Friday 8 February 2019

Tusk does show how broken UK politics has become

Donald Tusk's intemperate outburst on Wednesday is a good sign of the pressure being faced by the EU leaders - he said there should be a special place in hell for Leavers who led the UK referendum without a plan.

Behind the scenes plenty of member states are asking why the progress is so bad and if indeed it really is all the fault of the UK or whether Junker and Tusk are culpable. This pressure is telling.

However, it still does not make their comments right. Remoaners are loving the leave take down as it matches their internal narrative perfectly. Actually, it shows the huge fault line in UK politics. After all, whilst easy to say the Leavers did not have a plan, the point is they were never in charge, ever.

After the Referendum, a remain voting PM took over and decided the red lines- unicorn ones at that. Many of the leavers suggested a Canada+ deal, which the EU offered. But no, May went for a bespoke BINO deal that would be very hard to negotiate - the Leaver's slowly left her cabinet in protest and she ignored them. Right up until she los the key votes in Parliament that are pushing us to crazy no-deal position.

In Labour too, a cynical Corbyn has really had nothing to offer, no realistic plans or aid for the Government, just partisan noise. He has fended off the majority in his own party as we all know he both wants Brexit and the Tories to be blamed for it. This strategy may yet work, but the politics of it is awful, it demonstrates in very large writing that he is the very opposite of a Statesman.

So in the round, Tusk is right but for the wrong reasons. The Referendum caused a split between political parties and also between the populace and the government. May has failed so far to square this circle and of course the EU, true to their bureaucratic mantra have not tried to help. However, if a Leaver had been Prime Minister we would now, having suffered from a few doses of reality along the way, be moving to either Canada+ or an ever softer Brexit - after all Boris could have done that.

The huge mistake for the Country was making a Remainer PM - the time called out for decisiveness and instead we got wibble. Still, hopefully there is time for either Labour or the ERG to realise the only game in town is May's deal rather than the chaotic no-deal Brexit.

As much as I don't want another General Election, we desperately need to see the Country re-align around political parties who represent leave or remain rather than vote for the current two who are split which causes a fatal inertia.


Swiss Bob said...

Not sure Canada+ could have worked given the NI border?

For me the problem was the referendum never set out what leave meant, it was simply "Brexit means Brexit" for ages and during this time the Tories set about negotiating with each other rather than Brussels. They still haven't worked out what it is they want.

You're right about Corbyn/Labour but they're having a better Brexit, they'll make the Tories own the mess while convincing enough leavers and remainers alike that they're on board with them. Cynical but it could work.

personalmusing said...

I think the ERG are right not to sign up to the withdrawal agreement. It is grossly flawed and difficult to get out of - so years of more fighting.

Instead they are tabling a free trade agreement (which is close to canada+). The only way this goes to no-deal is if the EU reject that, and if we go no-deal there is a trade focused starting point. Tabling a free trade agreement also highlights to the members states that any failure will sit at the eu level. Any member state will be able to read the WA and say no state could sign that. Why would the EU refuse to engage on a FTA - because the WA gives the EU much more power. Member states will not be happy to see member state economic risk being taken in order to try and get more power for the EU.

L fairfax said...

Why not no deal? Some economists think it could be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Leaving without a deal with the EU and trading under WTO rules will be best.

Don Cox

E-K said...

I think May is pushing it to the limit deliberately and keeping Corbyn alive to get her Brino through by fear of communism. It's the only reason TWPMILM is not toast.

Probably in cahoots with EU advisers and definitely under tactical guidance from clever Remainers at home.

The press and broadcast manipulation is something I'd never thought I'd see in our country.

It is not the Queen that needs evacuating but the whole of the Palaces of Westminster.

(The Worst Prime Minister in Living Memory)

Thud said...

Re align around who? people mainly vote for legacy parties regardless of issues.

E-K said...

What is being proven is that it doesn't really matter who you vote for - or whether you vote at all.

CityUnslicker said...

Thud - that is my point, with no way to re-align and both parties split over the main and ongoing policy issue, our political system is broken.

John in Cheshire said...

As Jeff Taylor in his YouTube reports has opined, if leaving the EU on WTO terms was so bad, the EU thugs would have been using it to beat us into submission.

I think we should leave on WTO terms, save £39bn in additional debt and use the money collected from VAT to cushion short term difficulties. Then abolish VAT altogether.

