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The Positive Brexit Thread

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3 hours ago, Herman said:

Jools, you won, you don't need to keep on lying.

I haven't lied within this thread and neither did I lie throughout the 'EU' thread and to be fair to you I'd like to believe you haven't wittingly lied either --- You have, however, constantly believed the 'Project Fear' mongers and it's a well-known fact now that 'Project Fear' has been and continues to be a myth.

It's also a well-known fact that Brexit uncertainty and business ills over the last three and a half years IS down to Remainiac delay through blatant obfuscation.

I'm not a liar, Hermione -- I've never felt the need to deceive anyone, least of all myself.

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Your future FTA partner is at it again.... only fools would trust the UK will not get shafted. Either during the negotiations, or after. 

Tariffs.jpg

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1 hour ago, Jools said:

I haven't lied within this thread and neither did I lie throughout the 'EU' thread and to be fair to you I'd like to believe you haven't wittingly lied either --- You have, however, constantly believed the 'Project Fear' mongers and it's a well-known fact now that 'Project Fear' has been and continues to be a myth.

It's also a well-known fact that Brexit uncertainty and business ills over the last three and a half years IS down to Remainiac delay through blatant obfuscation.

The fact that business confidence improves as the uncertainty of "are we in or are we out" is resolved can be acknowledged, but its only fair to say that nobody knows what "out" means at this stage. We have not yet left the EU, and even when we do formally leave it on Feb 01 we are to all intents and purposes still "in". The proof of whether "Project Fear" is correct or not will be proven over the next 12 - 18 months, when we actually know what the Government negociates with both the EU and US. Brexit is certainly not "done", it is in fact only just getting started. 

Edited by Surfer

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Lies. The blame game. No resposibility. Bullying. Dumping reams of unchecked propaganda.You epitomise why I hate Brexit and all those that support it.

We see you Jools.

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9 hours ago, Jools said:

I haven't lied within this thread and neither did I lie throughout the 'EU' thread and to be fair to you I'd like to believe you haven't wittingly lied either --- You have, however, constantly believed the 'Project Fear' mongers and it's a well-known fact now that 'Project Fear' has been and continues to be a myth.

It's also a well-known fact that Brexit uncertainty and business ills over the last three and a half years IS down to Remainiac delay through blatant obfuscation.

I'm not a liar, Hermione -- I've never felt the need to deceive anyone, least of all myself.

Maybe, although does cutting and pasting lies from Guido count?

What is clear is that "uncertainty and business ills" are far from being the sole responsibility of the Remain argument. Many are global and outside the governments control, many more are down to economic policy that stretches back across multiple governments and parties and some are down to embarking on Leaving the EU without a plan.

@Herman is right in that you have won this debate and if the assertion you make is correct all "uncertainty and business ills" should now fall away in 2020. If this doesn't happen it will be clear that many of the Leave arguments were at best mistaken and at worst lies. There seems a rising panic amongst the most vocal Leavers that the UK may not reach the "sunlit uplands" and many of the words spoken and written will be shown to be false.

We shall now find out, and it would be better for all concerned if the Leavers claims prove to correct. But if that is not the case they cannot blame anyone else and should man-up to the responsibility.

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10 hours ago, Jools said:

it's a well-known fact now that 'Project Fear' has been and continues to be a myth.

It's good to see Jools finally acknowledge this.  🤣

Apples

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BF
“The UK economy suffers from low investment, low productivity, low wages and low skills. Without addressing this, and neither of your two recent posts do, the UK is in real trouble. Rationally some of this is out of the governments control and not all of it is related to Brexit. That said any policy will need to take Brexit into account as well the global situation. To date there has been nothing coherent from the government.”

 

 

All economies have their weaknesses. You mentioned historic growth figures in a previous post as if the U.K. was way out of kilter with the G7, that’s not the case, there has been a dip due to Brexit uncertainty but that’s a bit like your analogy between climate change and the weather.

As for a low wage economy, again there is some truth in that but the reality is that earnings have been outstripping inflation for some time.

As to your point about the government doing nothing to address low skills and productivity, again you are wrong, the drive to regenerate the economy outside of London, increased investment in skills and training seem to be a priority for this government. It could also be argued that the loss of cheap labour from the EU will drive up the need for investment which will in turn create improved productivity in the longer term.

Of course the first thing we need to do to increase productivity is for all you beggars to get off your phones when you are supposed to be at work 😉

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33 minutes ago, Van wink said:

All economies have their weaknesses. You mentioned historic growth figures in a previous post as if the U.K. was way out of kilter with the G7, that’s not the case, there has been a dip due to Brexit uncertainty but that’s a bit like your analogy between climate change and the weather.

As for a low wage economy, again there is some truth in that but the reality is that earnings have been outstripping inflation for some time.

As to your point about the government doing nothing to address low skills and productivity, again you are wrong, the drive to regenerate the economy outside of London, increased investment in skills and training seem to be a priority for this government. It could also be argued that the loss of cheap labour from the EU will drive up the need for investment which will in turn create improved productivity in the longer term.

Of course the first thing we need to do to increase productivity is for all you beggars to get off your phones when you are supposed to be at work 😉

I agree that on growth the UK is not out of kilter with the G7, however Sajid Javid is claiming that UK growth will return to pre-crash levels. It is not clear how this would happen and no one who looks at this seriously believes it is achievable. What is an example of this government making unfounded promises. This is like what you describe as  the drive to regenerate the economy outside of London, increased investment in skills and training seem to be a priority for this government - what has the government actually done on this, apart from make promises. Early days I know, but one  to watch. The loss of EU labour may well drive up investment and productivity in the long term, but in the short term it will be a drag on growth and government revenues. What Johnson lacks in an analysis of the economy based on evidence that can drive policy to deliver the outcomes he is promising. Your "good news" stories do not hide this.

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"As for a low wage economy, again there is some truth in that but the reality is that earnings have been outstripping inflation for some time."

Are all wages, including bonuses, executives pay increases etc included in these figures? Because, from personal experience, I have seen little of this wage increase and am concered that far-over inflation increases for top level people are skewing the data to make it look rosier than it actually is.

 

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18 minutes ago, Herman said:

"As for a low wage economy, again there is some truth in that but the reality is that earnings have been outstripping inflation for some time."

