Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

A Perfect Storm

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jun 1st, 2018 at 06:54:50 PM EST

With 300 days to go to Brexit, the Brexit negotiations are facing a perfect storm of UK Government incompetence, Italian governmental policy changes on the Euro, and a trade war initiated by Donald Trump. The UK government has still not made up its mind as to what kind of relationship it wants with the Customs Union and Single Market, and seems no closer to coming up with a coherent solution to the problem of the Irish border.

While Boris Johnson continues to waffle on about wanting a clean break from the EU, the UK government is actually seeking ever more complicated solutions to retaining "friction free" access to the Single Market and wants to retain access to the Blue Skies agreement, the Gallileo project, Europol, the Prüm Convention, and to retain influence over European defence and foreign policy. Basically the UK is seeking a partnership of equals between the UK and EU, and the EU is having none of it.

Meanwhile the "Italian Crisis", which is seen by many in the EU as a more serious threat to the Euro and the EU than Brexit, is reminding EU negotiators of just how much they need to show the Italians (and everyone else) of how much they stand to lose if they leave the EU or the Eurozone. The Italy Panic Might Be Bad News for the U.K.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, stepped up rhetoric last weekend on the need for the U.K. to be worse off. It was sparked by last week's round of negotiations in Brussels in which European officials said they were taken aback by how much the British government wants to continue after Brexit as if Brexit never happened.


Meanwhile the EU has "closed the door" on trade talks with the US after Trump imposed tariffs on Steel and Aluminium imports into the US. The EU has retaliated with tariffs on Bourbon and  Harley-Davidsons and the dispute could escalate into a full scale trade war if the US extends tariffs to EU car exports as Trump has threatened to do.

If Theresa May - who apparently has difficulty getting a word in edgeways in meetings with Trump - needed any reminders of how difficult it may prove to be to get an advantageous trade deal with Trump, this is surely it. There can hardly be a worse time to be pursuing "ambitious trade deals" than right now, with anti-globalisation parties gaining influence and a trade war in the offing.

Worse still, the EU is embarking on a new round of internal budget negotiations against a backdrop of cuts forced by the loss of the UK contribution to the budget. With Poland - currently at odds with the EU over it's anti-democratic "reforms" - also the largest net beneficiary, sparks are surely going to fly. Some member states might welcome the increased revenues tariffs on UK and US goods might bring in.

All of which is a long way of saying that the omens for a Brexit deal are not good. The UK government is still negotiating with itself much more than it is actually negotiating with the EU negotiating team and the internal political dynamics of the EU are not helpful to a generous approach. Expectations on both sides are still so far apart, it could be many years before common ground becomes clearly visible to all.

Brexiteer joy that the Italian crisis could bring forward their long predicted collapse of the EU won't have helped the negotiating atmosphere. Neither will the plan to mint special coins to to celebrate Brexit. The EU could well have an incentive to make sure they are worth as little as possible.

But spare a thought for poor former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson. A long time advocate of Brexit who chaired the Vote Leave campaign, he's preparing for Britain's departure from the EU by applying for French residency, to allow him to continue living in south west France. Apparently he is finding the bureaucracy involved "tiresome."

Display:
Obscure provision may permit open Border if no-deal Brexit
The EU could use an obscure provision in an international trade treaty to preserve a frictionless border in Ireland in the aftermath of a no-deal, no-transition Brexit, a new report commissioned by MEPs suggests.

The report to the European Parliament Constitutional Affairs Committee on the legal institutional implications of a hard Brexit - a prospect which is unlikely in the current state of negotiations, he suggests - has been prepared by Dublin City University's energetic Prof Federico Fabbrini, director of its Brexit Institute, and will be presented at a meeting of the committee on Thursday.

It warns that in the event of a hard, no-deal Brexit in which there was no transition arrangement or withdrawal agreement, from April 1st, 2019, "contingency plans would need to be put in place from the EU side to deal with the sudden emergence of a customs border between Ireland and Northern Ireland".  

That could be done, he argues, by invoking Article XXIV(3) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) , which provides for a so-called "frontier traffic exception". It is one way of doing what four parties in the North have urged in recent days - keeping the North inside the customs union and single market.  

The clause, which has never been used before, allows that custom provisions under the World Trade Organisation regime which would prevail in both the EU and UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit "shall not be construed to prevent: a) advantages accorded by any contracting party to adjacent countries in order to facilitate frontier traffic . . ."

This would allow the EU, Fabbrini says, to "declare the entire territory of Northern Ireland to be a frontier zone to the EU customs union; thereby removing the need for customs controls (at least on the EU side)".



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 1st, 2018 at 07:43:56 PM EST
Smyth | Obscure provision may permit open Border if no-deal Brexit

text2speech

archived boundary, border sophistry
"'frontier workers' (19 Mar Draft, PART TWO, CITIZENS' RIGHTS, TITLE I, GENERAL PROVISIONS, Article 8, Definitions (a) and (b) respectively, p 8)"
19 March Draft Highlights

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 05:25:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidentally, Napoleon III called.
Macron calls for COMPLETE OVERHAUL of world trade rules, WTO reform
because GATT is never enough.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 05:33:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm busy with a new diary, one element is the following ...

PM Rutte, a conservative as brightest pupil in a mix of Theresa May and Donald Trump ...
cutting into the right-wing agenda of populist/Islamophobe Geert Wilders to win seats.

Well at least Spain has a Socialist PM after the cabal of Rajoy fell due to extended corruption in the Spanish conservative Popular Party (PP). No surprise whatsoever, the Dutch liberal, conservative party VVD has had plenty of corruption in all levels of national and local politics.

New Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez: the unexpected survivor | El Pais |

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Jun 1st, 2018 at 08:02:38 PM EST
Getting rid of Rajoy has got to be a positive for Europe, but I have no visibility on how Pedro Sánchez's election as PM will effect the Brexit negotiations. The fragility of his coalition could make it very difficult for him to agree to any concessions in the negotiations, however.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 1st, 2018 at 08:30:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So far our prediction of a No Deal Brexit is looking good.  

The current odds are 7/4 so we could make some money except that the currency risk means it's probably a losing proposition unless we "butterfly" over to a pound put option.  

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

by ATinNM on Fri Jun 1st, 2018 at 08:23:15 PM EST
It depends on how you define "no deal". I have consistently spoken of the likelihood of no substantive Brexit deal by which I mean it would be hard to see the EU not continuing to allow the UK to participate in the Blue Skies deal and some security cooperation. Also a transition period might be agreed to facilitate further negotiations - the usual EU kick all the problems into the long grass strategy. But the City continuing as a centre of EU finance, a comprehensive trade deal, full access to the Single Market? Not so much. Not even close.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 1st, 2018 at 08:49:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My definition: no formal relationship agreement established on March 29, 2019.  

May's government,IF they can arise from their coma* AND cobble together a coherent negotiating position*, is running out of time.  

* now there's a bad bet

* "Technology Will Save Us!" is not a coherent negotiating position

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

by ATinNM on Fri Jun 1st, 2018 at 09:24:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry about the formatting errors


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Jun 1st, 2018 at 09:37:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not a great fan of ultimatums as a tool for moving negotiations forward, but this has been coming for some time. Something has to break, and soon.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 12:48:33 AM EST
Why Italy had to say goodbye to the dolce vita
Sometimes it is not appreciated quite how industrial Italy is. It has long been Europe's second-biggest manufacturing power, beaten only by Germany. Italy is far more industrial than France or the UK. In some areas of design and high-quality manufacturing, Italy is still without peer.

However, since it gave up the lira and adopted the euro - in effect Germany's currency - things have gone pear-shaped. This economic calamity is driving Italian politics, leading many to question the euro and Italy's membership of it.

From 1945 to 1995 there was an understanding that Italy would devalue the lira. This is what Italy did. Traditionally, it devalued the lira every few years. This kept Italian industry competitive.

---<snip>---

The gradual fall in the value of the lira was a price that the Italians were prepared to pay for industrial success. Contrary to the dogma spouted by Europe's central bankers, Italian devaluations worked particularly well.

From 1979 to 1998, Italian industrial production outpaced that of Germany by more than 10 per cent. Italian equities outperformed German equivalents by 16 per cent - after having taken into account the devaluations.

So not only was Italian industry growing faster than German industry, aided by lira devaluations, but also the return on capital in Italy was higher than in Germany.
...
Then came the euro.

Is the Euro entirely to blame or were there other factors? And why does Italian industry become so systemically uncompetitive without regular devaluations? What is so intrinsically "Germanic" about the Euro, especially with Draghi as President of the ECB and the "unconventional" measures he has adopted?

Would leaving the Euro now solve all these problems or is devaluation as an economic policy tool no longer the the cure-all suggested in this article? Would leaving the Euro not result in far higher interest rates and ultimately inflation offsetting any short term benefits of devaluation leading to a need for a never ending cycle of devaluations?

And Finally, is there even a mechanism (equivalent to A.50) for leaving the Eurozone, or is that process, in itself likely to be chaotic and catastrophic? Brexit is certainly a process far easier to manage because the UK has its own currency, but will that fact, on its own, enable Brexit to be a "success"?

I am wary of the simplistic cause and effect advocated by this article. Would it not be better to tackle the underlying causes of Italian uncompetitiveness rather than relying on currency manipulation to hide them? In an increasingly integrated EU economy, would reverting to the Lira not be a backward step, even if the transition to the Euro created considerable difficulties?

I appreciate devaluation is often preferable to deflation, but is it not possible to manage an economy without either? Italy's economic problems seem to be caused far more by stagnant productivity, stagnant corporate structures, stagnant legal and governmental structures, regional and class inequalities, and a culture of entitlement.

La Dolce Vita was always about living now and paying later, and perhaps not paying at all. Blaming the Euro seems a convenient excuse and cop-out.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 10:15:11 AM EST
Nah, there are always other factors but the Euro is clearly the biggest one. There is just no defending of the fiscal streight jacket it enforces in any rational economic framework. I wouldn't overly stress the importance of devaluations, absent stringent currency controls and given the integrated nature of supply chains and the dynamics of the whole beast I really wouldn't expect too much of it. That was one of the weak points of the Greek's left alternative plan. And there were many.

It is a trap. Italy would very much profit from having left the Euro, but actually leaving the Euro is bound to be vastly destructive and traumatic. And of course there are a lot of class interests involved.

by generic on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 01:09:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would except that view in relation to Greece - it should never have been allowed to join the Euro. There was and is a lack of economic development and integration which means it was never part of an EZ optimal common currency area.

However I see less justification for that view in relation to Italy. It needs to be trading with the rest of the Eurozone on a wide front of products and services and the lack of currency barriers assist that.

A 132% Dept/GDP is a problem no matter what the currency, and would only be exacerbated, in the short term by devaluation. Low EZ interest rates - not always appropriate - can also assist in keeping debt servicing costs down.

But I am a sceptic when it comes to financial/monetary engineering solutions to deep structural problems and inefficiencies - the presence of large bureaucracies which increase costs and fail to add much value, the rentier mentality of much of the service sector.

Just as the EU was a convenient bogeyman for the British national elite to avoid accountability for their own failings, I see a danger that the Euro will fulfil a similar role for Italian demagogues.

QE and low interest rates gave the Italian economy every opportunity to recover. The fact that it hasn't done so as well as other (less favoured) economies is not the fault of the Euro.  And trying to leave the Euro could be even more damaging for all parties than Brexit.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 03:52:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A pseudo-sovereign currency with draconian budget constraints and no revenue sharing was always a plan on a collision course with itself.  The wealth was bound to flow over the Alps, and without their own currencies the Mediterranean states, including Italy, were defenseless.
by rifek on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 09:33:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
o, yes, no matter the language, hyperinflation cracks me up too.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 09:47:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lessons LOST: give 'em inch, you'll get 4,200 BILLION to the dollar ...not the franc, not kroner, not sterling, not drachma, not yen, not yuan, not peso, not bitcoin... in return.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 09:55:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did I write 10,000:1? my bad: U.S. Dollar to Italian Lire Spot Exchange Rates for 1975 to 2001 from the Bank of England

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 10:00:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And trying to leave the Euro could be even more damaging for all parties than Brexit.

If, (as so many economists have averred from Krugman, Stiglitz and Varoufakis on, the Euro is flawed by design,) then does it matter much whose actions lead it to breaking point?
It was a just a matter of time...
No-one really wants to leave the Eurozone, but Italy will not be forced into austerity and Troika-ville as easily as the Greeks are.
So it has to threaten to in order to make the rules more favorable to S.Europe.
Game theory, innit.
With Öttinger as the new Schaubler straight out of central casting in the villain role, it's not hard to see why many Italians are bristling at being insulted almost daily by the big cheeses in Brussels.
There's a very good article in the latest Jacobin magazine about it, I can't link with this tablet, sorry.
Maastricht and Dublin need renegotiating asap, or we will see more chaos down the road for the whole EU project, not just the EZ.


'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 Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 at 06:17:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Read the article. All of the issues are well known by now, but the Germans/N. Europeans aren't going to agree to anything which amounts to them taking on debt/risk on behalf of what they see as profligate Italians/Greeks.

Varoufakis tried the game playing and lost. The response to the Great Recession was disastrous, but things have settled down since. Everyone else in the Eurozone is now doing quite well (off a low base), so why isn't Italy?

The best the Italians can hope for is to block Jens Weidmann from becoming President of the ECB and keeping someone like Draghi at the helm. Öttinger isn't really up to the job of being an adequate bogeyman.

The Italians are going to have to sort this one out themselves...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 at 09:07:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Italians are going to have to sort this one out themselves...

Yes that's why many are ready here to ditch the common currency experiment before it does too much more harm!

It was on ET I read how Germany was bending the rules in their favour, back in the Greece crisis. How much of their debt was forgiven, how the 6% rule was breached, and the incredible story of how the 3% number was arbitrarily conjured out of some Frenchman's nether regions.
Predatory capitalism has become the OS of European finance, protecting anal goldbugs' hard currency savings value stasis fantasies while the southern euro-states founder and falteringly re-climb out of the economic muck again, with the sword of Damocles swaying over their heads.
The pearl-clutching in Brussels suggests something holy about the Euro, that the currency itself has lėse majesté, that it's the sheerest of heresies to even breathe a suggestion that it may not be irreversible (pace Draghi) or its terms renegotiable.
The nervous hysteria is a sure tell there's a bluff going on. If the currency's success were a foregone conclusion after a decade and a half of practice using it, why are the results so unbalanced in favour of northern countries.
If Italy's capacity for innovation, design and productivity was so high it rivaled Germany's, what virus suddenly infected the country to so swiftly degenerate it into a pack of corrupt, shiftless parasites with zero work ethic and a penchant for a life of ease?
The Bild propaganda has done its dirty work just as the Sun's did for Brexit voters.
Italy's industrial heyday was before the galloping globalisation that has enriched Asia just as colonialism enriched Europe.
So many factories of businesses nurtured in Italy have moved a few kilometers to take advantage of cheaper labour the other side of the border, this is doing the country in much more than the Mafia or incompetent governments, (hardly an Italian exclusive).
The EU decision to import cheap Tunisian frozen olive oil (as reward to encourage the country into democracy after the Arab Spring) was doubtless well-intentioned, but was it really so important that it was worth pauperising Italian olive farmers?
Ditto lemons from Cile breaking citrus farms here etc etc?
The idea of the EU was to protect Europe's member states from the pressures of globalisation, not the opposite.
Italians are fed up with being treated as second-class Europeans by the Northern contingent who are the only ones really profiting from the Euro.
The pain of leaving will be traumatic and immense, the country will eat bread and onions for a few years until freedom from the Euro-yoke is complete, but then its ability to re-flower its economy will be by its own merit, not because a generation of sleazy politicians wasted zillions on boondoggle vanity projects financed by cheaper interest rate loans than they were used to, indebting the country up to its eyeballs.
The very topography of the country determines that small to medium businesses will always the the backbone of Italy's economy, the very sized businesses that suffer most in this climate of global corporate giantism.
That's why Italians feel conned by the Euro, and betrayed by Prodi for signing up for it.
Those against leaving it are so terrified of the immediate consequences they don't see beyond that short-term view.
Besides, as Migeru and Jake used to say about Greece back in the day, what is the EU going to do, send gunships?
Disselbloem, Tusk, Jungker et al are so ratty because they're bluffing, their Euro is a castle built on sand.
Shh, tiptoe through the tulips, intone the right pieties, don't disturb the confidence fairy or the spread will come sort you right out and it'll be Troika-time!
(Hold still and it won't hurt so much when we come after your 1000 billion of savings stashed away for that rainy day Italians justly fear.)

Italy is getting up off its knees.

Sorry Europe, your bluff ain't working any more.

Reform or get out of the way.  


'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 Jun 7th, 2018 at 02:44:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The pain of leaving will be traumatic and immense, the country will eat bread and onions for a few years until freedom from the Euro-yoke is complete, but then its ability to re-flower its economy will be by its own merit, not because a generation of sleazy politicians wasted zillions on boondoggle vanity projects financed by cheaper interest rate loans than they were used to, indebting the country up to its eyeballs.

This is exactly what the Brexiteers in the UK are saying, (although they are downplaying the bread and onions bit...).

I think you are right that globalisation has hurt Italy badly. Many of the industries, products and designs it pioneered are now produced in Asia and eastern Europe. The UK handled that by my switching to financial services, brand building, and some high tech industries. Germany had greater economies of scale and simply excelled at manufacturing and with robots making labour costs less important. Other than tourism, I'm not sure what the Italian strategy is, but I doubt ongoing devaluations will be a long term solution.

You are also right that the 3% and 60% rules were arbitrary and ignored when it suited Germany's or France's purposes. They should never have been enshrined in a Treaty. But the problem with them is that they limit the scope a government has implement counter-cyclical policies to deal with asymmetric shocks or sudden down-turns. Ongoing borrowing in the long term simply increases interests costs which creates a cycle of ever increasing debt and impoverishment. Unless your strategy is to default on debt every now and again, in which case virtually no one will lend to you.

AFAIK most of Italy's debt is held by the ECB as a result of QE and by Italians themselves, so any default would be devastating for Italian bond-holders, some of which may be wealthy but many of which are ultimately funding pensions. The ECB QE policy was primarily to get highly indebted countries like Italy, Greece and Ireland out of a hole by buying up government debt when private debt markets won't do so except at exorbitant rates to reflect what they say as default risk.  This has helped the Eurozone economy generally to recover to the extent that large government deficits should no longer be needed and debt burdens as a % of GDP should be being reduced in any case.

So at the moment I don't see the Euro (or even its stupid rules) being a problem for Italy. Globalisation is, but you would have to leave the EU (not just the euro) if you wanted to introduce protectionist policies. And while you say the EU is facilitating globalisation, in fact third countries will tell you that the EU is a very protected market - particularly for agricultural produce. World prices for many goods are much lower than European ones, and European farmers get CAP payments to compensate.

If I were Italian, I would be waiting to see how Brexit works out before going down that road.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 09:31:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian debt
The Italian government debt is the public debt owed by the government of Italy to all public and private lenders. As of January 2014, the Italian government debt stands at €2.1 trillion (131.1% of GDP).[1] However, Italy has the lowest share of public debt held by non-residents of all eurozone countries and the country's national wealth is four times larger than its public debt.[2]The Italian public debit is in 2017 owned by the private sector only for the 6% of the total amount. This percentage decreased a lot from 1988, where this share was 57%

--,snip>--

In 2014, the Bank of Italy estimated that Italians held €180 billion in undeclared assets abroad, a figure that was three times as high as in 2004

In other words, without QE and low interest rates, Italy would have been in a lot more trouble when even Italian investors won't invest in Italy. The fact that Italian politicians may have squandered the benefits of low interest rates is also hardly Germany's fault, for whom that assertion merely reinforces perceptions of Italian profligacy.

So I am suggesting to you that the Euro is the wrong bogeyman. Blame if you will, and leave it if you must. We will see how Brexit works out for the UK, and they don't even have the excuse of blaming the Euro...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 09:47:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We will see how Brexit works out for the UK, and they don't even have the excuse of blaming the Euro...

They blamed immigration, even though lots of immigrants are from outside the EU. So I don't see why they can't blame the Euro despite not being in the Euro....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 09:56:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And now with Sterling devaluation and Brexit uncertainty, immigration is going down anyway and they can't get the workers they need to do the jobs they don't want to...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 10:43:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Such as teaching Gaelic...
Scotland has an acute shortage of qualified Gaelic teachers, so parents on the western island of Mull were stunned when the UK government refused to grant a visa for the sole candidate for a new position at one of its local schools. 

Blocking entry to Canadian Sìne Halfpenny has meant children at Bunessan primary school have been denied the chance to be taught in Gaelic -- seen as a vital way to maintain the ancient but endangered language -- for more than half a year. 

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 03:24:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't say I agree with a lot of this.
Yes the UK's mess is (nearly) entirely self-inflicted. That is just not true for the Eurozone.
For one, the idea of an optimal currency area is pretty specious. Would half the continent of North America be an optimal currency zone without a central budget?
The importance of the debt-to-gdp ratio is disputed by MMT, so at least not entirely uncontroversial.
Jumping to a parallel dimension that doesn't include the Euro will of course not magically solve all deep structural problems in the Italian economy. Even if you could actually do that instead of the incredible disruptive Euro withdrawal. But as far as insufficient demand is weighing the economy down, regaining monetary sovereignty would clearly help. The UK could have changed course at any time. Not so if you are under the sway of Frankfurt.
by generic on Tue Jun 5th, 2018 at 03:00:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am aware mine is probably a minority view on ET and I don't disagree that some of the Mastricht rues are stupid and that the ECB response (under Trichet) to the great Recession was disastrous. In addition, Ireland suffered as much as anyone from inappropriate interest rates set to meet German needs in the early noughties.