My feeling is that a plan has been prepared by Mrs May and commie Robbins, together with the EU thugs, to let us Leave the EU on 29th. March, crash the economy using the duplicitous Canadian in the Bank of England, wait until many people feel the pain and then orchestrate a re-entry into the EU, knowing they have majority support from the duped voters.

If I'm correct, once we have left the EU, the war will not be over and the Leave battalions need to stay in place to thwart the traitors.

david morris said...

CU - A pity that you promote/subscribe to the BBC line in describing leaving the EU as required by the Referendum result as a "crazy...chaotic no-deal Brexit".

Put up (a reasoned economic case for the fanciful Armageddon) or shut up

E-K said...

" let us Leave the EU on 29th. March, crash the economy using the duplicitous Canadian in the Bank of England, wait until many people feel the pain"

Including the pain of Continental manufacturers who benefit to the tune of £80bn a year from us.

We do not crash in isolation.

Good fences make good neighbours said...

No deal, WTO rules and build a border with Ireland so hard it makes Trump jealous.

E-K said...

I think the plan is to use the backstop as a diversion from the nasties that the WA contains and get Brino voted in.

hovis said...

Swiss Bob - Cameron was very clear Leave meant leaving the the EU and Customs Union. All else, could not be discussed as it woul dneed to be a negotiation.
the same critique is possible for Remain - it was not clear what form of EU was and is meant by Remain.

The Tories have abjectly failed to do as they were told by the electorate and deserved to be punished.

CU - the beauty of Brexit is that it is no longer possible to pretend we have a functioning politiocal system. Both parties need to be broken, I doubt they will. I don't expect any re-alignment in the time before the next General Election, after all a significant minority of the population were shocked (but not out of their complacency) by leave, so expect them to hold onto nurse for fear of something worse.

Lord Blagger said...

After all, whilst easy to say the Leavers did not have a plan, the point is they were never in charge, ever.

Spot on.

So what's needed? Very simple. Lets have the right of consent.

Remainers can agree with the EU, pay the EU and other costs, get EU rights in return.

Leaves don't get the rights, don't get forced to pay the costs.

Consent matters

Lord Blagger said...

The Referendum caused a split between political parties and also between the populace and the government

MPs have been given an order.

MPs hate being told what to do

MPs love telling others what to do. Ordering them around

MPs are too stupid to realize the reason they are hated is because the orders other around.

Time for a addition to the human rights act, the right to informed explicit consent. The right to say no

Anonymous said...

I await the emergence of a single obvious Leader in the Leave camp, meaning someone voters could rally to. The absence of any such is telling. The only clarion call issued by any of the w*****s was Gove's attack on Corbyn recently, a ringing Oxford Union comedy turn that seemed to rally those in his benches for a blessed five minutes of laughter. It skewered Jezza right enough.

But did it move the Nation forward one inch?

jim said...

Normal people do a scoping study before they start a project. The back of an envelope will do, what, where when, how much etc etc.


Tusk hit the nail on the head. This is an Eton Mess brought about by the handwavers in the Tory party.

Meanwhile Jezzer sits back and watches them destroy themselves and drop the election into his lap. Even I hoped the Tories would preserve the Brexit illusion long enough to get voted in come 2022 (Jezzer being a liability). But now even that hope looks very slim. The worst of all possible worlds, Brexit cock up and Jezzer.

dex said...

Well we ended up with May because the Leave candidates all bottled it, stabbed each other in the back or polled barely double digits or single digits in the case of the disgraced former defence secretary, Dr Liam Fox during hte leadership contest.

Letting her walk into the position unopposed.

And then they can't even organise a mutiny properly, so its hardly unsurprising.

Leavers have had plenty of chances but appears to be as hopelessly inept in seizing the opportunity.

andrew said...

anon @ 11

slight correction:

I await the emergence of a single obvious Leader

there. Moving on:

I am no advocate of revolution but thinking of roundheads vs cavaliers, there was a path the whole country was forced to take once the war was over.
There is no such finality here.

So I don't think you will see a leader emerge until some time has passed.

Bill Quango MP said...

CU is 100% correct about allowing Plodder to be our leader.

her lack of faith and vision is Lord Halifax like.

She began by accepting that Brexit was a terrible defeat, equivalent to Dunkirk. And that the best she could hope for was to achieve surrender terms and that didn't involve total Nazi occupation.

E-K said...

I don't call someone who hangs on to the tip of a fan throughout a shit storm a plodder.

There's strength in those hands. Corbynite to Leavers is what Cryptonite is to Superman. They cannot shake the woman off.

