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Boris's Bluff, Blather and Bluster

by Frank Schnittger Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 11:53:36 AM EST


Do you know who this is?

But the world's media were left speechless by a question put to them by US President Donald Trump at the G7 summit in the French resort town of Biarritz.

"Do you know who this is?" Mr Trump asked as he gestured towards Mr Johnson during a photo opportunity before the two entered a private meeting.

"Does everybody know?"

Introduced like the new boy on his first day in school, Trump touted Boris as his protégé: The right man to get the Brexit job done. Given that Trump has shown far more aptitude for shredding deals than actually negotiating them, that also sounded like a ringing endorsement for no deal.

Continued below the fold ...


So we have now had just over a month of Boris's statesmanship, and have had the chance to assess the cut of his jib. Not for Boris to slum it with some minor statesmen like Leo Varadker or Jean Claude Juncker. Despite saying he wouldn't meet with European leaders unless they dropped the Irish Backstop, he held summits with Merkel and Macron which were greeted by the British press with sycophantic eulogies as if some major breakthrough had been achieved. In actual fact he got lectures on the need to specify in detail what his "alternative solution" to the backstop actually is, and on the dangers of a hard border for the Irish peace process.

His big selling point? The threat to withhold £30 Billion from the agreed payment to cover the cost of the UK's outstanding commitments to the EU. Well at least now we know what the EU's price is, if they do decide to sell out the Republic of Ireland. But all the signs are that the EU is more united than ever in its resolve: It's the agreed Withdrawal Agreement or no deal, and if the UK decides on no deal, then so be it.

The Dominic Cummings inspired strategy of convincing the EU that the UK is serious about pursuing a no deal Brexit unless the Irish backstop is dropped has had its desired effect: The EU is convinced that that is now the most likely outcome. But far from persuading the EU to drop the backstop, it has had the opposite effect: The EU has decided that the UK can have its no deal Brexit if that is what it really wants. So much for Boris's bluff.

Furthermore, EU leaders are convinced that Boris's performance is largely for a domestic audience. An Autumn election is looking increasingly likely, and the only question is whether it will be after Brexit day (as Boris wants), or whether Parliament can force Boris - or some interim replacement Prime Minister - to request an A.50 extension to facilitate the holding of a general election and a second referendum, if that is what the incoming government wants to do.

From Boris's perspective, the difference is vital. If the election takes place after Brexit has happened, the whole rationale for the existence of the Brexit party will have disappeared. Brexit is their sole policy and raison d'être. A no deal Brexit would mean there is no daylight between their position and Boris's. The Tory party would no longer have a competitor for the right wing, xenophobic, Leave vote. Boris could clean up against a dis-united and chaotic opposition which no one believes would have the unity of purpose and chutzpah to carry a successful Brexit off.

Little can be done to stop Johnson crashing UK out of EU

A recent ComRes poll shows that in an election held after the UK has left with no deal, the Conservatives are likely win a majority in parliament with 36 per cent ahead of Labour 29 per cent, Liberals 15 per cent and the Brexit Party on 8 per cent. However, if the election happens after the UK has received an extension of article 50, Labour wins with 28 per cent followed by the Brexit Party on 23 per cent with the Tories and Liberals trailing on 22 per cent and 16 per cent. In other words, uniting the pro-no-deal Brexit minority by exiting before an election would benefit Johnson electorally.

To prevent a no deal Brexit from happening now, quite a few dissident Tories and independents who would be unlikely to be re-selected or elected would have to vote no confidence in Boris, and confidence in an alternative interim caretaker Prime Minister. It is clear the EU regard that as rather an unlikely long shot at this stage, given the timescales involved, the possibility that Boris might prorogue parliament, and the fact that turkeys do not tend to vote for Christmas...

So much of Boris's blather about the backstop makes sense only in the context of an impending UK general election. No serious technical discussions or negotiations about how "alternative solutions" might work have been taking place - behind the scenes or elsewhere. It has simply become a stick to beat the EU with - and a means of keeping the Brexit camp united behind Boris.

