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Brexit revisited

Written By: - Date published: 7:19 am, December 13th, 2020 - 19 comments
Categories: boris johnson, Brexit, Free Trade, spin, trade, uk politics, uncategorized, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

D day is approaching.  The United Kingdom appears to be spectacularly unprepared for the changes required for a post Brexit Europe.  And the prospects of massive congestion at borders appear high with untested software only now being installed.

Even now the effects are showing with 10 mile long truck jams at Calais.  From Lisa O’Carroll at the Guardian:

Brexit stockpiling is causing 10-mile lorry queues and delays of up to five hours in Calais, it has emerged, as hopes of a trade deal fade.

Sources close to the president of the Hauts-de-France region said there had been 50% more heavy goods vehicles on the approach roads to the French port and Eurotunnel in the past three weeks.

“November and December are always busy months, but extreme stockpiling because businesses are trying to get goods into the UK before 1 January is the main cause,” the source said.

“Normally we have about 6,000 trucks, but now it is about 9,000. It shows the extreme of the consequences of Brexit whether there is a deal or not. Trucks are having to slow down all along the A16 back to Dunkirk with delays of up to 17km.”

The borders are not the only problem area.  Fishing rights looms as a major issue and news that the TK Government has commissioned four Royal Navy patrol ships to Patrol the UK’s exclusive economic zone shows how heightened the discussion has become.

From Dan Sabbagh at the Guardian:

Fishing remains one of the biggest sticking points in the tortuous EU-UK trade negotiations. The complex economic argument over quotas, timescales and the length of an industry-specific transition period has put Britain at loggerheads with France.

Without a deal, EU boats would be banned from fishing in the UK’s EEZ – although it would also mean that UK fishing boats would be barred from the waters of nearby EU member states.

This week, the EU proposed a one-year extension to the transition period for fishing to allow a deal to be negotiated, highlighting the significance of the crisis.

And there may not, contrary to earlier promises, be enough food imported.  From the BBC:

Food and drink supplies in the UK face more disruption after the end of the Brexit transition period than they did from Covid, the industry has said.

“There are 14 [working] days to go,” the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) chief executive, Ian Wright, told MPs.

“How on earth can traders prepare in this environment?” he added.

Noting that rules for sending goods from Welsh ports to Northern Ireland had only just been published, he said: “It’s too late, baby.”

Uncertainty over a deal and new border checks would make it difficult to guarantee the movement of food through ports without delays, he said.

Mr Wright was giving evidence to the Commons business committee on Brexit preparedness.

He said there was a big concern that the problems would “erode the confidence of shoppers in the supply chain”, adding: “It has done very well over Covid and shoppers will expect the same thing over Brexit, and they may not see it.”

And what are the prospects of a deal being reached?  Given that there is a clown in charge of one side of the negotiations I suspect the chances are very dim and getting worse.  And it seems that major European leaders do not want to talk to him.

From Daniel Boffey and Heather Simpson at the Guardian:

Boris Johnson has put Britain on course for a no-deal Brexit, claiming it is now “very, very likely”, as it emerged that Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have flatly rejected his appeal for direct talks.

In a pointed toughening up of his language, the prime minister claimed Britain was on a path to leaving the single market and customs union without any trade or security agreement, describing it as a potentially “wonderful” outcome.

Speaking to reporters on a visit to Blyth in Northumberland, a day after telling the cabinet to prepare for a no-deal exit, Johnson said the talks were not progressing.

“I’ve got to tell that from where I stand now, here in Blyth, it is looking very, very likely that we will have to go for a solution that I think would be wonderful for the UK, and we’d be able to do exactly what we want from January,” he said.

“It obviously would be different from what we’d set out to achieve but I have no doubt this country can get ready and, as I say, come out on World Trade [Organization] terms.”

The two sides have said they will make a “firm decision” about the prospects of a deal by the end of Sunday. During a 10-minute briefing at the end of an all-night summit of EU heads of state and government on Friday morning, Von der Leyen refused to put a percentage on the chances of agreement but told leaders there was a “higher probability for no deal than deal”.

Macron’s and Merkel’s refusal to engage in direct talks with Boris Johnson leaves him in the position of what does he do, make major concessions to ensure that trade can continue in a relatively acceptable form even though it will really annoy his hard liners, or go all batchit crazy on it and confirm there is no deal.  There is a strong chance that Johnson will do the latter.

Caryna Hyde has this very funny but rather sad take on the current situation:

Can it really be just three entire years and three entire days since Michael Gove said of a Brexit deal: “The final whistle has blown, and the prime minister has won”? Either way, I see the Brexit talks have moved into the threatening-suicide-if-your-ex-doesn’t-do-what-you-want stage. On Thursday evening, Boris Johnson took to the airwaves to warn that with negotiations due to end on Sunday, there is now a “strong possibility” of a no-deal Brexit.

This mood of constructive and responsible toy-throwing was duly echoed across today’s front pages, with a personal favourite being the Daily Express’s splash headline: ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS OUR FREEDOM. A phrase it’s incredibly hard not to imagine being sobbed by a man in his pants being led away by police officers.

ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS OUR FREEDOM. And to have access to the single market; and to prosper mightily; and to be able eat a bunch of grapes while walking round Tesco then kick off when challenged at the till; and to be able to use the weights room without paying gym membership; and to have some me-time; and to explore an open relationship just for a bit, you know; and to get a Regret Nothing tattoo; and to try surfing and ayahuasca; and to sleep in the spare room with our new girlfriend because flats are expensive and we need one with a garage for the superbike; and to have a child support holiday so we can go to Spain and get our heads together; and to dress in a Spider-Man costume and climb on top of a women’s refuge and just feel understood; and to come within less than 100 metres of you. ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS OUR FREEDOM.

Hang onto your hats Britain.  This is going to get wild.

19 comments on “Brexit revisited ”

  1. Ad 1

    I'd like to point out that I remain consistently confused about Brexit.

    In June 2016 I posted "The Hills Are Alive" announcing Brexit as a clarion call to democratic reflexiveness and renewal. Snort.

    In August 2016 I predicted "The Great Slowdown" but actually we were all fine for another 3 years.

    In December 2016 I asked "What Would Happen If The EU Fell Apart", but it didn't.

    In March 2017 in "The 60th Anniversary of the European Union" I was sure that the whole of the EU was going to recognise their part in the failure of Brexit and demonstrate the benefits of their system better. Amazing.

    In October 2017 I wrote on "Austria and Europe" about anti-immigration shifts in governments and how Brexit was at one with them. But actually, now, the UK has bigger worries than that in its society.

    In January last year I asked: "Is Brexit a signal of decline?", I felt it was great for British democratic renewal and bad for much else.

    In August last year I asked "Can The Greens Rise Like The Liberal Democrats?", and in the UK the answer was: wrong on both counts.

    In September last year I said: "Forget Brexit: It's Asia", because China is the axis of the western Pacific in which we swim. Almost as if its disruption should be paid no mind.

    I just wanted to point out my impressive four year track record of predictive failure on Brexit.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Predicting Brexit was always going to be a mugs game because it was always based on a steaming pile of intentionally confusing bs in the first place. It's my sense that the only reason why Brexit got the legs it did, was a bunch of shadowy creatures from the City of London, who we very keen that the EU's new banking regulations should not apply to them; who then concocted the entire toxic mess from behind closed doors. The actual reasons for Brexit never lined up with the ones being talked about in public.

      The idea that Britain will regain anything from the split is a total delusion … they had lost nothing to the EU in the first place.

      The EU however , and Germany in particular, now has it's own manifold problems, and Brussels will quite welcome the chance to ditch the Brits in order to simplify matters; there never was going to be a workable exit deal.

      Once the US has crushed the Brits will to live, a 'free trade deal' will be signed and the US will set about extracting a very cold revenge on their former colonial patrons.

      Around about then the UK will come grovelling to Canada, Australia and NZ and see if they'll agree to the proposed CANZUK alignment in order to salvage what shreds of their pride may be left.

      But given there is no logic or sense in this entire mess, like you I'm 100% prepared to be completely wrong.

      • Macro 1.1.1


        It was always going to end in tears. The English have only themselves to blame. They have carried the whole of the UK into this mess without a thought to the needs of their fellow nations (in particular Northern Ireland and Scotland). It's them I feel most sympathy.

      • DS 1.1.2

        The City of London voted overwhelmingly to Remain.

        • Phil

          Yes, there's still a knee-jerk reaction from many to blame the bankers or economists whenever anything goes wrong. But on this topic the financial sector, both those within London and around the globe, spoke with almost complete unison that remaining in the EU was the far better financial outcome for the UK.