Are all wages, including bonuses, executives pay increases etc included in these figures? Because, from personal experience, I have seen little of this wage increase and am concered that far-over inflation increases for top level people are skewing the data to make it look rosier than it actually is.

 

Fair point but I believe that it’s average wage, of course there are many ways to calculate an average. 

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32 minutes ago, BigFish said:

I agree that on growth the UK is not out of kilter with the G7, however Sajid Javid is claiming that UK growth will return to pre-crash levels. It is not clear how this would happen and no one who looks at this seriously believes it is achievable. What is an example of this government making unfounded promises. This is like what you describe as  the drive to regenerate the economy outside of London, increased investment in skills and training seem to be a priority for this government - what has the government actually done on this, apart from make promises. Early days I know, but one  to watch. The loss of EU labour may well drive up investment and productivity in the long term, but in the short term it will be a drag on growth and government revenues. What Johnson lacks in an analysis of the economy based on evidence that can drive policy to deliver the outcomes he is promising. Your "good news" stories do not hide this.

 

Just to prove I'm not a 'lefty' as Jool's seems to think that everybody who thinks he's nuts is - 

If we want to radically drive up productivity, growth etc - we now need to move to a US model of employment. Cut benefits, healthcare, 2 weeks holiday and all benefits including pensions such that the state only offers barest safety net. 

All those 'left behind' areas would quickly depopulate - Wales we could reforest and the labour (or is that labor) market would be very mobile. Entrepreneurs would start and fail and start and fail lots of companies again - perhaps 3rd time lucky.

Of course this is exactly what the Brexiter's voted for (ha ha ) - leaving the European 'social' model. Of course it is also what the right wing Tories have wanted all along.

I have no problems with this - Surfer in the US can verify / comment. Pensioners I'm sure can find say $200/month per person for health insurance from their savings....

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2 hours ago, Herman said:

"As for a low wage economy, again there is some truth in that but the reality is that earnings have been outstripping inflation for some time."

Are all wages, including bonuses, executives pay increases etc included in these figures? Because, from personal experience, I have seen little of this wage increase and am concered that far-over inflation increases for top level people are skewing the data to make it look rosier than it actually is.

 

The ONS figure is based on a monthly sample of 9,000 employers based on:

  • employee pay frequency
  • number of paid employees
  • total gross pay
  • holiday pay, pay awards and bonuses
  • redundancies and temporary employees
  • paid overtime, new pay rates and industrial action

So a crude mean, useful as a indicator but doesn't add much to this debate

More useful is the median:

  • Median household disposable income in the UK was £29,400 in the financial year ending (FYE) 2019, up 1.4% (£400) compared with FYE 2018, after accounting for inflation.
  • This continues a period of modest growth over recent years; median income grew by an average of 0.7% per year between FYE 2017 and FYE 2019, compared with 2.8% between FYE 2013 and FYE 2017.
  • The rise in median income has occurred during a period where the employment rate grew by 0.5 percentage points, while real total pay for employees increased by an average of 1.0% across the 12 months in FYE 2019 compared with FYE 2018.
  • Median income of people living in retired households increased by 1.1% (£300), while the median income of people living in non-retired households grew by 1.3% (£400).
Edited by BigFish
add median

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"Median household disposable income in the UK was £29,400"

That sounds very high for "disposable income", which I assume is a figure remaining after payments for mortgages or rent? 

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3 minutes ago, Van wink said:

"Median household disposable income in the UK was £29,400"

That sounds very high for "disposable income", which I assume is a figure remaining after payments for mortgages or rent? 

@Van wink, I think you assume incorrectly-disposable=after tax/benefits and before any other "discretionary" payments like housing.

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2 hours ago, Herman said:

"As for a low wage economy, again there is some truth in that but the reality is that earnings have been outstripping inflation for some time."

Are all wages, including bonuses, executives pay increases etc included in these figures? Because, from personal experience, I have seen little of this wage increase and am concered that far-over inflation increases for top level people are skewing the data to make it look rosier than it actually is.

 

I think this graph may illustrate why @Herman

image.thumb.png.8f899e134485916a57d048994124c796.png

Why has in-work poverty risen in Britain?

Edited by BigFish

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13 minutes ago, BigFish said:

I think this graph may illustrate why @Herman

image.thumb.png.8f899e134485916a57d048994124c796.png

 

We are getting into the mad (Greek) situation where generally our pensioners have a higher disposable income than the average worker. Yes there are some poor pensioners but a lot who aren't. 

This situation has unbalanced our politics and economy.

 

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1 minute ago, Yellow Fever said:

 

We are getting into the mad (Greek) situation where generally our pensioners have a higher disposable income than the average worker. Yes there are some poor pensioners but a lot who aren't. 

This situation has unbalanced our politics and economy.

Bang on @Yellow Fever, explains why in work poverty has gone up from 13% to 18%

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3 hours ago, Yellow Fever said:

If we want to radically drive up productivity, growth etc - we now need to move to a US model of employment. Cut benefits, healthcare, 2 weeks holiday and all benefits including pensions such that the state only offers barest safety net. 

 

No thanks.

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6 minutes ago, king canary said:

No thanks.

That exactly what I think - and I guess most people who voted Brexit do - but in there lies the conundrum. We are now going to be a little fish in a very big shark infested world (c.f. Trump and 'car' tariffs recently if we dare to tax Amazon, Facebook, Google for making money in the UK). Better swim fast it seems - or at least faster than those 'left behind'. 🦈

 

 

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In Davos, the EU Commission President proves that Brexiteers were right all along

Revealed: Frau von der Leyen thinks she runs all of Europe as one country

leyen_davos_220120.jpg

Meanwhile the Brexit Bill finally gets through the Lords and is with Her Majesty for Royal Assent

Yesterday in Davos at the World Economic Forum where national leaders, think-tankers, journalists and lobbyists gather for four days each year, the EU’s new Commission President - German Ursula von der Leyen – gave a keynote speech. In it, she laid bare the EU’s pretensions of being a single country and a coming military power.

Meanwhile in London the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-21 reached its climax in Parliament.

HM the Queen will give her consent today

Since the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-21 was passed by the Commons after the New Year, the Remainer-dominated House of Lords has debated more than 100 amendments. Yesterday their Lordships sent the Bill back to MPs in the Commons with five key amendments, all of which were rejected by the MPs.

On then being sent back to the Lords, the peers finally gave up the fight and the Bill is now with Her Majesty for Royal Assent. Following certain formalities the EU Parliament will vote on the Agreement on 29 January, where it is expected to pass. It will then become an international treaty between the EU and the UK effective from 11pm GMT on Friday 31 January 2020.

On the same day in Davos, Switzerland

The newly-appointed EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, gave a keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday. Below we present some key excerpts and in our analysis below we offer some thoughts which readers will not see elsewhere today.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Excerpts from speech of Frau Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission President

World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, 22 Jan 2020

“…if you engage with Europe you will find a reliable partner, working for a more sustainable world. But we ask for fairness in return.

“We have a lot to offer. We are the largest single market in the world. We are one of the three largest economies. We are the largest source and destination of foreign direct investment. We have more than 80 free trade agreements, and over 700 international economic agreements. And the next negotiations will start in February with our British friends.”

“We have learnt the importance to invest more in long-term stability and to prevent crises. This is where Europe can make a real difference.

“We are the largest donor for development cooperation – in fact, we invest in this more than the rest of the world combined. But we must also do more when it comes to managing crises as they develop.

“For that, Europe also needs credible military capabilities and we have set up the building blocks of the European Defence Union. There is a European way to foreign and security policy where hard power is an important tool – but is never the only one.

“Hard power always comes with diplomacy and conflict prevention; with the work on reconciliation and reconstruction, which is something Europeans know well, because we have gone through this, here in Europe.”

WHY IS THE ABOVE IMPORTANT? – COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

One of the problems with the insidious nature of the EU and its plans for nearly half a billion people is the gradual acceptance of its promulgation of total nonsense as fact. Sadly, in this endeavour it has benefited from the support of large elements of the UK broadcast media (BBC, Sky, ITN), large elements of the UK press, and most of the media across the EU27 countries.

Once again it seems that we must be a lonely voice, ridiculing the EU’s latest pronouncements.

1. What legitimacy does this woman have to speak for “Europe”?

Frau von der Leyen apparently spoke for “Europe” yesterday. She holds the title of President of the EU Commission – a group of bureaucrats wielding enormous power yet with no popular mandate from the peoples of the 28 EU countries. She was the last-minute compromise candidate thrown at the EU Parliament last year, to replace Jean-Claude Juncker. Hers was the only name on the ballot paper, and yet she scraped through by only nine votes our of 750.

2. A lesson in geopolitics

Frau von der Leyen’s speech yesterday is littered with references to “Europe”. The words “European Union” did not pass her lips even once.

As we have pointed out many times, “Europe” is a continent of over 50 countries. (This varies slightly according to different definitions.) In a week’s time the EU will consist of just 27 countries. It is NOT “Europe”.

The problem is that the EU has slowly adopted this term over the years and the Europhile media has not corrected them. This does not make the term correct. We consider both Norway and Switzerland to be part of “Europe”, for example, and yet neither are members of the EU. Nor will the United Kingdom be, one week tomorrow.

3. The EU lays bare its superstate credentials and ambitions

During the Referendum campaign in 2016 – and in the years since – Brexiteers have been wrongly ridiculed on many levels by Remainers. Let’s just take a couple of instances from Frau von der Leyen’s speech in Davos.

Firstly, Brexiteers were ridiculed for the idea that the UK would become part of one country – the “United States of Europe”. And yet here we have the EU Commission President talking of “We are one of the three largest economies. We are the largest source and destination of foreign direct investment.” If that isn’t talking as if the EU were one country, then we would like to know what is. The EU is not “one economy”, it consists of 28 economies, soon to be 27.

If Remainers still wish to argue the point, Frau von der Leyen also said “We are the largest donor for development cooperation – in fact, we invest in this more than the rest of the world combined.” This is patently and demonstrably untrue. Several times in the last four years we have published the official aid figures, which show that the US is No.1, followed by the UK, followed by Germany. (Technically Germany overtook the UK last year but this is only because it started including the costs of its massive influx of migrants into its “foreign aid” figures.)

This is all another demonstration of how the EU refers to the actions and spending by individual member state governments as somehow being its own.

4. The EU’s now-brazen moves to become a military power

Importantly in the former German Defence Minister’s speech, she raised the topic of the EU’s Defence Union. This new EU Commission President says “Europe also needs credible military capabilities and we have set up the building blocks of the European Defence Union.” She goes on to say: “There is a European way to foreign and security policy where hard power is an important tool.”

Regular readers will recall all our researched articles about the “EU Army”. As when Nigel Farage was ridiculed by Nick Clegg in that infamous TV debate of 2014, so we have been ridiculed over the past four years for all of our evidence-based articles on this.

The simple fact is that the EU is now no longer hiding its military ambitions in any way.

5. Conclusion

Here at Brexit Facts4EU.Org we do not often write generic polemics about the EU. The simple reason is that they are not as popular as our research pieces which involve UK politicians or the abuse of UK money by the EU.

On watching Frau von der Leyen’s speech in Davos yesterday, however, and with just one week to go before the technical Brexit day, we felt it was important to raise once again the creeping (some would say creepy) geopolitical intentions of the dysfunctional and undemocratic machine that is the EU.

In the coming years, a newly-independent and powerful United Kingdom will have to face the unpleasant reality emerging on its doorstep. You read this here.

 

 

[ Sources: World Economic Forum | EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Thur 23 Jan 2020

 

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13 minutes ago, Jools said:

In Davos, the EU Commission President proves that Brexiteers were right all along

Revealed: Frau von der Leyen thinks she runs all of Europe as one country

leyen_davos_220120.jpg

Meanwhile the Brexit Bill finally gets through the Lords and is with Her Majesty for Royal Assent

Yesterday in Davos at the World Economic Forum where national leaders, think-tankers, journalists and lobbyists gather for four days each year, the EU’s new Commission President - German Ursula von der Leyen – gave a keynote speech. In it, she laid bare the EU’s pretensions of being a single country and a coming military power.

Meanwhile in London the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-21 reached its climax in Parliament.

