents of "soft" exit "deal" that EU supposedly agrees with Corbyn. Isn't that a revival of May's deal (DUP Gibraltar "same deal") all or nothing?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 11:18:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 01:43:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Newton Emerson is an Ulster Unionist commentator  writing for a predominantly Irish readership in the Irish Times. The Ulster Unionist and DUP are at loggerheads fighting for a share of the Unionist vote, and both hate Sinn Fein and what they see as Sinn Fein's chief fellow traveller in England over the past few decades, Jeremy Corbyn.

His logic here is impeccable. Unionists are viscerally opposed to a "border down the Irish Sea" as created by BoJo's deal. They would prefer "A SENSIBLE DEAL" aka May's deal which included all of the UK in the CUSM (thus avoiding a border down the Irish Sea) or failing that, no Brexit at all.

Problem is the DUP (rather unwisely, in his view) went all in for Brexit (as a bit of recreational nationalist bashing) and threw their lot in with the irredentist ERG Brexiteers (who are their ideological hard right fellow travellers on economics).

They therefore opposed May's deal which was far less harmful to their Unionist position believing the EU (Aka the Republic) would eventually fold and let them have their cake and eat it. But it was Boris who folded and sold them down the river.

Now the DUP have egg on their face to the unalloyed delight of all others including, more discretely, the Ulster Unionist Party, who have sashayed from a divided to a pro-Remain position.

Newton is simply revelling in the DUP's discomfort and pointing out the logic of their position, which is that they should support Corbyn's softer Brexit (which keeps all of the UK aligned with the CUSM and avoids a border down the Irish Sea) or else repent and go all in for Remain.

The fact that Corbyn is perceived as hard left while they are hard right should not be an impediment because they had been working with Sinn Fein in the N. Ireland Executive for years until they blew that working relationship - something they would now dearly like to recover in order to regain devolved executive power in N. Ireland.

Now they are back to square one - appealing to tribal loyalty to try to maintain their dominant position -  when everyone knows they are the authors of their own misfortune. They are unlikely to hold the balance of power again, and are now beholden to the goodwill of others who owe them nothing.

Not a good place to be.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 02:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Repetition of one contradiction in terms is not logic. That's a demo, or imitation, of psychotic behavior the writer and his patrons expect to see in NI but not from themselves.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 04:40:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you really want to see some near psychotic "mansplaining" try Alex Kane, formerly director of communications for the Ulster Unionist Party. My comment on his article is:
One long Unionist Whinge that the Remainers are actually uniting - contrary to what is happening on the "mainland". And trying to conflate Remainers with Nationalists is also a bit rich, given that 40% of unionists voted Remain. The fact that the same parties were prepared to stand aside for a unionist Remainer (Sylvia Herman) rather gives the lie to Alex Kane's attempt to claim this is all sectarian subterfuge. And last time I checked, neither the Greens nor the Alliance parties are nationalist parties.

The fact is that unionists of all ilks never got the significance of 60% of unionists trying to impose Brexit on the 56% of the total population who voted Remain, driving a coach and four through the GFA and erecting a hard border with the south. They seem genuinely shocked the Republic said no and the EU backed the Republic up.

The days of a majority of unionists imposing their rule on all of N. Ireland and dictating to either the UK or the EU are over - get over it. The sky will not come tumbling down if the DUP lose their majority of MPs and a few Remainer MPs actually take their seats.

It's not as if the DUP used their majorities to rule N. Ireland well - it is one of the poorest regions in the UK despite massive central Exchequer subsidies. Unionists will be the first to come running to the Republic if that £10 Bllion p.a. well ever runs dry, which it probably will if Brexit is the economic and fiscal disaster I expect it to be. And unionists will get a cold welcome in the south if all they can do is whinge about the sectarianism which they themselves imposed on the North for 100 years.

Grow up Alex Kane!



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 05:04:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lemme tell you one thing that cracks me up--how much and how often you rely, nearly exclusively, on the Irish Times to form an opinion. m'k.

Belfast Telegraph is one small, unreliable window into the creature comforts and internecine warfare, literally, within the colony--but at least I've become accustomed to the foibles of editorial management in its attempts to shepherd (or "curate" if one is feeling pretentious) public opinion(s) into the fold of middle-brow status quo. Can you say the same about the Irish Times or offer another source for The Mood to canvass, then synthesize an opinion about political changes in NI?

Northern Ireland Secretary of State suggests Assembly election to be called in new year
Were you aware Karen Bradley is redundant?
Are you aware who is current "shadow" Northern Ireland Secretary of State?

archived 22 Oct "no-deal"
The Bastid Queen Arlene won't like that one bit.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 06:48:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What you have written comes close to an ad hominem attack - why not address the substance of what I write?

Whatever... Unfortunately Ireland is a small country with v. limited independent media sources. The Belfast Telegraph is owned by Mediahuis which also owns the Irish Independent which publishes more of my letters than the Irish Times.

Both were previously owned by the litigious Irish Billionaire, Denis O'Brien, who made much of his fortune from the manner in which he acquired a government mobile phone operators licence and who stands accused of exercising an editorial veto on stories not in his interest. At least the Irish Times and Examiner are owned by an independent, not for profit trust, even if that is no guarantee of lack of editorial bias.

The UK papers generally have very poor coverage of Irish and N. Irish affairs, and to my shame, my knowledge of German, French and Spanish is not sufficient to give me confidence I can accurately parse commentary in those languages.  US coverage of Irish and European affairs is often derisory so I am left with relatively few local sources.

Given my lack of time to cast my net wider, I must sharply prioritise and make do with relatively few sources. Real life challenges and opportunities must take precedence! If you are not happy with my contributions you are under no obligation to comment and are, indeed, free to go elsewhere for you blogging entertainment.

I will ignore your other, insulting, questions.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 07:41:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To express skepticism for your preferred, single source of information--the Irish Times-- is an "ad hominem attack"? An insult?

hmmm. I don't know about that. US-English is the only language that I speak and read fluently. So I am confident, I have avoided ad hominem fallacy and personal insult in that language at this forum. Indirection in communication is a time-honored posture toward conflict resolution --"leading from behind" if you will rather than dictum--that I practice as best I can while remaining attentive to learning opportunities. Which is not to say that indirection disposes disagreement between correspondents. Disagreement is altogether a different communication problem for those who seek and esteem unanimity of experience, purpose, and opinions per se: the "authoritarian" pose.

I read to learn. Since the Panic of '08, reportage which I've consulted to depict systematic PIIGS recap(italization) and predict the trajectory of the '16 referendum by sampling diverse, pertinent measures of political economy in the region. I admit, I have left to curious eurotrib readers--known and unknown ("lurkers")--the work of validating quantitative and qualitative data over time, published by "government buildings" and collated by private parties. Sometimes these agree with OpEds in the Times, mostly they have not.

Perhaps my confirmation bias is objectionable. In which case direction either not to read or criticize OpEds published by the Times and quit commenting or "wallpapering" eurotrib with government instruments designed to foil good intentions of hapless subjects of opinion polls, would appear rational to all.

Time will tell.

archived
The border dividing Ireland will be abandoned ...
big moves in the quarter century
You will not be abandoned.
Not you (sing.). You (pl.)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 16th, 2019 at 06:04:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
significance of 60% of unionists

[cite]

< wipes tears >
For several years I've been trying to get a bead on the five parties' membership (absolute numbers) by periodically trawling parties' web site PR. Percentages are meaningless if absolute number is unknown; voter registration by party appears unknown as is the custom throughout UK. The occasional caucus headcount is irrelevant. I've concluded (1) no number is published (2) imputing membership from electoral outcome facilitates hoary propaganda by minority factions (3) political "mandate" is more fluid than reported, YoY.

