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Non GAA Discussion => General discussion => Topic started by: seafoid on February 26, 2019, 11:07:01 AM

Title: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 26, 2019, 11:07:01 AM
"This is absolutely fantastic"  - Trailer
"Thank you so much bud" - Hound
"You don't even understand it " OmaghJoe

To kick off here is a really interesting line from William Hague

"The whole landscape of British politics is at stake over the coming weeks – whether the referendum can be honoured, whether government can be carried on, whether a great political party can stay together."

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/25/labour-imploding-brexit-balance-tories-need-stick-together/

With Labour imploding and Brexit in the balance, the Tories need to stick together
•   
William Hague
25 February 2019 • 9:30pm



 Brexit is within sight, but Conservatives must find a greater sense of unity than in recent weeks CREDIT: LEON NEAL /GETTY IMAGES EUROPE 
While I think the three MPs who left the Conservative Party last week were wrong to do so, their departure should alarm every sensible Tory in the land. I have known quite a few defectors over the decades but, until now, they have been lone individuals leaving for personal ambition or after an agonising change in their own beliefs.
These three acted together and left in order, as they see it, to stick to their guns. Whatever you think of them, they are people who believe in an enterprise economy, individual freedom and a well-defended country – in other words, they are basically Tories. When Tories start leaving the Tory party, we should be very worried. Their loss cannot be shrugged off just because the Labour Party is in an even worse state.
Their act of leaving without changing their views is a poor reflection on the Conservative Party, but it isn’t great news for the new Independent Group either. That group now mixes real Tories with social democrats, without knowing if anything enticing can be created out of such an exotic cocktail.
Their ability to present themselves as a centre-Left alternative to an extremist Labour leadership has been damaged at the outset by bringing in the centre-Right. The defections of Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston might therefore be the first in history to weaken both the party they left and the one they joined at the same time.
Whether the Independent Group can be made into a viable party that threatens the existing party system remains to be seen. It faces more than the well-known hurdles of our electoral procedures and the conundrum of how to co-exist with the Liberal Democrats without merging into them.
Its challenge is actually global in scale – to create a centrist philosophy and programme at a time when everyone from US Democrats to President Macron is struggling and failing to do so. When those 11 MPs sit in a room and think, they will have to come up with an electorally appealing centrist message, something that has eluded Hillary Clinton and most European leaders, and that Vince Cable has shown no sign of discovering.
Their most immediate problem will be if an orderly Brexit happens on schedule, leaving the one policy they have in common – stopping Brexit – irrelevant. The immediate threat to the Conservative Party is the exact opposite: that Brexit either doesn’t happen or is not at all orderly. Unfortunately, the Tories are about to face a terrible choice between those two unpalatable alternatives unless they find a greater sense of unity than in recent weeks.

With less than five weeks to go to Brexit day, and no sign of an agreement that can both pass the Commons and be agreed in Brussels, Theresa May’s famous reticence about her intentions, should all her efforts fail, is an important asset. If the EU is going to make any meaningful concession, it will only do so at the last minute and because it fears the consequences of a no-deal exit. And if the Commons is ever going to pass a deal, it will only be because time has run out for all other ideas and because people on both ends of the argument fear the worst from their own point of view.
The best approach for a cohesive governing party in this situation is to keep its collective nerve for another few weeks, extract a change to the legal durability of the Irish backstop allowing the deal to be voted through, and delay Brexit for only as long as needed to pass the legislation to implement it.

That unity may actually be easier to achieve now that the opposition seems to be discussing a second referendum more seriously.
We could then proceed to deliver Brexit, enter the transition period, open negotiations on a free trade agreement with the EU, and provide the country in the meantime with a steady government. Labour would be left to be deservedly consumed in its own flames of hatred, extremism and anti-Semitism, and the Tories could focus on finding the right leader and direction for the 2020s.
This is essentially what Mrs May is trying to do. If her whole party joined with her, behaving like a single giant poker player, she would have a reasonable chance of pulling it off. But that would need mutual trust, a quality political parties require to function and that is now in short supply. Inside Labour, trust has collapsed. Among the Conservatives, the departure of the three defectors shows how much it is already evaporating.

Tory ministers and MPs who are horrified at the practical implications of a no-deal Brexit no longer trust the ardent Brexiteers, the ERG, to vote for an improved deal even if it can be negotiated. Hence the desire among many of them to vote this Wednesday for the move by Yvette Cooper, enabling Parliament to seize the power to prevent a no-deal Brexit on 29 March, by passing a law to that effect in defiance of the Government.

Yet if this is passed, Mrs May’s efforts to win any improvement to the backstop will be undermined. And if ministers defy their Prime Minister to vote for it, the full-scale disintegration of the Government will be underway. The whole landscape of British politics is at stake over the coming weeks – whether the referendum can be honoured, whether government can be carried on, whether a great political party can stay together.
How can the Prime Minister keep negotiating effectively with her options still open, but give those Conservatives who think a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster the chance to prevent that happening? How can she avert the collapse of her administration if it has to choose between no-deal and delay?

The best way, of course, is to reach agreement with the EU that the backstop will only ever be temporary, and then for her whole party to vote the deal through. But the Cabinet could make clear now that in the absence of that happening, the Commons would have a free vote on the choice between no deal and asking for the delaying of Brexit day, with ministers able to vote as they wish.
Without some such safety valve in prospect, March is quite likely to see Parliament take control from ministers to delay Brexit anyway, and the Government begin to break up. The three defectors would think themselves proved right. There isn’t much time left to prove them wrong.

Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 26, 2019, 02:30:13 PM
Daily Telegraph editorial

The Torygraph is rabidly pro Brexit, the harder the better

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2019/02/24/brexiteers-must-stand-firm-not-panic/

24 February 2019 • 6:00am


The old political order is in its death throes: Brexit has finally forced MPs to rethink their labels and even break from their party. The new Independent Group, although also a revolt against Labour’s disgusting anti-Semitism, is largely a Remainer bloc; more may yet resign their whips to sit with it. But the creation of the Group doesn’t actually change the mathematics in Parliament and will eventually help the Brexiteers in the country. Every MP who allies with the Independents was always against Brexit and will continue to be – and pro-Brexit MPs should not be spooked by all this political excitement into thinking that the advantage has moved to the Remainers.

To use a phrase popular with Theresa May, nothing has changed. Her Withdrawal Agreement is still a terrible document, it needs serious rewriting (at best) and a no-deal should not and cannot be ruled out. If anything, any further defections from Labour that genuinely give the Independent Group some momentum will split the Left and deliver a majority to a pro Brexit Conservative Party at the next election, strengthening the hand of the next prime minister when it comes to our future negotiations with Brussels.

Therefore, even though this week will probably see the most dramatic attempt yet by Remainers to block the whole process, this is not the time for Brexiteers to panic. A group of MPs and ministers is trying to pressure the Prime Minister by backing a Commons move to take no-deal off the table and delay the Brexit date. This would be the equivalent of being caught in a “Hotel California” arrangement, whereby Britain never quite leaves. Of course, a new prime minister could force yet another showdown with the EU, but it would be even harder. As the Northern Ireland minister John Penrose writes, ruling out trading on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms would completely undermine negotiations because Brussels would know we could never walk away without an agreement. It could and would impose on us the worst terms possible: remember what happened to Greece in 2015.

As for the idea that Parliament should take over the process, the rise of the Independent Group is a depressing reminder that MP numbers do not reflect the strength of pro-Brexit opinion across the country. The voters are watching. MPs who are Leavers or, like Mr Penrose, have reconciled themselves to the referendum result, know that there is mounting anger at the mismanagement, delay, even sabotage of Brexit – so they must vote against any attempt to weaken Britain’s position or to dilute our withdrawal.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 26, 2019, 02:35:48 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/7d973c06-39c5-11e9-b72b-2c7f526ca5d0

   Theresa May opens way to a Brexit delay if her deal is rejected
      
      
               Prime minister says if meaningful vote fails, MPs will have choice of no-deal or extension
Theresa May said that MPs and business were worried that 'time is running out', adding that parliament needed to have its voice heard on the way forward
Theresa May has told the House of Commons that if her Brexit deal is rejected on March 12, MPs will be given the choice between a no-deal Brexit or extending the Article 50 exit process from the EU.It is the first time that the UK prime minister has openly accepted that Brexit could be delayed, having insisted for months that the UK would leave the EU on March 29 without a deal if necessary.The move — which Mrs May suggested could ultimately delay Brexit for up to three months beyond the scheduled date of March 29 — is aimed at heading off resignations by about a dozen pro-EU ministers who are determined to prevent the economic harm of a chaotic departure from the bloc.Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Mrs May said that MPs and business were worried that “time is running out”, adding that parliament needed to have its voice heard on the way forward.The prime minister, whose initial Brexit package was rejected by a record 230-vote margin last month, said the “meaningful vote” on a revised deal with the EU would take place by March 12.If the Commons still rejects the deal, there will be a vote by March 13 to decide whether parliament instead endorses a no-deal Brexit.

“The UK will only leave without a deal on 29 March if there is explicit consensus in the House for that outcome,” she said.She added that if parliament rejected no-deal, MPs would then be asked by March 14 whether they wanted a “short limited extension to Article 50”. If they did, the government would subsequently seek the EU’s agreement for a delay and bring forward the necessary legislation. Theresa May offers vote on Brexit extensionSome business groups welcomed the shift but called for much greater reassurance that Britain would avoid a no-deal Brexit.“While this is a giant political leap for the prime minister, this is only a small step towards the clarity and precision that businesses need to chart their future direction,” said the British Chambers of Commerce. “The overriding priority is still to assure businesses and communities that an unwanted no-deal scenario will not happen by default on March 29.”The Institute of Directors added that “while an extension is not an end in itself, it may become a necessity to achieve an orderly exit”.

However, Mrs May warned that no extension should last beyond the end of June, since otherwise the UK would need to participate in elections to the new European Parliament, which will take its seats at the beginning of July.“I do not want to see Article 50 extended,” she added, arguing that the only way to take no-deal off the table would be to either revoke the UK’s request to leave the EU — an option she excludes — or to agree a deal.“Ultimately the choices we face would remain unchanged,” she added. “Leave with a deal, leave with no deal or leave with no Brexit.”Only a minority of MPs in the Commons would back a no-deal Brexit while there is thought to be a majority for extending Article 50 if necessary.

But Mrs May’s strategy risks a split with the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs as well as Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party, which provides her government with a majority in parliament.Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, told Bloomberg: “I don’t think an extension is going to solve any of the issues that are already there. Often in negotiations you need that compression of time to come to a deal.”Responding to Mrs May, Jeremy Corbyn said the government was “grotesquely reckless”, suggesting Downing Street was deliberately running down the clock.

The Labour leader said his party would back amendments designed to rule out the “reckless cliff edge” of a no-deal Brexit.“She promises a short extension but for what?” Mr Corbyn asked. “If the government wants a genuine renegotiation it should do so on terms that can win a majority of this House.”Labour has proposed a softer Brexit, involving a permanent customs union with the EU. A Labour amendment setting out such a goal is widely expected to be rejected in a vote on Wednesday, after which the party is due to swing its support behind a second referendum that would have an option to remain in the EU.But Mr Corbyn hinted that Labour would only offer a second referendum if the Commons passes a deal. “If it [a deal] somehow does pass in some form at a later stage, we believe there must be a confirmatory public vote to see if people feel it is what they voted for,” he said.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 27, 2019, 08:47:02 AM
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/may-using-nixon-s-madman-theory-to-play-chicken-with-brexit-1.3807003


May using Nixon’s ‘madman theory’ to play chicken with Brexit
Threat of UK crashing out of EU having profound impact on unfolding events

Bobby McDonagh


 
Former US president Richard Nixon’s reported strategy was to put it about that he was volatile and irrational. This would in turn, the theory went, make hostile leaders bend to his will since they would be afraid of provoking him.
 
Michel Barnier is a busy man these days. The Brexit endgame probably allows him little time for reading. Nevertheless, I would recommend that, as he seeks to negotiate with a UK government behaving in an increasingly irrational way, by insisting that “no deal” is on the table, he should at least dip into the “madman theory” of negotiation.
Richard Nixon’s administration, in its approach to the Soviet Union and others, was a proponent of the “madman theory”. Nixon’s reported strategy was to put it about that he was volatile and irrational. This would in turn, the theory went, make hostile leaders bend to his will since they would be afraid of provoking him. The proximity of Nixon’s finger to the nuclear button was a crucial ingredient in the strategy.
The “madman theory”, of course, did not begin or end with Nixon. Machiavelli argued that sometimes it is “a very wise thing to simulate madness”. More recently, Donald Trump’s approach to North Korea, and to arms control generally, bears hallmarks of the strategy.
The appearance of madness requires a high degree of verisimilitude and is all the more effective if its proponent really is wired to the moon
Brexit clock
As the Brexit clock runs down, the time for pussyfooting around has passed. Most people must now take it as a given that Jacob Rees-Mogg and his cohorts are stone-cold crazy.
The urgent question which should now be asked is whether Theresa May herself, although sane, has built the “madman theory” into her negotiating strategy. To put it another way, is the British bulldog showing symptoms of the rabid tail that has been wagging it?
•   Brexit Borderlands: The Irish Times maps Ireland's border crossings
•   Brexit: An idiot's guide to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union
•   Brexit: Political movement in Westminister as clock ticks down
 
BREXIT: The Facts
Read them here
The “crazy guy” strategy, as it is sometimes called, is of little value in the UK’s negotiating approach towards the EU. The major flaw is that the “no deal” button over which May’s finger now deliberately hovers would, if triggered, rain down its destruction principally not on the EU-27 but on the UK itself. For the EU to give any credence to the threat of volatility and irrationality, it would have to believe that the UK government is not only completely mad but also colossally stupid.

Blue Billywig Video PlayerCentral UK threat
There would, it is true, be some fallout beyond Britain’s shores from a no-deal Brexit. But the central UK threat is that, if it doesn’t get its way, it will punish itself. The EU naturally hasn’t the slightest intention of undermining the insurance policy for the Belfast Agreement which was painstakingly negotiated with the full input of the UK government . The EU may be willing to provide further reassurances about what the withdrawal agreement means but, even on that, they are conscious that nothing will satisfy Mogg’s European Research Group pipers who have been calling the tune.
Nevertheless, elsewhere the “madman theory” is having a profound impact on unfolding events. The threat of the UK crashing out of the EU is a vitally important weapon on the second front in May’s war, namely her campaign to compel a majority in the House of Commons to support her deal.
The madman theory does not wash with Brussels. But, it continues to shape the debate at Westminster
Most MPs, including many of those who voted for Brexit, care deeply about their rightly beloved country, not to mention the voters in their much-beloved constituencies. They understand well the havoc a no-deal Brexit would wreak on Britain. They probably also get it that the implied threat of mutually assured destruction, a policy captured perfectly by its popular acronym, MAD, would in this case be MUSH: Mad Unnecessary Self-Harm.
Immense damage
However, where the “madman theory” comes into the parliamentary calculations is not the assessment that May, in the privacy of her own mind, would consider inflicting the immense damage of a “no-deal” Brexit on her country.
Rather , it is brought into play by the not unreasonable fear among many MPs that the clock will be run down so far, the atmosphere so febrile, the tabloid press so irresponsible, the parliamentary procedures so complex and the lunatic minority so loud of voice, that a combination of confusion, incompetence and the unpredictability of the battlefield, rather than deliberate government policy, could lead to national catastrophe.
The “madman theory” does not wash with Brussels. However, it continues to shape the debate at Westminster. May can’t get the EU to play chicken; the game only works if your opponent shares your fear. In parliament, however, chicken is now pretty well the only game in town.
Bobby McDonagh is a former Irish ambassador to the EU, Britain and Italy
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 27, 2019, 10:15:44 AM
Senior Conservative Party hurling


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/26/cabinet-descended-vitriol-brexit-delay-remainers-accused-appalling/
Tears of rage, 'appalling disloyalty' and kamikaze Remainers: Inside the remarkable Brexit Cabinet meeting

 Theresa May leaves a 'bruising' Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the details of which were leaked to The Telegraph CREDIT:  WIKTOR SZYMANOWICZ / BARCROFT IMAGE
•   Steven Swinford, DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR
27 February 2019 • 6:57am


Andrea Leadsom could barely conceal her anger. Turning to Remain ministers around the Cabinet table who had campaigned publicly for a Brexit delay, she said their behaviour was "appalling and disloyal".The Leader of the Commons appeared close to tears as she accused Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark of breaching collective responsibility, damaging the reputation of Cabinet and the Conservative Party in doing so.


It came after the Prime Minister was forced to bow to pressure over Article 50 after the trio of ministers threatened to resign over the issue along with as many as 15 other Remain ministers.
In a microcosm of the clashes in Cabinet that resulted, Ms Leadsom was seated next to Claire Perry, the Energy minister and a prominent Remain minister.
That very morning Ms Perry had penned a joint article in which she had threatened to quit the Cabinet unless the Prime Minister committed to extending Article 50.
Ms Perry wasted no time in hitting back at criticism over her article. She insisted that former Remainers had supported the Prime Minister throughout.
According to one source, Ms Perry argued that she and her Remain colleagues had been the ones publicly defending the Prime Minister's deal on shows like Question Time, describing their appearances as some of the "worst nights of our lives".

The rifts erupted around the Cabinet table. Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, hit out at the "kamikaze" activities of Remainers in undermining the Prime Minister by attempting to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
She said that their behaviour was not helpful to Brexit negotiations or the "credibility" of the nation as a whole.
Another source said Mr Hammond appeared to take exception to Ms Leadsom's suggestion that Remain ministers had been "disloyal.

The Prime Minister made clear to her Cabinet that she did not want to extend Article 50, and believed that doing so would only create more problems.
She suggested that a delay would only serve to create a "bigger cliff edge" at a later date and increase the risk of a no deal Brexit.
However in a bid to avert mass resignations by Remain ministers she committed to offering the Commons three votes.
The first, a meaningful vote on her deal by March 12. The second, should her deal be rejected a vote on a no deal Brexit. The third, should the Commons reject no deal a vote on extending Article 50.

Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, warned Britain risked losing control if it committed to extending Article 50 and that the delay could end up being significantly longer than expected.
While the Prime Minister suggested that there would be a maximum three month delay until the end of June, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission, is said to be considering a two year extension
The Defence Secretary is said to have suggested that a two month extension to Article 50 could turn into two years, putting Brexit at risk. Mr Hammond also warned of the risk of a lengthy extension if Article 50 Mrs May's deal is defeated.
A total of eight Cabinet ministers were said to have warned against delaying Brexit including Mrs Leadsom, Ms Truss, Mr Williamson, Alun Cairns, Jeremy Wright, Julian Smith, Brandon Lewis and James Brokenshire.

One source told The Spectator magazine that Mr Brokenshire was "as angry as he has been at Cabinet" over the behaviour of the three Remain Cabinet minsters.
Mr Lewis, the chairman of the Conservative Party, told Ms Rudd that the Conservatives need to be "careful" in warning against no deal. He said that many party members do not believe warnings about no deal.

There were also rifts about the purpose of the extension. Cabinet Remainers including Ms Rudd are said to have argued a 90-day extension should be used to build a "new coalition in Parliament" to secure a deal.
Mr Hammond is said to have suggested that the Prime Minister should hold "indicative" votes to determine the type of Brexit the House is willing to pass in the event that an extension is needed. A source said the Prime Minister "slapped down" the suggestion.
However Mrs Leadsom and Ms Truss are said to have argued that the time should be used to prepare Britain for a no-deal Brexit.
For their part Mr Gauke, Ms Rudd and Mr Clark were relatively brief in their comments, highlighting the risk of no deal but significantly less provocative than in previous weeks.
Gone were the suggestions that a no deal Brexit is a "unicorn" that needs to be slayed. "They were trying to be magnanimous in victory," said one. "They got what they wanted. They knew it was going to be bruising".
While the Prime Minister has committed to a vote on extending Article 50, for both ministers and backbenchers significant questions remained.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, asked in Cabinet whether the vote on extending Article 50 will be whipped. He did not receive an answer.
The Daily Telegraph understands Downing Street is yet to decide. "We're focusing all our efforts on trying to win the meaningful vote," a source said.
The Cabinet meeting lasted until shortly before midday, which some ministers speculated was part of a bid to stop details of the meeting from leaking.
However details of Mrs May's briefing to Cabinet were leaked to The Daily Telegraph half an hour before it formally broke up.

Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 27, 2019, 02:57:20 PM
This is very good

https://www.ft.com/content/d69fe31e-38f0-11e9-b856-5404d3811663

   A second Brexit referendum is now essential

If democracy means anything, it means a country’s right to change its mind

Martin Wolf

Theresa May’s aim is to convert fear of a no-deal Brexit into acceptance of her bad deal, which would leave the UK at the EU’s mercy. In the end, the rhetoric about “taking back control” has come down to a choice between suicide and vassalage. This march of folly needs to be stopped, for the UK’s sake and Europe’s. The only politically acceptable way to do this is via another referendum. That is risky. But it would be better than sure disaster.Let us count the ways in which what is now happening is quite insane. In just over a month, the UK might suddenly exit from the EU. But the government and business are unprepared for such a departure: to take one example, the government is still fighting over what farm tariffs to impose. Such a no-deal Brexit would damage the UK — and the EU. If a no-deal exit did happen, negotiations would need to restart at once, but in a far more poisonous and, for the UK, more unfavourable context. Even if the prime minister’s deal were ratified, a new set of negotiations would have to start over the future relationship. The UK is unprepared for such negotiations. These new negotiations would also inevitably end up with an unsatisfactory outcome, because the UK has never confronted the trade-offs between access and control inherent in all trade negotiations. Finally, this entire mess would make only the EU’s enemies — Russian president Vladimir Putin, above all — happy. Britain has, in brief, launched itself on a perilous voyage towards an unknown destination under a captain as obsessed with delivering her version of Brexit as Ahab was with Moby-Dick. Has a mature democracy ever inflicted such needless damage on itself? Why has the UK done so? The simple answer is the marriage of the widespread dissatisfaction of the British people to copious Brexit illusions.One illusion was that the meaning of Brexit was obvious. In practice, it could cover anything from a high degree of integration to very little. The decision to leave did not determine the destination.Another illusion was that Brexit could mean unbridled sovereignty. In practice, the deeper is a trading relationship, the more it must compromise with its trading partners on the exercise of national sovereignty. If the UK negotiates trade deals with the US, China or India, it will also be forced to accept many limitations on its sovereignty.A further illusion is that it would be easy for the UK to trade on the terms laid down by the World Trade Organization.

 In practice, a no-deal exit would worsen the terms of access to markets that account for about two-thirds of total UK trade. Yet another illusion is that the WTO covers most of the things the UK cares about. Alas, it does not. What it fails to cover includes road haulage, aviation, data, energy, product testing, including of medicines, fisheries, much of financial services and investment.It was a dangerous illusion to suppose that it would be simple to strike a trade deal with the EU, because we started from full convergence. The opposite is true. The UK is leaving in order to diverge. Such divergence is precisely what EU rules exist to prevent. The EU would never allow a country the right both to benefit from EU rules and to diverge from them, at its discretion.
A really big illusion was that if the UK were tough with the EU, the latter would come swiftly to terms. But, as Ivan Rogers, former UK permanent representative to the EU, argues, the EU would not — partly because preservation of the EU is, naturally, the EU’s dominant priority, and partly because the EU is sure the UK would be back the day after that no-deal Brexit. It is surely right on that.So right now, parliament faces a choice between the impossible — no deal — and the horrible — the prime minister’s deal. If accepted, the latter would be followed by years of painful trade negotiations, with, at present, no agreed destination. At the end, the UK would be worse off than under membership of the EU. Its people would be as divided and dissatisfaction would remain as entrenched as they are today. Is there a better way than this? Yes. It is to ask, once again, whether the people want to leave, now that the reality is clearer. There should be a second vote.Some will argue that this would be undemocratic. Not so. Democracy is not one person, one vote, once. If democracy means anything, it is the right to change a country’s mind, especially given the low and dishonest referendum campaign. It is nearly three years since that vote. Much has happened since then, in both the negotiations and the world.

As Ngaire Woods of the Blavatnik School of Government has noted, since 2016 Donald Trump has been assaulting the EU and the WTO, western relations with China have become more problematic and the extent of Mr Putin’s assault on our politics have become more obvious. This is not a time for Europe to inflict the wound of Brexit on itself.If, as seems plausible, parliament cannot stomach the vassalage of the prime minister’s deal, then the sane options are to ask for a lengthy extension of departure or, better, to withdraw the Article 50 application altogether. Both would give the time needed to discuss how to organise such a referendum. Mrs May’s suggestion of a direct vote on no deal might get us there.It is now clear that the UK has no consensus on Brexit, but only division and confusion. In order to get her bad deal through, the prime minister has been reduced to threatening parliament with something worse. That is mad. If a country finds itself doing something sure to damage itself, its neighbours and the fragile cause of liberal democracy on its continent, it needs to think again. Now is the last chance to halt the journey to ruin. It is parliament’s duty to do so.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 27, 2019, 03:20:33 PM


The great Brexit betrayal is nearly complete – but Theresa May still has the chance to be a national heroine 
•   
Nigel Farage
26 February 2019 • 5:02pm
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Save


 Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? CREDIT:  JACK TAYLOR/GETTY
Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? If so, I am not aware of it. I have been writing about the great Brexit betrayal since July 2017. Now it is nearly complete. And the ramifications of the endless broken promises to which the people of this country have been subjected could have a catastrophic effect on our politics for years to come.
First, let’s focus on the Labour Party. Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s years as a Bennite anti-EU campaigner, often making comments about Brussels that were even stronger than some of my own, he has capitulated. Labour now backs a second referendum.
There are two reasons for this U-Turn. The Parliamentary Labour Party is dominated by a North London metropolitan elite whose outlook is overtly Remain. And, furthermore, Labour is terrified of more defections to The Independent Group from its pro-EU MPs and those sickened by Labour’s anti-Semitism problem.  Even if this second referendum idea fails in the House of Commons, it will be Labour’s policy until the next general election.
This is astonishing. It’s as though Labour’s chiefs don’t realise that five million members of the electorate who backed Leave in 2016 went on to vote Labour at the 2017 election. This group is intensely Eurosceptic. Many had previously voted for Ukip. They insist that immigration must be drastically cut. Now, any bond that existed between them and Labour has disintegrated.
This is a big problem for Labour. Two thirds of Labour seats in England and Wales are in Leave-voting constituencies. More importantly, the vast majority of marginal seats in the Midlands and the North of England that Labour need to win to form a majority also voted Leave.
If the Conservative Party can hold itself together – not a given by any means – Labour has just lost the next general election. Moreover, Chuka Umunna and his chums in The Independent Group will discover that the second referendum ground in British politics, which they had to themselves for about a week, is now somewhat overpopulated.
The disconnect between parliament and the people is becoming more obvious in the Conservative Party too, however. Theresa May’s endless assertions that she will deliver the Brexit the people voted for is beginning to look as if it was a deceit from the start.
Article 50, which parliament backed overwhelmingly, states that the UK will leave the EU on March 29 with or without a deal. The no-deal option is crucial to any negotiating position in Brussels. To remove it from the table would be like fielding a football team without a goalkeeper. Yet when cabinet ministers openly defy the government position and demand that no-deal is ditched, no action is taken. How Mr Juncker must be enjoying his booze-filled lunches in Brussels this week.
There is now no prospect of the appalling Withdrawal Agreement, the worst deal in history, being changed, and the argument for the extension of Article 50 has come to the fore. The moment that decision is made, all trust between Tory voters and their party will be broken too.
The ludicrous suggestion that an extension could be for just two to three months misunderstands that there would be no-one to negotiate with during this period. Brussels closes down in April as the European elections campaign begins. After that, the elite European Commission will be replaced. If we extend once, we will extend again and again. Voters’ fury in this scenario should be not underestimated.
The only way Brexit can now be delivered, and faith kept in our democratic system, is to leave on March 29 on WTO terms. If we apply to the WTO, and Article 24 of the GATT Treaty is used with both the consent of us and the EU, we would have a minimum of two years with no tariffs and quotas during which a trade deal could be concluded. More importantly, we would be outside the EU, the single market and the customs union. If May holds her nerve and keeps the current legislation in place, we will leave on the due date. She still has a chance to be a national heroine, albeit a slim one.
Another possibility is that the government and parliament are stupid enough to request a very short extension of article 50 which is vetoed at the EU Summit on March 21. By then, time would have run out, there would be no other alternative.
Those of us who want Britain to be an independent country again must accept that Westminster’s politicians are about to betray us. But we can beat them and win this great prize if we are prepared to stand up and fight.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 27, 2019, 03:27:01 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/27/theresa-may-has-sparked-beginning-end-conservative-party/

Theresa May has sparked the beginning of the end for the Conservative party
•   
Andrew Lilico
Follow the author of this article
27 February 2019 • 1:21pm
Yesterday, for Theresa May, the prevarication was over. The appointed time of choosing was here. Was the Conservative Party to be surrendered to the likes of Margot James, Richard Harrington and Claire Perry, the three fearsomely pro-Remain ministers who had threatened to resign if she didn’t take no-deal off the table?
Or was it to be the party of its mainstream members, over 70 per cent of whom want to leave the EU either with no deal or with a straightforward Free Trade Agreement? People like me. People like the 117 MPs who voted against Theresa May in December’s no confidence vote.

In the end she sided with the Remainer MPs, a group whose obsession with remaining in the EU at all costs is so great that they are content to see the largest democratic vote for anything in UK history overthrown, the British political system smashed, the Conservative Party rent and the country return, humiliated, to the EU begging to be let back in.
On the Ides of March, she will cross the Rubicon and begin the process of cancelling Brexit and with it destroying a party to which she has given her life.
The first step will be seeking a two month delay, an outcome which is likely to be put to Parliament on March 14. The EU may not grant that — it might insist on a longer delay from the off. But it matters little. That delay will not make her deal pass, it will not make the EU offer any change to the backstop and it will not give the two Labour Parties (the Corbynites and the TIGgers) any reason to shift from their own commitments to cancel Brexit.
Conservative MPs committed to actually leaving the EU could have accepted some sort of delay if this is what it took to deliver a proper break with the EU. After all, it would be silly to quibble over whether we leave at the end of March or the end of May.
The problem is that, given nobody thinks two months will be long enough to make any material difference to the political situation, the short delay has only one purpose: to make clear to Theresa May's Conservative opponents that they really will have to choose between her appalling deal and no Brexit (in the form of a second extension so long it essentially means leaving the EU is, for now, over).

With this scenario sketched out in front of them, true Leaver Conservative MPs must now know that their time in the Tory party is running out. It has split like this before, in the 1840s, when most of its MPs rejected Robert Peel’s repeal of the Corn Laws. His small front bench joined the Liberal Party after his death and it was only then that his Protectionist opponents re-named themselves the Conservatives once again.
Leavers today will, at the latest, have to quit the party when May cancels Brexit. They could go earlier, and hope to collapse the government, forcing a general election and a no-deal Brexit, although this strategy carries risks. Corbyn’s Labour is only on 23 per cent in the latest opinion polls and we could end up with four fairly evenly sized parties. In that scenario, it’s plausible that some sort of coalition in favour of rejoining the EU could be stitched together.

They may be better off waiting until the end of May, when the Prime Minister announces the second "extension" of Article 50 which would decisively herald Brexit’s cancellation. By then, with the right preparation, Conservative MPs who believe in Brexit would be in a far better position to split off and form a new True Leavers Party. Such a party could win a General Election in due course.
Remainers continue to dwell under the delusion that if they manage to engineer a situation where Britain reneges on the referendum it will mean us staying in the EU. They're wrong. We are not leaving because of the referendum result. Rather, we held the referendum because it was clear we were going to leave the EU and we needed to decide when. That fundamental logic will re-assert itself quickly if May cancels a 2019 Brexit, and when it does so, a new True Leavers Party could reap the electoral rewards.
The Conservative Party was a magnificent institution. For nearly 190 years it strode majestic upon the political stage. It helped create our mixed constitution and to protect it and British liberties for centuries. It saw off enemies of freedom, both domestic and international, and promoted peace, order and prosperity. I am proud to have been a part of it.
However, realistically, nothing lasts forever. By taking the first steps towards cancelling Brexit, May has made her choice. Now, or very soon, alas, those Conservatives that believe in Brexit will have to make theirs.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: mouview on February 27, 2019, 03:48:36 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/27/theresa-may-has-sparked-beginning-end-conservative-party/

Theresa May has sparked the beginning of the end for the Conservative party
•   
Andrew Lilico
Follow the author of this article
27 February 2019 • 1:21pm
Yesterday, for Theresa May, the prevarication was over. The appointed time of choosing was here. Was the Conservative Party to be surrendered to the likes of Margot James, Richard Harrington and Claire Perry, the three fearsomely pro-Remain ministers who had threatened to resign if she didn’t take no-deal off the table?
Or was it to be the party of its mainstream members, over 70 per cent of whom want to leave the EU either with no deal or with a straightforward Free Trade Agreement? People like me. People like the 117 MPs who voted against Theresa May in December’s no confidence vote.


Remainers continue to dwell under the delusion that if they manage to engineer a situation where Britain reneges on the referendum it will mean us staying in the EU. They're wrong. We are not leaving because of the referendum result. Rather, we held the referendum because it was clear we were going to leave the EU and we needed to decide when. That fundamental logic will re-assert itself quickly if May cancels a 2019 Brexit, and when it does so, a new True Leavers Party could reap the electoral rewards.
The Conservative Party was a magnificent institution. For nearly 190 years it strode majestic upon the political stage. It helped create our mixed constitution and to protect it and British liberties for centuries. It saw off enemies of freedom, both domestic and international, and promoted peace, order and prosperity. I am proud to have been a part of it.
However, realistically, nothing lasts forever. By taking the first steps towards cancelling Brexit, May has made her choice. Now, or very soon, alas, those Conservatives that believe in Brexit will have to make theirs.

More insanity. What world do these people live in?
Andrea Leadsom would be deadly dangerous had she but a brain. Thankfully, she reminds one of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 27, 2019, 03:58:03 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/27/theresa-may-has-sparked-beginning-end-conservative-party/

Theresa May has sparked the beginning of the end for the Conservative party
•   
Andrew Lilico
Follow the author of this article
27 February 2019 • 1:21pm
Yesterday, for Theresa May, the prevarication was over. The appointed time of choosing was here. Was the Conservative Party to be surrendered to the likes of Margot James, Richard Harrington and Claire Perry, the three fearsomely pro-Remain ministers who had threatened to resign if she didn’t take no-deal off the table?
Or was it to be the party of its mainstream members, over 70 per cent of whom want to leave the EU either with no deal or with a straightforward Free Trade Agreement? People like me. People like the 117 MPs who voted against Theresa May in December’s no confidence vote.


Remainers continue to dwell under the delusion that if they manage to engineer a situation where Britain reneges on the referendum it will mean us staying in the EU. They're wrong. We are not leaving because of the referendum result. Rather, we held the referendum because it was clear we were going to leave the EU and we needed to decide when. That fundamental logic will re-assert itself quickly if May cancels a 2019 Brexit, and when it does so, a new True Leavers Party could reap the electoral rewards.
The Conservative Party was a magnificent institution. For nearly 190 years it strode majestic upon the political stage. It helped create our mixed constitution and to protect it and British liberties for centuries. It saw off enemies of freedom, both domestic and international, and promoted peace, order and prosperity. I am proud to have been a part of it.
However, realistically, nothing lasts forever. By taking the first steps towards cancelling Brexit, May has made her choice. Now, or very soon, alas, those Conservatives that believe in Brexit will have to make theirs.

More insanity. What world do these people live in?
Andrea Leadsom would be deadly dangerous had she but a brain. Thankfully, she reminds one of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.
The last 3 years have been insane in the UK

This is from 2016

“There are two significant strands of thinking in government,” said one person who had attended the Whitehall meetings. “One strand is gung-ho and wants to drive on without fully understanding the consequences, the other is more measured.”

And it has been like that ever since
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 28, 2019, 08:55:04 AM

The Tories have a historic opportunity to destroy Labour once and for all
 
By

Allister Heath

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/27/tories-have-historic-opportunity-destroy-labour-could-still/

 Allister Heath

 27 February 2019 • 9:30pm   



Utter, abject incompetence is the new normal in British politics, and that could yet prove the Conservative Party’s saving grace. Not since Lord North was prime minister in the 18th century has Britain been governed so appallingly, and yet the Tories could paradoxically still end up crushing Labour and winning the next election with a massive majority. As Friedrich Nietzsche put it in Beyond Good and Evil, “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”

For now, at least, Jeremy Corbyn’s failings as a political strategist are proving to be even more crippling than Theresa May’s. His first misjudgment was to have underestimated the potency of what he wrongly calls “Blairism” – in reality, European-style social-democracy of a kind practised by Gordon Brown.

Corbyn also confused the increasing distrust of capitalism caused by the housing crisis and stagnant wages with an embrace of his own toxic brew of radical socialism, cultural Marxism, tolerance of anti-Semites and support for enemies of the West such as Shamima Begum, the jihadi bride. The fact that many voters want to renationalise the railways doesn’t mean they aspire to live in a council home or want the police to be soft on crime. The public is simultaneously more Left-wing and more Right-wing than those used to traditional ideological divides tend to realise.






Just as critically, Corbyn’s cowardly quest to have his cake and eat it on Brexit was always going to be exposed as a sham, alienating both sides. Corbyn has run out of time: he cannot be ousted, but faced for the first time with real competition on the centre-Left he will struggle to hold on to much more than a quarter of the electorate, despite the strength of Labour’s brand.

The early polling is crystal-clear: The Independent Group’s (TIG) pro-Remain, social-democratic identity will dramatically split the Leftist vote. YouGov puts the TIGs on a hypothetical 18 per cent were they to field candidates nationally, with Corbyn’s Labour on 23 per cent (down from 40 per cent at the election) and the Tories on 36 per cent (down from 42.4 per cent). Such numbers need to be taken with buckets of salt: the TIGs aren’t even a real party yet. But the fact that Labour now half-supports a second referendum doesn’t mean that everything will suddenly go back to normal. The rupture is upon us, as it was when the SDP was formed in 1981.

So far, so astonishingly good for the Tories. But their present leadership specialises in blowing historic opportunities, so this 13-point lead (and the dozens of extra seats it implies) could easily come to nought. The main threat to their ability to divide and conquer – Brexit – is also their greatest opportunity. The Tories must be the party of those who want to leave the EU for real, or they are nothing. If the “Left-wing” vote can split, so can the “Right-wing”. A cancellation, a permanent delay or a Brexit in Name Only will infuriate at least a fifth of voters, who will then peel off to whatever new Vote Leave-style party is created, just as pro-Remainers will embrace the TIGs.



The Tory vote would collapse, putting Mr Corbyn back into contention. One can win majorities with 25 to 30 per cent of the vote in a multi-party system under first past the post, so anything would be possible. We would be back to a more embittered, nastier version of where we were before Nick Clegg fatally trashed the Lib Dem brand and when Nigel Farage was riding high.

So far, Mrs May appears to have misunderstood all of this, and could therefore be poised to ruin her party’s extraordinary (and undeserved) lucky break. Delaying Brexit by a couple of months is ominous but manageable; betraying it would be calamitous.

She is desperate to prevent more defections from among her Remainer MPs and Cabinet, but she is placating the wrong side. There are not that many more Tory votes to be lost to the TIGs, and just a handful of seats at worst. The big hit took place in 2017, where Remain strongholds with lots of students and graduates shifted to Labour. Almost all current Tory voters are pro-Brexit. She needs to prevent more resignations, of course, but not at the cost of compromising Brexit, which would destroy her party.

Mrs May is wrong in another way. Her domestic agenda lacks any distinguishing features; she seems broadly aligned with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s world view, and its distaste for commerce, capitalism and conservative values. A focus on fighting “injustices” may sound caring but amounts to reheated Milibandism, minus the mansion tax. It will be no different to whatever policies the TIGs come up with and, as such, will do nothing to appeal to the aspiring classes who don’t consider themselves to be “victims”. There will be nothing in the Tory package for those who want to get on in life.

A U-turn is urgently required. The Tories need to focus on creating and spreading wealth, including among the “somewheres” who are ready to vote for a pro-Brexit party: the stress should be on housebuilding, an enterprise revolution, empowering consumers, providing a hand up and, yes, lower taxes and cheaper goods and services, harnessing competition, deregulation and free trade.

The Tories should be targeting at least 40 per cent of the electorate, a Brexit coalition of centre-Right middle-class voters (there are plenty left, especially in the shires and suburbs), the patriotic working class, and aspiring immigrant communities. They should forget about prosperous uber-Remainers in Islington or Wimbledon – with the arrival of the TIGs, the Left-wing, “progressive”, self-righteously metropolitan component of the middle class is now a lost cause – and target instead those groups that should be voting for a Brexit Tory party but aren’t.

More ethnic minorities backed Brexit in 2016 than voted Tory in 2017, according to Runnymede Trust research. Why not court such voters? Ditto in London, where 40.1 per cent of the electorate voted Brexit, but Mrs May’s lot are on just 30 per cent.

With the Left split, this is a historic opportunity for the Tories, but they will lose everything if they betray Brexit and turn their back on their core values. Is anybody listening?
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: johnnycool on February 28, 2019, 09:14:41 AM


The great Brexit betrayal is nearly complete – but Theresa May still has the chance to be a national heroine 
•   
Nigel Farage
26 February 2019 • 5:02pm
•   
•   
•   
•   
Save


 Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? CREDIT:  JACK TAYLOR/GETTY
Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? If so, I am not aware of it. I have been writing about the great Brexit betrayal since July 2017. Now it is nearly complete. And the ramifications of the endless broken promises to which the people of this country have been subjected could have a catastrophic effect on our politics for years to come.
First, let’s focus on the Labour Party. Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s years as a Bennite anti-EU campaigner, often making comments about Brussels that were even stronger than some of my own, he has capitulated. Labour now backs a second referendum.
There are two reasons for this U-Turn. The Parliamentary Labour Party is dominated by a North London metropolitan elite whose outlook is overtly Remain. And, furthermore, Labour is terrified of more defections to The Independent Group from its pro-EU MPs and those sickened by Labour’s anti-Semitism problem.  Even if this second referendum idea fails in the House of Commons, it will be Labour’s policy until the next general election.
This is astonishing. It’s as though Labour’s chiefs don’t realise that five million members of the electorate who backed Leave in 2016 went on to vote Labour at the 2017 election. This group is intensely Eurosceptic. Many had previously voted for Ukip. They insist that immigration must be drastically cut. Now, any bond that existed between them and Labour has disintegrated.
This is a big problem for Labour. Two thirds of Labour seats in England and Wales are in Leave-voting constituencies. More importantly, the vast majority of marginal seats in the Midlands and the North of England that Labour need to win to form a majority also voted Leave.
If the Conservative Party can hold itself together – not a given by any means – Labour has just lost the next general election. Moreover, Chuka Umunna and his chums in The Independent Group will discover that the second referendum ground in British politics, which they had to themselves for about a week, is now somewhat overpopulated.
The disconnect between parliament and the people is becoming more obvious in the Conservative Party too, however. Theresa May’s endless assertions that she will deliver the Brexit the people voted for is beginning to look as if it was a deceit from the start.
Article 50, which parliament backed overwhelmingly, states that the UK will leave the EU on March 29 with or without a deal. The no-deal option is crucial to any negotiating position in Brussels. To remove it from the table would be like fielding a football team without a goalkeeper. Yet when cabinet ministers openly defy the government position and demand that no-deal is ditched, no action is taken. How Mr Juncker must be enjoying his booze-filled lunches in Brussels this week.
There is now no prospect of the appalling Withdrawal Agreement, the worst deal in history, being changed, and the argument for the extension of Article 50 has come to the fore. The moment that decision is made, all trust between Tory voters and their party will be broken too.
The ludicrous suggestion that an extension could be for just two to three months misunderstands that there would be no-one to negotiate with during this period. Brussels closes down in April as the European elections campaign begins. After that, the elite European Commission will be replaced. If we extend once, we will extend again and again. Voters’ fury in this scenario should be not underestimated.
The only way Brexit can now be delivered, and faith kept in our democratic system, is to leave on March 29 on WTO terms. If we apply to the WTO, and Article 24 of the GATT Treaty is used with both the consent of us and the EU, we would have a minimum of two years with no tariffs and quotas during which a trade deal could be concluded. More importantly, we would be outside the EU, the single market and the customs union. If May holds her nerve and keeps the current legislation in place, we will leave on the due date. She still has a chance to be a national heroine, albeit a slim one.
Another possibility is that the government and parliament are stupid enough to request a very short extension of article 50 which is vetoed at the EU Summit on March 21. By then, time would have run out, there would be no other alternative.
Those of us who want Britain to be an independent country again must accept that Westminster’s politicians are about to betray us. But we can beat them and win this great prize if we are prepared to stand up and fight.

Like all good middle Englanders our Nige skirts over the border issue and assumes the EU are only too willing to play ball on Article 24 of the GATT treaty on WTO terms for another two years of British bullshittery.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 28, 2019, 09:16:03 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/55d0b260-3aa6-11e9-b856-5404d3811663

   Britain has a chance to think again on Brexit

But first Parliament must reject Theresa May’s fraudulent deal

Philip Stephens

In the ever more cynical effort to salvage her Brexit deal, Theresa May has notched up one victory. For the prime minister, the splits and swerves at Westminster have served as a useful diversion. Her proposed settlement with the other 27 EU member states has gone largely unexamined. Yet the one constant in the present political chaos is that Mrs May is still determined to sign up Britain to a truly rotten agreement. A week ago she was insisting that parliament had to choose between her deal and no deal. Now, under pressure from some of the saner members of her cabinet, she presents another binary choice. MPs can opt for her deal or they can ask for a strictly limited extension until June of the Article 50 negotiations. The first of the prime minister’s propositions was transparently fraudulent. The second is equally so. If they seize the moment, MPs now have a range of options from which to choose. These reach from a short extension to a long timeout or revocation. Britain can actually restore to itself the space for the careful deliberation and consensus building that has been blithely disdained by Mrs May. And, yes, if it so decides, parliament has the unilateral right to revoke Article 50 and allow voters an informed choice in a second referendum.

Stopping the clock, of course, requires the consent of the EU27. All the signs are that they would concur, in spite of the problems this would throw up for this summer’s elections to the European Parliament. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, has said as much. Even before Mrs May’s latest U-turn, senior figures in Berlin could be heard talking about an extension lasting quite possibly until the end of 2020. For all their fully-justified exasperation with the prime minister’s duplicitous antics, Britain’s biggest partners still want it to stay in the EU. With a lengthy timeout, parliament could make time both for a general election and a referendum that would present the people with the facts denied to them in 2016.To the extent there has been any debate about the agreement with the EU27 struck by Mrs May, it has been the wrong one. The arrangements in the withdrawal treaty to retain an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are a necessary contingency to underpin peace on the island of Ireland.

 The charge laid by the Democratic Unionist party and by kamikaze Tory Brexiters that the EU has a secret plan to imprison Britain in a permanent customs union is palpable nonsense. Such an outcome would privilege the UK over the EU27 by conferring rights without responsibilities. No, the real fear of Brexiter opponents of the so-called backstop is unconnected with concern for Northern Ireland. It is that the provisions might be deployed at some future date by those who want to preserve a sensibly close economic relationship with the bloc after Brexit.


All in all, there is nothing remarkable about the withdrawal treaty. Alongside the Irish border question it settles Britain’s EU membership bills and safeguards the rights of British and EU citizens after Brexit. The stunning failure of Mrs May’s bargain lies in the document setting out the proposed future relationship.

Beyond the normal diplomatic niceties and expressions of good intent, the agreement does nothing to assure Britain of privileged access to its most important market, of access to the co-operation vital to underpin national security and law enforcement, and of a voice in shaping Europe’s approach to shared regional and global challenges. Instead the framework promises years more of uncertain negotiations. Hidebound by the red lines drawn by Mrs May to appease her party’s English nationalists, the agreement foresees the break-up of supply chains by new barriers to trade in goods, and offers nothing to the services businesses now dependent on a place in the European market. Any concessions that might be secured would rest entirely at the discretion and goodwill of the EU27. The essential truth about the Article 50 process is that it gave Britain precious little by way of negotiating leverage. Once it has actually left the Union, the government in London will be left entirely dependent on the choices of the EU27. At every turn they would know that an agreement was more important for the UK than for the union.
All this has been to a single, selfish end — to satisfy Mrs May’s desire to redeem her premiership with a place in history’s footnotes as the leader who presided over Brexit. The interests of the nation — whether its prosperity, its security or its standing in the world — are to sacrificed to her chosen epitaph
.

The horrifying thought is that she might yet succeed. The threat of a delay could win over both Tory Brexiters and those backbench Labour MPs who have been running scared of the voters in their Brexit-backing constituencies. Mrs May has offered the House of Commons three consecutive votes during the second week of March. In the first of these MPs must seize the opportunity to throw out for a second time the prime minister’s wretched bargain. Then they should decide by an even larger margin to rule out a no-deal Brexit. In the last and final vote they should back a lengthy extension of Article 50 so that the nation can think again before inflicting upon itself the terrible act of self-harm that is Brexit.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 28, 2019, 09:22:26 AM


The great Brexit betrayal is nearly complete – but Theresa May still has the chance to be a national heroine 
•   
Nigel Farage
26 February 2019 • 5:02pm
•   
•   
•   
•   
Save


 Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? CREDIT:  JACK TAYLOR/GETTY
Has there ever been a time in British history when the political and media class around Westminster has been more out of touch with ordinary voters? If so, I am not aware of it. I have been writing about the great Brexit betrayal since July 2017. Now it is nearly complete. And the ramifications of the endless broken promises to which the people of this country have been subjected could have a catastrophic effect on our politics for years to come.
First, let’s focus on the Labour Party. Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s years as a Bennite anti-EU campaigner, often making comments about Brussels that were even stronger than some of my own, he has capitulated. Labour now backs a second referendum.
There are two reasons for this U-Turn. The Parliamentary Labour Party is dominated by a North London metropolitan elite whose outlook is overtly Remain. And, furthermore, Labour is terrified of more defections to The Independent Group from its pro-EU MPs and those sickened by Labour’s anti-Semitism problem.  Even if this second referendum idea fails in the House of Commons, it will be Labour’s policy until the next general election.
This is astonishing. It’s as though Labour’s chiefs don’t realise that five million members of the electorate who backed Leave in 2016 went on to vote Labour at the 2017 election. This group is intensely Eurosceptic. Many had previously voted for Ukip. They insist that immigration must be drastically cut. Now, any bond that existed between them and Labour has disintegrated.
This is a big problem for Labour. Two thirds of Labour seats in England and Wales are in Leave-voting constituencies. More importantly, the vast majority of marginal seats in the Midlands and the North of England that Labour need to win to form a majority also voted Leave.
If the Conservative Party can hold itself together – not a given by any means – Labour has just lost the next general election. Moreover, Chuka Umunna and his chums in The Independent Group will discover that the second referendum ground in British politics, which they had to themselves for about a week, is now somewhat overpopulated.
The disconnect between parliament and the people is becoming more obvious in the Conservative Party too, however. Theresa May’s endless assertions that she will deliver the Brexit the people voted for is beginning to look as if it was a deceit from the start.
Article 50, which parliament backed overwhelmingly, states that the UK will leave the EU on March 29 with or without a deal. The no-deal option is crucial to any negotiating position in Brussels. To remove it from the table would be like fielding a football team without a goalkeeper. Yet when cabinet ministers openly defy the government position and demand that no-deal is ditched, no action is taken. How Mr Juncker must be enjoying his booze-filled lunches in Brussels this week.
There is now no prospect of the appalling Withdrawal Agreement, the worst deal in history, being changed, and the argument for the extension of Article 50 has come to the fore. The moment that decision is made, all trust between Tory voters and their party will be broken too.
The ludicrous suggestion that an extension could be for just two to three months misunderstands that there would be no-one to negotiate with during this period. Brussels closes down in April as the European elections campaign begins. After that, the elite European Commission will be replaced. If we extend once, we will extend again and again. Voters’ fury in this scenario should be not underestimated.
The only way Brexit can now be delivered, and faith kept in our democratic system, is to leave on March 29 on WTO terms. If we apply to the WTO, and Article 24 of the GATT Treaty is used with both the consent of us and the EU, we would have a minimum of two years with no tariffs and quotas during which a trade deal could be concluded. More importantly, we would be outside the EU, the single market and the customs union. If May holds her nerve and keeps the current legislation in place, we will leave on the due date. She still has a chance to be a national heroine, albeit a slim one.
Another possibility is that the government and parliament are stupid enough to request a very short extension of article 50 which is vetoed at the EU Summit on March 21. By then, time would have run out, there would be no other alternative.
Those of us who want Britain to be an independent country again must accept that Westminster’s politicians are about to betray us. But we can beat them and win this great prize if we are prepared to stand up and fight.

Like all good middle Englanders our Nige skirts over the border issue and assumes the EU are only too willing to play ball on Article 24 of the GATT treaty on WTO terms for another two years of British bullshittery.
He will say the people were stabbed in the back if Brexit is stopped
It's a complete mess
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on February 28, 2019, 10:30:51 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2019/02/28/lettersthe-brexit-debacle-means-death-conservatism-trust-democratic/


SIR – They gave the nation a referendum. The nation voted Leave.
They promised to execute the result, and put it in an election manifesto. The nation voted for it again.
But the Parliamentary Conservative Party has another idea. Not to leave.
With Tuesday’s announcement by Theresa May of the three votes opening the way to delay Brexit, the Conservative Party has died.
Iven Chadwick
Poynton, Cheshire
 
SIR – They gave the nation a referendum. The nation voted Leave. – What we are witnessing is something far worse than “appalling and disloyal behaviour” (of which Andrea Leadsom was reported yesterday to have accused rebellious Cabinet ministers) or a threat to the Conservatives’ credibility. The Tory party lost credibility long ago, and none of us, I suppose, much cares whether Amber Rudd and David Gauke are loyal to Mrs May or she to them.
What is truly being destroyed is faith in the British political system and in the dogma that ultimate power rests with the people. All my life I have seen the same establishment types effectively dictating what “the people” ought to want, or should be made to want – on no subject more relentlessly than on Europe.
They have invariably had their way; they never met a rebuff; and hitherto they were able to pretend that they spoke for “the people”. On June 23 2016 that mask was torn away, and they reacted with all the incredulous resentment of a spoilt child.
Having lost the argument and the verdict in the country, they have laboured ever since to undo the decision, to deny the right of the people to decide at all, endlessly complaining (like the pampered child) of the “unfairness” of a contest they had failed to win.
Now, at last, they scent success and are indecent in their triumphalism.
The appalling disloyalty is to us, the people.
Dr M R Maloney
London N3
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 01, 2019, 09:22:30 AM


   https://www.ft.com/content/09bfe7ca-3bae-11e9-b72b-2c7f526ca5d0

   US takes tough line with UK on post-Brexit trade talks
      
               Donald Trump’s trade representative to demand greater access for agricultural goods
         The office of the US trade representative, led by Robert Lighthizer, released its 'negotiating objectives' on Thursday © Bloomberg
               James Politi in Washington

         The Trump administration has taken an aggressive posture towards the UK on post-Brexit trade talks, demanding greater access to the UK market for its agricultural products and guarantees that London would not manipulate its currency. The office of the US trade representative, led by Robert Lighthizer, on Thursday released its “negotiating objectives” for a possible trade agreement with the UK, suggesting Britain is unlikely to get softer treatment than other US allies. In the 18-page document, Mr Lighthizer’s office said it was seeking “comprehensive market access for US agricultural goods in the UK” through the reduction or elimination of tariffs, a request that has already soured Washington’s trade relations with the EU. Furthermore, the US is looking for the UK to remove “unwarranted barriers” related to “sanitary and physiosanitary” standards in the farm industry.

For years US agricultural groups have complained that European countries have unnecessarily limited American exports of meat and grains based on fears they are unsafe for consumers. Access to the British agricultural market could end up being the most politically sensitive request made by the Trump administration. The EU has said it was not willing to include agriculture in its own trade negotiations with the US, given that it could trigger a big public backlash in a wide range of member states. Other demands could also be highly problematic for London. On currency, the US wants to “ensure that the UK avoids manipulating exchange rates in order to prevent effective balance of payments adjustment or to gain an unfair competitive advantage”. Currency matters have traditionally been excluded from trade negotiations, but the Trump administration has injected them into talks, including with China and Japan. Another provision that could raise eyebrows would constrain the UK’s ability to secure a trade deal with a “non-market economy” — such as China — by creating a “mechanism to ensure transparency and take appropriate action”. This could allow the US to ditch its trade deal with the UK if it does not like the terms of any agreement London strikes with Beijing. The tough US demands are only an opening gambit, but they highlight the difficulties the UK could face in negotiating a trade deal with Washington, in contrast to claims made by leading Brexit proponents that it would be a smooth exercise.On Thursday a UK government spokesperson said negotiating an “ambitious free trade agreement” with the US was a priority and Washington’s move to publish its objectives “demonstrates their commitment to beginning talks as soon as possible”.She added: “As part of our open and transparent approach to negotiations, we will publish our own negotiating objectives in due course.”The US negotiating objectives for the UK deal are similar to the wish lists published in recent months by Mr Lighthizer’s office for talks with the EU and Japan.

On industrial goods, the US said it was aiming for “comprehensive duty-free access” and stronger “disciplines to address non-tariff barriers” from the UK. In digital trade, which is rapidly expanding, the US wants “secure commitments not to impose customs duties on digital products”, such as software, music, video and ebooks, and “non-discriminatory treatment” of content. In commercial partnerships, the US is asking the UK to “discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel”.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on March 01, 2019, 10:53:17 AM
Does fkn Israel run the US ?
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: trailer on March 01, 2019, 11:42:32 AM
Does fkn Israel run the US ?

If you want to get elected you need the Jewish vote. Jews like Israel.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: johnnycool on March 01, 2019, 11:45:46 AM
Does fkn Israel run the US ?

If you want to get elected you need the Jewish vote. Jews like Israel.

I'd say the Jewish vote isn't a big number but you need their financial backing and media buy in the get anywhere, hence why Corbyn gets it rough from the UK press.
Title: Re: Feckin brutal copy and paste relentless disaster porn re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 11, 2019, 02:04:54 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/11/no-deal-brexit-simple-principle-fiendishly-tricky-manage-smoothly/

A no deal Brexit is simple in principle, but fiendishly tricky to manage smoothly
•   
Adam Cygan PROFESSOR OF EU LAW
11 March 2019 • 12:30pm

 MEP and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage speaks at a political rally entitled 'Lets Go WTO' hosted by pro-Brexit lobby group Leave Means Leave in London CREDIT: TOLGA AKMEN /AFP
As the law stands, the UK leaves the EU on 29 March, deal or no deal.  If Parliament wants to prevent a no deal Brexit MPs must vote for this. Should the Prime Minister lose another meaningful vote, as is looking increasingly likely, MPs will be given the opportunity to take ‘no deal’ off the table this coming Wednesday.
But why do so many MPs oppose no deal when there are many things to commend about it, not least that it avoids a delay to Brexit and delivers on the result of the referendum?  A no deal Brexit would also be a ‘clean Brexit’, no need to fulfil those obligations the EU will impose on the UK which are within the Withdrawal Agreement.
A no deal Brexit means no Irish backstop. Both sides have said they don’t want a hard border anyway, so that’s taken care of without the need for an Agreement. No deal means no Transition period during which the UK becomes a ‘rule taker’ and abides by EU rules but has no representation in the EU institutions.
Without a deal, new trade agreements that symbolise ‘Global Britain’ become a reality sooner. Missing tariff-free access to our market, German car manufacturers will put pressure on the Commission to quickly agree a UK-EU free trade deal to help fend off the impending economic downturn facing the Eurozone.
Looked at this way, no deal sounds appealing and delivers exactly what has been promised, a Brexit on time that gives the UK everything and without the continuing regulatory shackles of a Withdrawal Agreement.
However, before those who support no deal get carried away, they should pause and reflect on what a no deal Brexit entails.  Above all, it means the UK entering a legal and regulatory vacuum, with no Transition period and existing rules immediately cease to apply without Parliament having replaced them with UK laws. To address this scenario the government has introduced Bills covering trade, agriculture, fisheries, immigration and financial services, but these Bills face major parliamentary hurdles and will not be on the statute book by 29 March, making a Transition all the more important.
Even in the event of a no deal and without this legislation it would be wrong to assume that MPs would suddenly be won over to cooperating with the government and deliver a ‘managed no deal’. The UK would cease to function as a state. Without a parliamentary majority and no agreement amongst MPs on the way forward there will be paralysis in Parliament. Legislation which controls our borders or access to fishing rights, which would be required immediately, is unlikely to be passed by MPs, undermining the argument that a no deal Brexit is the easiest way to take back control.
Perhaps the most important piece of legislation, in the event of a no deal Brexit, is the Trade Bill which would provide the legal basis for the UK’s future trade agreements.  For UK trade, a no deal Brexit means a cliff edge Brexit. There is no Transition and the UK immediately abandons 45 years of rules-based cooperation which governs our trading relationship with the EU and encompasses 36 free trade deals, spanning more than 60 countries.  As things stand, the UK has rolled over less than £20bn out of £117bn total value of these trade deals.
The frequent response of those who advocate a no deal Brexit is that the absence of UK trade laws or failing to roll over existing trade deals will not present a problem as the UK can simply fall back on WTO rules.  But even this logic fails to grasp the point that the WTO, like the EU, is a rules-based trading organisation. As The Telegraph reported on the 6 March, the cabinet is split on how to respond to a no deal Brexit after which the UK would be trading on WTO rules. 
Liam Fox has been accused of keeping “secret” a government plan which would cut up to 90% of tariffs from all WTO countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit. A sensible policy, in the short term, no deal supporters may say, and they may be right.  This would keep goods moving and consumer prices would remain stable. It also demonstrates the UK’s free trade credentials. However, a cautionary note should be sounded because such unilateral liberalisation of tariffs would be likely to have significant impact upon sectors of the UK economy, such as farming, which would struggle to compete against cheaper imports. 
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However, when it comes to negotiating future trade deals, unilateral liberalisation, as a knee-jerk response to a no-deal Brexit, will become a real obstacle. Those short-term benefits of tariff liberalisation would come at the longer-term cost of undermining the UK’s negotiating position in any future trade talks. Having already removed tariffs on a large range of goods, there will be little left for the UK to use as a bargaining chip.
Replacing EU laws with UK legislation within the Article 50 period was always going to prove challenging. Once the PM lost her parliamentary majority the task became monumental and with less than three weeks to Brexit day, the UK is missing key legislation, not just in trade, but in immigration, fisheries and agriculture. UK legislation in these policy areas, for the first time since 1973, has come to symbolise the mantra of Parliament ‘taking back control’, but taking back control was never meant to be this problematic, was it?
In the coming days, MPs are faced with difficult choices. If MPs believe no deal remains a viable option then they must explain how, without a Withdrawal Agreement and the necessary UK laws in place, the UK will meet its international obligations over the Irish border or how the UK will conduct trade relations on WTO terms.
But, MPs who want to take no deal off the table should also pause. Yes, extend Article 50, but be clear to the voters for what purpose?  The Withdrawal Agreement has many faults, but as the EU repeatedly states, it is the only show in town. Above all, it avoids a regulatory cliff edge and provides for a Transition essential to an orderly Brexit and getting through Parliament the legislation still required.
The advice to MPs should be ‘vote for the Agreement and leave the EU in an orderly manner’. Then, MPs across the Brexit divide can regroup for the next stage of negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship, because this is when things will really get tough.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 11, 2019, 02:24:54 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/046006ec-41bd-11e9-9bee-efab61506f44

   Norway shows the UK a better way to Brexit
      
               If May’s deal is defeated again, this option at least offers a smooth transition
      
         Wolfgang Münchau
Right after the Brexit referendum, I endorsed the idea of the UK joining Norway in the European Economic Area and European Free Trade Agreement. This option respects both the vote to leave and its narrow victory. At the very least, the Norway model would have made a good transition for some five to 10 years. Subsequently, Theresa May managed to get a better deal than I thought possible, under which the UK would be able to restrict immigration, strike third-country trade deals and yet remain closely aligned with the EU. The Norway option is a softer version of Brexit than Mrs May’s deal, easier to reconcile with the Irish backstop, and preferred by some for those reasons. But it breaches the prime minister’s red lines: a member of the EEA must accept freedom of movement. Inside EFTA, members cannot strike meaningful third-country trade agreements.Contrary to rumours, Norway is not a vassal state of the EU. It is not in the customs union, not in the common agricultural and fisheries policy, and not subject to the Lisbon treaty. The border is not, therefore, frictionless. But Norway accepts EU regulation. So its service industries, including in the financial sector, have the right to operate freely throughout the EU.The Norway option offers the UK more than just a smooth transition. It could also act as a gateway to other post-Brexit relationships — all the way from a clean break to a fast-track re-entry into the EU. The Norway option is different from the Labour party’s preferred outcome — a customs union — in several important respects. What they have in common is that you cannot conduct third-party trade agreements under either. Unlike Norway, the customs union would allow the UK to restrict immigration, which parts of the Labour party believe is now politically necessary.

But its biggest advantage is that it would be less disruptive to industrial supply chains. It would favour industry over services. But there is no majority for Labour’s plan in the House of Commons. Nor do enough MPs back a second referendum. For Norway, there just might be. If Mrs May’s deal is defeated again this week, I would expect the UK parliament to hold indicative votes on alternatives. Among those, Norway is the frontrunner, but it may still fall short if the current supporters of a second referendum or the customs union cling to their first choices. What will happen if there is no majority for any positive alternative to Mrs May’s deal? I would then expect Mrs May to represent a cosmetically amended version of her deal for a third strike. She could hold the final vote in the last few days of the month, perhaps even on Brexit day, March 29.

At that point, but not before, I would advise Norway supporters to endorse her deal. Think long-term. By the time of the next general election, scheduled in 2022, bilateral trade talks with the EU will not have been concluded. Opposition parties could campaign for Norway, (or the customs union for that matter) as an alternative. The very worst outcome for Norway supporters would be a no-deal Brexit. The chances of that happening are higher than many assume because I believe the EU is limited in its ability to extend Article 50. EU leaders want to ensure a clear time period between the day Britain leaves and the EU-wide elections, which will take place between from May 23 to 26. If the EU was to agree a three-month extension until the end of June, there is a risk that the UK government might be forced to participate in elections to the European Parliament. A legal committee of the Bundestag, the lower chamber of the German parliament, concluded that a failure to hold elections would violate the rights of UK residents. The falling out between the European People’s party, the centre-right grouping of EU political parties and Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, might also complicate the political dynamic, favouring a super-short extension of four or five weeks at most. In the light of this constraint on any Brexit delay, I see the UK’s choices narrowing to three — Mrs May’s deal, a Norway compromise, or no deal. Norway deserves consideration. It may be the only way to avoid no deal.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 11, 2019, 02:26:36 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/11/pms-deal-would-betray-leavers-divide-conservative-party-shatter/

The PM's deal would betray Leavers, divide the Conservative Party and shatter parliamentary democracy
•   
Owen Paterson
11 March 2019 • 12:00pm

 The PM must hold her nerve, continue her efforts to improve the deal, but be prepared to leave on the 29th March without one
Given that the political situation in Westminster remains so fluid, it is worth taking stock of why we are where we are.
In 2015, the Conservatives promised that, if elected, we would hold a decisive in/out referendum on the UK's EU membership. The party was returned to Government with more votes and MPs. The EU Referendum Act was subsequently passed by a ratio of six to one in the Commons, with Parliament deliberately and voluntarily giving responsibility for the final decision on our membership of the EU to the British people.
A Government leaflet (costing the taxpayer over £9 million) confirmed that this "once in a generation decision" was "...your decision. The Government will implement what you decide." 17.4 million people then voted to leave the EU – more than have ever voted for any issue or party in British history.
In 2017, the Conservatives stood on a Manifesto pledge that "we will no longer be members of the single market or customs union." At the top of page 36 – and since repeated by the Prime

Minister over 100 times – it said, "no deal is better than a bad deal". The Conservatives won more votes than any party for 25 years. Labour gave the same message, so that 85 per cent of the votes cast in the election were for parties which defined Brexit as leaving the Single Market, the Customs Union and the remit of the ECJ.
In its commitment to deliver on that promise, the Conservative Party is not divided. My own Association voted unanimously last month that Brexit, as defined in the Manifesto, must be delivered on time and in full. The National Conservative Convention–- the senior body in the voluntary party – passed a similar motion by an emphatic ratio of five to one, which also stated that: "Another referendum, a delay beyond the European elections, taking 'no deal' off the table or not leaving at all would betray the 2016 People's Vote and damage democracy and our party for a generation."
Many party donors have made their continued support conditional on the Manifesto being honoured or have stopped giving already, infuriated by the Government's dither and delay. That is why it is so bizarre that the Prime Minister has now opened the door to extending Article 50, caving in to troublemaking Remain Ministers publishing articles attacking the Manifesto and Government policy, who are far outliers on the Conservative spectrum. The Liberal Democrats, Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru, TIGgers and now even Labour are standing on a platform of overruling the largest democratic verdict in British history, so the Remain market for votes is becoming very crowded.
In contrast, the market for the 17.4 million Leave votes and all the votes of Conservative members loyal to the Party's manifesto commitments are up for grabs. They are not simply going to go away and forget about it. The genie cannot be put back in the bottle. The Conservatives can be their natural home, but only if we are genuinely committed to honouring the result of the 2016 referendum.

But how ludicrous will Conservative MPs – in fact, all MPs – look if we usher in a deal that ties us, perhaps perpetually, to EU rules with no say as to how those laws are made or how we end this arrangement?
I can picture the spectacle. The EU goes ahead with a ban on glyphosate, which some Member States have advocated but the UK has resisted. I rise in the House of Commons to argue that without glyphosate, fighting weeds will be more expensive and more complicated, forcing farmers to resort to extensive ploughing. I say that it is the most effective herbicide available and that, by using it, farmers in my constituency have been able to develop environmentally-friendly no-till practices to promote heathier soil and improve biodiversity, leading to a big increase in barn owl numbers.

I ask the Minister what can be done. He replies: "Nothing. But the Rt Hon Gentleman has no right to complain. After all, he voted for the deal." Another MP wants to see the Government make gas and electricity bills VAT-free, giving a boost to those on the lowest incomes. But these fall foul of the "level-playing field" agreements. What can be done, Minister? "Nothing, but the Rt Hon Lady has no right to complain. After all, she voted for the deal."
On and on this would go. It would be utterly intolerable. It would be a complete affront to parliamentary democracy. Yet it is exactly what could await if the Prime Minister brings back the same deal she had before and "takes no deal off the table." The only way forward is for the Prime Minister to hold her nerve, continue her efforts to improve the deal, but be absolutely determined to leave on March 29 without one, as the law currently demands. That way, she will do so with her party, and the country, behind her. 
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 11, 2019, 02:43:27 PM
   https://www.ft.com/content/dceee028-43ca-11e9-a965-23d669740bfb

   Downing Street admits Brexit talks deadlocked
      
               Theresa May faces heavy defeat in Tuesday’s parliamentary vote
George Parker in London, Alex Barker and Mehreen Khan in Brussels and Arthur Beesley in Dublin
      

         Downing Street admitted on Monday that Brexit talks in Brussels were deadlocked, leaving Theresa May facing a heavy defeat if she presents her largely unchanged deal to MPs for parliamentary approval on Tuesday.The UK prime minister spoke to Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, on Sunday night but made no headway in her efforts to amend the deal to ensure that Britain could not be “trapped” indefinitely in a customs union.On Monday ambassadors from the remaining 27 EU states were briefed on the deadlock by Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, and Martin Selmayr, the EU’s top civil servant. The commission told diplomats the mood with the UK was “turning confrontational” and warned that any House of Commons “meaningful vote” on Mrs May’s deal was destined to fail, according to a diplomatic note of the meeting seen by the FT. The EU27 ambassadors were told that Brexit could be delayed until May 24 — the day after European elections are due to start. Any extension beyond this date would require EU leaders to clarify the legal consequences of Britain not participating in the poll, as the UK would still be a member state. Downing Street insisted that the apparently doomed meaningful vote would take place on Tuesday and that Mrs May had not given up hope of last-minute progress in talks in Brussels.“Talks are ongoing and we continue to focus on making progress so we can win parliament’s support for the deal,” Mrs May’s spokesman said. However, the idea of an eleventh-hour breakthrough was flatly discounted in Brussels.Margaritis Schinas, European Commission spokesman, said it was now up to Westminster whether or not to endorse the Brexit deal. He added that no further meetings between Mr Juncker and Mrs May were scheduled, although both sides would “remain in close contact this week”. Stephen Barclay, the UK’s Brexit secretary, was expected to make a statement to MPs on Monday afternoon to set out how the government intended to proceed in the face of the stalemate in Brussels and Westminster.Mrs May is considering whether to give MPs a “conditional” vote on Monday on the deal that she would like to agree in Brussels — rather than the one on the table — although such a move would be fraught with danger.There would be a risk that MPs would reject what one minister described as the “fantasy deal”, while one EU diplomat said: “If they vote for something which we cannot accept, then it is a vote for a no-deal exit.”Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, was scathing of the idea. “It’s far too late for the UK to tell us what they want,” he said. “The withdrawal agreement requires a compromise and this withdrawal agreement is already a compromise.”He added: “I think if there is going to be an extension [to delay the date of Brexit past March 29], it has to be an extension with a purpose. Nobody across the EU wants to see a rolling cliff-edge where tough decisions just get put off until the end of April and then to the end of May and then maybe until the end of July.”Mrs May had been ready to travel to Brussels on Monday to meet Mr Juncker to finalise changes to the deal; instead she spent the morning in Downing Street holding crisis talks with advisers and cabinet colleagues.The uncertainty pushed the pound down to a three-week low, falling as much as 0.5 per cent to $1.2947.
UK officials say that draft legal changes on the table after a weekend of negotiations in Brussels were nowhere near strong enough to take back to the House of Commons on Tuesday.Geoffrey Cox, UK attorney-general, made it clear that recent proposals would not allow him to change his legal advice that the Irish backstop contained in the exit treaty — which would force the UK into a temporary customs union as a last resort to prevent a hard border with Ireland — could “endure indefinitely”.Mrs May lost the last “meaningful vote” on her deal by 230 votes in January and the substance has changed little since then, apart from a promise to MPs that Britain would uphold existing EU labour laws.Mrs May has faced mounting pressure to quit as Conservative Eurosceptic rebels claimed she might have to sacrifice her premiership to win them over ahead of the Brexit vote this week. Several cabinet ministers have said Mrs May should announce her plans to resign to win the support of Tory Brexiters, who believe that a change in Number 10 would signal a more robust approach to talks on a future UK-EU trade deal. Nicky Morgan, former education secretary, said that if Mrs May lost the latest vote on her Brexit deal on Tuesday her time would be up. “I think it would be very difficult for the prime minister to stay in office very much longer,” she told the BBC.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 11, 2019, 05:01:42 PM
This is very good

https://www.ft.com/content/0645066a-43de-11e9-a965-23d669740bfb

   Brexit backstop could save Britain from the Conservatives
      
               The party has been captured by demagogues, economic illiterates and wild-eyed free marketeers
      
         
Robert Shrimsley


Theresa May might not see it this way but there is reason to thank Michel Barnier for the hated Irish backstop that now threatens to destroy the prime minister’s Brexit deal. The EU chief negotiator’s backstop not only saves the island of Ireland from a hard internal border. It may also protect Britain from the Conservative party.Under the terms of the backstop, if a frictionless border between the Republic and Northern Ireland is not secured in the next round of negotiations, then the UK is bound into an inescapable customs union (and Northern Ireland into aspects of the single market) with the EU until such time as all sides agree it is no longer necessary. It is, in many respects, an outrage that may well lead a future government to break an international treaty. But the happy side-effect is that it limits the ability of a future Tory government to do even more damage to the British economy. However bad the next stage gets, the backstop puts a floor on the disruption.This matters because the saga of Brexit has, from the start, been a crisis of the Conservative party. The route to Brexit has marked, at every stage, the party’s path from being economic rationalists and upholders of the existing order back to the narrow economic and political nationalism that helped destroy it in the 1840s and again in the early 1900s. The Tories have been most successful when keeping a balance between these two poles.

Now the narrow nationalists are taking over.Initially, the crisis was containable — at first because the Conservative leadership protected the country from its hardliners and then because Tony Blair’s Labour government kept them from power. But the Brexit referendum and Mrs May’s leadership have brought the party close to the final surrender. Having ceded ground to secure the premiership, it is only lately that she has tried to restrain the zealots. The politics of Brexit has been a story of the Conservative party. Nearly three years after the referendum, the tussles with Brussels remain almost a sideshow. For all that time, the prime minister’s real negotiations have been with her own party. With just 18 days to go (18 days! I have planned drinks with friends that had more certainty this far in advance), Mrs May is still negotiating with her party on how to resolve the biggest constitutional and economic change to hit the UK in modern history. The country watches on helplessly like a guest at the outbreak of a marital row. Mrs May’s own premiership is effectively over even if she lingers in office a little longer. For months, she has been less a leader than a convener. Now she is not even that. The country needs a prime minister who can negotiate across parliament and find a common position. Mrs May cannot negotiate across her own cabinet. The only thing that keeps her in place is the conviction that it is possible for things to get worse.Nonetheless, we are probably into her final weeks and all the likely successors — even the “compromise candidates” like Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary — herald a tighter grip for the hardliners. The government is falling into the hands of those who claim to “speak for the people”. These so-called supporters of parliamentary democracy, the Catiline conservatives, use their voice to whip up a mob, against which they then proclaim themselves the only bulwark.

 Brexit is only what they say it is. They alone are the voice of the 17.4m.The Conservative party has been captured by demagogues, economic illiterates, provincial nationalists and wild-eyed free marketeers. Power is passing to those who think diplomacy means shouting at foreigners. Their revolution is every bit as fervid as Jeremy Corbyn’s on the left. Personally cushioned from the economic impact, they admit they would see GDP fall as the price of “freedom”. The UK’s economy will always be second to their ideological fixations. Only a lengthy spell out of office will restore the Tory equilibrium.It is understandable that those seeking a second referendum or a softer Brexit balk at backing Mrs May’s plan. They should still see the value of the backstop. Other Brexit options, including the Norway route of single market membership, or a customs union cannot at this stage be reached without it. More importantly, a future government is limited in the further economic damage it can do in the name of nationalism. And so, outrageous infringement to sovereignty that it is, we should be grateful for the backstop. If this deal ever passes, we may one day build statues to Mr Barnier. He will not only have saved Ireland from a hard border and Britain from the Tory zealots. He may ultimately have saved the Conservatives from themselves.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on March 11, 2019, 07:27:18 PM
May on way to Strasbourg
Leo calls a sudden Cabinet Meeting and delays his junk....err...  very important trip to Washington.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: armaghniac on March 11, 2019, 09:04:45 PM
May on way to Strasbourg
Leo calls a sudden Cabinet Meeting and delays his junk....err...  very important trip to Washington.

NI to remain in the Single Market, except Sammy's house.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: GJL on March 11, 2019, 09:28:13 PM
May on way to Strasbourg
Leo calls a sudden Cabinet Meeting and delays his junk....err...  very important trip to Washington.

NI to remain in the Single Market, except Sammy's house.

Fingers crossed. 🤞🤞
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on March 11, 2019, 09:31:18 PM
Sammy to be appointed Ambassador to Papua New Guinea.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: HiMucker on March 11, 2019, 09:51:29 PM
Sammy to be appointed Ambassador to Papua New Guinea.
Ian og to be appointed ambassador to Sri Lanka
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: armaghniac on March 11, 2019, 11:43:22 PM
Sammy to be appointed Ambassador to Papua New Guinea.
Ian og to be appointed ambassador to Sri Lanka

Make him resident governor of Tristan da Cunha.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 12, 2019, 09:14:08 AM
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/watch-mays-brexit-deal-falls-short-of-her-promises-says-dups-sammy-wilson-37904026.html

 May's Brexit deal 'falls short of her promises,' says DUP's Sammy Wilson

By Jonathan Bell

March 12 2019
The DUP's Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson has said the latest agreement between the EU and the Prime Minister Theresa May "seems to fall short" of her promises. May promised unicorns per Sammy.
 However, he said they were being careful not to give an indication of how they would move until they had fully considered the new documents and taken advice.

He was speaking after Theresa May said she had got "legally binding changes" to the withdrawal agreement.

Speaking to radio station LBC, East Antrim MP Wilson said: "We had made it quite clear we expected legally-binding changes which would ensure our government solely had control over any backstop that those legally-binding changes would ensure that in the future arrangements with Europe we would have control over our trade, laws and money. And that those legally-binding changes would ensure the integrity of the union.
I have got to say if you look at what the prime minister has said so far it seems to fall short of what she herself had promised. She is simply saying it reduces the chances of us being kept in the backstop.

Mr Wilson said he wanted to give "due diligence" to what changes had been made and they would take advice from the "best people" and listen to the Attorney General on what he says late on Tuesday.

"But we want to hear the views of others," he said.

He also said he could not understand why the government appeared to be rushing the deal through.

Asked if he was minded to not support the deal, Mr Wilson said they have been careful not to give any indication as to what the DUP may do late on Tuesday in the meaningful vote.

"We have simply said this is what we expect and if it does not deliver that it will not have our support."
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 12, 2019, 09:28:49 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/11/brexit-table-take-run-still-chance/?li_source=LI&li_medium=li-recommendation-widget

Brexit is there on the table. Take it and run, while there's still a chance
•   
William Hague
As human beings, we have a natural tendency to blame others for landing us in a mess. And now, with British politics on the verge of the most complex, intractable, emotional and all-consuming muddle since the Civil War, preparations to blame everybody else are in full swing.
If Brexit doesn’t happen on March 29, disappointing or enraging the 17 million people who voted for it, blame will be flung everywhere. Leavers will blame Remainers for undermining negotiations and Remainers will blame Leavers for not taking the deal in front of them. Many will blame the Irish for taking a hard line, and the EU in general for being so intransigent. Tories will blame each other for not uniting, and virtually everyone will blame Theresa May for not finding the genius solution.
Unfortunately, there will be some truth in all of this, giving scope for all sides to whip up resentment and stoke division. For anyone who wants to hate the Establishment, or despise the majority, or split a party, or just rubbish their opponents, it will be a field day like no other.
There will be more reasons than ever not to listen to each other. Instead we will all revel in the reinforcement of our existing opinions and know that we were totally right but disgracefully let down.
In any forthcoming general election or second referendum – and the chances of one or both happening are higher than many people think – our great democracy will have entered the age of the angry crowd, the abusive tweet and the violent incident.
This will be a tragedy in a country hitherto known throughout the world for its free speech, tolerance of different opinions and its disdain for extremism.
While we cannot know for sure what will happen if Mrs May cannot get a deal through the House of Commons in the coming days, we do know that every alternative course of action will exacerbate that national slide into intensified bitterness. A delay to Brexit – which is the most likely consequence of her impending defeat – will extend the argument and the uncertainty for longer. Eventually that would lead either to a more acrimonious split from the EU, or to staying in it after all. These are outcomes that will destroy an otherwise sensible government in the short term but poison our politics for the long term.
Show more
The British political system is this week teetering on the edge, close to falling into that abyss, with no one even in control of the descent. This is all the more frustrating given that the prospects for the country would otherwise be reasonably good. When the Chancellor stands up tomorrow to deliver his updated assessment of the economy, he will be able to point to a buoyant jobs market and very healthy tax revenues. It is a time at which we could offer one of the best homes for businesses in the world if we were not so busy falling into permanent disarray.
So, if you stand back and look at the bigger picture, there is a compelling case for getting this deal through, leaving the EU on schedule, starting to negotiate the future free trade agreement, and letting some calm flow back into the political scene. For all those who want to see the referendum result honoured, the choice now is over whether they think the deal is so bad that it is worth the risk of throwing that prospect away and gambling on what will happen if it is voted down.
Is it so bad then? To answer that question, we have to switch from the big picture to the contents of the deal. Should the so-called backstop be a deal-breaker? Its details are certainly not a triumph of British negotiating. But the idea that the backstop – even if unamended – would leave this country in a kind of vassalage to the EU is not borne out by examining the detail, and I doubt convinced Brexiteers such as Michael Gove and Liam Fox would be out there promoting the deal if they thought it did.
Let’s assume the worst – that the UK has to enter the backstop after the transitional period finishes at the end of 2020, and has to remain part of the EU customs area. Would we be able to take control of our own immigration policy and decide, ourselves, who comes to this country? Yes, we undoubtedly would, and that was one of the main reasons people voted Leave.
Would we have to pay budget contributions to the EU while in the backstop, payments that were another main grievance that produced the referendum result? No, absolutely not.
Would we have to sign up to any new areas of EU law, or go along with any of the ideas for closer integration in Europe? After all, the fear of this was another major reason for Leave supporters to vote the way they did. No, not at all.
Would the whole economy have to comply with EU rules? No – the great majority of the British economy is made up of service industries, and they would no longer be constrained by EU rule making.
The backstop would mean that we would still have to apply EU tariffs on manufacturing and agricultural goods, and apply some of the other rules affecting those industries. The downside of that is that we would not be able to negotiate new free trade deals, but while that situation continued those industries would have the upside of zero-tariff access to EU markets.
Is that really so bad a deal? It is, of course, a compromise, but there is no orderly way out of a 46-year relationship without a compromise of some kind. It delivers an end to uncontrolled migration, and payments into the EU budget, and the ratchet of “more Europe”. It gives some advantages to British businesses until a trade agreement takes its place. It has its faults, but it does not warrant plunging our country into months or years of entrenched bitterness and unknowable consequences.
Brexit is right there on the table, ready for the taking. It’s potentially just 400 hours away. I would take it and run with it while there is a chance. If that doesn’t happen, a much longer nightmare for our democracy may be about to begin.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 12, 2019, 10:09:36 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/02dd3e98-41ef-11e9-9bee-efab61506f44

   Ballooning US debt piles put investors on guard
      
               Fears over ‘wall of maturities’ are weighing on stocks that have weaker balance sheets
               Richard Henderson in New York


         The classic “fortress balance sheet” made famous by JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon is back in vogue. Increasingly, investors are rewarding sober companies that largely sat out the big borrowing binge of the post-crisis period.Companies with strong balance sheets — those with low debt levels or strong cash flows which can quickly ratchet down leverage at the first signs of trouble — began to outperform weaker rivals when the Federal Reserve started tightening monetary policy in 2015.But the divergence deepened last year, when the US central bank kept raising interest rates even as economic growth slowed, and investors grew fearful that the post-crisis bull run was coming to an end. A Goldman Sachs index of US stocks with strong balance sheets has returned 11 per cent in the past 12 months, compared to just 2 per cent for the counterpart index of weaker balance sheet stocks.Of all the challenges confronting the US stock market, corporate debt levels are the biggest, says Rob Almeida, global investment strategist for MFS Investment Management, a Boston-based firm with about $430bn in assets. “It’s number one for us,” he said. “Leverage matters, especially for those that do something unsustainable. The gross amount of leverage which has increased since 2007 is problematic.”Mr Almeida argues many companies have loaded up on debt through dubious acquisitions to stem the disruption to their businesses from smaller, nimbler competitors. He is especially worried by the growth of bonds rated triple-B, the lowest rung of investment grade debt, which have swelled from $750bn in 2007 to $2.7tn today.The need for companies to refinance all this debt in a less benign environment is magnifying investors’ unease. In the next three years, a third of US triple-B rated bonds will come due — a “wall of maturities” that will test the balance sheets of highly levered companies, predicts Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist for Invesco, the $888bn-in-assets Atlanta-based fund manager.“This is a potential crisis that could evolve,” Ms Hooper said.

“We could see a situation where companies are not able to cover debt service or, when debt matures, obtain new funding at higher levels, squeezing profit margins.”As a result, many investors are now urging companies to buttress their balance sheets by paying down debt and conserving cash, before circumstances force them to act. More than half of 218 investors representing $625bn in assets polled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch last month listed reducing leverage as the best use of company cash flows — the highest level in a decade.The ballooning debt pile has fanned fears it will exacerbate the impact of the next economic downturn, as stretched triple-B rated companies see their debt tip into junk territory. The Bank of International Settlements last week warned that such a scenario would ripple through the corporate debt market and trigger fire sales by investors bound by strict investment mandates prohibiting them from holding debt rated below investment grade.The fixed income industry has become increasingly preoccupied by the triple-B threat, but it is a major issue for equity investors as well, argues Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, a senior analyst at Bernstein in London. He estimates that only half of the stocks in the MSCI US index now have a credit rating above triple-B, down from 90 per cent two decades ago.“We have never before seen a corporate sector with such low-grade debt. For this reason equity investors will have to focus a lot more on this topic over the next year,” he said.Some investors also worry companies have squandered the borrowed money on repurchasing their own shares and unsound acquisitions, rather than investing in their core businesses or preparing for tougher times.US companies last year bought back more than $800bn of their own stock, a new record. The concern is that as the cost of debt becomes more onerous, it will damp the pace of share repurchases at precisely the time when markets could do with the support.Yet not all Wall Street analysts and investors share the fears that corporate leverage is a threat to the 2019 stock market recovery.

We could see a situation where companies are not able to cover debt service or, when debt matures, obtain new funding at higher levels
Kristina Hooper, Invesco


Bankim Chadha, chief US equity and global strategist for Deutsche Bank, argues that the fears of triple-B debt, in particular, are overblown. He highlights an improvement in the ratio of corporate profit to debt as an indicator that companies are becoming better placed to service their borrowings.Moreover, the Fed has become markedly more cautious this year, damping concerns over US interest-rate increases that could hurt more indebted companies. As a result, the outperformance of Goldman Sachs’s index of strong balance sheet companies has narrowed lately.Nonetheless, given the scale of the corporate debt build-up of recent years, equity investors will probably remain sensitive to any renewed hints of trouble from the bond market.“The numbers are pretty stark,” said Jim Smigiel, head of the portfolio strategies group at SEI Investments. “Credit is the canary in the coal mine — it tends to lead equities toward the end of the cycle.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 12, 2019, 03:11:15 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/12/dup-risk-self-destruction-pms-deal-fails-can-still-trust-put/
The DUP risk self-destruction if the PM's deal fails, but we can still trust them to put Brexit first
•   
Ruth Dudley Edwards
12 March 2019 • 12:25pm
Its leadership will not cave in and accept a bad deal
Cricket has nothing on politics when it comes to being a funny old game. Who could have thought that Nigel Dodds, MP for Belfast North, could - for at least one bright shining moment - be the most important person in the Westminster parliament?
Now that the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has delivered his verdict on the legal assurances that Theresa May secured from Brussels last night, it will be Dodds whose voice counts most today in the eight-person Star Chamber set up by the European Research Group.
The Chamber is set to advise later today on whether the proposals agreed in the latest round of negotiations constitute a sell-out or a compromise that Brexiteers should be prepared to stomach as the least worst option.
His colleagues will be deferring to him as the key voice on the implications for Northern Ireland of the backstop.
It isn’t just that the DUP controls 10 key votes that makes its Westminster leader so influential.  It’s that Northern Ireland has no other voice in the House of Commons, since Sinn Fein - traditionally anti-EU but now (following the old Republican precept that “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity”)  -is almost hysterically anti-Brexit. However the party is left powerless with its nose pressed to the Westminster sweetie shop as it is banned by the hard-line IRA veterans who control it from the shadows from taking its seven seats.
There are compelling Northern Irish voices in the Lords, though, and recently  some of them have been involved in what could be a game-changing exercise over the backstop.
Like Sinn Fein, the Irish government and most nationalists insist that Brexit undermines the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and threatens the peace, but David Trimble - once leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and now a Conservative peer - who won a Nobel Prize for his role in negotiating the Agreement, as well as the distinguished historian Lord Bew,  have turned the argument on its head.
They believe that as it stands, the backstop threatens the integrity and stability of the Agreement because of the failure of both governments to use the agreed mechanism to negotiate an Anglo-Irish deal. Crowd-funded, first-class legal advice confirms that unless the backstop Protocol is appropriately amended there will be excellent grounds to take a judicial review. Geoffrey Cox and Nigel Dodds are among those who are well aware of those legal arguments.
Fashionable opinion reviles the white, Christian and socially conservative DUP and dismisses it as stupid, bigoted and easy to buy off. In fact the party leader, Arlene Foster, is a solicitor, and Nigel Dodds, her deputy, not only took a first-class law degree from St John’s College, Cambridge, where he won a scholarship, a studentship, and the Winfield Price for Law, but in addition to having practised as a barrister, worked at the Secretariat of the European Parliament.   
Like all too many of Northern Ireland’s politicians, both have been toughened by experiences few British politicians have had to endure. 
When she was a child, the IRA almost killed Arlene Foster’s father, drove the family from its home and blew up her school bus. In 1996, when Nigel Dodds was visiting his seriously ill son in hospital, gunmen fired several shots at his police guards;  he also had a bomb at his constituency office left by dissidents in 2003 and was concussed in 2013 when hit by a brick thrown by a rioter. These people are not push-overs.
So while the DUP don’t want to bring down the government, as a general election would be most unlikely to leave it with the power it now has, its leadership will not cave in and accept a deal that they believe weakens the union and would appall their electorate. There are key local elections coming up in May and Northern Irish politicians have as many names for betrayal as Eskimos have for snow.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on March 12, 2019, 03:21:21 PM
Unionists good everyone else bad ::)
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 12, 2019, 04:01:57 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/bbb893a6-44b8-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

   Theresa May heads for defeat on her revised Brexit deal

   Eurosceptic MPs seize on UK attorney-general’s admission over Irish backstop

Theresa May appeared to be heading for a major parliamentary defeat on her revised Brexit deal on Tuesday, after Eurosceptic MPs seized on an admission by the UK’s attorney-general that the country could be unable to leave the controversial Irish backstop without the EU’s consent. The British prime minister had hoped that additional assurances, agreed with the European Commission in Strasbourg late on Monday, would win over Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party, as well as pro-Brexit Tories, to allow her to overturn the 230-vote defeat on her original deal in January. But on Tuesday afternoon the DUP said that “sufficient progress has not been achieved at this time”. A party official confirmed its 10 MPs would vote against the government. Large numbers of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs are also expected to vote against the deal, after a group of lawyers advising the faction said the government had failed to meet its own tests. The Eurosceptics’ stance was in response to legal advice from Geoffrey Cox, UK attorney-general, which warned that, despite the new assurances, Britain faced an “unchanged” risk of being trapped in the so-called backstop to avoid a hard Irish border. Mr Cox, himself a Brexiter, concluded in previous legal advice in November that the backstop could endure “indefinitely”, enraging Eurosceptics who fear the arrangement would lock Britain into a permanent customs union with the EU and prevent the UK from striking trade deals after Brexit.Some MPs had expected the attorney-general to soften his position after the latest negotiations between the UK and Brussels, in which he was a key player.

In a three-page letter to Mrs May published on Tuesday, Mr Cox did say that the new Brexit assurances “reduce the risk that the United Kingdom could be indefinitely and involuntarily detained” in the Irish backstop because of bad faith on the EU’s part.But he added that “the legal risk remains unchanged” that, if there were “intractable differences” between the UK and the EU, rather than bad faith by the bloc, Britain would have “no internationally lawful means of exiting” the backstop without the EU’s agreement.The pound fell 1 per cent against the US dollar, to $1.3020 just after the release of Mr Cox’s letter, more than wiping out a rally late on Monday after Mrs May unveiled the Brexit assurances with the EU. Sterling had traded as high as $1.3288 after Monday night’s New York close.Geoffrey Cox speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday © AFPIf Mrs May’s deal is defeated on Tuesday, MPs will vote on Wednesday whether to rule out a no-deal Brexit and then on whether to request an extension to Article 50, the EU’s formal divorce process, beyond the scheduled exit date of March 29.It is unclear what substantive plan parliament would then agree to, with hardline Eurosceptics, hardline Europhiles and the Labour leadership all seeking different outcomes. The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday that there would be no further negotiations if the deal were rejected. Mrs May’s position would come under pressure, although under Conservative party leadership rules she cannot be formally challenged until December. A few Conservative MPs who voted against the deal in January indicated they would support it on Tuesday. Government supporters emphasised the more upbeat parts of Mr Cox’s advice, including his “political judgment” that it was “highly unlikely” that an alternative to the backstop would not be found. The attorney-general, who was little-known in British politics until his appointment to the cabinet last year, had insisted he would not deliver politically convenient advice. “I have been a barrister for 36 years, and a senior politician for seven months,” Mr Cox told the Mail on Sunday newspaper last week. “My professional reputation is far more important to me than my reputation as a politician.” In parliament on Tuesday Dominic Grieve, the Europhile former Conservative attorney-general, praised Mr Cox for “speaking truth to power”. After rejecting Mrs May’s original Brexit deal in January, MPs passed a motion calling on Mrs May to “replace” the backstop. The legal documents presented by the EU and the UK on Monday evening fell short of that goal. Nor did they provide a fixed end date for the backstop, or a unilateral exit mechanism, which Mrs May had suggested could be negotiated.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: magpie seanie on March 12, 2019, 04:13:15 PM
RDE - God help the poor woman.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 12, 2019, 04:16:12 PM
Unionists good everyone else bad ::)
The collapse of Brexit is bad news for certain Sindo columnists
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: mouview on March 12, 2019, 04:17:59 PM
RDE - God help the poor woman.

Think she's gotten the heave-ho from Independent house. The appalling Eoghan Harris should too.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: armaghniac on March 12, 2019, 05:24:56 PM
Quote
It isn’t just that the DUP controls 10 key votes that makes its Westminster leader so influential.  It’s that Northern Ireland has no other voice in the House of Commons,

RDE telling porkies as usual, as Sylvia Hermon has been talking sense in Westminster all along. But she doesn't suit the agenda.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Farrandeelin on March 12, 2019, 05:50:37 PM
I literally laughed out loud reading Dodds being hit with a brick.  ;D
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 13, 2019, 09:22:48 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/33ad916e-4503-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

   Brussels takes hard line after second UK defeat for Brexit deal
      
               Co-ordinated warning to Westminster: ‘There is no more we can do’


Alex Barker in Brussels
Brussels heaped pressure on Theresa May on Tuesday night, saying there was “no more” the EU could do to rescue Britain’s Brexit deal after it suffered a second crushing defeat in the House of Commons. The co-ordinated warning to Westminster reflected a hardening mood in European capitals over the possibility of reopening negotiations or granting an extension that would delay Brexit without a clear purpose.After Mrs May’s revamped Brexit package crashed to a 149-vote defeat, several of the EU leaders and negotiators most closely involved in talks released near-identical statements warning of Britain’s drastically limited options in the days ahead. A spokesperson for Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, said that, given three sets of reassurances offered to the British prime minister since December, “there is no more we can do”. “If there is a solution to the current impasse it has to be found in London,” he said.A statement on behalf of Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council of EU states, stressed there was “little more” the EU could do and warned of a “significantly increased” risk of a no-deal exit in 17 days time, when Brexit is due to take place.
Even before the Commons defeat, exasperation with London was mounting rapidly in the EU, toughening the bloc’s approach to a likely extension request — particularly in Paris and Brussels. Unless Britain moves to call an election or a referendum, some senior diplomats favour only a short extension from the scheduled date of March 29, to allow for no-deal planning, or, alternatively, refusing a delay. Germany has been more open to a longer extension should Britain need it.Mr Tusk noted that any extension request would require unanimity among the 27 remaining leaders of the EU, who “expect a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration”. In a step co-ordinated with several EU capitals, Mr Juncker and Mr Tusk have also stressed the need for Britain to participate in the European elections on May 23-26 if it remains a member state beyond that date. Mark Rutte, the Dutch premier, tweeted that “the smooth functioning of the EU institutions needs to be ensured”.
The terms laid down in Brussels set the backdrop for a series of Commons votes this week, which Mrs May said would cover a no-deal exit, as well as a possible extension request. Outlining the “choices that now must be faced”, the UK prime minister said MPs would be given the choice of revoking the Article 50 exit notification, a second referendum on Brexit, and leaving with a yet-to-be-negotiated alternative exit deal. Most contentious in Brussels will be the option to renegotiate an exit deal, particularly relating to the withdrawal agreement or the so-called backstop for Northern Ireland, which seeks to rule out a hard border in Ireland. Senior EU officials are making clear to Downing Street that no negotiation will be possible at the summit of EU leaders next week.
Despite clear EU-assurances on the backstop, we now face a chaotic no deal Brexit scenario. And time is almost up
Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Danish prime minister

 “It’s always hard to say no to negotiations,” said one adviser to an EU leader. “But such talks can only be chaotic and dangerous for the EU. She [Mrs May] is basically asking us to put pressure on [Irish prime minister] Leo Varadkar. We will feel pushed against a wall. It would be a disaster.”Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, tweeted after the vote: “The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line. The impasse can only be solved in the #UK. Our “no-deal” preparations are now more important than ever before.”France said that it regretted the vote against Mrs May’s deal and said the ball was in Britain’s court now that ”we have reached the end of negotiations over the conditions of the withdrawal”.The Elysée palace reaffirmed that an EU extension for the UK’s departure beyond March 29 would have to be agreed unanimously by the 27 remaining members and would be “totally unacceptable without a credible alternative strategy on the part of the UK”.Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, also said on Twitter that he was “deeply saddened” by the vote. “Despite clear EU-assurances on the backstop, we now face a chaotic no deal Brexit scenario. And time is almost up.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on March 13, 2019, 09:57:28 AM
It's like dealing with an upset small child.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: johnnycool on March 13, 2019, 10:28:33 AM
I literally laughed out loud reading Dodds being hit with a brick.  ;D

Which IIRC was thrown by a Unionist rioter.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Insane Bolt on March 13, 2019, 12:02:52 PM
I literally laughed out loud reading Dodds being hit with a brick.  ;D

Which IIRC was thrown by a Unionist rioter.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4yyWZ3b5R6Q

It was the parades commission’s fault😂
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: johnnycool on March 13, 2019, 12:06:53 PM
I literally laughed out loud reading Dodds being hit with a brick.  ;D

Which IIRC was thrown by a Unionist rioter.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4yyWZ3b5R6Q

It was the parades commission’s fault😂

Nice of the peelers to give him a squirt of the water cannon when he hit the deck. Must have been a fenian copper.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 13, 2019, 12:08:14 PM
   https://www.ft.com/content/def3dae4-44d9-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

   Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead — MPs must now take over
      
               Parliament must avoid political chaos and create space to explore other exit options
      
         The editorial board
         In other circumstances, a second humiliating loss on the government’s flagship policy would end in a prime ministerial resignation © Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament
After two years of tortuous negotiations, Theresa May’s strategy for taking the UK out of the EU lies in ruins. From the moment the stentorian attorney-general, Geoffrey Cox, pronounced that late legal changes won by the prime minister did not remove the risk of the UK being “trapped” in the so-called Irish backstop hated by Eurosceptics, her withdrawal agreement was headed for another crushing Commons defeat. The priority now must be to avoid chaos — chaos in parliament that could be exploited by extremists of left and right, and the chaos of a no-deal exit.
MPs must stabilise the political situation and create the space for a Brexit rethink.In other circumstances, a second humiliating loss on the government’s flagship policy would end in a prime ministerial resignation. Mrs May must bear most of the blame for the failure to secure a parliamentary majority. Her negotiating strategy was muddled and contradictory, and she continually put narrow party interests ahead of those of the nation. This premier, who prides herself on being no “quitter”, seems determined to try to soldier on. If she succeeds, against all odds, she must pursue a new strategy. This means ending the fantasy of bringing her deal to parliament a third time. EU officials have made clear there will be no further concessions on the backstop aimed at avoiding a hard border in Ireland. Mrs May should instead allow parliament to take control. She must work to promote and facilitate exactly the kind of cross-party co-operation in the national interest that she has so far stubbornly resisted.As a first step, MPs must vote on Wednesday to remove the risk of a catastrophic no-deal departure from the EU on March 29. Such an exit would do huge damage to UK jobs, prosperity and security. Bringing supply lines to a standstill, it could lead to shortages of foodstuffs and even medicines. It would destroy international trust in Britain when it most needs to forge new relationships.There should be no prevarication here. Letting Britain crash out of the EU — as the Brexit ultras advocate — is not fulfilling the result of the 2016 referendum. This is not what most Leave voters thought they were backing. Failure to remove this risk would be a dereliction of parliamentarians’ duty to exercise their judgment in the best interests of the citizens they represent.



MPs’ second priority is to vote on Thursday to seek from the EU an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process. This needs to be longer than three months. It should allow time for a new approach to Brexit that tests MPs’ appetite for other forms of withdrawal. Indicative votes should be held on “softer” options including a permanent customs union with the EU — which this newspaper has supported — or a “Norway-plus” option of remaining in the single market and a customs union.If no option can garner the support of a majority of MPs, the Financial Times has advocated returning the issue to the British people in another referendum. Voters could be presented with a choice between Mrs May’s deal — the only negotiated Brexit option that currently exists — or remaining in the EU. MPs might favour a general election. But with Britain’s two biggest political parties both riven over Brexit, an election would resolve little. A new referendum would be divisive, but it would offer voters this time a real choice, instead of the illusory Brexit they were sold in 2016. A majority does not yet appear to exist in parliament for this route, either. Yet if MPs cannot unite around an alternative Brexit, they might start to see a new plebiscite as the only way out of the impasse.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 13, 2019, 03:14:34 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/4b3b5a24-4570-11e9-a965-23d669740bfb

   Ardent US capitalists should embrace ‘socialism’
They can contain anger at the market system by making pragmatic concessions to it

Janan Ganesh

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is running for president, is unpopular on Wall Street because of her taste for wealth taxes © Bloomberg

In a country where “liberalism” means big government and “neoconservatism” implies utopian derring-do, the mangling of another abstract noun was probably due. What US politics has done to “socialism” over recent months is no less regrettable for that. Whether in the mouths of Democrats, who are warming to the word, or of Republicans, who still spit it out, it has come to mean something more familiar to a European as social (or Christian) democracy. Fiscal transfers, universal healthcare, powerful trade unions: not only do these things not add up to socialism — Denmark is no command economy — a true stickler for that creed would actively oppose them as efforts to buy off the revolution. They are not designed to replace the market so much as to stop the masses turning against it. All of which provokes a counter-intuitive thought. Hardened capitalists should vote for a Democratic president in 2020 — even a fairly leftwing one — rather than a Republican. The market system is under greater popular stress, after all, than at any time since the 1930s. One answer to the resentment is to give no quarter at all. A wiser one is to contain the anger by making pragmatic concessions to it. Donald Trump won the presidency by taking the second approach but has governed, mystifyingly, with the first. Having begun his White House campaign with a pledge to save not just Medicare (which serves the old) but Medicaid (which serves the poor), he has cut taxes and is now seeking welfare efficiencies to make up the budgetary shortfall. After all his vaunted “disruption” of GOP orthodoxy, he seems set to run on a platform of colour-by-numbers Republicanism, at least in domestic affairs.If this is the right’s plan to save the free-market system, then capitalists should take their chances with the left. There is a plausible future in which a more generous welfare state, funded by taxes on those who have been enriched by a decade’s asset inflation, drains some of the anti-capitalist pus from the body politic. There is no plausible future in which another round of unreconstructed supply-side economics does the same. One more presidential term of this stuff would be a tactical gain for free-marketeers, true, but what of the strategic risk? For the short-term pleasure of lower marginal tax rates and thinned-out regulations, they risk the further disillusionment of an electorate that already worries about the fairness of the system. Millennial attitudes to capitalism should keep them up at night. The transient nuisance of a “progressive” administration should not.

The priority of capitalists is not the election of Republicans. It is the maintenance of public support for capitalism. If this is best achieved through some redistribution and regulation, it would not be the first time.As ever in politics, the trick is to distinguish between lesser and greater evils. Not everyone can. Consider the sulphurous unpopularity on Wall Street of Elizabeth Warren. Even potential Democratic donors wonder what they will do if the Massachusetts senator becomes the party’s candidate in 2020. Her crime? A taste for wealth taxes and financial regulation. It is natural for bankers to worry about these policies. But they should also worry about the anger that will be stored up if somevariation of her reform does not happen. Ms Warren is “a capitalist to my bones”. She wants more, not less competition in the economy. If capitalists think that four or eight years of her leftish technocracy is the worst that can happen, they are not using their imaginations. Better her than a more severe reckoning with public opinion down the line. Better a controlled explosion than a random, all-engulfing one. Right now, the political debate concerns the excesses of capitalism. In no time at all, it will move on to the fundaments of the system itself. The preservation of capitalism through its moderation: there is no paradox here. Dwight Eisenhower understood it as basic statecraft, as did Richard Nixon and other Republicans who reconciled themselves to big government. Mr Trump reached a similar intuition in 2016. At least as far back as John Maynard Keynes, the truest friends of capitalism have understood that it cannot command an electoral majority in its purest form. Franklin Roosevelt turned out to be a better custodian of the system than those who cried philosophical betrayal at first whiff of the New Deal. He knew that an idea can die of purity. Too few now do. There is more to the defence of free markets than the resistance of all reform as a red menace. If Republicans have become dangerous to the cause, it is because they believe in it too much
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 14, 2019, 10:48:28 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/319fe848-458c-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

   Greece maps the long way back to a Brexit deal
Kamikaze Leavers who have wrecked Theresa May’s deal cannot win support for their own

Philip Stephens

Some time ago, I wrote that Britain was heading the way of Greece. The comparison caused (justifiable) offence in Athens and (unwarranted) indignation in London. The time has come formally to recant. Grexit is now a fading nightmare. Common sense and political leadership have seen Greece stabilise its economy and restore functioning government. In the meantime, Brexit has all but broken British politics.The heavy economic costs of Brexit were always obvious to all but the fantasists who imagine that “global Britain”, untethered from its own continent, will usher in a new Elizabethan age. The political stresses and strains — the absence of any consensus about what Brexit actually meant, the collision between the referendum outcome and the pro-European views of the majority of MPs, and deep divisions within parties — were casually overlooked. No one should be surprised that the nation’s politics now resemble a car crash. At once unimaginative and stubborn, Theresa May has squandered the respect of her cabinet and lost all authority within the governing Conservative party. The prime minister’s half-baked Brexit deal with the EU27 has suffered a second crushing defeat in the House of Commons. An unbridgeable chasm has opened up between the Conservatives’ English nationalists and a shrinking band who still pledge allegiance to “One Nation” Toryism. For her part, Mrs May clings against all logic to the idea that somehow she can get her agreement through.On the other side of the aisle, the largely pro-European Labour opposition is led by a Eurosceptic trapped in the time warp of 1970s socialism.

 Jeremy Corbyn commands the confidence of only a couple of dozen of his own MPs. Many consider him unfit to be prime minister. Brexit, Mr Corbyn tells centre-left leaders elsewhere in Europe, “is not my priority”. He sees himself as the carrier of a brighter flame. His mission, he boasts, is “building socialism”.The referendum outcome shocked and dismayed Britain’s many friends. The paralysis since in a nation once renowned for level-headed pragmatism has been all but incomprehensible. And, yes, it is truly shocking to realise that two weeks before its scheduled departure, Britain does not have even an outline as to how it can replace decades of economic integration and political collaboration with its nearest neighbours. For their part, European leaders have shown the patience of saints as Mrs May has run scared of her party’s nationalists. The likes of former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, soaked in delusions about past glory and continental conspiracies, have wrecked all attempts to reach an intelligent accommodation. Britain won the war, they want us to know. It can set its own terms.So no blame attaches to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier or to French President Emmanuel Macron when they suggest that if Britain now wants an extension to the Article 50 process, it must first come up with a credible strategy to use the additional time. I have heard many others across the continent — most of them good friends of Britain — say much the same thing. What is the point of open-ended negotiations if they do nothing but postpone the cliff edge for a few months or so? And, by the way, the EU27 have other things on their minds beyond Britain’s determination to self-harm.As understandable as they are, such sentiments misread the political dynamics. Britain needs extra time — and a lot more than the three months often mentioned in Brussels — precisely because it does not have a strategy. The past two years have been entirely wasted. An orderly separation requires that the politicians start again. That will require time as well as imagination. Nor should fellow Europeans discount the possibility that such a process could end in a second referendum.A few things should be obvious by now. The Kamikaze Brexiters who have tortured Mrs May can wreck her plans but cannot win support for their own. For her part — and I fear even after two resounding defeats she still has not understood this — the prime minister cannot continue to treat Brexit as the sole property of the Tory party. The only deal with Brussels that will command sufficient support in the House of Commons is one that reaches across the partisan barricades.Impossible, some will say. The two-party system is immutable. I am not so sure. Brexit has pushed politics in the other direction. Just this week Mrs May was forced to offer a free vote to underscore the stupidity of the crash-out Brexit sought by her party’s hardliners. There could well be more such occasions in coming days as MPs test opinion on other, softer versions of Brexit. Nearly a dozen MPs have broken with the two main parties to re-establish a centrist voice in the nation’s politics. Talk of a second referendum is no longer the preserve of diehard Remainers. If Mrs May can demand a second vote on her deal, why should the people be denied a chance to think again?There is a long way to go. The process could throw up a general election as well as a promise of another referendum. It will be messy and could end in another failure. But it is surely worth the time. A series of rolling extensions of Article 50, guaranteed until the end of 2020, could be the game-changer. Britain does not deserve a bailout, the EU27 could reasonably say. Well, perhaps not. But some said the same about Greece.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 14, 2019, 11:31:43 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/1fb17b7c-4570-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3

   Theresa May forces the fantasists to face harsh realities
The reason so many hate the prime minister’s deal is that it shows the perfect Brexit does not exist

Robert Shrimsley

The small solace from Tuesday’s vote was that Theresa May regained the backing of several noted diehards including David Davis, pictured right with Boris Johnson. Mr Davis resigned as Brexit secretary to oppose Mrs May's deal © Getty
You have to wonder if there are people in the British parliament who believe that if the House of Commons voted to rule out death, the Grim Reaper would be forced to recognise the strength of its conviction.It is possible to imagine the TV interview after the vote: “I think when Death sees the unity within the Conservative party around eternal life, he will be forced to come back to the table,” the chairman of the Mortality Research Group would tell the BBC. “This is a clear message to Death from the UK that it is time to put aside his scythe.”On Wednesday, having twice vetoed the only deal on the table, MPs voted to reject a no-deal Brexit as if the mere fact of doing so magicked away that outcome. On Thursday they will almost certainly vote to delay the Brexit date, even though that is entirely up to the rest of the EU and not a given.Finally — and most comically — some MPs attempted to resurrect the so-called Malthouse Compromise, a series of fantasy proposals around which Conservatives tried to unite even though it had been rejected by the EU. Its champions insisted a vote for these plans would “have to be taken seriously by Brussels”.All these high points from a chamber which often mistakenly styles itself “the mother of parliaments” underscore the UK’s detachment from external events, forces and opinions. Away from talks overseen by Theresa May, Tory ideas and demands have been designed almost entirely in a vacuum, with no effort to understand the other, stronger side of the negotiations.
            
               After Theresa May's Brexit defeat what happens next?
            
         What all this week’s votes will not have done is unite parliament around a workable alternative. It cannot be said often enough that simply stating opposition to no deal does not prevent it. An alternative may yet follow. For all the prime minister’s unease, the notion of holding indicative votes to see if MPs can find a majority for an alternative workable plan may now be unavoidable. Support for the so-called Norway option of remaining in the single market, permanent membership of a customs union or even holding a second referendum may soon be tested. It is possible that events may run away from Mrs May. The House may unite around an alternative, and a second referendum on her plan is certainly an option. Yet some fundamental facts are unchanged. Aside from the customs union it is not clear there is a majority for any other option. Even after two of the most thumping defeats in Commons history, Mrs May plans to return for a third effort next week. For there is a second consideration, namely that it is very hard to see how the government can hold together while carrying through legislation on any of the softer options. As one MP noted: “This government cannot legislate for Norway. We would be dependent entirely on [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn. It would pull us apart.” Mrs May is already stretching the elastic of her party to its limits. Asked to predict what would happen on Wednesday before the no deal vote, one ex-minister replied: “The PM and cabinet are going to vote with the opposition against the Conservative party.”The solidarity of the party is a minor concern in the wider scheme of things, but it is not a secondary issue to Mrs May or her party. As long as they cling to power, therefore, it cannot be irrelevant to the country.

   This is why even the second defeat for her plan is still not the end of it. The deal cannot be buried until something else replaces it and her control of parliamentary time allows her to keep trying. The small solace from Tuesday’s vote was that she regained the backing of several noted diehards including David Davis, who resigned as Brexit secretary to oppose her deal. She calculates that the more parliament leans towards a long delay or a softer Brexit, the faster the other hardliners will get back on board.Incredibly, Mrs May, the least politically agile premier in modern time, is still in office. She survives by granting free votes and surrendering all authority over her party and cabinet. She is still a long way from victory but hers remains the only currently viable plan, and one behind which Tories can ultimately just about unite. For all her numerous shortcomings, in Tory eyes Mrs May’s true crime may be that she forced her party to look outside the vacuum and to engage with the real world. The reason so many of them hate her deal is because it shows that their perfect Brexit does not exist. That is like asking a child to accept that Santa Claus is actually your parents. Tories will not forgive her for shattering their illusions, but they may yet be forced to bend to her will.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 14, 2019, 03:45:02 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/14/brexit-betrayal-turning-mild-mannered-people-unexpected-revolutionaries/

This Brexit betrayal is turning mild-mannered people into unexpected revolutionaries
•   
Rebecca Ryan
Follow
14 March 2019 • 3:20pm


 The electorate won't forget Parliament's betrayal of the popular will anytime soon
Last year, I co-founded a grassroots campaign group called Stand Up for Brexit. As its name suggests, our group aims to hold Conservative MPs accountable for their manifesto commitments by encouraging them to support the clean break from the EU for which 17.4 million people voted in 2016.
We have always tried to spread a positive and optimistic message, asking people to engage in the democratic process through traditional means, like writing to their MPs. So it was with a growing sense of anguish that I watched the extraordinary developments in the House of Commons last night. Yesterday, our MPs voted against an act of Parliament they themselves passed, which enshrined our departure from the European Union on March 29, regardless of whether any withdrawal terms had been agreed. In doing so, they aim to retroactively destroy a public decision - one that they themselves invited the people to make when they approved the referendum by a huge margin in 2015. Democracy is the key reason why the British people voted for Brexit; last night saw it torn down.
Millions view the chaos in Parliament with similar despair. Our democracy has always survived on fragile convention and popular consent. Yet our parliamentarians are systematically tearing up the social contract and centuries-old traditions for short term political gain. We see elected representatives ignoring the will of their constituents. The Speaker, John Bercow, brazenly favours amendments tabled by Remain MPs, yet shoots down popular amendments from Eurosceptics. Ministers like Greg Clark have rebelled against the whip, but so impotent is our PM that they can expect to remain snugly in their Cabinet posts for as long as they like.
This takes us into dangerous territory. Since last night, I have received countless messages from grassroots Conservative members expressing their costernation at this hijacking of democracy. Many feel that the usual levers ordinary people can pull to maintain their agency have broken.
Some will look towards new parties and movements for salvation. Who can blame them? In their disdain for the popular will and parliamentary convention, our politicians have sent a clear message that the existing rules of democratic engagement are now meaningless. If our elected representatives can trample on them, willy-nilly, then what does democracy even mean? Why bother voting for anything again?
This betrayal is turning mild-mannered people into unexpected revolutionaries. Though Brexiteers might be willing to tolerate some kind of short, technical extension, any unstructured, lengthy delay of this process will spark outrage. Many have asked me: “When are we marching on Parliament?” Although this probably wouldn’t resemble a gilets jaunes style violent uprising - we’re British, after all - I wouldn’t be surprised if people calmly took to the streets to express their outrage.
There is also severe disappointment at the lack of compromise shown by non-Brexiteers, exemplified by MPs voting down, by a large margin, the alternative proposed by Kit Malthouse which garnered support from all sides of the Conservative Party. As ever in this debate, Brexiteers are the only people who have been made to compromise, while the only thing that has been compromised is Brexit itself.
Of course, the seeds of this betrayal were planted long ago, when the Prime Minister and her team sidelined Eurosceptic Brexit Ministers, undermining their efforts for a ‘Canada Plus’ deal. Despite the Conservative Party overwhelmingly supporting Brexit, Remain MPs did their best to prevent members choosing a PM who would honour their 2017 manifesto and 2016 referendum. But we should not forget that 70% of Conservative members want Brexit, while two thirds of Tory constituencies voted to leave the EU. They will remember this betrayal at the next General Election.
At the same time, Remainers have been winning an important and overlooked PR battle. As Lionel Shriver noted on Newsnight last night, they have succeeded in reframing Leave as a position that is not only purely right wing, but also ‘extreme’. They have attempted to speak for Brexiteers, writing off their legitimate grievances as nativism or racism. ERG Members have been described as “extremists”, or Brexit “jihadis”, in the words of Claire Perry MP - just for wanting to fulfil their party’s manifesto with a clean break with the EU. This is an age-old trick, designed to smear the idea of Brexit through association, to discredit the vote before reversing it altogether.
The Government is now using the threat of ‘no Brexit’ to blackmail the people into accepting their deeply flawed deal. “If you don’t vote for this deal, which would tear up the United Kingdom and impose a state of vassalage on our country”, they are effectively saying, “then all will be taken away from you.” But this too is a breach of trust, designed to remove the Government’s responsibility for our lamentable situation and plant it on those who merely wish to fulfil their manifesto commitments. Elsewhere, clever men like Dominic Grieve use maxims like “Parliament is taking back control”, believing they can convince us that black is white, that ignoring the popular will is democracy, that the number 48 is somehow higher than 52. But just how stupid do they think we are?
Many view our decision to vote to leave the EU as a mistake, which has exposed malign forces in politics. I disagree. Brexit has enthused and engaged millions, giving them a real interest in the democratic process, some for the first time in their lives. The British people, if not its politicians, genuinely value having a sense of agency over the laws that govern us. But if our lawmakers succeed in reversing Brexit, democracy may never recover.
 
Rebecca Ryan is a co-founder of the group Stand Up For Brexit
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 15, 2019, 09:58:32 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/14/no-deal-table-mrs-may-could-pull-unlikely-triumph/

With no-deal off the table, Mrs May could pull off an unlikely triumph
•   
Fraser Nelson
14 March 2019 • 10:00pm
 Trust may have gone - but will Mrs May ultimately get her deal through? CREDIT: BOB MORAN
Who’s afraid of voters anyway? It was Jess Phillips, the refreshingly frank Labour MP, who said it first, in Wednesday’s debate. For the past two years, she said, MPs have been warned about not betraying the wishes of the 17.4 million people who wanted Brexit – but why are politicians all so terrified of them? Isn’t it time for them to lead? Anna Soubry, who recently deserted the Tories, declared that she, too, is unafraid of voters. Other MPs followed with similar points: saying (as one Lib Dem put it) that it is “finally time to bust the myth of ‘the will of the people’ ”. Time, in other words, for MPs to take back control.
The resulting chaos has only just started. The various amendments voted on last night were just the latest sign of a Government that has lost control.
We have seen four Cabinet members openly defy the Prime Minister in the voting lobbies, yet keep their jobs. We have seen the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, float his own rival Brexit plan in the middle of his Spring Statement. This is political anarchy. And the only way to end it might be to vote through Theresa May’s deal.
Given that it has been defeated twice, by fairly epic margins, it ought to be dead. But these are not normal times. Last night, an attempt to stop her calling a third-time-lucky vote was abandoned, once it became clear that MPs would quite like that option. It had been voted down when Brexiteers still held out for a better deal – but this was only ever possible with the plausible threat of the UK leaving with no deal. This option has now gone, removed by a rebel vote on Wednesday. “That’s when our goose was cooked,” one ERG member told me. “Now, it has all changed.”
Power now unquestionably rests with those who wish Brexit to be diluted, delayed or abandoned entirely. Brexiteers have accepted that they are outnumbered. The debate now is whether they wish to go down fighting, true to the cause, or salvage what they can by resurrecting the deal.
Let’s take Philip Davies, who was campaigning to leave the European Union at a time when it was seen as a lunatic’s obsession. When he launched Better Off Out in 2006, the attendees could have fitted into a taxi. He needs no lectures on the ideal purity of Brexit – but he now supports Mrs May’s deal.
As does George Eustice, a former Ukip member. Even the DUP might come around to it over the weekend. If it fails for a third time, perhaps on Tuesday, Mrs May might bring it back for a fourth time – after an EU summit that may lay down unappetising terms for extending the Brexit deadline.
The risk, to Brexiteers, is clear. A Parliament that has ruled out no deal under any circumstances is a Parliament that will do whatever the EU asks. It might agree to stay in the customs union, as Mr Hammond is now angling for. Or move to a Norway-style deal, forcing the UK to give up any hope of border control. Once Britain asks – or, rather, begs – for an extension, it’s hard to think of a condition that the opponents of Brexit, now running Parliament, would not agree to.
The political consequences of this are also obvious. If
Brexit is delayed much longer, or cancelled, it’s easy to see an uglier version of Ukip starting up – and marching along with the populist parties which have been menacing almost every other country in Europe. The democratic backlash would be hideous, and directed against the Conservatives and their broken Brexit promises. The party would never recover from this, and would not deserve to.
A no-deal Brexit could have worked. A radical stimulus, low tariffs, low taxes, immediate assurance granted to all EU nationals, accepting more high-skilled migrants: all kinds of options could have been open. But this would require not just a Tory majority but a decent leader, able to unite and inspire the country. The odds on one emerging any time soon are, to put it mildly, slim.
I received a message last night from a Tory making the principled case for holding firm: “How can I support a deal that isn’t Brexit? The consequences that follow will be out of my hands.”
This is quite logical. But so is the logic of the other Brexiteers: that the choice, realistically, is between May’s backstop – or a far-worse Brexit and political meltdown that might put Jeremy Corbyn in No 10 by Christmas.
“I was in the Army, I wasn’t trained to lose,” said the ERG’s Mark Francois this week. This is not quite true. Officers are trained to recognise when tactical retreat is better than outright defeat. And some of the hardest Eurosceptics in the Tory party, who have been fighting this battle for years, are making that retreat.
May’s deal, for all its awfulness, does not make Brexit a lost cause. The Tories might come to see it as an unwon cause. With the right leader (again, a rather bold assumption with the Tories in their current state) it ought to be possible to agree good relations and a decent free trade deal with a new European Commission.
What leverage would we have? That the dreaded backstop is not, entirely, a bad thing for Britain. It means low-friction access to the EU’s markets without having to accept free movement. We could not be forced to pay a penny more to the European Union: cash and migration are perhaps the two biggest priorities for Brexit voters. And there would be no chance of a second referendum to keep us in. Legally, we’d be out.
The flaws in the Prime Minister’s deal would, in any ordinary time, have sunk it. It gives no clue as to what a final Brexit deal would look like. New trade deals would be hard, almost impossible, to strike. Perhaps worst of all, there would probably be almost no (legal) way out of the backstop, without the EU’s agreement.
It’s a pale imitation of the Brexit that could have been, the Brexit a different leader might have been able to negotiate. It’s half a Brexit – but it’s better than no Brexit.
The Tories may well be persuaded that this is the only remaining choice.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 21, 2019, 12:32:25 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/21/new-brexit-extension-mps-must-finally-do-jobs-make-decision/

With a new Brexit extension, MPs must finally do their jobs and make a decision
•   
Nick Timothy
21 March 2019 • 7:00am
The choice is clear: May's deal or a softer Brexit
The Brexit showdown is often called a Mexican standoff. But it’s now apparent that MPs are not pointing guns at one another 
but peashooters, water pistols and bendy bananas. Attempts to force a no-deal Brexit have failed. The plot to impose a long delay has, for now, been thwarted. And without a longer delay, a second referendum is unlikely.
Donald Tusk, however, has shown that he has a gun and a barrel-full of bullets. His statement yesterday made clear Brussels will only accept Theresa May’s request to extend Article 50 until June if the Commons approves the Withdrawal Agreement.
He was addressing several audiences. Remainers in Parliament heard that Britain might leave the EU without a deal at the end of next week. After all, Tusk has made 
the acceptance of the only official request to delay Brexit conditional 
on the approval of a deal many Remainer MPs have previously opposed.
But note that he did not rule out a longer delay. He was replying only to what Theresa May asked the European Council in her letter yesterday. So Leavers cannot be sure that voting down the Withdrawal Agreement will lead to the no-deal Brexit many of them favour.
Voting against the deal might still lead to a lengthy delay, and with such a delay, the possibility not only of British participation in the European Parliament elections, but the danger of a second referendum and, with that, the risk we might not leave the European Union after all.
For these reasons, the Tusk intervention was a deliberate attempt to boost the Prime Minister’s chances of passing the deal. And it is time, now, for MPs to recognise the nature of the choice they face.
Leavers are right that the PM’s deal is awful, because it leads us into a trap we can escape only by subordinating our laws to those of the EU or sacrificing Northern Ireland to the Republic.
But they need to accept that there is no longer a better option on the table. Sometimes it is better to live to fight another day than fight hopelessly to the death.
Likewise, Remainers should know that their only chance of stopping Brexit is through a second referendum, and the only, narrow, chance of a referendum is if there is a longer delay.
There is no existing Commons majority for a second public vote, and the Europeans have not said they will agree a lengthy delay. So if Remainer MPs won’t back the PM’s deal, their best alternative is to vote for a customs union, or the Norway model, or both: options we know the EU would add to the Withdrawal Agreement in the political declaration.
MPs have plotted for months to try to find ways to wrest control of Brexit from the Government. But while the Commons cannot conduct international negotiations, and it cannot unilaterally decide what the EU will not agree, it has been in a position to determine the direction of Brexit all along.
Ever since Gina Miller defeated the Government in the Supreme Court, insisting that Parliament must legislate to invoke Article 50, and through the sorry saga of Grieve amendments, meaningful votes, and Cooper, Boles and Benn amendments, MPs could have taken control with each Brexit vote.
They could have voted for the PM’s deal, but they rejected it, twice. They could have voted for no deal, but they rejected that, twice. They could have voted for a second referendum, but they refused. They could have voted for a softer Brexit, meaning a customs union, a Norway-style relationship, or a combination of the two. But they refused to do that too.
All they have decided is to extend Article 50 if necessary.
The Prime Minister is often accused of kicking the can down the road, but she is not alone: that is all MPs can agree to do.
Even when MPs have had the chance to take control of the Commons timetable, which would allow them to find a way of expressing their preferred outcome, they have fluffed it. Whatever we think of the actions of the Speaker – as partisan as he is pompous, as venal as he is vain – his procedural chicanery is not really the issue.
The difficulty is that MPs, whose job is to decide on important matters, cannot make up their minds.
We have a Brexit Secretary who told the Commons to vote to delay Brexit, in the national interest, but then voted against doing so. MPs who back a second referendum refusing to vote for one, because they prefer other options to be ruled out first. And Brexiteers jeopardising Brexit itself because the PM’s deal is not what they wanted.
To be fair, this is a collective crisis, but the choices facing MPs have narrowed. So far, for reasons of obstinacy, vanity and whipping, and in many cases a fear of taking a position, MPs have refused to decide. But they are paid to make up their minds, and their choice is now clearer.
Whether they like it or not, they must decide between the PM’s deal and a softer Brexit.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 21, 2019, 01:49:01 PM
WTF

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/19/no-deal-better-brexit-delay-say-public-poll-finds-just-one-10/

No deal is better than Brexit delay, say voters – exclusive Telegraph poll


 Despite the Brexit shambles, Mrs May remains the most favourable politician with over one quarter of voters
•   Camilla Tominey, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
19 March 2019 • 6:00am
Follow
Nearly half of the British public is confident that the UK will ultimately thrive if it leaves the EU without a deal, according to a new poll.
The exclusive ComRes survey for The Daily Telegraph found that 46 per cent of adults think leaving without a deal would “briefly cause some uncertainty but ultimately work out OK”, compared with 40 per cent who support extending Article 50.
Three in 10 adults (30 per cent) think leaving the EU without a deal on March 29 will be the best possible outcome, according to the poll, compared with more than two in five who disagree (43 per cent). ComRes also asked on behalf of Leave Means Leave if taking no deal off the table has weakened our negotiating hand. Half (50 per cent) say yes, and 24 per cent no.
Asked if Mrs May’s deal delivers Brexit, just 14 per cent say yes and 54 per cent no. Just 18 per cent believe it honours the referendum result, compared with 33 per cent who think it does not. Thirty seven per cent say in 2016 they expected to leave with no deal, while 20 per cent expected to leave with a withdrawal agreement.
The Telegraph poll found the country split over whether Theresa May should put her Withdrawal Agreement to a third meaningful vote, with 38 per cent for and 39 per cent against.
Nearly two thirds of Britons (61 per cent) think Brussels is trying to punish the UK in the negotiations, while one in five disagrees (22 per cent).
The findings mark the first in a new series of regular monthly polls in a partnership between The Telegraph and ComRes to track voter attitudes. The poll puts Labour one point ahead of the Conservatives on 35 per cent – almost unchanged since the last ComRes voting intention poll conducted earlier this month. In a general election, it would leave the Conservatives 41 seats short of a majority.
Despite the Brexit shambles, Mrs May remains the most popular politician, with the backing of 27 per cent of voters. Asked if she should resign immediately, 34 per cent agree and 41 per cent disagree.
Although half (52 per cent) regard her as bad at negotiating Brexit, she is still the most popular choice with 29 per cent of voters, compared with 25 per cent who think Boris Johnson would do a better job and 21 per cent who would prefer Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Just 18 per cent of adults think Jeremy Corbyn would do a good job in negotiations, while 58 per cent disagree. He is also the least popular politician, with a 56 per cent disapproval rating, while nearly half have an unfavourable opinion of Mr Johnson (49 per cent).
Suggesting that public trust has eroded in politicians, three in five have an unfavourable view of MPs (59 per cent), compared with only five per cent who say they are doing a good job.
Only one in 10 British adults says they trust MPs to do the right thing by the country over Brexit (11 per cent), while seven in 10 disagree (68 per cent).
The Leave Means Leave poll found nearly half (44 per cent) of the public thinks the Government “seems to be in favour of remaining in the EU and has set out to thwart Brexit from the beginning”, with 27 per cent disagreeing.
ComRes interviewed 2,033 British adults online between March 15-17
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 21, 2019, 03:15:29 PM
https://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2019/03/21/black-thursday-britain-humiliated-on-global-stage-as-it-begs


Black Thursday: Britain humiliated on global stage as it begs EU for more time

Ian Dunt  By Ian Dunt 
Thursday, 21 March 2019 8:49 AM
    

We're not in the room when they decide what happens to us. First Theresa May will make a short speech. Then she leaves and the leaders of 27 other countries make a decision. We wait outside. That's how Britain finds out what happens to it. It's taken just three years - three years of nationalism and political puritanism - to reduce the country to this status.

