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Whistling in the wind...

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jul 17th, 2017 at 11:41:15 PM EST

Participating, as I do, in various discussion forums outside of the European tribune, I am always struck by how hostile Brexiteers are to the EU project as a whole, and then, in the next breath, still seem to expect the EU to cut them a generous deal in the Brexit talks.

As a general rule, if you are hoping to get a good deal from a negotiating adversary, it is not a good idea to keep telling them how much you hate them and wish them ill. Yet Theresa May has recently promoted a Minister who said that the EU has failed on its own terms and should be "torn down".

Increasingly, it seems, Brexiteers are also seeking to use Ireland as a Trojan horse with which to divide the EU and weaken the EU negotiating position. On the one hand you have Nigel Farage arguing that Ireland would be far better off throwing it's lot in with the UK and leaving the EU, and on the other hand the UK appears to be hoping to use Ireland's dependency on UK trade as a means to force the EU to concede generous free trade terms to the UK post Brexit.

So what is it the UK wants? Ireland leaving the EU with the UK to reinforce Brexit, or Ireland within the EU to weaken the EU's resolve to drive a hard bargain? Either way, the Irish Government has shown no sign of deviating from the common EU27 negotiating position.

Boris Johnson recently told the Commons that the EU can "go whistle" if it thought the UK were going to pay what he considered an extortionate exit payment - to which Michel Barnier replied that he could hear no whistling, merely the sound of a clock ticking...

Meanwhile normally reticent and discreet Irish Ministers express increasing frustration at the lack of a coherent plan for Brexit coming from UK Ministers, making planning for Brexit almost impossible.

This soap opera is going to run and run, and we're only into season 1!


Display:
They want not to be doing Brexit: almost none of  them ever wanted to win, they have no plan, still no idea what to do and are still negotiating with the tabloids and backbenchers rather than with the EU.

They can't think how to cancel it with their careers intact, so they're lost.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 08:18:26 AM EST
I can't speak for the private beliefs of senior Tory Brexiteers, but many of the (mostly older) ordinary Brits I meet (mostly in Spain) are true believers in Brexit mostly because they believe there are too many immigrants in the UK. Many of these self-described "expats" are living illegally in Span as they have not registered to pay income and other taxes in Spain and some have even imported cars for the UK without paying duty or road tax.

I think we also run the risk of under-estimating the effects of 40 years of anti-EU propaganda in the UK media.  The vehemence of anti-EU sentiment on popular fora is often in direct proportion to their ignorance of what the EU actually does and how it operates. Many are surprised to learn that the "Brussels Bureaucracy" is smaller than the staff of Derbyshire County Council and that virtually all EU measures were explicitly approved by the UK Government - if not actually championed by it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 10:21:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't doubt any of that: I just don't believe any one who's meant to be implementing this shit believes it's a good idea. That they've fooled a stack of hypocritical racists into supporting it against their own interests and now don't know how to stop what they've started is part of the problem.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 11:29:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And spare me the "They're not racist, they just don't like darkies/slavs/whatever the fuck their excuse is today".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 11:30:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have pointed out many times that the only discernable difference between immigrants and expats is related to skin colour.  Somehow Brits are entitled to travel/settle anywhere in the world they feel like on their own terms whereas darkies are not. It's not even entirely a matter of money as many Brits on fixed pensions are feeling the pinch of sterling devaluation. They have no difficulty using Spanish public services they haven't paid for and complaining if they don't like what they get.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 01:06:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no "somehow". Brexit is in an instance of Anglo narcissism, which has been the defining characteristic of both English and US political theory since the days of Henry VIII.

Of course there are instances of narcissism in other countries. But the UK and particularly the US elevated narcissism to the official state religion.

In the UK's case, we look back fondly to our days as a pirate state when our ships terrorised the Atlantic. And then we look back even more fondly to the stately days of the Georgian period when our financial, legal, educational, and military systems coalesced into a superbly efficient wealth extraction machine.

All of the nonsense about "freedom" - which under capitalism means the freedom to act irresponsibly, even criminally, for personal profit in business - and "independence" all boil down to a holy and sanctified state of personal and tribal exceptionalism.

The EU an affront to that, because it is clearly a superior power. So are immigrants because they infringe on the sacred right of narcissistic bigots to define their own social borders and exclude those they deem unworthy.

Facts and logic themselves cannot be allowed to intrude into the holy sanctum of selfish ignorance which characterises this tribal mindset.

Most European countries have first hand experience of the effects of this kind of nonsense. They've moved on.

The UK and US haven't. They're still stuck firmly in the 18th/19th centuries, refighting the same imperial battles and winning the same imaginary wars.

Why do less educated voters support this, even though they're damaged by it? Because they identify with it. They define themselves as oppositional-defiant warriors against external invaders and usurping authorities.

As an aside, one of the interesting things achieved by Corbyn is to recapture some of that oppositional-defiant ground from the Tories. If he can finish that, the Tories will lose the working classes completely.

This isn't the entirety of the Anglo psyche because we still have a strongly cosmopolitan middle class with broader horizons. But it's a foundational element, especially for certain demographics.

It's difficult to imagine them changing their minds. They'll simply have to die out before the UK - or whatever is left of it - can move on.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 10:04:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that the effect of never having been successfully invaded (except by that one French guy)?

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 12:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with this analysis 100%, but I cannot bring myself to agree with the conclusion no matter how strongly it might follow. There is no workable choice but to move beyond cultures, US, UK, limited by such a large portion of the population having their ego development arrested at age 10 - 15. But that is about as far as most authoritarians can get - well short of autonomy. And that is the problem. People who are not autonomous functioning adults are victims seeking their manipulators.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 05:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes you think we're going to make a workable choice?  If Churchill ever actually said, "Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted," he was being optimistic.
by rifek on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 01:39:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, yes and yes.
Shades of Jerome's "Anglo disease' we used to witter about here more than a decade ago.
Italy is still coming to terms with losing the Roman Empire.
After trolling the EU for so long, the Tories' final act of leaving is the biggest trolling of all.
Not that the EU doesn't need as massive a reality check too!
I hoped Greece would have done that, but no...
Britain even more so, but no sign of change yet in the august halls of Brussels.
Teresa May's attitude of 'We'll show those wops who's boss' is just so off the charts stupidly disrespectful it feels like an episode of Fawlty Towers.
Or a new form of suicide vest with which they're planning to drag the rest of Europe down into hell with them.
The woman is as delusional and power-lustful as Hillary.
And her husband financing arms deals is Mark Thatcher redux.
Christ on a crutch, this clusterfuck is becoming more surreal every day.

Two bands of crooks arguing on sharing the loot.
That always ends well...
 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 07:35:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This sounds about right... The British and Their Exceptionalism by Simon Tilford on 3 May 2017
On the face of it, Brexit looks like a protest vote by the left behind. But the underlying reason is the hubris and ignorance of much of the British elite, not just the eurosceptics among it. They are less worldly than they imagine themselves to be.  Their exaggeration of British political and economic power has fed the idea that Britain can afford to leave the EU, indeed flourish outside of it. And they have tacitly encouraged the poor and insecure to blame their problems on EU membership, in order to shift attention from domestic policy failures. This message has been reinforced by a stridently eurosceptic, and sometimes xenophobic, print media. The country's responsible papers have been loath to call out the xenophobic ones, either out of exaggerated respect for Britain or growing indifference to the country.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 07:47:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention the fact that the "responsible" and xenophobic papers often have the same owners and so are somewhat reluctant to attack each other...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 09:55:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most countries have some kind of exceptionalist nationalist myths which describe why they are a distinct nation in the first place and incorporate lots of narcissism, vanity and conceits.  For smaller, weaker countries that is often part of their charm, incorporating lots of self-depreciation, irony and black humour. Shure aren't we Irish great altogether...

It is only when countries are, or have been very powerful that these myths are widely believed to be demonstrably true, and become pernicious and often dangerous to the well-being of all.  Think "Master Race" in Nazi Germany. Think Americans can do no wrong and have no need to be subject to international conventions and courts on war crimes etc.

In the case of the UK it is largely a residue of Empire, of being pioneers in the industrial revolution, and having "won" two world wars. Brexiteers will deny all that and conveniently forget that the UK was an industrial basket case in the 1970's before it joined the EU.

It is the left wing Brexiteers, often Corbynistas, that I find more interesting. They see the EU as a creature of global capitalism and decry its lack of democratic accountability. But I wonder if it is the EU's sheer scale and complexity which is beyond their imagination. The EU project does not fit well with "Small is Beautiful" local initiatives and accountability.

I find it extraordinary that they think that the "bonfire of regulations" promised by brexiteers will make the UK anything other than a much smaller, weaker, client state of international capitalism. They give the EU no credit for many of the progressive policies it has championed, for human rights, social market and environmental Directives and Charters, and seem to take many of the Murdock media myths about the EU at face value.

That they feel powerless to shape the direction of the political monster that the EU is unquestionably heart felt and largely true. The EU cannot respond to the felt needs of some demographics in some member states to the exclusion of many other demographics. The requirement for unanimous agreement to any fundamental change makes all change difficult. I just fail to see how Brexit, especially in the form it is taking, will address any of these problems.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 10:25:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Propaganda works.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 10:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're assuming the possibility of a level of rational insight that is wholly absent in at least half the British population.

If you can't think rationally, the pro-Brexit narrative is simple and self-supporting.

Our experiences with empire and nationalism have been wholly positive. Nationalism repelled Napoleon and Hitler, defeated the Nazis, civilised the Commonwealth (sic), and made the UK an international leader in trade, technology, finance and law.

There is no downside. There is no acknowledged history of concentration camps, state violence, racial or religious genocide, class warfare and state repression, or formal censorship of the press.

We're simply not that kind of country.

Of course we are that kind of country. The UK's history of exploitation and brutality both home and away is long and impressive. But we've always been terribly polite and understated about it at home, and that makes it very easy to pretend we don't do that stuff.

You have to have a better than average understanding of British history to know this. Most of the population doesn't.

The national narrative is set by a far-right press dominated by the creations of a proto-fascist public school system, with recent help from an increasingly propagandising and pro-Tory BBC. There's plenty of jingoism and an endless stream of trivial distraction, which leaves no room at all for realistic self-awareness.

Even most Remainers consider the political and moral system of the UK to be functional and perhaps even internationally outstanding. Counter-examples - of which there are many - are aberrations, not evidence of systemic failure or corruption.

So naturally our problems must be caused elsewhere. Why not the EU? Not only is it a jumped-up cabal of former enemies who only wish us harm and want to put us in our place, but it's also corrupt, evil, self-destructive, irrational, and wholly unfit for purpose.

By a neat trick - the psychologists call it projection - we can tell ourselves we're the shining white (sic) crusaders of freedom and prosperity by exporting all of our worst characteristics and persuading ourselves they originate in the EU.

If only the EU had no influence, they would surely disappear and heaven on earth would be restored. The UK would magically able to prosper without the face-crushing jackboot of EU oppression and its evil immigrant and refugee minions polluting our streets and houses.

And so, Brexit. You and I may think is nuts - because it is. But it's the best explanation of the mental and emotional justifications I've been able to patch together from an outsider's view of the madness.

Apparently we're going to have to find out for ourselves what nationalism really means before we can rediscover our identity as a country.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jul 24th, 2017 at 05:38:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, nailed it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 24th, 2017 at 06:27:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All of this is in evidence in almost any UK newspaper comments column which these days tend to attract thousands of rabid nationalist comments. You'd think the UK had been invaded and that expats will require rescuing a la Dunkirk.

It's just that I had expected more from self identified socialists and Corbynistas...

We seem to be witnessing a weird inversion of history where Merkel becomes Hitler and "Brussels Bureaucrats" are deemed to be Nazi functionaries - all in an attempt to distract from and justify a turn in English politics which IS a true forerunner of Fascism.

I wonder will England ever experience a moment of truth where they realise they are no longer the good guys of history and have become the outcasts of history?  What would it take? A complete implosion of the UK economy? Another failed military adventure a la Iraq? They weren't enough last time.

The more the UK travels in the direction of Fascism the more I find myself actually wanting a hard Brexit even though it would cause considerable economic disruption in Ireland and a destabilisation of Northern Ireland. It's one thing Hungary/Poland regressing towards fascism, but accommodating a fascist UK would simply be too much for the stability of the EU to survive.

So far, remarkably, the EU side has seemed more united, cohesive, organised and coherent when, with 27 members, it ought to be in chaos. How has it come to pass that the UK (and it's class system) is even more unstable and incoherent than the EU?  That is some failure of leadership.
.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 24th, 2017 at 07:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even a half fascist UK would be a serious danger to the region: unlike Poland or Hungary, it has one of the largest militaries on the continent and is not afraid to use it. The growing xenophobia and painting of the EU as "the enemy" combined with the slow motion train wreck which passes for Brexit negotiation are cause for concern to all of us.
by Bernard on Tue Jul 25th, 2017 at 06:55:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not worried about military action. We're still members of NATO and even in the depths of fascist delusion that's considered a good thing and not a bad one.

To answer Frank - I don't think the economy really did implode in 2008. It wobbled hard but recovered.

A full implosion would see currency controls, government theft of savings, power cuts, food shortages and/or rationing, mass evictions because of debt, a travel ban, and rioting - basically Greece but worse.

That would certainly dissuade future generations from having an overly positive view of the UK's history and prospects.

Most people here lack the imagination to understand how things work until they experience them personally. Iraq and 2008 were news items, which means they were entertainment, not reality. Even debates about student loans and the NHS seem faintly academic.

A personal experience of empty supermarkets and rolling power cuts would be something else entirely. Some of us are lucky (?) to have known people in other countries who have had these experiences, so we know they're possible and have some idea how to survive them.

Most British people are cocooned in a reality where a breakdown at that level is literally unthinkable. They're completely unprepared. And given the criminal networks that exist in bigger cities, it's likely the gangs would step in to become de facto local governments while Westminster got on with trying to sort the country out.

Obviously we don't want that, and I'm hoping the process stops when it gets to the point it reached in the 1970s when the UK was forced for beg for a bailout.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 25th, 2017 at 10:23:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You were doing so well till you said "while Westminster got on with trying to sort the country out"

that's when I realised how utterly doomed we are. Cos the idea of the privileged few trying to do anything other than protecting their ill-gotten gains, probably with military force, was completely nonsensical

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 25th, 2017 at 03:40:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder will England ever experience a moment of truth where they realise they are no longer the good guys of history
They already did. It's called the Battle of Waterloo.

Sadly, the baddies won that one.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 at 08:03:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you grew up in Scotland, you'd know that that was already the case back in 1746.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 at 08:18:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Main thing wrong with that is that it attributes ignorance and hubris just to the elites.

I still don't know why my Twitter feed is currently full of a conversation about the British Empire not being a force for good.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 10:42:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Petard, meet Hoist.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 07:56:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Participating, as I do, in various discussion forums outside of the European tribune, I am always struck by how hostile Brexiteers are to the EU project as a whole, and then, in the next breath, still seem to expect the EU to cut them a generous deal in the Brexit talks.

Brexiteers seem to expect that other member states will crumble first and give the UK single market membership (or something amounting to it) without any freedom of movement requirements because they're desperate not to lose access to the UK market.

That is to say, Brexiteers expect the other EU members to put economic self-interest ahead of their principles. If Brexiteers who believe that the UK needs free trade with the EU were capable of  that themselves, they wouldn't be Brexiteers. Furthermore, they expect the EU to bend or break its own rules to satisfy the first member state ever to leave.

by Gag Halfrunt on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 10:15:14 AM EST
I don't think they believe any of that: I just think they believe they have to say it to keep their jobs this week. Next week they'll say whatever they believe they need to to keep in power next week.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 10:18:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no doubt that some senior Tories, like Boris Johnson, are purely political operators who jumped on a bandwagon to further their leadership ambitions and are now stuck with the dilemma you describe. However I am prepared to accept the bona fides of the vast majority of brexiteers in the sense that they genuinely seem to believe that the EU is the source of most of the UK's problems and that they can put the "Great" back into Britain again by leaving.

In Marxist terms it is a case of the Nationalist Bourgeoisie defeating the Comprador bourgeoisie who benefited from European related trade and commerce. "Taking back control" is their mantra for regaining power over the UK which they had seen slip to international businesses and the EU.  They are prepared to accept considerable economic losses (for others) so that they can re-establish their own power and control.

The Tories used to be the party of international business. They have been increasingly taken over by people whose own personal economic and political interests  are tied into the UK economy and polity, and who don't care if the economy as a whole suffers.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 10:34:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is also a reconition on their part that, as nearly all of them are personally pretty wealthy, that they can ride out any short to medium term downturn in the economy. Many of them will have dollar and euro denominated banking accounts offshore.

One of the senior figures was even overheard in the street shouting into a phone that he wasn't interested cos he and all his friends were going to be okay so they could go for full crashout.

Yes, they are called conservatives but these days it is difficult to see what it is they are conserving. They have embraced a cult of slash and burn capitalism that is all about winner takes all and anybody who can't compete deserves nothing but contempt. Like Trump, their view of what is good for them and the national interest have become intertwined. They are capitalists, red in tooth and claw; Britain must be made more fit for captialism and so therefoere anything that makes them personally richer must be a "national good".

The EU has regulations they dislike. Brexit cannot come quickly enough

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 10:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just Like Trump: Baker Speaks Own Truth

Brexit minister Steve Baker appears to have a similar distain for experts as Michael Gove

    Baker as dismissed concerns made by Royal College of Radiologists over the impact quitting Euratom will have on cancer treatment as "not correct".

British Nuclear Medicine Society statement on leaving Euratom | Press Release |

The BNMS has carried out extensive work on the future supply of medical radioisotopes in the UK [1]. We share the view of the RCR that leaving Euratom will impact on the supply and cost of medical radioisotopes and would like to see greater clarity regarding the future arrangements. We are working with NHS England on the security of the future supply chain for medical radioisotopes to UK hospitals.

Any confusion regarding the regulatory aspects related to safe provision and transport of radioactive medicinal products between Great Britain and Europe should be dispelled as soon as possible.

