Wednesday 7 August 2019

They are refusing to negotiate...with reality

So says Michael Gove yesterday. Boris's new team are really on a roll, sadly it is downhill to nowhere.

Apparently the EU wont negotiate  - but negotiate with what? They can hardly just drop the Backstop having died on a hill for it for 2 years. Politically, this will be very hard for them to do and I would guess prove impossible. It is the wrong choice of battlefield.

There are no other demands from the new UK Government, so there is indeed nothing to negotiate. How about a side discussion on moving to EFTA for a start as a part way move - something to give the EU their own political cover to make some moves?

Gove used to be smart, but Brexit Derangement Syndrome has claimed another victim.

But it is not just the Government who need to engage their brains a little more, the classic August summer story is that we are going to get a Government of National Unity led by Ken Clarke or Caroline Lucas. I have expected for a long time that the Remain majority in Parliament would find a way to revoke Article 50 but desperation grows strong now for the Remain MP's.

But this wont be the way, there are just not enough Tory and non-Corbynite Labour votes for a GNU to make this work - let alone the insane spectacle of Parliament over-ruling the Referendum and the commitments make by most Parties at the last 2 elections - much as it would be fun to watch there are too many dark downsides to this outcome.

In 2015, Margaret Beckett and others swiftly regretted allowing Corbyn to stand for Labour leader and thus destroying her own party. I wonder how many MP's are at home this summer regretting their cavalier attitude to May's deal?


Anonymous said...

Or are they just playing chicken and hoping that that EU will move at the last second? Which is typically the EU way of doing things.

Sackerson said...

Article 50(2) makes it incumbent on the EU to "negotiate ***and conclude***" an agreement. Barnier's team has done nothing but fold its arms since December.

You yourself have indicated here that it's a matter of political stubbornness / face on the EU's side. That's not good enough.

I am in favour of a sustained PR campaign to dye Barnier and his electively mute team in the deepest hues of failure and dereliction of their duty.

Raedwald said...

The EU have tried to impose a treaty every bit as humiliating as Versailles was for Germany or Brest-Litovsk was for Russia. MPs, rightly not wanting to go down in history as the Parliament that connived and enabled such an act of base infamy, won't agree it. Fair dos.

That leaves only no deal, revoking Art 50 or the EU removing the backstop. The second won't happen - MPs and existing parties will be signing their own P45s. So it's down to the EU entirely to avoid no-deal.

My guess is that they'll blink at the last minute - 'In the interests of the people of Europe, who should not be subject to the intransigence of the UK government'

The question is now, will they concede enough?

Lord Blagger said...


1. Put a spending bill to parliament where MPs get to decide on what spending cuts are made to get May's deal past.

The cost of May's deals are 80 bn a year.

Payments to the EU come after all other cuts are made.

The costs are capped.

Will remainer MPs vote for austerity on that scale and take responsibility?

Like heck. End result - it fails

2. Tilbrook appeal. Attorney General says its a fair cop. End result we are out.

Added bonus, the extension was illegal. Remainer MPs get surcharged, bankrupted. As bankrupts they can't stand as MPs.

3. Prorogue parliament.

4. ....

Elby the Beserk said...

But May's "deal" was in reality Articles of Submission. I full expected her to be summoned to sign them in a railway carriage in Compi├Ęgne. Read Lawyers For Britain's repeated dissections of May's utter nonsense, brought THREE times to the House. And it was not "just the backstop". Not to mention that's she's handed over the military to the EU without sop much as a by your leave.

Never thought I'd live to see a PM worse than Brown.

Yet I did.

Anonymous said...

See CU 6/3/19: "A Deal Too Rich For Its Own Good".

Jan said...

Did anyone notice the "extreme fear" on the BBC this morning?

Apparently there will be unpredictable shortages for months/lack of wharehousing/this is the worst time to do no deal in the run up to Christmas/lack of funding etc etc for science research. People will stockpile/panic buy so stocks in the shops will run out blah blah blah....

It was so bad I thought the usual editors (who seem to have a slightly more neutral stance) must be on holiday leaving the extreme remainers on duty.

andrew said...

lack of warehousing... I have been long BBOX for that very reason for over a year now.

Heard the science guy on R4 today this am. Paraphrasing: "We should cancel brexit because it makes no sense to me and i am much cleverer than all of you". I am clever enough to understand that that attitude is why a number of people voted for exit.

Moving on.

I am sure you all understand that something - or some things - will indeed go to s*** on a no deal exit.

The question is what then.

Would not want to call it a 'left' or 'socialist' or 'remainer' thing (as I am a weak remainer), but an awful lot of people on the BBC do seem to have the attitude of
'it is all going to go wrong and if I sit here and moan enough someone _else_ will have to fix it for me'

It is a game of two halves:

Back in the real world, I am sure the planners as $supermarket have already struck deals with producers in Kenya. They will be cheaper than the EU and delighted to take the money we send to Holland.

There will be a gap - possibly weeks - but it will be filled. Yes, something will go wrong you should not be surprised.

People in the continent will still sell to us.

This will not be fun, but, commerce goes on. Yes, jobs will be lost. Suck it up. You voted for this (looking at you, Sunderland / Cornwall etc).
In 10 years or so we will have adjusted.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Apropos medicine & food shortages and other associated bullshit... someone is going to have explain to me why we would shut our own borders and prevent goods from coming in. Assuming we do indeed not shut our own borders, is the EU really going to blockade us & prevent contracts between UK customers and EU based suppliers from being fulfilled?

Elby the Beserk said...

Who voted in the Referendum because economy?

Charlie said...

Depends what you mean by "economy". If you mean GDP, no, although I don't think the effect on GDP will be as calamitous as predicted. If you mean closing the door on cheap labour that holds down the wages of the low-paid, easing the pressure on our schools and hospitals, and giving us tariff-free, or low-tariff, access to markets that are cheaper than the EU, yes.

Bill Quango MP said...

The EU is on holiday. There is no one to negotiate with.

E-K said...

ND is on holiday too. Is this a coincidence ???

Anonymous said...

Jan - "Did anyone notice the "extreme fear" on the BBC this morning?"

My children overseas, reliant on the BBC and social media, tell me there's 'chaos', yet apart from the increasingly crowded roads the place seems much the same as in 2015. The supermarkets have full shelves, people are enjoying their holidays, England are being bashed by the Aussies.

It may be that this is August 1939, but I hardly think so. Are the French going to blockade the Channel?

One cloud no smaller than a man's hand has nothing to do with Brexit - the news that only half of earners pay any income tax. A low-wage economy simply can't run a decent welfare state.

Charlie said...

But someone from the Remain campaign told me that economic migrants only benefit our economy. Can it really be true that most of them aren't paying any income tax whatsoever? I'm shocked - I thought that it was only the Leave campaign that told porkies (source: Electoral Commission).

Anonymous said...

Seems there has been a tilt that makes ND attractive (the other ND...)

Is BDS really that bad? We'll go our separate ways; there will be wailing in the media;and a court case for the £39bn.

Hardline Brexiters will say that the pain is worth it. The EU will point to the (short term) suffering of leaving the EU to keep others in line. They could also point out we were never European enough anyway.

So it's hello the USA as we move towards their sphere of influence and away from the EU. We'll believe ourselves to be independent again but we're really just swapping one master for another.

Did EK actually say we are the most powerful and dangerous country in the world?

andrew said...

_generally_ benefit our economy ...

EU migrants claim less benefits than us and pay more taxes.

This is not a surprise. Lazy / Ill / Old people do not tend to move house, nevermind country.

The precise phrase _only_benefit_our_economy_ would only be used by a fool - so entirely credible a remainer said that.

A quick google:
about 6% of the UK is from the EU
about 2.2% of benefit claimants are from the EU


An average adult migrant from one of the original 13 EU member states (excluding the UK and Ireland) contributed £3,740 more to Britain’s exchequer than an average UK citizen; an eastern European migrant accession countries paid an average of £1,040 more

Sackerson said...

