Let’s see the Brexit deal risk assessment

Let’s see the Brexit deal risk assessment

While thinking about how to make waves around the Tories Brexshite mess, I have come to the conclusion that the fact they’ve turned off parliamentary scrutiny is a big problem; we have no effective politicians to engage with. They are also treating us to mushroom therapy by withholding the impact analysis on the future relationship treaty. It’s clear that small businesses are having difficulty exporting, jobs in finance and distribution are moving to continental Europe, there are stirrings of border fetishism rising in Northern Ireland and the settled status programme will lead to massive hardship although in the latter case it’s as much be design as by accident. Let’s see the Impact Assessment, we’ve paid for it.


The EU, too early to ask to rejoin?

The EU, too early to ask to rejoin?

I am standing for anothereurope’s national committee, the poll closes tonight, if you’ve not voted, please do so and put me first, I explain why in another article on this blog and in this article I look at rejoining. I had thought “rejoining the EU” to be off the table for years but the post Brexit trade deal is turning to shit even more quickly than I expected. Again, I over-estimate the Tories; if I was planning to fuck up the economy, and betray noisy element of my electoral coalition, I’d have sort have planned to do it over a period of time, inspired by the instruction manual of how to boil a frog, hoping they wouldn’t notice. But no, within days, it’s clear that its useless to catch fish if you can’t sell it, that a customs border between Britain and Northern Ireland is going to be a problem in supplying northern Irish supermarkets, that warehousing jobs are going to move to the continent, that exporters are going to have to open European offices, or in the case of some food businesses stop exporting, that exported goods in transit over the turn of the year will be returned and/or burnt and that supply chains will be disrupted impacting British manufacturing productivity. While we may be in a tariff free agreement, the trade border is not frictionless and this friction will cost people money, their jobs and in some cases, patron owned small businesses, many with long histories of success will sadly go under. We need to remember Boris’s summary of his industrial policy, “Fuck Business”.

The thing that could generate the most schadenfreude is that the victims in this first month would seem to be advocates of leaving the EU i.e. the fishing industry and the DUP or victims of government bullying which is why so many businesses have been so silent over the last six months. This government has no loyalty to its allies, only to its paymasters, the lesson to be learned is that the Tories are not to be trusted. I feel for you loss and sense of betrayal and ask that you join in, in attempts to fix the new issues surrounding trade with Europe

While I believe that we should rejoin, but there are two problems, one the Tories and secondly, there will need to be unanimity amongst the member states and many of them will be fed up with our behaviour over not only the last 11 months but in much of the time leading up to our 2016 vote. We will need to show that we’ll be better Europeans and probably show it for a sustained period. We are unlikely to get our opt-outs back, on the financial rebate, immigration, the economic stability pact, the Justice Chapter and our opt-out from the goals of further political and economic union which includes the Euro. This Tory government will not agree to these goals, and the country will need to show a renewed commitment to the European project by kicking them out. The time taken to negotiate a true re-entry could be some time, the quickest ever was Finland which took three years and much may depend on how we choose to use our new found sovereignty. In theory we have currently adopted the acquis and so can prove our ability to meet the market pressures and obligations of the single market. The only question out-standing is are we sufficiently democratic given we have an appointed second chamber and no basic law. We should note that our financial contribution will be welcome.

It will take time;  in order to mitigate the damage being done to the economy now, I think we’ll have to pursue a stealth mission to re-join the single market either via a swiss route, of a bilateral agreement, by developing the future relationship agreement. This will be hard with this current Government and Parliament, partly because of its hard on for ‘controlling our borders’. The alternative is to pursue EFTA membership.

I was complaining to a friend, about my new blue passport and he boasted that his burgundy passport had seven years and I said, “we’ll be back in by then”. He suggested not, and on looking at it, I think he’s right, but we can start now with the single market.

Image Credit: Rick Cohen @flickr CC 2006 BY-SA, European Union Expansion Celebration – cropped and resized …

Brexit, the next trade deadlines

Brexit, the next trade deadlines

Brexit is not yet done, this, from the Institute of Govt., shows the upcoming deadlines for further agreement. most importantly in the short term, financial services equivalence and data adequacy. Slightly later in the year, is the new definition for food safety documentation required to export British food to the EU and Northern Ireland.

I might say more when I have studied it, but I have written recently about financial services, and extensively on the need for & likelihood of a data adequacy agreement. …

Finance in the City

Finance in the City

I made a blog on linkedin; a lot of money left the City on the 4th Jan, the first day of trading after the end of the UK’s brexit transition period. The article has a bit of explanation and a bit of prediction; more could follow and some of the market infrastructure companies and lawyers may need to do so too. While non European finance will likely remain in London, and provide both volume and gravity, the death of LIFFE showed that things can change.

