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Cox's codpiece

by Frank Schnittger Fri Mar 8th, 2019 at 09:18:55 PM EST

After the debacle of David Davis's no show in Brussels, Dominic Raab's token appearance as a Brexiteer Brexit secretary not actually in charge of any negotiation, and Stephan Barkley's convincing impersonation of a total non-entity in the role, the UK badly needed a heavyweight negotiator to do some heavy lifting in Brussels. Enter, stage left, Geoffrey Cox, a Queen's Counsel recently appointed attorney general, to cast his legal eye over proceedings.

It is not going well. According to Bloomberg, Cox's flamboyant style is not going down well in Brussels, but at least his Commons reference to looking inside Cox's codpiece to check everything is still in full working order provided some much needed light relief. He caused consternation and incredulity in Brussels and in Ireland by his claim that the Backstop could breach human rights law and EU briefings on the progress of the talks have been uniformly dismissive and gloomy.

In what seems like utter frustration, the EU is offering to go back to their original proposal of a N. Ireland only backstop. It was Theresa May who insisted it should apply to all of the UK - at the insistence of the DUP - to avoid a border down the Irish sea. Many in the EU were actually concerned at giving such a huge concession to the UK - cost free access to the Customs Union when Norway pays dearly for the privilege of access to the Single Market. The UK were actually using the border issue as a lever to prize open continued access to the Customs Union for free - but as usual, the Brexiteers were too stupid to recognise a gift horse when they were offered it.



For the uninitiated, a codpiece is a medieval item of clothing used to cover and/or accentuate the mail genitalia. As one senior Tory ERG member observed:

"It is said codpieces were developed either to facilitate greater freedom of movement from highly restrictive hosiery or to hide venereal disease," one senior Tory Eurosceptic observed to me. "I sincerely hope Cox's is more of the former than the latter!"

In the meantime, Her Majesty's government is doing its level best to screw up community relations in Northern Ireland even further.

Having a mediocre, gaffe-prone, secretary of state responsible for Northern Ireland would be precarious at the best of times. That responsibility for Northern Ireland has been left in the hands of Karen Bradley at this crucial moment is truly reckless.

The potential for lasting damage to the North's peace process through ministerial incompetence from London has been ever present since Stormont was suspended. This week that risk became a reality.

It was shocking to hear Bradley tell the House of Commons that the killings by the military and police were not crimes but that they were all "people acting under orders and fulfilling their duty in a dignified and appropriate way".

It is difficult to understate how crass and destructive Bradley's comments were. They were, of course, insensitive to the families of those killed in such incidents. They were damaging to the delicate task of dealing with the legacy of the Troubles. Her contribution also again exposed her lack of knowledge or understanding of the complexity of Northern Ireland's troubled history and its present-day politics.

It was no coincidence that her remarks were uttered in response to a question from a Democratic Unionist Party MP, Emma Little-Pengelly. Such is the effort and instinct of the current Tory government to lean towards the DUP and its narrative, even on legacy issues, that it seems they will say anything to assuage the DUP irrespective of the harm done to the British government's capacity, limited as it was, to be a broker across the North's divide.

Bradley's remarks will have consequences which will manifest themselves immediately and in the medium term. What she had to say will be deployed repeatedly in both the political and legal realms to resist prosecutions for any of the crimes and collusion committed by members of the British forces during their long dirty war in Northern Ireland.

Even if Bradley's remarks as secretary of state don't operate to stop such prosecutions, they will be referenced repeatedly before juries by defence counsel in any such cases to suggest official government scepticism of the appropriateness of putting anyone on trial for those crimes.

As the official voice of government in Northern Ireland, speaking in parliament itself, Bradley placed a substantial load on the scales against the prospect of successfully prosecuting any security officer for murder or manslaughter in Northern Ireland, irrespective of the circumstances in which they killed.

Her remarks came in the context of a decision, due soon, as to whether British soldiers will be prosecuted for shooting and killing entirely innocent unarmed civilians and in a week when British Intelligence was implicated in plotting a massacre at a Catholic School.

An Irish Times opinion poll in Northern Ireland has found that:

Two-thirds of all voters (67 per cent) say the DUP is doing a bad job of representing Northern Ireland at Westminster, while 69 per cent of people - including 57 per cent of those from a Protestant background - are dissatisfied with DUP leader Arlene Foster.


