1. I don't like Rishi Sunak. I don't like groomed, manicured and fast-tracked politicians. It means he's sponsored by a vested interest. I don't know who that is but a man connected to Indian big business is bad news. Smells like a corporate takeover.
2. We are told he's an "enthusiastic brexiter" but there's no track record or eurosceptic pedigree. Just a collection of passionless anodyne brexitish statements. I honestly don't think he cares either way and that bothers me.
3. I dislike classical Brexiteers because they're foaming ideologues and thick as shit but at least I know where they stand. I don't know who Sunak is. He keeps his opinions close, keeping his nose clean for when the opportunity for promotion arises.
Particularly it demonstrates that leavers were right in that national government are reduced to regional implementation agencies with no knowledge of, interest in, or control over regulation and external policy.
This was particularly evident in the indicative votes where Labour MPs voted for a customs union because they thought it had something to do with inspections at ports. Parliament was institutionally ignorant of the EU and little has changed since.
Remainers say we never lost control - but we certainly did by giving that control away and leaving it all for the eurocrats and civil servants to sort out - so key instruments of policy have been functioning on autopilot for decades with virtually no political scrutiny.
1. When May's draft deal was published I was horrified by it. I momentarily became a no dealer. But it didn't take long to realise it was the only deal we were going to get and we couldn't afford not to take it.
2. Initially I was uncomfortable with the backstop. Though it wasn't a customs union, in conjunction with a future FTA, it had the makings of one and in so doing eroded some of the point of Brexit (if the backstop was ever activated).
3. Whether it would be is highly debatable but at least we had a loose political agreement to work towards phasing it out if it were. There was reason enough to assume good faith and it was within the realms if the possible.
1. The key is and always has been effective contact tracing and enforced isolation. That system isn't working, so we're bound to lose control. One might argue that since we're never going to get to grips with it, we are as well just getting back to normal.
2. But the whole system rests on the impression that something is being done. If no official measures were being taken, people would take their own, using violence to enforce. If the state retreats, you get anarchy ... which is what we're beginning to get anyway.
3. The only credible exit plan is to be able to say we have an effective track and trace system in place, it is working, cases are declining (or will decline) so we can start to relax restrictions.
What we're seeing isn't right wing authoritarianism. It's Johnsonism. A government that will go to any lengths to avoid owning up to its unforced errors. It's cowardly incompetence. If it was RWA it would at least be doing something halfway useful.
It could conceivably become RWA next year when Johnson has cocked everything up so badly he starts hemorrhaging votes by which time he'll turn his attention to immigration or crime, but largely headline populist policies they announce every few years but never amounts to anything
A real RWA government would look to confront wokeism in public institutions and take on the blob in academia. They would get round to deporting illegal immigrants, abolish the London mayor, scrap the supreme court and do away with the HRA.
1. Methinks the Tory no deal plan B involves junking the WA with a view to weakening Ireland's place in the single market. The #InternalMarketBill essentially grants the UK government licence to place goods on the EU single market without authorisation. ...
2. It is assumed Ireland is then forced to put controls along the border - but it won't, invested so much politically in saying that can't happen. Instead it will institute certain behind the border controls notionally for the entire union, but in practice only for Ireland.
3. More than likely this will result in more stringent checks for goods travelling between Ireland and the mainland EU, instituting a market surveillance system where trucks will be inspected on the basis of risk. They'll soon work out which regular loads are kosher.
It seems we are looking at a total fiasco at customs in January. Though this is very much related to decisions made about #Brexit early on, at least a third of the problem is an unresponsive, unprepared, naive government winging it the same way it's handling Covid.
From the beginning this government assumed that sorting customs formalities was just a case of horse trading with the EU. They failed to appreciate that the removal of border controls was the product of regulatory harmonisation and customs integration.
They listened to their party loyalist "experts" who fed them a steady stream of snake oil (for a hefty fee) which may have helped their propaganda argument, but in no way took into account the EU's own system of rules or the ways in which the EU is constrained by them.
