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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

So, it's to be 'hard' Brexit then.

Confirmation from the Federast Empire that Brexit means exit from the customs union and single market will have disappointed a number of 'soft' Brexiteers. The statement came yesterday at the start of Brexit talks between the Kingdom and the Empire. And I use those terms with reason.

Imagine, some time after 1870, if the kingdom of Bavaria told the king of Prussia and Emperor of Germany that they wanted to leave the German federation, please, and go back to building castles and selling cuckoo clocks and lager. Prussia's anger would not only make it certain that Bavaria was excluded from the Zollverein but would take the hit on increased clock and lager costs, on principle.

But doesn't this just make our team's job easier? If this means any grant of UK aid to the Federation - though not the absurd €100bn of aid the EU are asking for - must be linked to a trade deal that replaces some of the elements of the foregone customs union and single market? That any agreed UK aid to the EU is conditional?

And surely, if yesterday's pronouncement from Barnier means we're already on WTO terms by default, we've got nothing to lose by walking away without agreeing a grant of aid to the 27?

Can anyone explain?


Sobers said...

Thats it pretty much in a nutshell. They want money, we want free trade. I always said it would come down to cash to free trade, which I can live with. Because there will come a point that we no longer need them and can withdraw our cash. We just need to get out of everything legislative. From that everything else flows.

Wildgoose said...

We could easily trade Goods under WTO rules but a lot of our economy is now service based and that isn't so easy. France and Germany (and probably Luxembourg) would love a slice of the City's billions in Financial Trade and are probably stupid enough to try to grab as much of it outright as they can, only to probably drive it to New York to everybody's loss, (especially the EU itself).

Then there's the need for more Customs staff. They should be recruiting and planning the systems right NOW. Enormous amounts of goods (food in particular) flow through our ports every day. "Just-in-time" logistics planning means that this cannot afford to be interrupted to any great extent.

An interim solution would be the EFTA/EEA route. In theory that would mean our agreeing to freedom of movement, in practise however it doesn't - Switzerland added restrictions which caused howls of outrage (and threats) from the EU. Ultimately the EU had to back down because Switzerland is a sovereign nation and has a trade deficit with the EU, (sound familiar?).

But the problem with that is that any one of the EFTA countries could veto our membership, (or be bribed/encouraged to do so...). Which is why I hope we are already trying to get that sorted as soon as possible.

What should be non-negotiable is our leaving the Customs Union. We can only make deals with other countries if we leave the Customs Union.

Demands for "soft" Brexit from Labour, the ilLiberal unDemocrats and all the rest of the Remainiacs ignore that this isn't our choice - we can't force other countries to do the deal we want. But at the same time, they can't force us either. And if they are going to play hardball with us (c.f. the well publicised comments that we must be "punished" for leaving the EU) then we really need to be prepared to do the same - for example a serious threat to withdraw from N.A.T.O. would probably get both the U.S.A. and Eastern Europe on side. After all, if we are renegotiating our international agreements and everything is on the table, then everything is on the table.

Robert said...

After all the posturing David Davies has accepted the EU's timetable for discussions. As to the rest it is clear that he has no idea what he is doing. There is no plan.

rapscallion said...

It really comes down to plain old politics and money. Nothing ever changes. This is why Richard North IS correct when it comes to looking at the fine print and the details contained within various treaties. As we well know however, these "rules" can be bent or broken as necessary to achieve the objective. The EU breaks them on a regular basis. My point here is that when it comes down to it there will be one of two outcomes. The first is where the Eurocrats, who insist that we must be punished for being bad EUropeans (which is a bit rich), and we end up with no deal. Really, how sad, never mind. The second outcome is where they come to their senses, realise that locking out the world's 5th largest economy is not the cleverest thing to do, and their businesses WILL suffer.

I'd prefer the latter, but if they insist on being total idiots, then that's their lookout.

I don't care as long as we return to the status pre 1972 ECA, where we have full control of our borders and our waters and where ONLY British Law is sovereign.

Sackerson said...

Hard Brexit sound like you have to bang it on the table to knock the weevils out before trying to chew it. But soft Brexit seems to me like a cat stuck in a catflap.

Sackerson said...

Btw all this sour fuss and threats from the EU shows that it's not about trade, otherwise they'd be keen to make deals as fast as possible.

jack ketch said...

After all the posturing David Davies has accepted the EU's timetable for discussions. As to the rest it is clear that he has no idea what he is doing. There is no plan."

