“We will do, as the UK government, everything we can to avoid there being a hard border on the island of Ireland – we do not want to see there being physical infrastructure at the border and we will try to facilitate that in any way we can.
“But the WTO rules are clear – tariffs will apply, checks will be required – that is what the WTO says.”
2018/11/17: The American investigations into foreign interference in Trump’s election, and British probes into Brexit, have increasingly become interwoven.
The possibility that both Brexit and the Trump campaign simultaneously relied upon the same social-media company and its transgressive tactics, as well as some of the same advisers, to further far-right nationalist campaigns, set off alarm bells on both sides of the Atlantic.
Damian Collins, a member of Parliament, and chair of its Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which held an inquiry into fake news, told the Observer, which has broken much of the news about Cambridge Analytica in the U.K., that the new e-mails “suggest that the role of Bannon and Mercer is far deeper and more complex than we realised.
There’s a big question about whether Mercer’s money was used in the Brexit campaign and it absolutely underscores why Britain needs a proper Mueller-style investigation. There are direct links between the political movements behind Brexit and Trump. We’ve got to recognise the bigger picture here. This is being coordinated across national borders by very wealthy people in a way we haven’t seen before."
2018-11-19: What does Brexit mean for Australia? Australia was name-checked in the Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday as a country offering the prospect of a quick free trade agreement.
Britain needs Australia in a way that it hasn't since World War II. It would be best at this delicate moment to stop recklessly encouraging the British government from the sidelines: no more talk of one-page free trade agreements.
Australia must continue with its (slow) progress on the Australia-EU free trade agreement negotiations begun in June. The EU has remained remarkably unified during the Brexit negotiations despite tensions of its own. The EU is coming out of its own crises of the past decade. Now it's Britain's turn to teeter on the brink of disintegration.
2018/11/18: The legal validity of flight tickets purchased for the summer immediately after the Brexit deadline is "questionable", an aviation analyst warns.
Alex Macheras said that airlines are taking matters "into their own hands" by reregistering their aircraft in European Union countries so that they can continue to fly certain routes.
"They want to hold onto their intra-European routes and the only way to guarantee that is to have jets registered inside the EU," he said.
But when Ian Payne asked what impact a no-deal Brexit would have on passengers, he warned that the legal validity of some flight tickets would be "questionable".
"Now as we stand in late-2018, you can go and book for summer 2019," he said.
"The legal validity of those tickets is questionable.
"But ultimately it all does fall back down on to that hope that they need to keep aviation running.
"There can never be just a stop to how aviation works, and ultimately that's the foundation everyone is relying on."
2018-11-06: The City of London is being dealt another Brexit blow.
CME Group Inc. is moving its European market for short-term financing, the largest in the region, out of London because the exchange operator wants to guarantee continental firms can continue to use it if there is a no-deal Brexit.
The decision, which was taken before CME took over the business from NEX Group Plc last week, is the first example of a major financial market leaving the U.K. While every sizable trading venue has set up a regulated entity in the EU because of Brexit, BrokerTec -- as the business is known -- is the first to move an existing market from London to a continental European city: Amsterdam.
“All of our euro-denominated bonds and repo will move to Amsterdam,” John Edwards, managing director of BrokerTec Europe, said in an interview. “We saw no benefit in splitting liquidity pools. Our U.K. business will not be able to provide services to the European clients.”
I have been catching myself thinking: “Go with God. But go!” Maybe this week could be the week things become clear. But who would bet on it?
The UK is making a spectacular demonstration of how to make a fool of yourself with the entire world looking on. What was once the most powerful empire on Earth can’t even find its way to the door without tripping over its own feet. When Theresa May arrives in Brussels with yet another proposal, you can be sure it won’t be worth the paper it’s written 24 hours later. She either presents ideas that Brussels has long ago rejected, her plans have been rejected by her own party, or Boris Johnson tears them to pieces in his newspaper column.
No deal is better than a bad deal? If you are convinced of this: go ahead. A hard Brexit will cost the rest of us a lot – there’s no question about that – but it is nothing compared to what is awaiting you Britons.
