Brexit vote on Tuesday

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, December 10th, 2018 - 41 comments
Categories: Europe, International, uk politics - Tags: ,

With May likely to lose the Parliamentary Brexit vote, next Tuesday is a big day in United Kingdom politics. This matters to New Zealand because both the EU and the UK are huge trade markets for us, and the result will cause major destabilization.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn believes that a loss on this in Parliament would mean that May cannot continue to govern and that a fresh election should be called. This is Corbyn’s preferred option.

I believe that a fresh election is unlikely, because the Conservative MPs like being employed.

I get that sense in this from Prime Minister May this week in Parliament commenting on many who “want another referendum which they hope would overturn the decision we took in 2016. Although I profoundly disagree, they are arguing for what they believe is right for our country, and I respect that. But the hard truth is we will not settle the issue and bring our country back together that way.”

Corbyn is comfortably sitting back waiting for the government to die, and showing no enthusiasm for a second vote either.

There’s a chance it could get through Parliament if enough Labour MP’s switch side. In June, 76 Labour MPs defied the whip to vote for the Lords’ EEA amendment to the trade bill – Labour’s largest rebellion in history. I don’t think Labour is in a position to go for a fresh election since it is too divided on the issue, an issue which would dominate any election.

Labour MPs too like being employed.

So both parties are going to need a Plan B. Some kind of renegotiation, probably.

One Plan B option is for the UK to be a strong member of the European Economic Area.

But would that retain frictionless trade with the 500 million consumers on the UK’s doorstep?

No it wouldn’t. The EEA is not a customs union and customs checks do take place between EU and non-EU EEA members, as happens on the Norwegian-Swedish border.

Could remaining in the EEA enable articles 112 and 113 of the EEA agreement to control immigration?

I don’t think that’s getting to the heart of the immigration debate in the UK. The debate right now in the EU is not about free movement of Polish plumbers. It is about old English and Anglo-Saxon and Christian traditional views clashing with Middle Eastern refugee Islamic traditions that are making the locals feel threatened. It is about immigration from outside the EU into the EU – and there are existing checks and controls on free movement into the UK which no UK government has chosen not to employ. There is no need to leave the EU to address free movement, it can be done from within.

It’s true the EEA is a well-established and fully ratified set-up. By leaving the EU and joining the EEA the UK could become the leading light in a new group of ‘outer ring’ countries that sit outside the political project while retaining the full market participation.

But the real issue is whether the UK could actually join the EEA at all. At the moment, the EEA is only open to EU members and the three (out of four) members of the European Free Trade Area which have chosen to participate. So if the UK were to leave the EU the only way to join the EEA would be through EFTA and this makes an assumption about whether the other four EFTA countries would allow the UK to join – there’s no guarantee of that at all.

There’s no goodwill for further British exceptionalism after all this.

For Corbyn’s Labour the real problem is that the EEA model does not fulfil Labour’s six tests as it is not the full single market due to agriculture and fisheries being excluded.

The UK’s agricultural and fisheries sectors would be harmed because, not being covered by the EEA, they would face import tariffs into the EU, making them less competitive in one of their largest markets and thus harming their sales and consequently farming and fishing communities.

And as part of the European Economic Area, non-EU members have to accept all EU single market rules without having a say over them. This means it doesn’t solve the begrudging resentment that the UK people feel about the EU imposing too many rules.

Labour’s 6 tests for Brexit are:

  • Fair migration system for UK business and communities
  • Retaining strong, collaborative relationship with EU
  • Protecting national security and tackling cross-border crime
  • Delivering for all nations and regions of the UK
  • Protecting workers’ rights and employment protections
  • Ensuring same benefits currently enjoyed within single market

That is the place upon which Labour must form a Plan B.

To me, those are things you only get by staying in the EU in the first place.

I agree with Prime Minister May that voting it down will likely mean no Brexit at all.

Don’t imagine that if we vote this down another deal is going to miraculously appear. The alternative is uncertainty and risk.”

