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Brexit - The UK's Potential Withdrawal from the European Union

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To get some idea of why the UK negotiating team have been likened to the Keystone Kops, consider this. Eighteen months into the process, the Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab conceded that he hadn't really understood how important the port of Dover was to UK trade.

80% of all trucks entering the UK do so thru the port of Dover. Even the dogs in the street know the importance of Dover.......

Ever Heard of Dover?

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15 minutes ago, Count Bobulescu said:

To get some idea of why the UK negotiating team have been likened to the Keystone Kops, consider this. Eighteen months into the process, the Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab conceded that he hadn't really understood how important the port of Dover was to UK trade.

80% of all trucks entering the UK do so thru the port of Dover. Even the dogs in the street know the importance of Dover.......

Ever Heard of Dover?

Dominique "Broccoli" Raab learns: "Even Rover Knows Dover."

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From a longer Bloomberg email.......

 

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80 Days to Go

Today in Brexit: Will Brexit actually happen on March 29?

The idea of delaying Brexit has been discussed by U.K. and European Union officials, the Telegraph reports, in the latest sign that the divorce might not actually happen on time.

Bloomberg reported last month that British officials in private were floating the idea of an extension. Prime Minister Theresa May herself has become less adamant in public when asked if Britain will leave on time. A minister broke ranks yesterday to acknowledge that an extension was possible, and Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay responded with carefully chosen words: “It is this government’s firm intention not to extend Article 50.”

The Telegraph reports that officials have put out “feelers” about an extension, testing the waters. May’s office denied the report.

Meanwhile, May continues to pin her hopes on squeezing a last-minute concession out of Brussels that will be enough to convince Parliament to back her deal. She spent the holidays calling European leaders and had what her team described as constructive discussions. Perhaps the most interesting development has been talks between the Irish and German governments. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is in Dublin today. May is trying to get the EU to agree to a target start date for the future trading relationship, to limit the life of the much-loathed Irish backstop. And she’s hoping it will materialize in time for the Parliament vote.

 

 

 

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Brexit in Brief

$1 Trillion Move | Banks, insurers and money managers are planning to move about 800 billion pounds ($1 trillion) of assets from the U.K. to the rest of Europe as Brexit uncertainty takes its toll, according to a survey conducted by EY.

 

 

The UK annual GDP is about $2.6T. Equivalent to moving about $7T out of the US.

 

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The government is stockpiling medicines etc. and now the peeps are stockpiling food. UK could market itself as the hot destination for preppers.
 
Bloomberg.....

 

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Forum Fears | Concerns over food shortages after Brexit seem to be filtering into the public consciousness. A thread on stockpiling food, started on the Mumsnet parenting forum on Monday, has attracted more than 500 posts, with many users saying they were already taking precautions against empty shelves.

Quartz......

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Crunch-time Brexit debate begins in the British parliament. In the week before prime minister Theresa May puts her Brexit deal to a vote in the House of Commons, lawmakers will debate the agreement for five days starting today. May conceded she was on track to lose the vote on Jan. 15, while an alliance of cross-party MPs passed an amendment that will make it harder for the UK to crash out of the EU if May’s deal is voted down.

 

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After plan A went down by 230 votes the largest margin since 1925, which was 160 votes, the PM survived a no confidence motion. Tells you a lot about the state of confusion. The vote on T.May's plan B has been set for Jan 29. Plan B is scheduled to be unveiled Monday. 
 
The chances for any one of a number of Black Swan events such as no deal crash out, or 2nd referendum are increasing.
 
If a 2nd referendum were to be held there would now likely be a big fight over the wording. A simple repeat of the original, something more complex, or a vote on the deal Parliament just rejected are the three most obvious, but other options also exist.

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1 hour ago, Count Bobulescu said:
If a 2nd referendum were to be held there would now likely be a big fight over the wording. A simple repeat of the original, something more complex, or a vote on the deal Parliament just rejected are the three most obvious, but other options also exist.

One thing I don't understand is, why can't there be a simple REPEAL of the original, instead of a simple REPEAT?

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4 hours ago, DonRocks said:

One thing I don't understand is, why can't there be a simple REPEAL of the original, instead of a simple REPEAT?


Even though that sounds logical, it's also the worst of all worlds. That would be the equivalent of the US Congress impeaching the American people, and saying you may have voted for a communist or fascist for Prez, but we won't tolerate it. The hell with by the people for the people etc.  Next worst is a repeat. People please impeach yourselves.
 
