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Who gives a damn about Ireland?

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jun 20th, 2018 at 09:06:10 PM EST


Leave voters prefer hard border to staying in customs union - poll

Two out of three British voters who backed Brexit would prefer to see a hard border in Ireland than for Britain to remain in the EU customs union, according to a new poll.

Only one in three British voters said they could not accept a different status for Northern Ireland after Brexit and six out of 10 Leave voters said that leaving the EU was more important than keeping the United Kingdom together.

The poll by Conservative peer Michael Ashcroft found that, given a straight choice between a hard border and remaining in the customs union, 41 per cent of all voters would choose a hard border compared to 32 per cent who would remain in the customs union. Leave voters would choose a hard border by 66 per cent to 10 per cent and Conservative voters would make the same choice by 67 per cent to 14 per cent.


I will leave it to others here to comment on the credibility of a poll conducted by Conservative billionaire, Lord Ashcroft, or why he chose to conduct this poll, with these precise questions, at this time. He appears to be trying to build a case that a hard Brexit, which involves leaving both the Customs Union and Single Market, is more important to British voters than any implications that this might have for the border in Ireland.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Ashcroft said that most British voters thought Brexit was taking too long, with Leave voters often blaming those who want to soften or delay Britain's exit from the EU.

"Given these views - impatience with the process, determination for the UK to operate an independent trade policy, and the suspicion that Brexit opponents are deliberately throwing up hurdles - it is not hard to imagine how Leave voters would react if told the UK would not be taking back as much control as they hoped because of the Irish border, an issue they believe is being blown out of proportion," he wrote.

Only one in three voters in Britain said it would be completely unacceptable for Northern Ireland to have a different status in the EU from England, Scotland and Wales. Three in 10 said such an outcome "would not be ideal, but would be acceptable as part of a deal to get a sensible Brexit arrangement". And most British voters said that they did not have a view about whether Northern Ireland should remain in the UK, saying it was for the people there to decide.

Lord Ashcroft's poll found that, asked to choose between keeping the UK together and leaving the EU, 63 per cent of British voters would leave the EU, compared with 27 per cent who would keep the UK together. Among Conservative voters, 73 per cent would choose leaving the EU with just 22 per cent saying they would keep the UK together. Labour voters would choose leaving the EU over keeping the UK together by 50 per cent to 34 per cent.

"Those who have pondered Brexit's consequences for UK union have usually focused on the resentment felt in places where majorities voted to remain in the EU," Lord Ashcroft wrote.

"But there is another risk: that a question like the Irish border, which most Leave voters see as a relatively minor practical issue that could be resolved, should prevent the majority getting the Brexit they think they voted for."

Is it a "push poll" i.e. one whose questions are designed to elicit the answers favoured by the pollster, or can it be taken as a serious and objective measure of UK political attitudes? Have most voters even thought enough about the questions being posed in order to give an informed response?

For one thing, there is an internal contradiction in the questions: Saying that achieving a hard Brexit is more important than a hard border in Ireland is inconsistent with saying a hard Brexit is more important than keeping the United Kingdom together. Because one way of avoiding a hard Border in Ireland is to have a border in the Irish sea instead - thereby treating N. Ireland as part of the Customs Union and Single Market and separately from the rest of the UK.

What the poll perhaps more convincingly demonstrates is where N. Ireland fits into the order of priorities of most British voters. If this poll is of believed, then most British voters want a hard Brexit, and don't care over much whether this results in a hard border in Ireland or in the Irish sea.

If so, then the DUP is the only thing standing between the UK government and the EU striking a deal to keep N. Ireland within the Customs Union and Single Market and erecting customs controls at N. Ireland ports instead of at the Irish border. Most voters in the Britain apparently couldn't care less...

At least the poll cannot be faulted for having too small a sample size:

Lord Ashcroft conducted separate polls with 3,294 voters in Britain, 1,666 in Northern Ireland and 1,500 in the Republic, along with focus groups in a number of towns and cities.

