Feb 22

What unites the ‘Independent Group’?

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  1. Interesting!

    • Bark
    • Jason B on 22 February 2019 at 18:06

    John Mill is correct to say a No deal is better than a May deal as things currently stand. The May deal will lock us unreservedly into a customs union and all that it entails and goes right against a clean leave. Sadly, what have we in place after 29 March regarding trade deals being complete and in place with non-EU countries . Liam Fox the trade secretary claimed 16 months ago that 40 trade deals were the aim, but, but where are they?

    Nadine Dorries MP supports the European Research Group (ERG) led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and makes a valid point. Instead of saying No Deal is better than a Bad Deal we should say a Good Deal is better than a Bad Deal. The No Deal as I understand is, after all, the default option that can not be erased.

    Other very important things she also alludes to. The backstop agreement goes right against the referendum ‘leave’ result and we need to be aware that any agreement made actually becomes part of a legal console in a political declaration and part of a national treaty, unamendable and irrevocable. Do folk know this?

    This new Independent group will get nowhere. They have no good core moral principles.

    • jsampson45
    • John S on 22 February 2019 at 18:57

    Jason B asks where are 40 trade deals. Politicians should know that trade deals take years to conclude. Either they are ignorant or they are trying to fool us. In so many ways we are unprepared to leave the EU. The EU must know this, and has us over a barrel as a result. Very possibly the best option is to accept the May deal and then start thinking.

      • Bark
      • Jason B on 23 February 2019 at 11:18

      John S. The EU if I remember would not talk about trade deals until we had a withdrawal agreement in place, therefore they would not allow both areas to be discussed separately at the same time. So where and how could we have overcome such objections?

      We appear to have so far about seven trade deals lined up. Woefully short of the 40.

      Both the EU and Mrs May seem to come over as very dark horses, but do they have contingency plans up their selves in readiness for a no deal?

      Nigel Farage has recently raised the point that we could continue under WTO and use article 24 for a two year period to suit both us and the EU. No tariffs etc as the only constructive way forward. Farage may have a point, yet where is the talk of having trade agreements in place to continue or are we playing a dark game?

      With all the paraphernalia going on it could be that it will come to a no deal. Then both sides will realise they need a proper trade deal and suddenly be forced to have one lined up. It all seems to the outsider to be a guessing game.

        • jsampson45
        • John S on 25 February 2019 at 19:16

        The original error was to suppose we could undo 40 years of integration into the EU in two years. As I understand it, the UK trades with the world as a member of the EU. Now we must trade as an independent nation, with the trade deals and infrastructure needed for that. We have neither the deals nor the infrastructure at this time. They will take years to provide.
        Brexit is like an amputation. It can be done by a qualified surgeon, an operation that might take some time to do, or it can be done by a butcher with a meat-axe in a few seconds. We are going for the meat-axe option.
        No doubt there are emergency plans, which will allow Brexit day to be a non-event. The Brexit purists will crow loudly, then things will begin to go pear-shaped.

          • Rocks
          • Rox G on 28 February 2019 at 01:40

          Very true, John. And under-appreciated.
          You often hear people saying thoughtlessly “I want my country back”.
          But unless they are over 65, they have never known as an adult anything different from being in the EU or its predecessor.

          In any case, the other hugely overlooked fact is that Britain has had as much of a hand in governing the EU as any other country, in fact rather more. We have to blame the popular newspapers for distorting this, and more responsible bodies for not rectifying people’s erroneous views before it was too late.

          In that worst of all periods agriculturally, April to June, we import 80% of our vegetables from the EU. It’s going to take an awful lot of emergency plans to get round that, if delays are long enough for them to perish. Other countries will suffer too, particularly the Netherlands. Why do we have to inflict war-like conditions on the population ?

          Meanwhile, other government departments encourage people to make sure they eat their “five a day”, and I have heard a Tory economist saying that the whole thing will create opportunities for British farmers to produce more ! Where ? Are we going to dig up public parks and playing fields ?

