Tags: brexit*

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  1. When in times past we have isolated ourselves from the Continent in the name of 'empire' or 'sovereignty,' we were soon sucked back in. This will inevitably happen again, given our power, trade, democratic values and sheer geography.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-31)
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  2. Is Brexit progressing on schedule as planned?
    Justin Pentecost
    Justin Pentecost, works at Freelance Focus Puller
    Answered Dec 20

    100% Brexit could be sorted out in 1/2 an hour, because it’s simply a case of the British ministers turning up in Brussels and writing down what they are told the deal will be.

    The EU knows what the deal will be, the deal is that the UK joins the EEA with an extra bit on top for the VAT zone. It took a quick consultation with the experts for them to realise that there was no other possible outcome.

    The UK has foresworn experts, so they have to go on “The Journey”. Some people just need “The Journey”.

    I was working on a commercial, and it was a very complicated mix of live action and stop motion animation. Someone was insisting that we shoot it on a neutered Zeiss Macro lens. The producer told me that he knew as well as i did that this would not work but we had to go on the “Journey”, otherwise this person will not accept that it will not work.

    Right from the very start, from way before the referendum it was 100% understood by the experts that the need to keep the Irish border 100% open to honour the Good Friday Agreement meant that the only possible Brexit deal was an EEA+ VAT zone Deal. However for whatever reason the UK decided that Experts were overrated and that the Irish Border issue was a side issue, that could be “Fudged” at a later date.

    The EU understood from an early date that they would have to take the UK on the “Journey”, On the first day of talks they could have said “EEA + VAT zone €10Billion per annum, we can talk about some committee or something where British interests are considered in new EU legislation, we have 2 years to work that one out ..”

    The EU is going on our journey with us .. right at the beginning, they let us talk about the “Divorce bill” first, it makes no odds as regardless of what is agreed they can write their own cheque later anyway. Then they talk about EU citizens rights, which again means nothing as free movement will continue under the EEA deal anyway. Then they hit the difficult one, which should have been first, but as we are going on “The Journey”. They get an agreement that they border will remain open as the Irish are demanding, and all sorts of weird terms such as “Regulatory alignment” and people making suggestions that the UK could use the Customs Union “Alignment” to trade with the EU’s overseas partners.

    The next stage can talk about all sorts of ways that the UK could be in the single market via some parallel market type nonsense, with free movement for Bankers and a single market for car parts .. Then suddenly the Irish border comes up again .. the journey continues ..

    Then just before it looks like we will drop out of the EU with no deal (which is an impossibility) the British Government will agree to the EU’s terms just as the experts said they would before the referendum.

    There will then be a Parliament vote on the issue, with Gove, Redwood et all screaming “Stab in the back, we could have dropped out to WTO rules” and the deal will be passed, with a few breixteers voting against.

    The schedule is exactly as it always would be, it’s a journey of discovery, with Davis continually accusing the EU of not making concessions and then May at the last minute helicoptering in and giving the EU exactly what they wanted in the first place ..
    Tags: by M. Fioretti (2017-12-30)
    Voting 0
  3. This precipitous collapse in trust in our political class and the vital institutions it oversees has arisen at an infelicitous time. Coupled with a global financial crisis that no one predicted, and amid the disorienting clamor of social media, it has surfaced an uncomfortable epiphany: the gathering realization that those who purport to be in control are, in fact, just powerless bystanders like the rest of us, beholden to their own personal knot of ignorance and bias.

    We have come to know, in some visceral way, that the complexity of the modern world is so intractable that everyone — no matter their status in society — is more or less playing at being sober adults, when in reality we all exist in a state of permanent bewilderment. Like the inner child in the poet Ted Hughes’ famous letter to his son, each one of us has been exposed as “the wretchedly isolated undeveloped little being” we truly are.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-14)
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  4. The EU Council guidelines on transition and trade, published the same day, make clear that there is a binary choice and the UK cannot have Norway-style benefits with Canada-style freedoms. Britain needs to choose.

    And it is time for the Government to accept that the Canada deal does not fit our country. As Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, pointed out, it “does nowhere near enough to protect workers’ rights and public services”.

    A Canada-style deal would not protect jobs, living standards, environmental rights or protect the Good Friday Agreement.

    Only staying in the Customs Union and Single Market will secure all of the rights we have come to rely on. Labour was right to call for continued membership during the transition phase and put continued membership back on the negotiating table.

    MPs must now go further: vote to ensure the Government cannot force us out of the Single Market without Parliamentary approval, as well as backing the vote to make sure there is a meaningful vote in Parliament at the end of the Brexit process. The future of our country depends on it.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-13)
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  5. The joint divorce agreement hammered out in the intervening 528 days makes clear that little remains of the many red lines set out by Theresa May in her Lancaster House speech or party conference address of 2016.

