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Finessing the Withdrawal Agreement

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jul 19th, 2019 at 11:16:56 PM EST

The European Tribune has come into possession of a secret memorandum of the Irish Department of External Affairs...

Top Secret
Caution: To be shared with UK Government only after talks with the incoming UK Prime Minister have irretrievably broken down.

Memorandum proposing a process to overcome Withdrawal Agreement impasse.

Background: Para. 5 of the EU/UK agreement to extend the A.50 negotiation period explicitly prohibits the UK from using the extension to seek to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement. Further negotiations were to focus exclusively on the legally non-binding accompanying political declaration. However, it has become clear during the Conservative Party leadership election that without at least some face saving device the Withdrawal Agreement, in its current form, will not be passed by the UK Parliament. The Irish Government will therefore be faced, at the very least, with a period of "No-deal" Brexit until such time as the current UK Government, dependent as it is on the DUP, is no longer in power.


In order to overcome this likelihood, the following strategy and process is recommended:

  1. The UK government be inveigled to introduce the Withdrawal Agreement sans the Irish backstop to the Houses of Parliament for approval. Approval should be possible once the Irish backstop, the key issue opposed by Brexiteer hardliners and the DUP has been removed. Once approved it should be presented as a fait accomplis to the September meeting of the European Council - who can be counted on to reject it.

  2. Separately, in secret, and in parallel, the Irish and UK governments will negotiate and agree amendments to the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement, guaranteeing the maintenance of "regulatory alignment," a Customs Union and a Single Market on the Island of Ireland.

  3. Separately, in secret, and in parallel, the EU, Irish and UK governments will negotiate and agree a "Maximum Facilitation" Agreement, whereby the UK will facilitate EU Customs Inspectors, their delegates or contractors, to carry out goods inspections at N. Ireland Air and Sea ports to ensure all goods passing through are compliant with all relevant EU regulations and tariffs due.

  4. Item 2 above will require UK Parliamentary approval which should be forthcoming with some opposition (but not DUP) support. Effectively we will be disaggregating elements of the Withdrawal Agreement which can, and can not, command DUP support respectively, but can (separately) command some opposition support.

  5. Item 3 above, concerning as it does, administrative arrangements only, may not require a Parliamentary vote. Otherwise the strategy in Item 4 applies.

  6. Essential to the success of this strategy is that the DUP does not become aware of items 2. and 3. Above until item 1 has been accomplished. After that it is out of the game.

  7. The EU Council will approve the Withdrawal Agreement sans the Irish backstop subject to the completion of items 2 and 3. above at a last minute "emergency" summit called just before the A.50 extension is due to expire.

Besides the importance of secrecy, this step by step approach to the conclusion of three Agreements collectively equivalent to the current Withdrawal Agreement is crucially dependent on timing. The UK government must be convinced that this is the only workable course of action open to it at each point in time if a disastrous period of "no deal" Brexit is to be avoided.

----

NB The Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement is actually made up of two agreements: An inter-governmental and an inter-party agreement. It is the Inter-governmental agreement that would require amendment. The N. Ireland parties are unlikely to be able to agree on any revisions to their agreement, but that deals with devolved matters only. Customs is not a devolved competency, and therefore is properly dealt with by way of amendment to the international agreement between the British and Irish governments (the British–Irish Agreement). The Good Friday agreement assumed that both the UK and Ireland would always be members of the EU, and was concluded before the inclusion (in the Lisbon Treaty) of the A.50 process for a member to leave. It is therefore in need of revision and updating in light of the decision of the UK to leave the EU.

Display:
The Onion is getting more creative with every passing year. I look forward to further instalments describing PM Boris threading this needle with subtlety and grace.
by Andhakari on Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 06:38:47 AM EST
This is an Irish Department of External Affairs internal memo about the strategy it should pursue, not a description of Boris' finer qualities...

Finesse: to bring about or deal with (something) by using great delicacy and skill.

Inveigle: to persuade (someone) to do something by means of deception or flattery.

