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Brexit and Northern Ireland's food supply

by Frank Schnittger Fri Nov 13th, 2020 at 12:34:03 AM EST

Brexit and Northern Ireland's food supply

A chara, - I nearly choked on my Tesco cornflakes while reading Newton Emerson's eloquent plea for Northern Ireland's dominant supermarket chains to be granted a special exemption from EU single market and customs union rules (""EU reveals indifference as it takes its threat to North's food supply to the wire" (behind paywall), Opinion & Analysis, November 12th).

Apparently, in a no-deal Brexit scenario, there is a threat that food supplies in Northern Ireland would be disrupted by customs and health checks.

Your columnist appears to be unaware that Northern Ireland will have an open border with the rest of Ireland and there is no threat to food supplies here.

Indeed, we are one of the EU's largest food exporters.

If there are any issues with food supply in the North, it will be due to rigidities in the supermarket supply chains and an insistence that all supplies must be routed through Britain.

Businesses of all sorts have had adequate time now to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, and most have made alternative arrangements to deal with possible customs delays.

Indeed, Irish businesses have had to make elaborate contingency plans to avoid the land-bridge through Britain.

It is not part of the EU's remit to ensure Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda's near-monopoly positions in Northern Ireland are protected.

Let them do what every business has to do, and make appropriate contingency arrangements for a no-deal Brexit, which is, after all, the preferred option for many Brexit activists.

Blaming the EU for the consequences of Brexit, and for the failure of the Johnson government to honour its commitments under the withdrawal agreement and maintain good relations with the EU post-Brexit, are hardly the hallmarks of a mature polity.

Newton Emerson's article should be regarded as part and parcel of the campaign that will break out after a no-deal Brexit, when the sunny uplands of a post-Brexit world turn out to have a few clouds after all.

I may just have to eat Aldi cornflakes instead. - Yours, etc,

NI Brexit: Simon Coveney says there is time to resolve issues | BBC News - Oct. 9, 2020 |

Food firms warn of Irish Sea Border impact | BBC News - Oct. 22, 2020 |

In a recent memo on the state of the Brexit talks, the EU's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has warned that he does not want a "food scandal there in a few years", suggesting the EU has yet to agree to waive checks on supermarket suppliers.

J Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer have warned that certain lines of meat, fish and dairy products may be restricted because of the checks that will be imposed on food and animals entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain from 1 January.

Brexit prospects for UK agri-food trade

by Oui on Fri Nov 13th, 2020 at 06:49:36 AM EST
Newton Emerson has been acting almost like a PR agent for the dominant supermarket chains in N. Ireland, who route all their goods through distribution centres in Britain and don't want to have to make any adjustments post Brexit - as much of the rest of Irish businesses have had to do. For them N. Ireland really is just an adjunct to Britain as far as the multi-nationals are concerned, and that is exactly the way unionists like it.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 13th, 2020 at 09:46:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very good one.

Liked in particular how you - in the short space given - both managed the ten thousand feet view of systems, actors and logistics and managed to ground it all in a bowl of cornflakes.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 13th, 2020 at 09:23:25 AM EST
We're coming close to crunch time!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 13th, 2020 at 01:17:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So farewell then Dominic Cummings and his creepy media sidekick.

Leave are leaving No 10. What can this mean for Brexit?

Dominic Cummings Has Already Left Job at No. 10

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 13th, 2020 at 05:44:11 PM EST
It will mean that vote leave people can blame "the establishment" for messing up their lovely perfect Brexit.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 13th, 2020 at 07:52:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The British government has already used the preposterous charge that the Northern Ireland protocol of the amounts to a food blockade as an excuse to push an Internal Market Bill that not only breaks the Withdrawal Agreement but also undermines the rule of law within the UK.

That this is all preposterous special pleading doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned. I guess the only reason for optimism may be that deep down the English don't give a toss about Northern Ireland.

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 Sat Nov 14th, 2020 at 11:57:51 PM EST
There is also the small matter that the Internal Market bill doesn't actually deal with "the border down the Irish Sea" which, it is claimed, could cause a food blockade in N. Ireland.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 12:35:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, the purported "food blockade" of Northern Ireland has been used an an excuse for what is really just a power grab. Ed Miliband demolished both the bill and the justification in the Commons. Savour every minute of this:

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 Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 10:27:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 18th, 2020 at 05:00:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More stunning than ever ... Downing Street Nr. 10 Papers

Nightmare on Downing Street | The Guardian |

Many with bitter experiences on the inside of government in recent times said the way Vote Leave people were going for Symonds was shocking, even by their standards. "It is unbelievable that they did not see how attacking the PM's fiancee would backfire on them. All this stuff about her being the first lady of Downing Street," said one ex-adviser who had recently been sacked by Cain. "And they are saying how undemocratic it is her wielding power. What do they know about democracy? They are just thugs. It is vile, pathetic, schoolboy shit."

