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From oven ready to de-Frosted

by Frank Schnittger Mon Dec 20th, 2021 at 12:38:30 PM EST

The gradual collapse of the Johnson regime as his lies and contradictions catch up with him are a wonder to behold. First his rather splendid oven ready deal with which he achieved an 80 seat majority has been shown to have contained some rather obvious flaws. Former adviser Dominic Cummings and DUP MP Ian Paisley Jnr. have revealed that he never intended to abide by it in the first place.

Second his "levelling up" agenda has been revealed as a scam as the budget increased taxes on the lowest paid while offering more inducements to the better off. Fantasy projects such as his bridge from Scotland to N. Ireland were never intended as anything more than a symbolic commitment to closer links between Britain and Ireland and weren't even taken seriously by the DUP.

But what has probably done for him, even among his own supporters, is his rather loose association with consistency, truth and probity in office. The Downing Street parties in breach of lockdown restrictions applied to everyone else; the undisclosed, privately financed and extravagant refurbishment of his Downing Street apartment; and his botched attempt to knobble the regulator when she accused former cabinet Minister, Owen Patterson, of using his position to benefit companies paying him hundreds of thousand a year in "consultancy fees" are added to a long list of constitutional and procedural indiscretions.

The loss of Patterson's ultra-safe North Shropshire seat in the ensuing bye-election has punctured his myth of electoral invincibility. Tory MPs in marginal midlands and northern seats are becoming increasingly edgy as his "levelling up" scam is exposed by rising taxes, inflation, and expenditure cuts effecting their constituencies. Boris' irreverent and jovial persona, attractive to some anti-establishment types who otherwise wouldn't touch a Tory with a barge pole, has begun to wear a bit thin.

One thing that hasn't damaged Boris much to date are his disastrous relations with the EU and USA. Most voters are only dimly aware that negotiations are not going well for Boris around the protocol and a trade deal with the USA. They are probably also unaware that the USA has refused to lift Trump era trade tariffs on UK steel and metal imports having done so for the EU because of concerns Boris may invoke A.16 and de-stabilise Northern Ireland in pursuit of his anti-EU agenda.

Frost's resignation, although he tried to dress it up as a more general concern about the government's "direction of travel", is in fact an admission that his anti-EU rhetoric has gotten him precisely nowhere. The EU was always prepared to discuss the practical details of implementing the protocol in a Northern Ireland specific context. What it was not prepared to do is provide a back door into the Single Market for British business more generally, or compromise the oversight of the ECJ over its Market. Commission vice President Maroš Šefčovič has no mandate to renegotiate the Treaty, and no intention of seeking one.

The benefits of any concessions the UK might achieve in relation to the Protocol were being far outweighed by the damage Frost's megaphone diplomacy was doing everywhere else, as evidenced by the demarche issued by the Biden Administration concerning A.16, the lack of progress on US Trade Treaty negotiations, French fisheries disputes, and lack of progress on UK services access to EU markets.

Johnson's appointment of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to lead the UK's discussions with the EU is an attempt to "normalise" and "mainstream" EU UK relations, and highlights the Brexiteer Frost's failure to achieve anything. Liz Truss was a leading Remainer in the referendum campaign but has managed to curry favour with Brexiteers by copy and pasting EU Treaties with third parties into UK trade deals, all the while hailing them as major achievements for "global Britain".

It has also not escaped the attention of Northern Ireland observers that no one has so much as mentioned the DUP in all of this:

And note that in all of this nobody is thinking about the DUP .


So Liz Truss the foreign secretary the darling on the Right takes over the Brexit role. She has no known interest in NI. In a largely untested career, she has spent two years on an easy wicket, cutting and pasting  the UK `s trading arrangements within the EU  into a few free standing treaties. So far. these have made little difference to the UK's volume of trade and national wealth.  Once a Remainer, Truss was miraculously reborn as one of the strongest supporters of BJ and a hard Brexit.   This will be the major test of her career.  Being almost comically ambitious, she likely to take the line that best promotes her as BJ's successor - if she can identify it.  Article 16 is ready and waiting to be brandished; but looks increasingly like an empty threat.  Frost resigned at least in part because BJ has no stomach for a major battle with EU on top of all his other woes. Will Truss reverse that position or live within it? We simply have no idea.

