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

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Brexit Disaster….? (Slightly old news but still spot on)

Oxford academics warning of Brexit 'disaster'.

A "hard Brexit" would be the "biggest disaster" to have hit the UK's universities for many years, a university head told MPs. Alistair Fitt, vice chancellor of Oxford Brookes, was giving evidence to the Education Select Committee, holding a special away-day session at the University of Oxford. With the elegant panorama of Pembroke College behind them, the MPs wanted to find out what would be the impact of Brexit on the UK's university sector. You would be hard-pressed to find any sector in the country more opposed to Brexit than higher education. So it was probably no surprise that the MPs heard an unrelenting message that leaving the EU was a grim prospect for higher education and research. University organisations, which usually put much effort and ingenuity into not really being for or against anything in public, took to open campaigning for a Remain vote. Universities, bastions of liberal thinking, intensely international in their outlook and staffing, seemed culturally allergic to Brexit. And the referendum result hangs over them like they've fought and lost a civil war. Professor Catherine Barnard from the University of Cambridge told MPs that her own university had seen a 14% drop in applications this year from EU students. The university had asked why potential students had turned down a chance to study at Cambridge - and she said among the reasons were fears over an "anti-immigrant sentiment" and uncertainty over the future of the UK's involvement in international research.

UK and New Zealand plan free trade deal after Brexit.

New Zealand hopes to negotiate a "high quality" free trade agreement with the UK once it leaves the EU, its Prime Minister Bill English has said. Following a meeting with Theresa May, he said he hoped this would happen "as soon as possible". Mrs May said both countries already enjoy a strong and growing trading relationship worth over £3bn last year. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will be visiting New Zealand in the coming months, she said. Mrs May said her colleague would begin a bilateral dialogue between the two nations with the ultimate aim of striking a trade deal. The small Oceanic country of less than five million people is believed to be seen in government circles as one of the best prospects for an early trade deal once Britain quits the EU. Britain is the second largest foreign investor in New Zealand and its fifth largest bilateral trading partner. It is also one of the global "five eyes" partners which share their security intelligence with the UK, along with the US, Canada and Australia.

Brexit transitional deal 'unacceptable' - Leave MP.

Opting for a transition deal with the European Union after Brexit would be "the worst possible scenario for the EU and the UK", a prominent Leave MP says. Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat suggested that a transitional trade pact to allow sectors to adapt would mean Britain continuing to be bound by judgements from EU courts. But Conservative Bernard Jenkin said such a deal would be "unacceptable". Mr Muscat's government currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU. His comments come after British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to take the UK out of the jurisdiction of the European Court. Mrs May, who will deliver a keynote Brexit address next Tuesday, told last autumn's Conservative Party conference: "We are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice." But the Maltese premier made clear that any transition trade arrangements, which could last well into the 2020s, would see European institutions retain the upper hand.

Passport queues 'could be longer after Brexit', airports warn.

People flying to the UK could face "severe disruption" after Brexit unless the Border Force employs more people, airports have warned. The Airport Operators Association said more stringent passport checks for EU nationals would result in longer queues and processing times. Its comments have been sent to a House of Lords inquiry into the movement of people between the EU and UK. The Home Office said Border Force could meet the demand and maintain security. According to the AOA - which represents more than 50 UK airports - the growth in air traffic has not been matched by an increase in resources for Border Force, which is responsible for immigration and customs checks. The AOA said its members have told them a lack of resources has already led to longer queues at passport desks. In 2015, there were 251 million passenger journeys through Britain's airports. Figures from an annual Home Office report showed that Border Force staff numbers fell from 8,332 in 2014-15 to 7,911 in 2015-16. The AOA's comments come after a whistleblower told the BBC last July that "stressed" Border Force staff were struggling to cope with queues to check passports at Heathrow Airport. In evidence submitted to the House of Lords' EU home affairs sub-committee, the AOA said it is concerned any potential change to passport control after Brexit will make waiting times longer.

Brexit: UK 'could change economic model' if single market access denied.

The UK may be forced to change its "economic model" if it is locked out of the single market after Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said. Mr Hammond said the government would not "lie down" and would "do whatever we have to do" to remain competitive. He had been asked by a German newspaper if the UK could become a "tax haven" by further lowering corporation tax. Labour's Jeremy Corbyn said his comments sounded like "a recipe for some kind of trade war with Europe". In an interview with German Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Mr Hammond said he was "optimistic" a reciprocal deal on market access could be struck, and that he hoped the UK would "remain in the mainstream of European economic and social thinking. But if we are forced to be something different, then we will have to become something different," he said. "If we have no access to the European market, if we are closed off, if Britain were to leave the European Union without an agreement on market access, then we could suffer from economic damage at least in the short-term. In this case, we could be forced to change our economic model and we will have to change our model to regain competitiveness. And you can be sure we will do whatever we have to do. The British people are not going to lie down and say, too bad, we've been wounded. We will change our model, and we will come back, and we will be competitively engaged."

All details above from BBC News website.

[Well, what a difference a few weeks makes! It seems, at least for now, that a HARD Brexit is off the cards. With the most slender of majorities (propped up by the DUPs 10 seats) of TWO I seriously doubt if the Tories would get ANY severe proposals through Parliament. What the long term results of this election will be is anyone’s guess. What is probably certain is that Teresa May will NOT be leading this country out of Europe. It may be some other Tory but it won’t be her. Only time will tell if we’re even going to get Brexit at all. Everything seems up for grabs in the new topsy-turvy world of British Politics. Watch this space and be amazed!]


Mudpuddle said...

i'm amazed already... re how a person can make sense out of al the internecine warfare...

CyberKitten said...

it is a bit complex, but then I've been immersed in this system for over 50 years and have been taking increasing notice for the last 30. It's good to see that Labour seem to have developed a Left-Wing backbone recently. I can almost start respecting them again!