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In or out?

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2781 Postby Alan H » December 4th, 2017, 12:23 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

I thought Brexit meant Brexit for the whole of the UK? UK to concede regulatory alignment on island of Ireland
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2782 Postby Alan H » December 4th, 2017, 4:09 pm

https://twitter.com/BBCNews/status/937683918530101248

Northern Ireland must leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the UK, we will not accept any form of regulatory divergence" - DUP leader Arlene Foster on #Brexit talks


Oops!

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2783 Postby Alan H » December 4th, 2017, 5:32 pm

Ireland chaos: Brexit will either break May now or it'll break her later
Theresa May has a relatively good chance of moving onto the second phase of negotiations this week. Jean Claude Juncker said as much during his press conference with her today. But even if she manages it, it'll be by making concessions which ultimately destroy her - just as surely as she would be destroyed by not making them. It could happen now. Or it could happen later. But it'll happen. There is no escape route.

The problem is of her own making. In October last year, she promised to leave the single market and customs union. She should not have done this. She was fresh in her premiership and strong in the polls. That was the time to face down the impossible demands of the hard right of her party.

Instead, she rashly promised an extreme Brexit. This meant there would be a border in Ireland. It is impossible to avoid this once you're outside the single market and customs union. You need to check that goods and services are of the required regulatory standard, that the correct tariffs have been paid and that products originated where they say they have.

Brexiters largely pretended this problem did not exist, but problems do not disappear because you close your eyes. They remain there.

Today, May finally opened her eyes and found that the problem had been sat there all along, waiting for her to pay attention. Reports suggest the UK government is prepared to accept "regulatory alignment" between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland "in the absence of agreed solutions".

Political leaders in Scotland, Wales and London have seized on this as a way of trying to carve out their territory from the rest of the UK, allowing them to stay in the single market and customs union. But they are premature. The promise only stands if no solution is found. That allows us to get onto future trade talks, with the Irish border problem destroying the project slightly later on.

But ultimately, that is just a questioning of timing. It does not change what will happen, just when it happens. Despite all the months of David Davis chuntering on about 'creative' and 'high-tech' solutions to the Irish issue, none exist. Even this regulatory alignment solution doesn't add up to it. Sure, you can promise to have the same standards as the EU, but you will still need to check goods for tariffs and country of origin. Trade agreements can make that process much easier, but they won't eradicate it altogether.

Even that is getting ahead of ourselves. Well before then, May's regulatory promise will tear her apart at home. Her first problem is Arlene Foster, who recognises what the implications are. After all, if Northern Ireland and Ireland are aligned, then the actual non-aligned border will be in the Irish sea. It therefore follows that we are witnessing the end of the United Kingdom as a unified trading entity and the requirement of border infastructure between the mainland and Northern Ireland. The DUP won't stand for that and would happily take away their crucial support for the government over it.

That would leave May only one option, which is to extend the regulatory alignment from Northern Ireland across all of the UK. That means we would either stay in the single market and customs union or - much more likely - promise to stay signed up to all the EU rules into the future, as Cabinet wets like Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd want. But if she does that, the hard Brexiter lunatics on the front bench, like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, will join forces with those outside it, like Iain Duncan Smith, and bring her down.

May has three choices, all of which break her. If she insists on a border in Ireland, the talks break down and she is finished. If she insists on a border in the Irish sea, the DUP pull the plug on her parliamentary deal and she is finished. If she accepts regulatory alignment for the whole of the UK, the Cabinet hawks revolt and she is finished. Whatever happens, it's hard to see how she survives.

May might be able to squeak through this week. That line - "in the absence of agreed solutions" - might just defer judgement day on the Irish problem until some point in the future. But the problem will not go away, any more than it would go away after she originally made her conference speech. The dynamics of the Brexit process make survivable impossible. Her best chance was right at the start, where a commitment to soft Brexit could have sidestepped the problems she'd face down the road. Instead, she threw in her lot with the hard right of her party. And that sealed her fate.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2784 Postby Alan H » December 4th, 2017, 7:41 pm

Who could possibly have foreseen this? Brexit deadlock: No deal as DUP scupper progress
It had appeared London and the European Union were about to strike a deal that would have allowed discussions to move on to trade.