But Boris may have other reasons for this appointment. Lis Truss is now the leading candidate to replace him as Tory leader should Tory MP's decide his leadership has become a liability. Giving her the poisoned chalice of leading the Protocol negotiations may be his way of cutting her down to size. Merkel may have taught him that the key to political longevity is to make sure there are no credible contenders to replace you.

Either way, Global Britain marches on apace, leading the world in Covid infections, political chaos, and relative economic decline at a time when the global economic recovery is accelerating. The pathetic DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson is still threatening to collapse the Good Friday Agreement devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, an act that would only accelerate the DUP's declining status in the polls and governance of N. Ireland.

In Ireland, the debate about what concessions we would be prepared to make to accommodate N. Ireland in a united Ireland has begun. The short answer, in the immediate term, is very few indeed. We want as little to do with the mess that is the UK as possible at the moment. Come back to us when you have a better offer.

So how long will Johnson survive?
. Less than 3 Months 12%
. 3-6 Months 25%
. 6-12 Months 25%
. until the next General election 25%
. for several terms, like Merkel 12%
. until the heavens fall in? 0%

Votes: 8
Results | Other Polls
< wipes tears >
by Cat on Mon Dec 20th, 2021 at 03:14:41 PM EST
The next step is for his goose to be cooked...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 20th, 2021 at 03:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something about Boris spoiled between being oven ready and deFrroted.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Dec 22nd, 2021 at 08:18:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Cue in "brightest bulb in the box" jokes.

by Bernard on Mon Dec 20th, 2021 at 06:22:10 PM EST
So an EU F is equal to a UK A+? How standards have fallen. How I know what they mean by light touch regulation! Geddit?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 20th, 2021 at 06:30:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by rifek on Sun Dec 26th, 2021 at 07:48:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Prediction from a FT columnist:

by Bernard on Mon Dec 20th, 2021 at 07:06:42 PM EST
... of Boris Johnson:

A day in the life of Boris Johnson - Philip Stephens

There should be no surprise Tory MPs they have put Johnson on notice. His relationship with his party has always been strictly transactional. Just as there is no political philosophy that could be given the name Johnsonism, so there is no Johnson gang on the Conservative benches. He is not much liked, and that is a polite way of putting it. The bargain is a simple one: The party will back him for as long as it thinks he is a winner. And not a minute more.

He knows this. No 10 aides say Johnson's present mood veers from rage to paranoia - rage because he has lost his touch, paranoia because he now believes, and rightly so, that cabinet colleagues are actively preparing for the leadership contest that would follow his defenestration. A former journalist, he fulminates against the media. The government is in trouble because the people are being given the wrong story he protested in a damning interview with Sky News. Donald Trump must be proud of his pupil.

by Bernard on Mon Dec 20th, 2021 at 07:17:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what has probably done for him, even among his own supporters, is his rather loose association with consistency, truth and probity
I'm sorry, what were they expecting?

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 Tue Dec 21st, 2021 at 01:23:56 PM EST
They were lauding them as a winner and didn't care. Now that he is no longer winning, it is starting to matter a whole lot. Many of his own supporters were the mark this time around... It's all very well stuffing it to the French and Germans, and the Irish don't matter. But now the continued lockdowns, shortages, and inflation are effecting his base, which just isn't cricket...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 21st, 2021 at 03:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As Stephens wrote (see above):
The party will back him for as long as it thinks he is a winner. And not a minute more.

Wile E. Coyote moment is coming.
by Bernard on Tue Dec 21st, 2021 at 04:35:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Problem is that to get a bad politician out of office, you need a better politician (or one that can convince people that he/she is better) to run against him. Who is going to run against him?
by asdf on Tue Dec 21st, 2021 at 09:30:24 PM EST
Liz Truss is now the leading candidate to replace him as Tory leader ...

A long shot, I don't think so. She lacks leadership credentials and is too close to Boris ...

If Boris Johnson is ousted, who might replace him as UK prime minister? | FT |

The chancellor won plaudits for his £400bn economic Covid rescue package and is revered by Treasury officials; Tory MPs contrast the calm emanating from 11 Downing Street with the chaos next door.

