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Archive for the ‘Battle for Europe’ Category

Gavin Williamson’s post-Brexit military plans are a dangerous fantasy

Posted by seumasach on January 15, 2019

Coinciding as it does with appeals for a hard Brexit from senior security state people, Williamson confirms Brexit as a neo-imperial project gone wrong.

Peace Pledge Union

30th december, 2018

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been accused of living in the nineteenth century after promising to build new military bases around the world following Brexit.

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Ex-MI6 and defence chiefs warn Tory MPs to vote down Brexit deal that ‘threatens national security’

Posted by seumasach on January 15, 2019

Explaining why they oppose the new relationship with the EU in the agreement, they write: “Buried in this Agreement is the offer of a ‘new, deep and special relationship’ with the EU in defence, security and intelligence which cuts across the three fundamentals of our national security policy: membership of NATO, our close bilateral defence and intelligence relationship with the USA and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.”

The geopolitical stakes in Brexit couldn’t be put more starkly. However, short of Trump’s removal from office, they appear totally unrealistic.

Sky News

10th January, 2019

A former top spook and an ex-defence chief have taken the unprecedented step of urging Tory constituency bosses to order their MP to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

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Probes involving Trump associates are becoming difficult for the president to ignore

Posted by seumasach on December 15, 2018

Britain is descending into political chaos as May is seemingly playing for time. Meanwhile, attempts to unseat Trump reach a crescendo at least in the press. The impeachment of Trump would restore the Special Relationship and perhaps put Brexit back on the road to Oceania.

 

Independent

15th December, 2018

The interview that Michael Cohen gave ABC News on Friday morning should show Donald Trump one thing; that until he surrenders to begin a three-year prison sentence next March, he is unlikely to go away.

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Hammond threatens EU with aggressive tax changes after Brexit

Posted by seumasach on December 15, 2018

It is clear now that the meaning of this statement has to be revisited in the light growing American hostility to UK financial interests culminating in Trump’s election and  embodied in his tax reforms, and the growing campaign to render British Overseas Territories more transparent finally concretised in 2018 legislation. Dodgy financial operations are not only under threat by EU regulations but by US competition. and have been for some time. Hence the need for a deepening of the City of London’s role as a haven for illicit money flows.

Guardian

15th January, 2017

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, has suggested Britain could transform its economic model into that of a corporate tax haven if the EU fails to provide it with an agreement on market access after Brexit.

In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Hammond said that if Britain were closed off from European markets after leaving the EU, it would consider abandoning a European-style social model with European-style taxation and regulation systems, and “become something different”.

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Cameron stepped in to shield offshore trusts from EU tax crackdown in 2013

Posted by seumasach on December 15, 2018

Guardian

7th April, 2016

David Cameron intervened personally to prevent offshore trusts from being dragged into an EU-wide crackdown on tax avoidance, it has emerged.

In a 2013 letter to the then president of the European council, Herman Van Rompuy, the prime minister said that trusts should not automatically be subject to the same transparency requirements as companies.

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‘Dirty money’: U-turn as Tories back plans to make tax havens transparent

Posted by seumasach on December 15, 2018

“The disclosure measure had originally been proposed by David Cameron and George Osborne in 2013, but the commitment was dropped when May became prime minister, prompting Hodge and Mitchell to act in concert to get the measure on the statute book.”

Interesting that the UK government has acted against these tax havens although they still have the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. May, then, is a safe pair of hands as far as City interests are concerned and, by the look of it, not a closet Remainer.

Guardian

1st May, 2018

Britain’s overseas territories will be forced to adopt public registers of company ownership at the end of the decade after the government conceded it would have to support a backbench amendment designed to stem the global flow of “dirty money”.

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Trump tax overhaul may drain $2 trillion from foreign projects as funds shift to U.S.: U.N. report

Posted by seumasach on December 15, 2018

“Almost 40 percent of the funds are located in the United Kingdom or its Caribbean offshore territories such as the British Virgin Islands, UNCTAD said, citing data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.”

This hit by Trump against City of London and UK offshore interests has received little commentary but goes a long way to explaining the wall of hostility towards him in the UK press. This is also confirmation of my contention that Trump has ended the special relationship at a time when the UK itself is trying to throw off the regulatory fetters of the EU (I refer, of course, to the regulation of finance). It also goes a long way to explaining why the UK has descended into political chaos, finding itself caught between the EU and the USA, between a rock and a hard place.

Japan Times

6th February, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax reform could bring almost $2 trillion back to the United States as U.S. firms repatriate cash piles from foreign affiliates, a U.N. report said on Monday.

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Putin positive on Macron’s ‘European army’ plan

Posted by seumasach on November 17, 2018

So much for the theory that Russia seeks to undermine the EU by backing brexiteers and eurosceptics.
11th November, 2018
Europe’s desire to create its own army and stop relying on Washington for defense is not only understandable, but would be “positive” for the multipolar world, Vladimir Putin said days after Donald Trump ripped into it.

