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British Parliament overwhelmingly rejects Brexit deal with the European Union Login/Join 
half-genius,
half-wit
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quote:
Originally posted by parabellum:
quote:
Originally posted by chellim1:
Boris went to see the Queen this weekend....

It’s Up to the Queen to Resolve Brexit
Well, she might turn out to be of some use in this world after all.


The days when a monarch had a say in actually directing the aims of government ended in 1649. The UK is a constitutional monarchy, with the ruling monarch enthroned as the titular head of state, not 'ruler' as in the old days before the English Civil War of 1642 -49.

With her unmatched experience in dealing with successive politicians that are NOT her choice, but that of the electorate, she can only offer that advice. She can express her displeasure, but cannot actually dissolve Parliament, or in any way act contrary to its decisions.
 
Posts: 9667 | Location: UK, OR, ONT | Registered: July 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Glorious SPAM!
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I thought this was a good article by Victor Davis Hanson.
https://townhall.com/columnist...t-of-europe-n2552909

"Is England Still Part of Europe?"

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is desperate to translate the British public's June 2016 vote to leave the European Union into a concrete Brexit.

But the real issue is far older and more important than whether 52 percent of Britain finally became understandably aggrieved by the increasingly anti-democratic and German-controlled European Union.

England is an island. Historically, politically and linguistically, it was never permanently or fully integrated into European culture and traditions.

The story of Britain has mostly been about conflict with France, Germany or Spain. The preeminence of the Royal Navy, in the defiant spirit of its sea lords, ensured that European dictators from Napoleon to Hitler could never set foot on British soil. As British admiral John Jervis reassured his superiors in 1801 amidst rumors of an impending Napoleonic invasion, "I do not say, my lords, that the French will not come. I say only they will not come by sea."

Britain's sea power, imperialism, parliamentary government and majority Protestant religion set it apart from its European neighbors -- and not just because of its geographical isolation.

The 18th century British and Scottish Enlightenment of Edmund Burke, David Hume, John Locke and Adam Smith emphasized individualism, freedom and liberty far more than the government-enforced equality of result that was favored by French Enlightenment thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It is no accident that the American Revolution was founded on the idea of individual freedom and liberty, unlike the later French Revolution's violent effort to redistribute income and deprive "enemies of the people" of their rights and even their lives.

France produced Napoleon, Italy had Mussolini, and Germany gave the world Hitler. It is difficult to find in British history a comparable dictatorial figure who sought Continental domination. The British, of course, were often no saints. They controlled their global empire by both persuasion and brutal force.

But even British imperialism was of a different sort than Belgian, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish colonialism. Former British colonies America, Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand have long been democratic, while much of Latin America, to take one example, has not until recently.

In World War I, the British lost nearly 1 million soldiers trying to save France and Belgium. In World War II, England was the only nation to fight the Axis for the entirety of the war (from September 1939, to September 1945), the only Allied power to fight the Axis completely alone (for about a year from mid-1940 to mid-1941), and the only major Allied power to have gone to war without having been directly attacked. (It came to the aid of its ally Poland.)

Historically, Britain has looked more upon the seas and the New World than eastward to Europe. In that transatlantic sense, a Canadian or American typically had more in common with an Englander than did a German or Greek.

Over the last 30 years, the British nearly forgot that fact as they merged into the European Union and pledged to adopt European values in a shared trajectory to supposed utopia.

To the degree that England remained somewhat suspicious of EU continentalism by rejecting the euro and not embracing European socialism, the country thrived. But when Britain followed the German example of open borders, reversed the market reforms of Margaret Thatcher, and adopted the pacifism and energy fantasies of the EU, it stagnated.

Johnson's efforts as the new prime minister ostensibly are to carry out the will of the British people as voiced in 2016, against the wishes of the European Union apparat and most of the British establishment. But after hundreds of years of rugged independence, will Britain finally merge into Europe, or will it retain its singular culture and grow closer to the English-speaking countries it once founded -- which are doing better than most of the members of the increasingly regulated and anti-democratic European Union.

Europe is alarmingly unarmed. Most NATO members refuse to make their promised investments in defense. Negative interest rates are becoming normal in Europe. Unemployment remains high in tightly regulated labor markets.

Southern European countries can never fully repay their loans from German banks. The dissident Visegrad Group, comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, seeks to create a mini-alliance inside the EU that promotes secure borders, legal immigration only, nuclear power, and traditional values and Christianity.

Britain has a last chance to re-embrace the free-market democratic world that it once helped to create -- and distance itself from the creeping statism it once opposed.
 
Posts: 9246 | Registered: June 13, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Imagination and focus
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Excellent article!
 
Posts: 5655 | Location: Northwest Indiana | Registered: August 15, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lawyers, Guns
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The brilliant and eloquent Victor Davis Hanson nails it, as usual.



"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."
-- Justice Janice Rogers Brown

"The United States government is the largest criminal enterprise on earth."
-rduckwor
 
Posts: 16688 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: April 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Further to Victor Davis Hanson's article, you may also find this one by RW Johnson interesting.


https://standpointmag.co.uk/is...-britain-eu-germany/

The way forward for Europe’s great outsider

When, on August 12, 1941, Churchill and Roosevelt met at sea and issued the Atlantic Charter in which they championed national self-determination through the freely expressed wishes of all nations, Hitler and his foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, realised they must counter this with an alternative vision. Germany had subdued all Europe and was now racing towards Moscow, apparently irresistible on every front. Until then Hitler had simply assumed that Germany would dominate everywhere and that the labour of 400 million Europeans would be made available to build the Thousand Year Reich. But now something better was needed.

Hence Ribbentrop’s idea of a United States of Europe under German and Italian auspices. Four allies (Italy, Finland, Romania and Hungary) had already joined Germany’s war on Russia, and volunteer units to assist the Wehrmacht had been sent from Croatia, Denmark and Slovakia (later to be joined by units from France, Norway, Albania, Ukraine, Spain, Belgium and Holland). Various neutrals (the Vatican, Ireland, Portugal, Turkey and Bulgaria) had let it be known that they would be pleased to see the USSR defeated. Sweden was not only supplying Germany with iron ore, but even allowed German troops passage through Sweden to fight in the East. It was, Ribbentrop decided, a united European crusade against communism. Hitler was receptive: he had dismissed Himmler’s idea that they should simply “Germanise” all European countries, for he was enough of a realist to see that separate “independent” states must be permitted. On October 25, Hitler explained his idea further to the Italian foreign minister, Count Ciano:

Noteworthy in the fighting in the East was the fact that for the first time a feeling of European solidarity had developed. This was of great importance especially for the future. A later generation would have to cope with the problem of Europe-America. It would no longer be a matter of . . . antagonistic systems, but of the common interests of Pan-Europe within the European economic area with its African supplements. The feeling of European solidarity . . . would gradually have to change . . . into a great recognition of the European community . . . even America could do nothing against a Europe thus unified.