That said, it was still up to the Irish central back to regulate excessive private lending and it spectacularly failed to do so. Now Melo is blaming Italian debt on "a generation of sleazy politicians wasted zillions on boondoggle vanity projects financed by cheaper interest rate loans than they were used to, indebting the country up to its eyeballs." Fair enough, but not the primary responsibility of the ECB to control and he and most Italians would be the first to shout foul if German politicians had sought to intervene.

My issue is more with timing. There is a general and widening Eurozone recovery underway aided by very progressive (and controversial) policies by Draghi. Now is not the time for Keynesian reflation and increasing debt levels still further. Italy has a problem with inequality and Billions being stashed by the rich outside the country, but again, that is primarily a matter for the Italian Government to deal with.

If I were an Italian policy maker, I would certainly fight for reform of Masstrict rules, oppose Jens Weidmann, and seek to reform the ECB to include formal employment targets in its mandate, give it a formal responsibility as "lender of last resort", strengthen bank resolution rules, and insist on the creation of a Eurozone Finance Minister with a significant budget to tackle regional and social inequalities.

None of this require leaving, (or threaten to leave) the Euro which is already increasing debt servicing costs and reducing investor confidence further. Brexit and Trump are making economic and political stability more important than ever, and you already have the UK doing the legwork on what leaving the EU might be like.

Now just strikes me as a particularly stupid time to make leaving the Euro a core part of your programme. It is damaging to what recovery there is and isn't addressing core problems. Plus it's cold outside. If you can't compete within the EU, I don't fancy your chances of competing outside.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 11:32:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ECB is under Draghi not actively sabotaging the member states (except Greece). But Draghi will be replaced next year, and who knows by whom? If you want to get out, now could be as good a time as any.

Regarding your last point, the EU countries that isn't euro countries has managed better. Yes, the commission has said that you can't leave the euro without leaving the EU, but it remains to be tested.

by fjallstrom on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 08:14:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think buying well over a Trillion € in sovereign and corporate bonds to stabilise the market (when Private investors refuse to buy) and keep interest rates at record lows is more than just "not actively sabotaging". It provides highly indebted countries and companies with a time-limited opportunity to get out of a cycle of ever increasing debt. Of all the PIIGS, Italy is the only country which has not taken advantage of this opportunity to reduce its Dept/GDP ratio.

The only reason Brexit hasn't imploded the UK economy so far is the fact that Sterling has devalued sufficiently to offset the loss of competitiveness and investor confidence. Even so the UK economic growth has slowed to the lowest of EU countries. I shudder to think what impact Italexit would have on the Italian economy without the ability to devalue radically and probably default on its debts.

There is no separate process for exiting the Euro. A50 is the only game in town. In a few years time we will know how that has worked out for the UK. I don't expect the outcome to be encouraging.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 10:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being a back-stop for the national debt is one of the core functions of a central bank. That ECB thinks this function is something that is optional and something it should be applauded for is like having a fire department that first refuses to put out fires, and then expects applause for not intentionally letting anything burn down in years. That is a reason to leave before it gets worse.

As far as reform goes, the structure of the eurogroup meetings (as described by Varoufakis and he has been in the room) is Germany decides. And the structure of the ECB meetings are secret as far as I can tell, but ECB gets their political cover from the eurogroup. So there will be no reform that doesn't fit Germany and Germany will decide if and when there is a reform. Non-germans has no vote on that. And no amount of Italian pressure is likely to create that will in Germany. Nor will threats to leave (sorry melo).

There is no process for exiting the euro but neither is there any process for kicking a country out of the EU. Countries can be fined and lose voting rights when in violation of treaties, but that is rarely applied. The only reason the EU has such power over Italy is the ECB in combination with Italy's current account deficit. If Italy de facto leaves the euro (say capital controls and parallell currency) or even de jure, the ECB stick is already removed (but can and will hit hard on the way out) and the rest is up to politics and the courts. Unless the other EU states follows up ECBs financial blockade that we saw with Greece with physical blockades, of course. Then things would get really interesting.

However, I think this is academic as judging by their deal with Lega, I don't think M5* has the skills or the will to leave the euro.

by fjallstrom on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 09:00:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed, and Draghi has said the ECB will do "whatever it takes" to safeguard the integrity of the system  - admittedly somewhat belatedly following the Greek debacle. In fairness the ECB will probably respond that it will act as a backstop on condition the relevant member countries stay within the budget rules. You could hardly expect the ECB to underwrite massive and uncontrolled borrowing by a member state increasing its debt GDP ratio to unsustainable levels and then threatening to default if even more borrowing isn't allowed.

The difference between the ECB and a national central bank is that the ECB has to be concerned with 19 distinct national debts and has to "police" the system to ensure one or more of the 19 don't game the system at everybody else's expense. If a national government with it's own currency allows borrowing to become unsustainable, the national central bank can adjust interest rates, the money supply or devalue to recover competitiveness. Either way the impact is primarily on that countries economy and citizenry unless it defaults on external debts.

In the case of a common currency, all the other member states are impacted, and possibly quite adversely. You can argue that there isn't enough economic convergence to justify a common currency, or that it cannot be stable absent countervailing fiscal capacities and policies to deal with structural and regional imbalances, or that there simply isn't enough flexibility to deal with asymmetric shocks or sudden downturns. All true.

But there doesn't seem to be a huge divergence in economic performance between EZ and other EU countries, so the advantages and disadvantages of the Euro may be currently reasonably balanced. If a trend were to emerge whereby non-EZ members did consistently better on a number of key metrics then I'm sure there would be a move to either exit or reform. I don't think the case is currently clear cut either way.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 09:29:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PS - latest EZ growth is 2.5% and EU 2.4%

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 10:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
managed WHAT? better.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 02:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
immigration restriction!
Italy Closes Its Borders to Refugees, Turns Away 629 on Ship
"Everyone in Europe does their own thing, now Italy is raising its head up. STOP to the ugly business of clandestine immigration."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 04:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure it is. Italy has an enormous output gap. The extent to which I am concerned about their economy overheating would require pretty fine instruments to measure, it is that small.
by Thomas on Sun Jun 17th, 2018 at 10:00:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lira devaluation paradise again? Italian industrial STRENGTH, trade, 0 unemployment! and 0 debt! before 2002 at the low, low price of 10,000 to 1 USD.

It's true, Clowncil intention to help IT gov extinguish debt marinading since 121 CE was always weak. But it shouldn't be so difficult to accept that USD-denominated risk undermines these fantasies of "own currency" solvency. Interest-bearing debenture is the "enemy" in the first instance.

China Can Hold Trump's Trade War Hostage speculates that liquidity depends on parity among traders.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 04:01:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see an automatic crisis being generated by Italian government desires for Euro devaluation and restoration of economic ties with Russia. With Trump becoming a common enemy, anyone who stands up to Trump is your friend...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 04:51:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
me neither. ECB has been testing effective EUR "devaluation" (NIRP) against vigilante demand for yield for five years. The hurdle to running off IT gov debt is persuading current sovereign and commercial paper holders to buy into a CAC. Everybody in. Except paul singer.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 at 05:06:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Elliott's Singer agrees with Buffett, Dimon on profit guidance
Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp [d/b/a NML] Chief Executive Paul Singer said on Thursday ... Elliott often acquires stakes in companies as an activist shareholder, criticizing their financial performance and asking them to commit to changes.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 09:01:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sunday Times: Revealed: plans for Doomsday Brexit
Britain would be hit with shortages of medicine, fuel and food within a fortnight if the UK tries to leave the European Union without a deal, according to a Doomsday Brexit scenario drawn up by senior civil servants for David Davis.

Whitehall has begun contingency planning for the port of Dover to collapse "on day one" if Britain crashes out of the EU, leading to critical shortages of supplies.

Last month officials in Davis's Brexit department and the departments of health and transport drew up scenarios for a no-deal Brexit -- a mild one, a severe one and one dubbed "Armageddon".

A source said: "In the second scenario, not even the worst, the port of Dover will collapse on day one. The supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals will run out of medicines within two weeks."

Officials would have to charter aircraft, or use the RAF to ferry supplies to the furthest corners of the UK. "You would have to medevac medicine into Britain, and at the end of week two we would be running out of petrol as well," the source said.

Concern about chaos at Dover was behind a decision by Highways England to announce plans last month to build "one or more lorry holding areas" in Kent "to reduce the congestion caused by cross-Channel disruption".

It is understood that the papers were prepared for the so-called Inter-Ministerial Group on Preparedness, which meets weekly when parliament is sitting. One official said the scenarios are so explosive they have only been shared with a handful of ministers and are "locked in a safe".



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 at 01:45:36 PM EST
But what is the "worse" scenario?

The Guardian adds:

The government has suggested it would temporarily waive tariffs and border checks on goods entering Britain in the event of a no-deal scenario, in an effort to minimise disruption at borders. But the EU could still halt the flow of goods in the opposite direction.
So France may end up without food?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 at 02:12:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, no English Cheddar, Wensleydale, Marmite or Branston pickle. Most of the English imports you could source from Ireland or other EU states instead however.

The UK strategy seems to be to keep the posts customs controls/tariff free in the hope that the EU would reciprocate. However this is because they simply don't have the infrastructure in place to impose those controls in the first place, and hope that that way they will have access to the Single market by default as if they were still a member.

However those nasty French will probably not reciprocate, partly because they may have more of the required infrastructure in place, the tariffs will come in handy to replace the lost UK contribution to the EU budget, and mainly because there are few UK exports that are absolutely critical to French/EU food/production supply chains.

The Brits will scream blue murder and that the actions of the French amount to a declaration of war. The EU will reply that they are simply treating UK goods and passengers in the same way as any other non-member state goods/citizens.

Unlike the UK where everything seems chaotic, I would be surprised if EU plans for a no-deal Brexit are not well advanced.  And it is much easier for the EU to be prepared: UK exports make up only 4% of EU imports whereas EU sourced goods make up 40% of UK imports. So the impact on EU customs infrastructure is relatively marginal - an order of magnitude less than the impact on UK infrastructure - although highly concentrated in the channel ports area.

In the meantime, a new Cork to Santander ferry route has just been opened and Irish shipping firms plan to bypass British ports with direct routes to Europe.

CLdN, a shipping company in Luxembourg, has introduced two "mega vessels" on new direct freight routes between Dublin and the ports of Zeebrugge, Belgium, and Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

Irish Continental Group will boost weekly freight capacity from 120 to 1,155 lorries between Dublin and the French port of Cherbourg this summer.

