AuthorTopic: BREXIT! The FUN Begins!  (Read 6630 times)

Offline Surly1

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Re: 🌍 Brexit latest: I'm confused... what just happened?
« Reply #60 on: December 15, 2018, 10:38:40 AM »
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-46551986

Brexit latest: I'm confused... what just happened?
By Rob Watson UK political correspondent, BBC World Affairs Unit

I wish to hell I understood this better. To  the extent that I understand, if the current trends continue, the due date will result in a "hard" Brexit. Or perhaps May could go to Brussels hat in hand and beg for forgiveness. Apparently the Eurotypes are ill inclined to make any concessions.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: BREXIT! The FUN Begins!
« Reply #61 on: December 15, 2018, 10:47:33 AM »
My Australian crypto mentor explained it this way.

The British couldn't organize a root in a brothel.

Apparently this is an old Australian saying.
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Offline RE

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🌍 Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn tables Theresa May no-confidence motion
« Reply #62 on: December 18, 2018, 12:45:51 AM »
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46599895

Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn tables Theresa May no-confidence motion


Related Topics

    Brexit

Media captionTheresa May announces Brexit vote date

Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a motion of no confidence in Theresa May, after she said MPs would not vote on her Brexit deal until the week of 14 January.

The PM had delayed the vote from last week, admitting she was set to lose.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn said on Monday it was unacceptable for MPs to wait a month to vote, adding the PM had led the UK into a "national crisis".

But No 10 sources told the BBC the government would not make time for the no-confidence vote.

Ministers would not "go along with silly political games", they added.

    Brexit: A really simple guide
    Reality Check: How could new referendum work?
    Kuenssberg: Don't forget there is actually a deal

Mr Corbyn tabled the motion calling on MPs to declare they have "no confidence in the prime minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straightaway" on the Brexit deal.

The motion focuses on Mrs May personally, rather than the government.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the motion could have been embarrassing for Mrs May, but as things stood, ministers would not allow time for it to be debated.
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She said No 10 had effectively "batted the ball back to Labour to see if they have the guts" to call for a vote of no confidence in the government as a whole.

Unlike a vote targeting the PM, a motion of no confidence in the government could bring about an early general election if it is supported by a majority of MPs.
Media captionJeremy Corbyn wants MPs to get a Brexit deal vote before Christmas

The SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have tried to force Labour to bring about that situation, by trying to amend Mr Corbyn's motion.

But Mr Corbyn said his aim in tabling the motion was to put pressure on her to have a vote on her Brexit deal this week.

Mrs May's Brexit deal sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU - on 29 March 2019 - and includes a declaration on the outline of the future relations between the UK and the EU.

But the deal only comes into force if both parliaments approve it.

Mrs May told MPs they would have the chance to vote on the deal she negotiated with Brussels in the third week of January.
A 'wasted' month

Mr Corbyn said by then a month would have been wasted since the original 11 December vote was postponed, with "not a single word renegotiated and not a single reassurance given".

"The deal is unchanged and is not going to change," he said.

"The House must get on with the vote and move on to consider the realistic alternatives."

However, Mr Corbyn came under fire from other opposition parties for limiting his no-confidence motion to the prime minister.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "Labour tabling a motion just in the PM rather than in the entire government begs the question, which Tory do they want to see as PM?"

And Nigel Dodds, of Northern Ireland's DUP, which has propped up the Conservative government since June 2017, said: "We are not interested in the parliamentary antics or play-acting of the Labour Party."

But Mr Corbyn told reporters late on Monday: "We haven't failed to trigger any process. It's this government that is denying Parliament the right to vote on this process, that's why I tabled the motion."
Media captionJeremy Corbyn: May taking shambolic government to new level

Mrs May appeared to have the support of pro-Brexit backbench critics who last week failed in a bid to oust her as Tory leader.

One of them, Steve Baker, said: "Eurosceptic Conservatives are clear that we accept the democratic decision of our party to have confidence in Theresa May as PM. We will vote against Labour in any confidence motion."

In other Brexit-related news:

    The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford was granted an emergency debate on Brexit for Tuesday, having said Parliament needed to "take control of the situation and find a solution"
    Theresa May rejected reports she was taking advice from predecessor David Cameron on what to do in the event of a Brexit deadlock in Parliament
    More than 60 MPs from various parties wrote to the PM urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit, saying it would do "unnecessary economic damage" to manufacturers
    Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said Brexit might have to be delayed if the UK submitted an "entirely new" withdrawal proposal

In a Commons statement, Mrs May said MPs would resume the debate - halted last week - in the week of 7 January. The "meaningful" vote is due to take place the following week.
Media captionPM on EU: "There is no plot to keep us in backstop."

Mrs May told MPs: "It is now only just over 14 weeks until the UK leaves the EU and I know many members of this House are concerned that we need to take a decision soon."

She said she had won fresh guarantees at last week's EU summit over measures to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and she hoped to secure additional "political and legal assurances" in the coming weeks.

Q&A: The Irish border Brexit backstop

Earlier on Monday, an EU spokesman said it had provided the "clarifications" requested on the contentious issue of the Northern Ireland border backstop and "no further meetings were foreseen".
'Parliamentary shenanigans'

By Laura Kuenssberg, BBC political editor

Keeping up? I don't blame if you if it all seems like procedural nonsense. And frankly, you might not be completely wrong.

But what it suggests is that despite widespread frustration on all sides, Jeremy Corbyn is so far stopping short of taking a real shot at toppling May's administration, and is unlikely to do so unless, and until, he thinks he can win.

For her part, Theresa May is unlikely to budge on her plan, unless and until she is forced to do so.

To the immense irritation of both their supporters and their rivals, even though the Brexit clock is running down, neither of the main party leaders are willing to take the kind of radical move that might unblock the gridlock.
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Offline RE

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🌍 Monumental defeat for Brexit sparks chaos
« Reply #63 on: January 16, 2019, 03:18:26 AM »
This is going to be hilarious for the next month.  ;D

RE

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Offline RE

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🌍 The British Parliament’s Day of Magical Brexit Thinking
« Reply #64 on: January 30, 2019, 02:03:51 AM »
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/brexit-parliament-sends-may-back-to-brussels-with-little-time-and-an-unclear-mandate.html

The Slatest
The British Parliament’s Day of Magical Brexit Thinking

By Joshua Keating
Jan 29, 20195:18 PM


Pro-EU and pro-Brexit protesters discuss the vote and ongoing political processes as they demonstrate near to the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday in London.
Leon Neal/Getty Images

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There may not be any good outcomes for Brexit at this point, but the British Parliament at least had several semi-coherent ways forward this month. It could have approved the deal Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with EU leaders—but Parliament rejected that two weeks ago. It could have kicked May out and started with a new prime minister, but it didn’t do that either. With the clock ticking down until March 29, when Britain is scheduled to exit the EU whether a new deal has been negotiated or not, it basically had three remaining options: Accept the inevitability of a no-deal Brexit, hold a new referendum on whether to go through with Brexit at all, or ask the EU for more time to negotiate something else.

Parliament decided it didn’t want to do any of those, either.

On Tuesday, May put forward a neutral motion designed to allow discussion on the steps forward for Brexit, allowing members of Parliament to propose amendments expressing their preferences on that path forward. Speaker John Bercow allowed votes on seven of those amendments. (If you haven’t been watching, Bercow alone has made these debates into thrilling and hilarious TV.) The House of Commons voted down a Labour Party motion that would allow for debate on alternative ideas, including a new public vote or a permanent customs union with the EU. It also rejected several amendments that would have instructed May to ask for an extension of the Brexit deadline if she’s unable to get her plan approved.

The House approved a nonbinding amendment rejecting the idea of a no-deal Brexit. And in the most-watched vote of the day, it approved an amendment from Conservative MP Graham Brady that requires May’s “Irish backstop” to be replaced with vaguely defined “alternative arrangements.” (The backstop is a controversial provision in the original deal that would keep the U.K. in a customs union with Europe, at least initially, in order to prevent the imposition of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.)

The tl;dr of all this is that May is going to Brussels to try to solve a problem she hasn’t been able to solve for the last two years, and now she has only two months. Also, the EU has already rejected the idea of reopening negotiations. Despite the passage of the amendment rejecting a no-deal Brexit, that scenario probably became more likely on Tuesday.

Not surprisingly, markets didn’t react well:

A group of Conservative Party MPs—both Brexiteers and Remainers—see a light at the end of the tunnel in what’s being called the “Malthouse Compromise.” What sounds like a particularly dull Sherlock Holmes story is actually a plan, named after housing minister Kit Malthouse, that involves May negotiating with Brussels to replace the Irish backstop with something more palatable to Brexiteers who worry the backstop would lock Britain indefinitely into a customs union with Europe. The replacement would rely on technology to inspect goods for compliance with EU standards as they cross the border, without need for customs posts. (Important caveat: This technology probably doesn’t exist yet.) If May can’t get that deal, Plan B is a “managed no deal,” where Britain would ask the EU to extend its transition period to allow it to plan for a complete divorce.

The British government has often been accused of kicking the can down the road when it comes to Brexit. But with the no-deal deadline looming, it’s now basically kicking it directly into a wall.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: 🌍 The British Parliament’s Day of Magical Brexit Thinking
« Reply #65 on: January 30, 2019, 07:55:24 AM »
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/brexit-parliament-sends-may-back-to-brussels-with-little-time-and-an-unclear-mandate.html

The Slatest
The British Parliament’s Day of Magical Brexit Thinking

By Joshua Keating
Jan 29, 20195:18 PM


Pro-EU and pro-Brexit protesters discuss the vote and ongoing political processes as they demonstrate near to the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday in London.
Leon Neal/Getty Images

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There may not be any good outcomes for Brexit at this point, but the British Parliament at least had several semi-coherent ways forward this month. It could have approved the deal Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with EU leaders—but Parliament rejected that two weeks ago. It could have kicked May out and started with a new prime minister, but it didn’t do that either. With the clock ticking down until March 29, when Britain is scheduled to exit the EU whether a new deal has been negotiated or not, it basically had three remaining options: Accept the inevitability of a no-deal Brexit, hold a new referendum on whether to go through with Brexit at all, or ask the EU for more time to negotiate something else.

Parliament decided it didn’t want to do any of those, either.

On Tuesday, May put forward a neutral motion designed to allow discussion on the steps forward for Brexit, allowing members of Parliament to propose amendments expressing their preferences on that path forward. Speaker John Bercow allowed votes on seven of those amendments. (If you haven’t been watching, Bercow alone has made these debates into thrilling and hilarious TV.) The House of Commons voted down a Labour Party motion that would allow for debate on alternative ideas, including a new public vote or a permanent customs union with the EU. It also rejected several amendments that would have instructed May to ask for an extension of the Brexit deadline if she’s unable to get her plan approved.

The House approved a nonbinding amendment rejecting the idea of a no-deal Brexit. And in the most-watched vote of the day, it approved an amendment from Conservative MP Graham Brady that requires May’s “Irish backstop” to be replaced with vaguely defined “alternative arrangements.” (The backstop is a controversial provision in the original deal that would keep the U.K. in a customs union with Europe, at least initially, in order to prevent the imposition of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.)

The tl;dr of all this is that May is going to Brussels to try to solve a problem she hasn’t been able to solve for the last two years, and now she has only two months. Also, the EU has already rejected the idea of reopening negotiations. Despite the passage of the amendment rejecting a no-deal Brexit, that scenario probably became more likely on Tuesday.

Not surprisingly, markets didn’t react well:

A group of Conservative Party MPs—both Brexiteers and Remainers—see a light at the end of the tunnel in what’s being called the “Malthouse Compromise.” What sounds like a particularly dull Sherlock Holmes story is actually a plan, named after housing minister Kit Malthouse, that involves May negotiating with Brussels to replace the Irish backstop with something more palatable to Brexiteers who worry the backstop would lock Britain indefinitely into a customs union with Europe. The replacement would rely on technology to inspect goods for compliance with EU standards as they cross the border, without need for customs posts. (Important caveat: This technology probably doesn’t exist yet.) If May can’t get that deal, Plan B is a “managed no deal,” where Britain would ask the EU to extend its transition period to allow it to plan for a complete divorce.

The British government has often been accused of kicking the can down the road when it comes to Brexit. But with the no-deal deadline looming, it’s now basically kicking it directly into a wall.
Support our journalism

Help us continue covering the news and issues important to you—and get ad-free podcasts and bonus segments, members-only content, and other great benefits.

Brexit Europe United Kingdom

There is a reasonable solution to this whole issue. If the EU decided to let members have some say about immigration into their own countries, it would completely remove the primary driver of the whole Brexit movement. Brexit is a poison pill for the whole EU, not just Britain. Too bad TPTB in the EU are delusional about borders. There is a middle way here, that hasn't been explored, and probably won't be...but it's unfortunate.
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Offline JasonHep

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Brexit: No Reverse Gear for the EU
« Reply #66 on: February 01, 2019, 02:26:25 AM »


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Brexit: No Reverse Gear for the EU




 


 



 






 


The daily Brexit spectacle in this country grows ever more surreal. Since Theresa May had her EU leaving agreement ground into the tarmac like a discarded cigarette butt by MPs last week, and then narrowly avoided a vote of no-confidence launched by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the complexity of the situation has exploded exponentially.


 


Politicians have had the best part of two years to find a solution to walking away from the European Union, which is what a majority of people voted to do, but now find themselves set back to square one. This time however there’s only 10 weeks left on the clock, which perhaps explains all the headless chickens running around.


 


Politics at the national level is usually mostly froth and can be safely ignored while more interesting pursuits are followed – after all, during the good times, aren’t politicians merely surfers catching the waves of popular opinion? Remember, these are the good times, for now.


 


But then there are times when serious underlying stresses in society and the economy have built up to a point where they threaten to cause devastating earthquakes. This is when politicians are put to the test – and usually found wanting. You expect them to solve serious national problems, but all they can do is spout platitudes and sound bites. It’s as if they are simply not designed to do the right job – like buying a dishwasher and expecting it to heat your dinner; what you get instead is a blocked outlet pipe and no dinner.


 


The political and social phenomena that arise at these times of stress have two aspects, that is they are both important and unimportant at the same time. I see them as being ‘unportent’.


 


Brexit, for example, is unimportant at face value. It is simply a country reconfiguring its trading arrangements into a more efficient format from the point of view of its people. True, there will likely be a period of adjustment when some prices of goods will be higher and some services could be unavailable, but demand and supply will iron out these problems in the medium term, like they always do. These are minor issues; Europe isn’t physically going anywhere, Britain isn’t going anywhere either, we’ll still be able to drink French wine and eat Italian cheese and go on holiday to the Alps … what’s the problem?


 


In fact, compared to the real crises of out time, such as the insect apocalypse, decaying infrastructure, mass mental breakdown etc. Brexit is hardly even worthy of consideration. Of course, the media have ways of amplifying the trivial and ignoring the important, so the whole situation may seem like a catastrophe if you get your information from those sources, but that doesn’t actually make it so.


 


At the same time, while it may not be important from a whole systems point of view, it can be important to the people within the system affected. For instance, given that the EU is both undemocratic when it comes to the important policy decisions, and a consolidator of centralised power, it matters a great deal to Brits whether or not their children will be conscripted into some future Euro army and forced to fight Russia for its resources at the behest of ‘chicken hawk’ politicians in Brussels, Paris and Washington.


 


Thus the whole Brexit saga is both unimportant and important at the same time i.e. unportent. I suspect unportent things will crop up with greater regularity as humanity continues to slide down the depletion curve of easy-to-get at energy sources.


 


Governing parties not fit for purpose?


It’s curious that Europe has seen the rise of a wave of new populist parties either swept into power, or finding themselves in prominent positions in coalitions over the last handful of years, and yet Britain still clings to the two-party tribal warfare system.


 


Italy has the 5 Star Movement, which is now forms a partner in government, and Germany has the AfD (Alternative for Germany) which has stolen support away from Angela Merkel, while Sweden has the Sweden Democrats, which were just yesterday denied a place in central government despite coming within a whisker of doing so. All of these so-called populist parties are derided in the mainstream media and described in varying tones of invective. 


 


It’s true that most of them are right-wing, driven primarily by concerns about unchecked immigration, but there’s no particular reason why they couldn’t be left-wing populists (apart from the fact that left-wing parties are currently preoccupied by issues of ‘social justice’ and are unable to coherently formulate policies that people might vote for). 


 


Britain, of course, has UKIP (the United Kingdom Independence Party) whose raison d'être was to force a vote on leaving the EU – something it can be said to have achieved. But due to the ‘winner takes it all’ system of democracy over here it was never destined to achieve great power. Instead it merely managed to exert enough political leverage to shift the Conservatives away from their cosy relationship with big business and extract the promise of a referendum. The fact that David Cameron thought British voters could be railroaded into voting to remain in the EU turned out to be a critical error on his part.


 


But, for the main part, British people are either Labour or Conservative voters, and these two parties have enjoyed a joint monopoly on power for over a hundred years, if you set aside the National Government of the inter-war years.


 


America is in a similar situation, with the Republicans and the Democrats the only two parties worthy of consideration for the majority of voters. While the two-party system gives an advantage in terms of stability, it is looking less suitable in the modern age with all its myriad power struggles and fragmented constituencies. Indeed, perhaps there's some kind of Anglo Saxon ‘two tribes’ mentality playing out here.


 


So what gives? Both parties in both countries are internally conflicted, with the neoliberal element in each having had the upper hand for the past four decades, which coincidentally I’m sure, is the same time period over which the financialisation and globalisation of the world economy took place.


 


During this period, money has dominated politics, because parties could woo big business with the promise of rewards in the form of contracts, reduced regulation and a lower tax burden … just as soon as they got into power. They could easily do this because, once in power, governments in industrialised countries have had the privilege of being able to create money out of thin air without somehow having to earn it.


 


This worked well, up to a point. After conventional oil production peaked in 2005 and the real economy stopped growing, it became an awful lot harder to service all the debt that had been built up, leading to the financial heart attack of 2008. Since then, the global economy has been kept alive as ‘first responder’ central bankers performed CPR and mainlined dizzying amounts of ‘money’, i.e. debt, into the languid white arm of the economy in the hope that the corpse would get up off the floor and start walking again. So far, apart from a few twitches and convulsions, it’s still lying there.


 


With dismal growth, the spoils of financialisation and globalism have become a lot scarcer. Those with access to what remains are fleeing to their citadels and pulling up the drawbridge behind them, while the vast majority of us are left as ‘tax donkeys’, working two or three jobs and dealing with hidden inflation, punitive regulations and reduced prospects. Life just ain’t the same as it used to be.


 


Instead of an easy life we get Donald Trump, Brexit and the Gilets Jaunes – all manifestations of ‘the people’ of industrialised countries trying to claw back some of the wealth and resources they feel are theirs. Can't we just back up a little and go back to simpler systems that redistribute the wealth a bit more evenly?


 


It turns out, however, that there is no reverse gear in over-developed financialised economies. They are built on the concept of exponentially expanding economic growth – something that is neither possible nor, arguably, desirable. To stop growing is to die and consolidation of financial power is a one-way kind of thing. 


 


Perhaps this is why the political classes are doing everything in their power to overturn Brexit and to impeach Trump and fob off the Gilets Jaunes with delays to tax hikes. They may well be successful in all of their attempts but it doesn’t change the dynamic forces behind the scenes that led to the popular rebellions in the first place. As one Gilet Jaune protester succinctly put it "We don't want Macron's crumbs, we want the whole baguette."


 


But are ‘the people’ right?


Most people in these damp islands have a vague and confused idea about the EU. Like Marmite, you are supposed to either love it or hate it. Those in favour of it generally have a ‘rainbows and unicorns’ vision of a benign distant force for good that occasionally arrives on our shores to disgorge its cornucopia of cash, and give our crooked politicians a well-deserved kick up the backside. Others have the polar opposite view, imagining Brussels to be a nest of villainous meddlers who spend day and night concocting schemes to straighten bananas, ban toasters and forbid the use of feet and inches.


 


The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, the EU has had some success in forcing Britain to clean up its beaches and make it easier to study abroad, and the last time I checked there were still bent bananas in my local grocery store being sold by the pound.


 


Fans of the EU also like to point to various initiatives and projects that are funded by the bloc, claiming that these would never have been undertaken without EU funding. While this may be true, many of these projects could be considered ‘white elephants’. Not long after the EU has built them, cut the ribbon, erected their large blue “This project was funded by the EU” signs and buggered off, it’s usually the local community that is forced to pay for their upkeep and eventual decommisioning with their local taxes.


 


One such example is an industrial heritage mining site near where I live in Cornwall that was part-funded by the EU and given World Heritage status when it opened in 2012. Not only have I never visited it, I’ve never even heard of anyone visiting it, and looking at its website today the ‘Latest Happenings’ section hasn’t been updated in nine months.  Its Wikipedia page is four sentences long (by comparison, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat entry has 8,000 words) – to be honest, it’s not even very good at being a white elephant.


 


However, mention the EU to some of the locals around here and they won’t talk about prestige projects like the Heartlands Heritage Mining Centre, they’ll talk about how Brussels devastated the local fishing industry and destroyed their children’s future. They will tell you how an army of trucks awaits at the docks at dawn each morning to load up the contents of the fishing boats and immediately ship it off to continental Europe, while their own families are forced to shop at Poundland and eat frozen fish fingers. It’s narratives like this that may have had a hand in Cornwall’s decision to vote ‘No’ in the referendum, although they were roundly mocked for doing so, called ‘stupid’ and other less than pleasant names.


 


The kind of disconnect between two entirely different versions of reality throws a sharp light on the struggle between the winners and losers in the globalised economy.


 


As I finish off writing this, it’s Sunday morning and the newspapers are saying that a group of MPs is planning either to sabotage the Brexit process and keep the UK in the EU, or to push through some kind of dismal deal that will effectively sell off the country for a fistful of euros. It would be a mistake to do so. The forces that have been unleashed are not about to meekly get back into Pandora’s box and agree to shut up.


 


EU elections are coming up in May that will likely see a populist right-wing ‘anti EU’ bloc forming at the very centre of political-power, and with Eurozone industrial production and growth plummeting it won’t be long before Europe enters a steep recession – and by then it won’t be just France that goes up in flames. To try and prevent this, ECB president Mario Draghi is doing the only thing he knows how to do – cranking up the money printing press – just in time to feed the thousands of moribund ‘zombie’ corporations dotted across Europe that can only survive if free money is hosed their way. 


 


The banking industry isn’t looking too stable either, with German banks – led by Deutsch – losing most of their value, Italian ones already starting to implode and Denmark’s biggest bank implicated in one of the biggest money laundering scandals in banking history …


 


 


Meanwhile, EU figureheads Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are both spent political forces, the latter unable to show his boyish face in public, preferring instead to address the hordes of angry left-behinds from his golden Élysée Palace. Italy’s deputy PM, Matteo Salvini, is openly trolling permadrunk EC President Jean Claude Juncker, and Hungarian pariah PM Viktor Orban is the kind of political ghoul who must give the Euro power elite nightmares.


 


Will the UK be able to break away from this sinking ship in time before the acrid smell of smoke from burning capitals wafts across the English Channel to London, polluting the rarefied air of the political bubble in Westminster? Perhaps the smell will simultaneously put the virtue-signalling Islington Guardianistas off their flat whites and the money-grubbing City speculators off their glasses of Chablis?


 



 


Who knows, stranger things have happened.


 



 



 



 



 




 



 



 



 



 




 



 



 



 



 




 



 



 



 



 




 




 


“There's more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.” John Steinbeck

Offline RE

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🌍 George III Lost America. Theresa May Could Lose the UK Over Brexit
« Reply #67 on: February 03, 2019, 12:01:45 AM »
https://www.thedailybeast.com/george-iii-lost-america-theresa-may-could-lose-the-united-kingdom-over-brexit

George III Lost America. Theresa May Could Lose the United Kingdom Over Brexit.


Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero/The Daily Beast

Brexit has shown the world a British parliament and a political class that resembles a ship of fools without a captain.
Clive Irving
02.01.19 10:59 PM ET

Britain is locked in the most serious peacetime crisis in its modern history, the increasingly desperate attempt to secure the nation’s orderly departure from the European Union.

Brexit has shown the world a British parliament and a political class that resembles a ship of fools without a captain. One veteran of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet said that voters are looking at parliament “with something rather near to contempt.”

We speak of the oldest parliamentary democracy in the Western world. Since 1721 it has seen 74 prime ministers of highly varied competence and backgrounds but few if any as incapable of steering the country through perilous times as the current incumbent, Theresa May, who could end up being compared to George III because of the consequences of her ineptitude.

The ultimate test of a prime minister in a crisis is always the same—how well do they measure up to the moment?

The answer to that depends on a combination of skills. Quite often they are skills that politicians do not find in themselves until they are called upon by destiny to prove them. Different times need different abilities. Sometimes a prime minister who at the time seems mediocre is later reassessed and seen to have been more consequential than anyone realized because he was overshadowed by a predecessor.

In British history there is a classic instance of this: In 1945 Winston Churchill was rudely and unexpectedly removed from office in a general election and replaced by the leader of the Labour Party, Clement Attlee.

Churchill, the country’s greatest ever war leader, was contemptuous of his successor whom he described as “a modest little man with a lot to be modest about.”
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It turned out that Attlee (who was deputy prime minister during the war) was precisely what the nation needed, not only to get through years of austerity imposed by the near-bankruptcy created by the war effort, but as the parliamentary leader with the skills to re-engineer British society and provide its people with a comprehensive safety net including, notably, free universal health care for life.

So here were two men equally indispensable in their abilities, one to lead and the other to heal. In each case their mastery reflected their character, Churchill who was able to project himself as the living embodiment of a great national narrative of obdurate resistance and victory and Attlee as the quiet but systematic architect of change.

And today Britain has Theresa May.

It is too generous to say that May has had trouble measuring up the to moment. She has trouble explaining what the moment actually is—the utterance that will forever be her epitaph in the history of political discourse will be “Brexit means Brexit.”

Imagine Churchill saying “war means war.” OK, let’s be reasonable. When it comes to oratory nobody can hold a candle to Churchill. Every prime minister since Churchill has carefully avoided getting into that kind of contest.

But when the qualities of leadership are under scrutiny it’s important to understand that Churchill was as courageously decisive in private as he was in public.

    THE DARKEST HOURS
    The Torture of Being Winston Churchill’s Son
    Clive Irving

There is a passage in Andrew Roberts’ sweeping new biography, Churchill, Walking With Destiny, describing a moment where the prime minister speaks ad lib and without leaving his own record of what was, literally, one of the statements that saved Britain. He was speaking to men not as resolved as himself who needed to believe in him as an army needs to believe in its generals.

It came in the early summer of 1940 when Churchill, who had taken over only a week before, was resisting attempts to negotiate with Hitler. He told his new cabinet: “I have thought carefully in these last days whether it was part of my duty to consider entering into negotiations with That Man. But it was idle to think that, if we tried to make peace now, we should get better terms than if we fought it out. The Germans would demand our fleet—that would be called ‘disarmament’—our naval bases and much else. We should become a slave state… If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”

No official minute was taken of that statement—Roberts quotes it as recorded later in the diary of a cabinet member.

What is new now is that Theresa May brings to the office a background like no other before her. She is the first person to hold that office who is by both experience and instincts a bureaucrat.

Her rise to the Tory party leadership owed much to her success as a bureaucrat. She ran a government department that was so large and so challenging to master that some prime ministers were known to have deliberately given it to rivals in order to destroy their careers: the Home Office, a Whitehall edifice that could perhaps be compared to a nightmare package embracing the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Homeland Security.

She was put there by David Cameron, a prime minister who was himself notoriously bored by administrative details and, as his decision to hold a national referendum on Brexit demonstrated, not too smart at judging outcomes.

May survived with a mixed record at the Home Office. She acquired something of the reputation of a control freak, devoted to organizational charts and preferring to run the department through a small and tight-knit clique of loyal aides and Tory Party law-and-order zealots.

Churchill, famous for asking for opinions “on one half sheet of notepaper,” said that a camel is what you end up with if you ask a committee to design a horse. May was fond of setting up committees and official inquiries to avoid taking action and produced many camels. One of her former cabinet ministers despaired that “it’s a fantastic skill, her ability to do nothing.”
Alas, because May is a bureaucrat she has the bureaucrat’s particular gift of killing language. The English language, so rich in its ability to move people, dies in her mouth.

Later she managed to swat away responsibility for an ugly debacle during her watch. West Indians who immigrated to Britain in the 1950s were threatened with mass deportation because they had no record of legally arriving—then it turned out that the Home Office itself had discarded the documentation.

On the face of it her bureaucratic cast of mind should have been an asset when facing the complexities involved in negotiating Britain out of all the political, legal and commercial attachments to the European Union. After all, the country was not facing a lethal existential threat. This was a self-initiated unraveling of laws and treaties.

But the EU is the world’s largest assembly of bureaucrats, a characteristic often damned by the pro-Brexit campaign, as well as by more reasoned critics.

A negotiation of this complexity had never been attempted by anyone before. It needed a team that combined a complete command of administrative detail, a shrewd sense of the national interest, an equally shrewd assessment of the opposing interests, and an ability to understand the difference between bottom-line economic interests and the EU’s loftier moral values as an alliance committed to protecting constitutional democracy in a continent with an unhappy history of autocracies.

This was a tough deal for anyone to successfully achieve. But any leader who was able not only to pull it off but to sell it to their people—in the case of the UK to a people divided by a referendum margin as close as 52 to 48 percent—needed to have something else. They had to be able to bring eloquence and vision to their argument.

Alas, because May is a bureaucrat she has the bureaucrat’s particular gift of killing language. The English language, so rich in its ability to move people, dies in her mouth.

The closest she has ever come to articulating the case for the Brexit deal she negotiated that set up a 21-month transition period for achieving a new free trade agreement with the EU (the deal that she is again stuck with trying to amend and resuscitate despite that fact that the EU has warned it will not renegotiate) was to say, repetitively, “It is in the national interest for everyone to get behind it.”

Basically when the narrow majority of Brits voted for Brexit they voted for something that didn’t actually exist. There was not even the vaguest outline of the real impact that Brexit would have on British life. Its proponents, even if they had any sense of the outcome (which is doubtful) weren’t interested in pesky details. They were appealing to raw emotions, largely anti-immigrant xenophobia, not advancing a rational argument.

    ‘DODGIER THAN EVER’
    It’s Official: Brexit Campaign Cheated Its Way to Victory
    Jamie Ross

The Brexit deal that May presented to parliament went down in the biggest defeat any prime minister has suffered, 432 votes to 202.

All along she had been trying to reconcile elements that are not reconcilable: keeping the support of her party’s lunatic fringe that is undismayed by the prospect of a “no deal” exit that would bring extreme self-harm while also holding the loyalty of the center of the party—and doing this while satisfying the terms the EU is prepared to allow. (“Allow” is the realistic term because Britain has always been a supplicant.) At the same time she survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote that leaves her in power while seriously wounded and without a new deal that is likely to fly.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, is similarly ineffectual and unready to meet the leadership tests of his time. His party includes a rump of Brexiters and his cabinet is in thrall to fossilized Marxist ideas. His rhetorical skills are, if anything, less evident than May’s.

Given two clueless party leaders it often seems that all the politicians are overcome by the kind of helpless rapture that sent Thelma and Louise driving blissfully over the cliff.

In 1940 Churchill’s freedom of action was greatly helped by the fact that he did not have to bow to any party’s dictates. He was appointed prime minister without being leader of the Tory party—the leader remained his predecessor as prime minister, Neville Chamberlain. Uniquely, Churchill led a coalition of the Tory, Labour and Liberal parties at a time when none of those parties would probably have accepted him as their party leader.

As a result of this freedom he was able to isolate and negate the influence of the appeasers who did not like the prospect of choking in their own blood. He could and did appeal directly to the spirit of a parliament and a people who set aside partisan interests in favor of a higher purpose, victory that was by no means assured.

The irony now is that Brexiters represent only 15 percent of the 650 members of the House of Commons. A large majority is opposed to Britain crashing out of Europe without a deal. A prime minister not constrained by party loyalties could easily get support for a “soft” Brexit—meaning a measured transition from full membership to one that keeps the country in a permanent customs union without disruption.

Instead, by trying vainly to satisfy everyone May is satisfying nobody except people like the loony Little Englanders who say that such a deal would leave Britain as a “slave state.”

If they get their way May could well go down in history as the prime minister who lost the kingdom—the United Kingdom. Scotland wants nothing to do with Brexit and if it is imposed on them the Scottish parliament will probably vote to end the Acts of Union of 1707 that created the United Kingdom in order to leave them free to join the EU.

The implications are wider than that. Leaders in the European Union—including Germany’s Angela Merkel—are now fretting that the EU without Britain will be less able to clamp down on the kind of populist taste for autocrats that is afflicting Poland and Hungary.

George III went down in history as the king who lost America. Nobody in particular was held culpable for losing the empire—that was an inevitability of history that imposed its own logic and timing. If the United Kingdom becomes Little England (albeit including Wales and Northern Ireland) it will have reverted to the boundaries of the land it was in 40 A.D. when the Romans made a coherent colony out of a rabble of warring tribes. And this fiasco will be owned by a parliament that allowed a deranged minority to win and a prime minister who was never remotely equal to the greatest challenge of her time.

    RUDE BRITANNIA
    The Rise of Hateful Little England
    Clive Irving

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MIND CONTROL
How Fox News Pushes Trump to Make Every Bad Decision

No story has demonstrated the power of this unending Trump-Fox feedback loop like the partial government shutdown.
Matthew Gertz
Matthew Gertz
02.02.19 9:25 PM ET

President Donald Trump’s announcement last Friday that he would end the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history without securing funding from congressional Democrats for his long-promised border wall came after weeks of brutal headlines and sagging poll numbers.

But when Trump arose the following morning, he did not devote his time to convening his White House advisers to figure out what went wrong or reaching out to Republican congressional leaders to plot their next move.

Instead, he did the same thing he’s done on countless days of his administration: He turned on his television, tuned in to his favorite program, Fox & Friends, and started tweeting about what he saw.

For more than a year, I’ve studied this Trump-Fox feedback loop, the president’s habit of live-tweeting his favorite shows on the right-wing cable news network. I’ve tracked several hundred of the president’s often-hyperaggressive tweets back to particular segments on Fox News and its sister network, Fox Business, that caught the president’s eye.

Fox helped build Trump’s political brand and fuel his electoral rise, and in recent years has remade itself as a propaganda outlet in support of his presidency. Trump, in turn, has long been obsessed with the network. His worldview and decision making are shaped by the former network personalities with whom he has stocked his administration, the “Fox cabinet” of current stars he reaches out to for advice, and the hours of Fox programming he reportedly watches each day.

Having a superfan in the White House has given Fox outsized influence over both the news cycle and federal policy. The network’s efforts to infuriate its audience—over everything from NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem to a caravan of migrants slowly approaching the U.S. southern border—can trigger outraged presidential tweets, instantly turning the network’s particular fixations into national news.

And because Fox’s staff and guests are aware that Trump could be watching at any time, they often use the network’s platform to try to reach him directly, seeking to shape his decisions on political strategy, legal tactics, pardons, personnel, and more.
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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the nation in his first-prime address from the Oval Office of the White House on January 8, 2019 in Washington, DC. A partial shutdown of the federal government extended to 17 days following the president's demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall while Democrats have refused. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
Trump Channels Hannity and Fearmongers for the Wall
‘Fox & Friends’ Lashes Out: Ann Coulter Is ‘Off Her Rocker’
Trump Is Now Presiding Over the Longest Shutdown Ever

No story has demonstrated the power of this Trump-Fox feedback loop like the partial government shutdown.

Trump’s incessant craving for validation from the network’s conservative commentators triggered his initial refusal to sign any legislation funding the government that did not include money for a border wall, and then that need sustained his intransigence over the following weeks. His eventual cave shows the limitations of prioritizing the whims of right-wing infotainers during congressional negotiations. But there is no evidence Trump has learned anything from the crushing defeat, suggesting that he will continue trying to make policy with respect to the wall and other issues, on the basis of whether it pleases Fox hosts.

    DONNY & FRIENDS
    Even Fox News Doesn’t Think ‘Fox & Friends’ Is News
    Andrew Kirell

In September, I argued that Trump’s Fox affinity made a government shutdown inevitable. The same pattern kept playing out: House and Senate leaders would agree to a spending bill, Fox commentators would claim the bill betrayed the president’s base because it didn’t include wall funding, Trump would angrily tweet about the Fox segments and send Washington into chaos, and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan would have to talk him into supporting the legislation. With Trump publicly declaring that a shutdown was a “great political issue” and explicitly citing Fox hosts as his inspiration for the tactic, the situation seemed untenable.

Three months later, it finally came to a head. As the December deadline to renew government spending loomed, Fox personalities again began urging Trump to shut down the government rather than sign a spending bill that didn’t include money for the wall. Once again, Fox’s influence was matched against that of Republican congressional leaders, who warned the president that a shutdown would be a grave tactical mistake.

But this time, Fox News won.

    LIFE AFTER DEATH
    How the Cult of Roger Ailes Continues to Rule Fox News
    Matt Wilstein

When the White House signaled that it was backing away from its wall-funding demand, furious network commentators insisted that Trump reconsider and instead shut down the government. The calls were loudest on Fox & Friends, the president’s favorite morning cable show. “If there's not a shutdown,” declared co-host Steve Doocy, “he’s going to look like a loser.”

Goaded by those he typically counts on for support, Trump reportedly “seethed and panicked” about the criticism, and then took their advice.

The president’s propagandists were jubilant. As portions of the government shuttered and hundreds of thousands of federal employees worked without pay for weeks, Fox’s airwaves were filled with cheers for the president and exhortations for him to remain firm. The hosts gave little indication of Trump’s grave political peril—to the contrary, they urged the rest of his party to stick with him regardless of the consequences. “If this takes 150 days, I think the Republican Party needs to stand united with the president,” argued Sean Hannity.

Trump made clear throughout the shutdown that he was prioritizing the support of Fox’s hosts over all other considerations. He consulted with Hannity and Dobbs for strategic advice about how to handle the shutdown, gave a national address in which he ripped language from their shows, and showed up on Fox programs to make his pitch directly to their audiences.

And as federal workers missed paychecks and his poll numbers plummeted, the president kept his television turned to the fawning reports of his favorite network and his iPhone open to Twitter. Trump sent at least 60 tweets parroting the network’s programming over the course of the shutdown.

The president trumpeted the polls Fox cherry-picked to suggest he was winning the shutdown:

He cribbed statistics the network aired about “Walls Around The World”:

He claimed that “Only a Wall” could protect Americans from a caravan of migrants the network repeatedly reported on:

He pushed Fox’s attacks on congressional Democrats who refused to support wall funding:

And he promised Doocy that he wouldn’t “cave”:

Cozying up to Fox News may have made Trump president. But as a legislative strategy, it was a total failure. It proved impossible for Trump to simultaneously ensure the support of far-right media figures accountable only to their audience and make a deal that attracted Democratic votes.

Fox’s own personalities understood the dynamic at play: During one heated debate, political analyst Juan Williams declared that Hannity was one of the right-wing commentators “running the government.” And Republican senators knew it too: One told Axios that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s reported effort to try to end the stalemate with a major deal was impossible, saying, “Trump can withstand Ann Coulter. He can't lose Hannity and the rest.”

Hampered by these tensions, the president’s strategy eventually collapsed. With Democrats refusing to negotiate until he agreed to reopen the government, some federal workers beginning to revolt, and Republican senators on the verge of abandoning him, Trump finally gave in after 35 days, agreeing to reopen the government for three weeks while Congress attempts to negotiate an immigration package.

Trump’s decision to fold divided his Fox allies—even the hosts who had counseled the president on his shutdown strategy. Hannity offered a vigorous defense of his decision, arguing that “anyone out there” who is “thinking President Trump caved today, you don't really know the Donald Trump I know.” For Dobbs, however, the news was “a victory for Nancy Pelosi ... and to deny it is to try to escape from reality.”

But neither Dobbs nor the president appeared to hold a grudge—by Thursday morning, Trump was tweeting about the previous night’s episode of Dobbs’ show, using the Fox host’s talking points as evidence that a border wall is necessary. Based on that program, Trump argued that Republicans negotiating an immigration deal “are wasting their time” because Democrats will not provide money for the “DESPERATELY needed WALL.” “I’ve got you covered,” he ominously added.

That seemed to be a reference to Trump’s likely endgame: declaring a national emergency in order to divert previously appropriated federal funds to wall construction. Ever since Trump first suggested that he might take that step in early January, Fox hosts have been urging him to do it, claiming that, in Dobbs’ words, the “only way forward” is for Trump to “simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left in this country” and do so.

Republican congressional leaders keep warning Trump that declaring a national emergency is a terrible idea that won’t serve his ends, and up until now, he’s listened to him. But we’ve seen how this played out before. The president will continue to wallow in Fox’s programming, as night after night its hosts tell him that the declaration is his only way to win. And eventually, he will listen.

    Matthew Gertz
    @MattGertz
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🌍 Brexit Deadlock Continues as EU Rebuffs Theresa May’s Demands
« Reply #68 on: February 08, 2019, 02:21:17 AM »
The  Clown Show across the pond continues...

RE

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-07/may-is-said-to-seek-time-limit-on-contentious-brexit-backstop

economics
Brexit Deadlock Continues as EU Rebuffs Theresa May’s Demands
By Ian Wishart
and Jess Shankleman
February 7, 2019, 7:31 AM AKST Updated on February 7, 2019, 8:00 PM AKST

    PM is said to have asked EU for time limit to Brexit backstop
    EU refuses to compromise on post-Brexit Irish border measure

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Will May Leave Brussels Empty-Handed After Tusk `Hell' Jibe?

    Brexit Pressure Weighs on British Manufacturers
    Tusk: There's a 'Special Place in Hell' for Brexiteers Who Didn't Have a Plan

Will May Leave Brussels Empty-Handed After Tusk `Hell' Jibe?
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Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and her top lawyer will travel to Dublin on Friday as she races to forge a breakthrough with European leaders resisting changes to their Brexit plan.

Following a day of tense talks in Brussels on Thursday, May plans to dine with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday evening, while her attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, will meet counterpart Seamus Woulfe in the morning to discuss the contentious issue of the Irish border.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Seeks Escape From Brexit Backstop 'Trap'

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker on Feb. 7.
Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

On Thursday, May and senior EU officials set a new deadline in an attempt to break the impasse that threatens to push the U.K. crashing out of the bloc next month without an agreement. The two sides agreed their negotiating teams would get back round the table by the end of February for further talks.

With just 49 days to go until the U.K.’s scheduled departure from the EU, getting Varadkar on side will be crucial for May’s efforts to find a solution for the future of the Irish border that has become the biggest obstacle to a deal.
‘Do Everything’

May and her cabinet will spend the coming days meeting leading EU figures to convince them to change the divorce deal in a way that would be supported by a majority of politicians in the U.K. Parliament.

In London on Friday, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will host German Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU must “do everything” to avoid a no-deal Brexit. On Monday, U.K. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will meet with EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier for further talks.
EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier News Conference

Michel Barnier
Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

After U.K. parliamentarians last month rejected the agreement May brought back from Brussels in November, she is demanding changes to the so-called Irish border backstop arrangement. While the backstop was designed as an insurance policy to prevent a hard border on the divided island of Ireland, it’s also become the most contentious part of the divorce deal because it effectively keeps the U.K. bound to EU rules.
Time Limit

But, with the EU rebuffing May’s requests on Thursday, there’s no clear solution in sight. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told May he didn’t want to reopen their divorce deal, according to a U.K. official.

“We must secure legally binding changes to the withdrawal agreement to deal with the concern Parliament has over the backstop,” May told reporters in Brussels. “Taking back changes to the backstop, together with the other work we’re doing on workers’ rights and other issues, will deliver a stable majority in Parliament and that’s what I’ll continue to work for.”

According to three European officials, May asked several times for the EU to include a time limit on the backstop in a meeting with Juncker and Barnier on Thursday. They rejected the idea.
Down to the Wire

Another person, familiar with the U.K. side of the negotiations, had a different summary of the meeting. May raised all three options that she’s considering for changing the backstop: alternative arrangements including technological solutions; a time limit; and a unilateral exit clause. She didn’t express a preference for any of the three, the person said.

The deadlock raises the prospect of the negotiations going down to the wire. EU officials said there are currently no plans to arrange an emergency EU summit -- necessary if there are changes to the deal or if May asks for Brexit to be delayed -- before a scheduled gathering of leaders March 21-22.

That would be just a week before exit day, and would further fuel the sense of panic and despair among British and European businesses that are pouring resources into contingency measures they hope they’ll never have to use. A no-deal exit would plunge businesses into a legal limbo, snarling trade and damaging economies on both sides.
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🌍 Brexit chaos: Theresa May loses yet another Brexit vote
« Reply #69 on: February 15, 2019, 12:36:34 AM »
Meanwhile, across the Pond...

RE

https://www.vox.com/world/2019/2/14/18225098/brexit-theresa-may-parliament-vote-negotiations

Brexit chaos: Theresa May loses yet another Brexit vote
The hardline Brexiteers in her party have said they don’t like her approach, undercutting her (already weak) position with the European Union.
By Jen Kirbyjen.kirby@vox.com Feb 14, 2019, 4:50pm EST


UK Prime Minister Theresa May in February 2019. Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May asked Parliament earlier this week to give her a little more time to renegotiate part of her unpopular Brexit deal with the European Union.

Parliament just responded with a resounding “nope,” voting down the motion 303 to 258, and leaving the Brexit impasse as intractable as ever.

May’s defeat was mostly symbolic, and doesn’t change anything practically. But her loss was still remarkable — and yet, somehow, not all that surprising given the complete and utter shambles that the Brexit debate is in.

Most critically for the prime minister, the vote undercuts her pitch to the European Union that if it offers concessions on the Brexit deal — specifically, renegotiating the so-called “Irish backstop” — she’ll finally be able to rally enough support in Parliament to get a Brexit agreement passed.

But the defeat of her government’s motion — led by pro-Brexit members of her own Conservative Party, no less — made it clear that May is still struggling to get her party to back a Brexit deal and likely won’t be able to even if the EU were to offer some concessions.
This latest chaos shows the future of Brexit is as uncertain as ever

May’s government lost this vote on Thursday because the hardcore Brexiteers — those who really want to abandon the EU and all of its rules — in her party abstained from voting.

They’re angry with May because, they argued, her motion potentially rules out a no-deal Brexit and weakens the UK’s negotiating power when it comes to the Irish backstop.

The Irish backstop is an insurance policy to prevent border checks between Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (which is an independent country that’s also an EU member state) if the UK and EU can’t agree on the terms of a future trade relationship after Brexit.

That’s because an open border is a key part of the 1998 peace agreement that ended decades of conflict in the region. There are serious concerns that if customs checks and other barriers go up on the border as a result of the UK leaving the EU — and thus no longer being part of the EU customs union and single market that allows for free movement of goods and people — that tensions could reignite.

The backstop, then, basically says that if EU and UK struggle to agree to the terms of their future relationship after Brexit, the UK will simply stay in close alignment with EU customs regulations. That way, both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would be operating under the same rules and regulations for trade and thus there wouldn’t be a need for customs checks at the border.

The hardcore Brexiteers hate this, though, and see it as trapping the UK in a relationship with the EU indefinitely, and so they don’t want any sort of binding backstop in any Brexit deal.

Brexiteers also argued that the prime minister’s approach to the negotiations suggested she’s ruling out a no-deal Brexit. A no-deal Brexit means the UK would leave the EU without any plan or arrangements in place, a scenario that would deliver a catastrophic blow to the economy and trade. May actually hasn’t ruled out a no-deal Brexit, but she’s expressed her desire to avoid that scenario and reach an agreement instead. Brexiteers, meanwhile, believe a no-deal Brexit should remain an option.

The Brexiteers’ protest on Thursday doesn’t change the fact that the EU has insisted that the backstop isn’t renegotiable anyway. May has tried to get the EU to budge on that position by making the case that if it gives just a few concessions on the backstop issue, she could get the necessary support in Parliament to pass a Brexit deal.

But this latest vote proves her party is as fractured as ever, and it’s unlikely the EU, even if it were willing to tweak the backstop, would be able to offer anything that would appease the most hardline members of May’s party.

That’s even less of an incentive for the EU to negotiate. Which means, yet again, that the impasse prevails and the UK is still barreling toward the March 29 Brexit deadline. If no deal has been passed by then, the UK drops out of the EU and chaos will ensue.

There will be at least one critical pitstop along the way: May has promised that Parliament will get another chance to vote on February 27. Members of Parliament may be able to take more control of the Brexit process then, with just one month to go.
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Re: 🌍 George III Lost America. Theresa May Could Lose the UK Over Brexit
« Reply #70 on: February 15, 2019, 07:15:37 AM »
https://www.thedailybeast.com/george-iii-lost-america-theresa-may-could-lose-the-united-kingdom-over-brexit

George III Lost America. Theresa May Could Lose the United Kingdom Over Brexit.


Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero/The Daily Beast

Brexit has shown the world a British parliament and a political class that resembles a ship of fools without a captain.
Clive Irving
02.01.19 10:59 PM ET

Britain is locked in the most serious peacetime crisis in its modern history, the increasingly desperate attempt to secure the nation’s orderly departure from the European Union.

Brexit has shown the world a British parliament and a political class that resembles a ship of fools without a captain. One veteran of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet said that voters are looking at parliament “with something rather near to contempt.”

We speak of the oldest parliamentary democracy in the Western world. Since 1721 it has seen 74 prime ministers of highly varied competence and backgrounds but few if any as incapable of steering the country through perilous times as the current incumbent, Theresa May, who could end up being compared to George III because of the consequences of her ineptitude.

The ultimate test of a prime minister in a crisis is always the same—how well do they measure up to the moment?

The answer to that depends on a combination of skills. Quite often they are skills that politicians do not find in themselves until they are called upon by destiny to prove them. Different times need different abilities. Sometimes a prime minister who at the time seems mediocre is later reassessed and seen to have been more consequential than anyone realized because he was overshadowed by a predecessor.

In British history there is a classic instance of this: In 1945 Winston Churchill was rudely and unexpectedly removed from office in a general election and replaced by the leader of the Labour Party, Clement Attlee.

Churchill, the country’s greatest ever war leader, was contemptuous of his successor whom he described as “a modest little man with a lot to be modest about.”
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Labour Left Sees a Socialist PM in the Wreckage of Brexit
Theresa May Limps On After Surviving No-Confidence Vote

It turned out that Attlee (who was deputy prime minister during the war) was precisely what the nation needed, not only to get through years of austerity imposed by the near-bankruptcy created by the war effort, but as the parliamentary leader with the skills to re-engineer British society and provide its people with a comprehensive safety net including, notably, free universal health care for life.

So here were two men equally indispensable in their abilities, one to lead and the other to heal. In each case their mastery reflected their character, Churchill who was able to project himself as the living embodiment of a great national narrative of obdurate resistance and victory and Attlee as the quiet but systematic architect of change.

And today Britain has Theresa May.

It is too generous to say that May has had trouble measuring up the to moment. She has trouble explaining what the moment actually is—the utterance that will forever be her epitaph in the history of political discourse will be “Brexit means Brexit.”

Imagine Churchill saying “war means war.” OK, let’s be reasonable. When it comes to oratory nobody can hold a candle to Churchill. Every prime minister since Churchill has carefully avoided getting into that kind of contest.

But when the qualities of leadership are under scrutiny it’s important to understand that Churchill was as courageously decisive in private as he was in public.

    THE DARKEST HOURS
    The Torture of Being Winston Churchill’s Son
    Clive Irving

There is a passage in Andrew Roberts’ sweeping new biography, Churchill, Walking With Destiny, describing a moment where the prime minister speaks ad lib and without leaving his own record of what was, literally, one of the statements that saved Britain. He was speaking to men not as resolved as himself who needed to believe in him as an army needs to believe in its generals.

It came in the early summer of 1940 when Churchill, who had taken over only a week before, was resisting attempts to negotiate with Hitler. He told his new cabinet: “I have thought carefully in these last days whether it was part of my duty to consider entering into negotiations with That Man. But it was idle to think that, if we tried to make peace now, we should get better terms than if we fought it out. The Germans would demand our fleet—that would be called ‘disarmament’—our naval bases and much else. We should become a slave state… If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”

No official minute was taken of that statement—Roberts quotes it as recorded later in the diary of a cabinet member.

What is new now is that Theresa May brings to the office a background like no other before her. She is the first person to hold that office who is by both experience and instincts a bureaucrat.

Her rise to the Tory party leadership owed much to her success as a bureaucrat. She ran a government department that was so large and so challenging to master that some prime ministers were known to have deliberately given it to rivals in order to destroy their careers: the Home Office, a Whitehall edifice that could perhaps be compared to a nightmare package embracing the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Homeland Security.

She was put there by David Cameron, a prime minister who was himself notoriously bored by administrative details and, as his decision to hold a national referendum on Brexit demonstrated, not too smart at judging outcomes.

May survived with a mixed record at the Home Office. She acquired something of the reputation of a control freak, devoted to organizational charts and preferring to run the department through a small and tight-knit clique of loyal aides and Tory Party law-and-order zealots.

Churchill, famous for asking for opinions “on one half sheet of notepaper,” said that a camel is what you end up with if you ask a committee to design a horse. May was fond of setting up committees and official inquiries to avoid taking action and produced many camels. One of her former cabinet ministers despaired that “it’s a fantastic skill, her ability to do nothing.”
Alas, because May is a bureaucrat she has the bureaucrat’s particular gift of killing language. The English language, so rich in its ability to move people, dies in her mouth.

Later she managed to swat away responsibility for an ugly debacle during her watch. West Indians who immigrated to Britain in the 1950s were threatened with mass deportation because they had no record of legally arriving—then it turned out that the Home Office itself had discarded the documentation.

On the face of it her bureaucratic cast of mind should have been an asset when facing the complexities involved in negotiating Britain out of all the political, legal and commercial attachments to the European Union. After all, the country was not facing a lethal existential threat. This was a self-initiated unraveling of laws and treaties.

But the EU is the world’s largest assembly of bureaucrats, a characteristic often damned by the pro-Brexit campaign, as well as by more reasoned critics.

A negotiation of this complexity had never been attempted by anyone before. It needed a team that combined a complete command of administrative detail, a shrewd sense of the national interest, an equally shrewd assessment of the opposing interests, and an ability to understand the difference between bottom-line economic interests and the EU’s loftier moral values as an alliance committed to protecting constitutional democracy in a continent with an unhappy history of autocracies.

This was a tough deal for anyone to successfully achieve. But any leader who was able not only to pull it off but to sell it to their people—in the case of the UK to a people divided by a referendum margin as close as 52 to 48 percent—needed to have something else. They had to be able to bring eloquence and vision to their argument.

Alas, because May is a bureaucrat she has the bureaucrat’s particular gift of killing language. The English language, so rich in its ability to move people, dies in her mouth.

The closest she has ever come to articulating the case for the Brexit deal she negotiated that set up a 21-month transition period for achieving a new free trade agreement with the EU (the deal that she is again stuck with trying to amend and resuscitate despite that fact that the EU has warned it will not renegotiate) was to say, repetitively, “It is in the national interest for everyone to get behind it.”

Basically when the narrow majority of Brits voted for Brexit they voted for something that didn’t actually exist. There was not even the vaguest outline of the real impact that Brexit would have on British life. Its proponents, even if they had any sense of the outcome (which is doubtful) weren’t interested in pesky details. They were appealing to raw emotions, largely anti-immigrant xenophobia, not advancing a rational argument.

    ‘DODGIER THAN EVER’
    It’s Official: Brexit Campaign Cheated Its Way to Victory
    Jamie Ross

The Brexit deal that May presented to parliament went down in the biggest defeat any prime minister has suffered, 432 votes to 202.

All along she had been trying to reconcile elements that are not reconcilable: keeping the support of her party’s lunatic fringe that is undismayed by the prospect of a “no deal” exit that would bring extreme self-harm while also holding the loyalty of the center of the party—and doing this while satisfying the terms the EU is prepared to allow. (“Allow” is the realistic term because Britain has always been a supplicant.) At the same time she survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote that leaves her in power while seriously wounded and without a new deal that is likely to fly.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, is similarly ineffectual and unready to meet the leadership tests of his time. His party includes a rump of Brexiters and his cabinet is in thrall to fossilized Marxist ideas. His rhetorical skills are, if anything, less evident than May’s.

Given two clueless party leaders it often seems that all the politicians are overcome by the kind of helpless rapture that sent Thelma and Louise driving blissfully over the cliff.

In 1940 Churchill’s freedom of action was greatly helped by the fact that he did not have to bow to any party’s dictates. He was appointed prime minister without being leader of the Tory party—the leader remained his predecessor as prime minister, Neville Chamberlain. Uniquely, Churchill led a coalition of the Tory, Labour and Liberal parties at a time when none of those parties would probably have accepted him as their party leader.

As a result of this freedom he was able to isolate and negate the influence of the appeasers who did not like the prospect of choking in their own blood. He could and did appeal directly to the spirit of a parliament and a people who set aside partisan interests in favor of a higher purpose, victory that was by no means assured.

The irony now is that Brexiters represent only 15 percent of the 650 members of the House of Commons. A large majority is opposed to Britain crashing out of Europe without a deal. A prime minister not constrained by party loyalties could easily get support for a “soft” Brexit—meaning a measured transition from full membership to one that keeps the country in a permanent customs union without disruption.

Instead, by trying vainly to satisfy everyone May is satisfying nobody except people like the loony Little Englanders who say that such a deal would leave Britain as a “slave state.”

If they get their way May could well go down in history as the prime minister who lost the kingdom—the United Kingdom. Scotland wants nothing to do with Brexit and if it is imposed on them the Scottish parliament will probably vote to end the Acts of Union of 1707 that created the United Kingdom in order to leave them free to join the EU.

The implications are wider than that. Leaders in the European Union—including Germany’s Angela Merkel—are now fretting that the EU without Britain will be less able to clamp down on the kind of populist taste for autocrats that is afflicting Poland and Hungary.

George III went down in history as the king who lost America. Nobody in particular was held culpable for losing the empire—that was an inevitability of history that imposed its own logic and timing. If the United Kingdom becomes Little England (albeit including Wales and Northern Ireland) it will have reverted to the boundaries of the land it was in 40 A.D. when the Romans made a coherent colony out of a rabble of warring tribes. And this fiasco will be owned by a parliament that allowed a deranged minority to win and a prime minister who was never remotely equal to the greatest challenge of her time.

    RUDE BRITANNIA
    The Rise of Hateful Little England
    Clive Irving

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MIND CONTROL
How Fox News Pushes Trump to Make Every Bad Decision

No story has demonstrated the power of this unending Trump-Fox feedback loop like the partial government shutdown.
Matthew Gertz
Matthew Gertz
02.02.19 9:25 PM ET

President Donald Trump’s announcement last Friday that he would end the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history without securing funding from congressional Democrats for his long-promised border wall came after weeks of brutal headlines and sagging poll numbers.

But when Trump arose the following morning, he did not devote his time to convening his White House advisers to figure out what went wrong or reaching out to Republican congressional leaders to plot their next move.

Instead, he did the same thing he’s done on countless days of his administration: He turned on his television, tuned in to his favorite program, Fox & Friends, and started tweeting about what he saw.

For more than a year, I’ve studied this Trump-Fox feedback loop, the president’s habit of live-tweeting his favorite shows on the right-wing cable news network. I’ve tracked several hundred of the president’s often-hyperaggressive tweets back to particular segments on Fox News and its sister network, Fox Business, that caught the president’s eye.

Fox helped build Trump’s political brand and fuel his electoral rise, and in recent years has remade itself as a propaganda outlet in support of his presidency. Trump, in turn, has long been obsessed with the network. His worldview and decision making are shaped by the former network personalities with whom he has stocked his administration, the “Fox cabinet” of current stars he reaches out to for advice, and the hours of Fox programming he reportedly watches each day.

Having a superfan in the White House has given Fox outsized influence over both the news cycle and federal policy. The network’s efforts to infuriate its audience—over everything from NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem to a caravan of migrants slowly approaching the U.S. southern border—can trigger outraged presidential tweets, instantly turning the network’s particular fixations into national news.

