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UK to break international law

by Frank Schnittger Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 03:10:05 PM EST

The UK is to unveil internal market legislation tomorrow (9/9/20) which will break international law albeit in what they describe as a limited way. Specifically it will abrogate sections of the Withdrawal Agreement which require the UK to implement customs controls at the N. Ireland Great Britain sea border thus providing back-door access to the Single Market for British goods - whatever any trade agreement might say.


This will come as little surprise to the EU. Boris Johnson has always said there will be no paperwork for N. Ireland firms exporting to Great Britain and has opposed the setting up of an EU office in Belfast to monitor same. The corollary is that British firms will also have unhindered to the N. Ireland Market, and hence the Single Market through the open Irish border.

Quite why the UK government thinks the EU will continue to negotiate with the UK on a trade agreement while the UK unilaterally abrogates part of the last agreement - the Withdrawal Agreement only recently signed and ratified is far from clear. Irish government sources have been seeking to downplay the controversy, saying it may only be a bit of sabre rattling in the run up to the end of the Trade negotiations due to recommence today.

But it also raises questions as to why anyone would want to negotiate a trade deal with the UK government if it can unilaterally abrogate an international Treaty negotiated only last year. The UK seems to think that in the event of no deal it will be able to continue to trade with the EU, just like Australia, under WTO rules. But why should the EU uphold WTO rules if the UK has just abrogated their bilateral agreement. I can see all British goods being stopped at Calais leading to tailbacks all the way from Dover to the M25 around London.

Boris Johnson seems to be following the Trump play-book of ripping up international treaties he doesn't like. But perhaps he should have noticed that no one is rushing to negotiate new deals with the US. For all his self-image as the supreme deal maker, Trump has singularly failed to come to any significant agreements with anyone else - bar his allies like Netanyahu. Even the much trumpeted US/UK trade deal isn't making much progress as Britons contemplate the delights of chlorinated chickens on their supermarket shelves.

The The head of the UK's government legal department has quit over the proposed abrogation of parts of the Withdrawal agreement.  Sir Jonathan Jones is the sixth senior Whitehall official to resign this year, amid growing tensions between the prime minister and staff at the top of the civil service.

Quite why Boris Johnson and his lead negotiator, Lord Frost, think this will result in a more conciliatory response from the EU is difficult to fathom. The EU has already taken a hard line with Switzerland after voters there voted to abrogate parts of free movement agreements with the EU. The EU is nothing if not an extremely rules based union of countries, and expecting it to bend its rules to facilitate an ex-member would strike at the very heart of all the compromises member states have had to make in pursuit of that Union.

This is not going to end well.

Display:
The UK government has admitted that it will be proposing to break international law when it introduces the Internal Market Bill to the Commons today (Wednesday). (Brexit: Britain says it may break international law in `limited way', UK, 8th. September). Specifically, it will be abrogating parts of the Withdrawal Agreement, negotiated, agreed, and ratified with the EU only last year.

Apparently it believes that this will improve its negotiating hand in the ongoing trade negotiations with Brussels. Quite why it believes the EU will compromise the integrity of the Single market to facilitate an ex-member is less than clear: The EU took a hard like with Switzerland when its citizens voted to curtail the freedom of movement enshrined in EU/Switzerland agreements.

No doubt the UK government believes it can apply pressure on the weakest link in the EU chain, the land border within Ireland, banking on the unwillingness of the Irish government to implement customs controls there, come what may.

But the UK government may also be underestimating the determination of the EU to preserve the integrity of the Single Market, and to avoid giving an ex-member a level of access granted only to existing members in compliance with state aid and other "level playing field" rules that the UK is determined to eliminate.

Boris Johnson has said that in the event of no deal, he will be happy to trade with the EU under WTO rules, in the same way as Australia does now. But why would the EU continue to observe WTO rules with the UK when the UK breaks international law and unilateral abrogates trade rules freely negotiated only last year?

This will not end well, either with another humiliating climbdown by Boris Johnson, or with queues of trucks denied access to Calais stretching all the way back from Dover to the M25 around London. Ireland had better ensure it has adequate shipping capacity for its exports to the EU avoiding the land-bridge through Britain.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 04:22:13 PM EST
BJ has never faced the consequences of his actions before so he has no reason to think there's any consequences now.

Also it gives the UK 1% the ability to propaganize the UK masses with "IT'S THE EU'S FAULT" when every goes pear shaped.  And very likely the UK masses will fall for it.


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

by ATinNM on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 05:13:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is it about the Anglophone rank-and-file (because the UK really can't beat the US, and Oz and Canada have a propensity too) that they simply gobble up every shovel-full of bullshit thrown their way?
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 03:00:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very few anybodies have the willingness to sit down and acquire and then use Critical Thinking Skills.  

Thus the prevalence and success of propaganda.  

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

by ATinNM on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 03:15:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rules and laws only apply to little people, people like Boris and Scumings see themselves as people who stride the world, free of such encumbrances.
After all, during a lockdown during spring which was pretty much observed 99%, Scummings drove from London to Durham (apparently to check if his eyesight was good enough for driving). Something so common "Oiky" Gove popped up on the studio round to say he'd done much the same thing.
Then again, Gove has form; he once emerged from a party to make a newscomment with what seemed to be a very visible white powder on his nostrils (I'm sure it was talc).
As "Another Angry Voice" noted;-
Johnson voted against Theresa May's shambles of a Brexit deal, then voted in favour of it, then stole it and pretended that it was his own, then unlawfully suspended parliament to prevent democratic scrutiny of it, then stood for election on a platform of  getting his "oven-ready" Brexit done, then officially signed up to abide by the terms of the deal ...
And now he just openly admits that it was nonsense all along, while threatening to tear it all up and deliberately trigger 'no deal' chaos.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 04:53:04 PM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 05:45:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Downing St reportedly backpedaling:

A smoke grenade for the Brexit talks - Politico.eu

"We are fully committed to implementing the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol and we've already taken many practical steps to do so," Boris Johnson's official spokesman said today in response to the story. In No. 10's telling, the new measures are simply legal safeguards should the Joint Committee (the talks -- running parallel to the Frost-Barnier trade negotiation -- which are determining how the NI protocol should be implemented) fail to resolve some key issues in time for the end of the transition period.

The new provisions in U.K. law reported by the FT -- which will be laid out in the Internal Markets Bill on Wednesday and the Finance Bill after the Budget -- are merely "limited and reasonable steps" to "clarify" certain parts of the NI protocol in U.K. law, a No 10 spokesperson said.

by Bernard on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 08:13:41 PM EST
Well, duh:

Government admits new Brexit bill 'will break international law' - Guardian

The government has admitted that its plan to reinterpret the special Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland will break international law.

The Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, astonished backbenchers when he told the House of Commons: "Yes, this does break international law in a very specific and limited way. We're taking the powers to disapply the EU law concept of direct effect ... in a certain very tightly defined circumstance."

In a new internal market bill, the government is expected to unveil plans for domestic powers to govern part of the Northern Ireland protocol, something that has threatened to torpedo Brexit talks that resumed in London on Tuesday.

It reportedly led to the resignation of the UK's top legal civil servant, Jonathan Jones, on Tuesday morning.

by Bernard on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 08:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BREAKING NEWS : Thousands of appeals launched by prisoners claiming that, athough they were guilty, they only broke the law in very specific and limited ways.
Which is seemingly not guilty in this government's eyes.

No doubt, contributions to the Conservative party will be taken into consideration during the appeal

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 07:26:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good to see you back, Helen. Your sarcasm is definitely à propos.
by Bernard on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 08:30:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, the Torygraph "reported" that M.Barnier is to be sidelined; that kind of rumors have been popping up in the British press regularly for the past four years.

Brexit chief Michel Barnier says he's `worried' about `difficult' negotiations

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier strongly denied he's being pushed out of his job and said he was "worried" because "the British would like the best of both worlds."

"It's been four years that I've been living with these articles, these personal attacks, these rumors" in "certain British press" about his impending departure, Barnier told France Inter radio Monday. He was responding to a question about a report in the Telegraph that EU leaders were set to sideline him in a bid for a breakthrough in the negotiations.

"All these people don't know how we work on the European side," Barnier said. "I'm not an individual negotiator, I don't negotiate for myself but ... on a very precise mandate that has been confirmed to me and which is that of the 27 heads of state and the [European] Parliament."


If the goal was to undermine Barnier, it was an epic fail:

EU closes ranks after UK's Brexit bombshells

As negotiators prepare for the eighth round of talks, which begin in London on Tuesday, not for the first time is Brussels somewhat baffled by the U.K.'s apparent strategy.

The Brits "are making it very easy for Barnier to keep support in EU capitals," said one EU official closely involved in the talks. "But their timing is stunning. At this point, we should go underwater to resurface with a compromise. Instead, this media offensive leads to another breach of trust between the two sides. And the level of trust is already very, very low."

Ah yes, trust:

by Bernard on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 08:32:42 PM EST
As usual, Boris is talking through both sides of his mouth (and his arse) at once, saying On the one hand, yes we are breaking international law, and on the other, we are merely clarifying it. In the meantime he has lost another top civil servant.

It will probably end up as a damp squib as most of his manoeuvrers do, but what is absolutely stunning is that the Brits seem to think this will help their negotiating prospects.

Any prospect of the EU making some last minute concessions, which they have already prepared in advance, has probably disappeared at this stage. Why go out on a limb to secure a deal when the UK might very well disown it next year anyway?

I wouldn't be surprised if the EU will row back on some concessions they have already made. There is no room for ambiguity - the hard currency of compromise - when all trust has been lost.

The UK seems to continually misinterpret the EU's willingness to talk as a sign of weakness. It must be a culturing thing. Boris' idea of negotiation is all about amateur dramatics - walk outs, cliff edges, overnight talks, inspired leaks, planted stories to undermine trust in Barnier.

Don't they get it? Barnier will probably walk into the sunset on Jan 1st. deal or no deal, and it will change absolutely nothing in the EU's negotiating stance, which will probably just get more hardline as these aggravations continue.