May's previous speeches have often managed to turn otherwise sympathetic European leaders against her. They don't appear to be any better behind closed doors than they are in front of cameras. In both instances they lack charisma, or intellectual content, or even a hint of personal responsibility. She cannot think creatively about problems. She cannot lay out a convincing case for how to proceed with them. All she can do is blame other people - the EU, opposition parties, the House of Lords, or the institution of parliament itself - for her own failings. Expecting her to live up to the historical moment is like asking an old Casio calculator to log on to the internet.

As it happens, the EU leaders will probably reject the offer of a June extension and fix it to the month of May. It doesn't matter. The prime minister is unlikely to get her Brexit deal through next week, so it's largely academic. The crucial moment will come next week, if it is defeated, as we find out whether they will meet again and provide a longer extension. We expect the answer to be yes, but we are no longer in control of our fate. Other countries decide it for us.

This is the core fact of today: our fate in the hands of others. It is very real and genuinely profound. When else were we brought so low? Which other moment in our modern lifetime ever saw us so humiliated? Suez? That was nothing. A bad-tempered chat with the Americans which made it clear we couldn't run the world anymore. Denis Healey asking the IMF for an emergency loan? Black Wednesday? These were drops in the ocean next to what is happening to us here. We are living through history - and not the good kind. We're living the kind that even in 20 or 30 years' time, people will say: 'Well this is bad, but it's not as bad as Brexit.'
 


The causes of today's events are many and varied. The government wasted time it did not have. MPs were unable to accept the practical consequences of a theoretical course of action they were intent on pursuing. There was insufficient preparation. There was a preference for echo chamber reassurance instead of cold, hard calculation. We fiddled and bickered as the fire took hold.

Remainers want to blame everything on Brexit as a concept. Leavers want to blame how it was pursued. But the reality is that both ends and means have been terrible.

Brexit involves leaving a membership-based regulatory super-power, with huge trading strength, which functions according to the strict and unyielding implementation of law. You are always going to have less control outside than you do in. If Brexit happens, that'll be the case for all sorts of decisions, from the coding on driverless cars to best practice in medical trials. We'll do the same as they do, just to keep life ticking away as easily as possible. The only thing that will have changed is that we won't be in the room making the decisions anymore. Today is just a particularly dramatic, system-wide application of the basic principle which is set to govern our future as a nation: self-imposed exile from power.

But even if you did decide to pursue this project, there are good ways to do it and bad ways. The good way is to come up with a set of deliverable goals and a realistic timetable. The government did not do that. The goals it set were largely impossible - such as maintaining the exact same benefits as single market membership while leaving it - and the timetable was established on the basis of domestic political concerns rather than a disinterested assessment of what was required. This is what happens when you fixate on pleasuring the most hysterical and right-wing elements of your party instead of thinking about the good of your country.

Cooler heads warned about this moment for years: when the result came in, when Article 50 was triggered, when the government refused to be honest about the obstacles in front of it, when May wasted time on a pointless election or ran down the clock in the last few weeks. This is precisely the moment they feared: A proud country, reduced to begging. Brexit is an outrage to the status of Britain. It is an act of national mutilation.

But it is also a reminder, in these final pivotal moments of the Article 50 process, of what's at stake. The power, reputation and pride of the country is on the line. The primary argument against Brexit has always been a patriotic one. And today shows why that is. You can run from that truth. You can hide from it. But there's no place left anymore. It is plain for all to see. The bleak, drab, pitiless reality of what this project entails is now visible to the world. It can still be stopped, and it must be.

Ian Dunt is editor of Politics.co.uk and the author of Brexit: What The Hell Happens Now?
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Wildweasel74 on March 21, 2019, 05:40:26 PM
 Am glad you got a thread to yourself!
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 22, 2019, 09:05:15 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/21/britain-now-has-two-choices-no-deal-long-delay/

Britain now has only two choices - No Deal, or a long delay
•   
Bernard Jenkin
21 March 2019 • 6:20pm

 
There is no point in apportioning blame. The Prime Minister has a point about the House of Commons. However, let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone.
The 2016 EU Referendum result was the first time that the electorate's opinions differed from those of its politicians. But instead of humbly acknowledging that the country they governed wanted something significantly different, many MPs have invented all sorts of excuses for distorting the meaning of the result, or simply dismissing its authority. Leave voters were misled, they were too old, too stupid - or even racist. Some have argued that enough Leavers have now died or changed their minds since the referendum to discount the winning margin - an analysis which, funnily enough, is never applied to the 48 per cent. Then came the conspiracy theories. Did social media swing the vote unfairly? Or was it Putin?
But there are certain immutable facts. Parliament agreed the referendum and then accepted the decision. The Electoral Commission has never even hinted that the result was unsafe.
Parliament then gave the Government the power to invoke Article 50, which set the date of our departure. More than 80 per cent of the votes at the 2017 election were cast for parties with pro-Leave manifestos. Parliament enacted the EU Withdrawal Act, setting the exit date, with or without a withdrawal agreement. At no stage can any MP complain they did not know what they were voting for, or complain about a lack of Parliamentary process.
History will show how Parliament came to be offered the worst kind of damage-limitation Brexit. It would provide no rest for those who want to move beyond Brexit. It would become interminable, surrendering our country to the very lawmakers and judges whose authority the voters rejected. For the first time in our history, Britain would have its laws made by foreign powers and adjudicated by a foreign court. Even for a temporary period, this should be unthinkable, but aspects of this are intended to become permanent.
Some suggest that a new government could simply defy the agreement, but any PM would forfeit all integrity if they voted for the Withdrawal Agreement, and then declared, as part of their platform, that they would not respect its terms. Any choice Mrs May now makes will be a better compromise.
The Withdrawal Agreement will definitely not pass. Commons motions can convey the opinion of the House, but they have no legal force. By law, it is the Government's decision whether to choose a ‘no-deal’ Brexit next week or to extend Article 50. Despite attempts by some MPs to turn our system of parliamentary government into "government by Parliament", they now have little hope of changing that practical reality.  So long as the Government remains in office, the decision about what happens next rests with our Prime Minister and the other EU-27 heads of state.
A WTO Brexit is by far the least worst option. It ends uncertainty most quickly. It delivers the UK from EU lawmakers and judges, giving government freedom to respond and react to the new circumstances. The Chancellor has already made clear that there is a £20 billion Brexit dividend up for grabs, a sum that would be greater without the contributions to the EU that would continue under any other option. The sectors caught by the EU’s new tariffs or the protectionist regulatory regime can be helped and supported by the Government.  Most importantly of all, Parliament and Government could fulfil their obligation to honour the referendum decision.
Show more
The worst option is an extension. A short extension just kicks the can down the road.  Industry and others have built up stocks, cancelled holidays and spent money to be ready on 29 March. Delaying for three months would just add more cost and uncertainty. A longer delay is worse still. The costs of EU membership will continue for no long-term benefit. The EU will set conditions which are bound to constrain our rights and influence.
Any extension would be an abject denial of democracy, but at least if the UK is forced into an extended Article 50 period, then our country will not have compromised its ultimate right to leave the EU. Any future government must deliver Brexit and a far better outcome.


Why Britain should not fear a WTO Brexit | Lord Lilley's 30 reasons to embrace no deal
Lord Lilley sets out his arguments in favour of leaving the EU on WTO terms in a report to be sent to MPs on Monday. They are:
1.   It will allow the UK to cash in, not crash out - the UK will not have to pay the £39billion divorce bill
2.    It avoids the corrosive uncertainty which the transition period would bring
3.    The UK will be able to use administrative measures to solve Irish border issue, without the need for a backstop
4.   After resolving the Irish border issue, the UK as a whole will be able to enter a Canada +++ style free trade deal, such as the one suggested by Donald Tusk
5.   WTO is a safe haven, not a hard option. Six of the EU’s top 10 trading partners trade under WTO rules
6.   UK exports to countries trading on WTO terms have grown 3x faster than to the Single Market
7.   EU tariffs on exports from the UK would amount to less than half the UK’s current net contribution to the EU budget
8.   The UK is already a WTO member so would not need to rejoin it
9.   We can start to trade on the new tariff schedules as soon as we leave, without waiting for agreement from other WTO members
10.   The UK is making good progress in replicating the EU’s most important preferential trade arrangements. Switzerland has already agreed to carry over existing preferences
11.   The UK could take up Japan’s invitation to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership
12.   Bilateral trade deals do not have to take a long time to renegotiate. The average renegotiation time is 28 months
13.   “Micro” trade agreements will not be a big issue
14.   Scares about delays to imports are ‘ludicrous’, because Britain will control its borders
15.   There will be no medicine shortages
16.   There will be no food shortages
17.   Manufacturing supply chains and other goods deliveries will not be significantly affected
18.   The UK will not run out of clean water
19.   HMRC’s computer systems will be able to handle extra customs declarations, even if its new system is not fully online
20.   France is determined to prevent delays at Calais for fear of losing trade to Belgian and Dutch port
21.   A new traffic routing system will prevent serious delays to incoming lorries
22.   Planes will continue to fly to and from the EU
23.   Planes will continue to fly to the US and elsewhere
24.   Aircraft manufacturers will still be able to export parts, such as Airbus wings, despite claims to the contrary
25.   British haulage companies will still be able to operate between the UK and the EU
26.   Trade in animals, plants and food will continue after Brexit
27.   UK citizens will not face high mobile phone roaming charges when travelling to the EU
28.   UK car manufacturers have obtained approvals to sell their models to the EU
29.   New VAT rules will not affect the cash flow of importers
30.   British opera singers, musicians and other performers will still be able to tour the EU

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 22, 2019, 09:35:19 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/cf1fe0ca-4c4c-11e9-bbc9-6917dce3dc62

https://www.ft.com/content/cf1fe0ca-4c4c-11e9-bbc9-6917dce3dc62

   How the EU leaders reached a decision on Brexit

Out of the fast exchange of ideas, April 12 emerged as a political ‘guillotine’
Emmanuel Macron was adamant that EU leaders should not return for a summit next week © AFP
The new April 12 date for Brexit was eventually decided in a 10-strong huddle of EU leaders, all desperately thinking of ways to avoid “a trap” laid by Britain. It was around 9pm on Thursday. The formal session of the Brussels summit had ended after almost five hours of meandering Brexit talks, but dinner was still on hold. A group stayed behind in the meeting room searching for answers to a vexing political puzzle: how to ensure Britain shouldered full responsibility for the historic decision to leave the union, whatever the date of its actual departure. Near the centre of the diplomatic scrum stood a jacketless Emmanuel Macron, the French president, to his side Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and in the background hovered Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, sporting a cosy grey scarf. Out of the fast exchange of ideas, dates and complex conditions finally emerged a compromise: delaying Brexit to at least April 12 and using the date as a political “guillotine” for Westminster, when key decisions could not be avoided. This was alongside the option of a more simple “technical” delay until May 22 to finish the ratification of a Brexit treaty, if the House of Commons had backed the deal.

Earlier that evening Theresa May had “spooked” the room, in the words of one diplomat. Her answers left leaders unconvinced that her Brexit deal would be approved in Westminster, or that she had a realistic fallback plan. Facing more than an hour of questions, the British prime minister “was not able to give clear answers”, concluded one diplomatic note. Making his summit debut Krisjanis Karins, the Latvian prime minister, summed up the mood by asking Mrs May why she remained “so optimistic” given the circumstances. Once Mrs May left the room, the frustrations began to spill over. Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister, said it would be “a miracle” if Mrs May’s deal won a House of Commons majority, adding that it may be better if the UK “just leaves”. One leader said the British prime minister had effectively “set a trap”, ploughing on with a ratification strategy that was set to fail and make the EU look as if it was calling time on Britain’s membership. Mr Macron was in turn adamant that EU leaders should not return for a summit next week. If Mrs May lost her vote in the Commons, it would leave the EU taking a crucial decision on extension in a “position of weakness”, with a no-deal exit possibly hours away on March 29. The French president was so insistent on the need to avoid a summit that Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, jokingly asked if he had planned a holiday that week. Diplomats had hoped leaders would quickly endorse a counter-offer: a May 22 exit date, on the eve of European Parliament elections, which would be conditional on the House of Commons passing an exit deal next week. As more and more leaders intervened, it quickly became clear this was not going to be a straightforward summit. Notes of the discussion describe it as “going in all directions”. Most notably António Costa, the Portuguese prime minister, proposed a radical plan, citing Portugal as the UK’s oldest continental ally. It involved Britain being able to decide to stay in the EU for “as long as the UK deems necessary”, as long as it held European elections in late May.

 A surprised participant at the summit speculated that Mr Costa may have been “confused”, having earlier spent time with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour party.
Various other initiatives, often driven by Mr Macron, threw out a host of other end dates, including May 7, May 9 and June 1. The French president swung from tough positions — declaring at some points that Britain should leave by April 11 — to surprising some diplomats by dropping previous French demands for strict conditions on any decision. “I am stoical by nature,” Mr Macron said as he left the summit. “I do everything to be able to control what depends on us. What doesn’t depend on us, doesn’t depend on us.” Mrs Merkel, meanwhile, adopted a more cautious approach to the decision, counselling against closing off options, given the levels of uncertainty in London. This included the possibility of a long extension, should Britain be ready to ask for one and to hold European elections in May. Even some authors of the eventual compromise admit it was more “sophisticated” than first planned. But leaders left satisfied that a way had been found to keep all avenues open, protect key EU interests, while putting the onus on Britain to make a choice by April 12. After the breakthrough in the huddle, Mrs May was called from the nearby UK representation for her third meeting of the day with Donald Tusk, the European Council president. Only once that visit was over — at almost 10pm — could dinner begin.

 “Frankly speaking I was really sad before our meeting and now I am much more optimistic,” said Mr Tusk after the summit. The relief at the outcome came alongside some unmistakable concern among leaders at the chances of actually pulling off a deal. Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator, told some attendees his central scenario was a no-deal Brexit. Viktor Orban, the self-styled illiberal Hungarian prime minister, even made a rare intervention on the subject, noting the high probability of a hard exit. Recalling his experience of living in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, he said every Conservative party leader only cared about one thing and that was the Conservative party. Mrs Merkel followed up to note the serious risks of a no-deal outcome, and the difficulties this would pose for maintaining an open border with Northern Ireland. She called on Mr Barnier to explore a fallback plan to uphold the Good Friday Agreement on Northern Ireland, according to diplomatic notes. One EU official said: “Tonight was the first time leaders tried to crystallise what a ‘no deal’ means”.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 22, 2019, 10:04:44 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/7175850a-4b08-11e9-bbc9-6917dce3dc62

Philip Stephens YESTERDAY 568
A national crisis risks tipping over into a national emergency. A week before Britain is due to leave the EU Theresa May, in the manner of a banana republic populist, is setting the people against parliament. Stubborn and weak, the prime minister has surrendered her claim to the respect that comes with the office. The Conservative party has fallen to civil war. Without the forbearance of its EU partners, Britain risks tumbling out of the Union.

The sane majority in the House of Commons — across government and opposition, Brexiters and Remainers — must now steer events. It should be as scornful of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s point-scoring as of Mrs May’s threats. A first, precautionary step is to seek a long extension of Article 50 Brexit negotiations. Next, MPs should be ready to withdraw, at least temporarily, Britain’s request to leave the EU.

This would be an unprecedented upending of the constitutional order. But the public officials charged with keeping the wheels turning say the present governance breakdown is also unprecedented. At worst, Mrs May is playing Russian roulette with the country’s prosperity and security. At best, she seeks to blackmail MPs into backing her half-baked Brexit — support me or Britain will crash out.


She could be bluffing — planning to ask for a long extension if her agreement is defeated for a third time before calling an end to her wretched premiership. Her approach so far — jealous of her own position and dismissive of the national interest — cautions against trust.

None of this, of course, makes life any easier for the European leaders at this week’s Brussels summit. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has asked a reasonable question. If they consent to a long extension of the Article 50 process, how could they be sure of not ending up “in the same situation as today”? The answer is they could not. British politics is broken. A protracted pause would be a blind leap of faith.

Mrs May has requested a delay of only three months. She told MPs that “as prime minister” she will not seek another timeout. This was the shabby ultimatum of a weak leader. Collective cabinet responsibility has collapsed. Tory party discipline is non-existent. When she addresses the summit, Mrs May speaks only for herself.

The irony is that, by disinterring the spectre of no deal, she has also reduced her chances of winning in the Commons. Why should Brexit fundamentalists vote for her if the promised alternative is the complete rupture they seek.

It is just possible Mrs May will prevail. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party is being showered with offers of public money. Labour MPs running scared of Leave voters could lend a hand. I struggle, however, to see a majority for such a bad agreement.

Mrs May demands parliament respect “the will of the people”. Here, from the lips of a serving prime minister, are the sentiments of a demagogue rather than a democrat. “The people” are the 52 per cent who backed leaving EU. She assumes they all want her version of Brexit. The 48 per cent behind Remain are “citizens of nowhere” who deserve to be disenfranchised.

Other EU leaders know that a short delay could soon leave them facing again the same question: should they stick to the deadline even if it means a Brexit train crash. The alternative is to take a deep breath, put to one side Mr Barnier’s very fair question, and politely suggest Britain take a lot more time to recover its political balance.

They have every right, of course, to cut Mrs May loose. A long extension would disrupt elections to the European Parliament. Brexit was Britain’s choice. Mr Barnier’s scrupulous courtesy is repaid with insults. The EU is cast as a Soviet prison wrapped up in a German hegemonic plot.

There is another way, however, of looking at Britain’s plight. Do Paris and Berlin, Madrid and Brussels see advantage for Europe in pushing Britain over the edge into an economic as well as political abyss? What does it say of the cohesion of Europe if there is not an amicable settlement? These leaders owe nothing to Mrs May. I suspect, however, that at the eleventh hour they will be generous enough to consider what otherwise might become of Britain.

None of this lifts the responsibility from the House of Commons. Requesting a long extension would presumably trigger Mrs May’s departure. So be it. The clock, though, would still be ticking. Britain has at some point to confront the fundamental choice Mrs May has so stubbornly dodged. Where does it strike a balance between national sovereignty and access to the EU27. It will not be easy to find a sustainable point of balance. The process probably can start only after a general election.

The best strategy would begin with revocation of Article 50. This would not spell the end of Brexit. Instead, Britain would gain space to build a broad agreement around a deal acceptable at once to parliament and the EU27. The new accord could be put to a referendum. If voters still backed Leave, it would form the basis of a second, this time short and amicable, Article 50 process.

Some will say it is too late for radical remedies. But if we have learnt anything since 2016 it is that Brexit cannot be short-circuited. Mrs May’s deal, even were it agreed, would foreshadow years of acrimonious argument. So too would any other plan within the present framework. Much better to start again.

philip.stephens@ft.com
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 26, 2019, 09:25:24 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/25/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-meet-cabinet-amid-pressure-leadership/

MPs back indicative votes to take control of Brexit process leaving Theresa May's authority in shreds
•   Gordon Rayner, POLITICAL EDITOR
25 March 2019 • 11:45pm

Theresa May’s authority was in shreds on Monday night as Parliament seized control of Brexit with the help of three ministers who resigned to vote against the Government. MPs voted by 329 to 302 in favour of a plan by Remain-supporting MPs for a temporary takeover of the Commons that will enable them to decide their own way forward. Thirty Tory MPs defied the whip to back an amendment tabled by Sir Oliver Letwin that means MPs will vote on Wednesday on options such as staying in a customs union or single market, holding a second referendum or even revoking Article 50. The rebels included Richard Harrington, a business minister, who resigned and accused Mrs May of “playing roulette with the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in this country”.
Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister, and Steve Brine, the health minister, also quit to vote against the Government. The Prime Minister could face further resignations if she does not allow free votes on Wednesday, after Remain-backing ministers warned her they would quit if they were ordered to vote with the Government. Mrs May will be powerless to stop the votes going ahead, and if she tries to resist the outcome, Parliament could overrule her again by tabling its own Brexit Bill. Mrs May had already cancelled plans to hold a third “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal on Tuesday, after admitting it had no chance of winning a majority in the Commons.
But she refused to give up on her deal, telling MPs a “slow Brexit” was the only alternative, and tried to persuade MPs not to back the indicative votes amendment. However, her pleas fell on deaf ears as Sir Oliver’s amendment, tabled jointly with Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, and Hilary Benn, the Labour MP, was passed by a comfortable majority of 27. After Monday night’s vote, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said: “I would like to congratulate the House for taking control. The Government’s approach has been an abject failure and this House must now find a solution.”Stephen Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, warned Mrs May during a Cabinet meeting on Monday that indicative votes could lead to a general election.
Government sources said the result set a “dangerous, unpredictable precedent for the future” and Sir Bill Cash, the Brexiteer Tory, described it as a “constitutional revolution”.  Nicky Morgan, the former Cabinet minister, retaliated by saying that Mrs May, who blamed Parliament for not knowing what sort of Brexit it wanted, could not now fault them for taking steps to decide. Sir Oliver proposed a series of votes, beginning with a “plain vanilla” vote on MPs’ first preferences, but warned compromises would have to be made, because: “If we all vote for that which is our first preference, I think we almost know that we will never get to a majority solution.”
He said that once the most popular solutions were identified, Parliament could “zero in on something” that could secure a majority. Mrs May said she was “sceptical” of any one vote commanding a majority and made it clear the outcome would not be legally binding, provoking an outcry from Remain-supporting MPs. She said: “No government could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is. So I cannot commit the Government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this House. But I do commit to engaging constructively with this process.”Nick Boles, the Tory MP and one of the architects of the Letwin amendment, told BBC Two’s Newsnight: “If Parliament refuses to listen to what Parliament has voted for, we will bring forward a Bill that will require the Government to reflect Parliament’s wishes. “I am going to wake up with a broad grin on my face. I am going to think I finally live in a parliamentary democracy where Parliament is sovereign.” Britain will leave the EU on May 22 if Mrs May’s deal is passed before the end of this week. But if the deal is not approved, the UK will leave without a deal on April 12 unless the Prime Minister asks the EU for a longer extension.
During an emergency Cabinet meeting on Monday, Eurosceptic ministers rounded on Mrs May’s dismissal of a no-deal Brexit. Mrs May said: “Unless this House agrees to it, no-deal will not happen. No Brexit must not happen. "And a slow Brexit, which extends Article 50 beyond May 22, forces the British people to take part in European elections and gives up control of any of our borders, laws, money or trade, is not a Brexit that will bring the British people together.”
11:32PM
Jeremy Corbyn congratulates the Commons. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "I would like to congratulate the House for taking control. "The Government's approach has been an abject failure and this House must now find a solution. "So I pay tribute to the Hon member for West Dorset, and the member for Leeds Central, and others, who have worked to achieve tonight's result. "The Government must take this process seriously. We do not know what the House will decide on Wednesday. But I know there are many members of this House who have been working for alternative solutions, and we must debate those to find a consensus. "And this House must also consider whether any deal should be put to the people for a confirmatory vote. "Where this Government has failed, this House must, and I believe will, succeed."
10:55PM
A 'dangerous precedent'
The Department for Exiting the EU said the vote on Sir Oliver Letwin's amendment set a "dangerous, unpredictable precedent" for the future. "It is disappointing to see this amendment pass, as the Government made a clear commitment to provide a process to find a majority in Parliament for a way forward this week," a spokesman said. "This amendment instead upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent for the future.
"While it is now up to Parliament to set out next steps in respect of this amendment, the Government will continue to call for realism - any options considered must be deliverable in negotiations with the EU. "Parliament should take account of how long these negotiations would take and if they'd require a longer extension which would mean holding European Parliamentary elections."
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 26, 2019, 09:44:58 AM
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/22/secret-cabinet-office-document-reveals-chaotic-planning-for-no-deal-brexit
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 26, 2019, 02:07:35 PM
•   https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/26/disappointing-mps-like-jacob-rees-mogg-lack-nerve-see-brexit/

Andrew Lilico
26 March 2019 • 1:08pm

 Was all that talk of how May’s deal was a “vassalage” just hot air?
But even an embarrassing Brexiteer climbdown can't saved  the PM's deal

Disappointingly, a number of pro-Brexit Conservative MPs, including most notably Jacob Rees-Mogg, are now apparently considering switching to backing May’s deal. That won’t make her deal pass. Even if every pro-Brexit MP had switched to backing May’s deal at the second vote, it would still have been defeated by its pro-Remain opponents. And since that time, the pro-Remain Conservative rebels’ ranks have expanded.

Last night 30 rebel Remainer Conservative MPs voted for the Letwin-Benn amendment, granting the House of Commons control of the “indicative votes” process this coming Wednesday. They now expect to be able to cancel or utterly neuter Brexit. Why would they want to switch to backing May’s deal now?
Similarly, why would Labour’s front bench now start to back May’s deal, since the Government is disintegrating under the pressure and the Conservative Party is on the point of splitting?
Of course, even if some more pro-Brexit MPs panic and switch to backing it, there will still be a hardcore of 20-30 Conservative pro-Brexit rebels who will not back the deal under any circumstances. They apparently call themselves “the Spartans”, alluding to the 300 Spartans whose glorious defeat at the famous battle of Thermopylae was the salvation of Greece, and indeed European civilisation more broadly, from the Persian invasion.
That is a pleasing historical reference, but I think a better name would be the “Old Whigs”, after the party that in 1679 supported the Exclusion Bill seeking to prevent James II becoming king. On that occasion the issue was whether England should be party of the pan-European political structure (in those days the Papacy). Those who said we should accept England falling under that pan-European structure were called “Tories”. Those who said England should be sovereign unto itself were called “Whigs”. Sound familiar?
Historical references aside, the right Leaver strategy now is as follows. Vote down May's deal. Force opponents of No Deal to revoke Article 50. By revoking they render themselves and their parties politically toxic, dooming their electoral chances. Win a general election with a Leaver party. Leave instantly with no deal and no negotiations. Job done.
But winning by forcing our opponents to render themselves politically toxic by overturning democracy, so in due course we win a general election, is not a strategy for which everyone will have either the nerve or the stomach. We have seen some of that overnight, with those switching to backing May’s deal for fear that Brexit being cancelled is the only alternative.
Such despair may indicate either a lack of faith in the voters — as if the 2016 majority to leave the EU was a freak never-to-be-repeated result, and this is the one chance ever to leave. It may also indicate a lack of stomach , because the way forward to victory will probably entail destroying the Conservative Party.
It is also frankly rather disappointing. For all that talk of how important the Union is and how we could never accept Northern Ireland’s people having their laws set by the EU with no say, when it comes to it apparently that’s not all that important.

For all the talk of how weak May supposedly was for backing down on the backstop in her deal, when it comes to it these pro-Brexit MPs are backing down too. For all the talk of how May’s deal was a “vassalage” worse than Remaining, when it came to it that and the rest was all just hot air.
Well, when I said May’s deal was worse than Remaining, what I meant was that May’s deal was worse than Remaining. When I said we’ll inevitably leave the EU regardless of whether Brexit is cancelled now, because there will be no place for a non-euro EU as the Eurozone integrates, I meant that. And when I said MPs should vote down May’s deal and force our opponents to cancel Brexit, if they must, rendering themselves and their parties politically toxic, I meant that as well.
The Spartan Whigs are right. Defeat here, in the form of Brexit being cancelled, will empower our cause, not finish it. Vote down May’s deal, and let the deluge commence.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 27, 2019, 03:11:56 PM

The Tory nightmare

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/27/promising-deliver-brexit-won-tories-legions-new-voters-must/


Promising to deliver Brexit won the Tories legions of new voters, we must not betray them now
Ben Bradley
27 March 2019 • 1:06pm
Save


 
The media descended on my Mansfield constituency in the Spring of 2017. It featured almost daily on the news or in the papers when the Conservative party were 20 points ahead in the polls, but as the national picture steadily declined the press grew increasingly sceptical about our chances there.
Despite the national swing, in seats like mine we still went on to secure unexpected victories. From the many days and weeks we spent out on the doorsteps talking to local residents I know that there were two reasons for wins such as mine: Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn. Those two things were the catalyst for a place like Mansfield, a seat that had been Labour for 100 years and literally never had a Conservative MP before, to make a huge shift in its politics.
Those issues overcame decades of emotive politics around Thatcherism and the mining industry, the closure of the pits and everything that came along with it. For the first time the Conservative Party was speaking to Mansfield in a way that Labour could not under Corbyn’s leadership.
My experience growing up just a few miles from Mansfield, and of all my career in North Nottinghamshire politics, is that these traditional working class communities are actually largely socially conservative. They agree with my party on issues like personal responsibility, on making work pay, welfare reform and supporting the military, and they’re generally a patriotic bunch. History rather than policy had led many of them to vote Labour, but Corbyn is anathema to those values. His Labour party flies in the face of everything they believe. In fact, I regularly heard it very directly: "I’ve always been Labour but I could never vote for HIM!"
Labour were out of touch, and where Labour had lost the respect of communities like these, we were promising to deliver for them. Mansfield voted 71 per cent leave in the referendum, and in 2017 I campaigned on a promise to deliver Brexit. It was hugely important to my community, who after decades of feeling that nobody listened had finally found a voice and been involved in shaking up the status quo. It was an issue and an outcome that had brought them hope that they could actually play a part in democracy. As David Cameron had said, "This is a once in a generation choice. The Government will implement what you decide."
This is what I fear ministers don’t understand. They focus on all of the economic angles of Brexit without considering the emotional ones. We made a promise to communities like Mansfield, that we would implement their decision and leave the European Union. We promised that we would leave on March 29, and we said that "no deal is better than a bad deal"’.
Whilst I and many colleagues have stuck by the commitments we made in our manifesto, the Government is currently reneging on those promises. As a result of decisions they have taken, we are now no longer leaving on that date, and the Prime Minister has not stuck to her word.
My voters trusted us for the first time ever to deliver for them, and if we don’t then they simply will not trust us again. In seats like mine we were elected because we promised to deliver Brexit. Pure and simple. Three years and much "can-kicking" later we seem no clearer about just how that will happen, and I have to say that near enough every single conversation I have with constituents ends with "just get us out".
They say they did not vote for a "deal" or a "fudge" or a compromise, and they certainly have no appetite for Parliament "taking control" or holding indicative votes. They voted to leave. Leave the institutions, stop paying them the money, stop taking their rules. A clean break. There were 11,500 Ukip voters in Mansfield in 2015, and now just 2,500. If ensuring Brexit is delivered is still the defining issue at the next election that will mean we have failed, and it means those voters will return from whence they came.
As a Tory MP, I find myself now in an invidious position, torn between voting through a deal that - as I have written before - is riddled with grievous flaws, and choosing to face an uncertain future in which Brexit will inevitably get softer and possibly will be scrapped entirely.
I understand the frustration of my constituents; they often say ‘’just leave with no deal’’ and I wish it were that simple, but the truth is that Parliament will bring the Government down before it allows that to happen.  Having been boxed into a corner in recent days by the Prime Minister, it is with a heavy heart - and against all of my instincts - that I feel the deal may be our only way out of this crisis. Delivering a clean Brexit is the priority, but I fear if we don’t get one foot out of the door now, to give ourselves the breathing space to reset and try again, then the whole thing will be lost. 
Ben Bradley is the Conservative MP for Mansfield
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 28, 2019, 04:29:59 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/efabc5ac-50d4-11e9-9c76-bf4a0ce37d49

   What’s behind the big bond rally?

Dovish central bankers and lukewarm economic data have driven debt markets higher
The bond market rally is fast gaining momentum

Robin Wigglesworth and Colby Smith in New York

The 2019 bond market rally is gaining momentum, pushing down yields and lifting the value of the fixed income universe by roughly $1.6tn since just the beginning of March. Why are debt markets on fire, and what does it say about the health of the global economy?Why are bond yields falling?Fixed income markets have been buoyant for much of the year, as bond investors remained fairly downbeat about economic growth, and therefore inflation and the likelihood of central banks raising interest rates. Rising bond prices mean lower yields.That pessimism has been largely validated by disappointing economic data in China, Europe and the US, and by a marked shift in the tone of the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve. Earlier this month both central banks surprised investors by just how downbeat they had become, with the former restarting a crisis-era bank lending programme and the latter dropping plans to raise interest rates this year and scaling back its balance sheet reduction programme.Indeed, the extent of the U-turn alarmed some investors, who rushed for the safety of highly rated government bonds such as Treasuries, and triggered hedging by mortgage investors fearful of a wave of refinancing, which then exacerbated the rally.“Why did the Fed need to out-dove themselves?” asked Seema Shah, global investment strategist at Principal Global Investors. “And if you put that with the ECB downgrading its growth forecast much more than people expected, you ask yourself, ‘What do they know that we don’t know?’”Did growth fears drive the global bond rally this week?The fading-growth narrative was reinforced by New Zealand’s central bank on Wednesday, when it unexpectedly hinted at forthcoming interest rate cuts and warned that “the global economic outlook has continued to weaken, in particular amongst some of our key trading partners including Australia, Europe, and China”. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that there are few central banks that want to be caught on the wrong side of the Fed,” said Brad Bechtel of Jefferies. “Meaning, why would you remain neutral or hawkish when the Fed is sitting neutral to dovish?” As a result, New Zealand’s 10-year government bond yield dropped to a record low of 1.74 per cent on Wednesday, a move that then rippled out to Australian, European and US bond markets. Yields continued to move lower across much of Asia and Europe on Thursday.“The trigger . . . is what happened in New Zealand with the central bank becoming much more dovish,” said John Taylor, co-head of European fixed income at AllianceBernstein. “Australia rallied in sympathy, and that mattered for the US because the 10-year note was sitting close to 2.40 per cent, an important technical level. When it broke through there, it had scope to rally.”Are central banks right to worry?The near-euphoria that surrounded the global economy a year ago has been replaced with gloom, as financial markets became more turbulent and a string of economic releases have come in well below expectations.The IMF in January cut its forecast for global growth this year by 0.2 percentage points to 3.5 per cent, and there has been little good news since then. Citigroup’s global Economic Surprise Index, which measures how often data comes in better or worse than forecasts, has been in negative territory for almost a year. That is its longest sub-zero stretch since 2008.At the same time, the US “yield curve” has inverted, a classic omen of a coming recession. The yield curve consists of Treasury yields of various maturities, and normally slopes upwards as longer-term US government bond yields are higher than short-term bill yields, to compensate investors for inflation and locking up their money for a long time. But when the curve flattens it indicates that investors think growth is slowing, and when it actually inverts — in other words, when yields on bills are higher than on 10-year Treasuries — it has proved an accurate predictor of downturns.The US yield curve inverted last week, as investors sharply marked down their expectations for growth, inflation and interest rates, and stirring concerns that the post-crisis economic expansion — which this summer will become the longest in history — is heading for a grisly end.
            What does this mean for stock markets?Equities have proven sensitive to higher interest rates, with last year’s turmoil initially kicked off by a sharp rise in US bond yields in early October. But falling bond yields are not necessarily good news either, given the message it sends about the global outlook for economic growth.Many analysts and investors remain sceptical that the yield curve’s current shape is meaningful, pointing out that whether it is inverted depends on what arbitrary maturities one picks. Moreover, they argue, the global bond market remains distorted by post-crisis quantitative easing programmes, which render redundant any discussion about the shape of the curve
.However, it is clear that stock markets are on edge, with the FTSE All-World index tumbling 1.4 per cent last Friday, when the US yield curve inverted. It fell another 0.4 per cent on Wednesday, its fifth decline in the eight trading days since last week’s Fed meeting and denting its 2019 recovery.“We think that the ongoing flattening, or outright inversion, of the US Treasury yield curve is a bad sign for equities, as it usually has been in the past,” Capital Economics said in a note. “While there is some evidence that post-financial crisis regulatory and monetary policy regimes are keeping the curve flatter than it might otherwise be, we are still wary of the idea that ‘this time is different’.”So is it time to head for the investment bunker?Probably not. Professor Campbell Harvey at Duke University, who wrote the seminal paper on the predictive power of the yield curve in the 1980s, points out that the curve needs to be inverted for at least a quarter before it is a reliable gauge of recession, and even then a contraction can take a year or two to materialise.

Moreover, there are reasons to believe that bond markets might be overreacting to cues from the global economy. China is slowing but in a gradual way, Europe is weak but still seems unlikely to face a recession and the Atlanta Fed’s “nowcasting” model indicates the US economy is expanding at an annual rate of 1.53 per cent.The Fed Funds futures markets indicate that traders think the US central bank will cut rates at least once this year, and possibly more, but some fund managers argue that looks excessive in the face of slower but still resilient growth.“The bond market is sniffing out a global recession, but a little too aggressively,” said Abhay Deshpande, chief investment officer at Centerstone Investors. “We’ll probably see a muddle-through, slower growth and some growth scares, but I think the Fed may have averted the worst-case scenario.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on March 28, 2019, 04:31:14 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/03/27/mario-draghi-has-let-deflation-take-hold-now-impotent-spectator/

A big bazooka that's turned into a popgun: The ECB has let deflation take hold and is now an impotent spectator
•   
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

27 March 2019 • 9:06pm



 Mario Draghi has lost his magic. The ECB withdrew stimulus too soon for political reasons and has tied its own hands as recession threatens
The European Central Bank has reached the end of the road. It no longer has the monetary levers or the political authority to launch another ‘shock and awe’ rescue if the eurozone tips into recession.
Mario Draghi tried valiantly to bluff his way through the ECB Watchers conference on Wednesday, laying out his surgical toolkit should the worst happen. “We are not short on instruments to deliver our mandate,” he said.
“What instruments?,” asked Ashoka Mody, the former deputy-director of the International Monetary Fund in Europe. “Aside from its jumble of words, the ECB has nothing else to offer.”
The eurozone’s 5-year/5-year forward inflation ‘swaps’ have collapsed over the last five trading days to 1.35pc. The contracts are pricing in a Japanese deflation trap as far out as 2024. Markets are screaming policy failure.
The 10-year Bund yield - the eurozone fear gauge - has fallen to minus 0.08pc. It is a headlong scramble for safe-haven assets. Risk spreads on Italian 10-year bonds have jumped to 260 basis points.
“The ECB has lost its ability to act as a normal central bank. Its forward guidance is meaningless since markets know that it cannot raise rates,” said professor Mody. The ECB has frittered away its firepower and allowed a deflationary psychology to take hold.
Prof Mody said that for the last six months it has refused to acknowledge the recessionary storm clouds in plain view. “Riven by conflicting national interests, it always acts late. This pattern of repeated denials, delays, and half-measures is the antithesis of risk management,” he wrote for Econbrowser.
Mr Draghi argued that the eurozone region has seen 50 “growth slowdowns” since 1970 that are comparable to the current dip. Only four of these led to recessions. “The euro area faced an analogous situation in 2016, when the economy also went through a soft patch triggered by a contraction in world trade,” he said.
What he did not say is that the eurozone was then firing on all four cylinders, enjoying a rare moment of self-propelled ‘endogenous’ growth as it closed the output gap after the Long Slump. An oil price crash - thanks to Saudi efforts to flood the market - was then acting as a ‘tax cut’ for European consumers. 
Above all the ECB was buying €80bn of bonds each month. This spigot has been turned off. The ECB halted quantitative easing in December for political reasons, justifying this violation of monetary science with Panglossian growth forecasts that were patently false even at the time.
It has effectively tightened monetary policy into the teeth of a eurozone industrial recession (as it did in July 2008, with dire consequences). This is a very dangerous step to take given that policy lending rates are still stuck at minus 0.4pc. 
“They pulled QE too soon,” said James Ferguson, a monetarist at MacroStrategy. “The underlying economy is not fixed and the banks are not fixed. The chances of a deflationary bust have increased massively.” 
Mr Ferguson said the ECB misread its own M3 monetary data. The institution does not strip out the distortion of ‘intermediate OFC’s’  - hedge funds, finance vehicles, etc, - that cause double-counting. The Bank of England’s M4x is a purer measure.
This means the ECB overstated M3 growth by roughly 1.5pc annually. It is the difference between escape velocity and economic stagnation.
Nor is the global picture remotely akin to 2016. As we learned again this morning, China is not coming to the rescue this time. The profit growth of Chinese industrial companies crashed to minus 14pc over the January/February period from a year earlier, the worst earnings since May 2009.
Nomura said its ‘credit impulse’ measure in China has risen just 2.5 percentage points in the latest burst of stimulus. This compares to 14 points in the reflation episode of 2015-2016, and 30 points in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
The ECB has proffered a fresh round of cheap funding for the banks (TLTROs) but that is life-support. It is not a monetary propellant. “The TLTROs are an admission that the banks are still broken. They still cannot get money from the market at viable cost,” said Mr Ferguson.
Mr Draghi knows - but cannot admit - that the ECB was forced to shut down QE prematurely under pressure from Germany and the northern bloc. The real motives were political, rooted in the dysfunctional character of Europe’s half-built monetary union and German fears of debt union by stealth.
The longer QE continued, the more it looked like an Italian bail-out. This was tolerable - up to a point -  so long as reformers held sway in Rome. It was intolerable once the insurgent Lega-Five Star alliance took power in open defiance of EMU budget rules.
The end of QE means that there is no longer a buyer-of-last resort standing behind eurozone debt markets or the Italian treasury. This too is dangerous. Bond vigilantes know that the ECB is not allowed to buy the debt of a country in distress without formal activation of the eurozone bail-out machinery (ESM-OMT), under strict conditions and requiring a vote in the German Bundestag.
The Germans, Dutch, Finns, and allies may ultimately agree to restart QE if the downturn spins out of control but by then it is too late. Nor is it clear whether much can be achieved by plain vanilla debt purchases when the bonds of core Europe are already trading at negative yields and the ECB’s balance sheet is nearing technical limits at 43pc of GDP.
It would take ‘helicopter money’ or people’s QE injected into the veins of the real economy to pull Europe out of a deflationary vortex in today’s circumstances. That would breach the Lisbon Treaty and precipitate a storm in the German constitutional court.
For now Mr Draghi is having to put the best construction on the miserable options left to him, a little tinkering here and there to separate the ‘refi’ and ‘depo’ rates to help banks, a twist or two in forward guidance. None of this has macro-economic significance.
Antonio Garcia Pascual from Barclays has spelled out the ECB’s final lines of defence if the storm hits. It can “actively manage” its €2.6 trillion QE portfolio, compress credit spreads, relaunch QE, and ultimately broaden the menu of assets to include equities. In my view, events on the ground would overrun such plans.
Europe’s only option is a fiscal stimulus but this brings us back to the elemental failings of a monetary union composed of sub-sovereign borrowers with vastly different levels of legacy debt, but with no joint budget, shared borrowing mechanism (eurobonds) or a common ‘safe asset’.
The Stability Pact and Fiscal Compact make it impossible to launch Keynesian counter-cyclical stimulus a l’outrance in an emergency. If weaker states go it alone they will be picked off by markets. As rating agencies discovered in the Greek saga - to their astonishment - these countries are no different from cities or private companies. They can spiral into bankruptcy.  That is the euro’s design-flaw.
The ECB says fiscal loosening this year amounts to 0.4pc of GDP across Euroland, mostly from Emmanuel Macron’s danegeld to the ‘gilets jaunes’, the much-reduced spending spree of the Lega-Five Star, and higher public wages in Germany (€30bn). This may cushion a soft patch. It is no defence against a global slump. 
It might be a stretch to say that a no-deal Brexit would bring these hopeless vulnerabilities to a head in short order but it is not a big stretch. Nobody knows whether EMU’s fragile edifice could withstand such a shock if Brussels really acted on threats of a quasi blockade. EU leaders should be thankful that Britain’s parliament is unwilling to test the matter.
In a sense Europe is paying the price for policy errors made almost a decade ago. The ECB should never have raised rates in 2011 and triggered EMU's double-dip recession. It should not have delayed QE for five years after the Fed had already  shown the way.  This inertia - or hubris - allowed 'Japanese' pathologies to take root. Now the task is becoming impossible.
Events have come a long way since Mr Draghi uttered the words “whatever it takes” in July 2012, and magically brought the eurozone debt crisis to a halt. It is of course a mythical episode. The real decision was made in Berlin when contagion threatened to engulf Spain and Italy - which is not to deny that Mr Draghi was skillful.
The Kanzleramt lifted its veto and allowed the ECB to act as a lender-of-last resort (subject to conditions). I know for certain it was pre-cooked because I was in the room three weeks earlier when the head of German finance ministry told a dinner group in London that something big was coming. He even stated - accurately - that “nothing flies in the eurozone without German permission”.
Seven years later Mr Draghi is little more than a spectator. Judging by the action this week in the bond markets, his words now have the potency of a popgun.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Denn Forever on March 28, 2019, 05:50:58 PM
So is a world wide recession a la 2008 in the offing?  How quick we forget.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 04, 2019, 12:27:37 PM
   https://www.ft.com/content/e4b113f0-5552-11e9-91f9-b6515a54c5b1

   Goodbye EU, and goodbye the United Kingdom
The invented identity of ‘Britishness’ is unravelling as English nationalism takes hold
Philip Stephens

During the spring of 1975 the Wall Street Journal ran a powerful headline. “Goodbye Great Britain”, the American business newspaper declared. The UK was known as the sick man of Europe. Investors were taking flight in the face of its ruinous economic performance and endemic industrial strife. Greatness had made way for spiralling decline.The prediction proved premature. Britain was bailed out by the International Monetary Fund and subsequently saved by North Sea oil and, some would say, by Margaret Thatcher’s economic revolution. In any event, a decade later Thatcher was dancing on the world stage with US president Ronald Reagan.Britain faces another existential moment. The Brexit story was supposed to be about leaving the EU. It has turned into a runaway national crisis. The forces driving Brexit look set to sweep away much more than the institutional machinery, economic relationships and political ties created during decades of EU membership. Goodbye to Brussels is shaping up as the first act in a two-part drama. The second may well wave goodbye to the UK.The other day I listened to Mervyn King say that the government should dispense with further talks with Brussels and opt for a no-deal Brexit, albeit after a six-month period of preparation. The costs, the former Bank of England governor said, would be manageable and temporary. Given Lord King’s complacency about the stability of financial markets before the 2008 crash, many will discount his economic judgment. What struck me, however, was his insistence that Brexit was really about identity and culture.Though he sits on the opposite side of the European debate, the former Conservative chancellor Kenneth Clarke agrees. The impetus for Brexit, Mr Clarke says, comes from a resurgence of the rightwing English nationalist wing of his party. The project reflects a strain of Conservatism that has never come to terms with the loss of empire.  Leaving the EU — Independence Day, the Brexiters call it — is rooted as much in nostalgia as in the populist revolt against elites and outsiders that has supplied the European debate with such visceral anger. Hence the Brexiters’ fantasy of a new “Global Britain” and the ubiquitous allusions to the second world war and Winston Churchill’s readiness to stand alone. The bluster conceals a cry of pain.
            
Brexit is an English rather than a British enterprise. More specifically, it belongs overwhelmingly to provincial England. With the exception of Birmingham, the nation’s great cities — London, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle among them — were on the side of Remain. They were outvoted by Leavers in smaller English cities and towns and in rural areas. Scotland backed Remain by a large margin. Pace the Brexiters of the Democratic Unionist party, Northern Ireland voted for continued EU membership. Wales followed England out.Scotland voted in 2014 to stay in the union of the UK. It is hard to imagine it would do the same in another referendum. Five years ago, unionism offered proud Scots two supplementary identities. They could be at once British and European. After Brexit it will be either/or. The 1707 union with England handed Scotland an international role as a partner in empire. Outside of the EU it will be cut off from the rest of Europe. Theresa May’s government insists that powers returned from Brussels will be hoarded at Westminster rather than shared with the Edinburgh parliament and other devolved administrations.

The prime minister wants sharply to reduce immigration. Scotland wants more newcomers to oil the wheels of the economy. Why would that nation, with a political culture steeped in social market centrism, shackle itself to the rule of English nationalists?Nor can Northern Ireland’s place in the UK any longer be taken for granted. The DUP has made a great fuss about ensuring that a settlement with the EU27 does not differentiate between the province and the rest of the UK. But their hostility to the EU is a minority position in Northern Ireland itself. Nothing has done so much as Brexit to reopen the question of Irish unification. Britishness is an invented identity. It is deliberately expansive, calculated during the 19th century to cast empire as a joint project of the four nations of the UK. More recently, as the empire came home, it has provided a welcoming mantle for immigrants from former imperial outposts. British citizens of overseas heritage overwhelmingly identify as, well, British. Allegiance to England is seen predominantly as the property of the nation’s white communities.The Leave side understood this during the 2016 referendum. It made two promises: to spend more money on the National Health Service and to shut out an (entirely imagined) influx of migrants from Turkey. Better to spend money on the health service, the less than subtle message ran, than see hospitals overrun by foreigners. The distance between such sentiments and the overt racism of extremists such as the English Defence League is perilously short.To watch Britain’s descent into chaos in recent times has been to see the threads of Britishness, woven over centuries, unravel. Identity politics has elbowed aside common purpose. The tears in the fabric run alongside borders and within them. It is hard to imagine how they can be repaired. philip.stephens@ft.com
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 04, 2019, 12:42:37 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/e4b113f0-5552-11e9-91f9-b6515a54c5b1

   Marshfield Tory 5ptsFeatured19 minutes ago In 2030 Ulster will  have a Catholic majority.  Wages and salaries in the Republic are 60/70% higher.    That makes it likely that a referendum would pull Ulster southwards particularly because of the EU benefits.   The DUP are sitting on a timebomb.


   
   https://www.ft.com/content/e4b113f0-5552-11e9-91f9-b6515a54c5b1

   RePS 5ptsFeatured14 minutes agoAt the time of the partition of Ireland, Northern Ireland was among the wealthiest parts of the UK, indeed of the world. It was vastly more prosperous than the southern part of the island and this divergence was among the drivers for partition.Today NI is an economic basket case. Productivity is miserable even by UK standards. This is partly due to underinvestment but the poor work ethic also plays a role.The union has been a disaster for Northern Ireland. Combine this with changes in ethnicity and the disastrous handling of Brexit - change is inevitable.The DUP (and unfortunately most of the other political groups there) are unable to address the fundamental issues of the economy, remaining mired in yesterday's history.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: mouview on April 04, 2019, 02:30:13 PM
Why Tessie reached out to Jerry;

https://news.sky.com/story/why-did-theresa-may-ditch-a-no-deal-brexit-11683841
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 05, 2019, 08:33:34 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/9496494c-56da-11e9-a3db-1fe89bedc16e

   May’s Brexit talks with Labour make little progress
PM and Corbyn facing increasing opposition to cross-party initiative

George Parker and Jim Pickard in London and Alex Barker in Brussels

Theresa May’s hopes of securing a deal with Labour on Brexit before a crucial EU summit were fading on Thursday, after a second day of cross-party talks broke up without agreement and opposition to the initiative hardened.Downing Street said negotiations with Labour would continue on Friday and that both sides were “mindful of the need to make progress” ahead of the European Council meeting next Wednesday, where the prime minister is expected to ask for a delay to Brexit beyond the scheduled date of April 12.But while the initial talks between Mrs May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday were described as “constructive”, there was less optimism on Thursday as the two teams struggled to find common ground on a Brexit Plan B.The apparent lack of progress was reinforced when attorney-general Geoffrey Cox told the BBC that if the talks failed the prime minister would be forced by EU leaders to accept a “long” delay to Brexit. “I mean longer than just a few weeks or months,” he said.Mrs May announced talks with Mr Corbyn on Tuesday after she admitted her Brexit deal was deadlocked in parliament. Downing Street said she was approaching the talks in a “constructive spirit” and took care not to close down any plan B options.But the prime minister’s move has been fiercely criticised by Tory MPs, with threats of a full-scale revolt if she accepts Labour’s proposal for a customs union between the UK and the EU after Brexit.
Many Labour MPs believe Mr Corbyn should play no part in helping Mrs May to deliver Brexit, and the party is split on whether it should demand a second “confirmatory” referendum on any exit deal.“The government and the opposition hope to meet again tomorrow for further work to find a way forward to deliver on the referendum,” Downing Street said in a statement after senior Conservative and Labour figures held talks lasting more than four hours on Thursday.But one shadow cabinet member said the government had not proved it was “prepared to flex over any lines we have called for”.
Much focus is on whether Mrs May and Mr Corbyn can agree to a customs union as the basis of a future relationship between the UK and the EU.It is strongly opposed by Eurosceptic Tories, but Downing Street suggested it might be acceptable on the grounds that future parliaments “in generations to come” might decide to pull out of the customs union.Cabinet ministers are deeply divided on how to break the Brexit impasse at Westminster. Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Wednesday that a second referendum was a “perfectly credible proposition”, but health secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday he was “very, very strongly against”.Another cabinet minister said there was no way Mr Corbyn would help Mrs May out of her Brexit crisis “It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Labour politics,” he added. “There’s a complete lack of strategy.” The shadow cabinet is also divided. Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer, backed by shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, wants a second referendum on any exit deal but others are opposed.Some 25 Labour MPs — including former minister Caroline Flint and others representing Leave-voting seats — wrote to Mr Corbyn on Thursday, saying another referendum should not be part of a deal.If the talks between Mrs May and Mr Corbyn fail to produce an agreed Plan B, she has promised to test parliamentary opinion for different forms of Brexit — including her deal — in a series of Commons votes, but time is now short before Wednesday’s EU summit.
   
         The earliest the votes could take place would be Tuesday. Such a step would be highly risky, not least because if Mrs May held indicative votes and no Brexit option received a Commons majority, she would arrive in Brussels with no agreed plan.Since the EU is demanding to know from Mrs May what she would do with any extension to the Article 50 divorce process, Downing Street hinted that she would hold in reserve the idea of asking for a new Commons process.“The European Council is likely to be looking for clarity on steps going forward in the UK parliament,” said Mrs May’s spokesman.
Ahead of the EU summit, Mrs May will have to formally request an extension to Article 50 in a letter to European Council president Donald Tusk, with Eurosceptics cabinet ministers opposed to a long delay to Brexit.The prime minister will stress that Britain must be able to terminate the extension when — or if — her withdrawal agreement is ratified.Senior EU diplomats are concerned that Mrs May will avoid explicitly requesting a long Article 50 extension to avoid upsetting Brexiters.But London has been warned by Brussels not to expect EU leaders to impose a long extension without Mrs May asking for one. One EU diplomat said he could see why Mrs May would “want Europe to set the date”. “That is very dangerous and will not work,” added the diplomat. “It is not possible.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 05, 2019, 08:45:55 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/ad283ac4-561c-11e9-91f9-b6515a54c5b1

   Opinion
   Brexit
A long Brexit extension offers a chance to think again
The withdrawal agreement does not command the needed support in parliament or country
Martin Wolf

Theresa May’s overture to the Labour leader shows, at least, a hideously belated recognition that crashing out without a deal would be utterly irresponsible © PA
            Having been rejected three times by her party’s Brexiter fanatics, Theresa May has at last decided to try something else. The prime minister’s overture to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn shows, at least, a hideously belated recognition that crashing out without a deal would be utterly irresponsible. But, having burnt her bridges with the hardliners, she has to go further. It is not enough to ask Mr Corbyn for help, which might well be unforthcoming. A reason has also to be given to the EU for asking for the long extension the UK clearly needs. That should be another referendum.Let us look not at today’s sorry spectacle in Westminster, but at the broad options available to the UK: a no-deal exit; a softer Brexit acceptable to the EU and the British public and parliament, for which an exit agreement is a necessary condition; and continued membership of the EU. Crashing out is unacceptable. The withdrawal agreement does not attract the needed support, for very good reasons.

That leaves EU membership as the one sane option.According to a recent paper from the Centre for European Reform, the UK economy is already some 2.5 per cent smaller than it would have been if Britain had not decided on Brexit. The knock-on effect on the public finances is, it argues, £360m a week, almost exactly the sum that the fount of economic wisdom, Boris Johnson, promised would be available after Brexit. The figure is in line with other reasonable estimates. Philip Hammond, chancellor of exchequer, used to say that the British people “did not vote to be poorer”. But they did. Alas, it could get far worse.Last week, Mr Johnson argued: “It is time for the [prime minister] to channel the spirit of Moses in Exodus, and say to the Pharaoh in Brussels — LET MY PEOPLE GO.” The view that the British people are enslaved by the EU is laughable. But the analogy is better than Mr Johnson knew. The freed Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. That was not the promise of the Brexit campaign. But it is probably accurate. A no-deal Brexit is likely to deliver a large negative shock, followed by decades of weaker growth in an economy with reduced access to its natural markets and shorn of global confidence.The prime minister is absolutely right to reject this option, though that has come far too late. The natural tendency then is to seek some sort of soft Brexit. But there is a problem with this, indicated by the reaction to the withdrawal deal itself. Any soft Brexit — staying in the customs union, staying in the single market, or staying in the customs union and the single market — requires the UK to accept a wide range of EU conditions, regulations and rules, without enjoying a say in them. The only exception would be a Canada-style free trade agreement. But the EU has made it clear that such a deal would only be possible if Northern Ireland were treated separately from the rest of the UK and so there would need to be a customs and regulatory border in the Irish Sea. But that has, in turn, been unacceptable to parliament.It is a reasonable judgment, supported by behaviour in parliament, that such a halfway house is very unlikely to be acceptable in the long run. The UK is not a small country, in the European context. It is most unlikely to accept such subordination to the EU political process in the long term. It will probably not accept it even in the medium term. It would indeed be “vassalage”. If no-deal Brexit is insane and a soft Brexit ultimately unacceptable, the only sensible option becomes staying inside the EU. But that would only be possible after another referendum, conducted on the basis of the options we know: a no-deal Brexit; the prime minister’s withdrawal deal; and withdrawing the application to leave. Such a referendum would be complex, but not impossible.How should the EU confront such a possibility? The starting point is that it only makes sense to offer a long extension if something might change. Another referendum would be such a change. A general election might also be such a change. But the crucial choice for the EU is this: should it be rid of this impossible, even unhinged, country, even though a no-deal Brexit could do significant harm to the bloc and perhaps even to the credibility of the European project? Or does it offer a lengthy extension in return for the UK’s willingness to rethink what it wants to do, including another referendum?Who, the EU must constantly have wondered, will rid us of this turbulent country? Happily, comes the answer, it is willing to do so itself. Yet think again: just as the UK will always be European, so will the EU always have the UK as a neighbour. This may be the last chance for the two sides to rethink. Take it
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 05, 2019, 09:20:23 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/a190dac8-576f-11e9-91f9-b6515a54c5b1

   Donald Tusk offers UK flexible extension to Brexit
      
               Proposal aims to overcome doubts over EU divorce delay in Europe and London

Alex Barker in Brussels and Henry Mance in London
Donald Tusk is offering Britain a one-year delay to Brexit that could be shortened if the House of Commons passes an exit treaty, a proposal aimed at overcoming reservations about a long extension in London and other European capitals.The European Council president has told colleagues the idea of such a “flextension” — which runs up to April 12, 2020 — is the “only reasonable way out” of the impasse over Brexit with Britain’s withdrawal treaty still stuck in parliament. Negotiators representing Theresa May, the prime minister, and the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn are to meet again on Friday for a third day of talks, although there has been little sign so far that they are close to a Brexit compromise that could pass the House of Commons. A bill, led by Labour MP Yvette Cooper, compelling the prime minister to seek an extension to the Article 50 divorce process was delayed in the House of Lords on Thursday, and will now not become law until Monday at the earliest. Mr Tusk’s idea of a “flextension”, first reported by the BBC, remains controversial both in London and the EU. Brexiters fear the long extension is a ploy by pro-EU MPs to reverse Britain’s decision to leave. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has warned Britain not to take a long extension “for granted”, saying the EU will not accept being held hostage to a Westminster crisis.Mrs May is expected to send a letter to Mr Tusk on Friday requesting an extension to Britain’s April 12 exit date. With cabinet divided over what end-date to put on the extension, EU diplomats are concerned it will only ask for a short delay to May 22 or June 30, the day before the new European Parliament is inaugurated. Mr Tusk’s proposal is aimed at finding a middle ground between those in the EU who are unwilling to approve a series of short extensions and Brexiters who want to leave the EU as soon as possible. Any change to Britain’s exit date requires unanimous agreement between the UK and the 27 remaining EU leaders, who will discuss the issue at a summit on Wednesday.
One senior EU official said Mr Tusk told colleagues: “We could give the UK a year-long extension, automatically terminated once the withdrawal agreement has been accepted and ratified by the House of Commons. And even if this were not possible, then the UK would still have enough time to rethink its Brexit strategy.” “Short extension if possible and a long one if necessary,” he added. “It seems to be a good scenario for both sides, as it gives the UK all the necessary flexibility, while avoiding the need to meet every few weeks to further discuss Brexit extensions.”There is no impediment to bringing forward Britain’s exit date in Article 50 of the EU treaty, which sets the terms for exit negotiations. It lays down an extendable two-year limit on negotiations but makes clear that a member state can leave “from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement”.Mr Tusk will face a bigger challenge convincing other EU leaders to demand a long extension, even if Britain is requesting a short delay. One senior EU diplomat said he could not see why Mrs May would “want Europe to set the date”. “That is very dangerous and will not work. It is not possible,” the diplomat said. Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, has at the same time made clear that a short delay to Brexit would be dependent on the Commons passing a withdrawal agreement by the end of next week.
         Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is open to offering the UK more time, putting her at odds with Mr Macron, who has been vocal about his reservations.The French president wants Britain to offer a clear justification for any extension and would be expected to question why the EU would offer a longer delay if Mrs May is unable to make a case for it. The EU would require Britain to hold European Parliament elections if any extension goes beyond May 23. Downing Street has made clear it will continue with election preparations and issue an order for the election poll by April 11.Several member states also want assurances from the UK over how it would use its voting rights during a long delay, especially during negotiations over the EU budget or in selecting the leaders of EU institutions.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 08, 2019, 11:32:22 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/4e252d4c-579e-11e9-a3db-1fe89bedc16e

   Cross-party Brexit talks strengthen case for an extension
      
               May and Corbyn only need to agree on the political principles underpinning the UK’s withdrawal
      
         Wolfgang Münchau

A scent of compromise hangs in the air. The talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn could be the decisive moment. I have no idea whether the UK prime minister and the leader of the opposition will succeed. Maybe not. But they stand a good chance of accomplishing a critical immediate goal: an agreement on Wednesday by EU leaders in the European Council to extend Friday’s official Brexit deadline. At their last meeting, the council insisted on a political way forward as a condition for a longer extension. Here it is: a cross-party process. This has not been tried before.It reduces both the chances of a no-deal Brexit and of a second referendum simultaneously. Neither the UK nor the EU are prepared for a no-deal Brexit. Experts in the medical equipment sector fear critical supply shortages that would occur in both directions under no-deal.

Potential supply bottlenecks into the UK were well known, but I was not aware that the EU, too, was reliant on imported medical kit from the UK. It would be irresponsible for politicians to seek a no-deal Brexit given that such risks are not yet fully understood.The other extreme option would be a second referendum. It could have stood a chance if pitched against a no-deal Brexit once all the other options had been eliminated. But events have intruded. Mrs May is right to conclude that the preservation of Conservative party unity can no longer take precedence after MPs rejected the withdrawal agreement three times. Her leadership of the party and her time in office will end this year. She has concluded that she needs to co-opt the opposition leader to achieve a cross-party majority. What happened in the UK reminds me a little of Germany’s grand coalitions, which happen whenever it is impossible for one or the other large party to find a majority. It is deeply ironic that at the point of its departure the UK is becoming so very European in this respect.I would advocate either June, as suggested by Mrs May, or the end of December as extension dates. A June deadline makes sense because whatever needs to be decided now can be decided within a few weeks. Mercifully, there is no need for Mrs May and Mr Corbyn to agree on the specific contents of a soft Brexit. I liked the rather vague proposal by Kenneth Clarke, the Conservative MP and former chancellor, in favour of a permanent customs union. There is no point in discussing specifics at this stage because any agreement will take years of negotiations. All Mrs May and Mr Corbyn need to achieve is to find consensus on the political principles underpinning Brexit. Mrs May will have to remove one of her red lines. Labour will need to drop the second referendum, probably not a problem for Mr Corbyn personally. Both already agree on ending free movement. The hardest question will be: would a new Conservative leader and prime minister still respect the compromise?

This is why the extension date matters so much. The EU should consider carefully the consequences of a very long extension. The most logical long extension date would be end-December, with a final decision taken at the European Council’s December meeting. Mrs May cannot be removed by her party beforehand. A December extension would take EU leaders beyond a critical period in the autumn, during which they need to settle important issues: appointments of the presidents of the European Commission, European Council and European Central Bank. They will also need to deal with the aftermath of the European elections.If the European Council were to extend into 2020, they may find themselves with Boris Johnson as Conservative leader and a full voting member of their illustrious circle. EU leaders should treat December as the outer limit of Mrs May’s own departure date because they want to ensure they make the deal with her. An extension based on cross-party talks should satisfy Emmanuel Macron.

 The French president is right to oppose an unconditional extension. But he should agree to an intelligent compromise. As a quid pro quo he could insist that EU leaders commit not to extend the deadline again. This might also help focus confused minds in the UK parliament, and spare us from further silly amendments like those that seek to take no-deal off the table.Mrs May’s strategy is not foolproof. The cross-party talks might fail. There could be a political accident in the European Council. There could be a general election in the UK.The hardcore supporters of a second referendum will not support this. Nor will the no-dealers. What I do not know is whether those willing to compromise will outnumber those who do not. But what I am certain of is that a cross-party compromise is the only path towards an agreed Brexit this side of a general election.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 08, 2019, 04:36:11 PM
   https://www.ft.com/content/d9bba980-5794-11e9-a3db-1fe89bedc16e

Global economy enters ‘synchronised slowdown’
Disappointing indicators show similar picture in US, China and Europe

            Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, said the IMF would cut its growth forecasts © AFP
Chris Giles in London
yesterday
The global economy has entered a “synchronised slowdown” which may be difficult to reverse in 2019, according to the latest update of a tracking index compiled by the Brookings Institution think-tank and the Financial Times. Sentiment indicators and economic data across advanced and emerging economies have been deteriorating since last autumn, suggesting fading momentum in global growth and the need to resort to new forms of economic stimulus. The worsening outlook has sparked warnings from Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, who said the fund would cut its growth forecasts later this week, and the World Trade Organization which has said the continued threats of trade skirmishes had weakened forecasts. The findings follow generally disappointing economic indicators over the past six months that have shown a similar picture in the US, China and in Europe. Professor Eswar Prasad of the Brookings Institution said the slowdown did not yet appear to be heading for a global recession, but all parts of the world economy were losing momentum.
 “The nature of the slowdown has ominous portents for these economies over the next few years, especially given present constraints on macroeconomic policies that could stimulate growth,” he said. The Brookings-FT Tracking Index for the Global Economic Recovery (Tiger) compares indicators of real activity, financial markets and investor confidence with their historical averages for the global economy and for individual countries.The headline readings slipped back significantly at the end of last year and are at their lowest levels for both advanced and emerging economies since 2016, the year of the weakest global economic performance since the financial crisis.The index fell partly because hard data indicating real economic activity has been weaker, with countries such as Italy falling into recession and Germany narrowly avoiding one and with the US economy losing steam as the effects of Donald Trump’s tax cuts wear off. Although economic sentiment remains high in advanced economies, it has fallen from its peaks and has plummeted to well below normal levels in emerging economies, led by fears that China’s years of rapid economic growth are coming to an end. Athough China’s economy has been showing signs of improvement following government efforts to stimulate capital spending and the US Federal Reserve’s reversal of its plans for further interest rate rises this year has had a steadying effect, economic confidence has taken a knock over the past six months. Growth indicators in Europe have been disappointing, Prof Prasad said. Globally, only India stands out as an exception to the slowing trend, boosted by fiscal and monetary stimulus ahead of national elections starting later this month. Delays in the anticipated trade rapprochement between the US and China have also raised questions over the prospects for greater momentum in the world economy in the second half of the year. “Trade tensions and the uncertainty they have spawned are likely to leave a long-lasting scar on the world economy. This uncertainty is undermining business confidence and depressing private investment, which has implications for longer-term productivity growth,” Prof Prasad said, He added that any weakness might be amplified by policymakers’ inability to provide effective stimulus to boost prospects later this year. “High levels of public debt are likely to limit the ability of major advanced economies to counteract a slowdown with fiscal stimulus,” he said. “Conventional monetary policy remains constrained in many advanced economies where policy rates are close to or below zero, while any further unconventional monetary policy actions present significant risks and uncertain pay-offs.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 08, 2019, 06:03:42 PM
https://youtu.be/tg00YEETFzg

https://www.ft.com/content/d2708be8-59d6-11e9-9dde-7aedca0a081a

Conservatives will pay a heavy price for weaponising Brexit
      
               Letting hardliners frame the debate has exposed the UK to division and humiliation
      
         Robert Shrimsley
Robert Shrimsley
 “There must have been a time, in the beginning, when we could have said — no,” says one of the eponymous heroes of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in the seconds before his execution. “But somehow we missed it. Oh well, we’ll know better next time.”When, before long, the Conservatives stand facing their moment of electoral oblivion, what will they identify as that missed moment of the Brexit process since the 2016 referendum that might have made everything different?This is not merely a historical inquiry. If the UK is now heading into a lengthy Brexit extension, we will be doing this all again, but under a different Tory leader who disavows Theresa May’s new consensus-seeking approach.The process has deepened division, seen decent MPs held in disdain, threatened and abused.

A recent poll shows voters tempted by the idea of a strong leader less beholden to parliament. At last, the prime minister has reached out to Labour to “break the logjam”. It may be far too late and far from certain to end well, but already her move has shown what might have been and thus the scale of Conservative culpability.So here, then, is the answer to the Guildenstern question. Mrs May’s crucial decision came in the months before her 2017 snap election: that her party would own and weaponise Brexit. This was a political calculation, first to secure herself the leadership, and then to create divisions for party advantage.The Vote Leave campaign had already brilliantly exploited voter anger by effectively offering Brexit as the answer to austerity.

The Tories tried to repeat the trick. Brexit became their differentiation from Labour, the answer to the cry for change; no longer a national challenge but a political weapon. The tactic crushed the UK Independence party and secured 42 per cent of the vote, but drove Remain voters to Labour. We can only guess how it might have played had Mrs May offered a gentler Brexit. She would have lost some votes but might have saved others in places that mattered more and prevented the demographic shift that is turning her party into the refuge of the old and angry. Before the election, when Mrs May seemed at her most powerful, was the moment for a new direction. She chose not to take it. Afterwards she was too weak to alter course.Hindsight is always 20:20 and there was a logic to her choices.
But by making Brexit an entirely Conservative conversation she framed the choice as between a hard and very hard Brexit. Mrs May was always going to face hardliners, but the larger, quieter mass of Tory MPs was ready to back any sensible proposition had it been pointed in that direction. What is now a split might have been only a splinter. Instead, she let Brexit be defined by preening ultras, unmoored from accountability, too visibly enjoying the media spotlight, whose idea of debate is saying “up yours” to the chancellor of the exchequer. One can see why Mrs May did not want to work with Jeremy Corbyn. Oppositions don’t tend to bail out governments and the Labour leader has been cynical, but Mrs May never challenged him to be otherwise.
Imagine if, having won the leadership, Mrs May had made a real effort to seek consensus. Britain’s position on Brexit would have been framed, not as a choice between two harsh exits, but as an accommodation that befitted a 52:48 outcome. On the day after the referendum, even leading Leave supporters were entertaining the compromise of remaining in the EU’s single market. It was only later that positions hardened.A joint commission on Brexit, including senior Labour moderates, could have shaped the UK’s position. The Brexit ultras would have been marginalised. The entire nature of the debate would have changed — focusing on models of co-operation, customs union versus the single market, perhaps.

Instead many Remainers who initially accepted defeat, have been pushed into fighting for a second vote. There is no longer any credit for the Tories in owning Brexit, not least because so many of its leaders decry what they may deliver. Instead they face an electoral reckoning for the damage done in trying to weaponise the process. It is a double blow for Britain that the result may be a Corbyn government.Maybe the alternative vision is too optimistic. The extremes of an argument often pull their sides away from the middle ground. But letting hardliners frame the debate has exposed the UK to more division, anger, humiliation and economic damage. So yes, there was a moment when things could have been different. Oh well, we’ll know better next time.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 09, 2019, 08:36:15 AM
https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2019/04/james-kanagasooriam-the-left-right-age-gap-is-even-worse-for-the-conservatives-than-you-think.html

It might not feel like it this week, but the Conservatives’ problem with younger voters is a bigger problem for them than Brexit. This morning, Onward publishes a big new report on the age gap in British politics – now the most important indicator of vote intention. The stark reality in the data is that the Conservative Party’s age curve is not only extreme – you now need to be 51 years old before you become more likely to vote Conservative than Labour – but worse than the age curve for Leave. This is often missed because support for Leave is higher amongst older voters than voting Conservative.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: haranguerer on April 09, 2019, 08:51:50 AM
In the graphics I've seen shared re this and the accompanying commentary, there seems to be a notion that the future will see a much more left wing slant. Fact is, every generation has been like that, as people age they move to the right. Also, longer life expectancy with every generation is more likely to mean it has even less effect. The only things that will really make a difference is young people voting in the same numbers as older people, and whether the birth rate continues to increase or not.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Jell 0 Biafra on April 10, 2019, 02:22:33 AM
In the graphics I've seen shared re this and the accompanying commentary, there seems to be a notion that the future will see a much more left wing slant. Fact is, every generation has been like that, as people age they move to the right. Also, longer life expectancy with every generation is more likely to mean it has even less effect. The only things that will really make a difference is young people voting in the same numbers as older people, and whether the birth rate continues to increase or not.

People say this a lot, but is it actually a fact?
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: haranguerer on April 10, 2019, 08:16:53 AM
It can't be a fact as it predicts future behaviour, but there is certainly a lot of evidence that it has been the case and will continue to be for some time. The below attempts to isolate the effect of age v later generations being more socially aware.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/03/do-we-become-more-conservative-with-age-young-old-politics
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 10, 2019, 09:09:27 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/683d5212-5ad3-11e9-9dde-7aedca0a081a

   Britain and EU wrestle with Boris Johnson question
      
               Cross-party talks and bloc focus on proofing deal against hard-Brexit government
Deep disdain for Boris Johnson among many European governmentswhich see him as leader of a Brexit campaign built on false promises, is offset by growing impatience with Theresa  May’s government © PA
Sebastian Payne in London and Alex Barker in Brussels
In London and Brussels, in talks that could determine Britain’s future, negotiators are homing in on a common goal: how to rein in the actions of a future pro-hard Brexit British government.The focus in discussions between the UK’s Conservative and Labour parties is on providing assurances that a new Tory prime minister does not rip up any cross-party accord on future relations with the EU.Diplomats in Brussels are concerned with a similar issue, as the EU’s 27 other member states consider Britain’s request to delay its departure from the bloc. A big preoccupation ahead of a crucial summit on Wednesday is how to prevent a more Eurosceptic UK government from disrupting the bloc’s affairs from within.Both sets of concerns are personified by one politician in particular: Boris Johnson, the former UK foreign secretary who led the triumphant Leave campaign in the 2016 EU referendum and who hopes to succeed Theresa May as prime minister in the near future.Labour is worried that a prime minister Johnson could discard any agreement by Mrs May that commits the UK to closer post-Brexit relations with the EU than the UK government currently seeks. Other EU governments — notably France — fret that if the UK is granted a lengthy delay to its Brexit date, the country could wreak havoc with decisions in the European Commission, the European Council of member states and the European Parliament, particularly if a full-blooded Eurosceptic is in Downing Street.But the problem for the Labour-Conservative talks, perhaps also for the deliberations in Brussels, is that restricting the conduct of a future British government is far more easily said than done, particularly if the UK decides to go down a more antagonistic path.“The idea of a ‘Boris lock’ is ridiculous,” said a senior Conservative MP. “Parliament can’t bind its successors, no matter what the prime minister might agree with Labour or the EU.”
The British government cannot give the EU a nod and a wink to promise good behaviour . . . If we are stuck in we must use the remaining powers we have to be difficult
Labour remains agitated about Mr Johnson as Westminster is absorbed by speculation that Mrs May’s last days as prime minister are approaching.Although Mrs May has said she would only resign once her Brexit deal is passed by parliament, most Conservative MPs believe she will leave office in the autumn. Others believe she will have been pushed out by the summerMr Johnson is the favoured candidate of the party’s grassroots, according to surveys by the ConservativeHome website. He is also the favourite in the betting markets — followed by former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and environment secretary Michael Gove. All three are strong Brexit proponents, and Mr Johnson and Mr Raab are fierce critics of Mrs May’s exit deal with the EU, although they voted for it in the House of Commons at the third time of asking. Hence Labour’s fear that, without strong guarantees, any deal with Mrs May might fail to last out the year.While Labour’s negotiating team acknowledges that a future parliament could renegotiate any agreement, it wishes to ensure that the next Conservative prime minister cannot change the deal before an election.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s spokesperson on business, told the BBC at the weekend that any deal with the Conservatives must be “entrenched so that a future Conservative leader wouldn’t be able to rip up the changes that have been agreed”: in other words, “Boris-proofed”. John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor, added on Tuesday that any protections to stop a deal being unpicked also had to be in a treaty. “It’s more than it being in legislation, it’s about the agreement we have with the EU,” he said.Meanwhile there is deep disdain for Mr Johnson among many European governments, which see him as the wayward leader of a Brexit campaign built on false promises. But that is offset by growing impatience with Mrs May’s government, which lacks the authority in Westminster to see through on agreements made in Brussels. “Give us anyone who has a majority,” said one senior EU diplomat, who hoped for a quick resolution to the Brexit saga, one way or another. The EU has moved to shield itself against a change of guard in London by making clear that the withdrawal agreement negotiated with Mrs May is now in effect untouchable, regardless of who is in Downing Street.
Fear over a “rogue” Brexiter government subverting EU business has played a big role in raising concerns about the costs to the EU of approving a long delay to Britain’s departure date. Eurosceptic MPs have already urged the UK to act as a wrecker from within, especially if restrictions are attached to a Brexit delay.At a meeting of Europe ministers on Tuesday, Greece noted that, while no deal might be damaging, it might be no worse than “being held hostage” to a war within the Tory party while Britain remained a member state. One EU diplomat suggested that the terms of an extension also needed to be “Bojo proof” — to allow the bloc to cut short UK membership if Mr Johnson “or anyone irresponsible is prime minister one day and threatens to wreak havoc within the EU”. Senior French officials have privately suggested review clauses — potentially at intervals of two or three months.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 10, 2019, 09:11:09 AM
It can't be a fact as it predicts future behaviour, but there is certainly a lot of evidence that it has been the case and will continue to be for some time. The below attempts to isolate the effect of age v later generations being more socially aware.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/03/do-we-become-more-conservative-with-age-young-old-politics
Usually that is reliable but I think the Tories are looking like they are going to collapse. People are not happy. It reminds me of FF in 2010.
Parties can collapse too. It also happened to the SDLP
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 10, 2019, 10:29:08 AM
Fermanagh and Omagh district or whatever is one of the 10 poorest according to UK Revenue

  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791690/190402_National_Statistics_T3_12_to_T3_15a_publication_2016-17_FINAL.pdf

Another argument for a united Ireland
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Aaron Boone on April 10, 2019, 12:28:42 PM
Fermanagh and Omagh district or whatever is one of the 10 poorest according to UK Revenue

  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791690/190402_National_Statistics_T3_12_to_T3_15a_publication_2016-17_FINAL.pdf

Another argument for a united Ireland

But they also rank highly in happiness charts.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Jell 0 Biafra on April 10, 2019, 02:34:27 PM
It can't be a fact as it predicts future behaviour, but there is certainly a lot of evidence that it has been the case and will continue to be for some time. The below attempts to isolate the effect of age v later generations being more socially aware.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/03/do-we-become-more-conservative-with-age-young-old-politics

I was asking whether it was factual that there is a historical tendency for voters to vote more conservatively as they age.  Thanks for the link.  Very interesting.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: armaghniac on April 10, 2019, 05:36:56 PM
Fermanagh and Omagh district or whatever is one of the 10 poorest according to UK Revenue

  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791690/190402_National_Statistics_T3_12_to_T3_15a_publication_2016-17_FINAL.pdf

Only in terms of money declared to the Revenue!
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 12, 2019, 12:23:16 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/c68a235e-5ba5-11e9-939a-341f5ada9d40

Britain can now change its mind about Brexit
Macron’s emergence as a latter-day de Gaulle should not stop a second referendum

Philip Stephens

The workaday leader fashions every sound bite to immediate advantage. Seizing the microphone is what matters. The statesman plays a longer game. The strategic gain often lies in a quiet show of generosity. French president Emmanuel Macron by a margin is Europe’s most interesting politician. He has some way to go before claiming statesmanship.Mr Macron casts himself a leader of Europeans. British Europeans battling to overturn Brexit are apparently excluded from this definition. Much as the president styles himself as General de Gaulle, he was never going to wield the veto against perfidious Albion at this week’s Brussels summit. Instead of insisting an Article 50 extension be limited to six months, he would have done better to have been magnanimous. As it was, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, were the grown-ups.It is self-evident that the EU owes Britain nothing.
 The narrow opportunism that led the then prime minister David Cameron to call the Brexit referendum was arrogantly blind to the possible consequences. The failure of Theresa May’s government to win domestic support for her half-baked Brexit plan has imposed another unreasonable cost. Throw in former foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s Dad’s Army of little Englanders, forever re-fighting the second world war, and you see why Europe’s reservoir of goodwill has drained.
Exasperation is not a strategy, even when it is justified. Brexiters may be blind to the facts of geography, economics and geopolitical interest, but these realities demand that Britain and its neighbours eventually find a new point of co-operative balance. Expelling the Brits now would needlessly sour relations for years to come. It would also impose immediate costs on other EU members such as Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Mr Tusk put it well: “We should treat the UK with the highest respect, as we want to remain friends and close partners, and as we will still need to agree on our future relations.”Mr Macron has big bold ideas for the EU27. He wants an economic union to buttress the single currency, an EU-wide immigration and asylum policy and common European defence. These are laudable aims. It is more than faintly absurd, however, to claim that his grand plan is a hostage to Brexit. Berlin’s objections to debt mutualisation and joint defence exports are unconnected to the shenanigans at Westminster.A politician looking to claim leadership beyond France might also have noticed — as did Mr Tusk — the small shaft of light that has lately pierced the Stygian gloom at Westminster. For the first time since its (twice-vetoed) applications to join the common market during the 1960s, Britain has a pro-European movement. Nostalgists and nativists on the reactionary right face real opposition from those who see themselves as Europeans as well as Brits.
Last month hundreds of thousands — the organisers say a million — of British citizens gathered in London to say they want to hold on to their citizenship of Europe. At a minimum they want a second referendum before Britain leaves the EU. The 6m people who have signed an official petition have gone further — they are calling for the straightforward revocation of Article 50 so that Britain can stay in the union.Elections for the European Parliament offer these pro-Europeans an opportunity to solidify rising support for an entirely fresh assessment. If the past two miserable years have served any purpose it has been to expose the fraudulent choice presented in 2016. The cake-and-eat-it fantasies of Mr Johnson and we-hold-all-the-cards delusions of cabinet Brexiters have turned to dust. The trade-off between theoretical sovereignty and real jobs has been exposed. The billions promised for the National Health Service have turned into a massive exit bill. Xenophobic scaremongering about migrants has been shown to be just that. The economic costs of Brexit are already obvious in slower growth and tumbling investment. Big overseas investors make no secret of the threat to jobs.
 Anyone following the tortuous and thus far inconclusive debates in parliament can see they were offered a wholly false prospectus by the Leavers.Mrs May does not admit this, of course. She still wants to get her deal through parliament before calling an end to her dismal premiership. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, is concerned only with the electoral impact of any cross-party deal to break the parliamentary deadlock.Extra time, however, presents parliament — and the country — with an opportunity. Britain can change its mind about Brexit. MPs can and should agree to put any proposed settlement with the EU27 to a confirmatory referendum. The country could then be presented with the vote it was denied in 2016 — a choice between Remain and the best deal that parliament considers available to Britain outside the union.The trade-offs between prosperity and security and notional sovereignty would be there for all to see. The Kamikaze Brexiters who complain this would flout what they call “the will of the people” mistake democracy for the majoritarianism beloved of despots and demagogues. True democracy embeds the right of citizens to change their minds. As for Mr Macron, he would surely join Ms Merkel and Mr Tusk in applauding a victory for Britain’s Europeans.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 27, 2019, 09:13:41 AM
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/this-will-be-the-year-of-three-prime-ministers

It is highly likely that we shall have three prime ministers this year, and that by the end of it the Conservative Party as we’ve known it will have ceased to exist. It is also likely that by year’s-end we shall have either revoked our notification to leave the European Union or committed ourselves to a fresh referendum. None of these outcomes is certain but each is more likely than not.

I reach what may sound like three wild conclusions by the application of logic to the situation we’re now in. When logic produces weird predictions they should face rigorous scrutiny; so let me set out my reasoning.

I start from three premises. First, a clear majority of this (or probably the next) House of Commons is resolved to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Second, no majority can be found for any deal that leaves Britain as “rule-taker, not rule-maker”. Jacob Rees-Mogg calls this “vassalage”; I call it satellite status; others call it Brino (Brexit in name only). All agree, though, that by comparison with our present full membership of the EU, Brino offers many disadvantages and no advantage other than greater control over immigration, an issue of diminishing salience. The argument for Theresa May’s deal is about the will of the British people, not about the merits of the deal itself, for which no enthusiasm can be found in any quarter.

Third, a substantial minority of the parliamentary Conservative Party and the overwhelming majority of its grassroots members are opposed to anything other than a total “clean” exit from the EU, and are ready to break the government on the issue.


Such, then, are my three premises: no no-deal exit; no satellite status; no alternative to Tory disunity.

A (probably) dreadful result in next Thursday’s local elections will be followed (assuming Mrs May cannot reach any EU withdrawal deal with Jeremy Corbyn that her own MPs could accept) by the Tories going through with a European parliamentary election they don’t want, to an institution they’re pledged to get us out of. This is grotesque, as the Electoral Commission pointed out yesterday.

In such an election the Tories face, expect and deserve a massive bloody nose and they’ll get it. Many, perhaps most, Tory MPs know that the party has let the country down and are profoundly embarrassed, braced for the punch they know they’ve invited: third place at best, with Conservative MEPs down from 18 to single figures.

Can Mrs May survive that? The safest prediction about her has always been that she’ll carry on, but this time? Really? And with the party reeling, Nigel Farage crowing, a paralysed prime minister and her impotent administration floundering, cabinet discipline in tatters and a Brexit cliff edge approaching, the men (and women) in suits must surely come for her.

So: a leadership election before the autumn. Who would make it through the MPs’ hustings and on to the shortlist of two? Of course the Tories’ best hope of survival would be with a cleanskin: someone youngish, perhaps new to the public, as-yet untarnished and not too ideological, because voters would want to feel the party had turned a page.

Hard owever, I expect the candidates will be the usual suspects. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt: hooligan versus hologram. Dominic Raab: rabid with an extra a. Sajid Javid: a too-eager Uncle Fester. Michael Gove: Professor Branestawm . . . oh dear, it will probably be Boris, distrusted as he is by colleagues, and perhaps Hunt or Gove. But Mr Hunt is a deserter from Remain and deserters are not loved by those they join or those they leave. Mr Gove, head and shoulders above the others intellectually, will struggle with the Tory rank and file.

I never expected to write this, but Mr Johnson has a good chance with the Tories’ tiny, elderly selectorate. And if he wins he would have to call an immediate general election because a dozen or more of his outraged colleagues would resign the Tory whip, leaving him unable to assemble a working Commons majority. Mr Johnson would then lose the general election because he’s a shambles. His character, reputation and party would be torn apart during the campaign. Floating voters would want a good reason to like the Tories better than they did in 2017. I rest my case.

So, Mr Corbyn would become prime minister but probably without a working majority; the Brexit Party would still be strutting; the Tories would be broken and bleeding; and the Brexit deadline of October 31 would be thundering down the track towards us. What, by then, are we hearing from France and Germany? “Aw, shucks, give them a few months more?” I don’t think so.

Did President Macron ever really mean to push through his “revoke Article 50, have a second referendum or get out” ultimatum to Mrs May last month? I doubt it. He was putting down a marker of France’s intentions. Assuming we don’t get our act together by the end of October, we’ll be facing no-deal or asking for another extension. France, which has given everyone fair warning, would then bring Germany on board and confront us with revoke, referendum or get out. Whatever government we have by then, parliament’s answer would be the first or second option, and not the third. I believe Paris and Berlin will gamble on that and they’ll be proved right.

By Christmas, then, we could be on our third prime minister this year and still be in the EU. And the Tory party? The European Research Group’s Jacob Rees-Mogg (say), Steve Baker and Mark Francois are not in any meaningful way in the same party as liberal, pro-European centrists like (say) Alistair Burt, David Lidington, Sir Alan Duncan or Amber Rudd.

Something has to give. There was a time when a strong prime minister could have made an example of a couple of Brexiteer renegades by withdrawing the whip and scaring their comrades back into the fold but it’s too late for that; there are just too many of them.

Nor are they unrepresentative of millions of voters: about 20 per cent of the electorate. Britain (or England, anyway) needs a nationalist, nativist, reactionary party to represent these voters. So I would like to see Mr Farage’s new Brexit Party do well enough, and promise well enough, to attract a sizeable number of defectors from the Conservative Party. Otherwise it’s the moderate, liberal, 21st-century generation Conservatives who will have to start quitting and regrouping.

How, with whom, and as what, it is too early to say. One thing, however, it is not too early to say. The rabble in government who now call themselves the Tories are over, and must be put out of their misery.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on April 30, 2019, 08:40:12 AM
Independent News & Media  was sold for 10.5 cent per share.
The shares were worth almost 4 euro in 2008

https://www.inmplc.com/investor-relations/share-price-information

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/media-and-marketing/mediahuis-to-buy-independent-news-media-for-145-6m-1.3876014

Mediahuis to buy Independent News & Media for €145.6m

INM says shareholders would be entitled to receive 10.5 cent in cash for each of its shares



Eoin Burke-Kennedy
 Belgian media group Mediahuis has agreed to buy Independent News and Media (INM) for €145.6 million.

Under the terms of the deal, announced this morning, INM said shareholders will be entitled to receive 10.5 cent in cash for each of its shares.

The deal is conditional on INM’s largest shareholders, Denis O’Brien and Dermot Desmond, committing to the terms by 5pm today. Between them, they hold just under 45 per cent of the group’s shareholding.

The acquisition represents a premium of approximately of 44 per cent on INM’s closing share price of 7.28 cent on April 3rd.

“Mediahuis and Independent News & Media are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a cash offer by Mediahuis, unanimously recommended by the board of INM, pursuant to which Mediahuis will acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of INM,” the companies said in a joint statement ahead of INM’s annual general meeting this morning.

INM, Ireland’s largest newspaper group, publishes the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday World, the Herald, Belfast Telegraph and several regional newspapers.

Founded in 2013, Mediahuis is a private European media group with a strong portfolio of news media and digital brands. Its titles include De Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad in the Netherlands and De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium.

It has grown rapidly through acquisitions to become a leading media player in Belgium and the Netherlands and currently employs more than 3,200 people. Last year it reported a turnover of €819 million.

INM chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “We are pleased to be announcing this transaction today and believe it represents an excellent outcome for both the company and its shareholders.

“The offer from Mediahuis represents a compelling opportunity for shareholders to realise cash for their shareholding in INM, at a price which fairly reflects the company’s performance and standalone prospects.


“INM has a proud and illustrious history stretching back to the start of the twentieth century and the INM board believes that this offer from Mediahuis, if approved, will herald an exciting new chapter for our employees, readership and customers,” he said.

INM had hired US investment bank Lazard to advise it on a potential sale for the company, which had attracted the interest of at least two unnamed potential bidders, according to reports.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on April 30, 2019, 09:46:00 AM
https://m.independent.ie/irish-news/record-demand-for-passports-ahead-of-brexit-leads-to-new-holiday-warnings-38063206.html
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on May 06, 2019, 03:52:29 PM
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/cliff-taylor-bombardier-destroys-bluster-of-brexiteers-1.3880043

Cliff Taylor: Bombardier destroys bluster of Brexiteers
Fantasy world meets reality of a UK industry deeply embedded in EU economy
Sat, May 4, 2019, 04:00
 
Cliff Taylor

   
 

 
Bombardier has put its Belfast plant up for sale, in the process putting a question mark against the 3,600 jobs in the North’s largest private-sector employer. It is difficult to know the extent to which Brexit influenced the Bombardier decision – the company said it didn’t. But it is certainly a vital factor in the efforts to find a new owner.
Airbus, the company’s main customer and one of only a few prospective buyers, has warned repeatedly about the risks of a no-deal Brexit and how it would force the company to make decisions to cut future investment in the UK.
Look at the market for aircraft parts and maintenance and you realise, yet again, the nonsense surrounding the free-trade delusions of the Brexiteers. Their case is that the UK can set its own standards and rules after Brexit and sail off to do profitable trade deals around the world. While still retaining access to EU markets.
This all takes place in the EU single market and so it is seamless – no bureaucracy and no delays. The Beluga opens its giant snout, and the wings enter in Wales and exit in France
The aviation industry shows how this is simply impossible. It is where the fantasy world of the Brexiteers meets the reality of a big UK industry deeply embedded in the EU economy and its regulatory processes and operating freely across Borders. It is where bluff and bluster meets thousands of pages of regulation, years of custom and practice and a web of international research funding and co-operation. And there is only one winner.
An Airbus A300-600ST, known as the Beluga – after the whale – lands regularly at the company’s plant in Broughton in north Wales to bring wings and other components manufactured there to its base in Toulouse. This all takes place in the EU single market and so it is seamless – no bureaucracy and no delays. The Beluga opens its giant snout, and the wings enter in Wales and exit in France.

Frictionless trade
After Brexit, no-one knows whether such frictionless trade can continue.If the UK leaves under a withdrawal agreement, then it will continue up to the end of 2020 at least. If the UK crashes out in a no-deal, the indications are that the EU may give a nine month leeway in terms of regulatory compliance – meaning it will continue to accept UK regulation in some areas for a period.
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Big manufacturers have been forced to apply for EU regulation and will in some cases require new EU bases. And as well as this uncertainty, there is the risk of new bureaucracy and delays.
Last year Airbus took a majority stake in the Bombardier C-series aircraft, for which the plant in Belfast manufactures wings using an advanced technology. It was seen as good news for Belfast. But while Airbus has acknowledged the Belfast plant as a “ key supplier”, it is not clear yet whether it will step in and seek to buy the plant.
This will all depend on its post-Brexit strategy for the UK. And with the risk of a no-deal Brexit in the autumn still very much on the table, huge uncertainty remains about the terms on which the UK industry will trade with the EU, the availability of future EU research funding and how the industry will be regulated.The aviation parts industry has its own specific peculiarities, but the story is repeated across the board. You can’t put Humpty Dumpty together again after a no-deal Brexit.
Let’s hope the Bombardier story works out and a buyer is found, for the sake of Belfast, the direct employees and those working in supply industries across the island. Some clarity on the UK’s exit plan would help, of course, but this still looks elusive, with mixed signals emerging from talks between the Conservatives and Labour to try to find a way forward. And even if a deal does emerge, whether it could get support in the House of Commons remains open to question. More time wasted over the summer and a fresh panic ahead of another deadline at the end of October remains a real possibility.
EU single market
We’ve all learned a lot about borders as Brexit has rolled on. Trade experts and businesses themselves have been shouting since the Brexit referendum about just how complicated and deep the EU single market is – and how breaking the links even over a prolonged period will be costly and difficult. Trying to reintroduce trade borders overnight would be lunacy.
What has happened in aviation and aerospace is instructive. The UK has indicated that post-Brexit it wants to remain part of – or closely aligned to – the EU regulatory regime, meaning it will accept EU rules.
It wants to remain – effectively – part of the single market for this sector and is willing to play by the rules. Whether the EU would agree, if future negotiations do get under way, remains to be seen.
The story differs a bit from sector to sector across the UK economy, but the bottom line is the same. If you want access to the EU market on something like exiting terms, then you have to keep playing by the rules.
The DUP will surely have recognised this, but still seems to reckon that following a different regime to the UK – and taking rules from the EU – must be resisted, despite the threat to jobs.
The point of following rules set by someone else clearly has a political importance , though if Brexit shows us anything it is that the opportunities for economy autarky in today’s world are small indeed.
Bombardier would be an easier sale if the North had committed to remain aligned to EU customs and regulatory rules post Brexit, as envisaged under the backstop plan in the withdrawal agreement. It illustrates clearly the choice faced by the North’s politicians. In today’s international economy, trying to write your own rules comes at a hefty cost.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on May 14, 2019, 09:49:17 AM
guardian

Senior Tories press May to abandon Brexit deal talks with Labour 
 
With a poll yesterday suggesting the Brexit party is on course to get more than three times as many votes in next week’s European elections as the Conservatives, one senior Tory has called for the two parties to form a pact at the next general election. This is what Crispin Blunt, a former chair of the foreign affairs committee, told Newsnight last night.

 

In my judgment, we are going to have to come to an accommodation with the Brexit party. The Conservatives, as a Brexit party again, being very clear about their objectives, are almost certainly going to have to go into some kind of electoral arrangement with the Brexit party, otherwise Brexit doesn’t happen.

Blunt said his preference would be for a pact involving the Tories standing in the seats they hold, and the Brexit party standing in all the other seats. He claimed that, if they united, the two parties could win handsomely.

 

Listen to what Nigel Farage said; he would “do a deal with the devil” to get Brexit over the line. The Conservative party is very far from being the devil in this. Eighty per cent of the membership of the Conservative party are very keen to make sure that Brexit happens, will be in a position to enthusiastically support leaving the European Union with no deal. If we are then able to agree a position to put to the country, I think we would hit the ball out of the park.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on May 23, 2019, 08:20:28 AM
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/life-after-theresa-may-fraught-with-danger-for-dup-1.3900756

Life after Theresa May fraught with danger for DUP
Renewing pact with hard Brexit leader would see it blamed for ensuring chaos in North
about 3 hours ago
 
Newton Emerson



 
There is no choice but to marvel at the confluence of complications now imminent in UK politics, the punchline to which will be the DUP-Conservative confidence-and-supply agreement.
British prime minister Theresa May has promised to bring her EU withdrawal bill to the Commons in early June, where it will almost certainly fail, triggering a Tory leadership contest. Such a contest typically takes two months, although most of that time is allowed for a ballot of party members, which could be shortened by several weeks.
June is also when the current parliamentary session ends, having been extended from its customary one year to two due to Brexit.
With no Commons majority for any form of Brexit, the likeliest outcomes ahead are no deal or no Brexit
There had been talk of extending it further but every other Commons party – including the DUP – has said that would be an outrage if done for Tory management purposes. So a new session needs to start, marked by a new programme of legislation set out in a queen’s speech, despite no new legislation being planned as Brexit has consumed everything.
Scheduled slap bang in the middle of all this is renewal of the confidence-and-supply agreement, without which the government cannot function. The agreement was signed on June 26th two years ago with an effective two-year lifespan. That was the deadline for spending most of its £1 billion of funding, nearly all of which has since been disbursed – the only delay is with £150 million for broadband.
There must also be a review of the agreement at the end of the parliamentary session. It can safely be assumed more funding will be demanded. The health and education sectors in Northern Ireland are already putting in unsubtle bids.
The DUP has always stressed its agreement is with the government, not the prime minister. May will linger on just long enough to renew the deal under her tenure, although her authority will be slipping away.
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Another complication
She might want to press on regardless, and give the DUP cause to co-operate, thanks to another complication. Stormont talks will conclude at the end of this month with a review by the British prime minister and the Taoiseach. May is reportedly keen to see devolution restored on her watch, if only to depart on one positive note. A scenario can just about be imagined where solid progress is announced, with more funding for Northern Ireland the icing on the cake. DUP gloating at this will be hard for other Stormont parties to stomach but they can hardly turn the money down.
However, the DUP might be forced by timing or tempted by circumstance to seek renewal under May’s successor. This would not be about money – it would be about Brexit. The confidence-and-supply agreement committed the DUP to supporting the government on Brexit, budgets, confidence votes and the queen’s speech. After the DUP fell out with May over the backstop, it reneged first on budgets and then on Brexit, claiming the government had reneged on its commitments to unionists.
Breakdown in relations
Renewing the agreement will require repairing this breakdown in relations. That will be most plausible under a prime minister who pledges to ditch or water down the backstop, as all the leading contenders – chief among them Boris Johnson – have promised to do.
What the next prime minister eventually ends up doing, or being able to do, is another matter. However, that is a problem for the next breakdown in DUP-Tory relations.
Keeping the Conservatives in power at the expense of the backstop is not something most other Stormont parties will be able to stomach, menacing what hopes there are of restoring devolution in the short to medium term. Johnson in particular seems guaranteed to antagonise nationalists.
The DUP, which badly wants Stormont back, will have to weigh that risk in the balance but the scales are heavily tipped. On one side is the kudos and influence on offer at Westminster for the next three years of the Conservative mandate; on the other, a northern Assembly that may never return.
Of course there are bigger risks to consider than the timescale for restoring devolution.
With no Commons majority for any form of Brexit, the likeliest outcomes ahead are no deal or no Brexit.
The DUP does not want the hard Brexit a no deal would involve and has consistently said so, but that has become the implication of demanding withdrawal without the backstop.
Renewing the confidence-and-supply agreement around this demand, as the party is politically trapped into doing, means it will appear instrumental in pushing for no deal and will get the blame for that outcome or no Brexit, either of which will place the union under strain, as the latter will antagonise nationalist England.
The DUP has been criticised for overplaying its hand by trying to kill the backstop. That is nothing to how badly it will have overplayed its hand if it succeeds
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on May 24, 2019, 08:57:36 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/05/23/fed-warns-will-not-ride-rescue-wall-street/

The Fed has spooked markets with an ice-cold warning

 Fed Chief Jerome Powell has a difficult decision to make   
•   Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
23 May 2019 • 7:21pm
The US Federal Reserve has sent markets a sobering message. It will not bail out the Trump administration as the trade war expands; nor will it come to the rescue quickly if Wall Street wilts.
The proverbial “Fed Put” is a long way out of the money at this juncture. The outlook for the US economy will have to take a nasty turn before the Powell Fed cuts interest rates or halts quantitative tightening altogether.
“The hurdle for cuts is very high,” said Tom Porcelli, US strategist for RBC Capital and a former Fed official.
The Fed minutes released late on Wednesday are something of a shocker for investors who thought they had a monetary comfort blanket for the rest of this year. Futures contracts show markets have been pricing in 50 basis points of rate cuts.

The text revealed that “many” members of the voting committee had dismissed the recent soft patch in inflation as “transitory” and largely caused by “idiosyncratic factors”. This amounts to a warning by the world’s hegemonic central bank that it may raise rates. It is an ice-cold douche for fragile markets.
Markets reacted with alarm yesterday. The Dow Jones fell 1.6pc and the S&P 500 slid by 1.7pc. The US dollar index (DXY) climbed to a two-year high of 98.2. This has set off further tremors through Asian bourses already reeling from the contraction in global trade.
The Shanghai composite index is now down 15pc from highs just a month ago. The MSCI index of emerging markets is off almost 11pc. Secondary fallout is starting to reach Europe. “A rising dollar tightens global funding conditions,” said Hans Redeker and Gek Teng Khoo from Morgan Stanley. Offshore dollar loans and bonds have reached $12 trillion (£9.5  trillion) with further liabilities hidden in derivatives, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
Morgan Stanley said it is “increasingly bearish” as dollar liquidity dries up, warning financial markets have become unhinged from fundamentals. It has advised clients to retreat to the safe haven of the Japanese yen.


Much of the dollar debt is owed by Asian, Latin American, and Middle East corporations. It is often on short-term maturities – typically three months – and has to be rolled over at a higher cost on offshore funding markets as the dollar creeps up. The Fed’s broad dollar index is testing a 17-year high.
“We are going to get a crisis and when that happens the capital flows will reverse,” said William White, the BIS’s former chief economist. “It reminds me of what happened in 2008 to 2009 when European banks were financing long-term assets in the US with short-term dollar debt. They had a huge liquidity problem. This time the trouble is in Asia, and I am afraid that Asian banks might have to sell a lot of assets in fire-sale conditions.”
The Fed saved the day in 2008 by extending emergency dollar liquidity to fellow central banks through swap lines. “It is not clear whether Trump and Congress would let the Fed do that again,” said Prof White. “They think it is lending trillions to untrustworthy foreigners.”

What is raising eyebrows is the continued fall in the Chinese yuan. It has been sliding relentlessly over the last three weeks as relations between Washington and Beijing reach rupture. The yuan hit Y6.92 to the dollar yesterday. The Chinese authorities have defended this level in past episodes but there is concern this time that they may let the exchange rate break through the psychological line of Y7 – perhaps judging it too risky to squander foreign reserves trying to defend the currency. China’s $3 trillion reserves are not as big as they look under the International Monetary Fund’s adequacy rule.
Hong Kong regulators say foreign funds have been withdrawing money from the Chinese mainland at a torrid pace through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Connect pipeline. The net exodus has been $42bn (£33bn) so far in May. “Steady inflows have converted into sharp outflows,” said Mr Redeker.
Chinese companies have also been scrambling to raise dollars pre-emptively to cover $900bn of hard currency debt.
It is possible that China is orchestrating a stealth devaluation in order to claw back trade competitiveness and retaliate against the US. Any evidence that China is deliberately steering down its currency would further enrage US president Donald Trump.
Mr Redeker said such manipulation is highly unlikely. Beijing was traumatised by the exchange rate scare in 2015-2016 when the People’s Bank burned through $1 trillion of reserves trying to hold the line. The authorities will probably defend the exchange rate aggressively if turbulence sets in.

Mr Porcelli said the Fed is right to take a tough stand on rates. It is faced with “super tight labour markets” and capacity constraints in the US. There is a risk that cost-push inflation will become lodged in the system. The Fed may have to raise rates regardless of mounting stress in the rest of the world.
Yet the voting committee is starkly divided. Doves fret that the greater danger is a lurch downwards for the economy as Mr Trump’s fiscal stimulus fades and the profit cycle rolls over.
They fear a repeat of mistakes made last December when the Fed misjudged the severity of the global trade slowdown and raised US rates into the teeth of a market squall. The Fed was quickly forced to make the most dramatic policy about-turn since the late Nineties.
The US data is sending a blizzard of mixed signals, as often happens at key turning points in the cycle. Consumer optimism is running high and truck tonnage soared 7.4pc in April.
Yet trade wars have begun to hit capital expenditure by companies. Major appliance shipments in the US fell 17pc last month from a year ago, comparable to falls seen during the onset of the subprime crisis in 2008.
Fed chairman Jay Powell has a treacherous judgment call to make. Nobody ever said central banking was easy.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on May 29, 2019, 12:13:22 PM
With the capitulation of theresa May, No Deal shite is back


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/05/28/tory-leadership-contest-becomes-no-deal-battleground-esther/

Tory leadership contest becomes no-deal battleground as Esther McVey says it is 'the only viable option' for Brexit

 Esther McVey is running for the Tory leadership CREDIT: PAUL COOPER
•    Gordon Rayner, political editor
28 MAY 2019 • 10:00PM


A“clean break” from the EU is “the only viable and acceptable” option left, Esther McVey has said, as the Tory leadership race became a battleground over a no deal Brexit.
The former work and pensions secretary said the Prime Minister’s deal is “dead” and the only way to deliver Brexit “is to actively embrace leaving the EU without one”.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Ms McVey seeks to distinguish herself from other Brexiteer candidates by making clear that no deal would be her preferred choice, rather than simply an option she would be prepared to contemplate.
She also launches a direct attack on Jeremy Hunt - who had said attempting a no deal Brexit would be “political suicide” - by saying that “extinction” would only come about through failing to leave the EU on October 31.
Ms McVey, Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Dominic Raab have all said they would be prepared to take the UK out of the EU without a deal in October, but David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, and Rory Stewart, the International Development Secretary, both joined Mr Hunt in attacking the idea.
Mr Stewart, one of 10 Tory MPs who have declared their candidacy, said talking up no deal was “Wizard of Oz” thinking, while Mr Gauke, who is not currently running, said no deal would be too detrimental to the economy.
 
Kit Malthouse, the housing minister, became the 10th MP to join the race, saying it was time for “a new generation to lead the charge into our future”.  James Cleverly, a Brexit minister, is expected to announce his own candidacy on Wednesday.
Mr Hunt’s decision to come out against no deal in Monday’s Daily Telegraph appeared to have cost him support among MPs yesterday, with reports of some of his backers switching to Michael Gove after Mr Hunt was accused of flip-flopping on the issue. The Environment Secretary is now the bookies’ joint-second favourite with Dominic Raab to become the next Prime Minister, with Boris Johnson still well ahead.
Mr Gove said yesterday that Brexit had to be delivered before the next general election “Otherwise we will be punished at the ballot box, Corbyn will be in Number 10 propped up by the SNP, and Brexit may well be reversed altogether”.
 
Kit Malthouse has also entered the Tory leadership race

Yesterday Theresa May said Brexit was now a “matter for my successor” as she visited Brussels for a meeting of EU leaders to discuss who should take over from Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission President this summer.
Downing Street confirmed that Mrs May had given up hope of presenting her Withdrawal Agreement Bill to Parliament next week, meaning there is unlikely to be any progress on Brexit until a new Tory leader is in place in late July.
Mr Hunt said yesterday he would attempt to renegotiate the current Brexit deal and would include Tory Brexiteers from the European Research Group and representatives of the DUP, the Scottish and Welsh assemblies in his negotiating team.
However Mr Juncker insisted: “I was crystal clear. There will be no renegotiation.”

Ms McVey, who resigned from the Cabinet last year over Mrs May’s Brexit policy, says: “No government that I lead will ever seek an extension beyond 31st October.  It’s time for the Conservative Party to wake up, listen to the voters and embrace Brexit as a magnificent opportunity, not as a problem to be managed, mitigated and ultimately reversed.  Otherwise Jeremy Corbyn will become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”
She says that the European election result showed that the public’s view on Brexit has “hardened” and so “we need to stop wasting time having artificial debates about re-negotiating backstops or resurrecting botched deals”.
She adds: “If they believe that tying us to thousands of Brussels’ rules and regulations during an implementation period and handing over £39bn without even a trade deal in return will now bring back the millions of voters we have lost to the Brexit Party then I fear they are in cloud cuckoo land.”
In a clear swipe at not only Mr Hunt but also Mr Johnson and Mr Raab, Ms McVey says: “Anyone who pretends that they will achieve in three months what Theresa May failed to do in three years simply through the force of their personality is not being straight with people…
“Messing about with this inadequate Withdrawal Agreement will just prolong the agony and cause yet more disruption and uncertainty for British business.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Aaron Boone on May 29, 2019, 01:20:22 PM
Might as well have Esther Rantzen running than Esther McVey.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on May 31, 2019, 09:10:54 AM
https://www.cer.eu/insights/northern-ireland-and-backstop-why-alternative-arrangements-arent-alternative
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: quit yo jibbajabba on May 31, 2019, 09:15:24 AM
Seafoid the lads were just wonderin could ye not just copy and paste the thing and put her on here

Jibbajabba
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on June 25, 2019, 05:57:39 PM

   https://www.ft.com/content/85fc694c-9222-11e9-b7ea-60e35ef678d2

   
               
                  Simon Kuper
      
               June 21, 2019
         

                        
                     
                        
      
                                 
               
            You turn the pages of yellowing student newspapers from 30 years ago, and there they are, recognisably the same faces that dominate today’s British news. Boris Johnson running for Union president, Michael Gove winning debating contests, Jeremy Hunt holding together the faction-ridden Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA).Six of the seven men who survived the first round of the Tory leadership contest earlier this month studied at Oxford. The final two remaining candidates, Johnson and Hunt, were contemporaries along with Gove in the late 1980s. The UK is thus about to install its 11th Oxonian prime minister since the war. (Three postwar PMs didn’t attend university, and Gordon Brown went to Edinburgh.) This beats even the grip of the Ecole Nationale d’Administration on the French presidency (four of the past six presidents have been énarques), let alone Harvard’s on the White House.When I arrived in Oxford aged 18 in October 1988, it was still a very British and quite amateurish university, shot through with dilettantism, sexual harassment and sherry. Gove, Hunt and the much less political David Cameron had graduated that summer, and Johnson in 1987, but from my messy desk at the student newspaper Cherwell I covered a new generation of wannabe politicians.You couldn’t miss Jacob Rees-Mogg, seemingly the only undergraduate who always wore a suit, or the early Europhobe Dan Hannan. Both became ideological fathers of Brexit. I’m still covering them today.This isn’t a jolly boys’ story about the japes we all had together. I didn’t know any of the Oxford Tories personally, because we were separated by the great Oxford class divide: I was middle class, from a London comprehensive (after years abroad), and they were mostly upper-class public schoolboys. But the night Brexit happened, I sensed it was rooted in 1980s Oxford. I wrote a column about this in July 2016, then gradually came to see that the roots went even deeper than I had realised.Any understanding of the British ruling class — and the next prime minister — requires returning to that place and time.
               
                  
                  
               
                  Being president of the Oxford Union was an opportunity to mix with influential figures – it was ‘the first step to being prime minister’, said Michael Heseltine. Here, Union president Boris Johnson with Greek culture minister Melina Mercouri in 1986.  © Reuters
               
            
               
            At Cherwell, we were always writing about the Oxford Union. The debating society, off a courtyard behind the Cornmarket shopping street, was a kind of teenage House of Commons. Its officers wore white tie, speakers black tie, and everyone called each other “honourable member”. You won debates not by boring the audience with detail, but with jokes and ad hominem jibes.Almost all aspiring Tory politicians passed through the Union. Theresa May never won the presidency — disadvantaged by her gender and with no rhetorical gifts — but in 1979 her future husband Philip did. The Mays had been introduced at an Oxford Conservative disco by another Union president, Benazir Bhutto, future prime minister of Pakistan.In May’s day, the Union was a small circle of debating obsessives. But then it hit financial trouble and began recruiting among the broader student population. By 1988, about 60 per cent of Oxford’s undergraduates had paid the £60 joining fee.
               
                  
                     The biggest political issues in mid-1980s Oxford were Britain’s deployment of nuclear weapons and the miners’ strike. Europe rarely came up then
                     
                  
                  
               
            I never joined but I sometimes got press tickets to debates, and I still remember a young Benjamin Netanyahu trouncing hecklers, and, on the 50th anniversary of Dunkirk, the former prime minister and ex-Union president Ted Heath evoking Oxford on the eve of the second world war, when German invasion loomed. Another lure was the Union bar, which — almost miraculously in 1980s Britain — stayed open till 2.30am, until the deferential local police finally intervened.Most Oxford students opposed Margaret Thatcher by the late 1980s, but the Union’s biggest political grouping was the Tories, split between Thatcherites and “wets”, who would exchange arcane factional insults.The biggest political issues in mid-1980s Oxford, recalls Tim Hames, then a Union politician and member of OUCA, were Britain’s deployment of nuclear weapons, apartheid (many Tories weren’t entirely anti) and the miners’ strike. Europe rarely came up then. The European Commission had given Thatcher the British rebate she had demanded, and she was working with the Commission’s president, Jacques Delors, to create a European single market. The Single European Act was passed in 1986.Most Union politicians weren’t very interested in policy anyway. Anyone wanting to make policy that affected students’ lives got involved in the separate Oxford University Student Union or their college’s junior common room (JCR). That kind of politics mostly attracted aspiring Labourites. Dave Miliband chaired the student union’s accommodation committee, while Yvette Cooper, Eddie Balls and Ed Miliband were JCR presidents.By contrast, the Union favoured debating skills and ambition without a cause. Every eight-week term, the Union elected a president, secretary, treasurer and librarian. The “hacks”, as student politicians were known, would traipse around the colleges soliciting votes from ordinary students.As the future Spectator columnist Toby Young wrote in the Union’s house magazine in 1985: “It doesn’t matter how unpopular you are with the establishment, how stupid you are, how small your College is or how pretentious your old school: if only you’ve got the sheer will you can succeed.”
               
                  
                  
               
                  Michael Gove, president of the Oxford Union two years after Boris Johnson, defends the institution in Cherwell newspaper in 1988. © Cherwell
               
            
               
            Johnson’s Oxford days are now usually mentioned in connection with his membership of the hard-drinking, posh and sometimes destructive Bullingdon Club, but in fact he was a vessel of focused ambition. Arriving in Oxford from Eton in 1983, he had three aims, writes Sonia Purnell in Just Boris: to get a First-class degree, find a wife and become Union president. That post was “the first step to being prime minister”, said the 1980s Tory politician Michael Heseltine. At speakers’ dinners, a 20-year-old Union president would find himself or herself sitting next to cabinet ministers and other useful contacts.Most students arrived in Oxford barely knowing the Union existed, but Johnson possessed the savvy of his class: he had run Eton’s debating society, and his father Stanley had come to Oxford in 1959 intending to become Union president. Stanley had failed but Boris was a star. Simon Veksner, who followed Johnson from their house at Eton to the Union, tells me: “Boris’s charisma even then was off the charts, you couldn’t measure it: so funny, warm, charming, self-deprecating. You put on a funny act, based on The Beano and PG Wodehouse. It works, and then that is who you are.”Johnson also came equipped with the peculiarly intimate network that an upper-class boarding school confers. Ordinary schoolchildren spend eight hours a day with their classmates but boarders live together, and often have inner-class family connections going back generations. Johnson arrived in Oxford knowing dozens of people, whereas some state-school kids knew precisely nobody.He didn’t let his degree — Classics — interfere with his Union ambitions. In 1980s Oxford, studying was almost optional. A common workload for arts students was one essay a week, often penned during an overnight panic, then typically read aloud to one’s tutor. When I reread my old essays while revising for finals, they were so pathetic that I wanted to write to my tutors to apologise.One thing you learnt at Oxford (even if you weren’t in the Union) was how to speak without much knowledge. Underprepared students would spend much of a tutorial talking their way around the holes in their essay. Cherwell praised Simon Stevens (a Union president in 1987) as “Oxford’s most talented off-the-cuff tutorial faker”: “Recently Simes read out almost half of an essay to his tutor before his partner revealed that he was ‘reading’ from a blank piece of paper.” Stevens is now chief executive of the National Health Service, appointed in 2013 under health secretary Jeremy Hunt, his Oxford contemporary.Johnson just missed his First. His tutor Jonathan Barnes recalls, “If you’re intelligent enough, you can rub along in philosophy on a couple of hours a week. Boris rubbed along on no hours a week, and it wasn’t quite good enough.” Johnson’s sister Rachel said that it later fell to her to “break the terrible news” to Boris that their brother Jo had got a First. (Rachel, Jo and Boris’s first wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen all edited the Oxford magazine Isis.)
               
                  
                  
               
                  David Cameron at the Oxford Union Valentine Ball in 1987. After Oxford, Cameron went straight to the Conservative party’s research department – where he would later encounter his future chancellor, George Osborne © Dafydd Jones
               
            
               
            In 1984 Johnson ran for Union president against the grammar schoolboy Neil Sherlock. The election dramatised the Oxford class struggle: upper class versus middle class. (Working-class students were rare.) In the vernacular of some public schoolboys, state-school pupils were “stains”, below even the “Tugs” from minor private schools.Sherlock, later a partner at KPMG and PwC, and special adviser to the Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in 2012/13, recalls: “Boris mark one was a very conventional Tory, clearly on the right, and had what I would term an Old Etonian entitlement view: ‘I should get the top job because I’m standing for the top job.’ He didn’t have a good sense of what he was going to do with it.”
               
                  
                     As Union president in 1988, Gove wrote a paean to elitism in the Union’s house magazine: ‘We are all here, part of an elite. It is our duty to bear that in mind’
                     
                  
                  
               
            Mostyn-Owen invited Sherlock for tea and tried to charm him into not standing against “my Boris”. Undeterred, Sherlock campaigned on a platform of “meritocrat versus toff, competence versus incompetence”. Johnson mobilised his public-school networks but lost. Sherlock came away underwhelmed by his opponent: “The rhetoric, the personality, the wit were rather randomly deployed, beyond getting a laugh.” Sherlock expected OUCA’s president Nick Robinson to become the political star, and Johnson to succeed in journalism. Instead, Robinson now presents BBC radio’s Today programme.Johnson learnt from his defeat. A year later he was elected president, this time disguising his Toryism by allying himself with Oxford’s Social Democrats. His second campaign was more competent: the American graduate student Frank Luntz, now a senior Republican pollster, conducted polls for him. And Johnson worked his charm beyond his base.Michael Gove, a Scottish fresher in 1985, told Johnson’s biographer Andrew Gimson: “The first time I saw him was in the Union bar . . . He seemed like a kindly, Oxford character, but he was really there like a great basking shark waiting for freshers to swim towards him.” Gove told Gimson: “I was Boris’s stooge. I became a votary of the Boris cult.”In an essay for The Oxford Myth (1988), a book edited by his sister Rachel, Johnson advised aspiring student politicians to assemble “a disciplined and deluded collection of stooges” to get out the vote. “Lonely girls from the women’s colleges” who “back their largely male candidates with a porky decisiveness” were particularly useful, he wrote. “For these young women, machine politics offers human friction and warmth.” Reading this, you realise why almost all Union presidents who become Tory politicians are men. (Thatcher’s domain was OUCA, where she was president in 1946.)Johnson added: “The tragedy of the stooge is that . . . he wants so much to believe that his relationship with the candidate is special that he shuts out the truth. The terrible art of the candidate is to coddle the self-deception of the stooge.”Tory MPs now backing Johnson’s candidacy for leader may find the essay interesting. Gove, who wore a kilt in debates, was such a gifted speaker that he could even make a compelling case to a student audience against free choice in sexual behaviour. He was unusually ideological by Union standards, a Thatcherite meritocrat. As Union president in 1988, he wrote a paean to elitism in the Union’s house magazine: “I cannot overemphasise what elitism is not. It is not about back-slapping cliques, reactionary chic or Old Etonian egos. It is a spirit of unashamed glamour, excitement and competition . . . We are all here, part of an elite. It is our duty to bear that in mind.”Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt, an OUCA president in 1987, made much less noise. Hames sums up: “The Boris appeal was Boris. Michael was interested in ideology and ideas. Jeremy was more a small-c managerial conservative.”Hunt wasn’t charismatic or eloquent, and had no obvious political passions, but he was the archetypal head boy (a role he’d held at Charterhouse). An admiral’s son, distant relative of the Queen, tall and courteous, he usually rose above Tory factionalism. After Cherwell reported that a “libertarian faction” was trying to “take over” OUCA, and that one committee member was a “Moonie” (a member of the Unification Church cult), Hunt wrote a letter to the editor: “OUCA remains a moderate association controlled by neither libertarians nor any other faction within the Conservative party, and exists to represent the views of all Conservative students at Oxford.” The Moonie, he added, had been expelled.Amid all this Oxford politicking, there was one notable absentee: David Cameron. He got his First, and amused himself in posh dining clubs, but felt no need to do anything so vulgar as burnish his CV with student politics. After all, he too was distantly related to the Queen, his father chaired the establishment club White’s, and his cousin Ferdinand Mount headed Thatcher’s Policy Unit. Cameron went straight from Oxford to the Conservative Party’s research department, where he later encountered his successor in the Bullingdon and future chancellor, George Osborne.Rees-Mogg arrived at Oxford at the same time as me in 1988. Almost immediately, Cherwell nominated him (as it had Gove before) for the traditional title of “Pushy Fresher”. The paper printed a photograph of him speechifying in his suit, above the caption, “What more need we say?”Studying the picture, you realise: Rees-Mogg hasn’t changed. Like Johnson and Gove, he even has the same hairstyle today. They were almost fully formed at 18. School had given them the confidence, articulacy and know-how to bestride Oxford. They also already knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. If most students back then had had to guess who would be ruling Britain in 2019, they would probably have named Johnson, Gove and Rees-Mogg.
               
                  
                  
               
                  Like Michael Gove before him, Jacob Rees-Mogg is nominated for the traditional title of ‘Pushy Fresher’ by Oxford University’s student newspaper Cherwell in 1988 © Cherwell
               
            
               
            The last became president of OUCA in 1991, with Cherwell citing his “campaign for world domination and social adequacy”. However, he proved just too peculiar to be elected Union president and lost to Damian Hinds, who is now the education secretary.The Oxford Tories were climbing the greasy pole before most students had even located it. The majority arrived at university uncertain, terribly dressed, trying to find themselves, often wrestling with imposter syndrome. Only at Oxford did they acquire the qualities that Johnson et al already had: a ruling-class accent, rhetorical skills and the ability to feel confident in any establishment setting.In 1988, British politics changed. The previously pro-European Thatcher suddenly turned Eurosceptic. She had realised that her beloved single market would be accompanied by closer political integration. In her “Bruges speech” in September 1988, she warned against “a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels”.That idea spooked the Oxford Tories. They revered Britain’s medieval parliament filled with witty English banter, whereas Brussels offered ugly modernism and jargon-ridden Globish. Ruling Britain was their class’s prerogative. It was none of Brussels’ business. In 1990, the future OUCA president Dan Hannan founded the Oxford Campaign for an Independent Britain at the Queen’s Lane Coffee House on the High Street. With hindsight, some see this as the start of the campaign for Brexit.
               
                  
                  
               
                  Magdalen College, Oxford, where Jeremy Hunt studied, as did future chancellor George Osborne © Getty Images
               
            
               
            Toby Young had written in 1985 that it was lucky the Union existed — “that in an environment as full of ruthless, sociopathic people as Oxford, there should be an institution that sucks them all in, contains all their wilful energy and grants them power only over each other”. He hoped that one day its officers could be similarly contained within the House of Commons.But the Commons couldn’t contain them. These people spent years agitating for Brexit. In 2016 they secured their referendum. Johnson sniffed the chance to become prime minister, and — in Union jargon — decided at the last minute to back the motion. Gove is a true believer in Brexit, but his decision to campaign for it — undermining Cameron — was partly an outflow of the Oxford class struggle. As education secretary under Cameron, he had thought they were friends, but when ­Cameron suddenly moved him to chief whip in 2014, Gove was devastated. He felt that Cameron and his coterie of Old Etonians (a stronger network for Cameron than Oxford) had treated him “like staff”, one person in his circle told me. He wanted revenge.Timothy Garton Ash, professor of European Studies at Oxford, describes the referendum as “a Union debate with the addition of modern campaigning techniques”. He says, “One of the great things about British public life is that it’s irradiated by a gentle sense of humour — but ‘chaque qualité a ses défauts’ [‘every quality has its downsides’].” In a cross-class alliance with Nigel Farage and the tabloids, the Oxford Tories triumphed.Politicians from 1980s Oxford dominated both the Remain and Leave camps, but they were divided by the subject of their degrees. Oxford’s “prime minister’s degree” is PPE: politics, philosophy, economics. It has often been associated with the Brexiters. Ivan Rogers, for instance, a grammar schoolboy in 1980s Oxford and the UK’s permanent representative to the EU until he resigned in 2017, discerned “a very British establishment sort of revolution. No plan and little planning, oodles of PPE tutorial-level plausible bullshit, supreme self-confidence that we understand others’ real interests better than they do . . . ”
               
                  
                     May entrusted the Brexiters with executing Brexit. But they were debaters, not policymakers. They couldn’t debate Brussels into submission
                     
                  
                  
               
            Yet in fact in 2016 the PPEists were almost all Remainers: Cameron, Hunt, Stewart, Philip Hammond, Matt Hancock, Sam Gyimah, Hinds, Nick Boles, the Milibands, Balls, Cooper and Peter Mandelson. They had presumably chosen the degree in search of the cutting-edge knowledge needed to run a modern country. (Fatefully, the one great PPEist Leaver was the media proprietor Rupert Murdoch, who in 1950s Oxford had been business manager of Cherwell and a Labour Club member.)By contrast, most Brexiters had studied backward-looking subjects: Classics for Johnson, History for Rees-Mogg and Hannan, and English Literature (which mostly meant the canon) for Gove. They were nostalgics. Hence Johnson’s hagiography of Churchill and Rees-Mogg’s much-mocked recent paean The Victorians, while Gove as education secretary strove to make sure pupils learnt 19th-century literature and Britain’s “island story”.After the Oxford Brexiters won the debate, Cameron resigned, and they switched to another familiar format: the in-house leadership election. As one former Union president remarked, the ensuing contest could be described entirely in Union slang: “Boris knifed Dave. Michael knifed Boris. Theresa and Michael stole Boris’s slate. Boris self-binned.”May became prime minister, and entrusted the Brexiters with executing Brexit. She gave them the key jobs in cabinet. But they were debaters, not policymakers. They couldn’t debate Brussels into submission, because the EU’s negotiators followed rules. So poorly briefed were the Brexiters that in December 2017 they accepted the principle of a “backstop” plan to keep the Irish border open, before spending the next 18 months fighting it.Now the Tories have another leadership election. Second time around, just as at Oxford, Johnson is running a competent and centrist campaign, talking up his liberal reign as mayor of London. Like Sherlock in 1984, Hunt is targeting Johnson’s lack of “seriousness”. Then as now, Gove stands in his hero’s shadow. He needn’t worry: in the Oxford tradition, there may be another election coming along soon.In the small, insular world of the British establishment, every so often a clique of people can exert an extraordinary influence. There is a curious parallel between the 1980s Oxford Tories and the 1930s Cambridge spies. The charming, blond, dishevelled Etonian sybarite Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross also emerged from an intimate, all-male, public-school network. Four of them were at Trinity College, with Maclean next door at Trinity Hall. Confident enough to formulate a revolutionary worldview despite being ill-informed, they embraced a utopian cause: Soviet communism. It promised a far-off paradise that they never expected to live in themselves. Working towards it was great fun.
               
                  
                  
               
                  A letter written to Cherwell newspaper in 1987 by Jeremy Hunt, who was president of the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA). Hunt ‘made much less noise’ than Boris, and usually rose above Tory factionalism © Cherwell
               
            
               
            There is a similar element of play in Tory Brexit. Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, chastised Rees-Mogg last year: “This is not a parlour game or debating society. These are real people with real lives.” Well, that’s what she thinks.The Cambridge Five were given roles of responsibility because they possessed elite CVs and came across as archetypal British gentlemen (partly through displays of eccentricity in hairstyles, drink and dress). They pursued their utopia for decades, ignoring all evidence that contradicted it and looking down on the rest of the establishment for its unimaginative thinking. When the spies were finally exposed, British trust in the establishment suffered a lasting dent.Admittedly, the comparison between the Cambridge and Oxford sets isn’t entirely fair: though both betrayed Britain’s interests to the benefit of Moscow, the Brexiters didn’t mean to.It’s an odd feeling to return to a town that you have barely seen in 25 years but where you know every street. Oxford looks almost unchanged, yet the time-traveller from the 1980s experiences a series of small shocks: there are Chinese tourists! Students sit in coffee shops working on laptops! The food is decent!Wandering around my old college, I marvelled at the Chinese and German names at the bottom of staircases. There are far more applicants to places nowadays, lazy alcoholic tutors are dying out, and rubbing along on “no hours a week” is no longer tolerated.
               
                  
                  
               
                  The Oxford Union Debating Chamber as it was in 1949. By the 1980s, ‘you won debates not by boring the audience with detail, but with jokes and ad hominem jibes’ © Getty
               
            
               
            
               
                  
                  
               
                  Welsh Labour MP Chris Bryant speaking in 2013 at the Oxford Union, which operates rather like a student House of Commons © Alamy
               
            
               
            But the Union, weekly tutorials and therefore the outsize role of rhetoric survive. Is there some soul-searching at the university over the triumph of the Oxford Brexiters? “I think there should be,” replies Garton Ash. He exempts the tutorial system from blame: “Having an hour a week with an expert on the field cross-examining you — that doesn’t seem to me to lead to glibness.”But he adds, “Public schools and the culture around them provide a training in superficial articulacy: essay writing, public speaking, carrying it off. The Oxford Union reinforces that, even among those who didn’t go to public school. Compare and contrast the German elite. For me, Gove is the ultimate example.” Garton Ash says Oxford as an academic institution no longer encourages this style.Kalypso Nicolaïdis, professor of international relations, says: “If a student is capable of producing two well-written essays a week, with well-structured arguments, they can kind of get away with not knowing much about the subjects. This may sound superficial, but communicating is useful in life. Sometimes you need to convince people succinctly, especially if you go into politics.”But, she adds, “it’s not what Oxford is about. I believe most colleagues would agree that our commitment is to convey knowledge as deeply as possible. Whether as a student you want to take advantage of this is up to you.”I deplore what my contemporaries are doing to Britain. But given that I too learnt at Oxford how to write and speak for a living without much knowledge, I can hardly talk.Additional research by Pauline HarrisFollow @FTMag on Twitter to find out about our latest stories first. Listen and subscribe to Everything Else, the FT culture podcast, at ft.com/everything-else or on Apple PodcastsThis article has been amended to correct the year Boris Johnson graduated from Oxford university.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on June 25, 2019, 06:03:27 PM
2 conflicting articles

 


https://www.ft.com/content/7b50b0f0-9670-11e9-8cfb-30c211dcd229

   The latest Brexit fantasy is the most absurd of all
      
            Article 24 of the WTO’s underlying treaty is not a solution to no-deal
      
         The editorial board
It is three years since the UK voted to leave the EU. It did so without a clear plan about its future relationship with the bloc. Since then, the British public has been treated to a stream of more or less unworkable plans by the government and leading Brexiters about maintaining frictionless trade with the union from outside.In the words of Boris Johnson, currently the strong favourite to win the Conservative party leadership contest and succeed Theresa May as prime minister, the UK wants to have its cake and eat it. The latest fantasy promulgated by some Brexit supporters, including Mr Johnson, is that the UK can invoke Article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt), the treaty underpinning the World Trade Organization. This, they say, would maintain an unchanged trading relationship with the EU even if the UK crashes out without a deal when the deadline expires on October 31.There has been a lot of nonsense over the past three years, but this is a strong contender for the most absurd of all. As countless trade lawyers and other experts have patiently explained, a rarely-used provision of Article 24 allows two economies to maintain a preferential trading relationship between themselves while they are finalising and implementing a full trade deal. It is not an open-ended way of maintaining preferential long-term access to each other’s markets even before talks begin. It also requires both partners to agree to invoke it, and other member governments of the WTO can object. Moreover, the provision applies only to tariffs on goods.
Services trade would still see a severe disruption, as would the UK leaving the EU’s regulatory regime for products including manufactures and food.The EU has repeatedly and rightly said it has no intention of entering into an interim Article 24 arrangement with the UK in case of a no-deal Brexit. Such an agreement would merely give Britain an excuse to flounder around endlessly trying to work out what kind of relationship it wants with the EU.Liam Fox, the international trade secretary and a supporter of Mr Johnson’s opponent Jeremy Hunt, is himself prone to persistent over-optimism about trade negotiations. To his credit, however, he has attempted to quash the Article 24 idea. Yet Mr Johnson and his surrogates continue merrily to propagate the misleading suggestion. Not surprisingly, Mr Johnson is trying to avoid scrutiny during the campaign, ducking debates with other candidates and dodging contact with the press.How much Mr Johnson genuinely believes his arguments and how much he is trying to gull the Conservative membership is unclear. In any case, it seems to be working. Most party members want to leave the EU in October with no deal if necessary, according to surveys.The UK government’s counterparts in Brussels have been watching the policy positions emerging from factional struggles within the Conservative party with rising incredulity. Mrs May crippled the talks from the start by announcing a series of unrealistic red lines. The Article 24 illusion is merely an extreme extension of that mentality.Mr Johnson is likely to win the leadership election and become prime minister. Assuming he manages to form a government, that is when reality will bite. He needs to have a plan ready to deal with the disappointment of his followers when it turns out they were sold policies under false pretences. A unilateral invocation of part of Article 24 is not a way out of the UK’s Brexit predicament. If Mr Johnson and his followers do not know that, they soon will.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/24/ireland-eu-pressure-lay-plans-border-fears-mount-no-deal-brexit/

Ireland under EU pressure to lay out plans for border as fears mount that no-deal Brexit is unavoidable


 Members of an anti-Brexit campaign group stage a protest against a hard border in Northern Ireland
•   Peter Foster, Europe Editor
24 June 2019 • 9:30pm
Ireland is facing demands from six fellow EU countries to set out detailed plans for how it will manage a no-deal Brexit as fears grow in Brussels that such an exit may be unavoidable, The Telegraph can reveal.
In the first clear sign that EU solidarity with Ireland is starting to come under strain, a gang of six states: France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands; are insisting that Ireland must set out in operational detail how it will protect EU borders.
The move comes as EU leaders bid farewell to Theresa May, who had consistently ruled out a no-deal exit, and prepare to welcome either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt, both of whom have committed to leaving the EU without a deal as a last resort.
It reflects growing impatience among EU member states over the refusal of the Irish government to spell out what will happen if the Irish backstop – which was designed to prevent the return of a hard border in Ireland – backfires and causes a no deal.
Both Tory leadership candidates have pledged to seek changes to the backstop, such as asking for it to be time-limited, but the Irish government, the European Commission and EU leaders say the existing Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened.
However, EU negotiators still expect the new prime minister to use the threat of no deal to put huge pressure on Ireland to choose between accepting a time-limit that “kicks the can” or a no deal that would be immediately 
destructive to the Irish economy.
The Irish Central Bank warned this week that a disorderly no-deal Brexit could knock four percentage points off Irish economic growth in the first year; result in 100,000 fewer jobs and inflict “very severe and immediate 
disruptive effects”.
The UK Government has already said it will not impose checks on the border in the event of no deal raising the prospect that the full burden of border checks will fall on Ireland.
Until recently, the Irish government has avoided the detail, countering that the UK has a mutual duty to help avoid a return to a hard border under the Good Friday Agreement, and threatening to not hold any EU-UK trade talks until London complies.
But the decision to put pressure on Dublin reflects concerns in Berlin and Paris that if the UK does not cooperate, then Ireland will pose a risk to the integrity of the EU single market in the event of a no deal.
“We need to know exactly what is going to happen in Ireland on day one of a no-deal Brexit if the British do nothing to help,” said an EU diplomat with knowledge of the discussions.
Poland is understood to be among a minority of member states who harbour hopes that forcing Ireland to confront the difficulties of a no deal could pave the way to reopening the debate on time-limiting the backstop.
Both in private and public, the Irish government remains adamant they will not do anything to dilute the backstop, citing polls showing that eight out of 10 Irish voters support sticking to the backstop even if it risks no deal.
Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach, dug in publicly at this week’s EU leaders summit, promising there would not be any renegotiation of the Irish Protocol and warning there was no appetite for further Brexit negotiations.
Three senior EU sources confirmed that Ireland was being forced to work with the European Commission’s Task Force 50 to lay out detailed plans on customs controls, tariff collections and checks on plant and animal products.
The European Commission has made clear that it will require Ireland to defend the integrity of the EU single market and will not provide legal exemptions on required checks.
Although customs checks and paperwork can be filled in away from the immediate border, phytosanitary checks on animal and plant products must be done close to the border at registered Border Inspection Posts (BIPs).
Officials on both sides are clear that even a “light touch” and electronic schemes will require policing and inspections that will be politically sensitive in border areas. Customs checks still require infrastructure.
The European Commission has backed Dublin, promising in its recent no-deal planning notices that it will make UK cooperation on the Irish border a “precondition” for agreeing to any discussion on the future relationship in the event of a no deal.
A report by Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy released last week warned that, given the positions of both sides “Ireland will have to establish BIPs which are closer to the border” in the event of a no deal.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on June 27, 2019, 10:42:47 AM
Senior hurling

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/26/boris-johnson-english-brexit-union-scotland-northern-ireland


Boris Johnson’s full English Brexit could rip the union apart


The Tory frontrunner’s ‘do-or-die’ approach is alienating Scotland and Northern Ireland – and courting disaster

  @martinkettle 
 
Wed 26 Jun 2019 18.19 BST  Last modified on Wed 26 Jun 2019 21.33 BST 
 

  " It is time to wake up, but there is barely a moment to smell the coffee. If Boris Johnson becomes prime minister, Britain will be sleepwalking towards the break-up of the United Kingdom. The minority who want this to happen are rubbing their hands at the prospect. The separate minority who say they don’t care if it happens seem beyond reasoned debate at present. But the majority who don’t want it to happen aren’t being much more attentive either. Unless this changes, they could be in for a shock more lasting than Brexit.
 
Even when the twists and turns of leaving the EU dominated the daily news in the early part of this year it was difficult to get many English politicians or commentators to focus for long on the destructive consequences for the union. Now that Brexit has become the defining doctrinal obsession of a Conservative party leadership election conducted in the shadow of the Brexit party, even less attention is being paid to those possible consequences, especially in England. But the forces that are driving Britain towards its break-up are not sleeping.

This is a problem with very deep and entangled historical roots. It embraces the centuries-long uneasy relationship between Britain and Ireland, and the increasingly confrontational modern one between Britain and Scotland. It highlights the failure of successive constitutional settlements to give a particular voice to Englishness. It ensnares not just the Tory and Brexit parties in its coils but Labour, too.

For a few more weeks, the face of the problem is still Theresa May. She intermittently mouthed decent words about the union while consistently following a Brexit policy that made the words sound like lies. She talked about the union as precious and beloved while ignoring widespread unease in the non-English parts of the UK about Brexit and her version of it. When she spoke in Belfast and in Scotland, she repeatedly exposed a tin ear for local sensitivities.

The partial recovery of the Tory party in Scotland in 2017 has done very little to change this default setting. Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, has struggled to persuade most leadership candidates to temper their approach in ways that help Scottish Tories. Of the original contenders, probably only Rory Stewart possesses what one could call an intuitive understanding of Scotland and the union. This week’s offer by Jeremy Hunt to include Davidson in any Brexit negotiating team is a rare recognition that the union is genuinely at stake in the Brexit battle.


But if May had a tin ear, what words remain to describe Johnson? The Tory frontrunner’s own origins may be strikingly cosmopolitan but his chosen persona, as the man who made possible the Brexit that most Scots and Northern Irish oppose, is potentially toxic. That is especially true given his “do or die” approach to leaving the EU has swallowed the full English Brexit.

His occasional diatribes are characteristically unrestrained. “Allowing the Scots to make their own laws, while free-riding on English taxpayers … is simply unjust,” he once wrote. He said in 2012 that public expenditure in London was of greater value to the country than public expenditure in Strathclyde – and says that when the Scottish government overspends “they will come cap in hand to Uncle Sugar in London. And when they do, I propose that we tell them to hop it.”


The Scottish National party is increasingly confident about a second independence referendum in which Johnson’s personality may help to overturn the 2014 vote to stay in the UK. With Johnson as prime minister, it will be much easier for the SNP to frame an independence campaign not just as an anti-Brexit breakaway, but as an anti-English revolt. The SNP’s offer in 2019 is more separatist than in 2014. Back then, it said it wanted to keep the pound and maintain customs and market alignment with the UK. Now, post-Brexit, it feels confident enough to reject those links.

Consumed by Brexit, the Conservative party has allowed its thinking on the union to drift into reactionary English nationalism. But Labour is no better. Jeremy Corbyn’s indifference to whether Britain remains in the EU is matched only by an apparent indifference to whether the UK remains unified. In the words of Gerry Hassan and Eric Shaw in their fascinating book The People’s Flag and the Union Jack, Corbyn “seems no more at ease with Britishness than with Englishness”. His support for Irish unification sits alongside a readiness to facilitate an independent Scotland. If a future Corbyn government finds itself dependent on the nationalists, it seems certain that he would give the SNP the independence referendum it seeks – and might even support its yes campaign.

 
Among major political figures, only Gordon Brown seems to grasp how much is at stake so immediately for the UK, and to have a strategy for preventing it. It was Brown who, more than anyone, brought urgency to the Better Together campaign in 2014. And it was Brown who warned in London this week that the union has never been in greater danger in its 300-year history because of what he called “divisive us-v-them nationalisms” in England driven by Johnson, the Tories and the Brexit party; and in Scotland, driven by the SNP.

Brown’s model of Britishness is open to challenge, but his imaginative grasp of the risks and importance of this moment is a towering reprimand to the timidity of today’s political leaders. If they do not find a way to keep the peoples of these islands together in a modern democratic union, they will open the way for those who will drive us apart."
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: RadioGAAGAA on June 27, 2019, 03:10:57 PM

   https://www.ft.com/content/85fc694c-9222-11e9-b7ea-60e35ef678d2
               
                  Simon Kuper
      
               June 21, 2019
         

Tragic that a bunch of know-nothings continually end up in charge of running a country.

Like I keep telling others - if these clowns were applying for the role as a vetted professional job, their CVs wouldn't be read beyond 10 lines before arcing toward the bin.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on June 27, 2019, 03:23:50 PM

   https://www.ft.com/content/85fc694c-9222-11e9-b7ea-60e35ef678d2
               
                  Simon Kuper
      
               June 21, 2019
         

Tragic that a bunch of know-nothings continually end up in charge of running a country.

Like I keep telling others - if these clowns were applying for the role as a vetted professional job, their CVs wouldn't be read beyond 10 lines before arcing toward the bin.
It's the same with Gonzaga types in Dublin
There were useless when they had to make a call on the banks in September 2008
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on July 09, 2019, 09:13:33 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/09/irish-border-brexit-blueprint-lacks-credibility-british-irish/

Irish border Brexit blueprint 'lacks credibility' British-Irish chamber of commerce warns
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145

 Peter Foster, europe editor
9 JULY 2019 • 6:00AM
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Proposals by prominent Brexiteers to use technology to create an invisible border in Ireland after Brexit “lack credibility”, the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce has warned.

The Chamber issued a damning assessment of the proposals following a presentation by the Alternative Arrangements Commission, an independent group which has been exploring border solutions but has close ties to leading Brexiteers.

Among the lead authors is Shanker Singham, a former adviser to the Trade Secretary Liam Fox who is tipped to have a prominent policy role in a Boris Johnson administration which is expected to use the AAC proposals as a blueprint for the border.

Mr Johnson has said he believes there are “abundant” technological fixes for the Irish border, but one Northern Irish food wholesaler present at the meeting said that it would require 35 vets to be on site each night to make the AAC proposals viable.

Other concerns raised by businesses included the cost of completing paperwork, the lack of customs agents, the risk of increased smuggling and too much reliance on “goodwill” from the EU side that the Chamber deemed was very unlikely to be accepted as a legal basis for trade.


The Chamber’s report concluded that Mr Singham’s proposals “lack credibility in the reality of how all-island trade actually works”.

The Chamber also noted that the reports authors “indicated a strong preference for an island of Ireland zone with alignment to the EU” - a solution that has been strongly rejected by the Democratic Unionist Party which currently props up the Conservative minority government.

The DUP has warned it will not accept the creation of a new trade border in the Irish Sea that would impede Northern Ireland’s access to the UK’s internal markets.

The authors therefore accepted that such a solution “was not a politically viable option at this time” but the preference points to potential political flashpoint in the coming months as the Tory Party seeks to deliver Brexit.

A source familiar with briefings by the Alternative Arrangements Commission said the authors had privately made clear on other occasions that they believed the DUP “would have to face reality” in order to facilitate Brexit.

In a further sign that Northern Ireland might be left in the EU’s regulatory orbit, the AAC’s interim report proposed that the UK and Ireland follow the same rules for animal and plant health checks, on an “equivalence” basis with the EU, until the UK chooses to diverge.


In this scenario, the interim report added, Ireland could revert back to EU rules with Northern Ireland also following “subject to the consent of the Northern Irish people” - hinting at an all-Ireland solution that is fiercely resisted by the DUP.

The British-Irish Chamber questioned the viability of the AAC’s entire proposal, noting that it would also require significant exemptions from EU rules that require checks at the border, transferring these to warehouses and distribution centres set back from the border.

The Chamber warned that it was highly unlikely that the EU or the Irish government would agree to such terms since it would risk undermining Ireland’s position in the single market as soon as the UK adopted different rules.

“There was a concern that the authors were over simplifying the problem and that there is an over reliance on goodwill and derogations from the EU,” the Chamber report said.

Senior Irish politicians were even more forthright. Senator Neale Richmond, the chair of the Brexit committee in the Irish Dail, who also met Mr Singham and the AAC described the proposal as a “non-starter”.

“The proposal is a complete non-starter,” Sen Richmong said, warning that it failed to meet the UK government’s promise not to introduce new border infrastructure or related checks after Brexit. “It is not only premature, it is uncosted and unproven, with no real timeline.”


While the AAC proposals call for an exemption for small traders, trade and border experts also questioned the viability of proposals for larger businesses which it is suggested should use self-assessment schemes like the “CSA Platinum programme” between Canada and the USA.

However Dr Katy Hayward of Queen’s University Belfast who recently returned from a research mission to the US-Canada border, said that such schemes had proved of only marginal utility in practice.

“Canada's Customs Self-Assessment Platinum scheme requires a much higher standard for electronic record-keeping and tighter controls for security than other trusted trader schemes. As a result, it is quite burdensome for even large traders and take up of it has been limited,” she said.

“It looks unlikely that it will be included - in its current form -  in future plans for customs facilitation in Canada. It is curious to see it presented in the interim AAC report, therefore, as a model to be emulated.”

Nicole Sykes, the of EU Negotiations at the CBI said that the effort to explore alternative arrangements that could supersede - but not replace - the Irish backstop signalled a constructive approach, but that proposals still needed to be “practical, realistic and viable”.

“Firms on the island of Ireland still harbour deep concerns about how they’d affect operations and supply chains, not to mention the risks of smuggling and unrealistic timelines for introducing new technology,” she concluded.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on July 16, 2019, 11:11:36 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/15/boris-johnsons-brexit-plan-europe-might-make/

Boris Johnson's Brexit plan – and what Europe might make of it
•    Peter Foster, europe editor
15 JULY 2019 • 12:00PM
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As Boris Johnson prepares to enter Downing Street later this month there is plentiful speculation on his plan to deliver Brexit.
But not all speculation is idle and at a Telegraph event last week Mr Johnson set out in clear and methodical fashion how he believes Brexit can be achieved by October 31 and, as he put it, “p***k the twin puffballs” of the Lib Dems and the Brexit Party.
The plan, as he spelled it out, has four main planks and starts from the supposition that the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Theresa May must now be considered “defunct”.
Mr Johnson argued that after three failed votes in Parliament that divorce package - which agreed the rights of EU citizens, a £39bn financial settlement and created space to address the future of the Irish border - must now be “disaggregated” in order to be implemented.
First, Mr Johnson said, the rights of the 3.2m citizens resident in the UK after Brexit must be protected. That part of the deal will be taken “out of the otherwise defunct Withdrawal Agreement and put it into law”. He thinks this should have happened at the outset.
Second, the £39bn so-called Brexit ‘bill’ must be suspended “in a state of creative ambiguity over the talks” while a Free Trade Agreement is negotiated - but Mr Johnson is also clear that he will pay up front for a “standstill” transition period after exit day, if the EU is prepared to grant it.
At the same time, he’s happy to reach separate agreements on issues like EU civil servants’ pensions; the settlement of court cases still live at the point of Brexit and, on a bilateral basis, address the questions posed by Gibraltar and the management of UK bases in Cyprus.
Third, having tidied up these issues, Mr Johnson proposes that the Irish backstop be “kicked out” and instead the issue of the Irish border - and “indeed every other border” - gets settled “where those questions logically belong in the context of the Free Trade Agreement”.
In essence, the UK still promises to engage fully in the hunt for “alternative arrangements” for the Irish border (as the EU has already offered in the current agreement) but without the Irish backstop effectively pre-determining the outcome of that process.
Because as it stands, says Mr Johnson, the backstop means either remaining entirely in the EU’s Customs Union and single market, or leaving Northern Ireland stranded alone inside it. This, he says, is an “appalling choice” that no British prime minister can accept.
 
Boris Johnson addresses a crowd of Telegraph readers at an exclusive hustings event  CREDIT: PAUL GROVER
Fourth, and looming intentionally over all this, is for the UK to prepare for ‘no deal’ with “confidence and brio”, so that the EU is very clear that the cost of refusing the UK a transition on these terms is a “WTO-only Brexit” that hurts both sides, especially Ireland.
To summarise the pitch in Mr Johnson’s own words: “We’ll get a great deal; we’ll get a protraction of the existing arrangements; then we’ll come out and solve the Irish border problems in the negotiations on free trade.”
To many British ears, this will sound eminently reasonable - offering to look after EU citizens, to pay for a transition and then work hard on the technology needed to create a minimally disruptive border in Ireland when the UK leaves the EU single market and customs union.
But to the European side it sounds as entirely unreasonable - a charter for ‘free-riding’ on the EU that it would be political suicide for the other 27 government to accept. Taking each part of Mr Johnson’s plan in turn:
First, the offer to guarantee citizens’ rights is hardly seen in Brussels as an act of generous statesmanship, but rather one of common decency. It has, in any case, already been promised by Mrs May’s government and is necessary to win reciprocal protections for UK citizens in the EU.
Second, the threat to parlay the Brexit ‘bill’ into a future relationship recalls David Davis’s efforts to attach conditionality to the payments, promising the ‘row of the summer’ on the subject. As it happened, it lasted a single morning on the first day of talks in June 2017.
Given that even in a ‘no deal’ there will still need to be a host of other agreements to maintain a minimally disruptive environment, the EU bets on a similar capitulation. In short, EU officials and diplomats reckon that in time - one way or another - they will get their money.
Third Mr Johnson appears to want to ‘pay to play’ in the EU while he negotiates an FTA, but without submitting to any of the oversight that other EU players must accept in the form of the European Court of Justice, or the arbitration mechanisms agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement.
“Who wouldn’t want that?,” asks one EU diplomat. “If Britain was allowed to cherry-pick, why wouldn’t everyone? The EU doesn’t run on gentleman’s agreements and the Brits must know that by now.”
There is only one legally coherent way that the UK can leave and still effectively remain a member state while they negotiate a trade deal, and that is via the Article 50 process - the ‘transition period’ is the carrot, but it comes with legal safeguards for the EU. Otherwise it is just free-riding.
Fourth, proposing to fix the Irish border problem as part of trade talks is effectively re-stating a problem without offering a solution.
Mr Johnson wants to leave the EU single market and customs union, but that makes if very hard to maintain an ‘invisible’ border in Ireland which was only possible in the first place as a result of the UK’s membership of those institutions.
The backstop was an insurance policy that was required precisely because the UK side could not explain how it would preserve that open border, having refused the EU offer to put a ‘de-dramatised’ trade border in the Irish Sea.
Prominent supporters of Mr Johnson have recently created a package of ‘alternative arrangements’ that they admit will require some new checks in Ireland, but the truth is no-one in Dublin, Brussels (or Whitehall) is convinced.
Those arrangements were recently presented to the bilateral British-Irish Chamber of Commerce which witheringly concluded “that they lack credibility in the reality of how all-island trade actually works”.
An extended transition period, which has been mooted in some quarters, might provide time and political space to find solutions - but again, that transition offer only exists via Article 50, with all the financial and legal strings attached.
Which brings us back to a ‘no deal’ and Mr Johnson’s preparedness to go down the route in order to force the EU to compromise on some or all of the above - whether agreeing to time-limit the Irish backstop or perhaps a longer transition that obviates the need to ever use it.
Mr Johnson reckons that the EU will blink - to get their hands on the £39bn, to get shot of Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party awkward squad from Brussels and to avoid seeing the UK plough its own furrow and make a fist of going it alone.
“If they force us into a WTO Brexit and we survive and prosper as I think everyone in this audience thinks we can, that will massively damage the credibility of the EU,” he says, “undermining of their own credibility and the project fear they have helped inspire.”
This is a seductive campaign narrative, and the EU side is fully aware that it will be blamed on the British side of the Channel if a ‘no deal’ does occur because Mr Johnson’s reasonable demands have not been met. Some in Europe even read his ‘plan’ as a coded request for a ‘no deal’.
But it is also noted on the EU side that the two cabinet ministers - Liam Fox and Michael Gove - who run departments directly affected by a ‘no deal’ are among its least enthusiastic proponents. In office, they wonder if Mr Johnon’s enthusiasm will wane too.
When Mr Johnson gets into the lonely cockpit of the highest office in the land, they bet he will blink too - and even if he doesn’t, the consequences of a ‘no deal’ will, sooner or later, force Mr Johnson to accept much that he now rejects.
Even the free trade agreement that Mr Johnson seeks in the event of a ‘no deal’ will come with heavy strings attached - on competition, state aid and regulations - to ensure the ‘level playing field’. This will be doubly so for an economy the size and proximity of the UK.
In short, the EU still sees a new British PM having limited room to move. A Northern Ireland civil service assessment paper released this week warned that a ‘no deal’ could cost 40,000 jobs in Northern Ireland, having a “profound and long-lasting impact on NI’s economy and society”.
In concrete terms, that means 1 in 5 jobs, up to £180m in lost exports to Northern Ireland and £120m in services trade; a sharp reduction in inward investment and all that before societal and political risks of reigniting a simmering sectarian conflict.
Such independent research might be dismissed as ‘project fear’ in an election campaign but, many in the EU privately surmise, will weigh rather more heavily on any British prime minister in the lonely sanctity of their private office.
Come October we shall find out.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on July 26, 2019, 02:15:09 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/26/dear-prime-minister-please-tread-carefully-handling-irish-border/
Dear Prime Minister, please tread carefully in your handling of the Irish border
•   JOHN MCDOWELL
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26 JULY 2019 • 1:00PM
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•   
•   
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9
 Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Belfast CREDIT: CHARLES MCQUILLAN /GETTY IMAGES EUROPE
Now that the campaigning has ended and the governing must begin, I wanted to write to you about the matter of the Border on the island of Ireland, which is close to where I live. Indeed, the Diocese of Clogher, which I serve, includes all of County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland and County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that my Diocese transcends the Border.
No doubt many others representing many people and interests will have communicated with you on this subject before. So I would first reassure you that I am writing as someone who has always recognised the almost impossible difficulties and stresses placed on those who have a vocation to public life, particularly politicians.
I cannot claim to represent a huge electorate or to have any specialist knowledge. But sometimes an individual should say things which might otherwise go unheard in the cacophony of other, better-known voices; the alternative would be to simply wither in the silence of exhaustion.
As Bishop of Clogher, I have a vocation to care for people on both sides of the Border and a responsibility to pray for both British and Irish Heads of State and their peoples, day by day. Although that is principally a spiritual job of work, it would be hypocritical of me to pray for something without actively working to achieve it. Besides, spiritual wellbeing needs a material basis on which to live.
So, although our priorities and the methods we use to achieve them may be different, I think it is fair to say that our goals overlap; nowhere more so than in the current difficulties surrounding Brexit and the Border, which (very worryingly) give every impression of escalating towards a crisis. For those of us old enough to have lived through longest civil conflict in post-War Europe, the very word “escalation” is resonant with overtones of lived horror and real tragedy. As such, it is reassuring that those in power on both sides have repeated their desire to find answers to the Brexit/Border conundrum problems that protect what has been achieved here since 1998.
What your Government chooses to do to that end will be inevitably one of historical magnitude.
Government’s role is to use the very substantial resources of the State to sift evidence, consider policy options and plan a way forward. In so doing it should take into account the needs of society as a whole, i.e. to seek the common good. In light of this, the worst thing a Government can be is irresponsible or careless. No Government should commit a country to a course of action in which the consequences were so opaque as to be incalculable. It would, therefore, be both logically and morally correct for a Prime Minister to give deep pause before allowing a no-deal Brexit.
But I principally wanted to write to you about the Border.
The Border and the problems which it poses for any form of Brexit are not only technical or technological issues.  Nor are they simply issues to do with trade or security matters.  Expressed in the starkest terms, the Border is the background against which all political and much cultural life in Northern Ireland (and in a more limited way in the Republic of Ireland) is worked out. Some people like the Border and others do not, but positively or negatively, consciously or unconsciously, it is pivotal to how politicians and people here assess almost all policy alternatives.
For this reason alone, any big change which has an impact on the Border is unavoidably complicated and inevitably charged with emotional and symbolic significance.
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After a period of relative obscurity, it now appears that everybody is fascinated by the Border. It is interesting, for a while, to be at the centre of the world’s attention. But on the whole I think many of us would rather have been left alone.
For a political border, it is very beautiful in places. That is largely because of the hundreds of small farms looked after by hundreds of sturdy farmers along its length. There isn’t much money in it for most of them, but if you ask them why they don’t move to somewhere less difficult to farm they say “You can’t roll up the land and take it with you”. The long term well-being of men and women like these, and their neighbours all along the border, requires and deserves a clearly spelt-out, sustainable agreement between both sides. This is so that they have not only that material basis necessary for civilised living but also hope for their children’s future. Neither peace nor prosperity are possible without hope.
I think it was the great English public figure and man of Letters Thomas Babbington Macauley who said of Ireland that “the molten lava of the past flows hot and dangerous under the thin crust of the present”.
The ground on which people build and grow in the Border region feels particularly fragile today. It is almost possible to feel the heat of the past burning the soles of our feet. So, please, in your consideration of the future of this place: tread carefully.  And with deep and genuine concern I would ask you to be very conscious of the legacy your Government will leave.
The Rt Revd. John McDowell is bishop of Clogher, a diocese that traverses the Irish border
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Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on August 07, 2019, 11:01:57 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/08/06/nothing-undemocratic-northern-irelands-brexit-backstop/

There is nothing undemocratic about Northern Ireland's Brexit backstop
•   MARK DURKAN
Follow
6 AUGUST 2019 • 10:02PM


Writing for the Telegraph, Nick Timothy accused Leo Varadkar of not understanding the Good Friday Agreementand risking peace in Ireland. His attack on the Taoiseach is part of a syndicated assault on the backstop, which actually stemmed from the very red lines first spelled out by Theresa May, the prime minister Mr Timothy was then serving.
The backstop was agreed in good faith as one part of the wider Withdrawal Agreement. A UK exit via this agreement would be followed by an implementation period and negotiation of the future UK-EU relationship. It is an insurance policy to guarantee no detriment to existing arrangements on the island of Ireland for cross-border trade and cooperation during or after those negotiations.
Brexiteers portray the backstop in terms of EU control and now call it undemocratic. In fact, it is supported by a majority in Northern Ireland.
It is an EU concession to ensure that the North’s ambidextrous trading options as part of both the UK and all-island markets are not dissolved by the imperatives of Brexit or its aftermath.
It would help to uphold the North-South dimension of the Good Friday Agreement as mandated by the people of Ireland, North and South, in 1998.
But this would not be at the expense of other aspects of the 1998 Agreement. The Taoiseach has been clear that, as co-guarantor of the Belfast Agreement, he is not only a guardian of its Strand Two – the North-South framework, which encourages cooperation between the North and the Republic – but also fully mindful of its other provisions. The terms in which he has suggested potential deployment of its Strand Three – managing cooperation between Britain and Ireland – in a post-Brexit scenario disprove the caricatures by his detractors.
Mr Timothy called Lord Trimble in aid to claim that the backstop breaches the Good Friday Agreement. David Trimble was not singly responsible for the Agreement. Neither is he solely reliable on its interpretation. The paper he wrote for Policy Exchange ignores how the UK Supreme Court ruled when the two versions of “consent” within the Belfast Agreement were tested in relation to Brexit. In light of those rulings, the charge that the backstop violates the consent principle can be seen to rest on false premises.
Then there is the argument that Northern Ireland will be bound to EU rules over which it will have no say. Michel Barnier has stated that the EU is not out to impose new regulations on Northern Ireland but respects the relevant provisions in the Good Friday Agreement. Having dealt with him as finance minister and deputy first minister, in joint and equal office with David Trimble, I know that Mr Barnier’s appreciation of the nuances of the Agreement far outstrips that of anyone in the British Government.
Lord Trimble’s paper invokes paragraph 17 of Strand Two of the Good Friday Agreement as though it refutes the backstop. However, it provides that the views of the North/South Ministerial Council on EU policies and proposals can be taken into account and represented appropriately at relevant EU meetings. This helps to answer the charge that Northern Ireland would be trapped into regulations with no representation.
 
Simon Coveney, Ireland's deputy prime minister CREDIT: WIKTOR SZYMANOWICZ / BARCROFT MEDIA
Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, the Tánaiste, reflect a considered consensus in democratic Ireland. This includes the thinking of a majority of people and parties in the north as well as the responsible stances of opposition parties in the south. And there is no need to remind the Taoiseach about the pursuit of “alternative arrangements”, which is part of the very backstop text that Brexiteers want removed. The backstop is not intended as an end state. Alternative arrangements need to be developed to succeed it in the future EU-UK relationship.
The insurance policy of the backstop will not reduce the incentive for the Irish Government to pursue positive future arrangements rooted in the Good Friday Agreement. It would be good to believe that such an incentive would be fully shared by the UK Government. But Brexiteers’ incoherence on the backstop and the Agreement itself offers no such confidence to the EU27.
The backstop provides for a balance of insurance, incentives and interests to inform the very negotiations on a future relationship to which the new Prime Minister ascribes such priority.
 
Mark Durkan was the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland from 2001 to 2002

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on August 07, 2019, 03:53:40 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/08/07/five-key-conundrums-facing-johnson-government-tell-risk-no/

Five key conundrums facing the Johnson government - and what they tell you about risk of no-deal Brexit

 Here we look at five key decisions facing Mr Johnson and his team over the summer

 Peter Foster, europe editor
7 AUGUST 2019 • 10:47AM

From the corridors of Westminster to the chancelleries of Europe all sides are trying to divine the ultimate intentions of Boris Johnson’s new “do or die” Brexit government.

But so far the new administration has been long on ‘no deal’ rhetoric and very short on concrete policies that would be needed to implement that plan.

Here we look at five key decisions facing Mr Johnson and his team over the summer, and what they might reveal about his thinking as we approach the October 31 deadline.

Will the Government risk tabling legislation to prepare for a ‘no deal’?
At the moment the Johnson government says it does not dare to table any of the legislation that will be needed to address the challenges of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, for fear it will provide opponents with the legislative ‘hook’ for amendments designed to thwart him.

Major pieces of legislation are needed on trade, financial services, immigration and the imposition of Direct Rule in Northern Ireland to actually enable the government and civil service to manage the impacts of a no deal.


Mr Johnson has promised to guarantee the rights of EU Citizens after Brexit, but again declined to put forward the necessary legislation; he also needs to win Lords and Commons votes on Statutory Instruments to empower the government to raise tariffs to protect british farming and industry, but it now looks likely these will only come after a ‘no deal’.

As the Institute for Government has warned, failure to pass any of this legislation could leave the country in a messy legal limbo after Brexit; even if it is not strictly necessary to stop a ‘no deal’ occurring on October 31, it will mean a very hard landing indeed.

If the Government position does not change, it will indicate that Mr Johnson doesn’t believe he has a working majority in Parliament and will provide ammunition to those warning that a ‘no deal’ will be hugely reckless and damaging.

How will the Government show it is really ‘straining every sinew’ for a deal?
Mr Johnson has said that a ‘no deal’ is a million-to-one chance and that he will keep “straining every sinew” to prevent this happening - and yet he has not even accepted the offer of a meeting with the French President Emmanuel Macron.

Instead, Michael Gove has been sent out of his ‘no deal’ planning bunker to complain that it is “sad” that the EU will not negotiate with Mr Johnson, who for his part has said he will only talk “on the basis” that the EU side agrees to abolish the Irish backstop.

This blame-game might work for a while, but if Mr Johnson wants to demonstrate serious intent (even if he is not serious and seeks only to win the blame game) he will need to do more in the coming weeks ahead.

Among the ideas being discussed is Mr Johnson penning an open letter to Donald Tusk, the European Council president and other EU leaders warning of the risks of a grand rupture with Europe over the (relatively) local matter of the Northern Irish border.


But this is more grandstanding and it will sound emptier and more desperate as the days go by.  Much more substantive would be for Mr Johnson to pass an indicative vote through Parliament demonstrating - as he has repeatedly said - that a ‘bin the backstop’ approach has support in Parliament and would deliver an orderly exit for the EU.

If the EU just stuck to its guns in that scenario, it would look much weaker than at present - and might even prompt bigger member states like France and Germany to put last-minute pressure on Ireland to agree to a compromise on the backstop as we enter the crucible of negotiations in late October.

The extent to which Mr Johnson is prepared to put material pressure on the EU will be a sign of how seriously he actually intends to negotiate.

How much of the Withdrawal Agreement is Johnson prepared to keep in a ‘no deal’?
Mr Johnson has said ‘bin the backstop’ would be “good progress”, but for many of his backbench purists like, Mark Francois of the Tory’s European Research Group, even when shorn of the Irish backstop, the May deal is unacceptable.

So if Mr Johnson is serious about going for a ‘no deal’ in order to access a ‘disaggregated’ Withdrawal Agreement, his government will need to start fleshing out which parts of the current deal the UK government is prepared to accept - because much of it is not contentious.

How much of the Citizens Rights package they will guarantee? Will it, for example, include the rights to bring family members, export child benefit and accept the right of the European Court of Justice to rule on legal matters that pertain to EU law?

And what about the £39bn financial settlement? Which parts of the UK’s historical liabilities - from pensions to loan guarantees - is the UK prepared to accept? This is one of many key decisions that will impact on the UK’s creditworthiness and global credibility.

Then there are all those mundane but important matters, such as the legal status of goods placed on the market before Brexit; the jurisdiction of outstanding court cases or the legal status of long-term insurance contracts - to name but a fraction of the ‘housekeeping’ issues needed to provide a legal basis for ongoing trade.

The Johnson government, if it serious about a no deal, and wants to be treated seriously after a ‘no deal’ will need to start to address these questions. If not, then the current position might be read as electioneering bluster and bravado, rather than serious intent.

Will Johnson soften red lines on holding talks?
Thus far, as noted above, Mr Johnson has said he will talk to the EU only “on the basis” that the EU agrees to drop the Irish backstop.

But just as Mr Johnson could put pressure on Europe by passing a Brady-style amendment in Parliament demonstrating he has support for that approach, the EU could also pressure Mr Johnson by offering to discuss re-opening the Withdrawal Agreement.


This would not be to ‘bin the backstop’, but it would be a major concession from Europe. It might open the door to a smaller concession such as a time-limit on the backstop that only a few months ago were key demands of Brexiteers and could change the legal advice of Geoffrey Cox about the risks of the UK getting trapped indefinitely in the backstop arrangement.

Would Mr Johnson accept talks on those terms if they were offered? It is true, he would have to climb down from his own red line, but he could argue that the EU ‘blinked’ first.

If he refused such an overture that would be a very clear signal that he was actively intent on delivering a ‘no deal’, and it would lay the blame very squarely at his feet.

Does the Government have a strategy to play no deal short or long?
Related to all of the above is a big strategic decision about how the UK - if it is serious about a ‘no deal’ - is going to play its cards in that world.

The reality, as even Mr Johnson surely understands, is that a ‘no deal’ is not the end of the story, it is merely the beginning of a new and volatile chapter in EU-UK relations. The UK will need to do a deal with Europe.

The problem is that, at the moment, there is no strategic direction in Whitehall as to how a Johnson government would behave: will it ‘dig in’ for a longer confrontation and refuse EU demands to resolve EU citizens’ rights, financial issues and the Irish border before any talks begin? Or would a Johnson government, having delivered ‘no deal’, get rapidly more pragmatic?

The answer will depend partly on how Europe responds to the reality of a ‘no deal’, but an emerging policy strategy on this fundamental question - and the mapping out of its consequences one way or the other - will provide another key signpost of intent on the road to the October 31 Brexit deadline.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on August 22, 2019, 01:48:59 PM
The lunatics are running the show

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/08/21/nigel-farage-must-prepared-stand-victorious-brexit-army/


Nigel Farage must be prepared to stand down his victorious Brexit army
ALLISTER HEATH
Follow  Allister Heath 21 AUGUST 2019 • 9:30PM
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 The Brexit Party Launches "The Big Vision"
The Brexit Party is on a war footing, but with any luck will never have to fight again, writes Allister Heath
It will soon be obvious to all that Boris is the real thing and the main threat is from the Remainers

If you want peace, prepare for war, as Vegetius explained in Epitoma rei militaris, the only Roman military manual of its kind to have survived intact. Nigel Farage, unlike the Prime Minister, isn’t a classicist, but I hope he will be heeding the lesson.

The Brexit Party is on a war footing, but with any luck will never have to fight again. Farage knows he must keep up the pressure on a Tory party that has spent 50 years betraying Eurosceptics. He is selecting candidates for every seat, releasing non-Brexit manifesto pledges (such as cash for the North and ditching HS2) and is furiously reminding voters that the problems with Theresa May’s deal extend far further than the backstop.

It is easy to understand why Farage is acting in this way. He has confirmed his place as one of the heroes of the Brexit revolution, most recently as the man who rescued it from its near-death experience at the hands of May’s clique of third-rate, dishonest Remainer ultras. Without the Brexit Party and its 30.5 per cent of the vote at the European elections, the 1922 Committee would have been too cowardly to axe Mrs May, the European Research Group would have remained powerless and Boris Johnson and his brilliant count palatine Dominic Cummings wouldn’t be in No 10, frantically preparing for a no deal.

For now, Farage must keep up the pressure. Without the threat of a wipeout and, in extremis, the potential replacement of the Tories by the Brexit Party, some (currently dutiful) Remainer ministers could still turn against no deal and try to blow everything up before Oct 31.


Yet Farage mustn’t lose sight of the ultimate objective: a meaningful departure from the EU that ensures Britain’s voters and institutions regain control of our laws, money and trade. It should go without saying that a genuine Brexit is compatible with a proper agreement: it doesn’t have to mean no deal. Yes, at present it looks likely that the only acceptable way out will in fact be without an agreement, but there is still a chance that this might change. Boris’s meeting with Angela Merkel was surprisingly hopeful.

But whether Europe’s nomenklatura climbs down or not, at some point soon, perhaps in a few weeks’ time, even the most cynical will have to concede that Boris is planning to deliver the clean Brexit he has promised. It will be obvious – for those to whom it isn’t already – that the existential threat comes from Remainers, not No 10. It will then make sense for Farage to declare victory, put aside his distrust of Mr Cummings and ensure his candidates never make it to actual ballot papers.

To those Brexiteers who disagree, I ask this: look at the facts. I still can not believe just how pro-Brexit this government actually is. It is breathtaking. Johnson/Cummings are the real thing, as are Dominic Raab, Priti Patel and all the other Brexiteers in positions of power. Sajid Javid is preparing a Budget that will blow the socks off the economy and will be the most important since Nigel Lawson’s 1986 masterpiece. The no-deal preparations are substantial and sincere.

Johnson’s letter to Donald Tusk contained two central points. The first is that the PM rejects the backstop, the most pathetic, preposterous treaty clause any British government has ever proposed signing.

The second, equally powerful, has been overlooked. We will not merely be leaving the single market and customs union but will be setting our own laws and taxes. It’s worth quoting Johnson at length: “Although we will remain committed to world-class environment, product and labour standards, the laws and regulations to deliver them will potentially diverge from those of the EU. That is the point of our exit and our ability to enable this is central to our future democracy.”

There will be no permanent regulatory alignment and no signing up to the EU’s horrifically anti-competitive “level playing field” guarantees. We will not have to copy and paste, zombie like, any new or existing rules dreamt up in Brussels. We will have the opportunity to innovate and to compete with better – or reduced – regulations.

Trade agreements necessitate some broad alignment in certain areas to allow mutual recognition of standards, but that is radically different from the wholesale surrender of sovereignty Mrs May was proposing. Under any possible Boris treaty, we will be self-governing once again. His pre- or post-Brexit negotiating aim is a classic free-trade area, not non-voting membership of a single regulatory zone. The implication is that the rest of Mrs May’s deal is dead: Boris’s letter is incompatible with the political declaration. His end point is exactly what Brexiteers have been dreaming about for so long.

When the time is right, Farage should stand his party down, especially if a general election has to take place before we leave. At the heart of the Boris/Cummings plan is a simple calculation: they must win swaths of Labour-held seats in working-class areas, to compensate for a small number of losses to Lib Dems in ultra-Remainer areas. Splitting the pro-Brexit vote would be hopelessly counterproductive.

Pro-Remain Tory MPs who vote against Boris in a motion of no confidence or help Parliament seize control will either retire, join the Lib Dems or be deselected (by CCHQ, if need be). The party’s candidates will thus comprise only Brexiteers, including converts, as well as those such as Amber Rudd who have reconciled themselves to leaving. There will be no need for Farage to stand against any of them.

It is therefore absurd in the extreme to depict Johnson as Theresa May 2.0, as some deluded commentators have begun to. Such an “analysis” is entirely devoid of understanding. Its authors are so convinced that the only possible outcome is either the May deal – now or at a later stage when we supposedly come crawling back, begging for readmission to the single market or customs union – or no Brexit at all that they have become trapped in a logical fallacy.

They can no longer see the world as it is. Boris is preparing a real Brexit. Only a Remainer parliamentary putsch, or a dangerously divided Brexit movement, can still stop him.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on August 23, 2019, 08:49:41 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/da4ffed4-c4cf-11e9-a8e9-296ca66511c9

Emmanuel Macron dashes Boris Johnson’s hope for Brexit deal French president says backstop ‘indispensable’ and renegotiation would leave agreement little changed Emmanuel Macron, left, with Boris Johnson at the Elysée Palace in Paris on Thursday
Victor Mallet in Paris and Mehreen Khan in Brussels YESTERDAY Print this page1585 French president Emmanuel Macron on Thursday cast doubt on British prime minister Boris Johnson’s talk of a Brexit deal before October 31,
 saying any renegotiation of the UK-EU withdrawal agreement would leave it little changed from the original. Mr Johnson said he was “powerfully encouraged” by his meeting on Wednesday with German chancellor Angela Merkel, when she expressed hope the UK and the EU could find a solution in the next 30 days to the vexed issue of the Irish border. He is demanding an overhaul of the withdrawal agreement finalised between the EU and his predecessor Theresa May that would involve removing the so-called backstop — arrangements to avoid the return to a hard Irish border. But Mr Macron, ahead of talks with Mr Johnson at the Elysée palace in Paris, said the backstop was an “indispensable” part of the accord. He agreed the two sides should be able to find “something intelligent in 30 days if there is goodwill on all sides” but only if the changes did not affect the EU’s core demands on Ireland and the European single market. “In the coming month we are not going to find a new withdrawal agreement that is far from the original,” said Mr Macron. Brexit: Johnson tells Merkel 'we want a deal'
“If there are things in the framework of what was negotiated by [EU chief negotiator] Michel Barnier that can be adapted and conform with the two objectives I mentioned — stability in Ireland and integrity of the single market — we should find it in the coming month. “If not, it means the problem is deeper, it’s political, it’s a British political problem and at that point it’s not a negotiation that can solve it — it’s a political choice that the prime minister [Mr Johnson] will have to make. It’s not up to us.” It is not about 30 days. The 30 days were meant as an example to highlight the fact that we need to achieve it in a short time Angela Merkel Mr Johnson is insisting the UK will leave the EU on the designated departure date of October 31, with or without a deal. He reiterated in Paris that Britain would not impose any controls on the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. He also expressed confidence that alternatives to the backstop could be found to enable trade across the border without checks, adding these could involve “trusted trader” schemes, among other things. Mr Johnson said: “Of course I want a deal and think we can get a deal and a good deal.” A senior French official said the two-hour meeting between Mr Macron and Mr Johnson was “constructive”, with the two leaders wishing to pursue their contacts before the end of September “to try to reach an agreement that respected the fundamental European principles” noted by Mr Macron on Ireland and the EU single market. Inside the French government, Mr Johnson’s hardline Brexit stance is seen as a “Trumpian” attempt to present himself to UK voters as a decisive nationalist, rather than a genuine effort to wrest concessions on the withdrawal agreement he knows will not be forthcoming from the EU. Recommended Brexit Is business right to still fear a no-deal Brexit? A senior EU official said European leaders “expect details” from Mr Johnson about how to replace the backstop or talks would go nowhere at the G7 summit to be hosted by Mr Macron in Biarritz at the weekend. Donald Tusk, the European Council president who will represent the EU at the summit, will meet Mr Johnson. The EU official said there was now “concern” following Mr Johnson’s visit to Berlin that “we may have to wait at least 30 days to get some detailed plans from London”. A no-deal Brexit was now the “working assumption” of the bloc, given the UK government’s determination to leave the EU on October 31, added the official. Ms Merkel on Thursday clarified her 30-day comment, saying she had not given Mr Johnson 30 days to find a solution to the backstop but had just wanted to highlight how little time was left. “It is not about 30 days,” she said. “The 30 days were meant as an example to highlight the fact that we need to achieve it in a short time because Britain had said they want to leave the European Union on October 31.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 02, 2019, 10:15:37 AM
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/no-deal-brexit-will-hit-poor-on-both-sides-of-the-border-first-and-hardest-1.4004118
For households in Northern Ireland, the consequences will be even more severe. A report by the UK’s Department of the Economy published in July stated that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal there will be a “profound and long-lasting impact on NI’s economy and society”. It is estimated that up to 40,000 jobs could be lost. This predicted rise in unemployment could coincide with the introduction of universal credit, the controversial welfare reform that merges six benefits into one. It is estimated that approximately 40 per cent of households will be worse off under the universal credit scheme.

Analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (2013) showed that Northern Ireland will be the worst affected by the introduction of universal credit when compared to other areas in the UK. This is because the North has a higher proportion of low-income households in receipt of means-tested benefits.

It is incumbent upon government, on both sides of the Irish Sea, to prevent poorer households from paying the price of a no-deal Brexit
The roll out of the scheme in some areas of the North began last year and has seen an increase in requests for help from households whose payment has been delayed or suspended. The scheme is due to be extended to all recipients in 2020. In some parts of England where the reforms have already been implemented, food banks have seen a 52 per cent increase in demand. In 2011 there was just one food bank operating in Northern Ireland, today there are 23. Therefore, at a time when people will be in greater need of social support, the safety net for citizens in the North will be significantly eroded.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 02, 2019, 08:23:20 PM
Ivan Rogers no Deal


https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/09/ivan-rogers-the-realities-of-a-no-deal-brexit/amp/
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 03, 2019, 02:51:10 PM
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/simplistic-view-of-europe-has-pushed-uk-into-brexit-abyss-1.4005357

Simplistic view of Europe has pushed UK into Brexit abyss
Johnson leads myopic world view where complexity of EU is bulldozed by colonial will

Ian Dunt

 
 
You can predict the next action of Boris Johnson’s government quite easily. Simply imagine the approach which would show the least moral, intellectual or political understanding of the situation, and that is the one he will follow.

His strategy with parliament this week is to try and bully it into submission. He shows precisely no understanding of – or interest in – his opponents. He has no capacity to try and provide a compromise position. And he has overestimated his own leverage. It is, in short, a domestic rerun of the Brexiteer’s miscalculations over the backstop.

The Brexit debate often gets bogged down in technical details – parliamentary standing orders, customs procedures, principles of regulatory alignment. But at its heart there is an emotional battle taking place between two different views of the world.

The Remain side is generally comfortable with Britain exercising influence through a union of nations. They’re typically open to detail, strategically fairly modest and have an admiration for the competence of European leaders.

The Leave side harks back to a period of unchallenged British colonial strength, has a deep-seated hatred of detail, believes in the triumph of the will, and views European politicians as limp technocrats.

That world view has a long history, in which the current prime minister played no small part. When he worked as Brussels correspondent for the Telegraph between 1989 and 1994, he pioneered a new form of quasi-fictional reporting on nonsense news items like size limitations on condoms and bans on prawn cocktail-flavoured crisps.

At the time, it all seemed fairly jolly – an ultimately harmless form of instinctive Little Englander prejudice. But it helped cement a specific variant of the Eurosceptic world view, which took firm hold in what is now the Brexit electorate.

A seemingly harmless form of instinctive Little Englander prejudice helped cement a specific variant of the Eurosceptic world view
It was distinct from that of its fellow constitutional Eurosceptics, who were wary of legal overreach in the Maastricht Treaty and of the potential volatility of having a monetary union without any overarching fiscal or banking arrangements to complement it.


Hysterical offence
That kind of Euroscepticism was built on an understanding of the complexity of the European project, a grudging admiration for the legal and political achievements that had secured it, and a realistic assessment of Britain’s relative strength within it.

The Johnson brand of Euroscepticism was different. It despised complexity. It dismissed the complex reality of trying to create harmonised regulations for a single market in favour of hysterical offence at rules on noise levels for lawnmowers. It convinced itself instead that these rules were the deranged product of a class of European technocrats with nothing better to do but meddle in other people’s jovial prawn-cocktail-crisp-eating lives.

And, as a corollary of that, it viewed Britain as this immensely powerful, freewheeling, imaginative, free-trading powerhouse constrained by continental bureaucracy.

That world view helps explain the sense of bafflement and outrage with which hardline Brexiteers met the backstop negotiations. It was simply incomprehensible to them that tiny Ireland would be able to stand up to Great Britain. It was a reversal of basic historical laws. The idea that smaller nations gained strength by working within transnational organisations like the EU had not occurred to them, because their entire assumption about it was that it weakened member states.

The detail of the proposal prompted a similar reaction. They had not bothered to understand the manner in which a customs union eradicated tariffs, country-of-origin checks and customs declarations within its borders, nor the way single-market alignment eliminates regulatory checks. This was the world of detail, which was considered at best incomprehensible or at worst some sort of trick played by continental-types on common-sense British pragmatists.

There was no appreciation of the motives, moral commitment or intellectual capacity of their negotiating partners. And this type of myopic approach was not just unseemly. It also made them strategically ineffective.

Jacobean cult
A willingness to compromise was therefore replaced by a commitment to the absolute triumph of the will. If Brexiteers simply believed hard enough, all the details of other countries’ negotiating priorities and the technical requirements of trade would disappear. Brexit thought retreated into a kind of Jacobean cult, in which the content of its beliefs mattered less than its adherents’ undying willingness to commit to them.

When the backstop proposal was published, they simply could not understand what they were looking at, even though the broad outlines of what it would entail had been public knowledge for months. The emotional shock ultimately brought down Theresa May’s administration.

There was no appreciation of the motives, moral commitment or intellectual capacity of their negotiating partners
The same process is now playing out in parliament, as it enters its most important week in recent memory – and quite probably in our lifetime.

Johnson is threatening to remove the whip from Tory MPs who back rebel legislation against no deal. It is a spectacular sight. A prime minister with no majority is threatening to slash it even further if he does not get his way, seemingly unaware of the fact that this compromises his own position as much as it does their own.

Some people believe – probably rightly – that his ultimate aim is a general election, either in October or, if possible, just after the no-deal exit is delivered.

Quite why this would be a desirable outcome for him is unclear. His hardline position threatens his seats in Scotland and Conservative-Lib Dem marginals. There is little evidence suggesting he could make up those seats by flipping over Leave voters in traditionally Labour areas.

If no-deal happened, the resulting chaos would make it dramatically less likely that he could secure a majority. Although it is not clear that he has understood the evidence enough to recognise this.


The overwhelming lack of interest in detail and absolute commitment to the triumph of the will, infused with an elixir of unabashed nationalism, dominates the minds of those in No 10, forcing them into the same errors over and over again.

That error is based on a world view which took hold of the right of British politics for decades and which Johnson himself helped create. History has a cruel sense of humour.

Ian Dunt is editor of political news website politics.co.uk

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: RedHand88 on September 03, 2019, 03:18:21 PM
Fantastic article, thanks Seafoid.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 05, 2019, 08:47:33 AM

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/ministers-taken-aback-by-predicted-scale-of-no-deal-brexit-damage-1.4008114




Ministers taken aback by predicted scale of no-deal Brexit damage
Scenarios include 10,000 job losses in tourism in months after no-deal
6 hours agoPat Leahy Political Editor

 
Ministers now believe that a no-deal Brexit will be significantly worse than they previously expected, with predictions of thousands of immediate job losses in tourism and “carnage” in the fishing sector, after discussions at Cabinet on Tuesday night.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney briefed his colleagues at the meeting, which ran for 4½ hours and included a lengthy discussion about no-deal planning.

Cabinet members were circulated with a document on the likely implications of no-deal, which was later collected from them, and which left several Ministers taken aback by the severity of the warnings.

They were told that 10,000 jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry were likely to be lost in the first three months after Brexit.

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BREXIT: The Facts
Read them here

The implications for parts of the agri-food industry also shocked some of those present while Mr Coveney told the meeting that there would be “carnage” in the fishing industry after a no-deal, according to one person present.

Ministers were also told it was inevitable there would be some checks on goods imported across the Border but that those checks would not take place at the Border. When pressed by some Ministers for more details about the nature of the checks, Mr Coveney declined to elaborate – though there was some mention of mobile checks – but it is understood that discussions are taking place in Government Buildings about issuing more detail to the public, perhaps as early as next week.

‘Awkward’
Mr Coveney and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stressed the importance of protecting Ireland’s place in the EU’s single market, which would require the checks be carried out in consultation with the EU.

“The checks will come,” one Minister said. “But telling people where they are will be awkward.”

One Minister said: “We’re going to have to level with people. It’s going to be a lot worse than people expect.”

Some sources expect that the Government will make further announcements about no-deal planning, including the likely checks on imports, next week in advance of the return of the Dáil the following week.

The Government says that it is in discussions with the European Commission about protecting the single market in the event of a no-deal, while maintaining an open border between North and South.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 05, 2019, 08:58:54 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/fbddbbd6-cf1a-11e9-99a4-b5ded7a7fe3f

Brexit has read the rites over British conservatism Spooked by Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson now leads an English nationalist party PHILIP STEPHENS




 Ideological fervour has turned to raging fever. Brexit has upturned British politics. The very fabric of the nation’s democracy is at risk. Scotland’s place in the Union of the United Kingdom has been put in question. Boris Johnson could not care. The prime minister and his band of Brexiters decreed that Britain must leave the EU on October 31. Not a day later. All the rest was trivial. Thankfully, parliament has decided otherwise. This week the vulgar swagger of Mr Johnson’s short premiership faced a first collision with reality. A politician accustomed to lying and cheating his way out of tight spots was roundly defeated in the House of Commons. Parliament now looks set to disarm the October deadline by blocking the path to a no-deal Brexit.
 It has also taken out of the prime minister’s hands the date for an inevitable general election. Mr Johnson’s response was true to character. In the manner of the flailing schoolboy bully who has failed to get his way, Mr Johnson withdrew the party whip from the 21 centrist Conservatives who had dared defy him. It was an act of spite he will come to regret. Among the roll of former ministers sacked from the party were Kenneth Clarke, one of the most distinguished Tory politicians of the postwar era.

Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, was another victim, as was Philip Hammond, who until two months ago served as the chancellor. These are figures who have long upheld the decent, respectful and essentially honest political discourse of which Mr Johnson knows nothing. Beyond the personal vindictiveness — the rebels now face being ousted as candidates at the next election — the purge sent another message. Not so long ago Mr Johnson found it convenient to strike a pose as liberal-minded One Nation Conservative. Now he has thrown overboard entirely the broad church, middling conservatism of Edmund Burke. In his anxiety to outflank on the right Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, Mr Johnson will fight an election as leader of the party of English nationalism. Scotland has been all but jettisoned. Ruth Davidson, who headed the Scottish Tories, was one of the most effective leaders in the British political firmament.

She cited the pressures of family life as the main reason for her recent resignation. It is no secret, however, that she loathed the pinched rightwing populism peddled by the prime minister. Her departure foreshadows a collapse of the Tory vote in Scotland. The longer Mr Johnson is in No 10, the surer the bet that Scotland will back independence. In the style of demagogues and xenophobes through the ages — and with more than a nod to the populism of US President Donald Trump — the prime minister wants to frame a general election as a contest between parliament and “the people” he now claims to champion. Anyone who thinks that Britain should not be wrenched out of Europe by October 31 is a collaborator. And, yes, the Europeans are the enemy. Mr Johnson’s prospectus is shot through with contradictions and absurdities. He styles himself a champion of the sovereignty of the Westminster parliament. Yet he has spent the past several weeks seeking to muzzle that very same parliament. Having failed in the endeavour, he now claims a higher authority as the representative of “the will of the people”. This way lies the authoritarian assault on the institutions of democracy. Mr Johnson’s claimed negotiating tactic with the EU is redolent of playground politics. He says Brussels will reopen the arrangements agreed with Theresa May’s government only if he convinces them that he is ready to throw Britain over the cliff-edge of a no-deal Brexit. The message to Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron is simple: rewrite the agreement or we will blow ourselves up. Madness. The prime minister has read the demagogue’s handbook: repeat the lie often enough and a lot of people will believe it — the more so when it is shot through with dog-whistle xenophobia. During the 1960s, America’s rightwing Republicans embarked on what was called the “southern strategy” — a populist pitch to white working class voters who were disenchanted with the civil rights liberalism of the Democratic party. Mr Johnson has a “northern strategy”. By casting Brexit as a fight against foreigners and immigration he hopes to win an election by winning over anti-European white working class voters in traditionally Labour areas. We are promised a campaign that might make even Mr Trump blush. Such has been the tumult since the 2016 referendum, it is easy to forget just how far Britain has fallen. Trust in politics has collapsed. Civilised political discourse has made way for habitual rancour. The essential norms and institutions of democracy — tolerance, respect for minority views, the impartial roles of the judiciary and the civil service among them — have faced sustained attack. Casual falsehoods have become a favoured ministerial currency. A general election will not settle this. Reason has fled from the European argument. More than likely an election will throw up another political deadlock. The minimum requirements for a sustainable settlement are the removal of Mr Johnson and another referendum. At some point, of course, the EU27 may lose all patience. It would be hard to blame them. Mr Johnson once promised to “take back control”. Now he has lost control.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 05, 2019, 11:00:33 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/fbddbbd6-cf1a-11e9-99a4-b5ded7a7fe3f

Blazmo 13 minutes ago Let’s face it, Deadbeat Dad is going to get very desperate - having made the mistake of taking on the leadership and owning the Brexit mess that he had a big hand in creating (first by backing Leave, and then by wrecking May’s plans) he now finds himself well out of his depth. He is now fighting not to be known as the worst PM ever (which is saying something given how poor his immediate predecessors were). As the article says, any election campaign is going to be very ugly - the opposition better be ready for that. Step one - assuming the bill goes through and DD does what it says and asks the EU for an extension, make him wait until after October 31st and then hit him with ‘Boris can’t deliver on anything, he’s a pathological liar’ (which is true, looking at his track record).
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: mouview on September 05, 2019, 11:27:22 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/fbddbbd6-cf1a-11e9-99a4-b5ded7a7fe3f

Brexit has read the rites over British conservatism Spooked by Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson now leads an English nationalist party PHILIP STEPHENS




 Ideological fervour has turned to raging fever. Brexit has upturned British politics. The very fabric of the nation’s democracy is at risk. Scotland’s place in the Union of the United Kingdom has been put in question. Boris Johnson could not care. The prime minister and his band of Brexiters decreed that Britain must leave the EU on October 31. Not a day later. All the rest was trivial. Thankfully, parliament has decided otherwise. This week the vulgar swagger of Mr Johnson’s short premiership faced a first collision with reality. A politician accustomed to lying and cheating his way out of tight spots was roundly defeated in the House of Commons. Parliament now looks set to disarm the October deadline by blocking the path to a no-deal Brexit.
 It has also taken out of the prime minister’s hands the date for an inevitable general election. Mr Johnson’s response was true to character. In the manner of the flailing schoolboy bully who has failed to get his way, Mr Johnson withdrew the party whip from the 21 centrist Conservatives who had dared defy him. It was an act of spite he will come to regret. Among the roll of former ministers sacked from the party were Kenneth Clarke, one of the most distinguished Tory politicians of the postwar era.


The trouble with this article is that it makes too much sense, it's far above the social welfare/working classes readership. My great fear is that the rabid right-wing newspapers (Express, Sun, Telegraph) will again sway the debate during the GE, they've started already on Corbyn.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 05, 2019, 11:51:54 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/fbddbbd6-cf1a-11e9-99a4-b5ded7a7fe3f

Brexit has read the rites over British conservatism Spooked by Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson now leads an English nationalist party PHILIP STEPHENS




 Ideological fervour has turned to raging fever. Brexit has upturned British politics. The very fabric of the nation’s democracy is at risk. Scotland’s place in the Union of the United Kingdom has been put in question. Boris Johnson could not care. The prime minister and his band of Brexiters decreed that Britain must leave the EU on October 31. Not a day later. All the rest was trivial. Thankfully, parliament has decided otherwise. This week the vulgar swagger of Mr Johnson’s short premiership faced a first collision with reality. A politician accustomed to lying and cheating his way out of tight spots was roundly defeated in the House of Commons. Parliament now looks set to disarm the October deadline by blocking the path to a no-deal Brexit.
 It has also taken out of the prime minister’s hands the date for an inevitable general election. Mr Johnson’s response was true to character. In the manner of the flailing schoolboy bully who has failed to get his way, Mr Johnson withdrew the party whip from the 21 centrist Conservatives who had dared defy him. It was an act of spite he will come to regret. Among the roll of former ministers sacked from the party were Kenneth Clarke, one of the most distinguished Tory politicians of the postwar era.


The trouble with this article is that it makes too much sense, it's far above the social welfare/working classes readership. My great fear is that the rabid right-wing newspapers (Express, Sun, Telegraph) will again sway the debate during the GE, they've started already on Corbyn.
The Tories are taking huge risks
No Deal is not that popular
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brexit_post-referendum_polling_-_Remain-Leave.svg
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 05, 2019, 02:24:15 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/110207f2-cea2-11e9-b018-ca4456540ea6

How Europe views the Brexit endgame The EU’s decision makers have lost patience with Britain and want it out — fast SIMON KUPER

How do European decision makers see Brexit now? I’ve asked politicians, diplomats and business groups across the EU and found them remarkably united around a tough stance towards Britain. They won’t give in to Boris Johnson’s demands to renegotiate a deal, but nor do they want Britain’s anti-no-deal forces to delay Brexit. Very few Europeans are still open to the UK’s staying in the EU, and most dread a potential second British referendum. Here are my conclusions: European decision makers have lost patience with Britain and want it out, fast. Anne Mulder, the Dutch parliament’s rapporteur on Brexit, speaks for many: “We thought the Brits were rational pragmatists. Well, they aren’t.”

 For years, Angela Merkel and many in Brussels hoped Britain would eventually ditch Brexit. In March, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, argued for giving the UK a long extension, saying Europe shouldn’t betray “the increasing majority of [British] people who want to remain”. That view has lost favour in Brussels. Europeans distrust Johnson, but they also despair of Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn, who prioritises getting into Downing Street over shaping sensible Brexit policy, and they are close to giving up on Britain’s squabbling Remainers. Even if Remain won a second referendum, Brexiters would become a Trojan horse inside the EU. But Europeans will keep sounding friendly and open to negotiations. They don’t want to humiliate “proud” Britain, nor be blamed for the pain that Brexit inflicts. They hope to maintain close security ties after Brexit (but they worry that a poorer UK with a plummeting pound will cut military spending even further). On the ground in Europe, Brexit is already happening. European governments are replacing the UK with new alliances, notably the Hanseatic League of northern countries. Many businesses are acting similarly: North Rhine-Westphalia, a German region that trades intensively with Britain, has been relieved to discover that some European companies have anticipated Brexit by shifting from British suppliers to German ones.

Britain is becoming yesterday’s problem. But what if Johnson, the bookmakers’ favourite in an election, wins the British power struggle? Europeans would rather have a no-deal Brexit than accept Johnson’s demands that they drop the planned Irish “backstop”. Both the EU and the British government keep making the same mistake about each other, notes Douglas Webber of Insead business school, author of European Disintegration? (2016): each side thinks the other will cave to avoid an economically damaging no-deal Brexit. In fact, says Webber, both sides regard short-term economics as secondary. Johnson’s government prioritises achieving Brexit. Europeans prioritise preserving the rules of the single market and standing by Ireland. The EU’s support for Ireland — the country insisting on the backstop, because it fears renewed conflict on its border — is non-negotiable because of the EU’s core mission. The EU sees itself as a peace project, and as a club of mostly small states that seek strength in numbers — two points that even most British Remainers miss. Two-thirds of the EU27 have 10 million inhabitants or fewer. Alone, these states could be bullied: Denmark by Donald Trump over Greenland, the Baltics by Russia, everyone by China. The EU must now be seen to protect little Ireland. “It’s not about Ireland, in a way,” says Noelle O’Connell, executive director of the European Movement Ireland, an independent not-for-profit organisation. European big business isn’t lobbying against no deal. EU companies have had three years to prepare. And the last thing they want is Johnson turning Britain into a low-regulation trade zone that undercuts them. If British companies aren’t following European rules, their European rivals want them out of the single market. Europeans foresee only moderate economic damage from no deal. No deal would cost EU27 citizens €40bn in income a year, estimates the Bertelsmann Stiftung, an independent foundation. On average, that’s a manageable €90 per person.

Only Ireland expects short-term agony, and it’s the firmest opponent of renegotiation. Many southern and eastern European economies would barely notice no deal. These countries are expending little more thought on Brexit than British policymakers are expending on Italy’s political crisis. Most European leaders (especially French president Emmanuel Macron) want Britain to suffer from Brexit, not because they are anti-British but because they are pro-themselves. If in a year Johnson could say, “We’ve made a success of Brexit,” it would encourage Leavers across Europe. No European government — not even Hungary — wants that. Whatever their rhetoric, they are all now objectively pro-EU in that they want to remain. Brussels expects Britain to reopen talks within a week of no deal. In the first days, the EU would allow the Irish border to remain porous, but continental ports would already be checking goods, causing delays and shortages in Britain. Brussels wouldn’t grant any longer-term fixes until London agreed to honour the backstop, pay its exit bill of £39bn and guarantee rights of European citizens in Britain. But the risk is that by then, Johnson will have won an election with a hard-Brexit party. If he blames Europe, refuses to pay up and fantasises about shifting Britain into the US’s low-regulation zone through a trade deal with Trump, no deal could metastatize.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 08, 2019, 08:50:14 AM


Like Los Angeles, the Conservative party is built on a faultline. LA has San Andreas; the Tories have Europe.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/07/boris-johnson-prepares-supreme-court-showdownover-rebel-mps/

Amber Rudd quits as Boris Johnson heads for Supreme Court showdown 
      
      

Amber Rudd quit the Cabinet and the Conservative Party on Saturday night.  CREDIT: OLI SCARFF/AFP




      Edward Malnick, sunday political editor
7 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 9:30PM

Amber Rudd quit the Cabinet and the Conservative Party on Saturday night, attacking the “short-sighted” ousting of pro-EU MPs and saying she believed Boris Johnson was now aiming for a no-deal Brexit.
In a letter to Mr Johnson, the Work and Pensions Secretary insisted she had joined the Cabinet in “good faith” but said she was no longer convinced that “leaving with a deal is the Government’s main objective”.
Ms Rudd’s resignation, on the eve of Mr Johnson’s second attempt to secure an election, will fuel an already seismic row in the Conservative Party over its stance on Brexit, with sources claiming more MPs are preparing to quit on Monday.
On Saturday night a senior government source accused the MP of resigning to “chase headlines” and warned: “As the polls show, the public do not back attempts by some MPs to cancel the referendum.”
It comes as the Prime Minister’s advisers prepare for a Supreme Court showdown over MPs’ plans to delay Brexit. Downing Street aides are also drawing up plans to “sabotage” the EU’s structures if Brussels grants an extension.


Boris Johnson will disobey an order

Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief aide, is creating a “shadow” team of advisers to work on plans to fight an expected emergency judicial review in the UK’s highest court next month if Mr Johnson is unable to secure an election this week.


The Conservatives extended their lead over Labour to 10-points in an Opinium poll on Saturday night.
A separate YouGov poll put the Tories on 35 points compared with 21 for Labour, with the Brexit Party on 12.

The Prime Minister is understood to have told senior officials that he will refuse to meet a demand, contained in a Bill that cleared Parliament last week, for him to request a delay to Brexit if he fails to secure its approval for an exit agreement by Saturday Oct 19.
Downing Street said Mr Johnson “does not share the rebel interpretation” of a Bill forced on the Government by a coalition of MPs including 21 Conservatives who have since been ousted from the parliamentary party – meaning that he believes that he could legally ignore some or all of its requirements. 

But Conservative MPs indicated that any such move could spark a new walkout from the party. 


David Lidington, the former de facto deputy prime minister, said ignoring legislation would set a “dangerous precedent”, while Kevin Hollinrake, a backbencher, said: “You would see a significant number of Conservative MPs resigning the whip, including me.”

On Saturday night a Number 10 spokesman said Ms Rudd was a “talented” minister but added that “all ministers who joined Cabinet signed up to leaving the EU on October 31st come what may.”

A month before Brexit was originally due to take place on March 29, Ms Rudd, along with Greg Clark, the then Business Secretary, and David Gauke, who was Justice Secretary, publicly called for a delay if Parliament did not approve a deal.

Last week she criticised Mr Johnson for removing the Conservative whip from Tory rebels, including Mr Gauke and Mr Clark.
Speaking on Saturday night she said: “This short-sighted culling of my colleagues has stripped the party of broad-minded and dedicated Conservative MPs. I cannot support this act of political vandalism.”
Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister, said: “I’m dismayed to see Remain rebels behave with contempt for the greatest governing party the world has known.”
In comments likely to further anger pro-Remain MPs, a senior Whitehall source claimed that Mr Johnson’s team would “take a chainsaw” to any attempts to prevent Brexit on Oct 31, after the Prime Minister insisted last week he would rather “be dead in a ditch” than delay it. 
Mr Johnson has resolved not to resign even if Jeremy Corbyn wins a vote of no confidence in him as a last-ditch attempt to delay Brexit after Oct 19.
The source said the Prime Minister’s aides “have made clear they think this Parliament has no moral force, they will take a chainsaw to anything in order to leave, and they think they will win the election then sort out the mess afterwards”.

Mr Cummings has ordered advisers to prepare for a legal challenge on the first working day after the Oct 19 deadline, on the basis Mr Johnson will refuse to seek an extension at the next meeting of EU leaders on Oct 17 and 18.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The PM will not ask the EU for a delay at the next [EU] Council.” A senior No 10 source added: “If there isn’t a deal by Oct 18 we will sabotage an extension.” 
Downing Street is also preparing to wreak havoc with Brussels by vetoing the restructuring process of the European Commission ahead of the Oct 31 departure date. 
Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that Nigel Farage has set out to Conservative MPs the terms of his offer of an electoral pact.
The Brexit Party leader has demanded that his candidates be given free rein to contest Labour-held seats in the North, Midlands, and South Wales and even suggests that he could campaign for Tory Brexiteer candidates if Boris Johnson backs a clean Brexit. 
Downing Street is ramping up preparations for a general election, as Mr Johnson prepares a second attempt to secure Mr Corbyn’s support for a poll on Monday. 

On Sunday, Stephen Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, claims in this newspaper that Brussels seems “blind” to the fact that by “refusing to compromise” on the backstop, it is “making no deal more likely”. 
Mr Cummings has set up a team of advisers to work on a potential Supreme Court case outside of Whitehall structures after becoming angered by a series of leaks in recent weeks.







Downing Street believes pro-Remain campaigners and MPs would attempt to seek an order from the Supreme Court in order to force the Prime Minister’s hand, and they would only have an outside chance of success given the short time frame of a 10-day window before exit day.
On Saturday, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, the former director of public prosecutions, said Mr Johnson could go to prison for contempt of court if he ignored a court order.
Sources said Mr Johnson would remain in Downing Street even if Mr Corbyn tried to oust him at the eleventh hour with a vote of no confidence.
<img class="responsive lazy-image__img article-body-image-image" src="/content/dam/politics/2019/09/07/TELEMMGLPICT000208543885_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqpVlberWd9EgFPZtcLiMQfyf2A9a6I9YchsjMeADBa08.jpeg?imwidth=480" alt="Prime Minister Boris Johnson">
Prime Minister Boris Johnson CREDIT: AFP
It is understood that the Prime Minister has indicated that he would refuse to resign or recommend a replacement to the Queen until after the UK’s exit from the EU on Oct 31.
Downing Street believes a Supreme Court challenge would bolster public support for Mr Johnson in an election campaign, as he attempts to pit himself against political opponents who “don’t trust the people” who voted to Leave.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson’s aides are considering vetoing an EU vote to formally reduce its number of commissioners from 28 to 27. The threat is an attempt to ensure EU leaders reject any attempt to delay Brexit. 










Downing Street believes the commission will not be “legally constituted” if the move is vetoed.
Sources have also denied claims in the New York Times that the Prime Minister had cried when his brother Jo resigned from the Government last week.

In a letter to Mr Johnson, which she posted on Twitter last night, Ms Rudd said: “I joined your Cabinet in good faith: accepting that ‘No Deal’ had to be on the table, because it was the means by which we would have the best chance of achieving a new deal to leave on 31 October. However I no longer believe leaving with a deal is the Government’s main objective. 
“The Government is spending a lot of energy to prepare for ‘No Deal’ but I have not seen the same level of intensity go into our talks with the European Union who have asked us to present alternative arrangements to the Irish backstop.”
Ms Rudd was a staunch opponent of a no-deal Brexit while serving under Theresa May.
Brexiteers blame Ms Rudd for undermining Mrs May’s attempts to secure an exit mechanism from the backstop, the insurance plan for the Irish border which Mr Johnson describes as “anti-democratic” and says would leave the UK tied to the EU.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 11, 2019, 10:27:25 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/029aa4e0-d3dd-11e9-8367-807ebd53ab77

Brussels senses Johnson shift on Northern Ireland-only backstop PM under pressure to abandon DUP after losing majority in Commons DUP leader Arlene Foster (right) and Westminster spokesman Nigel Dodds (centre) arrive in Downing Street on Tuesday © Will Oliver/EPA Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Share Save George Parker and Jim Pickard in London and Sam Fleming in Brussels YESTERDAY Print this page515 Boris Johnson’s Brexit envoy arrives in Brussels for talks on Wednesday amid rising expectations in the EU that the beleaguered prime minister is preparing to shift his position in an attempt to broker a deal. David Frost will be pressed in Brussels to give more details of the prime minister’s new softer line on the future of the Irish border, which lies at the heart of efforts to secure a new withdrawal agreement.

Some EU diplomats believe that Mr Johnson — who has been outmanoeuvred by MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit and a snap election over the past week — now recognises that striking an agreement at a European leaders’ summit next month is probably the best way out of his predicament. Mr Johnson has insisted on the UK leaving the EU with or without an agreement on October 31 since becoming prime minister, but Downing Street said on Tuesday the “priority” now was to avoid a no-deal Brexit. He has a five-week window while the British parliament is suspended to start serious negotiations in Brussels. The prime minister is under pressure from opposition MPs to abandon his Democratic Unionist party allies and push for a Brexit deal based on a previous EU offer for a so-called backstop arrangement covering Northern Ireland. The backstop aims to prevent the return of a hard Irish border if no free trade agreement between the UK and the EU has been put in place at the end of a Brexit transition period. [Boris Johnson] started by saying he wouldn’t talk unless the EU binned the backstop . . . now he is signalling that some Irish solution may be possible EU diplomat Under the original EU plan, Northern Ireland would remain part of the bloc’s single market and customs area, removing the need for checks on trade with the Irish Republic. However it would have created new checks on the Irish Sea on trade with mainland Britain and Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, rejected that as “something no British prime minister could ever accept”. She opted instead for a UK-wide backstop involving a “temporary” customs union with the EU but that was viewed by Eurosceptic Conservative MPs as a “trap” to keep Britain permanently tied to the bloc. Mr Johnson is demanding this mechanism be removed from the withdrawal agreement, and the EU now stands ready to revive the Northern Ireland-only backstop. Mr Johnson on Monday met Arlene Foster, DUP leader, and has told the unionist party he will not support a Northern Ireland-only backstop. Mrs Foster has called it “undemocratic and unconstitutional”. She said after the meeting: “During today’s meeting, the prime minister confirmed his rejection of the Northern Ireland-only backstop and his commitment to securing a deal which works for the entire United Kingdom as well as our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland.” But Mr Johnson has accepted that Northern Ireland could effectively remain part of the EU single market for agriculture and food — throwing up new checks on the Irish Sea — if the Stormont assembly was reconvened and gave its consent. Some at Westminster believe the prime minister should simply sideline the DUP — whose 10 MPs have supported the Tory administration since 2017 — now that the party no longer provides him with a working majority in the House of Commons. #

In a move that wiped out his majority, Mr Johnson sacked 21 Tory MPs last week after they combined with opposition parties to secure Commons approval for legislation to try to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31. “The Tory party is no longer dependent on the DUP for its majority — it doesn’t have a majority,” said Nick Boles, a former Conservative MP, at the launch of a new cross-party group of parliamentarians seeking consensus on a new Brexit deal. Recommended Brexit Another defeat for Boris Johnson. What next? The MPs, including Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, Conservative Rory Stewart and Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, claimed “up to” 50 MPs in the main opposition party — mostly in pro-Leave constituencies — were now prepared to back an agreement to leave the EU. Mr Johnson would need to win the support of dozens of Labour MPs to secure parliamentary approval for a new Brexit deal if the DUP voted against the agreement because it contained a Northern Ireland-only backstop. The key question in Brussels is whether the prime minister could execute a U-turn and start preparing the ground for such a mechanism — in spite of Number 10 denying it is an option. Mr Johnson’s suggestion that the UK is willing to countenance an all-Ireland agrifood zone as an alternative to the backstop has prompted some EU diplomats to ask whether it would be possible to build up to a broader arrangement covering other sectors on the island. Some point out that Mr Johnson has already shifted some way from his initial hardline approach to the Brexit negotiations with Brussels, suggesting further movement is possible.

“He started by saying he wouldn’t talk unless the EU binned the backstop . . . now he is signalling that some Irish solution may be possible,” said one EU diplomat. “You can ask yourself, as some are, whether we are seeing steps towards a backstop limited to Northern Ireland. Everyone can look at Mr Johnson’s limited options and see that this may be the least bad one.” Brexit: why parliament's angry clashes are set to continue Subtitles unavailable Phil Hogan, Ireland’s EU commissioner who is set to take on the trade portfolio from November 1, told RTE News that there were signs of movement on both sides of the Brexit negotiations, noting that Mr Johnson was now willing to look at divergence of some rules and regulations between the island of Ireland and the UK. Officials in Brussels said that to date they had yet to see concrete proposals from the UK — notably on Mr Johnson’s alternatives to the UK-wide Irish backstop — that would move matters forward.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 12, 2019, 09:20:52 AM

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/newton-emerson-two-u-turns-will-leave-dup-in-a-spin-1.4015133

Newton Emerson: Two U-turns will leave DUP in a spin

The party is marginalised at Westminster and its rivals in Northern Ireland are circling

 
‘People often look at the mess the DUP has made of Brexit and ask why the party did not see it coming, but it is much worse than that: the DUP saw it all coming and made a mess of it anyway.’

The Democratic Unionist Party has five weeks to perform arguably the biggest U-turn in Northern Ireland’s history, and certainly the fastest.
It is hard to see how it will not be overwhelmed by the task.
Unique arrangements for Northern Ireland have always been the only plausible outcome of Brexit, yet the DUP has portrayed this to its voters as a calamity only it could prevent.
Those arrangements will be now be agreed over its head; and it has no choice but to sell them as a success.
The DUP has lost the balance of power, after very obviously squandering it
The party has not lost all influence at Westminster. Its 10 MPs still matter to a beleaguered minority government and British prime minister Boris Johnsonstill sees value in unionist endorsement for whatever deal he can cobble together.
But the DUP has lost the balance of power, after very obviously squandering it.
Perversely, a party with no MPs is the British government’s main concern.
•   ‘There is fear in the air’: Britain’s young voters mobilise amid Brexit battle
•   Business in NI ready to back Northern Ireland-only backstop
•   Budget 2020: Brexit cuts to hit social welfare increases
The Brexit Party, Nigel Farage’s latest vehicle, must be satisfied – or more accurately, neutralised – for the Conservatives to be confident of winning the next election.
No deal would have accomplished that, but the Commons has ruled it out. So a deal must be sincerely attempted at the European Council meeting in five weeks’ time if the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union at the end of October – the test Johnson has set for himself and to which the Brexit Party will hold him.
If there is an extension, the dynamics for a deal will change but the DUP will remain a spectator. Westminster’s indecision has been brought to a head and a majority will be found for Northern Ireland-only arrangements.
The Brexit Party does not care if the price of Brexit is a border down the Irish Sea. Its English nationalism increasingly looks like the opposite of unionism. The DUP has long been aware, in prescient detail, of the danger this poses. Immediately after the 2017 general election, when the DUP was negotiating its confidence-and-supply agreement with Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May, it proposed she appoint Farage to the House of Lords or give him a role on her Brexit negotiating team so he would not rebuild his Ukip brand and drag the government towards no deal.
People often look at the mess the DUP has made of Brexit and ask why the party did not see it coming, but it is much worse than that: the DUP saw it all coming and made a mess of it anyway. This is an ominous portent for its ability to turn everything around by next month.
Newly marginalised at Westminster, the party’s world has shrunk back to Northern Ireland where its rivals are circling.
The Ulster Unionist Party has pounced on desperate DUP back pedalling over a sea border for agrifood and other backstop-like arrangements, denouncing it all as unacceptable to the entire unionist population. This sets the UUP up to play the role of Brexit Party within Northern Ireland’s political system, as what its criticism will amount to is damning any plausible outcome apart from no deal.
The UUP owes the DUP nothing, of course, but it owes Northern Ireland more than lazy hardline opportunism. Having backed Remain in the EU referendum, it would be responsible and consistent for the UUP to take a “we told you so” line that pressed the DUP to own its mess and clean it up, by making the best of whatever deal is imposed. Unfortunately, on this issue as on so many others, the UUP has abandoned its presumed moderating role.
The DUP’s sensitivity to hardline criticism is bound up with its fear of a loyalist backlash. Loyalist sources have signalled their disquiet about the backstop, with threats of street disorder and warnings of recruitment and re-arming.
Opinion differs on how much of a danger loyalists pose, but there is no doubt they can paralyse the DUP.
It can wind loyalists up but has little or no control over what this might unleash
Often accused of being too closely linked to loyalist paramilitaries, the real problem with the DUP is its links are not close enough. It can wind loyalists up but has little or no control over what this might unleash. If people take to the streets over a Brexit deal, or worse, the DUP will simply stop selling the deal and wait for the PSNI to clean up its mess.
A key DUP objection to the backstop is that it is “undemocratic”. Statements from senior party figures indicate the party will spin a deal as accountable through some form of Stormont input. This makes its Brexit U-turn dependent on performing another enormous U-turn, as devolution can only be restored by revisiting the draft Stormont deal it reached with Sinn Féin in February 2018, only to pull out at the last minute when it could not face selling that to unionist hardliners.
Can the DUP perform both U-turns in short order, all while facing an imminent general election? Precedent suggests it will freeze mid-turn the moment the going gets tough.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 12, 2019, 01:14:08 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/12/boris-snookered-remainers-tory-party-almost-certainly-finished/

With Boris Johnson snookered by Remainers, the Tory Party is almost certainly finished
•   SHERELLE JACOBSDAILY TELEGRAPH COLUMNIST
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12 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 6:00AM
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 The PM risks a ruthless ambush from his own side CREDIT: BOB CARTOONS
We are hurtling towards a second referendum and the obliteration of the Conservatives
If last week Remainer MPs killed the bid for Brexit by Halloween, this week they made merry on the corpse of our country’s democracy. Leave voters could only watch on in confused disgust as the most diabolical Parliament in British history convulsed with delighted outrage at its suspension, having successfully snookered the Government. From the Red Flag baritone to the frantic flapping of operatically farcical “Silenced” placards, this was not a Commons protesting for democracy, but an Enlightened Dictatorship’s tribal victory dance.
The anti-Brexit media’s smirking intimation that the “high-stakes” nature of No 10’s strategy has blown up in its face, is incorrect. In truth, Boris Johnson has played the dreadful hand he inherited with sloppy, blustering cautiousness.
This is why with a no-deal Brexit now “illegal” we are heading for a second referendum, and the Tory Party’s obliteration.
The problem with brilliant men in politics is that too often their brains go to their heads. Such sadly seems to be the case with Dominic Cummings. His masterplan to deliver Brexit without the help of his enemy Nigel Farage – by calling the bluff of Remainers in order to call the bluff of the EU on the backstop – was both vigorously logical and refreshingly confrontational. But it failed to take into account the Brexit feud’s twisted human face.
Recent days have delivered a ghastly insight into the vainglorious fundamentalism of Remainer Tories that No 10 has so tragically miscalculated. Perhaps most underestimated of all was John Bercow. The Government strategised on the assumption that even he wouldn’t go so far as to make emergency debate motions legally binding (if, distracted by election campaigning, they even twigged he could do so).
This was a dangerous attitude to take given that Mr Bercow is the closest Westminster has ever had to a “15-minutes-of-fame” celebrity vulgarly fixated with lifetime infamy. Nor did the Government expect as many as 21 MPs to rebel. They underestimated the allure of political immortality to mediocre MPs, panicked by the smell of mildew on their stagnant, terminal careers.
The final nail in the coffin of No 10’s plan was the naive assumption that the PM could always get an election if Remainers did their worst. Such a theory overlooked the desperate duplicity that has desiccated the soul of Labour. Terrified of a general election rout, Corbyn has unblushingly blocked an October election.
And now, we are where we are: the PM’s only way out is to sign the extension that will be his death-knell, or resign in the hope it will get trigger a chain reaction of events that will lead Britain to a poll sooner rather than later. The latter is now the Tories’ only hope, assuming they both keep up the People vs Parliament narrative and, as the official Opposition, run an election on a no-deal platform alongside Farage.
The Tory movement, however, possesses neither the stomach nor the inclination to save itself. The party clings to prim arrogance like an emotional life raft in the dismal Brexit quagmire it has created. The vast majority of its MPs retch at the thought of contaminating the Tory plc “brand” by striking a deal with the Brexit Party. Yesterday, an unnamed senior Conservative source described the Mr Farage as not 'fit' to be near government, and Boris Johnson has ruled out a pact. Moreover, the PM has offered expelled Tory rebels a way back into the party through appeal, so that they can continue to incapacitate the party with sterile, colourless One Nation Toryism.
The Conservatives remain in an advanced state of decomposition, even under an energetic leader like Boris Johnson. The legacy of Blairism has rendered it ideologically flaccid. Most Tories still have their feet planted firmly in the air, convinced that the mythical middle ground is the key to winning elections. And years of weak opposition have bequeathed it with an internal political dynamism that, rather than being strategically ruthless, is tactically vicious.
The latter point is crucial to understanding the abysmal predicament of the Tory Party. It will not be destroyed by the intrinsically destructive cosmic force known as “Brexit”, but annihilated by its own pathetic in-fighting.
Indeed, if Boris Johnson does the only thing he can feasibly do and resign, the big risk is that the Conservatives will tip back into civil war. There are already rumours that Michael Gove is once again on manoeuvres. Perhaps he hopes to knife Boris successfully this time, by styling himself as a moderate who can take on Corbyn, welcome back rebels and regain metropolitan constituencies. Mr Johnson has put lipstick on the Tory Party pig, but it may yet be poisoned by a serpent.
Leavers must once again mentally prepare themselves for the reality that the “natural party of government” is logistically and physiologically incapable of leading Britain out of the EU. But while politics may eat itself, principles never die. Brexit will be carried forward, one way or another. If not by Mr Johnson then – though the Conservative movement may flare its bureaucratic nostrils at the very name – Nigel Farage.
Related Topics
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on September 12, 2019, 01:58:35 PM
What an unbiased neutral piece... ::) 
North Korea News would be too embarrassed to put out propaganda like that.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 12, 2019, 03:29:25 PM
What an unbiased neutral piece... ::) 
North Korea News would be too embarrassed to put out propaganda like that.
She's for the birds
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Eamonnca1 on September 12, 2019, 04:41:10 PM

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/newton-emerson-two-u-turns-will-leave-dup-in-a-spin-1.4015133

Newton Emerson: Two U-turns will leave DUP in a spin

The party is marginalised at Westminster and its rivals in Northern Ireland are circling

 
‘People often look at the mess the DUP has made of Brexit and ask why the party did not see it coming, but it is much worse than that: the DUP saw it all coming and made a mess of it anyway.’

The Democratic Unionist Party has five weeks to perform arguably the biggest U-turn in Northern Ireland’s history, and certainly the fastest.
It is hard to see how it will not be overwhelmed by the task.
Unique arrangements for Northern Ireland have always been the only plausible outcome of Brexit, yet the DUP has portrayed this to its voters as a calamity only it could prevent.
Those arrangements will be now be agreed over its head; and it has no choice but to sell them as a success.
The DUP has lost the balance of power, after very obviously squandering it
The party has not lost all influence at Westminster. Its 10 MPs still matter to a beleaguered minority government and British prime minister Boris Johnsonstill sees value in unionist endorsement for whatever deal he can cobble together.
But the DUP has lost the balance of power, after very obviously squandering it.
Perversely, a party with no MPs is the British government’s main concern.
•   ‘There is fear in the air’: Britain’s young voters mobilise amid Brexit battle
•   Business in NI ready to back Northern Ireland-only backstop
•   Budget 2020: Brexit cuts to hit social welfare increases
The Brexit Party, Nigel Farage’s latest vehicle, must be satisfied – or more accurately, neutralised – for the Conservatives to be confident of winning the next election.
No deal would have accomplished that, but the Commons has ruled it out. So a deal must be sincerely attempted at the European Council meeting in five weeks’ time if the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union at the end of October – the test Johnson has set for himself and to which the Brexit Party will hold him.
If there is an extension, the dynamics for a deal will change but the DUP will remain a spectator. Westminster’s indecision has been brought to a head and a majority will be found for Northern Ireland-only arrangements.
The Brexit Party does not care if the price of Brexit is a border down the Irish Sea. Its English nationalism increasingly looks like the opposite of unionism. The DUP has long been aware, in prescient detail, of the danger this poses. Immediately after the 2017 general election, when the DUP was negotiating its confidence-and-supply agreement with Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May, it proposed she appoint Farage to the House of Lords or give him a role on her Brexit negotiating team so he would not rebuild his Ukip brand and drag the government towards no deal.
People often look at the mess the DUP has made of Brexit and ask why the party did not see it coming, but it is much worse than that: the DUP saw it all coming and made a mess of it anyway. This is an ominous portent for its ability to turn everything around by next month.
Newly marginalised at Westminster, the party’s world has shrunk back to Northern Ireland where its rivals are circling.
The Ulster Unionist Party has pounced on desperate DUP back pedalling over a sea border for agrifood and other backstop-like arrangements, denouncing it all as unacceptable to the entire unionist population. This sets the UUP up to play the role of Brexit Party within Northern Ireland’s political system, as what its criticism will amount to is damning any plausible outcome apart from no deal.
The UUP owes the DUP nothing, of course, but it owes Northern Ireland more than lazy hardline opportunism. Having backed Remain in the EU referendum, it would be responsible and consistent for the UUP to take a “we told you so” line that pressed the DUP to own its mess and clean it up, by making the best of whatever deal is imposed. Unfortunately, on this issue as on so many others, the UUP has abandoned its presumed moderating role.
The DUP’s sensitivity to hardline criticism is bound up with its fear of a loyalist backlash. Loyalist sources have signalled their disquiet about the backstop, with threats of street disorder and warnings of recruitment and re-arming.
Opinion differs on how much of a danger loyalists pose, but there is no doubt they can paralyse the DUP.
It can wind loyalists up but has little or no control over what this might unleash
Often accused of being too closely linked to loyalist paramilitaries, the real problem with the DUP is its links are not close enough. It can wind loyalists up but has little or no control over what this might unleash. If people take to the streets over a Brexit deal, or worse, the DUP will simply stop selling the deal and wait for the PSNI to clean up its mess.
A key DUP objection to the backstop is that it is “undemocratic”. Statements from senior party figures indicate the party will spin a deal as accountable through some form of Stormont input. This makes its Brexit U-turn dependent on performing another enormous U-turn, as devolution can only be restored by revisiting the draft Stormont deal it reached with Sinn Féin in February 2018, only to pull out at the last minute when it could not face selling that to unionist hardliners.
Can the DUP perform both U-turns in short order, all while facing an imminent general election? Precedent suggests it will freeze mid-turn the moment the going gets tough.

What a sight that would have been. Nigel Farage standing up in the House of Lords to gripe about "unelected dictators" in Brussels.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 13, 2019, 09:56:35 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/13/second-referendum-could-provide-us-route-purgatory/

Second referendum could provide us with a route out of purgatory
PETER FOSTER


Another day of negotiations in Brussels ended this week without “tangible progress”, to quote one EU diplomat, raising further questions over how the Brexit impasse might be broken – both in London and Europe.
Europe sees that Boris Johnson is boxed in on all sides. They welcome his “step in the right direction” in recognising that Northern Ireland needs unique arrangements, but only in the hope that one step will lead to several more.
On the substance of a backstop the EU remains unmoved: any alternative must deliver a “fully open” border in Ireland. Dress it up how you will, that means a Northern Ireland-only backstop, including customs.
The EU’s encouragement is founded partly on a calculation: Mr Johnson does not want an extension; he does not want “no deal”; and he cannot get away with breaking the law – ergo, he will accept their Northern-Ireland only solution to deliver Brexit (and if this is proves to be a miscalculation, then the EU’s receptive language at least insures it against claims from Mr Johnson that their intransigence was to blame).
A second reality is also dawning in EU capitals. After Theresa May promised three times to get the deal over the line, and three times betrayed the EU Council’s confidence, any deal must have a demonstrable majority in Parliament. Europe is privately deeply sceptical.
Why would Labour and the opposition agree to a deal that leaves Northern Ireland in the Single Market and subjects the rest of the UK to a hard, “Canada Dry” Brexit that introduces frictions and even tariffs between the EU and UK?
To do so would be to enable Mr Johnson to make good on his promise to deliver Brexit by Oct 31 and secure a “Tory” Brexit that is a million miles from the closely aligned “worker-friendly” Brexit promised by Labour.
It makes little sense. The unions know that if Brexit brings frictional costs of customs and regulatory barriers with the EU, then UK manufacturers will have to suppress wages as inflationary pressures rise in order to remain competitive.
Not a good look for Labour. Which brings us to the idea – being gamed out in Westminster – that Mr Johnson fails to land a deal and is forced to seek an extension to Article 50 – and contrary to a lot of popular assumptions – a general election does not ensue.
Just as the opposition and Tory rebels declined to back a general election, so they might decline to do so again – until Parliament agrees a deal.
Senior Tory rebels say privately they will not vote against the Government in a “no confidence” motion, but choose instead to keep Mr Johnson’s Government “in purgatory” until Parliament has taken control and passed a Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
That deal, perhaps with some additional softening of the kind agreed during cross-party negotiations earlier this year, would look very like Theresa May’s “52-48” Brexit – and be subject to a confirmatory referendum.
That might sound like a Remainer fantasy, but Parliament has already exerted its will over the question of an extension and the option closest to commanding a majority remains either Mrs May’s deal, or a second referendum. Or a combination of both.
Back in May, there was speculation that Mr Johnson might yet seek to turn the page with a second referendum rather than a general election.
Polls suggest Tory election fortunes will shrink if Mr Johnson goes to the country having failed on his “do or die” promise to deliver Brexit. If that happens, might a second referendum provide him with a way out?

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: armaghniac on September 13, 2019, 10:05:50 AM
Peter Foster write a lot of sense, which is unusual in the publication he works for.

The DUP should now favour this referendum idea and hope that the English let them off the hook by cancelling the whole thing.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 13, 2019, 10:17:30 AM
Peter Foster write a lot of sense, which is unusual in the publication he works for.

The DUP should now favour this referendum idea and hope that the English let them off the hook by cancelling the whole thing.
He's really good, I think
The DUP got GBP 2bn out of the pantomime so they should retire with their winnings 
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 13, 2019, 10:20:33 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/12/boris-johnson-urged-cabinet-allies-ask-brexit-extension-rather/

Boris Johnson urged by Cabinet allies to ask for Brexit extension rather than disobey the law and risk Corbyn in No 10



 Anna Mikhailova, deputy political editor
12 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 9:30PM
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Boris Johnson has been urged by Cabinet allies to ask Brussels for a Brexit extension rather than disobey the law and risk a Jeremy Corbyn government.

A Cabinet minister told the Telegraph Mr Johnson - who has said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask for a delay - should back down and follow Parliament's instruction to ask for a three-month extension if he cannot agree a deal.

"The Government does not break the law," the minister said.

The Prime Minister has staked his premiership on getting Britain out of the EU on Oct 31 "do or die" whether or not he can broker a new deal.

The comments from the minister, a Brexiteer, are the first sign of a Cabinet split over Mr Johnson's insistence that MPs cannot stop him taking Britain out of the EU without a deal.


It has also been suggested that Mr Johnson could resign as Prime Minister in order to make Jeremy Corbyn ask for an extension, and then force an election to oust him. But the minister said: "He cannot resign. Jeremy Corbyn could end up staying in Number 10 for a year.”

A law which gained royal assent on Monday requires the Prime Minister to ask the EU to delay Brexit until Jan 31 - or for however long Brussels might otherwise dictate - if he fails to agree a deal by Oct 19, the last day of a summit of EU leaders.

Downing Street has indicated that the Prime Minister believes the new Act can be challenged in court, and the minister said that if a legal challenge failed he would have no choice but to comply with the law.

"He should say he is obliged to by the courts", said the minister, adding that this could be enough to appease Brexiteers as Mr Johnson would make clear it was against his will.

Mr Johnson should then continue to push for an election during the three-month extension period, the minister said.

Asked if they would prefer Mr Johnson resign or seek an extension, the Cabinet minister said: “extension”.

If Mr Johnson refused to comply with Parliament's demands to request an extension, he could be taken to court and ordered to do so by a judge. If he still resisted, he could be held in contempt of court and face a possible jail sentence.

The minister suggested that would trigger a confidence vote which would be likely to result in a Corbyn premiership.


On Thursday Tory rebel Sir Oliver Letwin said Mr Johnson’s plan for a general election could be blocked by the House of Commons until next summer.

Sir Oliver, one of 21 MPs expelled from the party after voting against the Government, said a cross-party alliance is ready to insist that an election be delayed until after key decisions on Brexit have been settled, either by a deal or through a referendum, possibly as late as summer 2020.

Having a Brexit-focused general election “muddles things up”, Sir Oliver told the Evening Standard.

On Thursday the Prime Minister insisted he remained confident that it would be possible to reach a deal in time for it to be agreed at the EU summit in October.

"I'm very hopeful that we will get a deal, as I say, at that crucial summit,” he said. “We're working very hard - I've been around the European capitals talking to our friends.

"I think we can see the rough area of a landing space, of how you can do it - it will be tough, it will be hard, but I think we can get there."


In a further sign that Mr Johnson will now try for a compromise Brexit deal, the Cabinet minister said the "ERG will be harder to convince than the DUP" in trying to get an a new deal from Brussels through Parliament.

Meanwhile, Michel Barnier,  the EU's chief negotiator, said the EU is waiting to consider any UK proposals to replace the Northern Irish backstop.

"We are still ready to examine objectively any concrete and legally operational proposals from the UK," he said.

A No 10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister has been crystal clear, we will be leaving on October 31 and the government will not be seeking an extension."

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 17, 2019, 06:38:41 AM
Analysis: What deal could Boris Johnson secure with the EU - and can he sell it in London?
      
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/16/analysis-deal-could-boris-johnson-secure-eu/
   

Boris Johnson travels to Luxembourg today to meet Jean-Claude Juncker for further Brexit talks CREDIT: OLIVIER HOSLET/WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/REX

      Peter Foster, europe editor
16 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 8:02AM
Follow
A
s Boris Johnson travels to Luxembourg today to meet Jean-Claude Juncker for further Brexit talks, the prime minister and his negotiators are professing growing optimism about the prospects for a last-minute deal.
The European side - including the European Commission president - is much more cautious, noting the immense political challenges facing Mr Johnson.
These lie not just in Brussels - where talks about the Irish border are still a long way from resolution - but also in Westminster where his majority has collapsed and MPs have boxed him in with legislation forcing him to seek an extension if no deal is achieved by October 19.
If Mr Johnson is to succeed in his pledge to leave the EU on October 31, “do or die”, he needs to find a deal that is both negotiable in Brussels and saleable in a bitterly divided House of Commons.
Threading this needle will not be easy, since Mr Johnson will need to satisfy the technocrats in Brussels while demonstrating a majority for that deal in Parliament before the EU makes any concessions.
So here we look at the possible deals available to Mr Johnson and rate them on their chances of success




The Telegraph
672K subscribers
Boris Johnson 'cautiously optimistic' about a new Brexit deal




The Johnson dream: ‘slice n dice’ the Irish backstop
The deal: Convince the EU to abolish the Irish backstop and replaced it with a piecemeal deal. The UK argues this could avoid a return to the borders of the past in Ireland using a mix of technology and political goodwill. To achieve this, Northern Ireland would agree to follow EU rules on plant and animal products while other issues relating to the border - like customs checks and VAT - are addressed via trusted trader schemes and small trader exemptions. Crucially, Northern Ireland would remain outside the EU’s customs territory. The rest of the UK would therefore be free to do a ‘no strings’ Free Trade Agreement with Brussels that would not impinge on the UK’s freedom to strike free trade deals all around the world. This could mean tariffs, checks and controls at the EU-UK border.







Negotiability in Brussels? Looks impossible, unless the EU side commits a massive last-minute U-turn on its determination to defend the EU single market and its continued support of Irish demands that any solution delivers a “fully open” border. The UK suggests create a trade border, just one set back from the line itself. Privately, EU officials and diplomats are scathing about British proposals, describing the technological solutions for customs as “flimsy”, “ad hoc” and failing to understand the nature of EU law and borders. ULTRA LOW
Saleability in London? Tough. Such a deal would be a great victory for Mr Johnson and would delight Brexiteers in his own party. It would, however, lead to a very ‘hard’ Brexit for the UK mainland, possibly including tariffs and checks at the EU border which would hit UK manufacturers and traders. This ‘hard’ exit is a long way from the Labour vision for a “worker-friendly” Brexit, which is based on the UK staying in a customs union with the EU to protect jobs. Some 30-40 Pro-Brexit Labour MPs might potentially back such a deal just to get Brexit over and done with, but if they did so they would be delivering their Conservative opponent a great political victory in the process by enabling him to meet his October 31 pledge. Despite their shared views on Brexit, tribal political loyalties make it unlikely Labour MPs would do this, rather than reject a deal and force Mr Johnson into the humiliation of seeking an extension, as the Benn Act demands. LOW

The Northern Ireland-only backstop
The deal: If the slice-n-dice deal Mr Johnson advocates is rejected, he could pivot to a ‘Northern Ireland-only’ backstop that would leave Northern Ireland entirely in the EU’s customs territory and aligned on rules and regulations as necessary to maintain a “fully open” border in Ireland. This would address the Irish issue by effectively moving the border to the Irish Sea - or more accurately the ports of Northern Ireland






Negotiability in Brussels? No problem. EU diplomats are clear this deal is on offer. After all, this was the original proposal from Brussels back in spring 2018 and the text of this deal remains in Michel Barnier’s bottom drawer. It was rejected by Theresa May because it divided up the United Kingdom with an internal trade border. Mr Johnson has also rejected the idea for this reason. The DUP who currently still support the Tory government are implacably opposed. But European diplomats wonder whether, when faced with more unpalatable choices - asking for an extension, breaking the law by ignoring Parliament or sucking up a ‘no deal’ - Mr Johnson might reluctantly accept the offer as a least-worst option. He could claim he has open the Withdrawal Agreement and the EU could add some sweeteners to the deal as they did so. HIGH
Saleability in London? Tricky. This deal would be met with fury by the DUP whose 10 MPs are in a confidence and supply arrangement with the Tories. That said, hardline Brexiteers might be persuaded to accept Northern Ireland-only deal because it would open the door to a hard, ‘buccaneers’ Brexit for the rest of the UK, essentially by hiving off Northern Ireland into the regulatory orbit of the EU. But this would be a huge problem for labour which - as noted above - has no interest in a super-hard Brexit that economists warn will see businesses forced to suppress wages to remain competitive as tariff and regulatory trade barriers are erected between the UK and the EU. Pro-Brexit Labour MPs have hinted they might back such a deal if Mr Johnson committed to “a future relationship that protects jobs and livelihoods”, but that would mean giving up on the idea of a hard, ‘buccaneers’ Brexit, with consequent fallout from Brexiteers. VERY

Go back to kicking the can?
The deal: Mr Johnson realises that neither of the above options flies, but notes there is a majority in Parliament now for getting a compromise deal over the line. Accordingly he pivots back to two ideas that he ruled out in July - namely a ‘time-limit’ to the Irish backstop, or an exit mechanism from the backstop. This could enable the attorney Geoffrey Cox to change the legal advice warning that the UK risked being trapped indefinitely in the Irish backstop. This was the issue that blocked many Brexiteers from voting for the deal. The EU could also find some ways to sugar what would be a bitter pill for Mr Johnson if he determines this is the only way to turn the page on Brexit. 
Negotiability in Brussels? Officially these ideas are not on the table, and to re-heat them would require EU leaders to give Michel Barnier a fresh mandate to negotiate. It is not clear there is sufficient time to do this. This would also require EU member states to pressure Ireland into a deal it does not want, since Dublin warns that such ideas just create a “countdown to a border poll” and will destablise Ireland. The current attitudes in London towards Ireland do not inspire confidence in Dublin. Nor does the political instability in London inspire confidence in Europe. That said, if the choice is between ‘no deal’ chaos tomorrow and a time-limit that pushes that chaos into the middle distance - say seven to ten years hence - Ireland might find it harder to convince other EU leaders not to back such a compromise. MEDIUM



Saleability in London? This approach might find broad support in the House of Commons, but it would be a humiliating climbdown for Mr Johnson to return to Westminster with a reheated version of Theresa May’s thrice-rejected deal. It would, to use the American phrase, be putting “lipstick on the pig”. Mr Johnson and the EU could try to dress up this volte-face as an act of statesmanship, but the Brexit wing of his party would cry betrayal and the move would surely risk turbocharging Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party on the Tories’ electoral right flank. It is also still not clear if Labour would back even this compromise deal, at least without further concessions and the government agreeing to a confirmatory Second Referendum. MEDIUM-LOW


The extended transition, sleight-of-hand deal
The deal:It becomes clear that the slice-n-dice model does not work, but the two sides have made progress in talks on issues like aligning on plant and animal product regulations, the single electricity market and the common travel area for people. Big issues like customs and VAT remain, but enough momentum has been created to enable Mr Johnson to say that he is now convinced that these will be addressed in the future relationship trade talks. To create more time, the EU agrees to extend the transition period to avoid the hated backstop ever kicking in. The backstop would remain, but Mr Johnson would say much more convincingly than Mrs May that it will never be used, because of the progress made.



Negotiability in Brussels? No problem. As long as the backstop stays, the EU would be open to fiddling with the transition period mechanisms if that’s what the UK wants. Legally speaking the transition cannot be open-ended, so the EU would need to put an aspirational date on the completion of trade talks and resolution of the Irish border via other means. Mr Johnson could then point to this as a statement of intent - while making clear that if the UK would extend rather than ever having the backstop imposed. HIGH
Saleability in London? It is hard to see how Brexiteers would accept this route, which is essentially an extended version of one Mrs May tried, but failed dismally to sell to MPs. The UK would effectively be in double purgatory, risking being stuck both in transition and/or the Irish backstop indefinitely. Pro-Brexit Labour MPs would be equally upset, and as in all the scenarios above, it is not clear why the rest of the Labour Party will move to get Mr Johnson out of his current bind by helping him to deliver Brexit on October 31. VERY LOW
Conclusion
As every day goes by and the clock ticks down to the European Council on October 17, Mr Johnson looks increasingly snookered. What is hypothetically negotiable in Brussels, looks increasingly unsaleable in London. As always with Brexit, taking a step in one direction leads to losing support in another.


Still, Mr Johnson wants to look like he’s trying hard, so he can blame the EU of intransigence if a deal is not done; meanwhile the EU will continue to “keep listening” up until the final day of the talks, so that it can say it did all that it could.
But for all the talk of optimism from the British side, it is increasingly apparent to both sides the Brexit circle remains a long way from being squared - even if, at the moment, it does not suit either to be explicit.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 19, 2019, 08:57:45 AM
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/newton-emerson-stormont-lock-is-fig-leaf-for-likely-dup-climbdown-1.4022631

Newton Emerson: Stormont lock is fig leaf for likely DUP climbdown


EU concedes backstop needs democratic oversight and Stormont is no threat
about 3 hours ago
 
Newton Emerson

4
 Nobody has ever proposed that Stormont has a veto over anything – British government proposals admit its role would ultimately be consultative. Photograph: Eric Luke
Nobody has ever proposed that Stormont has a veto over anything – British government proposals admit its role would ultimately be consultative. Photograph: Eric Luke

 
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An air of absurdity and exhaustion hangs over the idea that Stormont is the solution to Brexit. The northern institutions have collapsed, the British government is collapsing and London’s sincerity in seeking a deal remains in question. These are shaky grounds on which to place the contention and complexity of Stormont input into the backstop, or some backstop-like arrangement. A new layer of accountability can be imagined and Northern Ireland is hardly a stranger to arcane government systems. But where would the energy come from to make this work, when only the DUP wants it and most nationalists would see Stormont administering Brexit as adding insult to injury?

It is not as if the DUP’s need is fundamental – it merely wants a fig leaf to cover its retreat. When then British prime minister Theresa May unveiled the so-called Stormont lock in January this year, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds dismissed it as “cosmetic and meaningless”.

May’s proposals were stronger than anything now likely to be agreed.

Most of the straws in the wind for Stormont input are the straw man arguments being offered against it.

Consider this statement last week from Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

“There’s certainly a concern at an EU level that a devolved institution in Northern Ireland could have a veto about how the single market operates or a border on the single market operates.”

Nobody has ever proposed that Stormont has a veto over anything – British government proposals admit its role would ultimately be consultative.

Nobody has proposed that Stormont has a say, let alone a veto, over the operation of the single market. It would only be consulted on the application of new single-market regulations within Northern Ireland, which would be a territory outside the EU.

Border open
There would be implications for the Border if Northern Ireland withheld “consent” for new EU regulations, as British government sources describe it.


What the North needs now is a gigantic talking shop
Only Sinn Féin is stopping Sinn Féin reviving the Assembly
Boris Johnson holds private meeting with DUP leader Arlene Foster

In practice, this is most likely to be resolved by new checks across the Irish Sea to keep the Border open. Would unionists consent to that?

Coveney’s statement, and similar remarks from others in the Irish Government, create scope to give the DUP what it wants without appearing to give way.

EU officials are conceding the backstop needs democratic oversight and is not compromised in principle by Stormont input
Some backstop supporters in Northern Ireland have gone further, implying a Stormont lock would mean the DUP regulating French farmers, although such claims must be due more to confusion and pot-stirring than cunning attempts to reframe the argument.

EU officials have taken a slightly different approach to the Irish Government over the past week, as revealed in statements and through media briefings. They have begun highlighting the withdrawal agreement’s oversight mechanisms, to counter British government and DUP claims the backstop is undemocratic.

Those mechanisms would require a diagram to explain but as a rough guide there is a line of accountability leading back to Stormont via EU-UK committees and North-South bodies of the Belfast Agreement.

At first sight, EU officials appear to be arguing this makes further Stormont input unnecessary. On closer inspection, they are conceding the backstop needs democratic oversight and is not compromised in principle by Stormont input. As with Coveney’s statement, this marks out a landing zone.

Managing Brexit
Sinn Féin has consistently objected to Stormont or the DUP having “a veto over the backstop”.

As no such veto is proposed, this leaves plenty of wiggle room. The party is leaving similar space in its pledges not to administer a post-Brexit border.

However, the main sign Sinn Féin might humour the Stormont lock is that it is re-emphasising the DUP-Conservative confidence-and-supply agreement as the key obstacle to restoring devolution, although that agreement expired with the prorogation of parliament last week and will almost certainly never be renewed.

Why would Sinn Féin risk being drawn into managing Brexit?

A perception its supporters do not want Stormont revived was debunked in recent elections, as the party subsequently confirmed.

If London, Dublin and Brussels come to see Stormont input as a trivial tweak that can get a withdrawal agreement passed, then pressure to revive devolution will be intense.

Sinn Féin could find itself suddenly portrayed as the obstacle, with its Stormont agenda – in particular, an Irish language Act – downgraded to an incidental concern.

Better to position itself to make demands using the considerable leverage it will have at that moment.

Precedent suggests Sinn Féin would pursue procedural changes and guarantees, most obviously on Stormont’s cross-community veto mechanism, so it could tell its voters it was managing the Border in nationalism’s interest.

This looks like a necessary minimum requirement but it would be a mistake to make too much of it. Sinn Féin has proved poor at working such arrangements before, with the DUP adept at running rings around it.

Republicans should learn from the confidence-and-supply agreement and ask for more money for Northern Ireland, on the clear understanding Sinn Féin delivered it. There seems little doubt more money would be forthcoming.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 19, 2019, 09:00:45 AM

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   https://www.ft.com/content/645d8786-d9f2-11e9-8f9b-77216ebe1f17

   Boris Johnson’s lies are plunging Britain into a dark morass
There is not a soul in the long corridors of Whitehall who believes the prime minister is telling the truth
PHILIP STEPHENS  Add to myFT
 

©
Philip Stephens 4 HOURS AGO Print this page334
What will she be thinking when he next tips up at Buckingham Palace? Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest reigning monarch. As titular head of state, she has granted regular weekly “audiences” to her prime ministers for 67 years. There have been 14 in all — the first, Winston Churchill, the latest, Boris Johnson. The Queen has not divulged a word from these private encounters. Now she hears that, just two months in office, Mr Johnson has been lying to her.

It is a fair guess that one or two others among the 14 may have occasionally shaded the truth. I wonder if Anthony Eden was entirely honest about the Suez debacle? Mr Johnson, though, has put himself in a class of his own. He stands charged by three senior judges with premeditated deception in persuading the Queen to suspend parliament so he can force through Britain’s departure from the EU on October 31.

This prime minister, of course, is no stranger to mendacity. But lying to Her Majesty? Deceiving someone so widely respected around the world for her probity and commitment to public service? It is hard to think of a sharper collision between mendacity and integrity.

Such is the dark morass into which Mr Johnson’s government has fallen in pursuit of his obsession to meet the Brexit deadline. When MPs were sent home from Westminster for five weeks until mid-October, the official story was that the government needed time to draw up a new legislative programme. Three senior Scottish judges concluded that this was deliberate subterfuge: Mr Johnson’s real objective was to frustrate the efforts of MPs to block his path to a no-deal Brexit. The suspension, the court ruled, was therefore unlawful.

The High Court in London took a different tack. It declined to comment one way or the other on whether Mr Johnson had told the truth. Instead, the English judges said they were being asked to determine matters beyond their competence. It was not for the court to decide on a matter that they deemed to be essentially political.

It has been left to the UK Supreme Court to make a definitive ruling. The prime minister’s desperate hope is that a majority of the 11 chief justices take the non-justiciable path set out by the English court. The damage has been done. You will not find a soul in the long corridors of Whitehall who believes that the prime minister they are sworn to serve is telling the truth.

Two former Conservative prime ministers — John Major and David Cameron — have joined those accusing Mr Johnson of seeking to suppress parliamentary debate. Sir John is among those appearing in person before the Supreme Court to argue that the prorogation was an abuse of power. Mr Cameron, who bears much of the responsibility for the present mess, due to his reckless decision to call the EU referendum in 2016, has used the publication of his memoirs to launch a series of broadsides against Mr Johnson’s habitual lying.

The present prime minister and his fellow Brexiter Michael Gove, Mr Cameron charges, quite simply “left the truth at home” during the 2016 referendum campaign. Back then the three politicians were pals. Mr Cameron now says that Mr Johnson never even believed in Brexit. He embraced the Eurosceptic cause purely to advance his consuming personal ambition by winning favour among Tory Brexiters.

Mr Gove, Mr Cameron adds, promoted the mendacious, and borderline racist, claim that just about the entire population of Turkey would soon be heading for Britain if it voted to remain in the EU. Mr Gove has since been given the job of overseeing Brexit preparations. Contemptuous in 2016 of the views of “experts” worried about the costs of Brexit, he is as dismissive now of advice from his officials about the serious risks of a no-deal departure from the EU.

At this point, some may be tempted to shrug. Put lying to the Queen to one side and fear and loathing among politicians in the same party is hardly new. As for Mr Johnson’s lies, well, no one trusts politicians. What matters is that the government gets on with Brexit, even if it means crashing out of the EU.

As for shutting down parliament, well, MPs were obstructing what Brexiters have solemnly declared to be “the will of the people”. This, of course, is just another falsehood. Of those who voted in the 2016 referendum, some 52 per cent backed Leave. Of those eligible to vote, the proportion was 37 per cent — scarcely the will of the people.

Dry constitutional debates about the respective authority of the government, parliament and the judiciary matter. And the frantic back-stabbing among senior Tories speaks volumes about the truly sorry condition of British Conservatism. Neither should obscure the bigger picture of the damage being inflicted on the nation’s democracy.

The lying reveals a profound disdain for the traditions, institutions and laws that sustain Britain’s parliamentary ecosystem. Whitehall officials say rules of proper behaviour are simply torn up. “We can do as we please,” runs the refrain in Downing Street.

Mr Johnson’s public refusal to say he will uphold the law in all circumstances underpins this contempt. If the government can cheat, it will; Mr Gove’s preference for “listening to the people” over reasoned argument speaks to the same tilt towards demagogy. Strip democracy of trust, self-restraint and shared truths and what remains is a majoritarianism of the mob.

philip.stephens@ft.com
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 23, 2019, 04:01:38 PM


   https://www.ft.com/content/ceeb4f7c-dbd0-11e9-8f9b-77216ebe1f17

   UK business groups fear repercussions if they criticise no-deal Brexit
Risk of losing access to government a big concern among companies that speak out


Jim Pickard, Daniel Thomas and Peter Campbell in London 17 HOURS AGO

Some of Britain’s business lobby groups believe they face being cold-shouldered by the government if they step up warnings about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, according to senior industry figures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said the UK must leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal, and the government has stepped up efforts to prepare businesses for Brexit, partly through an advertising campaign.

Many companies are opposed to Britain departing the EU without a deal because of the prospect of economic damage, and some business groups such as the CBI have consistently stressed the need to secure a withdrawal agreement.

Other groups including the British Chambers of Commerce have complained about insufficient government information for businesses to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

The head of one major business group, who declined to be named, said the “very clear message” had been conveyed by the government that it would not be helpful to criticise Brexit preparations. “I don’t think it was explicit, it was implicit . . . people have been given a warning about how they play things,” he added.

“A number of member companies have gone in . . . and been given a similar message: ‘Don’t expect to be given good access [to the government] and influence if you’re not prepared to play the game in public.’”

One person familiar with the situation said business groups had interpreted conversations with ministers and officials in the same way. “The message was . . . if they wish to continue to have a favoured relationship then they needed to be mindful of what they were saying in public about Brexit,” he said.

Business groups and executives spoke to the Financial Times on condition of anonymity because they fear losing access in Whitehall.

One said that the industry genuinely wanted to engage with the government and “be in the tent” but added it was unrealistic to expect companies to keep quiet about the damaging outcome that a no-deal Brexit would represent.

“The behaviour of the Johnson administration seems a bit schoolboyish,” he added. “People aren’t going to change their tune.”

One business group leader said the tone of the government’s message was to warn against talking down the UK “or you’ll never get another meeting in Whitehall again”.

Eyebrows were raised in corporate circles when Andrea Leadsom, the new business secretary, invited a predominantly pro-Brexit group of executives to her first roundtable with corporate leaders.


One government official denied that any threats had been made to block meetings with business groups, pointing to regular contact with organisations. He said a larger business team had been created inside Downing Street to increase contact with companies.

Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington, where Jaguar Land Rover is based, said sceptical voices of business needed to be heard. “The voice of industry and the world of work must be heard if our country is to avoid the economic catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit,” he said.

Steve Turner, deputy general secretary of Unite the Union, said he had talked to “a number of companies” who stated that they had been told by the government not to make trouble on Brexit or risk losing any influence on a future trade deal with the EU.

“They were told that if they want to sit on the bodies determining the trade arrangements . . . with the EU after Brexit they need to behave now,” he added. “The message was that they need to come in behind either the deal or no-deal, and there is a seat at the table for those who co-operate.”

The department for business declined to comment.


Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 24, 2019, 08:25:55 AM
Attention all gerrymandered Gaels in the 6 counties


https://www.ft.com/content/e44f3868-de20-11e9-b112-9624ec9edc59

Johnson seeks to woo US business with low-tax vision PM risks angering EU with plan for post-Brexit regulation that diverges from bloc 'We are going to take advantage of all the freedoms that Brexit can give' - Boris Johnson at the United Nations in New York on Monday
 George Parker in New York YESTERDAY

Boris Johnson will on Tuesday set out a vision of Britain as a low-tax, more lightly regulated economy on the edge of Europe, in a provocative post-Brexit pitch to US and Canadian business leaders to invest in the UK. The British prime minister will intensify concerns in Berlin and Paris about how he appears set on diverging from the EU economic model, raising the prospect of future trade barriers being erected between the UK and its biggest market. This month German chancellor Angela Merkel said Britain would become “an economic competitor on our own doorstep” after Brexit while France and other EU countries have warned they would impose tariffs on the UK if it did not engage in “fair competition”. Mr Johnson, in a speech in New York’s Hudson Yards, will say Britain would be “going up a gear” after leaving the EU, in his most bullish speech yet as prime minister about the supposed “opportunities” afforded by Brexit. “We are going to take advantage of all the freedoms that Brexit can give, whether that is new tax allowances for investment, or speeding up public procurement contracts, or creating free ports and new enterprise zones, or devising better regulation for the sectors in which the UK leads the world,” he will say. No breakthrough. No breakdown. No time to lose. Donald Tusk after meeting with Boris Johnson “We want a market that is open to the world, with the most competitive tax rates and the best skilled workforce in the hemisphere.” Mr Johnson wants Britain to be able to “diverge” from EU rules that cover issues such as workers’ rights, environmental protection and consumer safety, often claiming the UK should have more stringent regulations. But in recent talks in Brussels, Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost has said that Britain wants to weaken the “level playing field” commitments on competition, regulation and tax rules negotiated by former prime minister Theresa May as part of her original departure deal. Mr Johnson on Monday discussed Brexit with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, Ms Merkel and Donald Tusk, European Council president, but the two sides remain far apart. Mr Tusk tweeted after his meeting: “No breakthrough. No breakdown. No time to lose.” Mr Johnson reiterated his opposition to a backstop plan to maintain an open border in Ireland that applied only to Northern Ireland. Recommended UK trade Boris Johnson puts foot in it over socks trade with US The UK prime minister, speaking on Tuesday on the margins of the UN General Assembly, believes that a more flexible British economy will be attractive to US and Canadian investors. He will also hold talks with US president Donald Trump about the prospects for an early UK-US trade deal after Brexit, although Mr Johnson has recently started warning the White House that he will not be a soft touch in negotiations. “I say to our American friends we will roll out the red carpet,” the prime minister will say, pointing to a more liberal immigration regime for US scientists and students coming to Britain. The EU will insist on “level playing field” regulatory provisions in any future trade deal with Britain, given the proximity of the UK to mainland Europe. Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, a think-tank, has warned the threat of future regulatory divergence between Britain and the EU could complicate the immediate task of brokering a Brexit deal, including arrangements to avoid the return to hard Irish border.

 “Johnson says he wants a minimal, Canada-style free trade agreement, with pronounced regulatory divergence from the 27 [other EU member states],” Mr Grant wrote. “That would increase the regulatory gap between Ireland and the UK, thus making the EU even keener to maintain some sort of . . . way of avoiding the need for controls on or near the Irish border.” Mr Johnson’s speech in Manhattan will come shortly after a ruling by the UK Supreme Court on whether he acted lawfully in suspending parliament for five weeks at a crucial moment in the Brexit process. The prime minister, speaking ahead of the ruling, was bullish in claiming he had done the right thing, but refused to speculate on whether he might resign if the court indicated that he had misled the Queen, who had to formally sanction the “prorogation”. “We must have a Queen’s Speech to move on to the domestic priorities of British people,” he said, explaining that a suspension of parliament was commonplace before a new parliamentary session began. “What are we losing? Four of five days of parliamentary scrutiny.” Asked if he was trying to stifle scrutiny of Brexit, he said: “Donnez-moi un break.” Separately Mr Johnson again ruled out the possibility of a pact with Nigel Farage’s Brexit party at the forthcoming general election, insisting the Conservatives would fight every seat.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 24, 2019, 04:24:03 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/23/boris-johnsons-divide-rule-approach-ireland-likely-fail/

Why Boris Johnson’s ‘divide and rule’ approach to Ireland over Brexit is likely to fail
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 Head-scratching: Ireland is putting up a united front on the Irish backstop question CREDIT: REX
•    Peter Foster, EUROPE EDITOR, DUBLIN
24 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 4:53AM
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It is the kind of political briefing that is calculated to make the Irish political establishment bristle with indignation.
The Irish Times reported this week that British diplomats and politicians are travelling around Europe telling their counterparts that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be “so disastrous” for Ireland that Leo Varadkar is bound to compromise on the Irish backstop.
In the latest iteration of the UK’s ‘divide and rule’ Brexit negotiation strategy, the hope is reportedly that other EU member states will turn on Ireland and ask the Irish Taoiseach to compromise to avoid ‘no deal’. That compromise would indeed be a bitter pill for the Irish leader to swallow.
In essence, Boris Johnson and the DUP have offered to create a common ‘food zone’ in Ireland, but to create a customs, regulatory and VAT zone north of the border - albeit set back from the wiggly line itself.
The British argue that this border will be rendered semi-frictionless by the use of ‘maximum facilitations’, such as computers, exemptions and trusted trader scheme and will not impinge on the peace.
The Irish government says it will not accept this proposal since it believes the resulting ‘border’ will be hugely destabilising for the island of Ireland at a time when Northern Ireland is febrile and organised crime groups with links to old paramilitary organisations are waiting in the wings.
The question, as Mr Johnson’s team in Brussels tries to negotiate this technologically advanced trade border, is whether Mr Varadkar will now be forced to change his mind?
Because despite some warm words and a parade of UK cabinet ministers through Dublin of late this month, the British proposition is very hard-nosed.
It was articulated by Steve Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, in a speech in Madrid last week: “Why risk crystallising an undesirable result this November,” he asked, “when both sides can work together – until December 2020?”
In other words,  a ‘no deal’ creates a trade border in Ireland, abruptly and chaotically at huge damage to both sides; or you abolish the backstop, as we demand, and have a 14-month transition period to work with the British to deliver that border as unobtrusively as possible.
And this despite the fact that even proponents of these so-called ‘alternative arrangements’, including Mr Johnson, accept they will not be ready by the end of 2020.
Mr Varadkar rejected this ‘trust us’ approach when he met Mr Johnson in Dublin on September 9 at joint press conference: “What we cannot do, and will not do,” he said, “is replace a legal guarantee with a promise.”
Economic pressure
So the question is whether Downing Street is right to calculate that Mr Varadkar will ‘blink’ when confronted by the threat of a ‘no deal’ and the political and economic downsides that would follow?
First the economic risks. The forecasts make grim reading, with six major studies estimating ‘no deal’ would cost Ireland some 5-7 per cent of ‘lost’ GDP over the medium to long term, and perhaps as many as 34,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2020.
Particular sectors will be hit severely, including Irish cheese makers and beef farmers, about half of whose entire product is exported to the UK
Tariffs will also drive up prices and hit retailers, many of whom are reliant on UK stockists, with prices estimated to rise by up to 3 per cent - equating to a monthly rise of household bills of around €75-€110 a month, according to estimates by Dublin’s Economic and Social Research Institute
It is undeniably a grim outlook, but among trade groups and farmers’ unions it is notable that fears of the economic fallout from a ‘no deal’ do not translate into demands from Mr Varadkar to ‘bin the backstop’.
Danny McCoy, the CEO of Ibec, the Irish equivalent of the CBI, says that Irish business understands that a trade border in Ireland of the kind that Mr Johnson is suggesting risks being massively counter-productive.
Not unlike German car manufacturers who desperately want to avoid a ‘no deal’ but not at the expense of the wider EU’s single market; Irish businesses argue that the backstop is necessary to maintain the bigger picture.
“Business isn’t knocking down government’s door on the backstop question because the North-South dimension is much wider than just business, it’s the social, cultural and political that is at stake, and which provides a stable base. That’s more important than any trade disruption,” said Mr McCoy.
Ian Talbot, the CEO of Chambers Ireland, which represents small and medium-sized businesses, makes a similar point. His members are not, he says, pushing him to lobby against the backstop.
Even in sector-specific lobby groups, like the Irish Farmers’ Association, there is clarity that Ireland needs to hold out to protect the all-island economy.
 
Cows stand beneath a sign for the diused Customs Office along the Irish border on November 14, 2018 in Newry, Northern Ireland CREDIT: GETTY
“IFA’s position is clear: Brexit can only go ahead on the basis of a Withdrawal Agreement,” a spokesman said. “As regards current discussions on alternative arrangements to the backstop, full regulatory and customs alignment is necessary to avoid a hard border in Ireland and to protect the integrity of the single market.”
The industry has already been hit by the fall in sterling which effectively cuts the worth of a cow by €150 a head, but the response has not been to push Mr Varadkar into dropping the backstop but rather to demand adequate compensation.
The IFA is demanding around a billion euros in compensation from Europe in order to cushion the impact of a ‘no deal’ - and is putting pressure on the Irish government ahead of next month’s budget.
 “IFA has set out clearly what is needed to prevent the sector from Armageddon,” said Joe Healy, the IFA president. “We are less than 40 days out from a potential no-deal Brexit, and the EU and the Government must commit to IFA’s package of measures, and support Ireland’s farmers”.
All of which adds up to a pretty solid wall of support for Mr Varadkar’s stance that the Irish backstop - legally binding and undiluted - is essential to protect the economic well-being of Ireland as well as the peace process.
Mr Johnson in his visit earlier this month appeared to suggest that Ireland would be much less able to cope with a ‘no deal’ than the UK.
But senior Irish government officials take umbrage at the suggestion that the UK, with its much larger economy, can simply bully Ireland into submission at a time when the economy is growing at 5 per cent a year - even a ‘no deal’ does not tip Ireland into recession.
Political pressure
And if the UK had hoped to open up political divisions in Ireland by hinting that Mr Varadkar was recklessly endangering the economy by his dogged insistence on the Irish backstop, there has been precious little evidence to date.
With Brexit perceived as an “existential threat” to Ireland if it leads to what is seen as the “economic repartition” of the island, then party political divisions have been put to one side in a way that might seem inconceivable in Westminster.
Over the last few months there have been one or two dissenting voices, but these have been ruthlessly squashed down by a cross-party understanding that on the backstop question there are no political points to be scored in undermining Mr Varadkar.
Fianna Fáil, the main opposition party that has a confidence and supply agreement with Mr Varadkar’s Fine Gael, may have chided and chivvied their opponents over preparations for a ‘no deal’, but never on the fundamental question of the need for the backstop itself.
“There is genuine agreement, because everyone sees Brexit as a threat to both peace and the economy,” says Lisa Chambers, a Fianna Fáil TD who is also the party’s Brexit spokesperson.
She echoes Mr Varadkar’s own clear hardball calculation when confronted by Mr Barclay’s threats: if the British force a ‘no deal’ it is better for Ireland to face an immediate trade border with British fingerprints on it than acquiesce in the creation of a border by 2020.
“If you crash out without a withdrawal agreement, then whenever you come back to the talks you’ll still need to address the three issues - the money, the citizens’ rights and the border - they will have to come back,” says Ms Chambers.
“Whereas if you agree to a Withdrawal Agreement that leads to a border in two years time, you take the issue off the table - the future trading relationship gets discussed and the border never gets resolved. If it is not done now, it will never be dealt with.”
Rightly or wrongly, there is an apparent understanding in Irish politics that sticking to the backstop, even to the point of a ‘no deal’, is the only way to preserve leverage against the UK.
The result is that breaking ranks to question either the backstop - or Mr Varadkar’s handling of the diplomacy that led to the backstop - is met with a synchronised closing of political ranks.
 
Brexit activists hold placards as they attend a demonstration by the anit-brexit campaign group "Border communities against Brexit", a road crossing the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland in Newry, Northern Ireland, on January 26, 2019. CREDIT: AFP
When Fianna Fáil TD, Timmy Dooley went on Twitter and accused Mr Varadkar of a “failure to engage in basic diplomacy” he was brutally slapped down by the party leader Micheál Martin, followed by all the main major Irish parties.
Similarly, when Lucinda Creighton, a former Europe Minister and close friend of Mr Varadkar, said a “fudge” would be better than 80,000 people losing their jobs in a no-deal Brexit scenario - the political establishment went into overdrive to squash the story.
“There is a strong element of the ‘green jersey agenda’ about the backstop,” says a senior Irish journalist who received briefings against Ms Creighton. “It really is a question of national unity above all else.”
And for Mr Varadkar who has plunged UK-Irish relations into the deep freeze by his refusal to follow the unwritten rule that Irish Taoiseach’s do not publicly clash with London, sticking to his guns on the backstop actually becomes the smart political play. 
“It won’t be a good day if it happens, but Leo Varadkar’s career does not hang on preventing a ‘no deal’,” say Eoin O'Malley, a politics specialist at Dublin City University. “The opposition might say he’s mishandled things, but he can say ‘the British will be back’ and they will have to talk about money, citizens and the border before any future deal can be done.”
Bubbling away under all this - and exacerbated by what is perceived as an overbearing Johnson administration in London - is both the reawakening of ancient historical reflexes mixed with a confidence that Ireland can shape a new future in Europe and beyond.
Noelle O Connell, the executive director of the European Movement in Ireland, has watched Irish support for the EU deepen year on year and hints that it is those old reflexes that are leading the British to miscalculate if they think Mr Varadkar will back down.
 “The opening of the Pandora’s box that is Brexit has profoundly real political, economic and social implications for the island of Ireland; perhaps an understanding of modern history is, in the context of Anglo-Irish relations, as valuable as an appreciation of classics,” she said.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 25, 2019, 09:48:50 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/24/judgement-will-greatly-assist-remainers-seizing-control-government/

This judgement will greatly assist Remainers in seizing control of government again
•   IAIN DUNCAN SMITH
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24 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 9:30PM
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There can be no question but that we are now in a genuine constitutional crisis. This has been coming ever since the referendum and Parliament's refusal to act on the majority decision of the British people.
Of course the opposition are already leaping up and down claiming that the Prime Minister should resign – but this is a hollow jibe. After all, they could have done that all along simply by calling a vote of confidence in the government.
I was astonished that, when the Supreme Court made their judgement that they were acting to uphold Parliament’s rights against an over-mighty executive, they didn’t see fit to mention that Parliament could have stopped prorogation all along either by agreeing to an early election or by passing a vote of no-confidence in the Government.
Languishing over ten points behind the Conservatives in the polls with an unpopular leader and a civil war erupting within the party over Brexit, Labour MPs wanted to avoid an election aided by Cameron’s ill-thought-through Fixed Term Parliament Act. That the party's MPs chose, for reasons of political expediency, not to vote in favour of a general election does not undermine the point that they could have done so if they wished. Instead they left it to judges to do the work of challenging the executive for them.
As Parliament is recalled, the question is to what degree does this judgement effect Brexit? At first pass I thought not much. After all, it does not make a huge difference to the parliamentary timetable. Nor is it as if the Government was planning to do anything significant while Parliament was prorogued anyway. The number one thing on Boris Johnson's agenda, until yesterday at least, was securing a Brexit deal with the EU. There would have been plenty of time to debate any such agreement after Parliament returned.
However, it then dawned on me that by giving them more sitting time at a crucial time, this judgement greatly assists the hard-core Remainers to seize control of government again, as they have twice before. There are two things hard-core Remainers may do within the extra window of opportunity granted to them.
First they could try and legislate to either strip or further limit the Government’s prerogative power to prorogue Parliament by the beginning of next week. This would further constrain Mr Johnson in the crucial weeks ahead.
The second is to legislate for a second referendum. Oliver Letwin and others gave this game away a couple of weeks ago when they said they could keep the government in place until the summer. The only reason for that would be to buy time for a second referendum. Given the way we now know that ex-Prime Ministers and others are working to get the EU to offer a longer extension, I wouldn’t lay any money against the EU rubbing their hands and playing ball with the Remainers.
All this forms part of a wider issue which is heading at us like an express train. It is that two decisions taken by two prime ministers have utterly altered the balance of our constitutional settlement. The first was the casual creation of the Supreme Court by Tony Blair and the second was the restriction of the prerogative power to call an election through the Fixed-term Parliaments Act devised by David Cameron.
Ours is not a written Constitution but one based on common law, statutes, conventions and practice. This has never been codified, but has developed pragmatically in a balanced way. Introducing such a change without the checks and balances that exist in the US constitutional settlement through their codified separation of powers has unbalanced our constitution. For example, in the USA nominated justices have to go through hearings in congress in which past political allegiances and views are brought before congress so that they can decide on the makeup of the court. Are we now to do this and to what extent should we now set out to move to a written constitution?
I am sure there will be legal arguments about the rights and wrongs of the Supreme Court judgement. However, coming on the back of Parliament’s refusal to let the UK leave the EU, the official opposition’s refusal to agree to an election and other opposition parties now openly talking of disregarding the original referendum and revoking Article 50, it will only feed people’s growing view that the political establishment has betrayed them.
This judgement and its outcome will inevitably be seen by British people beyond Westminster through the prism of Brexit and make it more and more likely that their trust in Parliament will ebb away even faster.
Our politics is now reduced to a simple concept – Parliament versus the people. There is no doubt in my mind that Boris stands four square with the people and mustn’t be deflected from his determination to get us out by October 31.
On the other side are the hard-core Remainers of the establishment, who plan to dismiss the sovereign will of those who elect us. If they win, we all lose.
Iain Duncan-Smith is Conservative MP for Chingford and Wood Green
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 25, 2019, 10:51:25 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/2b217664-deb9-11e9-b112-9624ec9edc59

Boris Johnson’s unlawful conduct has been called to account UK Supreme Court ruling is an indictment of the abuse of executive power THE EDITORIAL BOARD Add to myFT Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Share Save The editorial board YESTERDAY Print this page563 The ruling by the UK Supreme Court is a devastating indictment of the abuse of power by a prime minister — and of the holder of that office, Boris Johnson. The 11 judges unanimously concluded that Mr Johnson’s five-week suspension of parliament was an unlawful attempt to silence MPs, at the very moment the UK, through Brexit, faces the biggest shake-up in its constitutional status for decades. Mr Johnson’s claim that the suspension was a routine break before a new legislative session stands exposed. The judges found the prime minister in effect misled MPs, the British people, and the Queen. No future premier will be able to act this way again. The judges’ ruling marks a historic moment in the evolution of the UK constitution.

 The court’s decision was a much-needed reminder that, even in the most testing political circumstances, Britain remains a representative democracy underpinned by the rule of law. MPs are elected to exercise their good judgment and take decisions on behalf of constituents. They hold to account a government formed from among their number. The executive is accountable to parliament, and parliament to the people. Removing parliament, even for a matter of weeks, breaks the chain of accountability. The UK system cannot allow a cabal around the prime minister to determine by itself the “will of the people” and attempt to implement it, while sidelining those whom the people elected to represent them. This is the road to tyranny. The judges issued a judgment of impeccable logic and clarity. To those, including the government and the High Court in London, that argued prorogation is a political matter and no business of the courts they delivered a resounding rejoinder. Courts have for centuries exercised supervisory jurisdiction over whether government actions are lawful. In 1611, a court held that the King — who was then the government — “hath no prerogative but that which the law of the land allows him”. The power to suspend parliament, the judges found, is limited if it conflicts with parliament’s sovereign power to make laws, and the government’s accountability to parliament. Prorogation is unlawful if its effect prevents parliament from fulfilling its functions — without a very good reason. In one of the most stinging passages of their ruling, the judges found the effect of Mr Johnson’s actions on British democracy was “extreme”, and that the government had put forward no proper justification. The Supreme Court focused on effect and not, as senior Scottish judges had done, on the government’s presumed motive. Yet in delivering a unanimous judgment whose essence mirrored that of Scotland’s highest court, the judges brought together English and Scottish law. They implicitly demolished the hints from Downing Street that the Scottish judges might somehow be partisan. Since the prime minister’s advice to the Queen was unlawful and void, they ultimately concluded, prorogation was also void. Their judgment shows that the checks and balances in Britain’s unwritten constitution are working. UK Supreme Court rules against Boris Johnson - what happens next? The spectacle of the courts ruling on parliamentary matters has caused understandable discomfort. Yet the judges intervened not of their own initiative. Their involvement was prompted by the prime minister’s own cavalier actions, and by the disquiet they provoked among many members of the public — including one of Mr Johnson’s Conservative predecessors as premier.
 In truth, the Supreme Court had little choice but to rule as it did. To find otherwise would have opened a dangerous path to a future prime minister suspending parliament indefinitely, brandishing a prior ruling that such decisions were no matter for the courts. The ruling will restore some of the lustre to British democracy ground away by the chaotic handling of Brexit. This newspaper had argued that if Mr Johnson’s constitutional chicanery succeeded as intended, the UK would be poorly placed to criticise democratic shortcomings elsewhere. The Supreme Court, a fledgling institution barely 10 years old, has struck a blow for liberal democracy. When strongman leaders, even in advanced democracies, are attempting to bypass legislatures or due process, the ruling sends a powerful message. In the age of fake news and alternative realities, it is refreshing that judges saw through Downing Street’s skulduggery. Ardent Brexiters will dismiss the ruling as an “establishment” plot to thwart their determination to see the UK leave the EU at all costs. There have been disgraceful attempts to portray the judges as “enemies of the people”. This was not, however, a judgment on or against Brexit, but on the limits of executive power.

The effect is to restore parliament’s ability to ensure the 2016 referendum outcome is respected, but not through a calamitous no-deal exit. Mr Johnson’s no-deal strategy lies in tatters. Prorogation, always a high-risk gambit, has galvanised MPs to use the short time they had to bind Mr Johnson’s hands with legislation, and cost him his majority. Now this ruling leaves a stain on his character and competence. Faced with such a damning judgment, any premier with a shred of respect for British democracy and the responsibilities of his office would resign. Mr Johnson has indicated he intends to carry on. He will attempt to brazen out this setback, as he has previous episodes that raised questions over his suitability for office. The reconvened parliament should have no truck with such behaviour, and pass a vote of no confidence in the premier. It should use its right to form a caretaker government that can secure an extension to the October 31 Brexit date and organise a general election. The judges have spoken. Now the people should have their say. This is how Britain’s constitutional democracy works.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 25, 2019, 12:14:04 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/9cfe4bc2-ddf6-11e9-b112-9624ec9edc59

Here’s one way to fix Brexit’s Irish border problem The government has already conceded that some rules for Northern Ireland will be set by the EU MARTIN SANDBU

Amid the fallout from the UK Supreme Court’s landmark decision on the suspension of parliament, it is easy to forget that Boris Johnson’s first significant engagement with Brexit as prime minister was in a letter to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. In it, he reneged on the UK’s December 2017 commitment to keep Northern Ireland aligned with the EU regulations and customs rules until other ways to avoid border infrastructure and controls could be agreed. This was formalised as the “backstop” for Northern Ireland only, later extended to an all-UK version at Britain’s behest. The commitment, undertaken in the so-called EU-UK Joint Report, had been the EU’s precondition for entering talks on long-term trade relations. By reneging, the UK went back on something the EU took in good faith. From Mr Johnson, such behaviour is hardly shocking, even if it should be. More importantly, it is counterproductive. When the UK has asked to sort out border issues after Brexit, Irish leaders are at pains to emphasise that they cannot replace a legal guarantee with a promise. Given what happened to the earlier promise, who can blame them? While not couched in these terms, the EU now insists on recommitting the UK government to the Joint Report.

That is how we should read the overture by Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, to alternatives to the backstop if “all” its objectives can be met by other means than aligning with EU rules. No such means have been identified. This reality is the same as that faced by Theresa May. So Mr Johnson’s premiership started by reverting to his predecessor’s late-2016 position only to turn into a fast-forward replay of her evolution towards a softer Brexit. The question is whether he will move far and fast enough towards EU demands in the limited time left and be able to sell the concessions this entails better than she did. By accepting the notion of a single regulatory area for agrifood, Mr Johnson and his Democratic Unionist partners have already conceded that some rules for Northern Ireland will be set by the EU. That makes extending regulatory alignment to industrial goods a simple question of scope. There is no deep reason why Britain should refuse to accept for industrial goods what it accepts for agrifood — regulatory checks on boats crossing the Irish Sea — and the prime minister now hints he may do just that. There is a problem of democracy, in that Northern Ireland will be governed by rules decided elsewhere. But this is a problem the EU is willing to ameliorate. The Joint Report explicitly provided for an economic border in the Irish Sea if Northern Ireland’s elected institutions agree.

Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement includes a Joint Committee to oversee the backstop, on which those institutions could have representatives. And models exist: non-EU countries in the single market, such as Norway, have a system for adopting EU rules that preserves formal sovereignty while protecting the single market’s integrity. Mr Johnson was therefore right to spot a “landing zone”. In substance, it looks much like where Mrs May ended up landing. (Northern Ireland will also have to stay in the EU’s value-added tax rules, but this is so technical as to escape politics.) The thorniest problem remains: customs. Mr Johnson, like Mrs May, will accept regulatory differentiation but insists on one trade regime for the whole UK. For her, this meant an all-UK tie-in with the EU customs union. For him, it means Northern Ireland out of it. The customs border this entails is why customs is shaping up to be the one outstanding obstacle to a deal. Even accepting alignment on all other things would create two borders rather than just one. The UK will not convince anyone that technology can substitute for border controls. But another rejected alternative may be worth revisiting. The “customs partnership” where the UK would have its own trade deals but enforce EU tariffs on imports destined for the single market was only ridiculed because it was unrealistic to identify which goods were headed for the EU when entering the UK customs area. But it is not quite as unrealistic to identify which goods cross into Northern Ireland and end up there or return to Great Britain.

The UK could offer to enforce EU customs rules on all goods crossing the Irish Sea, but where its own future tariffs were lower, it would rebate the difference for Northern Irish consumers — on the model of VAT refunds for travellers — or for re-exports back to Great Britain. Such tariff rebates could be managed via the tax system for individuals, so only Northern Irish residents would benefit, and via VAT tracking for re-exports. Since named individuals and firms would have to claim the rebate, fraud attempts could be detected. While convoluted, such a system is not unworkable, and it would tick a number of important boxes. It would secure the correct tariff revenue for the EU and enforce its commercial policy. It would allow the government to promise — honestly — that Northern Ireland would share the benefits of trade deals. It would keep the Irish land border open. The question for the UK government is not whether to concede but how to defend its concessions. A politically sellable customs solution is at the crux of whether it delivers a broken Brexit or an orderly one.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on September 30, 2019, 04:58:26 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/a8cc15d8-e35a-11e9-9743-db5a370481bc

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson have weaponised the will of the people The ‘by any means necessary’ approach is fuelling an Anglo-American democratic crisis GIDEON RACHMAN

“By any means necessary” is the slogan used in 10 Downing Street to describe UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit. The same phrase encapsulates Donald Trump’s approach to re-election in 2020. The consequences of this attitude to government became clear last week, as rule-of-law crises broke out on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK, the Supreme Court ruled 11-0 that the Johnson administration had acted unlawfully in suspending parliament. On the same day, an impeachment inquiry began against the US president, prompted by a whistleblower’s claim that Mr Trump pressured the government of Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political opponents.
These concurrent crises are more than a coincidence. They are signs that the laws and conventions that underpin liberal democracy are under attack in both the UK and the US, two countries that have long regarded themselves as democratic role models for the world. In normal times, a British or American government would have responded to the legal blows dealt to them last week with caution, restraint — and even contrition. But those days are gone. Instead, the Trump and Johnson camps are whipping up their supporters to believe that their legal problems are an act of revenge by political enemies intent on thwarting the will of the people. Mr Johnson has combined a pro forma acceptance of the court ruling with a claim that the Supreme Court judges were wrong (all 11 of them). His allies continue to splutter that the court is made up of metropolitan Remainers. Questioning the independence of judges has long been part of Mr Trump’s rhetoric. During the 2016 election, he suggested that a Mexican-American judge would inevitably be biased against him because of his stance on immigration. Contempt for the rule of law is baked into the “by any means necessary” approach to politics. In the UK, the Johnson adviser who adopted the motto is Dominic Cummings, who in a rambling blog post this year expressed his frustration that, in government, “discussions are often dominated by lawyers” — and that these killjoys often deemed his bright ideas “unlawful”.

Once you have asserted that the end justifies the means, then any tactic is logically permissible. It is telling that “by any means necessary” was a slogan originally adopted politically by Malcolm X, the African-American activist of the 1960s, who was frustrated by the non-violent methods of the civil rights movement. The implied threat of violence is already part of the Trump-Johnson playbook. After MPs complained last week that the prime minister’s language was encouraging attacks on politicians, Mr Cummings’ response was that it is unsurprising people are angry and that the best way to soothe their righteous anger is to get Brexit done. Mr Trump has said that the whistleblower in the Ukraine case is “almost a spy”, and suggested he should be handled as “in the old days, when we were smart” (in other words, executed). In the past, Mr Trump has encouraged crowds at his rallies to rough up protesters. The political arguments made by both the Johnson and Trump administrations use the language of democracy, but the underlying logic has more in common with populist authoritarianism. For Mr Johnson, the narrow Brexit referendum victory of 2016 trumps all the other constraints that operate in a democratic society, including the law, the truth and the will of parliament and its elected representatives. Mr Trump has even less regard for the idea that democracy comes with checks and balances. His sense of himself as the tribune of the people is fed by his own ego and the devotion of his supporters. He once said that he could shoot somebody on New York’s Fifth Avenue, without losing votes. When leaders such as Mr Johnson and Mr Trump claim a direct mandate from the people, then the other institutions of a democratic society can be treated with contempt, and even threatened with violent retribution at the hands of the people. America has been moving down this populist-authoritarian road ever since Mr Trump entered politics. Britain lagged behind for some time, under the more conventional and honourable leadership of Theresa May. But a cornered and unscrupulous Mr Johnson has now imported Trumpian politics to the UK. All is far from lost. The decisions of the UK Supreme Court and the House of Representatives last week demonstrated that, in Britain and America, the law remains a formidable restraint on leaders with authoritarian instincts. But this is just one stage in the battle. The Johnson-Cummings strategy is to get to an election and then fight it on a “people against the establishment” ticket. Mr Trump will wage a similar campaign in 2020.

Facing divided, radicalised and unconvincing political opponents, the Trump-Johnson strategy could yet triumph. That strategy, it should now be clear, involves contempt for the rule of law, the trashing of national institutions, fostering an atmosphere of violence and deliberately widening bitter divisions within the country. Until recently, Britain and America could serve as genuine inspirations to liberals around the world, showcasing what a law-governed democratic system should look like. The degeneration of liberal democracy in its Anglo-American heartlands will, sadly, have a global impact.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 02, 2019, 02:01:22 PM
Boris Johnson's bold plan to bin the backstop will be doomed without a domestic mandate
DAVID SHIELS
Follow 2 OCTOBER 2019 • 1:40PM

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/02/boris-johnsons-bold-plan-bin-backstop-will-doomed-without-domestic/

The Irish Government and the EU are also unlikely to come on board so long as they continue to believe that the Benn Act may prevail, writes David Shiels CREDIT: BRIAN LAWLESS /PA
The Government’s plan for replacing the backstop is a bold attempt to seize the initiative in the negotiations with the EU. The full text of the plan has yet to be presented to Brussels, but the outline reported by the Telegraph builds on the ideas that Boris Johnson has been talking about for some time. Until now all sides have agreed in theory that the UK could leave the Customs Union but have not confronted what this means in practice.

Looked at from first principles, the Government’s proposals involve some important compromises. The plan seeks to share the burden of checks between the land border and the sea border: ‘two borders for four years.’ In declaring that Northern Ireland should leave the EU’s Customs Union along with the rest of the UK, Johnson is honouring a commitment to the Unionists of Northern Ireland and making an important statement about the integrity of the UK. As the Prime Minister put it on Tuesday, ‘in the end a sovereign, united country must have a single customs territory.’ The hope that Johnson would readily return to the EU’s original Northern Ireland-only backstop seems to have been scotched for now.

In other respects, the package represents a significant move towards the EU’s position. In proposing regulatory alignment not only on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) rules but also for industrial goods, the Government has accepted the need for checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The assumption is that the DUP would accept this, despite the party’s famous opposition to an Irish Sea border.


The other important element of the package is the consent mechanism, meaning that the Northern Ireland Assembly would have the option of deciding whether to continue regulatory alignment with the EU after four years. This addresses Johnson’s concern about the ‘anti-democratic’ nature of the backstop and ensures that local politicians in Northern Ireland would decide whether the ‘two borders’ arrangement would continue beyond 2025.

The problem here is deciding whether the Assembly would have to ‘opt in’ to alignment with the EU afterwards, and whether this could be blocked by Unionists on the grounds that it did not have cross-community consent. Ireland has already ruled out anything amounting to a ‘DUP veto’ on the future relationship, and they may question whether Northern Ireland leaving the EU’s Custom Union is consistent with the wishes of a majority of people there. The important thing is that a role for the Assembly is recognised, but this is still a matter for negotiation.

Already the plan has been received with considerable scepticism in Northern Ireland. Local business groups have expressed concern about increased regulation from the two borders approach. They favour a solution which offers frictionless trade all around, between Northern Ireland and the Republic and between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. This is something they thought they had from the backstop. Although Unionists were largely united in their opposition to the backstop, they might balk at the reality of what the Government’s alternative involves for Northern Ireland. One Ulster Unionist Party representative has described the Government’s proposal as ‘delusional.’

The Irish Government and the EU are also unlikely to come on board. The key question for Dublin is whether they are prepared to accept a deal which sees Northern Ireland outside the EU’s Customs Union. The key question for the EU is whether it is prepared to show flexibility on how and where customs checks take place. The British Government has moved in other important ways, but leaving the Customs Union is Boris Johnson’s main red line.

The chances of an agreement in October were always slim. The Irish Government takes the view that no deal is better than a bad deal, and it thinks that an Agreement without the backstop is a bad deal. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, repeated yesterday that while the Government may have to impose checks ‘near the border’ in a No Deal situation, he would not sign up to checks as part of a deal. This position is probably sustainable for as long as Dublin thinks that a No Deal Brexit can be avoided.

For now, Dublin seems to hope that the Benn Act will come to the rescue, and that Boris Johnson will be forced to seek an extension. Unless and until he secures a domestic mandate for his position, the Prime Minister will struggle to convince Ireland and the EU to engage with him on these terms.

Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 04, 2019, 07:36:32 AM
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-boris-has-destroyed-what-is-left-of-uk-s-credibility-1.4039055


Fintan O’Toole: Boris has destroyed what is left of UK’s credibility
British government has broken its own solemn legal and political commitments

 
British prime minister Boris Johnson has told MPs he has made a “genuine attempt to bridge the chasm” to strike a fresh Brexit deal with the EU with his proposals to replace the backstop.
 

When Boris Johnson described his long-awaited proposals for changes to the Brexit withdrawal treaty as a compromise, he was not wrong. Two questions arise, however. What is being compromised? And who is Johnson compromising with?
The answer to the second is obvious: the proposals are a compromise, not with the EU, but with the DUP. And what is being compromised is the credibility of the UK as a partner in any international negotiations.
Though the EU and the Irish government are too polite to say so directly, Johnson’s plan destroys any remaining sense that the current regime in London is capable of sticking even to its own self-declared principles.
Internal Tory politics
Ever since its victory in the referendum of June 2016, the Brexit project has been dogged by its inability to transcend its own origins. The referendum was always driven by the internal politics of the Conservative Party.
Its purpose, from the point of view of the man who called it, David Cameron, was to silence the increasingly turbulent anti-EU faction in his own party and see off the threat of Nigel Farage. And it has never been able to move on from being an internal negotiation to being an external one. The only thing that has really changed is that “internal” Tory politics came, after the 2017 election, to include the DUP.
And so here we are again. Political compromise is about two sides with different agendas meeting each other half way. It is easy to see why Johnson might be sincere in thinking he has achieved this – but only if the two sides are Johnson himself with his need to look like he is coming up with some vaguely credible alternative to the backstop and the DUP with its “blood red line” of Northern Ireland leaving the EU on exactly the same terms as the rest of the UK.
•   ‘This may be controversial in Ireland but Brexit is good for the energy storage sector’
•   Keeping Irish horse racing on track in spite of Brexit hurdle
•   Brexit delirium, the new boss of Tesco and the Irish box office king
 
BREXIT: The Facts
Read them here
 British prime minister Boris Johnson during a session at the House of Commons on Thursday.
This week’s proposals do indeed represent a significant shift in this internal dynamic: both Johnson and the DUP now agree that Northern Ireland may in fact leave on different terms. It may (or may not) stay effectively within the EU single market for an indefinite number of four-year periods.
To that extent, we do not have to assume that Johnson is lying and that his proposals exist only to provoke the EU to reject them. We just have to assume that he is, like Cameron and Theresa May before him, so consumed with the internal politics of Brexit that he finds it impossible to think realistically about the real negotiations.
Basic commitments
The problem, of course, is that the DUP – and its hardline supporters in the European Research Group faction of the Tories – are not Johnson’s real interlocuters on the actual process of Brexit. He is supposed to be convincing Brussels (and Dublin) that he has a better way of achieving what the backstop does, which is to guarantee that there will be no new Border-related infrastructure or checks on the island of Ireland. Instead, he has effectively resiled from the most basic commitments his government has made.
These commitments are not just rhetorical. They are legal. They are rooted in international law, which is what the Belfast Agreement is. But it is easy to forget that they are also in British law – ironically in the very act under which Brexit is supposed to be conducted.
What is ruled out is not just posts on the border but any infrastructure, any checks, and any controls that do not currently exist
Section 10(2)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 explicitly commits the UK not to “create or facilitate border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after exit day which feature physical infrastructure, including border posts, or checks and controls, that did not exist before exit day and are not in accordance with an agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU”.
This could not be clearer: what is ruled out is not just posts on the border but any infrastructure, any checks, and any controls that do not currently exist.
This, remember, is not just an Irish or EU demand. It has been the official British line all throughout this process. The whole backstop problem arises, not as some kind of dastardly Irish or European plot, but because Britain just can’t live up to this commitment if Northern Ireland leaves either the single market or the customs union.
Tyranny of fact
This is the tyranny of fact: there is nowhere in the world where two different customs and/or market regimes have a frontier across which trade flows without checks, controls and infrastructure. But all the energy among the Brexiteers has gone into trying to escape this inescapable reality.
Ever since May’s right-hand woman Fiona Hill issued instructions to Whitehall to “spaff some money on some geeks” they have been in search of a magical technology that make the facts on the ground disappear. And ever since it became clear that this technology does not exist, the internal project has been what Whitehall officials privately call “keeping the corpse warm”.
The corpse is now cold. Johnson’s proposals acknowledge that even if all the magical technology works, there will still be checks, controls and (implicitly) infrastructure. The British government has broken its own solemn legal and political commitments. Faced with a choice between compromising with reality and fatally comprising trust, Johnson has chosen the second option
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 06, 2019, 09:02:00 AM
  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/05/boris-johnson-sabotage-eu-forced-delay-brexit/

 Edward Malnick, Sunday Political Editor  Christopher Hope, Chief Political Correspondent  Jamie Johnson
6 October 2019 • 6:16am
Follow
 
B
oris Johnson would veto the EU’s seven-year budget and send a Eurosceptic commissioner to Brussels to “disrupt” the bloc’s workings if he were forced into a Brexit delay, under plans being discussed by ministers.
Senior Government figures are considering a series of proposals to “sabotage” the EU’s structures if Brussels refuses to agree a new deal or let Mr Johnson deliver Brexit without one.
Two Cabinet ministers told this newspaper that they were among those backing a more “aggressive” approach towards Brussels.
It is understood that plans under discussion include blocking the EU’s 2021-27 budget, which is due to be agreed early next year, and nominating a British commissioner who would cause disruption within their portfolio.
Senior ministers discussed the prospect of sending Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, to take up the role.
On Saturday, the move was openly advocated by Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister, who compared it to shooting “a nuclear weapon into the heart of the asteroid”.

The disclosure comes as Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, insisted a delay to the UK’s exit was “better than no deal”, after the EU said that Mr Johnson’s proposals for an exit agreement did not “provide a basis for concluding an agreement”.

Brussels wants Mr Johnson to compromise further, including by offering to keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union.
"An agreement will be very difficult to reach, but it is still possible," the EU's top negotiator Michel Barnier said on Saturday at an event organised by French newspaper Le Monde.
"We are ready for no-deal, even if we don't desire it," he said. "No-deal will never be the choice of the EU. If it happens, it would be Britain's choice."
But writing in The Telegraph as he prepares to travel to EU capitals for talks with European ministers, Steve Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, declared: “We are not backing down.”
Mr Barclay insists that Northern Ireland belongs in the UK customs area, adding: “We will not set it adrift.”
Mr Barclay pledges that the Government “will never betray the will of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU”, and insists: “We don’t need more time. We need to deliver Brexit.”
Mr Barclay criticises MPs’ efforts to delay Brexit and praises those who have expressed backing for the proposals set out by Mr Johnson last week.
“As the EU leaders’ summit approaches, we need that noise to grow louder so that the EU is in no doubt that we have the mandate to get this deal across the line,” he says.
 
On Saturday night, David Cameron, the former prime minister, told an audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival that the Prime Minister had a “good chance” of securing a deal.

Also writing in this newspaper, Lord Trimble, the former Northern Ireland first minister, backs Mr Johnson’s proposals, stating that they meet the requirements of the Good Friday Agreement, of which he was an architect.
He had warned that the deal agreed by Theresa May would “wreck” the peace agreement.
Downing Street has already vowed to “sabotage” a meeting of the EU Council on Oct 17 and 18 if a deal has not been agreed by that time.
Mujtaba Rahman, the managing director of Eurasia Group, a firm of analysts with close links to Brussels, said: “After the UK leaves there will need to be a constructive partnership between the EU and the UK and this is not the basis on which to start that constructive relationship.
"I just don’t think they believe he will behave in this way, they expect that is for domestic consumption.”
But since that pledge, MPs passed legislation sponsored by Hilary Benn, the Labour MP, aimed at forcing Mr Johnson to ask the EU for an extension of the Article 50 notice period if he failed to secure an agreement by Oct 19.
And in recent days ministers have been discussing ways to “ramp up” the UK’s approach to Brussels.
 
One Cabinet minister said: “We need to ramp it up. We need to be more aggressive.”

The Telegraph understands that senior Government figures have discussed how Mr Johnson could block the EU’s next seven-year budget, which is currently expected to be signed off in March, if the bloc has agreed to a Brexit delay as a result of the Benn Act.
When the current seven-year budget was under discussion in 2012-2013, Mr Johnson, then Mayor of London, urged Mr Cameron to invoke the approach of Margaret Thatcher to veto any increase, stating: “It is time for David Cameron to ... whirl his handbag round his head and bring it crashing to the table with the words, ‘No, non, nein’.”
The EU is expected to set a series of conditions for the UK as part of any extension – one of which would be that the country nominates a new commissioner.
The Government had previously declined to put forward a candidate to represent the UK in the new commission from next month, on the basis that the country is leaving.
Mr Johnson’s aides had already been considering vetoing an EU vote to formally reduce its number of commissioners from 28 to 27 in preparation for the UK’s departure on Oct 31.
The threat was an attempt to ensure EU leaders reject any attempt to delay Brexit. Downing Street believes the commission will not be “legally constituted” if the move is vetoed.

Now ministers are also discussing instead sending a candidate, such as Mr Farage, who would cause disruption.
On Saturday, Mr Baker, the chairman of the European Research Group of Tory MPs, told Chopper’s Brexit Podcast: “I unashamedly back Nigel Farage to be our next EU commissioner in the unfortunate event that it transpires.
“This approach is inspired by the film Armageddon. There is that moment when they are trying to save the world and so what they do is they land on the asteroid and they put a nuclear weapon into the heart of the asteroid. Nigel Farage is that nuclear weapon.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on October 06, 2019, 09:16:34 AM
By Jove we'll show Johnny Foreigner who's boss!!
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Denn Forever on October 06, 2019, 11:02:35 AM
Send Nigel.  He knows the workings of the Union (having been there a long time) and it will cut the head of the Brexit party.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 08, 2019, 05:06:49 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/21f8dd54-e8f8-11e9-a240-3b065ef5fc55

It’s Boris Johnson’s Brexit or Jeremy Corbyn — there is no third way For Britain’s benighted voters, this unenviable electoral choice is the reality ROBERT SHRIMSLEY Add to myFT Heads or tails? Britain's voters must in effect choose between a hard Brexit or a government led by Jeremy Corbyn

 Robert Shrimsley

It's Brexit or Corbyn. Strip away all the what-ifs and new paradigms. As the UK and EU snowball towards one last grim Brexit gamble all sides need to recognise this fundamental choice. This is not a roulette wheel with multiple outcomes. It is a final coin toss. Heads you win; tails we lose. The EU’s likely rejection of Boris Johnson’s plan will leave the prime minister forced to delay Brexit and face an election. All sides face risks in throwing Brexit back to the voters, although the EU’s position is easiest to comprehend. Defeat for Mr Johnson means a second referendum on a deal more to Europe’s liking. A win does mean a hardline government able to exit without a deal. But, at that point, the EU can still choose to re-engage with his ideas. But the UK’s Leavers and Remainers face a contest in which one side is to lose utterly. Having finally finagled his way into Number 10, Mr Johnson could become the shortest-serving leader in British history. The polls give him hope and he has worked hard to pin the blame for any delay to his supposedly inviolate October 31 Brexit deadline on his parliamentary adversaries.  Yet Mr Johnson has two major problems. The first is that he is energising the Remain vote against him. The second is Nigel Farage’s Brexit party. Fear of them will force Mr Johnson into a more hardline campaign since he dare not let the Leave vote splinter. Mr Farage knows that if he splits the Leave vote he risks a Remain victory. Perhaps the Tories will squeeze his vote or perhaps he can take support from Labour in a way that delivers seats to the Conservatives. But he knows Remainers are praying he will stand. As the person who did more than anyone to secure Brexit, is he ready to risk being the man whose vanity kills it? His party insists it doesn’t mind splitting the vote as it is unafraid of a second referendum. “We’ll win bigger,” says chairman Richard Tice. This may be a miscalculation. The terms of that referendum would be set by a new, non-Conservative government.

No deal will not be on the ballot paper; the choice will be between Remain and a new deal that keeps the UK in a customs union and closely aligned to the single market. The vote will be extended to 16-year-olds. Even if Remain loses, this Brexit will be a long way from Mr Johnson’s. Brexiters may wail at the lack of a no-deal option and threaten a boycott. They will vow to fight on but they should be clear that the most likely outcome of a Tory defeat is the end of Brexit. No wonder the EU is ready to roll the dice. For the same reason, Remainers welcome the chance to avert Brexit. But the price is a Corbyn government, which is also why they cannot be too confident. Surely, some argue, defeat for Mr Johnson need not mean a Jeremy Corbyn premiership? The Labour leader is miles behind in the polls. His Brexit policy is incoherent. The Scottish National party will mop up in Scotland and the Liberal Democrats will make inroads in England. Labour is unlikely to win outright. The party’s best case scenario is a Labour led-coalition , in which case the smaller parties can demand a different leader as the price of power.

Perhaps. The SNP has already shown its readiness to put Mr Corbyn into power; the Welsh nationalists and Greens will follow suit. There is no reason to doubt Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson’s contempt for Mr Corbyn or her promise not to put him in power. But if the alternative is Mr Johnson, she will be forced to acquiesce, at least, to not voting down a Labour-led coalition. (While Labour could do so badly as to make Mr Corbyn vulnerable, that probably means the Tories have won). Recommended FT Podcast Boris’ big Brexit proposal and are the Tories ready for an election? This is not an argument against voting for the Lib Dems. A large Lib Dem bloc could be a vital brake on any Labour-led administration. But some realism is necessary. Unless the party hits around 25 per cent in the polls, a good election night is 50 to 70 MPs. That is not enough to be anything more than a kingmaker. This is the miserable truth. We can all play all the fantasy politics, constructing scenarios in which a different, moderate Labour leader emerges. But it is most likely to stay a fantasy. Even in the increasingly weird world of Westminster, the chances of a result that both stops Brexit and prevents a Corbyn premiership are achingly slim.  This, then, is the squeeze the two big parties will attempt. Without signs of a Lib Dem earthquake, Remain voters will be pulled to Labour, which at least offers a referendum. Stopping Brexit means defeating the Tories and, in most seats, Labour is the alternative. If they don’t want Mr Corbyn, they will have to swallow Brexit and hope a victorious Mr Johnson seeks a deal. It is hard to think of a less enviable electoral choice. But it is the choice. It is the choice for Mr Farage. It is the choice for the Lib Dems and it is the choice for Britain’s benighted voters.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 08, 2019, 05:10:27 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/fa53836e-e8d7-11e9-a240-3b065ef5fc55

Brexit is a journey without end for Britain No majority exists for any deal option with the EU. Brexiters are as much to blame as Remainers

MARTIN WOLF

In 1933, Joseph Goebbels stated that, “The modern structure of the German State is a higher form of democracy in which, by virtue of the people’s mandate, the government is exercised authoritatively while there is no possibility for parliamentary interference, to obliterate and render ineffective the execution of the nation’s will.” It is a measure of how far the UK has fallen that Boris Johnson, the prime minister, often sounds rather like this. Mr Johnson sought to prevent “parliamentary interference” in Brexit negotiations, by proroguing (or suspending) it for five crucial weeks. He dissented from the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision that this was unlawful. He has suggested he could ignore the Benn Act requiring him to seek an extension to the Article 50 deadline, should he not achieve a deal. He condemned this legislation as the “surrender act”. Worst of all, he plans to frame the next election as a battle of “people versus parliament”. How did the UK reach a position in which its prime minister regards parliament as an obstacle to be ignored? The simple answer is that it decided to insert a particularly ill-considered referendum on an exceptionally contentious subject into a parliamentary system. This created conflicting sources of legitimacy. Worse, the meaning of the option that won a small majority in that referendum was ill-defined. “Brexit means Brexit” is perhaps the silliest sentence ever uttered by a British prime minister. But it was also all that could be said. Contrary to what Brexiters insist, parliamentary involvement is not an unwarranted intrusion. Any referendum requires legislation.

This one also required negotiation and agreement. Alas, no majority exists for any option for a deal with the EU. Brexiters are as much to blame for this as Remainers. Consequently, “no deal” has emerged as the fallback position. But the Leave campaign said essentially nothing about a no-deal exit. There is no mandate for what every informed observer, including the civil service, knows would be a disruptive and costly result. It would also be just the beginning of negotiations, not their end. But those talks would occur in worse circumstances. There would be pervasive economic uncertainty. This would be a mad choice. Governments exist to help their countries, not harm them deliberately. Among the most important reasons for this outcome is the refusal, especially on the Brexit side, to try to understand the EU. They needed to comprehend that the EU is an existential project for its members, not just a trade deal. Application of European law, under the European Court of Justice, is a central part of that project. The EU, with 27 remaining members, was also sure to be an inflexible counterparty. What next? The government’s Heath Robinson-esque plan, in which Northern Ireland is to be inside the EU’s regulatory system for goods but not its customs area, will be rejected as leaky, legally unenforceable and incompatible with border-free trade in Ireland.
 

It also represents a rejection of the UK’s 2017 commitments on the Irish border. This is sure to have further weakened trust in Britain’s reliability. Remember, too, that the EU has long land borders. It will not allow the precedent of intentionally porous borders. Some believe this plan ought to fly with the EU. It will not. If Northern Ireland were inside the EU’s customs area, too, it could work. But, if the rest of the UK is to have its own trade and regulatory policies, this would make the Irish Sea the UK’s customs and regulatory border with the EU.
 
That would be unacceptable to the Democratic Unionist party and the Conservatives. It might reignite violence in Northern Ireland. So what happens if no deal can be agreed before October 31? One question is whether the EU agrees to another extension when the British government clearly does not want one. Assume that it does, but only with conditions. What might those be? One possibility would be to try to ratify Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. That would allow the UK and the EU to move on to negotiating a new relationship. This would also mean a compromise between Brexiters and Remainers, itself highly desirable. But it seems impossible. For Remainers, it is too little; for Brexiters, it is too much. Remainers want to stay in the EU. Brexiters reject the Irish backstop that would keep the UK in the EU’s customs area and restrict its trade policy indefinitely. A second possibility is another referendum, probably on a choice between no deal and Remain. Such a vote should be legitimate since no deal played so little part in the referendum. But it would require creation of a caretaker government.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 16, 2019, 09:26:51 AM

   https://www.ft.com/content/9da1d290-ef5f-11e9-ad1e-4367d8281195

   Northern Ireland’s DUP faces hard choices on trust and Brexit
Boris Johnson tries to reassure parliamentary allies over EU departure plan


Boris Johnson has tried, over the course of the last 24 hours, to persuade the 10 MPs of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party that he is not about to betray them in his increasingly frenetic search for a Brexit deal.

But the DUP, which is meant to prop up the prime minister’s government, does not trust him: the party fears that he is about to put barriers up between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK as the price for securing a Brexit deal with the EU.

“They are worried,” said one Tory MP who has spoken to the Northern Irish party.

DUP MPs feel like they have been here before. In March, Eurosceptic Conservative MPs — including Mr Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, now leader of the House of Commons — vowed to stand with their unionist colleagues in opposing Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Mr Rees-Mogg declared he “would not abandon the DUP” only 24 hours before doing the opposite. While the DUP voted against Mrs May’s deal, Mr Rees-Mogg and Mr Johnson supported it, viewing the withdrawal agreement then as perhaps their last chance to save Brexit.

At the time, the Twitter accounts of Ulster loyalists were awash with renditions of “Englishman’s Betrayal”, a lament about the supposed indifference of the English towards the staunchly patriotic unionist community in Northern Ireland.

On Monday and Tuesday Mr Johnson held talks in Downing Street with Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, and Nigel Dodds, her deputy, to try to reassure them that the Brexit deal he was seeking to cut in Brussels would not set Northern Ireland adrift.

The prime minister knows we will support the right deal but he also knows we will not support just any deal

Gavin Robinson, DUP MP
The prime minister needs the 10 DUP votes to pass a deal through parliament, not least because hardline Eurosceptic Conservative MPs — the self-proclaimed Spartans — insist they will stand by the Northern Irish party.

The situation is further complicated by the DUP coming under intense pressure in its own backyard ahead of a looming UK general election.

If the party was held responsible for a chaotic no-deal Brexit, Northern Irish voters would be in a vengeful mood; concede too much to Mr Johnson and a different problem arises. The rival Ulster Unionist party has accused the DUP of being “suckered” by the prime minister.

The Brexit deal taking shape in Brussels was brokered at a worryingly cosy meeting last week — from a unionist point of view — between Mr Johnson and the Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar at a hotel on the Wirral often used for wedding receptions.

Under the deal, Mr Johnson agreed Britain would no longer insist on a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit. But that implied that EU customs and regulatory checks on goods going from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland would switch to the Irish Sea.

The plan bore similarities to EU proposals last year for a so-called Northern Ireland-only backstop that was aimed at avoiding a hard Irish border, and which was rejected out of hand by Mrs May.

She said it would “undermine the UK common market and threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea, and no UK prime minister could ever agree to it”.

Mr Johnson’s proposal is different in that Northern Ireland would remain legally part of the UK customs area — and eligible to benefit from trade deals negotiated by the Britain. But Northern Ireland would de facto be inside the EU customs territory.

There would be an element of political “consent” built into the new system, possibly through Northern Ireland’s assembly at Stormont, although Mr Johnson quickly had to abandon a proposal that would have granted the DUP an effective veto over its introduction and renewal every four years.

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As the DUP digested what was being proposed, some MPs wondered whether the system would really be any better — from the party’s point of view — than Mrs May’s Brexit deal, which it helped to defeat on three separate occasions in the Commons.

Under Mrs May’s plan, the backstop to avoid a hard Irish border was expanded to include the whole UK in a temporary customs union with the EU until a post-Brexit trade deal with the bloc was in place.

That proposal could have involved a thin regulatory border along the Irish Sea — if the EU rule book diverged from UK regulations while the backstop was in place — which the DUP said it could not accept.

If it decides to back Mr Johnson’s plan, the DUP will have to explain whether a thick customs and regulatory border between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland is a price worth paying to allow the region to benefit from UK-wide trade deals at some point in the future.

On Tuesday evening DUP officials said Mr Johnson’s proposal appeared acceptable, although they have yet to see the details.

But Gavin Robinson, the DUP MP for East Belfast, said his party would use its muscle to ensure a “sensible deal”.

“The prime minister knows we will support the right deal but he also knows we will not support just any deal,” he added.

“He knows anything which undermines the integrity of the union cannot be supported. The arithmetic of parliament means that Northern Ireland has incredible influence over whether a deal can command the confidence of the House. We will be using that leverage to get the best deal and to stand up for Northern Ireland.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 16, 2019, 04:34:28 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/16/dups-demand-veto-deal-brings-talks-standstill-consent-not-customs/

DUP's demand for a veto over deal brings talks to standstill as consent not customs becomes crucial issue

•    James Rothwell, BREXIT CORRESPONDENT, BELFAST
16 OCTOBER 2019 • 11:52AM
Follow
The DUP appears to be the greatest obstacle standing between Boris Johnson and a Brexit deal, after the party warned the Prime Minister that “gaps remain” in his proposal.
Party members were spotted re-entering Number 10 on Wednesday morning as talks intensified and the clock ticked down. The Telegraph understands that the DUP has signed up to Mr Johnson's proposals on customs, but is now wrestling with the greater issue of securing consent from Stormont on the deal.
Until the DUP is assured that it will have the power to block economic alignment with the EU via the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Brexit talks will remain in deadlock.
Here we look at the conditions that will need to be met if Mr Johnson hopes to secure a Brexit deal with the support of the DUP - and where there might be some flexibility.
DUP says EU alignment cannot be status quo for Northern Ireland
Time and again, Arlene Foster has stressed that Northern Ireland’s devolved Assembly must be allowed to approve the Brexit deal, citing the principle of consent laid out by the Good Friday Agreement.
In public, the DUP suggests this is straightforward. If nationalist and unionist communities agree to the terms, then it’s full steam ahead.
But in private, the DUP feel that the problem with the EU proposals under consideration by Boris Johnson is that they have got things the wrong way round.
The EU is offering Stormont an opt-out from economic alignment with the EU, which would become the "new normal" in Northern Ireland.
But the DUP instead wants an opt-in to close economic ties with the EU that could only take place with their full support.
This is because the majority of political parties in Stormont are opposed to a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
The key fear for unionists is that if EU alignment became the status quo then they would not have enough representatives in the Assembly to stop it.
But therein lies another major stumbling block. Stormont has to be up and running first, but it collapsed two and a half years ago. There is currently no sign of reconciliation between its two main parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein.
At present there is little incentive for Sinn Fein to come back to the table, as a veto would allow the DUP to block the Brexit deal and trigger the emergence of a hard border in Ireland.
 
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives an interview on arrival at Stormont House, Belfast  CREDIT: AFP
The DUP is also opposed to a Northern Ireland-only referendum on the backstop, as they say this would amount to a proxy vote on a united Ireland, which would be a big win for Sinn Fein.
As a result, the only clear path to a deal is an arrangement where the DUP is able to block the backstop - which has been overwhelmingly rejected by Dublin and the EU.
Funding for Northern Ireland may grease the wheels
Despite all the talk of customs, tariffs and devolved powers in the Northern Ireland Assembly, money could play a deciding role for any Brexit deal if it is combined with a veto.
According to reports, the DUP has asked for "billions not millions" of pounds in funding for Northern Ireland as a condition of the agreement, but this is strongly denied by the party.
There could also be a multi-million euro package drawn from coffers in London, Dublin and Brussels in the offing that would mollify concerns about the economic costs of Brexit for Northern Ireland.
However, on Wednesday the DUP dismissed those reports as "categorically untrue and utter nonsense."
The DUP views Brexit as a long term issue, and its senior figures are reluctant to pocket funding that may be refused by a future government.
Northern Ireland must be “integrally within UK”
Until two weeks ago, the DUP was adamant that Northern Ireland had to leave both the EU’s single market and the customs union to ensure it could reap the same benefits of Brexit as the rest of the United Kingdom.
Then, in a big concession from a party which is not well known for meeting adversaries in the middle, Arlene Foster agreed to an all-Ireland regulatory zone that would keep the north in the EU single market for goods.
Rather than carrying out checks between north and south, goods would be inspected in the Irish sea - with the risk of trade barriers emerging between Northern Ireland and mainland Great Britain.
 
DUP Deputy leader Nigel Dodds and leader Arlene Foster speak to the media  CREDIT: REBECCA BLACK/PA
Mrs Foster implied this was her last gesture of compromise to secure a deal, but it is conceivable that a fudge on the customs issue may yet win her over.
Privately, the DUP has accepted that no British prime minister, not even the arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson, is going to convince the EU to carry out checks on the land border with the Republic of Ireland.
As a result, the DUP has slightly shifted the language on the customs issue. Rather than talking about leaving the EU’s customs union, it now wants assurances that Northern Ireland “remains in the UK customs union”. 
In practice, this means that goods entering Northern Ireland should pay a tariff set by the UK, rather than the EU’s common external tariff.
British tariffs for goods that stay in Northern Ireland
This could be achieved by a “dual lanes” system where some goods are charged different tariffs depending on whether they are heading to the EU via the Republic or staying in Northern Ireland.
Under the terms of a free trade deal, tariffs on goods moving between the EU and UK would be eliminated anyway.
But in the event that the UK adopted a lower tariff than the EU on products from a third country, and a business could prove its product would be consumed in Northern Ireland, then it would benefit from the lower UK tariff.
As one EU diplomatic source puts it, Northern Ireland would be “de facto in the EU regulatory sphere but de jure in the UK customs zone.”
In other words, Northern Ireland would pay British tariffs for goods destined to stay in the UK.
Tellingly, Mrs Foster did not rule out this possibility when she did a round of broadcast interviews on Tuesday night. It may yet be the key to agreement on customs.
Blocking abortion reforms may help - but it’s unlikely to work
Earlier this year, the House of Commons passed a law on same sex marriage and abortion rights in Northern Ireland that infuriated the DUP.
It states that, unless Northern Ireland’s devolved government is restored by October 21, same sex marriage will be legalised in Northern Ireland and its tough abortion laws will be relaxed.
This is a political nightmare for the DUP, which is pro-choice and firmly believes marriage is between a man and a woman.
It is already braced for a backlash from supporters in the business world over its tough stance on Brexit, as many support the backstop.
But a second backlash from socially conservative voters, who would blame the DUP for letting in abortions and same sex marriages by the back door, may cause severe problems at the ballot box.
There is already speculation that two DUP seats held by Emma Little Pengelly and Nigel Dodds, could be up for grabs in the next general election.
If the DUP and Sinn Fein did return to power-sharing and then managed to dodge the reforms drawn up by MPs in Westminster, then it would reduce the political temperature at home for Mrs Foster. 
But, again, this is unlikely. The Telegraph understands that Sinn Fein feels the opportunity to humiliate the DUP is irresistible, despite the major Brexit implications at stake.
And there is precious little time - the deadline is this Monday.
 
DUP MP Ian Paisley speaks in the House of Commons CREDIT: PA
Are splits emerging in the DUP?
In Belfast, rumours swirl that the DUP is divided on whether it should back Boris Johnson’s deal.
Sources say that hardliners in the party feel Mrs Foster has already given too much ground by agreeing to an all-Ireland zone and that the DUP needs to regain some face. A handful are even content with the risk of a hard border.
But others have calculated that if the DUP humiliates Mr Johnson at this crucial juncture then they are likely to lose all their bargaining power in the next general election.
If the Tories win a strong majority then they would no longer have to rely on the DUP for support.
It may well be that this apparent split in the party’s thinking is the true source of its reluctance to go along with the deal, rather than quibbles about the EU common external tariff.
After all, a cynic might argue that the DUP has already traded away Northern Ireland’s constitutional status as an integral part of the UK by agreeing in principle to economic alignment with the EU.
One thing is for sure - with a general election looming, this week may be the DUP’s last chance to exert its influence over Westminster.
And if it chooses to sink Boris Johnson’s compromise, then it could end up with an even less favourable Brexit deal under a strong Tory government or - in a result that would make unionists shiver - Jeremy Corbyn.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Eamonnca1 on October 16, 2019, 06:08:11 PM
Excellent as always, the David McWilliams podcast here is predicting the end of the UK if they go through with Brexit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxljDn-rzBA
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on October 16, 2019, 06:20:26 PM
Be nice to see the end of that awful State/Union.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 17, 2019, 01:56:22 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/f71b1eb2-f0c2-11e9-ad1e-4367d8281195

EU and UK reach agreement on Brexit deal Breakthrough leaves Boris Johnson with challenge of selling plan to political allies Boris Johnson is still struggling to win political backing for the accord from the Democratic Unionist party
 Save Sam Fleming and Jim Brunsden in Brussels and Laura Hughes in London


 EU and UK negotiators have agreed a new Brexit deal, leaving Boris Johnson with the challenge of selling the accord to political allies at home.  The agreement, announced on Thursday morning in Brussels hours before the start of an EU leader’s summit, represents a big leap forward for Mr Johnson, UK prime minister, following weeks of inconclusive talks. Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, wrote on Twitter: “Where there is a will, there is a #deal — we have one! It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend that #EUCO endorses this deal.” The pound jumped to $1.297, up more than 1 per cent on the day and its highest since May, after news of the agreement. UK government bonds, a perceived haven for investors, sold off, pushing the 10-year yield up to 0.76 per cent. Attention is likely to shift swiftly to London, where the British parliament is set to vote on the new deal on Saturday. Mr Johnson is still struggling to win backing for the accord from the Democratic Unionist party, which said earlier on Thursday that it was not satisfied with the stance he had agreed on both customs and consent by the Northern Ireland assembly. This raises questions over the prime minister’s ability to clinch support for the deal in Westminster — an issue that is likely to hang over the leaders’ summit. To help win the vote, Mr Johnson plans to ask EU leaders not to offer any further Brexit extensions, and so force MPs to choose between the new deal and no deal. A senior British official told the Financial Times: “The prime minister will tell EU leaders that it’s this deal or no deal — but no delays. He will not ask for an extension and will not accept one if offered.” Such a move may also be an effort to dodge the Benn Act, which would force Mr Johnson to request another Brexit extension if parliament fails to pass an agreement on Saturday.

 Mr Johnson has been forced to make major concessions to the EU in recent days in search of an agreement that can win the support of the 27 other member states. In doing so he has been treading a tightrope — as did his predecessor Theresa May — as he tries to keep the DUP and Eurosceptic Tory MPs on board.  Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons and leading Brexiter, has urged the DUP to back the new agreement. “It is a really good, exciting deal,” he said in parliament. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier hailed the agreement, saying it would provide a “durable” and “sustainable” solution for avoiding a hard Irish border after Brexit and that it could be ratified in time for Britain to leave on October 31. Mr Johnson’s negotiating team has now accepted that, following Brexit, Northern Ireland would apply the EU’s customs and tariffs rules and have them overseen by the European Court of Justice. The agreement means there would not be major customs checks on the island and, instead, all goods will be checked in Great Britain. The plan bears similarities to the Northern Ireland-only backstop that was initially agreed by Mrs May before she shifted to the all-UK backstop idea, which was then rejected by parliament.  Under the agreement, Northern Ireland would benefit from UK trade deals with third countries — a key demand of Mr Johnson — and Northern Irish businesses would be eligible for a rebate on some tariffs. But the system still entails the creation of a significant border down the Irish Sea.  Live Brexit DUP rejects Johnson’s Brexit deal in blow to prime minister NEW 8 MINUTES AGO A key problem for the DUP remains the democratic arrangements in Northern Ireland for approving the deal. Brussels negotiators settled on a complex system that reduces one party’s ability to ditch the arrangements. It would involve the assembly having the opportunity to hold a vote on the customs and regulatory arrangements four years after the end of the UK’s post-Brexit transition period.

 If the assembly decided to continue with the regulatory and customs system, further opportunities to vote would arise in later years — but the arrangements would continue if the assembly was not sitting. Even if Northern Ireland were to vote to junk the system, a two-year cooling-off period would ensue. DUP officials said their statement about the prospective deal from earlier on Thursday still stood. The party’s leader Arlene Foster and deputy Nigel Dodds said “as things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT”. The rejection from a party that props up Mr Johnson’s minority government represents a significant stumbling block for pushing the revised deal through parliament. Labour has also said it will vote against the deal. Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, said the new agreement was “even worse than Theresa May’s”. “This sellout deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected. The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote,” he said.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 17, 2019, 02:24:30 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/63a605e8-3180-39dd-aad0-bbfe635a3b59

Brexit: DUP rejects Boris Johnson’s deal in blow to prime minister — latest news UK and EU negotiators have struck a long-awaited Brexit pact. However numerous stumbling blocks remain, particularly at home where Boris Johnson faces opposition from key corners.

Charlotte Middlehurst, Sarah Provan, Philip Georgiadis, Adam Samson A MINUTE AGO 

Deal is 'good news', says an 'optimistic' Merkel Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, remains cautious but says an agreement is "good news", adding that it's important that the Irish taoiseach is happy with the revised deal, reports Guy Chazan in Berlin. "We are checking [the deal] at the moment and will form an opinion," Ms Merkel said on her arrival at the summit in Brussels. Of course we know large parts of the agreement already, and to that extent, I say it is good news. Of course the European Parliament and the British parliament must agree to it. But subject to their agreement we can say here an agreement has been negotiated which, in an extremely difficult situation, opens up the possibility of preserving the integrity of the EU single market and at the same time maintaining the Good Friday Agreement. For me it's a very important sign that the Irish prime minister is happy with (it). She thanked Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, and his team. We have shown that the EU27 have stuck together. I am feeling quite optimistic. Sarah Provan 9 MINUTES AGO Deal is 'good' and allows UK to leave in 'orderly fashion', says Ireland Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, said he would recommend that the European Council endorse the deal, reports Michael Peel. It’s a good agreement that allows the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion. The deal met Ireland’s tests of avoiding a hard border with Northern Ireland, he told reporters on arrival at the EU summit, protecting the all-Ireland economy and preserving the Good Friday Agreement. He added that the much argued-over Irish border backstop had been replaced by a “unique solution” for Northern Ireland that “takes account of the democratic wishes of the people”. It’s always the case that a compromise never has one father. We were all involved in making those compromises – Mr Johnson, the Irish government and also the European Union as well. Philip Georgiadis 14 MINUTES AGO Markets braced for more pound volatility Investors are positioning for volatility in the currency markets as they gauge the probability of the new Brexit deal passing the UK parliament. Expectations for sterling volatility over the next week have jumped today and have risen to their highest level since the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016, as traders moved into contracts in the options market that pay out if the currency fluctuates. Sarah Provan 19 MINUTES AGO 'Last chance' and opportunity to 'limit' damage, say Poland and Luxembourg More reaction comes in from EU member states, with Poland calling the agreement "a great success" while Luxembourg's prime minister says he is "so happy" to have a deal, FT reporters write. Konrad Szymanski, Poland's Europe minister, said that the deal was "a great success for both sides", reports James Shotter in Warsaw. The UK has guarantees of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have guarantees of the integrity of the EU common market. I hope the House of Commons can appreciate it and will open the doors for a good trade deal in the nearest future. It is the last chance for responsible Brexit. Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s prime minister who last month gave an impassioned press conference beside an empty podium intended for the visiting Boris Johnson, said he was “so happy” to have a deal, reports Michael Peel. "This is a positive way and I really hope we will be able to get a green light from Westminster on Saturday,” Mr Bettel said, referring to the expected British parliamentary vote on the accord. He added that the debate was no longer about being pro- or anti-Brexit, but about avoiding no-deal. “No deal is a lose-lose situation,” he told reporters on arrival at the EU summit in Brussels. A deal is not a win-win situation. But at least we will be able to limit [the damage]. Philip Georgiadis 28 MINUTES AGO Johnson: Deal delivers 'real Brexit' Speaking in Brussels, Boris Johnson said the new deal "representatives a very good deal both for the EU and the UK, it is a reasonable and fair outcome." "For us in the UK it means we can deliver a real Brexit that achieves our objectives…the UK leaves whole and entire on October 31st." Neither leader took questions from the press following their short statements. Philip Georgiadis 35 MINUTES AGO MPs approve Saturday sitting of parliament MPs have approved a motion for the House of Commons to sit on Saturday in order to scrutinise the new Brexit deal. MPs voted by 287 to 275 to approve the first Saturday sitting of the House of Commons for the first time since 1982. It is likely to be a decisive moment in the Brexit process as it is still unclear if the government has the votes to pass the deal. Philip Georgiadis 40 MINUTES AGO Johnson and Juncker speaking Jean-Claude Juncker and Boris Johnson are holding their first joint press statement in Brussels. Mr Juncker has said there is now "no need for any kind of prolongation" in Brexit talks and thanked the prime minister for his "excellent relationship" in recent weeks. Adam Samson 42 MINUTES AGO Draft EU communique calls for agreement to be in force on November 1 Mehreen Khan reports from Brussels: The FT has seen a draft version of the language on Brexit EU leaders will sign off on at today's summit. It says the European Council endorses today's deal and invites the European Parliament to take the steps to "ensure the agreement can enter into force on 1st November 2019 so as to provide for an orderly withdrawal". The communique thanks Michel Barnier for his "tireless efforts" as chief negotiator. Philip Georgiadis AN HOUR AGO Pound slides below $1.28 as DUP delivers blow to Johnson The news the DUP will not back the new Brexit deal has sent the pound sliding. It is now lower on the day, having shot higher in an initial burst of euphoria as news of the agreement in Brussels broke this morning. Sterling was recently 0.2 per cent lower at below $1.28, and has traded in a range of nearly 2 per cent on a volatile day. Gilts yields have also reversed their earlier rise, with the 10-year trading at 0.69 per cent.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 17, 2019, 02:42:11 PM

   https://www.ft.com/content/f917b2ac-f0cc-11e9-bfa4-b25f11f42901

   The Boris Johnson Brexit deal dissected
Achieving Commons approval for the agreement is a tough challenge for the UK prime minister
ROBERT SHRIMSLEY Add to myFT


Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster. The prime minister has secured a democratic escape mechanism from the backstop for Northern Ireland © FT montage
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Robert Shrimsley 2 HOURS AGOPrint this page89
Boris Johnson finally has a Brexit withdrawal deal. The legal text has just landed, so any first judgments are contingent upon more rigorous examination of the detail. But here are a few preliminary thoughts.

• The prime minister still has to get this deal through the House of Commons, and the votes are not guaranteed. The Democratic Unionist party has said the doubts it had overnight have not yet been eased. If Mr Johnson is trying to bounce the DUP, he is taking a big risk. The party is known for its intransigence. But DUP opposition goes beyond its 10 votes, since the objections of this handful of MPs may pull some Tory hardliners into voting against the deal. However, there is a desire within the Conservative party to unify around a deal, so Mr Johnson will hope any rebellion stays small scale. He will have to rely on the moderate Tories he expelled from the party and up to 20 Labour MPs ready to back a deal. That is quite a risk. Official Labour opposition to this deal may well whittle that number down. A more realistic number of pro-deal Labour rebels may be closer to single figures.

• Remain-minded MPs will still try to attach a referendum to the deal. Some of the expelled Tories may also now support such a move. This may be voted on at the special sitting of the Commons on Saturday, or later, in the committee stages of the legislation required by the deal. Some pro-referendum MPs worry that attaching a second vote to the deal on Saturday would persuade Tory hardliners to vote the whole plan down.

• If it passes, the new agreement will represent a significant political success for Mr Johnson, who always maintained the EU would move once things went down to the wire. The EU had said it would not reopen the withdrawal agreement or reimagine the Irish backstop. Mr Johnson forced them to do so and has secured changes. He has replaced the UK-wide backstop, so hated by Conservative MPs because it had no unilateral escape mechanism, with one specific to Northern Ireland only. Great Britain (the UK minus Northern Ireland) will be free to strike trade deals.

• However, in reality Mr Johnson has largely swapped Theresa May’s UK-wide backstop, which was part of the withdrawal agreement she failed to get through the Commons three times, for a Northern Ireland-only backstop. The EU originally offered this solution two years ago. That said, there are some changes. The prime minister has secured a democratic escape mechanism from the backstop for Northern Ireland — a withdrawal of consent by the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont — but its nature makes it hard to envisage it ever being used. So this arrangement is not designed to be temporary; this is a settled status for Northern Ireland. The price is a customs border in the Irish Sea, something many unionists were determined to avoid.

• While unionists may not like the deal, it represents a pretty advantageous outcome for the people of Northern Ireland, who will enjoy the benefits of effectively being in both the EU and UK customs unions and of avoiding a hard border with the Irish Republic.

• Mr Johnson has also conceded language in the political declaration, the non-binding preliminary text, on maintaining a “level playing field” for standards and regulations in future competition. This will not please Brexit hardliners, with their vision of the UK competing with the EU by offering lower taxes and lighter regulation. Because this does not carry full legal force, Brexiters may feel they have enough wriggle room to trust the prime minister. It could help to reassure a few of the Labour rebels, too.

• Mr Johnson is likely to press the EU to rule out a further extension by October 31 as a way to force MPs into backing his deal. That would be quite a step for the EU to take.

• The expected special sitting on Saturday for MPs to approve this withdrawal agreement will now be a huge moment for Mr Johnson. If he succeeds in securing his deal it will be a significant victory and will vindicate those Tory moderates who backed him on the grounds that he would break the deadlock. It may still be a stretch to reach the October 31 deadline — there is still legislation to secure — but if the deal is approved, then exit on that date looks more likely than not.

• Britain will be set on course, however, for a hard Brexit with an awful lot of its future still up for negotiation. The clock will start ticking again to a new deadline on securing a trade deal. Mr Johnson will claim to have met his pledge to “get Brexit done”. In fact, Brexit will only just be getting started.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 17, 2019, 04:41:54 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/2f5c92a2-f0d6-11e9-bfa4-b25f11f42901

Will the Brexit deal pass the Commons? The consensus at Westminster at this moment is that Boris Johnson doesn’t have the numbers James Blitz

Boris Johnson has agreed a Brexit deal with the EU, leading to a surge in sterling and much excitement at Westminster. The question now is whether the pact will be approved in the key Commons vote on Saturday. The consensus at Westminster at this moment is that Mr Johnson doesn’t have the numbers. The Democratic Unionist party has made clear it won’t back the deal “as it stands”. Without its support, it’s hard to see how it gets through the Commons. James Forsyth in The Spectator has a good assessment of where the problem lies. He says Mark Spencer, the Conservative chief whip, calculated last night that if the DUP backs Mr Johnson, the government will win on Saturday with a majority of just one. That majority would be made up of all Tory MPs, 15 independent Conservatives, the DUP plus nine Labour rebels in Leave constituencies who would be defying their own party whip. But without the DUP, Mr Johnson needs 19 Labour MPs to back him. My FT colleague Jim Pickard says that getting that many Labour MPs to back a Johnson deal would be very hard indeed. How could the dynamics change in the next 48 hours? One possibility, which Downing Street is actively pursuing, is that the European Council should declare tonight that if the deal doesn’t go through it won’t give the UK the three-month extension demanded by the Benn Act. Can Brexit breakthrough really bring resolution? Subtitles unavailable If the EU did that, it would mean that failure to pass the vote on Saturday would plunge the UK into a no-deal Brexit on October 31. That would certainly concentrate minds at Westminster. It might push the DUP over the line, as well as attracting more Labour MPs towards the Johnson deal. But this would be an extraordinarily high-risk strategy for the EU to adopt. I find it hard to believe it would go down that road. It might be that Mr Johnson has resigned himself to losing on Saturday. He may take the view that, in that situation, he can go into a general election brandishing the deal he has signed and saying he would have taken the UK out of the EU on October 31 if only parliament had allowed him. He would then call on voters to give him the parliamentary support he needs to get the pact through. The other possibility, of course, is that the DUP caves at the last minute. Right now, it is hard to see what can possibly change the DUP’s minds, given that the Brexit deal is now signed and sealed. But after three-and-a-half years, parliament, the EU and much of the British public are utterly fatigued by the Brexit process and want Britain to move on. There is something about the atmosphere in British politics that makes one think that — somehow — Mr Johnson will get what he wants on Saturday
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on October 17, 2019, 04:46:07 PM
I'd say the EU are pretty fed up of the Brits at this stage!!
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 17, 2019, 04:48:10 PM
I'd say the EU are pretty fed up of the Brits at this stage!!
It does look like that
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 17, 2019, 06:03:09 PM
Martin Wolf
The UK must have a public vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

   
   https://www.ft.com/content/a513c33c-f02a-11e9-ad1e-4367d8281195

   The UK must have a public vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Britons must agree to become significantly poorer and accept the illusion of greater sovereignty

Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit might reduce the total increase in GDP per head over a decade by 50-70%
Martin Wolf

Theresa May was wrong: a bad deal is far better than no deal. So sensible people should prefer Boris Johnson’s new deal to the lunacy of no deal. But the right thing to do now is to give the public the choice they did not have in 2016, between defined alternatives. That is perfectly democratic. It is also wise: the public need to consent to what will be a very costly outcome.

Mr Johnson argues that the new deal should be ratified by parliament at once, in order to allow the country to move on to other priorities: the cost of living, the National Health Service, violent crime and the environment. This is twaddle. All these things and more — education, housing, infrastructure, defence, welfare and almost every aspect of taxation — have always been within the control of the UK. Nothing but incompetence prevented UK governments from tackling them effectively while the country was in the EU.

With the principal exception of immigration, leaving the EU will give the UK the illusion, not the reality, of greater control. Its ability to transform its opportunities in trade and other aspects of international commerce, which are where EU membership does indeed matter, will turn out to be negligible. The UK on its own is merely a big minnow, generating just 3 per cent of world output. Only as part of the EU does it have the clout needed for transformative international deals. Even then, these are hard to do with the big powers.


Far worse, leaving on Mr Johnson’s terms is going to make the country substantially poorer than it would otherwise be. That is not only bad in itself. It is also going to reduce the resources available to any future government to deliver on domestic policy promises. Indeed, this is already the case. The latest Green Budget from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Citi argues that: “Gross domestic product is roughly 2.5-3.0 per cent (£55bn-£66bn) below where we think it would have been without Brexit.” This is quite likely to be a permanent loss. It would imply an equally permanent reduction in fiscal revenue of a little over 1 per cent of GDP.

With this deal, which implies a very hard Brexit, things will get worse. A recent analysis, The economic impact of Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals, from The UK in a Changing Europe think-tank, concludes that, other things being equal, GDP per head could be between 5.8 and 7 per cent lower, in the long run, under Mr Johnson’s deal compared to staying in the EU. This is even worse than the 5.5 per cent loss estimated under the May deal, although better than the 8.7 per cent loss under “WTO terms”.

Such estimates are highly uncertain. But they are based on standard economic models and not on questionable assumptions about short-term macroeconomic behaviour. The component elements are the direct trade effects (a loss of 2.3 to 2.7 percentage points of GDP) and an induced effect on productivity, as the UK economy becomes less open to trade. The ranges are determined by the severity of controls on immigration.

The implied impact on future prosperity is dramatic. At present, a modestly optimistic assumption, given the UK’s recent dire productivity performance, is that prospective GDP per head will rise at 1 per cent a year. If so, Mr Johnson’s hard Brexit might reduce the total increase in GDP per head over a decade by between 50 and 70 per cent!

Fiscally, the UK would benefit from not having to continue its contributions to the EU. But the impact of reduced GDP growth would far more than offset this gain. The analysis concludes that, without the productivity adjustment, the long-term fiscal position would be worse by between 0.7 and 0.9 per cent of GDP and, with it, by between 1.9 and 2.2 per cent of GDP (£41bn-49bn in current prices). If so, this would severely curtail any government’s ability to deliver in the areas Mr Johnson favours.

Nor, of course, is this all. In addition to the likely economic costs come the dire political ones, notably the radically increased likelihood of a break up of the UK and the painful separation from our closest neighbours and partners.

Yes, this deal is far better than no deal. But it is a terrible deal and also one that is far indeed from the “having our cake and eating it” promised by Mr Johnson in the referendum campaign. It is, simply, a monstrous act of national self harm. It is not good enough to let an exhausted parliament wave it through.

Despite all the obvious risks, the people should be asked whether this deal is what they truly want for their future and that of their children and children’s children. The right thing to do is to put it to the people. They now know what choices lie in front of them and their country. If they choose this one knowingly, so be it.

martin.wolf@ft.com
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: tyrone08 on October 17, 2019, 06:26:22 PM
Martin Wolf
The UK must have a public vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

   
   https://www.ft.com/content/a513c33c-f02a-11e9-ad1e-4367d8281195

   The UK must have a public vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Britons must agree to become significantly poorer and accept the illusion of greater sovereignty

Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit might reduce the total increase in GDP per head over a decade by 50-70%
Martin Wolf

Theresa May was wrong: a bad deal is far better than no deal. So sensible people should prefer Boris Johnson’s new deal to the lunacy of no deal. But the right thing to do now is to give the public the choice they did not have in 2016, between defined alternatives. That is perfectly democratic. It is also wise: the public need to consent to what will be a very costly outcome.

Mr Johnson argues that the new deal should be ratified by parliament at once, in order to allow the country to move on to other priorities: the cost of living, the National Health Service, violent crime and the environment. This is twaddle. All these things and more — education, housing, infrastructure, defence, welfare and almost every aspect of taxation — have always been within the control of the UK. Nothing but incompetence prevented UK governments from tackling them effectively while the country was in the EU.

With the principal exception of immigration, leaving the EU will give the UK the illusion, not the reality, of greater control. Its ability to transform its opportunities in trade and other aspects of international commerce, which are where EU membership does indeed matter, will turn out to be negligible. The UK on its own is merely a big minnow, generating just 3 per cent of world output. Only as part of the EU does it have the clout needed for transformative international deals. Even then, these are hard to do with the big powers.


Far worse, leaving on Mr Johnson’s terms is going to make the country substantially poorer than it would otherwise be. That is not only bad in itself. It is also going to reduce the resources available to any future government to deliver on domestic policy promises. Indeed, this is already the case. The latest Green Budget from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Citi argues that: “Gross domestic product is roughly 2.5-3.0 per cent (£55bn-£66bn) below where we think it would have been without Brexit.” This is quite likely to be a permanent loss. It would imply an equally permanent reduction in fiscal revenue of a little over 1 per cent of GDP.

With this deal, which implies a very hard Brexit, things will get worse. A recent analysis, The economic impact of Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals, from The UK in a Changing Europe think-tank, concludes that, other things being equal, GDP per head could be between 5.8 and 7 per cent lower, in the long run, under Mr Johnson’s deal compared to staying in the EU. This is even worse than the 5.5 per cent loss estimated under the May deal, although better than the 8.7 per cent loss under “WTO terms”.

Such estimates are highly uncertain. But they are based on standard economic models and not on questionable assumptions about short-term macroeconomic behaviour. The component elements are the direct trade effects (a loss of 2.3 to 2.7 percentage points of GDP) and an induced effect on productivity, as the UK economy becomes less open to trade. The ranges are determined by the severity of controls on immigration.

The implied impact on future prosperity is dramatic. At present, a modestly optimistic assumption, given the UK’s recent dire productivity performance, is that prospective GDP per head will rise at 1 per cent a year. If so, Mr Johnson’s hard Brexit might reduce the total increase in GDP per head over a decade by between 50 and 70 per cent!

Fiscally, the UK would benefit from not having to continue its contributions to the EU. But the impact of reduced GDP growth would far more than offset this gain. The analysis concludes that, without the productivity adjustment, the long-term fiscal position would be worse by between 0.7 and 0.9 per cent of GDP and, with it, by between 1.9 and 2.2 per cent of GDP (£41bn-49bn in current prices). If so, this would severely curtail any government’s ability to deliver in the areas Mr Johnson favours.

Nor, of course, is this all. In addition to the likely economic costs come the dire political ones, notably the radically increased likelihood of a break up of the UK and the painful separation from our closest neighbours and partners.

Yes, this deal is far better than no deal. But it is a terrible deal and also one that is far indeed from the “having our cake and eating it” promised by Mr Johnson in the referendum campaign. It is, simply, a monstrous act of national self harm. It is not good enough to let an exhausted parliament wave it through.

Despite all the obvious risks, the people should be asked whether this deal is what they truly want for their future and that of their children and children’s children. The right thing to do is to put it to the people. They now know what choices lie in front of them and their country. If they choose this one knowingly, so be it.

martin.wolf@ft.com

Wouldn't believe the predictions. Before the election it was widely stated that a vote to leave would bring thousands of job losses and an immediate recession. Reality was that unemployed fell. Most economists are no better than mystic Meg.

Sat is lining for up a cracker day. 1 channel the rugby while the news on the other
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: armaghniac on October 17, 2019, 08:36:37 PM
Wouldn't believe the predictions. Before the election it was widely stated that a vote to leave would bring thousands of job losses and an immediate recession. Reality was that unemployed fell. Most economists are no better than mystic Meg.

This is nonsense on a par with my old "my granny is smoking 60 a day and isn' t dead yet, them doctors know nothing".
If you make business more difficult then growth will suffer. It may be more or less, but damage there will be.
One reason there wasn't as much damage so far was that there is still doubt about what exactly will happen, after Saturday there could be another referendum and even Boris might discover after the next election that he does not want quite such an isolated UK in the final agreement.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: lenny on October 18, 2019, 07:25:20 AM
Martin Wolf
The UK must have a public vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

   
   https://www.ft.com/content/a513c33c-f02a-11e9-ad1e-4367d8281195

   The UK must have a public vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Britons must agree to become significantly poorer and accept the illusion of greater sovereignty

Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit might reduce the total increase in GDP per head over a decade by 50-70%
Martin Wolf

Theresa May was wrong: a bad deal is far better than no deal. So sensible people should prefer Boris Johnson’s new deal to the lunacy of no deal. But the right thing to do now is to give the public the choice they did not have in 2016, between defined alternatives. That is perfectly democratic. It is also wise: the public need to consent to what will be a very costly outcome.

Mr Johnson argues that the new deal should be ratified by parliament at once, in order to allow the country to move on to other priorities: the cost of living, the National Health Service, violent crime and the environment. This is twaddle. All these things and more — education, housing, infrastructure, defence, welfare and almost every aspect of taxation — have always been within the control of the UK. Nothing but incompetence prevented UK governments from tackling them effectively while the country was in the EU.

With the principal exception of immigration, leaving the EU will give the UK the illusion, not the reality, of greater control. Its ability to transform its opportunities in trade and other aspects of international commerce, which are where EU membership does indeed matter, will turn out to be negligible. The UK on its own is merely a big minnow, generating just 3 per cent of world output. Only as part of the EU does it have the clout needed for transformative international deals. Even then, these are hard to do with the big powers.


Far worse, leaving on Mr Johnson’s terms is going to make the country substantially poorer than it would otherwise be. That is not only bad in itself. It is also going to reduce the resources available to any future government to deliver on domestic policy promises. Indeed, this is already the case. The latest Green Budget from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Citi argues that: “Gross domestic product is roughly 2.5-3.0 per cent (£55bn-£66bn) below where we think it would have been without Brexit.” This is quite likely to be a permanent loss. It would imply an equally permanent reduction in fiscal revenue of a little over 1 per cent of GDP.

With this deal, which implies a very hard Brexit, things will get worse. A recent analysis, The economic impact of Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals, from The UK in a Changing Europe think-tank, concludes that, other things being equal, GDP per head could be between 5.8 and 7 per cent lower, in the long run, under Mr Johnson’s deal compared to staying in the EU. This is even worse than the 5.5 per cent loss estimated under the May deal, although better than the 8.7 per cent loss under “WTO terms”.

Such estimates are highly uncertain. But they are based on standard economic models and not on questionable assumptions about short-term macroeconomic behaviour. The component elements are the direct trade effects (a loss of 2.3 to 2.7 percentage points of GDP) and an induced effect on productivity, as the UK economy becomes less open to trade. The ranges are determined by the severity of controls on immigration.

The implied impact on future prosperity is dramatic. At present, a modestly optimistic assumption, given the UK’s recent dire productivity performance, is that prospective GDP per head will rise at 1 per cent a year. If so, Mr Johnson’s hard Brexit might reduce the total increase in GDP per head over a decade by between 50 and 70 per cent!

Fiscally, the UK would benefit from not having to continue its contributions to the EU. But the impact of reduced GDP growth would far more than offset this gain. The analysis concludes that, without the productivity adjustment, the long-term fiscal position would be worse by between 0.7 and 0.9 per cent of GDP and, with it, by between 1.9 and 2.2 per cent of GDP (£41bn-49bn in current prices). If so, this would severely curtail any government’s ability to deliver in the areas Mr Johnson favours.

Nor, of course, is this all. In addition to the likely economic costs come the dire political ones, notably the radically increased likelihood of a break up of the UK and the painful separation from our closest neighbours and partners.

Yes, this deal is far better than no deal. But it is a terrible deal and also one that is far indeed from the “having our cake and eating it” promised by Mr Johnson in the referendum campaign. It is, simply, a monstrous act of national self harm. It is not good enough to let an exhausted parliament wave it through.

Despite all the obvious risks, the people should be asked whether this deal is what they truly want for their future and that of their children and children’s children. The right thing to do is to put it to the people. They now know what choices lie in front of them and their country. If they choose this one knowingly, so be it.

martin.wolf@ft.com

Wouldn't believe the predictions. Before the election it was widely stated that a vote to leave would bring thousands of job losses and an immediate recession. Reality was that unemployed fell. Most economists are no better than mystic Meg.

Sat is lining for up a cracker day. 1 channel the rugby while the news on the other

Just because you read the sun or the express doesn’t make you an expert on this. Most of the disastrous effects of the vote in 2016 were mitigated by the bank of england introducing quantitative easing which totally devalued the pound. If you’ve gone on holiday in the last 3 years you’ll be aware it has become much more expensive. Also figures released in the last few weeks show that the uk economy has missed out between 60 and 80 billion of projected gdp in the last 3 years because of the vote. That amounts to a minimum of 400million a week, way more than the amount used on the bus by dominic cummings et al which swung the referendum vote. There was also a report in the guardian yesterday which shows the unemployment figures should be 3 million higher ie there are hidden unemployed. With huge numbers on zero hours contracts the emplyment situation isn’t even close to being as good as the governments massaged figures indicate.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 18, 2019, 12:04:42 PM
Martin Wolf
The UK must have a public vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

   
   https://www.ft.com/content/a513c33c-f02a-11e9-ad1e-4367d8281195

   The UK must have a public vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Britons must agree to become significantly poorer and accept the illusion of greater sovereignty

Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit might reduce the total increase in GDP per head over a decade by 50-70%
Martin Wolf

Theresa May was wrong: a bad deal is far better than no deal. So sensible people should prefer Boris Johnson’s new deal to the lunacy of no deal. But the right thing to do now is to give the public the choice they did not have in 2016, between defined alternatives. That is perfectly democratic. It is also wise: the public need to consent to what will be a very costly outcome.

Mr Johnson argues that the new deal should be ratified by parliament at once, in order to allow the country to move on to other priorities: the cost of living, the National Health Service, violent crime and the environment. This is twaddle. All these things and more — education, housing, infrastructure, defence, welfare and almost every aspect of taxation — have always been within the control of the UK. Nothing but incompetence prevented UK governments from tackling them effectively while the country was in the EU.

With the principal exception of immigration, leaving the EU will give the UK the illusion, not the reality, of greater control. Its ability to transform its opportunities in trade and other aspects of international commerce, which are where EU membership does indeed matter, will turn out to be negligible. The UK on its own is merely a big minnow, generating just 3 per cent of world output. Only as part of the EU does it have the clout needed for transformative international deals. Even then, these are hard to do with the big powers.


Far worse, leaving on Mr Johnson’s terms is going to make the country substantially poorer than it would otherwise be. That is not only bad in itself. It is also going to reduce the resources available to any future government to deliver on domestic policy promises. Indeed, this is already the case. The latest Green Budget from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Citi argues that: “Gross domestic product is roughly 2.5-3.0 per cent (£55bn-£66bn) below where we think it would have been without Brexit.” This is quite likely to be a permanent loss. It would imply an equally permanent reduction in fiscal revenue of a little over 1 per cent of GDP.

With this deal, which implies a very hard Brexit, things will get worse. A recent analysis, The economic impact of Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals, from The UK in a Changing Europe think-tank, concludes that, other things being equal, GDP per head could be between 5.8 and 7 per cent lower, in the long run, under Mr Johnson’s deal compared to staying in the EU. This is even worse than the 5.5 per cent loss estimated under the May deal, although better than the 8.7 per cent loss under “WTO terms”.

Such estimates are highly uncertain. But they are based on standard economic models and not on questionable assumptions about short-term macroeconomic behaviour. The component elements are the direct trade effects (a loss of 2.3 to 2.7 percentage points of GDP) and an induced effect on productivity, as the UK economy becomes less open to trade. The ranges are determined by the severity of controls on immigration.

The implied impact on future prosperity is dramatic. At present, a modestly optimistic assumption, given the UK’s recent dire productivity performance, is that prospective GDP per head will rise at 1 per cent a year. If so, Mr Johnson’s hard Brexit might reduce the total increase in GDP per head over a decade by between 50 and 70 per cent!

Fiscally, the UK would benefit from not having to continue its contributions to the EU. But the impact of reduced GDP growth would far more than offset this gain. The analysis concludes that, without the productivity adjustment, the long-term fiscal position would be worse by between 0.7 and 0.9 per cent of GDP and, with it, by between 1.9 and 2.2 per cent of GDP (£41bn-49bn in current prices). If so, this would severely curtail any government’s ability to deliver in the areas Mr Johnson favours.

Nor, of course, is this all. In addition to the likely economic costs come the dire political ones, notably the radically increased likelihood of a break up of the UK and the painful separation from our closest neighbours and partners.

Yes, this deal is far better than no deal. But it is a terrible deal and also one that is far indeed from the “having our cake and eating it” promised by Mr Johnson in the referendum campaign. It is, simply, a monstrous act of national self harm. It is not good enough to let an exhausted parliament wave it through.

Despite all the obvious risks, the people should be asked whether this deal is what they truly want for their future and that of their children and children’s children. The right thing to do is to put it to the people. They now know what choices lie in front of them and their country. If they choose this one knowingly, so be it.

martin.wolf@ft.com

Wouldn't believe the predictions. Before the election it was widely stated that a vote to leave would bring thousands of job losses and an immediate recession. Reality was that unemployed fell. Most economists are no better than mystic Meg.

Sat is lining for up a cracker day. 1 channel the rugby while the news on the other
https://www.ft.com/content/a513c33c-f02a-11e9-ad1e-4367d8281195
The latest Green Budget from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Citi argues that: “Gross domestic product is roughly 2.5-3.0 per cent (£55bn-£66bn) below where we think it would have been without Brexit.”

So it's in line with pre referendum predictions
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Jell 0 Biafra on October 18, 2019, 04:33:07 PM
From this one:   https://www.ft.com/content/f917b2ac-f0cc-11e9-bfa4-b25f11f42901

"the prime minister has secured a democratic escape mechanism from the backstop for Northern Ireland — a withdrawal of consent by the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont — but its nature makes it hard to envisage it ever being used. "

What's the nature of the "escape mechanism" and why does it make it hard to envisage it ever being used?
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on October 18, 2019, 04:52:00 PM
After 4 years the Assembly by a simple majority can vote to terminate the current proposed arrangements.
Then 2 years have to be spent to seek an alternative arrangement that would prevent a hard border  customs, regulatory divergence etc etc
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Jell 0 Biafra on October 18, 2019, 07:04:00 PM
Thanks. 

Not sure that those arrangements are so arduous that the DUP, wouldn't try to use the escape mechanism, but I guess the hope is they won't carry enough numbers along with them to be in a position to do so.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Rossfan on October 18, 2019, 07:15:49 PM
I expect Leo listening to Business, farmers "civic unionism" etc from the North knew how much of a minority view the DUPUDA were pushing.
Also no doubt is aware of the demographics which means Unionists should hardly be a majority in the future.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 21, 2019, 10:35:49 AM
https://www.ft.com/content/08ae76c2-f197-11e9-a55a-30afa498db1b

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal brings a united Ireland closer The Democratic Unionist party is right to be worried JONATHAN POWELL The obsession over the past few days with parliamentary manoeuvring has obscured the question of whether Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement is a good deal or not and what its long-term consequences are. Mr Johnson claims he has delivered a “great new deal” that everyone else said he couldn’t. In fact, it is neither great nor new. Mr Johnson switched from the scorched-earth approach advocated by Dominic Cummings, his principal adviser, to abruptly surrendering on nearly every point in order to meet his October 31 deadline. He has in essence ended up with Theresa May’s deal with some substantive changes on Northern Ireland we may all live to regret. The prime minister says he has ditched the backstop. On the contrary he has accepted the substance of the original Northern Ireland-only backstop which Mrs May said, “no UK prime minister could ever accept”. Moreover, he has changed it from being a fallback into the definitive future arrangement for Northern Ireland.

He had to abandon his Heath Robinson-esque scheme of two borders, together with all the nonsense we have heard from Brexiters over the past three years about a magic technological answer to the border, and threw in for good measure Northern Ireland remaining in the EU for VAT purposes. Scarcely new, and hardly a triumph. On consent, Mr Johnson rightly abandoned his initial proposal of giving the Democratic Unionist party a veto. But in the process he has driven a coach and horses through the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement by allowing a simple majority to decide whether the province stays in the single market and customs union. The system of cross-community agreement for major issues was built on the principle of “sufficient consensus” that requires a majority of both communities — nationalists and unionists — for a measure to be agreed, while ensuring a small minority could not block progress. Once you exempt one major issue from this rule, you risk undermining the very notion of power sharing enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement. The DUP may seem outlandish to people in London, but they represent real concerns in Northern Ireland which should be taken seriously. Tony Blair’s first visit outside London when he became prime minister in 1997 was to the Balmoral agricultural show outside Belfast. In a speech there he ad-libbed that he did not expect to see a united Ireland in his lifetime.

The DUP worry that this is no longer true. If you introduce a hard border in the Irish Sea — a border that will grow wider over time as Great Britain diverges from the EU in terms of regulations and tariffs — then it will be harder for the unionists to maintain their Britishness. And we have removed the brake of cross-community agreement that would allow them to stop progress down that slippery slope. That is why we have heard worrying noises from loyalist groups like the Ulster Volunteer Force and why Arlene Foster has been meeting with the Ulster Defence Association. The DUP may well be right in their fears. The poll numbers have already begun to move towards greater acceptance of a united Ireland during the Brexit process as Catholic voters who traditionally supported remaining in the UK drift to remaining in the EU. It seems likely, for demographic and other reasons, those numbers will continue to grow. Paradoxically Mr Johnson and Brexit may have done more for a united Ireland than the IRA ever did. The fact that the Irish government and the EU have managed to prevent Mr Johnson’s proposed hard customs border in Northern Ireland, which would have posed a fundamental threat to the Good Friday Agreement, is welcome and enormously important.

 But the DUP have a strong case when they argue that he has instead undermined the other aspects of the agreement through his deal. That is the reason why they are supported by the more moderate Ulster Unionist party and even the cross-community Alliance party in this complaint. The deal we have ended up with means a soft Brexit for Northern Ireland and a hard Brexit for the rest of the UK. In these circumstances it would be understandable if Scotland demanded the same treatment as Northern Ireland, since it had a similar majority for Remain in the referendum. When that is rejected by the Conservative government, and it refuses a further referendum, the support for independence will continue to grow. This Trumpian “great new deal” will therefore not just take Britain out of the EU, but may also mark the end of the union, leaving a Little Englander government ruling a Little England. The writer was Tony Blair’s chief of staff from 1995-2007
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 21, 2019, 04:09:07 PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/20/dup-threaten-unite-labour-back-customs-union-amendment-would/

DUP threaten to unite with Labour to back customs union amendment that would bring down Brexit deal

20 OCTOBER 2019 • 9:33PM
 
The DUP has threatened to unite with Labour to back a customs union this week as it warned it will unleash “guerilla warfare” to bring down Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
In a move that could torpedo the Prime Minister’s strategy for delivering Brexit by Oct 31, senior DUP figures have threatened to back proposals which could prevent the UK from pursuing its own trade policy.
Should MPs back an amendment for customs union this week, Mr Johnson could be forced to pull the legislation required to ensure the UK leaves the European Union on time.
On Sunday night a senior DUP figure told The Daily Telegraph there were “multiple scenarios with multiple options for us to resist Johnson’s anti-UK deal,” adding: "It will be parliamentary guerilla warfare."
The warning came after Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, invited the DUP to meet to discuss amendments to the withdrawal agreement bill, stating that the party’s “door is open”.
The shadow Brexit secretary also confirmed that Labour MPs would be ordered to back a customs union, which forms a key component of the party’s alternative Brexit plan.
Meanwhile, another DUP figure refused to rule out backing a customs union amendment when the withdrawal agreement bill is put to the House of Commons.
Whilst the party has previously opposed remaining in the EU’s customs orbit, the source admitted that it may now be the only way of ensuring that the UK leaves the bloc under the same arrangements.
 
P deputy leader Nigel Dodds responding to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's statement on his new Brexit deal in the House of Commons CREDIT: PA
They said of a customs union: “Clearly that would be one way we could look at addressing our concerns. There will be some very grown up conversations over the next 48 hours and we will be looking at all the options we have available.
“I would simply remind you of comment that Nigel Dodds [the DUP’s Westminster leader] made about the previous backstop: ‘If the choice is between a bad deal and remaining, then the Union comes first’.
“In all of this, we will judge whether any arrangement weakens the Union or not.”
The DUP has already vowed to vote down the deal when it is put to House of Commons due to concerns that it erects unacceptable trade barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
It also opposes the complex system of consent for Stormont’s assembly on whether to opt out of future customs arrangements and fears that the proposals make an Irish unification referendum more likely.
 
Urging the DUP to reconsider Sunday, Sir Bill Cash, the chairman of the Commons European scrutiny committee, said "if you vote for the customs union, you are effectively saying you would stay [in the EU].” CREDIT: REUTERS
Urging the DUP to reconsider Sunday, Sir Bill Cash, the chairman of the Commons European scrutiny committee, said "I have a great deal of sympathy with the DUP's concerns about their own position…[but] if you vote for the customs union, you are effectively saying you would stay [in the EU].”
The DUP’s warning is likely to trigger panic among officials in Downing Street, who are already braced for a series of knife-edge votes next week.
Whilst MPs have rejected a customs union five times this year during two rounds of so-called indicative votes, in April a plan put forward by Ken Clarke, the father of the House of Commons, came within three votes of passing.
On Sunday night Gloria de Piero, a Labour MP who had earlier indicated she could back the deal, said she would back the customs union amendment.
 
On Sunday night Gloria de Piero, a Labour MP who had earlier indicated she could back the deal, said she would back the customs union amendment.   CREDIT: HEATHCLIFFE O'MALLEY
She could be joined on Monday by several others, including Lucy Powell and Stephen Kinnock, who have previously backed similar proposals.  Mr Johnson also faces the prospect of seven independents and at least 12 former Tories, including Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd and David Gauke, voting for a customs union.
The trio previously abstained during the indicative votes process as they were in Cabinet, but are privately believed to be in favour of a closer relationship with the EU after Brexit.
Senior SNP and Liberal Democrat sources on Sunday night they had not decided which way to vote, although both parties are expected to discuss the issue on Monday.
It came as Sir Keir made a public appeal to the DUP on Saturday morning, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I would openly invite the DUP to talk to us. If you want to work with us to improve the situation we’re in, our door is open to that discussion.  “We’ve been arguing for a very long time now for a customs union with the EU and for single market alignment.”
He also confirmed that Labour would back an amendment to try and force a second referendum, which would pit Mr Johnson’s deal against Remain.
“Whatever deal gets through, it should be subject to a referendum,” he continued.  “We have already voted, I think, three times as a party for a second referendum with a three-line whip behind it.
“The position we have adopted is whatever the outcome, whether it’s Boris Johnson’s bad deal or a better one which could be secured, it has got to go to a referendum up against remain.”
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: Eamonnca1 on October 21, 2019, 05:50:19 PM
The Window for Brexit May Already Have Closed
Parliament is delaying Johnson’s plan—and generational replacement has undercut its support.

OCT 20, 2019

David Frum
Staff writer at The Atlantic

The British people have changed their mind about Brexit. Beginning in the summer of 2017, and accelerating in the summer of 2018 by an ever wider margin, British people have told pollsters that they voted wrong in the Brexit referendum of June 2016.

Over that same period, however, Britain’s Conservative Party has become more and more committed to Brexit. Sixty-three percent of Conservative Party supporters would rather see Scotland secede from the United Kingdom than abandon the Brexit project. Sixty-one percent of Conservatives would accept significant damage to the British economy to achieve Brexit. Fifty-nine percent would let Northern Ireland go. Fifty-four percent would rather see the Conservative Party itself destroyed than yield on Brexit.


So there’s the dilemma for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. His party is demanding something that the country does not want. He cannot pass that “something” through Parliament. Johnson has lost his working majority in Parliament; he has not won a single vote on a single major issue there. But despite solid parliamentary opposition to his project, Johnson cannot give up. His party would tear him apart as it tore apart his predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron if he did. He must push, push, push, and suffer defeat after defeat after defeat. In any previous period of British history, the Johnson government would already have fallen. An election would have been called, and—given the unpopularity of the government’s one big idea—the Conservatives would almost certainly have lost.


This time, however, the historic British resolution for political crises is unavailable. New rules lock the Johnson government into office until 2022 unless two-thirds of Parliament approve an earlier election. Even if there were an election, Johnson might not lose, because the main opposition party—Labour—has chosen as its leader an extreme leftist who is widely regarded as pathetically inadequate. Jeremy Corbyn’s own parliamentary party has repeatedly tried to get rid of him, accusing him of anti-Semitism, misogyny, and general cluelessness. By a margin of 13 percentage points, British people would prefer even the most painful possible Brexit to a Corbyn-led government.

What is happening in the British Parliament now is an attempt to find an exit from this dilemma.

The great background fact to all the maneuvering is the deadline of October 31, 2019, the date Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union. (Brexit was originally scheduled for March 31, but the May government requested and received a six-month extension.)

Johnson’s hope is to get a withdrawal agreement in place before October 31, exit by that date, and only then force an election. With Brexit then irrevocable, British voters would confront the stark single-issue choice: Johnson or Corbyn? Johnson could expect to win a five-year mandate to repair the damage he himself inflicted by Brexit.

But this plan depends on exquisite timing. Dissident Conservatives led by the former front-bencher Oliver Letwin have joined with Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists, and a moderate Labour group led by Hilary Benn to delay and disrupt Johnson’s strategy. Yesterday, Johnson was forced to request a second extension from the EU. If the EU grants the extension, there will be time for more politics before Brexit goes into effect—possibly including a second referendum.

Johnson could try to lead Britain out of the EU despite the extension. Some of his ministers say they are determined to drive forward regardless of public opinion. But Parliament has voted to require affirmative approval by Parliament of a British exit. Johnson would have to defy that vote and arguably break the law to achieve Brexit. The British courts have slapped him down once, when he tried to prorogue Parliament despite lacking a working majority in the House of Commons. If he bolts for Brexit despite the law, the courts will surely slap him down again. While Johnson is a risk-taking politician, he is no Donald Trump: He is not ultimately a lawbreaker.

Johnson’s cross-party parliamentary opponents have the votes to stop early exit. They have the votes to deny an early election. The big question is: Do they have the votes to force a second referendum? A second referendum would be even more bitter and divisive than the first. Anti-EU voters will feel cheated of a victory they have sought for decades—and that they felt they had at last won in 2016. Some pro-Brexit advocates—including the chairman of the Conservative Party!—predict (or threaten) civil unrest if they do not gain their prize.



How real is any of this militant talk? By a two-to-one majority, Britons want a second referendum on final exit from the EU. Polls suggest that this time, the Remain side would almost certainly win, and by a bigger margin than Leave won last time.

What is driving the change in the U.K. is generational replacement. Until very recently, Britain was marked by a uniquely weak attachment to a “European” identity. On the eve of the Brexit vote, only 15 percent of British people thought of themselves as “European,” by far the lowest level of identification for a big EU state. The most striking and surprising effect of the Brexit debate in the U.K. has been to incubate for the first time a European political identity among the young. You see EU-flag pins on backpacks on the subway, EU flags in windows around the University of London. Since June 2016, 2.5 million young people have entered the British electorate, and about 1.4 million older people have died out of it.

Brexit advocates often use the phrase now or never to convey the urgency they feel. This weekend, the British Parliament decided “not now.” Suddenly, and for the first time since June 2016, “never” looks plausibly like the ultimate outcome.
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 22, 2019, 04:52:21 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/5063c4ce-f4c4-11e9-b018-3ef8794b17c6

Brexit raises the spectre of the UK’s break-up Pressures build over the futures of Northern Ireland and Scotland Tony Barber

 A damaged political system, torn social fabric, weakened economy and reduced international status are four consequences of the UK’s long, agonising struggle over Brexit. It is no exaggeration to say that a fifth consequence may be the disintegration of the UK itself. The Brexit deal that Boris Johnson’s Conservative government agreed last week with the EU entails a hybrid form of governance for Northern Ireland. It increases the chances that the British-ruled province will unite one day with the Irish Republic. Likewise, the essentially English-driven nature of the Brexit project raises the prospect of a second referendum on Scottish independence which, unlike the 2014 vote, may produce a majority for secession from the UK. The Irish and Scottish cases are distinct from each other. Unlike Catalonia’s radical separatists, the Scottish National party is careful to pursue independence strictly within the law. The SNP will most likely bide its time and aim for a strong mandate for another referendum by winning Scotland’s next legislative elections, due in 2021. By contrast, traumatic memories of 20th-century political violence scar Northern Ireland. Yet profound demographic changes and economic underperformance are pushing the province towards eventual unification with the Republic. Northern Ireland’s 2011 census revealed a “measurable trend towards a Catholic majority”, described by Professor Duncan Morrow of Ulster University in his authoritative study, Sectarianism in Northern Ireland: A Review. The pro-British, Protestant ascendancy is declining, to the advantage of those who support unification. One opinion poll last month showed a small majority in favour of a united Ireland. After the British government’s partition of Ireland in 1920-21, the areas in and around Belfast in the north produced about 80 per cent of the whole island’s industrial output. Now the Republic’s output is 10 times greater than Northern Ireland’s. Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal establishes special arrangements between Northern Ireland and the EU that will draw the province more deeply into the economic orbit of Dublin and Brussels.  For this reason, unionists recall with bitterness the hero’s welcome that Mr Johnson received last November at a conference of the Democratic Unionists, the pro-British party aligned with the Conservative government since 2017. Mr Johnson swore never to accept a Brexit deal that would leave Northern Ireland “an economic semi-colony of the EU”, separated by regulatory controls and customs checks from mainland Britain. Now many unionists feel more abandoned than at any time since the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, which first gave the Republic a formal advisory role in Northern Ireland’s affairs. “The DUP’s fear that this deal will over time weaken the union is not unreasonable,” Eilis O’Hanlon writes in the Belfast Evening Telegraph. The DUP can have Brexit, or it can have the union with Britain, but can it have both? Maybe not, she concludes. The Conservative party was once so fervently pro-unionist that its leaders incited illegal resistance to Irish self-government on the eve of the first world war. In the Brexit era, it has evolved into a party of English nationalism that feels scant emotional or political solidarity with Northern Irish Protestantism. According to a YouGov poll in June, a majority of Conservative party members are prepared to let Northern Ireland and Scotland leave the UK, just to make sure that England leaves the EU. No wonder that Jonathan Powell, former premier Tony Blair’s chief of staff, writes that “paradoxically Mr Johnson and Brexit may have done more for a united Ireland than the IRA ever did”. Further reading Parliament must back the Brexit deal or bring down Boris Johnson “With the extension now requested, there is no case for more delay. MPs need to back the agreement or bring down the government and try to persuade voters to endorse a new path. This is the constitutionally correct choice. No good can come of further stasis.” (Robert Shrimsley, FT) Hard numbers
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on October 24, 2019, 10:57:55 AM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/23/need-general-election-now-clear-parliament-wreckers/

We need a general election now to clear out this Parliament of wreckers
ALLISTER HEATH
Follow  Allister Heath23 OCTOBER 2019 • 9:30PM
Save
351
Bob cartoon

There are no perfect solutions, no easy answers, no guarantees that Armageddon will be avoided. But for Boris Johnson, and for all Brexiteers, an election in the run-up to Christmas is now the least risky way forward.

It would represent yet another roll of the dice, of course, but the odds of ultimate triumph would be greater than for any other course of action. And the most likely mechanism to achieve this timetable, paradoxically, is if the EU agrees to extend the Brexit deadline all the way to 31 January.

Hold on a second. Why would any Brexiteer want Johnson to be forced into breaking his “do or die”, leave by October 31 promise? The answer, simply, is that this has now become the least bad option given this broken Parliament’s intransigence.

A lengthy delay was the point of the destructive, anti-constitutional Benn Act, but it could well end up finishing off the Remainers who supported it, in a beautiful twist of fate. It’s not just that they will be blamed for failing to vote Boris’ deal through – a three month extension is also the only way to bulldoze them out of the way.

Consider the following: Labour, the SNP and possibly other opposition parties might be able to say that they’ve succeeded in ruling out no deal for now, and would thus vote for a general election. Johnson would campaign on a series of simple messages: he delivered a genuine Brexit deal against the odds and yet was shot down by Labour and the Lib Dems; he represents the people versus Parliament and the establishment; “Get Brexit finished with Boris or spend 2020 on referendums on Brexit and Scotland with Corbyn”.

And what of the alternative? Those Brexiteers who would like a shorter extension in order to pass the deal are probably miscalculating. Whatever Macron might threaten, would a 15-day extension genuinely be a credible final offer from the EU? I doubt it. Would the UK be able to leave without a deal if Parliament fails to back Boris’s agreement during that period? I doubt it again. John Bercow would sabotage the Brexiteers, perhaps as his final act; and MPs would wreck Boris’s deal.


Yes, amendments to the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill (as opposed to the Treaty, which is now closed) would only be meaningful in UK law, and could all be reversed by a future Tory government. But they would ruin Johnson’s narrative, lead to massive rifts within the Conservatives and make it harder for him to appeal to Brexit Party supporters. Better, on balance, to go for an election now, with the original Johnson deal at the centre of his manifesto.

The reality is that for all the psychological importance of the PM’s Tuesday night victory at second reading, it didn’t mean much. The only reason why so many Labour and pro-Remain MPs temporarily lent Boris’s agreement their support is that it gave them a perfect opportunity to virtue-signal. It was, as far as they were concerned, a free hit: they could pretend to be pro-Brexit while still doing everything in their power to thwart a meaningful departure.

Barely a few minutes later, they effectively cancelled their earlier vote by rejecting the PM’s all-important timing device, giving themselves the power to amend everything into oblivion. Just five Labour MPs backed Johnson’s programme motion: they were the only serious democrats on Jeremy Corbyn’s benches. As matters stand, there is no actual, workable majority for pushing through Johnson’s deal intact. This Parliament has come to the end of its useful life.

How could the logjam be smashed? A two-thirds majority of MPs is required to trigger a general election. The first big question is whether Labour will go for this, or stall again. If the latter, the Tories might be able to find a majority of one to override the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act itself. The SNP wants an election before Alex Salmond’s trial early next year.

The problem is that, apart from taking more time, this route requires legislation which could be amended. There probably isn’t a majority of MPs in favour of a second referendum. Extending the franchise to 16 year-olds isn’t much of an issue either: time would be too short for them to register.

The real crisis would arise if they succeeded in granting European citizens the vote at general elections for the first time: they are entitled to take part in local and European elections so large numbers are already registered. It would be a scandalous attempt at gerrymandering: countries rarely allow non-citizens to vote in general elections, and such a change ought to require extensive debate. The Tories could lose several seats.


If it doesn’t believe that this is a risk worth taking, the Government would have to gang up with the SNP to engineer a motion of no confidence in itself, and try and push through an election in that way. Given that this scenario would take place in the face of a deal having being struck and our departure delayed, it is unlikely that an alternative parliamentary majority would suddenly coalesce around Jeremy Corbyn or some senior Remainer such as Ken Clarke. It would be game-on after 14 days.

But even if they manage to engineer an election without severe collateral damage, the Tories face another danger. Voters – or, more precisely, Leave voters – might blame Johnson for the delay to Brexit. I suspect – and the early polling evidence confirms this – that this won’t happen: they will pin the blame squarely on Remainer MPs, and will be encouraged to do so by clever social media campaigning from CCHQ.

The Brexit Party, meanwhile, is continuing to slowly lose support, and some of its MEPs back Johnson’s deal; the Tories hope that a robust election campaign would further substantially squeeze its support, playing on fears that splitting the Eurosceptic side might let in the Remainers. Some psephologists believe there is a group worth 7-8 per cent of the electorate that currently backs Nigel Farage’s party but who would never vote Tory. A Brexit Party vote of 15 per cent would destroy Johnson; but at half that level it would actually help him by keeping down the Labour share.

This is no time for cowardice. The Tories could lose the election, of course, but they are deluding themselves if they think they can win without one.

Read Allister Heath's latest column on telegraph.co.uk every Wednesday night from 9.30pm 
Title: Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
Post by: seafoid on November 01, 2019, 01:45:25 PM
https://www.ft.com/content/65453714-fa33-11e9-a354-36acbbb0d9b6

The point of departure: Lionel Barber on Brexit and beyond

The FT editor on the forces pulling Britain and Europe apart — and why the wrangling may have just begun

 In the Brexit saga, where many untruths have been told, nothing speaks more clearly than the official photograph marking the second day of negotiations between the British and EU delegations in Brussels. On the right is an all-male trio: David Davis, the former SAS reservist and longtime Eurosceptic bruiser elevated to the cabinet as Brexit secretary after the 2016 referendum. Davis is grinning broadly alongside Olly Robbins, his chief civil servant, and Sir Tim Barrow, permanent representative to the EU. (Robbins later took charge of the talks, only to be vilified by hardline Tories for selling out his country. He will shortly join Goldman Sachs.) On the EU side are two women and one man, Michel Barnier, the Gaullist from the Savoy Alps, a former French foreign minister and EU commissioner. Pen poised, the silver-haired Frenchman is flanked by his deputy Sabine Weyand and strategy chief Stephanie Riso, each with bulging dossiers conspicuously absent on the British side. Barnier combines detail with stamina. He reminds visitors that he spent 10 years of his life preparing to deliver the 1992 Winter Olympics. Two and a half years on, and many recriminations later, the impression of bluffers outmatched by hardened Eurocrats is hard to dispel. Whatever the final verdict on Boris Johnson’s withdrawal deal, Brexit has been a sobering experience for British statecraft. Heady talk about splitting the Europeans and isolating the Irish has come to nothing. Now Johnson has fired the starting gun on a general election on December 12, in effect a referendum on leaving the EU, the biggest shift in economic and foreign policy in half a century. Delegations led by the EU’s Michel Barnier, centre left, and the UK’s David Davis, centre right, mark the beginning of Brexit negotiations in July 2017

 Brexit has dominated the national conversation, dividing families, generations and regions. We’ve had our moments at the FT, especially on the merits of a second referendum. Too often the trivial has intruded: the precise date of the UK’s departure, the interminable extensions and, lately, the pyrotechnic posturing from Downing Street. Above all, Brexit has been about the past, about sins real and imagined in Britain’s tortured relationship with Europe. About the future, next to nothing constructive has been said. Brexit has been up close and personal for me. I spent six years as the FT’s Brussels bureau chief between 1992 and 1998. It was a life-changing experience, a chance to document Europe’s transformation after the end of the cold war: the launch of economic and monetary union and the prospective enlargement of the EU to former communist countries to the east. This month, I paid a last pre-Brexit visit to Brussels. My host is Jean-Claude Piris, an old friend who served for 22 years as the EU’s top lawyer. A permanent presence at dozens of European summits, he has seen everyone — Thatcher, Kohl, Mitterrand, Blair, Chirac, Merkel — in action. He also knows every nook and cranny in every EU treaty, from Maastricht to Lisbon via Amsterdam. We agree on the essentials. Britain’s departure from the EU is an act of self-harm, a strategic mistake that will leave the UK marginalised and the EU sorely diminished. Yet there is scant desire in European capitals to reverse course, still less to back a second referendum. Mentally, people have moved on. Britain was the useful troublemaker, never afraid of speaking truth to the French and Germans Even so, Piris observes, the world has changed since the 2016 referendum. America under Donald Trump is overtly hostile to the EU.

Transactional diplomacy has supplanted alliances. Europe finds itself squeezed between the US and China, with a menacing Russia on its eastern flank. Where does the UK sit? The UK once exerted serious influence in Brussels. From Margaret Thatcher on, the UK defended budget discipline and free trade; it championed enlargement to the east. “When was the UK recently outvoted?” says Piris. “Once, on bankers’ bonuses!” From my perch in Brussels, I witnessed ministers such as the clubbable Ken Clarke and John Gummer playing deft hands, supported by Sir John Kerr, Britain’s chain-smoking ambassador. In the Maastricht treaty negotiations, Kerr helped to secure opt-outs on monetary union, workers’ rights and justice and home affairs. To borrow a phrase, the British ended up having their cake and eating it. A Leave demonstrator talks to a Remain supporter outside Parliament © Andrew Testa/Panos Pictures Britain was the useful troublemaker, never afraid of speaking truth to the French and Germans, the big boys in the club. If diplomacy is about “manipulating the antagonisms”, the British were honest (and at times less than honest) power brokers. So how did it all go so badly wrong? A starting point is Hugo Young’s book This Blessed Plot, a magisterial account of postwar British ambivalence toward European integration. “Britain struggled to reconcile the past she could not forget with the future she could not avoid,” he wrote. But there is another side to the story: the rewriting of contemporary history, chiefly a Eurosceptic narrative whereby Britain is the victim of French-led plots or German ambitions for hegemony on the continent. This was true of the Thatcher era, and the Tony Blair-Gordon Brown years, from 1997 to 2010, when spin-doctors fed tabloids their pound of flesh. But the roots go deeper. Johnson cannot claim to be the founding father of Euroscepticism. That title probably goes to Enoch Powell, followed by the Tory backwoodsman Sir William Cash.

But Johnson deserves a special place in history, irrespective of what he may achieve in future. As Brussels correspondent of the Daily Telegraph (we overlapped), Johnson gave Euroscepticism a saucy, popular appeal. He wrote tall stories about new regulations banning bendy bananas. His banter about Jacques Delors, the stiff philosopher king and longtime president of the European Commission, was better than most. He was also highly competitive, once upbraiding me for having the impertinence to scoop him ahead of a summit, forcing him to follow up on a story which had the advantage of being true! The most surreal aspect [of Brexit] is that your political class has gone rogue One veteran Brussels official Johnson was never a Europhobe nor did he, to my knowledge, ever talk about Britain leaving Europe. But his message — repeated this month in his post-Brexit deal address to the House of Commons — has remained the same. “I don’t think I’ve heard a single member [of parliament] call for an ever closer union or ever deeper integration or a federal destiny — mon pays Europe”, Johnson told MPs. “And there is a whole side of that debate that you hear regularly in other European capitals that is simply absent from our national conversation and I don’t think that has changed much in the past 30 years.” Johnson’s conclusion: the UK has always comprised of “half-hearted Europeans”, despite its love and respect for European culture and civilisation, its sense of “shared destiny” and its continuing commitment to be a guarantor of peace and democracy on the continent. I have no problem with this portrait of national ambivalence to Europe. Britain did not suffer the trauma of defeat and occupation in the second world war. As an imperial power, it stood apart from postwar political and economic reconstruction in Europe. Britain enjoyed the Commonwealth and, until Suez, special status with America. My issue — as a wholehearted European — is how Johnson and others have exaggerated the federalist gremlin, ensuring it has loomed ever larger in the British psyche, defying political reality. The EU remains a hybrid, a mix of national sovereignty in defence, foreign policy and taxation, balanced against supranational powers in competition policy and monetary policy for the 19 members of the eurozone.

Maastricht, subsequently dismissed as an abomination, embodied this compromise which still holds good today. Minus the UK, the 27 members of the EU are simply too numerous and too diverse to form a “United States of Europe”. Yet the Tory party under successive prime ministers from Thatcher to Cameron has wilfully ignored the facts. Its constant mistake has been to misread the Germans, especially Chancellor Angela Merkel, and their enthusiasm for “political union”. Boris Johnson with European leaders at a Brussels summit in October © Reuters Time and again, the British have either assumed she was prepared to take a great leap ahead on integration or that she was willing to help the British out of a tight spot of their own making. Even at the height of her powers (and they are waning as she enters her own twilight zone), Merkel’s default position has been to keep her options open and defend the German national interest. Several Eurocrats interviewed for this article agreed that the Brussels summit in December 2011 marked a turning point for British diplomacy. France and Germany were battling to secure agreement on a “fiscal compact” to buttress the eurozone after the global financial crisis. In the early hours of the morning, Cameron, without forewarning, produced demands to protect the City of London and threatened a veto if he was rebuffed. European leaders, including Merkel, were outraged. They saw this as a domestic gambit to appease Eurosceptics on a matter of singular importance to eurozone members. So they simply ignored Cameron and secured an agreement among themselves, outside the EU treaties. The UK’s bluff had been called. The following Saturday, I bumped into Cameron at the 75th birthday party of a mutual friend in the grounds of Windsor castle. “Don’t be too hard on me,” said the prime minister, visibly shattered. From there, it has been downhill fast. A Conservative party in thrall to Nigel Farage. Cameron’s botched Brexit referendum. The dismal premiership of Theresa May, humiliated at home and in Europe. A Tory civil war without mercy. British influence has evaporated at a speed that has shocked the most hardened Eurocrats.

 “The most surreal aspect [of Brexit] is that your political class has gone rogue,” says a veteran Brussels official, citing the breakdown of co-operation between ministers and civil servants, once Britain’s greatest strength. “There is a complete disconnect with the politicians who don’t want to hear things any more. You now have the worst possible opposition (Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party) and a terrible government. Imagine if that happened to Germany.” The UK government has given up in Brussels, say EU diplomats. Ministers either pursue an empty chair policy or are “empty suits” contributing nothing to debate. Dominic Raab, the macho foreign secretary, made no friends when he rushed into a recent informal weekend meeting of EU foreign ministers, made a cursory intervention on Hong Kong and rushed out again. “Needlessly offensive,” says an official who was present. When Johnson finally achieved his lifetime ambition of high office, many a Eurocrat caught their breath. They remember his xenophobic wisecracks, especially the one comparing then French president François Hollande to a Colditz guard dealing out “punishment beatings” in retaliation for Brexit. The mot du jour for the new prime minister is “malin” — cunning or sly. But although they don’t trust him, many seem to like him. His charm is an asset, a relief from President Emmanuel Macron’s imperious style. There is grudging respect, too, for the premier’s strategy, squeezing Tory Remainers and Eurosceptic “Spartans” into supporting the withdrawal agreement. His ditching of the Democratic Unionist party displayed a killer instinct. After May, Johnson looks a more serious proposition. Several interviewed said they admired Johnson’s performance at the G7 summit in Biarritz in August. He backed Europe on Iran, defended the World Trade Organization and sought to bridge differences with Trump’s America First trade policy. After his Brexit deal, he spoke passionately to EU leaders about his schoolboy days in Brussels and his daughter singing to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, the European anthem. “It was a beautiful moment,” says one mildly seduced Eurocrat. Yet all this counts for nothing if Johnson is unable to get his deal through the House of Commons. It matters even less if he fails to forge a new relationship with the EU that protects the UK economy, given 44 per cent of total UK trade is with the continent. The dilemma is how to reconcile the European imperative with Johnson’s vision of a new “global Britain” outside the EU’s single market and customs union. The dozen or so top diplomats and officials I saw in Brussels were united on one point: there is an inescapable trade-off between access to the single market and divergence from its rules and standards. “There can be no cherry-picking,” said one. “No access to our market without access to your waters,” said another, referring to the vexed question of fisheries. In short, the level playing field in Europe’s single market must be preserved without exception. Johnson has boasted that he can achieve the most ambitious trade deal ever in record time, that is before the end of 2020 when the transition of current arrangements between the UK and the EU comes to an end. This is pie in the sky, say EU officials. In their estimation, the best Johnson can hope for is a “bare bones” free trade agreement with zero tariffs and zero quotas — but with regulatory checks at borders, which in turn negates the friction-free trade UK-based business desperately wants to preserve. The omens are not good. Even Anglophile countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have been unnerved by talk of creating a “Singapore on the Thames”, watering down Euro-regulations and unleashing competitive animal spirits. “The UK is too big and too close to the continent,” says one Brexit negotiator, “it could be too successful.”

A Remain supporter packs away his EU flag at the end of a day protesting outside Parliament Such sentiment reinforces suspicions among the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg, the pinstriped Tory revolutionary who has harrumphed about Britain’s “vassal” status in the EU single market and customs union. But hardened negotiators such as Barnier — who will be back at the table next year — are adamant that Europe will not be taken for suckers. “Zero tariffs, zero quotas, zero dumping,” he has told colleagues. Ideology is about to meet political reality. The UK will have to make hard choices. Singapore-style dereg¬ulation may appeal to one wing of the Brexit-voting coalition in the Tory shires, less so to the economically vulnerable areas. Ideology is about to meet political reality. The UK will have to make hard choices So will the UK choose a Norway-style position in cleaving close to Europe, following EU regulations and standards at the expense of an independent trade policy? Or will it choose to be a junior partner to the US, hoping for a more reliable White House successor to Trump? At home, Brexit continues to redefine domestic politics. Johnson’s deal creates a border in the Irish Sea, bringing unification between north and south of Ireland closer. Scotland, under Nicola Sturgeon, is pushing for a second independence referendum. Brexit has uncorked a new strain of English nationalism. No less than the unity of the UK is at stake. On the day of this month’s Brexit agreement, late in the afternoon, my cell phone rang. It was Boris Johnson. He was studiously courteous, inquiring if I had a few seconds to discuss his deal. Well, prime minister, it’s going to take a bit longer than that, I said. Johnson was well on top of his brief. After 10 minutes of back and forth, it was time to turn to the world after Brexit. To govern is to choose. Which way would he jump? “The choice is not a binary one,” he replied. In his mind, everything is sui generis. The UK could back Europe on foreign policy issues such as Iran, take a Singapore option on boosting the pharma sector and carve out bespoke trade deals with America and Europe. We agree to disagree. The “pick and mix” policy will not pass muster, not when it comes down to the detail. Brexit is arguably the most complex divorce in history. Negotiating a fresh relationship with Europe will require more than bluff. That snapshot of team UK and team Barnier should act as a reminder. The UK desperately needs a new narrative, one that reunites the country and sets a course for whole- and half-hearted Europeans alike. Johnson’s snap election is a high-risk breakout strategy, which could produce further fragmentation rather than give him a clear mandate. Whatever the outcome, hard choices are unavoidable. And we have only reached the point of departure.