And because Fox’s staff and guests are aware that Trump could be watching at any time, they often use the network’s platform to try to reach him directly, seeking to shape his decisions on political strategy, legal tactics, pardons, personnel, and more.
Related in Politics
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the nation in his first-prime address from the Oval Office of the White House on January 8, 2019 in Washington, DC. A partial shutdown of the federal government extended to 17 days following the president's demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall while Democrats have refused. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
Trump Channels Hannity and Fearmongers for the Wall
‘Fox & Friends’ Lashes Out: Ann Coulter Is ‘Off Her Rocker’
Trump Is Now Presiding Over the Longest Shutdown Ever

No story has demonstrated the power of this Trump-Fox feedback loop like the partial government shutdown.

Trump’s incessant craving for validation from the network’s conservative commentators triggered his initial refusal to sign any legislation funding the government that did not include money for a border wall, and then that need sustained his intransigence over the following weeks. His eventual cave shows the limitations of prioritizing the whims of right-wing infotainers during congressional negotiations. But there is no evidence Trump has learned anything from the crushing defeat, suggesting that he will continue trying to make policy with respect to the wall and other issues, on the basis of whether it pleases Fox hosts.

    DONNY & FRIENDS
    Even Fox News Doesn’t Think ‘Fox & Friends’ Is News
    Andrew Kirell

In September, I argued that Trump’s Fox affinity made a government shutdown inevitable. The same pattern kept playing out: House and Senate leaders would agree to a spending bill, Fox commentators would claim the bill betrayed the president’s base because it didn’t include wall funding, Trump would angrily tweet about the Fox segments and send Washington into chaos, and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan would have to talk him into supporting the legislation. With Trump publicly declaring that a shutdown was a “great political issue” and explicitly citing Fox hosts as his inspiration for the tactic, the situation seemed untenable.

Three months later, it finally came to a head. As the December deadline to renew government spending loomed, Fox personalities again began urging Trump to shut down the government rather than sign a spending bill that didn’t include money for the wall. Once again, Fox’s influence was matched against that of Republican congressional leaders, who warned the president that a shutdown would be a grave tactical mistake.

But this time, Fox News won.

    LIFE AFTER DEATH
    How the Cult of Roger Ailes Continues to Rule Fox News
    Matt Wilstein

When the White House signaled that it was backing away from its wall-funding demand, furious network commentators insisted that Trump reconsider and instead shut down the government. The calls were loudest on Fox & Friends, the president’s favorite morning cable show. “If there's not a shutdown,” declared co-host Steve Doocy, “he’s going to look like a loser.”

Goaded by those he typically counts on for support, Trump reportedly “seethed and panicked” about the criticism, and then took their advice.

The president’s propagandists were jubilant. As portions of the government shuttered and hundreds of thousands of federal employees worked without pay for weeks, Fox’s airwaves were filled with cheers for the president and exhortations for him to remain firm. The hosts gave little indication of Trump’s grave political peril—to the contrary, they urged the rest of his party to stick with him regardless of the consequences. “If this takes 150 days, I think the Republican Party needs to stand united with the president,” argued Sean Hannity.

Trump made clear throughout the shutdown that he was prioritizing the support of Fox’s hosts over all other considerations. He consulted with Hannity and Dobbs for strategic advice about how to handle the shutdown, gave a national address in which he ripped language from their shows, and showed up on Fox programs to make his pitch directly to their audiences.

And as federal workers missed paychecks and his poll numbers plummeted, the president kept his television turned to the fawning reports of his favorite network and his iPhone open to Twitter. Trump sent at least 60 tweets parroting the network’s programming over the course of the shutdown.

The president trumpeted the polls Fox cherry-picked to suggest he was winning the shutdown:

He cribbed statistics the network aired about “Walls Around The World”:

He claimed that “Only a Wall” could protect Americans from a caravan of migrants the network repeatedly reported on:

He pushed Fox’s attacks on congressional Democrats who refused to support wall funding:

And he promised Doocy that he wouldn’t “cave”:

Cozying up to Fox News may have made Trump president. But as a legislative strategy, it was a total failure. It proved impossible for Trump to simultaneously ensure the support of far-right media figures accountable only to their audience and make a deal that attracted Democratic votes.

Fox’s own personalities understood the dynamic at play: During one heated debate, political analyst Juan Williams declared that Hannity was one of the right-wing commentators “running the government.” And Republican senators knew it too: One told Axios that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s reported effort to try to end the stalemate with a major deal was impossible, saying, “Trump can withstand Ann Coulter. He can't lose Hannity and the rest.”

Hampered by these tensions, the president’s strategy eventually collapsed. With Democrats refusing to negotiate until he agreed to reopen the government, some federal workers beginning to revolt, and Republican senators on the verge of abandoning him, Trump finally gave in after 35 days, agreeing to reopen the government for three weeks while Congress attempts to negotiate an immigration package.

Trump’s decision to fold divided his Fox allies—even the hosts who had counseled the president on his shutdown strategy. Hannity offered a vigorous defense of his decision, arguing that “anyone out there” who is “thinking President Trump caved today, you don't really know the Donald Trump I know.” For Dobbs, however, the news was “a victory for Nancy Pelosi ... and to deny it is to try to escape from reality.”

But neither Dobbs nor the president appeared to hold a grudge—by Thursday morning, Trump was tweeting about the previous night’s episode of Dobbs’ show, using the Fox host’s talking points as evidence that a border wall is necessary. Based on that program, Trump argued that Republicans negotiating an immigration deal “are wasting their time” because Democrats will not provide money for the “DESPERATELY needed WALL.” “I’ve got you covered,” he ominously added.

That seemed to be a reference to Trump’s likely endgame: declaring a national emergency in order to divert previously appropriated federal funds to wall construction. Ever since Trump first suggested that he might take that step in early January, Fox hosts have been urging him to do it, claiming that, in Dobbs’ words, the “only way forward” is for Trump to “simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left in this country” and do so.

Republican congressional leaders keep warning Trump that declaring a national emergency is a terrible idea that won’t serve his ends, and up until now, he’s listened to him. But we’ve seen how this played out before. The president will continue to wallow in Fox’s programming, as night after night its hosts tell him that the declaration is his only way to win. And eventually, he will listen.

    Matthew Gertz
    @MattGertz

Germany is now entering a recession. They just aren't calling it that yet. They have elections in 2021 and Merkel is not running, and her party is getting fragmented too. If the Trump-like elements there win, there won't BE a Eurozone for long. Brexit is a sideshow now.
 
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Offline Eddie

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Re: BREXIT! The FUN Begins!
« Reply #71 on: February 15, 2019, 07:17:22 AM »
I'll be running for office in 2024 on the Gold and Cryptos ticket.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

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🌍 Disorderly Brexit Increasingly Likely, EU Blinks on Derivatives...
« Reply #72 on: February 24, 2019, 02:05:08 AM »
https://wolfstreet.com/2019/02/22/with-disorderly-brexit-increasingly-likely-eu-blinks-on-derivatives-clearing-in-london/

Disorderly Brexit Increasingly Likely, EU Blinks on Derivatives-Clearing in London


by Don Quijones • Feb 22, 2019 • 52 Comments   
No one can afford even the smallest hiccup in derivatives.
By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

After months of furious lobbying, the City of London Corporation has finally got what it wanted: recognition by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) of the three biggest clearing houses it hosts, LCH, ICE Clear Europe and LME Clear. This will allow the three to continue providing services throughout the EU even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which is looking increasingly likely. It will also limit the potential for disruption in central clearing and prevent any negative impact on the financial stability of the EU, says ESMA.

Clearing is where a company acts as a middleman between financial trades, collecting collateral and standing between derivatives and swaps traders to prevent a default from spiraling out of control. Since the 2008 Financial Crisis and the inexorable expansion of derivatives trading, clearing has become an integral part of the global financial infrastructure.

For the City of London, clearing is the jewel in its crown providing thousands of jobs, billions of pounds in annual profits and a vital strategic edge over rival financial hubs. London is the global leader for the clearing of all kinds of currency-denominated derivatives, particularly the euro. The London Clearing House (LCH) says it clears €927 billion ($1.05 trillion) worth of euro-denominated contracts a day, roughly three quarters of the entire global market. The second-largest operator in the sector, Paris, clears just 11% of the transactions.

For years, the French government, together with the European Central Bank, have tried to wrest control of the clearing of euro-denominated transactions from the City of London, for largely justifiable reasons. And Brexit was supposed to provide the perfect alibi. But alas, it hasn’t happened.

Instead, with just five weeks left until Brexit Day (March 29), a number of major EU Member States, including Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy, are fast-tracking national legislation to enable bankers to continue to service the 18 trillion pounds ($23 trillion) of derivative contracts that could be disrupted if the UK crashes out of the EU without an agreement. According to Bloomberg, the Dutch legislation may even allow brokers and high-speed traders to conduct new business from London, at least for a while.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. Since the day the British people voted to leave the EU, rival European capitals, in particular Paris, have done everything they can to lure London’s financial service providers across the Channel. Many banks have indeed moved some of their operations to other cities, in particular Berlin, Paris and Dublin, but not remotely on the scale many think tanks had predicted. Paris has even made moves on London’s gold market.

But the most coveted prize of all was London’s clearing business. However, any attempt to move euro clearing away from London to the continent was likely to take years to implement, ramp up costs for companies across the region and be hugely disruptive to a market that had already played a leading role in the last global financial crisis. As it turns out, two and a half years is not nearly enough time to uproot and move en masse such a large, complex market that took decades to develop in one of the world’s most bank-friendly jurisdictions.

In October 2018, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) and six national trade bodies within the EU released a paper on “The impact of Brexit on OTC [over-the-counter] derivatives.” It features a summary table of 16 steps EU authorities can take to “mitigate adverse impacts of Brexit”. The table contains eight items marked in red as “immediate/high-impact”, seven in orange as “immediate/low impact”, and only one in yellow as “delayed impact”.

In other words, if done badly, bad things could quickly ensue. With a disorderly Brexit looking increasingly likely, the EU appears to have taken note. Last week German Finance Minister Olaf Sholz even said that “everyone in the financial market is totally calm” about a possible no-deal Brexit. “Because they know it’s well done, well prepared and well thought through and it will work somehow. For the transport of goods, it will be more complicated.”

