INFORMATION

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used. For further information, see our Privacy Policy. Continuing to use this website is acceptance of these cookies.

In or out?

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
Message
Author
User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3921 Postby Alan H » December 21st, 2018, 11:37 am

Latest post of the previous page:

This Brexit thingy is all going tickety-boo, isn't it? Change diet to cope with food delays after no-deal Brexit, Britons told
Officials are planning to tell Britons to change what they eat in the event of a chaotic Brexit because Whitehall predicts that some sources of fresh food from European Union countries would be cut off.

The government has begun detailed planning on food supplies if Britain leaves without a deal and has identified a number of sites for massive hangars to stockpile food, including one near Carlisle and others in Scotland and on the south coast.

According to plans revealed to The Times, officials do not believe there will be a shortage of food in general. However, there is an issue with some perishable goods that come from the EU. Fruit from Spain or vegetables from the Netherlands could be held up by delays at the border if the EU limits trade or there need to be stringent checks.

Internal planners are actively discussing whether there might be a moment where Britons have to “vary their diet” to cope with any shortages.

Ian Wright, director-general of the Food and Drink Federation, said: “This illustrates the really grisly nature of a no-deal outcome. Quite simply, the British people would not forgive anyone responsible for it coming to pass.”

Some 60 per cent of food is produced in the UK and 40 per cent is imported, according to the federation, although this changes with seasons and in March Britain imports up to 70 per cent.

There is also nervousness over remote communities, with some uncertainty about who is responsible for getting them food — a task that could fall to local authorities.

The government has removed the claim that a no-deal Brexit is “unlikely” from dozens of contingency plans.

Earlier this year it released a series of technical notices to help different sectors plan for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. Many called no-deal “unlikely” but the word has been removed. Government departments were ordered to take it out after the cabinet agreed on Tuesday to intensify preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

It is not the only change made to the papers. The notice on travelling to the EU with a British passport in a no-deal scenario removed references to negotiations going “well” and to Brussels “working hard to seek a positive deal” in favour of claims that a negotiated deal remained the “top priority”.

Theresa May’s spokesman said that the change was “a straightforward reflection of the decision that was taken by cabinet to move to a position where we’re implementing our no-deal plans in full”. He said it was still the government’s position that “the most likely outcome” was leaving with a deal.

Yesterday a cross-party group of MPs began another attempt to rule out a no-deal Brexit. The Labour MPs Yvette Cooper, Hilary Benn, Rachel Reeves and Harriet Harman and the Conservatives Nicky Morgan, Sir Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill, due to be debated next month, which aims to prevent the government implementing provisions for a no-deal scenario without the explicit consent of parliament.

Yesterday Mrs May urged MPs to back her deal but said that she wanted further assurances on the Northern Irish backstop and when it would end.
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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3922 Postby Alan H » December 31st, 2018, 3:01 pm

This Brexit thingy is all going tickety-boo, isn't it? No-deal Brexit ferry contract sparks concerns
Concerns have been raised over the readiness of a British firm contracted by the government to run extra ferries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Seaborne Freight was awarded a £13.8m contract this week to run a freight service between Ramsgate and Ostend.

The firm has never run a ferry service and a local councillor said it would be impossible to launch before 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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3923 Postby Alan H » January 2nd, 2019, 4:59 pm

Something else for the Brexiteers to not read and not understand: Britain is on the brink of an historic strategic decision
The reality is that Brexit was never conceived of as a strategic project, still less a strategically desirable one. It was always a protest campaign not a plan. Now, it has really come down to just two justifications: to end freedom of movement and to honour the result of the referendum. Without even discussing, yet again, whether or not these are good political justifications for Brexit, the point to make is that whatever else they are, they are not a strategic basis for Brexit.

So if Brexit goes ahead it will mark not just a failure of economic and geo-political strategy – and, after all, such failures are common enough – but something much more unusual: the abandonment of any serious attempt to have such strategy. The difference between May’s deal and no deal in this respect is only one of how quickly and how dramatically the effects of that are felt. If MPs vote against May’s deal, then that will be the first step away from the brink – not enough in itself, but a necessary pre-condition for avoiding disaster, as well, of course, as risking the even greater one of no deal.

However, if it were then to come about that - by virtue of a referendum or some other route – Brexit is abandoned it will be vital to understand and make a case for that not on the basis of returning to 2016 but as a long-term strategic decision about Britain’s future, mediated by its regional position and recognizing the fraught complexities of a multi-polar world.
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
animist
Posts: 6519
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: In or out?