Strikingly, the poll shows that in the event of a hard Brexit, more voters would favour checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland than would favour checks on the Border.

Almost half of all voters (48 per cent) disagree with Northern Ireland leaving the EU on the same terms as the UK if it means border checks in Ireland. But 59 per cent say they want a special arrangement for Northern Ireland for no checks on the Border - even if it means some checks on goods travelling between Great Britain and the North.

But by far the biggest majority (67 per cent) is in support of a very soft Brexit where the UK stays in the EU single market and the customs union to avoid the need for checks anywhere.

Northern voters are divided on whether there should be another Brexit referendum; but if there was one, they would vote overwhelmingly (59 per cent) to remain in the EU.

It must be remembered that Northern Ireland hasn't had a devolved government in more than two years - after relations between the DUP and Sinn Fein broke down after years of perceived insults and Arlene Foster's refusal to take any responsibility for her involved in the Renewable Heat Incentive Scandal. Brexit has now opened the rift into a chasm and yet there is no ongoing process trying to resolve matters.

Sinn Fein's 7 MP's don't take their seats in Westminister, the SDLP is trying to save itself from redundancy by merging with Fianna Fail, and Northern Ireland is about to lose its three Members of the European Parliament. It was therefore a bit of a master stroke by Leo Varadker to offer Mark Durkin, former leader of the SDLP, a nomination to represent Fine Gael in the Dublin Constituency. At least the people of N. Ireland may have one representative, other than the DUP, representing them somewhere.

Display:
tl;dr - Today's Maneuvering

UK:  We want 100% access to the EU's economy without paying anything for that access.

EU:  You are insane and should undergo a course of psycho-pharmaceuticals for psychosis.

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

by ATinNM on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 12:11:37 AM EST
I'd argue against more pharmaceuticals, because there is clearly something in the water at Westminster. Might be lead. Might be THC. Could be both.

I am really at the end of my reasoning to explain the collective insanity on display.

by Bjinse on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 06:11:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK suffers from, and is a great example of, Island Mentality:

Island mentality refers to the notion of isolated communities perceiving themselves as exceptional or superior to the rest of the world. This term does not directly refer to a geographically confined society, but to the cultural, moral, or ideological superiority of a community lacking social exposure that island living engenders.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 06:24:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably the brown acid from Woodstock.
by rifek on Mon Mar 11th, 2019 at 01:59:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My gods, it apparently takes no more to be an attorney general in the UK than it does in the US.  The Anglo-American Alliance is obviously spinning in at Mach 6 because both sides are brain dead and morally bankrupt.  The EU needs to cut the cord sooner rather than later, and the rest rest of the Anglophone world needs to run for the hills NOW.
by rifek on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 04:07:27 AM EST
Tough call for "We The People".

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 07:23:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In her speech in Grimsby, May made reference to the EU27 also having a choice to make. But they made that choice some time ago when they negotiated the Withdrawal Agreement. That was there choice, and they are not going to change it now because she is holding a gun to everyone's head. We are at the point in the kidnap story where the kidnapper slowly realises the relatives aren't going to pay the ransom because they aren't too fond of the kidnappee in the first place...

So what are her options? Ignominious defeat, concession, resignation, or does she shoot up the place anyway just because she can? She can take us all down into recession or she can just give up.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 01:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
H.R. 1 (bill title "For the People Act of 2019") is a hot mess containing a few poison pills. That is, touted electoral reforms do not.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 01:29:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cox's is not the only case of political bombast on Brexit last stretch: enter Jeremy "EU-as-Soviet-Union" Hunt.

Do a deal on Brexit or risk Britain as strategic rival to EU, Hunt warns Macron

Jeremy Hunt today warned French president Emmanuel Macron to do a deal on Brexit or risk the UK becoming a "strategic" competitor just offshore of the EU.
[...]

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The strategic decision, not just for the UK, but for Europe as well, for President Macron and his colleagues in continental Europe, is -- is the relationship that continental Europe has with the UK after Brexit going to be the closest friendships, that is what we want, between countries that have basically the same values, or is going to be a relationship of strategic competition?"

by Bernard on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 01:41:05 PM EST
Guardian | OpEd | Dear Europe, Brexit is a lesson for all of us: it's time for renewal (EN)
4 March 2019

ahem...

Citizens of Europe,
if I am taking the liberty of addressing you directly, it is not only in the name of the history and values that unite us, but because time is of the essence. A few weeks from now the European elections will be decisive for the future of our continent. ..


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 03:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are times of stupid when the only thing one can do is sit in awe and bask in the stupidousityness of It All.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 05:56:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
basically the same values

Error At Root
Please reboot your device.  

'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 Mar 10th, 2019 at 12:44:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mind if I laugh my ass off over such vacuous and blunted menaces?
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Mar 10th, 2019 at 12:19:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Go ahead and laugh. You know I did.
by Bernard on Sun Mar 10th, 2019 at 02:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This guy Hunt really knows how to win friends and influence people...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 10th, 2019 at 05:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the guy who compares the EU to the Soviet Union thinks we all share the same values?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 10th, 2019 at 05:21:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There you go again, expecting detectable levels of reason.
by rifek on Mon Mar 11th, 2019 at 02:10:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He [Jeremy Hunt] told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

    "The strategic decision, not just for the UK, but for Europe as well, for President Macron and his colleagues in continental Europe, is -- is the relationship that continental Europe has with the UK after Brexit going to be the closest friendships, that is what we want, between countries that have basically the same values, or is going to be a relationship of strategic competition?"

Of course Europe does not want the same "values" as the ...

United Kingdom
United States of America
Jewish State of Israel
Abu Dhabu (UAE)
Crown prince Muhammad Salman (KSA)

I have enough troubles with Dutch Heritage as it is ... PM Mark Rutte a fan of AngloSaxon values.

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

by Oui on Sun Mar 10th, 2019 at 07:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Dutch effort to ship their defectives to South Africa and the US apparently missed a few.
by rifek on Mon Mar 11th, 2019 at 02:14:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know the pols feckin' desperate when the table-pounding can be heard in the Andromeda Galaxy.
by rifek on Mon Mar 11th, 2019 at 02:07:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank:
According to Bloomberg, Cox's flamboyant style is not going down well in Brussels, but at least his Commons reference to looking inside Cox's codpiece to check everything is still in full working order provided some much needed light relief.


by Bernard on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 09:14:00 PM EST
Foot in mouth disease, tragicomedgy, end of third act.

Deus ex machina behind the fourth wall.

 

'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 Mar 10th, 2019 at 12:50:58 AM EST
Ireland 26 France 14
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier seemingly was at Lansdowne Road this afternoon.

Had the French management known this surely they could have got him down at half time to negotiate with the home team who had owned the ball and the territory in that first half.

"They had 90 per cent of the ball," the cheerless coach Jacques Brunel observed afterwards. "They wouldn't allow us initiate anything. We finished the game well but we had spent too much time defending."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 10th, 2019 at 08:04:31 PM EST

President of the French farmers union the FNSEA, Christiane Lambert, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, President of the Irish Farmers Association, Joe Healy, EU Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, and Tánaiste Simon Coveney on their way into the Ireland V France Six Nations rugby match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Chris Donoghue/Twitter

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 10th, 2019 at 08:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gods, Six Nations is on?  I'd been running around so frantically lately, I hadn't even heard.  As I've suspected for a long time, there is something seriously wrong with my life.
by rifek on Mon Mar 11th, 2019 at 02:38:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Bernard on Mon Mar 11th, 2019 at 08:57:27 PM EST

by generic on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 07:31:31 PM EST
Yes but 81 votes less than last time. So this counts as a win then in the context of the current House of Commons. At this rate it will only take another two "meaningful" votes for her deal to be passed!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 07:49:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When the Attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, said that the deal negotiated by Theresa May last night didn't change the legal risk that Britain could be "trapped" by the backstop, he effectively removed all cover for Brexiteers to change their minds and doomed the deal.

But how could Theresa May have agreed to the deal without checking with him first to ensure he was on board? Just another blow to her credibility and reputation for competence: remember she campaigned for the leadership and in the general election on the basis of being "a safe pair of hands". She has now dropped just about every ball ever thrown at her.

Anyone with any self-respect would have resigned by now. There is no point in anyone even talking to her now as she has shown she can deliver on nothing.

