Brexit

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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:09 pm

gisambards wrote:https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46535739
So now there's a vote of no confidence happening against Theresa May's leadership of the Conservative Party before any of the parliament voting has even happened (note: this is different to the vote of no confidence discussed earlier, which would have been parliament-wide and focused on her government; this is within the party's MPs and focused purely on her leadership of the party, but this does still mean she'd probably be expected to resign as party leader and thus prime minister if she loses). This is an incredibly inopportune time for them to have done it, and it just makes everything even more chaotic. Part of me is, however, hoping that it's so clearly a stupid time to do it that most Conservative MPs will be persuaded to vote against this one, with the caveat that another will almost certainly come at a slightly more opportune moment.


Worth noting that if May wins this one, she's immune to a new internal confidence vote for a year. That doesn't stop a parliamentary confidence vote in the government, but at least she would be protected from backstabs.
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Re: Brexit

Postby CarrieVS » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:56 pm

The BBC currently report that 158 Conservative MPs have publicly said they will vote in May's favour. That is, apparently, precisely the minimum number she needs to survive as leader. (Only 33 have publicly said they will vote against her.)

Of course, saying they will and actually doing so are two different things, especially as it's a secret ballot, but I will be extremely surprised if she loses.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Pedgerow » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:20 am

She wound up winning the vote 200-117. However, someone on the news said that Margaret Thatcher survived a similar vote in 1990, and she got 204 votes but resigned anyway. Theresa May also said, before the vote and possibly with the aim of persuading her MPs to stick by her just slightly longer, that she will not be leading the party into the next general election.

There's also a chance that this vote, while obviously indicative of the chaos within the government, might have toughened Conservative resolve against external opposition, meaning that if Jeremy Corbyn now decides to call the other sort of vote of confidence in the government, where every MP votes, Theresa May's odds of surviving that have got a whole lot better today. But the spectre of the Brexit deal is still looming, and people still hate it. The EU say they refuse to negotiate any further, but I suspect they're lying, especially as Theresa May is making plans to go back to Brussels and ask to rephrase certain things before calling the parliamentary vote. When she shows up to talk more, I can't really imagine all the EU dignitaries quickly closing the curtains and pretending they aren't home until she walks away (even though, as an aside, remember when this guy did exactly that? Fun fact: I know this guy in real life; he's good friends with a good friend of mine from university).
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Re: Brexit

Postby cmsellers » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:16 am

Pedgerow wrote:When she shows up to talk more, I can't really imagine all the EU dignitaries quickly closing the curtains and pretending they aren't home until she walks away (even though, as an aside, remember when this guy did exactly that? Fun fact: I know this guy in real life; he's good friends with a good friend of mine from university).

That tweet has some hilarious responses.

Not sure how funny this one is without the context of the first two replies from the BBC and ITV asking to use the footage, but these all are.

Spoilered because it keeps reshowing the original tweet






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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:19 pm

Pedgerow wrote:There's also a chance that this vote, while obviously indicative of the chaos within the government, might have toughened Conservative resolve against external opposition, meaning that if Jeremy Corbyn now decides to call the other sort of vote of confidence in the government, where every MP votes, Theresa May's odds of surviving that have got a whole lot better today.


Jeremy clearly seems to agree, because instead of calling a vote of no confidence in the government (which would require the government to make time for it in the House), he decided to call for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister. This was quickly scuppered by several things. Firstly, the ERG (the pro Brexit Tories who tried to topple her in the internal Conservative confidence vote and failed) and the DUP publicly stated they would support her in any such motion. The SNP and Lib Dems expressed fury that Corbyn was unwilling to bite the proverbial bullet and call for a no confidence vote proper, and attempted to amend the motion to include provision for a real no confidence vote. The government then settled it once and for all by stating they simply won't schedule time for this motion to be debated, which the speaker (notable as an arch-Remainer) confirmed they had no obligation to do so.

So the whole situation became moot, and we've wasted more time. Indeed it seems to have become the tactic now to run the clock down to put pressure on everyone: the EU to bend a bit on things like the backstop, the Tory Brexiters to support the deal over no deal, similarly for remainers in reverse, and to make the opposition look ineffective by being unwilling to call for no confidence because they think they might not win.

Today both the EU and UK have published plans for the UK leaving the EU with no deal with 100 days to go. Right now we don't even have an agreed transitional arrangement to smooth the disruption from leaving, and it's looking increasingly likely that our masters of the universe are incapable of agreeing anything productive that won't cause everyone who wasn't directly involved in negotiating it (and some of those who do) to reject it entirely.

All this puts in a strange light the little tidbit of information that percolated into my consciousness from the BBC website; Cambodia has tariff free access to the EU single market and has since 2012. Weird right? I don't know the full details of this deal, but it seems to me that if the EU can manage to arrange this for a complete third country with very different labour and human rights standards, it should be easier (but not, I concede, easy) to arrange this with a current member who wishes to leave the political union project but continues to wish to have close ties and trading links.

Should.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Absentia » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:43 pm



100 days to avert economic catastrophe, and I guess they decided to spend one arguing about a schoolyard insult that Jeremy Corbyn may or may not have muttered under his breath. Seems like a good use of time.

Marcuse wrote:All this puts in a strange light the little tidbit of information that percolated into my consciousness from the BBC website; Cambodia has tariff free access to the EU single market and has since 2012. Weird right? I don't know the full details of this deal, but it seems to me that if the EU can manage to arrange this for a complete third country with very different labour and human rights standards, it should be easier (but not, I concede, easy) to arrange this with a current member who wishes to leave the political union project but continues to wish to have close ties and trading links.

Should.


It's not a question of whether the EU can arrange a more favorable deal for the UK, the question is why should they? I don't think it's in their best interest to allow a painless, consequence-free exit.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Askias » Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:40 pm

I mean, the UK could get the same status as Cambodia. But I think that even after Brexit they won't qualify as a Least Developed Country*, which is what’s required for that level of access. The EU – rightly or wrongly – believes that lowering trade barriers for undeveloped countries helps those countries, so countries with particularly shitty circumstances get a get-out-of-tariffs pass for goods (the highest access level, given to the 47 least developed countries in the world, is called Everything But Arms, as the only standard exception is weaponry). It’s not a mutually beneficial agreement, it’s the EU being nice. It was not negotiated and cannot be applied for, it was granted, and if Cambodian goods would pose a serious challenge to the EU domestic market, I assure you that list would be re-reviewed before the new year.

By the way, the brexiteers won’t mind the EU having dignitaries over to judge UK human rights, and possibly revoke privileges if they’re found wanting**, I assume? Because that’s not optional. Cambodia specifically got into some hot water over those.

Said agreement doesn’t cover services, which Cambodia doesn’t care much for since it’s less than 7% of their trade with the EU. For the UK, it’s around 35%, so they may actually want something more tailored.

A deal like Canada's should be quite possible. In a year or 4-7. Canada took 8. And doesn't cover services.

*By the UN’s standards, not the EU. The UN makes the list, the EU gives what they consider a favor to the countries listed.
** The standards *are* loose. The fact that half the world isn't blacklisted should tell you so. But the relationship isn't entirely one-sided, and several countries have in fact had their access revoked.

Edit: My view on Brexit can be summarised as 'If divorce deal rejected, then release the UK from the blockade preventing them from negotiating trade deals instantly so they can start formal talks with other countries, keep 29 May as cut-date, then after that start talking trade deal. It'll probably take at least half a decade before we hear back from that'. I think it's going to be hard brexit. I can't say I expected that, but this whole referendum has been consistent in handing out outcomes I don't like, so my expectations were pre-emptively lowered.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:04 pm

Absentia wrote:100 days to avert economic catastrophe, and I guess they decided to spend one arguing about a schoolyard insult that Jeremy Corbyn may or may not have muttered under his breath. Seems like a good use of time.

To be fair, whilst this controversy has generally been pretty stupid, it does highlight the point Theresa May was making at the time when the fateful muttering occurred - the country's official political opposition leader has been such a non-entity on this that, when directly challenged on why he's doing fuck-all to further whatever his political agenda is supposed to be, all he did was mutter some sort of insult (whether it was 'stupid woman' or, as he claims, 'stupid people') under his breath.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:03 pm

I mean, the UK could get the same status as Cambodia.


That really misses the point. I'm not suggesting the UK is treated as the same status as Cambodia, I'm saying that the issue with being able to negotiate tariff free access to the single market for anything was stated to be counter to the sacrosanct "four freedoms" and therefore not even up for negotiation. Clearly, when it is in the interest of the EU (for example, the ability to exploit the cheap labour costs of a third country with a weak compulsion to improve the very thing they're exploiting) they're more than happy to compromise on this.

It’s not a mutually beneficial agreement, it’s the EU being nice.


Depends on how many EU businesses benefitted from transferring operations to Cambodian production. They have a very big textile industry for a reason.

So really, as I understand it, the issue isn't with the particulars of Cambodian access. It's more so that the concept of negotiating access to the Single Market as a third country is either labyrinthian to the point of uselessness or we are falsely advised that we are unable to negotiate access as this would breach the "four freedoms" when such is ignored in other cases. If the EU Commission wishes to rest their argument for why they simply don't want to negotiate in good faith with Britain in order to ensure penalty for leaving over and above the necessary consequences of exiting a political unit with economic cooperation on reasons which only work when Britain wants them, well that's on them.

It's not a question of whether the EU can arrange a more favorable deal for the UK, the question is why should they? I don't think it's in their best interest to allow a painless, consequence-free exit.


I find the argument that the EU has no obligation to negotiate in good faith with a friend and ally because they don't want to make leaving the EU attractive an odious one. It's not about getting a favourable deal for the UK, rather a mutually beneficial deal for the UK and EU without the UK needing to be part of an ongoing project heading toward political union that the public don't seem to want.

100 days to avert economic catastrophe, and I guess they decided to spend one arguing about a schoolyard insult that Jeremy Corbyn may or may not have muttered under his breath. Seems like a good use of time.


I mean this is Prime Minister's Questions. It's pantomime, to the point where the time Corbyn supposedly said this they were doing "oh no he isn't, oh yes he is" chants. It is, honestly, pretty stupid. Corbyn may or may not have said "stupid woman" but the real issue is that as a left wing leader his actions are dismissed and not followed up, where if the reverse was true (a Conservative male MP making such a comment to a Labour female MP) it would be immediately decried as foul and evil. Andrea Leadsom, who was described as a "stupid woman" by the (neutral technically but was a Conservative) speaker pointed this out.
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Re: Brexit

Postby IamNotCreepy » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:24 pm

Marcuse wrote:
I find the argument that the EU has no obligation to negotiate in good faith with a friend and ally because they don't want to make leaving the EU attractive an odious one. It's not about getting a favourable deal for the UK, rather a mutually beneficial deal for the UK and EU without the UK needing to be part of an ongoing project heading toward political union that the public don't seem to want.


The problem is, no deal that the EU makes is going to be beneficial to them. Anything they negotiate would be to their own detriment, giving up something for the UK's benefit, and I think it is naïve to expect the EU to act in anything other than their own interests.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:41 pm

IamNotCreepy wrote:
Marcuse wrote:
I find the argument that the EU has no obligation to negotiate in good faith with a friend and ally because they don't want to make leaving the EU attractive an odious one. It's not about getting a favourable deal for the UK, rather a mutually beneficial deal for the UK and EU without the UK needing to be part of an ongoing project heading toward political union that the public don't seem to want.


The problem is, no deal that the EU makes is going to be beneficial to them. Anything they negotiate would be to their own detriment, giving up something for the UK's benefit, and I think it is naïve to expect the EU to act in anything other than their own interests.


That presumes that Britain has nothing to offer the EU, which is manifestly untrue. Fisheries and access to British territorial waters is one big area where many countries in the EU have an interest in access. The established financial section in the City of London is a huge benefit being within the EU for many large banks and other institutions and funds. Britain has things to offer the EU, not as much as 27 other countries granted (obviously) but still the idea that any deal will harm the EU isn't true. Really the argument rests on the fact that many other member states are unhappy with the EU and might think to leave if Britain makes a success of this, which is nothing to do with Britain at all.


Also worth noting that as a "third country" Britain is currently in 100% regulatory alignment with the EU. Right now our standards are their standards. There's little grounds for disagreement on the basis that we do things differently when our businesses currently operate to EU standards.
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Re: Brexit

Postby cmsellers » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:29 pm

Marcuse wrote:All this puts in a strange light the little tidbit of information that percolated into my consciousness from the BBC website; Cambodia has tariff free access to the EU single market and has since 2012. Weird right? I don't know the full details of this deal, but it seems to me that if the EU can manage to arrange this for a complete third country with very different labour and human rights standards, it should be easier (but not, I concede, easy) to arrange this with a current member who wishes to leave the political union project but continues to wish to have close ties and trading links.

Where did this sudden faith in the EU doing the right thing come from, Marc?

But seriously, I think there's a number of things going on. I assumed Cambodia was part of what proved to be a different trade agreement between the EU and third world. I'd heard it was basically the EU being charitable to a bunch of countries who don't trade much with the EU anyways and which used to be EU member colonies, while Wikipedia claims it's to prevent them suing at the WTO.

I'd say you could try a hard Brexit and a WTO challenge, but I'm pretty sure the EU would eat any penalties the WTO imposes to dissuade anyone else from leaving. And it probably matters that the EU is Britain's largest trading partner and Britain is a major trading partner of the EU. It's easy to make concessions to trading partners who don't matter, harder to make concessions to one who do.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Askias » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:45 pm

Marcuse wrote:I'm saying that the issue with being able to negotiate tariff free access to the single market for anything was stated to be counter to the sacrosanct "four freedoms" and therefore not even up for negotiation.

I think you're confusing tariff-free access with free movement of goods. The latter will only be granted alongside the other three freedoms, the former can and has been the result of trade agreements, or the GSP.

Marcuse wrote:It's more so that the concept of negotiating access to the Single Market as a third country is either labyrinthian to the point of uselessness

International agreements are hard, Marcuse. I work with tax agreements which are bookmarkers compared to trade agreements and between EU member states they took years to agree. There was NEVER going to be a true trade agreement done in two years, not because of the EU's system (which doesn't help matters), but because no two countries would have managed that. The EU is slower than individual countries. The only issue was what kind of transition both parties were willing to accept, and how much they were willing to commit upfront.

Marcuse wrote:Fisheries and access to British territorial waters is one big area where many countries in the EU have an interest in access. The established financial section in the City of London is a huge benefit being within the EU for many large banks and other institutions and funds.

Several EU member states would be very willing to cede the fishing grounds if it meant locking the City out. My own financial minister is throwing out tax gifts to convince London's institutions to move here after Brexit. The VNO-NCW bragged in the paper 'the counter' was 'over a hundred'.

The UK will respond in kind with tax measures and regulatory shortcuts. After Brexit, we are not partners, we are rivals, and I think all parties at the table realize that. [Edit: I mean, we're rivals now. Inter-EU struggles over these things are common. But the EU institutions actively fight it when it happens between ourselves. They will not in this case.]

Marcuse wrote:Also worth noting that as a "third country" Britain is currently in 100% regulatory alignment with the EU. Right now our standards are their standards. There's little grounds for disagreement on the basis that we do things differently when our businesses currently operate to EU standards.

Completely true. But I don’t see the UK signing on to follow and enforce all EU regulations in the future, either temporarily or permanently EEA style. I don’t truly consider that a good idea either, and neither will you, but without it, the fact that the UK has the same rules now (which they are obligated to until either an agreement is signed or 29 March rolls around) is meaningless.

cmsellers wrote: I'd heard it was basically the EU being charitable to a bunch of countries who don't trade much with the EU anyways and which used to be EU member colonies, while Wikipedia claims it's to prevent them suing at the WTO.

AFAIK it’s not related to colonialism (and as I mentioned, the EU doesn't make the list, the UN Commitee does)…. But the collective past of the whole EU covers the better part of four continents, and while some in the list are questionable (like Nepal or Yemen), none have no colonial pages in their history. Whether it's charitable or exploitative depends on one's interpretation of economics.

As for the WTO, I think you’re referring to the most favored nation principle. The list is exempt from that principle (which if not, would let any country sue at the WTO for similar treatment) by decree of the WTO itself, again on the grounds that granting preferential treatment to developing nations would be a good thing.

The UK isn’t helped by that because hard Brexit is WTO rules. The UK would be entitled to the same treatment as any other third country, that is the EU being 'unreasonable'. The EU countries could also be vindictive and create provisions that indirectly target UK goods (they do it to each other all the time, while the EU Courts slap them down) or even do so directly, which could invite a WTO challenge, but ‘not giving a trade deal now’ is not a grounds for a WTO lawsuit. And the EU probably would eat any penalties, assuming the member states agree to.

cmsellers wrote:It's easy to make concessions to trading partners who don't matter, harder to make concessions to one who do.

Very true, I said as much. The EU doesn’t really care about Tuvalu’s import duties. Or Somalia’s. I believe they'd change it in a heartbeat, principles be damned, if the costs became tangible.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Pedgerow » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:41 pm

Theresa May's deal has been voted down by parliament, as widely predicted. Her reasonable compromise of a Remainer's Brexit was popular with basically nobody, and most people were only watching the result to see how big the margin of defeat would be.

It was the biggest defeat in history, apparently, losing by 202-432: a difference of 230 votes. The previous record was Ramsay Macdonald in 1924, whose government lost a vote by 166 votes, seemingly over refusing to denounce a communist who said soldiers shouldn't shoot striking workers. I, er, assume there's more to it than that, though, because that sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Anyway: Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government. Hilariously, before he had the chance to do this, Theresa May got to make a speech as soon as the results of the vote had been announced, and she said that if Labour asked for a motion of no confidence, her government would allow it to be debated, and then she said that even if they didn't, she would also happily make time for any other opposition parties who wanted to call for a motion of no confidence. It was a pretty sly stab at Jeremy Corbyn's notorious ineffectiveness as opposition leader, but he only went and blew it by actually calling for the vote instead of hiding and letting someone from the Green Party or Plaid Cymru bring down the government, for ultimate comedy value. The bastard.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives won't vote against themselves and the DUP have said they will vote in favour of the government, so it looks like the numbers won't work and nothing will change, and then we could be looking at No Deal, rather than the second referendum I'm so eager for.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:27 pm

I actually think a no-deal Brexit is incredibly unlikely. It's likely that Theresa May will get the mandate to go back and renegotiate something, and actually if a no deal Brexit does become the only option then I think popular support for a second referendum will be high enough that one will happen. Already many of May's allies support one in that eventuality, and I think she'll move for one if negotiations do fail - don't forget, she did actually campaign for Remain. Further, even if their leader won't go for it, the majority of the Labour Party and its MPs would definitely be in favour of it (and Corbyn himself is probably fickle enough that he will eventually back one if his party get loud enough, although it is increasingly seeming the case that his secretly being pro-Brexit is, next to his disdain toward Jews, one of the only one of his principles he'll actually stick to).

To be clear, I think that if there is a workable deal that parliament do vote in favour of, then the result of the original referendum should be respected, as that was the expected outcome of a Leave vote. But if no deal is the only outcome, I think it's entirely reasonable to let the public express their opinion in light of the new circumstances.
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