#3924 Postby animist » January 3rd, 2019, 9:13 am

amazing - Liam Fox extolling the benefits to Britain of the new EU-Japan trade deal. So why are we about to lose these benefits? Ah, I see. According to him the deal will the basis of an even better one between Global Britain and Japan. Of course! https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-w ... with-japan

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3925 Postby Alan H » January 3rd, 2019, 10:39 am

animist wrote:amazing - Liam Fox extolling the benefits to Britain of the new EU-Japan trade deal. So why are we about to lose these benefits? Ah, I see. According to him the deal will the basis of an even better one between Global Britain and Japan. Of course! https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-w ... with-japan
Chutzpah, ignorance or downright stupidity? Not mutually exclusive, of course.
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
animist
Posts: 6519
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: In or out?

#3926 Postby animist » January 3rd, 2019, 1:05 pm

Alan H wrote:
animist wrote:amazing - Liam Fox extolling the benefits to Britain of the new EU-Japan trade deal. So why are we about to lose these benefits? Ah, I see. According to him the deal will the basis of an even better one between Global Britain and Japan. Of course! https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-w ... with-japan
Chutzpah, ignorance or downright stupidity? Not mutually exclusive, of course.
they are all playing politics. I actually think that Terri May has been just a bit reasonable in working very hard for some sort of deal and facing the brickbats which this entails. I will send a few thoughts on this quite soon

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6519
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: In or out?

#3927 Postby animist » January 3rd, 2019, 3:41 pm

some disconnected thoughts on Brexit

1 The May deal is not good - apparently. ISTM to be something which embodies the May strategy of kicking the cans down the road as long as she can do this, and her strategy of making her country remain in the Customs Union indefinitely (after a longish spell in the transition period) may well rid both Brexiters or Remainers of the passion which they currently feel about the issue. I of course, as a Remainer, would much rather have the outcome of the Parliamentary game to be a second referendum which opts for Remain, but if Anna Soubry or some other good person were to be attacked physically (as opposed to onlinely) as a result of this outcome, which would undoubtedly enrage the hordes of dim and potentially violent Leave voters, stirred up even more than at present by such a result, I would not think this worth avoiding the economic damage to Britain which the May deal might entail.

2 I do wish that Remainers on TV and elsewhere could be more coherent. In particular, I get the impression that Brexiters now somehow interpret EU the 2016 vote as one for No-Deal. They really do need to be reminded that we were assured in 2016 that a trade deal with the EU would be easy. "They need us more than we need them" is still the motto; I recall when it was applied to the apparent but unrealised demands of German carmakers on the EU negotiators to give Britain an easy exit, but now it seems to focus on a hope that the EU cannot stomach the immediate effects of No Deal Brexit. I suspect that the same thing will happen, ie the claim of the Brexiters is a false one: to suppose otherwise would be to make the EU something different from what it is in both resolve and capacity.

3 In the same way, I also wish that Remainers would nail the Brexiters (like columnist Brendan O'Neill) who parrot that the May deal is not "really" Brexit. The 2016 referendum simply offered a choice between leaving and remaining, and the May deal means Britain would leave - end of. I suspect that the Brexiteer Ultras in Parliament, while they may succeed in enthusing the hoi polloi among Leave voters to chant the same mantras, may well lose themselves any sort of Brexit. There appears to be no Parliamentary majority for the May deal, but this could change. What will not change is the lack of MPs supporting No Deal, whereas those supporting another referendum, based on a choice between Remain and the May deal, may well increase. So it is quite likely that, if the May deal fails to be adopted by MPs, No Brexit is the final result.

4 The challenge of Brexiters to Remainers on the lines of "Well, why not three or more referendums?" This is not some sort of sporting contest of the "Best of three/five/whatever". If there is a second referendum it will only be because the first one failed to generate a reasonable sort of Brexit which a majority of Parliament could support. Therefore, a Remain verdict in such a referendum settles the question of Brexit for good.

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3928 Postby Alan H » January 3rd, 2019, 4:44 pm

As I said to my MP, the execrable Barry Gardiner, a People's Vote is not a re-run of the referendum, but a vote on what has been negotiated. Here's my full response to a dreadful previous reply from him:
Barry

Thank you for your email.

I have no doubt that a plethora of PhDs will in future years be awarded for analysis of what went wrong with British democracy in these recent years and the parts the various actors - elected or otherwise - played.

However, now is not the time to point fingers and I am pleased to note your comments about a People's Vote. It is not, however, a 'second referendum' and calling it that plays into the hands of the anti-democrats. There is no need for me to repeat the arguments about the referendum being advisory with no threshold set, and people voting for an assortment of different - and barely overlapping - reasons. The Tories chose to agglomerate all these reasons and take it to be a definitive vote to abandon in one fell swoop all the benefits we enjoyed from our EU membership.

But it was always a vote in principle: how could it be otherwise?

Other than wild promises of unicorns, rainbows and greener grass - and specific promises of £350 million a week for the NHS - no one had any idea what could possibly be negotiated or what deal could be struck: we didn't know what we were letting ourselves in for; how it would affect us; what compromises and concessions would have to be made.

But we know now.

Thus, a People's Vote is not a re-run of the referendum, but a vote on what has been negotiated.

The will of the people was declared in 2016 and has been acted upon. Now is the time to decide if May's deal is the right one for everyone in the UK.

The EU has said this is the best deal for the UK that they can concede. It is clear that it will be disastrous for us, including your constituents: all Theresa May has done is come up with a compromise, a supposed half-way house on some deserted island of middle ground; a deal that satisfies no one. The extreme Brexiteers running the Tory show want nothing less than a hard Brexit and they want it now. More moderate MPs want to minimise the inevitable damage of a deal - or worse, of no deal. That would be truly devastating and has to be prevented at all costs. But the way to ensure that is not to vote for May's deal, nor is it to hold out for some 'alternative' deal: there is no such beast. There is no deal that gives us what we already have.

But even if you think for whatever reason there is some better deal to be had, time has run out. As I write this, there are but 110 days till the Article 50 mandated date that we leave the EU. That's 77 working days or just 63 sitting days. It is not conceivable that Labour could come to power in that time and negotiate some new 'alternative' deal. There isn't even time for the Tories to go back to the EU and bring back anything other than cosmetic changes to their current, disastrous deal.

So, the only choice facing any MP concerned that the current trajectory of the Tories' will cause further serious harm the UK is to ensure the Article 50 notification is withdrawn to give us all time to reflect.

After Grieve's amendment and after the ECJ's advocate general's opinion last week (hopefully confirmed tomorrow), Parliament can do that: it can tell the executive to do that or precipitate yet another constitutional crisis. That crisis might well result in Labour taking control or it might result in the people taking back control of their own destiny. Either way, the nettle of taking back control from the Brexit extremists has to be grasped by Labour, no matter how difficult.

This is a critical time for Labour and a critical test of whether its MPs really have the best interests of their constituents uppermost in their minds.

Please do not fail us.

Best regards.
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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3929 Postby Alan H » January 4th, 2019, 12:44 pm

Ian Dunt's Friday email:
The year's barely begun and already the headlines make you want to hide your face with shame. Watching Sajid Javid or Chris Grayling or Theresa May is so embarrassing the first instinct is to try and close the curtains around the country, so no-one can see what a mess we're making of it.

Of all the humiliations this week, Javid's was perhaps the worst. He managed to turn a non-event into a case study of his own ineptitude and moral failure.

For several months a few boats have been drifting across the Channel carrying migrants. They might be refugees, they might be economic migrants - we don't know. Unlike Javid, we do not have powerful telepathic powers allowing us to rule out their claims before we've heard them.

What we do know is that they are very few in number. Spanish coastguards rescued just over 400 migrants from the sea in the first two days of 2019. We don't even get that number in a year. Javid's response was to cancel his holiday, rush back to the UK, brand it a "major incident", appoint a "gold commander", redeploy two patrol boats from the Mediterranean and call in the navy. It was a ridiculous exaggeration, which suggested he was either a lunatic control freak or so unable to properly assess risk that he is unsuited to the job he finds himself in.

He then proceeded to make it worse by prejudging the asylum cases they would make. "People should not be taking this very dangerous journey and, if they do, we also need to send a very strong message that you won't succeed," he said. "If you somehow do make it to the UK, we will do everything we can to make sure you are ultimately not successful because we need to break the link."

Asylum cases are based on individual merit. It is completely wrong and morally repugnant for Javid to pre-empt a decision in this way. It would be wrong of anyone, but it is particularly wrong of a home secretary, because Home Office case workers are likely to take their lead from him.

Again, we have ask ourselves what type of failure he is demonstrating. Does he know this and is therefore sabotaging the system he is supposed to be in charge of? Or does he not, and is therefore unable to grasp the basic elements of what his job entails?

If Javid had anything on his side it was that even he looked impressive when compared to Chris Grayling. Watching the transport secretary on TV is like comprehending your own mortality for the first time. This week he was trying to explain why a company given a £13.8m contract to run ferries out of Ramsgate in Kent in the event of no-deal had no ships.

The man is only capable of uttering a few key phrases, like some sort of nightmarish children's toy. One of these is the classic 'I'll take no lessons from…' and another is the always popular 'I make no apologies for…'. It is ironic, because if you were to suggest two things Grayling could do to improve his performance, they would be firstly to apologise and secondly to learn some lessons. In this case, for what it's worth, he would take no lessons from Labour and he would make no apologies for "supporting a new British business”.