The pols asked the peeps a  simple but flawed question. The peeps delivered their verdict, and the pols have been unable to implement the result. 
 
The essence of this dilemma is not a result of the 2016 referendum, but has been bubbling away among the pols of all parties since the Margaret Thatcher days. 
 
The UK has had a tortured history with the EU and its forerunners from day one.
They were invited to join the original, and refused. When they later changed their mind, DeGaulle blocked them. Less than 10 years after they joined Margaret Thatcher launched a campaign to get our money back, a claim for rebate of overpayments. Continentals have rightly long considered them the least enthusiastic members.

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33 minutes ago, Count Bobulescu said:

Even though that sounds logical, it's also the worst of all worlds. That would be the equivalent of the US Congress impeaching the American people, and saying you may have voted for a communist or fascist for Prez, but we won't tolerate it. The hell with by the people for the people etc.  Next worst is a repeat. People please impeach yourselves.
 
The pols asked the peeps a  simple but flawed question. The peeps delivered their verdict, and the pols have been unable to implement the result. 

What I'm asking is: Why can't they give the people a second referendum, now that they've had adequate time to see the full consequences of the first one?

(BTW, what you describe in the first paragraph is exactly what the DC City Council did with Prop 77. This has nothing to do with you, or Brexit, of course, but I thought it was worth pointing out.)

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

What I'm asking is: Why can't they give the people a second referendum, now that they've had adequate time to see the full consequences of the first one?

(BTW, what you describe in the first paragraph is exactly what the DC City Council did with Prop 77. This has nothing to do with you, or Brexit, of course, but I thought it was worth pointing out.)

Brexit isn't the only clock ticking. EU Parliamentary elections are due at the end of May.

There's no legal obstacle that I know of. The obstacle is political ambition, posturing, self preservation interest, egos etc. 
 
The UK currently holds almost 10% of the EU seats. EU had previously agreed that upon UK exit, the size of parliament would not be reduced, but that the UK seats would be divided up. Talk now in the UK of delaying Brexit will complicate that plan, and its 100% the consequence of the Brits inability to agree among themselves. Each of the remaining 27 holds veto power. If the Brits fail to endear themselves......  A 2nd referendum, no matter the question, will mess with EU plans, and maybe cause one of the 27 to exercise its veto power..

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There's an EU published "stairway" infographic in this year old article. You need to read the article to understand the infographic. The more red lines the UK creates, the fewer its options become, and the lower down the stairway it goes, i.e it can't have Norway status because it won't agree to the items listed under Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine etc. Some had hoped the UK would remain at the top of the stairway in a position like Norway, but it's refusal to compromise on various issues mean it is heading to "less than Canada" and WTO rules like a remote Pacific Island.

Stairway to Hell

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Five options for the way ahead by Bloomberg, part of a longer email, no link. Note in #5 they say Parliament has the tools to block "No Deal". Will they use them?

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So where do we go from here? With just 70 days to go until exit day, here’s a look at the most likely scenarios:

1. Brexit in Name Only, and Not Quite Yet

Keeping close ties to the European Union’s single market and customs regime might be the best way of getting a Brexit deal that Parliament can support, though May has ruled it out.

This option is known as “Norway-Plus” or “Common Market 2.0” to its supporters. Detractors deride it as “Brexit in Name Only.” Critics have a point: It would leave the U.K. taking rules from Brussels and wouldn’t address one of the main pledges of the referendum campaign — to bring an end uncontrolled immigration from Europe. Businesses would mostly be pleased, though the Bank of England doesn’t want to become a rule-taker.

How would we get there? Motions or amendments in the Commons need to show there’s support for the idea. The government would then ask for an extension to the March 29 deadline and a reopening of talks with the EU. The Withdrawal Agreement remains unchanged, including the much-loathed Irish border backstop. But the declaration on future ties is rewritten, making it very unlikely the fallback option will ever be used.

The plan then needs to get through the House of Commons. May might lose a couple of pro-Brexit ministers along the way, while the governing Conservative Party would be more divided than ever. Britain could then leave in late 2019 or 2020 and most people wouldn’t notice anything different.

2. Sign Up to a Customs Union

May has long promised not to sign up to a customs union, which would prevent the U.K. from striking new trade deals with other countries. That was another key pledge in the 2016 campaign. She reiterated that stance in private to Brexit hardliners on Thursday. Changing tack here would risk resignations by euroskeptic ministers and would lose her some Conservative supporters. But it might just be enough to win over pro-EU Conservatives, and some Labour MPs who would see it as close enough to the party’s official policy as to be acceptable.

This one also comes with an extension of the negotiating period, so Brexit won’t happen on March 29. And the Irish border issue won’t be completely fixed just by staying in the customs union. There’s a risk pro-Brexit Conservatives and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party could be so outraged that they oust May’s government by lending their support to Corbyn’s next no-confidence vote.

3. General Election

Several paths lead to this one. Labour wins a no-confidence vote with the help of angry Brexit supporters and an election is triggered. Alternatively, May could call an election as the only way to get a mandate for her deal. The Daily Mail reports today that civil servants were told to draw up contingency plans in case of a snap poll. Still, it might not change the parliamentary arithmetic much. So the impasse remains unresolved. 

4. Second Referendum

If Labour repeatedly fails to get the general election Corbyn is seeking, the next option is to consider backing a second referendum. His party’s members voted at their conference last year that one should be on the table, so if Corbyn backs a re-run there’s a fair chance it will happen. About 10 Conservatives have already come out in favor of going back to the people, as have the smaller opposition parties. According to government research shared with lawmakers during cross-party talks yesterday, the process would take more than a year. The paper was “illustrative only” and set out “factual detail,” May’s spokeswoman said.

5. No Deal

This is the default option and the one both sides want to avoid. The U.K. Parliament is overwhelmingly against it and has tools to block it. Britain can also unilaterally reverse Brexit, according to a court ruling last month — another safety net. But May doggedly refuses to rule out no deal, and so businesses still have to prepare for the worst.


 

 

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Two posts this morning by the same person on a UK forum illuminate the John Bull attitude.....and there's a lot of it about....... Ignores the fact that if it weren't for US help, and death of twenty million Russians they might very well be speaking German in Blighty today.

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Getting some backbone is the correct phrase. We have faced far worse than this in these islands, and still within living memory.

We're not going to war for Pete's sake. How must those folks back in 1939 have felt? Europe in flames, with a crazy nutcase invading country after country? Isolated, on our own, trying to stand up to this madman in Germany?

Our army caught on a beach, with the only way out across the sea? Having to pick up the pieces after that, as German planes bombed our cities?

All this is, is us leaving the EU, and having difficulty finding our place in the outside world again. Once the dust settles, Europe will trade with us again. It's in their financial interests to do so. I understand their fears of us making a success of it, because they don't want any other countries saying they want to leave.

But in the end, money talks as it always does. We will find our way, and it will be difficult at first. But we must always keep in mind, the guts and determination of the British people in 1939, and the horrors they faced for years. By 1945 the economy of our country was in ruins. This is not the case here. 

We can do this

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The number one concern for me with EU membership is unending immigration. I fear for the future with this issue. They will keep coming forever. We could never build enough homes to feed the demand. Britain would be ruined by urban sprawl, and gridlocked roads. Plus the social unrest caused. Nothing is more important if the young of this country are ever going to see affordable rents and homes to buy. We must also deal with immigration from outside the EU.

You well know my opinion on Ireland. I am sick to the back teeth of the Irish, going back decades to my time in the British army. We should have taken steps to leave northern Ireland in the early 70s. I am guessing many Ulster people left to live in Britain during the troubles. We should have said we're getting out, and Ulster people who don't want to live in a united Ireland should leave, and come to Britain.

Now, once again the Irish issue is causing us great difficulty in trying to leave the EU. Backstabbing from your political leaders has sickened me. He may well regret his actions at this time. The EU are just using Ireland as a big stick to beat us with.

Fortunately, on the immigration issue from northern Ireland by EU citizens trying to get into Britain by the back door, we have a sea between us. This can be managed at a future time, depending if this becomes a problem. 

If the EU agreed to an end to free movement to the UK, which they won't of course, I would consider voting remain in a second referendum. I'm not sure, because the EU have shown us nothing but contempt since we voted to leave the EU. Plus they are pushing for ever closer integration towards a United States of Europe. I'd have to think long and hard, but it will never happen. The EU would never give up on this right of movement.