This! (unlike German Industry which has been planning for every possible Brexit variant since that EU summit when they forced to Cameron to wear a pink tutu and play Fere Jacques on the recorder). At the rate Brit.gove is going, the EU will end up paying us to "Go with god but GO!" as they say over there on the continent.

The way I read it most of the EU leaders seem to think 'will yous please just feck the le feck right off, yUK, or at least make your minds up what you want to achieve ici mon Amis?' (things like 'regaining sovereignty & independence' are nebulous at best and mythical at worst).

jack ketch said...

I can hear my former French master shouting 'mes Amis'...

Dave_G said...

Like former East Germans trying to escape the confines of Communism I'm waiting for the rhetorical 'bullet in the back' from the EU gun.

The comparisons in situation are large and many.

jack ketch said...

Dave_G , if you mean the British are to the EU what the Russians were to the DDR you'd be right I suspect.

terence patrick hewett said...

@Jack Ketch

North Side or South Side?

jack ketch said...

@tph, sorry not a clue what you're asking. I doubt it is about my feelings about the American Civil war? If you're asking if I'm from 'Geordie land' (ie anywhere north of Watford Gap Services) or English then very definitely the latter. However if you are enquiring whether I am a 'Remainer' or a 'Brexiteur' then I'm neither, I'm a smoker and therefore view the whole 'Brexit' thing as a bit of an irrelevance -although I think Smokers may be slightly better off in than out and the first smoking brexiteur who grizzles about having to pay Oz/NZ prices in my fist's reach will get a smack in the gob. What did those particular turkeys think Xmas post brexit and customs reform would look like?

RAC said...

"So, it's to be 'hard' Brexit then"......That's all I've ever wanted, just do it.

Anonymous said...

I keep coming back to the notion that everyone in the world wants to sell stuff to each other, even the remotest tribe want to trade and that the only obstacles seem to be governments, Treaties, trade deals and endless negotiations.

jack ketch said...

", even the remotest tribe want to trade "

Indeed, it always puzzles me that pretty much every 'civilised' government spouts on about 'Free Trade' whilst doing their absolute damnedest not to. Adams would rolling in his grave. I keep hoping PMT.May will suddenly wake up and decide to declare 'universal' Free Trade ie anyone can send us their goods duty free (assuming compliance with safety laws etc) as long as they don't slap duty on our cheap tin trays and glass walking sticks in return. And those countries which do still impose duty will pay the same on the goods they send to us.
But I fear that would be the sort of rockwell hard Brexit not even the most frothy mouthed Brexiteur would consider and would be far too complex for politicians to get their heads around.

Anonymous said...

@Sackerson: Could we not compromise by not trying to chew it, but ramming it into the soft end of the cat. That might straighten it out a bit.

Seriously though, WTO rules and unilateral free trade will probably be great, long term - like swimming in the whole ocean instead of a small pool. It's just that we might want to be able to swim first, before jumping off the cliff into the deep briney.

Hence all the suggestions about leaving the EU but staying in the EEA single market by re-joining EFTA ( aka the "Common Market" that we were originally sold).


Dioclese said...

No money. No deal. Just tell them to get stuffed...

Anonymous said...

" the only obstacles seem to be governments"

And French farmers and other trades unions, all trying to protect their jobs against competition.

Don Cox

rapscallion said...

@gareth "Hence all the suggestions about leaving the EU but staying in the EEA single market by re-joining EFTA ( aka the "Common Market" that we were originally sold)"

That's not strictly true though it it? The original "Common Market" did not include freedom of movement.

EFTA is a different kettle of fish, requiring as it does "freedom of movement" - unless we invoke EEA Article 112.

If the choice is hard brexit or a brexit whereby we remain a member of the customs union which includes freedom of movement then I'm all for a hard Brexit.

john savage said...

Fromage! mes Amis.
Is more like it.

Anonymous said...

@ rapscallion

Fair doos if that's the extent of our disagreement. And you agree we can use Art 112/113.

Note that the customs union is an EU thing - if we are not out of the customs union we are not out of the EU. So we need to be out of it (like Norway, Iceland, etc.)

The four freedoms are independent from the customs union (can't be arsed to look up the reference - Google is your friend here). Personally I have no issue with movement of Europeans (like my neighbors, friends, Ex, the folks who fought with us in WW2, etc.). Generally they are OK people-much-like-us and from our common Judeo-Christian tradition.