He also insisted he had done due diligence on the company in question, which is called Seaborne Freight. If so, that did not extend to checking its website, where the terms and conditions appear to have been lifted directly from a food delivery company.

"In the event that your address cannot be found, undelivered orders will be chargeable," it said.

Wonderfully, someone had clearly gone through the document changing the name of wherever they got it from to 'Seaborne Freight', but they did not see any reason to change the content itself. This meant we were treated to gems like: "Seaborne Freight Limited reserves the right to seek compensation through legal action for any losses incurred as the result of hoax delivery requests and will prosecute to the full extent of the law." Such is the extent of our no-deal planning.

If only the rest of the world couldn't see us, but they can. Each step in our national downgrade, from leading nation to burning clown car, is documented overseas, sometimes gleefully. There's nowhere to hide.

The European Commission's deputy chief spokesperson Mina Andreeva said on Thursday: "For now, no further meetings are foreseen between the Commission's negotiators and the UK negotiators as negotiations have indeed been concluded. We are not renegotiating what is on the table."

This entire period - from the cancellation of the vote before Christmas to when it is held in about ten days time - is meaningless. There are no talks. There will be no further concessions. Nothing is happening. We are just wasting our time. Which happens to be the one thing we do not have to waste.

May is out there pretending that negotiations are happening and that new guarantees will be offered when her partners are stood there, in public, stating with neither politeness nor euphemism that it is false.

It is shameful and immoral and self-harming and dangerous and much else besides. But most of all it is embarrassing. It is just really, really embarrassing. Happy new year.
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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3930 Postby Alan H » January 4th, 2019, 3:08 pm

This Brexit thingy is all going tickety-boo, isn't it? Police reinforcements for Northern Ireland in case of no-deal Brexit
Almost 1,000 police officers from England and Scotland are to begin training for deployment in Northern Ireland in case of disorder from a no-deal Brexit, the Guardian has learned.

The plans were put in place after Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chiefs asked for reinforcements to deal with any trouble that arises from a hard border. The training for officers from English forces and Police Scotland is expected to begin this month.

The news came on a day of growing concern that a no-deal Brexit is becoming a distinct possibility, on which:

• The Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said Ireland was “now preparing for no deal with the same level of seriousness that we would” Theresa May’s deal, adding that he and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had spoken and agreed that there could be no change in the offer to the UK.

• EU leaders rebuffed May’s hopes that her round of phone diplomacy could prompt any movement, saying “negotiations have concluded”.

• May’s attempts to woo the Democratic Unionist party were again rejected after two days of intense negotiations, making the chance of victory for the prime minister in the crucial mid-January vote on her deal still more remote.

The prospect of large numbers of English and Scottish officers being deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland after 29 March could anger republicans and complicate efforts to restore the power-sharing executive at Stormont, which collapsed in 2017.

The option of reinforcements is deemed necessary to cover the possibility of civil disorder arising from disquiet about border arrangements that could be put in place after a hard Brexit.

The police training will require officers to be pulled from their regular duties. It is needed because some of the equipment and tactics used in Northern Ireland vary from those used in the rest of the UK.


84 days to go...
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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3931 Postby Alan H » January 7th, 2019, 11:16 am

The farce continues: Brexit - LIVE: Government launches major no-deal lorry test as Theresa May faces pressure from all sides ahead of vote
If this was a PR exercise for the benefit of the European Union, it did absolutely everything it was always going to do, which was to solidify yet further the image of a once proud nation that has absolutely lost its mind.
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
animist
Posts: 6519
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: In or out?

#3932 Postby animist » January 7th, 2019, 11:25 am

Alan H wrote:As I said to my MP, the execrable Barry Gardiner, a People's Vote is not a re-run of the referendum, but a vote on what has been negotiated. Here's my full response to a dreadful previous reply from him:
Barry

Thank you for your email.

I have no doubt that a plethora of PhDs will in future years be awarded for analysis of what went wrong with British democracy in these recent years and the parts the various actors - elected or otherwise - played.

However, now is not the time to point fingers and I am pleased to note your comments about a People's Vote. It is not, however, a 'second referendum' and calling it that plays into the hands of the anti-democrats. There is no need for me to repeat the arguments about the referendum being advisory with no threshold set, and people voting for an assortment of different - and barely overlapping - reasons. The Tories chose to agglomerate all these reasons and take it to be a definitive vote to abandon in one fell swoop all the benefits we enjoyed from our EU membership.

But it was always a vote in principle: how could it be otherwise?

Other than wild promises of unicorns, rainbows and greener grass - and specific promises of £350 million a week for the NHS - no one had any idea what could possibly be negotiated or what deal could be struck: we didn't know what we were letting ourselves in for; how it would affect us; what compromises and concessions would have to be made.

