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A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jan 16th, 2017 at 10:03:11 AM EST

Theresa May to say UK is 'prepared to accept hard Brexit

In a speech to be delivered on Tuesday, the prime minister is said to be preparing to make clear that she is willing to sacrifice the UK's membership of the single market and customs union in order to bring an end to freedom of movement.

An article in the Sunday Telegraph cites "sources familiar with the prime minister's thinking" as saying that May is seeking to appease the Eurosceptic wing of her party by contemplating a "hard", or "clean", Brexit. In the speech to an audience of diplomats at London's Lancaster House May will hope to end months of speculation about her intentions by setting out her aims for Brexit. According to the Sunday Telegraph, she will say that the UK must:

  1. be prepared to leave the EU customs union;
  2. regain full control of its borders, even if that means losing access to the single market, and
  3. cease to be subject to rulings by the European court of justice.


It is unclear at this stage whether Theresa May is stating her final and non-negotiable end goals, or merely stating an opening negotiating position. Elsewhere in the article, Brexit Secretary David Davis is quoted as saying that the UK may be open to negotiating an initial transitional deal, because

"We don't want the EU to fail, we want it to prosper economically and politically, and we need to persuade our allies that a strong new partnership with the UK will help the EU to do that."

Aw schucks, thanks a bunch, your concern for the well being of the EU is noted...

Interestingly, the new hard line is being announced just as the EU's chief negotiator had signalled a possible softening of the EU's negotiating position:

According to unpublished minutes seen by the Guardian, Michel Barnier indicated that he wants the remaining 27 countries to have a "special relationship" with the financial markets of the City of London.

The paper said he told a private meeting of MEPs that work was needed to avoid financial instability once Britain left the bloc, according to a summary of the talks by the European Parliament. "Some very specific work has to be done in this area," he said, according to the minutes. "There will be a special/specific relationship. There will need to be work outside of the negotiation box ... in order to avoid financial instability."

The disclosure will encourage pro-Brexit MPs who have long argued that the UK will have more leverage in the negotiations than some critics have allowed.

However it is clear from Barnier's reference to "outside the negotiating box" that he, too, is referring to transitional measures to avoid financial disruption, not some kind of long term Brexit deal.

Meanwhile...

May's Brexit strategy is a recipe for trade war, says Corbyn

British Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of preparing to trigger a full-scale "trade war" with the European Union amid reports she is ready to pull Britain out of the single market.

In a ratcheting up of the Government's rhetoric, British Chancellor Philip Hammond signalled ministers could slash corporation tax rates if British exporters were faced with new tariff barriers outside the EU.

---<snip>---

Asked by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper if the UK's future was as the corporate "tax haven of Europe", the Chancellor said ministers were ready to change if they had to.

"If we have no access to the European market, if we are closed off, if Britain were to leave the European Union without an agreement on market access, then we could suffer from economic damage at least in the short-term," he said.

"In this case, we could be forced to change our economic model and we will have to change our model to regain competitiveness. And you can be sure we will do whatever we have to do.

"The British people are not going to lie down and say, too bad, we've been wounded. We will change our model, and we will come back, and we will be competitively engaged."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (below) said Ms May was pursuing an "extremely risky" negotiating strategy which could hit exports hard.

"It seems to me a recipe for some kind of trade war with Europe in the future.

"That doesn't really seem to me a very sensible way forward," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"She appears to be heading us in the direction of a bargain basement economy on the shores of Europe where we have low levels of corporate taxation, we will lose access to half our export market."

So the battle lines are becoming clear.  In order to regain control of EU immigration, the UK doesn't want to be part of the EU, the Single Market,  the Customs Union, or be subject to the rulings of the ECJ. But if the EU were to erect any kind of trade barriers in consequence, it would retaliate by reducing corporate tax rates in order to "regain competitiveness".  The fact that these remarks were delivered in an interview with a top selling German newspaper makes it clear that a shot across the bows is being delivered.

I can just see the EU leaders quaking in their boots. Not.