We voted (rightly) to "Leave the EU", so let's do that - but we don't need a plane crash type buggeration of our economy, so let's not do that (although that's what our politicos, in their completely ignorant certainties, seem set on).


Budgie said...

The UK is a member of the EEA by default of being part of the EU. When we leave the EU, we leave the EEA and the customs union, and all other EU institutions by definition. If we don't, we haven't properly left the EU.

After leaving, the UK could then possibly rejoin the EEA, which has been extended to EFTA members if they want to sign up to it. Agreeing to join the EEA, even from within EFTA, puts us back under the control of the EU, and subject to free movement of trade, services, capital and labour.

Why ever would we do that, having got this far? We can escape the EU now. Or never. The obvious risk of re-joining the EEA is that we will never escape control by the EU.

Only circa 10% of UK GDP is accounted for by UK exports to the EU. The EU really isn't that important to us. As for imports from the EU they can be sourced from elsewhere. Our independence is worth more than avarice for a damned BMW.

jack ketch said...

"Our independence is worth more than avarice for a damned BMW"
Never underestimate the 'pull' of German auto engineering to a nation who last built a halfway decent car themselves before I was born, the nation that came up with British Leyland. Hell the 'pull' of any German engineering, car based or otherwise, to a nation that still insists on giving out temperatures in a mathematical system that was archaic when the ancient Babylonians built their towers by it.

As to what this mythical notion of 'independence' is worth, apparently it isn't worth the however many billions the EU wants for stuff we've already signed up to. Is not your independence worth a measly 100 billion? Well don't worry if it isn't, the way PMT.May's rabble are going the EU will pay us that just to get shot of us. You can only dick 27 other sovereign independent nations around so much.

jack ketch said...

After I posted my last comment, about 'dicking 27 other nations around', I heard on PM (yeah I know but I like Humpf when I'm cooking) that apparently the only female world leader who really matters, Merkel, seems to be of the same opinion. I guess all the pressure from German industry to get rid of us as soon as possible is making itself felt...that and the deepening disgust felt among swathes of the EU about PMT.May teaming up with those tangerine flavoured *insert expletive for female genitalia here * of the DPU.

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch, Let 27 of us who think independence is not "mythical" have control of your bank account. You'll soon realise that independence is for real. Certainly all the countries that are ex-British Empire thought independence was real enough to leave. And good for them.

If we were applying to join the EU then the opinion of the "27 other nations" would matter. But we're not. So their opinion doesn't matter. We are not "dicking them around", it's just none of their business anymore.

jack ketch said...

Budgie, independence is real , what i was refering to as 'mythical' was the oft touted myth that we are, whilst in the EU, no longer 'sovereign' or 'independent' a notion disproven on several occasions last year alone. Of course it rather depends on how one defines a nation's independence but, unless the law has changed, the PM can declare war on Outer Mongolia tomorrow if he so wish (although these lilly livered days the PM would, no doubt, want parliamentary backing). Remember the squit about bombing which ever bit of Backwardstan? Was a time the PM would have said 'cry havoc'nowadays they go and ask parliament for permission (ie an exercise in arse covering) what the PM doesn't do however is ask permission from the EU. The US perhaps maybe but Brussels? No.
That said if I were a Brexiteur, and I'm not (nor am I a remainer), I would have found today's Daily Mail's headlines worrying. Far as I can see, what I have always said (I'm The Blocked Dwarf btw, I just had login problems with this site)is about right. Brexit will end up with MORE nasty foreigners and devotees of the Religion Of Peace descending on these shores.

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch, Declaration 17 of the Lisbon Treaty (which G Brown signed for the UK) states: "... the Treaties, and the law adopted by the Union on the basis of the Treaties, have primacy over the law of the Member States ..." (my italics). This derives from EU case law as far back as 1964.

Therefore the UK is not a sovereign nation as part of the EU. Of course the EU takeover is not yet complete. Some policy areas are less under the control of the EU than others. Make no mistake, leaving the EU means the UK recovering its independence.

jack ketch said...

"the EU takeover is not yet complete. "-Budgie

You say that like it is a bad thing? But yes you're right in the sense that IF the UK were to remain 'in' (which personally I doubt, some kind of Brexit now seems inevitable if only because of what Merkel was saying the other day) then there is no doubt we would, relatively soon, lose real independence and sovereignty-however one chooses to define such terms. Had the Brexiteurs been somewhat less hysterical and said 'we will lose' instead of have LOST then I, for one, might have been more convinced then, although I personally have no problem with the UK being borged into a EUSSR.