Brexit will be consigned to history and any remaining contacts with the UK will be at below commissioner level while the Trade Commissioner gets on with trade negotiations with countries which actual know how to negotiate one.

Its over.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 10:03:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A news report surfaced over the weekend that Boris has been fascinated by Trump's willingness to lie, walk away from contracts and deals when it suits him to do so. I imagine this nonsense plays well with the tabloid brexiter support who are always easily wound up by displays of macho "John Bull"-like behaviour.

It's cultural conservatism; create a confected spat which allows you to apper to defend some hallowed cultural institution, the last night of the  proms, the integrity of the Ulster connection and then get kudos when you "win".

I still believe that Boris Scummings has no interest in a deal of any sort with the EU. I base this on the principle of follow the money.
Who paid for brexit? High net worth individuals within the Finance industry, most of whom work in hedge funds.
How do these people profit? By shorting (betting against) doomed stocks and profiting from the resulting crash.
No deal brexit is the greatest short opportunity in history and there are a lot of hedge funders in Boris' close circle. No deal has always been the objective.
Once its done and the money is banked, I fully expect the senior leavers to decamp before the tabloid public realise the extent to which they were conned. Although they will no doubt waste a year blaming Corbyn and the EU.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 07:38:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, these kind of tactics come directly from "The Art of the Squeal" by an American Reality TV turned politician. Trouble is: it works only when you are in a position of strength and the other party can be easily intimidated. Someone's nose will get bloodied.
by Bernard on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 08:35:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eton has a culture of bullying, and some people never grow out of it.

But dictators are usually made of sterner stuff. Johnson isn't even good at bullying. He's too mercurial and too stupid to be good at it. A lack of strategic foresight combines with infinite self-regard to create - an empty suit, with a vapid grin and charisma that only works on the over 65s and selected elements in the UK's desperate underclass.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 11:22:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And after that they may realize that Corbyn would have been better, and blame the Jews for destroying him. (They should really blame the Tory antisemites, but this is England).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 05:46:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Virtually no one in the UK believes Corbyn would have been better.

Of course he would, but no one seems to be able to accept that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 08:26:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is very difficult for most people to accept they have been played for a fool. They would rather double down on the con than admit their mistake. The Tories are still in the lead over Labour, and Trump has never been below 40% support in the average of polls. The trend may be downward in both cases, but it is at a slow generational pace as older people die off without ever having admitted their mistake.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 10:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think even that explains Corbyn Derangement Syndrome. He simply wasn't seen as a credible leader, but Johnson - oh the hilarity - was.

The media had a lot to do with it, but that wasn't the entire story. Merely by existing, Corbyn somehow violated a sacred foundation of tribal Englishness.

Maybe he came over as an annoying school teacher. Maybe he was too obviously one of the metropolitan elites, troubled by an education and a conscience. Maybe he was just too middle class, and at the same time not aggressively and selfishly middle class enough. Maybe the Labour Right, as represented by the Guardian, just didn't want him to win because taxes and narcissism.

Whatever it was, many voters didn't warm to it. They preferred the lying sociopathic posho drunk who hid in a fridge over the rather boring and staid opposition leader, with his principles, his social conscience, and his optimistic plan for the future.

Ultimately it was a total collapse in the integrity of the English moral character. And so here we are.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 11:58:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of Corbyn, what is the state of Labour these days? Is Starmer merely a return to Blairism? Is Momentum and the Labour Left wing active or has it collapsed in despair?
by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 09:41:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by epochepoque on Sat Sep 12th, 2020 at 02:04:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From here he seems mostly bad:

Can't be seen not to be Tories:

No Deal is now just another few % in the polls for the hacks:


Purging the left:
Rebecca Long-Bailey sacking reignites Labour turmoil over antisemitism | Rebecca Long-Bailey | The Guardian
Keir Starmer is facing a showdown with the left of Labour after his decisive sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey reignited the party's internal turmoil over the issue of antisemitism.

And throwing money away to have it in print that Corbyn was an anti-semite:
Labour to pay `substantial damages' to antisemitism whistleblowers | The Independent | The Independent
Labour has agreed to pay "substantial damages'' to seven whistleblowers over "defamatory and false allegations'' made following a BBC Panorama investigation into antisemitism.

Terminal lib brain:

I haven't seen much Momentum or Labour left activity, but that doesn't mean it isn't there, just that I'm paying much less attention.

by generic on Wed Sep 16th, 2020 at 01:25:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hedge funds and shorts :

It would be opportune for Labour to go public, and go big, on this subject before Brexitcrash. To the effect that insider trading of this sort will be prosecuted under the next Labour government. Might not such activities reasonably be qualified as treasonous?

They would of course require Interpol co-operation to round up the high-net-worth expatriate plotters.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 08:42:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is that insider trading? Don't we all know about Brexit?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 09:32:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The current Labour leadership are no more likely to interfere with backroom financial plays than the Democratic leadership in the US is, and Starmer will go after the banksters about as much as Obama did.
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 03:19:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither major party in the US is independent of Wall Street, that is nothing new. If anything, the democrats deliver more favorable economic policies--if that is the metric.
by asdf on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 10:24:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US, UK don't do international law.
by Cat on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 03:01:24 PM EST
They do. They make it for others to keep them in line...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 10:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank, get with the program.