    • mickysavage 1.2

      Heh I think the problem was the left was prepared to analyse it at an intellectual level and we did not appreciate how base and essentially racist the tory analysis of the situation was. Or how incompetent they would be in the execution.

      • Phillip ure 1.2.1

        I think..that like in america..

        it was a scream of rage from the long ignored/dispossessed…

        • mickysavage

          You are right, in part it was a scream of rage from the dispossessed, And it was also a Fcukyop from the English upper class to the idea of international cooperation. The latter co-opted the former and managed to get a majority.

          The latter do not have the interests of the former in their calculations. The guys in the middle do, but not as much as they should do.

          • Phillip ure

            I haven't seen analysis of that brexit vote by class..

            ..did the middle-class also swing in behind the idea..?

            and I wonder what incoherence drove them to vote for it..

            (the deep xenophobia so prevalent in so many from those isles..?..)

          • Incognito

            The people were worn down and confused by years of uncertainty, misleading news, disinformation, propaganda, et cetera, and in the end they wanted it be over and done with, but it wasn’t, not yet.

            This has repeated itself, or continued rather, with the so-called deal/no-deal. Thanks to Covid, people are still or again dropping like flies in the UK and they have other things on their minds than Boris and his bastardy Brexiteers.

  2. The tories were divided, with each faction seeing the ability to make more money, but not both at the same time. The outs won it, and the no deal brigade will get what they wanted all along.

    Labour were just as divided, with the more enlightened voters in London knowing the benefits of remaining. The midland and north, not so much, buying into the base ukip nonsense the EU being the cause of all their ills. Corbyn trying to have his cake and eat it, mixing metaphors, splintered his own arse with all his fence sitting and paid the ultimate electoral price.

    As it was, the result was still pretty much a 50/50 split, and Cameron was and is ultimately to blame for having the referendum in the first place, and then not making it 2/3 majority needed to brexit.

    As an Englisher, I would have voted stay in, but now the vote has been done and dusted to death, they should just get on with it now and fuck off. Beneficial as it was, it certainly wasn't the common market people voted to join, so flick the jocks and paddies so they can join their new German/Franco dominated union and little Englanders can learn how to repent at leisure.

  3. Richard Olykan 3

    All self inflicted.

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    Despite all the rituals and conventions of parliamentary "democracy", most at present are hostage to the childish whims of pathetic clowns like Boris and Trump – neither pursuing the welfare of their constituents, nor achieving even a modicum of success in the economic charlatanry in which they profess expertise.

    We do no better, with lazy MPs abdicating their responsibility to govern in favour of the self-serving or erratic vagaries of "The Market" – a golden calf long overdue to lose its idolatrous status.

  5. WeTheBleeple 5

    Warning: strong language and hilarious jokes about Britain's debt.

  6. DS 6

    Lexiteers (Left-wing Brexiters) are a thing, you know. It's not as if the EU is anything other than enforced corporate neoliberalism, which (in contrast to Westminster) no-one can actually vote out.

    Has the UK Government completely messed things up? Yes. There was no plan in advance of the referendum, which is the root of the problem. But that's rather different from the question of whether Brexit (as in, the UK being outside the EU) is desirable. It is perfectly possible to hate Brussels AND Boris Johnson.

    • Ad 6.1

      If only UK Labour under Corbyn could have generated an attractive position for voters late last year, the UK would not find itself in this position. The UK left put him in there and the UK left lost.

      The UK left may well have hated Brussels AND Boris Johnson, they just failed to figure out which one was worse.

    • Pierre 6.2

      To reclaim the terrible ultra-leftist slogan:

      Neither the Troika nor the Tories but international socialism!

      And you're correct, there's always been a democratic left position critical of the EU as a neoliberal trading bloc and an instrument of the corporate monopolies. Also, Labour's brexit position last year was born out of a necessary internal debate, but I believe that if the party had really leaned into that Bennite position, there wouldn't have been such a harmful defeat last year.

  7. SPC 7

    The NHS can hardly wait for the failure of the FTA talks – so the post EU boost can kick in as soon as.

    The Tories can count themselves lucky they are not dealing with Trump – he was set on destroying the WTO and leveraging that to realise a UK satellite colony via a one sided FTA.

    It leaves the Labour Party with a lot of thinking to do about future policy – a socialist island or renewed ties to Europe (back into the customs union with restored freedom of movement).

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