Both Labour and the Conservatives need a Plan B and they need it inside 48 hours.

41 comments on “Brexit vote on Tuesday”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    God the British political class is just so awful and venal, and British politics in general reflect a country in serious economic decline now they’ve squandered the North Sea oil cash that propped up Thatcherism. All Britain has left economically is a bloated and corrupt financial sector and weapons sales to despots in the Middle East.

    On the “left” you’ve got a whole load of whining middle class liberals who still haven’t accepted the result, still accuse everyone who voted to leave of being Xenophobic idiots and who think keeping voting until they get the right result won’t do huge harm to democracy. The disconnect of the Oxbridge London middle class is unbelievable, and symptomatic of a society in crisis. Allied to them is a bunch of Labour PLP radical centrists who hate Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit in equal messure – they’ll do anything to prevent Brexit, but they also prefer the conservatives to a Corbyn led, socialist Labour party winning power.

    On the right you’ve got the clown car of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson and the rest of the far right Tory wreckers who are determined to get the UK out of Europe so they can return Britain to a Victorian era shithole, and to hell with Ireland and the British economy. The rest of the Tories are Turkeys who are venally only interested in not voting for an early Xmas, whilst the erstwhile “centrists’ of the Liberal Deomcrats are a spent force, utterly discredited by their coalition with the Conservatives.

    Over all this is the parliament act, which allows May to keep her zombie government clinging to power by setting it’s one criteria for success as simply avoiding the triggers required for an early election.

    Of course, in all this squabbling amongst Sassoon’s Oxbridge unspeakables no one (except perhaps for Corbyn, which is why they all hate him so viscerally) has actually bothered to consult the vast mass of leave voters or properly represent their views and concerns.

    The whole ghastly circus will roll on until either the UK crashes out of Europe or the middle class eites will get their way and a new referndum will win a close result to stay – a reclaimation of political authority by the political classes that’ll then complacently do nothing to address the underlying problems of British society and instead devote itself with renewed energy to keeping Corbyn out of power and wresting back complete control of the political discourse by getting rid of Corbyn for good and replacing him with a nice centrist who ticks all the middle class fell good identity politics boxes – someone like the Blairite Chuka Umunna.

    If the UK does crash out and survives OK, that’ll be the end of the road for the “ever closer” EU – expect Italy to follow. And it’ll be a massive blow to the ruling Oxbridge liberal elites and represent a serious weakening of their power.

    • SPC 1.1

      I would disagree, the whole point of democratic government is the ability of the electorate to change its mind each and every election – the idea of one referendum deciding something this decisive is not at all democratic.

      The political problem is the division within each party on the issue that also exists amongst their voter base, making this very difficult for them to navigate at parliamentary level.

      And as for the elites preferring this or that, it is the older voters who voted to leave (little Englander nostalgia), the next generation that wanted to remain.

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        That’s an entertaining rant and well written Sanctuary; but leaves me baffled as to your underlying intention.

        Yes the EU is a deeply flawed project and demands improvement; but as the Brits are discovering was still better than no European project at all.

        • Sanctuary

          I don’t have an underlying intention actually. Having just recently spent some time living in Europe, I can see how wonderful the Schengen area is and how much good the EU has done for some areas of Europe. At the same time, it is nowadays a deeply flawed neoliberal institution run by the Germans and administered by unelected technocrats who have no popular mandate (at least outside of the Fanco-German/Benelux core) for the “ever closer” Europe they desire.

          The British in particular have a legitimate beef with Europe, being an island makes a huge psychological difference and the British have always been uneasy with the idea of a United States of Europe, the prevention of which formed the basis of British foreign policy for the past 300+ years. The Briitsh have stayed out of the common currency and have never mandated the idea of a move to a federated European Super State.

          The problem with the UK and it’s decadent elites is deeply entrenched. The only way forward is a deep and thorough reform of the aristocracy and the education system that underpins it.

  2. lprent 2

    For me, the key things about Brexit are the following points you raised..

    There’s no goodwill for further British exceptionalism after all this.

    About UK Labour’s tests

    To me, those are things you only get by staying in the EU in the first place.

    Quite simply I couldn’t see why there was a movement towards Brexit in the first place. It felt like a pile of people stuck in the 1970s trying to get back there. Personally if I’d been back in the 1960s and 1970s and a UK citizen I’d have been pretty much of the same opinion as Bryan Gould was in a recent blog post. I’d have voted against it. The short and mid-term costs outweighed the returns, and they’d have wound up with an unbalanced economy.

    In the early 1970s, after I had spent some years in the Foreign Office and in our Brussels Embassy working on the UK’s relationship with what was then the Common Market, I had seen enough to convince me that the arrangement we apparently wished to join was totally inimical to our interests.

    It would require us to support as taxpayers (and at considerable cost), the Common Agricultural policy, and to pay higher food prices as consumers – turning our backs on our well-established trade links with the most efficient and cost-effective producers of food and raw materials in the world, and thereby forsaking as a result our main cost advantage as a manufacturing economy – lower food costs than those of our European rivals.

    In addition, we would lose the preferential markets for our manufactured goods offered by those same trading partners and would face instead direct competition with efficient German manufacturing in our own and European markets. It was hard to imagine any other voluntary change that would have – with absolute predictability – placed us at such a disadvantage.

    Those warnings were pooh-poohed at the time by Mandelson and his ilk but have been amply borne out by our actual experience. No one who reviews Britain’s history as a manufacturing economy since we joined the Common Market can doubt or dispute the damage we did to ourselves, or the plight we find ourselves in, with our manufacturing capability now diminished and weakened almost beyond repair.

    But the world moved on. It isn’t the 60s, 70s or even the 80s. Those were in my youth and I moved on. It is a pity that some of the old sentimental fools in the UK appear to have not done so. And that sense of braggadocio? Urggh. They simply don’t have much that is unique to offer the rest of the world apart from nostalgia tourism.

    After a great deal of pain both Britian and those ‘preferential trading partners’ like us re-based our economies over my lifetime.

    In the UK, they killed a lot of of their base manufacturing and shifted to an economy that was increasingly orientated towards their services economy – especially the financial.

    Here, the UK dropped from being our overwhelming primary export and import market and is now currently something like third or fourth and well behind Aussie, China, and barely more important to us than the US, EU or even the whole of the south-east Asian markets. And I can’t see how they could ever become more than a diminishing side-note for our economy because they mainly import our lowest value exports.

    Moreover while we have a large agricultural and raw resources industry, it has a *very* low profit margin, runs on a commodity boom and bust, and is simply not particularly reliable or important as an employer (see AFFCO). We have built a exporting high-profit and high-employment high tech industry, plus a high employment and moderate profit tourism industry.

    As a 5th gen kiwi I’m completely uninterested in the UK these days. We simply don’t export much there apart from commodity loss-leaders. We usually reserve the good stuff for markets that are willing to pay premiums. And their software and tech simply isn’t interesting. They never managed to establish an innovative economy.

    Mostly the UK is interesting because of entertainment value. Brexit being the obvious one – as satire on self-entitled nostalgia over-riding common sense. After enduring the pain of restructuring their economy for decades, they now want to try to do it again? I think that is a country whose foolish politicians and voters we’d do well to avoid.

    • Sanctuary 2.1

      “…as satire on self-entitled nostalgia over-riding common sense…”

      Define “common sense”. If you are an under-employed unskilled Englishman in Birmingham leave is common sense, because all you see if loads of South Asians and Eastern Europeans taking all the jobs and forcing down wages to the point of a return to Edwardian levels of poverty in the working poor.

      Common sense is not wanting your sovereign rights to make your own decisions (for example, the right to re-nationalise the railways or water services) being taken away – without consultation – and handed to unelected neoliberal technocrats in Brussels who can tell you if you can or can’t do something.

      Common sense, in other words, is often a matter of perspective.

      Above all, the Brexit vote was NOT mainly driven by a desire to return to some sort of nostalgic past of deep England, but by a desperate cry from the marginalised who see controlling the border as the one concrete thing they can see actually potentially working for them.