A majority of voters in Northern Ireland said they thought Brexit had made Irish unification in the foreseeable future more likely, a view shared by just four in 10 in the Republic. Asked how they would vote if there was a border poll tomorrow, 49 per cent of voters in Northern Ireland said they would vote to stay in the UK, while 44 per cent would vote for a united Ireland.

In the Republic, 35 per cent of voters said they would like to see a united Ireland in the next few years but 56 per cent said it would not be practical or affordable in the immediate future.

Voters in Northern Ireland were more pessimistic about their own future than they were when they looked across the Border at the Republic. 64 per cent said Northern Ireland was on the wrong track, compared to 25 per cent who thought it was on the right track. But 55 per cent of those in Northern Ireland said the Republic was on the right track, compared to 35 per cent who said it was on the wrong track.

Two things are remarkable about these results: Firstly, more voters in N. Ireland (44%) are in favour of a united Ireland in the near term than are voters in the south (35%). Secondly, voters in N. Ireland have a far more positive view of the Republic of Ireland than they have of their own polity: Only 25% think N. Ireland is on the right track whereas 55% of N. Ireland voters think the Republic of Ireland is on the right track.

What this means is that a majority of voters in the North are far more enthusiastic about developments in the south and the prospect of a United Ireland than they are about their own prospects in N. Ireland, even though, by a narrow margin, a majority would still vote for the status quo.

Voters in the south were more nuanced in their views on a United Ireland:


While 91% are in favour of a united Ireland, only 35% see this as practicable in the next few years. As might be expected, voters of Prime Minister Leo Varadker's party, Fine Gael, are least enthusiastic about a united Ireland in the near future.

So what are the implications of this poll, if accurate, for the British and Irish governments?

For Theresa May it makes clear that if she has to choose between the DUP opposition to a border in the Irish sea and the Brexiteers desire to leave the Customs Union and Single market thus creating the need for a hard UK/EU border, she had better sell out the DUP. Voters in Britain don't really care much about N. Ireland either way, and most want to leave the Customs Union and Single market so that the UK can control immigration and negotiate its own trade deals.

If that means she loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons for lack of DUP support, she can go to the country on a hard Brexit platform of leaving the Customs Union and Single Market and win against a Corbyn led Labour party split and hedging it's bets on those issues. I suspect this is the case that Lord Ashcroft seeks to bolster.

Dumping the DUP then only becomes a matter of timing. What is the best time to call a general election and seek a mandate for a hard Brexit? I suspect she will aim for a an election in October after she has negotiated a deal with the EU keeping N. Ireland but not the rest of the UK within the Customs Union and Single Market.

Despite Lord Ashcroft's polling figures, I'm not convinced she would necessarily win. Labour under Corbyn will be in the uncomfortable position of arguing for a much closer association with the Customs Union and Single market even if this means some restrictions on the UK's ability to regulate immigration and negotiate its own trade deals. Some oversight by the ECJ would also remain. But he would probably get the reluctant support of most of British business and most remain supporters and soft leavers.

Either way, those who wanted a second chance to vote on Brexit will have a vote on what precise shape Brexit should take. I suspect it will be a vote between rampant nationalism and pragmatic moderation. But the latter will be a hard sell because whatever deal a Labour government might negotiate, it will be a lot less advantageous than full membership and a say in the future development of the EU.

For Leo Varadker and Fine Gael, the poll, if accurate,  is also instructive. St. Augustine's prayer "Lord make me pure but not yet." comes to mind. The vast majority of the Republic's voters are in favour of a United Ireland, but over half don't think it is a practical proposition for the next few years. Nowhere is that scepticism more pronounced than in his own Fine Gael party, more than two thirds of whose voters take that view.

But there is a big difference between not considering a united Ireland a realistic proposition in the near future and tolerating the erection of customs controls at the border that could only make that prospect more distant. Leo Varadker leads a small minority government where Fine Gael only got 25% of the vote last time out. He simply cannot afford to be outflanked by Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein on the issue.

