Monday 16 July 2018

Silly Season Arrives Early

Now fair enough, it's hot and the atmosphere is febrile.  Plus, it makes a jolly good story.
Hard Brexit: the eye-catching contingency plans to stop NI power blackouts
Thousands of electricity generators would have to be requisitioned at short notice and put on barges in the Irish Sea to help keep the lights on in Northern Ireland in the event of the hardest no-deal Brexit, according to one paper drawn up by Whitehall officials... The eye-catching scenario is contained in a private government paper outlining the various negative consequences of Britain leaving the European Union without any deal. ... Northern Ireland relies on imports from south of the border because it does not have enough generating capacity itself. Britain is hoping to negotiate a deal to allow [the] single electricity market on the island of Ireland to continue after Brexit. 
I tell you somewhere else where they're hoping exactly the same thing: the Republic.  NI's dependency for electricity is more than mirrored by the South's dependency on the UK electricity market (via two big interconnectors) for system balancing: when the wind doesn't blow - there is an awful lot of highly intermittent windpower there; and when it blows a lot - as a much-needed market for electricity exports.

Oh, AND comprehensive dependency on the UK for gas - in pure energy terms, a much bigger deal.  

Curiously, these reciprocal aspects have occurred to none of the eager cut-n-paste reporters following up the story in all newpapers from the lazy comfort of their laptops.

What's even worse is that in all probability, Olly Robbins hasn't mentioned that side of the matter to the craven Mrs May either.

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PS if unable to surmount the FT paywall directly, just google the article 


Anonymous said...

Some of the rhetoric here gives me a sense of deja vu. It's almost as it there is a suggestion of an economic Cold War and the betting is there will be no mutually assured (economic) destruction.

May's plan is sensible in that it separates the physical (such as goods, and energy) from the non-physical. We want the free flow of the physical but there has been a vote to restrict the movement of people (who cannot by inference add value to UK plc)

Whilst we can export ND's expertise and the related services like legal agreements to protect his IP, or adjudication on whether the IP was any use in the first place, why worry about a few fish, cars, bottles of wine and wine. They are all essentially commodities now.

Sense appears to have gone out the window and you'll note there is no one beating a path to our door for our politicians.

L fairfax said...

The EU would have to be either evil or stupid to stop selling electricity to NI if we don't have a deal. Ireland would lose a lot of money.
Saying that the EU might be evil or stupid so it is possible.

Anonymous said...

May (a Remainer, remember) has seen every proposal she's put to the EU rejected by them (to a chorus of gleeful commentary from the Guardian/BBC axis), Brit insiders (traitors) are leaking stuff to the EU's negotiators. Remember that the elite were stunned and horrified by the Brexit vote.

Now all this was foreseen and predictable. No one has ever left the EU, and where national votes have gone against EU policy, voters have been made to vote again until the 'correct' result is achieved. The EU was never likely to want anything but a punitive Brexit pour encourager les autres - like Greece and Italy, not to mention the V4 mass immigration refuseniks.
May herself said famously that "no deal is better than a bad deal", and what she's proposed is the ultimate bad deal - accepting EU rules while having no power to change them. If this ultra-soft Brexit goes ahead, the next EU steps will involve amending those rules incrementally, step by step, to disadvantage the UK - who will have zero power to do anything about it. The end game is a second referendum where people tire of the ever-tightening rack and vote to go back in.

I don't underestimate May's difficulties. I'm sure she's worried about things like Airbus (the UK makes the wings) and Rolls-Royce, two of the UK's increasingly diminishing roster of world-class manufacturers. But an independent UK can do whatever it takes to keep those companies and their skill-sets in existence. An EU-satellite UK can't - companies like those will be effectively EU hostages.

But she is a lousy leader - a real stinker. She is weak and bears the imprint of whoever sat on her last. Her greatest claim to prominence in the Blair years was tagging her party as "the nasty party" for Guardianista brownie points - betrayal is part of who she is. As a childless woman she has no skin in the game of Britain's future.

The UK should have been planning for no deal and WTO rules from Day 1.

(While I despise her, she is Chamberlain not Hitler. She hasn't destroyed perfectly viable countries and brought about the deaths of Britons as Cameron did with Libya and Blair did with Iraq.)

hovis said...

Anon 6.17: Chamberlain was more honorable imo