Thursday, 19 July 2018

Deadly Earnest

If there was any doubt by anyone that the European Union is not serious in its Notices to Stakeholders then they should remove those doubts now. The European Union (EU) is most definitely serious. 

The EU has published more documents such as this one on  
"Communication on preparing for the UK's withdrawal from the EU"or this one on "Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019"
which again lay out the position in various scenarios. 
Main consequences of scenario 2: withdrawal on 30 March 2019 without a withdrawal agreement 
  • The United Kingdom will be a third country and Union law ceases to apply to and in the United Kingdom.  
  • Citizens: There would be no specific arrangement in place for EU citizens in the United Kingdom, or for UK citizens in the European Union.  
  • Border issues: The European Union must apply its regulation and tariffs at borders with the United Kingdom as a third country, including checks and controls for customs, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and verification of compliance with EU norms. Transport between the United Kingdom and the European Union would be severely impacted. Customs, sanitary and phytosanitary controls at borders could cause significant delays, e.g. in road transport, and difficulties for ports.  
  • Trade and regulatory issues: The United Kingdom becomes a third country whose relations with the European Union would be governed by general international public law, including rules of the World Trade Organisation. In particular, in heavily regulated sectors, this would represent a significant drawback compared to the current level of market integration.  
  • Negotiations with the United Kingdom: Depending on the circumstances leading to the withdrawal without an agreement, the EU may wish to enter into negotiations with the United Kingdom as a third country.  
  • EU funding: UK entities would cease to be eligible as Union entities for the purpose of receiving EU grants and participating in EU procurement procedures. Unless otherwise provided for by the legal provisions in force, candidates or tenderers from the United Kingdom could be rejected.
The legacy media has reported some of this but with no real analysis and with the sub text that somehow the European Union is being spiteful to the United Kingdom. 

As EUReferendum says in the latest blogpost:
Hardly anyone in the politico-media nexus, it seems, is prepared to lay out with any clarity the full extent of the consequences of a "no deal" Brexit, the overall impression being that it is somehow tolerable, with maybe a few problems round the edges.
The European Union is publishing these documents because Mrs Theresa May, the Conservative MP for Maidenhead, the Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister said in answer to a Scottish Nationalist Party MP in the House of Commons recently "unequivocally" that the United Kingdom will leave the Single Market, the European Economic Area (EEA). 

The Prime Minister is doing this because she has been persuaded by her former Special Advisor (SpAd) Nick 'Rasputin' Timothy that the EEA equals the European Union. It doesn't. Rather like the Tsarina Alexandra however, Mrs May cannot be persuaded that her 'Rasputin' is in error.

The European Economic Area (EEA) is a vast geographical area from Iceland to Greece and Portugal to Poland of which the European Union is part.

In leaving the EEA, the United Kingdom leaves the regulatory union. Various Conservative Politicians like John Redwood, Peter Lilley and Jacob Rees-Mogg have said that this makes no difference because the UK will have the same standards on Brexit day as it did before.

This is true. The point of leaving the single market (EEA) though is so that the United Kingdom can unilaterally deviate from those standards the day after Brexit day if it so chooses and it is that situation that the European Union wants to guard against. Thus it is enforcing the Non Tariff Barriers. 

The blogger Pete North has recently published a "Janet and John" tweet thread. It is superb and I reproduce some of it below:
A strange disease stalks the land. When a person is confronted by well documented consequences of leaving the EU without a deal they simply grunt "Project fear!". This is odd because we are not talking about Brexit economic projections... 
You see, at the moment we have a deal. We have EU membership. We are part of the treaties. And if we leave and we do not secure a withdrawal agreement and subsequent arrangements for trade then we do not have a deal. The Treaties shall cease to apply. 
For the hard of thinking, that means that we leave the treaties of the EU. No formal agreement exists between the EU and the UK. We will have left the EU. One turns to zero. On becomes Off. What was once permitted is then not permitted.
Mrs Theresa May who represents the United Kingdom has said the United Kingdom is leaving the Single Market

Mrs Theresa May's "Chequers" White Paper states that the United Kingdom is "proposing the establishment of a free trade area for goods". Services are excluded from this imagined free trade area. As reported before this is cherry-picking by the United Kingdom Government and the European Union has continually said that cherry-picking is not on the table, it is not possible.

It cannot be repeated often enough. The European Union is NOT doing this to the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is doing this to itself. 

The European Union is not unreasonably taking the White Paper as the UK Government's final position. The EU is consequently making contingency plans based on this position. The impact on the United Kingdom of its self imposed decisions are enormous. It is going to be a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride.

Be in no doubt, the European Union is in deadly earnest.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Disaster Darling

The United Kingdom Government has now published its White Paper "The Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union". In this document the Government states that it wants a new trading relationship that ensures 
continued frictionless access at the border to each other’s markets for goods.
In order to deliver this goal;
the Government is proposing the establishment of a free trade area for goods. 
The White Paper does not mention services. 

The only land border between the United Kingdom and the European Union is the Irish Border. 

EUReferendum posted a blogpost about this on 13th July 2018 quoting Michel Barnier, the European Union negotiator thus:
the UK "chooses to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. It will be a third country in two years from now". And, by making this choice, the UK "will naturally find itself in a less favourable situation than that of a Member State". It will not be possible, Barnier said, "to cherry-pick and be a participant in parts of the Single Market".
By stating that the Government wants a free trade in goods, the Government is cherry-picking.

I find the diagram on Page 86 of the White Paper headed "structure of the Future Partnership" reproduced at the head of this post very troubling. Under 'The Governing Body' it states the following:
"The Governing Body would provide for leaders and ministers from the UK and EU to give direction to the development of the future relationship - making decisions about how and when changes to the relationship were necessary and ensuring accountability to our parliaments."
If EU leaders and ministers are on the Governing Body giving direction and making decisions, surely the United Kingdom is still subject to the EU. In what way is this "Brexit means Brexit" or the United Kingdom leaving the European Union?

I would like much more detail and clarity on what the Government is saying but I think that might be a deal breaker for some leave minded politicians. It certainly ought to be if the text means what I think it means.

According to "The Sun";  'Ministers draw up secret plans to stockpile processed food in case of 'no deal' Brexit':
The Sun can reveal that includes emergency measures to keep Britain’s massive food and drinks industry afloat - including stockpiling ahead of exit day on 29 March next year. More than £22 billion worth of processed food and drinks are imported in to the UK - 97 per cent from the EU - in an industry that keeps 400,000 workers employed in the UK. Similar stockpiles are also being prepared for medical supplies amid fears of chaos at British ports next year.
This blogger has warned before about the possibility of issues at the channel ports and in my last post on Brexit Preparedness about the possible dangers to air travel of No Deal.

Now EUReferendum reports that 
However, rather than examples of sensible planning, responses are being cast as gesture politics, to show Brussels that "no deal" is not a bluff. Yet, Brussels is way ahead of the game. With the White Paper being framed by some as the last and best "offer" from the UK government, the Commission is taking it as the most explicit confirmation that the Brexit negotiations are on the rocks.

To illustrate that the European Union does indeed think the talks are in trouble, according to "The Irish Times", the European Union 
Despite an upbeat welcome in Brussels for the UK’s White Paper, the 27 EU member states have been warned to step up their contingency planning for a Brexit no-deal.

The arrogance of the Prime Minister surpasses all understanding however. Having been persuaded by her former Special Advisor Nick "Rasputin" Timothy (falsely) that the European Economic Area equals the European Union (it doesn't) Mrs May is determined to leave the EEA with all the dire economic consequences that presages. 

According to this article the Prime Minister
claims that rival Commons revolts by warring pro- and anti-Europe Tory MPs threaten to sabotage hopes of winning a post-Brexit deal for Britain. And in a hard-hitting message to Brussels, the Prime Minister says she will not budge an inch on the proposed Brexit deal she agreed with Cabinet Ministers at her Chequers summit.
For instance does she really think that she is the only politician capable of delivering Brexit? In not budging an inch from her position what does she suggest if the European Union will not budge an inch from its position? 

This does not feel very good at all. Quite the contrary actually

As Craig Revel Horwood might say in a different context:

This is a Disaster Darling