This electoral season surely is more ripe for ahh organizational hygiene than ever, precisely because Westminister and EU have ahh disintermediated monopolistic practices in colony. The question is not exit, but how to exit and who in Stormont will mete the proceeds.

What I can't fathom is why you would renounce the wisdom of a "special" customs territory which you had anticipated, lo these many years.

archived
Arlene's days are numbered.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 07:20:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
voter registration by party appears unknown

Voters do not register by party in the Irish or UK systems, or in most of Europe and the rest of the non-communist world, AFAIK. Publication of party membership is generally a matter for the parties themselves, if they so chose.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 07:49:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Nothing to see here. Keep calm. Carry on.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 07:23:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 10:43:18 PM EST
What's another Treaty breech when you have more Treaties to negotiate and breech. Makes you wonder why the EU would even bother negotiating a FTA with the UK...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 10:53:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FTA will never happen with a Tory government after the GE.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 11:18:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it will only the first agreement ("contract") won't resemble anything that UK yella sheets have been training ("grooming") their readers to expect--not Canada, not Norway, not NAFTA, +++. Rhetorical attempts will be made by scribblers to fit it into one of those glass shoes.

The agreement proffered by EU for PM signature and parliament's approval will represent the Political Declaration in its "legal form". Sadly, the Political Declaration is not a household word for bilateral execution of customs duties. True, mass confusion in the UK will recur, but the "deal" will be done sequentially. That is in a series of partial quotes on the basis until the whole project is complete. One tortured event every two to three years, I suppose.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 04:34:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A bog standard off-the-shelf FTA, probably modelled on Canada, plus a few security and other cooperative agreements, is all the UK can expect in the first tranche of the agreement, reached probably after an extended Transition period. And that is probably only if Boris is not in charge, or does a U -turn comparable to the one he has just done on N. Ireland.

It will be pitiful to see, the UK begging to retain some of the privileges of membership, while having little leverage to achieve those goals - and probably having to pay through the nose for benefits it has for so long taken for granted. But will all 27 continuing member states having a veto, and all willing to put their oar in to ensure their own national interests are served, it can be no other way.

Once you're out, you're out.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 04:52:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not take a moment to explain a "A bog standard off-the-shelf FTA", given the UK has been an EU (or Customs Union if you prefer) member for nearly 50 years so absent party to such; why such an agreement would "probably modelled on Canada" (CTA) which dragged a five years period to re-negotiate and ratify; also the alternative basis (if not Political Agreement, if not GATT, if not prior bilateral FTA) since EU and UK have already separated WTO schedules.

Remember that notification? Good. You'll be able to explain how the UK schedule might affect trade (by Q, V) on the island.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 06:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Simple really. The negotiations do not start until after Brexit has happened, so the starting point is not the benefits the UK had as a member, but the UK as a third party with no ongoing agreement with the EU beyond the Transition period. It is unclear whether UK WTO schedules will be accepted by other WTO members without formal agreements being struck, and President Trump has already demonstrated that WTO Treaties don't really apply to the more powerful party in a trading relationship in any case. I would be nervous relying solely on "WTO rules" at the present time and they are not especially helpful to the UK in any case, with 80% of the UK economy being made up of services.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 07:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The joke is on me, said the blind man. I see through the idiom to the truth at bottom. "A bog standard off-the-shelf FTA" is fantastic enterprise, a "golden chalice," a fleece like "frictionless trade" which wraps BREXIT. Thank you!

