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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Shock’s a plenty it seems……..

Nigel Farage warns of 'seismic shock' if Brexit not delivered.

"Another big seismic shock" could hit British politics at the next election, Nigel Farage has warned Theresa May if Brexit is not delivered by 2020. The interim UKIP leader said he suspected the Conservative Government "is not fit for the legacy of Brexit". He made the remarks at a reception in London's Ritz Hotel to celebrate his contribution to the Brexit victory. In a nod to Donald Trump's call for him to be UK ambassador to the US, he handed out Ferrero Rocher chocolates. The sweet treats were famously offered in an advert set at an "ambassador's reception" and included the oft-quoted line: "You are really spoiling us." Downing Street has already rejected Mr Trump's claim that Mr Farage would do a "great job" as ambassador by saying "there is no vacancy". And Chancellor Philip Hammond said Mr Farage should not "hold his breath" if he expected a call for him to help with UK-US relations.

Autumn Statement: Hammond defends post-Brexit economy forecasts.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has called economic forecasts in the Autumn Statement one of a "range of outcomes" after some pro-Brexit MPs criticised them for being too pessimistic. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast more government borrowing and reductions in economic growth after the referendum. Ex-minister Iain Duncan Smith accused the OBR of "utter doom and gloom". But Mr Chancellor Hammond said it was good to prepare for a "rainy day". He added that the government was investing to boost infrastructure and economic productivity and there was a "downward path in borrowing". BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed said the chancellor "hopes that the forecasts do prove very gloomy" and he was "setting a bottom line from which he hopes the government can clamber upwards". Asked about the OBR's predictions, the former Work and Pensions Secretary and Leave campaigner Mr Duncan Smith told the Daily Telegraph it was "another utter doom and gloom scenario" from the organisation. The Economists for Brexit group predicted more "humiliating U-turns" from the OBR, saying it had "assumed a pessimistic outlook for the UK economy outside the EU, based on bad economic policy-making".

EU leaders 'not bluffing' over Brexit terms, warns Malta's PM.

EU leaders are not "bluffing" when they say the UK will be left without access to the single market when it leaves the bloc if there is no free movement of people, Malta's prime minister says. Joseph Muscat, whose country assumes the EU's presidency in January, told the BBC: "This is really and truly our position and I don't see it changing". Theresa May says the UK will begin the legal process to leave the EU by March. Mr Muscat said talks on the details of a "new relationship" could be delayed. A Downing Street spokesman insisted negotiations were being approached in the "spirit of goodwill". "This is a negotiation that will take place next year and the government will set out its negotiating strategy in the fullness of time," he said. "The aim of that negotiation is to get the best possible deal for Britain, for British companies to access and work with and within the single market and for European businesses to have the same access here." Much political debate has focused on the possibility of a "soft" Brexit - the UK retaining some form of membership of the single market in exchange for conceding some control over immigration - and "hard Brexit" - leaving the single market but having fuller control over migration. But Mr Muscat said the UK and EU needed to first reach agreement on a range of other details once Mrs May triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. He said these included the bill the UK must pay before leaving, establishing what will happen to the UK-Republic of Ireland border and working out interim arrangements on issues like security.

Iain Duncan Smith accuses Sir John Major over new Brexit vote bid.

Ex-Prime Minister Sir John Major has been accused of "an absolute dismissal" of democracy after he suggested there should be a second Brexit vote. Iain Duncan Smith, Leave campaigner and another ex-Conservative leader, said: "You can't claim democracy when you want it and reject it when you don't." He spoke out after Sir John also warned against Brexit being dictated by the "tyranny of the majority". Mr Duncan Smith said: "We had a vote, that vote now has to be acted on." The dispute came after Sir John, Conservative prime minister between 1990 and 1997, called for the 48% of people who voted against Brexit in June's referendum to have their views considered. "The tyranny of the majority has never applied in a democracy - and it should not apply in this particular democracy," he said. He argued that Parliament would have to ratify whatever deal is finally reached by the Brexit negotiators and there could be a case for a second referendum, depending on the deal on offer. Mr Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 5 live's Emma Barnett: "The idea we delay everything just simply because they disagree with the original result does seem to me an absolute dismissal of democracy. And that's what I thought John Major's comments were today. The tyranny of the majority? What's the tyranny?"

Lord Advocate calls for Holyrood consent over Brexit.

Scotland's Lord Advocate will argue at the Supreme Court that Holyrood's consent should be sought over legislation invoking Article 50. James Wolffe QC is to intervene on behalf of the Scottish government in the appeal case over triggering Brexit. His written submissions says Brexit will impact on devolved areas and thus engage legislative consent conventions. Theresa May has pledged to begin the formal process of taking the UK out of the EU by the end of March 2017. The High Court ruled that MPs must be given a vote on whether the UK can start this process, which Mrs May wants to do using existing ministerial powers - the royal prerogative. The UK government has appealed against this decision, and the Scottish and Welsh governments along with several other groups have won leave to intervene in the Supreme Court hearing. Mr Wolffe argues that Brexit will change the legislative competency of Holyrood and the executive competence of the Scottish government, with changes to laws cutting across many devolved areas. He said that under the Scotland Act, these changes "may not be affected by an act of the executive alone", adding that "it is a matter of constitutional principle that laws cannot be amended or repealed by an exercise of the royal prerogative alone". Mr Wolffe is to argue in court that not only should MPs be given a vote - describing triggering Article 50 with the royal prerogative alone as "unlawful" - Holyrood's legislative consent should also be sought.

All details above from BBC News website.

[Well, it looks like the date for the great divorce has been set – March 29th 2017. Note that in your diaries. Keep a copy of those front pages – so you can tell your children the exact moment when it all started going to rat shit. But you know what the most amazing thing is about the whole sorry deal – that we’re doing it to ourselves, on purpose.]


Tim Davis said...

As an outside observer (living in the U.S.), I never understood the EU concept, one in which nations forfeit some of their sovereignty and autonomy in order to form a "more perfect union" with other nations; moreover, the British exit from the EU (to this observer) makes sense as a way of recovering sovereignty and autonomy. What am I not understanding?

CyberKitten said...


First thing is that what became the EU was an outgrowth of an idea to prevent another destructive European war by binding the Continent closer together economically, politically and culturally. This, I think, is a VERY GOOD THING.

I believe that nationalism is an idea that had its day, served its purpose, but is no longer tenable in a globalised world with instant communication and nuclear weapons. Countries aren't really sovereign or autonomous in the way they may have been way back when - 18th/19th century - so calls to 'take back control' are completely illusory. We haven't had 'control' in living memory so can't take it back, so essentially we're giving up preferential access to one of the biggest markets on the planet to chase something that doesn't even exist. We're going to be worse off economically and increasingly marginalised as a country conveniently located next to a big market but with no easy access to it - so who in their right mind is going to offer us a good deal (from our point of view). The only countries that will want to trade with us are those looking to asset strip the place as we sink lower down the global rankings.

I could, of course, be completely wrong and it'll be the best thing that ever happened to us. But somehow I *really* doubt it. Only time will tell.