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Brexit View

With Brexit negotiations about to start, I just spotted this on Facebook. It's a translation of an article in a Swiss newspaper, Der Bund.

The bit about the recent election is especially notable: "The political centre has been abandoned, and that is never a good sign."

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THE LAUGHING STOCK OF EUROPE
[Translation by Paula Kirby]

If it weren't so serious, the situation in Great Britain would almost be comical. The country is being governed by a talking robot, nicknamed the Maybot, that somehow managed to visit the burned-out tower block in the west of London without speaking to a single survivor or voluntary helper. Negotiations for the country’s exit from the EU are due to begin on Monday, but no one has even a hint of a plan. The government is dependent on a small party that provides a cozy home for climate change deniers and creationists. Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary. What in the world has happened to this country?

Two years ago David Cameron emerged from the parliamentary election as the shining victor. He had secured an absolute majority, and as a result it looked as if the career of this cheerful lightweight was headed for surprisingly dizzy heights. The economy was growing faster than in any other industrialised country in the world. Scottish independence and, with it, the break-up of the United Kingdom had been averted. For the first time since 1992, there was a Conservative majority in the House of Commons. Great Britain saw itself as a universally respected actor on the international stage. This was the starting point.

In order to get from this comfortable position to the chaos of the present in the shortest possible time, two things were necessary: first, the Conservative right wingers’ obsessive hatred of the EU, and second, Cameron’s irresponsibility in putting the whole future of the country on the line with his referendum, just to satisfy a few fanatics in his party. It is becoming ever clearer just how extraordinarily bad a decision that was. The fact that Great Britain has become the laughing stock of Europe is directly linked to its vote for Brexit.

The ones who will suffer most will be the British people, who were lied to by the Brexit campaign during the referendum and betrayed and treated like idiots by elements of their press. The shamelessness still knows no bounds: the Daily Express has asked in all seriousness whether the inferno in the tower block was due to the cladding having been designed to meet EU standards. It is a simple matter to discover that the answer to this question is No, but by failing to check it, the newspaper has planted the suspicion that the EU might be to blame for this too. As an aside: a country in which parts of the press are so demonstrably uninterested in truth and exploit a disaster like the fire in Grenfell Tower for their own tasteless ends has a very serious problem.

Already prices are rising in the shops, already inflation is on the up. Investors are holding back. Economic growth has slowed. And that’s before the Brexit negotiations have even begun. With her unnecessary general election, Prime Minister Theresa May has already squandered an eighth of the time available for them. How on earth an undertaking as complex as Brexit is supposed to be agreed in the time remaining is a mystery.

Great Britain will end up leaving its most important trading partner and will be left weaker in every respect. It would make economic sense to stay in the single market and the customs union, but that would mean being subject to regulations over which Britain no longer had any say. It would be better to have stayed in the EU in the first place. So the government now needs to develop a plan that is both politically acceptable and brings the fewest possible economic disadvantages. It’s a question of damage limitation, nothing more; yet even now there are still politicians strutting around Westminster smugly trumpeting that it will be the EU that comes off worst if it doesn’t toe the line.

The EU is going to be dealing with a government that has no idea what kind of Brexit it wants, led by an unrealistic politician whose days are numbered; and a party in which old trenches are being opened up again: moderate Tories are currently hoping to be able to bring about a softer exit after all, but the hardliners in the party – among them more than a few pigheadedly obstinate ideologues – are already threatening rebellion. An epic battle lies ahead, and it will paralyse the government.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said that he now expects the Brits to finally set out their position clearly, since he cannot negotiate with himself. The irony of this statement is that it would actually be in Britain’s best interests if he did just that. At least that way they’d have one representative on their side who grasps the scale of the task and is actually capable of securing a deal that will be fair to both sides. The Brits do not have a single negotiator of this stature in their ranks. And quite apart from the Brexit terms, both the debate and the referendum have proven to be toxic in ways that are now making themselves felt.