That article is informative and to it I will add:
WTO | Members adopt draft decision to improve tariff and import data, discuss trade concerns, 19 May (not that one, the other one)

Members also discussed the negotiation of the future tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) by the European Union and United Kingdom as a result of Brexit. The issue was brought up again by the Russian Federation, which expressed "deep concern" with respect to the EU's approach to TRQ negotiations under Article XXVIII of the GATT. ... Six other members took the floor to note that they also disagreed with the EU-UK approach, because the proposed split would result in no in-quota access to either the UK or the EU-27 for some TRQs. ...
TRADE FACTS THE UK GOVERNMENT HAS TO FACE

Nadie es libre.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Nov 18th, 2019 at 02:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
additional demonstration of UK "opt-outs" or ...

an excuse to introduce "flextension" to EC portfolio appointment and consent by the EP or ...

another TEU test case (casually mentioned here).
"But the new commission is expected to take office anyway ahead of the court hearing of the infringement proceedings."

As if Sir Tim had not given notice by postal mail to the Comish last June that UK gov would not be nominating anyone.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 at 11:29:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So yeah. Couple of days ago I glanced at an OpEd headline at Irish Times or RTE (I forget; distinction without difference?) demanding to know what the EU will demand from IE in exchange for cooperation.

Yes, I did not read it. The premise alone being as preposterous as it is a comical testament to the parochial affectation pronounced, "The Brexit Veto: How and why Ireland raised the stakes" (Nov 2017).

One would hope the writer launched this polemic with a survey of the IE/NE corp tax competition to defeat EU public equity, but I will settle for a "nuanced" demonstation of quid pro EU.
EU approves state aid for Government's National Broadband Plan
I will provisionally label this prerogative "enlargement" of the wee nation-state.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 07:40:25 PM EST
Labour's free broadband plan fires up the election battle, not really
Duly noting paradoxical Guardian "data visualization":

I devoted an inordinate amount of time at LBS compiling ICT (US-Eng. ITC) data (commercial, public, and residential use cases, hardware investment, TLD network build, M&A, ISV investment) buried in ONS, OFCOM, OECD, and NBER papers at the turn of the century--dotcom crash and recovery.

reference
The Satellite and Cable Directive

The Directive 93/83/EEC, concerning the harmonization of copyright laws in the particular fields of satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission has been in force since 1st January 1995. The aim is to facilitate the cross border transmission of audiovisual programmes, particularly broadcasting via satellite and retransmission by cable.
Digital Agenda for Europe
Since the opening up of the telecommunications market to full competition [deregulation of national telecoms] on 1 January 1998 and the beginning of its implementation, the Digital Single Market Strategy has delivered the main legislative proposals set out in it as priorities. ...


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 16th, 2019 at 07:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour policy unpopular with people who already have excellent broadband.

People who have no broadband are just too hard to sample, so why bother ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 16th, 2019 at 08:18:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's one way to look at "money on the table" in rural constituencies --"fly-over," ex-urbs, or "metropolitan statistical areas" generously mapped by USDA grantors, for example. Quite a bit of fed money in the late '90s, early aughts--in a push to match EU initiative-- was earmarked for new and incumbent broadband operators that failed to deliver well into Obama's admin.  

DUP secured money will revolutionise broadband - Buchanan
comical, no?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 16th, 2019 at 10:02:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I arrived in London, 2001, I was astonished by NTL service and price. NYC! was barely wired. T-1 for commercial accounts, dial-up modem for households, Comcast or Time-Warner cable telly only. US odious was only beginning to figure out how to divvy up AT&T's backbone.

(Incidentally, Buddy Ebbers applied for parole recently. BWAH!)

So it is with some amusement I observed "democratization" by innerboob casting aspersions at the ahh union of "deregulation" and "nationalization".

Editor's Viewpoint: Election dogfight at risk of alienating us

Allegations of electoral fraud add to the disillusionment. They simply feed into the democratic deficit and tell voters their wishes don't count when parties see an advantage in ignoring them. Voters are entitled to have the widest possible choice when it comes to an election and not to be told they should take sides in a two-cornered dogfight.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 16th, 2019 at 10:40:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 17th, 2019 at 12:17:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Broadband launch turned into nakedly political by-election stunt - Martin
That's new. egregious. unprecedented. inconceivable.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 05:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lack of competitiveness?