            • Stephen
            • Stephen on 1 March 2019 at 08:52
              Author

            In 2013 the Telegraph reported:
            ‘The latest food waste figures, published by Britain’s biggest supermarket Tesco, manage to take one’s breath away. Of all the bagged salads produced in this country, 68 per cent are never consumed. Instead, the leaves rot in the fields, are thrown away in the packing warehouse, or slowly go soggy in the bottom of consumers’ fridges, before being – possibly with a wince of embarrassment – thrown into the bin or on the compost heap.
            ‘Apples, which our grandparents were able to store from one year to the next (carefully kept in scrunched-up newspapers), are now tossed away routinely with 40 per cent never eaten. And barely half of all bakery products end up in our stomachs.’

  2. Interesting analysis of our nation’s present predicament. Also of interest is the way specific MPs voted in other diabolical legislation, thus, clearly undermining any hopeful views that we might have of them and their ‘integrity'(!). I was (and in part still am) of the view that the great majority of the political diabolical evil within the UK is centred on the Labour Party. However, significant members of the Tory Party are doing great in getting in on the evil acts of our political representatives and so the process continues. Ian Austin is one MP of either party who shows himself to have any semblance of integrity at all at the present time.

    However, not directly related to Brexit but nevertheless influential, I have read a lengthy piece of information on the sexualisation of children in school, which is utterly diabolical: that is an understatement!! The reference to Romans chapter 1 at the end, where ‘God gave them up…’ etc is rapidly coming into play with a vengeance. In this crazy chaos, I wonder: are we seeing the early stages of total national disintegration?You can judge.

  3. My MP, Kevin Barron, featured in the Labour Brexit roll of honour, yet he was one of only 3 Labour MPs who voted for the May deal in Theresa May’s historic defeat. He also voted for abortion on demand last October.

    What will happen on the Irish border on March 29th if we have No Deal? Will 100 checkpoints appear overnight or will we see gangs of builders with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other (Nehemiah 4 16-23)?
    There will surely be violence on both sides of the border and possibly a return to the carnage of the recent past.

      • Rocks
      • Rox G on 28 February 2019 at 01:50

      There are places where the border goes along the middle of the road (as it does between some London boroughs). So you will need to be checked every time you overtake the car ahead,

      A Dutch expert was interviewed on the radio about his ingenious but incredibly naive plan for the Irish border. It would have worked beautifully, provided everybody was perfectly honest and did everything correctly. More realistic politicians (particularly Irish ones) just assume there will be a lot of smuggling and that nothing can be done about it (which I suppose amounts to the same position, really).

      I think it’s very unlikely that any correlation with voting for more liberal abortion is going to get us very far in sorting out the problems of Brexit.

        • Stephen
        • Stephen on 1 March 2019 at 08:51
          Author

        It just shows what sort of people they are.

          • Rocks
          • Rox G on 1 March 2019 at 20:56

          I have a Roman Catholic friend from (and it is very much “from” and has been for years !) the Irish Republic, and he made a similar comment about smuggling a long time ago. Especially when it involves local produce, you could look on it as the Common Man’s healthy disrespect for red tape and authority, authority of either hue or the EU.

          If we are to believe the tales that have come down to us, vicars helped their flock by playing quite a role in smuggling along the south coast, not so many hundred years ago. I’m sure they found moral grounds to justify this.

            • Stephen
            • Stephen on 2 March 2019 at 13:53
              Author

            Brandy for the Parson, eh? Perhaps they objected to unbiblical rates of taxation. Or liked a drink and rationalised it that way.

      • BigMarktheGeezer
      • Mark J on 1 March 2019 at 11:30

      Switzerland (not in EU) has borders with several EU countries: there are no “border problems”.

        • Rocks
        • Rox G on 1 March 2019 at 21:22

        But, like Norway, it has come to the sort of agreement with the EU which the all-important MP for the 18th century would not tolerate.

        Let me tell you a story, two stories.

        1) Long before the EU was ever thought of, you could travel by night train from Calais or Ostend to a destination in Switzerland or Austria without being disturbed.

        2) This February, two friends of mine travelled by night train from Budapest (in Hungary, of course) to a destination in Transylvania (which is in Romania, despite speaking Hungarian). They were VERY MUCH disturbed by “formalities” at the frontier. Both countries are in the EU. but not in the Schengen Area.

        There is a way round red tape if people want there to be, and I don’t expect that Irish people will be putting up with very much of it any time soon.

    • Tezzer
    • Terry H on 23 February 2019 at 16:07

    Oh what a mess we are in now. But to be honest leaving the EU was always going to be problematic. They clearly do not want us to leave and the EU are going to do all that they can to stop our leaving ever being fair – they are clearly thwarting the will of the British people and will use Brexit to set an example to other countries who might also consider leaving. I prophesy that our leaving will eventually lead to the crumbling and break down of the EU as it currently stands. Brexit when it happens is not going to be easy – it will be painful for many and our country will initially struggle, but we will come through it. What is so sad is that many politicians of all parties have seem so detached from what is clearly the will of the British people. To be fair I like I am sure many others wanted to remain in a union with the countries of Europe, but in its current format I felt compelled to vote to leave. David Cameron got us into this mess and if he had had any gumption he would have stayed and seen the job through to fruition. I wonder how long it will be before we have another Referendum on another subject – if ever!

  4. My belief is very slowly the EU will become the new soviet union. The borders will be toughened up, what trade is allowed in or out will toughen up, and the result of that is trade will circulate around the EU, and trade will circulate around the world, but in time the trade between the two will diminish. This will see a gradual GDP per capita reduction for EU citizens. The advantages of trading with the EU, although good now, will diminish in time as it becomes more expensive and the quality of EU goods goes down due to lack of innovation. Protected industry always goes this way, and that is why the wise man does not vote for protectionism.

    I’m worried all the same about this. I’m happy we’re leaving, but I am sick of the incompetence of the British government, and I mean all parties. There are so many things wrong with how this country is run, that although now we in theory have a chance to run it ourselves, it will end badly because of course we will see everyone thinking, ah now we are free we can protect this industry, that industry and indeed any who bribe us enough and so on. The May government is clueless, and I see Labour as worse. The population is uneducated, unfit to make economic national decisions and it is just sliding down into depravity. Today in our town hall for example we have an “Occult Conference” and the sign is all in black – looks like a Satanist convention.

    • Bark
    • Jason B on 25 February 2019 at 07:43

    Federalism, Federalism, Federalism has been and still is the deep mind set of EU leaders and many politicians alike for their so-called Utopian to rule the world. There is no fear of God before their eyes.

    We are our own politicians against the people. To do away with ‘a no deal’ option, we would be absolutely at their never ending mercy, never able to leave as they would just flatly refuse a deal .

    The EU are using Eire to be its ‘dog in a manger’.

    Pray on.

      • Rocks
      • Rox G on 28 February 2019 at 01:53

      I don’t see why federalism is incompatible with aspiring to a widespread fear of God. Look at the United States of America !

        • Stephen
        • Stephen on 1 March 2019 at 08:50
          Author

        When it sets up a revived Roman empire it is!

    • Rocks
    • Rox G on 1 March 2019 at 21:12

    Poor old Constantine ! He did you a BIG favour.

    Obviously, you would be against the Third Reich, and possibly against the Second Reich (1871 – 1918, famously headed by a Kaiser = Caesar ). But what about the First Reich or Holy Roman Empire (c800 – 1806) ? That would be a massive chunk of time and territory for you to be against.

    What would a federation in the Americas have to do to persuade you that it was set up as a revived Roman empire ? One or two did have a modest go at this in the past. Clearly it’s not essential that the territory should be the same as ancient Rome’s, because the EU’s is decidely not.

      • Stephen
      • Stephen on 2 March 2019 at 13:47
        Author

      Dear Rox, the concern is the spirit behind it.
      Firstly, about the United States. Some say it was a Puritan project, which would be good, others that Masonry had its fingers all over it, which would tend to make one wonder if the spirit of antichrist was being invoked.
      But with the EU, there is no argument. It’s architects have left the Babylonian inspiration hidden in plain sight. The Strasbourg Tower of Babel, the Woman on the Beast, Paul-Henri Spaak’s choice of the Jupiter’s Temple site for the signing, his recorded comment about re-establishing the Roman empire, the expulsion of Christ from the attempted Constitution, it all points in the same direction.

        • Rocks
        • Rox G on 2 March 2019 at 17:08

        Ian Paisley senior worried about the EU being a subversive Christian organisation run by Rome (so the wrong kind of Christians for his supporters).

          • Stephen
          • Stephen on 2 March 2019 at 20:56
            Author

          I’ve disproved that idea here: https://www.christianvoice.org.uk/index.php/eu-christian-project-catholic-plot/
          Please try to keep up!

            • Rocks
            • Rox G on 3 March 2019 at 16:27

            I feel that your reprimand is unjust. I did not say that I AGREED with Ian Paisley ! So the fact that you have “disproved” his viewpoint, or that he might have “disproved” yours, is beside the point. The point is that different Christians have had different views about whether it is a Christian organisation or not, and your link in fact agrees with me on that

            But we started with the condemnation of “Federalism, federalism. federalism”. There is nothing inherently wrong with a federation. There is even a “European Baptist Federation”, of which the British “Baptist Union” is the biggest member, followed by Ukraine, then Russia, then Romania. As far as I can see, there are members from all over the EU, but France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands put together do not have as many individual members as Ukraine ! Still, it is a European federation. What is wrong with that, per se ?

      1. That is absolutely correct – the spirit behind it. We find an old reprint from the English Churchman, January 19, 1962 with a scriptural warning of “Say ye not a Confederacy etc” Isaiah ch 8 v 12-14 when we were dangerously near joining the Common Market as it was then known. This reprint pamphlet ‘The Common Market’ ‘A plea for Freedom’ by Wilfred Dillistone of Hove Sussex pointed out then the great dangers of Britain transferring our British rights, losing our sovereignty without redress or power in deciding our own future.

        Many Christians who are prayerfully watching current events are wondering what will unfold by the 29 March. They believe God’s hand was seen in the June 1916 referendum result, a result against predictions. We have nowhere else to look daily but to Almighty God, as did Jehoshaphat of old Chronicles Ch 20 v 12 ‘ neither know we what to do : but our eyes are upon thee.’

        We are a nation that does not deserve mercy, but may much prayer be made and the Lord in great mercy will hear his remnant, appear for us yet still and overturn the plans of wicked rulers.

        Do we value our Individual Freedom, Religious Freedom, Personal and Family Responsibility, The Rule of Law, Limited Government where we have power to elect and change them, Free Market Economy, National Parliamentary Democracy, Strong National Defences and A free press and other media.

        May the eyes of England be opened to realise that there is an Almighty God that rules on high.

          • Rocks
          • Rox G on 5 March 2019 at 20:42

          “You are not to call alliance anything that this people calls alliance; you must neither fear nor stand in awe of what they fear.” Isaiah 8:12 , Revised English Bible.

          Even if you take “alliance” or “confederacy” to be much the same thing as “federalism”, which you seem to fear so much, it seems to me that the wisdom of each one must be based on the on the study by diplomats and leaders of each individual situation which arises. It makes no sense at all to lump them all together ! Otherwise, you would want England, Scotland and Wales to be still separate — indeed, Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria would still be separate, if alliances and federations are always a bad thing.

          The actual word “confederacy” in the Authorised Version (rather than “alliance”) is more or less an accident, and it isn’t actually “federation”. However, the distinction between the two is usually quite arbitrary. The most obvious example was when the USA, already a federation, had rebel states breaking away and calling themselves a confederation. In the modern USA, the word “federal” has a reassuring reliable connotation for some citizens, whereas for others it is anathema. Language has shifted in the USA recently so that they prefer to fight as part of a “coalition” rather than an “alliance”. It is all very arbitrary. For British people, the “Allies” are almost always OUR side, the goodies. (For example, the Allies fought their way through Italy and Germany, and finally defeated Japan, regardless of the fact that Italy, Germany and Japan were allies !).

          The context in Isaiah 8 is the Levant (Damascus is mentioned. as well as Judah) becoming part of the Assyrian Empire. Probably not a good idea for the inhabitants, although it did leave them with a lasting lingua franca (Aramaic ). Was it a good idea for India to form a “federation” or “alliance” by joining the British Empire ? Some Indians might say it was, probably most would say not, but it did give them a lasting lingua franca (English) and a few other advantages. When it came to joining the “Commonwealth” (another word, latterly used also by Russia, to mean a kind of federation) most Indians probably thought it was a good idea, or at least harmless. Such decisions all depend on the context. The result of some obscure referendum in 1916 is not relevant in 2018.