Sunak, through anonymous briefings, has "let it be known" to potential supporters that he opposed some of Johnson's Covid restrictions and that he is frustrated with the lack of professionalism at Number 10.

"Et tu Brute" .. Tory succession via backstabbing 😏

by Oui on Wed Dec 22nd, 2021 at 12:04:15 PM EST
She is exactly the kind of vacuous politician with hateful opinions that the Tory base requires.

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 Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 01:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Wed Dec 22nd, 2021 at 12:07:41 PM EST
Brits still haven't addressed their fundamental problem:

"A" Brexit with a group of policies never existed.  There are many Brexits and none of them have coherent policies.  The only action item they agreed on is exiting the EU.  Now that is achieved they've got nothing.

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

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 22nd, 2021 at 05:18:19 PM EST
So by "oven ready" they actually meant "half baked".  Quelle surprise.
by rifek on Wed Dec 22nd, 2021 at 06:15:23 PM EST
Yeah but if you go on Twitter and look at any of the articles about the economic effects of Brexit you will see hundreds of replies along the lines of "I don't see any food shortages in my shop, the whole thing is just more Fear tactics." It will take a very serious economic catastrophe with widespread unemployment and a noticeable decrease in standard of living to shift the true believers.
by asdf on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 05:40:31 PM EST
An because it is likely to be a gradual slowing of growth relative to peers, the ignorati won't notice, especially those that don't travel much or read economic analyses.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 05:57:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
United Ireland will come about when `soft unionists' have no other option
For much of the last century, the more extreme unionist parties have managed to shore up their voter base by scaring their voters into supporting them as otherwise `the other side' might win leading to a united Ireland. Now the boot is on the other foot and Sinn Féin are trying the same gambit, claiming a united Ireland is just around the corner if only voters would rally behind them.

Both the DUP and Sinn Féin  need inter-communal tensions to remain high, as otherwise the more moderate centrist parties might grow in support. It's all a game as `those in the know' know there is no majority for a change in the status quo right now, and even in the south, voters might think twice if asked to stump up the €12 billion per annum subvention the north currently receives from Westminster.

The confidence that a united Ireland might be closer, post-Brexit, is not based on anything that is happening in Ireland right now, but on what has happened with the rise of English and Scottish nationalisms. If the UK government were to suffer a post-Brexit economic collapse, they might think twice about paying the €12bn subsidy. It is, after all, greater than their erstwhile much-hated net contribution to the EU.

So, what would `soft unionist" voters do if the €12bn subsidy were to be substantially reduced?

Would they accept an offer of €6bn from the south if the alternative was no subsidy at all? Coincidentally, the NHS budget for Northern Ireland is currently about €7bn. Would unionists vote for a united Ireland if that was the only way they could retain the NHS? Perhaps Northern Ireland voters might also ponder whether the north's economy could grow as fast as the south and become independently viable if under similar governance?

Either way, for the foreseeable future, a united Ireland will only come about when soft unionists realise they have no other option, and that depends on how long Britain can, and is willing to continue the subsidy.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 24th, 2021 at 06:06:35 PM EST
Lord Frost is reportedly furious at the terms of his resignation he himself negotiated. It has also not escaped notice in N. Ireland that there is no mention of N. Ireland in his resignation letter.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 25th, 2021 at 01:56:12 AM EST
Brexiters furious at the terms of the Brexit deal they themselves negotiated. Sun rises East, Christmas in December.
by Bernard on Sat Dec 25th, 2021 at 11:03:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Post-Brexit changes to Britain's immigration rules have triggered an unprecedented collapse in bookings for school trips from the continent, organisers say, with countries such as Ireland and the Netherlands now more popular than the UK.


Tissot Martel said that French schools wanting an English-speaking environment were even considering going to Normandy, where British host families and youth hostels with native speakers were offering immersive English stays.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Dec 26th, 2021 at 07:15:22 PM EST
but but... Bordeau and Tuscany have better climates.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 03:27:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Sun Jan 2nd, 2022 at 07:32:40 PM EST

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