But suggestions the pact might involve Northern Ireland remaining in the customs union and single market prompted a furious response from the Democratic Unionist Party who prop up the Conservatives’ minority Government.

It is believed May left discussions with Juncker and spoke to DUP leader Arlene Foster before returning and calling time on the talks.

One Tory source sarcastically told The New European: “The DUP appear to be running Brexit negotiations now – great.”

However after the talks collapsed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker did extend his deadline saying there would be further negotiations before the summit of the European Council on December 14. He added he was “confident” further progress could still be made.

Sources had claimed a deal could see both Ireland and Northern Ireland following the same rules governing trade, to ensure that goods can continue to move freely across a “soft” border with no checks.

But Foster said the DUP would oppose the deal if it meant the effective drawing of a new border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK if the Westminster Government decides it wants to diverge from EU rules.

Speaking at Stormont, she said: “We note the speculation emanating from the European Union exit talks regarding the Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom border.

“We have been very clear. Northern Ireland must leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the United Kingdom.

“We will not accept any form of regulatory divergence which separates Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the United Kingdom.

“The economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom will not be compromised in any way.

“Her Majesty’s Government understands the DUP position.”

Suggestions rules could be different for Northern Ireland drew anger from other areas of the UK that voted Remain, significantly London and Scotland.

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter: “If one part of UK can retain regulatory alignment with EU and effectively stay in the single market (which is the right solution for Northern Ireland) there is surely no good practical reason why others can’t.”

And London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Huge ramifications for London if Theresa May has conceded that it’s possible for part of the UK to remain within the single market & customs union after Brexit. Londoners overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU and a similar deal here could protect tens of thousands of jobs.”
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2785 Postby Alan H » December 5th, 2017, 12:38 pm

Always remember who the Editor is: Evening Standard comment: Ireland brings home the folly of Mrs May’s choices
Politicians are prisoners of the choices they make. The humiliation of the Prime Minister in Brussels yesterday, forced in front of the world to turn around and go home because she did not have the authority to sign a deal on behalf of her country, was not the fault of the EU, or caused by the intransigence of the Irish, or because the DUP were unreasonable.

It was a direct consequence of decisions made by Mrs May and her government last year.

The British people were asked only one question in the referendum: “should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?”

It was Mrs May’s government that chose to interpret the result as a decision to leave not only the European Union but the single market and the customs union too. They are not synonymous.

Norway is in the single market, and Turkey is in the customs union, but neither are members of the European Union.

Of course, there is a price to be paid if you are part of the single market or customs union but not in the EU. You have less influence over regulations that affect your country and its businesses.

Yet the likes of Norway and Turkey, and Switzerland through bilateral agreement, are proud of their sovereignty but believe it is a price worth paying for the frictionless access you get to the European market.

Our Government, with no detailed analysis, or any careful weighing of the options, simply asserted that it was not a price worth paying.

It told us being outside the single market gave us the chance to cut red tape, and that leaving the customs union meant we could strike trade deals with the rest of the world.

Never mind that every idea from the Government since the vote has been for more red tape, and no trade deal being suggested — even if passed — can make good the loss of trade with Europe.

Border

What the Government didn’t tell us was that this approach inevitably meant a hard border with the Irish Republic, because the two countries on either side of it would have different regulations.

Ireland, which now has a veto over Britain’s future thanks to Brexit, said “no”. To square the circle, Downing Street came up with what Baldrick might call a “cunning plan” whereby Northern Ireland would have “regulatory alignment” with the south and the EU — even if the rest of the UK would not.

Decisions affecting Belfast would be taken in Dublin and Brussels, not London. Over time this would (as Denis Staunton of the Irish Times writes opposite) lead to an all-island economy, and make “a United Ireland more likely”.

The irony that the Brexiteers might be doing more to advance the cause of Irish nationalism than O’Connell, Parnell and Gerry Adams was not lost on the DUP. So Ulster said “no”.