Disaggregate: separate (something) into its component parts. If you can't get a majority in the HOC for the whole deal, break it into separate component parts which can command (separate and different) majorities...

I choose my language carefully. I have the BEST words...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 10:33:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 11:20:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't work here, though.  On the one hand, no one is at the table, and yet on the other hand, no one's turn ever ends.
by rifek on Sun Jul 21st, 2019 at 01:34:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The Withdrawal Agreement is the Withdrawal Agreement," Merkel told a news conference.

"But the moment that a solution for the management of the border is found in (the declaration on) the future relationship - so for the European Union's future ties to Britain - which basically squares the circle - on the one hand I have no physical border but on the other hand the EU Single Market ends - that satisfies both questions, then the backstop will be overwritten, so to speak."

Merkel added: "This means the task is to draft future relations that way and perhaps to draft them more specifically and better and more precisely than so far."

Then there is scope to come to an agreement and determine future relations, Merkel said.

Shorter Merkel: If you understand me, so to speak, I will now pull a rabbit from a hat.

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 Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 06:53:52 AM EST
Moyennant la justesse de la traduction...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jul 22nd, 2019 at 07:40:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Varadkar raises prospect of Brexit backstop applying only to North

"Maximum Facilitation" Agreement or the MaxFac for short, was previously considered "imaginary" as a solution during the negotiations with Barnier.

How would Boris Johnson solve the Irish border problem?

Irish poetry about British colonialism and the border between Ulster and Ireland ...

The charms of Boris ...

Brexit and the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement

PS Finessing?

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

by Oui on Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 07:50:26 AM EST
MaxFac was the name of an imaginary technical solution to solve the whole of the smuggling problem along 500KM of the N. Ireland land border with 300 road crossing points. MaxFac as used here is the name for an agreement to supervise and control, and perhaps to contract out the management of a customs border at air and sea ports within the UK. Two very different things, but hopefully Tory MPs won't notice the difference, and perhaps even think one of their proposals has been incorporated into a proposal which will be sold as "Boris' ingenuous solution even though it originated here.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 10:42:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris won't say it was ingenious. He (his supporters in the media) will say all that was needed was to knock a few heads together over there in Johnny Foreigner land. Balls-out Boris, tougher than incy-wincy Theresa.

And many many people will applaud him for 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 Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 11:27:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hence the need to inveigle Boris to put the Withdrawal Agreement sans the Irish Backstop to Parliament and put it up to Jonny Foreigner. Hence the need to call the new customs arrangements at N. Ireland air and sea ports "MaxFac" even though that name was original used by Tory MPs to trivialise the border issues. Hence the need to allow Boris to "bypass Brussels" and deal directly with the Irish on that pesky Good Friday Agreement...

Boris will presumably tout the new deal as reflecting the desire of the majority in N. Ireland to remain close to the EU - as if this were some great new discovery of his, and not the original Irish/EU backstop proposal. The hated name "backstop" will be no more... It's all in the marketing, you know...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 11:59:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the Brexiters will say that they expected the Germans to cave all along: they need to sell all those Beemers and Audis, y'know...

I'd be sincerely relieved to see an agreement rather than a crash-out, but it makes me sick to see Merkel and VdL rolling out the welcome mat to that shit Boris.

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 Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 12:45:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Optimistically, I wonder if they expect him to survive beyond October.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 11:53:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Diplomatic speak, the size of the "welcome mat" is often in inverse proportion to the actual affection and regard between the parties. I'd be worried, if I were British, about how calm and kind and relaxed all those European leaders are about the prospect of the UK leaving - "sincere regret", "respecting democracy", "ongoing mutual cooperation"... yadayadayada.

They just might be "waiting in the long grass" for when the British are at their most vulnerable. Certainly there will be no "special relationship" with our "British Friends".

On the Brexiteer side, talk about "our European friends" can be translated roughly as meaning "we hope you die, and  if we have any say in the matter, you certainly will".

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 21st, 2019 at 07:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't thinking there was any love lost. But the suggestion, however obtusely framed, that the backstop can be made to "disappear" via new language in the political agreement must surely be welcome to Boris's ears. What else can he hope for?