          So I don’t see how you can possibly compare Britain staying in the European Union to Judah being absorbed into the Assyrian Empire. ” Do we value our Individual Freedom, Religious Freedom, Personal and Family Responsibility, The Rule of Law, Limited Government where we have power to elect and change them, Free Market Economy, National Parliamentary Democracy, Strong National Defences and A free press and other media ? ” Well yes, we do, but we are in the EU already, and it’s very much part of the point of it that the other countries value these things too ! The formerly communist countries saw a great improvement in these things when they joined (and it was made sure that progress really had been made before they were allowed to join). The credentials of other would-be members, notably Turkey, have been found wanting. Incidentally, many people voted against staying in the EU because they were threatened with a vast invasion by Turkish immigrants, which was pure propaganda. It was really not fair.

          Jason, if the Brexiteers are frightened of the EU, calling it a federation, you must not call it a federation and not fear it. Surely that is the message of Isaiah 8:12 ?

          1. Now,now. The 1916 mention in para 4 was of course a typo error and should have read 2016 or 23 June 2016. I am sure most would have realised this.

            You mention “if the Brexiteers are frightened of the EU, calling it a federation, you must not call it a federation and not fear it. Surely that is the message of Isaiah 8:12 ?”

            We have to look at the particular surrounding context – between verse 10 to 14. Only God’s plans and purposes will last and the prophets were conscious of God’s presence in and control over their lives.
            Verse 12 : “Confederacy” or “Conspiracy.” was Isaiah’s warning against relying on Assyria was considered treason followed by verses 13-14 let God be your fear and cornerstone of our lives.
            There are of course God fearing individuals in all nations, but the EU project is not God fearing but man made secularism (and our own government also come short), yet if we as collective individuals and part of a nation have the ability to bring about a withdrawal by heeding the same pattern warnings as given by Isaiah upon relying on Assyria as a warning of not relying on the secular EU, but to God as our cornerstone instead then take that route.

            Who knows if we succeed as individuals, other individuals in some other EU countries may be able to follow suit. Then we can hopefully trade in a neighbourly fashion and yet be in full control of our United Kingdom and let other nations control themselves.

    • Rocks
    • Rox G on 6 March 2019 at 18:56

    Can you perhaps give us some examples of existing alliances, federations or governments in the world which are NOT man-made ? How can you tell this ?

    It was careless of you to type 1916 when you meant 2016, and not correct it. But no matter. The result of the referendum in 2016 is not relevant in 2018, because the public knew very little then about the Customs Union or the Backstop or any of the awful details of the consequences of leaving, and moreover they were deliberately misled (the Turks coming, all that money for the NHS, etc). They have a right to change their mind in view of the current situation, just as they do in any election.

      • Stephen
      • Stephen on 7 March 2019 at 08:09
        Author

      That is plain elitist, Rox. The people voted to leave the European Union. The people knew the EU had a customs union. Furthermore, if the UK just left, there would be no Backstop. And there are no ‘awful’ consequences of leaving. Just some awkward short-term challenges of realignment, with huge opportunities for domestic and international trade.

      1. We are reaching interesting yet uncertain times. We also have the fixed term parliament Act.

        The awful consequences of leaving would be without proper trade agreements in place. Dr Liam Fox has six set set up with hopefully more he says to follow. About 18 months ago he stated that 40 was the target by the exit date. Are we truly ready with contingency plans in place?

        As we know a motion of no confidence in the government was lost by 325 to 306 in January as the DUP then gave support. It maybe little known that under the 2011 Fixed term parliament act, a motion of no confidence can be called by the opposition without restriction to how many times it can be called, unlike the only once in 12 months that the conservatives can make on their leader, as they did in December where they failed.

        It is possible a general election could be forced on parliament if they do not agree next week to Mrs May’s proposals regarding the backstop or to an extension time and another ‘motion of no confidence’ could be triggered. if a majority of MPs vote in favour of the motion with the help of the DUP, then the government will be dissolved.