We intend to organise a meeting with all relevant stakeholders including government, industry, professional medical societies and medical royal colleges in the coming few days

1. Future Supply of Medical Radioisotopes for the UK Report 2014, British Nuclear Medicine Society and the Science and Technology Facilities Council  

Well, after Brexit the UK can make its own deal for supply of medical isotopes from Tehran, Iran.  ;-)

Iran's Enrichment for the US Built Tehran Research Reactor

by Oui on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 12:34:04 PM EST
In top of the news stories on intelligence 'leaks' and RussiaGate, the Rupert Murdoch publications are all over the place ... Louise Mensch, Orbis 'dodgy dossier' and the former British MI6 agents Chris Steele and Andrew Wood. Murdoch is also busy in UK and Australian politics. Don't forget he has befriended the Clintons and Israel's Netanyahu. Who is worried about the Trump clan?

Tories refuse to deny Rupert Murdoch role in Michael Gove's cabinet return | The Guardian |

The government has refused to deny that Rupert Murdoch asked Theresa May to reappoint Michael Gove to the cabinet or face a bad press in his newspaper titles, insisting that cabinet roles are selected on "merit and experience".

Tom Watson, the deputy Labour leader, wrote to May last month to inquire whether Murdoch had sought any influence over cabinet appointments and Gove's future.

...
Gove returned to the cabinet as environment secretary in June following the general election, which led to the Conservative's majority disappearing. This was less than a year after May fired Gove as justice secretary on the back of his ill-fated attempt to lead the Conservative party.

 « click for more info »

Following his departure from the cabinet, Gove was hired as a columnist by the Times, which is owned by Murdoch's News Corp, on a reported £150,000 a year. Gove then became embroiled in a row earlier this year when it was reported that Murdoch was in the room when he interviewed the new US president, Donald Trump.

Gove has spoken of his admiration for Murdoch in the past, telling the Leveson inquiry into press ethics in 2012 that the media mogul was "one of the most impressive and significant figures of the last 50 years."

Cross-posted from my diary @BooMan:

Paris' Quest to Sink London City - Leaked Memo

    "Will hard Brexit leave the City of London dangling?"
by Oui on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 at 05:57:42 PM EST
But isn't also the EU preparing, even driving, a hard Brexit? Remember it was Tusk who said there would either be a hard Brexit or no Brexit long before Theresa May's speech. After that he commended her on her realism. How is that? There are now some hopes that a hard Brexit could be prevented, surveys showing even a majority of leavers finding a Norwegian style deal acceptable.

Maybe that's enough of a placebo. Since the referendum and its result were based on diffuse feelings, a EEA/EFTA type membership could provide "strong and stable" feelings of independence. It works for Norway - factually dependent but the populace feels independent enough by not being a full member.

But would that arrangement be stable enough for a country of the size of the UK? Being subject to rules but not being able to influence them would soon be a sore point, a rallying point for the hardcore Brexiteers - they will never get enough. Cue the headbanging.

The rest of the population would be fed up by Brexiting soon and happy to accept an arrangement that keeps things roughly as is. But I wouldn't count on that to stop the Brexiteers in the long term. Soft Brexit seems therefore unlikely. Only a question of time until it would turn into a hard one.

Also, there is quite some complacency on the EU side. Governments are happy to chuck the whole thing over to the commission (too much bother), while everyone should be preparing for the 100km traffic jam in Dover and Calais - just to mention the most visible potential calamity. Perhaps they think Brexit is mostly a legal, bureaucratic procedure with some political side play later on. That seems dangerous.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 01:19:40 AM EST
Hard Brexit is a logical consequence of stopping FoM. Tusk was just pointing that out.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 08:02:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the consequences of the absolutely chaotic and incompetent preparations for the Brexit negotiations on the UK side is that the EU side can look calm and reasonable while very quietly preparing a very hard-line negotiating position.

They are the ones coming to the table with comprehensive position papers while the UK side have almost none.  They probably can't believe their luck at the degree to which they are being allowed to dictate the terms of engagement.

Expect most of those position papers, with relatively minor amendments, to make it into the final draft agreement - more or less by default. With the clock ticking away, time is running out for the UK side to draft, present and negotiate majorly different proposals.

The other problem is that the EU side is constrained by the fact that it has to satisfy almost all EU27 governments AND avoid any concessions that could involve Treaty change.  There simply isn't time to negotiate and ratify a Treaty change in all EU 27 member states, even if they wanted to.

Finally the EU27 side will be aware that anything they do offer will become a template for any future A50 process, and thus a blueprint for any other member thinking of leaving. By definition, the benefits of membership must always outweigh the benefits of leaving for all members at all times; otherwise the EU is writing it's own suicide note.

So yes, the EU is preparing for a hard Brexit in one form or another.  The dynamics of the situation don't really allow for any other outcome - on both sides.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 09:46:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the EU could have gone with a cosmetic Brexit: Norway+, with UK just giving up its seat at the table but basically nothing else changing. It's still a possible outcome, if May and her ECJ red line disappear from the scene.

But really, only sane UK act is to withdraw A50 and start again when they work out what they're doing. I suspect the EU would allow that. If it's not done by Christmas though, it'll be too late.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 10:43:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As you said above, once the UK made immigration control a core demand a hard Brexit was all but inevitable. Why should the EU try to change a core founding principle to facilitate one member who is leaving anyway?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 03:34:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU should change a core founding principle because the UK is the spiffiest of spiffy things EVAH! and so marvelously marvelous the EU will avert their eyes and cower from the Shining Light that is the Land of Hope and Glory.

IOW, the same garbage the US has been pushing since, like, forever.

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

by ATinNM on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 03:47:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cosmetic Brexit fudges FoM to appease the racists, probably by restating the already available controls.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 03:59:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are suspicions this is the Corbyn plan - or at least the Keir Starmer plan, which has more chance of succeeding.

It's the only workable fudge. More nominal control over immigration, which doesn't require a change to any of the FoM rules, and everything else stays the same.

It won't placate the bigots who would like to round up all the Muslim refugees and set fire to them, but politically they're an irrelevance anyway.

The problem isn't immigration, it's the revised EU taxation regime which is due to come into effect just after the nominal Brexit date. Many people suspect that's the real driver of Brexit, and the fervent promotion of xenophobia is the tail, not the dog - in other words, it's a cynical use of racism to create an influential populist constituency for political leverage, which can then be used as needed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 07:46:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I;m not sure why the introduction of Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base changes to taxation rules should be of such great concern to the UK - they can always Veto them if they feel so strongly about them.  On the other hand, the EU27 could insist on the UK implementing the changes as part of any trade deal post Brexit...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 12:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It inexplicably needs to be reminded again and again that Theresa May's hobby horses have been opposition to freedom of movement, to the ECJ, and—for good measure—to the European Convention of Human Rights, since forever.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 07:57:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, which is why she needs to go before any compromise that might work can be arrived at. Of course the Tories are too frightened to take her down, and no one wants the job, but I still don't see how she survives the autumn.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 08:57:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone ever seen an analysis of which ICJ rulings have so irked her? (I'm aware of some adverse ECHR rulings, but that isn't even an EU institution). David Davis even regaled Juncker with tales of his victory before the ECJ - to May's intense irritation.

I remain suspicious that this remains an opening negotiating position on the part of May which she will ultimately seek to finesse by agreeing an independent arbitration court for trade disputes under any trade deal and by making a big deal of withdrawing from the ECHR - and relying on confusion within the UK between it and the ECJ to claim she has been successful in freeing the UK from the yoke of European justice...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 10:43:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was one about a cat. That wasn't true. My impression is that May resents any and all limits to her power.

I don't think you understand the situation though: May has no negotiating position with the EU. Only with her backbenchers and the tabloids.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 10:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ECJ loss rate doesn't show injustice | Stop Brexit - Apr. 2016 |

The UK loses 75 per cent of cases at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), says Vote Leave. For the Sun, this is an "injustice for Britain". "Proof of meddling", says the Daily Express.  And, says Vote Leave, the problem is getting worse, as "the rate at which the UK has been defeated has also been increasing".

    "In 40 years, we've lost three-quarters of cases at the Luxembourg Court, when we've tried to resist these incursions. They affect everything from the price of beer to the cost of home insulation, and undermine basic principle of our democracy - that the British people can hold to account those who write the laws of the land."

...
Vote Leave bases its claims on the 131 ECJ cases involving the UK since we joined the EU. We lost 101, so Vote Leave announces our "failure rate" as 77.1 per cent, rounded down to 75. The campaign adds that the number of failures per year is increasing: in the ten years to 2005, the UK lost 27 cases; in the subsequent decade, it lost 42. Finally, Vote Leave asserts that the share of cases lost is rising. Since 2010, the UK has lost 80 per cent.

The last claim is most easily dispensed with. A rise in the share of cases lost from 77 per cent to 80 per cent is insignificant, and disappears depending on the period chosen. As to the trend in absolute numbers, Vote Leave is right that the UK is losing more cases each year. But we are winning more as well.

That still leaves the complaint that the UK has lost over three-quarters of all cases, an apparently troubling proportion. But it is important to understand that most cases - 91 of the 131 - involve the Commission taking the UK to court for failure to implement EU law. The Commission won't bring such cases unless its lawyers reckon it will win. So it should come as no surprise that the Commission won 77 out of the 91 cases that it brought against the UK, or 84.6 per cent. The UK fared somewhat better in the remaining 40 cases, losing 24, or 60 per cent. Taking both types of case together, Britain does not seem to do particularly badly compared to other EU countries. Of the 50 most recent cases involving France, for example, the French lost 90 per cent.

Human Rights and the European Arrest Warrant (EAW): Has the ECJ turned from poacher to gamekeeper?

On an aside, the cosy relationship of the Tories with media mogul Rupert Murdoch ...

Michael Gove and Rupert Murdoch'r relationship should be investigated | The Independent - Oct. 2016 |
Tories refuse to deny Rupert Murdoch role in Michael Gove's cabinet return | The Guardian - July 18, 2017 |
How the Nobel Prize-winning economist James M. Buchanan shaped today's antigovernment politics | The Atlantic |

by Oui on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 07:17:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh the blairite labour govt didn't exactly resist Murdoch. Blair would happily fly to Australia when Sauron whistled

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 08:05:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this. NB - not all of your blockquote above from the Express article.

"In 40 years, we've lost three-quarters of cases at the Luxembourg Court, when we've tried to resist these incursions. They affect everything from the price of beer to the cost of home insulation, and undermine basic principle of our democracy - that the British people can hold to account those who write the laws of the land."

NB the ECJ no more "writes the laws of the land" than UK courts, and UK Courts are no more accountable to "the British people" than the ECJ.

The Express appears to have difficulty differentiating between the legislative and judicial institutions of both the UK and the EU.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 08:10:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Express is just a dumb version of the Daily Mail; all the hate with none of the subtlety

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 08:14:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK and the US have the same attitude toward international law: So long as we're writing, deciding, and enforcing it, it's peachy; if anyone else gets involved, it's fundamentally Satanic.  Actual laws and adjudications are irrelevant.
by rifek on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 01:50:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The irony is that much of the architecture of post war international justice was laid down by Brits. But then it was a case of stopping nasty evil furriners doing their thing. It was never meant to impinge on British sovereignty.  A bit like the USA never submitting to the International war crimes tribunal.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 09:05:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it time to post Cameron's Nov 2015 Four Pillar Reform Letter to Tusk again. Yes, that is a rhetorical question. I laughed two years ago, again when he petulantly resigned, and yet again when Madam May picked up the bag.
PM letter to President of the European Council Donald Tusk

2.94MB 6 pages !!!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 07:58:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the particular relevance of Cameron's letter at this time?

I thought he did the "right" thing when he resigned.  He had led the country down a path he plainly didn't believe in.  He would have been in an impossible position had he tried to lead on, and would have been dumped by the Tory party sooner or later.

As for May, she tried hard to consolidate the Tory vote by adopting the UKIP policy platform - at the cost of losing much of the rest of the country. It's not the first time that Tory party interests have trumped the national interest and she and they will pay a heavy price.

Her lack of engagement with the EU will probably result in a chaotic Brexit, and it didn't have to be that way.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 10:27:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the particular relevance of Cameron's letter at this time?

Cameron's letter will forever be relevant. For it is The Document that established rumor that the UK gov't had not intention ever to conform. It formally articulated in no uncertain terms UK Tory opposition, termed "reform," and implied ultimatum (until the BREXIT prevailed by referendum after 8 years of smack talk from 10 Downing): UK is TX.

I'm astonished that any eurotrib reader could lay blame for the epic consequences of UK gov't stupidity at Madame May's feet.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 01:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The government smack talk goes back 35 years to Thatcher's time and her famous rebate and Cameron's letter was but the latest in a long line of UK attempts to derogate and resile from various UK commitments to and responsibilities towards the EU.

The commitment towards an "ever closer Union" was in the Treaty of Rome and fundamental to membership of the EU and to the existence of the EU itself. It's removal  was either an opening negotiating ploy by Cameron to appease the Eurosceptics to be negotiated away or a formal declaration to leave the EU because it could not have been implemented without a formal treaty change ratified by all EU28 basically to end the EU as we know it.

Cameron knew it couldn't be agreed by the EU and seemed quite satisfied with the outcome when they didn't.  May inherited this mess but exacerbated it by adopting the most hard line position possible and by appointing a ministerial team designed to cause maximum antagonism with the EU. Her mantra that "no deal is better than a bad deal" makes it more or less inevitable that that will be the eventual outcome - and one actively desired by hard-line Brexiteers.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 08:35:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The government smack talk goes back 35 years ...

Thank you for demonstrating my argument, why "lay blame for the epic consequences of UK gov't stupidity at Madame May's feet"?

Why rely on Madame May's proximity to political disaster and remorse that arise from the actions of successive gov'ts, when the Treaty of Versailles --and that UK gov't part in it-- would do just as well to exacerbate relations with other nations of Europe?

The inevitability of Brexit was written long before the present messengers assumed "leadership" of the UK's pretext of "reform."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 11:48:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"lay blame for the epic consequences of UK gov't stupidity at Madame May's feet"?

I didn't, and I don't. She has played her part in this epic unfolding disaster, but that is all.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 24th, 2017 at 01:33:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
618 days (as of time stamp) left to negotiate a mind numbingly complex political and economic treaty.  

The UK government is screwing around with inanities.

There's no reason to think they will ever stop screwing around with inanities.

EU members bordering the UK need to start preparing for a No-Agreement outcome on Mar 29, 2019.


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

by ATinNM on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 03:42:13 PM EST
As we speak, divers Republican and criminal groups are probably preparing/re-opening old smuggling corridors along the 500KM land border even 10K UK troops couldn't seal off. Car loads of stuff "for private use" probably won't be controlled anyway, so once Sterling devalues by another 10-20%, half the Republic will be buying its provisions up north. The southern retail trade will scream foul and the Irish government will be forced to reduce VAT on high value, easily transportable items.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 04:24:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the worst of reading this and other diaries is that, aside from a sad shaking of the head, I have almost nothing to contribute except agreemt with the most dire of forecasts.

It will be ruinous and then some.

I lmost expect that, on the day of brexit, the Daily Mail will have a special "Free-Dumb" edition where they laughingly explain how they tricked everybody and are now going to mine the poor, the working and middle classes for Soylent Green. Probably headlined with "We fooled you. You. Stupid. Ignorant. Fuckwits". Here's a picture of Diana to look at while we round you up

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 04:32:37 PM EST
There's an opinion piece on the Guardian by Miriam González Durántez, a former EU trade negotiator and, yes, Nick Clegg's wife, about a the Legatum Institute, a thinktank that is advising the UK government on Brexit negotiations despite a lack of EU-related expertise:
Unlike thinktanks like the Center for European Reform which knows more about the EU than the whole cabinet put together, the common characteristic of most of the Legatum trade commission seems to be not having worked at any time within the EU or even directly with it. I have negotiated myself for the EU on many occasions on trade, and I have seen how shocked negotiators from other countries become when they realise how difficult it is to negotiate with 27 countries - with their own institutions and legal system - at the same time...

The institute also seems to be behind Davis's recurrent claim that the UK will have "frictionless" access to the single market even if it is not part of it - an embarrassing comment that brings despair to Europeans, as the single market is a system of rules based on trust and a single legal order, and therefore accessible only to those who are part of it. When the EU negotiator Michel Barnier says that "some in Britain still do not understand", he seems to be referring among others to how Davis still has not understood this.


She goes on to mention that the Legatum Institute is a proponent of the "CANZUK" concept of an anglosphere free trade agreement, as well as "unilaterally removing tariffs and quotas on agriculture products (farmers, take note) in exchange for services agreements all over the world".
by Gag Halfrunt on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 07:37:19 PM EST
Well, of course, you just knew that some dumb right wing "think-tank" would be involved with the Toriy party response to the EU at a pretty integral level.

Bill Maher still has the last word on think tanks (tl:dr = you can't call yourself a thinktank if all your ideas are stupid)



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 07:53:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stunning!!! - James McGill Buchanan by TarheelDem

Here is the Wikipedia entry for James McGill Buchanan.

George Monbiot of The Guardian reports today about what, accidentally found after Buchanan's death, has shown the darker side of this George Mason University economist and exposed the dark side of his "public choice" theory.

George Monbiot, The Guardian: A despot in disguise: one man's mission to rip up democracy

    In 1980, he was able to put the programme into action. He was invited to Chile, where he helped the Pinochet dictatorship write a new constitution, which, partly through the clever devices Buchanan proposed, has proved impossible to reverse entirely. Amid the torture and killings, he advised the government to extend programmes of privatisation, austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation and the destruction of trade unions: a package that helped trigger economic collapse in 1982.  
by Oui on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 at 08:09:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still the gold standard of think tank take downs...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 10:28:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greed makes people blind and paranoia robs humanity of imagination.
It's hard to discern what scale of shock is necessary to disabuse people from their cherished illusions, and wake up the sleeping masses.
But I feel we're going to find out pretty soon.
There's only so much blood you can squeeze out of a stone.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 11:04:09 AM EST
UK `can of course survive' without trade deal - minister
The UK "can of course survive" without securing a trade deal with the European Union after Brexit, cabinet minister Liam Fox has said.