Though I realize that last question presupposes a capacity for the appraisal of real conditions that has not previously been on display in Boris-the-chancer's career.

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 Sun Jul 21st, 2019 at 09:05:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brussels to offer Boris Johnson extension on no-deal Brexit
"'It will be described as a technical delay to save Boris from political embarrassment but then we will have time to find an agreement,' said one < reckless eyeballin' > senior EU diplomat."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jul 20th, 2019 at 07:57:29 PM EST
"It is time this country recovered some of its can-do spirit. We can come out of the EU on 31 October, and yes, we certainly have the technology to do so. What we need now is the will and the drive."

Unembarassed Boris.

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 Mon Jul 22nd, 2019 at 07:34:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain in 1950

A look at the state of the islands immediately following the Second World War.

    In 1950 Britain spent 6.6 per cent of its GDP on defence: more than any major country except the Soviet Union. The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force were second in size and power only to the forces of the United States, and in 1952 Britain became the world's third nuclear power when it detonated an atomic bomb off the coast of Australia.

    Britain was a militarised country, yet until October 1951 it was governed by a Labour party traditionally opposed to militarism. The massive Labour majority at the 1945 general election was largely removed at the 1950 election, but support for Labour remained strong.

    The Conservative revival was helped by the collapse of the Liberal vote, the heating up of the Cold War (which increased government expenditure) and by growing frustration with the continuation of austerity and controls.



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Mon Jul 22nd, 2019 at 10:16:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sadly, being on the winning side of WWII inflated dreams of the British Empire and remaining an important Global Power in all Britons. Even Labour supporting ones.

Just as Truman could talk of encouraging the wrold to nations of self-determination whilst encourgaing France to restore colonial control of Vietnam, the UK fought for the freedom of europe and the racist domination of coloured peoples around the Globe (for their own good naturally).

It's worth remembering that the Labour govt unilaterally made all white european refugees from nazism into British citizens in 1947, but enacted a secret policy that UK passport holding black people from the Empire would NOT be granted ciizenship in the UK automatically. Thus setting the groundwork for Theresa May's Windrush controversy.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 07:46:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently the new secret agreement will also have a clause about how ships from EU national navies are going to protect British shipping in the Middle East. At least that is what Jeremy Hunt is saying, and he should know.

Britain will protect Gulf ships with massive Europe-wide navy force, Jeremy Hunt announces.

#NotGettingItDepartment

by asdf on Mon Jul 22nd, 2019 at 09:00:16 PM EST
I'll bet the Spanish Navy is perfectly willing to "protect" British shipping at Gibraltar.
by rifek on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 02:30:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that even with the backstop removed, the Withdrawal Agreement would still be DOA in Commons; even without your "leak", too many would smell a rat and vote against.  I think it would require express new language along the lines of, "The DUPes shall forthwith be thrown under the bus, and the trade boundary with the EU shall hereafter be in the Irish Sea."  At least this would allow Wales to have a go at improving its employment statistics by retraining everyone to be customs personnel.
by rifek on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 02:45:56 AM EST
Not that it was in doubt, but Boris won the thrilling contest with 66% of numskulls voting for him.

AN organisation of elderly fascists known as `the Tory grassroots' is to install a megalomaniac man-child as ruler of the UK.

The Conservative party's radicalised membership is expected to install Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson as PM, mainly to annoy lefties but also because to them he is young and impressive.

Party member Mary Fisher, 78, said: "Boris is extremely posh, which is a sign of good character. He's also very rugged and handsome, like a young Mussolini.

"Yes he's simple, but all he's got to do is tell the French and Germans to sod off. How hard can that be for an Old Etonian even in fluent Latin?



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 Jul 23rd, 2019 at 11:53:00 AM EST
by generic on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 12:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 12:47:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 12:50:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I always feel he's just performing for the cameras in situations like that.

Boris is just a character he plays on TV. Everybody who knows him well calls him Alex.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 01:27:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So your new Prime Minister is Alex de Pfeffel...