In my letter to the Editor of the Irish Independent I gave four reasons why Varadker couldn't compromise on the Backstop:
'Compromise on the backstop would solve nothing now'

The core weakness of Leo Varadkar's position is that a no-deal Brexit would create a hard customs Border with Northern Ireland - precisely the outcome his insistence on the backstop is designed to avoid.


Consequently, there are increasing calls from Fianna Fáil's Timmy Dooley and in the media for Mr Varadkar to back down from his insistence on the backstop in order to enable the passage of the Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons. In my view there are at least four flaws in this argument:

  1. It is becoming increasingly clear even removing the backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement entirely wouldn't guarantee its passage through the House of Commons. Hardline Brexiteers actually seem to want a no-deal Brexit.

  2. The EU has staked its entire position and credibility on avoiding a hard customs Border in Ireland (which they know would be a smugglers' paradise in any case). For Mr Varadkar to cave on this now would be like a stab in the back, undermining perhaps the most impressive display of EU solidarity in its history. He would lose all credibility with his EU peers were he to let them down now.

  3. Although there are isolated calls for compromise now, the moment Mr Varadkar concedes he and his party are consigned to electoral history. Fine Gael has never quite recovered from perceptions of being soft on patriotism by agreeing to the partition of Ireland as part of the 1922 peace settlement with Great Britain in the first place. This caused a civil war and an enduring split in Irish politics. To cave in to British bluff and bluster would be a national humiliation and would give Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin the boost they badly need.

  4. Compromising on the backstop would be seen as a betrayal of the people of Northern Ireland, who have benefited from border-less travel and trade with the Republic since the Good Friday Agreement and who voted by a large majority against Brexit. Many in the North (and not just nationalists) are also Irish citizens and would lose the EU dimension of that citizenship and the protections of their identity in the Good Friday Agreement if the backstop is dropped.

The bottom line: We are where we are, and there is no going back.

In retrospect, and on reflection, the most important reason is buried in reason #2 almost as an afterthought. The fact is that the land border will be a smugglers paradise. Any border infrastructure along a 500KM border with 300 crossing points will be impossible to protect from terrorist attacks. Any customs controls away from the border - such as in-company warehouse inspections - will be extremely resource intensive, easy to circumvent, and an invitation to crime. VAT evasion in a still largely cash economy is difficult enough to control and contain as it is.

It is vital for Varadker that he doesn't take responsibility for this disaster area. It has to be forced on him by circumstances beyond his control, and then he can say " I told you so". However from an EU perspective it is even more important that the integrity of the Single Market and Customs Union is protected. The only practical way of doing this is at air and sea ports in both North and southern Ireland - effectively the "border down the Irish sea" so feared by the DUP. Everyone knows this, all else is bluster.

It remains unknown whether Boris will ultimately agree to this, if he wins an election and is no longer dependent on the DUP for his parliamentary majority. Certainly they have exhausted almost everyone's patience and goodwill in Westminster and beyond. Irish and EU attention will now turn gradually to what happens after a no deal Brexit has happened, and their demands will remain essentially unchanged. And the greater the post no-deal disruption, the more powerful their negotiating position.

The bottom line is that the Irish sea must become the EU/UK customs control zone. No one will say this openly because ultimately that is a matter for a sovereign UK. So officially the Irish and EU position is they will listen to any and all proposals the UK has on this matter. But only one solution will prove to be both practicable and acceptable to the Irish/EU side if and when the UK proposes it.

Northern Ireland voted by 56-44% to remain in the EU. The Good Friday Agreement mandates that major constitutional change can only come about through the consent of a majority in the territory (note: not the UK as a whole). The most elegant solution is that N. Ireland remains within both the UK and the EU, with the latter having jurisdiction over trade and customs matters between Britain and N. Ireland. But it will take another few rounds of bluff, blather and bluster before we can get there.