There is one law. That is US fed law, drafted by US Congress and executed by the demagogue of the day. Any state that violates US fed laws will be democratized; any heads of state who comply will be richly rewarded on behalf of the peons they claim to "represent".

Also, there is one one economy. Pay tribute early and often.

by Cat on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 01:02:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Johnson `adopting Trumpian madman' approach to Brexit negotiations
UK prime minister Boris Johnson may be adopting the "madman theory" of negotiations in his approach to Brexit, according to former Irish ambassador to the EU, Rory Montgomery.

The "madman theory", popularised by former US president Richard Nixon, involves scaring an opponent into concessions by cultivating an image of recklessness.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 10:59:12 PM EST
We thought it would come to this.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 11:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but we thought the British government would try to pin all the blame for a collapse in talks on the EU. Now they are making it plain to all who listen that the fault lies entirely with themselves...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 09:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the "all who listen" bit I find impossible to accept.  

A governing plurality can be sold any old nonsense as long as communication channels are restricted, the narrative is consistent and the message doesn't vary.

The EU will be seen as the aggressive party and the UK will be seen as the victim because that's what the 1% want the masses to believe and they own the media.

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

by ATinNM on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 04:06:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The fault, dear Boris...."
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 03:21:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It may work when you're a powerful country with the highest GDP and the mightiest military in the world.

The UK? Not so much (and no, overinflated egos do not matter when push comes to shove).

by Bernard on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 04:10:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It isn't just GDP, it's the Yankee Dollar itself.  I think half the sovereign and corporate debt on the planet has choice-of-venue clauses that run through federal court in Manhattan.
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 03:24:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK and a breach of international law. Second letter down
Sir, - The UK government has admitted that it proposes to break international law with its Internal Market Bill. Specifically, it will be abrogating parts of the Withdrawal Agreement, negotiated, agreed, and ratified with the EU only last year.

Apparently, it believes that this will improve its negotiating hand in the ongoing trade negotiations with Brussels.

Quite why it believes the EU will compromise the integrity of the single market to facilitate an ex-member is less than clear. The EU took a hard line with Switzerland when its citizens voted to curtail the freedom of movement enshrined in EU/Switzerland agreements.

No doubt the UK government believes it can apply pressure on the weakest link in the EU chain, the land border within Ireland, banking on the unwillingness of the Irish Government to implement customs controls there, come what may.

But the UK government may also be underestimating the determination of the EU to preserve the integrity of the single market, and to avoid giving an ex-member a level of access granted only to existing members in compliance with state aid and other "level playing field" rules that the UK is determined to eliminate.

Boris Johnson has said that in the event of no deal, he will be happy to trade with the EU under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, in the same way as Australia does now. But why would the EU continue to observe WTO rules with the UK when the UK breaks international law and unilateral abrogates trade rules freely negotiated only last year?

This will not end well, either with another humiliating climbdown by Boris Johnson, or with queues of trucks denied access to Calais stretching all the way back from Dover to the M25 around London.

Ireland had better ensure it has adequate shipping capacity for its exports to the EU, avoiding the land-bridge through Britain. - Yours, etc,



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 11:30:43 PM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 08:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 11:50:41 PM EST
It's his job to try and keep the lines of communication open. The real action is taking place elsewhere at EU level. See comments below.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 10:05:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After the Irish border cave-in, I was convinced for a long time that Boris would cave on the final Brexit deal too -- with a discourse of "We really stuck it to the EU" while continuing business as usual, alignment on environmental conditions, state aid, the whole bit.

Over the last couple of months, it's become blindingly obvious that the negotiations are a farce, and that hard brexit was their only thought from the start (unless they really are making it up day by day??)

But one never anticipated that they would pre-announce their intention to breach international law. They can hardly blame the EU now for failure of the talks...

Once more, I'm puzzled by the endgame. I suppose they"re counting on the Irish government being obliged to close the border, and it'll be all the EU's fault... would that frame hold?

Perhaps a better option than closing the border would be a EU naval blocade in the Irish sea? I rather like that idea
But the economic conséquences will be unthinkably disastrous. Public opinion can't be fooled on that.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 08:50:53 AM EST
I am leaning towards there not being much of an endgame, but only tactical maneuvers for fleeting political advantage.

Cameron called a referendum to improve his odds of winning an election, then had no plan to handle the result.

May called new elections and triggered the exit process to improve her odds of winning the election, then had no plan to handle the negotiations.

Johnson called new elections and called for a quick Brexit to improve his odds of winning the election, and yet again does not have appear to have a plan.

One could argue that surely the economic owners of the country must have more of a plan, but given the propensity for fincial gambling, I am not so sure. I am sure that they have a lot of hedging going on, in a heads I win, tails the public lose, kind of way, but that doesn't really take plans.