      Also, if the UK does “crash out” it won’t be the catastrophe that the scare-mongering Guardian and Independent would have you believe. Those two liberal papers long ago gave up any pretence of giving a fair or balanced view of Brexit – they are firmly in the camp of the London/Oxbridge liberal elite – who are the really entitled ones in this fiasco. If Britain “crashes out” it will be to join the rest of the world (like NZ) with normal trade rules – there will be winners and losers from that, but arguably being out of an economically moribund EU that is run out of Berlin for the benefit of German manufacturing and French agriculture wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Perhaps in ten years the UK might be stoked that they economically got out of the EU, who knows?

      I do know that economically the rise of Asia – something Europeans are incredibly ignorant of and complacent about in my experience – has made the EU less relevant. The UK could easily put on it’s man pants and start living in the big, scary world outside the EU and grow up and make a proper living by trading with everyone, instead of hiding behind the EU- just like we manage to do, and we only number 4.5 millions.

      The British political class and ruling elites are deeply decadent and the UK has been beset with an economically bungling ruling class since at least the 1880s. Brexit may lead to the urgent political and economic reform the UK needs.

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        And replacing this ‘decadent ruling class’ (not much quibble with that) … is a highly skilled, competent, cohesive and admirable cadre of comrades with plans and programs to set the UK on the path to a socialist utopia?

        I actually like Corbyn, I’ve backed him here frequently. But he’s just one man; even as PM would he command the moral authority over the political edifice necessary to bring about the generational changes you imply?

        In other words … the symptoms are entrenched and obvious. The cure much less so.

        • Draco T Bastard

          But he’s just one man; even as PM would he command the moral authority over the political edifice necessary to bring about the generational changes you imply?

          And that is why we need an actual democracy rather than continuing with an elected dictatorship.

          In a representative democracy no one person has power but it’s obvious that the corporations do.

          In a democracy the MPs will be doing what the people decide and not what the lobbyists have persuaded the MP to do.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      Quite simply I couldn’t see why there was a movement towards Brexit in the first place. It felt like a pile of people stuck in the 1970s trying to get back there.

      To me it was people who’d been fucked over for the last thirty or forty years by the narrative that the free-market would make things better finally getting a say.

      We don’t have a free-market even with all the FTAs available. The FTAs and the WTO are there to force trade rather than making it free. The EU itself was anathema to free-market principles.

      A free-market begins with the principle of willing buyer, willing seller. Trade between countries can only be left to the country as a whole and not to the individuals within the country. That means the country setting laws that determine when a country can be traded with and under what conditions (in this regards tariffs become a free-market tool). The best option there is to see if the other country meets or exceeds the local standards as far as work protections, minimum wages, exchange rate setting and obeyance to human rights.

      They simply don’t have much that is unique to offer the rest of the world apart from nostalgia tourism.

      That’s pretty much true of every country. As I say, under true free-market conditions international trade would minimise as the costs of transport would make buying from offshore too expensive.

      In the UK, they killed a lot of of their base manufacturing and shifted to an economy that was increasingly orientated towards their services economy – especially the financial.

      And now the majority are finding that it doesn’t work – especially the financial.

      After enduring the pain of restructuring their economy for decades, they now want to try to do it again?

      Why continue with a failed model?

  3. SaveNZ 3

    It’s clear Britain need another referendum to make sure that the majority of British public are still on board. The last one was poorly attended and fake news and the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal plus going over the spending limit illegally for LEAVE means that the mandate to go ahead was always based on a lie.

    Where Britain went wrong was not preparing correctly for the Eastern European states coming into the EU in the first place.

    France and Germany protected itself with measures when more member states who were poorer came into the EU, Britain did not stem the hundreds of thousands of people from Eastern Europe that came to the UK to work.

    Like NZ they thought they needed loads of cheap workers doing unskilled/semi skilled/looking for work, but in fact it has instead created a free for all, a massive strain on the UK health and welfare system which they incorrectly tried to stem by the Windrush type expulsion of people to make way for the Eastern Europeans in the EU. So Brexit was a reaction to growing inequality in the UK and poor planning from the British government and their neoliberal focus , rather than actually wanting to leave the EU and have the security and freedom of movement.

    Most people in Britain want freedom of movement in the EU but did not want large influxes of people who never paid any taxes in Britain having the same work and welfare rights as they do and actually displacing them by undercutting them with cheap or cash labour.

    • SPC 3.1

      If I had been negotiating for the UK, I would have continued with membership of the single market while out of the EU – one labour market still but no more welfare/housing support to guest workers (thus only skilled workers or lower paid singles sharing flats/farm accommodation would have come in). And at the same time modernised their non EU immigration rules, and looked at how their internal polices were encouraging Moslem takeover of school areas and made some reforms there. These steps would have delivered on some of the concerns of the older voters and yet minimised economic costs of a more extreme Brexit. And have left a return to full EU membership a fairly straight-forward process – which had allowed the UK to comment on EU developments as being either more or less likely to encourage a return (a means of influence).

    • SaveNZ 3.2

      After the Eastern European expansion 37 – 43% of people from the EU were on welfare in the first years of coming to the UK and in 2013 between 195,000 and 235,000 of the 525,000 EU nationals resident in the UK for less than four years were in households claiming either in-work or out-of-work benefits. About 66% of the claimants were in work, according to the same data, which does not include students. The poor levels of statistics mean that both the remain and leave could argue what they meant and take different conclusions from the poorly gathered data that did nobody any favours.

      NZ should take heed from where the UK went wrong.

      One is, that a government is completely foolish not to keep accurate statistics on migrant benefits and welfare and then have the problem where they actually can’t be sure if and what type of migrants were a benefit to the UK or within short, medium and long term timeframes. Thus creates a fight that is subject to drawing a range of conflicting conclusions that can not be accurate and then just used for political purposes on migration instead of being very careful, accurate and making sure a massive amount of detail were kept on that issue to fine tune their policy before it got out of hand.

      NZ is in that UK camp of not keeping accurate statistics on immigration and welfare and on how new migrants are a gain or loss in NZ. Our government should learn from the UK and keep very clear, detailed on the different types of successes and failures within our migration because we are now the third highest migrant nation in the world but have little to zero data on it because it has become a political tool for neoliberalism.

      Accurate data is needed because within the migrant groups there are successful migrants among the migrants that are a massive drain. In the UK it was looking like a significant percentage were a drain on the UK and might have needed social housing as well as welfare and health care which has become a massive issue in the UK.

      Governments reap what they sow. The 21c public now has much less faith in their government being neutral on migrants and immigration.

      It was not smart for the Uk and they were lazy and stupid by not measuring or doing risk management on the effects of immigration into the UK and having Britains best interests at heart when it came to accuracy around the statistics.

      Now they are faced with Brexit and the multi billion dollar divorce bill that nobody is happy about or can agree on a way forward, because they are all very messy and risky for the UK and not good for the EU either.

    • Sanctuary 3.3

      “…It’s clear Britain need another referendum…”

      Why? Would there have been another referendum if they had voted instead to stay by 51%-49%? Or do you think they only need to keep voting until they get it right by the people who read the Guardian?

      “… but in fact it has instead created a free for all, a massive strain on the UK health and welfare system…”

      I doubt the refugees drowning in the Mediterranean regard immigration to Europe a “free for all” one of the myths of Brexit is that there is currently free movement of people in the EU. There is free movement of people within the Schengen Area, but this NOT a free movement of people – fat chance of getting into the EU if you are from Guinea-Bissau.

      • SaveNZ 3.3.1

        You have to ask why are there so many refugees coming through the Mediterranean?

        This is the important question because not enough thought is put into why are so many refugees fleeing their homes, aka to avoid war (with weapons from the west for the most part) and food, security and health poverty? What is going to happen with climate change if even the west is not preparing for it, and with drought and food famine.