You might have thought the PM would have checked with the faction that is keeping her in power before offering her plan to the EU. Clearly not; hence the fiasco yesterday. So what next?

Today Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who commands far more authority among Tories than Mrs May, pointed out the obvious. We have to keep the Irish border open. That means keeping the rules that apply on each side of it broadly the same.

But we can’t countenance, in her words, a Northern Ireland-only deal which “compromises the political, economic or constitutional integrity of the UK”.

So logic suggests that “regulatory alignment” with the EU “must be on a UK-wide basis”.

In short, although Mrs Davidson won’t say so, Britain should stay in the customs union and perhaps the single market.

Whether it’s a formal arrangement, or a hybrid one like Switzerland, we’ll see.

Labour has come to the same conclusion. And, as the Evening Standard noted the day after the general election, the lost majority means Mrs May doesn’t have the votes to resist.

So we’ll leave the EU but largely abide by EU rules that we no longer help write.

Once again, Ireland has taught us some home truths about the decisions our politicians make.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2786 Postby Alan H » December 5th, 2017, 6:47 pm

This is quite extraordinary: MPs and peers criticise tight security around Brexit impact reports
In order to view the papers, members must leave parliament and sign in to a reading room for pre-booked one-hour slots. They may book multiple hours back to back, and only eight politicians can be there at any one time, with their staff barred from entry, according to a letter sent to all member of both houses by the Brexit minister Robin Walker.

Two officials monitor the room while MPs read the paper documents. No mobile phones or recording devices are allowed, though MPs can take notes, a situation that is understood to have caused cross-party irritation.

In his letter, Walker said the security would allow MPs to “conduct their scrutiny while respecting the need to keep certain information confidential”.

On Wednesday the Brexit committee could decide to publish the papers.

Departmental sources have insisted the information handed to the committee covered all industries and was ongoing work by civil servants that had been pulled together and edited in a way that officials believed would satisfy parliament’s demands.

Davis had previously claimed the government was “in the midst of carrying out about 57 sets of analyses, each of which has implications for individual parts of 85% of the economy. Some of those are still to be concluded.”

The Brexit committee chair, Hilary Benn, has said the edited documents were “not in keeping with the resolution that was passed by the House of Commons”.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2787 Postby Alan H » December 6th, 2017, 10:26 am

I wonder what time today Theresa May will be announcing she's sacked David Davis for misleading Parliament? Davis confirms there are no sectoral impact studies on Brexit
Brexit secretary David Davis has confirmed that the government has not conducted sector-by-sector studies on the impact of leaving the EU, telling a parliamentary committee that such assessments would “not necessarily be informative”.

Quizzed by panel chairman Hilary Benn at a hearing of the Exiting the European Union Committee, Mr Davis said the government has examined the ramifications for UK industries from Brexit. However he reiterated that publishing a series of sectoral impact studies would undermine the UK’s negotiating position and potentially reveal sensitive information.

Mr Benn said it “sounds very clear to me” from other earlier comments by Mr Davis that sectoral studies did exist. But asked to confirm whether the government had compiled studies on the impact of Brexit on autos, financial services or aerospace, Mr Davis said “no to all of them”.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2788 Postby Alan H » December 6th, 2017, 10:57 am

This Brexit thingy is all going tickety-boo, isn't it? Did hard Brexit die yesterday?
The rapid, confused and confusing swirl of events over the last couple of days are hard to make sense of and contain many legal, diplomatic and political complexities. But if we stand back from that swirl, the underlying significance of what is happening is that for really the first time since the Referendum the government – and Brexiters in general – are being forced to confront the realities which they have previously either not understood or pretended did not exist. The result is the chaos that we are seeing, and the possibility that Brexit, or at least hard Brexit, is unravelling.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2789 Postby Alan H » December 6th, 2017, 2:27 pm

This is why the Irish border debate could be a defining moment for Brexit negotiations
This really is the moment for the Prime Minister to decide if she is capable of building a consensus among all the constituent nations of the UK or instead be at the beck and call of factions within the Conservative Party and a DUP that is exploiting the weakness of her Government.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2790 Postby Alan H » December 6th, 2017, 7:05 pm

Davis says there are no Brexit economic impact assessment. Is he:

a) lying (they do have assessments, excruciatingly detailed or otherwise);
b) incompetent (to not know the impact of what the Tories are doing to us);
c) both of the above.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2791 Postby Alan H » December 7th, 2017, 12:51 pm

If this wasn't about something so important, it would be hilarious: No impact assessments!? What exactly have you been doing Mr Davis?
The astonishing revelation came as the Brexit Secretary faced a grilling from MPs over the state of the country’s bungled attempts to leave the European Union.