So further negotiations on May's deal are off the table. Only three options remain:

  1. No deal Brexit
  2. General Election
  3. Second referendum

Only 2. and 3. qualify for an A.50 extension.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 08:06:14 PM EST
What would be the timeline? Is the EU going to put up with May asking for a two month (say) extension, which gets it right into the middle of the EU election?
by asdf on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 11:57:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A general election can be called with a Months notice but you would have to allow at least another month for a new government to be formed (assuming there is a relatively clear outcome), ministers to be appointed, and a new policy to be formally communicated to Brussels.

A referendum requires enabling legislation so probably couldn't happen until autumn assuming they can agree on what question should be asked.

So you are talking anything from 2 to 6 months minimum. That would require the UK to participate in the EP elections as it would still be a member in May.

Some observers seem to think that is a legal technicality which can be avoided or overcome, but AFAIK it is a Treaty obligation for members and so can't just be changed even by legislation in the EP.

Personally I don't see what the problem is. Local elections are due in some areas in May anyway, and the EP elections could be a useful dry run for parties aiming to campaign in the referendum.

If Remain supporting parties do better than Leave supporting parties they will get a useful boost, and the whole exercise will help to undermine the Brexiteer "EU is undemocratic" mantra.

As usual turnout will be vital and Remain supporters might well be more motivated to turn out for an EP election.

So if I was the EU I would be insisting on at least 3 months and with the UK committing to participate in the EP elections.  No real change can come in less time.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 01:13:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there any evidence May has the votes for #2 or #3?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 01:50:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there any evidence May is clear about what she wants on #2 or #3?

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 06:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
May is still in denial, hoping to get her deal through by hook or by crook. It won't happen of course, and only if/when the EU make A.50 extension conditional on #2 or #3 will she even confront the issue.

#2 is like asking turkeys to vote for Xmas, although she may be fooled (for a second time) by her current lead in the polls over Corbyn. However #3 offers a way out. No one can say she wasn't sincere and dogged in her attempt to deliver Brexit and everyone will blame Parliament for being dysfunctional.

Corbyn will only agree to #3 if denied a general election (once again) but between them they should easily have the numbers to pass the required legislation. The problem is will they even be able to agree the wording?  For all the talk of negotiating with Brussels, May and Corbyn have never agreed to work together on anything, and seem almost incapable of doing so. Such is the antipathy.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 09:20:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's time for at least two more parliamentary votes on May's deal.
by asdf on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 02:42:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They can vote every day if they want, but that doesn't mean anything is going to change...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 03:29:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's time for one vote to approve May's deal, and then a second one to change their mind.....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 at 03:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Listening to BBC news I am constantly stunned by the number of interviewees who are saying they will vote against the "ruling out no-deal" vote tomorrow on the grounds that that would reduce the UK's leverage in ongoing negotiations.

What planet are these guys living on?

NEWSFLASH
The negotiations are OVER

SECOND NEWSFLASH

No deal is becoming increasingly attractive from an EU point of view because:

  1. It will (in theory) put an end to interminable pointless discussions

  2. It will be far less disruptive for the EU27 than the UK

  3. It might, slowly, allow some reality to drip into the Westminster bubble

Talking as if the threat of no deal gives the UK more leverage over the EU is up there with Brexiteers talking about "our friends in Europe" as two of the most annoying phrases in this whole debate...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 09:10:12 PM EST
Does give the rest of the world the clues needed to understand by the Republic wanted the Backstop in the first place.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 09:22:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"by" s/b "why"


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 09:22:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
COMMUNICATION OF THE COMMISSION
on the endorsement by the Commision of the result of the discussions with the United Kingdom on Interpretive Declarions related to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and Euratom, and on their transmission to the European Council
, 11 March 2019
If the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified, the United Kingdom will withdraw from the European Union in a disorderly fashion. While this is not a desirable outcome, the European Union has nevertheless been preparing for a no-deal scenario since December 2017. The Commission has taken all the measures required to protect the Union's interests and mitigate the most disruptive consequences of such a scenario.4 To date, the Commission has tabled 19 legislative proposals of which 11 have been adopted or agreed by the European Parliamentand the Council and 8 are advancing well. In addition to this,the Commission has adopted 19 non-legislative acts.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 at 09:28:58 PM EST


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