        Africa is expanding it’s population and anticipated to become more than half the world’s population growth by 2050.

        Like school zoning, migration is also taking skills and educated people from other countries, thus creating problems in the poorer countries while also ensuring that dictators continue as people flee rather than fight.

        The western governments are hypocritical, they don’t want the refugees but in many cases are enabling the reasons for their migration.

        • SaveNZ

          Lazy migration is also making countries lazy about training and upskilling their own people to cover work shortages because they rely on poaching other countries workers for less money. This also leaves the both countries people worse off, the migrant country because they fail to invest in they own human capital and the leave migrant country because they are constantly losing skills that they need for themselves.

          Migration is good in moderation for very specific skills or as a TEMPORARY and controlled thing aka the OE for countries youths to see the world or after a disaster to help relief, but widespread lazy immigration it is causing a shit fight and major harm around the world and causing the world to go backwards because inequality is growing alarmingly and important world issues are not being addressed holistically like ocean and air pollution that effect all countries in the end.

          People think they can just avoid bad issues by migrating to the better countries and leaving the rest of the world to their fate with bad dictators growing alarmingly around the world while the west pontificate and count costs and gather tainted political donations and lobbying to turn a blind eye to the greater good and a better world in hundreds of years not just the next election cycle, how many gold curtains they can buy and their new job at the UN or as a pro neoliberal advisor somewhere.

  4. SPC 4

    Their PM should threaten the Tory rebels with the nuclear option if they vote down her deal. She puts up a no deal Brexit to parliament straight afterwards and then has this option beaten by a much larger margin – and discredits it so decisively the only option left is to stay in the EU and seek a public mandate for this.

  5. Gosman 5

    ” It is about immigration from outside the EU into the EU – and there are existing checks and controls on free movement into the UK which no UK government has chosen not to employ. There is no need to leave the EU to address free movement, it can be done from within.”

    That may well be the case but it is not PERCEIVED to be the case. The problem for ANY government of whatever political hue is that convincing the British electorate that there is not an issue around unfettered immigration to the UK. That will be a very hard sell indeed.

  6. SaveNZ 6

    Two reasons they need another referendum –

    1) The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked

    2) Vote Leave broke spending limits on industrial scale, says former staffer
    Mark Gettleson is third whistleblower to come forward to make claim over EU referendum spending

    • RedLogix 6.1

      All that may well be so, but the result has been granted moral legitimacy by the political and media establishment. Overturning it now would come at considerable cost to the authority of the democratic process.

      This is why Corbyn has stuck to supporting the outcome of the referendum; whether you liked the outcome or not, it’s ultimately more important to back the process.

      This doesn’t rule out the possibility of a second referendum, but it’s my feeling the Brexit debacle has a way to run before this becomes a live possibility.

      • SaveNZ 6.1.1

        If it is known the democratic process was interfered with, the only way to preserve democracy is to have another referendum. Otherwise what is the point, cheats win?

        And 28% of people did not vote or get their say at all.

        While in a general election they would have the opportunity a few years later, in this case it will have major lasting effects on Britain (and the EU) forever.

        So important that if foul play and fake information was used they redo the referendum to make sure that everyone gets their say and they do have a clear mandate to leave now that so much more information has come to light. It is not an election remember, it is a referendum. Not the same thing as voting a person or party in or out but a considered choice on the future of Britain and where the public see it.

        • RedLogix

          I’m completely sympathetic to your point; the problem is that rightly or wrongly once the story around the referendum fell into place, it’s always going to take something quite dramatic to shift it.

          Whether this new information is enough to de-legitimise the referendum is the question. I’m reminded of the 9/11 controversy, there was any amount of information that might have, could have, challenged the official version …. but ultimately none of it was strong enough to overturn the narrative that had fallen into place on the day of the events.

          I’m not being dismissive here; proven fraud of the Exit campaigners may well yet play a part in future events; we cannot rule out a second referendum. But by itself I don’t think this will be the catalyst.

          Hell with any luck I’d could be utterly wrong!

  7. Wayne 7

    I expect that May’s deal will be defeated on Wednesday (our time). She will probably go back to the EU, wanting modifications (basically making sure the backstop is time limited). She may well succeed. It will still have to be voted on by the Parliament, probably late January next year.

    If that fails, well, the next step is hard to tell. Options are; crash out without a deal, extend Art 50 for more negotiations, a second referendum.

    The second referendum has its own dilemmas, what is the question, realistically it can’t be a multi choice. In any event “Leave” will probably still get the majority vote. The Brits will be pretty pissed off with the way the EU has treated them.

    Will May survive? Probably till the next major stage, specifically for the renegotiation. If that deal doesn’t get through parliament, well who knows. At this stage the “no” voting Conservative MP’s can say they are strengthening her negotiation power. They could not say that if the vote on the renegotiated deal was also lost.

    So in my view, she holds on for the time being, and will get another shot at putting a renegotiated deal through parliament. A second referendum is not likely unless a negotiated deal also fails.

    • DJ Ward 7.1

      Yep I think any attempt to go back to the electorate will result in the clean break Brexit.

      If this deal fails and it probably will, anything could happen.

      The queen could do an announcement.

      “The people voted for Brexit.
      I am not amused.”

  8. joe90 8

    this makes an assumption about whether the other four EFTA countries would allow the UK to join

    Not if Norwegian MP Heidi Nordby Lunde has any say in the matter.

    I think we can forget about the Norway Option: Lunde compares Britain to an abusive partner who spikes your drinks.— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) December 8, 2018

    "I think you would mess it all up for us, the way you have messed it all up for yourselves."Heidi Nordby Lunde, president of Norway's European Movement, is sceptical about calls for the UK to strike a Norway-style deal with the EU.— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) December 7, 2018

  9. McFlock 9

    Another option (which I might have missed upthread) is the tendency of the left in general to view calamity as opportunity rather than just calamity.

    If May reverses on Brexit, her government might fall.
    If the Brexit deal goes through, or better/worse yet fails and the UK crashes out, then the tories get pummelled in the next election as shortages take hold. Allusions to wartime rationing, etc.

    Either way Corbyn gets a boost. The downside is if he looks to cynical doing it.

  10. CHCOff 10

    Too much political economy, the means becoming the ends, & all that

    Value systems in a market, are so the best decision making, is not political, to the common interest.


  11. Ad 11

    Good complex comments thanks team.

  12. Ad 12

    May has pulled the vote.

    Tory Government Undead Walking.

    Prime Minister May Not.

    • Macro 12.1

      What a pot mess it is over in the UK – as the Northern Irish Border says “I’m not impressed with BREXIT but I do admire its ability to divide a country”.

    • Wayne 12.2


      Too soon to tell. She is going for a second round of negotiation. If she gets meaningful change, it may yet be approved by the Parliament.

      As I noted above her position only becomes untenable if the vote on the renegotiated deal is lost. Then the UK is truly in unchartered territory. No-one now could really say what would happen next. There are a variety of alternatives. Probably in order; crash out with no deal, extend Article 50, second referendum.

      I don’t think an early election is likely. It is not obvious that Corbyn would do better on Brexit. In fact every indication is that he could do worse. For an early election the DUP would have to vote “no confidence”, and accept the possibility/probability of Corbyn. Are they really likely to do that?

      • Macro 12.2.1

        Wayne The EU have basically said – “shove it!”
        And indeed all she was hoping to get were further assurances on timelines for the deal so in fact no further real improvement on what is already on the table.

        I agree with you that Corbyn is unlikely to do any better on Brexit.
        Any second election would be on Brexit or not to Brexit – and now that the UK knows what is on offer they should go back to the Nation and have a more meaningful discussion and vote simply on that issue and that issue alone. It is too important to cloud over this with a full scale election.

        • Sanctuary

          “…Wayne The EU have basically said – “shove it…!”

          The arrogant and high handed behaviour of the unelected technocrats who run EU is, to any unbiased observer, a huge argument in favour of leave.

