Ooooh, this is good news!

Brussels does not believe it is possible to strike anything more than a limited Canadian-style free trade agreement with the UK, according to a leaked European Commission document.

The internal discussion paper stated that Britain’s rejection of membership of the single market and the customs union meant that co-operation would have to be restricted.

The paper, leaked to the Politico website, stated that “single market arrangements in certain areas” or the “evolution of our regulatory frameworks” could not be managed within EU law as it stood. It added that the UK would have to be satisfied with a “standard FTA (free trade agreement)”.

That closes off most of the fantasies of the Remoaners. So, great, we can just tell them all to fuck off and get on with leaving then, can’t we?

Frances Coppola rather misunderstands

Labour has criticised the arch-Eurosceptic MP John Redwood for “talking down Britain” after he recently wrote a column of financial advice in which he recommended investors “look further afield” because of the state of the UK economy.

In the piece for the Financial Times, the Conservative MP – who has a £180,000 second job as chief global strategist for Charles Stanley – said the European Central Bank was promoting faster growth when the UK was seeing a squeeze on credit.

“Mario Draghi, ECB president, is now doing whatever it takes, not just to rescue the euro but to promote a much-needed economic recovery,” he wrote. He also compared the US and Japan’s approach favourably to the UK’s.

The piece was published on 3 November but came to greater prominence after a scathing comment piece was published over the weekend by a Forbes commentator, Frances Coppola, who wrote that the MP had “advocated a course of action by the UK government that he knows would seriously damage the UK economy”.

Hmm, so, what did she say?

Sounds sensible, doesn’t it?

No. It is an absolute disgrace for this man to give such advice.

You see, the Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP – to give him his full title – is a lawmaker. He is an elected member of the House of Commons. And not just any lawmaker. He is a senior member of the Conservative Party, which is currently in government and making a total hash of the Brexit negotiations. He is also a former Cabinet Minister and a member of the Privy Council.

So having advised investors to remove their money from the UK, the Rt. Hon. John Redwood told the UK government to go for “hard Brexit”.

Let me remind you what the consequences of “hard Brexit” would be. According to researchers at the Ku Leuven Center for Economic Studies, the total loss of Gross Value Added in the UK would amount to 4.47% of GDP, and unemployment would rise by over half a million: this research also identifies high costs from hard Brexit for EU countries, particularly Ireland. John Van Reenen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculates permanent per capita income reduction of 2.61%. The distribution would inevitably be highly uneven, disproportionately hitting the working poor, whose living standards could fall by significantly more.

Well, yes, that’s one model. Another is that the economy will grow by 3% (Patrick Minford).

So the Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP advocated a course of action by the UK government that he knows would seriously damage the UK economy. This is not the only time he has advocated such a course of action: he is a prominent advocate of “hard Brexit”, insisting that anything less is not really Brexit.

And to protect his job as an investment manager, he warned his wealthy clients to get their money out before the disaster hits.

To me, this smacks of disaster capitalism. Engineer a crash while ensuring your own interests are protected, then clean up when it hits.

This is despicable behaviour by a lawmaker. The Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP is putting his own interests above those he represents. He is unfit to hold office. He should resign.

And now we’ve descended into dribble, haven’t we? On two different levels.

Firstly, that choice of the model over Brexit effects. The second, well, so? It’s entirely valid to propose a course of action which has short term problems for the economy but which, in your belief if nothing else, has long term benefits. To deny that is to insist that Paul Volker shouldn’t have killed inflation with a recession, isn’t it?

Idiot damn stupidity

One of the UK’s largest dairy producers has warned that a badly handled Brexit could lead to price hikes for food, and scarcity in the shops from April 2019, with dairy and meat products particularly hit.

Leaving the customs union in a hard Brexit scenario could lead to the price of meat doubling and the price of dairy, half of which is imported, rising by up to 50%. A block of cheddar imported from Ireland that costs £1 now will cost £1.41 under World Trade Organisation rules, with Ireland being a major producer of cheddar. This would prompt a vicious economical cycle and a period of “runaway” food price hikes, he warned.

We don’t have to charge WTO maximum import tariffs. They are maximums we are allowed to charge, not the amount we must.


Isn’t this a tragic result of Brexit?

