Category Archives: Brexit

Talking about a Post-Brexit World

2-Francis-Hoareresized-190x285It is now over a year since Francis Hoar’s careful analysis that the UK is not prohibited by European law from now negotiating trade deals with non-EU countries which will take effect in March ’19. But it is an analysis that is becoming more compelling now.

Jean-Claude Juncker has suggested that the UK cannot negotiate these trade deals during the 2 years period under Article 50 (Frans Timmermans is more realistic), but it seems clear that Juncker is wrong about this.

It is true that in the Blue Skies Case (Commission v United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) declared illegal an agreement entered into by various EU countries with the USA for co-operation in the area of aviation. But note the summary of that case Continue reading

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Our Trust in Barnier

What on earth is the UK Government doing?  Binding itself to pay tribute to the EU for years after Brexit is barking mad.  The worst of all worlds.

Perhaps they have just been worn down by endless remoaning.  But this is a road that leads to never-ending servitude to the EU.  Logic would say that the EU should be paying for access to the UK market, since it sells more to the UK then it buys, not the other way around.  But there is no more logic here than that which drives a battered wife into continuing submission to her abusive husband.

quote-and-that-is-called-paying-the-dane-geld-but-we-ve-proved-it-again-and-again-that-if-rudyard-kipling-15-99-45The UK’s best hope is that the EU is so utterly intransigent in its demands for even more Danegeld as to eventually scupper the negotiations entirely.  Then the UK can just leave, as mandated by the referendum, without paying anything, and without any Continue reading

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Wrong, wrong, wrong

Unhappily, I am going to have to admit that I was wrong about Brexit.

I and many others well informed about UK and European affairs, took the view that effect of Brexit on the UK would be relatively marginal. The EU is a relatively small proportion of the world market, and the UK is going to continue to trade with the EU in any event. Happily, the UK never joined the Euro, and so the problems that being yoked into that currency has caused countries like Greece were not going to affect the UK anyway.

We expected, of course, some whingeing from whichever side lost the referendum. If the country had voted to stay in the EU, there would have been some predictable moaning in the pub from the Brexiteers. And the lovies were hardly going to be happy with a vote to leave.

But what we wholly underestimated was the sheer volume and persistence of the moaning from the Europhiles.  It is at a level that is causing real damage to Continue reading

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Long Term Whether Forecasting

Speculation reigns as to whether the UK will do a Brexit deal with the EU.

My guess:

  • There will be an early deal (or perhaps just a de facto stand-off) allowing EU citizens to remain in the UK and vice versa;
  • There will not be any deal over the terms of Brexit; the UK will leave the EU in March 2019 without a deal. There are too many countries and interests wanting a slice of this or a slice of that, all with a veto;
  • There will however be a trade deal between the UK and the EU either by March 2019 or shortly thereafter, with tariffs set at nil or near nil.

If this be right (time will tell) the Government stategy looks about right: the Mayflower stressing Continue reading

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The Life of a Pixie

finger waggingSo. The Poison Pixie is upset.

She wants a second attempt at an independence referendum. The UK Government says, “No”. She complains that the UK Government is not treating her with the respect she thinks she deserves. So she could perhaps use some Scottish taxpayers’ money (there is precious little of that) for a non-binding “wildcat” ballot. But those in Scotland who disagree with her desire to bring financial ruin to Scotland would probably not participate. So such a wildcat ballot would be a farce, and then she would complain that the people of Scotland are not treating her with the respect she thinks she deserves. She could appeal to the EU, but the EU mave made clear that they are not interested in talking to her, so she would complain that the EU is not treating her with the respect she thinks she deserves. Continue reading

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Whisky and Whine

Hugging_Face_Emoji_2028ce8b-c213-4d45-94aa-21e1a0842b4d_largeAccording to the United Nations, Norway is the happiest country in the world, edging out previous winner Denmark and third placed Iceland. The UK was 19th happiest out of 155 countries. Not bad. Of places with decent weather, Australia led the way at 9th.

But here is the thing. The top three all have quite high suicide rates.[1] Much higher than the UK. Which stands to reason, in a macabre sort of a way: if the most miserable people in any population commit suicide in substantial numbers, then those who are left will be, on average, less miserable. Continue reading

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Tony’s Angel

tony-blairTony Blair freely admitted (but only after leaving office) that his faith was “hugely important” to the decisions he made.

This week, he has made a speech telling us that the Brexit referendum result was wrong, and that the people should now change their minds.

I wonder if he was told this by a messenger from his God?  And if so, was it the same angel Continue reading

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Le Pen is mightier than the Bored?

fillonThe New Statesman has opined that

No, the fall of François Fillon doesn’t mean Marine Le Pen will win

This follows, of course, revelations that Fillon, the former darling of the centre-right in France, has had his nose in the trough a bit too deeply, even by French standards, by paying his wife “wages” of hundreds of thousands of Euros of taxpayers’ money for doing, it seems, no work at all. Perhaps the French, who are usually quite relaxed about these things, have been roused from their usual boredom by the fact that the wife is Welsh. It might have been OK if she were a Parisienne? Fillon looks to be finished as a runner.

Anyway, since the New Statesman is typically wrong about everything, this might well mean that the road is indeed now rather more open for Marinne Le Pen to win the forthcoming French presidential election.

I watched the whole of Ken Clarke’s speech in the House of Commons on the Brexit vote. He did not look or sound at all well, and cut Continue reading

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Delightfully simple, or far too difficult?

where-we-export-to-graph_0Having  listened to a great deal of commentary about the complexity attach it on to the Brexit negotiations, I have come to the conclusion that there are two separate projects underway, one which is comparatively straightforward and the other being very complex.

The straightforward project is leaving the European Union. As the Prime Minister has said “Brexit means Brexit”. And so the answers to all sorts of questions ought to be very easy Continue reading

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Seriously Obese Cats

fat-catsI am no believer in the notion that Jack is always as good as his master. Just occasionally, he might be. But far more often, the captains of industry are smarter, have trained more and now work harder than most. I have no problem with them earning, say, 20 times what the person sweeping the floor in their business earns. Or even 20 times what their average employee earns. As my old friend Will Hopper noted in his excellent book The Puritan Gift, that was pretty normal among the great companies of the Western World as they were becoming great.

But 200 times? No. That is obscene. No one needs 200 times. Not only is it grossly unjust, but it is bad for business. But it is happening, in the USA, and also in the UK. The Spectator Continue reading

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