They are just sodding idiots, aren’t they?

Theresa May is to be told the EU will take a year to draft a new mandate for its chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, effectively killing the Brexit negotiations, if she insists on discussing a future trade relationship at the same time as the UK’s divorce bill.

In a sign of growing impatience with the shambolic state of the British side of the talks, senior EU sources said that if London insisted on talking about a free trade deal before the issues of its divorce bill, citizens rights and the border in Ireland were sufficiently resolved, it would be met with a blunt response.

“If they don’t accept the phased negotiations then we will take a year to draw up a new set of negotiating guidelines for Barnier,” one senior EU diplomat said, adding that the EU could not understand Britain’s continued claim that it would be able to discuss trade and the divorce terms in parallel.

Look! Look! Look what you Brits are missing! You’re leaving a system so bureaucratic that it takes a year to decide what a Frenchman may talk about!

57 comments on “They are just sodding idiots, aren’t they?

  1. I’ve always believed that agreement will only be reached at the last minute after the maximum amount of chest beating.

  2. Surely the answer should be “Take as long as you like. Remember though, the clock is still ticking”

  3. Who are the sodding idiots?

    The Eu for spouting this crap?

    The media for printing it as if it was a reasonable approach?

    The people who believe it without thought or question?

    I’m seriously worried that what-ever the EU says is always reported as being the correct approach while the British government is disorganised, or worse.

    They can’t even see why the EU wants to agree the “divorce” bill before considering trade. That’s truly being a sodding idiot.

  4. Concur with BiW.

    The EU nations don’t want a completely hard Brexit – de minimis, they want better than standard visa rights for their citizens. I don’t fundamentally object to this, as long as it is less than “free ability to come here and mooch off our welfare state.”

    The devolved parliaments (and the Norn Irish) don’t want a completely hard Brexit. The Irish for a very good reason, the Scots Nats because a) they are economically ignorant, b) useful stick to claim they are being beaten with by Westmonster c) cynically a) and b).

    But the Brussels mafia are doing everything they can to frustrate everything except “out in name only”. I presume to scare any other nation away from ever considering leaving.

  5. And yet the remainiacs and soft brexiters are so certain that the EU will give us a good deal if only we are submissive and contrite. We’ll get a hard brexit whether we like it – and I like it! – or not. The Fourth Reich is implacable, irrational and vindictive, because brexit is an existential threat to its ideology and project.

  6. Why is there a divorce bill. Even EU pensions aren’t the UK problem. When a US city goes bust the employees simply go with out.

    If a lump sum is needed for trade maybe but I would start with. We will taken half the wine and moveable assets. Thanx toodles.

  7. “…de minimis, they want better than standard visa rights for their citizens”

    Yes, but the EU would prefer not to have to reciprocate. Their aim is to demonstrate that being in the Fourth Reich has advantages and that being outside of it has disadvantages.

  8. We’re what, rapidly approaching 3 months from the A.50 declaration.

    They want to faff for a year? That leaves 9 months.

    Do they really think that their brinkmanship is that good?

  9. It must be nice for the EU to have slavishly supportive media organisations in the UK willing to print whatever it wants, lies or otherwise.

  10. Pat: They’ll redefine the clock at midnight on the last day – they’ve done it before. However we don’t need to follow suit. Legally we’re out at one second past midnight on 30th March 2019 (or maybe 29th?). They can faff about all they want before then. Trouble is, that deadline can be extended by agreement on both sides…

  11. Thanks to them for their help by endlessly showing us what cunts they are.

    They can arse about as long as they like.

    Also gives us a year for the gubmint to get itself sorted out.

    The only problem is more time for May’s cock ups. Plus her Thatcher-lite pronouncements will now have a squeaky tone to them as we have had proof of what a gutless, vacuous turd she really is behind the big talk.

  12. EU negotiations are like set piece exercises in stonewalling which is why they take so long and regularly fail to reach a substantive conclusion.

    The EU’s trick is to have split competencies between the Council, the Parliament, the Commission and lesser institutions so that the onus for a decision at any one time can always lie somewhere other than with the party one is talking to. Michel Barnier will be more of a go-between than a chief negotiator because his personal scope for manoeuvre will be severely constrained.

    The cornerstone to EU negotiations is that “nothing is agreed untill everything is agreed” which means that the €100bn “divorce bill” can be conceded pro tem on day one with the undeclared intention of withdrawing the offer subsequently. If this sounds like negotiating in bad faith, then that’s a cultural hurdle for the UK negotiators that has to be overcome in short order.

    Brexit should be perfectly achievable on that basis but the UK needs to make it clear that it will not under any circumstances be seeking an extension to the two year negotiating period and that everything must be agreed by 19th March 2019. Or nothing will.

  13. EU negotiations are like set piece exercises in stonewalling which is why they take so long and regularly fail to reach a substantive conclusion.

    Varoufakis’s recent book “Adults in the Room” is really quite informative about the way the various bits of the EU played around to stop him accomplishing anything while scheming against Syriza (and achieving the EU result against it’s objectives) with the Greek deep state.

    Although I’d recommend reading the book, at least read the reviews on Amazon.

  14. Pat, indeed. An old colleague was fond of saying that nothing would get done if it wasn’t for the last minute.

    Slightly O/T but I see from Guido that Labour’s celebrations have come to a grinding halt as it finally dawns on the Remainers that you can’t have a soft Brexit AND the Labour manifesto.

    So now we’ve got the two main parties arguing for a hard Brexit, perhaps May needs to create a bit of mischief by inviting Jeremy to join the negotiations? (I believe that was first aired on Samizdata).

  15. @SE

    Yes, it’s an excellent book on how EU negotiations work – I hope David Davis has a copy.

    Varoufakis was undermined by his own side which ought to (but won’t) serve as a warning to those who are trying their utmost to hobble the UK negotiations from this side of the Channel.

  16. I mentioned on this blog yesterday the contradiction at the heart of Labour’s policy: you can’t both stay in the single market and run a hard-left nationalisation program.

    This what Labour’s manifesto actually says: ‘We will scrap the Conservatives’ Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union’.

    That commits them to leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, and thus commits them to a Hard Brexit. Corbyn and McDonnell have been deliberately vague about this issue, but you would presume that they do want to leave the EU, for the same reason that all the old dinosaur lefties do — so they can nationalise businesses and industries, which you can’t do within the current EU rules. So they want to leave the EU, but negotiate a new deal that doesn’t prevent them from nationalising.

    The reason why Corbyn and McDonnell have been so vague about this issue is because they wanted Remainiac votes. They thought that could get them over the line. Once they had power they wouldn’t give a shit if Remainiacs then howled about being deceived. They’re Communists, who will lie and deceive to get power in any way they can.

  17. In a sign of growing impatience with the shambolic state of the British side of the talks, senior EU sources said that if London insisted on talking about a free trade deal before the issues of its divorce bill, citizens rights and the border in Ireland were sufficiently resolved, it would be met with a blunt response.

    So is it shambolic, or is it just that the UK wants to use maximum leverage and the EU doesn’t like it?

    adding that the EU could not understand Britain’s continued claim that it would be able to discuss trade and the divorce terms in parallel.

    The EU doesn’t understand the claim? Or simply doesn’t want to proceed like that?

    This is shite journalism, but then they’re on the EU side, aren’t they?

  18. Tim N-
    “the shambolic state of the British side of the talks,”

    yes agree. its partisan, which i don’t mind in journalism per se but get the facts first. Then do a decent analysis supported by those facts. Then add your slant or spin to it if you so wish.

    Shambolic here was just the first shit whisking adjective that came to the journos mind.

    Shambolic described new Labour failed coup to oust Jeremy, Shambolic described the labour parliamentary opposition for a while there but no it doesn’t describe the Brexit non-negotiations that haven’t happened so far.

    The key for Theresa is to get EU negotiators into a position where their statements and positions make sense in EU la la speak think but not to any normal person in the UK. Then she has to gain a little bit of presentation skill (which is a worry i’ll concede) to sell it.
    I don’t see anything wrong with the stance of : we’re ready to talk. Everything’s on the table from the outset though. We’re not going to decide on the split of the house and then discuss the maintenance afterwards, its all on the table or its off the table.
    And for George Osborn’s insistance it has to be a deal i think the Ireland border issue can be mitigated if no agreement. You can say to the DUP don’t worry we’re going to have an open border Eire to Ulster. We’ll have checks if a load of somalis turn up in lisbon preach peaceful co-existence of religions but other than that we’ll either match or lower the taxes so smuggling is not a problem and we’ll work with irish government direct on security as before and which anyway isn’t an EU competency. I more worry about DUP getting us to have a redwhite and blue CAP.

  19. Dunno if I’ve missed it or what, but how’s our trade talks with the USA, China, Canada, Australia, NZ, etc. coming along?

    Seems to my simple mind that if we’re only talking to the EU, which hates us and means to do us harm, we’re playing into their gay Froggy bad faith diplomacy games.

    You wouldn’t even buy a car by letting the salesman know you aren’t exploring other options, would you?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

  20. The really odd thing is that absolutist Remainers, such as the Guardian, are fawning all over Varoufakis’ book “one of the most accurate and detailed descriptions of modern power ever written”.

    IF YOU THINK THAT WHY DO YOU LOVE THE EU? For fucks sake!

  21. Rob – Because Who/Whom?

    Syriza – fashionably radical Left Greek chaps and chapesses sticking it to THE MAN, yeah?

    Brexit – racist neo-reactionary fucksticks who like weekly bin collections, smoking in pubs, Royal Wedding tea towels, and Roy Chubby Brown.

  22. Incidentally, these are the guys who had a brief meeting of the 27 or whatever and came up with the mutually agreed instructions (with no dissenters) for the French Head Executioner, I mean negotiator, in ONE HOUR.

    Now they need a year.

    They are pulling our collective leg.

  23. Our modern Left aren’t all that concerned with values, principles, or even outcomes.

    It’s all about virtue-signalling, social positioning, and feelz.

    So the hidebound logic-based, probably sexistracisthomophobic brain might struggle to understand why they’re simultaneously against neoliberalism and pro-EU. Or ostentatiously pro-gay and pro-feminist while simultaneously providing political air cover for a desert cult that wants to enslave or kill the gays and wimmins. Or shriek like banshees about carbon emissions while shrieking like banshees about nuclear power.

    But there’s no contradiction at all, because all they really mean by any particular position is “I’m better than you.” It’s just an endless game of moral one-upmanship and self-indulgent preening.

    Back in the early 80’s much of the British Left was actively hoping Britain would lose a war to the Argentine fascist junta, because Margaret Thatcher and those horrible flag-waving proles with their Charles & Diana teacups and right-to-buy council flats needed to be knocked down a peg or two.

    It’s why, in their rage at victory, they spent so much time talking shite about the poor, helpless, heavily armed hostile warship Belgrano.

    Doesn’t matter if the Tories conclude a deal with the EU that cures cancer and gives everyone a free owl, the Guardian will be against it and secretly hoping the owls peck your eye out.

  24. Thinking about the young turning to hard leftism, I was reminded of this quote from Kingsley Amis:

    “We are dealing with a conflict of feeling and intelligence, a form of wilful self-deception whereby a part of the mind knows full well that its overall belief is false or wicked, but the emotional need to believe is so strong that the knowledge remains, as it were, encysted, isolated, powerless to influence word or deed.”

  25. “Dunno if I’ve missed it or what, but how’s our trade talks with the USA, China, Canada, Australia, NZ, etc. coming along?”

    I read that it is not allowed to do that when still part of the EU so if it is happening they would try to keep it quiet. Yeah depends what the sanctions are for a breach and if you’re leaving anyway….

  26. Hallowed Be – if ever there was an open goal (hey, Theresa!) this is it.

    Very publicly get on the blower to President Trump and set up talks. It’ll light a fire under the EU’s collective posterior and improve our negotiating position bigly.

    What are they gonna do – kick us out? Fine us? Send in the gendarmes?

  27. “perhaps May needs to create a bit of mischief by inviting Jeremy to join the negotiations?”

    Definitely not! If we are to have a deal it should be one that continues, in the spirit of the single market, to make it difficult for for the state to provide aid to businesses, or nationalise them. (Not that the SM does so entirely, but it does to some extent.)

    Don’t want Corbyn scuppering that.

  28. “If they don’t accept the phased negotiations then we will take a year to draw up a new set of negotiating guidelines for Barnier,” one senior EU diplomat said, adding that the EU could not understand Britain’s continued claim that it would be able to discuss trade and the divorce terms in parallel.

    Ah, the European Union… Someone want to remind me why ‘Mericans are stoopid and Brits are real smart?

  29. Very publicly get on the blower to President Trump and set up talks. It’ll light a fire under the EU’s collective posterior and improve our negotiating position bigly.

    Given that Theresa May has proven she couldn’t successfully talk her little nephew from the living room to the bath room, I find the above scenario a bit far-fetched.

  30. Dennis – For sure, but hope springs.

    The President seems to like us and would enjoy making a big huge deal that also sticks it to Merkel and Micron. That’s a win-win situation, money on the table just waiting to be picked up.

  31. Tel – me neither, but we’d probably be better off with Jezza inside the tent pissing outwards. The EU is counting on Britain being divided.

    I’d like to see a deal made where Labour gets to co-own Brexit. With a notional government majority of 2, it makes sense.

  32. Jez is liable to be confused by “hammer” without “sickle”

    Syriza – fashionably radical Left Greek chaps and chapesses sticking it to THE MAN, yeah?

    Not for a long time – THE MAN (=Troika) has just stuck it to the unfashionable, unradical formerly left Greek government for the nth time in succession.

  33. The Inimitable Steve,

    “Our modern Left aren’t all that concerned with values, principles, or even outcomes.

    It’s all about virtue-signalling, social positioning, and feelz.”

    They are scum. Total and utter scum. They aren’t even real socialists. You know what really gets me? They criticise May for the “dementia tax”. A tax which means that people with houses can’t leave a nice inheritance for their kids. Now, you can debate that all you like, but that’s about as unsocialist as you can get. They aren’t planning on doing anything for benefits. Their beneficiaries were students, already some of the wealthiest people in the country and public sector workers – people who aren’t leaving in droves, so why the fuck do we need to pay them more.

    Look where Labour’s vote really rose and you’ll see massive levels of public sector non-jobs and students. Canterbury went Labour because it’s a huge student town now. South Wales, because you can’t throw a stone without hitting a public sector building. You know what? Good. Let the Tories take this as a signal to burn the bloated sector to the ground. Cut student places by 2/3rds. Destroy Sauron’s army of diversity officers and hangers on, none of whom you need.

  34. TMB – Syriza never read The Art Of The Deal. Sad!

    “Deal from strength or get crushed every time.” – Donald J. Trump

    BiW – Let the Tories take this as a signal to burn the bloated sector to the ground.

    It’s amusingly ironical that, by making a horrible shitty mess of the election she called, Mrs May has effectively given us a more conservative government than the one we would’ve had if the Conservatives had won a majority.

    Apparently the DUP are asking for Nigel to join the Brexit negotiations. Top Kek.

  35. Tel,

    ““perhaps May needs to create a bit of mischief by inviting Jeremy to join the negotiations?”

    Definitely not! If we are to have a deal it should be one that continues, in the spirit of the single market, to make it difficult for for the state to provide aid to businesses, or nationalise them. (Not that the SM does so entirely, but it does to some extent.)

    Don’t want Corbyn scuppering that.”

    It would b mischief because Corbyn would have to come off the fence and declare he wanted a hard Brexit for his socialist policies.

    Or he could claim the he wants to stay in the SM but renegotiate it to allow State aid and nationalisation which we know won’t even get to the negotiating table.

    Either way his bluff is called and he’ll lose the Remainiacs.

  36. Inviting Jez to join the Brexit negotiating team would only increase his credibility.

  37. IS yes – Maybe say if you’re going to take a year to draw up guidelines we’ll have a year of talks about talks.

    This is reminiscent of early days of the single currency project – a momentum develops that its the economic right thing to do and its only nationalists fretting about the sovereignty opposing it. Only gordon brown’s power bent (ok ok prudence) and unsackability stopped it happening for the UK. Yes i know plenty of standard theory out there but that that was just plain ignored. That’s what needs to change this time. Free trade a la Adam smith. Strip it of all left right alt capitalist marxist right onnish stuff… get the momentum out there that it makes you richer.

    People are surprised that canadians are between 11% and 38% richer than ukians. Usians are between 30% and 40% richer. Yes it’ll be ascribed to natural resources and being bigger, no that’s per capita, and if finding things in the ground and selling them made you are rich as the US,,, we’ll all be speaking Russian.

    Complete and utter free trade with everyone will you get rich and you can do what ever you want (ok whatever the electorate let you) with the increase in income.

  38. Theo – that ship has already sailed. He’s not the joke figure he was on Thursday morning, thanks to Mrs May.

    The question now is (should be) how to deliver Brexit. The government doesn’t have a dependable majority, and could be in a worse position come the end of negotiations, depending on by-elections, defections and whatnot.

    The alternative to Jez is slimy Blairites hoping to wreck Brexit by any means. If some means could be found of bringing Labour into the talks, it’d make it a lot harder for them to:

    a) snipe from the sidelines, promising voters it’d all be flowers and kisses if only they were in charge

    b) forestall the combined weight of opposition numbers somehow voting down a deal

    There’s risks, of course, and it’s unlikely the Free Shit party would care to participate in real world activities anyway. But the upside looks a lot bigger than the downside IMO.

  39. @TIS
    & there is the advantage, Corbyn could bring some much needed credibility & capability to the proceedings..
    😉

  40. BiS – It’d be like when Putin brought his pet dog out to annoy Merkel. He wouldn’t even need to say anything, just sit there, stinking of bike rides and wee, till they gave in.

  41. I can see where you’re coming from there, TIS. The scratching for fleas in the face fur with the hind foot could be quite distracting as well.

  42. @The Inimitable Steve, June 12, 2017 at 3:05 pm
    “Apparently the DUP are asking for Nigel to join the Brexit negotiations. Top Kek.”

    I hope that rumour/leak is true and happens.

  43. “Theo – that ship has already sailed. He’s not the joke figure he was on Thursday morning, thanks to Mrs May.”

    He’s still a joke to many people, and there’s no reason to boost what credibility he has recently acquired. Never let a commie achieve influence, let alone power.

  44. The DUP want a soft Brexit, can’t see them wanting Nigel around demanding a hard one.

  45. Corby is scum-however comic he may seem. He is a Chavez/Maduro admirer and if he got in he would never let himself (nor McNasty after him) be voted out. No matter how the nation was ruined.

    And tho he wants Brexit so he can nationalise he also wants 2-3 million more beard boys imported to vote for him and cow the restless natives. If he gets in –that’s what we would be in for.

    The idea from Gabb was let him re-nationalise the Railways, water, and –I thought–renewable energy in return for being part of the Brexit team. So long as he tows the line and agrees that we have people importing control. That shouldn’t matter to him as if he gets in he can open as well as close the gates without ref to any outside power.

    That absolutely gets us Brexit and leaves him responsible for renationalisations but outside of government.

    The Railways are an obsolete tech. Water is a chunk of rip-off overpriced corporate socialist crony krapitalism. Some strategic systems should be laid aside so we can still supply water after Corby has fucked it up. And–if any sector ever deserved the loving touch of Corbynism, the green wankmill circus IS that sector.

    All of the above get no extra subsidies than they already are because the state can run things SO much better than greedy private businessmen and thus should not need them.

    And the UK–including the young snot freebie bulge –who so love him–get a chance to see Corbynism in action –without the full monty nation-ending disaster.

    That should do the job.

  46. Generally I agree with Theophrastus, never give a Commie a sniff of power, you’ll later regret it, as both Labour and the Tories are now discovering. But it may be worth it if, under the proposal disucssed by Ecks, we get control of our borders in return.

    But there is the chance that he won’t make water worse, because it’s pretty screwed up now, and it should improve once we leave the EU. Don’t want him getting credit for that.

  47. Well, in due course you could always do what you should do with commies anyway. Shoot the c*nt. Shoot a few more while you’re at it.

  48. Chaps,

    Yes indeed, Corbyn, despite (partially because of) his weedy Leninist geography teacher manner, is a threat to sanity, decency, and all life on Earth.

    Yes, no responsible person wants him on the same hemisphere as political power.

    And yes, he looks like he’d lose a fight with a mildly indignant cockatiel.

    However, we are very far indeed from those sunny, optimistic days of the 1980’s, when the Conservative Party could be reliably counted on to not do batshit insane stuff like set the Diversity Police on employers for paying competent white men too much, or import hordes of bearded “child” refugees to threaten our children.

    It’s a shite state of affairs, and no mistake, and I’ll reiterate my belief that the election result might just be the least worst of all possible worlds, because God only knows what Theresa May unbound would’ve done.

    Anyway, Westminster arithmetic (even before the election, more so now of course) suggests Labour will play a role in either delivering or blocking Brexit. I’d prefer they help deliver it.

    I’m interested in Mr Ecks’ idea, but I don’t think there’s any money to renationalise anything of value. So if we must, why not nationalise the BBC?

    Yes, I’m afraid it would force the Beeb to directly answer to the Secretary of Culture, exhibit the public political neutrality we expect from civil servants, and be subject to the real austerity measures that are coming whether Guardianistas like it or not.

    But as we navigate the great ship of state through these turbulent waters, sacrifices must be made.

    You may say I’m a dreamer. Bottom line is, our political leadership is toxic and lacks credibility. But until a Gove or Rees-Mogg or Lord Protector Nigel himself comes galloping over the hill like Prester John in a double breasted suit, there’s still plenty of upside to be found in creative thinking about the situation Britain finds herself in.

    Brexit was never a Conservative Party project and shouldn’t become one, or it’ll fail. I’d give a favourable reference to the Devil himself if he kicked Jean-Claude Juncker in the nuts for us.

  49. Labour under Corbyn have become more traditional and promoted policies core Labour voters could get behind. The Conservatives should have followed suit. Perhaps politics is more like a seesaw than a spectrum and needs to remain balanced.

    More prisons. More power stations. Less renewables shit. Abolish diversity and equality managers. Far less foreign aid. A bit more defence spending. No HS2. Clear out the fake charity industry. etc. The 2017 manifesto would barely have looked out of place in the 2015 election.

    The Inimitable Steve said: “I’m interested in Mr Ecks’ idea, but I don’t think there’s any money to renationalise anything of value. So if we must, why not nationalise the BBC?”

    Yes. If nurses can be told they are too fat the BBC can be told what to broadcast.

    Although I’d go in a different direction. Give the BBC to current telly tax payers in the form of shares which they can then keep, sell or buy more as they wish, and free the BBC to compete for revenue with other broadcasters on an equal footing. Selling the BBC would be distasteful and likely turn into a stitch up.

  50. “More prisons. More power stations. Less renewables shit. Abolish diversity and equality managers. Far less foreign aid. A bit more defence spending. No HS2. Clear out the fake charity industry. etc.”

    Not going to happen under any of the current parties.

    “If nurses can be told they are too fat the BBC can be told what to broadcast.”

    You think this nurses advice will last? Do you think anything will really come of it?

  51. @Bloke in North Dorset, June 12, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    The DUP want a soft Brexit, can’t see them wanting Nigel around demanding a hard one.

    Incorrect. DUP want hard Brexit and soft border with RoI.

    EU decides what legal border is; NI & RoI most likely will be pragmatic and ignore what EU says.

    What would EU do? Expel RoI?

  52. @Gareth, June 13, 2017 at 10:44 am

    The Conservatives should have followed suit. Perhaps politics is more like a seesaw than a spectrum and needs to remain balanced.

    More prisons. More power stations. Less renewables shit. Abolish diversity and equality managers. Far less foreign aid. A bit more defense spending. No HS2. Clear out the fake charity industry. etc.

    +1

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.