So the Irish Government, and by extension, the EU, will maintain it's insistence that there can be no hard border on the island of Ireland. That means N. Ireland must effectively remain within the Customs Union and Single Market and erect customs controls in the Irish sea. If that means the fall of Theresa May's government for lack of DUP support, then so be it. The DUP hasn't exactly been racking up the brownie points in either Ireland or the UK of late.

The fact that even N. Ireland voters regard the Republic more favourably than they do the direction of travel of N. Ireland under DUP leadership has to mean the Irish government is doing some things right. Perhaps the burgeoning Irish economy, with unemployment now down to 5% from a peak of 16% in 2011, is a factor in all of this. Successful referenda on marriage equality and the right to an abortion in certain circumstances may also have helped.

Northern Ireland is in danger of being left behind - by both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland - moving in different directions. Sooner or later it may dawn on Unionists that their bargaining power is rapidly diminishing. No one wants to take over a divided and dysfunctional state-let. Both Britain and Ireland are going their own ways and are not going to wait for N. Ireland to catch up or catch on.

Display:
Mary Lou McDonald accuses Theresa May of playing for time on Brexit
Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has accused Theresa May of playing for time on Brexit ahead of this month's European Council in Brussels and called on the Government to take a tougher approach in negotiations.

Speaking after an hour-long meeting with the prime minister at Downing Street, Ms McDonald said she told Ms May the British government's approach was reckless and unacceptable.

"They're running down the clock. They're going into the June summit with no intention of having any kind of definitive or substantial conclusion. They are disavowing the backstop. Not alone do they not have an operable, acceptable proposal of their own, they have put clear blue water between themselves and what was agreed in December and what was set out in March," she told The Irish Times.

"I think this now calls for the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste to take a very firm stand and indeed for our European partners. They cannot facilitate British game-playing when we know that the sole concern here is to move to the next phase of the negotiations, really with no progress and much less a definitive answer."

This is all about choosing the right time to diss the DUP and have a general election at a time of her choosing, probably after a deal is negotiated with the EU in October.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 20th, 2018 at 10:14:19 PM EST
There will be no deal in October. That's only when HMG realises that it actually has to negotiate one.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 21st, 2018 at 09:46:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I expect a lot of last minute and late night theatrics, probably continuing right up to Brexit day. Any deal negotiated in October will probably be defeated in the Commons or elsewhere, on the grounds that any deal negotiated on schedule probably isn't as good as one you could get at the last minute when everyone is desperate. However that is all part of the choreography of raising and reducing expectations, and demonstrating to your public just what a tough negotiator you are.

The trouble is, it only takes one side to misread the script and not realise the other side is just doing some play acting, for the whole process to run out of control. The complete ignorance on the UK side of how the dynamics are changing on the EU side could lead to such a miscalculation.  Sometimes the deal you reject is the best you were ever going to get.

This is my central expectation for how things will play out - more due to the incompetence of key players than anything else. Rationally there is a deal that maximises everyon's interests. Emotionality and nationalistically, it's zero sum. Or even zero minus zero. Quite probably everyone will end up a loser, and some will even feel good about that. Losers like everyone to lose.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 at 09:53:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't expect the cabinet to have sorted out their problems before then. Will still be negotiating with each other.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 at 12:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
May'still strongest card may be Salvini, who is taking a wrecking ball to Italy's relations with Europe.
So by October the EU may be in such difficulties over the great immigration standoff between the hard right dissident governments of Poland, Austria and Hungary and the Franco-German axis that is (cynically imo) mishandling the immigrant crisis with the intention of moving the whole continent towards a direction of cheap underpaid labourers with few rights.
Macron has behaved despicably in this regard I am sorry to say, not owning France's politically dirty war on Libya or the horrific consequences of creating millions of refugees and a huge traffic in humans.
This could break the EU in short order or worse, reduce it to fascism.
Once Mutti goes, and go she will, all bets are off.
There are many reasons to despise Salvini, however one thing his ministry has accomplished has been to wake up Brussels to the fact that Italy will not continue to play third fiddle to this cockup.
Extreme situations have begotten extreme reactions, it didn't have to be this way. The PD and the mafia controlled the immigration 'business'. There was a phone call surveillance released in which the mobster boasted how immigrants were more profitable than the illegal heroin trade.
Plus it came out that Renzi had made a secret deal so in exchange for Brussels turning a bit of a blind eye to Italy's finances Italy would be the go-to dropoff place for all the NGO ships, some of whom were caught picking refugees right from the traffickers in Libyan waters.
Some of the financing of these NGO'S was rather opaque.
 

'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 Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 at 12:27:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with you that the mishandling of the refugee issue is a big problem for the EU and for Italy's relations with the EU in particular. I expect it to reach a crisis any time soon.

Where I disagree with you is that this in any way helps May. The worse the "Italian crisis" becomes for the EU, the less the EU can afford to be generous with the UK given that the driving force for Brexit was immigration - a lot of which owned more to Britain's imperial legacy rather than its membership of the EU.

The UK has consistently refuse to take any serious ownership of the refugee crisis facing Mediterranean Europe even though its middle eastern policy were in part responsible for the refugee crisis in the first place.

How can the EU give the UK a free pass on Brexit while expecting Italy and Greece to bear the lions share of the burden of illegal immigration?  The longer this goes on the harder line the EU will have to take on Brexit.

If I were a UK negotiator I would be cutting a deal as quickly as possible. Unfortunately the dynamics of UK politics are precisely the reverse - no prospect of anything other than a last minute deal because the Tory cabinet cannot make up its mind as to how to proceed.

I wouldn't even exclude the possibility of the UK and Brussels agreeing a Brexit deal only for Italy and Eastern European countries to veto it on the grounds of how the refugee crisis is being mishandled, and how their immigrants to the UK are being treated by the UK.

Cue explosion of anger in the UK who think that Brexit is all about them and that the EU has no option but to give them what they want. There are two sides to any negotiation, and the complete incompetence on the UK side has hidden from view the growing possibility of a cock-up on the EU side.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 at 01:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes it may work the other way and provide the UK with less cover, as you say.
My sense is that if the EU doesn't stop funding these eastern bloc countries unless they play fair, they/we will see the whole shebang so weakened by disunity that the problems created by other fault lines fissuring  will make Brussels not have the focus needed to negotiate Brexit as pitilessly.
2 flanks to cover...
The irony being it was the UK who were keenest to take them on board in the first place!
It's almost as if it was planned that way, but I am no conspiracy theorist in this regard at least.
Cui bono if the EU dissolves?
Pretty much everyone except Europe which is what makes it all so tragic that those running Europe these last 20 years have been so far below the bar in terms of long term vision, and so prey to lobbying, Big Finance, Pharma and Data.
And that special shitstain of the car companies and their malwaring the emissions controls.
It beggars belief that respective governments were not in some way in collusion with that, too many companies in too many countries involved.
The immigration issue is the main touch paper but the need for 180° reform in many fields has loaded the barrel, runaway bureaucracies and Maastricht/Lisbon mistreaties favoring Germany to a dangerous degree. The blantant double standards between N. and S. Europe's treatment, (Greece still being the poster child for this) all part of the charge.
 Sigh, it looked so good there for a while in the early 90's, heady days.
The common currency is another massive fault line, furthering inequality throughout the EU.
I do still have some hope the EU will reform for the good, but I suspect it will get a lot worse before it gets better.
Long overdue reality check...

'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 Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 at 05:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If anything, the increasing tensions in the EU will mean less patience vis a vis the Brexit negotiations. Not out of ill will, just a matter of available attention: for the Continental leaders, Brexit is maybe issue #3 or 4 today and is slipping down the ranking rapidly, especially if a major crisis happens again. Combine this with, as you put it, those  in the UK who think that Brexit is all about them, and it could become real ugly, real fast.
by Bernard on Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 at 08:38:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU figures put up quite a production this week to assure the Irish they will not be abandoned -- whatever the Tories do. Show is over.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 at 09:09:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Duh, whom the EU's gonna side with? The country remaining on the team in good standing? Or the one leaving the team in a huff while making threatening noises?

This is no rocket science, and these days, the EU won't be taking crap on the matter of EU borders either.

by Bernard on Sun Jun 24th, 2018 at 09:25:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Her Majesty's Government = HMG?

'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 Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 at 05:11:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing personal. FILO. Divestment takes time.



Nations Overboard 17 May 2018


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jun 20th, 2018 at 11:08:57 PM EST
Returning Gibraltar to... ??

Jabal-ı Tārıq (the Rock of Tariq) should be returned to Morocco.  Berber general Tariq ibn-Ziyad took it off the Visigoths in 711.

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

by eurogreen on Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 at 01:57:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Strictly speaking there's no reason for the majority of UK subjects to give a damn about Northern Ireland.  AFAICT the majority of people living in Northern Ireland don't give a damn about Northern Ireland either.  

Which is probably the best thing that could happen: Northern Ireland slides into the dustbins of history, greased by apathy.


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

by ATinNM on Wed Jun 20th, 2018 at 11:32:41 PM EST
Well as I said: "Secondly, voters in N. Ireland have a far more positive view of the Republic of Ireland than they have of their own polity: Only 25% think N. Ireland is on the right track whereas 55% of N. Ireland voters think the Republic of Ireland is on the right track."

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 21st, 2018 at 09:47:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...  an issue they believe is being blown out of proportion ...

To anyone with even a passing acquaintance with recent history, that is a rather unfortunate choice of word. Freudian slip?

by det on Thu Jun 21st, 2018 at 06:31:22 AM EST
No. Just pig ignorance...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 21st, 2018 at 09:57:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what was the majority in favour of reneging on the Good Friday agreement? ...

Eh? oh.

Treaties, facts, reality... No obstickle to the will of the British People, eh?

Tell the bulldog to put his teeth back in.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 21st, 2018 at 11:14:24 AM EST
The majority of voters in the UK have no idea what day it is.

We have the remains of what used to be the middle class keeping the lights on and the engine running - barely.

Everyone else is an idiot, and a fair proportion are dangerous idiots.

Which is why I'm moving to the mainland in a few weeks. I have zero intention of being anywhere near the UK next March.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2018 at 03:36:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll miss all the celebrations for B-Day! The fireworks, the bunting, the fly pasts, the parades, the cheering crowds, PM Boris' address to the nation on the Beeb with references to D Day and VE day and referring to his predecessor May as a kind of well meaning Neville Chamberlain delusionally trying to negotiate a settlement with the Euronazis when war was always the only option, the ceremony of thanksgiving in Canterbury, the Queen being serenaded by Elgar's land of pomp and glory, the flush of national pride... and an another royal baby. What could possibly go wrong?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 29th, 2018 at 10:45:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, it's Elgar's Land of hope and glory, a bit like Obama. And surely "Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set" applies more to the EU than to the UK?

Does the "B" in B-day stand for Boris?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jun 30th, 2018 at 09:58:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No Brexit, but the two will rapidly become synonymous...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 30th, 2018 at 01:07:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, Boris will be busy evoking the Dunkirk spirit, which I believe at least one leading Brexiteer has done recently.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 30th, 2018 at 10:12:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Sun Jul 1st, 2018 at 07:43:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome to the Continent.
Better not tarry: at this rate, all newcomers crossing the water will be locked in detention camps somewhere on the shores of Tripoli.
by Bernard on Sat Jun 30th, 2018 at 10:17:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm jealous, I'm trapped here by circumstance.

Anywhere nice?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 2nd, 2018 at 06:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the clock running down on the DUP, what are the odds of them precipitating an early election on their own timetable?

