Don’t start from here

Don’t start from here

Paul Mason comments on the crisis in the Ukraine and outlines Russia’s goals and some counter strategies. He argues that one of Putin’s Russia’s goals is to diminish the EU as a world class power. This will be why he is demanding that NATO withdraw troops from the ex-Warsaw pact countries and that the EU non-member states are prohibited from joining NATO. This would include Sweden , Finland together with the Baltic states and Romania & Bulgaria.

It’s a strange serendipity that the Queen Elizabeth has returned from the far east today as it symbolises everything wrong with the UK’s defence strategy (Medium | my blog) where we have an ill equipped and tiny Army. It’s unlikely that aircraft carrier could survive in the Baltic or Black Sea. It’s a weapon of prestige and can do little to help during an escalating crisis on the EU/Russian border. Our defence strategy is based on a flawed threat analysis. A post Brexit global Britain is weak and has little influence; before Brexit the UK military could only operate in alliance and now it’s just turned away from the EU and  both Trump and even Biden are undermining NATO as an effective defensive alliance for Europe.

Furthermore, the UK is a victim of Russia’s “Hybrid Warfare”. Its funding and cyber support of the Brexit Campaign and latterly the Tories not to mention Boris Johnson’s receipt of oligarch’s bunga bunga hospitality.  The closest the Govt has come to considering this threat is the delayed and unfinished Russia report from Parliament’s Intelligence Services Committee. The Tory Govt has refused to follow up.

We shouldn’t have stepped away from Europe because NATO maybe past its sell-by date; the obvious desire to avoid sanctions against Russian UK based assets leads the Govt. to unbelievable sabre rattling. It will make us look very stupid.


The featured images is, Nekhoteevka customs on Russia-Ukraine border. by Дар Ветер from wikimedia, CC 2020 BY-SA v3. …

A Frost free xmas

A Frost free xmas

Lord Frost, the Brexit Minister has resigned from Govt. He couldn’t square the circle of cakeism! Boris was walking away from a Northern Ireland & CJEU showdown with the EU and further compromises were/are needed; Johnson needs all his political capital to be half sensible on Covid 19. Frost took the opportunity to argue its about macroeconomics and vision, but we all know he’d made the job impossible and like his brexitloon predecessors he was costing the Govt more than he was bring to it on the one metric that counts, Popularity. He’ll lose about £31,000 in pay, but keep the right to claim about £67,000 as a member of the House of Lords as an attendance allowance.

Have I got news for you comments,

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Fix the Tory Brexit, I don’t think so!

Fix the Tory Brexit, I don’t think so!

Up until now, the Labour Front bench has been promising to “Fix the Tory Brexit”, a statement echoed by Rachel Reeves in her speech to Conference, but the plaster seems to be cracking. David Lammy, in an interview with the BBC suggested that getting it right will involve renegotiating Boris’s deals, a move from Starmer’s position in January. Why this is controversial, I have no idea, if Labour don’t get their first, the Tories will. I should add that there is a growing support for rejoining the Customs Union and Single Market as solutions to the Northern Irish problems and the UK wide shortages and inflation. …

The Northern Ireland Protocol

The Northern Ireland Protocol

I was originally going to write something which I hope might be profound or provoking, but in the end, this just noted more of the Govt's myopia. Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed to avoid border infrastructure on the island of Ireland. The UK Govt agreed ... Boris and the DUP blew up May's previous solution to the problem , which was to belong to the Customs Union while working out something better. I look at the 'command' paper, which is an attempt to renegotiate the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the Withdrawal Agreement which left Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs area for the purposes of intra-Ireland trade. It looks at the EU's response. ...

More Brexit missed or almost missed deadlines

More Brexit missed or almost missed deadlines

This article, or one very similar to it first appeared on AEIP's Brexitspotlight. The 3rd deadline of the post Brexit Future relationship passed on the 30th June. The deadlines were on the issues of cross border data adequacy, northern Irish meat product movement, the end of equivalence for share depositaries and the end of the grace period to allow EU citizens resident in the UK to apply to stay. It looks like the security depository equivalence was sorted in Sept. 2020 and the EU have granted a three month extension on moving chilled meat from Great Britain to Northern Ireland as required by the treaty’s Northern Ireland protocol[1]. The Commission flagged the agreement of a data adequacy ruling earlier in the year and finally agreed it with two days to go. The parliament is more sanguine. The EDPB is also more cautious, and we expect the CJEU to be so too. Whenever the CJEU has ruled, it has ruled in favour of citizens, whereas the ECtHR gives nation states significant leeway. For more see here, or read more ....

Meals Ready to Eat. Not!

Meals Ready to Eat. Not!

Reuters reports on a meeting between food distribution industry representatives and DEFRA. Using the Army was only one idea expressed, and it’s an indicator of the com9ing food shortage crisis created by Priti Patel & Boris Johnson’s “controlled border” policy and Brexit. One of the massive labour shortages at the moment is HGV drivers, and we can’t get the food to the supermarkets, even if we can pick it from the fields. The problem is compounded by the relatively low wages paid these people . UK PLC is failing because its low wage economy cannot get people to work for it any more.

from team voyas, via unsplash

My evidence for the coming crisis is that. in Tesco’s yesterday, there was no cabbage. and the garlic came from China. (I have grown garlic in my garden in previous years, so there is a food miles carbon cost thing here too..) …

A better Brexit?

Another Europe (AEIP) have issued a pamphlet, called “The fundamental problems in the UK-EU trade deal and how it can be reformed”, it’s release is announced on the AEIP blog and commented on in the Guardian, Labour group urges Keir Starmer to back better Brexit deal

Luke, its author has started a thread on twitter which I have unrolled here. Central is the argument that the negotiated sovereignty is bogus and that it would be more efficient even in liberal terms to synchronise some laws and regulation. It catalogues what it sees as the weaknesses of the agreement and the demands are summarised as,

  • Harmonisation with EU standards, with a no-downgrading principle written into future deals
  • A review and weeding out of regulatory duplication
  • Re-joining EU programmes on the basis of common interest e.g. Erasmus and Erasmus+
  • A mutual rights agreement for UK and EU citizens to reinstate free movement rights
  • Promoting a democratic economy, with state investment and industrial strategy sitting alongside strong protections against cronyism
  • The creation of a forum in which to cooperate on human security and foreign policy

I am disappointed that he doesn’t talk about the customs union, as this is key remedying the collapse of the SME import/export industry and part of the threat to the Good Friday Agreement.

I am also disappointed that he doesn’t talk about Parliament and while I understand why, I think it’s a mistake, but I am equally disappointed with the apolitical nature of UK trade and business commiussion and the support it has won in the PLP. Its a lack of a political defence of the EU and its internationalist future that has led to us being where we are today.  …