    The first, and biggest, concession is buried in paragraph 49 of the 15-page report published early on Friday morning. Its implications will be anything but quiet in the weeks to come, for it undermines the prime minister’s previous insistence that Britain will be leaving the single market.

    It states clearly: “In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the internal market and the customs union.” In other words, the UK may not be a member of the single market, or have any direct ability to shape its rules in future, but it could yet have to play by them in perpetuity.

    Much will be made of the “in the absence of agreed solutions” caveat, yet what it means in practice is that the UK hopes to flesh out this pledge through a wider free trade agreement with the EU. If the other 27 members were reluctant to allow any wriggle room in the first phase of talks, they are even less likely to budge now that this principle is established as a back-stop.

    Then there is the UK’s promise to free itself from interference by the European court of justice. Where once this seemed the most implacable of red lines, signs of continued ECJ involvement are strewn throughout the divorce agreement.

    Most striking is the commitment to allow EU citizens living in UK to continue to rely on the court to enforce the many legal rights that will be enshrined as a result of the agreement.

    “For EU citizens the ECJ will still be competent,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, as he announced the deal.
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  6. The decision to enshrine exit day in the Withdrawal Bill confirms this profound strategic error. But in the end, the government will reverse its stance, or collapse. May and Davis may cause severe turbulence, but even they will work hard to ensure the planes still fly. Extension is the new frontline in the Brexit debate, and gathering momentum: the only means of ensuring a Brexit that does not burn down both our economy and Ireland’s. It is also the only way to stop this process altogether.

    So, as you read the stories of doom in the run-up to next month’s summit, stay calm. If the government does not sign a deal, it will not survive. And if push comes to shove, no deal likely means no Brexit.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-29)
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  7. Hogan warned there was “blind faith” from some UK ministers that Britain would secure a comprehensive Brexit free trade deal. He warned that Ireland would “continue to play tough to the end” over its threat to veto trade talks until it had guarantees over the border.

    “If the UK or Northern Ireland remained in the EU customs union, or better still the single market, there would be no border issue,” he said. “That’s a very simple fact. I continue to be amazed at the blind faith that some in London place in theoretical future free trade agreements. First, the best possible FTA with the EU will fall far short of the benefits of being in the single market. This fact is simply not understood in the UK. Most real costs to cross-border business today are not tariffs – they are about standards, about customs procedures, about red tape. These are solved by the single market, but not in an FTA.”

    The Irish government wants a written guarantee that there will be no hard border with Northern Ireland, something Dublin believes can only be achieved, in effect, by keeping the region within the single market and customs union. However, the Democratic Unionist party, whose support is propping up May’s government, warned on Saturday it would never accept a post-Brexit deal that would effectively see a customs border pushed back to the Irish Sea. May has repeatedly made clear Britain will leave the single market and customs union.

    The Irish crisis came as Britain’s former EU ambassador, Sir Ivan Rogers, warned May’s Brexit strategy was “an accident waiting to happen”. Speaking after a speech at Hertford College, Oxford, he said completing the Brexit process was “guaranteed” to take a decade. He said that the prime minister’s unrealistic hopes of securing a bespoke trade deal meant a car crash in the next few months was “quite likely”.
    EU commissioner Phil Hogan
    EU commissioner Phil Hogan. Photograph: Michael Gottschalk/Getty Images

    “The internal market is an extraordinarily complex international law construct that simply doesn’t work in a way that permits the type of options that the current government is pushing for,” he said. “So there is an accident waiting to happen ... and it is going to happen because the other side is going to put on a table a deal which looks broadly like a Canada or a Korea deal.

    “The only safe way to leave without enormous turbulence and trouble over a lengthy transitional period is to have a reasonable slope ... take your time and try and go for as smooth a glide path as possible from here to the mid-2020s. I can guarantee you that this is going to take a decade to do. We will not have reached a new equilibrium in British economics and politics until 2030.”

    Hogan warned Britain may struggle to keep the 59 trade deals it now has through the EU on the same terms. “The UK would be running to stand still,” he said. “When it comes to trying to negotiate new FTAs with the rest of the world, Britain will be pushed around the way the EU – with currently more than eight times the UK population – will never be.

    “The US have already started their attack on standards, so chlorine chicken and hormone beef for the British Sunday roast post-Brexit? India will insist on visas that the UK can never give. Australia and New Zealand are a long way away and of very limited economic interest. And any deal with China will be a one-way street in terms of costs and benefits for the UK.”

    Ministers are under mounting pressure to come clean over the extent of economic damage that a “no deal” outcome could cause to the economy. In the budget, Philip Hammond announced that the Office for Budget Responsibility revised downwards forecasts for UK growth over the next few years, mainly because of concerns of low productivity growth. But the OBR made clear that these downgrades were premised on a benign outcome to Brexit negotiations. Both the Treasury, privately, and leading independent economists recognise that actual growth will be considerably lower than the gloomy budget projections if the UK does not achieve most of its negotiating goals, or if there is a “no deal” result.
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  8. Not enough time was given to learn all the facts. I didn’t know anywhere near enough to make such a monumental decision

    People are more likely to change their minds when they’re presented with new information than when they’re asked to reassess what they already knew. For the regretters, it’s often not that key facts were unavailable at the time; rather that the complexity of the issue meant they were too easily overlooked, or the leave campaign misrepresented them, or the remain camp failed to make them unignorable. While most voters, having done their democratic duty, moved on, regretters continued to weigh the evidence.

    Olive has done a lot of soul-searching. He did his research, yet still feels that he missed many important factors. The experience has made him more cynical about politicians (he has since switched from Conservative to Labour) and the media. “I think a lot about how the media shaped my views,” he says. “Would I have voted differently if I’d gone about it a different way? I definitely resent the way some of the campaigning was done. I think we as a nation were deliberately misled.”
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-25)
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  9. In 2007, the greatest financial crisis of of the modern age hit like a tsunami. What was the response from the UK? Well, it was to bail out the banks with public money. Of course, that raised levels of debt. Now, that was no big deal: governments can always print money, and during times of extreme crisis, whether famine or financial, they should. Furthermore, national debt is not the sum of your debt and my debt, and it has no real bearing on our live whatsoever: just as you can happily carry a credit card balance forever, and many people do, so prosperous nations can bear debt, and the strength of a nation is precisely to be able to do so.

    But the average person was tricked into believing the very opposite. They came to think, through sophistry masquerading as economics and punditry disguising itself as analysis and sheer propaganda that there was no way out of this mess except to rip the heart out of public life, to pay off the debt incurred by bailing out the banks by cutting public goods and services. Thus public goods — the NHS, BBC, transport, education, and so on — were eviscerated to pay off private debts, and even that is an understatement: the moneys spent went of course to lavish compensation packages and grand accoutrements, not really to “paying off debt”, which is still high, and still doesn’t matter a whit to the average person.

    Perma austerity killed the UK economy, by producing perma stagnation. And then came Brexit. Brexit was another misguided, maleducated response: since the UK needed to “save money” to “pay off its debt” the average Brit was again conned into believing that the next great cost, after public goods, was EU membership. “You’ll save millions a week!” the propaganda went. But who was “saving” and what precisely was being “saved?” Nothing at all, as it turns out, because now the economy is well and truly dead, stagnant into forever.

    So: this logic, that one must “save money” to “pay off the national debt” or else — who knows? Just like a mafia intimidation tactics, the threat is never really fully stated, is it? — has been proven to be wrong. It has killed the British economy dead.

    And it’s also precisely how the American economy died, too. Where do you think Britain learned this illogic from? From the American fringe. There, starting in the 1980s, American extremists championed a strange new set of concepts: “fiscal responsibility,” “personal responsibility,” “balanced budgets,” and so on, all of which really meant the above: “pay off the debt” by “saving money” — perma austerity, which also means that we can never invest in anything at a social level, because, of course, that would add debt for a few years. Why? Because cities and towns and countries don’t pay for things in cash or gold, they issue bonds, and that is how finance has always worked since the beginning of time. Do you think any society in human history has paid for a subway system or healthcare system in cash or gold? How? By sending supertankers of notes across the world? Perhaps you see the absurdity of perma austerity now.

    So. “Paying off the debt” to “save money,” “personal responsibility” and “fiscal responsibility” — these aren’t economic ideas: they are to economics what ancient aliens are to biology. They have no empirical basis, no factual reality, and no evidential proof. Indeed, the opposite is true.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-23)
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  10. The number of persons not on the electoral register was calculated by subtracting the size of the electorate as of 22 June 2016, from the ONS record of total UK population published on 26 February 2016.

    A person may not be on the register by their own choice, or due to ineligibility such as not yet being old enough, being in prison, or not possessing UK citizenship.

    EU Citizens living in the UK were ineligible unless they were from Malta, Cyprus, or the Republic of Ireland.

    Members of the House of Lords are usually ineligible to vote at UK General Elections, but were allowed to vote in the EU Referendum.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-01)
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