Category Archives: Brexit

The Price of Berlin Rules

Berlin rulesBeing out of the EU is (to my mind) obviously a good thing for trade and commerce, but it is not necessarily a guarantee that everything in the garden is rosy. Cars, for example, are ludicrously expensive here in Australia. Some years ago, I bought a Jaguar for my wife (now ex wife). At prevailing exchange rates, it cost about double what the same car would have cost in the UK, and about three times what it would have cost in the USA. It was probably a dumb purchase: she promptly left me, married a university lecturer and traded the Jaguar in for a Volkswagen.

Likewise books. When I looked the other day, the paperback edition of Berlin Rules costs £9 something in the UK, but $36 (that’s about £24) here in Australia. The Fenwick family originated in Northumberland, but the Elliott family originated in Scotland, and I might still have some Scottish blood in my veins, because I baulk at paying over twice the price for the same thing.

Partly, (but not entirely) this disparity is to do with tax. The Australians charge GST (the Australian equivalent of VAT) on books. A bit of me says that this is fair, because books tend to be bought by the wealthy not the poor. But an even bigger bit of me says that Continue reading


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Confidence in No Confidence


UnionWhiteWhat happens now, if the Remainers manage to get a “meaningful vote” purporting to rule out a clean break from the EU on 29th of March?

It might go like this:

  • Sometime in late March, there is a vote in the House of no confidence in the government. The DUP votes against the government, and perhaps even some Tories. The Labour Party, the SNP and the TIGs all vote against the government. Theresa May loses, and is obliged to call a general election;
  • Parliament is prorogued and dissolved pending a general election in April. In the meantime, the default position runs its course: the UK leaves the EU on 29th of March without a deal. Job done for Brexit.

What would be the position going forward?

In the Conservative party, MPs who have been guilty of trying to prevent Brexit will be punished for betraying the result of the 2016 referendum and the 2017 election pledges, and will be deselected. Theresa May will have to resign as party leader, and will be replaced by someone who believes in Brexit. The Conservatives will retain Continue reading

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A once in a wet weekend decision

StarmerSo. Jeremy Corbyn said last night that he will support second referendum on Brexit. The Remainers, of course, are delighted by this.[1] David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, said: “Jeremy Corbyn is today taking the first step to reunite our party by showing he is listening to our voters and members on this.”

Good luck with that. In the 2016 referendum, between 60 and 70% of labour-held constituencies voted for Brexit. That is less than the Brexit consensus in Conservative-held constituencies, of which about 75% voted for Brexit. Labour is already in electoral trouble, the far left having taken the party a long way from what typical labour voters want. Labour heading into second referendum territory will open up that schism even more.

Supporters of the second referendum say that the voters did not know what they were voting for last time around. That is utter nonsense. The remain campaign – and indeed David Cameron as the incumbent Prime Minister – warned that voting for Brexit would bring with it all sorts of economic ills. The government spent millions of pounds distributing its leaflet warning that leaving would create “uncertainty and risk” and “years of uncertainty and potential economic description. This would reduce investment and cost jobs”. But the electorate took that on board, and voted for Brexit anyway.

The people in the Labour Party who have brought about this change of position are not advocating a second referendum because there was anything wrong with the first referendum. They are doing so because they want to see a different result.

Back in 2016, of course, it was a different story. The Remainers expected to win then. And so the government leaflet said Continue reading

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Tick tick tick tock

Big BenDonald Tusk said this week:

By the way, I have been wondering what that special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan to carry it out safely.

Actually, I had predicted just that in  my blog a few months ago. Tick.

But I am not going to hell, because I had a plan, way back. And I can prove it, because Continue reading

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Irish nonsense – It is all about Give and Take

leprechaunI was listening to a Brexit interview the other day with an Irish politician responding to the point that the UK’s departure from the EU does not necessitate a hard border between the north and south of Ireland. The technological solutions already in place show that checks do not need to take place at a border. The Irish politician was dismissive. He said it didn’t matter whether the checks were at the border, or somewhere else; any checks were unacceptable, and the Irish are determined to veto any withdrawal agreement without the backstop.

Now here’s the thing. Everybody assumes that the Good Friday Agreement – also known as the Belfast Agreement – prohibits a hard border between the north and south of Ireland. Actually, it does nothing of the sort. It does not even relevantly mention the border. If you would like to check, you will see that I have copied and pasted the whole of the Agreement to the end of this post.

In Irish logic, of course, the fact that an assertion is untrue has nothing to do with its utility. As far as the Irish are concerned, Brexit is a wonderful opportunity to try to prise Northern Ireland away from the rest of the UK, and they have every intention of using that opportunity to the full. So they are going to insist that it is a term of any deal that Northern Ireland has to remain in the single market and part of the customs union; their veto means that they can do that. Obviously, Brexit is not achieved if Continue reading

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No Fear of No Flights

AFSo much for the Project Fear line about a clean Brexit (“crashing out” as they melodramatically call it) meaning no aeroplanes will be able to fly across The Channel: the EU says:

The Commission has today adopted two measures that will avoid full interruption of air traffic between the EU and the UK in the event of no deal. These measures will only ensure basic connectivity and in no means replicate the significant advantages of membership of the Single European Sky. This is subject to the UK conferring equivalent rights to EU air carriers, as well as the UK ensuring conditions of fair competition.