Bloomberg are not so equanimous, and express their views in an article behind a “please pay us” splash screen; it’s a review of the leading merchant bank’s economists talking about the investment opportunities in the UK now that we have an idea of the new framework defining the terms of Trade. Many are neutral, the headline quotes the ‘bear’.

I am not sure, I suspect that the gravitational effect of world trade in non-Euro shares and the trade in currencies will maintain a critical mass giving the skills and infrastructure the reason to stay in London. What’s gone is gone but we need the Government to get on top of the negotiations on “equivalence”, which will determine the banks’ ability to serve both the EU market and EU citizens in the UK.  …

Happy Fish

Happy Fish

Who’d have thought it? After threatening a no-deal Brexit to protect Britiain’s fishing industry, we discover that the goal would seem to have been to make Britain’s fish happy! FFS! The inconvenient truth is that most of the fish caught in British waters are sold in the EU and given the need for more paperwork at the border, the industry is having such severe difficulty in getting their fish to market that they are keeping the boats in port to save the quota until a time when they can sell what they catch. It seems, however, we still have time and resources to chase the Irish away from Rockall. It may not just be fishing, the LSE predicts that UK Exports to the EU will fall by ⅓, total trade by 13% and GNI by 6%.

There is a murmur of evidence that, what economists call, increased friction at the border is causing supply chain disruption for the super-markets and there are coming shortages in the shops, it could of course just be as people enter the new lockdown they stock up to minimise their visits to the shops but if it’s a customs check thing, then we should note that the UK imports half it’s food. In the words of Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army, “Don’t panic!”.

I am shocked at how fast it seems to be falling apart but can’t deny myself a bit of schadenfreude about the fish but any lost job is shame and will impact the workers and their families and I remember that offshore fishing is the most dangerous job in the country. I wonder when Richard Corbett and Seb Dance will be calling for us to rejoin and whether real industry will join them.

But Labour’s front bench have hitched their fortunes to making the Brexit deal work. Too late to do any good electorally, and too early to avoid the coming shit storm. We are telling our remaining core vote to once again, concede political and moral space to people who don’t support us; given a choice between blue labour and red clydeside, Starmer’s Labour has made its choice and we’ll have to see if it’s the right one. …

At long last we have a Brexit deal – and it’s as bad as you thought

At long last we have a Brexit deal – and it’s as bad as you thought

The UK Government and the Commission have agreed a Free Trade Agreement, it is reviewed by Tom Kibasi in a piece in the Guardian and the Commission have produced a simple info graphic. I highlight some quotes from the Kibasi article, which touch on Starmer’s disgraceful and stupid plan to whip the PLP behind this deal. Once again we are doing what those who do not vote for us want, not what those that do.

Here are some quotes from Kibasi’s article …

We already know its contours: a barely-there treaty that will make trade harder and destroy jobs. Labour should oppose it …

It was Labour’s abject failure to arrive at any coherent political position on Brexit in the last parliament that was one of the many reasons for its dire showing at the polls in December 2019. …

But the plan to vote for the deal shares the same political thinking as Labour’s disastrous embrace of austerity under Ed Miliband – where the same Westminster logic led it to follow polling rather than to show leadership. Do not expect the electorate to thank Labour for abandoning its principles and voting in favour of a deal that will damage Britain. They won’t. …

Convictions in politics matter. Had the 2016 referendum gone the other way, does anyone seriously imagine that Tory Brexiters would say they had to accept the result and march through the lobbies in favour of the latest EU treaty? Voting in favour of a shoddy deal will surely dampen the enthusiasm of many of Labour’s supporters, the vast majority of whom have always been rightly hostile to the hard-right Brexit project.Failing to oppose the Tory Brexit deal will leave Labour mute for years to come as the damage unfolds, unable to prosecute its central argument to sack the Tories. …

A thumping majority for the Brexit deal would hand Johnson precisely the “reset” moment that his rocky premiership so desperately needs. It would see the prime minister end a torrid year with endorsement not only of his deal but also the disgraceful tactics he employed to secure it.

Tom Kibasi – The Guradian 24 DEC 2020

Minds may have been concentrated by Macron closing the UK border, the chaos of turning Kent into both a toilet and lorry park to the chorus of headlines such as, “Brexiters left stunned after several EU countries demonstrate easy control of their own borders“, from News Arse.