Display:
Bluff: an attempt to deceive someone into believing that one can or is going to do something
Blather: talk in a long-winded way without making very much sense
Bluster: talk in a loud, aggressive, or indignant way with little effect.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 12:07:32 PM EST

Looking at UK opinion polling since Boris became Prime Minister, it is clear the Tories have gained a considerable "bounce" from his election, and have an average lead over Labour of 7%. The Lib/Dems are averaging a solid 18% and the Greens 6%. The Brexit party has been the main looser, down to fourth place on 14%, having led 8 of the previous 24 polls since the European elections. UKIP and ChangeUK meanwhile, have almost disappeared off the electoral map. Based on these numbers, the only chance Labour and the Lib Dems have of defeating Boris is by having an electoral pact whereby the better placed of their candidates at the 2017 General election is given a free run at the conservative candidate. Otherwise, with a mere 31% of the vote, Boris can win an overall majority. Such are the joys of a first past the post electoral system.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 04:12:47 PM EST
With the Lib Dems having elected a Tory-lite as leader, fat chance of an electoral alliance with Labour.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 04:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An electoral pact doesn't have to imply any policy convergence (beyond being against a no-deal Brexit) or a coalition after the election: merely a recognition that Labour and the Lib Dems need each other to be able to defeat incumbent Tories and win more seats. Of course Lib Dem voters would also have to be prepared to vote labour, and vice versa, if that was the main anti-no deal candidate standing in their constituency.

This in turn would imply some joint Corbyn/Swinson campaign appearances to persuade their voters to vote for each others candidates. If they can't get over their personality/ideological differences even to that degree, then neither qualifies as a serious politician and they will deserve the beating they will likely get.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 04:36:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the biggest issue the LibDems seem to have with Corbyn is his determination to call a General Election.

All of the ex-Labour MPs now in the Tories as well as all of the tories can expect to be dumped from Parliament. Indeed Swinson's own constituency is at risk from an SNP resurgence.

So, despite being the party of Remain, LibDem MPs seem not to be so willing to prevent No-deal by sacrificing their own seats.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 08:24:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry, needs to be re-written a bit;-

All of the ex-Labour (&Tory) MPs now in the Tories LibDems as well as all of the tories (who vote no confidence) can expect to be dumped from Parliament.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 07:23:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why neither the LibDems nor the ragged remnants of Change UK - or whatever they're calling themselves this week - support a VONC followed by an election, and why today's plan is to use legislation to stop No Deal and then see where that leads.

My guess is that if Parliament tells Johnson to take No Deal off the table he'll just say 'No - make me."

And then we'll be back to No Deal and the threat of a VONC and an election, with a few more weeks wasted.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 12:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why I have been saying only an electoral pact which will allow sitting MPs and leading anti-Tory candidates in 2017 election a free run against Boris/Farage in any new election will enable an anti-Boris majority to emerge in parliament.

But before that can happen, all other options have to be exhausted and truly desperate measures contemplated and eliminated. Finally they will also require the fig leaf of not having to install Jeremy in No.10 so that petty jealousies and personality conflicts can be satisfied.

We are dealing with a weak bunch of careerist annoyed that their entitlement to high office has been stymied. Nothing much can be expected of them until their personal fantasies are indulged and thwarted. Never has so much depended on so few idiots...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 04:29:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I suggested on FB, "the only polling company with any credibility on the UK scene is Survation. They have a tory lead of 4% over labour. (The rest are closer to Rasmussen in their willingness to provide results to flatter the tories)

But it's well established by now that the libdems hurt tories far more than Labour, especially as they track towards more traditionally tory policies and their avowed hatred of Labour.

So my take is that Labour's 24% is a good percentage when the Tories/brexit and LibDems are fighting over similar electorates"

Especially as electoral law forces the media to present all parties relatively evenly, which is now considered the very reason for Labour's surge during the last General Election. I haven't heard any panic being reported about the polls from Labour leaning blogs who have a good relationship with the Cabinet.

Of course, the Blairites are salivating at the possibility of wipeout, or at least electoral embarrassment and so are feigning their "worry" with concern trolling in every centre right newspaper.

And much as at the last GE, they're all gonna end up with egg on their face, not that it will shut them up.

By the way, Uxbridge (Boris own constituency) is officially a marginal and Labour have been getting good results in private polling there and have good reason to think they can dump him as an MP

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 08:16:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My suspicion has been that Boris will try to goad Corbyn into supporting a general election in the belief he can win it, provided it is immediately after Brexit day and before the Brexit chaos really hits. In my view Corbyn should be willing to agree, but only if the election is to be called before Brexit day so that the incoming government can ask for an A.50 extension if that is what they want to do.

The only thing which might dissuade Boris from such a course of action is the risk he might lose his own seat. If the polls are as biased as you suggest they may actually persuade Boris to go for it when the real facts on the ground don't warrant it. Theresa May had a huge lead in the polls when she called the 2017 election.

There seem to be an awful lot of people in the Commons talking a good game but unwilling to vote no confidence because of the vulnerability of their own seats. That is why I have been suggesting an electoral pact as a way of reassuring the dissidents they will get a clear run at a Brexiteer to maximise the Remain (and their own) vote.

But there seems to be an awful lot of personal animosity and ideological baggage preventing cooperation across party lines, so I doubt that scenario will come to pass. Allowing a no-deal Brexit to happen while clinging on to your own seat for another few months doesn't have much of a heroic ring to it...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 08:53:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever statistical games the poll companies are playing to try and adjust their numbers I wouldn't have much confidence extrapolating past behaviour in a very different political environment to future behaviour in a fast moving and high pressure election environment.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 08:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the main points of objection are already covered, but I think it is fair to say that Labour HQ does not take a polling before the election period starts as a strong indication of election results to come. Especially in such a dynamic situation. And they should not. "Look at the polls, better things aren't possible" is a circular prophecy.
by generic on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 09:55:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As usual, highly interesting, Frank!

I tend to think Merkel has willingly torpedoed Corbyn's initiative by making tory rebels think there is still a chance they can vote a deal before the Brexit deadline.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 04:20:39 PM EST
I think Corbyn's initiative was dead in the water long before Merkel could launch any torpedoes. He is simply unacceptable to a number of ex-Labour and Tory independents, change UK and many liberals.

As Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, he gets to propose the vote of no confidence, and to nominate whoever he thinks should be interim temporary caretaker Prime Minister. But if he wants to actually win the VONC and the subsequent election of an alternate PM, it has to be someone broadly acceptable to the Tory and Labour dissidents and the other Opposition parties.

Harriet Harmon could be an option. As a former acting leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition, she has the stature without being a threat to Corbyn's ambitions. I'm not even sure she plans to stand at the next election.

But we are clutching at straws here. The money is on the Opposition not getting their act together and Boris winning big. It will be interesting to see whether he dumps the DUP at that stage and agrees to N. Ireland remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market. It's not like his members care a damn about N. Ireland in any case...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 05:03:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is my central scenario. The sequence of events:
1 no-deal Brexit
2 UK election immediately after Brexit before
  1. Boris wins in a landslide
  2. Boris turns authoritarian to manage the disruption of no-deal Brexit

On the Irish border:
  • no-deal Brexit obligates Ireland to erect an external EU border
  • as this cannot he policed and all traffic between Ireland and the rest of the EU is by sea or air anyway, the EU's customs border effectively moves to the airports and seaports of the Republic.
  • Nobody talks about it but in reality Ireland is regulatory in the EU but essentially outside its borders (also see common travel area with UK outside Schengen).

The conditions will be there for a Northwrn Ireland border poll. This is all a result of the UK not having entertained making Northern Ireland a 'special economic area's.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 04:22:17 PM EST
Probably the most likely scenario, although other options are not closed off yet.

If EU Customs controls are essentially at Irish air and sea port some checks on Irish goods will be needed to ensure they do originate in Ireland rather than the UK. This will be a pain in the neck for bona fide Irish exporters but perhaps not the end of the world if it is seen as a temporary expedient.

However that would mean Ireland is effectively outside the Customs Union, not the EU itself. CAP payments would be unaffected as would travel and all other arrangements for political and economic cooperation.

I could also see a scenario where cameras capture the number plates of all Trucks leaving Belfast and Larne ports. "Random checkpoints" would then stop those vehicles to ascertain whether their cargoes had been duly declared and cleared for export to the EU.