British society is now more divided than at any time since the English civil war in the 17th century, a fact that was demonstrated anew in the general election, in which a good 80% of the votes were cast for the two largest parties. Neither of these parties was offering a centrist programme: the election was a choice between the hard right and the hard left. The political centre has been abandoned, and that is never a good sign. In a country like Great Britain, that for so long had a reputation for pragmatism and rationality, it is grounds for real concern. The situation is getting decidedly out of hand.

After the loss of its empire, the United Kingdom sought a new place in the world. It finally found it, as a strong, awkward and influential part of a larger union: the EU. Now it has given up this place quite needlessly. The consequence, as is now becoming clear, is a veritable identity crisis from which it will take the country a very long time to recover.
A fair and clear assessment.

I'm old enough to remember the 1970s, when our status as 'The sick man of Europe' forced us to go 'cap in hand to the IMF'. It was famously the time of the 'brain drain'. That's already started again. Without a dramatic change of course, it's very clear what our destination is now going to be. And my honest assessment is that there's no-one on the political stage with the vision, leverage and courage to change that. I hope I'm proved wrong.

I agree that this is a key, and worrying, point.

Loz Wrote:

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> The political centre has been
> abandoned, and that is never a good sign. In a
> country like Great Britain, that for so long had a
> reputation for pragmatism and rationality, it is
> grounds for real concern.
I read up to the beginning of the second line

"... The country is being governed by a talking robot, nicknamed the Maybot ... "

I realised there was no point in reading further as it was hardly going to be an objective analysis
Not an objective analysis, or just not one that you want to hear?
Loz Wrote:

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> "The political centre has been abandoned,
> and that is never a good sign."
>
I'm also reminded of what my uncle used to say about the 1930s, the era when he was a young man. His claim was that at that time: 'you either had to be a Communist or a Fascist'. It wasn't true of course, you could have been something else, and his view was, to an extent, simply a justification for his own right wing views. But he was reflecting the extreme political climate of the time. There was always a risk after the global crash in 2008 that this would happen. I suppose we have to be grateful that much of Europe is in fact resisting political extremism and that our current British versions of this split are comparatively mild.
JoeLeg Wrote:

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> Not an objective analysis, or just not one that
> you want to hear?

Haven't read the article so can't comment on the contents. suffice to say from the few reactions so far it would appear to satisfy the remain mindset
keano77 Wrote:

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> JoeLeg Wrote:

> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Not an objective analysis, or just not one that
> > you want to hear?
>
> Haven't read the article so can't comment on the
> contents. suffice to say from the few reactions so
> far it would appear to satisfy the remain mindset

Shut your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and ignore what's happening around you.
Am I correct in thinking Greece has just had yet another tranch of bail-out funds? Santander has stepped in to save a failed Spanish Bank and the EU has just countenanced a bail out of troubled Italian Banks to protect investors?

Head in sand titch?
And anyway- to give an informed opinion, perhaps you should listen to both sides of the story, and offer a counter-argument to what's written above.
keano77 Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------
> JoeLeg Wrote:

> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Not an objective analysis, or just not one that
> > you want to hear?
>
> Haven't read the article so can't comment on the
> contents. suffice to say from the few reactions so
> far it would appear to satisfy the remain mindset

If you haven't read it then why make any comment? Seems a strange way of thinking to me.

...and perhaps the remain mindset is the best one for the future of the country after all the jingoistic ideologies & hurrahs are put to bed.

You cannot eat a flag & the supposed glorious history won't feed anything but memories...

If & when Brexit does actually happen in the 'hard' format it will quickly become plain to see that the net contribution of £220million per week to the EU coffers was a good deal. The emigration issue could have been resolved within the UK's membership as there are more countries who want this sorted also, including France & Germany.

Always beware what you wish for. What you have you should hold until something better comes along with certainty. Now certainty is a long, long way away.
titch juicy Wrote:

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> And anyway- to give an informed opinion, perhaps
> you should listen to both sides of the story, and
> offer a counter-argument to what's written above.