“European solidarity”, Ciano reported to Mussolini, was “Hitler’s new pet slogan”. Hitler then added another key consideration:

. . . most people in Europe are already fully agreed on one thing: Britain must be kept out of Europe once and for all. Too long have the British made mischief on the continent, playing off one power against another . . . we now have the uplifting experience of seeing one European nation after another . . . turn away from Britain and towards us, offering their sons to fight the common Bolshevik enemy.

Britain had, in any case, shown how completely it did not belong with Europe, Hitler said. Not only had it turned instead towards America, but, above all, it had sided with Stalin against Europe’s united forces.

Stalingrad traumatised Hitler’s allies. Romania had lost five per cent of its men. Hungary had seen its modern army wiped out. The Italians saved themselves by running away from the Don and now had to endure German accusations of cowardice. Doriot’s fascist French of the Charlemagne division were wiped out at Borodino. They all turned to Ribbentrop, demanding a peace with the USSR and retreat into a European confederation. Ribbentrop was enthusiastic — he sketched out a confederation which allowed all states internal autonomy, though German dominance was assumed. And, of course, the confederation would have a common currency: the Reichsmark. But Hitler wanted all such plans put aside until Stalin was beaten. Ribbentrop persevered. The confederation would include Germany, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain. He even went so far as to draft a treaty of accession to this European bloc. But there it ended.

There is much in these plans that foreshadows the European Union, but really this is all part of a far larger canvas. As Niall Ferguson has argued, if Germany had won the First World War this would have produced a united Europe under German dominance that excluded Britain. Since this is what we have ended up with today, it follows — so the argument goes — that Britain was foolish to have got involved in the First World War. In effect, there was a long-run historical tendency — an ineluctable progression — towards a unified Europe excluding Britain, in which Germany would be the political and economic leader.

To understand that progression, one has to go back to the struggle for German unification. A fundamental role was played by the Zollverein (customs union) which bound together the German states into a single economy from 1834 on. Austria was excluded so as to maximise Prussia’s influence, but otherwise it spread far and wide. The Netherlands and Luxembourg were members, and from 1865 the Zollverein also had a customs treaty with Sweden-Norway, binding those economies in. After the Franco-Prussian war, Alsace-Lorraine joined in 1871.

As the Zollverein developed it had common weights and measures, a common currency, a co-ordinated census, and provision for revenue-sharing — clearly the features of a national economy and a national state. Inevitably, a sense of German national consciousness grew, though there were always ideas of a “restricted Germany” (Kleindeutschland) and a “wider Germany” (Grossdeutschland). When Bismarck finally created a unified German state in 1871, it was a Kleinsdeutschland. But this still left hanging in the air dreams of a Grossdeutschland. Bismarck was keenly aware that any move towards that would be highly provocative. He also knew that integrating what Germany had already swallowed was quite enough for then. Bavarians were quite strange enough to his Prussian taste and he had no appetite to include Austria. “A Bavarian,” he said, “is a cross between an Austrian and a real human being.”

But the dreams of a Grossdeutschland were instinctively picked up by the Nazis. Hitler wanted not only to incorporate Austria and get back Alsace-Lorraine, taken by France in 1919, but also the German minorities in Eastern Europe. You may have wondered why certain key states were missing from Ribbentrop’s plan of 1943 — for example, the Czechs and Austrians. Both, of course, had been incorporated into the Reich already and were no longer separate states. But the same was also true of the Netherlands and Luxembourg. There were to be no Quisling or Vichy regimes there: they were simply declared part of Germany because they had belonged to the Zollverein. If you add all these missing states to Ribbentrop’s list, the similarity with today’s EU becomes a lot clearer.

This left Hitler with several problem cases. He had no doubt that Switzerland also belonged inside the Reich, but he knew the Swiss were very jealous of their independence and would fight like tigers to protect it. He didn’t need such a distraction while he was still dealing with Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. So it was decided that only when Germany had won the war would the Swiss be incorporated. Hitler also wondered about incorporating Belgium and Norway. The Flemings and the Norse were clearly Aryans but, he decided, their incorporation might lead to trouble. And anyway their admixture might weaken the German bloodline (all those Walloons). The Nazi defeat put an end to dreams of a Grossdeutschland for a while, but anyone who still harboured them would feel a degree of satisfaction with today’s EU. The German minorities in the East all fled back to Germany as refugees after 1945, Germany itself is reunited, and the Czech, Benelux, Austrian and Swiss economies are all satellites revolving around Germany’s sun.

The interesting thing about the EU is that although many of its original enthusiasts were not Germans, the model adopted was clearly that of the Zollverein. Perhaps it was simply the only one available. The European states would start off by being united in a single trade bloc, but gradually a process of harmonisation and standardisation in every sphere — including a single currency, a single European passport, elections to a single European Parliament, European courts and perhaps even a single army — would bind the continent together into a United States of Europe.

Thus, in effect, immanent historical forces have been pushing for more than a century to unite Europe together under German leadership. It could have happened in 1918 or 1942-3, but in any case it has happened now. In either 1918 or 1942-3 Britain would have been excluded. This was entirely accepted by Britain. When, during the war, Churchill called for the constitution of a democratically organised United States of Europe, he made it clear that Britain would not be party to it. And when moves towards European unification began in the 1940s and ’50s both Labour and Conservative governments in Britain wanted nothing to do with it. The only British political leader to advocate that Britain should join a united Europe was Oswald Mosley, whose fascist party had as its slogan “Europe A Nation”.

After the Second World War, however, the leadership in setting up the European Economic Community came from all the constituent countries, but particularly from France in the persons of Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman. This French leadership was essential. If such an association were to get off the ground, the French had to overcome their long, historic enmity towards Germany. The leadership could hardly come from the small Benelux countries or from either of the two former Axis powers. Indeed, had West Germany led this process — which, as the EEC’s largest economy, it was bound to dominate — it is unlikely that the British and Americans would have accepted it. The sight of the Germans, for the third time in 40 years, coming up with a plan to unite Europe under their leadership would have been too much for Anglo-American public opinion.

French leadership remained the norm for several decades. In the 1960s, it was de Gaulle who repeatedly vetoed Britain’s application to join. And when this application was finally accepted, it was President Pompidou who had the final word. West Germany’s growing economic weight — registered by recurrent devaluations of the French franc against the deutschmark — meant that its Chancellors, especially Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl, were of growing international importance within the Western alliance. However, when 1989 suddenly brought German reunification into view it was, once again, Paris that took the lead. As East Germany collapsed, Kohl had spoken of how there were still lands that belonged to Germany beyond the Oder-Neisse line, to the east of East Germany. This was a major red light throughout a Europe shaken by the thought of a reconstituted and over-mighty Germany. President François Mitterrand of France met with Kohl and then made a speech of historic importance.

