Brexit Negotiations

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Pseudonym:

Let me put it like this: Victor Orban has been prime minister for slightly less than 8 years. If Le Pen or Wilders, let alone Farage had been in power for such a time and with the kind of majoraties Orban has to back him up, they'd have taken their country out of the EU. Orban has not done so nor has he even seriously talked about doing so. I agree that there is some friction here, but it just doesn't compare to the kind of anti-EU sentiments found in western Europe.

The EU provides a significant constraint on Orban.

Bear in mind that Orban is not just fiddling elections and appealing to Hungarian fears over national security, he's also buying the happiness of his people with employment and construction projects heavily funded by EU development grants. Orban kind of can't leave the EU - or at least, not unless he finds a new international paymaster. Which he can't do whilst pushing his nationalist fear agenda, because there are issues with selling half your country to China.

In that sense, Orban is engaged in a game of continual brinkmanship - seeing just how far he can push against the EU without the EU financially sanctioning Hungary. He's had to back down or dilute a lot of the measures he's tried so far, I suspect he'll continue having to.

Edit: Accidentally posted twice.

I hate Brexit. It's ruined the news, politics, sensible discussions and it's a stupid media word that sounds like breakfast that people seem to have taken on.

David Cameron was a bumbling fool (who was in a job clearly beyond his natural ability like a lot of the Eton elite) who left an important decision up to Britain that the general populous poorly understood. And he did it for selfish party political reasons. People used the vote as an excuse to vent their displeasure at the system (which to be fair, is crap, especially with the Tories in) or at the growth of immigration, even though leaving will make no difference to it, since the majority of immigrants are from outside the EU. How the whole thing has escalated into this is ridiculous.

dscross:
I hate Brexit. It's ruined the news, politics, sensible discussions and it's a stupid media word that sounds like breakfast that people seem to have taken on.

David Cameron was a bumbling fool (who was in a job clearly beyond his natural ability like a lot of the Eton elite) who left an important decision up to Britain that the general populous poorly understood. And he did it for selfish party political reasons. People used the vote as an excuse to vent their displeasure at the system (which to be fair, is crap, especially with the Tories in) or at the growth of immigration, even though leaving will make no difference to it, since the majority of immigrants are from outside the EU. How the whole thing has escalated into this is ridiculous.

Wow, you've gone full leftie bigot sneering there; the people are too stupid to make the "right" decision and some unpleasant class prejudice because it's alright be a bigot against the "right" people, for good measure. Are you member of Momentum?

The immigration comment is just plain wrong too, as while the majority of immigrants are extra-EU, it's not a huge majority 220,000 vs. 285,000 in the year to Sept 2017.

In February 2018 net migration fell by 75,000 according to the Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/22/net-migration-of-eu-nationals-to-britain-falls-by-75000

ErrrorWayz:

dscross:
I hate Brexit. It's ruined the news, politics, sensible discussions and it's a stupid media word that sounds like breakfast that people seem to have taken on.

David Cameron was a bumbling fool (who was in a job clearly beyond his natural ability like a lot of the Eton elite) who left an important decision up to Britain that the general populous poorly understood. And he did it for selfish party political reasons. People used the vote as an excuse to vent their displeasure at the system (which to be fair, is crap, especially with the Tories in) or at the growth of immigration, even though leaving will make no difference to it, since the majority of immigrants are from outside the EU. How the whole thing has escalated into this is ridiculous.

Wow, you've gone full leftie bigot sneering there; the people are too stupid to make the "right" decision and some unpleasant class prejudice because it's alright be a bigot against the "right" people, for good measure. Are you member of Momentum?

The immigration comment is just plain wrong too, as while the majority of immigrants are extra-EU, it's not a huge majority 220,000 vs. 285,000 in the year to Sept 2017.