More seriously and on a personal note, Erasmus has gone (except for Northern Ireland), recognition of professional qualifications has gone, as have pet passports and stays of over 90 days require a visa. We’ll have to see what happens with flights although it seems they’ve kicked it into the grass, although it seems intra-eu flights will be stopped (for airlines, I assume). They are fudging the reciprocal health care arrangements which might stay in place. We are out of all the police co-operation programmes because we won’t accept the Court of Justice of the EU. The New European in an article entitled, “The long and winding road (back to the EU)” enumerates the gaps from the current status quo.

I am looking to see what disputes resolution and monitoring arrangements are being put in place. I know there are some and the deal would seem to give the EU an exit point if the UK leaves the ECHR,

I am in two minds how I feel about being trapped in Great Britain, but I offer my solidarity to those EU citizens whose rights in the UK have and will be diminished.

What are Lewisham Labour with its sanctuary borough programme doing?  …

Not the remainers!

Not the remainers!

Owen Jones obviously felt the need to project himself into the stickiest mess that he could in the Labour Party. Well, the second stickiest mess actually. He published an article, Hard remainers wouldn’t accept a soft Brexit. Now we’re all paying the price, in the Guardian. It was subtitled, “Anything other than stopping Brexit was written off as both disastrous for the country and morally untenable”. His article has been picked up the usual culprit’s outriders allowing them to revisit their story of “Remainer Betrayal”. There’s just one problem with this story, it’s complete bollocks!

Jones summarised part of the story well,

Both the intransigence of prominent leavers and the refusal of leading remainers to accept a compromise succeeded in polarising the electorate. By the European elections, Labour was out of any good options, and Corbyn and his key parliamentary allies believed there was no choice but to back a new referendum. They were right: the Labour membership wanted one, and Corbyn’s political project was founded on accepting they were sovereign, and remain voters had defected en masse to the Liberal Democrats and Greens. The remain movement had succeeded in its aim – forcing the Labour party to accept its central demand – but at a huge cost to Corbyn: the leader was left looking like an unprincipled zigzagger, contributing to the collapse in his personal ratings. Labour lost the election partly because of the errors of its leaders; but those prominent remainers share a considerable amount of the blame.

Owen Jones, the Guardian (Hyperlinks are theirs)

I am not sure that he represents the causality correctly in his first sentence, I’d argue the absolute refusal of leavers to countenance a final say referendum, dating from May’s “Brexit means Brexit” speech pushed remainers to a harder position, though I can’t see why I shouldn’t have asked for a final say since the referendum’s Leave vote encompassed everyone from those who wanted a Norway style deal through to those that wanted us to become the 51st state. Jones and others also conveniently ignores the proven criminality of the Vote Leave campaign.

Before blaming Labour’s remainers, we should look at how the PLP’s leavers torpedoed three of the meaningful vote options, inc. a 2nd referendum. There was no deal on the table from May, even when Labour dropped its six tests for the new red lines; the Tory Govt., would not or could not come to an agreement. Jones’ and others’ idea that Labour should have agreed with May’s deal was not possible and is as likely to have caused today’s problems to the Good Friday Agreement.

The road to the general election of 2019 was also set by the supporters of Labour’s “general election first” policy i.e. before a final say referendum and from where I am standing this reflected a remain/leave split, Labour’s leavers, ignoring the weight of the member’s views and that of our voters used every tool they had to win their ‘Lexit’ position; for them soft-brexit and 2nd referendum weren’t good enough, partly because they feared the result of the latter.  Also hugely to blame was the unprincipled behaviour of the LibDems and SNP in permitting the election before parliament had closed out a no-deal option, and in the case of the LibDems, their ludicrous grandstanding on Brexit.

While the country moved away from a soft-brexit, and polarised to where it was last year, it wasn’t Labour’s Remainers who were primarily at fault. Our committed leavers gave others permission to vote Tory and the state of their parties was and remains a disgrace. …

Why did nothing come out of the Brexit meaningful votes?

Why did nothing come out of the Brexit meaningful votes?

When the last Parliament had its Brexit meaningful votes, nothing passed. I wrote about the politics and consequences and said that others would write about Labour and the TINGE, it’s taken until now. My article is mainly just reporting but it seems I wanted a 2nd Referendum in which I would have campaigned for remain, The question I ask today is what would have happened if Labour’s No voters had voted Yes, the chart below shows what would have happened.

A requirement for a 2nd Referendum, the Customs Union and the so-called Common Market 2.0 which contained most of the single market commitments would have passed if Labour’s No voters had voted Yes. This isn’t a Labour problem made by Remainers.

I should add the other’s No votes to see the blame shared by the Lib Dems & SNP, maybe tomorrow and we should note that there were 91 Labour abstentions on the vote on Parliamentary Supremacy, enough to have changed the result but I have assumed otherwise that all abstentions were pairings and would not have made a difference. …