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Brexit begins

Written By: - Date published: 7:04 am, March 30th, 2017 - 81 comments
Categories: uk politics - Tags: ,

Here we are then. Article 50 has been invoked, and the 2 year countdown to Brexit begins:

Michael Heseltine, the Conservative former cabinet minister, told the Guardian the move represented the “worst peacetime decision taken by any modern postwar government”, with the power now all in the hands of European leaders.

“Our friends and allies in Europe will now tell us what conditions we must accept to trade in our largest market,” he said. “This is the moment when the empty phrases and undeliverable promises of the Brexiters will be replaced by the hard reality. They will decide. We will be told. It is what every Conservative prime minister I have worked for was determined to avoid.”

European leaders of course have a strong motivation to make Brexit costly for England, pour décourager les autres. I say England because Scotland might stay in the EU, and who knows what will happen to the rest of the “United Kingdom”.

Other required reading:
Article 50: Theresa May to call on UK to unite after letter triggers Brexit
Eight key points you need to know about the Brexit negotiations
Article 50: What does its triggering mean?
Reality Check: Can the UK change its mind on Article 50?
May wants security, free trade, liberal values: just what we’re throwing away
Brexit: May accused of trying to ‘blackmail’ EU with security threat – Politics live

In my opinion this will go very badly for England. It is an illustration of the way in which unaccountable lies told in campaigning can twist the democratic process to damaging outcomes. As is the case with the election of Trump, it is those who have been deceived who are going to be hardest hit.

81 comments on “Brexit begins ”

  1. Mordecai 1

    The leave campaign won not because of ‘lies told’ (people on both sides told lies), but because of the legitimate concern of the people over their sovereignty. The EU is a huge mess, one that will likely eventually collapse and return to a simple trade bloc, as it should have stayed.

    • Ad 1.1

      What is sovereignty for exactly?

    • paul andersen 1.2

      following on from your comment about sovereignty, the scots who mostly want to stay as part of europe, will possibly leave the united(should be untied)kingdom, causing the union jack flag to disappear, which will also force our flag to change…ahh,the laws of unintended consequence.

      • Mordecai 1.2.1

        Yes, you never know, do you. I am a royalist, but first and foremost I am a supporter of nation sovereignty. If the Scots believe it is in their best interest to leave the UK, then good luck to them.

        • Chess Player 1.2.1.1

          Were you “first and foremost a supporter of national sovereignty” when England and its vassals invaded and looted over 60 countries?
          Or is national sovereignty not permitted for those who are invaded?

          • Mordecai 1.2.1.1.1

            No, my support of National sovereignty is historical. Notwithstanding that some colonisation has been beneficial to the people’s colonised, NZ being a very good example.

    • Johan 1.3

      To Mordecai: “The EU is a huge mess, one that will likely eventually collapse and return to a simple trade bloc, as it should have stayed”. Your analytical skills may not be as good as you think. Europe is doing very nicely, it is England that is in a huge mess. The main reasons for having an EU and its for-runners has been to create a stable and peaceful Europe. EU countries have benefited greatly, fighting off the bullies and through better organized trade within these countries. The Tories in Britain have always said no to joining a united Europe, right from Churchill, and Thatcher to the present.

      • joe90 1.3.1

        right from Churchill

        Churchill was an early adopter, writing in 1930 about a United States of Europe through to his post war support and, shortly before his death, stating the Government are right to apply to join the European Economic Community.

        http://eu-rope.ideasoneurope.eu/2013/11/10/winston-churchill-a-founder-of-the-european-union/

        • Johan 1.3.1.1

          To joe90:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euroscepticism_in_the_United_Kingdom

          Whilst after the war Churchill was an early supporter of pan-Europeanism[9] and called for a “United States of Europe” and the creation of a “Council of Europe”.[9] he did not have Britain join the ECSC in 1951.
          We have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed.

          Quote by Churchill.

          • joe90 1.3.1.1.1

            Quote by Churchill

            .

            For context best you read Churchill’s 1930 article about a United States of Europe, written when the UK still had it’s empire and, as noted in the linked Danzig piece above, you did read it, didn’t you, hi-jacked and cited out of context by brexiteers.

            https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-c4rDWePh_pRV9pcnlhM2N0MVE/view

            • Johan 1.3.1.1.1.1

              To Joe90:
              Perhaps you need to focus on what Churchill felt on this topic at a later date, not 1930. Cheers

              • joe90

                Perhaps you need to focus on what Churchill felt on this topic at a later date, not 1930.

                Should I focus on what he felt in 1961 when writing that the Government are right to apply to join the European Economic Community or what he felt in 1963 when he wrote that the future of Europe if Britain were to be excluded is black indeed?.

                • Johan

                  Broad statements indeed, which could be interpreted in many different ways. You need to begin with precise proof. Try again

          • Chess Player 1.3.1.1.2

            Churchill had the bright idea to invade via Gallipoli.
            I stopped listening to him quite some time ago.

      • DoublePlusGood 1.3.2

        The EU is doing terribly – it’s vulture capitalists have sucked Greece dry and will likely do the same to Italy, Spain and Portugal.

        • Johan 1.3.2.1

          To DoublePlusGood:
          Sounds as if you are doing a Donald and just as effective;-))
          Perhaps you need to mention the reasons for countries such as Greece, Portugal, etc. finding themselves in the financial and employment difficulties. The Greeks for instance are experts at avoiding paying their taxes and diverting money in Swiss bank accounts, as well as giving pensions at early retirement. You and I both know that if we spend more than we make, sooner or later, we end up in the poo.

          • One Two 1.3.2.1.1

            Perhaps you need to mention the ‘entry criteria’ which GS were found to have ‘fudged’..

      • Mordecai 1.3.3

        So the EU is doing ok? By what measure? Certainly the bureaucrats in Brussels are doing ok. Europe was ‘stable and peaceful’ for decades before the EU became more than a trade pact. If anything, the inability of countries such as Greece and Spain to resolve their own economic problems is destabilising Europe more than any other event could.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.3.3.1

          Europe was ‘stable and peaceful’ for decades before the EU became more than a trade pact.

          Really?
          COuld have sworn there was two world wars that started in Europe in the decades leading up to the EEC.

          If anything, the inability of countries such as Greece and Spain to resolve their own economic problems is destabilising Europe more than any other event could.

          That’s something I’d agree with and it’s because of the EU preventing those nations from having their own currency which would act as a balancer if they were allowed to float against each other.

          • Mordecai 1.3.3.1.1

            Ww2 ended in 1945. The EU began in 1993 (from your own source). That is almost 5 decades later.
            Note-I specifically referred to the time when the European alliance became more than just a trade pact.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.3.3.1.1.1

              Note-I specifically referred to the time when the European alliance became more than just a trade pact.

              Actually, that’s all the EU is and ever will be and it fails at that as well. It really isn’t about anything else so your attempt to apply a different time-line fails.

              • Mordecai

                So you have no understanding of what happens in Brussels? Of what Members of the European Parliament are? Bendy bananas or crooked cucumbers anybody?

          • halfcrown 1.3.3.1.2

            Answer to Draco @1.3.3.1

            You are so right Draco, If anyone is interested, read what the author of the original Flashman novels George Mac Donald Fraser said in his book “The Light Is On At Sign Post” Chapter 3 The Europe Fiasco

            Too long to quote here but he said exactly that and more way back in 72.

      • Liberal Realist 1.3.4

        Europe is doing very nicely, it is England that is in a huge mess.

        Europe doing very nicely you say? Really? Did you miss the last 10 or so years of crushing austerity? The plunder of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland etc.

        Germany might be doing okay now, and has done okay over the last 10 years however southern Europe has been pillaged by neoliberalist dogma.

        I’m in agreement with Mordecai; the EU is a complete mess and is destined to eventually fall back into a being a simple trading block. The greed and power of the northern European (mostly German & French) banks has ensured the EU’s eventual disintegration IMO.

        • Johan 1.3.4.1

          To Liberal Realist:
          Nice copy and paste job, have you added anything new?
          “Germany might be doing okay”, have a look at this country’s productivity/income then you may want to revise your comment.

          • Liberal Realist 1.3.4.1.1

            Nice copy and paste job, have you added anything new?
            “Germany might be doing okay”, have a look at this country’s productivity/income then you may want to revise your comment.

            No cutting or pasting occurred as I typed out my opinion in response to yours mate.

            What I’ve added is my opinion. This is a blog where, you guessed it, people share their opinions!

            Would you care to debate my reply, which is based on facts, to your unqualified opinion that ‘Europe is doing quite nicely’?

            • In Vino 1.3.4.1.1.1

              De Gaulle was right all along. He was the last of recent politicians (although he refused his big President’s pension on the grounds that his military pension was what he felt happy with) to have any sense of long-term vision. Nobody else has had that.

              He said that Britain should not be in the EEC. Give him credit now – he was right, as he was about many other things.

  2. Dot 2

    To Mordecai,
    If not lies, there was incompetent messaging from the Conservative Government
    [it is not pc for them to blame incompetent voters].
    I note the comment of Paddy Ashdown, re: this Brexit decision,
    “A monumental act of self harm which will bewilder historians.”

    • Mordecai 2.1

      As I said, both sides told lies. It was the issue sovereignty (and specifically immigration policy) that drove the voters to leave.

  3. Sabine 4

    and good riddance.

    • kenny 4.1

      Careful Sabine, your Teutonic side is showing.

      The EU is trying to bully the UK, plain and simple. THEY want to set the agenda and rules; Britain is not ‘allowed’ to deal direct with any of the 27 countries but THEY can do what they want. Who is Britain negotiating with, Brussells, France, Germany or uncle tom cobbly and all. I thought their chief negotiators were Barnier and Verhofstadt?

      Good luck with their hope for a concensus or amicable agreement between the 27, that’s going to be fun to watch or are the Germans going to bully the rest of europe to agree to what THEY want? I think the French and Italians and Greeks may have something to say about that.

      Don’t forget the EU sells more stuff to the UK than the UK sells to them (I think the UK is Germany’s biggest export market) – who has the most to lose if things go belly up? Also any agreement would be reciprocal, so a bad deal for Britain would be a bad deal for the EU. It is in everyones interest to get an agreement that is fair and all are happy with.

      • Sabine 4.1.1

        I am bavarian, not teutonic. Like seriously.

        Secondly the UK has been playing on its ‘separate but equal’ membership for years now, and to an extend this has now come to an end.
        They voted to leave and i say good on them. 🙂

        • In Vino 4.1.1.1

          Gut gesagt. De Gaulle may also be smiling in his grave..

        • kenny 4.1.1.2

          I used teutonic as the general description of Germans, incorrectly I know, as the real teutons were the Swedes.

          Separate but equal by the way is far better than ‘the same but better’ which the French and Germans consider themselves to be. The French and Germans write the rules and everyone has to follow them. Their treatment of Greece in particular and democracy in general is appalling although I must say the Belgian and Luxemburg contingent seem to be trying to out-do them at the moment.

          The longer the powers that be in the EU continue to push their POLITICAL agenda the sooner the whole thing will, rightly, come crashing down. Cameron and Britain have been trying for years to get the EU to change but with no success – hence BREXIT. Stay in the EU and get them to change from within – don’t make me laugh!

  4. One Two 5

    Probably best to get rid of all voting then, Anthony…

    If voters are ‘too stupid’ to identify the lies*

    * voters are in general, as can be observed in daily life, ‘too stupid’

    Perhaps you’re not aware of who the sponsors were/are of the ‘EU Project’..

    It’s over now!

    • Enough is Enough 5.1

      Democracy is a bitch when outcomes you disagree with are poplular

    • joe90 5.2

      Perhaps you’re not aware of who the sponsors were/are of the ‘EU Project’..

      Do tell…

      • One Two 5.2.1

        Hi Joe

        Seemingly, you enjoy trawling the net

        Go wild!

        • joe90 5.2.1.1

          No, I’d like to hear your version of who the sponsors were/are of the ‘EU Project’.

          • J'Accuse 5.2.1.1.1

            Was it Churchill who said
            “I’d rather have them in the tent pissing out, rather than outside pissing in” ?

          • McFlock 5.2.1.1.2

            good luck getting a straight answer.

            onetwo lacks the courage of their convictions to be hierophantic rather than merely delphic.

            • Andre 5.2.1.1.2.1

              I always just figured OneTwo was a Turing Test fail.

            • One Two 5.2.1.1.2.2

              That’s your spin, McFlock

              But as you come across ‘a bit thick’, it’s hardly surprising you come out with that level of assessment

              • McFlock

                I might be a bit thick, but it seems my assessment was completely correct.

                You’re pretentious enough to imply that you know more than others, yet too cowardly to explain yourself.

                • One Two

                  “Completely correct”

                  That is an impossibility, for each and every one of us, including myself

                  Which renders your evaluation to … your opinion…

                  Nothing more, or less

                  • McFlock

                    …and yet you still refuse to back up your pretention and actually state “who the sponsors were/are of the ‘EU Project’”.

                    • One Two

                      Refusing?

                      No,thats simply your view of what ‘I must do’,to satiate the opinion you’ve tabled about my supposed pretention of, ‘knowing stuff’…

                      When of course I don’t have to do anything of the sort to satisfy the inner workings of your mind!

                      Comment 5.2.2 gives you away…again

                      Once fear and ego are sidelined, more useful traits can occupy cpu cycles in the mind..

                    • McFlock

                      Was your original line more of a shared feeling of ignorance with other who are not aware “who the sponsors were/are of the ‘EU Project’”, rather than a suggestion that you know “who the sponsors were/are of the ‘EU Project’” but R0b doesn’t?

                      Did you just use a dozen words to state “meh, idk”?

                      Or are you concealing the truth of Europe’s hidden overlords? Are YOU part of the moon-nazi Greco-Italian lizard conspiracy?!

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Bollocks McFlock. As everyone knows, Buzz Aldrin (who faked the Moon landings by adding very specific hallucinogens to the water supply) and the HAARP cabal destroyed the Lizard spawning ponds decades ago.

                      Get with the program.

                      Edit: You want evidence? Have you seen his right hook? Enhanced physical powers much?

          • One Two 5.2.1.1.3

            Nah, you’re just fishing for anything that might help you fill in some time by arguing or throwing an insult about..

            Do your own work

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1.1.3.1

              I have, but I just can’t find the link. Please please help me I want so much to break free of the HAARP/Aldrin mindfog.

              Your refusal to share just demonstrates that you’re one of them.

          • Johan 5.2.1.1.4

            To joe90:
            Love to play this little game that you are playing. A rough guess would be the same countries which set up Benelux, since this union has been described as the fore-runner of the EU;-)))

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.2

          You made the claim, you back it up.

      • McFlock 5.2.2

        It’s the bloody Lizard Illumnati again, I bet ya!

    • Liberal Realist 5.3

      Perhaps you’re not aware of who the sponsors were/are of the ‘EU Project’..

      I assume you’re referring to the supposition that the CIA were the sponsors? While I don’t know if that’s true or not, IMO – the EU (and leading countries in the block) are, for all intents and purposes, vassals of Washington…

      • Bill 5.3.1

        There was something about the US needing to keep money moving (recycling debt or some such) and so needing Japan and Germany to get back up and running after WW2. I can’t remember the details, it’s at a level of convoluted economics that I struggle with.

        Anyway. If I remember correctly, the claim was that France had to be ‘bribed’ to accept the fact that Germany was going to be the economic powerhouse of a future Europe. So they got the vacuous baubles of office…the bureaucracy, by way of compensation..

        I think it was Yanis Varoufakis who explained it in some presentation he gave or in some conversation he was a part of – I can’t exactly remember. But do recall having the impression that it made sense.

      • Bill 5.3.2

        Go to 55 min in this link for the explanation…or scroll through the accompanying transcript.

        https://www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2016/06/28/full-transcript-of-the-yanis-varoufakis-noam-chomsky-nypl-discussion/

  5. Kaleb 6

    I am a kiwi living in London. been living here for over 6 years now.

    The issue i see is that the british will soon not be able to blame the EU and migrants for every issue that they have from the NHS to jobs to EU law and when we are fully out they will then start to blame the people that voted brexit. Brexit will have major implications for this country and workers.
    So many false promises like 350 million a week to the NHS that will never come about.

    Sad day…

    • Chess Player 6.1

      I agree.
      Look out for a hoard of entitled, monied, gents and ladies to relocate to NZ and similar countries. And, for the confused and bewildered poor in England to turn upon themselves.
      Scotland has the right plan.

  6. Ad 7

    Other than direct visa access, exactly what will change?

    Will immigration for manual labour really dry up?

    UK businesses will still have to export and operate their to the same EU rules.

    Students will still arrive. NATO doesn’t change.

    What do they want, their own supply of directly-imported non-curvy bananas?

    I can’t see much difference yet other than the Pound halving in value.

    • paul andersen 7.1

      the pound halving in value, surely that should be a wake up call, that would mean all imports to the u.k. doubling in price , must have made a big difference in living costs..

    • Chess Player 7.2

      ” Exactly what will change?”
      Do you not understand the concept of supply chain security?
      The UK cannot feed itself.
      The supermarket shelves are completely turned over every 2-3 days, and largely with products from outside the UK.
      What impact do you think having to re-negotiate the cost of the basic necessities of life will have?
      The challenge for the English will be to either accept less for higher cost, or to re-invent themselves and create a genuinely self-sustainable economy.
      Given England has only grown in stature and wealth through invasion of other lands, I realistically don’t see them doing either.

  7. Sabine 8

    interesting read.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/uk-is-drunk-on-sovereignty-and-all-puffed-up-with-no-place-to-go-1.3028005#.WNs-3XKROA1.

    “The prime minister herself said that no deal would be better than a bad deal, although Brexit secretary David Davis admitted last week that the government has made no assessment of the cost of crashing out of the EU.
    The government’s tone has softened in recent days, and Davis acknowledged this week that immigration from the EU could actually increase after Brexit. The UK’s economy remains perky, confounding the Remainers’ warnings of an immediate slump after the referendum and reassuring those who backed Brexit about their future outside the EU.

    Scotland’s parliament last night voted in favour of a second independence referendum and although May can delay the vote until after Brexit, it will almost certainly happen soon afterwards. Meanwhile, the UK’s efforts to find new markets beyond the EU are meeting the reality that no market is as large or as promising as Europe’s and that countries such as India want new trade deals to include easier immigration into the UK.

    As she starts the clock on two years of negotiations, May remains transfixed by the threat from her right flank and its supporters in the press. But when she lifts her gaze she may see the peril her chosen strategy poses to the integrity of the UK as she takes it on a lonely journey out of the EU, drunk on a notion of sovereignty and all puffed up with no place to go.”

    • kenny 8.1

      This from the neutral Irish Times of course.

      The only ones who want another Scottish referendum are the SNP (Scottish National Party); all the polls suggest the general population do not. It is interesting that the SNP will choose any excuse for a referendum and that they were hoping the Germans would invade Britain in WWII so they could demand one.

      The SNP is not Scotland.

      If the EU position is so strong why are they determined to make BREXIT so bad for Britain that it discourages other States from going down the same path? Why is Brussels afraid of democracy? Why are they antaganising Russia? Can you imagine what the US reaction would be if Russia arranged to change the democraticly elected Mexican government with one friendly to them and then stationed Russian troops on the US/Mexican border.

  8. DS 9

    Heseltine is a believer in Federal Europe. *Of course* he thinks Brexit is Armageddon.

    Fact is, the EU entrenches right-wing economics. The European Project was traditionally the domain of the Right, not the Left – the Tories took Britain into the Common Market, while Labour was traditionally opposed. For good reason.

    This glorious European project destroyed the last serious attempt at western democratic socialism (Mitterand’s France), and was thoroughly complicit in the destruction of UK manufacturing (it became legally impossible for Britain to support local industry against German imports). In its modern incarnation it prevents a future UK Government from nationalising the railways*, has utterly screwed Britain’s fishing industry, and it has most famously gutted Southern Europe via a modern gold standard.

    *Yes, the Tories won’t do this. But you can vote out the government in Westminster. You can’t vote out the European Commission.

    • kenny 9.1

      Exactly – I am convinced the EU project has always been the pilot for globalisation; if they can get it to work there then the world, literally, is their oyster! The real ‘elite’ are starting to feel the push-back from the people and are getting nervous but are not yet ready to concede defeat – hence their endeavours to impose a cashless society on the world. Good luck with that.

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