 

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Westminster today considered 7 amendments to  T. May's proposal that was roundly defeated two weeks ago. Only one passed, a conservative proposal to send May back to Brussels to reopen negotiations on the Irish border backstop.
The purpose of the backstop is to prevent a hard border in Ireland for fear of reigniting violence.
The first car bomb in about 20 years exploded at night in front of a courthouse close to the border on Jan 19.
The EU said to May tonight, don't bother, no chance, and the Irish government is not as they say "best pleased".
 
Westminster today voted down amendments that would have sought an extension of time for negotiations, and would have prevented a no deal crashout, which everyone says they are against. Go Figya.
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Since the Irish Border Backstop will now be Topic A, until it's not, anyone wanting a better understanding could do worse than listen to this 13 min presentation by Sabine Weyand the EU's Deputy Chief Negotiator, the person who actually runs the show, and who rarely speaks.  She ranges beyond the backstop.
Even some hardline Brexiters are conceding she may have a point, and maybe more than one.
 
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Here's an excerpt from a longer smart posting on an EU discussion forum.
 
I think Westminster and the UK media at a basic level is treating the entirety of the withdrawal negotiations as a political rather than a legal process. Hence their confusion when political actions have no effect. It's a category error.
 
Someone else in the same discussion pointed out that unlike other counties, the British people are not sovereign, parliament is, and that gives MP's an inflated sense of their importance. Brits only relatively recently discarded the moniker of "subjects" in favor of citizens.

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Bloomberg....
 
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Another Glimmer | Arlene Foster, the leader of the Northern Irish party that props up May’s government, said on Monday: “This is not a time for intransigence.” Still it’s not clear if that refers to her own intransigence or just other people’s. 

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A wise & astute poster opines on a suitable Y2K type abv. for Brexit day....
 
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I like the term "B-day" because it suggests that just like "Bidet"..... it could be messy and there's a high risk of getting your arse burned.

For some people March 29, arrives before the end of February..........

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The predicament of UK exporters. As a member of the EU, the UK benefits from preferential trading rights with various nations. In the case of a no-deal Brexit on March 29, those rights could be lost immediately. As Richard Partington and Heather Stewart write for the Guardian, that’s already putting UK exporters—whose shipments can take weeks—in a tough spot. Tariffs could be significantly higher when a cargo vessel arrives than when it departed.

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Nigel Farage one of the leading instigators of the Brexit campaign, registered a new political party over the weekend,  www.thebrexitparty.org for the purpose of fielding candidates in the upcoming elections to the EU Parliament----if the Withdrawal Agreement is delayed.
 As of last check they were claiming 48,000+ expressions of interest in joining within the first 48 hours of launch. I've seen a pro Brexiter claim that the ruling Conservative Party has only 70,000 members. Given the Brexit campaign's past record with dodgy numerical claims I'd treat both of those numbers with some suspicion. That said, given past accomplishments people have reason to be fearful of him, just like closer to home.

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First, a little fun.......

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Q. What is the difference between Brexit and the Fyre festival

A. One was an Island fantasy where people just made up stuff they had no ability to deliver. They conned people using Social media into believing a small Island would instantly transform into a party paradise but later it was revealed the organisers never had any clue how to do any of it. The whole thing ended up being seen by the World as a total joke.

The other one was the Fyre festival

An NYT opinion piece written a few weeks ago by an Indian writer who (with good reason) doesn't hold the Brits in particularly high regard.........

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The Malign Incompetence of the British Ruling Class
Britain’s rupture with the European Union is proving to be another act of moral dereliction by the country’s rulers. The Brexiteers, pursuing a fantasy of imperial-era strength and self-sufficiency, have repeatedly revealed their hubris, mulishness and ineptitude over the past two years. Though originally a “Remainer,” Prime Minister Theresa May has matched their arrogant obduracy, imposing a patently unworkable timetable of two years on Brexit and laying down red lines that undermined negotiations with Brussels and doomed her deal to resoundingly bipartisan rejection this week in Parliament.

Such a pattern of egotistic and destructive behavior by the British elite flabbergasts many people today. But it was already manifest seven decades ago during Britain’s rash exit from India.

From David Cameron, who recklessly gambled his country’s future on a referendum in order to isolate some whingers in his Conservative Party, to the opportunistic Boris Johnson, who jumped on the Brexit bandwagon to secure the prime ministerial chair once warmed by his role model Winston Churchill, and the top-hatted, theatrically retro Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose fund management company has set up an office within the European Union even as he vehemently scorns it, the British political class has offered to the world an astounding spectacle of mendacious, intellectually limited hustlers.

 

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