What's their agenda? They are a key player, but how are their electorate going to jump?

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

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 21st, 2018 at 04:03:28 PM EST
Their membership is half mad. Who fucking knows? These are people who object to teaching  about dinosaurs.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 21st, 2018 at 09:28:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only half???

ymmv but I'd put them muchcloser to wholly frothingly insane

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 at 07:07:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One DUP politicIan  is having trouble getting his UK passport in order because he was born in Donegal and isn't eligible.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 21st, 2018 at 09:29:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, May has just announced a fast track for UK-resident EU citizens to get their right to stay validated. So that may save him from being summarily deported like a Jamaican.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 at 03:00:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently they sent out letters about it to Welsh people so it's started well. Maybe they know more about the break-up of UK than they're letting on.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 at 03:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson calls for May to deliver `full British Brexit'
Boris Johnson has urged British prime minister Theresa May to deliver a "full British Brexit" as cabinet colleagues warned the UK is able to walk away without a deal.

UK international trade secretary Liam Fox said the UK was not "bluffing" about being prepared to walk away from talks with Brussels and Brexit secretary David Davis said there is "lots going on" to prepare in case negotiations collapse.

Meanwhile foreign secretary Mr Johnson said people would not tolerate a "bog roll Brexit" that was "soft, yielding and seemingly infinitely long".

I may be wrong, but I get the impression that when the UK government talks abut preparing for a no-deal Brexit, it is all part of a negotiating tactic, to be used liberally whenever negotiations are not going their way. On the other hand, when the EU talks about preparing for a no-deal Brexit, it is part of a genuine and serious contingency planning process.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 at 09:59:18 AM EST
If so, it's a deeply delusional one. What can Europeans do but roll their eyes at Boris's tantrums? They know that an actual hard Brexit is off the table in any rational scenario. Nevertheless they have contingency plans for dealing with the economic damage to Europe's northeastern seabord, during the transitional period until the UK elects a rational government.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jun 25th, 2018 at 11:17:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...an actual hard Brexit is off the table in any rational scenario

Nothing about Brexit is rational.  And that includes May's government.


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

by ATinNM on Mon Jun 25th, 2018 at 04:23:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're wrong.

The Tories don't care any more. They've set fire to the building, they're stealing everything that isn't nailed it down and taking it elsewhere, and they have no interest in what happens after that.

This is that party that is trying to blame the Fire Brigade for a national tragedy caused when a major tower block incinerated most of its inhabitants because of dodgy cost cutting by the landlord - which also happened to be a high profile Tory council.

If you want an illustrative metaphor - there it is. As goes Grenfell, so goes the UK.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2018 at 03:40:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As goes Grenfell, so goes WENT the UK

Brexit is just a huge game to them. Profits galore, ending offshore, pulling the floor out from under the poor, nature red in tooth and claw.
They'll know just when to buy and sell
And leave the rest to rot in hell.
Bank oversight is for Euro-fools
They want a world without bothersome rules
Free to launder dirty cash
Shell companies to hide the stash
NHS gets another slash, Boris makes a cowardly dash
May plays diva, May plays brash
As we await the next upcoming crash
People's hopes turn into ash
Like Grenfell Tower, lives gone in a flash  
So the 1% can rake it in
And parrots lie, parrots spin
We're played for fools and the evil grin.

 

'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 Fri Jun 29th, 2018 at 10:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's worth remembering that Boris closed a lot of fire stations and clamped on the training budget when he was Mayor of London.

When the fire brigade stand up and lament thel ack of training of preparedness for tackling tower block fires, that's on the same guy who caused brexit.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 2nd, 2018 at 05:56:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson is a `buffoon' who will `ruin' Ireland
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is a "buffoon" who will "ruin" Ireland and the United Kingdom because of his determination to quit the European Union, former taoiseach, Bertie Ahern has declared.

In some of his strongest remarks yet on the Brexit negotiations, Mr Ahern urged British prime minister Theresa May to face down the Conservative Party's strongest supporters of a hard Brexit.

"If she has 350 members and 70 of them are rebels something you have to say, what do we do with the 280, and she has to do that. If she keeps going from crisis to crisis, and listening to that buffoon, Boris - he'll ruin us, never mind ruin them - she has to face up to that.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 at 10:04:09 AM EST
There is no time. If there is time there will be no patience for it among the British populace. People were already pissed off by the last one. Another one would reinforce the current atmosphere of exasperation with a 'shambolic' democratic process (well, sorry democracy is so taxing...), the negativity about Britain itself and the notion that this government is a joke. We see apathy is not good for a democracy.

If there is no time for a parachute election then would the PM really put her fate in Corbyn's hands to salvage a knife edge deal with the EU? Maybe it'd be interesting to see the buck being passed to Corbyn and to finally have crunch time arrive for him, too. I very much doubt it. But then all the other possibilities seem also impossible.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Jun 24th, 2018 at 02:49:41 AM EST
Yes, that's the issue isn't it? All possibilities seem impossible.

Theresa May is boxed in on all sides, mostly as a consequence of choices she has made over the last 18 months since she took power. The easy option is the "no deal" fantasy beloved of the frothing-at-the-mouth brigade; mostly because it's achievable. But that's the country-equivalent of putting a gun in our mouths and pulling the trigger. However, all Prime Ministers care for their legacy, they wish to be viewed well, and destroying the country's economy will not be a good look.

It's the old joke;- "How do you get to a good brexit? Well, I wouldn't start from here"

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 24th, 2018 at 06:06:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I still one third expect Brexit to eat two more PMs and then get cancelled and never spoken of again.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 25th, 2018 at 10:18:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Restoring border checks `like trying to put apartheid back into South Africa'
"I don't know how you put border checks back. I just don't think that the people would accept it.
"This is probably extreme but I'm going to say it anyway: it's like trying to put apartheid back into South Africa."

"I might be wrong, but the people I talk to along the Border, like the farmers and shopkeepers, they wonder; are these people crazy, are these people mad, are these people out of their mind, do they realise what they're at?"

Maintaining a hard border, he said, would require the unrealistic prospect of either the police or the army managing it.

"I think it's very interesting that the PSNI have been quietly, but very determinedly saying, `we can't do this, we can't police this situation, this is beyond our capabilities'.

"So are we going to call the army back in again? I don't think that's going to happen, I just don't think that it's possible and if it's not doable, then you have to come up with some other solution."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 28th, 2018 at 08:49:05 AM EST
Maybe the PSNI can copy the NHS and recruit from Eastern Europe and the West Indies to bolster their numbers.

Oh...wait...

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 2nd, 2018 at 05:53:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU workers employed in NI drops by one quarter since Brexit vote
The number of European Union workers employed across Northern Ireland has fallen by one quarter since the UK's Brexit referendum, new figures reveal.

As pressure mounts this week for a breakthrough in the ongoing Brexit negotiations with European Union (EU) leaders meeting for talks on June 28th and 29th, Belfast-based journalism website the Detail reports a downward trend in the number of EU workers employed in the North since the UK voted to leave the EU.

Labour force estimates provided by Northern Ireland's Department for Economy (DfE) reveal there were 14,000 fewer EU nationals working in Northern Ireland by the end of March 2018 compared to the period of the June 2016 referendum, representing a 26 per cent drop. The estimates do not include workers from the Republic of Ireland.

Other available estimates show a falling number of Lithuanian workers while the number of Polish workers has fluctuated since June 2016.

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, the effects of Brexit have already been considerable, and are unlikely to be reversed regardless of the outcome. These include reduced migration, a lack of skilled workers, business uncertainty and reduced investment. In the meantime, the DUP continue to spout Brexiteer inanities without any grounding in reality.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 28th, 2018 at 08:58:58 AM EST


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