In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Archive for the ‘brexit crisis’ Category

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!

Posted in brexit crisis | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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.”

Read article

Posted in brexit crisis | Leave a Comment »

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.”

Read more

Posted in brexit crisis | Leave a Comment »

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.

Read more

Posted in brexit crisis, Multipolar world | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in brexit crisis | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

May surrenders as Brexiteers agree to go quietly

Posted by seumasach on December 9, 2017

Cailean Bochanan

9th December, 2017

On a historic day, yesterday Britain resigned its role as a junior partner in the Atlantic Alliance and embraced a new role as a junior partner in the European Alliance.

Something had to give way as the impossibility of Brexit became increasingly obvious. I had anticipated that it would be the government and the Tory party. Instead they both emerged intact at the expense of Brexit itself.

The thorn at the heart of the Brexit gorse bush had been the question of the status of Northern Ireland. Given the impossibility of a hard border between north and south Northern Ireland had to be given special status meaning de facto, continued membership of the Single Market and the Custom’s Union. The loyalist veto of this arrangement meant instead that the whole UK has been given a special status: the UK will remain in both the Single Market and the Custom’s Union. Officially, this arrangement is only temporary, for the duration of the so-called transition. However, since the Irish border problem will not simply go away the UK’s special status will continue indefinitely to be finally resolved, presumably, by our renewed integration into the EU. There is no alternative.

One would have anticipated an immediate backlash against this arrangement by the Tory brexiteers but they have simply rolled over. The British ruling has shown again some of their more positive, traditional attributes: an ability to act pragmatically and to discard useless ideology. What cannot be cannot be, and Brexit cannot be.

That begs the question: what was it all about in the first place? That is beyond my meagre intellectual abilities. However, two things may be pertinent. Firstly, the EU shows no sign of falling apart as was hoped and expected by the neocon wing of the Brexit movement. Euroscepticism is not on the rise and the Catalan declaration of independence, which elicited a brief frisson of excitement in the Brexit camp has not triggered a cascade of regional movements towards the CIA’s favourite Europe of the Regions outcome. Secondly, Trump has adopted a hostile attitude to the UK and has already, effectively, ended the Special Relationship with the result that Britain just has nowhere to go.

These changes may also explain why the Europeans have conceded what they said they would never concede, namely, that the UK can leave the EU and still enjoy the benefits of membership of the EU. But, of course, the unspoken, unspeakable reality, from the brexiteers point of view, is that we aren’t really leaving the EU, except in a purely formal sense. But for the meantime we are in a state of limbo with a special status under a kind of EU mandate.

Ultimately, this astonishing outcome reveals the level of disconnect between ideology and reality. All the current ideologies flow from the Anglophilosophy  and the presuppositions of Anglo-American globalization- globalization from below at the expense of sovereign structures. This is perfectly embodied in the Brexit cult of “free-trade”. What we seeing now is globalization accompanied by global governance stemming from sharing of sovereignty. The Single Market reflects that but it will be even more evident as the One Belt, One Road project takes off. Who is going to regulate or “nationalise” the high-speed trains which will soon connect China and Europe? Who will regulate international trade and an international means of payment now that the Dollar-fiat reserve currency system is coming to an end? Of course, some of these agencies of global governance already exist but they will undoubtedly be transformed, extended or replaced in the coming years.

Britain has, as of yesterday, begun to resolve it’s relationship with the nascent multipolar world order. The fact that Brexit is only a virtual event, or, at least, a real non-event and that that is understood by all will have immediate effects. Most importantly, our deal with are major creditor, China, should be back on to the accompanying smirk of George Osborne. Major problems lie ahead concerning uncontrolled debt, speculative bubbles and lack of income at personal, corporate and national levels with the banks once again looking vulnerable. But, as of yesterday, we will resolve them within a European and multipolar context.

Posted in brexit crisis | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

EU takes aim at UK tax perks

Posted by seumasach on November 8, 2017

“With the future of the City of London at stake, British chancellor Philip Hammond has previously hinted the UK could become an offshore tax haven if the UK’s financial centre was locked out of the single market.”

