One way or another a British prime minister will sign the NI backstop. Either it will be May as part of a negotiated exit deal or by someone else after we crash out when the EU is calling all the shots and demanding all its own terms.
Should we crash out then if even half of no deal warnings are true (and there is plenty evidence to suggest they are) then UK has zero leverage of any kind and will simply have to concede to whatever the EU puts on the table just to reopen talks - as no deal cannot stay no deal.
There is really no way to avoid a backstop of some sort. A review clause is the best we can hope for. The best strategy is to sign it then make damn sure it never gets activated by joining Efta and retaining the EEA. The remaining issues are then far simpler to resolve.
1. To address a point that remainers are having fun with... the assertion that Argentina will use our #Brexit circumstances at the WTO to enhance its stake on the Falklands... is totally baloney. You know this of course, but there's a few points worth making. #Trade thread!
2. These such signals are as much for domestic consumption as anything else. This isn't the first and won't be the last. We will see a number of attempts to frustrate the UK's separation process in the hope that it will leverage concessions from the UK.
3. Some FT hack has probably already penned a poison article on how the UK will be forced to cave in because we are so weakened and feeble without the EU. As a point of fact the UK is not obliged to concede on any point at any time so long as it pays due regard to consequences.
1. The notion we should have a "people's vote" on the #Brexit deal is intellectually bankrupt. There is no possible way it could be an informed decision especially given the timeframe. That's what the remaons are counting on. It's dishonest to the core. (thread)
2. The 2016 referendum was a broader binary question on subordination to what is essentially a supreme government. That is a constitutional matter - basically who governs us and whether the EU makes our laws or not. The public are able to decide that much.
3. But being that most MPs still have no idea what a customs union is, and have no idea what the backstop means in reality, this is simply cannot be reduced to a popular vote. This is the bit we pay our politicians to do. That they do it badly is a separate issue.
1. Remainers had every advantage in the referendum.As much as they had the establishment advantage we also has the worst Leave campaign in the history of political campaigns. #Brexit thread
2. From the outset journalists were asking "where's the plan" and both campaigns elected not to have one, while they bickered among themselves with very public disputes over Twitter. Leave EU went from bad to worse to abysmal.
3. Instead of trying to win over the swing vote, Banks, thinking he was a British Steve Bannon, completely misreading the public, doubled down on the grunty Breitbart propaganda which was only ever going to win over those who had already decided to vote leave.
Nick Boles has been wittering about Norway then Canada for a little while now. It was a stupid idea then and he was told it was a stupid idea and now the internet has ripped it apart making him look a prat - but he will still run with it because he's in transmit mode only.
The consequence of this is that he will further discredit the EEA option, providing more material for its critics - and yet we long time EEA advocates are supposed to roll over and congratulate the oaf for his contribution to the debate. Sorry, no.
There was a way to argue that EEA could be transitional - toward a new European settlement, and we could use the opportunity to help Switzerland consolidate its own relationship then evolve the EEA - but Boles preferred his own flatulence.
1. I continually bump into the assertion that EEA would also require a customs union. It's more an article of faith than an actual reasoned conclusion. For starters the majority of checks are absolutely nothing to do with the customs union. Even the EU has said this.
2. So what is left is the matter of duties which are eliminated by the EEA agreement anyway which leaves only the formality in respect of rules of origin which under EEA is set at a 50% threshold with favourable exceptions under protocol 4.
3. Here's where people chime in and bleat "but Norway has a customs border with..." where we typically find that it's because of obsolete systems (ours will be new) and because they have VAT differentials and are looking for contraband - drugs, guns alcohol.
1. Unfortunately, @NickBoles is still prattling on about a "Norway then Canada" #Brexit. He has no idea how the system works. The transfer to EEA is not a simple copy and paste job. There's the Efta accession for starters then EEA will require configuration. (Thread)...
2. EEA does not cover fisheries or agriculture and though this is a selling point of the EEA that does not mean we can simply not have formal agreements on these sectors. We would also need an EEA customs protocol which would take a while just to negotiate.
3. Engineering the EEA for our own ends would require substantial reworking of parts of it so we are looking at a staggered negotiation and implementation of it which very well could take the better part of five years - which business would then have to adapt to. and implement.
One thing leavers were right about is that it's a lot easier to give power away than it is to get back. Having done so without consent we now see that we gave away more than our politicians realised. That's why they're not trusted and that's why compromise is impossible.
