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In or out?

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

Re: In or out?

#2941 Postby Alan H » January 20th, 2018, 8:41 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Referendum voters should be able to change their minds, says John Bercow
Another Labour MP, Geraint Davies, said: “John Bercow is right that British democracy is dynamic and not the dictatorship of the majority. Voters have the right to change their minds in light of the facts.

“Many who voted for Brexit for more money, single market access and taking control have changed their mind in light of growing inflation, the massive divorce bill, threats to jobs and no forward plan. Democracy requires that the people have the final say on the Brexit deal and the right to stay in the EU if the deal doesn’t live up to their reasonable expectations.”

Bercow has previously defended the right of MPs to vote on Brexit in line with their principles. After a band of Tory rebels against the government’s Brexit policies were labelled “mutineers” in the Telegraph, he told the House of Commons that they were “dedicated public servants” and “never mutineers, traitors, malcontents nor enemies of the people”.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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animist
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Re: In or out?

#2942 Postby animist » January 21st, 2018, 11:46 am

I don't think you have already posted this, Alan. Should be one hell of a summer if Ian is right. On a rather lower level, I try to get Remainers like you and the European FB group to start bombarding the idiot Brexit sites with stuff like this. They will hate all of it and ignore most of it, but then saturation is what commercial advertising depends on I think? Anyway, I just posted the Dunt piece to a typical Guido thicko and I await the result - which probably will be on the lines of "Dunt is a -unt". Will let you know!


http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analy ... -backstage

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Alan H
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Re: In or out?

#2943 Postby Alan H » January 21st, 2018, 2:07 pm

This Brexit thingy is all going tickety-boo, isn't it? Warning of grave Brexit threat to Scotch whisky industry
BREXIT poses a grave threat to the Scotch whisky industry putting thousands of jobs at risk, according to newly-published research about the impact of leaving the EU.

The sector will be “particularly vulnerable”, it was claimed by the GMB union – with a “post-Brexit trade carve-up” leading to the ripping up of trade agreements.

Tory ministers were also accused of "complacency" and "ignorance" about the industry.

The GMB claimed that thousands of jobs in bottling operations would be at risk. And that Scotland's “thriving industry" could become a "historic tourist trail" for wealthy American and Japanese tourists.

The sector, which employs 10,000 people across Scotland and is worth over £1.2 billion in exports, will face devastating consequences, the union claimed.


Remind me again why the fuck the Tories are doing this to us?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Alan H
Posts: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2944 Postby Alan H » January 21st, 2018, 8:41 pm

As many as 2% think the talks are going 'very well'? Incredible. Two thirds of people believe Brexit going badly ahead of next round of talks, poll shows
Just two per cent of people think the talks are going ‘very well’, according to the survey

Theresa May still has a long way to go before convincing people she is making a success of Brexit, with a new poll indicating almost two-thirds of the public believe talks are going badly.

The exclusive survey for The Independent by BMG Research found that less than a quarter of people think negotiations are going well.

Almost a third of those who believed talks were going badly blamed UK negotiators – twice as many as blamed the EU team handling talks.

The poll comes ahead of the next round of negotiations, expected in coming weeks, which will seek to agree terms of Britain’s transition period out of the EU.

A weighted sample of more than 1,500 people were asked: “Thinking about the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU, in your view, how well or badly do you feel the negotiations are going?”

Some 37 per cent said it was going “quite badly” and 24 per cent said it was going “very badly” – a total of 61 per cent thought talks were going badly to some degree.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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

Re: In or out?

#2945 Postby Alan H » January 22nd, 2018, 11:41 am

Revealed: Ministers Spend Millions Pushing Firms To Export As Brexit Looms
Ministers “desperate” to minimise Brexit damage are “pestering” businesses to export goods using huge sums of taxpayers’ cash, critics have said.

Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary who once accused British firms of being “lazy”, has spent £16.3m of public money on the ‘Exporting is GREAT’ campaign since 2016, HuffPost UK can reveal.