For the City of London and the myriad interests it represents, the latest concession by Brussels and national EU government is a move in the right direction. But it’s still only “a partial and temporary fix,” says Miles Celic, the chief executive of the City’s most influential lobbying group, City UK. “Time is running out to resolve these technical issues, and while such temporary fixes are essential, long-term stable solutions are needed to provide the certainty that customers and clients across the whole of Europe and beyond need.” By Don Quijones.

“If you are looking to buy a house in Q1 you will have the market to yourself.” Read… London Housing Meltdown Spreads as Pre-Brexit Angst Batters Market Sentiment
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🌍 May Raises the Stakes Before Brexit Showdown as EU Hatches Plot
« Reply #73 on: February 24, 2019, 11:51:52 PM »
Sounds like another Can-Kick is coming.  Big Surprise.  ::)

RE

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-24/may-raises-the-stakes-before-brexit-showdown-as-eu-hatches-plot

May Raises the Stakes Before Brexit Showdown as EU Hatches Plot
By Tim Ross
and Ian Wishart
February 24, 2019, 11:28 AM AKST Updated on February 24, 2019, 3:00 PM AKST


    Premier pushes deadline for final vote to days before exit
    EU floats new tactic: the alternative could be a long delay

0:15
U.K.'s May Delays Brexit Vote to Buy Time

U.K.'s May Delays Brexit Vote to Buy Time
LISTEN TO ARTICLE
3:25

Theresa May once again postponed a final vote on her Brexit divorce agreement, raising the stakes in a battle with members of her own cabinet who are fighting to avert a no-deal exit.

The prime minister set a new deadline of March 12 -- just 17 days before Brexit day -- for Parliament to vote on the accord she’s still trying to renegotiate.

Her gamble could make those who are seeking to avoid a catastrophic no-deal departure even more determined to defeat her. They’ll have a chance to do that on Wednesday, when they’ll try to force her to delay exit day to avoid the economic damage of crashing out. If they succeed, the pound is expected to rally.

May wants to keep the no-deal threat on the table as she thinks it will help get her unpopular agreement through the House of Commons at the 11th hour. But the prospect horrifies businesses and members of May’s own Cabinet. Meanwhile, it emerged on Sunday at a summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, that European Union officials are also working on a new plan that could help get the deal over the line at the last minute.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Presents Brexit Plan B to Parliament

Theresa May
Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

EU officials are considering telling the U.K. that any extension must keep Britain inside the bloc until 2021. The move could force pro-Brexit hardliners to back May’s plan to avoid extended membership and the risk that the whole divorce could be reversed.

Three European officials said a long extension made sense as a few months wouldn’t be enough to break the deadlock. A fourth said the idea sounded like a scare tactic. There is no consensus yet among the 27 remaining governments over the length of a postponement.

Read more: EU Is Said to Mull 21-Month Delay If May Can’t Get Brexit Done

May’s proposed divorce agreement was rejected in an overwhelming defeat in the Commons last month. She’s trying to re-write the most contentious part of the agreement -- the so-called Irish border backstop.

May has already asked Parliament to give her more time to negotiate twice and ministers in her own government are running out of patience. Several ministers indicated on Friday they were ready to vote against her to prevent a cliff-edge departure -- joining with Labour members of Parliament to do so. Business groups were dismayed on Sunday at May’s latest attempt at delay.

“She cannot just keep drifting and dithering like this or there is a real risk our whole country tumbles off a cliff edge into a chaotic no-deal that no one is ready for,” said Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who will propose an amendment this week to force May’s hand. “The prime minister is making it completely impossible for businesses, public services and families to plan.”

Another amendment by rank-and-file Conservative MPs is also being drawn up that would call for an extension if May can’t secure a deal, according to an official.

Three Cabinet ministers -- Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark -- wrote a joint article on Saturday warning they cannot allow the U.K. to leave without a deal and suggesting they will vote to stop it on Wednesday. May made no attempt to censure them on Sunday.
‘Within our Grasp’

May met European leaders at the summit, but both sides played down the chances of a breakthrough. European Council President Donald Tusk had more bad news for May, according to an official: He said the EU wouldn’t call a new summit of leaders to sign off on changes to the deal until it’s clear that the U.K. Parliament would back them. The next summit is scheduled for March 21 -- days before Britain is due to leave.

The EU has said it won’t renegotiate the treaty, but can offer reassurances or legal interpretations. May is also expected to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Egypt.

“We still have it within our grasp to leave the European Union with a deal on the 29th of March and that’s what I’m going to be working at,” she told reporters on Sunday.

— With assistance by Ian Wishart, and Lin Noueihed
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🌍 May Says Brexit Might Never Happen If Parliament Rejects Her Deal
« Reply #74 on: March 09, 2019, 12:11:02 AM »
How about another referendum?  We'll keep voting on it until we get the outcome we want!

RE

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-08/may-says-brexit-might-never-happen-if-parliament-rejects-deal

May Says Brexit Might Never Happen If Parliament Rejects Her Deal
By Tim Ross
and Robert Hutton
March 8, 2019, 4:40 AM AKST Updated on March 8, 2019, 5:34 AM AKST

    Prime Minister tells EU to act now to avoid ‘moment of crisis’
    Euroskeptics risk soft Brexit if they vote down deal, May Says


Theresa May speaks in Grimsby on March 8.

Theresa May speaks in Grimsby on March 8. Photographer: Darren Staples/Bloomberg
LISTEN TO ARTICLE
2:55

Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May warned that Brexit could be delayed, diluted, or even canceled if members of Parliament reject her deal in a crunch vote next week.

The prime minister urged euro-skeptics in her own Conservative Party to compromise for the sake of delivering on the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum by backing the divorce agreement she’s brokered with the bloc in a vote on March 12.

If these Tories refuse to back down because they want a cleaner break with the EU than her deal allows, they risk achieving the opposite -- an even softer, Norway-style accord, she said.

“Back it and the U.K. will leave the European Union. Reject it and no one knows what will happen,” May told an audience in Grimsby, northeast England, on Friday. “We may not leave the EU for many months. We may leave without the protections that the deal provides. We may never leave at all.”
Second Vote

May issued her warning just four days before Parliament votes for a second time on whether to accept or reject the separation agreement she’s spent two years negotiating with the EU. In January, the Commons threw out the deal, defeating May by a record 230-vote majority.

In the two months since, the premier has been trying to extract changes to the deal to address MPs’ concerns that the so-called Irish border backstop will indefinitely lock Britain into EU trade rules. She faces stubborn opposition from a hard core of pro-Brexit Conservatives who dislike her deal because it keeps Britain tied too closely to the bloc.

May raised the specter of an even softer Brexit. If her deal falls, Parliament would then vote on whether to leave without an agreement and is almost certain to reject that option. Then there would be another vote on delaying the divorce, penciled in for Thursday March 14.

Such a delay would lead to a fresh round of horse-trading with the EU. “That might lead to a form of Brexit that does not match up to what people voted for,” May said.

The result could be the U.K. staying in the bloc’s single market and customs union permanently, an option known as Norway Plus, she suggested.
Norway Plus

“It could mean no end to free movement, no ability to strike our own trade deals, no end to the big annual payments, no taking back control -- which is what the British people voted for,” she told her audience.

The talks with the EU have at times been “difficult and robust,” May said on Friday. She appealed to EU leaders to act now to prevent more uncertainty and the threat of an economically damaging split with no new trade terms in place.

“Now is the moment for us to act,” May said. “It needs just one more push to address the final specific concerns of our Parliament.”

European officials have been planning to wait until the last moment before the U.K. is due to exit the bloc on March 29 before making any concession -- but May said that would be too late.

“So let’s not hold back. Let’s do what is necessary for MPs to back the deal on Tuesday,” May said. “Because if MPs reject the deal, nothing is certain. It would be at a moment of crisis.”
(Updates with detail throughout.)

politics
Brexit Talks Stall as EU Makes Offer the U.K. Already Rejected
By Ian Wishart
and Tim Ross
March 8, 2019, 9:16 AM AKST

    EU negotiator tells ambassadors the blame game has started
    If Parliament votes down deal on Tuesday, exit will be delayed

Brexit talks grew more hostile as the European Union unveiled a new concession aimed at breaking the deadlock which U.K. negotiators had already rejected.

With just four days to go until British Prime Minister Theresa May has to take her Brexit deal back to the parliament that vetoed it by a historic margin in January, there’s no sign of a breakthrough in talks and the tone is increasingly acrimonious. Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier told ambassadors on Friday the blame game had started, according to a person familiar with the situation.
EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier News Conference Following Latest U.K. Brexit Proposal

Michel Barnier
Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

If the deal is rejected next week, Britain will be plunged into political chaos as the plan to exit the bloc will likely be delayed, redefined or even scrapped.

Barnier announced on Twitter a new package of concessions to resolve the contentious issue of the Irish border backstop. The most striking was to allow it to apply just to Northern Ireland, rather than the whole of the U.K. But May has long said this would be unacceptable, and negotiators had already rejected it on Tuesday, according to another person familiar with the talks.

The EU also offered to strengthen other provisions in the deal -- on arbitration and good-faith clauses -- but the U.K. side said it wasn’t enough.

“Now is not the time to rerun old arguments,” U.K. Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said on Twitter. “The U.K. has put forward clear new proposals. We now need to agree a balanced solution that can work for both sides.”
Growing Pessimism

Officials from both the U.K. and EU are growing pessimistic that a deal can be done in time for Tuesday, when May puts the deal to Parliament. One European diplomat said there had been a complete breakdown in trust. The EU may now be taking it for granted that British politicians will reject the deal, and vote to extend the exit day deadline instead as a way of avoiding the chaotic no-deal exit that both sides want to avoid.

Briefings have become more aggressive as frustration mounts. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox -- sent in by May to renegotiate the backstop because his views were respected by Brexiteers at home -- has riled negotiators in Brussels, according to European officials. The U.K., meanwhile, accuses the EU of intransigence.

Read more: May’s Larger-Than-Life Lawyer Becomes EU’s Brexit Villain No. 1

May used a speech on Friday to put the ball in the bloc’s court, saying “the EU has to make a choice too.” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt bolstered that message, calling on the EU to avoid making a historic mistake, and poisoning future relations. “If this ends in acrimony, people will say the EU got this moment wrong,” he said.
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