AndrewZ said...

L Fairfax, Don Cox, john Cheshire, david morris:

WTO rules define a basic framework for international trade but they still leave many trade barriers intact. That’s why nations make trade agreements to gain a higher level of access to each other’s markets. If WTO rules were sufficient on their own they wouldn’t bother.

Membership of the Single Market and Customs Union provides UK businesses with the highest possible level of access to the markets of other member states. The Customs Union eliminates tariffs between its members and the Single Market removes the non-tariff barriers caused by different regulatory regimes and the consequent need to inspect imports at the point of entry to ensure that they meet the necessary standards. The non-tariff barriers have vastly more impact so it’s leaving the Single Market that’s really significant.

Therefore, “No Deal” means that British exporters will go from having the highest possible level of access to European markets to the minimum entry level. Trade with Europe becomes slower, more difficult and more expensive so there will be a lot less of it. This has a knock-on effect on industries that support the export trade, such as road haulage, and then on their suppliers.

The full effect will not be felt immediately because the EU has already indicated that it will apply some temporary exemptions to the normal “third country” rules to protect its own interests. It will happen in stages.

But firms in the EU will use this time to switch away from British suppliers. Cross-Channel JIT supply chains (which were only made possible by the Single Market) will be disconnected. Multinationals will move some of their operations out of the UK. It all adds up to lots of job losses and bankruptcies as our volume of trade with our nearest neighbours sharply contracts.

As a member of the EU we cannot make our own trade agreements but we do benefit from the agreements made by the EU on behalf of its members. If the government cannot roll them over into new bilateral agreements on the same terms before we leave then our level of access to non-EU markets also drops down to the minimum entry level.

That’s why “No Deal” means a long and deep recession even if everything else works perfectly.

DJK said...

AndrewZ: You may be right that WTO rules will hurt UK exporters to Europe. But 40+ years of EU membership have hollowed out UK industry to the point where there are few exporters --- certainly, few British-owned exporters --- left to hurt.

andrew said...

"Despite the decline since the 1970s, when manufacturing contributed 25% of UK GDP, the UK is currently the eighth largest manufacturing nation in the world."
British manufacturing output slips to ninth globally behind France

About 3 million people work in that sector
It does not matter who owns the company, the question is whether it carries on trading.
So perhaps I should say worked.

E-K said...

Because, dear Nigel, she's deliberately kept the bogeyman Corbyn alive. That was the real point of the lacklustre performance in a totally unnecessary general election.

I cannot believe that about three years ago we were watching the Labour Party implode and laughing about it.

E-K said...

Andrew @ 5.33

Yes. And for what ? For what ?

(Sorry for over posting - this will slow after my return to work tomorrow. I get all my leave when no-one else is around, unfortunately.)

tolkein said...

48 days to go

There will be a deal

Leave Customs Union Single Market etc, transition to end 2021

Brexiteers won't like it Remainers will hate it, but we'll have left.

We'll be fine.

david morris said...

Andrew Z

So to convenience the JIT supply chain, a "deal should be sought"...


Dire predictions about leaving on WTO terms should be taken with a pinch of salt – just as the dire predictions should we vote to leave the EU in 2016 proved to be so false. This line of argument ignores the fact that investment is about comparative advantage. Lower taxes, more flexible labour practises, top universities, and a skilled workforce are just some of the factors that outweigh 3-5 per cent average WTO tariffs. The UK’s record low unemployment record, high manufacturing output and record inward investment is testament to this despite the perceived concern about exiting on WTO terms. We profitably trade with the rest of the world outside the EU on essentially WTO terms.

Commerce and common sense usually prevails, and will once again prevail especially with regard to the Irish border. There are tentative signs over the last week that the penny is dropping with the EU, especially in Dublin, that they may be trapped by their own rhetoric into constructing a ‘hard border’ on the island of Ireland. This is why Barnier’s recent comments that, in a WTO situation, ‘we’ll have to find an operational way of carrying out checks and controls without putting back in place a border’ are promising; certainly, these sound very much like the innovative technological solutions proposed over the last two years.

Jog on & peddle Projekt Fear Mark XXXIV elsewhere

John Miller said...

The EU stance is “We are all bureaucrats, we’ll be fine”. May believes they are invulnerable. Sure, Tusk and Junker will feel no pain, but laggards still subject to public dissatisfaction like Merkel and Macron can only be like that if they crap on their own businesses and banks. I suspect that’s the last thing they want.

