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Thread: Brexit, a recap, why we are where we are.

  1. #1
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    Brexit, a recap, why we are where we are.

    "Let’s remind ourselves how we got here. In the aftermath of the 2016 referendum, no one in Brussels suggested trying to pry Northern Ireland away from Great Britain. The idea was too silly to countenance: sovereign countries do not simply give up jurisdiction over their territory. The Irish government, then led by Enda Kenny, instead started to explore technical ways to keep the Irish border open after Brexit – something that customs officers on both sides regarded as eminently achievable.

    Only in late 2017 did Eurocrats come up with the outré notion that they might somehow keep Northern Ireland within their grip. What had changed? Only one thing: the numbers in the House of Commons. A few weeks earlier, Theresa May had unexpectedly lost her majority, and it soon became clear that, despite what they had promised during the campaign, Labour MPs had no intention of honouring the referendum result.

    As that realisation sank it – I was an MEP at the time and remember it well – the mood in Brussels shifted from resignation to a kind of delighted obduracy. All sorts of demands that had previously been unthinkable were now tabled in the hope, more or less openly avowed, that the British would (as Eurocrats saw it) come to their senses. Each setback in the Commons would prompt declarations by Donald Tusk that the UK’s best option now was to give up on Brexit altogether.

    It was against this background that the Northern Ireland backstop was proposed. The idea was to present Britain with two deliberately unpalatable options: either to consent to the regulatory annexation of Ulster or to place itself as a whole under the EU’s economic suzerainty.

    To the incredulity of EU officials, Theresa May consented. A detailed reconstruction of events published a few weeks later by politico.eu recalled Irish negotiators whooping and hi-fiving, and Brussels functionaries asking one another in wonder whether the British PM understood what she had agreed to.

    In truth, by then Mrs May was prepared to sign up to anything that might give her a deal. I always found the “Maybot” characterisation a touch unfair: though her TV performances were wooden, Mrs May could be warm and lively in private. But, when it came to what she saw as “delivering Brexit” she was like Yul Brynner in Westworld, or some weirdly bland Terminator. Her sole purpose was to get something – anything – that could be labelled “Brexit” through the House of Commons.

    In the event, of course, she failed and resigned. Boris Johnson, inheriting her minority and her draft Withdrawal Agreement, also inherited her dilemma. Most MPs did not want a Brexit deal, and several were working with Brussels to ensure that there could be no credible exit plan. Mrs May had conceded at the outset that the withdrawal terms must be settled before trade talks began – thereby giving the EU what it wanted in advance. What was the new PM to do?

    With an election looming, he approved the Withdrawal Agreement in parallel with a promise from the EU to conclude a swift and comprehensive free trade accord: “It is the clear intent of both parties to develop in good faith agreements giving effect to this relationship… such that they can come into force by the end of 2020”. That point cannot be stressed too strongly. The Withdrawal Agreement was passed on the basis that a trade deal would be not only agreed in 2020 but fully implemented. Such a deal would, of course, ensure that Northern Ireland faced no tariffs, either vis-ŕ-vis Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland, since there would be no tariffs between the UK and the EU.

    A joint committee was established, with Michael Gove on the British side and Maroš Šefčovič for the European Commission, to ensure an open border without prejudicing Northern Ireland’s place within the UK. It should have been a simple process. The vast majority of trade between the UK and the Republic of Ireland is East-West rather than North-South. Most of what crosses the land border is farm produce. It should have been straightforward to recognise Ireland as a single unit for agrifoods – something Britain was willing to do – without other trade barriers. The volume of goods from Great Britain that enter the EU via Northern Ireland is negligible.

    As talks progressed, though, it became clear that Brussels was not interested in reaching an agreement. On the contrary, it was using Northern Ireland as leverage in its demands for control of British fisheries and technical standards. “Unless you give us what we want,” ran the subtext, “we’ll impose checks and tariffs between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and there is nothing you can do to stop us”.

    The legislation placed before Parliament this week is, though you wouldn’t guess it from the coverage, narrowly and specifically designed to prevent such barriers, which might be applied maliciously. It is far from clear that it breaches the law, since it upholds one part of the Northern Ireland Protocol (“Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the United Kingdom”) over later, potentially contradictory, articles.

    The Withdrawal Agreement also contains the following clause: “If the application of this Protocol leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade, the Union or the United Kingdom may unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures.” It is more honest of the British Government to preannounce those safeguard measures now. In the circumstances, the changes being flagged up are stunningly modest. Given the EU’s refusal to engage seriously in trade talks, the whole basis of the Withdrawal Agreement ought to be void.

    Remember that the UK made these massive concessions – on financial payments as well as Ireland – in exchange for the promise of free trade. But can anyone, looking back over the past three years, maintain with a straight face that Brussels has sought an agreement “in good faith”?

    When Mrs May suggested a relatively close relationship, Michel Barnier responded with a staircase chart showing that the only option was a Canada-style trade agreement. The moment Boris took him at his word and accepted the offer, it was snatched away.

    Good faith? Britain is not asking for anything that the EU has not already offered other trading partners, such as Canada and South Korea. Yet Barnier demands continuing oversight of chunks of the UK economy – not only, as is sometimes reported, on state aid, which would be easily enough resolved, but on all standards.

    Ursula von der Leyen says that, if Britain won’t implement the Withdrawal Agreement to her satisfaction, there will be no trade deal. But that cuts both ways. If there won’t be a trade deal, not even the standard low-fat deal that the EU offers to others, why fork over the cash?

    Some EU politicians, perhaps with an eye on Irish America, pretend that this is about the peace process; but, even in the topsy-turvy world of Brussels, you can’t seriously argue that trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the Republic would violate the Good Friday Agreement but that trade barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain would not. Indeed, allowing Brussels to inflict such barriers would breach Article VI of the 1801 Act of Union – a far more serious treaty violation.

    The Government has, by openly and honestly proposing these modifications in advance, signalled to the EU that it wants to continue talking in the hope of finding a sensible deal. If Brussels won’t engage, then, instead of arguably welshing on one part of the treaty, we should give notice and nullify the lot – withdrawing, so to speak, from the Withdrawal Agreement.

    We should say, in effect, “Thanks, but no trade deal, no deal. We’ll leave it to an international tribunal to sort out any outstanding debts, and I think we both know that the resulting sum will be smaller than what we were offering you. As for Northern Ireland, it will remain an integral part of the United Kingdom, but we won’t raise any infrastructure at the border. What you do on your side is, of course, up to you. You can have checks in Ireland or between Ireland and the Continent. Or you can simply agree the comprehensive trade deal we were proposing all along, which will make checks unnecessary. Your call.”

  2. #2
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    sinkov--interesting read and backs up my thoughts about the obstacles which have been put in place by our own MPs and also the EU.

    As far as the EU is concerned, they know that they will lose a very large sum of money which the UK has been putting into their coffers for years and they know that the gap will be difficult, if not impossible, to fill. They are doing all they can to make it difficult, however, this is not being helped because of the lack of will of many of our own MPs.

    I voted remain, however, this really has dragged on too long now and we should just pull the plug ---life will go on!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supersub6 View Post
    sinkov--interesting read and backs up my thoughts about the obstacles which have been put in place by our own MPs and also the EU.

    As far as the EU is concerned, they know that they will lose a very large sum of money which the UK has been putting into their coffers for years and they know that the gap will be difficult, if not impossible, to fill. They are doing all they can to make it difficult, however, this is not being helped because of the lack of will of many of our own MPs.

    I voted remain, however, this really has dragged on too long now and we should just pull the plug ---life will go on!
    I can perfectly understand why anyone, like yourself Sub, would vote to remain, I seriously considered it myself, and there were good arguments both for and against. What I don't understand is, once the decision by the British people was made, why so many in the UK are determined that Brexit will not be a success, and have done, as you say, all they can to make it difficult, if not impossible for us to leave with a good trade deal. I fully expected it, but still find it inexplicable.

  4. #4
    When we cut out all of the crap, when you have tried your best to be amiable in negotiating any sort of any deal, and you truly believe you have given it your best shot and the opposing "deal makers" become "deal breakers", you do what Boris is doing; walk away and let the apples land where they fall.

    Keir Starmer in a very convoluted article in today's papers said almost exactly that, and he suggests the Labour Party will agree with Boris.