If anything this strategy just underlines how weak May's position is in her own party. In A Brexit doomsday scenario I wrote:

Thus, far from clarifying things, the political processes used to reinforce opposing negotiating mandates may help to transform the Brexit negotiating process from a rational process aimed at maximising mutual economic advantage to a political process required to keep domestic political oppositions at bay. Instead of trying to resolve differences, negotiators will be instructed to see the negotiations as a war between competing national interests where any concessions could be construed as a sign of weakness at home. The resignation of the UK ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, may be an early straw in the wind that this will indeed be the case.

In effectively declaring war on everything the EU stands for, May has just simplified what could have been a difficult and complex negotiation for the EU. Indeed it is difficult to see why the process should take the full two years:  The UK will simply leave the EU lock, stock and barrel although some transitional administrative mechanisms may be agreed. Sterling devaluation and UK corporate tax reductions will place EU economies at a clear competitive disadvantage.  The EU will have no choice but to impose swinging import tariffs in return.

If the UK wants to replace Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg  as the low corporate tax havens in Europe it will have to do so without easy access to EU markets. A trade war will probably result.  It is also clear from May's remarks, that almost no consideration has been given to the Peace process in N. Ireland, or to hard won improvements in the relationship between the UK and Ireland as a whole. Perhaps the UK hopes to use Ireland's desperation in this regard as a Trojan Horse in which to undermine the collective EU resolve. I suspect she will not succeed in this regard, and her decision to ignore Irish concerns will haunt the UK for generations to come.

It's war.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin'
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall
- Bob Dylan

Display:
Indeed. I think May is doing her level best to make it simpler to answer the question we often get: "when do you reckon you'll go back to France?"

Of course, upcoming French elections look like they are trying to make the answer more difficult...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Jan 16th, 2017 at 11:25:34 AM EST
Indeed, although as Luis de Sousa has noted, WTO rules may end up requiring that the UK allows foreign service providers to reside in the UK - which rather defeats one of the main purposes of Brexit.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 16th, 2017 at 11:38:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I am certain I will be legally allowed to stay.

But will I want to?
Will the economy tank strong enough that my employer encourages me to stay with another firm (in which case I might as well look for one elsewhere)?

If I felt enthusiastic about riding the crest of an incredibly inegalitarian dystopia, I would have considered one of the many job offers I got for Dubai or Qatar.
And here I'm not even sure I'd ride the crest - it seems to be aimed at a very, very tiny slice of the population. Preferably with a posh accent and private schooling.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Jan 16th, 2017 at 11:47:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Between the proverbial rock and hard place.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 16th, 2017 at 07:13:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK could become disunited as the end result of Cameron's efforts to achieve short term goals for the Conservative Party. Call it 'The New Conservation'. In order to save the United Kingdom it became necessary to disunite the kingdom.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 16th, 2017 at 07:22:32 PM EST
Trump's (and Putin's) Plan to Dissolve the EU and NATO. - TPM - Josh Marshall
Most people in this country, certainly most members of the political class and especially its expression in Washington, don't realize what Donald Trump is trying to do in Europe and Russia. Back in December I explained that Trump has a plan to break up the European Union. Trump and his key advisor Steve Bannon (former Breitbart chief) believe they can promise an advantageous trade agreement with the United Kingdom, thus strengthening the UK's position in its negotiations over exiting the EU. With such a deal in place with the UK, they believe they can slice apart the EU by offering the same model deal to individual EU states.
Trump and Bannon are extremely hostile to Merkel and eager to see her lose. But what is increasingly clear is that Trump will make the break up of the EU a central administration policy and appears to want the same for NATO.

My own view is that Trump and Bannon greatly overestimate America's relative economic power in the world. Their view appears to be that no European country will feel it is able to be locked out of trade with a US-UK trade pact. An America eager to break up the EU seems more likely to inject new life into the union. However that may be, Trump and Bannon clearly want to create a nativist world order based on the US, Russia and states that want to align with them. The EU and NATO are only obstacles to that goal.

by Bernard on Mon Jan 16th, 2017 at 08:51:57 PM EST
The US could certainly offer the UK a sweet deal, but didn't he campaign against free trade deals? Anything of use to the UK will go down like cold sick in the rust belt.