Oh, and they probably have bunkers in New Zeeland, but that is more indicative of the lack of actual planning for the future of the UK and a vote of non-confidence in their trust of their fellow owners to maintain control.

by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 09:21:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the moment, and in future under international law, N. Ireland firms have full access to the Single Market. Should the UK government allow unhindered access for British goods to N. Ireland, the EU will have no option but to institute border controls to prevent British goods leaking into the EU via N. Ireland. This could also inconvenience N. Ireland firms who would have to prove the origin of their goods.

However I believe the EU will allow the Irish government to institute those controls at Irish sea and air ports as a much more feasible option than trying to put customs posts on 300 roads passing through the 500KM land border.

The Irish government could also institute a "trusted trader" scheme within Ireland whereby Irish firms, importing through/from N.Ireland, declare any goods of British origin in their accounts in the same way as they do their VAT returns. The vast majority of Irish imports from Britain are by large supermarket chains and other large businesses with robust internal controls. Guinness already has customs officials on site 24/7 to ensure alcohol production is properly taxed.

This would not prevent private individuals, sole traders and small businesses loading up their cars/vans with goods in N. Ireland and driving them across the border for their own personal or small business use. The Irish government could institute the occasional mobile spot check of large Vans/trucks near the border to eliminate gross abuses, but basically the quantities would be immaterial in an EU context and restricted to Ireland.

From a political and economic point of view, this would  be a little compensation for private individuals and small businesses/sole traders for the costs that Brexit will impose in other ways, and perhaps also re-balance the competitive advantage of (e.g.) small shops vs global multinational supermarket chains. Any such solutions would be temporary, pending a UK/EU trade deal, and failing that until there is a more formal re-unification of Ireland, politically and/or economically.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 09:31:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any such solutions would be temporary, pending a UK/EU trade deal, and failing that until there is a more formal re-unification of Ireland, politically and/or economically.

Pending a UK/EU trade deal....
Just how likely is a deal after this? If Johnson goes through with his "special and detailed" changes how much would you trust him in negotiations 2021?
Re-unification sounds more likely.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 07:43:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It all depends on how ruthlessly the EU responds. If the EU takes the view that a short sharp shock is needed to bring the UK to ts senses and avoid a long drawn out and damaging conflict, it could literally stop all except the most vital EU imports at Calais and shut down half the UK export economy.

Of course the EU would also suffer some damage, but it might take the view that this needs to be resolved quickly, one way or the other. German car exports can always make up lost sales at a later stage. EU farmers could be cushioned for lost income through the CAP.

If Boris tries to hold out, many UK firms will close permanently and irreversibly. If anything, Covid-19 has taught EU governments that drastic actions can and sometimes must be taken, and the public will accept them if the rationale is strong enough.

Ireland will be most directly in the firing line but it has such a long and painful history with Britain that most people will accept considerable sacrifices rather than capitulate (again) to the British. Boris doesn't know what he is stirring up if this turns bad. The nationalists won't surrender.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 08:13:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the car parts thing : given that the petroleum car industry is in profound crisis with prospects of a decade of terminal decline... how crucial is the UK in an electric/hydrogen context, I wonder?

Instinctively I see the UK as having  historical and manufacturing expertise concentrated around the internal combustion engine, rather than the wider car-manufacturing industry, am I wrong?

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

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 10:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It used to have it all, but is now relying largely on the exclusive/luxury sports car industry and foreign owned manufacturing plants like Honda, Nissan (Renault), Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover (Tata), Mini and Rolls-Royce (BMW), Bentley (VW) and Vauxhall Motors (PSA). Guess which plants Tata, BMW, Renault or PSA close first if they have over-capacity issues. AFAIK very little major electric/hydrogen car manufacturing or development takes place in the UK. In 2019, Honda announced that its Swindon plant will close by 2021

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 11:28:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the EU thinks any shock therapy will work on the UK, I have a former UK bridge in Arizona to sell them.
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 03:30:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What are the odds of the North going along with the Republic in drawing a line in the Irish Sea?  How extensive is the delusion in the North that London has any intention of continuing to support them?
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 03:34:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Bloody hell. It seems that Boris regards me a an official EU spokesperson ( I didn't even get elected to Parliament, ffs)
PM claims internal market bill is needed to counter EU `threats' to put a blockade in Irish Sea

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Sep 12th, 2020 at 12:02:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the moment the EU is responding in the usual diplomatic wishy washy way of seeking urgent meetings for clarification. I have no doubt that substantive progress in the trade talks has been put on hold, and the EU may even be rowing back on previous concessions.

But the Boris gambit seems to be entirely predicated on the assumption that the UK can always, if the worst comes to the worst, fall back on WTO trading rules, knowing these will hugely disadvantage agricultural producers in Ireland and the EU.

But is there an entirely legal mechanism which the EU can invoke whereby the UK can be suspended from the WTO, or at least the EU can declare its suspension of its trading relationship with the UK, pending the resolution of the international breaks at issue?

Telling the UK it will become an outlaw state not subject to the protections of the WTO seems to me an entirely appropriate and proportionate legal response. Anyone know if there are any provisions in WTO Treaties to allow this?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 09:40:48 AM EST
Rather then looking at the letter of the Treaties, one can look at the bodies that would handle disputes.