That said, equating a theoretical 'primacy' with a loss of independence is just a teensy weensy bit Brexitysterical. If 'primacy'of legislation equated to a loss of independence than scare a nation on Earth might claim to be sovereign. As far as I know, if PMT.May wakes up to tomorrow and wants Nigel Farage dead then she can order his execution and no one, not even the 'Primary' EU courts can hold her to account. (There may be a legal 'rider', prerequisite, that he, Farage, must not be in the UK, I don't know). People used to disbelieve me when I said such things- until those 'extra judicial' killings last year or so. Again as far as I know , if both houses of Parliament were to decide to dispose of the Monarch or even the Monarchy as a whole, Brussels would not be able to overrule the UK.

Surely 'your' plebis-cide (which did more to damage the sovereignty of Parliament than the EU ever has btw)is proof positive that the UK is atm an 'independent' nation or did I miss Juncker saying 'you may NOT leave' (not that he would, he'll dance a jig the day we go but then again he, unlike most brexiteurs, was brought up in a country that really had lost all independence within recent living memory ).

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch, You seem to be tying yourself in knots. The UK has already lost independence to the EU. The UK is no longer a sovereign nation. The Lisbon Treaty Declaration 17 is plain: EU law has primacy over UK law. That is not "theoretical", it is a fact of law and of sovereignty with profound and far reaching implications for who controls the UK and the laws we actually live under.

The decision to hold a national Referendum to leave or remain in the EU was taken by the UK Parliament, with the conditions specified in the EU Referendum Act 2015, passed by Parliament. Therefore that Referendum certainly did not "damage" Parliamentary sovereignty, it took place because of it. But quite clearly laws made in Brussels do damage UK Parliamentary sovereignty by their very existence and because the UK Parliament cannot refuse or repeal them. These are definitions, not a matter of opinion.

jack ketch said...

"The UK is no longer a sovereign nation."
I think her majesty might disagree. But let's leave our discussion there, I doubt either us is going to convince the other. The proof will be in the pudding and the devil in the detail always. PMT.May will no doubt ensure we all, Brexiteur, Remainer or Smoker will all get our just deserts.

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch, Let's not. Read the Lisbon Treaty Declaration 17, then come back with proof that EU law does not have supremacy over UK law. Otherwise accept the facts. Even if they don't conform to your opinions.

jack ketch said...

Oh dear, yet another Brexiteur who has bizarrely forgotten what being British means (apologies if you're not and you are then, of course, excused your faux pas). Two chaps agree to disagree, smoke their pipes and talk about the bloody awful weather for this time of year.

I don't know how many times you've read 'Lisbon Treaty Declaration 17' (I assume you mean the snappily titled:" 12008E/AFI/DCL/17
Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - DECLARATIONS annexed to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference which adopted the Treaty of Lisbon, signed on 13 December 2007 - A. DECLARATIONS CONCERNING PROVISIONS OF THE TREATIES - 17. Declaration concerning primacy " or in how many languages. I have far too many times to have been healthy and in two languages.

Let me be very plain, plain enough even for the more frothy mouthed of a brexiteur persuasion: NO ONE, and certainly not me, disputes that EU Law has primacy over UK law. Seriously, it is about as 'fact' a fact as it gets.

So glad we agree. Where we however disagree is on what that phrase 'primacy over' means. The EU (as far as I can understand the 'legals') takes it to mean 'EU law can't be overridden by national law'- which is what 'primacy' means 'normally'. You, however, seem to think it means a loss of national independence or sovereignty. As to how valid your ( and 17 million of your fellow's) interpretation is , remains to be seen...from what I was hearing on this evening's PM not much but there is a way to goes yet.

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch, The EU makes hundreds of laws, covering a wide range of policy issues. Regulations, Decisions and Directives - each one means we have to obey a law made in Brussels, not Parliament (as explained by Declaration 17). So each one means the UK Parliament cannot decide for itself. Each EU law is therefore a diminution of Parliamentary sovereignty. Each EU law is therefore a diminution of our independence.

I don't "seem to think" it means a loss of national independence and sovereignty. It is.

You can either welcome the takeover of the UK by the EU, or oppose it. Personally I value UK independence, as many have before me. Certainly the option of sitting on the fence, sneering that the loss of independence is merely mythical, disappeared about a quarter of a century ago.