“A single, working 20-year-old with no dependent children, for example,
must earn a gross income between £10,000 and £15,000 per annum to
become a net contributor to the public finances (HH1 in Fig. 14). But later
in life, if this individual lives with a working partner and two dependent children,
their “break-even” household income looks rather different: the fiscal
implications of raising children mean the household needs to earn around
£45,000 to contribute positively to public finances (HH2). Once those children
are no longer financially dependent, the same two working parents, aged 55,
would have a different relationship with the state again: they would require a
combined gross income of around £25,000 per annum, on average, to make a
positive net fiscal contribution that year (HH3). And once the pair have retired,
aged 70, they would require a much higher household income of over £90,000
to support the level of annual public spending they would incur (HH4).25 The
very high break-even point for household four reflects large health and pension
costs, as well as the loss of liability for National Insurance contributions for
people over 65.” – p. 26

E-K said...

Andrew - I didn't mean to sound jingoistic when I said that. Our economic implosion would collapse the entire fiat and credit system.

It is for our leaders to play that to best advantage.

E-K said...

Sackerson - and most are invited here to do the the work that pays less than benefits aka "the jobs our people don't want to do."

Sackerson said...

@E-K: ... and should be made to do. The cost of long-tern unemployment is far more than "benefits" - add all that to the calculations and the figures look even less sustainable. Think health interventions, policing, law, special ed. for their children...

Anonymous said...


Seems the bottom line is

Young people - good
Young people with children - not so good
Middle aged people without children - good as long as those children are young without their own children
Old people - bloody expensive

Why use immigration as a measure when fiscally it should be age. Get rid of the oldies.

Side issue: Average age of conservative party members voting for the new PM was 71 i.e. expensive ......

Sackerson said...

@Anon 2:24 - I'm well ahead of you there:

... or as the slogan I saw on an upper deck bus seat in the 1980s said: "Kill the old."

Or kill the Welfare State - which could be one consequence of uncontrolled immigration.

Elby the Beserk said...

Cost of immigration ; UCL paper was usually only quoted WRT immigrants w prof qualifications. But....

Dig deep comrades,,,

Overall cost of migration

1. Between 1995 and 2011 the fiscal cost of migrants in the UK was at least £115 billion and possibly as much as £160 billion according to a report from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration headed by Professor Christian Dustmann at University College, London. The report found that migrants in the UK were a fiscal cost in every year examined.[1]

Contribution of ‘recent migrants’

2. The report claims that migrants who had arrived in the UK since 2000 had made positive contributions throughout the period from 2001 to 2011. This does not appear to be correct, the figures in the paper show that the contribution from these recent migrants was negative in each year after 2008.

Contribution of ‘recent A10 migrants’

3. The authors also highlighted a finding that between 2001 and 2011 recent migrants from Eastern Europe had made a net contribution of £5bn. While this correctly reports their most optimistic finding, their calculations in four alternative scenarios were all lower. One of these alone was enough to reduce the contribution to as little as £0.066bn – a sum within the margin of error of such calculations.

4. In addition, the very large fiscal cost of immigration overall is compounded by the cost of congestion and loss of amenity caused by our rapidly rising population.

Charlie said...

andrew - nobody said anything about benefits. I'm talking about the driving down of wages, which free movement of labour surely does.

"An average adult migrant from one of the original 13 EU member states (excluding the UK and Ireland) contributed £3,740 more to Britain’s exchequer than an average UK citizen; an eastern European migrant accession countries paid an average of £1,040 more"

I would be interested to see this study narrowed to those in work, or of working age. We don't have many pensionable EU migrants in the country. I would be interested to see how much is contributed by EU migrants (by definition, they should be in work) vs in-work UK citizens.

DJK said...

GDP is a terrible metric; GDP per capita is much better and corresponds more to people's individual experiences. Migrants might or might not make a positive contribution to GDP/capita, depending on their age, aptitude and experience, relative to the rest of the population. But migration can only be guaranteed to be a good thing for all of the host nation if there is some kind of network effect at work.

But that would imply that larger countries, or at least more densely populated countries always have a higher standard of living than smaller or less densely populated ones. That is demonstrably not the case.

andrew said...


There seems to be a small downward effect amongst the low paid, and a slight upward effect at the top.

It is easy to get bogged down in stats. Like DJK says (and Jessie J), it is not about the money.

Shortly after the leave result I was talking to a client and was amazed to be told she voted leave. I asked why. She said that it was because she walked down the local high st (small town near swindon), it was a nice evening, the street was busy, and no-one spoke english.