In the year when France was celebrating 200 years of the French Revolution, Mitterrand said, it was impossible for Frenchmen to deny the principle of national self-determination. It was clear that Germans as a whole wished to be reunited, so that must be fully accepted. On the other hand, the Germans must accept that “there was such a thing as the Second World War”, and this had three implications. First, there must be no more talk of changing Germany’s eastern borders. Second, Germany must never have nuclear weapons (but France would). Third, there must be a common European currency, the euro, which would bind the French and German economies so closely together that a future war between those two countries would remain forever unimaginable. Kohl implicitly accepted all three conditions. They were Mitterrand’s way of reassuring an anxious French opinion at this crucial juncture. For Kohl the key was simply that France, and thus the rest of Europe, would accept German reunification.

This turned out to be the last hurrah of the French. Once Germany was reunited, it was decisively more populous and economically stronger than any other European power. Kohl quickly became the leading European statesman, as did Gerhard Schroder, who followed him in 1998-2005, and after that, Angela Merkel. The French presidents of that period — Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande — tried their best to act the part of leading men, but it was an increasingly shallow charade. For the euro turned out to be a boon to German industry and exports while for the French, with their decisively higher rate of wage inflation, it turned into a curse, leaving their economy stagnant with an apparently permanent rate of 10 per cent unemployment.

And so German dominance grew proportionately. Despite the fact that Germany had had to absorb the far poorer DDR and pay enormous sums to modernise its infrastructure, by 2018, on a purchasing power parity basis German GDP per capita was $52,896 against France’s $45,474 — which meant that the average German was 16 per cent richer than the average Frenchman — and there were far more Germans. Germany was now exporting one third of its output and by 2016 was running a trade surplus of $310 billion a year, while France ran a trade deficit of $52 billion. France may have led the way into a united Europe, but in the end it had resulted in a German-dominated Europe, just like the united Europe envisaged in 1918 and 1942-3.

It will be seen that the main joker in the pack was Britain’s changing attitude. From firm refusal of any interest in joining the EEC in the postwar period, it suddenly applied to join in 1961, repeated its request in 1966 only to be turned down again, and finally entered the EEC on its third attempt in 1973. Now it is leaving after what one European leader has described as “a divorce following an unhappy marriage of 45 years”. Given that Britain was resolutely against joining a united Europe throughout the century until 1961 and that a popular majority voted to leave the EU in 2016, the real question has to be why British political leaders changed their views in the 1960s and ’70s.

The then Labour leader, Hugh Gaitskell, had a privileged view of that process. When Harold Macmillan opened negotiations to join the EEC (“the Common Market”) in July 1961 Gaitskell thought that “the arguments of principle were fairly evenly balanced for and against” — this despite the fact that, on a Gaitskell visit to Washington, President Kennedy, whom he much admired, “had mobilised half the Cabinet to tell (Gaitskell) that Britain must plunge into Europe”. In Gaitskell’s view, everything depended on the terms and conditions of entry. Britain had to preserve its Commonwealth ties; he did not like the Common Agricultural Policy, which would mean dearer food and large British payments to subsidise French farmers; and he was sure that Britain could not enter a federation of any kind, for British opinion would not accept such a loss of sovereignty. Which is to say that for Gaitskell, as for British opinion in general, joining the Common Market was all about trade — and only about trade.

The application to negotiate with the EEC came as Macmillan’s position had begun to slip. From summer 1961 on, Gaitskell raced ahead of him as the public’s choice for prime minister and Labour also led the Tories in the polls. There was a general malaise. The EEC countries were all growing much faster than Britain, which was afflicted by chronic trade deficits and stop-go policies. Britain was also still dogged by the problems of decolonisation in East and Central Africa, while its dependence on the US in defence matters was now undisguisable. There seemed no solid ground anywhere. When Macmillan sacked one third of his cabinet early in 1962, insiders claimed he had lost his nerve and was in a state of panic.

In Gaitskell’s eyes, Macmillan’s EEC application was his supposed lifebelt: the only way he could win a fourth victory for the Tories in 1964 would be on a manufactured wave of pro-EEC feeling. Gaitskell, for his part, was resolutely open-minded. He had no patience with European enthusiasts like Monnet who spoke in emotional terms, not in practicalities. But he also disliked the right-wing Little Englanders and the Marxist Left who dominated the anti-EEC camp. He also had no patience with the Liberals who “would have us join right away — like that, without conditions and apparently (without) negotiations. They do not care at all what is to happen to the interests of the Commonwealth . . . or to British agriculture.” The point he insistently made to all-comers was that if Britain were to enter the EEC on the wrong terms, it would only find itself backing out of it later, which would truly be the worst of both worlds. Above all, that had to be avoided.

Nonetheless, by spring 1962 Gaitskell assumed that Britain would enter the EEC, that he would be supporting it and he would have to beat back the anti-EEC Left within his party. But in August, to his amazement, Macmillan simply collapsed and accepted all the EEC’s terms, CAP and all. “I never expected the government to have the gall to propose to go in on such bad terms, which we were bound to oppose,” Gaitskell wrote. He explained in a letter to Kennedy how the decision had left him “bitterly disappointed and, indeed, astonished”. He noted, too, that even many of the European socialist parties favouring the EEC were frankly federalist and “there is no question of Britain entering into a federal Europe now”. The British commitment to national sovereignty was simply too strong. Perhaps future generations might feel differently, but as things stood, British opinion would not agree to surrender their sovereignty to some supranational bureaucracy in Brussels.

In Gaitskell’s view, Macmillan’s collapse betrayed complete desperation. He had agreed to get rid of all of Britain’s existing trading arrangements with the Commonwealth and received only vague assurances in return. Moreover, Britain seemed to be signing up to a frankly federal future: “It means the end of Britain as an independent nation: we become no more than ‘Texas’ or ‘California’ in a United States of Europe. It means the end of a thousand years of history; it means the end of the Commonwealth . . . to become just a province of Europe.”
Gaitskell’s stance was denounced by the Government and even more by most of the quality press as mere populism. The people did not understand the issues, it was argued, so it was only right and proper that they be settled by Government before any election. This elicited a furious response from Gaitskell: “We are now being told that the British people are not capable of judging this issue — the Government knows best, the top people are the only people who can understand it; it is too difficult for the rest . . . what an odious piece of hypocritical, supercilious, arrogant rubbish is this ?”

