That unbreakable position

Emmanuel Macron has warned British leaders that the UK can expect no concessions in Brexit negotiations if he is elected French president, vowing to take a rigid line on access to the EU’s single market and the powers of the European Court.

Macron, a frontrunner in France’s increasingly fraught presidential race, stood on the steps of Downing Street and also vowed to lure bankers and talented professionals from Britain.

Mr Macron vowed to push for an unbreakable “Franco-German position” to defend the collective interests of the EU, presumably to prevent the UK trying to split off countries as talks drag on. He would ensure that British withdrawal from the union is fully compliant with the strict terms of EU treaty law.

That Franco German position being the French get to spend the Germans pay because guilt, right?

Appropriate really

The Star-Spangled Banner looked more starry than usual during one of US Vice President Mike Pence’s appearances in Brussels.

A background picture of the American flag that went up alongside the European Union flag as Mr Pence and EU leader Donald Tusk spoke on Monday had 51 stars instead of the usual 50, one for each state.

We are joining them after we bugger off, aren’t we?

But what’s actually amusing about it is, well, where in buggery do you get one with the extra star anyway?

Not really the way it works matey

The European Commission wants Britain to be paying into EU projects for four years after it has signed a Brexit deal, with final payments continuing up until the end of 2023, the Daily Telegraph has learned.

The plan is part of a European Union demand that Britain settles a €60bn “Brexit bill” before being granted a deal that will govern future trade relations.
The aim of the payments would be to help smooth over the €10bn-a-year black hole left in the EU budgets by Britain’s departure from the EU, which could see richer countries like Germany and France paying more, or poorer countries, like Poland and Hungary receiving less.

No, our bill isn’t determined by your post-our-departure budget.

Yes, we know this

More than 20 peers expected to force changes to the Brexit Bill this week are still earning tens of thousands of pounds from Brussels, it can be revealed.

Lord Mandelson, Labour’s former communications director, Lord Kinnock, the party’s former leader, and Lord Patten, who served in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet, all still receive EU pensions.

Many other former MEPs and European commissioners are also receiving payouts from a Brussels pension pot estimated to be worth £10 million.

And it’s scandalous. They don’t even have to declare their interest when they speak.

As I’ve been saying

Britain is preparing to demand a substantial share of European Union assets worth more than €150 billion in the attempt to cut the cost of the Brexit divorce bill.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, is understood to be preparing a list of up to €60 billion of liabilities, including spending commitments signed off by Britain before the referendum that will be owed by the UK when it officially leaves in 2019.

However, officials in Whitehall are understood to be drawing up their own list of EU financial assets and the government thinks that it is entitled to a significant share.

Bruegel, an independent think tank in Brussels, made the first attempt to estimate the scale of these assets yesterday, placing them at €152.5 billion.

So they want us to cough up for agreed liabilities. OK, so let’s carve up the capital assets at the same time.

Good thing we’re going, eh?

Via Raedwald:

Finally, the EBC’s chances for success will be enormously improved if it can develop within a suitable regulatory environment. We favor an approach where major digital platform providers would have to reserve a certain percentage of their media space, say 5 percent, for EBC content (on a must-carry basis). In addition, such platforms should be levied a general fee of 5 percent on their European turnover to help fund the EBC. The present situation where the click economy thrives while undermining any reasonable business model for quality journalism and engaging in the most aggressive kind of tax avoidance planning is simply no longer sustainable.

EBC is, yes, you’ve guessed it, European Broadcasting Corporation.

At least the BBC has never demanded that ITV must carry its programs, eh?

Parliament is sovereign of course

The amendment that had the most potential to cause chaos for the Government was clause 43, tabled by the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, which called for a second public referendum before Brexit finally happens.

The Prime Minister has already agreed that Parliament will get a vote on the final deal before it goes to the European Parliament for ratification, but Mr Farron had argued that a referendum on the deal was vital to stop Britain going “over the cliff”.

Just 33 MPs backed Mr Farron’s proposal as the amendment was crushed by a majority of 307.

Still the Lords to go of course but given that Parliament really is sovereign that would seem to be the end of that, no?

Unless, and perish the very thought of it, sovereign is here meant to mean “doing as I wish”.

Fun fact

Twice as many euros are traded in London as in the 19 countries of the single currency combined.

That division and specialisation of labour thing.

Even more fun is their plan for what should happen next:

“Brexit involves risks for market integrity and stability, because the EU including the UK has been crucially dependent on the Bank of England and the UK Financial Conduct Authority for oversight of its wholesale markets,” states the report. “Without the UK, the the EU27 must swiftly upgrade its capacity to ensure market integrity and financial stability.”

Nicolas Véron, a co-author, said the EU faced a mix of risks and opportunity, but had barely started discussing post-Brexit financial regulations.

“What is important is for the EU27 to find its feet in the new financial system of the post Brexit landscape,” he said.

Rather than creating “27 clones of the FCA and Bank of England”, the EU should instead design “a more centralised consistent architecture”, with central authorities for banking regulation and conduct, Véron added.

The answer to someone storming off in a huff over excessive centralisation is more centralisation.

Ho hum.

To get to the point

It’s Straight Bananas That Made Me Support Brexit Too

And that’s why straight bananas are a reason to leave the EU. Not because this is anything about straight or bendy bananas it’s because we’re being taken over by the anal retentives, those who gain near sexual pleasure from the criminalisation of routine activity, the bansturbators.

That the banana industry has an internally agreed standard for what is a Class 1 banana is just fine, most useful in fact. A legal and economic regime which makes selling a bendy banana for human consumption a criminal offence is something to be escaped at the first opportunity. And I do say this as someone who really has written one such industry standard. Make it a criminal offence to violate my reading of how scandium transactions take place? That’s almost as absurd as trying to make one country out of 28 that have spent the last 1,500 years fighting each other, isn’t it?

If only they’d defaulted way back then

Protesting farmers have been a regular feature of the social unrest that has sporadically gripped Greece. It is now more than seven years since the Greek financial crisis erupted and the debt drama has often had a deja vu quality about it.

Eclipsed last year by the UK’s vote to exit the EU, and Donald Trump’s equally unlikely US electoral victory, the nation’s epic struggle to keep bankruptcy at bay has been out of the spotlight.

All of this would be entirely over by now.

Compare and contrast with Iceland….

This is the correct attitude to have

and attacked the European commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker. “Mr Juncker was a very adequate mayor I think of some city in Luxembourg, and maybe he should go back and do that again,” he said.

The BBC is confused here. “Told the truth” is not a synonym for “attacked”.

Manfred Weber, leader of the centre-right EPP and an ally of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and Guy Verhofstadt, who leads the liberal ALDE group, accused Malloch of “outrageous malevolence” towards “the values that define this European Union”.

I like him more already.

A letter from the leader of the Socialists and Democrats group, Gianni Pittella, describes Malloch’s statements as “shocking” and urges the EU institutions to treat him as a “persona non grata”. He writes: “Mr Malloch openly expressed himself to be in favour of the dissolution of the EU – to be ‘brought down as the Soviet Union’ – and wants to see the demise of the common currency within months, clearly show[ing] Mr Malloch’s hostility not only toward the European Union as such but also to our common values and principles.

Sounds perfect. So, we give him Juncker’s job when he goes back to being Mayor, do we?

MEPs are an organisation now, are they?

There were many fine and erudite contributions before Farage spoke. The values this place represents do instil a real sense of pride. But some of the comments focused on the need to have a constructive dialogue with Trump, as if he would somehow listen to reasoned and impassioned pleas from MEPs, an organisation he has repeatedly indicated he would want to be destroyed.

This is after the fuckwit has been filtered through the editorial process.

I’m a Labour Member of the European parliament for the London region, and Labour’s environment and climate change spokesperson in Europe, and there are many wonderful aspects of my job.

A requirement for basic intelligence not being one of them I guess.

Then again I was once at an MEP hustings at the NFU where a Lib Dem candidate insisted that Britain would still have the Schengen rights of free movement. She really just did not get, even after it was explained, that Britain was, always had been, outside Schengen.

Aye up

MPs finally voted in favour of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill by 498 votes to 114, with 47 Labour MPs, 50 SNP MPs and seven Liberal Democrats voting against.

Seems a fair margin, doesn’t it?

And I think we can argue that carrying out the referendum decision was a manifesto commitment, no? Thus the Lords had better get in line.

Democracy according to Polly

He was magnificent. Ken Clarke spoke for saving Britain, and he spoke for the three-quarters of MPs who never supported this madness. But on his own benches he is the lone refuser, the only one who will vote today against what most of Clarke’s colleagues and almost all on the Labour benches know to be an approaching Brexit calamity.

Like a prophet crying in the wilderness – dismissed as “purple and quavery”, and his words as a “pitiful harrumph” in the Daily Mail – his speech will resonate down the Brexit years.

How did it come to this act of collective cowardice? Because rebelling against your own leadership is easy, and usually delights the voters with a show of sterling independence. But to rebel against the voters – that takes formidable courage.

Don’t do what the voters want, only what you think is right.

Do we all get to play this game then?

The voters want the NHS – fuck ’em, they’re wrong.

The voters want more government – fuck ’em, they’re wrong.

The voters want less inequality – fuck ’em, they’re wrong.

Or is there a special the voters disagree with Polly so fuck ’em clause in there somewhere?

Polly’s interesting question

This is the pivotal moment for Britain. Who are our true friends and allies, who share the most history, culture and mutual understanding? Trump’s arrival asks that question with a stark new urgency: the answer is not him, not his United States. Our safest haven is the European Union.

Remarkably Poll there’re a number of people who disagree.

Like the majority of people who voted in the referendum?

So this explains the loyalty of the third sector to Brussels then

However, his guarantees are not backed up by any legislation or formal policy. Despite his public assurances, funding that is directly administered by EU institutions could be most under threat immediately after Brexit happens. This is because the UK government has not been involved in the process of managing or distributing funds. Essentially these direct funds bypass the UK government. Preliminary research by DSC indicates that in 2015 £189.9m was paid directly to UK charities by the European commission.

That’s rather a cheap way for Brussels to buy the loyalty of an entire class of screaming harpies.

Can we kill this idiocy right now please?

The government will pay its top post-Brexit international trade negotiator, tasked with sealing deals from North America to New Zealand, more than the prime minister, according to a job vacancy advertised on an internal civil service website. “Soft” Brexit campaigners say the £160,000 salary is a sign of the struggle the government is having in attracting the skilled staff it needs after decades of trade deals being handled from Brussels. In particular, there are fears the UK’s much-vaunted move to “the front of the queue” for a deal with the Trump administration will see inexperienced officials overwhelmed by tougher US counterparts.

Critics also think the salary is a waste of money for the first two years of the five-year contract because the UK will be unable to reach agreements until the terms of divorce from the EU are finalised in 2019.

The is another of the Remoaner, well, lies isn’t too strong a word, floating around out there. Akin to that Clegg/Mandelson one about having to charge WTO import duties.

We do not have the sovereign right to bring into action new trade deals while part of the European Union. That’s entirely true. But we’re entirely at liberty to discuss whatever we want with whomever between now and then. We are absolutely allowed to set up conditional treaties – on the day we leave we’ll sign this agreement, even we can, if we so wish, sign agreements now that say “this comes into effect the day we leave”.

Article 50 doesn’t stop us negotiating. The Treaty in general does stop us having different legal arrangements for trade until we have left.

Is that all clear now?

Good thing we’re leaving, eh?

Pubs and restaurants could soon be fined for serving well-done items such as triple-cooked chips or thin and crispy pizza under a second phase of the Government’s crackdown on burnt food.

Following the launch of a major public awareness campaign yesterday to help people reduce “cancer-causing” acrylamide in food, the Daily Telegraph can reveal that food safety watchdogs are planning to extend the warning to every food-serving business in Britain.

Under a new European Union food hygiene directive, due to be adopted in the UK by the the end of 2017, pubs and restaurants will be told to take reasonable steps to reduce acrylamide in food or face enforcement measures.

Until now many local establishments will be unaware that they may soon need to drastically alter cooking practices to reduce acrylamide, which forms when potatoes and grain-based items are cooked in temperatures hotter than 120C.

It means those continuing to serve “high acrylamide” foods, such as brown roast potatoes or burned Yorkshire puddings, could be visited by the Food Standards Agency’s enforcement officers and face hefty fines.

But it’s an interesting example of the inertia of a bureaucracy. Even though we’re leaving they’re still planning to enforce nonsense like this.

We call this whistling in the wind Guy

Britain’s decision to make a clean break from the EU was an opportunity to reform Europe and avoid a further breakdown in ties between its remaining member states,the European Union Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator said on Monday.

Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister and member of the European Parliament, also said the election of US President Donald Trump, and what he views as Washington’s move toward more protectionism, was a wake-up call for the EU.

“The Brexit discussion is a good opportunity not only to discuss and negotiate a new agreement, a new partnership with Britain, but also to fix that now it is time to have a real government in Europe,” Mr Verhofstadt said in an interview in New York while promoting his new book: “Europe’s Last Chance.”

By real government he means fiscal union. Germany pays 20% of GDP to Brussels which then spends it on Greek pensions.

I’d actually be interested to see someone try it. See how long it would be before they were torn apart by the howling mob.