As the article started off badly, I suspect it doesn't offer anything new or constructive to the debate.
keano77 Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------
> titch juicy Wrote:

> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > And anyway- to give an informed opinion,
> perhaps
> > you should listen to both sides of the story,
> and
> > offer a counter-argument to what's written
> above.
>
> As the article started off badly, I suspect it
> doesn't offer anything new or constructive to the
> debate.

I think you are talking bollix - you read it and it annoyed you to the extent that you found it is a reasonably accurate analysis but that is unpalatable to you...so you are just sulking & dismissing it out of hand. Confronting reality can be a hard medicine to take.

As titch juicy said...Shut your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and ignore what's happening around you.

I would advise to place a finger elsewhere also as you never know what oe who is sneaking up behind you..!
Silly boy Lordship, writing such puerile nonsense.

And my point about the precarious state of the banking system in your land of milk and honey, conveniently ignored?
keano77 Wrote:

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> Silly boy Lordship, writing such puerile
> nonsense.

It appears that I struck a chord....

>
> And my point about the precarious state of the
> banking system in your land of milk and honey,
> conveniently ignored?

No different than some of the UK banks that went tits up...more to come after Brexit..?
keano77 Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------
> JoeLeg Wrote:

> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Not an objective analysis, or just not one that
> > you want to hear?
>
> Haven't read the article so can't comment on the
> contents. suffice to say from the few reactions so
> far it would appear to satisfy the remain mindset

Personal opinion - it's encumbant upon all of us to stay as informed as we can. The biggest political, social and economic change for a generation is upon us, and here to stay. I read every opinion I come across, because I have no intention of not being as informed as I can be. I think to dispense with something two lines in and make assumptions about its content and intentions makes a person no better than those they seek to disparage.

At least read it, then ridicule it.
Okay JoeLeg, I read it.

As I suspected nothing new or constructive offered. I agree it's important to keep oneself informed which is why we should be selective and discerning rather than waste time with every Tom, Dick and Harriet's opinion.
Yanis Varoufakis, no friend of the EU but someone who knows all about negotiating with the EU, says there will be no negotiations, just stalling and the demands that the UK must yield on everything before there is a discussion of what the UK wants/needs.
I don't think Greece had much of a leg to stand on when it came to negotiating to be honest. The UK's position isn't good right now, but no where near as bad as Greece's was/is...
keano77 Wrote:

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> Okay JoeLeg, I read it.
>
> As I suspected nothing new or constructive
> offered. I agree it's important to keep oneself
> informed which is why we should be selective and
> discerning rather than waste time with every Tom,
> Dick and Harriet's opinion.

Fair point, but if one doesn't read it how does one know something is rubbish? On an issue like Brexit, I prefer to cast a wide net. I might even learn something....
keano77 Wrote:

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> I read up to the beginning of the second line
>
> "... The country is being governed by a talking
> robot, nicknamed the Maybot ... "
>
> I realised there was no point in reading further
> as it was hardly going to be an objective analysis


Which is laughable, as you're often (if not always) referring to Junker being a drunk, in the same sentence, when discussing Europe.

I suggest you struggle on, have a read and put you're dismissive nature to one side, as I often do when reading your posts.
I agree with keano77- the article is biased and from German so was probably instigated by Merkel as they are scared stiff that France and Germany are going to have to make up the shortfall. The whole tone of Juncker and others is obviously that of toys being thrown out of the pram. The EU will NEVER have a reasonable debate- it is so up itself that it will just carry on demanding.
Seabag Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------
> keano77 Wrote:

> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I read up to the beginning of the second line
> >
> > "... The country is being governed by a talking
> > robot, nicknamed the Maybot ... "
> >
> > I realised there was no point in reading
> further
> > as it was hardly going to be an objective
> analysis
>
>
> Which is laughable, as you're often (if not
> always) referring to Junker being a drunk, in the
> same sentence, when discussing Europe.
>
> I suggest you struggle on, have a read and put
> you're dismissive nature to one side, as I often
> do when reading your posts.

