In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Posts Tagged ‘brexit fiasco’

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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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May’s post-Brexit trade policy unravels in Japan

Posted by seumasach on September 2, 2017

Politics

31st August, 2017

One of the core Brexit arguments was that outside of the EU we could negotiate our own trade deals. We wouldn’t have to sit with 27 other nations anymore, trying to construct a uniform trade policy between such disparate economies. We wouldn’t have to be hobbled by the political need to protect things like oranges, which we don’t care about, and could focus on things like financial services, which we do. Britain would be unleashed, a roaming imperial tiger on the global stage.

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Hague despairs of Brexit

Posted by seumasach on August 31, 2017

The latest news is that Hague is leading the campaign against any backsliding on the Brexit decision.  He has not , therefore, despaired of Brexit and is all for pressing on with it come hell or high water. Adding to that the fact that Hague  claims he voted, remain and we have to admit that these are deep, and troubled, waters. It has now become fashionable for remain supporters to insist on Brexit being carried through despite the dire straits ahead. Also noteworthy is the flurry of excitement in the Brexit camp following the eruption of the Catalan crisis: this, presumably, was to be the catalyst for European disintegration. But, no one, least of all Trump, came to the support of the Catalan nationalists and the whole affair has blown over. Similarly, the post-electoral crisis in Germany seems to be heading to a resolution thanks to the co-operative approach of the SDP. This highlights the strength of consensus in Germany concerning Europe, trumping as it does ideological differences. European integration goes marching on to the despair of the British government.

Cailean Bochanan

31st August, 2017

In 2011 William Hague described the Euro “as a burning building with no exits”. But it appears to still be standing as the pound sinks to parity and , no doubt, beyond. And now he despairs of the Brexit process blaming the British people for their “mistake” in not giving their full backing to the government in the recent general election:

“I think the result was a mistake. Collectively, by the people of this country.”

One cannot help but recall Hague’s denunciation of the then Labour government in 2001:

“We have a Government that has contempt for the views of the people it governs.”

But I suppose we must concede that the electorate can make mistakes- after all they voted for Brexit in 2016, a decision whose catastrophic consequences have since become ever clearer. Indeed, one could argue that two wrongs make a right and that the British people corrected, to some extent, that fateful vote by failing to follow it up with a rounding endorsement of the Brexit Junta.

Would it have made any difference had they given May the thumbs up? According to Hague:

“Britain will get a worse deal as a result of the election.”

But what was the deal anyway given that Britain is totally dependent on inward investment and incoming labour to keep a wasteland created by forty years of Thatcherism afloat and both will be undermined by Brexit? Well, the hope was that the “burning building” could be brought to the ground. Hague’s despair is simply the realization that that is not going to happen.

The election has contributed to that conclusion. Britain needed a united front of the entire political class to apply maximum pressure. They appeared to have it but Labour was waiting to see which way the wind was blowing and have seen that it is still the prevailing westerly, blowing the ship of state back towards Europe where it now belongs if it belongs anywhere. They have adopted a de facto remain position after discussions with the Europeans. Oh, the treachery of it all!

But a more significant factor was the need for a united front with Washington led by a politician with the left-liberal credentials capable of influence in Europe. Someone like Hilary Clinton. Instead they have a man who opportunistically used the Brexit vote to advance his own nationalist credentials in order to win an election but who has since purged his team of ideologues of this hue. What remains is a realist administration based on the military which has no interest in either exporting a nationalist revolution or the neocon obsession with bringing down the EU. Indeed, Trump has, wittingly or unwittingly, advanced the cause of European integration and independence from US tutelage. The disarray in London following his election contributed mightily to discrediting European eurosceptic movements as well as these latter being tarred by association with the Beast in the White House.

And so we come to the “negotiations” with Brussels. As I predicted on the 26th June, 2016:

“The fact that Brexit is only a trigger for “more exciting” perspectives[the destabilization of Europe] explains many of the peculiarities of the Brexit campaign. They have done nothing to elaborate a clear alternative to EU membership, they don’t want to leave any time soon and many of their promises over the NHS and immigration have already been shown to be worthless.These things are beside the point and there will be no attempt to negotiate in good faith.

I rest on my laurels.

It remains only say that Hague has effectively announced the end of the Brexit neocon project. Europe will not fall but this government, and likely a whole lot else, will.

 

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Australian firms ‘very interested’ in Ireland as EU bridge post-Brexit

Posted by seumasach on February 25, 2017

With the election of Trump and the Brexit vote we will see the fate of economic nationalism in a world globalized as never before. Trump, I suspect, is perfectly aware of the need to do deals with China and others but the UK has manoeuvered itself into a corner: such deals are contingent on the UK being the gateway into the EU. That is why so much is going into a big push in 2017 to bring down the EU. Let’s hope, for all our sakes, that it fails.

RTE

24th February

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said Britain leaving the European Union represents an opportunity for Ireland.

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China will drive a hard bargain with post-Brexit UK

Posted by seumasach on January 25, 2017

It’s sad to think back on how I covered in these pages the emerging strategic partnership between the UK and China and how we spurned the whole thing in favor of Brexit. That was a highpoint in UK diplomacy which will never again be attained not only because a coherent UK state will likely no longer exist but also because our being a gateway into Europe would have been  the key element in that partnership.

Emanuele Scimia

Asia Times

23rd January, 2017

In her January 17 speech outlining Britain’s rough plan for exiting the European Union (EU), British Prime Minister Theresa May hailed Brexit as an opportunity to advance a “truly Global Britain” that “goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.”

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Supreme Court ruling heralds constitutional chaos

Posted by seumasach on January 24, 2017

Cailean Bochanan

24th January, 2017

It is not necessary to read beyond the first sentence of today’s Supreme Court Ruling to arrive at the heart of the matter

“The devolution Acts were passed by Parliament on the assumption that the UK would be a member of the EU, but they do not require the UK to remain a member.”

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Fallon tells Trump: Freedom cannot be traded in Ukraine

Posted by seumasach on January 22, 2017

The divergence between the UK government and the new US president couldn’t be more stark. But Britain will stand alone with it’s policy of confrontation with Russia.

Telegraph

20th January, 2017

Britain will stand alongside Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia because freedom cannot be “traded”, the Defence Secretary has said, amid fears Donald Trump may scale back support to Kiev in a deal with Moscow.

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