Brittany ferries will this month start a service between Cork and Santander in Spain



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 at 03:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, Air France started a daily non-stop service between Paris and Cork a week ago, in addition to the 4 daily non-stop flights between Paris and Dublin.
by Bernard on Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 at 05:19:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That article has been about as welcome in the closed atmosphere of Westminster as a fart in a spacesuit.

The reaction from the tories more or less confirmed the truth of it and, with less than a year to go, even close friends of the Tories are wondering what on earth is going on.

A Times opinion column this morning called on May to go. However, after he outlined all the problems that she faced trying to simultaneously square several circles whilst deflating various brexiteer trial balloons, all the while avoiding upsetting influential voices who might derail the entire project, it was quite obvious that these cats ain't gonna be herded anytime soon.

Brexit is disintegrating in front of us, destroyed by the incompetence of its most enthusiastic supporters. I'm currently wondering whether at some point May will be making a version of the Japanese Emperor's Jewel Voice broadcast at the end of WWII the brexit situation has developed not necessarily to Britain's the Tory party's advantage"

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 02:22:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It took two nuclear bombs to bring Japan to the point of surrender. I don't think the UK - or more accurately, the Tory party - is quite there yet. Delusions still abound.

At the moment the June EU summit seems doomed to failure, and with it May's reputation for keeping the process going. It seems likely that she will lose a critical Commons vote sometime soon, but that may only usher in another Tory leader, not a general election.

Whatever chance May has of evoking a sympathetic response from EU leaders, Johnson, Gove, or Rees-Mogg have none. The will have no choice but to go for a no-deal "clean" break from the EU, with all the consequences described in the Times article.

Then after about two years of absolute mayhem I would expect a general election and a new government led by Corbyn. But he will receive no better welcome from the EU, particularly it's far right eastern leaders.

This has the potential of going complete out of control and downhill all the way, with the additional complications of the Italian crisis and the Trump Trade War thrown in for good measure.

How to destroy a relatively benign global economic outlook in three easy lessons. I still can't see a bottom to all of this...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 03:08:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US voters will not elect Mr Trump again, I predict. Many are venal and stupid, but not that venal and stupid.

Re-group is around the proverbial corner. Y'all just got to keep your shit together for two more years.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 03:13:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We" may not get there with you ...


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 03:18:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Video won't play for me

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 03:31:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy Black History Y3 D155


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 03:44:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Does this look like the graph of a President losing popular support to you? Far from Trump losing support, America is becoming Trumpified.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 03:30:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't wait for Vladimir Putin to steal Hillary's presidency again.
But seriously, Trump is just very boring if you look beneath the bombast and bad grammer. Is there anything he did that you couldn't see Bush doing? Except maybe letting the Korea peace deal go ahead?
by generic on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 03:58:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Ditching Iran Deal
  2. Starting Trade War
  3. Needless pissing off almost everyone
  4. Doing deals with dodgy Russians to build Trump tower in Moscow etc.

And what alternative are the Dems offering? Three septuagenarians? Hillary? Sanders? Pelosi?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:21:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank, did I predict that a Democratic nominee would replace Trump?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:31:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When was the last time a sitting President failed to win his party's nomination? How well are anti-Trump Republicans doing at the moment? Evidence please...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:47:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G.W.H. Bush

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I recall, he was the official Republican nominee in the election he lost to Clinton. You are confusing the primary with the general election.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 08:51:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whoever wins the Rethuglican primary, and it's Der Drumpfenfuehrer Little Donny Dreckwerfer's if he wants it, will win the presidency.  The neoliberal arsefardles of the DNC/DLC/DCCC will make sure of that.
by rifek on Fri Jun 15th, 2018 at 01:24:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still remember how we, or at least I, thought more than ten years ago that Europe will finally have to get out from behind the US' skirts because the relationship was getting so poisonous. Freedom Fries and all. Came to nothing in the end.
Ditching the Iran deal seems very much in line with prior policy. Bush also needlessly agonized Iran after they helped him out with the Taliban. Hero of the Resistence™ David Frum wrote them a nice thank you note. And the sanctions were always inimical to European economic interests.
The trade war is certainly a lot more blatant than in the old days.
by generic on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 05:01:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Three? What happened to Biden?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 08:58:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forgot my actual point: Bush got reelected with broadly similar policies. He had his folksy persona and the warpresidency™ and his handlers just managed to fob their product off before both of those passed the sell by date. Trump is blessed with enemies that might just assemble a broad enough front of ex bushie ghouls and spooks that he can run against the establishment as a sitting president. They think still think that would be bad for him.
by generic on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:38:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So did your boy Obama.
This subthread supposedly is seeking a bottom. Why would you benchmark the current zeitgeist to the top of US venality and stupidity?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:54:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank. Step away from the pollsters' "polls of polls", n=400, N=168M.

Many are venal and stupid, but they are not that venal and stupid.

The final 18 months of "Trump" trade will concentrate the two brain cells between them to vote up --by ballot or bullet-- anyone but.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:07:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone ever lost money betting on the venality and stupidity of the American people?  Your faith is touching...but Ihaven't seen much evidence to support it.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:24:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in the Irish Times or the Irish Times?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have the advantage on me in being an actual American living in America with lots of American sources and contacts. I ended up relying on stuff like Pollster's poll of polls which didn't do me any favours in Trump vs. Hillary, although she did win the popular votes by 3 points. It takes spectacular incompetence to lose Michigan and Pennsylvania with numbers like that. But then who ARE the republicans and Democrats (or Independents) going to put up against Trump? I'm not seeing either a rising star or a winning hand.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:54:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
>It takes spectacular incompetence to lose Michigan and Pennsylvania with numbers like that
One of us is a little fuzzy on the difference between state delegates to the DNC and state electors in a presidential election. Your boy Obama and Who? connived to disqualify MI and FL primary results in '08. Wouldn't it be comical if that episode informed --without aid of foreign agents-- Michiganders' preference for "spectacular incompetence". So it is. Trump won the MI popular vote by 10,704 and 16 electors in 2016, as is the custom.

>who ARE the republicans and Democrats (or Independents)...
The uniparty is already floating favored POTUS candidates. Why don't you know them? For example, Sen. Flake, one of the least distinguished in the wave of incumbents retreating from RNC #NeverTrump'16 to temporary obscurity, while Democrats besmirch the mid-term congressional recycle derby. What is Mr Flake's hook in I, D, R voters, Frank?

Independent a/k/a unaffiliated registered voters is NOT a partisan organization or incorporated enterprise. As such independent voters as a group do not raise capital or nominate candidates and are not regulated as such by the FEC and states' election boards. But individual independent voters are subject to FEC regulation limiting "donor" gifts to any party campaign. Further, independent voters are permitted only to vote for partisan candidates in open primary and general elections. Independent voters don't "put up" candidates. They make or break them.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 08:24:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt that Flake or any other Republican can deny Trump the republican nomination in 2020 unless Trump starts and loses a major war. I am aware than Independents aren't an organisation as such (by definition!). However voters voting for an independent candidate can influence the outcome. For example Ross Perot made it possible for Bill Clinton to win with 43% of the vote by taking 19% of the vote many of which might otherwise have gone to Bush snr. So if Flake (or someone similar) ran as an Independent and attracted a significant number of otherwise Republican leaning votes, it would be easier for the democratic nominee to win.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 10:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did I predict Trump would not be nominated? No.

Let's recap.
I said he would not be elected again. Any one but:

I suggested that regardless of binary statistical descriptions of voter preferences, the true "margin of error" --independent voters-- will be the instrument of Trump's defeat. They will join with Trump opposition constituents in both parties to form a majority "for love of money."

Independent is a party of one. Squabbling over profits lost, jobs saved or created.

Now, you've pointed out --to the size of the minority faction with no indication of irony-- that splitting 56% of the remaining electorate (hidebound, middle-class, "Reagan" republican voters) lost the incumbent (G.H.W. Bush) the seat.

Case closed.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 11:55:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There aren't any independents positioning themselves to run (Howard Schultz rumors to the contrary, and besides, how likely is it that Starbucks is going to mobilize the masses?), so it will be D vs. R in 2020, and the DNC will make sure R will win.  In a sane system, the DNC would be foaming at the mouth over all the disenfranchisement plots, such as the one our glorious SCOTUS just upheld in Ohio, except for one, small thing: Those plots help the DNC.  The folks losing their voting privileges would be voting for progressives, not the neoliberal stooges the DNC keeps foisting on us, so the Rethuglican vote suppressors are actually helping the DNC tools maintain control over the Democratic Party.
by rifek on Fri Jun 15th, 2018 at 01:39:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one has declared for POTUS 2020. No sane or sincere candidate would want to position him or herself now for two more years of Trump "troll" tweets with schmears and streaks of MSNBC and FOX.

Look what happened to Flake.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jun 15th, 2018 at 01:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does that poll fit this "demographic"? This "margin of error?
42% I, 29% D, 27% R.
"coming together for the love of money": Focus, Frank.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:25:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ima tell you. I was not raised on religion. My family is secular through and through. I have not had any "conversion" to faith. What I know and understand about the polity of US America comes from 55 years walking this earth, this land, and studying the instrumentality of ecumenical institutions in US politics. IF Dwight D. fucking Eisenhower rose from the dead November 4, 2020, he'd win in a LANDSLIDE.

FOCUS, Frank.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:47:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
National polls are meaningless in mid-terms.  The action is at the congressional district and state-wide offices.  Granted most of them are locks for the incumbent.  Even so there are something like 119 GOP House seats in-play this year.  Democrats need to take 24 of them.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 04:58:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I.m not trying to make predictions about the next Presidential elections, much less the mid-terms. I'm just asking what evidence we have of a wave election against Republicans, because I'm not seeing it.

We don't even know who the Dem candidate will be. I'm just using the graph to illustrated there is very little evidence that Trumps appalling record to date is causing any meaningful erosion of his base at the present time.

What happens in two years time is another matter, and depends on how the US economy fares after a trade war and whatever other wars Trump starts. BTW did the EU just target only Republican owned businesses?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 05:02:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The betting markets give the Dems a 58% chance of taking the House. I think Hillary had better odds...



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 05:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
>We don't even know who the Dem candidate will be.

"It is the economy, stupid."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jun 5th, 2018 at 12:19:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What that graph says to me is Trump's voter base is constant.  

However, looking 'behind' the graph are some known GOP propaganda outfits such as Rasmussen whose "results" (sic) are keeping Trump's numbers high.  When Gallup has a 12 to 15 point gap in approval and Rasmussen reports a 1 point gap something isn't kosher.  

I think Trump and the GOP are in deep trouble.  

IF people get off their asses and vote ... always a 'sometime thing' in midyear elections.


