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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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_enlargement_of_the_European_Union

    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. https://qz.com/africa/1016790/more-than-half-of-the-worlds-population-growth-will-be-in-africa-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. https://t.co/vrqtcMoJmZ— 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. pic.twitter.com/uEpiO3yXPp— 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. https://t.co/P6dzhZEH7d— 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.

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  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
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    4 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
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    4 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
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    4 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
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    4 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
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    5 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
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    5 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
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    6 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
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    6 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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    6 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
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    6 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
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    7 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
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    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
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    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago