BRexit : Shall UK stay in EU or go now?

gaasc

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You sound like you are accepting this in a reasonable and well thought-out manner.

Finalizing Brexit will allow you to stop thinking about them. The UK is no longer your problem. You can invest the time complaining about someone else not doing things you like. Trump maybe?
 

calvinhobbes

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You sound like you are accepting this in a reasonable and well thought-out manner.
What is there to accept?

The British people have been lied to about the EU for decades, so they did not have the necessary information to make a good decision.

The referendum came about due to an internal power struggle in the Conservative Party. It was neither well thought out nor well prepared. The Leave campaign hardly ever stopped lying - it was a proven tactic, after all.

The referendum result was tight and due to the advisory nature of the vote and the significance of Brexit, it should never have started the exit process. It should have started an earnest discussion on Britain’s EU membership... a pipe dream, I know, but it’s still what should have happened.

Add the nonstop lies and insults aimed at anything European by prominent Brexiteers, first and foremost the leader of the Brexit Party, to the incredible British demands from the EU, and see what that does to the patience of an ordinary EU citizen like myself.

I’ll have to live with this outcome, but I will never accept it. I like the UK too much for that.
 

mpicco

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"Once we are gone, we are never coming back!"

All the old fart conservatives die

UK comes back
 

JTuhka

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You sound like you are accepting this in a reasonable and well thought-out manner.

Finalizing Brexit will allow you to stop thinking about them. The UK is no longer your problem. You can invest the time complaining about someone else not doing things you like. Trump maybe?
Calling Brexit finalized is a ridiculous simplification. It's business as usual until 31st december and 11 months for all the issues that remain to be negotiated is awfully optimistic.

Don't mix the ceremonial moments with the things that matter in the real world. Nothing has recently changed the uncertainty that affects suprisingly many of us.
 
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gaasc

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Surprisingly many is accurate. As for the remaining negotiations, that's once again the UK's loss, not the EU's as I reasonably expect that the UK will be shown no mercy for daring to go along on its own.

If I may keep at it from someone who is several thousand miles away and whose argument will likely be discarded for that very reason, Both the UK and the EU will be fine after this. If it was an especially silly "Shun the island" stance taken against the UK it would be a different story (and not the UK's fault, might I add). But there will still be trade, people will still be one passport control away from the rest of Europe. The UK finds itself in the interesting position to prevent that shunning scenario (what with it being about 12% of all trade within the EU and second) while also trying to be less dependent on EU mandates.

So, with trade not stopping (the increased tariffs will impact pricing, yes, but other countries that trade with EU states seem to manage this just fine), and people still able to go to the EU, and the EU losing that member that never really did play entirely by their rules, I can see the entire situation becoming "Business as usual", and the explosion that everyone fears being a small "poof" as everyone realizes most of the panic has been blown out of proportion for political gain.

Now, the UK needs to find its collective testicle and get on with it, that said. the comedy of idiocy seen in the corridors of power is only funny if you are several thousand miles away. And though I believe that Brexit by itself is not a bad idea, fuck if they have not made a royal hash out of it.

A final couple of thoughts.

"Once we are gone, we are never coming back!"

All the old fart conservatives die

UK comes back
you're forgetting the young conservatives. Though you did not label them as ignorant or racist this time, which is progress. ;) :p

I’ll have to live with this outcome, but I will never accept it. I like the UK too much for that.
Living with it will be easy, Germany has the most Intra-EU trade and they should be able to negotiate some mutually-favorable deals with the UK as peers. Also, you can take solace in the fact that the idiot who thought it was a good idea to have the referendum in the first place grenaded his political career in spectacular fashion. Something not even the defiling of a dead pig could manage.
 

93Flareside

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"Once we are gone, we are never coming back!"

All the old fart conservatives die

UK comes back
I fear that much like the political world in the US, that may not happen. Though I'm coming from a defeatist attitude as my cynical reasoning with what's happened in the US has come true.
 

jack_christie

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Man Who Bankrolled Brexit Boasted of WikiLeaks Backchannel

The man who bankrolled the campaign for Britain to quit the European Union boasted about a backchannel to WikiLeaks after Brexit leader Nigel Farage’s secret meeting with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, according to private Twitter messages that have been leaked online.