EUObserver

26th October, 2017

EU competition authorities have sunk their teeth into UK tax perks for multinationals amid a wider crackdown on aggressive tax avoidance. The European Commission said on Thursday (26 October) it had opened an “in-depth investigation” into a British law that let big corporations shift profits to offshore subsidiaries. It said the opening of the probe did “not prejudge the outcome of the investigation”.

Read more

Posted in brexit crisis | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

5 reasons why no deal could mean no Brexit

Posted by seumasach on October 26, 2017

May’s position of chaperone for Brexit looks certain to be coming to an end. The logic of things is that the Brexit hardliners will bid for power if they are not already completely demoralized. Lacking a sufficient base of support for a no deal Brexit they will then burn out quickly leading to a Labour government. The strange irony here is that Labour probably could successfully negotiate the three outstanding , thorny issues of the divorce agreement but would they want to? By then the public mood will have changed as reality begins to dawn on all but the most blinkered. The jolly, little Brexit venture may be coming to an end and may be remembered as a curious aberration a bit like the Gallipolli campaign. A historical inquest would reach a verdict of death by misadventure.

Politico

22nd October, 2017

LONDON — A specter is hanging over Westminster — the specter of “no deal” killing off Brexit altogether.

Read more

Posted in brexit crisis | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Statement by Michel Barnier

Posted by seumasach on September 23, 2017

“With regard to Ireland, the United Kingdom is the co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement. Today’s speech does not clarify how the UK intends to honour its special responsibility for the consequences of its withdrawal for Ireland. Our objective is to preserve the Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions, as well as the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union.”

This is just the most difficult of the three very thorny issues which have to be dealt with when negotiations re-open on Monday. Barnier presents them in a clear and rational manner which is more than can be said for the British media. Given the state of “opinion” in the UK May’s task, for she has now abrogated all powers to herself to conduct these negotiations, seems impossible.

European Commission

22nd September, 2017

In her speech in Florence, Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed a constructive spirit which is also the spirit of the European Union during this unique negotiation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in brexit crisis | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Brexit department chief to join PM’s team

Posted by seumasach on September 23, 2017

In the next round of talks next week, he will sit alongside Davis, who will continue to be the “principal negotiator” for the U.K. However, the government official was at pains to stress that the prime minister, not Davis, remained the “chief negotiator.”

As the Murdoch press’s long touted bet that the Euro and the EU will collapse looks to be a losing one, it is Brexit itself which is imploding. This quiet move essentially neuters the Department for Exiting the EU and puts May in charge. We now await the blowback from the eurosceptics but Jonson may have served as a conductor leading their lightning to earth in a favorite trick of the British ruling class. Farage is right to smell a rat after hearing May’s Florence speech but, then again, he has to ask himself what happened to his promise on the morning of the Brexit vote to “bring down this failed project and lead us to a Europe of sovereign nations”. The speech itself moves the government towards Labour’s ambiguous position whose  merit is to put off the catastrophe that is Brexit until all but the diehards have agreed to forget it. Meanwhile May is left with the impossible task of negotiating a Brexit which she no longer wants and the main reason for going to Florence was to appeal to EU negotiators for understanding of her predicament.

Real Info News

18th September, 2017

Britain’s top Brexit negotiator, Oliver Robbins, left his job in the Department for Exiting the European Union to work directly for Theresa May in Downing Street.

Read more

Posted in brexit crisis | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Brexit: Japanese companies set to leave London

Posted by seumasach on September 16, 2017

As I have argued from the start Brexit simply meant throwing away our geo-political Trump card, namely. the UK as a hub for foreign investment seeking access to the EU single market. Such deals as Osborne’s with China would thus have facilitated the UK’s transition from an economy based on imperial privilege and parasitic finance to that of a nation state amongst others in new multipolar, post-US/UK hegemony world order. As it is we have embarked on a terrifying journey into the abyss of global irrelevance.

Deutsche Welle

16th September, 2017

 

Japan’s largest car-maker and a major finance firm have announced that they are reconsidering their operations in Britain after the UK completes its divorce from the European Union, a serious setback to the British government’s efforts to convince companies here that it will be business as usual after Brexit.

Read more

Posted in brexit crisis | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: