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Post Brexit Fatigue and "Brexit Means Brexit"
Created by John Eipper on 03/12/19 4:18 PM

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Brexit Fatigue and "Brexit Means Brexit" (John Heelan, UK, 03/12/19 4:18 pm)

I am surprised by Ángel Viñas's respect for the UK Foreign Office presided over by Bojo the Clown. Ángel is nonetheless correct in suggesting that UK politics are in melt-down over the Brexit mess. However one should be careful about using the right-wing broadsheet--the Daily Telegraph--as a litmus paper, given its nickname is the "Torygraph" due to its personal links between the paper's editors and the leadership of the Conservative Party, along with the paper's generally right-wing stance and influence over Conservative activists. Only the Daily Mail (aka "Daily Heil") is a more fervent supporter of the Conservative Party.

I suspect that the UK public is getting heartily sick of the whole Brexit business (as I am personally).

It seems that another day brings another EU obstacle to any negotiation. I have long argued that the PM should have called a general election to support a single mandate ("Brexit means Brexit"), thus cutting the ground beneath the feet of the Second Referendumists, the Labour party as well as rebel Tory MPs by not only deselecting those who are misrepresenting their constituencies, given that the data is now available demonstrating which constituencies and wards voted Remain or Leave. (A more telling punishment would be to loosen their pins on future Honours Lists.)

I note with interest that Saturday's El País headlines, "Europe becomes the world epicentre of the slowdown in the world's economy, quoting revisions of GDP forecasts IMF, OCDE, the EU Commission and the European Central Bank." The Eurozone is on it way to a long-expected collapse: IMF reduced its GDP forecast by three points, OCDE (by 8 points), EU Commission (by six points), EU Central Bank (by six points).

Ironically, the long-awaited collapse of the Eurozone (which the UK was wise to avoid joining) might well aid the PM in her negotiations, given that the EU (and especially the net beneficiary members and net contributing members) will need the UK's contribution to the EU budget to counter the growing trend of nationalism among EU Member States that is challenging the creation of an EU superstate.

JE comments:  I don't follow your last point, John.  Doesn't Brexit mean no UK contributions at all to the EU budget?


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  • Many Flavors of Brexit (John Heelan, UK 03/14/19 5:44 AM)
    JE asked on 12 March: "I don't follow your last point, John. Doesn't Brexit mean no UK contributions at all to the EU budget?"

    It depends which flavour Brexit one is talking about. (Tom & Jerry, eat your heart out; there is a new kid on the block!)


    The plethora of UK political tastes include "No Deal," "Norwegian," "Second Referendum," "No more funding for the EU," and "Take control of UK legislation by refusing to be dictated to by the European Court of Justice as well as the far more insidious machinations of the European Commission and Parliament (sic!)."


    The choices and implications are so bewildering, I suspect that MPs themselves have lost track of what they are voting for and are relying on party whips to direct them to the correct voting lobby via the political sticks and carrots of political career-making and hopes of becoming knighted or eventually lolling on the benches of the increasingly irrelevant House of Lords for £300/day expenses.


    JE comments:  We're down to the Final Fortnight on Brexit.  Has there been a looming day/deadline of such uncertainty since Y2K?


    Next on Brexit ("Nextit"?), José Ignacio Soler.


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    • Brexit Update: An Extension for the UK? (Timothy Ashby, Spain 03/14/19 11:25 AM)
      (Writing from London): Actually London real estate prices have been declining for the past 12-18 months. Part of this is due to Brexit anxiety, but also prices for housing had reached such ridiculous levels that very few people (especially young people trying to get on the bottom rung of the "property ladder") couldn't afford to buy. My theory is that real estate, like water, always reaches its own level.

      Last evening there were two majority votes in Parliament to rule out a "No Deal" Brexit. While these are not binding in law, they certainly indicate the mood of Parliament. If Article 50 is not amended or overturned by Parliament, Brexit will still take place, by default, on 29th March. I don't think this will happen, and I expect that Parliament will tonight pass a resolution to delay Brexit by at least two months.


      Theresa May plans to again introduce her tarnished "deal" to a Parliamentary vote next week, despite the fact that it has been overwhelmingly rejected twice. I had lunch today with a well-known MP (a determined Brexiteer) who told me that MPs are so fed up with May that the Speaker of the House is being urged to rule that she cannot submit her "deal" a third time. I don't know a single Tory MP who supports PM May--many privately revile her. When I asked my friend (who favours a "hard" Brexit) what he thinks the future holds, he shook his head and said that at this stage no one knows.


      My prediction is that the EU will allow an extension, Theresa May will be ousted, and her successor (Boris Johnson?) will come up with a new exit plan, which may run into the same problems, especially over the issue of the border between Eire and Northern Ireland.


      JE comments:  Tim, really appreciate this insider's perspective.  Is BoJo willing to take the job?  I presume he is.  As for the Irish border, aren't there turnstiles and shacks left over from the old days?  Slap some paint on them, and...

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  • Thoughts on the British Foreign Office, Boris Johnson (Angel Vinas, Belgium 03/16/19 1:48 PM)
    I'm back from Madrid where I attended a conference on the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution. Upon my return I saw John Heelan's surprise (March 12th) at my statement that I have a lot of respect for the British Foreign Office. It shouldn't be surprising. It's one of the great offices of State. The British foreign service is amongst the best in the world if not the best. That doesn't make British foreign policy the best in the world though.

    I quite agree that Boris Johnson was a shameful figure as Foreign Secretary, even though the Foreign and Commonwealth Office wasn't tasked with negotiating Brexit. A new Department was created to this end. Unfortunately DEXEU was in the hands of some of the more incompetent members of the British government. In any case, given the red lines established by the PM, the possibilities for exiting the EU according to British leavers' wishes were drastically curtailed. The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) negotiated with EU was the best the UK could aspire to. I submitted the article published by the Telegraph as a reminder of the arguments exhibited by leavers.


    If I were one of them I would have had no compunction in voting for the WA. It disconnects the UK from the political side of the EU. However the economic disconnection is a pipe dream. The UK will learn in the next few years what it means to negotiate a deep economic agreement with the EU as a third country.


    In Brussels all my contacts and former colleagues are thoroughly fed up with the British government and its antics and wish for nothing more that the UK should leave the EU. Perhaps it will by June 30, if the European Council agrees to an extension of the delay established by Article 50 of the EU treaty, given the British inability to transpose in domestic legislation the consequences of leaving the EU.



    With all caveats, my feeling is, as of today, that the PM may be lucky at her third attempt to get the WA approved by the Commons. If not, we may have to put up with the Brits for some time more.


    JE comments:  How was the conference, Ángel?  I presume the topic of "Catalexit" was addressed.  What's the latest?


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