          • Macro

            Ummm – so has almost every ELECTED member – including Merkel.
            Get real. Why should Europe bend over backwards to help a rogue state that doesn’t want to participate for the common good?

  13. joe90 13

    Party first.

    Just off call with PM. Expressed my deep frustration that the interests of a divided Tory party are taking priority over the interests of country and that delaying the vote is an abdication of responsibility, leading to even greater chaos.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 10, 2018

    So it is confirmed – pathetic cowardice it is from PM. Yet again the interests of the Tory party are a higher priority for her than anything else. This can’t go on.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 10, 2018

  14. Wayne 14

    Seriously, it is not as if Nicola Sturgeon is an unbiased commentator. She is always going to say that, no matter what deal May produces.
    As for the upcoming renegotiation, well the EU might say nothing more right now, but they already know the existing deal can’t get through the UK parliament. So they also face the prospect of the UK crashing out, which will damage the EU as well as the UK. So I reckon they will give May a bit more in the next few weeks/days.
    Of course there is no guarantee that the UK parliament will vote for a renegotiated deal. However after 5 days of MP speeches they will know what can be credibly changed.
    High stakes indeed (and not primarily a left/right issue). Any UK PM will have to deal with the same circumstances.

    • Macro 14.1

      Unfortunately Wayne what Nicola Sturgeon says is exactly what it is. It is thoroughly disappointing to see politicians (on both sides of the house I might say) treating this hugely serious issue in such a political, self-serving, and opportunistic fashion.
      Now I know May was handed a hospital pass by Cameron with that idiotic Brexit Referendum that was an attempt to shut up the Ultra Right Wing of the Party and UKIP. The fact was – and if you ask any thinking person in the UK they will say essentially this – the country had no idea what it was that they were voting on. The fairy tales told to them endlessly by the leave campaigners have subsequently been shown to be complete lies. For instance, it is stupid for the English (and it is almost solely English – not Scots, Welsh, or Irish who have been driving this stupidity) to expect to be allowed to continue exporting to the EU without meeting the standards set by the EU.
      May is afraid that if she takes the only sensible course of action – and that is to call the whole thing off – the reaction from the xenophobic, ultra right, nationalists will see her out of power toot sweet. The EU are open to the UK remaining – as they always have been.
      If May has any gumption she would go back to the country and say “Here is the best we can do, the cost of doing this will be …. , do you want to continue to leave the EU, now knowing the full costs, or shall we remain?”

      • Wayne 14.1.1


        Calling it off? That would be a direct breach of the referendum. It is not just the “ultraright” who would have a problem with that, so would the great majority of the Parliament. Sturgeon might want that, but so what. She has already shown what she thinks of the Scottish referenda result.

        In essence what you are saying is that there should be a second referendum on Brexit. That might yet happen. But if the referendum also says “Leave”, then that will have to happen, with no backsliding from Remainers. Sturgeon will just have to live it, at least until Labour becomes the govt.

        Corbyn wants the breakup of the Union, so he will want Scotland to vote “yes” to independence in a new referendum. Scotland can then join the EU (provided the Spanish agree). Corbyn will also do his best to abandon Northern Ireland. Though I imagine he would not get a majority in Parliament to unilaterally eject Northern Ireland without their consent.

        • Gosman

          Abandon Northern Ireland??? Or perhaps instead allowing Northern Ireland to rejoin their brethren in the South in a more natural nation State than the enforced balkanisation that was imposed on the Island post 1921.

          • Wayne

            Without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland?
            Yes, let’s start the war all over again, seems such a good idea.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    14 hours ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    15 hours ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    18 hours ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    18 hours ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    19 hours ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    1 day ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    2 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    2 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    3 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    4 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    4 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    4 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    4 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    5 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    5 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    5 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    5 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    6 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    6 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    6 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    6 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    7 days ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    7 days ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    1 week ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
    1 week ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
    1 week ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
    1 week ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
    1 week ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
    2 weeks ago