How about policy matters on Covid-19 and Brexit ending? Looks more like Tories imploding.

by Oui on Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 08:52:53 AM EST
From Dominic Cummings' blog in 2019:

On 21 July 2019, three days before becoming Prime Minister, he asked me to gather as many of the old Vote Leave team as possible and bring them to Downing Street to help deliver Brexit. He said he was determined to do everything he could to ensure the referendum result was respected.

I have never been a member of any party but I accepted his offer, we re-assembled many of the VL team and we went to No10. We wanted to ensure that the referendum is respected and that Westminster is fundamentally changed.

by Oui on Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 08:55:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's hard work out what's really going on. The Guardian is pushing the punch-up angle, but it's also been suggested it was a stage-managed stunt and/or an excuse for Leave to attack Johnson for back-sliding on Brexit by contemplating a deal.

It's been obvious for a while that Murdoch has the knives out for Johnson and wants to replace him with the even more vile Gove. So this may just be another development in that story.

The tell will be the shape of the EU deal - if there even is one. If there isn't, we can assume that Leave still reigns supreme. If it's a saner outcome, then it's possible Biden is leaning hard on Johnson to keep the GFA in place and Johnson really is being pulled away from his previous extremism.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 01:56:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What has been absolutely stunning is how incompetent the Trump and Boris regimes have been. Think of how much more damage they could have done if they had been even half-way competent.

Boris is being depicted as the Brexit hardliner within government. And yet he has now been backed into a corner my Biden, his own law-breaking legislation, by the EU negotiators and by the arch Brexiteers.

So how will the cornered Boris react? With one bound will he be free by caving to a deal which he will then tout as the best evah? Will anyone believe him after his about face on the Withdrawal Agreement?

And how will the EU react? I doubt he can now get any deal through parliament so why would they go out on a limb to grant him a good one? Is he now such damaged goods that they will just have to sit this negotiating window and try again after a period of no deal?

How long can Boris survive no deal? Will he leave in a huff and leave it to Gove or Sunak to clean up the mess? Will hard core Brexiteers re-group under Farage's Reform Party? They don't seem to have gotten the memo that Trump lost.

It's hard to see the EU make significant concessions while the Internal Market Bill is still live within the parliamentary process. EU leaders, too, need some distraction from their Covid 19 disaster. The scene is still set for the disaster I predicted in The 2021-2026 EU UK Trade war.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 02:36:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do you think Boris can't get a deal through the Commons?

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 Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 03:13:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the Commons is full of No Deal UKIP morons wearing Tory rosettes.

If Johnson seems bad - and he is - his MPs are even worse. Their idea of Brexit is a smoking acre of burned bridges which reveal Britannia as the sole global superpower.

Delusional doesn't even begin to describe them.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 03:20:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And also because the EU have no incentive to be generous just now, so any deal will be very disappointing compared to the "easiest trade deal in history".

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 03:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Specifically, the EU's only incentive is to minimize damage to its own industries, agriculture, fisheries... and of course, supporting Ireland (a EU member in good standing). Any deal will be aimed at the above; the EU27 have really lost patience with the Brexiters.
by Bernard on Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 04:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Donald to Boris: "Repeat after me ... BIGGEST Deal ever." ... and go on with your life. 😉
by Oui on Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 04:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to wonder if we've just been lucky, in this particular moment, that the forces of fascism in the English speaking countreis have been led by such buffoons, or if there is something in the particular makeup of talent, education, belief, and personality that is common amongst Western countries.

Namely, has authoritarianism become so obviously stupid in that only incompetent buffoons feel any desire to become authoritarian leaders? Or, is the right-wing voting block that thrills to the speeches of Trump so stupid that only an equally enormous idiot can truly appeal to them?

by Zwackus on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 06:04:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I lean towards a post-imperialist theory.

People in a dominant superpower have no need to educate themselves in what the wider world is about - they can get what they want simply by ordering their armed forces to take whatever they think they need. They can be fooled into thinking they are the greatest people evah simply by the military and propaganda victories of their lords and masters.

So British and American proles are in thrall to military/authoritarian macho culture. We are the best because we say we are. They don't even bother to find out what the rest of the world is thinking. Nothing of importance exists outside their nationalistic bubbles.

So the Trump regime had no awareness of how their antics were uniting the rest of the world against them. The UK government had no concept of how the EU would react to their idiotic negotiating stances. Everyone was just going to fall in line with their wishes because they were so obviously superior in every way conceivable.