But we know now.

Thus, a People's Vote is not a re-run of the referendum, but a vote on what has been negotiated.

The will of the people was declared in 2016 and has been acted upon. Now is the time to decide if May's deal is the right one for everyone in the UK.

The EU has said this is the best deal for the UK that they can concede. It is clear that it will be disastrous for us, including your constituents: all Theresa May has done is come up with a compromise, a supposed half-way house on some deserted island of middle ground; a deal that satisfies no one. The extreme Brexiteers running the Tory show want nothing less than a hard Brexit and they want it now. More moderate MPs want to minimise the inevitable damage of a deal - or worse, of no deal. That would be truly devastating and has to be prevented at all costs. But the way to ensure that is not to vote for May's deal, nor is it to hold out for some 'alternative' deal: there is no such beast. There is no deal that gives us what we already have.

But even if you think for whatever reason there is some better deal to be had, time has run out. As I write this, there are but 110 days till the Article 50 mandated date that we leave the EU. That's 77 working days or just 63 sitting days. It is not conceivable that Labour could come to power in that time and negotiate some new 'alternative' deal. There isn't even time for the Tories to go back to the EU and bring back anything other than cosmetic changes to their current, disastrous deal.

So, the only choice facing any MP concerned that the current trajectory of the Tories' will cause further serious harm the UK is to ensure the Article 50 notification is withdrawn to give us all time to reflect.

After Grieve's amendment and after the ECJ's advocate general's opinion last week (hopefully confirmed tomorrow), Parliament can do that: it can tell the executive to do that or precipitate yet another constitutional crisis. That crisis might well result in Labour taking control or it might result in the people taking back control of their own destiny. Either way, the nettle of taking back control from the Brexit extremists has to be grasped by Labour, no matter how difficult.

This is a critical time for Labour and a critical test of whether its MPs really have the best interests of their constituents uppermost in their minds.

Please do not fail us.

Best regards.
I fear that Corbyn is actually hoping that the No-Deal "option" occurs (it is the default option, hence the quote marks). The resulting chaos will then discredit the Government, so that he, knight in shining armour, will institute the new socialist utopia. He, Corbyn, makes the damage-limiting efforts of MPs, including the sensible Remainer Tories like Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry, and of course most Labour MPs, much harder. The Tories might risk bringing the May government down, but only if they know that Labour would support them in scuppering No-Deal - and they can have no trust in the Corbynista Labour leadership to do this. I stick to what I said earlier - ie that the May fudge may well be the best bet, simply because it is a fudge; if No-Deal is the result in March, it will be more Corbyn's fault than May's

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3933 Postby Alan H » January 13th, 2019, 12:26 pm

This week is going to be interesting but it's all quite simple really...
DwyefVLX0AAMHCh.jpg
DwyefVLX0AAMHCh.jpg (178.68 KiB) Viewed 1071 times
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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3934 Postby Alan H » January 16th, 2019, 6:24 pm

This Brexit thingy is all going tickety-boo, isn't it? Tesco braces for Brexit by renting frozen food containers
Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket group, is renting refrigerated containers for the remainder of the year to increase the amount of frozen food it can store and mitigate some of the potential disruption from a disorderly Brexit.

A communication from Tesco to store managers seen by the Financial Times states that refrigerated containers used to supplement supermarkets’ existing frozen storage space over the busy Christmas period “are now planned to stay on site for the rest of the year as part of a contingency plan due to Brexit”. It added that the plan “is currently being finalised.”

One major supplier of the containers confirmed that Tesco and some other retailers had asked to keep several hundred of the containers, which hold the equivalent of 10 pallets of merchandise each, for at least the rest of the year. “Ordinarily we would have picked them up by now,” the supplier said.

Several other suppliers of the containers said they had seen an increase in inquiries relating to Brexit, but that had not yet translated into orders.

Tesco, which also retained some temporary storage last year, declined to comment but the company’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, told reporters last week that the company was “working with our suppliers to think through sensible opportunities to improve stockholding closer to the market”.

“We’ll utilise the space that we have where that makes sense,” he added. Mr Lewis and other chief executives in the consumer sector have until recently remained tight-lipped about the details of Brexit planning, although some senior figures in the industry have taken part in prime minister’s “town hall” meetings with business figures and made clear their desire for an orderly exit from the EU.

Wm Morrison said it had not hired additional units. Morrison’s supply chain is more vertically integrated than its main UK rivals. J Sainsbury also said it was “not currently holding any extra cold storage”. Additional container storage is only generally viable in larger stores with the requisite parking space. 