Most GB Ireland trade is via Dublin in any case. Much cross-border trade is by large companies such as Guinness, Bushmills, Glanbia, Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Musgraves, CRH and Kingspan which could be policed by on-site customs inspectors (already happens in Guinness) with any duties payable in the same way as VAT.

The remaining trade by private individuals, sole traders, and small businesses would be so small as to be immaterial in EU Single Market terms and could be regarded as a second or third order problem to be dealt with at a later stage if no agreement with the UK on customs checks in Belfast, Larne etc. is reached at a later stage.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 05:24:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just how much of defined "exports to the UK" from the Republic are actually "exports to the EU using the UK as a bridge?"

My guess, and it's only that, is: a significant percentage.

Some proof, maybe:

Irish goods exports hit record level as reliance on Britain falls.

The value of Irish goods exports rose by 15 percent to a record 140 billion euros (£123 billion) last year as a fall in the goods sold into Britain was substantially offset by increases to almost all of Ireland's other major trade partners.

<snip>

Firms have cut their reliance on Britain by ramping up trade elsewhere and total exports to the EU rose by 13 percent to 70 billion with goods trade increasing by 17 percent.  

Undercutting the thesis:

Exports to the United States, the largest destination for goods, were up 17.5 percent to 39 billion euros.

or not since it could be a re-jiggering of where the stuff is loaded on a ship.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 05:54:02 PM EST
I'm not enough of an economist or statistician to be sure how export figures are compiled. Presumably there are some rules of origin and destination applied with mere transit through a territory insufficient to categorise a shipment as an export to there.

That said, Ireland's exports to the Netherlands have always been suspiciously high, presumably because lots of our goods are trans-shipped through Rotterdam. One would have thought the goods would have to be "bought" by a shipping agent there to qualify as an export to Holland.

The situation is even more perverse with regard to the export of "services" with companies like Apple, Google and Facebook "booking" sales in Ireland, even if the customer is in Germany. Contract manufacturing by Irish firms in third countries can also be booked as an export, even if the goods never touched our shores.

Irish export figures have been extremely impressive over the past few decades, until one remembers that as much as a third of them might be bogus for the reasons cited above.

Officially the UK has its largest Trade surplus with the US with Ireland in second place, until one realises the USA also claims a trade surplus with the UK!

What seems to be uncontested is that Ireland's trading reliance on the UK has been declining rapidly since we joined the EU, from c. 70% of total Irish trade in 1973, to c. 13% now. The Brits don't seem to realise it, but they could be losing one of their very few trading surpluses very quickly, if UK/IE trade is curtailed by Brexit.

Tesco executives call Ireland "Treasure Island", such are their trading margins here. Perish the thought their margins could be hit by tariffs on UK originating goods. Almost all their brands are British owned...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 06:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminder of the story about the World War One British High Command.  They had one set of figures to confuse the public, one set to confuse the government, and one set to confuse itself.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 07:41:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The same applies to Ireland's GNP figures which are religiously compiled in compliance with international conventions. However when large global corporates based in Ireland moved huge assets from one section of their balance sheets into their Irish companies this resulted in us recording 26% GNP growth in 2015!

When Paul Krugman dubbed this "Leprechaun economics" the government had no option but to try to develop a bespoke measure which stripped out the balance sheet activities of global corporates and more accurately reflect real economic activity in Ireland. It is called GNI* (Gross National Income).

However the EU still use the traditional GNP measure when calculating Ireland's contribution to the EU budget, which means that the financial engineering activities of global corporates have real implications for Irish Government costs and results in Ireland being a net contributor to the EU budget for some years.

Some of the Global corporates activities may be pure tax optimisation strategies, but others are genuine transactions - for instance when air plane leasing firms based in Shannon place orders for hundreds of Boeing or Airbus Jets at a time  to a value of several Billion. This results in huge fluctuations in our export/import and balance of payment figures which can make real underlying trends difficult to discern.

The national statistics office is coy about releasing more detailed breakdowns which might identify the firms behind these fluctuations as this may be "commercially sensitive" information. So we still don't have fully accurate figures for our export performance...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 08:17:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The joys of basing your economy on being a tax avoidance trojan horse within the EU.