The clue was in the title of the article and the spirit of the first line Seabag. Glad to read it amused you though.
uncleglen Wrote:

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> I agree with keano77- the article is biased and
> from German so was probably instigated by Merkel
> as they are scared stiff that France and Germany
> are going to have to make up the shortfall. The
> whole tone of Juncker and others is obviously that
> of toys being thrown out of the pram. The EU will
> NEVER have a reasonable debate- it is so up itself
> that it will just carry on demanding.

A) If you actually read properly you'll see it's from "a Swiss newspaper, Der Bund" and B) believing that the Chancellor of Germany occupies herself by ordering that anti-Brexit articles be published in small (circulation around 50,000) regional newspapers in other countries really is heading further into the tinfoil hat territory you've been occupying for some while now.
uncleglen Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------
> I agree with keano77- the article is biased and
> from German so was probably instigated by Merkel
> as they are scared stiff that France and Germany
> are going to have to make up the shortfall. The
> whole tone of Juncker and others is obviously that
> of toys being thrown out of the pram. The EU will
> NEVER have a reasonable debate- it is so up itself
> that it will just carry on demanding.

The EU is up itself?

Not the UK? The country that decided to leave and then started making demands of the very thing it's leaving.
Oh dear, we've a new coalition.

keano/uncle grim have joined forces.

I wonder how keano will sell 'him' in his best purple sales language?

Keano, you are the spokes person and Grim will add the odd 'yeah, I heard that....' type statement to back up stuff.
titch juicy Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------
> uncleglen Wrote:

> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I agree with keano77- the article is biased and
> > from German so was probably instigated by
> Merkel
> > as they are scared stiff that France and
> Germany
> > are going to have to make up the shortfall. The
> > whole tone of Juncker and others is obviously
> that
> > of toys being thrown out of the pram. The EU
> will
> > NEVER have a reasonable debate- it is so up
> itself
> > that it will just carry on demanding.
>
> The EU is up itself?
>
> Not the UK? The country that decided to leave and
> then started making demands of the very thing it's
> leaving.

It's amazing all the guff & nonsense that is spoken about the EU & their vulnerability if they don't do a deal suitable to the UK.

The EU would very much like to do a mutually suitable deal but if the UK push too much they will simply walk away. Take a look at what the Germans achieved when they took Eastern Germany in - they had problems [and still have some hangover] but they managed quite admirably & just got on with the job. They will do so again.

Unfortunately the UK are in the role of supplicant and grandstanding will just not cut the mustard. Soft Brexit will suit the EU. With hard Brexit the UK will be very much on their own.

If they go down the hard route then they will have control of their incoming borders but not the outgoing borders which will be busy with the ensuing exodus of many qualified personnel, both of foreign & UK origin who will be attracted elsewhere to stable jobs.

Reality beckons.
uncleglen Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------
> I agree with keano77- the article is biased and
> from German so was probably instigated by Merkel
> as they are scared stiff that France and Germany
> are going to have to make up the shortfall.

From Swiss German, UG. I realise your knowledge of Europe is limited, but they are actually really quite different countries.

Especially as one of them isn't in the EU.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was june 19, 01:43pm by Loz.

EU 1 UK 0 [www.theguardian.com]

The first reader's comment I saw summed it up pretty well...We're fooked smiling smiley
So Mark Carney was saying this morning that as 'Project Economic Suicide' gains momentum, finessing monetary policy won't help much. But we do have a bit of a choice between job losses and inflation. Am I right in thinking that he's plumped for inflation - given that he's keeping the interest rates low? If so, seems like a sound choice in the circs.
I suspect he's more concerned with the level of debt, esp mortgage related, it's a ticking timebomb for a lot of borrowers should rates start climbing...

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