The vast majority paid for targeted adverts - £11m - while the rest funded social media research, agency costs, events and “strategy”, our Freedom of Information probe showed.

The ‘Exporting is GREAT’ campaign does not offer firms any financial assistance to actually export, our FOI showed, and has been solely a PR exercise.

Spending on the project sometimes climbed as high as £2m-a-month, but no recent assessment has been carried out of whether the campaign is value for money.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Alan H
Posts: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2946 Postby Alan H » January 22nd, 2018, 12:19 pm

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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animist
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Re: In or out?

#2947 Postby animist » January 22nd, 2018, 1:20 pm

so not only are out wonderful politicians unable to agree what the longterm relationship with the EU should be, they don't even know what the transition relationship should be! So clearly we need a transition to the transition :wink:

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Alan H
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Re: In or out?

#2948 Postby Alan H » January 22nd, 2018, 2:01 pm

animist wrote:
so not only are out wonderful politicians unable to agree what the longterm relationship with the EU should be, they don't even know what the transition relationship should be! So clearly we need a transition to the transition :wink:

It's a transition away from these numpties we all need.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Alan H
Posts: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2949 Postby Alan H » January 23rd, 2018, 12:24 am

Theresa May: providing the certainty businesses need as we leave the EU... JLR cuts Land Rover production amid diesel uncertainty
Jaguar Land Rover will cut production of some vehicles amid uncertainty over Brexit and changes to taxes on diesel cars.

The company will temporarily scale back output of the Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque models later this year.

Last week, JLR said its global sales hit a record in 2017, but that the UK market was "tough".

Vehicle makers have blamed Brexit confusion and a hike in diesel taxation for a general fall in UK car sales.

The two Land Rover models are made at the company's Halewood plant on Merseyside. Output will be reduced in the second quarter of 2018.

JLR said the car industry continued to face a "range of challenges" that were hitting consumer confidence.

Diesel cars: Your questions answered

What's gone wrong in the UK car market?

"Ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit is being felt by customers at home - with demand for new cars down 5.7% in 2017 - and in Europe where collectively, we sell approximately 45% of total UK production.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Alan H
Posts: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2950 Postby Alan H » January 23rd, 2018, 1:37 am

Business leaders push for new campaign to reverse Brexit
Business leaders are privately pushing for a new campaign to reverse Brexit as concerns mount about the viability of government plans to prevent a collapse in exports to Europe.

On Monday, the CBI launched its most sustained attack yet on the government’s Brexit strategy by calling for full customs union with the EU and single market participation, even if it means abandoning the pursuit of separate trade deals with the rest of the world.

Behind the scenes, senior figures on the CBI policy council are urging the lobby group to toughen its message still further and spell out their belief that this logic should ultimately lead to a national rethink of the decision to leave the EU, perhaps through a second referendum or an election.

While this is not the CBI’s official position, the group says it has decided to speak out about the problems of the government’s approach to Brexit after “thousands of conversations” and workshops with its members over the past two to three months.

“It’s not for us to say [whether to reverse Brexit], we are simply pointing out that you need single market access and you need a customs union,” said a spokesman. “If someone concludes that we therefore need to retest this, that’s a political decision, we are just being very practical about it.”

Government ministers reacted furiously to previews of the CBI’s evolving position over the weekend, which now directly challenges the British strategy of leaving the customs union so that new trade deals can be pursued outside a common tariff area.

The CBI director general, Carolyn Fairbairn, told an audience at Warwick University on Monday: “There may come a day when the opportunity to fully set independent trade policies outweighs the value of a customs union with the EU; a day when investing in fast-growing economies elsewhere eclipses the value of frictionless trade in Europe. But that day hasn’t yet arrived.”
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Alan H
Posts: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2951 Postby Alan H » January 23rd, 2018, 5:49 pm

This Brexit thingy is all going tickety-boo, isn't it? Jeremy Hunt admits EU cancer drugs will not be available in Britain if Brexit talks break down
Jeremy Hunt has admitted that EU cancer drugs may not be available to British patients after Brexit, describing the risk as “uniquely damaging”.