The UK hd a larger economic base and so was more immune to this behaviour, but I'm sure a lot of the waywardness of our economy is due to this crap hppening within The City on an industrial scale

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 08:34:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BEA | U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, June 2019, pub'd. Aug 2019
The June figures show [US] surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($4.8), Hong Kong ($2.3), Brazil ($1.3), and United Kingdom ($0.1). [US] Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($30.2), European Union ($15.9), Mexico ($9.2), Japan ($6.2), Germany ($5.2), Canada ($3.3), Italy ($2.6), France ($1.9), Taiwan ($1.7), India ($1.6), South Korea ($1.4), OPEC ($0.3), Saudi Arabia ($0.3), and Singapore ($0.1).
Customary two mo. lag in reporting by ONS and EURSTAT as well.

To be clear, Team Trump's ahh strategy to reverse US trade balances --from deficits all the way down to surplus ...by the world's IMPORTer-- isn't obtaining the desired result. Presumably increasing imports from the US, besides medicine and medical equipment, will further improve US-UK relations in this regard. By val if not vol. Which would be ironic, considering the origins.

2017 data visualization by MIT-OEC
country profile index by MIT-OEC


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 07:57:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm, yes, well, no.
COMMERCE | Trade in Goods with United Kingdom, 1985-2019, gross val

UK has got to pick up its game for SUSTAINABLE surplus with US.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 08:05:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which will be challenging as the world's most grossly overvalued currency tanks.
1 Pound Sterling = 1.2215 United States Dollar

Brit industry can't even handle EUR parity.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 08:09:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson predicts last-minute Brexit deal
Speaking at the G7 summit in Biarritz, the U.K. prime minister repeatedly refused to rule out suspending parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit, should an agreement with Brussels not be possible.

In the closing press conference of his first international summit, an exuberant Johnson said that chances of a deal depend "exclusively" on the EU and whether they were prepared to strip the Northern Ireland backstop plan out of the Brexit agreement.

"I do think that the EU does tend to come to an agreement right at the end, that's what I've noticed in my own observation of Brussels negotiations," he said. He added that the point of "walking away" for the U.K. would only come on October 31, the legal deadline by which the country is set to leave.

by Bernard on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 06:03:08 PM EST
What we've been saying: Boris and the rest of the Leavers think the EU will wimp out.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 06:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The other point being that Johnson isn't even interested in watering down the backstop or coming up with workable "alternative arrangement". It's no backstop or no deal. No detailed negotiations.

The EU usually finds a way to fudge ultimate agreements so everyone can claim to have gotten something out of the final compromise. But you hold a gun to their heads, and they are likely to prove obdurate.

The real question is whether even as good a deal as the Withdrawal Agreement will be available to the UK after Brexit day, when unanimity will be required, and everyone can put in their special requests or requirements.

There won't be any trade talks, for a start. No passporting for City financial services. Perhaps even no ladng rights for UK owned airlines. (That's a tricky one for Ireland, as Aer Lingus, so long the national carrier is now owned by British Airways (as is Iberia).

Can we imagine an EU with no landing rights for Iberia or Aer Lingus?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 06:16:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Landing is only one part of it. Most transatlantic flights to and from the continent fly over British airspace. Without any agreement, the chaos would be enormous.
by Bernard on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 06:35:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK the Blueskies Agreement, which regulates EU airlines, applies restrictions primarily on landing rights, not overflight rights. Which is not to say the UK might not try to muddy the waters with retaliatory measures... Not much reaches the UK from the US without overflying Irish airspace either, although I suppose a route over the North pole would be possible...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 06:43:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the City has already organised separate agreements for financial services. It's not really part of the UK and has certain operational "flexibilities"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 08:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will those agreements stand if the Withdrawal agreement is not ratified and a trade war develops? In the short term I understand there are some "service" the city provide which other EU financial services centres are ill-equipped to provide, and the Commission may have agreed some deals on a strictly needs must basis.

Longer term, I can't see the EU wanting to maintain a dependency on a financial services centre outside its own boundaries. There is simply too much money to be made by the elect few, and perhaps some extra tax revenues for Governments concerned. I expect the loss of very lucrative City services to other EU centres will be the single most devastating effect of Brexit, as it will have a radical impact on government finances.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 09:01:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, that's why I was surprised when I read that an agreement had been reached.