Gaitskell remained widely popular with the public and everything suggested he would win the 1964 election. At this juncture, however, Gaitskell died and de Gaulle vetoed British entry. The issues of national sovereignty and popular sovereignty have continued to be central to the EU debate.

De Gaulle’s vetoes kept the issue off the agenda until the 1970s, when Edward Heath took Britain into the EEC on much the same terms as had been agreed in 1962. He dodged the issue of popular sovereignty by insisting that his promise to subject the decision to “the full-hearted consent” of the electorate had been fulfilled by the previous election. The issue of national sovereignty was also dodged. It was agreed there might be some small loss of sovereignty but this would be amply compensated for by economic gains. This was not good enough for opponents of EEC entry, particularly Enoch Powell, for whom the national sovereignty issue was paramount. In effect, Powell asserted that he had a privileged insight into the English national character and therefore “knew” that the British (and, even more, the English) would never agree to submerge their identity within a supranational body. Heath and other proponents of EEC entry insisted that the European federalists need not be listened to. Britain was agreeing to a new set of trading relationships, little more.

It is not clear whether the Tory leadership sincerely believed this. There were, after all, many keen European federalists already making it abundantly clear that they wished to create a true supranational state. Heath and his supporters elected to ignore this. Perhaps they did so cynically, simply because they knew they could not persuade the British electorate to surrender national sovereignty. More likely, they persuaded themselves that once Britain had joined the EEC they would be able to halt or minimise the movement towards European federalism. Or perhaps they took the view that British opinion would come round to federalism in time. What was clear was that for many of the really committed pro-Europeans — such as Heath or Roy Jenkins — no matter how far Europe moved in a federalist direction, there would never be a point at which their enthusiasm lessened.

This ambiguity lay at the heart of all the problems to come: some thought they had bought a ticket for a strictly limited ride, whereas others thought they were boarding a bus from which they would never dismount. Certainly, there was a typically British overestimation of their own ability to control the ride. This was never really likely. When Britain joined the EEC it was only one of nine members, and in any case a Franco-German partnership was already well established in the driving seat. In practice, it was impossible to displace it, split it or join it.

British public opinion (as measured by the polls) about “the Common Market” was fairly volatile, but it was hostile for much, perhaps even most, of the time. Inevitably this led the anti-EEC faction to demand a referendum, an idea which the pro-EEC faction strongly resisted. Indeed, when the Labour Party decided to back the referendum idea in April 1972, Roy Jenkins resigned in protest as the party’s deputy leader. Several other pro-EEC frontbenchers resigned in sympathy. This passionate opposition to a referendum by Labour’s pro-Europeans was rooted in the fact that the opinion polls showed a steady majority believing that Britain had been wrong to join the EEC.

The referendum was finally set for June 1975. By January 1974 there was a 2:1 majority wishing to leave the EEC and even by February 1975 there was a 41-33 plurality wishing to leave. However, with all three major party leaders campaigning for a Yes, together with business and almost all the press, and with the Yes campaign outspending the No campaign by nearly ten to one, public opinion was massaged into delivering a 68-32 Yes vote. The irony of this triumph for the pro-Europeans who had so bitterly resisted the idea of a referendum was matched by the speed with which the anti-EEC group, having secured the referendum they demanded, continued to advocate leaving the EEC, in defiance of the referendum result.

Once the referendum campaign was left behind, public opinion returned to its usual anti-EEC stance. By March 1979 MORI found 60 per cent saying it had been a mistake to join, against only 32 per cent who took the opposite view. A year later this had hardened further to a 65-26 per cent majority.

Meanwhile the EEC was changing, admitting Spain, Greece and Portugal, and steadily moving in a more federal direction — creating a European Parliament, transferring many new powers to the European Commission, transforming the EEC into the European Union, and then establishing the euro. All these changes were welcomed by Britain’s pro-Europeans, whose allegiance to their cause was by now unconditional. Thus the Liberal Party and Tony Blair enthusiastically campaigned for Britain to join the euro. Public opinion was adamantly against — in the entire period 1991-2007 MORI never once found more people in favour of the euro than the number against.

By this stage, indeed, British opinion had so clearly begun to change that their politicians began to limit Britain’s commitment to the EU: Britain would not join the euro, or be part of the Schengen zone, and nor would it accept the goal of “ever closer union”. The emergence of UKIP as a major force was accompanied by a growing anti-EU faction within the Conservative Party which effectively looked back to Enoch Powell and accepted his arguments for national sovereignty.

This gradually built up to the referendum of 2016. This time, the demand for a referendum came primarily from the Right whereas in 1975 it had come from the Left. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, was bitterly criticised by the defeated Remain camp for ever having held a referendum at all — though the very same people then demanded a yet further referendum, “a People’s Vote”.

As one looks back, it is difficult not to feel that Britain’s initial decision to apply for EEC membership was taken in a mood of panic. Britain had lost most of its empire, and Suez had shown that the alliance with the US was no longer solid. With American support withdrawn, a disastrous run on the pound had developed and Britain had had to make a humiliating climbdown. Khruschev had rattled his rockets at Britain over Suez and, without American support, the country was completely vulnerable. It had been a horrible revelation of just how weak and unsupported the UK now was. Its economy had still not fully recovered from the terrible damage inflicted by the war and its neighbours within the EEC were all growing much faster and, one by one, they were overtaking Britain. The country seemed stuck amidst its usual social stand-offs and trapped in perpetual stop-go oscillation.

Above all, there is no disguising the fact that Britain’s ruling class made a disastrous mess of its relations with Europe. Its initial refusal to be involved in negotiations for an EEC meant it missed the opportunity to shape the Treaty of Rome more to its liking. Only a few years later, it made a 180-degree turn in a fit of panic. It then entered the EEC on unfavourable terms and deliberately deceived itself about the seriousness of the commitment to “ever closer union”. It thus committed the blunder which Gaitskell had expressly warned against, going in on the wrong terms and thus ultimately having to withdraw again, getting the worst of both worlds. It is difficult to think of other matters of comparable importance which Britain has handled with such incompetence.

Moreover, Britain finally entered the EEC in 1973 just as the party was ending. Within months, a major world recession struck, bringing a halt to “les trente glorieuses” — the golden period of European growth between 1945 and 1973. The European countries were never to recapture their growth rates of that period. Britain’s own economic performance continued to be sub-standard. It limped along with low growth, stagflation and an IMF bail-out. In the end the bracing shock which it had been hoped EEC entry would deliver was administered by Margaret Thatcher, not by the EEC.

For hundreds of years Britain’s foreign policy was motivated by a determination not to allow Europe to be dominated by a single great power — whether Louis XIV, Napoleon, the Kaiser or Hitler. In that sense, the Europe which has emerged since 1989 with a dominant and reunited Germany, is a historic defeat for Britain. Indeed, that was apparent right away in 1989, when Mrs Thatcher was forced to drop her initial opposition to German reunification. By voting to leave the EU, Britain has in effect accepted it is unable to reverse that situation — and therefore seeks a new solution.

During the protracted euro crisis of the last decade, it became apparent that in reality Europe was divided between a weaker southern zone, including Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece, who desperately need to devalue against the strong euro, and a northern tier of states which prosper with a strong euro — most particularly Germany but also the surrounding economies which are, to a lesser or larger degree, Germany’s economic satellites — Benelux, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden. In effect, President Emmanuel Macron leads the desperate but unavailing attempts of the southern bloc to get the northern tier to indulge in revenue-sharing schemes to bail out their struggling southern neighbours.

In practice, and for the foreseeable future, the EU will be dominated by that northern tier. Indeed, the logic is for a break-up into a strong euro (northern) currency bloc and a weaker (devalued) euro bloc in the south. That may or may not happen, but there is no doubt that Germany sits at the heart of the dominant northern tier. Which is to say that if Britain were to remain part of an increasingly federal Europe, it would find itself taking its directions more and more from Berlin. Given the history of the 20th century, it was always predictable that British public opinion would find that unpalatable.

There is, however, also a strong view that in today’s globalised world the question of which power is dominant in Europe is only of local importance. Indeed, this had been evident back in 1962 in the open and bitter argument between Gaitskell and the Belgian leader Paul-Henri Spaak. As Gaitskell’s biographer Philip Williams points out, “Spaak rightly sensed a deep psychological gulf between the Continentals, for whom their historic reconciliation was the world’s most important political development, and Gaitskell, for whom it was ‘parochial’. (Gaitskell) had no emotional sense of belonging to Europe and told one old friend that on the contrary, ‘I . . . probably feel that I have more in common with North Americans than with Europeans’.”

Many Brexiteers think of a future Britain as wholly untied to any regional bloc, an independent entrepôt state. Geography alone suggests that this is unlikely. Norway and Switzerland may not be EU members but they are, indissolubly, part of a European regional bloc, the European Economic Area, and so will Britain be. To that extent it will be unable to escape from the influence of the dominant northern tier, with Berlin at its centre. But Gaitskell was right when he spoke of European parochialism. Once the country that dominated Europe was, inevitably, the world’s greatest power. Now such a state will come behind the US, China, Japan and, perhaps, Russia and India too.

Gaitskell’s comment that he found he had more in common with North Americans than with Europeans, though it might be shared by most Britons, provides no basis either for a nation’s trading relations or its security partners. Geography ensures that Europe is likely to provide at least the former and quite possibly the latter as well. When de Gaulle vetoed Britain’s entry to the EEC, he incurred the undying enmity of Edward Heath and many other Britons as well. This rather precluded any fair-minded consideration of the reasons for de Gaulle’s decision, but there is much to be said for them.

De Gaulle believed that Britain was irresistibly drawn towards the huge Anglophone world across the Atlantic and would therefore never be willing to make a wholehearted commitment to Europe. For de Gaulle, the most important political fact in the modern world was that “America speaks English”. As one watches the easy way that British and American popular culture washes into each other’s country, one realises there is much truth in this. But it is also the case that Britain is America’s biggest foreign investor and America is Britain’s biggest foreign investor — a degree of economic interpenetration unmatched elsewhere in Europe. Perhaps most important of all, when the going has been really hard, when the chips were right down — in 1917 and 1940 — Britain looked to America for help.

It is a deeply-held belief in Britain that when the going gets tough it is impossible to feel confident that its European allies will stand by it. Even in minor engagements far away such as the Falklands War, the Americans provided essential help while the French sold weapons and spares to the Argentines. The Germans are now so pacifist that no one would wish to rely on their military assistance. A European army remains a chimera and nobody at all believes in a European nuclear deterrent.

The contrast with America is sharp. In both wars, some Americans volunteered to fight for Britain even before the US joined the war. Roosevelt strained American neutrality as far as he could in an effort to help Britain in 1940, ultimately saving the day with Lend Lease — “the most unsordid act in the history of any nation”, as Churchill called it. After the war Marshall Aid confirmed this impression of America’s willingness to help.

However, British dreams of relying on “the special relationship” are just that — dreams. As a world power, the US will inevitably give priority to its relations with the strongest European state, which is Germany. Britain may be more important in military terms, but the US can access that through Nato. Most striking is the UK-USA intelligence-sharing agreement, now encompassing Canada, Australia and New Zealand in a network known as Five Eyes. But this brings in perhaps the more important factor of the Anglosphere — the fact that all these English-speaking countries have close political ties and exist as a cultural bloc. The Anglosphere is the world in which Britain most truly belongs. It is, moreover, of increasing importance — the fast growth rates of Canada and Australia have made them the world’s tenth- and 13th-largest economies. Some 30 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion people speak English (and all business and governance there is conducted in English), which means that India has quietly overtaken the US as the largest English-speaking country. It is also the world’s sixth-largest economy.

Indeed, the Anglosphere is expanding all the time. Ironically, the presence of Britain and Ireland in the EU made English one of its three official languages and it is clear that it will remain so after Britain has left. Around 700 million Africans speak English, a number which is set to double over the course of the next generation. A maximal strategy for Britain would be to invest as heavily as possible in the sectors which feed that Anglosphere — the knowledge industries, education, publishing, film and TV, radio, entertainment, internet content and high-level research in the sciences and social sciences. Everything, in other words, which amplifies Britain’s voice and position within the Anglosphere, which is enormously larger than any other sphere in which Britain is involved.

But the Anglosphere is not even an association, let alone an alliance or trading bloc — and nor is it ever likely to be. It is, though, the strongest single example of soft power in the world. That power does not belong to any one nation, though Britain inevitably plays a key role within it. There is no tidy answer as to where Britain belongs — it is partly Atlantic, partly European, partly Commonwealth. If the Anglosphere is where it feels it most belongs, it is because that unites the Atlantic and Commonwealth associations and then adds a large slice of the global English as a Second Language world. There is no point in trying to answer Dean Acheson’s famous quip by determining on a tidy definition of Britain’s role in the world. That role, like the Anglosphere, is diffuse and likely to remain so.
 
Posts: 82 | Location: Jhb, South Africa | Registered: February 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's quite a good piece. Though I had to chuckle at the elaborate opening suggesting that the EU is essentially the implementation of the Nazi's idea of a unified Europe excluding the UK, then adding a short line to the effect of "BTW, Churchill said the same at the time". In fact, the EU regards Churchill as one of its founding fathers since he came up with the term of a European Union in 1930, and called for a United States of Europe which would prevent future wars on the continent in his 1946 landmark speech in Zurich, taking up the central idea behind European integration since the 1920s. With the demise of the British Empire, he was also increasingly worried about the UK being left economically behind and gradually changed his position on the UK's involvement. The R. W. Johnson article points out that drive behind the British move towards the then-ECC, and the American role in it.

Funnily, if you asked the average German about Germany's position in the EU, you would likely hear something very similar to common American gripes about international organizations: "We're the EU's paymasters but are too nice to pursue our interests, and when we try we get called Nazis, shut up and keep paying". In both cases, people are unaware of the benefits, and that the lead position providing them is not some inherited national right, but in fact paid for. Johnson also notes the often-overlooked fact that Euroscepticism is not just a right-, but also left-wing thing. As usual in Europe, the criticism of both camps is actually often the same: That the EU pursues a neo-liberal pro-market policy eroding national workers protection rules, aiming to privatize even public utilities and, specifically in the British case, their National Health Service.

The Hanson piece OTOH is just crap. There's almost literally not a single correct statement in there. Looking this guy up, he's supposed to be a military historian, but can't even get basic facts about WW II right. The UK wasn't "the only major Allied power to have gone to war without having been directly attacked". Britain and France acted in complete unison after the German attack on Poland - France having been in formal alliance with the latter since 1921, following its support against the Soviets immediately after WW I - and both did just as much, or little, as the respective other during the "Phoney War" period until mid-1940. It's unsurprising then that Hanson has no grasp of any facts outside his alleged area of expertise. Among other things, I would like to know when any of this happened:

quote:
But when Britain followed the German example of open borders, reversed the market reforms of Margaret Thatcher, and adopted the pacifism and energy fantasies of the EU, it stagnated.


For starters, the UK was never part of the Schengen agreement on open borders, as anybody who has gone through the British controls run by agreement with the French on the latter's side of the Channel can attest to; the embarkation point for the car trains going through the Eurotunnel in Coquelles looks a bit like a checkpoint on the former inner-German border. Not sure who is supposed to have reversed Thatcher's reforms either since the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have variously been called "neo-Thatcherite" or "Blatcherite", with longtime Labour minister Peter Mandelson declaring famously in 2002 that "we are all Thatcherites now". Or whether Britain became pacifist after either Iraq war, intervention in Afghanistan, airstrikes on Libya, Syria, etc. Indeed I would like to know at what point after Thatcher they "stagnated".

Most of all though, if Britain's parliamentary government is one of the things setting it apart from the continent, what makes that a prime minister shutting down Parliament to stifle its resistance against taking the country out of the "increasingly anti-democratic" EU without a deal?
 
Posts: 1914 | Location: Berlin, Germany | Registered: April 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A no-deal Brexit is the best kind of Brexit IMO.

“Boris Johnson has reportedly been given just 12 days to present the European Union with a viable Brexit deal or prepare for a No Deal Brexit.

The Prime Minister has been given until September 30 to submit an alternative to the Irish border backstop in writing to Brussels.

The ultimatum was hammered out at a meeting between French president Emmanuel Macron and Finnish PM Antti Rinne in Paris today, reports in Finland claim.

However it is unclear if the deadline will be backed by other European leaders, who would have to come on board with it to enable it to carry any legal weight…”

https://mol.im/a/7478565



Look about you.
 
Posts: 4997 | Location: San Diego | Registered: July 26, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree wiht Pipe Smoker. New trade deals would be reached extremely quickly, as both sides want trade. Brussels/EU are like overbearing bosses, contributing nothing but taking what they can.


-c1steve
 
Posts: 2728 | Location: West coast | Registered: March 31, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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More like a boss of whatever quality faced with a board member who wants to quit, but keep all the employee benefits.

The "quick trade deal" illusion has been one the Leave camp has operated under from the beginning, and arguably got them where they are now. First it was "the EU will give us all we want on our terms because German carmakers will never allow a hard Brexit for fear of losing the British market." Now it's "the EU only needs to see we're serious about hard Brexit, then after that the real talks can begin." It's all based upon the fallacy that the EU needs the UK more than vice versa, relative economic size to the contrary.

The British government also claimed that all trade agreements the EU has in place with third parties could simply be rubberstamped to continue to apply to the UK post-Brexit. In reality, after three years they have only managed to replicate the deals with some minor partners like Chile and Switzerland. Bigger economies like Canada and Japan have seen no reason to give the UK alone the same favorable terms as the big bloc of the EU.

Sure both sides want to trade with each other (and they will, even if under basic WTO rules with all the tarrifs and border controls that entails). But the only way a deal will be reached quickly is if a smaller partner readily yields to the demands of the bigger. So far the Brits don't show that attitude; see Boris Johnson recently making conditions for a trade agreement with the US during the visit of Vice President Pence, like no chlorinated chicken in Britain and no American private providers in the National Health Service, but allowing traditional British foods like haggis on the US market.

Johnson has of course to avoid the impression by the electorate that they're merely exchanging one overlord for another. But realistically, Britain is in the same position in trade negotiations with the US as it is with the EU.

Next week will be interesting. For one thing, the British Supreme Court is expected to rule on the prorogation of Parliament. Courts in England and Wales have found this is a political rather than a legal issue, so no matter for them. OTOH, a Scottish court ruled on appeal that Johnson was out of bounds having the Queen shut down Parliament for an extended period. If the Supreme Court agrees, he could be technically up on charges of giving the Queen unlawful advice. Of course if the court agrees with the other position, he's still the leader of a minority government now. New elections seem the only way out in either case.

On that note, the parties are also going into their annual conventions, which they will doubtlessly use to define their positions on Brexit for any upcoming campaigns. Current polls are showing again that it pays to have a clear stance on the issue. Since Johnson took over Conservative leadership, they have been gaining sharply at the expense of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party. OTOH, Labour has been floundering while the Liberal Democrats with their unequivocal Remain position nearly caught up with them.

The Labour convention is expected to try forcing party leader Jeremy Corbyn to adopt an anti-Brexit stance, which about 90 percent of their base support, mostly younger and moderate members. However, Corbyn himself is a 70s throwback orthodox socialist Eurosceptic who hasn't brought it over himself to assume a clear position. In fact supporters of his have filed a motion to abolish the position of a deputy leader currently filled by Remainer Tom Watson, who has been critical of Corbyn's Brexit flip-flopping. So Labour is mostly busy with itself rather than being on the attack against the government.

 
Posts: 1914 | Location: Berlin, Germany | Registered: April 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, and an interesting week it was. The British Supreme Court of course ruled 11:0 that not only was Boris Johnson out of bounds advising the Queen to prorogue Parliament for an unusually long term in a critical political situation, but also that the resulting royal order was null and void, so that Parliament has in effect not actually been prorogued. The text of the ruling and its summary make for very enlightening reading on British constitutional tradition, too.

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2019-0193.html

I find the reactions from the hard fringe of the no-deal camp rather ironic. These people supposedly are all about returning control from Brussels to appropriate British institutions; yet when British Parliament and courts actually exert their authority within the peculiar British framework of a largely unwritten constitution, there's talk of traitors, enemies of the people, "the dictatorship of the 650" and "show me where it's written".

In fact I sense some outright Bolshevik contempt for due political and legal proceedings coming in the way of a strong government implementing an assumed will of the people (again - there's a clear popular mandate for Brexit, but not necessarily a hard one, since the referendum didn't ask for the mode of implementation). Always reminds me of the old East German politics school textbook I came across in the 90s, which explained how having an independent Constitutional Court in West Germany ran counter to implementing the Will of the People as embodied in The Party in the DDR. Seems to me that fringe is not so much about preserving the traditional British system rather than tearing it down in favor of a dictatorship of the proletariate.

Meanwhile the Labour Party failed to agree on a clear stance on Brexit at their convention again. So everybody is basically back where they were three weeks ago.
 
Posts: 1914 | Location: Berlin, Germany | Registered: April 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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UK politics are convoluted! I’ve given up trying to guess what will happen with Brexit. I’ll just wait and see what happens.



Look about you.
 
Posts: 4997 | Location: San Diego | Registered: July 26, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Johnson is pulling an interesting stunt which has actually some chance of success. As far back as a month ago, there were suggestions he might go back to the proposal of moving the customs border with the EU to the Irish Sea, which would largely eliminate the problem of the Irish land border. This was brought into play by the EU at the very start of the mess, but Theresa May said no British PM could ever sign off on it; in large part because after the snap elections she called in 2017, her majority in Parliament depended upon the Northern Irish DUP, which was dead set against anything dividing the area from the rest of the UK.

Since Johnson had lost his majority anyway, the thought was probably that he might as well piss them off, too, ram through a deal eliminating the need for the "backstop", then run for new elections as the man who delivered Brexit after nearly four years of failure. In actual fact, his proposal this week includes some complications - Northern Ireland would continue to apply the rules of the European Single Market, but leave the customs union along with the rest of the UK. That's not unprecedented; the European Economic Area including the EU and EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland) is the same, so this is indeed a bit of a "Norway" model. The problem will be in technical implementation, like Johnson's suggestions that customs checks would be done directly at shipping endpoints and centers behind the border.

Further, Northern Ireland would decide every four years whether to continue with Single Market rules, either in local parliament (currently suspended due to partisan quarreling though) or by referendum. That seems to actually have gotten the DUP on board since it gives them increased importance, and there is support of Brexiteers indicates the evolved sentiment in the Tories to place Brexit above the Union (the UK's, not the EU). Of course there is flat rejection from opposition parties, with the Scottish SNP also asking why the Northern Irish get to decide on whether effectively staying in the Single Market, but Scotland doesn't though a majority there voted against Brexit, too.

Still, if Johnson can get May's old majority behind this - including the Tory dissidents he threw out, though probably not the ones who joined the Liberal Democrats - he would finally get approval by Parliament, even if he created lots of hard feelings earlier and this is actually a bigger concession than the current deal in some respects. The question is whether he will manage before 31 October, for which he also needs the EU to accept it. The latter's official position currently is that some problems with the separation of Single Market and cutoms union remain, and the onus to resolve them is on the UK. There are of course hardline and compromise-oriented factions in the EU as well; a lot will depend upon how the Republic of Ireland takes the proposals.

Then again there are the ones who say that Johnson is fully expecting EU refusal and this is just a vehicle to put the blame for a hard Brexit on them for balking at a reasonable compromise. Of course at this point, we'll probably see an actual outcome in three weeks this time. Unless there's yet another eleventh-hour extension.

ETA: Oh Gawd, I wish I hadn't just said that.

quote:
Brexit: Boris Johnson will send extension letter - court document

11 minutes ago

Boris Johnson will send a letter to the EU asking for a Brexit delay if no deal is agreed by 19 October, according to government papers submitted to a Scottish court.

The document was revealed as campaigners sought a ruling forcing the PM to comply with the law.

Their QC said the submission contradicted statements by the prime minister last week in Parliament.

But Downing Street said the UK would still be leaving the EU on 31 October.

The so-called Benn Act requires the government to request an extension to the 31 October Brexit deadline if a deal has not been signed off by Parliament by 19 October.

Mr Johnson has previously said "we will obey the law, and will come out on 31 October" in any event, without specifying how he would achieve these apparently contradictory goals.

There had been speculation Downing Street had identified a legal loophole to get around the Benn Act, named after Labour's Hilary Benn who spearheaded the law's passage through Parliament.

A senior Downing Street source said: "The government will comply with the Benn Act, which only imposes a very specific narrow duty concerning Parliament's letter requesting a delay - drafted by an unknown subset of MPs and pro-EU campaigners - and which can be interpreted in different ways.

"But the government is not prevented by the Act from doing other things that cause no delay, including other communications, private and public.

"People will have to wait to see how this is reconciled. The government is making its true position on delay known privately in Europe and this will become public soon."

[...]

Steve Baker, chairman of the European Research Group of Brexiteer Conservative MPs, said the government document changed nothing.

"All this means is that government will obey the law. It does not mean we will extend. It does not mean we will stay in the EU beyond 31 October. We will leave."

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he did not want to "comment on court cases that are happening in the UK, they'll play themselves out".

He told a press conference in Denmark the EU would consider a request for a further Brexit extension if Mr Johnson asked for one, adding: "Certainly an extension would be better than a no deal".

However, he said many other EU countries would need a "good reason" to approve a further delay to the UK's exit.

He said his preference was to reach a deal with the UK by the summit of European leaders on 17 October and said he believed this was still possible.

"Our focus is getting a deal at the EU Council and I believe that's possible," he added.


https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49936352

This message has been edited. Last edited by: BansheeOne,
 
Posts: 1914 | Location: Berlin, Germany | Registered: April 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Pipe Smoker:
UK politics are convoluted! I’ve given up trying to guess what will happen with Brexit. I’ll just wait and see what happens.


Just like most of us who live here. The politicians, starting with the fuckwit Cameron, really screwed this whole thing up big time.

I'd opine that any politician would have a problem figuring out whether or not a dropped anvil would hit the ground or fly off into space...
 
Posts: 9667 | Location: UK, OR, ONT | Registered: July 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good on Boris! I hope that he prevails.

“Boris Johnson is prepared to spark a major constitutional crisis drawing the Queen into the heart of politics in order to get Brexit done by the end of the month.

The Prime Minister is said to be prepared to 'squat' in Downing Street and dare the monarch to fire him if MPs topple his administration in a confidence vote and seek to delay the UK's exit from the EU.
……
Under a backbench law passed last month Mr Johnson has to seek a three-month Brexit delay if there is no deal by October 19, and opposition parties are planning to try to topple his administration.

But he has continued to insist that Brexit will happen on Halloween, despite court documents last week admitting he would comply with the Benn Act.

'Unless the police turn up at the doors of 10 Downing Street with a warrant for the prime minister's arrest, he won't be leaving,' a senior source told the Sunday Times.

Drawing the 93-year-old monarch - who strives to remain apart from frontline politics -  into the heart of the Brexit battle would be a move unparalleled in modern times…”

https://mol.im/a/7542687



Look about you.
 
Posts: 4997 | Location: San Diego | Registered: July 26, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brexit: Deal essentially impossible, No 10 source says after PM-Merkel call



“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
- John Adams
 
Posts: 28244 | Location: VA | Registered: June 29, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think the BBC is populated by 'remainers'.
The BBC video in that story makes it sound pretty terrible...




"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."
-- Justice Janice Rogers Brown

"The United States government is the largest criminal enterprise on earth."
-rduckwor
 
Posts: 16688 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: April 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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ETA to the below: Johnson and Juncker have declared there's a deal, though some of the tweets to that effect seem to have been erased again already. DUP still rejects it, but Johnson seems confident to get it through Parliament on Saturday. Jubilations are probably premature, but let's see where this goes.

There have been intense negotiations ahead of the EU summit which starts today; if no deal was secured by Saturday, Johnson would be required by the law recently passed by Parliament to seek another extension. It actually seems that on the technical side all that remains in the way are some, albeit difficult, details about how to treat VAT in Northern Ireland. But this time the EU wants the UK to show parliamentary assent before closure, and it seems things have gone too far for the Northern Irish DUP - though there is talk that Johnson might still buy them off. A deal might happen, or not.

quote:
Brexit: DUP rejects deal 'as things stand' as PM heads to EU summit

17 October 2019

Boris Johnson has suffered a blow to his proposed Brexit deal as the Democratic Unionist Party said it cannot support plans "as things stand".

The support of the Northern Irish party is seen as crucial if the PM is to win Parliament's approval for the deal in time for his 31 October deadline.

The DUP said it would continue to work with the government to try to get a "sensible" deal.

It comes as Mr Johnson heads to a crunch summit to get the EU's approval.

On the EU's side, the legal text of a draft Brexit deal is seen as being "pretty much ready", the BBC's Europe editor Katya Adler said.

But the UK government has yet to approve the documents and the DUP remains unhappy about elements of the prime minister's revised plan for Northern Ireland.

In a joint statement released on Thursday, the DUP's leader and deputy said discussions with the government were "ongoing", but "as things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT".

"We will continue to work with the government to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom," Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds added.

Mr Johnson's proposals for a new Brexit deal hinge on getting rid of the controversial backstop - the solution to Irish border issues agreed by former PM Theresa May which proved unpalatable to many MPs.

However, his plans would see Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK - something the DUP, among others, has great concerns about.

The DUP has helped prop up the Conservative government since the 2017 general election.

In the past, a number of Tory Brexiteers have said their own support for a Brexit deal was contingent on the DUP's backing of any agreement.

The BBC has learned that the draft Brexit deal has a mechanism enabling Northern Ireland to approve or reject the border plans.

This would give the Stormont Assembly the chance to vote on Brexit arrangements four years after the Brexit transition period ends in 2020.

But the DUP has demanded assurances around this so-called consent mechanism.

As well as the DUP, Mr Johnson is also trying to secure support from Tory Brexiteers, most of whom are part of the European Research Group.

[...]


https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-50077760

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Posts: 1914 | Location: Berlin, Germany | Registered: April 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Update 2: The DUP's letter rejecting the deal has been released in full...even though Northern Ireland will remain part of the UK customs territory under the deal, the DUP supposedly chafe at being "subject to the rules of the European Union Customs Union".

* * *

Update: Now that Johnson has won the EU leadership's backing for his deal, he's seeking their approval for another measure that his team believe will be essential to passing it through Parliament.

Johnson now wants EU leaders to offer the UK two options: Either this deal, or the UK leaves the EU on Oct. 31 without a deal. By law, Johnson is only required to ask the EU for an extension on Oct. 19 if Parliament hasn't approved a deal. The EU is not obligated to grant the extension.

While it's not guaranteed, Johnson might be able to win support from enough members of the opposition who are anxious enough about a 'no deal' Brexit that they might back Johnson if the DUP proves truly intransigent.

After all, if Johnson can pull it off, it'd be cheaper than bribing the DUP with public money.

Already on Thursday, almost all of the GBP's gain against the dollar has been erased as traders accept that Johnson still needs this second commitment from EU to materially raise the odds of getting it through Parliament on Saturday.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geop...gree-new-brexit-deal



"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."
-- Justice Janice Rogers Brown

"The United States government is the largest criminal enterprise on earth."
-rduckwor
 
Posts: 16688 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: April 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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“The new plan includes legal changes to Theresa May’s – something Brussels had previously insisted was impossible…”

https://mol.im/a/7582705



Look about you.
 
Posts: 4997 | Location: San Diego | Registered: July 26, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Johnson has a couple things going for him here. One is the whole "only Nixon could go to China" vibe due to his own hardline Brexit background. He has also put a lot of fellow Brexiteers into government/party positions, giving them something to lose and tying them into government discipline. He can indeed claim that he made the EU change its position that the previous deal would not be renegotiated - even if the new one is actually a greater concession by going back to a EU proposal to move the customs border to the Irish Sea (something Theresa May said no British prime minister could sign off on). The EU did however move on the technical details despite reservations, too.

Since Johnson had already lost his majority in Parliament, he was largely freed of appeasing the Northern Irish DUP on which May had depended. Of course he still needs a majority to get the new deal through the House of Commons, which will depend upon whether enough non-Tories realize this is really the last chance to avoid hard Brexit, and after all the back and forth Parliament conducted over the original deal, failing that would likely damage the institution itself, too.

The problem remains that most parties have motives other than the best interests of the country at heart. Opposition leader Corbyn wants to be prime minister first before dealing with the actual issue in any way. The Scottish National Party wants another referendum on Scottish independence. Johnson can certainly not count on the votes of the Liberal Democrats and other straight remainers. In fact none of the opposition can be interested in handing him a success to go into the next elections with. So Saturday will be interesting again.
 
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