The news that no time had been spent on a forecast became even more staggering when Davis told the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee that

Brexit would provoke a “paradigm change” in the UK economy in a similar way to the financial crash of 2008.

Defending his department Davis said officials would “at some stage” during the second phase of Brexit negotiations quantify the different possible outcomes, such as a free trade agreement with the EU or moving to World Trade Organisation rules.

But chairman of the committee, Labour MP Hilary Benn, described the decision as “rather strange” when ministers were hoping within weeks to enter into a fundamental renegotiation of Britain’s trade relations with the rest of Europe.

“You have said there are no impact assessments,” Benn said. “You were hoping that at the October (European) Council, the door would be open to phase two of the negotiations, where the question would be asked ‘What does the UK Government want?’

“Are you actually telling us that the Government hadn’t at that point - and still hasn’t - undertaken the assessment?”

Davis said that assessments had never been carried out in the form suggested when Parliament demanded their release.

“You don’t need to do a formal impact assessment to understand that if there is a regulatory hurdle between your producers and a market, there will be an impact,” he told the committee.

“It will have an effect, the assessment of that effect is not as straightforward as people imagine. I’m not a fan of economic models because they have all proven wrong. When you have a paradigm change – as happened in 2008 with the financial crisis – all the models were wrong. The Queen famously asked why did we not know.

“Similarly, what we are dealing with here in every outcome – whether it is a free trade agreement, whether it is a WTO outcome or whether it is something between that on the spectrum – it is a paradigm change.

“We know not the size, but the order of magnitude of the impact.”

Benn continued: “Doesn’t it strike you as rather strange that the Government undertakes impact assessments of all sorts of things all the time, but on the most fundamental change that we are facing as a country, you’ve just told us that the Government hasn’t undertaken any impact assessments at all on the implications for various parts of the economy?”

Last week Davis handed over 850 pages of what he called “sectoral analyses”, looking at the condition of various parts of the UK economy and their current involvement in the EU market but making no forecasts on the likely impact of Brexit.

Davis’s admission provoked outrage among opposition MPs. A Labour member of the Brexit committee, Seema Malhotra, described the failure to make assessments as “a dereliction of duty”.

Labour trade spokesman Bill Esterson said: “Did he know that the impact assessments didn’t exist when he said they did? It was either incredibly incompetent or incredibly dishonest. Either way, how is Davis still in his job?”

Scottish National Party MP Joanna Cherry said Mr Davis’s evidence appeared to “directly contradict what he and other UK Government ministers have previously told Commons’ committees”, adding: “This is pretty serious.”

Davis first told the committee in December 2016 that his department was “in the midst of carrying out about 57 sets of analyses” on different parts of the economy, each of which has implications for individual parts of 85% of the economy.

In an interview in June, he said that work had been completed on “nearly 60 sector analyses”. And in October, he told the Brexit committee that Prime Minister Theresa May had read “summary outcomes” of impact assessments, which he said went into “excruciating detail”.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2792 Postby Alan H » December 7th, 2017, 2:21 pm

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2793 Postby Alan H » December 8th, 2017, 12:57 pm

Fuck knows where we are now: 'Sufficient progress' in Brexit talks announced after May's dash to Brussels

Main points of agreement between UK and EU in Brexit deal

At least it'll save the media from having to chase the Tories for all those fiddly little economic impact assessments.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2794 Postby Alan H » December 8th, 2017, 1:31 pm

The Friday email from www.politics.co.uk:
"Sufficient progress has been reached". It was the words Theresa May has been desperate to hear. She can breathe a sigh of relief, her deal is done.

