Lucky we left isn’t it?

The European Union could impose taxes on citizens of member states under radical proposals announced yesterday to help make up a funding shortfall in the wake of Brexit.

A report commissioned by the European Commission, European Parliament and member states called for effective federal taxes to be paid directly to Brussels to fund the EU budget.

EU-wide VAT of 1 or 2 per cent, standardised petrol taxes and a federal corporation tax are among the proposals put forward in the report.

Because you just know those rates will ratchet up over the years to become the most significant part of taxation, don’t you?

Dear God!

The historian rejects the idea that his book has had a direct influence on Merkel’s policies. But many sections of the work – on globalisation, migration and technology, to name a few pertinent topics – read differently in the light of decisions she has made since reading it, such as the treatment of Greece at the height of the eurozone crisis.

If Europe was able to pull ahead of China economically in the 19th century, Osterhammel argues, it was because the Chinese empire was hampered by a “chaotic dual system” of silver and copper coins, while much of Europe had created a “de facto single currency” with the Latin monetary union of 1866.

You what?

But, but, but…..the Latin monetary union turned out to be a disaster. And she’s using this to guide her view of the euro?


There’s moving to Ireland and there’s moving to Ireland

Banks and financial institutions make up the overwhelming majority of more than 100 companies inquiring about relocating to Ireland after Brexit, the head of the agency tasked with bringing foreign investment into the republic has confirmed.

Martin Shanahan, the chief executive of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), said many of the corporations looking to move were based in the City of London.

You need a brass plate and a gombeen in the back office to gain passporting rights….

Most of those inquiries are going to be of the “what’s the supply of gombeens like?” variety.

Cat fighting among the porridge wogs

One of Nicola Sturgeon’s handpicked Brexit advisers has poured cold water on her proposals to keep Scotland in the EU single market even if the UK leaves, only hours before she unveils them on Tuesday morning.

Charles Grant, who sits on the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe, said it was “extremely difficult” to see how her plans were legally, politically or technically feasible.

This will be interesting

Scotland will publish proposals this week for how it can remain in the European single market after Britain leaves the European Union in order to avoid the “national disaster” of a “hard Brexit”, the Scottish government said on Sunday.

Presumably this plan will start by entirely ignoring absolutely everything all Europeans have said or written upon the subject?

Did the UK produce 20% of the EU’s new jobs last year?

Or net new jobs of course, for there were millions upon millions created.

MD writes in to ask whether this is why they want us to stay so much?

“EU unemployment has dropped by by about 1.5 million people in the last year. UK unemployment has increased by ~20K… but UK employed has increased by ~340K. (Numbers from trading statistics)

EU migration to UK was around 300K people, we found out last week? So the reason that the EU wants freedom to work here is we’ve produced 20% of the jobs for the whole darn EU, over the last year.”

Interesting thought and I don’t know the numbers myself….

Keir Starmer is an idiot

After 43 years of membership, exiting the EU was never going to be easy. But the government’s current tone and approach is making a hard job even more difficult. There have been 165 days since the referendum result and there are only 118 left until the prime minister’s 31 March deadline to trigger article 50. The clock is ticking, but still we do not know the government’s basic plan for Brexit.

We do not have answers to fundamental questions such as the government’s position on the customs union, our likely relationship with the single market or future contributions to the EU budget. The government has also failed to provide much-needed certainty for the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK.

This matters, because uncertainty over the government’s plans – and the continuing likelihood that it favours a hard Brexit – is weakening our negotiating position and making it less likely that Britain will get the best possible Brexit deal, one that protects jobs, the economy and living standards.

You do not publish your goals as you start a negotiation. Only an idiot would believe that you do.

Imagine negotiating a widget contract by stating, at the beginning, what your end goals on price and volume were….

There’s also a reason it’s called a negotiation – because you end up, having taken int account their desires, in a different place from where you started.

So here’s a question

Just what is it that we cannot do as members of the EU but can outside?

Incandescent light bulbs.
Gender discrimination in insurance.
Free trade with non-EU
Abolish CAP
Abolish CFP
Any bloody size vacuum cleaner we want

And so on and on. We’re trying to create a definitive list of what we’ll be newly free to do. Your ideas please!


The role that foreign capital and political powers such as the US, Russia and China are likely to play in this process seriously threatens the prospects for Cuban national sovereignty – perhaps the only unambiguously positive element of Fidel Castro’s legacy. Barack Obama’s policies have signified a degree of recognition of that sovereignty. It is uncertain what Donald Trump’s policies will be in this regard, although the appointment of Mauricio Claver-Carone, a Cuban-American extreme rightwinger, to his transition team is a very ominous sign.

National sovereignty’s very important except when we vote for it at which point we’re all xenophobic dickheads.

Oh, well done Polly!

The ground is shifting, and Brexiters, such as Dominic Raab, are getting nervous: “The public have spoken; we should respect the result and get on with it, not try to find new hurdles that undermine the democratic process,” he says. But what kind of democracy is that, with just one lifelong vote – immutable, however many people review the altered facts and change their mind?

Remainers, meanwhile, like Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, feel the stirrings of an opportunity. She is the first Labour frontbencher to open the door to a second referendum. Others, John Major and Tony Blair included, press for a second vote so citizens can approve the final deal. How wise that sounds: lay out the facts, explain the complexities and let the people decide.

But has no one learned the lesson of the last referendum? Never again, is what we learned, for how could a second referendum in what would probably be an even nastier atmosphere improve the national debate? How would it not, once again, be hijacked by lies?

We saw the last time how moderate, rational people of all parties who campaigned for remain failed to come to terms with the post-fact, post-truth, emoto-politics, where what you identify with trumps all else. We saw how the sight of a far-right tectonic shift, the deployment of terrifying statistics and the fire-alarm warnings from trustworthy experts all proved irrelevant to the 52% who wanted just one thing – out, as a badge, as a state of being, as a national identity and as sovereign freedom from foreigners in Brussels or over here.

So, not even one vote then as you peasants might vote the wrong way.

Well, yes, obviously

Spain would reject any attempt by Nicola Sturgeon for Scotland to stay in the EU single market if the rest of the UK comes out, one of the country’s most powerful MEPs warned last night.

Esteban Gonzalez Pons, who leads the Spanish delegation of MEPs in the European Parliament’s largest political grouping, told the Telegraph that Ms Sturgeon’s proposals for a special Scottish deal are “impossible.”

Simply not going to happen, no way.

He said the Spanish government would oppose any plan by SNP ministers to stay in the EU single market if the rest of the UK leaves for fear of encouraging its own separatist movements in areas like Catalonia and the Basque Country.

Quite so.

And the Belgians wouldn’t be all that happy ‘coz of the Flemish, the Italians the Lega Nord, the Frogs would at least have an eye on the Bretons and so forth.

Dear God, really?

The European Union has been criticised for penalising mothers who do not breastfeed their babies by denying them free parking and reward points at supermarkets.

The little-known rule bans supermarket promotions for mothers who buy baby formula in order to encourage them to breastfeed their children.

I know we’re leaving anyway but can’t we raze the buildings to the ground, sell the population into slavery and sow the ground with salt before we do?

Many stores offer free parking, or a parking refund, to customers who spend a minimum amount. This counts as a promotion – something not allowed on formula milk under the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations (2007), an EU directive .

Or perhaps just hang them all?

It’s not even the particular rule itself. It’s that there’s anyone idiot enough out there to think that there should be a law about this. But then that’s what the EU really is. A system of being ruled by the sort of people who think there should be laws about this sort of thing.

Passporting for financial services

Obviously it would be nice but:

There is a consensus that the EU’s integrated financial market is one of its great success stories. It makes it easier and cheaper for French farmers, German manufacturers and Italian fashion designers to secure funding. It helps EU citizens get better returns for their savings. And it also creates jobs, not least in the UK, where financial services as a whole employs more than a million people, two-thirds of them outside London.

But it is now at risk. It is underpinned legally by the “passporting” system enshrined in EU legislation, which allows banks based in the UK to sell services to customers in Europe, and banks based in Europe to sell services to customers in the UK, and access the global financial centre that is London. It also allows banks based in one EU country to set up branches in any other EU country without going through local regulators.

Banking is probably more affected by Brexit than any other sector of the economy, both in the degree of impact and the scale of the implications. It is the UK’s biggest export industry by far and is more internationally mobile than most. But it also gets its rules and legal rights to serve its customers cross-border from the EU. For banks, Brexit does not simply mean additional tariffs being imposed on trade – as is likely to be the case with other sectors. It is about whether banks have the legal right to provide services.

The system is 14 years old so I am told. The City was the financial centre of Europe before that too. It isn’t therefore quite as much of a deal breaker as is being said.

Further, he’s talking about £20 billion of exports. OK, that’s real money. We’ve also got a £1.8 trillion economy. How much should we subjugate that to the EU in order to get those exports?

Isn’t this just absolutely wonderful?

The number of Britons seeking citizenship in other EU countries has surged as a result of the Brexit vote, with some member states recording near tenfold increases on 2015 figures.

Denmark, Italy, Ireland and Sweden have all reported a spike in applications from British citizens eager to secure proper status in the EU following the 23 June vote that has set the UK on course to leave.

Across 18 European countries, at least 2,800 Britons applied for citizenship in the first eight months of 2016 – a more than 250% increase on numbers recorded in 2015. Compared with last year’s figures, numbers have surged almost tenfold in Denmark and threefold in Sweden.

Several applicants told the Guardian that it was the Brexit vote that prompted them to take action.

Those who wish to remain EU citizens can, those who do not so wish do not. This is an increase in liberty and freedom and as such is to be welcomed.

And, of course, the federasts are now self-sorting out of the UK.

Yes, but Polly….

Every speaker in yesterday’s exceptional Commons debate confirmed we are leaving the EU. There is no “plot to betray” the referendum result. What was revealed was the extremists’ mania for an ever fiercer, harder Brexit: nothing will be enough for John Redwood, Bill Cash, Bernard Jenkin or Peter Bone who spoke out to back David Davis’s refusal to make the single market a priority. Any attempt to salvage favourable trading terms was denounced as anti-democratic treachery.

It is the EU itself which is saying that if you want single market access then you’ve got to accept everything else as well. Thus the only Brexit available is clean Brexit.