The WTO has been scared by the United States' decision in December to block the appointment of two new members to the appellate body. The move has meant that the WTO has not been able to rule on new trade disputes between member countries since then.

Right now the appelate body is being described as a "void":

According to the expert, the EU has taken advantage of the current vulnerability of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism and is trying to avoid responsibility for actions recognized as illegal at the international level, and by using the rules developed with the active participation of the EU.

"The EU's blocking of the results of the dispute on energy adjustments by filing an appeal into the "void" threatens the EU's own achievements in trade cooperation," she noted.

WTO right now also lacks an acting leader:

Trade officials in Geneva on Friday failed to select an acting leader of the World Trade Organization to take over when current Director-General Roberto Azevedo steps down on Aug. 31.

WTO delegates couldn't broker a consensus agreement this week after the U.S. demanded that an American, Alan Wolff, become interim director-general instead of Karl Brauner of Germany.

Apart from the whole matter of WTO schedules and tariffs were UK needs to disentangle from the EU and as far as I know haven't done more then to say that they will be as an EU member for the transitionship period.

by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 10:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So basically the EU can do as it wants and refer any dispute to a non-existent dispute resolution process until such time as it gets the Director-General it wants and the US government agrees the appointment of appeals judges. A lot depends on what happens in the US in November, but right now chaos reigns...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 12:05:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU tells UK: drop Brexit plans to break law or face sanctions  - Guardian
According to an EU legal opinion, leaked to the Guardian, the commission believes Johnson's government has already breached the terms of the treaty just by taking the first steps to pass a new law that would negate key parts of the withdrawal agreement signed last year.

"Already by tabling the draft bill and pursuing the policy expressed therein, the UK government is in violation of the good faith obligation under the withdrawal agreement (article 5) because this bill jeopardises the attainment of the objectives of the agreement," the commission lawyers write.

The commission has advised the 27 EU capitals that there are therefore grounds for the bloc to take "legal remedies" through the European court of justice before the end of the transition period, leading to significant fines or potential trade sanctions.

The legal opinion goes on to say that should the legislation actually be adopted it would be in "clear breach of substantive provisions of the protocol" in waiving any export procedures or formalities on the trade of goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain and in restricting the application of EU state-aid rules in the case of Northern Ireland.

by Bernard on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 05:25:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And there is the foundation for the EU dumping the WTO with regard to the UK: You breached the specific agreement, so you lose any fallback protection you had in the general.
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 03:50:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain plays the madman and leaves Europe rattled
t was widely expected in Brussels that Britain would up the ante ahead of this week's round of talks with the European Union. Declarations about sovereignty and praise for a crashout exit were very much priced-in.

What was not anticipated is that the London government would declare an intention to break international law.

The six words of Britain's Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis to describe his government's proposed Bill - "Yes, this does break international law" - caused consternation across Europe. It's not just a problem for the Brexit talks: it goes against an underlying assumption of western foreign policy and the international order.

"I come from a Commonwealth country, we have so often in our recent history looked to the UK as an example of how an old and evolved democracy should function on the world stage," the Maltese Christian Democrat MEP Roberta Metsola told The Irish Times.

"This is not an inconsequential statement. I can understand the argument that it would be difficult for the UK to remain the trusted international powerhouse it has always been."

Britain itself relies on the principle of "pacta sunt servanda" or "agreements must be kept", all the time. Only last week, foreign secretary Dominic Raab deplored the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny as "utterly deplorable and a violation of international law".

The tenet that treaties made with others cannot lawfully be changed by just one side has built up our world order over hundreds of years. Spain barely disguises its disdain at Britain's retention of Gibraltar, but it was agreed in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 02:09:55 PM EST
Speaking of former British colonies:

Pelosi warns 'no chance' of US-UK trade deal if Brexit violates international treaty

(CNN)Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, has warned that Britain will be unable to secure a trade deal with the US if it does anything to undermine the treaty that brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of violence.
"If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress," Pelosi said in a statement on Wednesday.
by Bernard on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 04:43:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pelosi has no place in this; it's up to the White House and Senate.  To the extent she could have been an influencer, she gave up any chance of that by offering up an excruciatingly lame resistance to what must be considered an existential threat to US democracy and global security.  She has gotten all sorts of mileage with corporate Dems, lapdog media, and other fools and tools for clapping sideways and ripping up some paper, but cheap parlor tricks like that won't get her a seat at this table or any other table that matters.
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 04:02:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure?

"The Senate has the sole power to confirm those of the President's appointments that require consent, and to ratify treaties. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule: the House must also approve appointments to the Vice Presidency and any treaty that involves foreign trade. The Senate also tries impeachment cases for federal officials referred to it by the House."

https:/www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/the-legislative-branch

by det on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 05:05:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
House and Senate approval of trade agreements is a summary, fast track procedure under the Trade Act.  No two-thirds majority, no procedural maneuvers.  Pelosi would have to hold a majority together, which she's typically proved unable to do.  And if she's dealing with Trump for another four years, and his penchant for ignoring the rule of law, I don't think she has any of the tools needed to stop him.
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 05:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Four ways the new UK Bill breaches the Brexit treaty
The clearest example of how the UK's domestic legislation rides roughshod over the EU-UK withdrawal agreement, signed less than a year ago, is in the area of state subsidies to industry.

Under the Northern Ireland protocol - the section of the Brexit withdrawal agreement designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland - the UK government must notify the European Commission if it intends to offer any state aid where it affects businesses in Northern Ireland.

The Internal Market Bill, under section 43, gives the Northern Ireland secretary the right to disapply or modify article 10 of the protocol that covers the rules around state aid. This supports the view of Brexiteers who see the rules on state aid as encroaching on the UK's sovereignty.
EU law

The Bill breaches the withdrawal agreement by saying that the Northern Ireland secretary could decide that article 10 will "not be interpreted in accordance with case law of the European court" or "in accordance with any legislative act of the EU". This prevents a party taking an action to the European Court of Justice if they believe there has been an illegal state subsidy.

The Bill also deprives individuals of their ability to challenge a decision by the UK, which violates not just the protocol but article four of the EU-UK withdrawal agreement.
Export declarations

Section 42 of the UK Bill gives a UK government minister the power to disapply or modify the rules in the protocol so Northern Ireland businesses do not have to fill out export declarations or comply with other exit procedures. This supports the Brexiteer desire to allow Northern Irish goods "enjoy unfettered access to the rest of the United Kingdom" and fulfils the promise of UK prime minister Boris Johnson that there would no checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea.
The unlawful being lawful

Prof Barnard described section 45 of the Bill as being an "important wash-up clause" that protects the UK against the breaches in sections 42 and 43 by saying that there is nothing in them that could be regarded as unlawful by being incompatible or inconsistent with relevant international and domestic law. This protects the UK government's Bill from judicial review.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 04:54:09 PM EST
To further Helen's simile: If bank robbers only included "nothing in this communication can be regarded as an attempt to break the law" in all their communications, surely said communications would be inadmissible in court. If that is, there would be an attempt to prove that they broke the law, despite them onlyn breaking it in very specific and limited ways.
by fjallstrom on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 07:16:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only are the actions of UK Ministers to be regarded as above European law and not justiciable by the ECJ, it is not clear to me whether the Internal Market Bill makes them non-justiciable under domestic law as well.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 09:13:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The real questions are about what will happen in Scotland and N. Ireland a month or so after a 'no deal' Brexit and how the UK and EU will respond.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 05:44:07 PM EST
I think it will take longer than that for concrete changes to materialize, but a process will have been set in train. The Conservative and Unionist party will, of course, resist all changes, but Boris' days will be numbered. The Tories can be quite ruthless when a leader becomes an encumbrance.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 06:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Currently polling gives Scottish Independence a consistent ~54/46 lead.  I imagine that will increase when it becomes apparent England is leading the UK into economic, political, and social disaster.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 02:08:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Craig Murray the current SNP leadership appears not to really want independence. That can of course change, but I guess one shouldn't expect any sudden moves there.
by fjallstrom on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 07:27:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really doubt Sturgeon & Et. Al. don't want Independence.

I think they want to be sure:

  1.  They can force or manipulate Westminster to allow a referendum

  2.  They won't lose the referendum  

  3.  They call the referendum at the right time to achieve points 1 and 2

At the moment, this is not the moment.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 06:39:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With Brexit going the way it is, the longer they leave it, the better their chances... The UK could be unrecognisably different in 5 years time.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 10:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Johnson government has four years to run, and I doubt a deal will be done during his tenure.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 10:15:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Sturgeon et al. really don't want independence, I imagine it's on economic grounds. The Tories will not be proposing a generous deal... And will negotiate in bad faith of course...

But hard Brexit changes that equation in a big way. Independence becomes a big plus as damage limitation in economic terms.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Sep 16th, 2020 at 10:43:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scottish independence inside the EU would also solve the problem of the border down the Irish sea - at least as far as N. Ireland and Scotland is concerned. Of course it will create a border along parts of Hadrian's wall, or should we now call it Boris' wall?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 16th, 2020 at 01:40:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hadrian's wall

Does this mean that you expect Boris (intentionally, of from ignorance) to give us a big chunk of England? Does Scotland even want it?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 16th, 2020 at 01:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does any part of England, North of Oxford, interest Boris?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 16th, 2020 at 01:48:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
North and West of Oxford are the Cotswolds, which are prime Tory shire land. So that will definitely interest Johnson.

He loses interest when the industrial Midlands start, which more or less means north of Coventry. Although there's another Tory enclave north of Leeds, with York, Harrogate, and the other posher parts of Yorkshire.

Workington Man was an election persona picked to typify Brexit-voting Labour supporters and the Red Wall, and the Red Wall tends to live on the deprived working class edge of these Tory utopias - the towns where Thatcher destroyed the industrial jobs in the 80s and the Tories blamed the survivors for their own poverty.