        But this wouldn’t automatically trigger a general election
        If the government is brought down by the vote, there would follow a 14-day period in which to form a new government, based on the existing make-up of MPs.

        The House of Commons would then have to vote on whether or not they now had confidence in the new government. Were this to fail, a general election would be triggered.

        What shall we live to see?

          • Stephen
          • Stephen on 8 March 2019 at 16:15
            Author

          A No Deal Brexit! There is no time for anything else.

            • Bark
            • Jason B on 11 March 2019 at 08:35

            It appears the public are coming round for a ‘No Deal Brexit.’ They are no doubt frustrated to why we have been at a stalemate and why the EU / Irish are are being the sticking point over the border crossing. An interesting piece from Marcus Fysh Con MP for Yeovil on his visit to Brussels last Thursday , proves what un- neighbourly attitudes we are now facing and the consequences if we do not stand firm. ie we shall be under the tied bondage on the EU.

            From Marcus Fysh, MP

            Michel Barnier hinted at it on Friday night, but the Irish delegation told me straight in Brussels on Thursday: they will never agree a subsequent agreement or variation to the Withdrawal Agreement which replaces the backstop that is not a customs union. Whether that is for the whole UK, or Northern Ireland on its own with a full customs border in the Irish Sea, is up to us, according to Barnier. As Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous might have said: “Cheers. Thanks a lot”. From our International Trade Select Committee meetings in Brussels last week, in particular with the UK and Irish delegations, a crystal clear picture emerged of where we are in the negotiations and what lies ahead if Parliament is so foolish as to approve the Government’s capitulation to the EU in the Withdrawal Agreement. It would absolutely not be taking back control of our money, borders and laws. The only reason the EU would prefer the backstop to end is that it does not give them enough control. They want us to adopt all EU rules in social and employment law, for example, and to give them access to our fisheries – as well as placing our defence and security within the EU structures. But no other agreement than a customs union will be granted to us by the EU, meaning they will also control our trading conditions and trading relations with third countries, both in terms of the levels of import tariffs we need to charge, which disadvantage our citizens and businesses, and access to other markets. And they could further encourage products for our market to be shipped through Rotterdam so that the EU either keeps the revenue from tariffs on our imports or gives third countries free access to UK markets without them having to offer it to us in return. Moreover, the customs procedure required by the Withdrawal Agreement, for every single commercial consignment between Great Britain and the EU, and each one crossing a new internal border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland imposed under the backstop, was again admitted to be unworkable and needing to be changed because of its friction and inefficiency. Not only does it create an obligation for antiquated “wet ink stamps” on physical certificates for 200 million consignments per annum to be provided and processed by UK customs officers and businesses, with much more cost and delay at and behind borders than the cheap and efficient normal electronic declaration procedures for customs; but it does not obviate the need for export and rule of origin declarations which proponents of a customs union wrongly think avoids them. To cap it off, it was admitted that in order to make changes to this which the UK Government admits are necessary, the process that would have to be used would be a decision on any superseding law or regulation made by the Joint Committee, as established by the Withdrawal Agreement. Any change to these anti-trade measures would need – yes, you guessed it – the EU’s permission. That is in fact the permanent structure for our future relationship that is set up by the Withdrawal Agreement: a secretive decision-making body not subject to UK democratic scrutiny in which the EU has veto power and therefore full control. I hesitate to use analogies when it comes to Brexit, as most are imperfect and inappropriate, but it seems to me that a decision to leave is not best implemented by giving power to a person who does not want you to leave, over conditions for your future interaction with them and others on a permanent basis. As we might advise someone in a somewhat coercive, controlling relationship, it is almost always best instead to make a clean break. In this case we know that the groundwork has been put in place to manage a clean break in a way that is not damaging to either party. I am not someone who thinks the EU is a bad person, and this is evidence. A nine- to twelve-month transition has effectively been arranged by way of unilateral actions in respect of aviation, haulage permits, aerospace and vehicle certifications, agricultural product access, electricity interconnects, insurance recognition and a raft of other areas. And under the “Malthouse Compromise” proposals we would continue to offer constructive cooperation, money, citizens’ rights and zero tariff free trade. So there is in fact no such thing as “no deal” by not agreeing the dubious terms of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement. There was a Commons majority for the Brady amendment requiring replacement of the backstop. The EU took offence that the Prime Minister whipped for it, perhaps realising that the terms she had been offered, some at her own ill-advised instigation, were unacceptable. But that is where the sustainable majority in the Commons is: for a normal, balanced relationship between parties who wish to be friends. So submissive and confused by the EU the Government may have been, that it failed to act on Parliament’s clear instruction to table Malthouse alternatives. However they are practical and available, not at all fanciful or futuristic (as some have tried to paint them) and do not “involve a significant number of derogations from EU law” as the Prime Minister perhaps mistakenly claimed. Instead of this cycle of suspicion, aggression and talking past each other, the parties should seize the chance to talk about the practicalities in an informed and rational way so as to achieve a good negotiated agreement whether inside or outside the Article 50 notice period for leaving the EU. The “Malthouse Compromise” sets out a framework and coherent strategy to find mutual interest in which to get it done. We would be fools not to insist that this is the way forward rather than the inappropriate Withdrawal Agreement, which does not create a stable or satisfactory solution, notwithstanding that many have obviously put a lot of effort into trying to make that work, in both the UK and EU delegations.

            • Rocks
            • Rox G on 12 March 2019 at 13:59

            There is no need to panic, but I find myself surprisingly in agreement with Stephen as well as with Jason at this moment.

            I used to think “Well, our drinking water is chlorinated: they wash the chickens, so what ?” But I was always dimly aware that they were covering up inadequate standards (i.e. the chickens shouldn’t have been so dirty in the first place). A university expert on this interviewed by the BBC highlighted not only that, but the fact that other nastier chemicals were used as well as chlorine, that residues of these remain, and worst of all, that they are ineffective in killing all the pathogens on the chicken ! The American ambassador (who seems to be a public relations disaster, condemning European agriculture as backward and needing to mimic that in the USA) claimed that there is less food poisoning in the USA than in the UK or in Europe generally, which seemed to be one good point of his. But the expert’s team has examined this and claims it is false. In fact, there is much more food poisoning in the USA, just as he would expect from the way they do things. Rather like more liberty, more guns, more shootings.

            A BBC programme stated today that we are “60% self-sufficient in food” ! So that means that we are NOT self-sufficient in food !!!

            Doesn’t it make much more sense to buy food which has arrived rapidly from Europe tariff-free than to buy it from anywhere else ? I don’t long for that old favourite, New Zealand Cheddar, to replace Manchego or Cambozola or Morbier or Taleggio. I must confess to a penchant for eating a Marks & Spencers ready-to-eat nectarine every day (and this has kept the doctor away, but I don’t think they do many home visits any more). I used to look on the M&S ability to provide these right through the year as an indication that Brexit would not be too bad. They are not afraid of Zimbabwe or South America. But the more I study it, there is a tendency for those which come from South Africa especially to have an inferior texture (probably they have been kept too cold for too long), and the non-EU ones are usually noticeably more expensive (to say nothing of the pollution involved in getting them here), Let it be known that the honourable exception to inferior foreign nectarines, whether they are Muslim or not, is Morocco. Is that why the Duke & Duchess of Sussex were despatched there, I wonder ? A little Europe beyond the Mediterranean, waiting to be recolonised by us.

            • Rocks
            • Rox G on 12 March 2019 at 14:01

            My comment made at 13.59 is in the wrong place. It should follow Stephen’s “Don’t panic, guys”.

          • Rocks
          • Rox G on 9 March 2019 at 18:30

          When Jason turns his attention away from the Assyrian Empire and towards the awful consequences of leaving the EU without proper trade agreements in place, we find ourselves much more in agreement than I realised.

            • Stephen
            • Stephen on 12 March 2019 at 08:48
              Author

            Don’t panic, guys. Companies do not need ‘trade agreements’ to trade with each other across borders.
            We have to be very careful lest trade agreements which the UK might set up result in a lowering of food or safety standards. The US is a clear case in point. Better not to have a trade agreement with the US if it means the UK has to accept lower poultry welfare and cleanliness (hence the need to wash their birds in chlorine) and beef stuffed with growth hormones and fed grain.

        • Rocks
        • Rox G on 9 March 2019 at 19:11

        When we start using words like “racist” or “élitist”, we have to be careful what they mean, and keep a careful grip on reality. It is perfectly true that some people, including the mostly admirable Diane Abbott, have skin which is “black” or “coloured” (whichever you prefer to say, really — in the USA “of colour” is the preferred option). It is true that some people, compared to a smaller number of people, are less intelligent or less well-informed or less interested in current affairs than the “chattering classes”, and you might refer to these people as “the public” (which I did) or “the people” (which Stephen did). I don’t see that either is more “élitist” than the other, and indeed I suspect that Stephen would include himself (very properly) as élite rather than people in this context. In fact I myself was not trying to distinguish myself from the public. I had no idea that you could be in the customs union or the common market separately from being in the European Union.

        I admit that I still don’t really understand the difference between the customs union and the common market, and I’m not sure what Theresa May’s deal actually is (as this is very seldom mentioned). I would have to look up all these things again to be sure.

        You’re deluding yourself if you think that the mass of the public are more in touch with things than me. Attitudes like simply “I want my country back” are all too common, along with (admittedly) the simplistic “We are better off in Europe”.

        Presumably you’re right about the backstop, but most people did not and do not really understand how to make Northern Ireland simultaneously part of Ireland and part of the UK (except within the EU). When I wrote “very little then about the Customs Union or the Backstop or any of the awful details of the consequences of leaving”, this was really a shorthand for all the actual details which, as a mere member of the public, I don’t understand myself in detail, in contrast to the propaganda which was just not true. But large sections of the public are now aware that it is more complicated than the propaganda suggested, and my contention remains that they are as much entitled to change their mind when the promises of a referendum manifesto prove to have been false as they are to change their mind when the promises of a party’s manifesto prove to have been false. That is the time for another referendum or election respectively, and it is very difficult to argue that the Government is perfectly strong and stable at this moment and can just march on ahead with the full approval of the electorate (or even of its own MPs).

    • Bark
    • Jason B on 12 March 2019 at 11:09

    With this latest from Mrs May’s last minute updated deal we do live in very precautionary times and I just hope that Bill Cash and the opposition! clearly say we need a break of 48 hours as he mentioned this need in parliament last week for the scrutinising of any updating to a so-called agreement before any decision is voted on.

    We have the Telegraph report, if true, that Tony Blair has really stuck his knife into our nations back by his advice to the French president. After all it was him as PM who did away with the treason laws.

    Will the decision when we want to leave rest in the hands of the ECJ in this new proposition and is there a catch somewhere and we are being sold at the same time down the drain on the demand of other issues? I have heard that John Ashworth, Fishing for leave and an author for the campaign for an independent Britain has read it and says that the transitional arrangements get worse and worse the more you read them. What would happen to our military concerns and surrender of our fishing? There are answers needed and at least parliament need a two day delay to comprehend what this latest saga entails. Will they get it? The DUP saved us in January from a possible general election, but if May loses a motion of no confidence we could be heading for a GE under the 2011 fixed term parliament rules

    • Bark
    • Jason B on 13 March 2019 at 09:56

    Although the government were defeated yet again last night, what hypocrisy we have seen in high places. We have Geoffrey Cox the attorney general clearly stating that the changes the Prime Minister had just secured still carried a “legal risk” that the UK would have no way out of the Irish backstop without EU agreement, yet despite acknowledging this he then goes and votes for the deal.

    The decisive rigidness by the EU in their demand over the Irish backstop without a legal binding time limit would give Ulster a different unlimited status to the rest of the UK, and if permitted with the legal risk mentioned and having no binding exit time, would I seriously take as being the thin end of the wedge in the start of the breakup of the United Kingdom as both those in Scotland and Wales would put in their claim .

    I just hope that with Mrs Mays defeats, she would see it is untenable for her to continue as the leader of the Conservatives and a true Brexiteer leader is raised to take her place.

    Sadly, David Davis as a vote leave who I thought could possibly replace Mrs May as leader went and voted ‘FOR’ last evening.

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