But nevertheless, such is the claim

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 09:20:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
archived: PART V, Financial Provisions, of the draft Withdrawal Agreement was provisionally agreed by the parties March 2018. It was one of the few wholly adopted. In that sense, being the earliest, one might reasonably construe that (1) "The City" successfully lobbied its business needs to the extent permitted (by relocating ops to an EU27) and (2) all provisions therein, engrossing EU financial settlement and supervisory authorities, are least likely to be modified in the unlikely event that the EU agrees to modify the Withdrawal Agreement.

The ECB reiterated guidance from 2018:

As discussed in a Notice published by the European Commission on 8 February 2018, in the event of a no-deal Brexit Union law would cease to apply to the United Kingdom, which would become a third country. In such a scenario, several of the provisions of the Capital Requirements Regulation and Capital Requirements Directive could apply in a different manner (or not at all)*, as far as the United Kingdom - or UK-linked exposures or assets - are concerned. Accordingly, the ECB expects banks to be prepared for differences in the application of the prudential provisions after the end of October 2019.
For your convenience, final draft of the Withdrawal Agreement concluded Feb 2019, which the UK has yet to ratify, at Part V.

You may now avigate the full document from the hyperlink table of contents anchored at the bottom of the screen.
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* ECJ jurisdiction (PART III), convened EU-UK arbitration panel, or GATT 1994 protocols in the event of 'no-deal'.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 at 10:52:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any provisions for financial services contained in the Withdrawal agreement will fall if that agreement is not ratified. Some separate provisions may be enacted to overcome immediate legal issues with current transactions etc., but I doubt a far reaching deal will be reached without all of the issues covered by the Withdrawal Agreement being settled. Each country will have a veto on any deal after Brexit, and I can't see Ireland agreeing to anything until the border issue is sorted.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 10:34:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reality is UK status as third country viz. EU27.

Third country status is defined by provisions of TFEU and GATT 1994 wherever cited in the Withdrawal Agreement. International instruments to which UK and EU are parties will succeed "bi-lateral" terms of the WA.

Absent an act to revoke its A.50 and regardless of an act to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement (transition inclusive) or "flextesion" deadlines of the so-called (no) negotiation period, UK will finally convert to third country.

Accordingly, UK financial and banking services firms have been and are entering conforming private charters with EU/EC (espec. data sharing) and each EU27 nation-state (espec. tax regime) where they intend to domicile for purposes of business including but not limited to fiduciary obligations to UK gov financial settlement with EU gov outstanding.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 03:42:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 12:05:10 PM EST
Well, Duncan Weldon's comparison is bogus. First of all, Yanis Varoufakis did not want to leave the Eurozone, he wanted to call the bluff of the Eurogroup, which repeatedly threatened to throw Greece out of the Euro. Also, he doesn't mention a major event which led to Varoufakis resignation: the referendum where the Greeks said no to the troika and after which Tsipras nevertheless wimped out. Besides, as far as I know, unlike Cummings, Yanis Varoufakis is not a proponent of authoritarianism...  

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Sep 1st, 2019 at 01:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the comparison is that Brexiteers claim not to want to leave without a deal, and their tactic is to call what they see as the EU's bluff on the Irish backstop.  Cummings is likely to suffer the same fate as Varuoufakis if it turns out the EU weren't bluffing after all.

If the Brexiteers really were confident in their own position, they would have no difficulty calling a second referendum on Remain vs. whatever Brexit they do want. If the public did end up voting for whatever Brexit they do want, they are protected from any negative consequences - they can claim to be delivering exactly what the country voted for.

The reason for all their anti-democratic tactics now is that they know they wouldn't win that referendum...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 1st, 2019 at 10:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 05:09:48 PM EST
No one else is laughing...who are the other guys in the pic anyway?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 27th, 2019 at 05:48:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Schoolboy dinner when the prefects are bullies. I suppose most of the participants have already had experience in this area.
by asdf on Wed Aug 28th, 2019 at 04:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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