One cabinet member after another took to Twitter this morning to congratulate her but will the agreement on phase one of the talks be enough to keep the Brexiteers of her party happy? Hardline Leavers from outside the Conservatives were certainly quick to express their displeasure.

"A deal in Brussels is good news for Mrs May as we can now move on to the next stage of humiliation," Nigel Farage posted on social media this morning.

On the Victoria Derbyshire show a little later he claimed that we'd "collapsed on every level".

The group Leave.EU went a step further and accused May of being a 'traitor'. In a statement their co-founder Arron Banks wrote:

"If anyone in the Conservative party has any integrity or sense of duty left, we call on them now to save Brexit by triggering a leadership contest."

Hysterical? Yes. But as the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg have been very quiet on the deal this morning, May could still have reason to worry. After all, she has made major concessions. This is not the 'no deal is better than a bad deal' attitude we were hearing from her earlier in the year.

A German journalist tweeted earlier today:

"Where did the EU cave in to UK demands in #Brexit negotiations? 'We didn’t insist on them paying the mover bill for EU agencies leaving London', says chief negotiator #Barnier."

And this is what hardline Leavers will hate. They've been telling the country for months that we hold all the cards. Whenever questions about trade come up, they repeat the line that the EU 'needs us more than we need them'. That mantra is now being put to the test and the results are not looking good for those who want us to walk away from negotiations if we don't get what we want.

Even if May manages to placate her Brexiteer backbenchers for now, there is clearly still a long way to go. Today's deal moved us on to the next phase but it did little to resolve many of the sticking points that have stalled things over the last few weeks. The can has simply been kicked down the road.

The prime minister may have scraped through this stage of the negotiations but she hasn't done so unscathed. The struggle she faces to keep all sides of her party, let alone all parts of the United Kingdom, happy has been played out in excruciating detail this week.

The Conservatives may rally round her for now, but it's increasingly hard to see how she will survive in the long term.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2795 Postby Alan H » December 8th, 2017, 1:38 pm

Brexit: what regulatory alignment means and does not mean
The joint report of the UK and EU negotiators on the progress of the Brexit talks states (and it needs to be quoted in full):

“In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.”

This is neither an elegant nor a succinct sentence. The convoluted prose is evidence of the hard negotiations over every word. Even the definite articles before the references to the internal (ie, single) market and the customs union will have been argued over; every capitalisation of a word; even, no doubt, each comma.

But what, if anything, does it mean? And what, if anything, does it rule out?

The first point is that it sets out an intended default position. The reference to “the absence of agreed solutions” means that this provision will apply if nothing more definite is agreed. It sets the parameters. Presumably, it will apply even in the event of “no deal” at all — an outcome that, in any case, is now less likely because of the “sufficient progress” document.

The second point is that it is framed as a unilateral commitment by the UK. There is no reference in the provision to agreement with Ireland. It is worded as a promise by the UK to the world.

Then there is the mention of “full alignment”. This is intended to be different from the rejected “non-divergence” language of previous drafts. The British government avers that this means it is open to UK to achieve the same ends of the rules in question, even if the country adopts different means. The suggestion is that there will be no compulsion. The UK can choose.

There is also the reference to the “rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union”. That both are expressly included is interesting, as they are not the same thing. (For example, Norway is part of the single market but is not part of the EU customs union, while Turkey is partly part of that customs union but not in the single market.)

Which rules will these be? The sentence seeks to limit these to those that “now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement” (the Good Friday Agreement). On the surface, this looks like quite the triple-lock: all three requirements must be met (there is an “and” at the end of the list rather than an “or”).

But there is little that is locked out. Almost any aspect of the single market, and many aspects of the customs union, can be brought within this definition. And these are entirely political definitions requiring political judgment calls: no court would be able to determine if there was a breach. This is not surprising, as this is an agreed negotiation document that by itself has no legal effect.

So, if Northern Ireland is somehow going to remain part of the single market and the customs union, it is not clear how the rest of the UK will not be. It is beginning to look a like a soft Brexit.

The overall political significance of Friday’s agreed document is that both “no Brexit” and “no deal Brexit” seem far more unlikely: the question now is whether there will be a final deal on either the Norway or Canada basis. The requirement of “regulatory alignment” in Northern Ireland indicates that, in the end, the Norway model is more likely than the Canada model. And before we get to that final deal there will be a long transition period where very little will change — a Brexit existing in name only.

The Good Friday Agreement is of crucial importance here. That agreement is now not only the reason why Britain cannot leave the European Court of Human Rights. It may turn out to be the reason why the country will not leave the single market either. If so, bringing peace to Northern Ireland will have also shaped the UK’s relationship with Europe for a generation.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2796 Postby Alan H » December 8th, 2017, 2:00 pm

Here are the key points of the joint report agreed between the UK and EU on the expected content of Britain's withdrawal agreement.
Citizens' rights

Reciprocal protection for EU citizens in the UK and Britons living in the remaining 27 member-states who are resident at the time of the UK's withdrawal, along with their family members.

Discrimination against these people on grounds of nationality to be prohibited.

Right to bring in spouses, civil partners and children forming part of the family at the time of Brexit, as well as any children born or adopted after that date.

The UK and EU can require one another's nationals to apply for residence status and obtain documents to prove their right to stay, through a "transparent, smooth and streamlined" process.

Applicants can be submitted to "criminality and security checks" which could result in their removal.

EU and UK nationals living in each other's territories will retain residence rights for up to five years if they move elsewhere;

Provisions for citizens' rights will be incorporated in UK law.

For eight years after Brexit, UK courts will be able to refer cases involving EU nationals to the European Court of Justice for interpretation.

Implementation of EU citizens' rights in the UK will be monitored by the European Commission.

Irish border

Both sides agree to protect the Good Friday Agreement and avoid a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

If there is no trade deal, the UK will maintain "full alignment" with single market and customs union rules that "support North-South co-operation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement".

If there is no deal, the UK will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the mainland and that businesses in the province continue to enjoy "unfettered access" to the UK internal market.

Right for all Northern Irish people to take British or Irish nationality is preserved.

Common Travel Area to continue to operate.

Financial settlement

UK to contribute to the EU budget up to the end of 2020 "as if it had remained in the Union".

UK to pay its share of outstanding unpaid EU commitments - known as the Reste A Liquider (RAL) - and to the financing of EU liabilities at December 31 2020.

Financial settlement to be "drawn up and paid in euro".

Britain to receive a share of financial benefits that would have fallen to it as a member of the EU before 2020.

Capital in European Investment Bank to be returned to the UK in 12 annual instalments starting at the end of 2019.

UK to honour commitments to fund schemes to assist refugees in Turkey and displaced people in Africa.

Other issues

UK to take responsibility for nuclear safeguards on its territory and to develop a regime equivalent to existing Euratom arrangements;

Goods placed on the market before Brexit to continue to circulate freely in the EU and UK.

ECJ to remain competent for judicial cases registered at the Luxembourg court up to the date of withdrawal, even if they carry on beyond the date of Brexit.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2797 Postby Alan H » December 8th, 2017, 2:05 pm

Thread by Ian Dunt:
Checking in on deal, bleary eyed as a bastard, from Argentina. Looks good to me. Shift towards soft Brexit as default position.

'Regulatory alignment' is a big open phrase of course - only reason we can do deal now is by making language as expansive as possible.

But in 12 months we've gone from 'we'll make decisions on food labelling' to this. They'll shift again in next 12 months.

May gave them everything. The EU gave next-to nothing. The UK government is a leaf in the wind.

We could easily end up with SM/CU membership as result of this. Or in a permanent state of transition. Or in a v.close regulatory embrace. All to fight for.

Finally, this isn't a deal with meaning. That can is getting kicked very decisively down the road to avoid a March 2018 no-dealy horror show for business.

All May's problems, incl that Good Friday basically sucks her into SM/CU like a vortex, remain. She's still toast.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2798 Postby Alan H » December 8th, 2017, 6:39 pm

Hey Brexiters, please remind us: what’s the point of Brexit?
Theresa May is promising regulatory “alignment” with the EU for the whole UK to solve the Irish problem. The phrase “take back control” is becoming a bad joke.