Food retailers would be among the hardest hit of any sector if the UK were to leave the EU at the end of March without a withdrawal agreement.

Roughly a third of the UK’s food is imported from the EU, including large amounts of fresh produce, and the British Retail Consortium has previously warned of “food rotting at ports” if a no-deal Brexit results in additional customs checks. In a letter to the prime minister and the EU last year, it said frictionless trade allows soft fruit to arrive in the UK and still have a shelf life of about five days.

Although Marks and Spencer and Tesco have recently said they are stockpiling some tinned and packeted items with longer shelf lives, retailers have repeatedly told government ministers and civil servants that substantial additional storage capacity is impractical. Without further inward deliveries, many regional distribution centres can only supply their store networks for about a week. 

Analysts at Credit Suisse estimated last year that a hard Brexit could increase the wholesale cost of food by more than 5 per cent; this included estimated costs for tariffs, non-tariff barriers, additional labour and a weaker currency. Given their already-thin margins, the analysts said retailers would be forced to pass on at least some of the additional costs to customers in the form of higher prices.
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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3935 Postby Alan H » May 17th, 2019, 12:40 pm

The latest from Ian Dunt, pulling no punches, mincing no words...

The Labour-Tory Brexit talks finally fell apart on Friday morning. "I am writing to let you know that I believe the talks between us have now gone as far as they can," Jeremy Corbyn told the prime minister. "We have been unable to bridge important policy gaps between us."

Theresa May announced the talks on April 2nd. In total, they have eaten up seven weeks. And what was done in those seven weeks? Absolutely nothing at all. It's been like watching a vacuum fall into a black hole.

At first there was no news. Then it emerged that she had offered a temporary customs union that lasted until the end of the period already agreed for transition. In other words, she had offered nothing.

Today we learned that they had planned to hold a series of votes on customs union options. These included a "customs arrangement" where the UK could "determine its own external trade policy", a customs union "covering both goods and services" until "alternate arrangements" could be found for the border, a "customs union covering goods" until the next election, and a "comprehensive customs union covering both goods and services".

This is the most unspeakable gibberish. What can one possibly make of it? It resembles the kind of thing someone might scrawl on an asylum wall with the blood from their fingertips, rather than the policy options of mainstream political parties. It's a kind of logical crime scene.

The best theory is that this mess is the result of two Brexit traditions colliding: ignorance and cynicism. Some people involved in the talks clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Others do and are using deceptive or mercurial political language to try to hide what these options entail.

What you end up with are sentences that simply have no meaning. What is the difference between a "customs arrangement" and a customs union? The description given for the former - "no tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions" and "no checks on rules of origin" - is indistinguishable from the latter.

What does it mean for the UK to "determine its own external trade policy", as many of the options demand? Under a customs union, we would be bound to sign trade deals with countries the EU has signed them with, but we could set our own tariffs for direct trade, as well as having control over things like services. That suggests we would determine our own policy.

But we would have to sign those deals, and goods could still enter the UK freely under zero tariffs via the EU from those third countries, massively undermining our negotiating posture. So perhaps we wouldn't. Just saying "determine its own external trade policy" means precisely nothing without a description of what that entails.

What, in the name of all that's holy, is a customs union for services? Customs unions are about goods. What are they actually talking about in this imaginary world they have created?

Could this be sector-specific pillars you can place on top of a customs union creating the regulatory infrastructure for some sort of single market relationship which they dare not say out loud? Maybe. You could imagine someone like Keir Starmer trying to frame it this way, to make it as innocuous as possible, and Corbyn agreeing to it, on the basis that he has no idea what anyone's talking about. Who knows. It could be mad babbling nonsense, or slippery Kremlinology-demanding concept synthesis, or both. Or neither. Maybe they just make this stuff up as they go along while howling at the moon.

That was all they had to show for the seven weeks. And then the talks collapsed, as we all knew they would, even in that silly period a couple of weeks back where people suggested otherwise. Seven weeks gone.

And the best part is, this is just an opening salvo of wastefulness. It's a mere amuse-bouche of inadequacy. Next comes the Tory leadership race, to show us what true time-wasting really is. This is how the big boys do it when there's no-one to get in the way. They will show you preening party political self-interest and national irresponsibility at a level you can barely conceive.

First we wait a month for May to try and fail to get her deal through, this time by legislation. Then, in all likelihood, she will have some other strategy to play for time. Eventually, probably, they'll unseat her. And then we'll have a contest.

