Sunday, 21 May 2017

GE2017: Theresa May promises to make the UK weak and unstable

Tory(kip) PM Theresa May is preparing to throw the country off a cliff to save her political career and she doesn't care if that makes the country weak and unstable as long as she's still in charge. 

Whatever you think of Mrs May, she's not stupid. This means she's already realised that there is no Brexit deal that anyone could negotiate that would simultaneously be workable (as in least damaging) for the UK and acceptable to the hard core Brexiters in the Tory(kip) party and tabloid press, upon whose support she depends. 

And it won't be "anyone" negotiating it will be David "there is no downside to Brexit" Davis, or Mrs May herself, who has energetically been creating false battles between the UK and the EU in a nakedly political attempt to paint herself as "standing up for Britain". I am of course assuming that even May is not suicidal enough to let Fox or Johnson anywhere near the negotiating table, but I could be wrong... In any case, this doesn't bode well for negotiations even if we had a crack team of negotiators who actually knew what they were doing.

So instead, May and her Brexidiot ministers been preparing the ground for Brexit talks to "fail" and of course to blame the EU (see twitter thread from March this year below):

This is why Brexiters have gone from insisting that "the EU needs us more than we need them" to "no deal would be fine". The latter being something that wasn't so much as hinted at during the EUref campaign. It's also a paradigm shift, but only political geeks like me seem to have noticed. If the EU needed us more than we needed them, no deal simply couldn't happen because the EU wouldn't be able to afford to let it happen. So the Torykip Brexiters are contradicting themselves.

Life long leave campaigner Pete North says no deal with the EU (i.e fall back on WTO rules) is "the worst deal for Brexiters" and refers to it as "Armageddon Brexit". He even says that a WTO rules hard Brexit would be so awful that it would lead to the Tories being kicked out of power and replaced by a Remain inclined government, which would seek to rejoin the EU, but from the position of being "the far weaker party with zero leverage". That might sound OK to those who like me would prefer the UK to remain in the EU, but that's only if you don't mind the horrible impact an Armageddon Brexit would have on real people's lives and I for one do not want that at all!

So, the future of our great country is at stake in the upcoming General Election even more than many of us perhaps thought. It is vital to defeat as many Tories as possible and elect a decent slate of opposition MPs (I would of course prioritise LibDems!)  to hold the next government to account and stop Mrs May making the country weak and unstable for many years to come.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Brexiters still pushing EU - UK trade myths

The Brexiters are continuing to push the lie that “A bad trade deal will hurt the EU more than the UK”. 

They often said during the referendum campaign that “they sell more to us than we do to them". That's true because (rather unsurprisingly) 27 countries sell more to 1 country than 1 sells to 27, but total volume is less important than what proportion of trade that represents.

1% of China's trade is a huge volume, but if 99% goes elsewhere, the country to which China exports 1% won't hold much sway. In 2016, 46% of UK exports went to the EU and 8-17% (depending on how it's measured) of EU27 exports went to the UK.

If there is no trade deal, the EU27 lose access to or (more realistically) get increased cost & hassle with ONE country. The UK on the other hand loses access/gets increased cost & hassle with 27 countries plus EEA/EFTA countries and all the 50 countries the EU has trade deals/arrangements with e.g.Canada, Mexico, Chile, Turkey etc.

Germany is the EU's biggest exporter to Britain. In November 2016, a spokesperson for the BDI (German CBI) said that while 7.5% of German exports go to the UK, 92.5% go elsewhere, mostly to other EU countries hence the first priority for German businesses is to defend the single market. 

Yet still today, the Brexiters talk about German businesses putting pressure on Merkel to give the UK a good deal. It’s not going to happen; while they would prefer it to be otherwise, German businesses are resigned to the fact that exporting to the UK is likely to get more difficult and expensive.

Sadly, the UK has much more to lose and the government knows this. This is why they are already pushing the "punishment" narrative. Blaming the EU is the only way the government can avoid being blamed for failing to deliver a have-your-cake-and-eat-it EU trade deal that has been promised by both David Davis and Theresa May.

The EU has no desire to punish Britain, but it will defend the interests of its remaining 27 member countries. That means the UK cannot have more advantageous trade arrangements outside the EU than as a member, which should be mind numbingly obvious. But watch and see how anything less than the rest of the EU bowing down to Britain and allowing us to cherry pick the trade deal we want, will be sold by the government and pro Brexit media as “punishment”.

Had the government taken a more realistic and collaborative approach, the chances of a good (as in least worst, not better than we have now) trade deal would be much much higher. Whether you voted Leave or Remain that the government is behaving in a way that makes a good trade deal with the EU LESS LIKELY should anger you!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Mrs May and her Brexit crew are panicking

They’ve realised their have-your-cake-and-eat it EU deal can’t be delivered

There have been suggestions from various sources including blogger JJ Patrick (see: tweet stream below) that Theresa’s May already plans to walk away from the negotiating table without an agreement with the European Union on Britain’s future dealings with the world’s biggest trading bloc and “blame EU intransigence”.

This means a cliff-edge Brexit i.e. WTO tariffs, no trade deals with any country in the world, which would according to the leaked Treasury report leave the UK with less access to the EU single market than Afghanistan or Yemen”. Not a pretty picture and certainly not what Leave voters were promised.

So why on earth would a government inflict such an economic disaster in waiting on their own country? The answer seems to be “if they’ve realised they haven’t got a hope in hell of delivering the land of milk and honey they promised and think the only way out is to shift blame on to someone else”. The someone else of course being Theresa May’s favourite culprit for her failure, the European Union. 

Mrs May has form on blaming the EU for her own failure as she did when she couldn’t achieve “net migration in the tens of thousands”. Although non EU migration (100% in her control as Home Secretary) was HIGHER than EU migration, she blamed “uncontrolled” EU free movement. The EU free movement, which had controls she chose NOT to use. 

And then there’s the fact that the Brexiters should be at their happiest now, they’re in power, they’re polling well, the main “opposition” party isn’t opposing much, and has an ineffective leader, so why are they all so grumpy, angry and nervous? Because (as Nick Clegg puts it very well in the Evening Standard ), their Brexit #ProjectFantasy has just collided with #ProjectReality and they’re starting to panic.

Nothing else can really explain why Theresa May’s control-freakery has gone into overdrive. Not only does she not want Parliament to have any say (parliamentary sovereignty my foot!), but she wants to silence anyone who dare even question what she’s doing, never mind oppose it. Take her sacking of Lord Heseltine from his non-remunerated adviser roles (he's over 80 and was working 3-4 days a week for free!). The pro-European Tory grandee’s politely put and reasonable views wouldn’t have ended up plastered across national print and broadcast media so widely had he been ignored and not sacked.  

In some of the numerous media interviews he undertook, Lord Heseltine also noted that many Tory MPs feel “appalled and betrayed by Theresa May’s handling of Brexit”. Another reason for nervousness, control freakery and undue haste. And that was before Nicola Sturgeon called a second independence referendum for Scotland.

Those of us who still believe Britain would be better off inside the European Union can perhaps take heart: this Tory Brexit government is nervous because they know they have to deliver the impossible to avoid public opinion and their media baron bosses turning against them. Pro-Europeans must hold our nerves because the war for the very soul of our dear country is not over yet.