Turnout 'at 80-year low' | BBC News - June 8, 2001 |

As counting continued through the night, it looked as though the overall turnout could be as low as 58%.

This compares with 71.6% at the 1997 General Election, which itself was the lowest turnout since the Second World War. It would be the lowest turnout since the election of 1918 when the turnout was 57%.

It seems likely that more people will fail to vote than will vote for the Labour Party, which has secured a second consecutive landslide victory.

[...]

The lowest turnout so far has been recorded in the safe Labour constituency of Liverpool River, where just 34.1% of the electorate voted - a massive drop of 17.5% on 1997.

Disenchantment

Leading Liberal Democrat and former Labour cabinet minister Lady Williams, formerly Shirley Williams, said that even if Labour was returned with a landslide, the party should be "disturbed" by the low turnout.

She said: "Turnout looks as though it is going to be lousy. In that case we have to say that a lot of people were not very enthusiastic about the government, but they saw its return as inevitable."

The BBC polled people who decided not to vote.

Some 77% said there was no point in voting because it would not change a thing, while 65% said they did not trust politicians. Just over half said it was obvious that Labour would win anyway.

Among the 18-24 age group just 38% said they planned to vote. The figure for the 25-34 group was 45%, and for the 35-64 group it was 62%.

Apathetic Landslide: The 2001 British General Election | Harvard Study |

Report: Turnout at Elections | House of Commons |

Related reading ...

Ballot box blues  | The Guardian - March 28, 2001 |

    Turnout is likely to be low at the next general election, particularly in safe Labour seats, but does Labour need to worry?

    Turnout tends to be low if people think that there is going to be an easy victory. The highest turnouts have all come at very closely fought elections, notably 1950 and 1951, when turnout exceeded 80%. Similarly the close races in February 1974 and April 1992 stimulated high turnouts of 79% and 78%.

    If Labour support evaporates in the next few weeks, as it did during the petrol protests last autumn, the prospect of a close race may galvanise voters. But at present I would expect a low turnout, below the 71.6% recorded in 1997, which was itself the lowest in the post-war period.

    The problem will be compounded in safe Labour seats. At least in 1997 there was the excitement of at last getting rid of the Tories. But that motive no longer holds.

Today in the digital world of social media, bots and a rightwing ownership of media ... who knows what the advent of Xmas will bring? Power to the villagers - demos.

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

by Oui on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 at 07:59:28 PM EST
by generic on Mon Nov 18th, 2019 at 12:48:34 PM EST
As the cockburn rule states, "Nothing is true until officially denied".

So, Mr Lebedev, about this kompromat.....?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 18th, 2019 at 04:55:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Tue Nov 19th, 2019 at 11:56:11 AM EST
She also voted regularly to increase the rate of VAT, while also voted against increasing the tax rate on people earning more than £150,000. That's surely a lot worse that all the squirrels she killed.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Nov 19th, 2019 at 12:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is all the same an undoubted problem with anti-scuriolism within the Lib-Dem party (evidenced quite obviously by their leader's bare-faced denial).

We would be hearing a lot more about it if the Lib Dems posed any kind of threat to conservative aka capitalist values.

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 Nov 19th, 2019 at 02:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whereas scurrilism is rife... But it is ok to be anti-scuriolism - if the squirrels in question are immigrant grey squirrels who are taking over the country as opposed to native red squirrels who are the Best of British!...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 19th, 2019 at 03:42:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The red squirrel is under threat of extinction across Britain. Their supporters believe the only way to save them is to exterminate their enemy: the greys. But are they just prejudiced against non-native species?

This is what anti-scuriolism leads to. We never learn.

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 Nov 19th, 2019 at 07:11:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 11:59:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson forced to deny shooting stones at squirrels after spoof story goes viral | The Independent
"I do think it's worrying because it echoes what we've seen in other elections and particularly when you think about fake news and the technological possibility for deepfakes where videos can be faked, then there are questions about the role of publishers in circulating these things that aren't true.