DJK, that made me remember

EK for PM.

Anonymous said...

"GDP per capita is much better and corresponds more to people's individual experiences."

Even better (because it covers the 'typical' worker, whereas most of the increase in GDP has accrueds to the top few percent) is median weekly wage. You can find figures for 1968 to 2017 here in excel (don't know where the 2018 figures have got to).

The median (50%) figure is of particular interest, because that's our guy half way up the earnings ladder. And 'guy' is of particular interest because we have not yet reached that nirvana when a young woman says to herself "I'd better look for a more lucrative career and start saving, or how will I be able to support a husband and children?". Affordable family formation still depends on male earnings. (You may have noticed reports in the last week that UK fertility is at an all-time low, even including our fecund newcomers).

We see that a median male in 1997 earned £357.60, and that in 2017 he earned £594.10.

His gross wages have risen by £236.5 or 66%.

Now take a look at the BoE inflation app

And ask it "what would goods and services costing £358 (app only does integers) in 1997 cost in 2017?

It'll tell you £619.37. Real median male wages have fallen over the last 20 years.

If you want to be really depressed, look at what's happened to house prices. Halifax have sold their excellent database into slavery and you now pay for it, but Nationwide have their inflation adjusted average property price here

Average property price, inflation adjusted

1997 Q1 - £104,116
2017 Q1 - £249,942 - a 140% real terms increase, using a lousy inflation measure that considers property to be "an investment".

So real wages are down a few percent, real property up 140%.

If our young people weren't so well indoctrinated they might realise they were betrayed long before 2016.

E-K said...

"EK for PM."

Now. That's not the first time that's been said about me, alas, I'm a total cock in real life... oh... maybe I am qualified then.

Anonymous said...

Just to complete the picture, real UK GDP 1997-2017 (in 2010 units if I u
nderstand correctly), from the St Louis Fed/Eurostat.

Q1 1997 - £302.875 bn
Q1 2017 - £453.528 bn

So a real 50% increase, to match the real fall in wages and the real 140% house proice increase. The top few % are pocketing the money and buying houses!

DJK said...

Anon: thanks for the stats. Governments since 1997 have tried to juice GDP with an open door immigration policy (and free movement in goods and capital). It has worked in its own terms, but it has not made the median person better off --- quite the reverse, in fact.

I think the key statistic for the long term future is the rate of family formation. Right now, several trends work against that, not least falling real wages, rising house prices, and student debt.

E-K said...

DJK - all of which hits aspirational young people disproportionately. In other words we encourage failures to breed.

Whatever Remain say about me I DID vote with my children's interests at heart and not my own.

CityUnslicker said...

I have really enjoyed this comment thread all.

John Brown said...

"I wonder how many MP's are at home this summer regretting their cavalier attitude to May's deal?"

There are 2 reasons why Parliament could not bring itself to vote for Mrs. May’s Withdrawal Treaty :

Firstly because it was such a bad deal for the UK that even remainer MPs could not vote for it. We would have accepted EU laws, budgets, taxes, fines and policies (trade, energy, environment, foreign, immigration etc) but without representation or veto and with no lawful means of exit – a Treaty described by Mr. Verhofstadt’s staff as reducing the UK to EU colony status.

Some laws and policies were so one sided they would have applied to the UK but not to the EU.

It was a trap. But don’t take my word for it, see what Mr. Macron said regarding the subsequent negotiations on fishing once we had signed the Withdrawal Treaty :

“The UK will be trapped in a customs union after Brexit unless Downing Street offers European fishermen full access to British waters during the coming trade negotiations.”

“The EU’s demands on fisheries needed swift resolution after 29 March 2019 or the talks on a wider trade deal would fail leaving the UK in the “backstop” customs union envisioned in the withdrawal agreement.”

“It [the backstop] is a lever”

“We will concentrate our efforts in order to obtain access to the British waters before the end of the transition period. And of course all of our fishermen will be protected.”

Secondly because they realised they and their parties would be toast once the UK public woke up to find themselves in this colonial position and did not fancy the social, political and economic upheaval which would ultimately occur. A situation far worse than a no-deal Brexit