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

by ATinNM on Tue Jun 5th, 2018 at 03:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ME: So what's your schedule next semester?
BUNNY: blah yadda yadda blah psyche statistics.
ME: Waitwut. Psyche statistics?
BUNNY: Yeah. I know.
ME: Data collection prats and pitfalls.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Jun 5th, 2018 at 04:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a numerical incompetent and math-phobe, I found psych statistics to be one of the few classes that has had a long-term positive effect on my thinking. I actually learned how to do some basic correlations, thought about what they might mean, and considered the applicaitons of analysis of variance.

Was it mathematically rigorous? Well, no, but if it was I would have failed. The formulas simply make no sense in and of themselves, and the class was happy to treat them as mysterious black boxes. I would not trust myself to use them in real research situations, then or now. However, it helped sharpen up my general thinking a little bit, and I remain far more aware of research design issues and the various potential flaws of data than most of my humanities-oriented peers. It's an incredibly low bar, but still.

by Zwackus on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 01:39:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
House Dems seethe over superdelegates plan
And that's what set the House members off, because none of them believes there will be any more than one roll-call vote for the nominee.

In their view, that means elected Democratic officials -- who have been put into office by hundreds of thousands or even millions of constituents -- won't play a role in nominating their party's presidential candidate.

you don't say
"I believe this decision, if they go forward, is going to do terrible damage to party harmony," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who raised his objections with Perez during Tuesday's dinner. "It disenfranchises the elected leadership of the party. The last time we allowed that to happen was 1972, and we had the worst landslide in our history."
chumps

:: Hello!
The Modern History of the Democratic Presidential Primary, 1972-2008
"Most political observers consider 1972 the beginning of the "modern era" of presidential politics. After the controversial 1968 presidential cycle..."
The Modern History of the Republican Presidential Primary, 1976-2012
"While the Republican Party also went on to adopt [']many reforms['] as well, it importantly has never adopted proportionality as a universal rule, largely leaving delegate allocation methods to the state parties."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 08:38:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I did not see this coming.

20/20 hindsight: 13 April 2018 besides 54 bills (both chambers, both parties).

All things equal, I have to change my call from SELL to HOLD. The "trade war" will have to tank the economy hard and fast for to take the edge off Trump signing any of them.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 02:35:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently, Downing Street is confident that Davis - with his legendary attention to detail - has all eventualities covered...
Britain will be `fully prepared' for no deal exit from EU
The Sunday Times reported that models for mild, severe and "armageddon" reactions to no-deal exits were created by officials, with a source saying that even the severe scenario saw the Port of Dover "collapse on day one".

But the prime minister's official spokesman said: "The Department for Exiting the European Union has said that these claims are completely false.

"A significant amount of work and decision-making has gone into our no deal plans, especially as it relates to ports, and we know that none of this would happen."

Asked if that was a "cast iron guarantee", the spokesman said: "We are planning for all scenarios and we will make sure that we are fully prepared in the event of any eventuality."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 03:49:23 PM EST
yea, right.

Every reaction they had to that initial story over the weekend only served to confirm that the report existed and had been reported faithfully.

The thing is that people's willingness to believe the promises of the brexiteers has been eroded. I admit I had no faith to start with, but I'm talking about the faithful now. If you start losing the Times, which has been quite evident judging by the fact that they even published it, then you're already eating into the brexit voting classes.

They may not be the right wing ultras at the Mail or the ERG fanatics at the Telegraph, but the Timess probably represents the majority sentiment of those who voted Leave. They were willing to go along with almost all of it, even anticipating a slight dip in fortunes in the expectation of long term improvement, as long as it wasn't going to be catastrophic. But now the evidence is rolling in that the brexiteers are in over their heads, constantly being sideswiped by issues such as Ulster that are both as unexpected as they are intractable.

It. Is. Going. To. Be. A . Disaster. And if the Times starts saying it with any conviction, then that pro-brexit polling is gonna melt away in the summer heat with a very cold winter coming.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 06:18:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When asked whether the decision to leave the EU was "right" or "wrong", polls generally showed a 0-5% majority of voters approving of the decision right up to the General election in June 2017. However since then an increasing majority (0->5%) have said the decision was "wrong".  

It is quite something to get voters to agree that a decision taken by the nation is wrong. If the question is worded differently, e.g. if voters are asked to vote on the agreed terms of leaving many more might vote to stay, as doing so doesn't involve admitting the original decision was wrong. It might just require an acceptance that the Tories haven't done a very good job of negotiating advantageous terms for leaving.

If you wanted to be really Machiavellian, you could argue the British Establishment has done an absolutely awful job of negotiating advantageous terms of leaving in order to facilitate such an outcome. However the national humiliation involved in staying now would probably be enough to kick the Tories out of the two party governmental system in the UK, with the Lib Dems taking their place.

So it is absolutely required of the Tory leader to prevent such an outcome, whatever the damage to the UK as a whole. However I doubt Theresa May could survive a failure to negotiate and agree any kind of deal, so she personally doesn't have an awful lot to lose any more.

If she loses a Commons vote on the outcome of the negotiations she has four options:

  1. Attempt to negotiate a better deal. Time is running out, and she risks March 31st. approaching without any deal.

  2. May steps down or is forced to resign and is replaced by a Brexiteer who may attempt a renegotiation but probably ultimately proceeds with a no-deal Brexit if the EU doesn't bow to their demands.

  3. May announces a second referendum to vote on the terms of exit, with rejection resulting in an attempt to withdraw the A50 notification.

  4. May calls a general election on the terms of the deal campaigning on the basis that they be accepted. If she loses the general election it will be up to whoever wins to negotiate better terms or abandon the whole exercise and attempt to withdraw the A50 notification.

---

Please note my view (not really officially confirmed, to my knowledge) that accepting an A50 withdrawal requires unanimity on the Council, which is not a given. The UK might have to give humiliating undertakings  not to invoke A50 again for many years. Although a British government cannot bind a future one, an international Treaty can.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 11:02:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yves Smith

    May delays blueprint for future EU ties until after June summit Financial Times. This is madness and assures a no deal outcome. Early on, I thought there were parallels to Greece, but the difference was that the Greek strategy was coherent save for one fatal flaw: they greatly overestimated their bargaining leverage. But here the same underlying delusion is becoming more obvious on the part of the British officialdom. The only way the UK approach makes any sense is that they assume (or have persuaded themselves) that the EU is bluffing and will relent (David Davis has said this repeatedly). So now, like Greece, they are more openly acting as if they are playing a game of chicken. But again, the Greeks recognized that was what they were up to. Is there anything approaching that level of self awareness in the Government?

by generic on Tue Jun 5th, 2018 at 11:24:38 AM EST
May may be ending up playing a game of chicken - "save us from ourselves because our fall will damage you too" - but I don't think it's a deliberate strategy. It's the resultant of being caught in a number of double binds: Guaranteeing no customs border at the Irish border, while guaranteeing N. Ireland won't be treated any differently from the rest of the UK; Guaranteeing "a clean break" and the ability to make own regulations and FTAs, while remaining a part of the customs union; Guaranteeing control of immigration while having single market access; continuing membership of all sorts of related programmes - Galileo, Blue skies, European Medicines agency, European Arrest warrant, Interpol - which are only available to full EU members; Retaining control/influence over European defence while not being part of the EU.

All of these contradictions will have to be resolved, and not in a good way from the UK perspective. May is kicking the can down the road as much as she can as that is the only way she can survive the faction fighting in the Tory party. The British Mythology has always been that this will all come down to several overnight negotiating sessions around Christmas when the UK will call the EU's bluff. She would also prefer to be dealing directly with Merkel and Macron at Head of government level rather than with those Junkies in Brussels.

Unfortunately for her, the EU doesn't do business that way. For the EU it's about process, law, rules and regulations. It's about detail and paying for everything you get. It's about not creating precedents that could be exploited by Italy, Greece, Turkey or anyone else. It's about dealing with the UK as you would with any other medium sized trading partner. It's about demonstrating to everyone else all the advantages that only EU membership can confer.

Economically, there may be a lot of common interests between the UK and the EU and everyone can be a winner through ongoing cooperation. Politically, it's almost a zero sum game. There has to be a winner and a loser, and the UK can't be allowed to win. Even a little bit...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 5th, 2018 at 02:54:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not looking good.

Brussels slams UK's Brexit `renegotiation' attempt

The U.K.'s latest proposal to buy yet more time before a post-Brexit customs regime can be put in place is dead-on-arrival in Brussels, EU officials and diplomats say.

The plan is billed by London as an alternate "backstop" to prevent the re-creation of a hard border on the island of Ireland while it prepares a more permanent customs solution, but the EU sees it as requiring a whole new round of complex negotiations for a "bespoke" transition lasting beyond December 2020. That would amount to something Brussels is unwilling to do -- namely to reopen talks on the already agreed transition period under which the U.K. will remain subject to EU law.

Prime Minister Theresa May won the agreement of her Brexit war Cabinet for a time-limited post-Brexit customs arrangement to act as a stop-gap solution two weeks ago. Its rejection in Brussels -- even before her officials have formally presented it in the talks -- shows the two sides on a direct collision course just one month before a European Council summit that has been set up as a key milestone in the talks.

by Bernard on Tue Jun 5th, 2018 at 08:09:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's the thing : In the cliff-edge game, the European Council will take command, because that's how the (antidemocratic) EU works.

So we need to be examining how that will play out. What came out of the Council during the banking crisis may be a guide, but there are a number of new governments since then.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 09:51:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is that antidemocratic?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 02:10:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The wrong governments got elected.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 02:23:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Executive power grab? Also not taking notes means there is little accountability?
by generic on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 02:45:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The vast majority of EU member states have elected centre right or right wing governments. Each government is represented on the Council and reports back to it's national Parliament on Council meetings. The President of the Council reports to the European Parliament.

The vast majority of Council decisions are made by "consensus" - effectively unanimously. Therefore it doesn't take much to block a decision - if there was much in the way of a minority view. Unfortunately there isn't much of a minority left wing view. Indeed if there is a minority view, it is represented by far right governments from Poland, Hungary, Austria etc.

So we are lucky that so far they haven't blocked much Council business. The Council "consensus" decisions generally represent the mainstream conservative majority of the Council. That's democracy, whether we like it or not.

If you want to argue for more powers for the European parliament I'm with you on that. But arguing that the EU Council is undemocratic because you don't like its decisions is itself anti-democratic. Not many government institutions world-wide require consensus decision making. If anything, it is all too easy for a relatively small minority to block Council business.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 03:35:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The not taking notes when acting as a legislature is a problem. Not so much when acting as an executive.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 09:52:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's normal, in business, for minutes to record actual decisions rather than the to and fro of whatever discussion took place. The same goes for most Government cabinets. The absence of "word for word" records or videotapes is meant to stop leaders grandstanding for lobby groups or various constituencies back home. If everything were recorded, then the real meetings would take place behind closed doors elsewhere, and the formal meetings would be mostly for show.

Even as it is, "Council Conclusions" are generally circulated for discussion and agreement in the week prior to the meeting so that the outcome of formal meetings are generally already a "forgone conclusion". Most decisions have already been made by consensus beforehand.

It is only when there is a genuine crisis, or unforeseen developments, when decisions have to be made "on the hoof" at the actual formal meetings themselves. The professional diplomats and EU Officials hate it when this happens because they lose control of the process.

The UK has been trying to delay conclusions until the last minute, in the hope of stampeding Prime Ministers into a hasty decision. It hasn't been working. There is a reason the process is so convoluted. The issues are complex with so many interests involved. Personally I am nearly always surprised at how well the system works considering there are 27 governments involved.

Look at how difficult one government is finding it to come up with agreed positions on Brexit...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 10:42:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Council has two functions. You're right about the executive function, but when it's legislating it should be in public.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 07:18:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Council powers and functions
Although the European Council has no direct legislative power, under the "emergency brake" procedure, a state outvoted in the Council of Ministers may refer contentious legislation to the European Council. However, the state may still be outvoted in the European Council.

The The ordinary legislative procedure, when it occurs, is incredibly document intensive with an enormous paper trail of amendments as it winds it's way through the process:

The legislative functions of the Council

The decision-making process begins with the European Commission sending the proposal for a new law, after it has been approved by the College of Commissioners. The working parties of the Council of Ministers receive the proposal and identify points of agreement and disagreement (agreement listed as I; disagreement and further discussion as II). Then they send the proposal to COREPER. COREPER looks at the proposal and tries to reach agreements on the remaining problems. It divides points into two categories: A items (agreement reached), B items (disagreement). The agreed A items are sent to relevant Councils. The Councils look at the proposal and decide whether to approve it or not and very often they agree without voting (McCormick, 2011 B, p. 194). When a vote is needed however, Qualified Majority Voting is used in most cases.

The number of voices given to each Member State is specified by the Treaty.  You can use the voting calculator to see which countries have the most votes.

Once the decision has been reached by the Council, the proposal goes to the European Parliament. The Parliament and the Council might pass it back and forth - with amendments - up to twice. If no agreement is reached, the proposal goes to the meeting of the Conciliation Committee, made up of representatives of the Council and the Parliament and attended by the representatives of the Commission, who amend the proposal until they reach an agreement. The proposal is sent to the Council and the Parliament for the final reading and vote. They can adopt it as a legislative law or reject it.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 08:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's normal, in business...

The analogy is no good. The EU is not a business. The fact that each government can hide behind anonymity means that, not only is it not elected to run the EU, it has no accountability either. This is a direct and potent source of anti-EU sentiment, because each minister can run home and prattle to his national press, without fear of contradiction, about the nasty things Brussels is forcing him to do.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 05:17:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where is the anonymity? The process, including any votes is well recorded. Unless a minister can show he was clearly outvoted on an issue, why would you or the parliamentary opposition or the national media in their own country believe them if they try to disavow co-responsibility  - unless they are all playing into a pre-existing narrative about "anonymous bureaucrats in Brussels" wielding all the power when in fact the decisions are made by ministers?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 07:54:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The process, including any votes is well recorded.

Ah. Silly me. Can you point me to the page where I can find the minutes of recent Council meetings? Can't seem to find it.

unless they are all playing into a pre-existing narrative about "anonymous bureaucrats in Brussels" wielding all the power when in fact the decisions are made by ministers?

By gum, I think you've cracked it < /irony>

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 01:32:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I feel a bit better now : it seems Emily O'Reilly made the same silly mistake as me :

On 13 February 2018, the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, published her recommendations in a case regarding the (lack of) transparency at the Council of the European Union by failing to record and make publicly available the positions of the different EU Member States during negotiations on legislative proposals.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 01:42:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, we've had discussion several times before. Council acting as legislature in secret bad.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 01:51:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How is that antidemocratic?

Subsidiarity. National governments have a democratic mandate to govern their respective countries. They are not elected to govern Europe. We designate MEPs for this; they have little institutional power. The EU institutions are, by design, opaque and undemocratic in their functioning. I thought that this was generally acknowleged here, but I haven't been around much lately.

In the same vein, if a national government dismisses elected local governments and appoints prefects or governors to replace them, this is antidemocratic too, for the same reason : usurping legitimate democratic control.

This is definitely a mindset thing. If you don't conceive of the EU as a genuine entity with its own sovereignty, then an arrangement where it is governed by a syndicate of stakeholders (excluding the actual citizens) may seem appropriate. I'm frankly a bit puzzled that this mindset has such currency here.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 05:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"arrangement where [EU gov] is governed by a syndicate of stakeholders": res ipsa loquitor.

Principles of subsidarity like sovereignty (a concept that is, in my opinion, not well understood despite claims to the contrary at any political division of "nation-state") recurs here in discussion of secession politics, EU budget, immigration, transnational listings, regulatory and "cohesion" franchise operations, and so forth. Both ideals are always in the background of currency and debt debates. EU is usually in the foreground of inter-state conflicts, paradoxically. Consider for example lurid coverage of the latest sovereigns' opposition to Don Brussels.

Nine countries unite against EU export controls on surveillance software

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 06:39:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"They are not elected to govern Europe. We designate MEPs for this; "

We elect MEP's to a Parliament everyone knows has little power. We elect Governments to represent the national interest at home and abroad and particularly in the various ministerial Councils of which they are members. Do I don't get why you say "They are not elected to govern Europe", that is a very large part of their job.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 11th, 2018 at 08:28:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We elect MEP's to a Parliament everyone knows has little power.

Is it possible that this is feeding the strong and growing sense of helplessness and cynicism of EU citizens towards the whole concept of the EU?

No, I guess not eh?

Our governments are not elected to govern Europe (FACT), and yet that is a very large part of their job.

I guess that isn't a problem either. In fact, the EU isn't falling apart at all.


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

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 01:37:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It has little power because the democratically elected government of the the member states like it that way. I assume you have a proposal for democratically overriding those governments?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 01:52:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're being a shill here aren't you? Thanks...

Constitutional Assembly

The people of Europe have a right to consider the union's future and a duty to transform Europe (by 2025) into a full-fledged democracy with a sovereign Parliament respecting national self-determination and sharing power with national Parliaments, regional assemblies and municipal councils. To do this, an Assembly of their representatives must be convened. DiEM25 will promote a Constitutional Assembly consisting of representatives elected on trans-national tickets. Today, when universities apply to Brussels for research funding, they must form alliances across nations. Similarly, election to the Constitutional Assembly should require tickets featuring candidates from a majority of European countries. The resulting Constitutional Assembly will be empowered to decide on a future democratic constitution that will replace all existing European Treaties within a decade.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 01:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But on the other hand, if the consensus here is that the EU is just an overblown coal and steel board, which neither has nor should have any sovereignty or democratic legitimacy...  
Just send me a tweet, and I'll go about my business.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 02:02:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Our governments are not elected to govern Europe"

OK, after a bit of thought, this probably plays differently in the smaller countries, which are by necessity more outward-looking. Perhaps people actually vote in their national elections taking into account the positions of the various parties with respect to EU competencies.

In France, this is also true, but only in the sense that the "government" parties of centre-left and centre-right are identified as pro-EU (pro-status quo for those with a nuanced view), and indistinguishable on EU affairs. This view tends to increase the vote for anti-establishment, anti-EU parties outside this concensus. No actual EU competency or policy area is given consideration in electoral campaigns.

This seems to be the case in Italy also. The centre-left and centre-right have been swept aside, in large part because they were seen as Tweedledum and Tweedledee sell-outs who surrendered to EU tyranny.

But apart from that, EU democracy works just fine (oh here I go again)

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 03:42:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apologies to all for sarcastic tone. I try to stay away from Twitter when I'm feeling irritable. Looks like I came here instead. Cheers.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 02:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have a perfectly legitimate and widely held (and perhaps growing) point of view which I thank you for sharing here. In some respects it is reminiscent of views also held by Brexiteers who like to contrast unaccountable EU bureaucracy with accountable democratic national government.

I like to push back on that view lest it become an unchallenged consensus here as elsewhere. While no one can claim the EU or EZ is perfect in every respect I'm not convinced it is much worse than most national bureaucracies despite being an order of magnitude more complex. This makes it more difficult to reduce to the simplistic slogans you see on battle buses in national general election campaigns.

You don't have to be a disciple of the Cambridge Analyitica school of politics to realise that elections are generally not fought or won on the minutiae of politics such as the minutes of cabinet or Council meetings even if these were published.

In Ireland, Cabinet meeting minutes aren't published for 30 years, members are bound by cabinet confidentiality, and all must take collective responsibility for decisions taken whether they agreed with them or not. How is this better than how Council meetings are conducted?

If those minutes became immediately publicly available, I suspect the real meetings would take place informally beforehand and cabinet meetings would become simply formalised rubber stamping exercises.

Politicians will always try to resile from unpopular decisions by giving briefings to journalists that they opposed them privately and that they were driven by so-and-so. Briefing against political opponents is a national sport.

If your national media is stupid enough (or self-interested enough) to be taken in by this guff you deserve all you get. And I can assure you the situation is much worse in large hierarchical private businesses.

So forgive me if I am a bit blasé about the whole "undemocratic EU" narrative. Of course I support Emily O'Reilly's concerns, but do I think it would change things much if Council meetings issued published minutes? NO. Most voters would prefer to watch paint dry.

And neither am I a fan of a lot of direct democracy on very complex issues - that is why we elect parliamentarians and appoint specialists and experts to our civil service. I quite like the Irish system of having referenda on major issues of principle as contained in the Constitution, or on the ratification of EU Treaties which pool further sovereignty at EU level.  But that is about as far as most people want to be involved.

The notion that you can have a lot direct participation by citizens in the governance of a Union of 27 states and 500 million people seems to me to be particularly fanciful. That is just a charter for commercially financed lobby groups and religious fanatics to gain an influence far in excess of what their actuals numbers or contribution to the public good warrants.

It takes a great deal of specialist expertise and sophisticated structures with many levels of decision making to manage very large and hugely complex systems. We elect, select and appoint hopefully some of our best qualified people to these roles and deserve all the turmoil we get when we fail to do so.

Spare me from the authoritarian simpletons who think they know best on every subject and who believe the world would be a better place if everyone were forced to do what they told them to do. If you elect and appoint the Boris Johnson's and Micheal Gove's of this world to the highest offices in the land you deserve all you get.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 05:04:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If your national media is stupid enough (or self-interested enough) to be taken in by this guff you deserve all you get.

I don't know who own the media in Ireland. In France, they are almost all owned by half a dozen billionaires. Do we really deserve them?

Most voters would prefer to watch paint dry.

You're right, Frank. Ignorance is bliss. The EU business secrets directive is wonderful. Whistleblowers should be locked up, since they were not smart enough to mind their own business. The "Great and Good" in Europe are to be trusted.

The EU status quo is working so well, why rock the boat?

And turning me into an authoritarian populist is both clever and funny. Did you bother to check out the DiEM25 manifesto I linked? Are we indeed authoritarian simpletons?

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 08:12:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you know I wsn't referring to you as an authoritarian simpleton. If I have to spell it out, I suppose Trump voters would be a good approximation.

If media ownership in France is an issue, that is a national competency. Please don't blame the EU.

I'm not saying the status quo is wonderful. Just that we should aim at the right targets. Blaming the EU for national favours is the Brexiteer trick.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 09:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you know I wsn't referring to you as an authoritarian simpleton.

I swear I had no idea. If you are saying that it was a strawman with no relevance to anything I have written in the thread, I suppose I can consider that as an apology.

If media ownership in France is an issue, that is a national competency. Please don't blame the EU.

I never blamed the EU for it. On the other hand, it will only be resolved, if ever, on a European level. Oligarchs don't cede that sort of control easily. That will be a civilizational progress.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 11:17:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was directed at common critiques of the EU's lack of accountability - particularly as articulated by Brexiteers, but perhaps best personified by Trump supporters in other contexts: "just because a person hasn't taken the trouble to understand the EU (or any complex matter) doesn't mean its all wrong..."

One of the reasons I strongly support the EU is that I don't see individual countries and especially smaller countries like Ireland having sufficient bargaining power to really take on the Oligarchs, media moguls and global corporations. However that requires transferring even more competencies to the EU, and also probably explains why so many Oligarchs are anti-EU even though their business models often require the existence of the Single market.

For years Michael O'Leary of Ryanair was a staunch critic of the EU even though Ryanair only became possible with the establishment of Blue Skies and regulation of state aids for National carriers etc. He had a sudden conversion to being somewhat pro-EU when he realised Brexit put his business model at risk. Of course he will still oppose EU regulation/promotion of consumer and employee rights and indirect state aids to his airline, but at least the EU has the clout to take him on on those issues.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 11:40:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK that's a lot clearer : you are unambiguously FOR the existing technocratic lobby-captured structure, and in favour of transferring more competencies into that opaque magma, and AGAINST any attempt to make it more transparent or bring any degree of real democratic accountability to bear. To the extent that you assimilate any attempt at positive reform with the wreckers -- Farage, Trump, Salvini etc.

That existing model has brought the EU to the edge of implosion. The fallacy that the Council represents the interests of the EU -- and that it is democratic -- ought to be easy to see through.

With nationalism back in style, we need an empowered Parliament. Even with a right wing majority, the fact that matters are debated transparently, with all the arguments on the table, means that even the right wingers are more progressive than their respective governments.

The 2019 elections are our last chance to salvage the EU. It's a long shot, and after that I shall cultivate my garden.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 13th, 2018 at 08:29:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect you see everything EU through the prism of Brexit, hence you feel obliged to defend the status quo. Actually I don't think the sort of reforms I am advocating would have made any difference to the Brexit referendum, because it was never about democracy, transparency, accountability etc (was it?)

But I see the EU through the prism of what's going on on the Continent, and it's ugly. German-imposed austerity and wealth confiscation by capital has driven angry people to back xenopobic nationalist populists. The institutions of the EU (not counting the Council) are mostly well-meaning but, by design, incapable of making a difference, and largely captured by industry lobbyists (interesting that you see my views as enabling them, not sure where you got that from)

A movement to reform those institutions, to give them democratic legitimacy, tax-raising powers, the means of exercising the delegated sovereignty which is illegitimatele exercised by the Council, seems to me to be the only way forward. It's a long shot, but I don't see any other way to save the EU.

If you choose to conflate this with the Farages and Johnsons of this world, then (and I say this with a great deal of respect, Frank, yes, even with love) you can fuck off.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 08:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears >
I sympathize, truly, and wonder how you imagine EU/EP could assert tax authority without further alienating disaffected nationals? I realize, that each member is already tied to "paid in" capital to ECB operations and, no less risky, proportionate share of each 7-year budget/re-distributions. To the point: Is the Sarcozy/Hollande/Macron/ path through joint bonds prudent and necessary to this end? Or are you leaning to transnational listing structure to sharpen constituents' focus on democratic EU gov representation?

iirc, there was broad-but-shallow resistance to political group restructure when Macron raise the issue last year.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 09:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hasten to ad, I am curious to learn of other strategies.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 09:18:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect the only thing you have in common with the Farage's of this world is a dislike of much of what the EU now is. But while he seeks to destroy the EU, you seek to reform it.

Actually if you do see the EU through the prism of Brexit, then much of what is alleged about the EU (yes, even the status quo) is false, and those criticisms which are true are often no more true of the EU than they are of the UK, except perhaps in the complexities of scale. So relatively speaking, I would see the EU as an advance on what I suspect the UK will become post Brexit. Even now, I find it difficult to take lectures on democratic accountability from a country with the only entirely unelected House of Parliament in the EU and a civil service famous for it's de facto but unaccountable power.

But of course as you say that is not the only prism through which the EU can be critiqued. One of the benefits of getting Brexit over and done with will be that we can then focus more on how the EU needs to be reformed. The UK as a member would have opposed many of the reforms I suspect you support, so removing the UK from the equation would be a net positive. I haven't got much involved with DiEM25 for reasons of time. A diary on their reform agenda for the EU and EZ would be good!

Criticisms of the design flaws in the ECB and Euro architecture have been reasonably well aired here, but your particular target seems to be the Council which is made up of elected heads of government of the member states. It is therefore the institution most concerned with protecting the national interests of the member states. Clearly if your objective is to develop the EU as a supra national entity, other institutions (particularly the parliament) need to be strengthened to counter balance its influence. But what are your particular criticisms of the Council apart from the lack of transparency in the decision making process also common in national cabinets?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 09:39:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A diary on their [DiEM25] reform agenda for the EU and EZ would be good!

Hear, hear!

by Bernard on Wed Jun 13th, 2018 at 06:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure. I've got a backlog of stuff to write for DiEM, but it might help to focus the mind.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jun 14th, 2018 at 04:30:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by asdf on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 02:44:08 PM EST
Image is wrong. Turkey is not in the EU Customs Union, which is only available to EU members. This "mistake" is often promoted within Brexiteer circles, but it is easy to dispel.

There is a Customs Union between Turkey and the EU, which is something entirely different. An agreement or treaty must be in force by the 29th of March of 2019 to avoid custom checks at UK-EU borders, for that is the the default outcome of leaving the EU.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 07:26:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
British car industry at the cliff? It just dawned on me (yes I'm slow) that cross channel trade will be greatly diminished and that cross channel just-in-time sourcing is basically over. A net negative for everyone but especially for the UK and you can't really blame EU governments for advising businesses on how to exploit the opportunities as more business moves to the continent. Ah shit.

But maybe something good will come out of it for the UK. Everybody needs a cold shower now and then.

As the great Rik Mayall said: "Good grief we are British, you know. We invented cold showers. To stop people..."

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 09:47:09 PM EST
The basic problem is that technology has evolved it has become more and more complex. So economies of scale are required to keep costs down. So parts of any car are made in factories all over Europe and abroad and then assembled in one location. This isn't a problem so long as they are basically being manufactured within one very large market and customs union.

After Brexit, if the UK leaves the Single Market and Customs Union,  there will have to be customs checks to ensure components are within specifications for quality/safety and comply with rules of origin. Tariffs may also apply. Either way costs are increased and Just-in-time become problematic.

The UK market and manufacturing base, on it's own, simply isn't big enough any more to sustain a major manufacturing industry like cars. So only small, simple, hand built, or specialised vehicles may be sustainable.

Same goes for aero-space where Airbus wings are manufactured in the UK. Which is more likely: that Airbus manufacturing is concentrated/consolidated in the UK or the EU?

The worst thing, from the UK perspective, is that it is all the advanced, high value stuff that will be effected most.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 10:55:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yea, but we're taking back control, so I'm sure it will all be worth it. Or at least it will the very minute we identify what it is we'll be controlling

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 07:34:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]


You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 07:31:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the only problems he's concerned with is for his money transfers from his local bank to the offshore tax haven of his accountants recommendation.

Anything else is just trade and that's for little people with whom he has no contact and for whom he has no concern. He's far too busy telling everybody that they shouldn't invest in Russia cos Putin ...novichok.. something something gazpacho while his own investment company is shovelling money at Moscow as fast as his little arms can paddle.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 07:41:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloomberg
The bank said Monday that it underbought Italian bonds and overbought German securities in May, relative to its economy-weighted guidelines for monthly purchase amounts known as the capital key. As a reminder, last month the spread between Italy and Germany blew out to levels that started reminding everyone of the Greek debt crisis, and this served as evidence of investor nervousness about Italy's struggles to form a government.
by generic on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 01:00:08 PM EST
Thou note the url. Editor wars at bloomberg?
by generic on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 01:18:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be naive to think the ECB doesn't take political circumstances into account in making buying decisions. However one month of under buying Italian bonds after months of over-buying them doesn't seem outrageous. The whole QE scheme is due to end in November anyway, which will leave Italy and Greece much more exposed t "market" volatility. I suspect Draghi's contribution to EZ recovery won't be appreciated until he's gone, and not appreciated in Italy at all.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 05:12:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We'll see if QE ends or not since none of the core problems that QE papers over are solved. Also QE was what robbed the Greeks of their bargaining leverage and we would absolutely keep it if we march into a EU - Rome showdown.
by generic on Fri Jun 8th, 2018 at 04:01:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When is a backstop not a backstop? Answer: When it's time limited. Why May thinks the EU will buy this is beyond me, but at least it staved off a possible Davis resignation for the moment. Now his tenure is one thing that should be time-limited...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 05:15:57 PM EST
each fudge is itended to hold for a shorter and shorter time, the contradictions and policy contortions are beginning to collide with each other.

I believe there's an important meeting in brussels soon. I suspect that this is where everything will begin to unravel. It's not that they won't try to bluff their way out, but I'm getting the sense from the blogs that people within the tory party are just losing patience with the whole sorry incompetent mess

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 06:18:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The whole sorry incompetence mess" is inherent to the situation.  Tories can fantasize removing May will do something to address problems facing and within the Tory government.  

It won't
 

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

by ATinNM on Fri Jun 8th, 2018 at 01:19:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Fri Jun 8th, 2018 at 04:02:09 AM EST
Barnier lays waste to UK plan
The headline of one tabloid screamed "Brexit back on course".

The polite reception in Brussels - and Dublin - for the UK's latest Brexit paper on the "backstop", prompted by relief that at last they had something to talk about, led some optimists in London to the view that a robust UK had pulled one over on Brussels.

Dream on.

When Brexit secretary David Davis meets the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday morning for the next talks round, he will find that the gloves have come off.

And he will be rapidly disabused of the hope that all the UK had to do to win brownie points for effort at the end of June summit was to demonstrate a plausible willingness to address the backstop issue.

No-one really expected them to resolve the issue, they believe. That hurdle passed, the summer would allow them to engage in chasing the real prize, a comprehensive EU-UK agreement on their future relationship that would make the politically embarrassing backstop agreement redundant. It is only there, after all, to provide a guaranteed fallback should no other deal be done.

Not so.

Barnier on Friday made clear that that strategy would not wash. For a start the UK document paper can not be described as a plausible attempt at addressing the issue. Politely, he demolished it brick by brick.

Crucially, he explained, member states were prepared to make an exceptional case of the North, waving common EU rules and practises for the first and last time, to preserve the frictionless Border and the Belfast Agreement. Such privileges were not on offer to the rest of the UK by virtue, not of malice, but its decision to leave the union. To imagine you could simply extend the backstop provisions UK-wide was presumptuous nonsense.

The British paper's failure to even discuss the EU-UK regulatory alignment that would be essential to any border-control-free regime is bizarre. As is its attempt to equate an "expectation" of a time limitation to the backstop with a specific commitment to one - as Barnier pointed out a time-limited backstop is no backstop, no guarantee.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 08:54:43 AM EST
go on, admit it, you're not the lsighest bit surprised, are you?

The utter chaos that exists even within the Cabinet, let alone the Parliamentary Conservative party, is such that there is simply no version of brexit available that Theresa May could get her party to agree which might possibly satisfy the EU.

Boris, for all his BS, represents a loud minority across the country who really believe that we should go in, bang on tables, demand the impossible and flounce out when we don't get it. That is more or less the position of Jacob Rees-Mogg's European "Research" Group.

We are staring at the choice of no deal or no brexit.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 09:20:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I worry sometimes that I have been a bit arrogant and presumptuous in taking a very strong "Brexit is going to be a slow motion train-crash" approach from day one. One's opposition to the Brexiteer's politics can sometimes lead to wishful thinking that everything will go belly up for them. But everything that has happened since the referendum has been absolutely in line with my median expectations.

If I have been mildly surprised by developments since, it has been by the absolute calm, competence, and unanimity on the EU side. There should have been loads of potential differences for the UK to exploit. I am not an admirer of Fine Gael, and believe that if they could find a way to sell out, they would. But so far even Varadker and Coveney have been models of a calm determination not to allow the Brexiteers drive a coach-and-four through the uneasy settlement in the North. The EU's unanimous and strong-minded support for us in that is admirable.

Of course it is still quite likely for the whole thing thing to seriously off the rails from everyone's point of view, and that is most likely the outcome if the Brexiteers take over. Varadker and co. will take a lot of domestic heat if that happens because the damage to our economy will be considerable. But so far they have held their nerve.

Either May calls the DUP's bluff and risks a general election, or we are heading for a no substantial deal scenario. We will see how strong the Conservatives affections are for the DUP in due course.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 09:46:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oe of the reasons that I don't believe in the "no deal2 scenario is that there is no majority for such suicidal tendencies in either the Commons or the Lords.

Rather, as things approach the wire and we begin the final winding down, rather than allowing a "no deal" to be the only hand on deck, it is far more likely that remainers in all parties, who form a handy majority in both houses, will come together to agree a "leave-lite" agenda that both acknowledges the referendum vote but which also answers all the red lines of the EU.

Yes, this may trigger a Constitutional crisis and would certainly trigger a General Election, but I think, at that point, even conservative leavers will have decided that national interest trumps Party. A calculation that would baffle members of the ERG who seem to venerate self-interest above all else.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 11:27:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My suspicion is that May is only trying to hang in their until the Commons goes into the summer recess. Then she will negotiate whatever deal she can and the DUP and Brexiteers won't be able to stop her. If Minsters resign she will replace them with her own people. I doubt a heave against her would succeed if she is prepared to hang on with a bare majority of Tory support.

If she loses a confidence vote when the Commons comes back she will call a general election in the Autumn on the terms of whatever deal she has negotiated. You could then have the weird situation where half the Tories campaign against her and most of Labour and the Lib Dems campaign for her deal.

The thing I don't get is why everyone in the UK seems to accept that a trade deal won't be negotiated until after Brexit. A Brexit deal requires a qualified majority in the Council. A Trade deal afterwards requires unanimity and may never be agreed if there is bad blood when the UK leaves.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 07:13:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wut? The Tories have not accepted "hat a trade deal won't be negotiated until after Brexit." Every "position paper" published, the volumes of "Future Partnership Papers" -- flogging UK trade demands, transition/implementation period configurations, and deadline extensions--has expressed their contempt for procedural order to withdrawal settlement given by the EU.

Barnier has been adamant about keeping Tories on schedule. Tusk on behalf of the Council has been adamant on the point since May mailed the A50. The EP has been adamant on the point since May mailed the A50. The "sufficient progress" reports made clear, right up to 19 March [!] and 6 June 2018: The Tories' cannot follow the simplest instructions.

With them, it's always exception to the rule, cart before the horse, pride before the fall.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 08:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason that a trade deal won't be negotiated is that there is neither will nor competence within the Tory party to do so.

After all, if you can't even get agreement on the most nebulous of details without risking a vote of no confidence, then the tedious but complicated detail of a trade deal exists in a galaxy far beyond the compehension of the Tory "mind".

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 08:28:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But they have successfully demonstrated that they have no credibility. I say again: Who in hell would want to do business with that lot?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 08:39:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure Trump would like to organise a deal that would gouge a significant slice of UK GDP for years to come, especially if it involved significant kickbacks for him and his family.

Also, ME potentates would love to buy weapons from us at even more advantageious prices than currently.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 10th, 2018 at 07:55:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sun Jun 10th, 2018 at 06:21:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FTA's are normally negotiated by technical specialists and professional negotiators "far from the maddening crowd". They normally only become "political" when controversial proposals like independent courts to arbitrate disputes are included or when they are too overtly "neo-liberal" in the sense that they contain proposals that will that will damage key sectoral interests in a particular economy - e.g. farmers.

Trump is actually unusual in that he actually takes an interest, although he usually gets his facts wrong. As US firms are the biggest beneficiaries from trade liberalisation, he should be careful which can of worms he opens. The EU response has, to date, been muted, but there are an awful lot of large US multinationals operating in Europe who could be badly hit by an on-line sales tax, a Tobin tax, and various import duties.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 09:58:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's all true, but the begotiators can only work within guidelines of what is acceptable determined by political leaders, who are the ones ultimately responsible for what is decided.

Right now, the politicians are incapable of giving even the most vague of outlines, so no negotiation is possible.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 10th, 2018 at 07:58:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why the EU negotiators, instead of twiddling their thumbs, are effectively in the process of producing a "default" Brexit agreement covering all the bases that need to be covered - from their perspective. The longer the UK negotiators cannot really engage with them, for want of relevant and consistent political guidance, the longer the EU drafts become "facts on the ground" which cannot be changed later for want of sufficient time to renegotiate and ratify.

Sooner or later the UK will then be presented with a "take it or leave it" draft of over 1,000 pages of such complexity poor Boris and David won't even be able to read it. They will be relying to the tabloids to explain it to them in words of one syllable, and then reject it all in a huff because because without having any alternative.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 10th, 2018 at 09:24:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they can reject it personally, but, after the judgement forced in the courts by Gina Miller, they won't be able to push it through the Commons. Which gives space for the Remain majority of MPs to accept it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 10th, 2018 at 10:42:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 10:34:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but thee are so many dealines coming in the next few months, each of which could change the dynamics considerably, the I can't see Boris resigning while May has already shown she is too weak to sack him. Boris is going nowhere.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 11:33:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
be that as it may, i think the metaphor is funny as hell.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 05:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find expensive vases shatter just as easily!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 06:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
touché

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jun 9th, 2018 at 08:39:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Summer of 2012. Money First, then Reforms or Vice Versa "Mommy. Why'd all the German guys go on vacation?" What drama! EURIBOR, LIBOR Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Citi, DB, JPM bottom-feeding "scandals". The stress tests. IMF:1 TRILLION EUROS. Sean Quinn Jr's wedding gifts! Insolvency across the globe, still. De Guindos vs Almunia. The FROB. IMF:1 TRILLION EUROS. "France seeks 120 billion EU package, euro bonds later" Samaras vs Huey Tsipras. EFSM, EFSF vs  ReCAP Terror -Or every vulture bids. TSCG Art. 136. IMF:1 TRILLION EUROS. "German FinMin Denies Rumors Of ECB Bond Buying". Birth of the *xit Calls! "Polish Zloty, Bonds Retreat as June Current-Account Gap Widens"...

just setting the scene of battle 26 July 2012,  Global Investment Conference, London, UK.

Then in the banking union or financial markets union, we will have one supervisor for the whole euro area. And to show that there is full determination to move ahead and these are not just empty words, the European Commission will present a proposal for the supervisor in early September. So in a month. And I think I can say that works are quite advanced in this direction.

So more Europe, but also the various firewalls have been given attention and now they are ready to work much better than in the past.

The second message is that there is more progress than it has been acknowledged.

But the third point I want to make is in a sense more political.

When people talk about the fragility of the euro and the increasing fragility of the euro, and perhaps the crisis of the euro, very often non-euro area member states or leaders, underestimate the amount of political capital that is being invested in the euro.

And so we view this, and I do not think we are unbiased observers, we think the euro is irreversible. And it's not an empty word now, because I preceded saying exactly what actions have been made, are being made to make it irreversible.

But there is another message I want to tell you.

Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.

There are some short-term challenges, to say the least. The short-term challenges in our view relate mostly to the financial fragmentation that has taken place in the euro area. Investors retreated within their national boundaries. The interbank market is not functioning. It is only functioning very little within each country by the way, but it is certainly not functioning across countries.

And I think the key strategy point here is that if we want to get out of this crisis, we have to repair this financial fragmentation.

There are at least two dimensions to this. The interbank market is not functioning, because for any bank in the world the current liquidity regulations make - to lend to other banks or borrow from other banks - a money losing proposition. So the first reason is that regulation has to be recalibrated completely.

The second point is in a sense a collective action problem: because national supervisors, looking at the crisis, have asked their banks, the banks under their supervision, to withdraw their activities within national boundaries. And they ring fenced liquidity positions so liquidity can't flow, even across the same holding group because the financial sector supervisors are saying "no".

So even though each one of them may be right, collectively they have been wrong. And this situation will have to be overcome of course.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Jun 12th, 2018 at 12:30:14 AM EST


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