So politics in an imperial power becomes ever more conceited, self centred and stupid, throwing up ever more idiotic leaders - long after and especially after they have passed the zenith of their powers. They are reliving past glories by proclamation rather than by the realities of today's world.

So Britain defeated the Nazis, and The US the communists (in their own minds). But labelling the EU as the new Soviet Union isn't going to get you anywhere, any more than demonising the Chinese is a recipe for continued economic dominance. In fact it signals the opposite: the decline and fall of the Anglo-American empire.

Brexiteers fondly imagine Ireland will leave the EU and rejoin the UK. Trump and Biden think that the American political system is the envy of the world. Meanwhile the rest of the world is past caring and is busy getting on with dealing with the real problems facing the world, not indulging delusions that past grandeur can be reinstated.

Trump is trying to bring the US political system down with him. Brexiteers predicted Brexit presaged the collapse of the EU. Neither will happen, or at least not for the reasons they think. But there is no point even trying to engage with them at this juncture, and Biden is delusional if he thinks he can re-unite America around himself.

Eventually those who live by the sword will die by it, and their denouement will not be pretty. Nothing much we can do about it, sadly.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 12:37:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That makes total sense for their idiocy regarding the world around them, but I wonder why they are such bumbling fools in their own political environment as well. It's one thing for a competent fascist to make dramatically mistaken foreign policy decisions because they believe their own bullshit - just look at Hitler. The crop we have today is far too incompetent to get past the "consolidate authoritarian power" stage.

I mean, Trump clearly WANTS to use state power to illegally hold onto power, and I think he had a real window to actually stage a coup. And yet he's just too incompetent to actually make it happen. His supporters are violent and angry, but also completely lack any ability to organize or cooperate for effective thuggery. Their plots are laughably stupid and easily thwarted.

by Zwackus on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 07:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The worry is that Trump/Boris will move the Overton window as to what constitutes competence/responsible politics and will be replaced by far more competent/insidious fascists.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 12:46:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US I think that is a given.  The question is how bad it is going to get and what success obtained.

We'll have a better understanding after the 2022 mid-terms.

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

by ATinNM on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 09:05:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New EU-27 deadline for MEP vote in Brussels.

by Oui on Mon Nov 16th, 2020 at 08:13:50 PM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 17th, 2020 at 01:08:39 PM EST
How the Biden Presidency changed the Brexit calculus for the UK and Boris Johnson

Talk of Brexit deal breakthrough: Handle with care | BBC News |

by Oui on Wed Nov 18th, 2020 at 06:07:41 PM EST
...you just can't:

by Bernard on Wed Nov 18th, 2020 at 07:42:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Thu Nov 19th, 2020 at 05:39:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not content to screw up on Covid and Brexit, Johnson has a go at alienating as many Scots as possible...

Johnson's idle musing on devolution may come back to haunt him

When Boris Johnson blurted out to a group of Conservative MPs that devolution in Scotland had been a disaster and "Tony Blair's biggest mistake" he won himself 24 hours of bad news, condemnation and awkward clarification. But if Johnson made a gaffe it was within American journalist Michael Kinsley's definition of it as "when a politician tells the truth, some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say".

With polls showing a steady majority for independence and the Scottish National Party (SNP) on course for a majority in next year's Holyrood elections after 14 years in power, devolution has not delivered what unionists like Blair anticipated. He hoped the new Scottish parliament would choke off enthusiasm for independence and that the system of proportional representation would ensure that the SNP would never govern alone.

But if Johnson's idle musing was truthful from his perspective, it was also a blunder that will come back to haunt him next year when Scottish independence is likely to replace Brexit as Britain's major constitutional issue.

If the SNP does win a majority in next May's elections, Nicola Sturgeon will claim a mandate for a second independence referendum which requires the approval of Westminster to be legally binding.

Johnson has said repeatedly that he will refuse any such request but by disparaging devolution he has fuelled accusations that he is indifferent to the will of the people of Scotland. He is already under fire over the Internal Market Bill, which (apart from reneging on the Brexit withdrawal agreement) repatriates to London some powers from the devolved administrations.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 18th, 2020 at 06:50:48 PM EST
Boris to EU: "Have cake ..."
Donald to Taiwan: "Take pork ..."

China to former province Taiwan: "Come home ..."

by Oui on Sun Nov 22nd, 2020 at 05:27:55 PM EST
Wobbly knees Mrs Von der Leyen, former German Cabinet minister for defense. Will she use her might to advance German interests and strengthen the western intelligence community. His a$$ would be safed as well as a stimulus for British business... didn't hear her speak about a level playing field.

Von der Leyen: EU willing to be 'creative' to seal Brexit deal

by Oui on Wed Nov 25th, 2020 at 02:49:41 PM EST

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