The flow of some medicines would be cut off if the withdrawal negotiations break down, the Health Secretary acknowledged – echoing fears raised by the pharmaceutical industry.

Drug giants have told of “significant disruption to the supply chain for medicines” and that customs delays would damage “time and temperature sensitive” materials, without a Brexit deal.

“It is uniquely damaging to both parties if we don’t come to an agreement,” Mr Hunt told an inquiry by the Commons health committee.

“It’s not just that want to continue to get cancer drugs that are manufactured in Europe. It’s Europeans who will not want any interruption to their supply chain for drugs that are manufactured in this country.”

Mr Hunt said it was the issue’s importance that gave him “a lot of confidence that we will be able to agree what we need to agree”.


Lying liar Jeremy 'Jeremy-the-liar' Hunt and his cronies before the Health Select Committee this afternoon said they had commissioned an external report into the impact of Brexit on the availability of medicines to patients, but they didn't to include medical devices in it. If you sent them out to get a pint of milk, they'd come back with an empty bottle.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Alan H
Posts: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2952 Postby Alan H » January 24th, 2018, 2:38 pm

Another one from the 'you couldn't make this shit up' department: David Davis on his Customs Union U-turn: 'As the facts changed, I changed my mind'
Giving evidence before the Commons Brexit Select Committee today, Mr Davis shrugged off previous comments he had made backing the UK's Customs Union membership to protect European trade and allow other trade freedoms.

He told MPs on the committee: "Basically I looked at the facts, and as the facts changed, I changed my mind."

The comments were quickly picked up by pro-Europeans, including Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who tweeted: "If Davis can change his mind, so can the British public."
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Alan H
Posts: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2953 Postby Alan H » January 24th, 2018, 7:14 pm

Don't buy the 'Brexit dividend' myth
There is no “Brexit dividend”, because the net effect of Brexit is to cost the UK money. As the FT set out in excruciating detail before Christmas, leaving the EU doesn’t come cheap. Forget the “Brexit divorce settlement”, the forty-odd billion that covers existing budget commitments and some other costs such as pensions. We haven’t even left yet, but the uncertainty has already zapped 1.3% of GDP, according to estimates – the equivalent of £340m per week. And before you counter that this is still less than the fabled £350m a week that was plastered on campaign buses during the referendum, remember that that figure, too, was a lie. The rough cost per week of EU membership adds up to more like £136m – some of which funds regulatory agencies we benefit from and will have to replicate after we leave.

So the phrase “Brexit dividend” should definitely come with flashing lights and sirens, and at the very least inverted commas. But I fear it’s too late. The concept already has currency, and may be unstoppable. It’s incumbent on those who see it for what it is to point this out at every opportunity, and perhaps come up with a reality-based version. Reality, in this case, may be too depressing, too unglamorous a rival. But at least “Brexit burden” or “Brexit penalty” have the ring of truth.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Alan H
Posts: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2954 Postby Alan H » January 24th, 2018, 10:47 pm

REES-MOGG MOCKED BY TRADE EXPERT FOR CLAIMING HARD BREXIT IS PRICE WORTH PAYING FOR CHEAPER FRUIT
He said:

“I heard an MP on Wednesday say: ‘Well, one of the reasons to trade outside of the Common Market – to enter into trade deals – is that we’ll have access to cheaper tropical fruit.’

“I sat there thinking to myself: Is it better for the UK economy to have access to cheap tropical fruit or to have unhindered access to the EU market?”
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Nick
Posts: 10868
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: In or out?

#2955 Postby Nick » January 25th, 2018, 12:50 am

Alan H wrote:REES-MOGG MOCKED BY TRADE EXPERT FOR CLAIMING HARD BREXIT IS PRICE WORTH PAYING FOR CHEAPER FRUIT
He said:

“I heard an MP on Wednesday say: ‘Well, one of the reasons to trade outside of the Common Market – to enter into trade deals – is that we’ll have access to cheaper tropical fruit.’

“I sat there thinking to myself: Is it better for the UK economy to have access to cheap tropical fruit or to have unhindered access to the EU market?”

Thre we have it, in a nutshell: the EU is just an anti-free-trade, protectionist racket. Fine, if you are inside, but sod the developing world. Shame shame shame! Grrrr!!

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animist
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Re: In or out?

#2956 Postby animist » January 25th, 2018, 11:30 am

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:REES-MOGG MOCKED BY TRADE EXPERT FOR CLAIMING HARD BREXIT IS PRICE WORTH PAYING FOR CHEAPER FRUIT
He said:

“I heard an MP on Wednesday say: ‘Well, one of the reasons to trade outside of the Common Market – to enter into trade deals – is that we’ll have access to cheaper tropical fruit.’

“I sat there thinking to myself: Is it better for the UK economy to have access to cheap tropical fruit or to have unhindered access to the EU market?”

Thre we have it, in a nutshell: the EU is just an anti-free-trade, protectionist racket. Fine, if you are inside, but sod the developing world. Shame shame shame! Grrrr!!
there we have it in a nutshell, Nick. You ignored the words "for the UK economy" and launch into your normal critique of the EU. Do you seriously think that Britain indeed would be better off outside the Single Market even if some cheaper fruit was one result? And if your concern is for the producers of such fruit, then a hard-pressed and isolated Britain, with falling exports and the crap politicians and media we have, is going to be looking for every saving we can make in our import bill, eg by levying our own tariffs - and we so are not going to be thinking about these poor countries that Moggie purports to care about. He is a dangerous and, in a perverse way demogagic, hypocrite

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Alan H
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Re: In or out?

#2957 Postby Alan H » January 25th, 2018, 11:54 am

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:REES-MOGG MOCKED BY TRADE EXPERT FOR CLAIMING HARD BREXIT IS PRICE WORTH PAYING FOR CHEAPER FRUIT
He said:

“I heard an MP on Wednesday say: ‘Well, one of the reasons to trade outside of the Common Market – to enter into trade deals – is that we’ll have access to cheaper tropical fruit.’

“I sat there thinking to myself: Is it better for the UK economy to have access to cheap tropical fruit or to have unhindered access to the EU market?”

Thre we have it, in a nutshell: the EU is just an anti-free-trade, protectionist racket. Fine, if you are inside, but sod the developing world. Shame shame shame! Grrrr!!
I, for one, look forward to eating cheap pineapples whilst admiring my rainbows and playing with my flock of unicorns.
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: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2958 Postby Alan H » January 25th, 2018, 8:05 pm

Bank of England chief 'says Brexit vote is COSTING £200million a week'
Brexit has been costing Britain £200million a week, the Bank of England governor has reportedly said.

Mark Carney allegedly indicated the figure in a breakfast meeting with top business people at the World Economic Forum.

The Times reports he was asked to express the cost of lost growth in Britain's economy in " Brexit buses" - after Vote Leave's coach pledged to bring back £350million a week.

He is said to have replied that it was two thirds to three quarters of that amount.

If true, Mr Carney's figure would wipe out the £350million a week Boris Johnson claimed would come back from Brussels when he toured on the Vote Leave bus in 2016.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Nick
Posts: 10868
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: In or out?

#2959 Postby Nick » January 25th, 2018, 8:53 pm

animist wrote:
Nick wrote:

Thre we have it, in a nutshell: the EU is just an anti-free-trade, protectionist racket. Fine, if you are inside, but sod the developing world. Shame shame shame! Grrrr!!
there we have it in a nutshell, Nick.
I'll see your nutshell and raise you one. :wink:

You ignored the words "for the UK economy"
No I didn't. That could mean all sorts of things. Short or long term, ceteris paribus or otherwise, for the benefit of the few or the many, (to coin a phrase,) free trade or protectionism, and so forth. And to just take into account the short-term UK economy is myopic and xenophobic :wink: (You remoaners love an insult! :wink: )

and launch into your normal critique of the EU.
Has the EU changed, then? No? Then it will be my normal critique. :)

Do you seriously think that Britain indeed would be better off outside the Single Market
Depends on what you mean by "better" and what you think will happen to the Single Market. Just ask the youth of Greece, or Spain, or Italy....

even if some cheaper fruit was one result?
Only one example. And why are the French hell-bent on imposing tariffs on their imports from the UK?