All foreign policy is disguised domestic policy, or at least it used to be. Is Trump really going to sacrifice  his re-election in 2020 to boost Putin? I mean, maybe Trump doesn't care for 2020 that much, after all, it could be a case of "President? Bin there, done that?". But Trump is too much of a narcissist to give it up that readily.

But then again, Trump just talks shit all the time anyway, it's not like it's a real policy commitment

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 16th, 2017 at 09:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump (and Bannon) seem to be following a classic divide and conquer policy: seeing Germany and the EU as their major rival - and ideological antagonist given its (relatively) socialistic social market tendencies - they make common cause with the EU's primary enemies, Farage, May and Putin, and seek to divide it by offering sweet deals to EU member states looking to find its weakest link.  

If Ireland is big enough to be on their map, it would be an obvious target, given its close cultural links to the US, and dependency on US FDI. Farage has openly touted Irexit as next on the list, in a couple of years, when Ireland sees the success the UK is going to make out of Brexit. Perhaps a United Ireland can be offered as a sweetener...

And it' not as if there aren't voices in Ireland eager to take the bait, thinking we can play off the EU against the US.  But this stuff is way above our league.  We have an unprecedentedly weak minority government which could be blown away by the slightest storm and N. Ireland is already showing renewed signs of instability with the collapse of the devolved government in the province.

The big issue here is whether Merkel's Germany is strong enough to provide sufficient leadership to ensure the stability of the EU.  Fighting Trump and Putin, even if for only 4 years, is not going to be easy, and fixing the Euro and the EU is not going to come cheap.  But first she must deal with her own far right in the German elections and then see off the multiple threats posed by Brexit. Merkel is being forced to become a major world leader late in her career and possibly against her will.  This could become an epic fail, or it could be a major triumph.  The stakes are the survival of the EU.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 01:10:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or perhaps they think that no sweeteners would be needed, because after hard Brexit and a hard border Ireland will have to regain tariff-free access to the UK market by leaving the EU as well and joining the UK in the North Atlantic Farage Trump Agreement...
by Gag Halfrunt on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 10:45:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit speech: Portillo says hard Border with North unlikely
As Theresa May prepares to outline Britain's plan for exiting the EU, former MP and deputy leader of the Conservative Party Michael Portillo says he does not anticipate a restoration of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

He told Newstalk Breakfast he believes the border will be outside Northern Ireland. People and goods will continue to move freely between North and South and Great Britain will impose controls between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, he said.

"It is essential that there will be no border of the old sort. We have to ensure that the benefits from the Good Friday Agreement and the new political reality survive."


A hard N.Ireland Republic border simply ain't going to happen - not that Portillo is a major player any more - but he still articulates mainstream Tory thinking.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 11:59:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And how does an effective UK/NI border go down with the DUP?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 07:10:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
probably not well, but they are an irrelevancy in terms of the larger picture.  Plus there are precedents with customs checks at sea and airports from/to N. Ireland/Britain up to the 1950's, and currently with US immigration staffing pre-clearance sections at Irish airports. Common Travel area
The CTA [Common Travel Area] was suspended on the outbreak of war in 1939, and travel restrictions were introduced between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland.[11] This meant that travel restrictions even applied to people travelling within the UK if they were travelling from Northern Ireland to elsewhere in the UK.
1952 agreement

After the war, the Irish re-instated their previous provisions allowing free movement[12] but the British declined to do so pending the agreement of a "similar immigration policy"[13] in both countries. Consequently, the British maintained immigration controls between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain until 1952, to the consternation of Northern Ireland's Unionist population.[14]

I'm not sure how customs controls would be applied in the same way as I'm sure the EU would want some involvement to ensure correct tariffs were applied and the UK might object to them operating on UK soil. (They could always staff the customs posts with extra-terrestrials...)

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 08:23:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's some suggestion that any customs would inevitably be on the UK Northern Ireland Border rather than between the two Ireland states.

internal passports for the UK shouldn't be introduced just to pander to the bigots in UKIP and the tabloid press

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 04:13:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People seem to confuse the Free Travel Area and the Customs Union. May made lots of reference to avoid a hard border within Ireland but that seems to refer mainly to people travelling freely on the Island.  How will EU/UK customs duties be administered - on the Border or at air/sea ports?  I've seen no discussion of that.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 11:56:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not seeing the gross problem here at all. As I recall, in the olden days it worked like this:

  • Non-commercial vehicles could cross the border at lots of places subject to security checks. No customs check normally. I'd hope the security checks won't become necessary, though there are no guarantees.

  • Commercial vehicles crossed at approved crossing with customs posts. I assume that this could be reinstated together with electronic pre-filing stuff to minimise the hassle.

I'm assuming visa free travel between EU and UK, with bilateral right-to-work between UK and IE. The right to work in UK for EU citizens is something they'll have to deal with internally.

The border problem then comes down to difficult details: what happens to EU citizens who have been banned from the UK for immigration law breaches, for instance?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 12:27:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm guessing something similar: passport checks at air/sea ports to weed out illegal immigrants and customs checks at air/sea ports with electronic documentation (goods passports) and perhaps random checks of commercial vehicles at or near border. Cue lots of smuggling by private cars and trailers but perhaps not on a sufficient scale to worry the EU in the grand scheme of things pending "a more permanent arrangement..."

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 12:37:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
https://twitter.com/APHClarkson/status/821822086226333699

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 12:13:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 12:45:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
https://twitter.com/APHClarkson/status/821822086226333699 This time with less laziness on my part

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 09:54:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Our User Guide provides some handy instructions to embed a tweet. Works well for me.
by Bernard on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 07:51:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit speech: May commits to `practical solution' for Irish border
UK prime minister Theresa May has committed to maintaining the common travel area with the Republic. Speaking on Tuesday about the objectives of the Brexit programme, Ms May said the UK government would "make it a priority to deliver a practical solution" as quickly as possible to the question of the land border with the Irish State.

"Nobody wants to return to the borders of the past," said the prime minister. "The family ties and bonds of affection that unite our two countries mean that there will always be a special relationship between us," she said, adding that maintaining the common travel area with Ireland would be "an important part of the talks".



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 12:25:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, Merkel has been a major world leader for more than a decade. That is one of the main reasons the EU is now dying. The xenophobe nationalists that now serve the role of antagonist in official accounts grew on the anti Greek hate campaign run by the conservative establishment to prop up her policies.
And I'd say the Trump people view the EU as an irrelevancy more than an opponent. If they really go ahead with their attack on the current world trade system then the obvious opponent is China. And Germany to a lesser extent. If you go with non crazy.
by generic on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 11:06:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would argue the reverse: that Merkel hasn't been a major global leader up until now precisely because she hasn't taken up the burdens of responsibility to lead the EU and Eurozone which have fallen on her unwilling shoulders.  Her one major outlier decision - to take in a million refugees - threatens to backfire politically - while the rest of her reign has been to follow the path of least resistance all the while eliminating potential rivals within her own party.  Now the challenges are of an altogether greater scale - Trump threats to NATO and German exports, Brexit threat to EU, Le Pen and other eurosceptics threat to the internal stability of the EU.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 12:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Talking about responsibility that falls on leaders is well and good as rhetoric to maybe once get them to do the right thing. It is also important for apportioning blame. But I don't think it is very useful if you want to describe actual behavior. Did Angela Merkel and her government exercise the power that dysfunctional institutions and the collapse of old certainties afforded them? I'd argue that they did. They enforced an ideological vision that is indistinguishable from a smash and grab operation. Everywhere they went for narrow short term benefits in term of politics, economics and petty moralizing. Which admittedly is no strong difference to other major world leaders.
On reflexion I'm not sure how helpful this contribution is but everything that smacks like "If the czar only knew ..." sentiment is a bit of a red flag for me.
by generic on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 12:26:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would read Merkel's actions as those of a German real politician who challenged German orthodoxies only when she had to.  Even her decision to allow in a million refugees could be read in the context of a declining German population and work force.  Greece was dispensable (and an opportunity for moralising) and Brexit is an opportunity to make the EU more cohesive under German domination if not total control.  

The problem arises if Le Pen or ongoing Italian crises threaten the future of the Eurozone/EU - both institutions which have benefited Germany more than anyone. She could (somewhat uncharacteristically) take the initiative and campaign on the basis of a strong Germany/EU post Brexit with enhanced security cooperation, economic integration and social cohesion taking advantage of an improving economic situation and anti-Trump/Brexit sentiment especially if Macron wins or Le Pen doesn't.

I'm not close enough to German politics to assess the likely strategies and outcomes.  Anyone up for a diary on the German elections?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 12:52:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fiscal integration ain't coming even if the arms were to fall off due to rotting. There is no political mandate anywhere for it. Money talks louder than words, the crises will be bandaged over but not solved. The best we can hope for is a true banking union. Merkel is a minimal movement politician, certainly not one to take preemptive action. Her modus is to let things stand until they're well cooked (or decomposed) and then jump in.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 07:22:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Trump people view the EU as an irrelevancy a prey more than an opponent.
FIFY

I'm not buying the "isolationist" shtick, not when Breitbart is setting shop in Germany and in France, not when Trump plans fast track trade deals to splinter European countries.

Predators don't attack "irrelevancies", the do attack preys.

by Bernard on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 07:37:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All the signs are there. Storm is brewing, and the EU is looking manifestly underprepared.
by Bjinse on Tue Jan 17th, 2017 at 08:31:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With right and Left Wing Populism on the rise in the US I suspect any fast-track trade deals are DOA in Congress.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 07:02:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congress will do what its Ueberklass lords and masters tell it to do, the Ueberklass is gradually roping right wing populism back into its "proper" role of being useful idiots promoting an agenda that is against their own interests, and the left will continue to be ignored.
by rifek on Tue Jan 24th, 2017 at 05:44:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel's problem may turn out to be that she cannot wait until her internal right wing problem is resolved to deal with the whole issue of making the EMU functional and defending the EU. In that case would she even make much of an effort?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 04:51:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel's problems will probably be resolved one way or the other by the German National elections in September. If she wins and heads up a new grand coalition with the socialists she will be able to take the initiative and take whatever line she wants with Brexit and Trump and perhaps introduce some reforms in the Eurozone (although I'm not aware of much appetite for that in Germany).

She could even become a visionary leader and propose a new EU Treaty encompassing greater military/security cooperation, greater fiscal integration, and some social market reforms post Brexit provided Le Pen does not win the General election in France in May and particularly if former Minister for the Economy Emmanuel Macron wins.

If she loses or if the AfD do spectacularly well she is probably history. I'd love if someone here who is closer to French and German politics than I did a diary on how those elections are shaping up.  How will Brexit and Trump influence the outcome?  Will they energise the hard right or serve as a warning as to what can happen if the hard right wins?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 11:31:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should say, by way of clarification, that this diary was written based on leaks of her propose script and before her speech was actually delivered. In her actual speech she did mention the Common Travel Area and the historic bonds of mutual affection between Ireland and the UK and on a need to not return to the hard border of the pre-Peace Process era.  (Whether this was as a result of a phone call from Taoiseach Enda Kenny the night before, or whether the leaks were simply incomplete is unclear). Certainly that part of her speech was not trailed in the extensive pre-delivery leaks.

However her reference to the Free travel area does not clarify how any customs border between the UK and EU will operate within Ireland. Nowadays you have to have your passport to fly from an Irish airport to the UK in any case.  But will customs controls take place at air and sea ports in N. Ireland, or along the 500km land border?

In fairness, that question can only be resolved in negotiations with the EU and with Ireland, but she did not state what her negotiation objective was in this regard.  Perhaps no need to worry N. Ireland Unionists unduly in that regard just yet...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 03:27:39 PM EST
You need photo ID to travel NI to mainland UK too - airport and ferries both require it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 03:52:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Photo ID is required for young people to get into night clubs. Electronic passports can be instantly checked for nationality, visas, criminal record, immigration status etc. and used to record your movements and so provide a much greater level of control. A lot of people don't have passports and presumably Unionists would object to them being required for travel within the UK. Effectively the UK would be relying on Irish immigration controls to control immigration into N. Ireland but then people aren't exactly queueing up to live in N. Ireland anyway...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 04:34:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
people aren't exactly queueing up to live in N. Ireland anyway...

Even Syrians and Iraqis? Is North Ireland really that bad?....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 04:38:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The economy is depressed, the society is still often cliquish, homophobic and sectarian, and loyalist gangs have been known to attack foreigners when they don't have easy access nationalists... They like to keep to their own kind.  It's improving slowly in some respects, but it would be a tough place for a Syrian or Iraqi to integrate into and I'm not aware that many have tried or been given the opportunity.  In contrast, Syrian refugees are being welcomed into rural Irish towns although the numbers have been small to date.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 04:57:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, yes it is.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 04:59:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect if you have been living in Aleppo Belfast would feel like a haven of tranquillity...  However for all the talk of mass immigration the UK Government have let in almost no refugees.  For that reason alone, I hope post Brexit UK rots in hell. Say what you like about Merkel, but taking in a million refugees, even if poorly planned, was a huge act of generousity. The EU has been a bit of a disaster on refugees but it has still been a lot more welcoming than the UK.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 05:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would dispute that it was generous as the motivation was to serve German interests (of the company owner kind mostly), but it sure was positive for the refugees, who deserve all the help they can find.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 08:15:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would dispute that there was any plan or decision at all.

I used to believe that Merkel's decision to help a few thousand stranded refugees triggered the wave of hundreds of thousands that came after. But I stand corrected. The wave was well underway, anyway. They were simply surprised like a deer in headlights. The German government was overwhelmed by the wave that had been swelling for years though they should have seen that coming. Merkel acknowledged as much, saying she wished that they could go back in time and be more prepared. But in the same speech she proceeded to defend her 'decisions' as right. That is a double bluff.

First, the notion that there was a conscious decision. Nobody wakes up one day and thinks that we need a million asylum seekers this year. The truth is more disturbing than that: it was a near total loss of control. But still many people (pro and contra) think that a million people were deliberately let in. Why is that impression allowed to linger in the public discourse? Because Merkel still wants the Mother Theresa bonus? Because the truth would set off even more negative atavistic responses?

Secondly, the notion that we will definitely 'make it' aka "Wir schaffen das!" a subclause uttered in a press conference that was hyped by the press to the levels of a national motto. This is an actual bluff out of a motivational training seminar. It's obviously not black and white. There will be success stories, disasters, and everything in between. But the sheer numbers, the culture shock problems, the inadequacies of the system etc. will produce a large permanent new underclass along ethnic lines. A very unhealthy development for society. The bluff was predicated on the idea that long-standing social problems would be solved in short order because... now it's urgent?!

In light of that, the British attitudes look totally selfish, indecent, cynical, inhuman, and, I hate to say, somewhat rational.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 06:42:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is allowed to linger because the worst look for a government is irrelevancy. And the positive side effect of Merkel's undeserved humanitarian aura is that you can now vote for humanism and Angela Merkel or Conservative values and the CDU. With one cross.
And given the lack of funding at the local level we mind amend it to "Wir schaffen das, solangs nichts kostet."
by generic on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 07:13:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bearing in mind that the EU (/Schengen area/Eurozone) is a hybrid entity with institutions and mechanisms entirely inadequate and often unfit for purpose, these contradictions are going to be shown up every time there's a crisis.

Examples : Currency with no economic convergence nor governance. Borderless travel zone with no coherent external border. Etc.

Merkel came up against that when a million refugees/migrants are trying to get to Germany (or preferably Sweden, but Germany will do). In a crisis, you improvise. Crisis = opportunity, so yeah, a demographic rejuvenation and cheap labour force probably came into it too... but I sincerely believe that, had she not opened the border, there would have been massacres further east.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jan 23rd, 2017 at 08:17:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why I take the view that whatever the proximate motivations, the inadequacy of the planning and institutions, and the problems that a large ethnic underclass will create, Merkel's actions (or inactions) did have the effect of mitigating a huge humanitarian crisis.  She is going to be pilloried for it by the hard and not so hard right.  So I don't think the left should be too churlish about giving her some credit.  There is no easy way to absorb a million traumatised refugees.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 23rd, 2017 at 08:39:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another piece of the puzzle, from a comment at FT:


The article failed to address a key issue for a US trade agreement, that the Trump administration's Trade Promotion Authority (i.e., Fast Track) runs out in mid 2018 and even an extension would only apply to trade agreement actually being formally negotiated during that authority.

Fast track essentially puts any trade deal negotiated by an administration to a straight up or down vote in Congress, i.e., no amendments (and constitutionally it has to go to Congress.)   It is virtually impossible to do any sort of trade deal with a US administration that lacks 'fast track' because every senator or congressman/woman can tack on amendments to the ratification legislation, in effect changing the deal in the house or senate.  The trouble is that it takes years for an administration to negotiate Fast Track renewal out of Congress - and that is when it is pro-trade.  Trump is anti-trade deals as is current US political rhetoric - and who knows what will happen in the 2018 US midterm elections, especially in the house, or how much political capital Trump will have.



You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2017 at 07:54:35 PM EST
Hard Brexit would shrink Irish Economy
Economic modelling work undertaken by the department and the ESRI suggests that GDP, a measure of the size of the economy, would be 3.5 per cent smaller after five years and 4 per cent smaller after 10 years than it would have been without Brexit.

Exports to the UK will fall by 30 per cent, the models suggest, while total exports will be 4 per cent smaller. Officials said that the 4 per cent figure was "at the lower end of expectations".

The fall in exports to the UK will be driven by the imposition of tariffs under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules if Britain is outside the EU's customs union. Ms May indicated this week that the UK would leave the customs union but is likely to seek some sort of arrangement with the EU that reduces or eliminates tariffs. However, the EU reaction all week has been cool at best.

Department of Finance chief economist John McCarthy told the committee that if Britain leaves the customs union and WTO rules are applied, exports of meat to the UK will be subject to a 50 per cent tariff, dairy and eggs a 25 per cent tariff, and processed meat would attract a 35 per cent tariff.

Unemployment would be 1 per cent higher after 10 years, while there would be 2 per cent - 40,000 people - fewer people at work, the department's models predict.

The secretary-general of the department, Derek Moran, cautioned that the models should serve as a guide "to where you should be looking" rather than as absolute predictions. He also said that the models did not include any policy response from the Government which might be implemented to meet the challenges of Brexit.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 03:36:59 PM EST
In Europe we see only one loser from Brexit - and it won't be us - Jean Quatremer - Guardian
Threatening that Britain will become a tax haven if it doesn't get what it wants amounts to childishness: such a solution might be possible for a micro-state without its own industry, but not for a country like Britain.

Can anyone imagine the other EU nations allowing their companies and capital to relocate to the UK without responding in some way? Would Britain's new American ally, which has threatened its own companies if they offshore their profits, allow May to transform her country into some kind of aircraft carrier for tax optimisation? ...

Even worse for May, she should not count on the 27 governments dividing on this issue. They have a huge amount to lose politically if they approve an agreement favourable to the Brexiteers, which would only reinforce their own national europhobes. Seen in this light, a soft exit is not only technically meaningless, it is politically absurd. On the other hand, any agreement must be unanimously ratified by the 27. If not, in March 2019, Britain will simply be out. To divide the remaining member states is to ensure there will be no deal. In short, you can twist Brexit any way you like, but I see only one loser. And it is not on the continent.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 at 07:00:38 PM EST
from the ever helpful Boris Johnson...
Boris Johnson to France: no WW2-style punishment beatings over Brexit
At a foreign policy conference in Delhi, Johnson said: "If Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who seeks to escape [the EU], in the manner of some world war two movie, I don't think that is the way forward. It's not in the interests of our friends and partners."

His words came only 24 hours after Theresa May reminded her cabinet ministers in her Lancaster House speech to show restraint by warning "any stray word" could make securing a Brexit deal more difficult.

Although the French government declined to respond to Johnson's remarks, Guy Verhofstadt, the lead Brexit negotiator for the European parliament, branded them "abhorrent and deeply unhelpful".

British politicians accused Johnson of being unfit to head the diplomatic service. Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: "This is an utterly crass and clueless remark from the man who is supposed to be our chief diplomat.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 20th, 2017 at 12:57:03 PM EST
Basil Fawlty for Foreign Minister! "Don't mention the War!"

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jan 23rd, 2017 at 10:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still don't understand why Joghnson decided to pick up a fight with Hollande, of all people: a guy who is about as aggressive as a pot of custard cream.
by Bernard on Thu Jan 26th, 2017 at 08:38:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson is just engaging in childish Punch and Judy repartee where anyone can play the Judy role.  Anyone with name recognition or who can be stereotypes in some way - as in Frenchie, Frog.. etc.  not at all racist, of course...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 26th, 2017 at 08:55:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Stakes Are Clear | Jacobin -
May's speech, however, crosses a Rubicon. There is hardly anyone to the left of Philip Hammond who can think the future proposed by her government is a good idea. So it falls to the Labour Party to lead the opposition. With admirable clarity, Corbyn denounced the proposals emanating from May and Hammond for making Britain into "a bargain basement economy off the coast of Europe." This is a step forward, since Corbyn hasn't always been particularly aggressive on this issue, no doubt in part because of the Left's ambivalence about defending membership of the single market. But that -- negotiated access to the single market with the free movement of labor that entails -- is Corbyn's logical position, and he should be blunt in saying so.

But Corbyn's attack was immediately compromised by the response of the shadow minister for Brexit, Keir Starmer, who said of May's speech that "it is good that she has ruled that hard Brexit out at this stage," an astonishing interpretation. Starmer was not wholly uncritical but, as a conventional figure from the Labour soft right, who enjoys close relations with liberal Tories, he presumably thought it best to sound a diplomatic note. He is, either way, utterly ineffectual in his role -- as he must be, given his attempt to square opposition to "hard Brexit" with immigration-bashing.

Meanwhile, those Labour backbenchers who, having been beaten twice, are now mithering Corbyn for a "clear" position on Europe, while not entirely without a point, also lack clarity themselves. Since many of them are pressuring Corbyn to sound "tough" on immigration controls, they can't straightforwardly call for a pro-single-market position. And yet, what is their alternative? And what is the alternative among Corbyn's allies who think it's possible to restrict free movement as a sop to UKIP politics? Can they seriously believe, for a second, that the European Union will offer them an a la carte menu when it wouldn't offer one to Theresa May?

by generic on Tue Jan 24th, 2017 at 08:30:04 AM EST
While I have no doubt that there is anger in former Labour Party strongholds at excessive immigration in general, I have never seen it expressed against other EU citizens in particular, many of whom are regarded as hard working and decent and with a cultural background not too dissimilar to the British themselves.  

The unspoken resentment is against Pakistani and Indian immigrants transforming whole cities and neighbourhoods into Asian colonies.  How is leaving the EU, never mind the Single Market and Customs Union going to address that, particularly if Asian countries require increased visa access to the UK for their citizens as part of any trade deals?

In cutting themselves off from the Continent, Britons risk entering into a reverse colonisation process where the greater bargaining power of China and India forces them into a subjugated role.  I don't think that is quite what UKIP had in mind or what Labour should be fighting for. Has Corbyn no imagination or leadership qualities?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 24th, 2017 at 12:00:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the battle lines are becoming clear.  In order to regain control of EU immigration, the UK doesn't want to be part of the EU, the Single Market,  the Customs Union, or be subject to the rulings of the ECJ.

I suspect Tessie has been weighing which Tory faction is driving the bus or can take the wheel from her to the extent she's driving it, and she's concluded her closet UKIPers are enough of a threat that she needs to lead with anti-immigration, even at the expense of the party's business wing.  But if the money people make the wind shift, I would expect her to tack so hard you'll hear the masts creak.

by rifek on Tue Jan 24th, 2017 at 05:29:10 PM EST
But she is willing to allow more immigration from Australia and US, but not from India. I'm sure there's a pattern here, I just can't see it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 24th, 2017 at 05:32:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Immigration from India will sure be massively reduced from the end of free movement that they enjoyed as EU citizens.
Oh, is India no longer part of Europe? How time flies...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jan 24th, 2017 at 09:53:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a suspicion she's interested only in white Australians and Americans.
by rifek on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 02:32:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea - Obama will be at the back of the queue if he wants a Knighthood deal...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 10:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if she knows non-white Americans exist in real life?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 10:47:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if she knows there are nonwhite Australians.
by rifek on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 02:40:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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