Wawrzyniak came to the UK 15 years ago before rising to prominence on the BBC showing Mary Berry how to make his signature “babka” cake but these days he has more than recipes on his mind: specifically the challenge of finding trained staff for his House of Feasts and another restaurant that he plans to open in London next year.

“We are struggling at the moment to find staff because of Brexit – there is no doubt,” said Wawrzyniak, who recently switched entirely to hiring trainees and teaming up with Peterborough Regional College to run an apprenticeship scheme.

Britain’s youth are to be trained up instead of ignored in favour of imports of trained people.

So, what happens next then, eh?

The EU’s most senior official warned that “more cracks” were emerging in the bloc on Friday after the Catalan parliament declared independence from Spain, plunging the country into political and economic turmoil.

Madrid swiftly responded to the vote by dissolving the Catalan parliament and dismissing Carles Puigdemont as president of Catalonia and his entire government.

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, announced that regional elections would be held in December and said the unprecedented act of imposing direct rule on the regional was needed to “recover normality”.

What if the indepentistas win those regional elections in 6 week’s time?

Yes, I’m fully aware that there isn’t 100% in favour of independence, possibly a plurality but probably not a majority.

However, it is true that most of the various European states are the result of variously conquering and voting in separate social and or political entities over the centuries. What should be done if a majority of one of these really does want to leave? Ireland, Slovakia, we all generally think it was right that they did leave. Most of us are OK with Scotland deciding for itself. USSR, Yugoslavia and so on – why shouldn’t Catalunia, the Basque Country, Brittany, Flanders, Lombardy and all the rest have the chance?

The necessity of the central nation state has rather faded in recent decades, no? So, why not?

Yes, yes, I agree, it must be a majority which want to go an so on but why shouldn’t they be allowed to?

Martin Luther’s responsible for Brexit

Indeed, just when so many of the habits and manifestations of English Protestantism have continued to slip gently towards an ecumenical multicultural oblivion, Henry VIII’s legacy has summoned itself for one final and contrarian outburst of the exceptionalist tradition. It has dumped us with Brexit.

It used to be commonplace in England to believe that the Reformation had given this country a special advantage in the world. To the extent that this was ever true or arguable, it mostly evaporates when judged today against all the things that were done in the name of the Protestant state to heretics and protesters at home and in Ireland, and to nonbelievers elsewhere.

Bit of a stretch.

Although we could run that argument again and make it stick to an extent. Just replace the Papacy with “Brussels” for who should be the overall guide to our society, a power above those of mere temporal, democratic, rulers and we do have a certain vision of the EU, don’t we?

At which point we rather need a word to describe the modern ultramontaine really. Given how flat Belgium is what is the one that means “excessively in thrall to those from the marshes”?

Dawn Foster never does quite get the right end of the stick, does she?

So the intervention of Boeing’s European rival, Airbus, appears to be a work of genius. Airbus has negotiated a majority 50.1% stake in Bombardier’s C-series jet programme without having to pay anything for it. In doing so, the 300% import duty can be neatly sidestepped because the final stage of the construction of jets destined for the US market will take place in Alabama, rather than Belfast. In doing so, Airbus will not be importing completed planes but parts, bringing sorely needed jobs to a Republican state – a move that is unlikely to annoy US politicians.

If Airbus’s legal advice is firm, and the deal passes muster with the US government, it will have snatched the much-delayed C-Series from the abyss and hopefully secured a thousand jobs.

But while the US and Boeing are clearly the Goliaths in this parable, May cannot cast herself as the bold and canny David. For all the Conservatives’ insistence that Britain and Northern Ireland will be “open for business”, it was clear that the prime minister had no clout with Trump and Congress – yielding not a deal but only stern and plaintive public pronouncements on the import tax being a travesty.

Instead, Airbus has succeeded in outsmarting the larger Boeing. So as we near the Brexit deadline, a pan-European project has come to the rescue of UK jobs.

Well, the planes never would have been assembled in Belfast. But still, look at what the claim is. Brexit means we’ve no power over trade, we’re all doomed.

And then what happens is that despite Brexit cooperation across Europe continues, business not being as dependent upon politics as is generally thought. Woe is us eh?