Unprompted talking about DeepFakes....

by generic on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 02:56:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep digging, Jo.

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 Nov 20th, 2019 at 03:53:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Tue Nov 19th, 2019 at 03:28:05 PM EST

In the average of 21 polls taken over the past two weeks - since the general election was called, the Tories have gained 3% (from 38->41%), Labour 2% (27->29%), the Lib Dems have lost 1% (16->15%) and the Brexit Part has lost 4% (10->6%) compared to the average of 11 polls taken before the election was called. So we have the usual pattern of the larger parties squeezing the smaller parties as the polling date draws near - exacerbated by the Brexit party taking itself out of the running in half the constituencies. So no major swing in momentum - although it is hard to see the Tories not getting an overall majority if they manage to get anything near 40% of the vote. Still 4 weeks to go, and a lot can change, but it is now the Tories election to lose... [Data Source - Wikipedia]

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 19th, 2019 at 07:26:58 PM EST


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Tue Nov 19th, 2019 at 10:14:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can take anything with YouGov off the list. They're notoriously biased, reliably wrong, and - hilariously - produced an "analysis" of yesterday's debate before it had even started.

The tag on this is 6:50pm. The debate started at 8pm. They haven't even bothered to correct this.

Who won the ITV debate?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 02:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
seems the tag relates to the creation of the page in preparation, not the insertion of the text.

Not that I'm defending their BS in any way, but I'm not sure they're guilty of a crime here

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 04:15:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be unusual for a CMS to do that. There's no compelling reason - editorial or practical - to create an article before the content is ready.

Obviously not a crime either way, but given the already below-the-barrel ethical standards shown by the right in this campaign, I think skepticism is warranted.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 04:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just for fun I looked at the page source, and it has:

  "@context": "https:/schema.org",
  "@type": "Article",
  "dateCreated": "2019-11-19T17:50:41.859804+00:00",
  "dateModified": "2019-11-19T17:50:41.859804+00:00",
  "datePublished": "2019-11-19T18:50:20+00:00",
  "image": "
/d18lkz4dllo6v2.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/entry/26441/GE2019%20ITV%20debate-01.jpg",
  "headline": "YouGov snap poll finds viewers split on who won ITV general election debate",

Which if anything is even worse, because it suggests that the article was written at 17:50, then published automatically at 18:50.

I'm taking the random digits on the seconds of the creation time to mean it was a manual event, and the whole number of seconds on the publishing time to mean it was scheduled.

I'm also taking the identical modification time to mean it wasn't modified after the initial upload.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 04:59:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by generic on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 08:40:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
okay, fair point.

Frankly, the whole thing is fucked innit

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 05:02:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DUP candidate cringe-worthy "leverage", A/V, CBI press conference
[...]
BACHELOR No. 4: After this general election we've got three weeks probably to see whether Northern Ireland government is savable, salvable. If it's not salvable, we're going to have to get into direct rule, because we must have decisions that are going to work. That is the fundamental thing.
BACHELOR No. 5: Equally, whatever London is looking at BREXIT, again Northern Ireland is an afterthought. Even if we're the big complex issue in terms of how we address this, we're still an afterthought in their considerations. The people who care about this place are the five parties up here on this panel. We have to get it together. So why I'm not hopeful, because of what's happened in the past, the logic of us getting back around the table and getting us sorted is ever clear.
All-island economy would be a shot in arm for Northern Ireland:[CBI director]
[Angela McGowan] said: "Partnership with government is essential and that means restoring power-sharing institutions, but so is capitalising on vital east-west trade links and making the best use of our all-island economy.

"North-south partnership on areas like energy, healthcare and infrastructure isn't just convenient; it can deliver higher growth, less deprivation [!] and more people and communities included and sharing in this island's prosperity."

"the shopping list from businesses is a lengthy one"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 11:43:13 PM EST


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