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.  …

Cowardice

Cowardice

Just a quick note, a comment on ‘desperate from Hartlepool’, and a longer comment from the Irish Times on Britain, the EU, and the creation of compulsive narratives.

Starmer’s rejection of rejoining, is a slap in the face for those members and voters who want to do so, and that number is growing. Starmer’s strategy would seem to be based on that of an Ostrich and following Corbyn’s, “what unites Hull and Hackney is social justice, we shall not be divided by Brexit” whcih worked so well. This issue cannot be avoided and the post brexit trade deal is poor. It’s killing SME importers and exporters and is exacerbating tensions in Northern Ireland and fuelling racism in Britian. Starmer’s positioning reminds me of some of the games I have played where one positions your party according to one metric, usually tax to ‘win’ the game; it’s also a return to focus group led policy making.

You can’t make Brexit work without engaging with the failings of the current situation and policy. In my mind this requires reentry to the customs union and single market.

The Irish Times article is a damning indictment of Labour’s silence in the knowledge that, that silence concedes space to poor policy and xenophobia and its hard to turn an oil tanker round, once the big lie is established, its opponents will always be on the backfoot.

Image by Vicki Nunn from Pixabay …

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.

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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 the threats identified by ‘Project Fear’ are well founded. 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. 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 full article says more, with hyperlinks on the economics and on the paths to rejoining, ...

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?  …