  • A proposal for a Regulation to ensure temporarily (for 12 months) the provision of certain air services between the UK and the EU.
  • A proposal for a Regulation to extend temporarily (for 9 months) the validity of certain aviation safety licences.

So, sensibly, the EU says it will allow UK planes in the EU if the UK allows EU planes in the UK. Good. The UK should say the same; indeed, it has already done so.[1]  But never mind too much about what they say they will do; the proper reaction is according to what they actually do.

But who is “they”? The EU? Or each EU country?

There is something to be said for the later.[2] Air France, for example, flies between London and Edinburgh. Should the UK continue to allow it to do so? That should depend, I suggest, on whether France allows British Airways to fly from Paris to Lyon. It is in everyone’s interest for the answer to be Continue reading

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A Grievous Chaos

GrieveIt may well be that Dominic Grieve, a mild looking Conservative politician, might be the butterfly which flaps its wings which ultimately causes the storm which brings down the United Kingdom as a united and independent nation, and signals the end of its democracy. I refer, of course, to his amendment  passed a few hours ago in the House of Commons. I will get to the detail of this shortly, but first some background.

Those who have sought in the past to subjugate the British Isles to continental power have never been too keen on democracy. When Boudicca’s husband King Prasutagus died, leaving his daughters as heirs, the Romans did not say:

Well, fair enough. It’s a free country. We’ll take that on board.

Instead, they annexed his kingdom, flogged Boudicca and raped the daughters. For a while, that didn’t go too well, but in the end, Britain was no more than a vassal state, and the Romans were able to kill Continue reading


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Some Juxtapositions about the New Boat People

FRANCE-BRITAIN-POLITICS-MIGRATION-RIGHTSSome facts, that of themselves are not really contentious:

  • Until Australia successfully introduced its “Stop the Boats” policy a few years ago, many economic migrants arrived in Australia by boat;
  • Those boats were operated by people smugglers. A passage was not cheap, so it was typically the relatively wealthy who could afford the trip;
  • Many died en voyage because the boats were unsafe;
  • Of those that made it, many have made very successful lives for themselves, working hard and often creating businesses;
  • Brexit is due in just a few months;
  • Mark Carney, the Canadian/Irish Governor of the Bank of England, a Euro-Federalist, has predicted that the UK economy will do badly following a Clean Break Brexit;
  • Nevertheless; increasing numbers of economic migrants are now seeking to get from France to England by boat, in order to get out of the EU and into the UK before Brexit;
  • Their journey across the English Channel, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, at night, often in rubber dinghies or stolen small craft, is very dangerous. And expensive – these trips are organised by people smugglers who charge thousands of Euros for a passage;
  • These economic migrants are resourceful – they have made it overland from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and other countries.

But what to conclude from Continue reading

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A wet weekend


Ziegler Wasserwerfer 9000

It is really quite likely that there will be riots on the streets of London in about six months’ time.

As I write this, the Brexit saga is on course for a clean break, on the basis that the Robbins-Weyand draft deal is likely to be voted down in the House of Commons, and there is no majority for anything else in particular. The EU, and their fellow travellers in the UK, are likely to be hopping mad. The UK, free to compete with the EU without all of the financial and regulatory burdens which apply within the EU, represents a real threat to them. The last thing they want is for an economically-liberated UK to be free to enter trade deals with the rest of the world. And they have managed to persuade a large swathes of flopsies in the UK that there is something VERY BAD about this sort of freedom.

It is possible, of course, that the EU will somehow manage to derail the whole of Brexit, perhaps by delaying it for a year[1] (“that will be another £10 billion thank you, you stupid, merde Rosbifs”) in which case, the majority of the UK electorate, which voted to break free of these ghastly bureaucratic parasites in a binding people’s vote back in 2016, will not be happy bunnies.

It has been a while since there have been decent riots in London. Global warming has not really arrived, but nevertheless, the likelihood is that there will be a nice warm weekend next summer in which large numbers of people will come out onto the streets of London, providing decent cover for those that Donald Trump calls BAD PEOPLE, and they will start smashing up shops and businesses, not to mention any people who take a different view.

Now what you need in these circumstances is two or three Ziegler Wasserwerfer 9000s[2]. These water cannon don’t really hurt people[3], but they do make them cold and wet. And by and large, the flopsies don’t like getting cold and wet, and so with the assistance of Continue reading


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Ghastly, Glastlier, Ghastliest

OllieIf reports are true, Tony Blair is even more ghastly than we thought. He has apparently praised Ollie Robbins[1] for deceiving the Cabinet about the true nature of his Robbins-Weyand deal[2] before then encouraging the Labour Party to reject it. Blair has apparently[3] said:

I take my hat off to Olly Robbins, Olly is a very skilled guy, the elaborate camouflage of all the different points is a tribute to the skills of the British civil service, I say that sincerely.

This deal isn’t a compromise, it’s a capitulation.

The withdrawal agreement will keep us tied to EU trade policy until there is an end established by ‘joint consent’ – in other words, the EU has a veto.

It is coated in heavy fudge, but that is the inedible biscuit beneath the coating.

All this does rather suggest that getting rid of Ollie Continue reading

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