Then the Tories decided to blame the EU instead, and the rest is history.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Sep 16th, 2020 at 06:29:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the strangest partisan developments of coronovirus is George Galloway's start-up of "Workers Party of Britain" (WPB).

AFAICT, objective No. 1 has been to suborn defections from Labour (England) and SNP (Scotland) in order to acquire WPB members--300K claimed thus far. No. 2 is undermine indie Ref with one "unionist" message: Scotland cannot survive independence. I couldn't say who else stands as WPB leadership or that WPB has worked up a proper manifesto much less candidates for imminent election.

Also, he recently announced that he's quit his London household.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Sep 15th, 2020 at 01:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is tempting but Ireland should not give up on the British
In September, the City reached for the smelling salts when a commentator said she feared Johnson was being influenced by "people who have invested billions in shorting the pound or shorting the country in the expectation of a no-deal". The speaker was his sister Rachel. Her concerns were echoed by a recent chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond. The City was... hurt.

In the rarefied world of disaster capitalism, having a punt on the disastrous effects of crashing out of the EU without a deal is what you do. You might even nudge it along. Odey had funded past Brexit campaigns to the tune of about £900,000 and, years before the Brexit referendum, had incubated Jacob Rees-Mogg's Somerset Capital Management hedge fund start-up.

Odey dismissed Hammond's concerns as "crap", complaining that he had been made to look uncaring and "unpatriotic". Still, on the day after the Brexit referendum, he had been pleased to tell the BBC that he had made £220million speculating that the markets would fall, or as he put it: "`Il mattino ha l'oro in bocca' - the morning has gold in its mouth."

---<snip>---

A lot was riding on getting Brexit done. On the October day when EU-UK agreement was reached, Johnson told the world that it "represents a very good deal . . . a reasonable, fair outcome . . . and of course for us in the UK it means we can deliver a real Brexit that achieves our objectives, that the UK leaves whole and entire on October 31st". He implored his fellow MPs to help get this "excellent deal" over the line.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 11:18:00 PM EST
I sometimes send letters to the Belfast Telegraph as well if the subject pertains to N. Ireland and if I feel it is important that its predominantly Unionist readership has access to European as opposed to British views on the subject. The Belfast Telegraph doesn't publish its letters on-line or permit on-line discussion, so I have no idea what the reader reaction is there - although on one occasion they did publish a rebuttal and my counter re-buttal.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 09:33:23 AM EST
Johnson's breaking of Brexit pledge is smart-arse duplicity
But this is where the real fakery starts. It is clear that Johnson and his most important confreres, Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove, never really saw this ["border in the Irish Sea"] as anything other than a clever dodge, a tactical retreat. On his blog in March 2019, when May was in power, Cummings addressed "dear Vote Leave activists: don't worry about the so-called `permanent' commitments this historically abysmal Cabinet are trying to make on our behalf. They are not `permanent' and a serious government - one not cowed by officials and their bullshit `legal advice' with which they have herded ministers like sheep - will dispense with these commitments."

In May, former chairman of the European Research Group Steve Baker wrote in the Critic that Cummings "said we should vote for the original withdrawal agreement without reading it, on the basis Michael Gove articulated: we could change it later". This had indeed been Gove's line since December 2017: "If the British people dislike the agreement that we have negotiated with the EU, the agreement will allow a future government to diverge."

This idea that Britain could sign the withdrawal agreement with its fingers crossed behind its back and then just ignore it later on is, in a way, perfectly consistent with the larger mentality of Brexit. At the heart of its theology is the fantasy that there is such a thing as absolute national sovereignty, a complete unilateral freedom of action that had been taken away by EU membership. Once Britain is "unchained" from the EU, Britain can do whatever it damn well pleases. The withdrawal treaty is not a set of permanent obligations, merely a route towards the obligation-free future that starts on January 1st, 2021.

The Brexiteers don't much mind that this trick requires Britain to expose itself openly as a rogue state that treats international agreements as disposable handkerchiefs. In their solipsism, they presumably haven't bothered to look up, for example, the membership of the House ways and means committee that would control any trade deal Britain might make with the US. (To save them the bother, it's chaired by Richard Neal, and includes his fellow Irish-American Democrats Brendan Boyle and Brian Higgins, all highly engaged with Northern Ireland.)

The catch is that all of this doesn't stop at smart-arse duplicity towards other countries. It involves the flagrant deception of English voters. More perhaps than any modern election, Johnson's campaign in December was reduced to a single issue and three words: Get Brexit Done. This was to be achieved by electing a parliament that was absolutely committed to passing the "oven-ready" and "excellent" withdrawal agreement.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 09:47:00 AM EST
It is difficult to imagine a more screwed up situation than the one the US is currently in, but the UK is doing a good job of showing how to get there.
by asdf on Sat Sep 12th, 2020 at 04:07:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been reading about the hundred year war. Seeing this current fuckup unfold, I'm more convinced that history is not made by 'great men' as Johnson likes to think. The big turns in history are just strings of disasters perpetuated by fallible humans who act like idiots - sometimes they are idiots.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Sep 13th, 2020 at 08:11:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 at 11:43:52 AM EST


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