2017/10/19: this is a logical consequence of Brexit. You’re now blaming the French for the logical consequences of Brexit. About as logical as initiating a divorce and then complaining about not seeing your children every day. Typical of the muddled, self-pitying arrogance of the typical Brexiteer.
A no-deal will have serious implications in all sectors, but, specifically on the environment, it should be of huge concern.
Greener UK, the coalition of environmental groups, published a report in July setting out how a no-deal would affect the environment, food security and pollution, and their analysis on climate change was stark: “Leaving the EU without a deal would make it harder for the UK to meet its emissions reduction targets in the long term, increase energy bills for consumers and undermine investment in critical energy infrastructure,” the report said.
A no-deal Brexit would mean the UK cutting loose from the European Court of Justice and, in turn, ending participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Greener UK says this would cause “significant disruption to business and a loss of more than £530 million in auction revenues for the UK government”. A no-deal could lead to a drop in the carbon price, because operators will sell allowances as March 2019 nears, the report said, and a sudden departure from the ETS would “disrupt action to meet the UK’s domestic carbon target, potentially undermining domestic ambition on climate change”.
It would also see the UK leaving the internal energy market, meaning consumer energy bills would increase due to charges added to cross-border electricity trading.
Even if the negotiations result in a deal, there are still ramifications. The Greener UK report cites research by National Grid that leaving the internal energy market could cost the UK £500m – even if there were a deal on Brexit. With the detail of a Brexit deal still to be hammered out, it is unclear whether the UK will stay in the ETS. But departure from the ECJ, a totemic demand of Brexiteers, will see the creation of a new environmental watchdog, which, say campaigners, will weaken enforcement on meeting climate change targets.
in actual fact the legal framework is such that you can’t change the article 50 notice without a new act of Parliament.
In any case the EU is not keen on the UK remaining in the EU after the 29th of March deadline because they will have to be engaged in the EU parliamentary election and they’re terrified that we would return a whole sway of Eurosceptic.
Even if we do manage to secure flights to those 17 countries, there is no assurance the agreements will be as favourable as they are now. The US has reportedly offered a significantly inferior deal.
The key plank of the no-deal disaster, however, arises not from bilateral permissions but safety certificates.
The European Commission has confirmed that, in the event of no deal, the certificates granted by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority to pilots, engineers and cabin crew would no longer be considered valid.
UK-certified firms wouldn't even be able to continue supplying parts for EU planes.
The government frankly admits, for example, that the UK would be out of the Single European Sky, which harmonises air navigation, and that UK airlines would no longer be able to fly between two EU airports.
if we don't manage to re-join the Interbus agreement and the EU doesn't recognise the UK's permits, all coach services could be suspended too.
2018/09/25: the Parthenon marbles were a single work of art that should not be divided. Wouldn’t it be bizarre, he argued, if the head of Michelangelo’s David was in the British Museum and the body in the Uffizi Gallery? As Greeks have been saying for years, at the moment the Parthenon marbles are like a family portrait in which loved ones are missing.
One of the arguments most frequently made against returning the marbles is that the British Museum is a museum for the world hosting global treasure. By comparison, the one in Athens is insultingly portrayed as simply a national museum – despite the millions of tourists who visit the cradle of western civilisation every year. But to my mind Brexit makes such an argument totally redundant.
Can the British Museum really lay claim to being a museum for the world when the British government has jettisoned freedom of movement in its Brexit negotiations? I think not. Send the Parthenon marbles back to Athens, and they are free to be viewed by any of the citizens of the European Union who should choose to travel there, free from restrictions.
The Tory tragedy was to be obsessed about Europe and the Labour tragedy was to be complacent about Europe
2018/08/18: Brexit is failing simply because it cannot be delivered without seriously hurting UK and the lives of ordinary people.
the Irish backstop not only represents the withdrawal treaty’s backbone, but also the key to our future economic status. If the UK rejects any kind of internal sea border for tariffs or regulations, it follows that Northern Ireland will dictate Great Britain’s future status. In the absence of agreed alternatives, a backstop demands a permanent customs union for Northern Ireland – and so the UK must also commit to that possibility.
And if the UK must remain in the whole single market so goods can travel freely on the island of Ireland, that will reveal itself at least implicitly in the withdrawal text. The only alternative is for Great Britain and Northern Ireland to go their separate economic – and ultimately perhaps political – ways. May has already declared that no UK prime minister could allow that, and if she tried, she would remain UK prime minister only a few moments longer.
Consequently Brexit becomes blind only through a government which has its hands tied and still tries to blindfold us. The British people will view this relationship clearly enough: a near-vassal state scenario in which the UK remains in key EU institutions without any meaningful say or vote in them. Such an endgame is loathed by Leavers and Remainers alike.
2018/09/16: While on the EU27 side, the expected process and outcome of this first phase of negotiations is clear, politics in the UK is in turmoil and the domestic debate is moving further and further away from a realistic assessment of what the EU is likely to accept. In particular, there are a number of myths or misconceptions that will be debunked in the coming months:
The impact that a no-deal Brexit could have on driving licences, passports and phone bills will be spelled out by the government as ministers release a batch of papers on Thursday warning of the risks of crashing out of the European Union.
A sudden exit from the EU would mean that the mutual recognition of driving licences would automatically end, creating a headache for the 11,600 lorry drivers who cross the channel each day as well as car-driving tourists.
On passports, there have been warnings that Britons travelling abroad with less than six months to expiry could be stopped at the border of an EU member state, when they would previously have been let through.
Cross-border mobile phone bills could soar in the event of a no-deal Brexit if the phone companies pass on the costs of higher roaming and data charges that would follow.
2018/09/12: Dominic Raab has been reprimanded by Michel Barnier after the EU’s chief negotiator discovered the British government had written to the 27 other member states asking for side negotiations on transport in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The letters had asked the member states to prepare to engage with the British government in side deals on aviation and haulage, to allow key trade flows to continue in the event of the UK and the EU failing to come to an agreement on leaving the union by 29 March 2019.
2018/01/22: There is a long-term battle being fought between proponents of food democracy and food control. An Uberisation of the food system is occurring, in which the controllers of the software capture the majority of the value.
The food system is dependent on self-exploitation by its workers. It’s not a good system.
Something like 75% of the value in the food sector is captured beyond the farm gate.
Government benefits for the low waged working in the food processing and retail sector are an implicit subsidy to the process/retail industry.
We need shorter food chains.
France does a better job than the UK of controlling land concentration and retaining small-scale agriculture. But is it at the expense of accepting a patriarchal gerontocracy?
When faced with a 50-50 choice between investing in labour or investing in machinery, farm managers usually opt for machinery.
Machinery is generally high cost and large scale (= labour saving). The result is that the farm landscape is fitted to the machinery, rather than fitting the machinery to the farm landscape.
Much of the time, machinery sits in the shed. It can do the job it’s designed to do much more quickly and cheaply than human labourers. But without human labourers, much additional environmental work that could be done on the farm – hedging, ditching, woodland management etc. – doesn’t get done.
Nobody wants to work on farms any more.
Lots of people want to work on farms, but the opportunities are limited.
Working on farms is now a lonely occupation – and more dangerous, because of the human lack.
We need to grow more vegetables in the UK.
The UK government’s recent agricultural policy emphasised the need to ‘Grow more, sell more and export more’. Actually we should be trying to grow better, sell better and eat better.
New entrants to farming somehow need access to land. Or do they?
Dispersed grazing provides opportunities for new entrants.
Secure agricultural tenancy rights would take the heat out of the battle to secure access to land.
But there would be a hot battle to gain secure agricultural tenancy rights.
Companies are having to build extra laboratories to try to prepare to batch-release medicines made in the UK on the continent. That’s a huge cost for us. Hundreds of millions of pounds that we’re having to spend that frankly we’d rather spend on researching new medicines. We have no choice because we have to ensure what we do is legal. It’s probably wasted money in the end.
The art is to make it look as though it's not collapsing, but instead to have a reasonable-looking set of reasons to delay any progress and to spend that time watering down what Brexit means.