How long will this take? Probably quite a long time, given there seem to be half a dozen new candidates every day. Yesterday, James Cleverly, who has managed to show loyalty to May over recent months while still exhibiting some degree of wit, threw his hat in the ring. So did Kit Malthouse, the dimwit whose dreamy imaginings of 'alternative arrangements' on the border served as a kind of tragicomic subplot to the votes on the deal. Even 1922 committee chair Graham Brady, who has all the charisma of a broom-cupboard in a small village hall, is toying with the idea.

They understand. There is no-one so drab and useless they are below consideration for the Tory party leadership. The benchmark of competence has burrowed into the earth and is slowly melting into its boiling core.

We have five candidates declared: Boris Johnson, Rory Stewart, Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom and Dominic Raab. We've over a dozen others who have declared interest, including Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Amber Rudd and others. And we've countless others below that who are mulling it over. Just on numbers it is hard to believe this will be a short contest. The candidates with less name recognition will be pushing for it to be longer so that they have more time to establish themselves.

That seems to preclude any decision being made before the summer recess. So they would probably be made leader just before the party's conference in early October. And then at the end of the month Article 50 finishes and we'll need to ask for another extension.

That is the entire extension completely wasted. All of it gone. And for what? For nothing. For cross-party talks that were doomed from the beginning and in which people proposed ideas with no discernible meaning. For a leadership contest in which MPs will compete to look tough on Brexit while vandalising our own national position.

And then at the end, nothing will have changed. The parliamentary arithmetic will be the same. The deal on offer from the EU will be the same. The deadline will be the same. We'll be exactly where we were before. This will all have been for nothing. When scientific data shows an increase in alcohol and drug consumption during this period, we'll all know who to blame.
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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3936 Postby Alan H » May 24th, 2019, 1:03 pm

Finally, it's the end of May.
Theresa May announced her resignation as prime minister in the same way she began her term: with the expression of political values she did precisely nothing to promote.

It was a bookend speech, almost identical in its vision to the one she made when she first entered Downing Street. She spoke about the need to find "compromise" on Brexit. She said the referendum was a call for "profound change in our country". She outlined her supposed accomplishments in national finance, helping first-time buyers and the environment. She emphasised a "decent, moderate and patriotic Conservative government, on the common ground of British politics". And she called for a country that could "stand together".

Not a single word of it was true. The two bookend speeches bore no resemblance at all to the content of her premiership.

The list of accomplishments was particularly desperate. In reality, as everyone knows - as she knows best of all - Brexit has wiped everything else off the domestic agenda. There is no time or capacity to do anything about inequality, or industry, or the environment, because it eats up all of the attention of the government and civil service.

The Conservative government did not stand in the "common ground" of British politics. From the moment of her 2016 conference speech, when it was clear that ending free movement overrode all other political considerations, she made it a formal policy to sabotage Britain's trading status and economic and legal structure in order to reduce immigration.

It was as simple as that. Ending free movement meant leaving the single market. Leaving the single market meant an end to Britain's position as beachhead for global companies entering Europe, for our ability to sell services across the continent, and for frictionless trade. But all those considerations were considered secondary to immigration.

This moment has now been absorbed into British political group-think as somehow necessary. It was nothing of the kind. There was never a democratic basis for it on the basis of the referendum result. Somewhere between 20% to 40% of Leave voters were either relaxed about immigration or did not prioritise it above the economy. Even Boris Johnson, who won the campaign for Leave, wrote a piece immediately afterwards holding open the possibility of keeping free movement.

It was a political choice. It took the fundamental demand of Ukip and absorbed it into No.10. It was the Faragisation of Great Britain. And she was too short-sighted to see that this would not nuetralise his appeal. He would always find an imaginary betrayal to hound her with, as he is now, even when the disasters we are experiencing are a result of his own arguments.

This was not the common ground. It was the hard right. Its fundamental proposition was that reducing the number of foreigners in Britain was worth national sabotage. She embraced it eagerly, right to the end. Even in the bitter final days of her premiership, it was all she really seemed to care about. When she published her deal, ending free movement was her top line. Even when she outlined her updated ten-point plan this week, it was highlighted.

And then there is the utter hypocrisy of her appeal for compromise. Of course, it is easy to see why she says this. Labour won't back her and many Leave MPs won't either, so it is natural to conclude that she is offering a pragmatic position in the centre which ideologues are unable to accept. That is an intuitive thought, but it is entirely false.

There was never a compromise. The two obvious compromise positions - single market and customs union - were dismissed early on as a betrayal of Brexit. May spent years encouraging this language without seeing that it would eventually be turned on her.

These two options would have allowed a prime minister to deliver Brexit while maintaining British quality of life and frictionless trade, specifically in Ireland. She did not take them.

People now say it would have been impossible. That is tragically false. At the start of her premiership, she had sky-high public support and strong backing in the party. That was the moment to make the brave case. It would have offered her a clear and deliverable Brexit policy. Instead, she ruled them out, and made it impossible to deliver the project without threatening the economy and the Union. In reality, it was this course of action which was impossible. And it was this which broke her in the end.

Some believe that her commitment to keeping the border open in Ireland was a sign of compromise. It is a statement that tells you a great deal about how badly our standards have dissolved. It is simply a commitment to the Union. If that border closes up, if state infrastructure appears there - either in the form of physical surveillance equipment and buildings, or border agents - it goes against the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement and threatens a return to the Troubles. It is, as May belatedly recognised, the beginning of the end of the UK.

To call a commitment to the Union compromise, especially when it comes from the leader of a party with the word Unionist literally in its name, is quite astonishingly insane, but that is the level of understanding we now live in.

This was not to do with compromise. It was to do with reality.

These are the trade-offs Brexit entails. If you want full control of your trading status, you will not be in a customs union. If you are not in a customs union, you will not be able to have frictionless trade with your neighbours. If you want full regulatory control of your country, and an end to free movement, you will not be in the single market. If you are not in the single market, you will hurt British industry and quality of life.

Brexit was based on the idea that downsides do not exist, that trade-offs are a conspiracy, and that simple answers can be given to complex problems. Every single one of these propositions is false. The moment it turned from poetry to prose, from rhetoric to reality, from campaign slogans to legal documents, the lie was revealed.

That is what the Irish issue was. It was not a compromise at all. It was the translation of Leave campaign gibberish into legal and practical fact. And the moment it was written down, it destroyed her.

In truth, she never showed any interest in compromise. The 48% of the country who voted Remain were systematically ignored, belittled and slandered throughout her time in office. They were branded elitists, despite the fact the Leave result hinged on wealthy voters. They were branded 'the establishment', despite being completely frozen out of decision-making. They were branded 'citizens of nowhere', despite being motivated by outrage at what was being done to their country. They were branded 'Brexit-deniers', despite highlighting the very problems which would make the project undeliverable.

This came from Leave politicians and journalists in general, but at the top, giving it form and validation, was the prime minister. She never reached out. She spoke of crazed conspiracy theories to undermine Brexit by the opposition, or judges, or the House of Lords, or EU leaders. She threw in her lot with the most crazed and hysterical Brexiters in her party. And in the end they devoured her anyway, because it was easier to do that than face the inadequacy of their own position.

She was a deceptive prime minister throughout. She lied incessantly, about every stage and aspect of the project. But the biggest lies came at the beginning and the end of her premiership, when she claimed to fight for a better country, to seek the centre ground and look for compromise. She did none of these things. And it is intolerable that she should pretend she did.

On the face of it, she is the worst prime minister of our lifetime. She has no achievements, she conducted herself without grace or principle, and she governed the country as it was humiliated on the world stage.

In actual fact, that's not quite right. David Cameron, her predecessor, takes the top spot. He made his errors for entirely self-serving reasons, in a benign political environment. He created Brexit by calling a referendum, in order to minimise losses in a local election no-one even remembers anymore. The demands upon him were miniscule and his failure enormous.

May has the advantage of much greater demands. Anyone would have struggled. They were punishing circumstances and she handled it particularly badly. So she is not the worst prime minister. She is the second worst. That's the best thing you can say about her.
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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3937 Postby Alan H » May 26th, 2019, 7:34 pm

The three big lies we were told that led to Brexit, the most damaging lie of all
The first lie was austerity. Politicians, but also the media, told us the government had to cut spending to prevent another financial disaster. Most economists disagreed with this theory. There was never even a chance of a financial crisis in the years after 2010, and even when that became clear to everyone, austerity continued. I estimate the average household lost resources worth £10,000 as a result of this disastrous policy, and many suffered much more than the average.

The second lie had two components, and together they led to the Conservatives’ victory in the 2015 general election. The first was that the Labour government had been profligate before the crisis. A simple look at the data shows this to be untrue. The second was that the economy was strong. In reality we had the slowest recovery in centuries and an unprecedented decline in real wages.

The third lie was that immigration, rather than austerity, was responsible for those falling wages and reduced access to public services. The Conservative Party and their supporters in the press had started pushing this lie during the Labour government. Under the 2010 coalition, the lie was embodied in immigration targets that were never met. This helped create a public view that controlling immigration was important but because of freedom of movement, the goal was impossible to achieve.
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: 24029
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3938 Postby Alan H » June 3rd, 2019, 7:55 pm

Isn't it great how the Brexiteers are so concerned about us all that they're prepared to sacrifice our manufacturing base and our jobs for their ideology?

No-deal Brexit would be economic lunacy, say UK manufacturers
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?


Return to “Miscellaneous Discussions...”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests