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European Union

That whisper of the now gone Nuggan

I have, before, compared William Keegan to Nuggan:

First, let us be clear that it was not the recent collapse of confidence in the financial markets that threatened the Conservative party’s reputation for economic competence. That reputation was destroyed not by Truss and Kwarteng, but by the ill-judged decision to hold a referendum on our membership of the EU, and the calamitous consequences.

Sigh.

The Brexiters were not sovereign: the financial markets were.

Sigh again. Markets are always sovereign. As they should be of course. For markets are only the interaction of 7 billion people. It’s just folk doing what folk do. And the people are not only sovereign over what some baby kisser decides should happen, they should be so sovereign.

Failing to grasp that is an original sin of political economy.

This isn’t the divorce bill

The UK’s Brexit “divorce bill” stood at €41.8bn (£36.7bn) in 2021, according to the EU’s official auditors.

The European court of auditors’ annual report revealed that the UK was expected to make €10.9bn in payments to the EU during 2022.

The Brexit divorce bill was down from €47.5bn (£41.7bn) in 2020, reflecting payments made by the British government.

If we’d stayed in then we would have had to pay this amount. At least. We leave, we have to pay this amount. So, this isn’t an amount determined by being in or not being in. It’s an amount determined by having been in.

This isn’t the divorce bill, this is the alimony. We made a mistake, whelped some idiot policies which we’ve got to pay for. But the advantage of alimony is that the payments do stop – as they don’t if you continue the marriage.

Oddly, there’s no bias here

It was meant to be one of the sure-fire wins for Brexit, but plans to bring back imperial measurements face criticism over claims of a biased government review.

Ministers were keen to launch a review to revive imperial measurements – such as pounds and ounces – and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), now overseen by Jacob Rees-Mogg, conducted a government consultation over the summer. However, the questions appeared to have something missing.

The survey asked consumers: “If you had a choice, would you want to purchase items: i) in imperial units ii) in imperial units alongside a metric equivalent.”

No other option was given.

Officials said respondents who wanted to keep the current metric system could send in an email to the department or give their views in one of the text boxes in the survey.

The BBC Radio 4 programme More or Less last week highlighted concerns about the survey and criticism of it on social media.

One Twitter user commented: “This survey is being punted out by BEIS. It is so slanted that the words nearly slide off the page.”

Because of course the current system is option ii) anyway.

One wonders

Hungary can no longer be considered a full democracy, the European parliament has said in a powerful symbolic vote against Viktor Orbán’s government.

In a resolution backed by 81% of MEPs present to vote, the parliament stated that Hungary had become a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy”, citing a breakdown in democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law.

While the vote has no practical effect, it heightens pressure on EU authorities in Brussels not to disburse billions in EU cash to Hungary that is being withheld over concerns about corruption.

To what extent would the EU itself fail such definitions of “democratic”. That the unelected Commission are the only people able to propose legislation for example – how democratic is that?

That the executive is entirely unelected – how democ…..etc…….

Not now Rafael

Then there is that other monster, the one that has become such a fixture in the garden that even the opposition seems not to notice it any more. Can we talk about Brexit? Not now, Bernard!

Britain’s self-exclusion from continental markets is not the biggest cause of present economic pain but it will be hard to imagine remedies in the absence of any rational audit of that decision or any reexamination of the ideological fixations that provoked it. But for Brexit believers, it is always too soon and too late to pass judgment.

Jeez, some people do bang on, eh?

This is fun, isn’t it?

Port officials have warned the chaos at Dover will be repeated throughout the summer unless the French maintain an adequate number of passport officials.

Holidaymakers on Saturday faced waits of three or four hours to board ferries, and there were long tailbacks on roads leading to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

However, traffic moved faster than on Friday, with Doug Bannister, the chief executive of the Port, saying long queues had been brought under control only after the French sent extra passport officers to man all 12 booths at the ferry terminal.

Now, as is who is to blame, dunno. But it wouldn’t surprise if it was in fact just a shortage of passport officers.

After all, we’ve been having the same problem in our own airports, haven’t we?

You don’t say, eh?

An influential Lords committee has accused Brussels of holding the City of London to a higher standard than communist China in granting it access to EU financial markets after Brexit.

A report by the Lords European affairs committee concluded that the EU was playing politics over its decision to lock firms in the Square Mile out of the single market.

Given the absence of democracy over there it’s odd but true – everything in the EU is about politics.

Are we reaching the FO point again?

Another policy that has riled international banks operating in both jurisdictions is the European Central Bank (ECB)’s so-called desk-mapping review. Eight banks were last month ordered by the ECB to relocate staff out of London to the likes of Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin.

The central bank identified 56 groups of traders it said should be doing their jobs from within the EU following a lengthy investigation into whether institutions are seeking to dodge post-Brexit rules.

There is actually a point at which – whoever it is and whatever they’re trying to do – the correct response is just “Fuck Off”.

The EU is trying to determine which damn desks people use to bank from?

Seriously no, Fuck Off.

They’re trying again

If the frog avoids being boiled then create another pot of water:

Britain could be offered a closer relationship with Brussels as part of a new EU-dominated organisation, Emmanuel Macron said on Monday, as he called for drastic reform of the bloc.

The French President advocated a “new European political community” allowing countries such as the UK and Ukraine the chance to choose their level of integration with Brussels.

Then continue the process of concentrating all the power – over everything, including the size of vacuum cleaner motors – at that centre.

The correct answer to this being “Fuck off, Matey”.

Nice, but no, not really

The Portuguese government has opened its e-gates to British travellers, enabling them to be fast-tracked seamlessly without having to queue for hours for manual checks, as previously required under Brexit.

Britons will no longer be treated as “third country” visitors as demanded under Brexit, but will have a special e-gate channel for the three million UK holidaymakers who visit Portugal every year.

The move to establish frictionless travel as if the UK was in the EU’s borderless Schengen Area will be seen as an attempt by Portugal to lure Britons away from other southern European summer hotspots popular with UK holidaymakers.

If it were like within Schengen then there would be no passport checks.

This is better tho’. Saves having to rebuild the airports to deal with the different sizes of traffic flows as well.

Brings Paul Samuelson to mind

The EU has been accused of trying to “indoctrinate children” after a proposal was endorsed by MEPs to introduce a pro-Brussels “common curriculum” across the bloc.

The European Parliament signed off on a demand for member states to start teaching lessons on “European integration” to help crack down on an uptick of euroscepticism.

He once said that he didn’t care who ruled the society as long as he got to write the economics textbooks.

The implication being that that’s where the real power was, in shaping the minds of subsequent generations.

Never let a crisis go to waste, eh?

The European Union has taken a significant step towards integration with plans to jointly issue bonds to raise funds for defence and energy.

The plans, which may be presented after an emergency summit of EU leaders in Versailles on Thursday, will be aimed at helping the bloc grapple with the shockwaves from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Expand that central power…..