“Europe is … a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and … sovereign in the field of defense and security,” Putin told RT in Paris where world leaders gathered to mark the centenary of the end of WWI.

He also described the potential creation of a European army as “a positive process,” adding that it would “strengthen the multipolar world.” The Russian leader even expressed his support to French President Emmanuel Marcon, who recently championed this idea by saying that Russia’s stance on the issue “is aligned with that of France” to some extent.

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Enter Captain Corbyn!

Posted by seumasach on September 27, 2018

Cailean Bochanan

27th September, 2018

The analogy coming forcibly to mind of late was of Britain as a ship adrift without a captain heading towards the rocks as the crew below indulged in an endless brawl, unaware of or indifferent to the grim fate awaiting them. But my spirits have been lifted by the Labour Party conference; could it be that someone has emerged who can put the ship of state back on course to somewhere that is not the abyss. In other words, can Corbyn finally end his highly ambiguous stance on Brexit and at the crucial moment come out for Remain.

Without of course stating anything of the kind, Corbyn has pointed to that as the only logical outcome. The bare facts are that there is a consensus now in the Labour Party that Labour will vote against any deal negotiated by Teresa May which doesn’t satisfy the criteria that Labour has set down and that Labour will oppose a no-deal Brexit. Well, no deal which could conceivably be negotiated by May could satisfy those criteria therefore Labour will vote down whatever she comes up with. That means that deal would fail to pass the Commons leaving us with a no-deal Brexit. Opposing this at any cost, Labour would then campaign for a referendum with the two options being: Remain or the deal negotiated by May. They would win support for this in the Commons and the country would vote by a clear majority for Remain.

This was the logical kernel of the fudge agreed upon at the LP conference. But it was a tiny island of logic in a sea of fudge. Truth-telling is political suicide in the contemporary world: everything must be approached obliquely, through dissimulation, through fudge. Labour haven’t actually come out for Remain. It has been tentatively suggested as an option; all options are on the table, therefore, Remain is on the table. It could even be on the ballot paper (how could it not be!) should it come, in extremis, to a second referendum.  

The main element of dissimulation is the claim that Labour prefer to have a General Election so that they can take on the Brexit negotiations, so that they can take on May’s hopeless conundrum. As if they hadn’t learnt the one clear lesson of the last two years: there is no such thing as a Soft Brexit! They must have worked out by now that the Soft Brexit scenario was merely an invention of the hard line brexiteers to help sell a Hard Brexit i.e. Brexit by lulling the people into a false sense of security and then blaming Europe for a Hard Brexit and the whole mess that would flow from it. Incidentally, why they would want a mess in the first instance is a very good question that, with a bit of luck, we will learn the answer to in the years ahead. Anyway, returning to Labour’s fudge, they’re professed aim of demanding a General Election provides a very good alibi in anticipation of  any accusations of being closet Remainers and helps smooth over divisions in the party between those with the perfectly achievable goal of Remain and those who insist on pursuing the impossible mirage of a benign Brexit, a Brexit for jobs, a Brexit for Ireland and other such nonsense.

I’m being a bit unfair. There is a benign Brexit option: the Norwegian option. This could come in handy if Labour are unlucky enough to win a General Election called, for some reason, by Teresa May. After all, it would be very difficult for them to call a referendum after reaching their heart’s desire of a chance to negotiate a “Brexit for jobs”. So they could leave the EU but remain in the single market, maintain free movement etc.. Only, they wouldn’t have any input into the EU project. That wouldn’t be the end of the world. The EU has developed quite nicely without our input: they’re already working with Russia and China to bypass US sanctions against Iran and uphold the Iran deal. Britain would just have to sit things out for a while in the sin bin, quarantined from a world that is passing us by. But the ship of state would still be afloat!

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Europe finally has an excuse to challenge the dollar

Posted by seumasach on September 26, 2018

“Creating “a defensible banking architecture” may well be the end goal for the Europeans, China and Russia, anyway. Iran is only a convenient pretext: the nuclear agreement is one of the few things that unite the EU, China and Russia against the U.S. But working to undermine the dollar’s global dominance isn’t ultimately about Iran at all. In his recent State of the European Union speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for strengthening the euro’s international role and moving away from traditional dollar invoicing in foreign trade. China and Russia have long sought the same thing, but it’s only with Europe, home of the world’s second biggest reserve currency, that they stand a chance of challenging American dominance.”

Bloomberg

25th September, 2018

With more and more European companies fleeing Iran following the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, it may be tempting for Americans to write off Europe’s efforts to save the Iran nuclear deal. It would be wiser to resist the temptation.

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The euro has the power to challenge the dollar

Posted by seumasach on September 13, 2018

Bloomberg

12th September, 2018

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker isn’t a nationalist populist, but he devoted his State of the European Union address on Wednesday to the defense of “European sovereignty.” This means, among other things, using the euro to challenge the U.S. dollar’s global dominance, particularly in an era of growing American unilateralism.

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