Can we guess what’s in Michel Barnier’s deal?

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has said he would offer the UK a trade agreement “such as there never has been”, while the French President Emmanuel ­Macron is also reportedly softening his ­position in a bid avoid a “no-deal” scenario.

The EU has long resisted a bespoke deal, with Britain essentially being forced to choose between existing trading models such as those used by Norway and Canada.

But in comments that prompted a rise in the value of the pound, Michel Barnier told reporters in Berlin that the EU is prepared to offer the UK a unique agreement which would mean an unprecedentedly close relationship with the bloc.

1) Pay into the EU budget
2) Free movement of people
3) No independent trade treaties
4) Full regulatory alignment with the EU.

In effect, your special deal is to be in but with no say in anything. Won’t that be special?

As to the substance of Keir Starmer’s complaint

Theresa May and the government would face a race against time to pass a slew of new laws, or risk creating an “unsustainable legal vacuum”, if Britain plunged out of the EU without a deal, Labour’s Keir Starmer has warned.

Dominic Raab insisted last week that the government had the legislation in place to cope, if Britain is forced to leave in March 2019 without a withdrawal agreement.

“Our laws will be on the statute book, the staff will be in place, the teams will be in post and our institutions will be ready for Brexit – deal, or no deal,” the Brexit secretary said.

But Labour’s analysis suggests new legislation would have to be passed hastily in four key policy areas:

EU citizens’ rights.
Immigration rules for EU travellers entering Britain.
Criminals held under the European arrest warrant.
The Irish border.

Note what Starmer’s compaint actually is. If we change the laws then we’ll have to change the laws.

Well, yes, probably so Keir.

Rather fun

Last couple of days there’ve been a couple of pieces about being a student doing languages with a gap year abroad. You know, go to Italy so you actually learn how to speak Italian.

One for France, another for Italy. Both marvel at and complain bitterly about the bureaucracy.

Hmm. So, Italy and France are places with lovely weather, nice people, good food and lousy, lousy, governance.

Great, the solution being to share the weather, food, booze, people and not the governance then, right?

Be part of Europe and not the European Union…..

Takes two to Tango

Dominic Raab lashed out at “hair-raising scare stories” about a no deal Brexit at a press conference with Michel Barnier on Tuesday, as the EU’s chief negotiator warned that Brussels would not accept the blame for failure to strike an agreement.

It’s not true that failure to reach an agreement should be blamed on all parties equally. And it’s also not, necessarily, true that one or other party should be blamed at all. Sometimes people simply are intransigent and agreement cannot be reached, whatever one side does.

But the way to bet is still that if agreement doesn’t happen then both sides are at least a bit to blame.

Purest drivel

Remoaners again:

This week the Guardian added more colour and detail to the picture that, along with the Observer, it has been revealing for months. Specifically, it published details of the lucrative goldmining deal that was dangled by the Russian ambassador in front of Arron Banks, the main donor behind Leave.EU, in the lead-up to the Brexit vote. Readers can now see for themselves the tempting PowerPoint presentation Moscow made to Banks – opening with a slide of shimmering gold bars, complete with Cyrillic engraving, alongside a Russian flag.

At the very least, you would think the UK government might be curious as to why Putin’s top diplomat in London would favour Banks not only with multiple meetings – four at last count, though Banks used to say they had met only once – but with such exclusive “opportunities not available to others”, to quote the pitch document. Banks says he didn’t take up the golden offer, which included a promise of support from a Kremlin bank, much as Trump says the Trump Tower meeting between his son and Russian representatives promising dirt on Hillary Clinton “went nowhere”. But that is hardly the point. Given that Banks has never explained the precise source of the £9m he gave to the Brexit campaign – the largest single donation in UK political history – the fact that the Russians lavished such preferential attention on him requires explanation, starting with: what exactly did they expect in return?

Bloke who looks at pitch documents for a living is shown pitch document. Therefore we shouldn’t leave the EU.

A very small part of being an entrepreneur is in trying to find the people to run the business, businesses, which one already owns. It’s the essential step in stopping being a one man band and making that leap into corporate oligarch. A slightly larger amount of time will be spent in considering which of the things that one already does are things that one should stop doing. When to sell a profitable set up, when to close down and abandon one not working and so on. But the vast majority of time will be spent considering what should be done next. Sifting through the sea of deals on offer to uncover that rare valuable nugget amongst the fool’s gold.

Being successful at this level is about having that nose for that nugget. It also means reading and being pitched upon an awfully large amount of the most utter dross.

Sigh.

Hmmm

Things seem to be moving the right way for those champions of a second referendum, who include everyone from Labour peer Lord Adonis and Conservative MP Anna Soubry to the increasingly statesmanlike former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major…

Increasingly statesmanlike means begins to agree with me.

Shame on Molly Scott Cato

So what’s the game? Why would a politician representing the good people of North East Somerset – whose livelihoods depend on the stability of our economy and who would be devastated by the no-deal Brexit he is happy to promote – seemingly behave so irresponsibly? Could it perhaps have something to do with personal economic gain rather than national economic opportunities?

Despicable cow.

We must declare war on Brussels

From the revision of treason paper:

The law should recognise and reinforce the duty of non-betrayal,
both to signal clearly that society views treachery as a distinct assault
on the whole and to punish those who breach the duty, thereby helping
deter those who might otherwise consider breaching it. This duty has
historically been upheld by the law of treason. However, the UK’s law of
treason is ancient law and is now unworkable. The Treason Act 1351 has
been overtaken by changes in modern social and political conditions; it is
not a secure ground on which to mount prosecutions. It stands in contrast
to the law in other common law jurisdictions. The UK needs to update its
laws to make clear that the underlying ethos has not changed – betrayal
is a specific crime against society and one that deserves punishment. At a
minimum, Parliament should reform our law to follow Australia and New
Zealand and thus make it clear that it is unlawful to aid the enemy either
in an international armed conflict or in a non-international armed conflict.

Quite so. Declare war on Brussels, send over a platoon to wave rifles at the Berlaymont and then we get to be all Ecksian on the Remoaners.

Can’t fault it myself.

Well, that’s clear enough then

Dominic Raab faced ridicule on his first trip to Brussels as Brexit Secretary as the EU flatly rejected Theresa May’s Chequers plan and mocked spelling errors in translations of the document.

Senior EU diplomats made it clear that the Brexit white paper agreed at Chequers cannot form the basis for negotiations, as British sources said the EU was being “deeply unhelpful”.

So it won’t work anyway.

Ms. Cadwallader’s hostage to fortune here

Hmm:

But what Elliott couldn’t spin was this: according to his own account of the report, Vote Leave, the official referendum campaign that was partly funded with taxpayers’ money, looks to have committed what may be one of the biggest incidents of electoral fraud in Britain in more than a century. Back in March, when the Observer reported on compelling new evidence provided by Shahmir Sanni, a Vote Leave whistleblower, Gavin Millar, a QC at Matrix Chambers, an expert in electoral law, told us that this was of a scale and seriousness that simply hasn’t been seen in Britain in modern times.

Arguably, you need to look to the 19th century to find a parallel – a deliberate, premeditated overspend of nearly 10% of the entire campaign budget. But what we saw in the referendum surpassed what happened then in sophistication and complexity, if not scale. Because more than a century ago, a series of hugely corrupt elections led to a reform of our electoral laws: laws designed to control spending in our elections and which – with some updates – have largely stood to this day. But which simply no longer work.

Because when it is understood – it’s already been revealed of course – that the Remain campaign did as much an worse, what then?

An interesting linguistic question

But Alison McGovern, an MP who is co-chair of Labour Campaign for the Single Market, called it an “excellent and clear” statement which sent out the message that “Tory Brexit is bad for us and we have to keep all aspects of the single market on the table and the possibility of a People’s Vote”.

Just what is a People’s Vote? is that where the people have to vote again and again until they reach the right damn answer?

Hey, great, go for it

It’s time for the European Union to kick Hungary out. There it is, a member state, casually flouting basic democratic norms and human rights, swiftly evolving into an authoritarian nightmare, with absolutely no meaningful consequences.

Because with one country voluntarily leaving, another being kicked out, that’ll be the end of the whole thing.

Go on, really, do it.

Let me count the ways that Willy Hutton does understand

Airbus’s warning that it would have to disinvest from Britain unless there was a deal in which Britain continued its membership of the EU’s air safety certification system, single market, customs union and respected the jurisdiction of the European court of justice.

Airbus’s customers need to know that every component in its planes conforms to the highest safety standards, which are set by the EU. Equally, it must strain for maximum production efficiency, fighting for every last order against Boeing; parts cannot be delayed for days, even hours, subject to time-consuming customs checks. As matters stood, warned its chief operating officer, Tom Williams, none of this could be assured: there was no clarity about Britain’s economic and trading regime after the transition period in 2020. His concerns are amply justified. Johnson’s reaction, and the parrot squawk that it is all part of Project Fear and safely to be ignored, is evidence enough. In the 21st century, it takes a continent to build a plane and the continent has to have shared trade rules, common regulatory standards and accepted adjudication processes.

Airbus actually said that absent the UK’s membership of the EU it might have to build in the US or China. Places also outside all those things.

Days earlier, Erik Nordkamp, chair of a trade association of 10 US pharmaceutical companies based in Britain, reported that 86% of life science executives responded, in a survey, that Brexit uncertainty was imperilling investment. Our traditional dominance in the life sciences, warned Nordkamp, was under threat. As in air safety, so it is in medicine. The EU’s European Medicines Agency, now moving from Britain to Holland, sets the continent’s drug standards. Again, it takes a continent to research, prototype, safety-test and launch a drug. Outside that trade and regulatory framework, and with a NHS too cash-strapped to order new drugs, another British economic flagship is set to sink.

Switzerland, a non-EU member, is also home to the occasional pharma company. I’m really quite sure of that as well.

The car industry will join its ranks. Revitalised by foreign direct investment, the UK car industry is part of a continental-wide system of production in which we disproportionately share the higher value work. BMW, maker of the Mini, warns of how a hard Brexit will force it into expensive, wasteful mitigating measures; Tata has already announced it is moving production of the Discovery Land Rover to Slovakia, while John Neill, CEO of Unipart, declares that Brexit is a fatal threat to the car industry. And our space industry, aiming to grow to £40bn by 2030, is about to be severely wounded by being excluded from the EU Galileo collaboration.

The North American car industry is continentally integrated as well. Without the EU. That is, systems – even legal systems, common standards an judicial processes – can be constructed without needing all the rest that the EU brings.

Which is why yesterday I joined the march for just that: when tens of thousands freely give up their time to make common cause over a great purpose, politicians should listen.

And when 52% of those voting in a referendum decide differently, what then? Ah, yes, just keep voting until they get the answer right. How EU of you.

Polly’s error

Brexiteers know that if on Brexit day, the 29 March 2019, everything seizes up, they will be blamed – and they will be done for.

Nope.

‘ll even happily take all the blame (no, I’m not that important).

For the only way out of such a mess will be unilateral free trade plus a killing of most of the regulation of the economy. Exactly what we should be doing anyway.

Yes, I know, it all sounds a bit Trot, we must destroy in order to create anew. But still.

Yes, and?

Top Tory Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended his City firm for setting up an investment fund in Ireland after it emerged that its clients were warned about the risks of a “hard” Brexit.

Somerset Capital Management, the MP’s London-based firm, has launched a new investment vehicle in Dublin.

The news is potentially embarrassing because Mr Rees-Mogg has suggested that a hard Brexit, when the UK would walk away next year without an exit deal or trade arrangement, should not be ruled out.

Isn’t he showing how easily it can all be dealt with? How easy it is to gain passporting and thus continue to sell to Europeans?