    The message from Starmer is unambiguous; sort this bloody virus and sort Brexit and leave everything else alone.

    Calm the virus, which sorts out the economy, sort Brexit by walking and I'll bet the German, Italian, Spanish and French businesses will still wish to dump their produce on the UK.

    German store giants Aldi and Lidl don't seem overly concerned about a "No Deal" Brexit, they are both opening new stores around us at a rapid rate.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinkov View Post
    "Let’s remind ourselves how we got here. In the aftermath of the 2016 referendum, no one in Brussels suggested trying to pry Northern Ireland away from Great Britain. The idea was too silly to countenance: sovereign countries do not simply give up jurisdiction over their territory. The Irish government, then led by Enda Kenny, instead started to explore technical ways to keep the Irish border open after Brexit – something that customs officers on both sides regarded as eminently achievable.

    Only in late 2017 did Eurocrats come up with the outré notion that they might somehow keep Northern Ireland within their grip. What had changed? Only one thing: the numbers in the House of Commons. A few weeks earlier, Theresa May had unexpectedly lost her majority, and it soon became clear that, despite what they had promised during the campaign, Labour MPs had no intention of honouring the referendum result.

    As that realisation sank it – I was an MEP at the time and remember it well – the mood in Brussels shifted from resignation to a kind of delighted obduracy. All sorts of demands that had previously been unthinkable were now tabled in the hope, more or less openly avowed, that the British would (as Eurocrats saw it) come to their senses. Each setback in the Commons would prompt declarations by Donald Tusk that the UK’s best option now was to give up on Brexit altogether.

    It was against this background that the Northern Ireland backstop was proposed. The idea was to present Britain with two deliberately unpalatable options: either to consent to the regulatory annexation of Ulster or to place itself as a whole under the EU’s economic suzerainty.

    To the incredulity of EU officials, Theresa May consented. A detailed reconstruction of events published a few weeks later by politico.eu recalled Irish negotiators whooping and hi-fiving, and Brussels functionaries asking one another in wonder whether the British PM understood what she had agreed to.

    In truth, by then Mrs May was prepared to sign up to anything that might give her a deal. I always found the “Maybot” characterisation a touch unfair: though her TV performances were wooden, Mrs May could be warm and lively in private. But, when it came to what she saw as “delivering Brexit” she was like Yul Brynner in Westworld, or some weirdly bland Terminator. Her sole purpose was to get something – anything – that could be labelled “Brexit” through the House of Commons.

    In the event, of course, she failed and resigned. Boris Johnson, inheriting her minority and her draft Withdrawal Agreement, also inherited her dilemma. Most MPs did not want a Brexit deal, and several were working with Brussels to ensure that there could be no credible exit plan. Mrs May had conceded at the outset that the withdrawal terms must be settled before trade talks began – thereby giving the EU what it wanted in advance. What was the new PM to do?

    With an election looming, he approved the Withdrawal Agreement in parallel with a promise from the EU to conclude a swift and comprehensive free trade accord: “It is the clear intent of both parties to develop in good faith agreements giving effect to this relationship… such that they can come into force by the end of 2020”. That point cannot be stressed too strongly. The Withdrawal Agreement was passed on the basis that a trade deal would be not only agreed in 2020 but fully implemented. Such a deal would, of course, ensure that Northern Ireland faced no tariffs, either vis-ŕ-vis Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland, since there would be no tariffs between the UK and the EU.

    A joint committee was established, with Michael Gove on the British side and Maroš Šefčovič for the European Commission, to ensure an open border without prejudicing Northern Ireland’s place within the UK. It should have been a simple process. The vast majority of trade between the UK and the Republic of Ireland is East-West rather than North-South. Most of what crosses the land border is farm produce. It should have been straightforward to recognise Ireland as a single unit for agrifoods – something Britain was willing to do – without other trade barriers. The volume of goods from Great Britain that enter the EU via Northern Ireland is negligible.

    As talks progressed, though, it became clear that Brussels was not interested in reaching an agreement. On the contrary, it was using Northern Ireland as leverage in its demands for control of British fisheries and technical standards. “Unless you give us what we want,” ran the subtext, “we’ll impose checks and tariffs between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and there is nothing you can do to stop us”.

    The legislation placed before Parliament this week is, though you wouldn’t guess it from the coverage, narrowly and specifically designed to prevent such barriers, which might be applied maliciously. It is far from clear that it breaches the law, since it upholds one part of the Northern Ireland Protocol (“Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the United Kingdom”) over later, potentially contradictory, articles.

    The Withdrawal Agreement also contains the following clause: “If the application of this Protocol leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade, the Union or the United Kingdom may unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures.” It is more honest of the British Government to preannounce those safeguard measures now. In the circumstances, the changes being flagged up are stunningly modest. Given the EU’s refusal to engage seriously in trade talks, the whole basis of the Withdrawal Agreement ought to be void.

    Remember that the UK made these massive concessions – on financial payments as well as Ireland – in exchange for the promise of free trade. But can anyone, looking back over the past three years, maintain with a straight face that Brussels has sought an agreement “in good faith”?

    When Mrs May suggested a relatively close relationship, Michel Barnier responded with a staircase chart showing that the only option was a Canada-style trade agreement. The moment Boris took him at his word and accepted the offer, it was snatched away.

    Good faith? Britain is not asking for anything that the EU has not already offered other trading partners, such as Canada and South Korea. Yet Barnier demands continuing oversight of chunks of the UK economy – not only, as is sometimes reported, on state aid, which would be easily enough resolved, but on all standards.

    Ursula von der Leyen says that, if Britain won’t implement the Withdrawal Agreement to her satisfaction, there will be no trade deal. But that cuts both ways. If there won’t be a trade deal, not even the standard low-fat deal that the EU offers to others, why fork over the cash?

    Some EU politicians, perhaps with an eye on Irish America, pretend that this is about the peace process; but, even in the topsy-turvy world of Brussels, you can’t seriously argue that trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the Republic would violate the Good Friday Agreement but that trade barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain would not. Indeed, allowing Brussels to inflict such barriers would breach Article VI of the 1801 Act of Union – a far more serious treaty violation.

    The Government has, by openly and honestly proposing these modifications in advance, signalled to the EU that it wants to continue talking in the hope of finding a sensible deal. If Brussels won’t engage, then, instead of arguably welshing on one part of the treaty, we should give notice and nullify the lot – withdrawing, so to speak, from the Withdrawal Agreement.

    We should say, in effect, “Thanks, but no trade deal, no deal. We’ll leave it to an international tribunal to sort out any outstanding debts, and I think we both know that the resulting sum will be smaller than what we were offering you. As for Northern Ireland, it will remain an integral part of the United Kingdom, but we won’t raise any infrastructure at the border. What you do on your side is, of course, up to you. You can have checks in Ireland or between Ireland and the Continent. Or you can simply agree the comprehensive trade deal we were proposing all along, which will make checks unnecessary. Your call.”
    Great article Sinkov

    And a really good view of what’s happening as many wont know or understand.

    I’m like Sub ,though I voted leave that it’s gone on far too long now , just leave and watch them squirm while other members tip toe towards the same end result as us.

  6. #6
    The Tory Party and this Cabal of Conservative and Unionist Cabinet Minister Cretins have just blown UK democracy and diplomacy out of the water.

    It has somehow evolved into a regime that violates international law and jeopardises the union within the space of six months after being elected on the very ticket they won the election on.

    It's bold, it's brash, it's a Churchillian two fingers to the rest of the world, but I can't help wonder if this is a true to it's historic values Conservative government at all?

    I think not.

  7. #7
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    What's a Cabal ?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinkov View Post
    What's a Cabal ?
    If he is any good can we sign him?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by outwoodclaret View Post
    If he is any good can we sign him?
    Seems Outwood he's something to do with Boris, perhaps he plays for Old Etonians ?

  10. #10
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    Most verbs in Hebrew have 3 letters ,( some have 4 ) ' ק ב ל ', means: (read from right to left) to complain (about something); to submit a complaint ( 'Cabal').The same letters but with different vowels means, to get ,to receive.(Kibel) From this we get the word kabbalah,( קבלה ) which is Jewish mysticism. (received )

    https://youtu.be/pGBnJxFwiVs

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