So if I were May, I’d smile, say “You win”, announce “No deal it is, then” and wait for the frantic phone calls from Europe.

John Miller said...

And don’t forget, countries trade despite governments, not because of.

John Miller said...

And, finally, Jeez is right. Which army is going to land where in the South of Ireland to defend which workers while they construct Paddywall?

AndrewZ said...

david morris:

Tariffs are a minor issue. The problem is the non-tariff barriers. It’s all the additional regulations, restrictions and inspections that automatically apply to exports from Britain to the EU once we become a “third country”. That’s what makes trade with the EU slower, more difficult and more expensive and therefore means that there will be less of it. We don’t need a deal to “convenience the JIT supply chain” but to avoid a significant reduction in the volume of trade with our nearest neighbours.

If you think we currently trade with the rest of the world on WTO terms alone then take a look at the EU treaty database. There is a huge list of trade-related agreements ranging from full-scale FTAs like CETA with Canada to minor agreements for specific sectors. We trade with the rest of the world on WTO terms plus a shedload of additional agreements.

The EU won’t offer any deal that allows us to continue trading as easily as we can in the Single Market because it can’t. Firstly, some of the trade agreements it has made contain “Most Favoured Nation” clauses which specify that the EU can’t offer better terms to other countries without also offering them to the signatories of that agreement. Secondly, WTO “Most Favoured Nation” rules specify that nations and transnational entities must offer the same terms to all their trading partners. If Britain gets a special deal then the United States, China and everybody else will demand the same. Thirdly, if Britain is allowed unrestricted trade with the EU without the obligations of Single Market membership then the remaining members will demand at least as much and the whole system has to be completely redesigned. If you were negotiating for the EU would you ever agree to that?

Jog on and peddle your Project Sneer ignorance elsewhere.

andrew said...

EK, "Yes. And for what ? For what ?"

well, one reason this is (still!) one of the nicest countries in the world is that people earn lots of money. Manufacturing jobs pay more than average. The taxes paid help pay for the roads and bins and schools and NHS etc.

.. adding to Andrew Z's note on WTO terms, there is a good article here in the ft back in Nov 17 that clearly explains why as far as the 4 freedoms are concerned, they really are not negotiable. We either take them all (in which case why leave) or bits of one/two in which case the level of trade is lower and we are poorer.

It wont be a big change overnight (unlike project rear - I hope) but in 10 years time uk teenagers will look at USA teens and wonder how they can afford the good clothes.

Bill Quango MP said...

Andrew - UK teen already wonder that.
USA fashion clothes are 20-30% cheaper than in Europe.

CityUnslicker said...

Andrew- I do agree with your sentiments here, many people are easily lulled into thinking just because project rapture involves nuclear meltdowns and no airports, that somehow the whole boondoggle is exaggerated.

This is why I am for May's deal, it prevents any of the real fears about no deal coming home to roost whilst we do leave the EU. Then, over time, Governments can decide what is working, what is not and come to new arrangements as they see fit.

The no deal scenario is a silly one we should not have come close too, no one wants it and I hope a way to avoid it can be found.

However, in 10 years whether the Uk will be much richer or poorer is hard to say - of course we will be poorer as the rapid growth in asia sucks relative wealth away from Europe - but how much so is another topic and Brexit is side issue to this compared to free markets, politics and events dear boy, events.

andrew said...

of course we will be poorer as the rapid growth in asia sucks relative wealth away from Europe - but how much so is another topic and Brexit is side issue to this compared to free markets, politics and events dear boy, events.

Not poorer but ... relatively poorer - you could argue this is the case now. Not many families can afford a house on one wage, I think there were more in the 60s/ 70s.

I chose USA (Australia may have been a better match) as that is a closely equivalent non-EU country.

As long as we keep sending lots of money abroad, and resist getting into any fights we hopefully can let event pass us by.

Doing nothing is sometimes the best course of (in)action - something Mrs May takes just a little too far.

E-K said...

Clothes that only Americans can afford. Well. We could do without the BooHoo range of Rap Artist and his Bitch clothing with arrogant and insolent looking faces peering at us from hoardings.

My gran would think we'd turned into a nation of barbarians - tattoos up necks and on faces...

We could do well without American fashion.

Anonymous said...

We were 'poorer' in 1975, but working people could buy houses and raise families.

I'd rather live in a world where housing is cheap and flights are expensive than the other way round