Author Topic: Various bits re Brexit and Economics  (Read 11371 times)

seafoid

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #120 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.
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seafoid

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #121 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.
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seafoid

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #122 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.
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Rossfan

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #123 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.
1 BIG CUP and 1 Cupeen so far....

seafoid

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #124 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
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Eamonnca1

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #125 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.

seafoid

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #126 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?

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armaghniac

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #127 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.
If at first you don't succeed, then goto Plan B

seafoid

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #128 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 
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seafoid

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #129 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."

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seafoid

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #130 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
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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
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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.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2019, 06:51:36 AM by seafoid »
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seafoid

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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #131 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.
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Re: Various bits re Brexit and Economics
« Reply #132 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
 

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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
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