In February 2018 net migration fell by 75,000 according to the Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/22/net-migration-of-eu-nationals-to-britain-falls-by-75000

Yes, most people are too stupid to understand the full ramifications of Brexit. It's an incredibly complex issue that on both sides were broken down to nothing more than soundbites and slogans. That's not bigotry, it's acknowledging that most people aren't economists, political scientists or any other profession that gives them a keen understanding of what exactly EU membership costs and delivers. And that is part of the fucking problem of the world today. People spend five minutes on Google and think they understand something. Even Richard Dawkins (a smart person) talked about how he wasn't qualified to make a decision one way or the other on Brexit.

ErrrorWayz:

dscross:
I hate Brexit. It's ruined the news, politics, sensible discussions and it's a stupid media word that sounds like breakfast that people seem to have taken on.

David Cameron was a bumbling fool (who was in a job clearly beyond his natural ability like a lot of the Eton elite) who left an important decision up to Britain that the general populous poorly understood. And he did it for selfish party political reasons. People used the vote as an excuse to vent their displeasure at the system (which to be fair, is crap, especially with the Tories in) or at the growth of immigration, even though leaving will make no difference to it, since the majority of immigrants are from outside the EU. How the whole thing has escalated into this is ridiculous.

Wow, you've gone full leftie bigot sneering there; the people are too stupid to make the "right" decision and some unpleasant class prejudice because it's alright be a bigot against the "right" people, for good measure. Are you member of Momentum?

The immigration comment is just plain wrong too, as while the majority of immigrants are extra-EU, it's not a huge majority 220,000 vs. 285,000 in the year to Sept 2017.

In February 2018 net migration fell by 75,000 according to the Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/22/net-migration-of-eu-nationals-to-britain-falls-by-75000

What gave you the impression I was a leftie? Because I think David Cameron is an elitist fool promoted beyond his ability? Many far left wing people are actually anti-EU because they think it's an ultra capitalist club running it. I'm a centrist. I'm just stating facts that the majority of people, even the most educated ones, didn't properly understand the EU and were voting based on what they could see around them.

Fair enough about the immigration comment, but I was more talking about the jobs taken, which is what people were voting for. The bottom line, which may surprise many people, is that EU immigration has not harmed the pay, jobs or public services enjoyed by Britons. In fact, for the most part it has likely made us better off. So, far from EU immigration being a 'necessary evil' that we pay to get access to the greater trade and foreign investment generated by the EU single market, immigration is at worse neutral, and at best, another economic benefit.

1. The Office of National Statistics says that while the numbers of EU workers in Britain increased, they are outnumbered by the extra one million Britons who have gone into employment in the same period. The number of British citizens working in the UK labour force is now at the near-record level of 28 million. That compares with 3 million foreign nationals. As the economist Jonathan Portes has pointed out, it is not a zero-sum game in which there are only a fixed number of jobs to go round: It's true that, if an immigrant takes a job, then a British worker can't take that job - but it doesn't mean he or she won't find another one that may have been created, directly or indirectly, as a result of immigration.

2. HMRC figures also show that EU migrants more than pay their way. Those who arrived in Britain in the last four years paid 2.54bn more in income tax and national insurance than they received in tax credits or child benefit in 2013-14. The Office of Budget Responsibility has estimated that their labour contribution is helping to grow the economy by an additional 0.6% a year.

3. The Uk Statistics Authority also stresses that the number of people in work is not the same as the number of jobs in the economy. The ONS figures are estimates of the numbers of people in employment, so it is nonsense to talk about them showing 'foreigners taking British jobs'. They also stress that the figures do not reflect new migration, since they only cover those migrants who come to work, and some of those newly employed may well have been in the UK for some time.

4. The most recent research from the centre for economic performance at the London School of Economics says the areas of the UK with large increases in EU immigration did not suffer greater falls in the jobs and pay of UK-born workers. The big falls in wages after 2008 are due to the global financial crisis and a weak economic recovery, not to immigration.' Several studies have shown a small negative effect of migration on the wages of low-skilled workers in certain sectors in certain parts of the country, particularly care workers, shop assistants, and restaurant and bar workers. The effect has been measured at less than 1% over a period of eight years.

