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Archive for the ‘brexit crisis’ 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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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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Japan ambassador’s Brexit warning: there won’t be a deal better than the single market

Posted by seumasach on April 22, 2018

Guardian

22nd April, 2018

“We have 1,000 companies operating in the UK today funded by Japanese capital,” he says. “It accelerated after Margaret Thatcher promoted the UK as the ‘gateway to Europe’ for Japanese firms. The total Japanese investment to the EU’s 28 countries is of course huge, but out of 28 countries the UK alone now absorbs about 40% of total Japanese investment destined for the EU.” This account of a relationship that strengthened year after year – in a period during which the UK was in the EU – raises a very obvious question. Will it continue to thrive after we have left? He replies decisively. “One thing I can say for certain, based on fact, is that the companies operating today in the UK are not expanding their investment in the UK today.”

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Chinese ambassador to EU: No UK trade talks without a Brexit deal

Posted by seumasach on April 17, 2018

In other words, “global Britain” depends entirely on the UK’s relationship with the EU. This is a timely reminder by China after signs that “global Britain” actually means a desperate attempt by the UK to revive Western imperialism under it’s own leadership.

Politico

13th April, 2018

China’s envoy to the EU warned that planned trade talks between London and Beijing face “great uncertainties” if Britain fails to reach a trade deal with the EU beforehand. In his first media interview since becoming ambassador to the EU six months ago, Zhang Ming told POLITICO that EU-U.K. talks must be finalized prior to any detailed negotiations with China. “If there is not a Brexit deal, there won’t be things to talk about after that,” he said, adding, “If the EU and the U.K. fail to reach agreement in the first place, the U.K.’s agreements with other parties may have to face great uncertainties.”

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China, UK pledge co-operation as UK leaves EU

Posted by seumasach on December 17, 2017

The British government has wasted no time in informing China of its new relationship with the EU which will“replicate the status quo”. The stage is thus set for UK-China relations to take up where they left off in 2015 before the Brexit vote. The promised 750 million investment by the UK in Asia infrastructure may seem insignificant but it is the thought that counts. China holds hundreds of billions of pounds in UK guilts and can reinvest them in the UK to great mutual advantage: a classic win/win deal.

 

Kiro7

16th December, 2017

BEIJING (AP) – Britain and China pledged Saturday to promote London as a center for offshore use of Beijing’s currency and cooperate in clean energy research and promoting trade as the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union.

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Liam Fox confirms de facto remain position

Posted by seumasach on December 13, 2017

“What I want to see is a full and comprehensive agreement on trade that’s as close to what we have today as possible,” said Fox, an ally of outspoken Brexit advocates like Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. “If you had a very open and liberal agreement that’s virtually identical to what we have today, for example, then the transitional period wouldn’t need to be as long or as difficult as if it was to something different.”[my italics]

Quoted in Bloomberg

13th December, 2017

Liam Fox, arch-Eurosceptic and Atlanticist confirms that the government have adopted a de facto remain position confirming my own analysis.

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