The international trade secretary said that while the UK government wanted a deal, Brussels had to know that the UK would be prepared to walk away without an agreement.

---<snip>---

Dr Fox was using a visit to Geneva to meet World Trade Organisation (WTO) director general Roberto Azevedo to discuss the UK's post-Brexit arrangements and to deliver a speech pushing for a rejection of protectionism.

He said methods other than free trade agreements could be used to liberalise global trade and the UK would use its seat on the WTO after Brexit to "shape the debate".

The debate around free-trade agreements "is too narrow and we need to think about new ways of getting the global economy moving".

The traditional alternative to free trade deals to liberalise trade have been war, plunder, and empire.  I wonder which Fox is contemplating.

Meanwhile...

Irish export growth to UK plummeted last year, report shows

Exports increased from 103 per cent of GDP in 2010 to 124 per cent in 2015. Ireland's share of total global export markets was 1.3 per cent as of 2015.

Enterprise Ireland client exports grew by 6 per cent in 2016 reaching a record high of €21.6 billion. Export growth to the UK, however, which accounts for €7.5 billion of exports, slowed from 12 per cent in 2015 to 2 per cent in 2016.

From a sectorial perspective, the food sector reported the largest decline, with the value of food exports to the UK falling by 2.8 per cent while non-food sectors saw exports increase by 6.4 per cent.




Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 11:19:53 AM EST
I very much doubt the UK will survive a  no deal Brexit.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 01:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Support for Scottish Independence is running ~40% in the opinion polls.  I expect that to rise as people begin to understand just how much of a disaster Brexit actually is.  Enough to get to 50%+?  No idea.  Before or after March 29, 2019?  shrug

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 03:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My working guestimate is that a no deal falling off the cliff Brexit would result in a c. 30% cumulative devaluation of Sterling since the referendum and a 10% decline in GDP in the 2 years post Brexit as the City loses most of it's EU related business and as UK exports are hit with tariffs and delays at customs.

Consumer spending and inward FDI will plummet and many non-financial UK businesses will also be forced to re-locate part of their operations within the EU in order to retain markets and secure and rationalise supply chains.

After that things should stabilise at the lower level but recovery will be slow as trade agreements take a long time to negotiate and as the UK economy has been notoriously slow to adapt to take advantage of Sterling devaluation. Inflation will hit real take home pay and industrial strife will cause much economic disruptions as workers seek to protect their real incomes.

The government will enact emergency legislation to limit the right to strike and much reduced tax revenues will force up Government borrowing and interest rates and result in further deflation as austerity policies hit public services and particularly the elderly and poor.

The good news from a Brexit point of view is that net immigration will be much reduced, and we may even see net emigration depending on how many British expats in the EU decide to come home. This will be because of much reduced job opportunities, much reduced pay in Euro terms, and because of perceived or real hostility to foreigners.

Scotland will probably secede and a United Ireland will be on the cards again as the UK will no longer be able to afford the £10 Billion annual subvention to N. Ireland and seeks to offload the cost and responsibility onto the Republic of Ireland.

An authoritarian government will attempt to prevent a social revolution in England and will be replaced by a Corbynista Labour party which will end up copping much of the flak for the economic and social disaster that is Brexit.

The English class system will be under threat as never before and will seek to shore up its position by manic displays of patriotism, chauvinism, xenophobia and royalism. It will probably survive as Britain's woes are blamed on nasty foreigners and unreasonable Europeans who allow "politics" to get in the way of "sensible economics" - a phrase already being rehearsed by David Davis.

Imagine that! The EU playing politics... Whatever next?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 05:25:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they manage to knock London out of its place as a key  node in the world city network it'll be a lot worse than 10%.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 07:55:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's already happening. Back office jobs are already planning to re-locate to Frankfurt. I'm sure that a lot of the brokers, gamblers and scam artists will resist leaving the lack of oversight regime and low tax that the City offers. But these places exist on critical mass, once parts start peeling away everything else becomes less attractive. Especially in light of the sterling crash

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 08:10:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or the City becomes another Luxembourg, and London Dubai-on-Thames, Park Lane for chic sheikhs, Mayfair for the Mob Snobs, Canary Wharf for the Macau Casino Complex.

Fleet Street for the Russians.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 11:41:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And losing Scotland and NI doesn't count as UK surviving.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 07:56:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Devaluation is not entirely bad, else no one would practice "competitive devaluation": It will make locally produced goods somehow more competitive than imported ones, so a temporary boost to British agriculture and manufacturing.

The rub is that it could be largely offset by the dependency on imported goods: starting with food, but also energy (petrol for cars, jet fuel for Easy Jet...) which will translate into "imported inflation" and make many things that are taken for granted today more, more expensive tomorrow, such as holidays abroad.

As I wrote earlier, it like a more frugal life ahead for many Britons.

This is bound to stoke xenophobia and resentment towards Johnny Foreigner, which will push more people to leave. I don't see this as a good time to relocate to the UK.

by Bernard on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 08:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, and one of the reasons the EU may be forced to impose tariffs on UK exports post Brexit is that EU industries could be fatally undermined by UK competitors benefiting from a massive Sterling devaluation. Arguably, one of the reasons the UK economy has not yet gone into recession is that it is benefiting from the current Sterling devaluation, looser monetary policy, and a favourable external environment.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 08:47:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, momentum favors the UK's purported economic stability in spite of A50 delivery just four months ago: It takes less time to turn a Titanic than ONS (or NBER) need to recognize a "recession." Wait twenty months more the press to realize GBP savings (propping up business) are exhausted.

That's a mundane description of the incongruity of current experiences and gov't. posturing on the "benefits" of an austerity policy that's dogged the nation since '09.

More to the point occasionally addressed here, UK gov't cannot control the actions of every interested party (beside the EC), certainly not "the market." Price of GBP is tanking in part because global investors no longer want to hold as much in reserve. This store of value is losing lustre.

Today's headlines demonstrate until they don't.

Dollar at 13-month lows amid euro surge to near 2-year highs

Euro jumps on fall tapering prospects, U.S. dollar sinks

Draghi said the risks to the growth outlook in the euro zone are broadly balanced and the region is now enjoying a "robust" recovery. He also noted that growth has not yet translated into `stronger inflation dynamics', pointing out that headline inflation is being dampened by weak energy prices.

&tc.

Apart from crude, you might ask yourself. "Self, with a strong EUR, what will EU26 buy from UK that it cannot trade among themselves?"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 11:04:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of my problems with much modern economic reporting is the focus on the very short term  - as if the "confidence fairy" was going to cause an immediate recession post the Brexit referendum result.  Like Krugman, I never saw how that was going to happen.

Instead we had lots of decisions being made by lots of businesses to defer future investment plans in the UK till things got clarified followed by contingency plans to invest within the EU27 instead in order to safeguard market access.  It takes a couple of years for all those micro decisions to have a discernable macro effect in the real economy, and even longer for them to be reflected in national statistics.

So we are, even now, only seeing the very beginnings of the Brexit effect on the UK economy, and the first effect is, as you say, a loss of the forward momentum the UK economy had at the time of the referendum. That will be followed by a further slowdown and perhaps even outright recession just as the A50 talks are nearing their denouement. Not the best context for a successful negotiation.

However the converse is also true. Once the negative recessionary momentum builds up it will become increasingly difficult to stem the flow of bad news - even after some real recovery has taken place in some sectors.  But we have to be looking at this in terms of the next 5-10 years, and decades thereafter, not the next 3 months, and after that period a lot of irreversible damage will have been done to a lot of real people's lives.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 10:50:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Competitive devaluation" is a canard unleashed by guardians of the imperial basket to chastise THIRD WORLD ("developing nation") monetary regimes that struggle to stabilize domestic (commodity) price inflation, while servicing odious debt recommended by the IMF ... that is funded by new, mo' cheaper bond issues! It is to connote a supposed unlawful practice by central bankers (everywhere but US,UK) of "manipulating" currency price where the rule of "free" FX ought reign supreme.

(How BoJ escaped sanction [!] these sixty years is a study in cynical, imperial management science and attachment disorders. So was the CHF CAP CRISIS of '15; Who profits?)

Devaluation is never a good condition for those who rely on the paper to buy their daily bread. All gov'ts. seek a stable currency price, or low FX volatility. The UK is no exception and no developing nation. In fact it still enjoys PPP advantage among its peers exploiting resources of the THIRD WORLD. And that's what counts!

Besides,

GBP:EUR, 1:1.1147
GBP:USD, 1:1.2975

parity watch

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 09:33:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's to stop BoE trading with USD instead of EUR, huh?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 09:36:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It did, it does, and it will.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 10:53:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
VICTORY!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 12:18:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK strangled its manufacturing base decades ago.  In 2017 the UK doesn't have the plant, knowledge, investment capital, and infrastructure for high margin, high tech, manufacturing and cannot compete on low margin manufacturing because of labor cost.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 06:53:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's the rotten truth at the heart of brexit, the post War boom in the UK was largely brought about by cutting back on innovation. The City likes a sure thing RoI of 30%, investing in industry can never bring in those rewards.

We simply aren't in a position to capitalise on a fall in sterling by exporting our way out of trouble.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 08:18:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surviving hard Brexit will require sacrifices not seen since the Second World War - Sean O'Grady - Independent
1. Unilateral free trade...

2. Lift the cap on migration...

3. Liberalise labour laws...

4. Cut taxes and shrink the state...

I'm sure that would go over well. Sacrifice your standard of living so that... maybe there will be some standard of living?

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 08:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sacrifices not seen since the Second World War

Rationing. Requisitioning houses. Ministry of Transport taking over control of the railways. Is he serious?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 11:02:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think some of your predictions are a little confused:

"Inflation will hit real take home pay and industrial strife will cause much economic disruptions as workers seek to protect their real incomes.

The government will enact emergency legislation to limit the right to strike and much reduced tax revenues will force up Government borrowing and interest rates and result in further deflation as austerity policies hit public services and particularly the elderly and poor."

So would the pressure be inflationary or deflationary?
And why would interest rates need to rise in a depressed economic environment? The UK is a sovereign currency issuer.


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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 12:02:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Inflation will be caused by massive Sterling devaluation (and possibly tariffs) causing a huge increase in the cost of imports.

Interest rates will rise because the government will need to borrow much more to make up the shortfall in tax revenues and foreign lenders will refuse to lend into a declining currency without a massive interest rate premium. The bank of England could just print money to make up the shortfall but that would exacerbate the devaluation of Sterling, and subsequent inflation.

The impact of Government austerity policies will be deflationary, but not sufficient to offset the inflationary pressures above, at least not in the short and medium term.

In short, everyone will get poorer...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 12:56:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What workers?

Most people who earn half decent wages work either on car production lines who are terrified that brexit is going to cost them their jobs or work at a desk pushing money around cyberspace.

Everybody else is self-empoyed (nominally or actual) or they're on minimum wages within the precariat. There's almost nobody left who feels safe enough to go on strike. Even train drivers, of which there is a shortage, are just working to rule.

And that situation will worsen with brexit. People are terrified, it's not that they are one or two paycheques from being on the street, their credit debt is such that they know there will be no coming back with any change in fortune if they slip off the treadmill. It's that fear, that resentment, that is the triumph of Thatcher

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 04:39:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is there such a shortage of train drivers? I thought the job was so easy that even women could do it....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 04:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Usual reason, it's easier to poach the drivers that other companies train than it is to invest in your own workforce. So, nobody does it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 08:19:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think some of your predictions are a little confused:
"Inflation will hit real take home pay [...] will force up Government borrowing and interest rates and result in further deflation"
[...]
So would the pressure be inflationary or deflationary?
Both. Gross of changes to the terms of the foreign trade you will see inflation. Net of terms of trade you will see deflation.

The gross inflation is what harms consumers, and the net deflation is what harms producers (and by extension workers).

This ambiguity between viewing the terms of the foreign trade as a "real" or a "nominal" variable is the source of a great deal of confusion (and no small amount of obfuscation) in the economic literature.

And why would interest rates need to rise in a depressed economic environment? The UK is a sovereign currency issuer.
The domestic interest rate does not need to rise, but the interest on foreign debt will. Similar to the "inflation/deflation" discussion above, a great deal of needless confusion in economics is caused by speaking of "the interest rate" in the singular definite.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 at 08:44:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing simple about UK regaining WTO status post-Brexit:

The UK is already a WTO member, but its membership terms are bundled with the EU's. Re-establishing the UK's WTO status in its own right means both the UK and the EU would negotiate simultaneously with the rest of the WTO's members to extract their separate membership terms. Agreement on the UK's terms is unlikely before those of the EU.

...

To be an independent WTO member, the UK would be creating its own rights and obligations out of the EU's. That's not as simple as it sounds. One reason is because other countries with different interests would want to ensure the balance is also right for them.

Brexiters are living in a fool's paradise.  

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

by ATinNM on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 03:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would only take one objection to hold up the talks because the WTO operates by consensus, not voting, one reason why WTO negotiations take so long.

By Argentina, for example.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 03:30:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or any other country to wants some Payback Time.

Poland, for example.


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

by ATinNM on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 03:40:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China might have a thing or two to say about equal and unequal treaties too.

Hell, it's easier to list the countries the UK hasn't fucked off at some point within living memory. All five of them end in "-stan" and have independence days sometime around 1990-92.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 at 08:54:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Forget the Falklands.
< wipes tears >
Wait 'til Paul Singer comes for gilts.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 09:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really. The UK has hostages to previous villainy scattered all over the world, eg gibraltar. They either give in to all or none. My guess is that public opinion would not allow a Government to even consider all, so things could become very painful

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 08:04:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I beg to disagree given the context of this thread.
You seem to be unaware of litigation of the INTERNATIONAL SCANDAL (no CAC ?! et al.) adjudicated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina. abridged. The judge was Tho. "Imhoptep" Griesa.

I followed this story for five years through multiple "news" publishers to assure myself that "English law" of creditors' precedence would vindicate the 600% RIO of bond vulture, Paul Singer (NML Capital Ltd.)

And Mdme "Yellow Flag" LaGarde!

< wipes tears >

After the neolib mafia trashed Christina Kirchner for Mauricio Macri, who issued NEW! bonds to pay the "hold outs."

By contrast, pissing on the Falklands is akin to a bar fight over FYROM.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 02:50:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Argentinian default is relevant only if the UK defaults on its international debt, and no one here has yet suggested that it will.  The context here is the Brexiteer's assumption that there are some default WTO terms of trade that the UK can fall back on if there is no Brexit or Trade deal with the EU.

My understanding is that the UK cannot simply "inherit" the terms of trade it enjoyed as part of the EU and that it's future terms of trade will have to be negotiated with other WTO members who may or may not agree to similar terms being granted to the UK as have been granted to the EU.

This process is hideously complex and dependent on goodwill on all sides, which may not be forthcoming given previous historical disputes and the fact that the UK, on its own, is simply not as important a market and therefore not as powerful a negotiating counterparty as the EU.

In fact it represents a wonderful opportunity for any of 150+ WTO members who have an outstanding grievance or grudge against the UK to play hard ball with the UK. Indeed, if the UK/EU divorce is extremely acrimonious, the EU might even "discourage" it's trading partners from giving similar terms to the UK.

At worst, the UK may be about to discover what its like for a former colony to try to achieve equality of treatment and parity of esteem with the major players on the world stage. No amount of Royal visits will assuage (say) the Chinese to give the UK a similar status to (say) Singapore.

Indeed, if the UK were to become a haven for hot and laundered money from dodgy Russian Oligarchs, drug lords, Saudi sheiks and others deemed undesirable, the UK may become shunned by the rest of the "civilised world", which would be ironic given the UK more or less defined the term...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 09:16:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This century is young, Frank.
"Leaving EU would make UK the North Korea of Europe," said the prophet.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 12:06:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt it. I think that North Korea, these days, can more or less produce all the food they need. I don't think the UK can.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 12:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears >

yes, well, then. Impairments attached to the going concern known as the United Kingdom will certainly adversely affect the price and um risk rating of gilts.

How have WTO examiners typically treated similarly situated THIRD WORLD applicants?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 12:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK NK can produce all the food it needs..... so long as it has a can opener for all the foreign aid.

UK might produce more food if only our land weren't tied up in 1% boodoggles. And if we re-arrange our economy away from London so that we didn't feel obliged to keep putting housing on some of the best agricultural land in the coubntry

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 02:05:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More apartments buildings and fewer detached houses would do wonders on that count, too.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 03:48:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apartments are for poor people. Proper Englishmen need their moated castle.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 04:40:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(And does London suffer from same lack of family sized apartments IE does?)
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 04:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the trouble is that ours catch fire, which is somewhat inconvenient

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 04:56:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Usefully, Jay Rayner, a prominent UK food critic has just published a useful guide to what we could do if we wanted.

There's a few paragraphs explaining why he published it here instead of attending them eeting but then he goes into this...

Jay Rayer - Michael Gove asked me to a meeting to share my expertise. I declined. Instead, I've given him a piece of my mind.

WRITTEN SUBMISSION FOR MICHAEL GOVE MP, SECRETARY OF STATE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

By Jay Rayner

July 2017

HISTORY

In the early 1990s Britain's self-sufficiency in food reached its highest in modern times. We were producing just over 70% of all the food we were eating. Since then the story has been one only of decline. We now produce 60% of our own food, but because of exports only around 50% of the food we eat is actually produced here. There are a number of reasons for this, but key among them is the dominance of the supermarkets. In the late 80s and early 90s a series of changes to the planning laws allowed for the building of large out-of-town hypermarkets on previously greenfield sites which in turn encouraged the boom in the supermarket sector. That created the food retail landscape we have today in which fewer than a dozen companies control over 90% of the food retail market.

The supermarkets used that dominance to drive prices ever lower, and with drastic impacts. This is no knee-jerk negative response to the concept of supermarkets. They have their positives. They have kept pace with social change, shortening the length of time it takes people to get the shopping done, thus enabling the two-job households required to keep pace with the cost of living. They have been a prime driver of food culture in the UK, providing a ready source of the ingredients consumers have been introduced to via the media. They have enabled huge economies of scale.

However, they have also imperilled whole sectors of agriculture, including the dairy and pig business. Enormous numbers of food producers have either gone bust or simply left the business because it was no longer viable. We are no longer in a position to feed ourselves adequately. And all of this is against a swiftly changing global situation.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 04:53:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with food being too expensive to produce in the UK will be solved by Brexit! As the pound drops....

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jul 24th, 2017 at 04:53:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...even Scottish beef and Irish butter will become luxury goods affordable only by the wealthy. An locally produced food will be denominated in pounds and may well become the most affordable option. Shoot yourself in the foot and you have to learn to limp.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jul 24th, 2017 at 04:56:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The good news is that with global warming accelerating the English will soon be able to grow their own wine, coffee and tea...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 24th, 2017 at 01:45:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, for values of 'soon' > 100 years, and quite possibly also sugar cane. On the down side will be all of the Nigerian immigrants who fled >50 C temperatures in equatorial Africa. Geological evidence has recently emerged to indicate that, IIRC, in the Cretaceous the temperatures in what is now the Gulf of Nigeria were so high as to make it uninhabitable for most existing species. But it might well take a few more centuries to get there. But not if Trump gets his way.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 26th, 2017 at 01:56:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, if the UK were to become a haven for hot and laundered money from dodgy Russian Oligarchs, drug lords, Saudi sheiks and others deemed undesirable
Become?

Hasn't that been the City's business model since the British East India Company was first granted charter?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 at 08:57:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of info about Paul Singer funding the Rubio campaign and the 'dirty dossier' on candidate Trump through Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson. Great partnership ... from my diary @BooMan:  

During Yeltsin Era, UK and US Stripped Assets Off Russia   (Oui @BooMan - July 15th, 2017)

Yeah! Putin has Trump in his pocket. Russia has big, big leverage on candidate Donald Trump from his commercial ties to Russians from 2008 forward.

So the Marco Rubio dirt seekers of Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS hires a former MI6 Moscow spy nest called Orbis Business Intelligence with master spy Chris Steele to build an "opposition dossier" on the Trump campaign team. Glenn Simpson as SNS executive helped Paul Singer gain influence within the U.S. Treasury to put pressure on the Argentinian government to restore a billion plus settlement on Wall Street hedge fund. Comey of the F.B.I. used this leaked "Dodgy Dossier" to get a FISA warrant to wire tap Carter Page close to the Trump campaign team. Comey has always declared the F.B.I. had no investigation on presidential candidate Donald Trump.

On Russian spy activities, the CIA, FBI and MI6 had a close cooperation as was seen in the Evgeny Buryakov spy case where Carter Page was a willing witness for the FBI Counterintelligence agency.

Beyond pale how the IC has a hold on the American press corps to dictate the narrative, or if you will, to spin the story for the reporters to publish in their respective high quality papers of the Washington Post, New York Times and the TV networks including CNN Cable News.

by Oui on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 09:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just started S1 of The Last Kingdom. Your story begins in 866. Like Congolese savages set upon children the Danes are raping Saxon women like there's no tomorrow and stealing silver from English self-flagellating christian kings.

But that's not the funniest "narrative." The funniest, cruelest narrative motif is the importance of literacy in the evolution of ... telecommunication among the factions.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 08:07:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the best we can do with our mutually depraved derivations is to laugh at them. Kinfolk of some of my ancestors rounded up others of my ancestors an herded them off like cattle to make way for real estate developers - English, Scots-Irish and Cherokee mostly. Meanwhile the half brother of my great grandfather reportedly put all the family money into slaves in 1864. Thanks, Uncle Mann.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jul 21st, 2017 at 05:59:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have GOT TO WATCH this on Netflix.
"DNA" of my fine neandertal- and denisovan-allele bearing cousins is printed S1E6. What a hoot! Totally explains how vikings ("Danes") vanquished the natives in Virginia by 1000 B.C. (before Coumbus) in The Originals

Yes, everyone in the USA has a black Irish and Cherokee granny.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 03:10:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but it's nice to know you want to relate to genocide, sez 23andMe. 800,000 customers. BIG SAMPLE.
HUGE SAMPLE, NORMAL DISTRIBUTION, pop. 3M.

White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier

The researchers found that European-Americans had genomes that were on average 98.6 percent European, .19 percent African, and .18 Native American.

The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States

you woke?!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 03:30:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So yeah. Another funny "narrative" motif in The Last Kingdom is how easily Utred and his mercenaries switch um "races." Depending on which identity portends the more lucrative outcome of war, plunder: Dane, Saxon, Briton: they all look alike except for breastplates and tatoos.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 03:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what on earth does this mean? "European" genes are the reult of continuous mixing with Africa (check the geography) through the centuries.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 05:31:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
North Africa and the biblical lands were occupied solely by Caucasions until about 600AD, when the Muslims invaded. Obviously. Just look at paintings of that Jesus guy.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 12:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 01:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, no, no ... check the TV Guide! The Originals is an epic drama about the first vampires to reach North America. They came from Greenland to settle in New Orleans 1000 years ago.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 11:54:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Remainiacs - The Brexit Podcast

Also: Britain faces up to Brexit - The Economist

As long as the government stays in denial about Brexit's drawbacks, the country is on course for disaster

All versions, however "hard" or "soft", have drawbacks (see article). Yet Britain's leaders have scarcely acknowledged that exit will involve compromises, let alone how damaging they are likely to be. The longer they fail to face up to Brexit's painful trade-offs, the more brutal will be the eventual reckoning with reality.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 09:15:48 PM EST
England will be such a mess it will beg to be commissaried by Brussels, Moscow or Washington.
If the EU doesn't first implode over how to deal with 60,000,000 economic refugees fleeing the nightmare the newly war-torn colonies left behind (to corporations).

Degrade, deprive, rinse, repeat.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 at 11:49:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit as a fundamental reorganization without strategy and concrete goals has become a goal unto itself:

Brexit: the visionless vacuum - Flip Chart Fairy Tales

At first things go well but soon you run up against a problem. There are important decisions that need to be made but the overall strategy isn't clear. How can you restructure an organisation, re-design processes or implement a major system (or even all three at once) without understanding the overall direction of the company? At some point people start asking, "Why are we doing this? What's the purpose?" Questions get referred up the line and nothing comes back.

... had you known some of this, there are things you wouldn't have done and decisions you would have made differently. ... Kicking off an expensive operational change programme while not being clear about why you are doing it is rarely a good idea.

... There will be no hero's welcome for the little ship of Brexit. It is adrift on an open sea, rudderless and heading for God knows where.

The coming scenario of crashing out:

Dear Leavebugs, it's time to admit your mistake: Recklessness is all that's open to Brexiteers now - Matthew Parris - Spectator

Wisely, you Brexiteers dropped the Norway idea. Now we Remainers are reviving it. Beware. Ask yourselves why. ... Suspect a plot by my lot to procrastinate until you lot slip out of vogue. Deadlines for any `transition' can be put back until kingdom come.

Your other alternative is bolder. Cheat Parliament of its chance to vote down a deal by never reaching one. Keep your hostage in Downing Street and storm on towards the cliff edge in which we tumble out of the EU without agreement. Persuade public opinion that Brussels bullies brought us to this breakdown, negotiation is now impossible, and Britain must walk away -- and damn the consequences.

Damning the consequences is all that's open to you now. Double or quits: a reckless strategy that could destroy the Conservative party and land you in the rogues' gallery of history, but it's your only hope.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 08:54:32 PM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2017 at 11:33:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read the Parris article a couple of days back and my concern is that he's published what he seems a letter addressing private conversations he's had with various media and backbench hardline leavers, but without really giving the lay reader an idea of the context.

After the sympathetic hand on the shoulder waffle that takes up 2/3 of the article, he seems to lose his way. Or rather, at that point we no longer know what discussion point he's answering. I honestly don't understand what he's trying to say in the last 2 paragraphs except a vague hope that it will all run uselesly into the sand.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 09:56:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought he was quite clear: increasingly the brexiteers only have two viable options, firstly to let the whole thing slide and remain in the EU, or secondly a hard brexit, probably without any deal.  All other intermediate options like the Norway option come with a lot of the disadvantages of membership and few advantages. Judging by a lot of the comments on his piece, the Brexiteer's choice is quite clear - to leave, if necessary without a deal, and bugger the consequences.

And his fundamental analysis is, I think, sound.  Brexit was a political choice to restore full sovereignty which draws its inspiration from British history going all the way back to the split with Rome. It may be economically nonsensical  in the modern age, but the brexiteers are quite happy (for others) to accept short term pain, and have a somewhat mystical belief that the UK can ultimately do much better economically as a fully sovereign power, thank you very much.

In order to win the referendum the Brexiteers had to muddy the waters about the economic consequences, by rubbishing economic experts and making all sorts of false claims. They successfully tapped into an anti-establishment sentiment and needed some of the rubes to believe this stuff in order to get a majority, but they can be dumped now. The whole point was political sovereignty and regaining power they felt was slipping away from them.

Now they will be free to make war wherever they want, sell arms to everyone, build alliances with unsavoury dictators, and benefit from hot money from almost anywhere without the EU interfering in any way. It will be a hard right wing paradise and a few people will get rich. As for the rest? Did they ever matter?  Were they ever more than cannon fodder for the war and propaganda machine? You think things are bad now? Expect relations between the EU and the UK to deteriorate steadily from this point on.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 11:58:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're being kind. I quite like Parris' writing and enjoy the view from the other side of the fence, but to say he's surprised that the hardliners don't care what happens so long as they personally get rich is merely a re-statement of modern conservative priciples. It may be news to Parris, who affects to be more humane than many, but comes as no surprise to most of us.

The problem is not that the hardliners don't care what happens, it's that they remain convinced that the UK will be a fabulous place afterwards, "We know cos think-tanks have convinced us" {see Bill Maher}.

I would have preferred it if Parris had acknowledged that, when he told the brexiteers to "go ahead, drive off the cliff", that all of us are trapped in the rear seats with them, except they've got parachutes and we haven't


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 at 12:39:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not just the Tories who are losing their minds and being ripped apart from the inside - deservedly so ("If we cancel Brexit we destroy ourselves if we go ahead we destroy the country") but now Labour is cracking up as well. Corbyn casually supports leaving the single market, shadow trade sec Gardiner suddenly opposes a Norwegian style arrangement. And the Corbyn fan boys are now seemingly following dear leader to lala land. What the heck?! Real mass hysteria now that Love Island is over?

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Jul 25th, 2017 at 06:47:29 PM EST
tbh a lot of the cackle on the "left" about how Corbyn is getting it wrong is coming from the same group of right wingers who were convinced that Corbyn was leading the party into political posturing and electoral catastrophe.

The Blairite commentariat have been quiet for nearly 3 months, but as we approach conference season they are beginning to organise in dark corners of the Guardian and New Statesman comment pages.

It's true within the party as well. The Blairites are still entrenched within the power structure and seem intent on making mischief.

But, as usual, they're getting it wrong. There may be a few people who believe that Corbyn is 21st century Occupy made flesh, but most know better. Corbyn was and remains supported becaue he is in opposition to the failed Blairite agenda of despair that simply requires a slight pink-washing of the Tory manifesto.

Most Labour supporters loved the common sense proposals in the 2017 Labour manifesto, even many blairites. But they remain unable to accept that such amanifesto would have been impossible with the lack of ambition encapsulated by the likes of Liz Kendall or Owen Smith.

And until somebody comes along who really is in tune with the 21st century, Corbyn will do.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 25th, 2017 at 07:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like his program but when it comes to Brexit he is on the wrong side of history. His backing of a Tory-made hard Brexit will overshadow his otherwise positive agenda. If it will ever come to pass - Brexit has a habit of messing up plans. "Jobs-first Brexit"? Whose jobs, Jezza? Labour's Brexit ambiguity was fine until now. Why the sudden jump onto the slippery slope?

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Jul 25th, 2017 at 08:23:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right now, Labour's opinion on brexit is irrelevant. the Tories are in power and seem determined to remain so for the duration of the brexit process.

So, I think it is sensible politics for Corbyn to leave himself with no hostages to fortune and can be critical whatever version of brexit is foisted upon us.

If there is an election process, then maybe the position will have to be clarified, but right now I see no compelling reason for him to do so.

That said, Corbyn is first and foremost a democrat who respects the will of the people, however stupid that is. We are primarily a representative democracy and, as such, the issue of EU membership should have been settled (or rather, not even bloody addressed) by Parliament. However, Cameron, for his own bloody selfish stupidity, decided to make it a plebicite, and not even a 60/40  one, but a 50/50 one. That vote, which far exceeds any mandate for an individual government, is absolutely compelling. Defy it at your peril.

Yes, adults need to stand up and stop the process, but the electoral consequences for those MPs who do will not be pretty. until his opinion matters, Corbyn is wisely non-commital

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 25th, 2017 at 09:47:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK's PM Theresa May is on a three weeks' holiday ... she held on to her beliefs of a "hard Brexit".

The Conservatives are suggesting to postpone the start of Britain's life after Brussels and being on its own two feet by what's called a "transitional" period.  

Hammond says UK will seek Brexit transitional deal for up to three years | The Guardian |

Britain's relationship with the EU may look similar to its current one for up to three years after Brexit, with free movement, access to the single market and an inability to strike trade deals with other countries, Philip Hammond has said.

The chancellor confirmed multiple reports over the past week that the cabinet had agreed to seek a transitional period of about three years, ending before the next election, which is due in 2022.

He said there was broad consensus in the cabinet that such a period would be necessary to cushion the impact of leaving the EU.

The agreement was made last week but not announced by Theresa May, who has left the UK for a three-week holiday. Instead, the news has seeped out from other cabinet ministers, and was confirmed by Hammond on Friday morning.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the chancellor conceded that "many things will look similar" the day after Brexit officially takes place in March 2019. A three-year transitional period would have to be agreed by the rest of the EU, and only after that would the UK have a completely new immigration system, its own trade deal with the EU, and be able to strike trade deals with other countries.

by Oui on Fri Jul 28th, 2017 at 03:08:43 PM EST
Couldn't they have just got this transitional period by delaying filing A50 for 3 years in the first place?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jul 28th, 2017 at 04:46:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tempting, but politically impossible.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 28th, 2017 at 05:47:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well A50 didn't work out so well for the government.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jul 29th, 2017 at 08:50:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
598 days until Brexit and those fools are still debating the A50 letter and bickering among themselves.

EU has stated their position and AFAIK is still waiting for the UK government to get their act together and respond.


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

by ATinNM on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 04:53:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Irish government will not design 'Brexiteer border', says Varadkar - BBC
The Irish government will not design a border for Brexiteers, Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar has said.

He said his government did not want to see any kind of economic border on the island of Ireland when the UK leaves the European Union.

Mr Varadkar said he hoped unionists in Northern Ireland would not respond angrily to his position.

He is due to visit Northern Ireland next week.

"It is the British and the Brexiteers who are leaving, so if anyone should be angry it's us quite frankly," he added.

"But we are not going to get angry.

"We are going to try and find solutions or at least minimise the damage to relations between Britain and Ireland, to the peace process and to trading links."

by Bernard on Sat Jul 29th, 2017 at 09:51:03 AM EST
So does this mean that British food, grown according to US standards, will be able to freely enter the Republic? And that the Irish won't get angry when that happens?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jul 29th, 2017 at 09:57:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It will get stuck in customs...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 29th, 2017 at 10:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just written a diary on this!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 29th, 2017 at 10:37:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought you might :)
by Bernard on Sat Jul 29th, 2017 at 10:41:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh dear - getting predictable am I? If the content is also utterly predictable maybe its time I gave it a rest. My rule of thumb is never to write anything I have seen already written elsewhere...so its either new or redundent.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 29th, 2017 at 10:49:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just that this is a new development on the impact of Brexit on Ireland, a theme that you have been extensively covering - and a good thing you have: I don't think many of us in Continental Europe had realized how much the Irish are at risk of becoming collateral damage, and to how much extent.

And it makes it easier to us to understand why the Irish-UK border is part of the top two issues - along with EU citizens rights - in the EU negotiations with the UK.

by Bernard on Sat Jul 29th, 2017 at 05:29:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please continue!

What is "predictable" on your end is "breaking news" over here.

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

by ATinNM on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 04:54:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain couldn't leave the single market if it tried | Andrew Adonis | The Guardian

Mostly about the UK's lack of negotiating capacity, but along the way he attacks the "global Britain" vision of post-Brexit free trade with everyone except those losers in the dead end Single Market.

Setting aside its merits, there is a huge practical problem with hard Brexit. Leaving the customs union and the single market requires the UK by March 2019 to negotiate new trade treaties not only with the EU27, but with the 75 other nations with which the EU has free or preferential trade agreements, if British trade is not to take an immediate and substantial hit. Between them, these 102 countries include most of the trading world, and account for more than 60% of UK exports of goods and services.

Just because ministers keep repeating the mantra that a post-Brexit "global Britain" will trade far more with the "wider world" does not make it true. Britain's trade is already global - and this is helped, not hindered, by being part of the EU customs union. There are a few large markets with which the EU does not yet have trade agreements, but it has them with most of Britain's trading partners, and the number is growing. An agreement with Canada came into force last month; heads of terms have just been signed with Japan.

by Gag Halfrunt on Mon Aug 7th, 2017 at 09:48:40 AM EST
Ah. The Provisional Implementation of CETA, effective 1 July. Enforcement has been postponed, I understand. I've been trying to catch up to that story ever since Trump lambasted Canada's "supply management" (domestic quota) scheme to support dairy producers as cheating US exporters of profit of opportunities, ironically. But milk and cheese aren't the only cases of surplus capacity and production to reveal the paradox of historical efficiency gains.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Aug 7th, 2017 at 02:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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