HM the Queen will give her consent today

Since the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-21 was passed by the Commons after the New Year, the Remainer-dominated House of Lords has debated more than 100 amendments. Yesterday their Lordships sent the Bill back to MPs in the Commons with five key amendments, all of which were rejected by the MPs.

On then being sent back to the Lords, the peers finally gave up the fight and the Bill is now with Her Majesty for Royal Assent. Following certain formalities the EU Parliament will vote on the Agreement on 29 January, where it is expected to pass. It will then become an international treaty between the EU and the UK effective from 11pm GMT on Friday 31 January 2020.

On the same day in Davos, Switzerland

The newly-appointed EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, gave a keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday. Below we present some key excerpts and in our analysis below we offer some thoughts which readers will not see elsewhere today.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Excerpts from speech of Frau Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission President

World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, 22 Jan 2020

“…if you engage with Europe you will find a reliable partner, working for a more sustainable world. But we ask for fairness in return.

“We have a lot to offer. We are the largest single market in the world. We are one of the three largest economies. We are the largest source and destination of foreign direct investment. We have more than 80 free trade agreements, and over 700 international economic agreements. And the next negotiations will start in February with our British friends.”

“We have learnt the importance to invest more in long-term stability and to prevent crises. This is where Europe can make a real difference.

“We are the largest donor for development cooperation – in fact, we invest in this more than the rest of the world combined. But we must also do more when it comes to managing crises as they develop.

“For that, Europe also needs credible military capabilities and we have set up the building blocks of the European Defence Union. There is a European way to foreign and security policy where hard power is an important tool – but is never the only one.

“Hard power always comes with diplomacy and conflict prevention; with the work on reconciliation and reconstruction, which is something Europeans know well, because we have gone through this, here in Europe.”

WHY IS THE ABOVE IMPORTANT? – COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

One of the problems with the insidious nature of the EU and its plans for nearly half a billion people is the gradual acceptance of its promulgation of total nonsense as fact. Sadly, in this endeavour it has benefited from the support of large elements of the UK broadcast media (BBC, Sky, ITN), large elements of the UK press, and most of the media across the EU27 countries.

Once again it seems that we must be a lonely voice, ridiculing the EU’s latest pronouncements.

1. What legitimacy does this woman have to speak for “Europe”?

Frau von der Leyen apparently spoke for “Europe” yesterday. She holds the title of President of the EU Commission – a group of bureaucrats wielding enormous power yet with no popular mandate from the peoples of the 28 EU countries. She was the last-minute compromise candidate thrown at the EU Parliament last year, to replace Jean-Claude Juncker. Hers was the only name on the ballot paper, and yet she scraped through by only nine votes our of 750.

2. A lesson in geopolitics

Frau von der Leyen’s speech yesterday is littered with references to “Europe”. The words “European Union” did not pass her lips even once.

As we have pointed out many times, “Europe” is a continent of over 50 countries. (This varies slightly according to different definitions.) In a week’s time the EU will consist of just 27 countries. It is NOT “Europe”.

The problem is that the EU has slowly adopted this term over the years and the Europhile media has not corrected them. This does not make the term correct. We consider both Norway and Switzerland to be part of “Europe”, for example, and yet neither are members of the EU. Nor will the United Kingdom be, one week tomorrow.

3. The EU lays bare its superstate credentials and ambitions

During the Referendum campaign in 2016 – and in the years since – Brexiteers have been wrongly ridiculed on many levels by Remainers. Let’s just take a couple of instances from Frau von der Leyen’s speech in Davos.

Firstly, Brexiteers were ridiculed for the idea that the UK would become part of one country – the “United States of Europe”. And yet here we have the EU Commission President talking of “We are one of the three largest economies. We are the largest source and destination of foreign direct investment.” If that isn’t talking as if the EU were one country, then we would like to know what is. The EU is not “one economy”, it consists of 28 economies, soon to be 27.

If Remainers still wish to argue the point, Frau von der Leyen also said “We are the largest donor for development cooperation – in fact, we invest in this more than the rest of the world combined.” This is patently and demonstrably untrue. Several times in the last four years we have published the official aid figures, which show that the US is No.1, followed by the UK, followed by Germany. (Technically Germany overtook the UK last year but this is only because it started including the costs of its massive influx of migrants into its “foreign aid” figures.)

This is all another demonstration of how the EU refers to the actions and spending by individual member state governments as somehow being its own.

4. The EU’s now-brazen moves to become a military power

Importantly in the former German Defence Minister’s speech, she raised the topic of the EU’s Defence Union. This new EU Commission President says “Europe also needs credible military capabilities and we have set up the building blocks of the European Defence Union.” She goes on to say: “There is a European way to foreign and security policy where hard power is an important tool.”

Regular readers will recall all our researched articles about the “EU Army”. As when Nigel Farage was ridiculed by Nick Clegg in that infamous TV debate of 2014, so we have been ridiculed over the past four years for all of our evidence-based articles on this.

The simple fact is that the EU is now no longer hiding its military ambitions in any way.

5. Conclusion

Here at Brexit Facts4EU.Org we do not often write generic polemics about the EU. The simple reason is that they are not as popular as our research pieces which involve UK politicians or the abuse of UK money by the EU.

On watching Frau von der Leyen’s speech in Davos yesterday, however, and with just one week to go before the technical Brexit day, we felt it was important to raise once again the creeping (some would say creepy) geopolitical intentions of the dysfunctional and undemocratic machine that is the EU.

In the coming years, a newly-independent and powerful United Kingdom will have to face the unpleasant reality emerging on its doorstep. You read this here.

 

 

[ Sources: World Economic Forum | EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Thur 23 Jan 2020

 

You do know that there’s millions of other websites you could spend your time reading, Joolia? 🤣

Try some p orn mate, or google some pictures of Nige and Donald if you’re feeling particularly randy 😋

Edited by Hoola Han Solo

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3 hours ago, Yellow Fever said:

 

We are getting into the mad (Greek) situation where generally our pensioners have a higher disposable income than the average worker. Yes there are some poor pensioners but a lot who aren't. 

This situation has unbalanced our politics and economy.

 

So those might be the pensioners who diligently, and wisely, put aside some of the wages into a workplace pension during their working lives?

What would you do - p!ss it up against the wall and then look for a handout in old age??