The prime minister’s dash to Brussels this morning has broken the deadlock in the Brexit talks. But in the process she has made so many more concessions to add to her ever-lengthening list of climbdowns that there’s precious little left of the dream Brexiters sold voters during the referendum. The red lines the Tories initially set, on the false theory that the EU needs us more than we need it, have turned into one giant blurry smudge.

Today’s u-turns include accepting the European Court of Justice as the “ultimate arbiter” of the interpretation of EU law. That has unblocked the chapter of the negotiations on EU citizens living in the UK. May has also set out lots of detail about how we’ll calculate our divorce bill – ramming home how dishonest it was for Boris Johnson to say we’d get £350 million a week back from the EU and recycle it to the NHS.

Rule-taker Britannia

But it’s the new climbdowns on the Irish question that are the really big ones. May is still pretending that somehow in the next phase of the talks we’ll find a way of keeping an open border in Ireland after pulling out of the EU’s single market and customs union. But her government so far hasn’t produced anything apart from magical thinking on the topic.

Ireland and the rest of the EU know this and, as a result, have extracted a commitment: in the absence of agreed solutions, the UK will “maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future” are relevant for peace and economic cooperation in Ireland.

At the same time, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up May’s government, has extracted the commitment that in such circumstances the UK will ensure there are “no new regulatory barriers” between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

With these two commitments, the prime minister has imprisoned herself in a tight box. She has agreed to “full” alignment of rules not just now but “in the future” – and because there won’t be any barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, such alignment will cover the whole UK.

Admittedly, May’s Irish climbdown doesn’t cover all the rules of the single market and customs union – only those that “support North-South cooperation, the all- island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement” which is the basis of peace in Northern Ireland. But it would be dishonest to pretend that this is just a small number of issues. Negotiators have identified over 140 relevant areas.

So what this concession means is that, unless May can pull a magical rabbit out of her hat, the whole UK will be following EU rules in a host of areas forever. How does that satisfy national pride when, up to now, we have been among the EU’s most influential members?

Border controls and Global Britain? Come off it!

This promise also makes a mockery of the Brexiters’ “Global Britain” agenda. We will be hamstrung in negotiating free trade deals with other countries if we have to follow the EU’s rules in a swathe of areas.

And what do we get in return? Well, who knows. We won’t get into trade talks until next year. But one thing is certain: we won’t keep full access to the EU’s vast single market that’s responsible for half our trade. So we’ll be bending over backwards and still end up damaging our economy.

And remember “control of our borders”, the soundbite which motivated so many people to vote for Brexit? Well May’s Irish deal has left the door wide open to EU citizens to come to the UK. After all, she has promised no border in Ireland and accepted that Ireland will keep free movement for EU citizens.

Of course, we will be able to say that EU citizens coming here in future will need a work permit if they want a job. But there will be nothing to stop those who don’t get a permit from taking their chances as illegal migrants. If so, they’ll work in the black economy, without paying taxes, and undercut British workers. How’s that in our interest?

The prime minister has done a terrible deal – and we’re not even halfway through the talks. When she gets onto negotiating a transitional deal to cushion the blow of Brexit and a future trade deal, it will become clear that the whole Brexit programme is bankrupt.

Let’s stop the madness. It’s not too late.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2799 Postby Alan H » December 8th, 2017, 7:04 pm

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2800 Postby Alan H » December 8th, 2017, 8:02 pm

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 22123
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2801 Postby Alan H » December 8th, 2017, 8:55 pm

The phase 1 deal: initial thoughts
The most obvious feature of what has been agreed is that in all but a few minor details Britain has accepted all the terms set out by the EU at the beginning of the negotiations. That was always inevitable unless we simply pulled out of the talks and committed national suicide, and it would have been far quicker and squandered less goodwill had the government accepted it on day one. That they did not reflects the glacial pace at which Ultra Brexiters have to be forced, piece by piece, to face reality.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?


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