The UK can't actually be listed until it is a third country. Therefore, it could not expect to be listed until we had left. In the event, the UK would only require listing from 1 January 2021.
The technical criteria for listing are set out in statutes, with a number of working documents, and well-understood. HMG should have had all its ducks neatly lined up so as to make the application a trouble-free process.
Britain isn't prepared for no deal Brexit. Customs software, training and infrastructure not in place, but we aren't prepared politically either. Tories are still under the illusion trade can be patched up with "mini deals" and MRAs. If we're binning the WA we can forget that.
MRA's are limited and only happen by way of alignment on rules. The UK will have to submit its intentions on SPS, fishing, data protection and state aid before the EU even considers mitigating measures. It will be more stringent in its demands after no deal.
The idea that we can simply drop out, ride roughshod over the WA, then ask for normalisation of trade relations without preconditions is fanciful. It will take some time for a new administration to recover the trust and goodwill the Tories have burned through.
1. An FTA does not provide for internal market concepts (in the area of goods) such as mutual recognition, the ‘country of origin principle’, and harmonisation. Nor does an FTA remove customs formalities and controls, including those concerning the origin of goods.
2. There are additional instruments such as mutual recognition of conformity assessment but that is contingent on a level of equivalence - essentially the same rules or better. This, though, is far beyond the "Canada style deal" asked for by the Tories.
3. For the EU to entertain any such requests they would need firm guarantees on LPF as well as the UK outlining what rules it will use and commit to direct consultation on any changes. This includes state aid.
FYI: Third country listing is an administrative precursor in a multi-tier system. Indicates that a country has the systems in place which will enable conformity. The next tier down is approval of individual establishments, and down from that is the processing/inspection regime.
The listing implies best endeavours to ensure that conformity with the conditions of listing will be maintained. The lower two tiers are implemented by the competent authorities of the exporting state, so the EU has to satisfy itself that the state has the capability to do so.
If the UK is signalling it intends to change its standards, with a likelihood of non-conformity, then the EU would be reluctant to list it. It's like putting your car in for an MoT and telling the garage you intend to cut the brake pipes the moment the car has its certificate.
This vote effectively nullifies the NI protocol. They are voting to ignore the customs procedures they agreed to uphold. This is not "limited and specific". This is wholesale abandonment of the rule of treaty law.
Seems they never understood or didn't read the Notices to Stakeholders (below). They assumed a trade deal would remove the sea border. Now the penny has dropped and they're back pedalling.
It looks like they've ignored the NTSs, believing them to be some kind of negotiating ploy, and instead they've listened to Snake Oil Singham who bleats about mutual recognition of standards (which the EU doesn't do). They've deceived themselves and come a cropper.
1. Some have accused The Leave Alliance of being a "remainer troll account". This is both offensive and inaccurate. We are a leave campaign - but we did not swear an oath of loyalty to the Tories or the #Brexit Party. We owe them nothing. We seek to uphold the values of Brexit.
2. The referendum of 2016 was to decide whether we leave or remain in the EU. Nothing more, nothing less. There was never a plan or a consensus on what should happen after. Brexiteers don't own that. That must be an inclusive debate. The principle of self-determination.
3. For an age, the United Kingdom has freely engaged as an independent country in alliances and treaties with other countries. It has a long history of entering into commercial agreements and conventions at an inter-governmental level. We wish to uphold that tradition.
The EU will not offer an FTA without comprehensive state aid provisions. It has asked the UK to set out a regime it can recognise - which is an offer of negotiated equivalence, but if the UK won't even offer up a proposal it has no choice but to stick to its original demands.
It is in the national interest to have comprehensive rules of conduct for state aid in common with the EU. It creates certainty and transparency for both and gives the UK the means to address distortions and imbalances. The rules apply to both. We need it as much as they do.
The Tories imagine they can fall back on WTO state aid rules, but the WTO rules don't go far enough for either side.
The Tories are trading on old divisions. Johnson pulling that "Starmer is a remainer" shtick is old hat. When jobs dry up and food gets expensive, Johnson will find that voters can be as fickle as he is. What worked in the last parliament won't cut it after January.
Corbyn was always the "backstop" for the Tories. So long as he was in place they could keep abusing their power without consequence. They haven't quite adjusted to the new reality. Like Wile E Coyote running over the cliff, they haven't looked down yet.
The Tories must know by now that Johnson is a spent man. They know he has to go even if they're not yet publicly admitting it. But who have they got to replace him who isn't tainted? When it comes to political talent, the cupboard is bare.
The reason the sea border is there is because Boris Johnson put it there. Not because it was better - but for political theatricals - pretending to his gullible supporters that he was the conquering hero who could reopen the deal where May could not. And they bought it.
This was never anything to do with getting the right deal. It was purely an act of cynical electioneering and an exercise to satisfy the vanity of Johnson. Everything he does is for political expediency. Boris first, party second, the UK a distant third.
They knew the consequences. They knew it was a charade - but their pals in the Tory press - Fraser Nelson, Allister Heath and all the little toryboy columnists went along with it. They never gave a toss about #Brexit. It was just about installing the fat oaf.
1. Easy to see what Frost is playing at now. They're trying to get standalone deals in areas they want, leaving the rest for later, or not at all, (while the EU wants a single overarching deal).
2. Frost thinks the EU will cave and go for something rather than nothing, which is precisely what the UK wants, therefore it can afford to hold out (or thinks it can). They are gravely mistaken.
3. The EU works to an all or nothing principle, and it is not going to fall for the UK's manipulation. We are at grave risk of getting nothing. At the last minute, the UK could realise that EU is not going to cave, and then will scrabble at the last minute for anything it can get
1. Aid spending is essential for the UK. Some African states don't want "free trade". They rely on tariffs as a source of government income. They are easier to collect and their internal revenue collection is poor. In some regions there's nothing to tax.
2. Many of these countries suffer from corrupt governments who, because they get by on income from mineral wealth, are not accountable to taxpayers - the few that their are. Thus the aim is to help them build their own alternative tax base.
3. Abolishing tariffs on African goods doesn't do much for them if they can't meet EU/UK standards. Consequently aid is needed for capacity building. But that's no good if trade infrastructure is poor. ie bad roads, antiquated ports.
A fishing deal is proving to be an obstacle with the EU. The EU has an extremely rigid negotiating position that essentially amounts to replicating the quota shares that exist now. Britain hasn't made a workable counter offer.
2. Britain is wants annual talks with the EU on fishing rights, but is deeply resistant to the idea of giving the EU long-term guarantees about access to British waters and quotas. EU uncomfortable with the uncertainty.
3. Brexiteers argue that the EU negotiates annually with the Norway and demands the EU offers the UK a similar arrangement. But, as ever, it's more complicated than that. The Norway fishery only covers three species in defined areas, which makes management fairly simple.
1. The #ForeignAid debate follows a familiar pattern. Cherrypicked and distorted examples of "waste", years out of date, to paint a picture of incompetent civil servants flinging cash at dictators and dodgy consultants. It does happen but it's a grossly unfair portrait of UK aid.
2. The more egregious examples stem from the Blair era but we closed a lot of it down in 2011. What remains is export finance, investment and technical assistance. Much of the fabled excesses are complete fabrications by the Daily Mail.
3. The debate is distorted because aid is such a wide subject header much like trade with multiple methods and disciplines all interrelated. To say "aid doesn't work" is to write off a galaxy of foreign policy initiatives. It's stinking populism.
1. The majority (anything up to about 80 percent) of the fish caught in our waters are not sold to British consumers. Secondly, the bulk of fish (a similar percentage) consumed in the UK are caught in non-EU waters – and especially Norway, Iceland and the Faroes.
2. Even if we gained absolute control over UK waters after Brexit, and were able to exclude all foreign vessels, the British-flagged fishing fleet does not have the capacity to harvest the biomass that would become available.
3. But, even if it could, UK vessels would be prohibited from landing their catches in the ports of EU Member States, until the UK government had lodged a fisheries management plan with the EU, and it had been approved by the European Commission.