The messages hacked from Farage’s biggest financial backer, Arron Banks, also raise legal questions over the involvement of Cambridge Analytica in the Brexit referendum, undeclared lobbying efforts in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign power, and a breach of data-protection law by pro-Brexit campaigners.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/man-who-bankrolled-brexit-boasted-of-wikileaks-backchannel?ref=home

https://cryptome.org/#arron-banks
 

MacGuffin

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A nicely written article from the day after Brexit:

It's cold out there, Great Britain

Three times it had to be postponed. Twice it triggered new elections. Since one night the Brexit is a fact. Now comes the hard part.


If he kept his promise, conservative MP Mark Francois didn't sleep a wink that night. He stayed up "to see the sun rise over a free country in the morning".

Because last night, on the stroke of eleven, Britain withdrew from the EU. Here are the main events:

- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a short speech.

- In front of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, the British flag was caught without further ceremony.

Otherwise, surprisingly little preparations had been made.

Originally, Prime Minister Johnson had announced on the radio that the government had "worked out the plan" to have the Big Ben bell sound at eleven o'clock on this historic night: "So people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong."

The bold thing about that announcement was that Big Ben is currently undergoing endless renovations.

Shortly afterwards, Parliamentary Services intervened. They calculated that the temporary installation of the bell mechanism plus four weeks delay in the renovation would cost around £500,000. "We're talking £50,000 a bong!"

The government then admitted that a plan had never been drawn up.

But Mark Francois, the head of the Brexit Hardliners in the Conservative Party, called for an international Big Ben Crowdfunding. But the collection failed at 272'600 pounds.

So last night a loudspeaker rang in Big Ben.

It was probably the most worthy way to celebrate Britain's future after the Brexit. On the one hand a nice pun and a romantic idea. And on the other, bureaucrats. Money. Details.

Freedom!

In every debate on Brexit, Boris Johnson insisted on optimism. Far from the EU, he said, Britain has a bright future as a "globally oriented trading nation".

Not surprisingly, free trade agreements are the government's top priority. The negotiators will report personally to the Prime Minister. And the Prime Minister has personally set the pace: Johnson refused to accept a transition period of more than a year with the EU.

This means that the new agreement must be in place by 31 December 2020. Otherwise, economic chaos is imminent.

According to the "Financial Times", Johnson's government will negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU and the USA at the same time. With the strategy of playing off the larger partners against each other.

Johnson received encouraging signals from the States: "They have a wonderful new Prime Minister there," said President Donald Trump recently in Davos. "I'm sure we'll make an incredible deal with Britain."

Johnson called the conclusion of the EU deal "epically probable".

His optimism (as well as that of the British government) is based on the belief that Britain has sold poorly so far. and that with more momentum, there are other deals to be made.

Last but not least, Johnson cites Britain's tradition as a former world power at sea. His position predestines Great Britain to become the center of a network of free trading nations. This with trade agreements across the planet: with the USA, with China and not least with the former colonies: India, Australia, New Zealand.

The prerequisite for this is that one finally has a free hand. And no more ridiculous regulations being dictated from Brussels. With free decisions, London could become the financial hub for the whole world. A Singapore on the Thames.

Fair game!

The problem with the plan is that three things speak against it: practically all the experts, all the diplomats - and all the experience.

Because free trade agreements are the most grueling thing international diplomacy has to offer. They revolve around a thousand trifles. They take forever. And their outcome is always the same: Goliath crushes David.

As Dennis Novy, an economics professor at Warwick, once put it: "In trade negotiations, you're either the strangler or you get strangled."

In the EU, Britain was part of a gigantic strangling monster.

But Britain alone is only a medium-sized market with a gross national product of around 3000 billion dollars. The US and the EU weigh in at 21,000 billion and 18,000 billion, China at 12,000.

And since it is more valuable to be present in a large market than a small one, it is clear who has to make the concessions.

In addition, the UK's withdrawal from the EU would mean the sudden cancellation of 40 free trade agreements. This means that the country is uniquely susceptible to blackmail after the Brexit: its economy desperately needs negotiations to be concluded en masse as quickly as possible.

Which in turn means: Great Britain is threatened, as trade specialist James Kirkup wrote, with "humiliation in slow motion".

Paradoxically, this would even apply in the best case scenario. The reason: the more free trade, the less freedom. With every new treaty, the dream of a sovereign country dies another piece.

Because the central feature of today's free trade agreements is not financial obligations, but social and political obligations. The agreements are hardly about customs duties, but about standards: Health, environmental and labor standards. In this way the contracting parties protect their industries from competition.

In short, the bargaining chip in free trade agreements is precisely what Britain so hated about the EU - political regulations that are not made by politicians in their own country. Sueable with neutral, i.e. foreign judges.

The closer the agreement, the tighter the net. And the more important the partner, the more outrageous the demands.

Three friends (of the strangling)

In Great Britain, the hopes of Brexit enthusiasts were focused on three goals: the United States, China, India.

1. the USA. Here the hope is only logical. The USA is the most important economic power in the world. And Britain's number one ally.

But the USA not only has a much larger market and far less time pressure, it also has a long experience of soft blackmail: no economic diplomat remembers treaties that would have been disadvantageous to the USA.

In other words, a free trade agreement with the US would most likely require the British government to win over its voters for lower environmental standards and higher medication prices. This is because the US strategy papers include the export of chlorine chicken and industrial food and the entry of US pharmaceutical companies into the British health service.

And President Trump's words? Well, his loyalty is known the world over. But even if the otherwise so protectionist president were to give his friend Johnson amazing gifts, the treaty would still have to go through Congress.

2. China. Also an obvious idea, the potentially soon-to-be leading economic power. Only, China is bad news for Britain. Because the Chinese don't appreciate surprises - and the Brexit was a shock for Beijing. They had to watch helplessly as British politicians delivered Chinese investments to an abrupt change of course without having a plan for the future.

However, if the Chinese negotiate anyway, they will need the British above all for their strategic interests. They want to buy up as much as possible - and want political support against the suspicious EU and in the trade war with the US.

For some time now the USA has been writing an anti-China clause in almost all international treaties. Therefore, a trade agreement with both economic powers is probably impossible at the same time.

These days Boris Johnson has picked up the first coals of hellfire. His own party as well as the American State Department attacked him hard because he wants to involve the Chinese company Huawei in the construction of the 5G network. The Americans, who suspect Huawei of espionage (and of the cheaper product), threaten the British with dissolving the cooperation between the secret services.

3. India. The fastest growing economy in the world. The Brexit supporters assured: The former colony will remember the time with England very well. Indeed it does. All too well. It is a political necessity for every Indian prime minister to humiliate the hated former colonial power as much as possible.

India's most important goal for a free trade treaty are the two things on which India still considers the former colonists to be competent: study and jobs. The problem for the negotiating British: The tight control of borders was the main reason the narrow majority voted for the Brexit.

The question is whether it was really the wish of the British voters to leave the EU in order to enter India - which means more Indians will immigrate in future, not more Europeans.

And the other question is: if a free trade agreement with India is possible - then when? India's negotiations with the EU have been dragging on for ten years without any foreseeable end.

But they could soon gain momentum. After all, the biggest obstacle on the EU side is now falling away - the British. They had slowed things down, and now the circle is complete because they didn't want any more Indians on the island.

The ex-partner

In a small article, "Bloomberg" interviewed diplomats who had negotiated with the EU.

One of them mainly uttered curses, the others said it more diplomatically: "They come as friendly negotiators with good manners and skin you alive."

The EU, everyone agrees, has the most experienced and brutal trade diplomats on board, besides the US.

Their standard script runs as follows:

- They openly demand the maximum from the start, including the grinding of all import taxes. At the same time, they declare several topics taboo from the outset - with reference to the respective sensitivities of the various EU member states.

- Representing the interests of 27 states is certainly not easy. The EU negotiators use this to be able to block issues with reference to "internal disagreement" at any time.

- Ultimately, the central EU strategy is: "We are big, you are small, so eat it!

This strategy has worked very well with the UK. The paragraphs of the Brexit Agreement deviate only slightly from the initial draft of the EU.

One of the toughest problems for Britain is that it has outsourced all trade negotiations to the EU for the last few decades. And now competes against world-class professionals with a team without experience.

Which is another reason why experts are predicting disaster for the UK in the planned parallel negotiations with the US and the EU: they simply do not have enough capable officials.

And they need them.

Because Johnson's decision to let the transition period run only until the end of 2020 shortens the negotiation period with the EU to a breathtaking eight months. (The treaty must be in place by the end of October at the latest so that 27 states can ratify it).

As Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, explained, the negotiations will take place at ten tables simultaneously. However, nobody expects satisfactory results. Eight months for such negotiations are a joke. Normally they take years.

The main problem is that Great Britain only wants to talk about tariffs and the most generous quotas possible - but not about standards and regulations. Whereas the EU suspects that Britain wants to become a pirate island off the coast of Europe with dumping wages, overturned environmental regulations and the grinding down of capital laws. Not for nothing did German Chancellor Angela Merkel warn: "No Singapore on the Thames!"

True, Boris Johnson says he wants a loose free trade agreement, like Canada has with the EU. But it is already clear that the EU will give the British a far worse agreement than Canada or even Japan. That is because of the proximity. It was agreed with Canada that Canadian test procedures are also valid in the EU for the most part.

The EU cannot afford such a simplification with its much larger trading partner, the UK. Without bureaucratic obstacles, a dumping UK could flood the EU market.

The EU Commission has already instructed its member states that after the Brexit, no product from a British company will be considered EU-compliant. Every British product must therefore be tested twice: once for Great Britain and once for the EU. Which causes a brutal, often deadly paperwork, especially for the smaller British companies.

For the EU - always derided in Britain as a bureaucratic monster - is, for all its absurdity, the opposite: it is the largest bureaucracy-reducing organization in history. Never before have people, goods and money crossed borders as easily as in a united Europe.

After all, it is not at all clear that Boris Johnson even wants an agreement. Or if he's just pretending. And whether his goal is not unregulated Brexit - with the possibility of radically undermining all the rules of the EU.

That would be a hard blow for the EU - and at the same time a slaughter for Britain. Because half of Britain's exports go to Europe. The price of uncontracted chaos would be the bankruptcy of the British car industry, the end of agriculture, the ruin of hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises.

But what does the British Government do when suddenly it is not nice puns and romantic ideas that count, but bureaucracy, money and details?

Fuck business!

It is not without reason that the British industry associations are collectively in panic. They've been trying to reach out to the government since the election victory. According to journalist Peter Foster, the answer to mails and position papers is the same for all players: none.

This is not only due to incompetence of the cabinet. But because ten years of tough austerity policy have emaciated the civil service to the point of incapacity.

But complete radio silence is not normal for this type of negotiation. Because with free trade agreements, the devil is in the details. Without close communication with industry, the negotiators are blind: they need to know in real time, if possible, which rules of origin, hygiene and environmental regulations apply to which goods and favor them.

In addition, no one has a clue what " Brexit " exactly means. As recently as mid-2018, the UK did not even know how many customs officers it had. And from January 1, 2021, it is estimated that up to 250,000 employees will have to fill out customs documents. Nobody knows which and how.

In short, Boris Johnson is often considered to be a bit too good a storyteller. But he can hardly be accused of not telling the truth when he said "Fuck Business!" in a Brexit discussion in front of diplomats.

The fish stinks (It's complicated!)

The brutal entanglement of Brexit is evident in the area where Britain has the strongest negotiating position: in fisheries.

It's true that fishing is actually a cinch in the British economy:
0.12 per cent of the gross national product.

But in the Brexit debate, the fishing industry was a huge issue. Here it became clear what the lack of sovereignty meant. Various British governments had made concessions to the EU so that British fishermen were only allowed to catch around half of the fish off their own coasts.

So in the Brexit vote, slogans like "Looters!", "Our fish!", "Back to the Sea of Opportunity!" became popular.

During the election campaign, Johnson's government promised that after the Brexit, Britain would regain sovereignty over its coasts. To help the British fishing industry to an unprecedented level of prosperity.

This January, a leaked EU negotiation paper was published. It stated that no free trade agreement would be concluded without the continuation of the current fishing regime. This is a condition that is also remarkable for the EU in its clarity and rigor.

The dispute will certainly be tough. (This, because both British and French fishermen have determined fighting power)

Prime Minister Johnson immediately replied that Great Britain was "again a sovereign island state" in the future. And promised: "Nothing changes! We will take control of our coasts!"

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar then gave a remarkable interview. He admitted that the British were in a strong position regarding fisheries. On the other hand, they should not forget that they sell 70% of their catch to Europe. And that therefore, "as long as the British population does not eat an awful lot more fish", they would have a problem.

Admittedly, Varadkar added that the UK has a good hand in fishing. "But where you are in a very vulnerable position is in one of the most valuable parts of your economy: financial services. Or industries like entertainment. If you were to be denied access to the European market, it would be a severe blow to the British economy."

Aaron Brown, the head of "Fishermen for Brexit", replied, "Let people remember that 70% of all British fish are eaten on the continent, which means the EU is dependent on us: without us, the Mediterranean diet in the southern states will collapse."

The fishing issue is also complicated by the fact that reciprocal fishing rights were commonplace centuries before the EU was founded. This makes the anger of French fishermen over the violation of customary law infinite. And by the fact that Scottish fishermen fish in Norwegian waters. That the British navy has no idea how to control the British maritime borders. That French and German boats have specialized largely in pollack - which British consumers find disgusting. That fish is a very perishable commodity, and therefore susceptible to border controls. That many fishing villages go bankrupt without the EU market. That the Belgians found a document from 1666 in which the English King Charles II guaranteed Belgian fishermen "eternal access" to English waters.

True, his fearlessness was much of the charm in Boris Johnson's election campaign. He never missed an opportunity to demonstrate how easy it is to govern.

But in free trade negotiations, even your trump cards are a nasty piece of work.

In the beginning, in 1975.

When Great Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973, it was also considered a historic day. And even then it passed without anyone noticing much of it without looking at a daily newspaper. In Strasbourg, the British flag was hoisted in front of the Parliament without any major ceremony. In Britain, a few enthusiasts set off some fireworks. Most people were asleep. The Prime Minister was abroad, at a funeral.

And yet, two years later, two-thirds of the British people approved the accession in a referendum. The slogan of the proponents had convinced them: "It's cold outside".
Source: https://www.republik.ch/2020/02/01/es-ist-kalt-da-draussen-grossbritannien
(translated with DeepL from German into English)
 

Dr_Grip

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Surprisingly many is accurate. As for the remaining negotiations, that's once again the UK's loss, not the EU's as I reasonably expect that the UK will be shown no mercy for daring to go along on its own.
What you are applying here is an immunization strategy - you define any hard bargaining by the EU as a punishment for the UK leaving, thus putting the blame on any negative economic consequences for the UK not on the Brexiteers, but the EU.

If this is what being a young conservative is about these days, I pity conservativism.
 

gaasc

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I do mention the possibility of mutually beneficial trade agreements further down the post, as well as use a bit of hyperbole to try and get across the fact that, while trade agreements and tariffs will happen, it will not be the end of the world unless the UK goes really full isolationist. Which would be an entirely different level of stupid and one that thankfully we're not on right now (those last two being the operative words).

This is before the minefield of what we would define as "Hard bargaining". And not being telepaths, not knowing whether there is something more under the proposed agreements than a mutual best interests. I will try to get my points across better next time; with all of that said. Thank you for pointing it out.

There is nothing I can do about you pitying conservatism though. :p
 

MacGuffin

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With the current state of the UK, its politicians and its press, an asteroid could hit the island and they would still blame the EU for it. No matter how the negotiations will go and what kind of trade agreement they'll have in the end (if any), it's absolutely clear that none of the Brexiteers will have the stature to accept responsibility for it.

They will always look for someone to blame, and it's going to be the EU. After all, that's what has been happening for decades. So why should the EU make even one millimeter of concession when everyone knows that in the end it will be the scapegoat, no matter what happens?
 

MacGuffin

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I'd be surprised if the UK gets any sort of trade agreement with India. :LOL:
Like the article I posted said: The Indians are only interested in studying in Britain or getting jobs there. And apart from that, every Indian politician will enjoy humiliating them in remembrance of the colonial oppression.
 
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