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2 million older people living below the poverty line according to age concern

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17 minutes ago, Rock The Boat said:

So those might be the pensioners who diligently, and wisely, put aside some of the wages into a workplace pension during their working lives?

What would you do - p!ss it up against the wall and then look for a handout in old age??

No. The younger generations can't afford to save so its only us boomers that **** it up the wall.

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4 hours ago, Yellow Fever said:

 

We are getting into the mad (Greek) situation where generally our pensioners have a higher disposable income than the average worker. Yes there are some poor pensioners but a lot who aren't. 

This situation has unbalanced our politics and economy.

 

Nothing mad or unbalanced about it at all. I spent thirty years paying a mortgage, bringing up kids and trying to make ends meet. Strangely I don't have those expenses anymore.😀

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The generation coming after me can't even get a mortgage. God knows what will happen when 'generation rent' start hitting pension age.

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Here is another very long post - but do read it - as Brexit isn't done yet the pain is just about to begin.... 

 

Cool, so everything's sorted right? Brexit is getting done, everything's going back to normal and I never have to talk about trade again.

Oh yeah, no sorry. That's all a lie. We are about to enter the most perilous system-level recalibration of an advanced economy in trading history.

What.

Yeah, all that nightmare of the last four years was the easy part. Now we have to figure out our future trading relationship with the EU.

I saw Boris Johnson on the telly the other day.

Really? That never happens anymore.

No, it was crazy. He just popped up. It was like a Big Foot sighting. Anyway, he seemed to suggest it was all really easy. We'd get it done in a year and then be free to do whatever we want.

Yeah, that's the official narrative. But the reality is very different.

Are you suggesting that the government is making a sustained attempt to deceive the public in order to hide the fact that they have an impossible set of negotiating goals and no competence to deliver them?

Yes, I know. It's hard to believe.

I know what happens now. You start talking about fisheries and regulatory alignment and customs procedures and then I gradually lose the will to live and have to order extremely expensive whisky.

That's right, that's how this works. So here's the thing. The government wants to get the Brexit deal negotiated, ratified and implemented in eleven months, before December 31st. They were entitled to an extension but have decided not to take it. That means the deal is going to have to be proper bare-bones - a completely stripped-down set of negotiating goals.

Like what?

Tariffs, basically. Nothing else. Just eliminate the tariffs.

What are tariffs again?

They're taxes on goods crossing borders. The thing is, most tariffs are already very low. Decades of worldwide tariff-reduction rounds have hammered them down in pretty much every area but agriculture. So it's a very modest bar to set. It also means that services - which are kind of key to our economy - are completely forgotten about. And it does nothing about the real problem areas of trade - alignment, customs checks and rules of origin.

Yeah, that's it. That's where I switch off. I swear these words are like hypnotic suggestions to close down brain function.

Bear with me, they're all pretty simple when you break them down. And the implications of them can smash local economies, which then has a massive political impact. Will people blame Brexit? The government? Or the EU? Remainers? Immigrants? The knock-on effect of these decisions will define our politics for years to come. Which is troubling, because it's not clear the government has any idea what it's doing.

How so?

Take the distinction between goods and services. Sounds simple right? Goods are things and services are, well, services - legal, financial, hairdressing, whatever. But actually that's a crude distinction that doesn't reflect the reality of how businesses work. Car companies, for instance, sell cars. But many of them also often offer the financing for the car, which allows the person buying it to pay in monthly installments. So in that capacity they're actually functioning as a mini-bank. And banking is…

A service.

Exactly. The same is true for loads of companies, like IBM, say, or Hewlett Packard. They sell things. But they also sell services. So even at this very basic level, going for a goods-only deal already has a massive knock-on effect on businesses. If they want to keep on selling the services in Europe, they have to internally restructure to get into the right regulatory regime. Sometimes that'll be big news - they'll close an office or factory. Sometimes it'll be a case of moving staff around or bulking up whatever office they have on the continent to get recognition there, and it'll slip under the radar. But the long-term danger is that all the high-knowledge, proper value-added activity goes to Europe.

Grim.

Yep. And things get uglier when you look at regulations.

Yeah I heard about this. What are they exactly?

Regulations are one of the key aspects of international trade. Countries have different regulatory regimes. So when they trade, people have to show that they are satisfying the requirements of the country the good ends up in. That entails a lot of time and paperwork. Until now, Britain has been part of Europe's regulations regime. Now it wants to completely detach itself. But we're so deeply ingrained in continental trading networks that we can't afford either time or paperwork.

How come?

Basically because of our reliance on a manufacturing system called Just-In-Time. Manufacturing depends on this to keep costs down. It means that you avoid holding a lot of stock. Instead, you get the parts you need, literally, just in time. And we are absolutely locked into this. So for instance BMW makes the engines for its Mini model at Hams Hall just outside Birmingham. But the engine blocks come from France to the UK, where they're drilled and processed, then go to Cologne in Germany for more engineering, then back to the UK for final assembly. GKN in Birmingham also makes the drive line for many cars - this is what transmits power from the engine to the wheels. But it uses components from Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the UK. Millions of components come across the Channel every day to arrive just as they're needed.

Is this primarily a car thing?

No, it goes across the board, in Britain's most successful manufacturing sectors. Take aviation. Nearly 80% of aerospace components manufactured in the UK are exported. And the important part there is in the word 'components'. That's what we do. We don't make the whole plane. As a country, we specialise in wings, landing gear, engines and avionic systems - the electrical equipment in the cockpit. All of that is regulated by the European Aviation Safety Authority (Easa). Everything you see on a plane in Europe, numbering over 5,000 different parts, has been vouched for by them, down to the little trolley serving you drinks when you ask for your fourth rum and Coke and the air steward starts to look at you suspiciously. Oh, and his training is overseen by them too, as is the pilot's, and that of the engineers.

It's the godfather of aviation regulation.

That's right. The industry is clear: it needs to hold Easa tight. And not just Easa. It also wants a close relationship with Reach - Europe's chemical safety regulation system - because they use those chemicals in the manufacturing process. There is zero reason to deviate from this regulatory framework. There are literally no upsides. The UK is not going to start setting international standards for aviation on its own. The trend in the global industry is towards alignment, because everyone wants the same things - a safe product, with fuel efficiency, which is clean and quiet and cheap to run, and which can be traded in a complex supply chain with a minimum of friction.

Can you stay in Easa from outside the EU though?

Sure. It's an EU body, but it has various agreements with non-EU countries. Or you can just align and basically mimic whatever it does. And why not? The industry will make products to those specifications anyway, simply to trade them easily.

So surely that's what we'd do. It sounds insane to do anything else.

Yes it would be insane, wouldn't it? But apparently that's what's going to happen.

You're not serious.

Who knows. Theresa May's administration had pretty much decided to stay in the system. The political declaration for the future relationship she signed with the EU said the UK would "explore the possibility of cooperation" with Easa and then added: "In this context, the United  Kingdom will consider aligning with Union rules in relevant areas." But then things got a bit weird. Johnson updated the political declaration when he got his deal and he made some small but quite striking changes.

Like?

Well the line on 'exploring possibilities' stayed, but the following sentence, on alignment, was deleted. That raised a lot of alarm. And then the chancellor, Sajid Javid, told the Financial Times this weekend that "there will not be alignment, we will not be a ruletaker". So right now, if we're to take the government's word for it, no - we're going to pull away, for no reason at all, and at enormous cost. Or they could be lying to sound tough and Brexity. Or they could think it's a negotiating gambit with the EU. Who knows?

OK. So you've now been talking about regulations for what feels like several days. Is that it?

No I'm afraid not. The government also wants out of the customs union. That means it's also a customs problem. Manufacturers will have to fill out two sets of forms - one for regulations, one for customs. In the case of agriculture, they'll also have to satisfy health checks - these are called sanitary and phytosanitary measures. And that takes place on or near the border.

Please tell me this section is over. Hell, please tell me it's all over and the final days are upon us. Anything to escape this relentless carnival of doom.

The worst bit is yet to come, I'm afraid. It's called rules of origin and it is horrible. It's a kind of bureaucracy that kicks in when you have a trade agreement.

How does that make sense? Surely trade agreements are supposed to reduce bureaucracy.

Yep, but they need an insurance policy. So imagine the UK and EU do a trade agreement eliminating tariffs. And then the UK does a separate agreement with the US eliminating tariffs.

Sounds ideal.

Quite. But the EU and US don't have a trade deal eliminating tariffs. So now there is an incentive for the US to ship goods to the UK for entry into the EU as a way of sidestepping the taxes on their exports to Europe, but without having to make any of the concessions a trade deal would involve. Rules of origin checks are how you get around that problem.

How do they work?

The purpose of the rules is to find out where something was made. But the way of doing that changes depending on what kind of good it is. There's different rules in different sectors. Sometimes they measure a country's economic contribution to the product, such as its capital or the labour or intellectual input. There's also different grades of change in the product. You often have to show that the product has transformed from one customs category to another in a substantial way.

Did something terrible happen to you when you were a child?

Hey I didn't make the rules. But they do make sense. And this, arguably more than regulations or customs, is going to be one of the defining issues impacting on Britain in the years to come. Actually, it's already happening.

How so?

The EU and South Africa, for instance, have a deal on rules of origin allowing components from the other side to count towards the 'local content' tally. But when the UK leaves, its components will automatically be excluded from the total. So last July BMW redirected engine production from the UK to Germany for South African production. That could be the start of a trend.

How big a problem is this?

Very big. British car production leans heavily on parts and processes in the EU and Turkey. If those are excluded from the calculations, they wouldn't satisfy the rules of origin requirements. And even working it out is a nightmare - a horrible tangled web of multiple supply chains, with their own separate supply chains for component parts, and then multiple layers of subcontractors and goods going back and forth. And it's not just goods like cars and planes either. The same goes for food. Chickens reared in the UK often go off to the Netherlands for slaughter then come back and are turned into ready meals. So how much work went into the chicken to make it British? And what happens when it's put on a frozen supermarket pizza?

Civilised people don't put chicken on pizza.

That's where you're wrong. Chicken is a perfectly respectable pizza topping. But even if the chicken is British, what about the dough, the tomato sauce and all the other stuff? It's a nightmare. Just working this stuff out will put a massive new burden on British producers, who never had to do any of it before. And that assumes they can even pass the test and get the product to a level where it has enough domestic components to satisfy the rules.

Is there any way out of this?

In terms of the faff of it, no. But there is a way to make the test easier to pass. We need the rules of origin to have something called a cumulation provision.That means some inputs from outside the UK count towards domestic content. There are two main ways to do that: bilateral or diagonal. Bilateral would mean stuff done in the EU and UK would count. Diagonal includes the UK and EU and extends it to other countries who have trade deals with both of us. That would fix the South Africa problem BMW had. But even there they have different levels. We would want something called 'full cumulation', meaning that no matter how small the work done in different countries, it counts.

So it's a no-brainer, right? You go for full cumulation diagonal rules of origin. Oh and look at that. You have made the most unspeakable words come out of my mouth.

Yep, you totally would. But that's in the EU's gift. It gives them significant leverage over us. And honestly, listening to the weirdly bullying rhetoric coming from the UK government, it's not clear Downing Street realises that.

Election went to their head.

There's a lot that's gone to their head.

OK so I think I get this. It's ultimately pretty simple right? The Brits want the Brexit talks done in one year so they've reduced their negotiating goal to tariff elimination and that is going to hurt us.

Not all of us equally. Small firms will be hit harder than large firms and poorer areas will be hit harder than richer areas.

But of course, because the reality of the world is inversely proportional to any sense of moral justice.

Pretty much. Small firms selling less than £250,000 of merchandise to the EU, of which there are tens of thousands, will be forced into filling out all sorts of forms they've never had any contact with before. That'll be a much bigger burden on them than it will the big firms selling over that amount, or who already trade with the rest of the world. And the cost of adopting the new system might outweigh the benefit of exporting the goods in the first place.

Why does this mostly affect poorer areas?

Well there's a cruel irony to the effects of a hard Brexit: It won't really hurt Remain-voting areas but it's likely to seriously damage Brexit-supporting areas.

This is insane.

Yes, it is. The kinds of industries which could get really pummelled - automobile, aerospace and that - are mainly based in the Midlands and the North. Remain-voting London, on the other hand, is less exposed to European markets. It's economy is already hyper-globalised, arguably more so than any other city in the world. Decision-makers in the capital are often on the phone to Namibia, Honduras or Belize. But the decision-makers in Hull are more likely to be on the phone to Denmark and Germany.

Gotcha.

There's another problem too.

Oh cool, another one, yeah why not.

Tariffs aren't the only ask. Britain has also got a negotiating goal on fishing.

Fishing? Really? Surely that's a tiny dot in the economy. And given that they've given up services you wouldn't expect them to get too het up about it.

True. But it matters to the communities who do it and it has a political importance that far exceeds its economic impact. Britain also has a watertight legal case for its demand. Basically, sovereign coastal states have a 200 mile limit out to sea in which they can fish, under the UN Law of the Sea Convention.

Cool name for an international convention.

Isn't it. The whole thing is very Aquaman.

I always preferred Namor.

Everyone sensible does. He has those little wings on his ankles which let him fly. That is so preposterous and wonderful at the same time. Imagine what it looks like to see him fly with the little wing thingies on his ankles.

You were talking about fisheries policy.

Ah yes. So the British position is simple. We are now going to be a sovereign coastal state. We want our 200 mile limit. We'll decide what goes on there. The EU position is very different. It wants everything to stay the same as it is right now.

And what is the status quo for fishing exactly?

Basically anything outside of 12 miles from a member state is a common area. The stocks of individual fish species are then divided up between countries in set quotas to prevent overfishing. So Britain might have a 15% share of a particular stock, for instance. Those quotas are set. They do not change. But each year scientists provide advice on the total allowable catch. If it was 100,000 tonnes, Britain would get 15,000 tonnes that year. And that's how they divide up the stock.

So they want that to stick.

Yeah. But Britain, on the other hand, will probably want something like what Norway has. Each year, in the autumn, Norway gets together with the Europeans and sorts out some annual fish arrangements. It's fraught and tense, but it has a lot of power in the talks. They haggle over how much of a quota it gets on certain stocks. And unlike in the EU, that quota can change. Sometimes, if no agreement can be reached, Norway just says you can't fish in their waters at all. Britain would love to operate just like that.

Why can't it? You said the law is on the UK side.

It is, but the leverage isn't.

Recurring theme.

Quite. We can take control of our waters and block anyone fishing within 200 miles of them if we want, but there's a problem: we don't eat our own fish. Eighty per cent of what we catch goes to the EU. The fish we actually eat - good old British fish and chips - mostly comes from Norway and Iceland.

OK, but so what?

So the European threat is simple. If we don't do what they want they'll put tariffs on fish. That would absolutely hammer our fishing industry. The tariffs are high in this area and it would apply on almost everything it sells.

OK so what about some sort of compromise? Maybe the UK could stay in the EU system but they agree to rejig the quotas a bit to placate us.

Tempting, but the trouble is that would involve opening up the whole quota debate across the EU again. It would be like opening Pandora's Fish Box. They won't do that.

So we're faced with two sides with really quite distant goals in a highly emotional area of trade.

Yep. Which is why it's instructive to look at how they plan to talk about this. Britain wants to talk about fish separately to everything else. But the Europeans aren't having any of that. They want to bring the issue into the general trade discussion. And that'll be the attitude throughout - the British trying to silo off individual topics so they can't be used as leverage against each other and the Europeans making it more comprehensive.

What is it the Europeans actually want?

I thought you'd never ask. It's quite simple. They don't want Britain to undercut them. And that's not just about price - it's about regulations, subsidies and taxes.

What do you mean?

Well take Ireland. It basically functions as a kind of tax haven. This distorts the market and leads a bunch of major international companies to set up base there, where they pay hardly any tax. Countries like France hate that. Now, they might not be able to fully control tax policy, but they will want to make damn sure the same thing doesn't happen with Britain.

This is the Singapore of Europe thing, right?

Right. Britain will be experiencing two things simultaneously after the end of the transition period. First, a degree of damage to its trading status, the exact extent of which depends on how the trade talks go. And second, some freedom it did not have before. So where does that lead you? Well you're still a big country which can encourage companies to set up with you because of your infrastructure, language, culture and all that. So why not slash corporate taxes to the bone, lower regulations and subsidise business? Make yourself as low standard and attractive as possible. The Europeans want firm commitments to stop this happening.

How do you know?

When the new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen came to London recently her priorities were clear: "Zero tariffs, zero quotas, zero dumping." That's an interesting set of priorities. Used in this context, 'zero dumping' sounds like code for UK firms undercutting European ones.

Like how?

Well environmental regulations for one. The EU is about to bring in a massive new green initiative, including carbon tax and carbon VAT tax. It doesn't want that undermined by Britain basically exporting lots of dirty carbon to the EU. Same with what's called 'social dumping' - unfair labour practices like easy firing laws. And the same with subsidies - throwing cash at an industry so it can outperform its competitors overseas. This is disciplined at the WTO, but China does very well operating in the grey area of the rules. Britain could try and do the same.

This is really their main priority?

Pretty much. Britain isn't their biggest concern globally - the US and China are - but it is a big meaty economy, which can heavily undercut them, right on their doorstep. Lowering environmental or labour or subsidy standards would allow this, and might tempt firms over from the rest of the world to invest in the UK rather than the EU - or, hell, even get firms in the EU to move. Taken together, this is called the 'level playing field' debate. And it is central to the European negotiating aim.

So this is where one of the main battles will be?

Yep. And it has a knock-on effect on the timetable. Johnson is desperate to get this all done in eleven months. But the level playing field issue has a procedural impact which could make that impossible.

How so?

It's because of how the EU works. It's split up into different competencies. Some things member states have pretty much to themselves, like criminal justice. Some things are mixed competencies, like the environment. And some things are exclusive competencies of the EU, like trade. If the talks with the UK were completely focused on trade, the European Commission could insist that it has exclusive competence. That would be great news for the UK. It would mean that only the Council, where national leaders meet, and the parliament, where MEPs vote, needed to sign off on the deal. But if the deal expands to include things like the environment - and the level playing field issue does exactly that - then it becomes a mixed agreement. And that means you need each and every member state to ratify it according to their domestic political arrangements.

Christ alive. So every national parliament would need to OK it?

Yeah and not just them. In some cases, their constitutional arrangements mean even regional parliaments, like the one in Wallonia in Belgium, would also need to ratify. When Canada did a trade deal with the EU, Wallonia actually refused and for a brief moment it looked like the whole thing would fall down.

Damn.

And actually it goes further than that. A non-mixed agreement would be decided by a qualified vote in the Council. That's important, because it means you don't have to keep them all on board - just most of them. But if it has to be decided by every individual state, you need something for everyone in there, and nothing too terrible for anyone either. The whole thing becomes a lot more complicated and harder to negotiate.

Can the UK prevent this?

It's unlikely. Nearly everyone believes this is a mixed agreement. Member states want to maintain EU unity, but they all have different interests with the UK. They'll want to be able to have an impact on negotiations.

So that it then? There's no way Johnson can get his deal ratified in time?

Yes and no. There is still a get-out clause. The UK and EU can take the trade aspects and provisionally apply them in areas where the EU has exclusive competence. Then the deal goes out for ratification to national parliaments, for however long that takes. And then when they've agreed, it's all put back together and gets properly ratified. There's a bit of wriggle room, basically.

OK.

The trouble is what happens if a member state says no. That happens. The Netherlands rejected the EU's association agreement with Ukraine after a referendum. Greece decided it wanted protection for Ouzo in the South African talks. And if that happens, you have to reopen the agreement and work it all through again to try and find a compromise. Basically, you are sucked into the domestic and regional politics of 27 other member states. And there's no predicting which way that will go.

God.

Yeah. And then there's the thing we haven't mentioned, which is an absolute monster of administrative confusion and grim political consequences.

I can't believe this isn't over yet and you are still talking. Have I died and gone to the Bad Place?

We're all in the Bad Place. You must surely know that now.

Yeah, good point. OK, hit me.

Northern Ireland.

Christ, I'd forgotten about that.

So has the British government. This week, the Stormont Assembly voted unanimously - all parties and not a single vote against - to withhold consent from Johnson's Brexit deal. But even without their consent, it is going to be imposed on them. And it is an absolute godawful mess.

Why?

The deal Johnson did with the EU on Northern Ireland says that it stays in the UK customs territory but follows EU customs rules. It's not clear that he understood the implications of this. It means that a British trader selling into Northern Ireland would need to prove the goods are going to stay there, or pay the EU tariff.

Doesn't sound so bad.

But think about how weird it is. All around the world, goods arriving at a customs border are asked questions about the past - what is it, where was it made, how was it made? But now they are going to be asked questions about their future - where will it end up? And that is fundamentally unknowable. How do you prove it stayed in Northern Ireland? Let's say it's by a receipt on sale. How do you prove that the person you sold it to isn't then selling it into the EU? And this isn't just for final goods. It's also for goods for processing. So you need to know about the supply chain of the people you sell to as well.

I see the problem.

We don't even really have much data to prepare us for this because we don't track British trade to Northern Ireland, for the simple reason that it was always treated as domestic. The kind of information you'd usually have to prepare for a free trade agreement simply doesn't exist.

This is horrible.

It gets much worse. How is Northern Ireland supposed to prepare for this? If the British government succeeds in securing zero tariffs across the board, then life gets marginally easier, although you'd still need to deal with regulatory checks. But if it doesn't, we won't know what the outstanding tariffs will be until close to the deadline. And the Northern Irish system needs to be up and running at the end of transition on December 31st, with all the infrastructure and monitoring that entails. Put simply: It can't be done.

What's Johnson's plan?

He doesn't have one, or at least he hasn't revealed it. Probably the former. He still insist trade will be frictionless, even though this simply cannot be true by virtue of the deal he himself signed. The government also insists that "largely electronic" processes - the high-tech-solutions band back together again for a reunion tour - will solve everything. And then, even if everything works out in the best possible way and all the highest aspirations of the high-tech solutions come to pass, there is still a ghastly problem we have to face.

Alright, I'm strapped in. What is it?

Rules of origin.

No, come on. Not again man. Don't do this to me. We've done that.

Yeah, but it applies here too. The Northern Ireland arrangement is permanent. It stays in place even if the UK and EU have a trade agreement. And that means it has to function as if it's in the EU customs union. And that means…

Rules of origin between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Exactly. Those laborious, nightmarish requirements, carved right into UK territory.

Do they have to do these checks at the border?

No. You can do it away from the border. But the impact on businesses will be huge. Exporters from Britain, who are used to sending things to Northern Ireland as if it were the same country, will suddenly face the full bureaucratic horror show of rules of origin. They will need to decide if they want to go to all the work of figuring out where all their inputs come from, and where their suppliers source their inputs, and where their supplier's suppliers source their inputs. Or whether it is cheaper to simply stop exporting to Northern Ireland. Which many of them are very likely to do.

What's the political consequence of this?

It shows that Johnson's promise of frictionless trade between Britain and Northern Ireland is an outright lie. In fact, his deal creates a permanent border within the UK. It will never go away. It is set in stone. And the worst part, the really immoral part, is that this is happening without the consent of the people it is being imposed on. How that plays out, against the background of Irish politics and the prospect of sudden infrastructure and monitoring arrangements, and impossible timetables, is anyone's guess. But one thing is clear: No responsible person would have done this.

OK. Please tell me this is over now.

Yes. But also, it's only just beginning.

Just on the off chance that I fell asleep through any of that, can you give me a quick executive summary.

Sure. Johnson has set himself an arbitrary one-year deadline for a trade talk with the EU. The consequence of this is that the deal is bare bones, excluding services or - probably, if they're not lying - alignment on goods. Unless he changes course, this will be highly damaging to UK industry, especially those parts based in the Midlands and the North. He also wants control of fisheries. The EU want fisheries to stay as they were and a set of level playing field provisions to stop the UK undercutting them in future. They will try to secure these outcomes by keeping all the issues in play at the same time, so they can leverage them against each other. Whatever happens, the UK must deal with rules of origin requirements, which are extremely painful and will have potentially ruinous results between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Can you make it shorter than that?

The government either does not know what it is doing or is not prepared to reveal what it is doing. We are heading towards a truly disastrous set of outcomes unless that changes.

 

 

Go on, have a pick at that then....

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