Never heard of him.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 02:03:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 04:52:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson Ripped By Space Expert Over Brexit Moon Landing Comparison - HuffPo
Boris Johnson has said solving the Irish border problem requires Britain to harness the spirit of the moon landing.

The presumptive prime minister used his latest Daily Telegraph column to argue that the UK should see the Apollo 11 mission as proof government can achieve things once thought impossible.

"If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth's atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border," he wrote.

Meanwhile, on the border:


by Bernard on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 08:31:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Daily Mash is satire.

Well - usually it's satire. Today - possibly not.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 04:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poe's Law strikes again.
by rifek on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 04:55:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So Boris defeated that anaemic toad Jeremy Hunt by 66 to 34% of the Tory party membership. Earlier opinion polls had actually put him 80:20 ahead, but that was before his...eh.. domestic contretemps... and horrific performances at the hustings. No doubt he will now head off to tell Varadker what's what and pay homage to Trump. Meanwhile Europe is on holidays and can barely stretch to a yawn...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 01:07:56 PM EST
We are once again going to believe in ourselves, and like some slumbering giant we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self doubt and negativity.

And across the globe people are turning to each other, after listening to these stirring words, and saying, "What the hell does 'guy ropes of self doubt and negativity' mean?"

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

by ATinNM on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 04:55:18 PM EST
Speaking in Eton slang he means that GREAT BRITAIN will return to the glory days of 1970....Oh wait...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 at 07:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First day of Boris's new job.

Coincidentally, in the first-ever cricket test between England and Ireland at Lord's, England were all out this morning for... 85 runs (note for non-cricket-Watchers : this is not generally considered a good score...)

I hope the Dude gave them a pep talk at lunchtime.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jul 24th, 2019 at 02:42:29 PM EST
Crypto-Remainers....

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 Jul 24th, 2019 at 02:53:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The English batters did rather too much Leaving ... five of them bowled or LBW

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jul 24th, 2019 at 03:16:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All out for 85 is actually a disastrous score in a test match - especially considering only a few hundred people actually play the game in Ireland - weather permitting...

England just won the Cricket World Cup - with an Irish man who had actually played for Ireland - as Captain. Of course Rees-Mogg had to tweet that the Win showed England could beat the world without the Europeans... (He also failed to notice the team also included a South African. a New Zealander and two sons of Pakistani immigrants...)

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 24th, 2019 at 05:04:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you are reading this backwards. In any sporting contest, winners and losers vary over time. The important thing is what sport is under discussion, not the score.

  • Baseball, obviously not appropriate for England.
  • American football, nope.
  • Soccer, probably not. Too many Europeans.
  • Rugby, ok, but played in some other undesirable countries.
  • Cricket, pretty good, mostly focused on British Empire.
  • The god-awful version of tennis played on a court with windows and stuff, very impressive, no foreigners but still it is not quite exclusive enough.
  • The Eton Wall Game, the most perfect sport ever invented, played only by a narrow selection of wealthy English boys.
by asdf on Wed Jul 24th, 2019 at 06:02:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
although the Eton Wall game seems to be less a game or sport and more an exercise in giving licence to bullies to hurt lesser beings with complete immunity. The British army have adapted it into a game called "murderball".

Scoring is entorely beside the point (years pass between actual goals being scored in the EWG) it's just an exercise in violently exorcising frustrations

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 29th, 2019 at 06:36:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not good?  Absolutely pathetic in Test.  And then of course there's the delicious irony that Boyd Rankin was bowled out to end the Irish innings by that great Anglo-Saxon...Moeen Ali.
by rifek on Wed Jul 24th, 2019 at 08:36:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry I brought up the cricket.

Ireland, needing a paltry 182 for an historic win, have just been bowled out by England for ... 38.

Cue ecstatic press release from Boris in 3,2,1...

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

by eurogreen on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 at 01:04:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With "Land of Hope and Glory" playing in the background.
by rifek on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 at 08:50:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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