2. They tried to fob us off by telling us that no further powers would be given away but every piece of legislation passed by the EU is on some level an erosion of national sovereignty. All of it happening off the radar - adopting laws through statutory instrument.
3. That's why nobody believed Cameron when he said we could opt out of ever closer union. Nobody can make that claim. It's in the DNA of the EU and if you are a member then that is what you are subscribed to. Voters may influence the pace, but not the destination.
1. I've seen a lot of dumb Brexit commentary today from people who should know better. Simple point of fact is that a partial single market is not going to happen. #Brexit thread...
2. The EU is a trade superpower and it will do what it can to stay that way. It is not going to agree to anything that gives the UK a competitive advantage. The EU is all about a balance of obligation - using soft power to promote its own standards and values.
3. That, like it or not, is how it is. It can bend the rules to meet its political obligation to Ireland as a member state but that is as far as it can bend. We would play it the same way were the tables turned. The NI backstop is a freak of legal engineering & they won't expand
This for example... doesn't add value, doesn't engage in the point, pedantic for effect though the meaning is clear and within minutes a swarm of "likes" from the gallery who cheer on their champion. Typical collectivist pack hunting technique. Goes with weaponised offence taking
2. And everyone who's honest can see the game in play and the sport they get from it - but it's exactly that clecerdickery that makes be doubt their integrity and seriously doubt the honesty of the analysis presented.
3. And with things like weaponised offence taking and other rhetorical tricks, designed to hoodwink the gullible, we are seeing an array of cynical tactics deployed in public debate that I absolutely believe extends to the courtroom.
1. We now know from the government's own no deal technical notices that most, if not all, of the no deal warnings have a basis in fact. The fact that Theresa May is not attempting to spin them tells it's own story... She knows no deal is not an option.
2. She therefore has to make concessions to reality that she has long been avoiding, which of course the Ultras will absolutely hate. They then have two options. Like it and lump it or topple the government. If they do the former then they lose all their power.
3. Should they do the latter they are then confronted with the same basic dilemmas. Their WTO option is a busted flush and they can't have their fantasy Canada deal and certainly not without conceding to the backstop. They face the identical dilemma to Mrs May.
On the left is a 10 year old tin of paint. The new one with the roll out label features ASTM US emblem but also the Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling of chemicals warnings. This is how businesses maximise export potential and why global standards matter.
The upshot of this is that a product previously only sold in Europe can now be exported globally because countries have agreed to the use of common labelling standards from UNECE - especially relevant to even EU trade agreements...
Prior to this convention producers would have to produce separate batches with different labels (overheads!) - and that is the potential regression we may see if the Tories choose to diverge from EU mandated standards - not least because the EU converges on the global standard.
1. I notice the abysmal @BrexitCentral has done another attack piece on the EEA calling it worse than Chequers. One also notices that the backers of BrexitCentral have yet to produce a deliverable plan of their own. #Brexit thread...
2. They have now pivoted away from calling for a WTO option deal because they get their backsides handed to them on plate by anyone with even a cursory understanding of the issues. They now call for Canada+++
3. That implies a base FTA but we are not permitted to know what they mean by +++ which will no doubt means unicorns and cake to the IEA set while it means measures on security and defence cooperation to the Commission.
1. Today in #Brexit tedium: You all saw the Barnier tweet reiterating that a Canada+++ is available and has been from the beginning. The ultra brexiters have taken that to mean an FTA plus whatever fiction they want tacked on to it.
2. They are dishonestly claiming this as a vindication of their position, conveniently ignoring that the EU will not agree to begin talks on any such agreement unless the UK signs up to an NI backstop. The EU is entirely consistent on this.
3. The ultas claim that a Canada+++ deal where they get to define what the plusses mean means that we don't need a backstop, Two problems here. The EU won;t agree to it and secondly, the details of their proposal has the same basic flaw as Chequers which the EU already declined.
1. It is not conspiratorial to say that both Johnson and Rees-Mogg are front men for a very narrow set of interests. they are relying entirely on the IEA think tank set for ideas - which sees #Brexit only in terms of how their financial backers can advance their interests.
2. I have never heard JRM or Johnson give a detailed and convincing anti-EU speech. They know how to drop in buzzwords and eurosceptic terminology but they have stolen the clothes of anti-EU scholars who used to make up the eurosceptic movement.