The economic terrors of Brexit

Britain’s economy will continue to grow next year even if the UK is forced to leave the EU without a deal, an influential think tank has said despite comparing Brexit to the Blitz.

The OECD, an organisation part-funded by Britain, warned in a gloomy report that Brexit could “stifle growth for years to come” and suggested a second referendum would have a “significant” positive impacton the economy.

However the organisation’s own forecast suggested that even in the “least favourable scenario” of the UK leaving without a deal in 2019 the economy will grow by 1 per cent next year.

1% growth ain’t great but it ain’t a disaster, is it?

Juncker should pray for this, not oppose it

A breakaway Catalonia would cause a domino effect that could splinter the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker warned yesterday, as the Catalan president faced a threat to his pro-secession alliance yesterday from independence hardliners.

Mr Juncker said any such intervention by Brussels would lead to “chaos” in the bloc as Spain had not requested it, and explained that if Catalonia was allowed to separate, “others would do so too”.

“I would not like an EU that in 15 years consisted of 98 states,” Mr Juncker said.

If there were 98 regions as members then the centre, Brussels, really would have all the power. Which is, of course,why the EU did so much work to try to get those regions to deal directly with Brussels, rather than through the nation states.

What excellent news!

The profitability of the average UK farm could fall by as much as half after Brexit, new research suggests.
The report, by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), says the “worst-case scenario” would cut average farm profits from £38,000 a year to just £15,000.

That’s assuming:

Reduced subsidies and tariff-free access to the UK for foreign producers. Average annual incomes fall to £15,000

Those current higher incomes being, of course, how much we consumers are screwed by the current EU based structures.

Well, yes

Even many Brexiters paint a bleak picture of what crashing out without a deal might entail for the British economy. “We are looking at a 10-year recession. Nothing ever experienced by those under 50,” said Pete North, of the Leave Alliance, in a chilling blogpost on Tuesday. “This is not the Brexit I was gunning for,” he added. “I wanted a negotiated settlement to maintain the single market so that we did not have to be substantially poorer.”

Except laddie is rather too influenced by Pater over what would be the effects of a reversion to WTO.

Interesting logical gymnastics here

Three disasters in British economic history.

1967 devaluation, politically bad, economically good. 1992, the first Brexit, economically good. Third one, Brexit Brexit, oooooh, no, while it’s just the same this will be a disaster of course.

Sadly, no reasonable evidence as to why is offered. We’ll just have to take William Keegan’s word for it. For, you know, he is vastly better informed than us out here in the mob, isn’t he?


Sure, I think she’s cocked the deal but still:

The prime minister did not place a figure on Britain’s commitments to the EU but two Brussels sources put the net divorce bill yesterday at about £40 billion.

I do just have this feeling that what we think the bill is also has some relevance…..

The EU has been demanding we allow this for ages

Ministers consider allowing longer lorries with bigger loads on the roads to cut down on pollution
A fleet of 1,800 extended trailers are currently being driven around the UK
At 15.65m, they are two metres longer than currently allowed on the roads
This allows them to carry two more rows of pallets or three rows of goods cages
Ministers see lengthening HGVs as a simple way of cutting carbon emissions

I thought we were leaving?

Isn’t this an interesting basis for a story

EU fears Theresa May ‘will not be able to uphold Brexit pledges’

Has Barnier been telling things? Jean-Claude indiscreet over the brandy? Do tell:

Brussels fears an enfeebled Theresa May will not be able to stand by any pledges she makes in this week’s major speech on Brexit but has dismissed Boris Johnson’s intervention as an irrelevance, according to the shadow Brexit secretary.

Err, no. Keir Starmer is mouthing off about what his domestic opponent is about to do. If she doesn’t do what he thinks should be done therefore…..

This is of the teenage gossip circuit type stuff, “Mandy’s shagging Wayne” in order to get Shirleen, Wayne’s acknowledged squeeze, to dump him so that Jazzelia, the origin of the gossip expedition, can subsequently hook up with Wayne who she really fancies, y’know?

And just look at the accompanying photograph:

Yes, yes, I’m very concerned and so is Jeremy, it is more in sorrow than in anger cont. pg 94

Don’t you just want to slap that with a wet conger eel?