And if your concern is for the producers of such fruit, then a hard-pressed and isolated Britain, with falling exports
..except that exports have risen since the Brexit vote, haven't they? And if they become hard-pressed, it is because the xenophobic, protectionist EU is deliberately, vindictively applying the pressure. Even if it hurts their own citizens.

and the crap politicians and media we have,
.... like Corbyn and the twittersphere... ;)

is going to be looking for every saving we can make in our import bill, eg by levying our own tariffs -
Mc Donnell is preparing for a seige economy, bu that is only because of the stupidity of his policies; there is no plan to impose tariffs to curb imports or raise revenue. Nor have any remoaners made that claim (until now!)

and we so are not going to be thinking about these poor countries that Moggie purports to care about.
The best way we can help them is by trade. And by doing so, we help ourselves. It increases the cake, rather than pinch slices from them. If the government were to advocate such a thing, there would be outcry from the lefties, and accusations of racism. Well....?

He is a dangerous and, in a perverse way demogagic, hypocrite
Like anyone else, he is quite capable of being wrong. He's a practicing Catholic, for a start :wink: But he's not even in the cabinet. I think there are rather more dangerous threats to the economy than Moggie!

Moving on from the rather tiresome cut-and-paste, a new perspective, a theoretical question: if it were shown that Britain would be better off if we became the 51st State in the Union, would you support it? What reasons would you give to support your argument? (Note to candidate: the questioner is NOT asking whether Britain would be better off!)

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Alan H
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Re: In or out?

#2960 Postby Alan H » January 26th, 2018, 1:25 am

CONSERVATIVE CHAOS: Eurosceptic Tories are in open revolt, putting Theresa May’s leadership under serious pressure
A fresh outbreak of Tory infighting is threatening Theresa May’s leadership after Philip Hammond vowed to keep Britain interlocked with the EU – while hard Brexit supporters staged an open revolt.

The Prime Minister was accused of “losing control of the Brexit process” as the two wings of her party fought over her withdrawal policy, which Eurosceptics increasingly see as a sellout.

In Davos, the Chancellor inflamed tensions with a dramatic call for only “very modest” changes to the UK’s trading rules with the EU, setting out the risks of trying to break free.

He went out of his way to praise the plea by the CBI employers’ organisation for the “closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK post-Brexit” – days after it called for permanent membership of the customs union.

Britain must not agree to anything that “throws away all the benefits we have of the complete alignment of our regulatory systems, the complete integration of our economies”, Mr Hammond said.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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

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Alan H
Posts: 22411
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#2961 Postby Alan H » January 26th, 2018, 12:40 pm

Ian Dunt's Friday email:
Today's skirmishes are the first shots of 2018's internal Tory war on Brexit.

The fighting began yesterday, when Philip Hammond stressed that any changes with Europe after Brexit would take place "very modestly", thereby keeping the two economies "interconnected and aligned".

This provoked a predictable backbench backlash. Jacob Rees-Mogg, who acts more and more like he is in a leadership contest, said "I profoundly disagree with the chancellor" and damned ministers for being "cowed by the EU". Former minister Andrew Percy told the chancellor to "put a sock in it" while his colleague Owen Paterson said "it would be good if all Cabinet ministers stuck to government policy".

Downing Street - petrified, as ever, by anything which spooks the headbangers - started briefing against Hammond, stressing that leaving the single market and customs union "could not be described as very modest changes".

But far from moving away from government policy, Hammond is merely reiterating the first phase agreement the UK signed a month ago, in which it promised to accept "full alignment" with the EU to prevent a border in Ireland. Ministers tried to put a brave face on it, but this doesn't just mean having the same rules as the EU now. It means we have to keep them that way in future. If anything, Hammond overstates the extent to which Britain can move away from the EU system.

The consequences of moving away from Europe are very severe. Britain would close itself off from its largest market and recreate a border in Ireland.

The choice ahead of the UK is simple: full trade and little control, or full control and little trade. Neither are palatable. Once the reality of that choice becomes clear, people will split down the middle. The unspoken, internal divisions in the Tory party between the headbanger Brexiters and pragmatic Brexiters will be harder to suffocate with cake-and-eat-it platitudes.

Meanwhile, a second front was opening up in the Tory psychodrama civil war - this time on transition.

As Hammond battened down the hatches against friendly fire, David Davis was preparing a speech on his plans for what happens in the two years after March 2019. The Brexit secretary had himself experienced a savaging at the hands of Rees-Mogg during a Brexit committee hearing earlier in the week, in which the backbencher told him Britain would be a "vassal state" during transition - taking on all EU rules and yet not having any role in formulating them.

To counter that impression, Davis is emphasising that Britain can negotiate and perhaps even sign its own trade deals during this period - even if it can only implement them later.

He's trying to put a brave face on things, but the reality is that Britain is going to roll over on everything. Europe has been clear that only one thing has been on offer. It was the original offer and it is the only one available now. There will be no other offers. Britain is going to keep everything exactly as it is, except that it will lose any power to influence the rules - either via the election of MEPs or through voting rights in EU agencies.

Davis' lame efforts to pretend that Britain will be able to negotiate new trade deals in this time are just an attempt to focus on the positives, even where they have no substance to them. Sources in Brussels have always been perfectly happy to let the UK negotiate trade deals during transition because they know this freedom is largely theoretical.

The UK doesn't have the negotiating capacity to conduct dual track talks - one set with the EU and another with everyone else. Even if it did, two years would not be enough time. And other countries would not want or be able to agree a deal with the UK until they understood what its final relationship with the EU was.

Imagine that during transition Liam Fox tried to talk to the US about a deal. The quid-pro-quo of a UK-US trade deal would be that the US opens itself up to penetration by UK financial services in exchange for the UK opening itself up to US manufacturing and agriculture. Even this is unlikely to be achievable, but lets pretend for a moment it can be done.

Britain can only open itself up to US agriculture if it has disconnected itself formally from the EU, because there are different standards on their products. All that chlorine-soaked chicken and hormone-injected beef is not going to be allowed into the European market. The UK can either detach from the EU and take those goods or stay attached to the EU and not take them. But whichever option it decides, it needs to know what its relationship with the EU is before it can decide anything with the US.

Far from being a potent trading powerhouse, Britain is actually having to go to the the EU cap-in-hand to help it roll over its existing third party trade deals with other countries. These range from full-fat free trade deals with countries like South Korea and Canada to smaller semi-skimmed trade arrangements with countries like the US and China, as well as other agreements on issues like energy, security and data protection.

Once upon a time, Fox bragged he could have all these deals sorted by the time the UK left in March 2019. He was told at the time this was not possible. Now that he has wasted a year flying around the world to no observable purpose, his department has effectively admitted his critics were right. UK negotiators are going to have ask the EU to help it roll-over those deals during transition.

There will be complaints by these third parties, but by presenting a united front - as they have done at the WTO on the vexed issue of tariff quotas - the EU and the UK stand a better chance of staring them down.

Again, we're seeing the brute reality of the Brexit dynamic laid bare: far from sailing across the world winning stunning trade victories, Britain is having to ask the EU to help clean up the mess it has made. Glory has turned to humility.

The same process is clear across the debate - on the terms of transition and on the development of the future relationship. The cake is not being had and eaten, it is being picked up and thrown at the wall.

The real choices entailed by Brexit are finally being recognised: a diminished Britain, choosing between trade and control. And with no delusions to sink into, the Tory party is increasingly free to go to war with itself.


I wish the CONservatives would just hurry up and get on with it and destroy themselves. They've been trying to for 40 years and failing even at that.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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


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