3. Very skilfully they have cleaved euroscepticism away from Ukip which has freed itself to concentrating on grunting about Muslims. Most of the founders have either gravitated to the Tory fringes or bowed out completely.
1. All the solutions to the various technical #Brexit concerns are to an extent sub-optimal, complicated and require a degree of compromise. Tories, though, would rather queue up round the block to be told life is simpler than it is.
2. Anyone can blether about sovereignty and self-determination but in the real world, regulation and rules are the WD40 of trade and without agreed norms trade simply doesn't happen. All trade agreements to one extend or other place constraints on sovereignty.
3. Brexit requires of us that we seek a balance between isolationism and subordination but since the EU is the regional and global regulatory superpower in this equation, to a larger extent it will call the shots. This is a simple fact of life. They are bigger than us.
1. For the benefit of the hard of thinking and for possibly the billionth time, there is only ONE way to ensure the UK maintains its current trade with the EU and that is by joining Efta and retaining the EEA agreement. (#Brexit thread)
2.There are means to ensure the bare minimum essentials continue but the EU is a major market actually on our doorstep so there is no way we should even be considering options that only maintain the bare minimum. The UK as a matter of fact needs a fully comprehensive relationship
3. As pointed out by the European Commission, a customs union covers only those functions listed in red and is not EVEN required to address those issues. The majority of border concerns are regulatory issues covered by the EEA.
1. So if reports are correct it looks like Mrs May is going to go with a customs union as her next move along with those rules necessary to keep the trucks rolling. No doubt this is going to upset the #Brexit Taliban. (thread)
2. As ever she's got it ass backwards where the the differences then between NI and mainland will be more profound than if we'd stayed in the EEA and ditched the customs union. This is what happens when you equate customs controls with customs unions.
3. So the plan, if we can call it a plan is a Turkey Plus sort of arrangement - or maybe the Jersey Option. Whatever ti is, it certainly is turkey - but it's bordering on workable which is closer than we've been before. It will probably fall over on the details.
1. Time of a thread on this Toryboy dribble. The problem with a #Brexit FTA+++ ("with maximum recognition") is that the EU does not do mutual recognition where it has already has harmonised rules. it is never going to agree to an equivalence system. ...
2. Put simply if we go for an FTA+++ then the EU gets to decide the terms of those plusses. It can can look at maximum facilitation for revenue issues in relation to VAT and tariffs and technology can help but that pertains only to the customs union. The bits in red.
3. As you can see it doesn't even begin to address the issue of regulatory controls and though the EU does do MRAs on conformity assessment, they are never universal and only if there are exactly matched standards. The belief we can unilateral diverge is a fantasy.
1. I very rarely say something is a must read because very little is, but the new report "Power, Platforms and The Free Trade Delusion" from @UNCTAD is essential to understanding political trends in the wake of hyperglobalisation. (thread)
2. Essentially globalisation has created the conditions for corporates to tilt markets in their favour and evade tax. It argues that the loss of legitimate revenue along with rent seeking is a driver of inequality and exacerbated by e-commerce.
3. The report in places gets quite technical and if you are at all normal your eyes will glaze over some of it but it is worth a skim read at the very least. Interestingly it talks about increased markups, ballooning profits and a decline in wages. Globalisation exacerbates this.
1. This is only speculation but it is my belief that the USA will not allow the WTO to fold, but they will frustrate it and keep it on life support for as long as it exists for tactical reasons - and it has a lot to do with the EU. (#Brexit thread)
2. The EU puts on a front as a good global citizen, incorporating WTO conventions verbatim into the DNA of its trade agreements. There is a convergence as the EU rightly sees it as a vehicle through which it can expand its influence.
3. What the USA does not want to do, though, is go through the process of aligning its own system of standards and rules to the global norms not least because they would cede control of their own systems but also because the USA is notoriously protectionist.
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the Adam Smith Institute, Policy Exchange and the Legatum Institute have all received financial support from US backers via this route. They are corporate lobbyists - not think tanks.
2. They are exploiting a weakness in UK politics in that the parties, so utterly bereft of talent as they are, outsource their thinking to those entities all gussied up to look like part of their tribe. There is no scrutiny not least because MPs are complicit.
3. With the assistance of a largely complicit media they can very easily get party activists doing their bidding. Many of the low grade rags running at a loss are part of the nexus. This is why we see this garbage published uncritically.