CheetoDust:

ErrrorWayz:

dscross:
I hate Brexit. It's ruined the news, politics, sensible discussions and it's a stupid media word that sounds like breakfast that people seem to have taken on.

David Cameron was a bumbling fool (who was in a job clearly beyond his natural ability like a lot of the Eton elite) who left an important decision up to Britain that the general populous poorly understood. And he did it for selfish party political reasons. People used the vote as an excuse to vent their displeasure at the system (which to be fair, is crap, especially with the Tories in) or at the growth of immigration, even though leaving will make no difference to it, since the majority of immigrants are from outside the EU. How the whole thing has escalated into this is ridiculous.

Wow, you've gone full leftie bigot sneering there; the people are too stupid to make the "right" decision and some unpleasant class prejudice because it's alright be a bigot against the "right" people, for good measure. Are you member of Momentum?

The immigration comment is just plain wrong too, as while the majority of immigrants are extra-EU, it's not a huge majority 220,000 vs. 285,000 in the year to Sept 2017.

In February 2018 net migration fell by 75,000 according to the Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/22/net-migration-of-eu-nationals-to-britain-falls-by-75000

Yes, most people are too stupid to understand the full ramifications of Brexit. It's an incredibly complex issue that on both sides were broken down to nothing more than soundbites and slogans. That's not bigotry, it's acknowledging that most people aren't economists, political scientists or any other profession that gives them a keen understanding of what exactly EU membership costs and delivers. And that is part of the fucking problem of the world today. People spend five minutes on Google and think they understand something. Even Richard Dawkins (a smart person) talked about how he wasn't qualified to make a decision one way or the other on Brexit.

Hmm, I didn't really get that from the comment, but reading it again I see now that was the intention. I shall apologise below, good spot!

dscross:

ErrrorWayz:

dscross:
I hate Brexit. It's ruined the news, politics, sensible discussions and it's a stupid media word that sounds like breakfast that people seem to have taken on.

David Cameron was a bumbling fool (who was in a job clearly beyond his natural ability like a lot of the Eton elite) who left an important decision up to Britain that the general populous poorly understood. And he did it for selfish party political reasons. People used the vote as an excuse to vent their displeasure at the system (which to be fair, is crap, especially with the Tories in) or at the growth of immigration, even though leaving will make no difference to it, since the majority of immigrants are from outside the EU. How the whole thing has escalated into this is ridiculous.

Wow, you've gone full leftie bigot sneering there; the people are too stupid to make the "right" decision and some unpleasant class prejudice because it's alright be a bigot against the "right" people, for good measure. Are you member of Momentum?

The immigration comment is just plain wrong too, as while the majority of immigrants are extra-EU, it's not a huge majority 220,000 vs. 285,000 in the year to Sept 2017.

In February 2018 net migration fell by 75,000 according to the Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/22/net-migration-of-eu-nationals-to-britain-falls-by-75000

What gave you the impression I was a leftie? Because I think David Cameron is an elitist fool promoted beyond his ability? Many far left wing people are actually anti-EU because they think it's an ultra capitalist club running it. I'm a centrist. I'm just stating facts that the majority of people, even the most educated ones, didn't properly understand the EU and were voting based on what they could see around them

Fair enough about the immigration comment, but I was more talking about the jobs taken, which is what people were voting for. The bottom line, which may surprise many people, is that EU immigration has not harmed the pay, jobs or public services enjoyed by Britons. In fact, for the most part it has likely made us better off. So, far from EU immigration being a 'necessary evil' that we pay to get access to the greater trade and foreign investment generated by the EU single market, immigration is at worse neutral, and at best, another economic benefit.

1. The Office of National Statistics says that while the numbers of EU workers in Britain increased, they are outnumbered by the extra one million Britons who have gone into employment in the same period. The number of British citizens working in the UK labour force is now at the near-record level of 28 million. That compares with 3 million foreign nationals. As the economist Jonathan Portes has pointed out, it is not a zero-sum game in which there are only a fixed number of jobs to go round: It's true that, if an immigrant takes a job, then a British worker can't take that job - but it doesn't mean he or she won't find another one that may have been created, directly or indirectly, as a result of immigration.

Well, Portes is the economic cheerleader for immigration, on permanent retainer at the Guardian and a fellow of Changing Europe, so I always feel that he perhaps lets his personal prejudices colour his approach. That said, I have always felt the "taking our jobs" argument was the weakest of all the arguments against immigration. This argument is based on unlimited growth

2. HMRC figures also show that EU migrants more than pay their way. Those who arrived in Britain in the last four years paid 2.54bn more in income tax and national insurance than they received in tax credits or child benefit in 2013-14. The Office of Budget Responsibility has estimated that their labour contribution is helping to grow the economy by an additional 0.6% a year.

3. The Uk Statistics Authority also stresses that the number of people in work is not the same as the number of jobs in the economy. The ONS figures are estimates of the numbers of people in employment, so it is nonsense to talk about them showing 'foreigners taking British jobs'. They also stress that the figures do not reflect new migration, since they only cover those migrants who come to work, and some of those newly employed may well have been in the UK for some time.

4. The most recent research from the centre for economic performance at the London School of Economics says the areas of the UK with large increases in EU immigration did not suffer greater falls in the jobs and pay of UK-born workers. The big falls in wages after 2008 are due to the global financial crisis and a weak economic recovery, not to immigration.' Several studies have shown a small negative effect of migration on the wages of low-skilled workers in certain sectors in certain parts of the country, particularly care workers, shop assistants, and restaurant and bar workers. The effect has been measured at less than 1% over a period of eight years.

Well yes, the classism did seem quite left wing. I am sorry though, I was needlessly aggressive in retrospect.

I am quite depressed about the whole affair really, the EU could have been great but Blair's refusal to use the very methods the EU created to allow for staged integration (i.e. immigration controls for a limited time period) caused a backlash in opinion. France and Germany used them! This was worsened by Labour's active policy of smearing discussion as "racist" and the BBC's one eyed reporting.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jul/03/bbc-deep-liberal-bias-immigration

It's actually very hard to say what the impact of immigration is. I see you quote Portes (who I always have a suspicion lets his pro-immigration politics colour his thinking but that's probably just me).

He's also said that at a local level immigration has (or had) impacted public services and jobs markets. This is the best summary I could see:

"It has created jobs, boosted growth and improved the public finances. It has, however, also increased mobility and ?churn? in the labour market and in UK society as a whole; it would be surprising if this did not have an impact on public services and housing at a local level"

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/13/hysteria-immigration-statistics-migration-government

It just makes no sense to suggest adding 300,000 to the population every year will not cause public service challenges.

Various studies have found different pictures with regards to jobs and wages. The BoE has founded wages are reduced, albeit quite mildly, a 2% drop per 10% increase in immigrant population

- https://fullfact.org/immigration/does-immigration-reduce-wages/.

Other studies, notably by LSE, have found different results but again I am always slightly wary of University immigration studies as Universities are, to a body, aggressively pro-immigration.

Also, and I think this is a major point, these are all pure economic arguments, many people just felt alienated by huge influxes of other cultures in their area or simply don't want to become a small part of a large politically unified EU, which seems remote and largely interested in extracting money from the EU. Others may feel this is a xenophobic opinion but that doesn't make them "right", nor does it make it any less of a valid concern, nor does it mean their vote shouldn't count.

All in all, I would probably agree that economically immigration is a "good", although I do wonder for how long it could have continued to prompt the growth that causes it to "pay for itself". However, I feel you may how downplayed the effect it has had on public services, the social cost and we've not really addressed the political dimension that often left us disagreeing with EU/EC law.

ErrrorWayz:
It's actually very hard to say what the impact of immigration is. I see you quote Portes (who I always have a suspicion lets his pro-immigration politics colour his thinking but that's probably just me).

Is Portes economically biased because he is pro-immigration, or pro-immigration because of his economic analyses? I might note that Portes is well on the side of orthodoxy, consistent with the majority of research on the effect of immigration on the economy. Even right wing economists support this: laissez-faire capitalism also heavily includes the notion of free movement of labour.

It just makes no sense to suggest adding 300,000 to the population every year will not cause public service challenges.

Indeed, obviously it will. But the idea that the government cannot plan for population increases in terms of service provision is risible.

Other studies, notably by LSE, have found different results but again I am always slightly wary of University immigration studies as Universities are, to a body, aggressively pro-immigration.

Again, as per Portes, what's actually informing what in terms of immigration and economics? I think it is unfair to suggest researchers have a conclusion which they fiddle their results to demonstrate without providing adequate evidence of that bias. It is the most basic of ad hominems.

ErrrorWayz:

All in all, I would probably agree that economically immigration is a "good", although I do wonder for how long it could have continued to prompt the growth that causes it to "pay for itself". However, I feel you may how downplayed the effect it has had on public services, the social cost and we've not really addressed the political dimension that often left us disagreeing with EU/EC law.

Fair enough so what are you saying the social costs and costs to public services are and we'll discuss it if you like?

I didn't discuss the EU law side because I honestly don't think most people were voting on that. Some people may use it as an argument, but I don't think that's the underlying emotional reason for their decision once you start digging into their views, just from listening to phone ins around the country and from talking to people. The people who genuinely were voting on that are in the minority.

dscross:
How the whole thing has escalated into this is ridiculous.

Behold what happens when the Center fails.

Agema:

Pseudonym:

Let me put it like this: Victor Orban has been prime minister for slightly less than 8 years. If Le Pen or Wilders, let alone Farage had been in power for such a time and with the kind of majoraties Orban has to back him up, they'd have taken their country out of the EU. Orban has not done so nor has he even seriously talked about doing so. I agree that there is some friction here, but it just doesn't compare to the kind of anti-EU sentiments found in western Europe.

The EU provides a significant constraint on Orban.

Bear in mind that Orban is not just fiddling elections and appealing to Hungarian fears over national security, he's also buying the happiness of his people with employment and construction projects heavily funded by EU development grants. Orban kind of can't leave the EU - or at least, not unless he finds a new international paymaster. Which he can't do whilst pushing his nationalist fear agenda, because there are issues with selling half your country to China.

In that sense, Orban is engaged in a game of continual brinkmanship - seeing just how far he can push against the EU without the EU financially sanctioning Hungary. He's had to back down or dilute a lot of the measures he's tried so far, I suspect he'll continue having to.

Thanks for laying it out so well. I was trying to argue something similar upthread (though it seems that I underestimated just how important EU money is for Hungary), but it was pointed out that people like Orban sometimes take bad decisions. Which is why I felt it helpful to point out that he simply has not done so in this case, even though he easily could have.

The thing at the back of my mind here is an interview in my newspaper (too long ago for me to find, and it'd be in Dutch anyway) with a Hungarian diplomat or political scientist pointing our that Orban and many of his people don't consider themselves anti-EU, but rather to have a different view on what the EU should be from the rest of it. Whilst that might be partially propaganda, it is clearly a very different approach to the EU from the west-European populists.

Pseudonym:
Whilst that might be partially propaganda, it is clearly a very different approach to the EU from the west-European populists.

If I;m remembering this correctly, that was Sinn Fein's EU Stance in Ireland until recently, they called themselves "Euro-Critical" if memory serves.

Pseudonym:
Thanks for laying it out so well.

Thanks :)

The thing at the back of my mind here is an interview in my newspaper (too long ago for me to find, and it'd be in Dutch anyway) with a Hungarian diplomat or political scientist pointing our that Orban and many of his people don't consider themselves anti-EU, but rather to have a different view on what the EU should be from the rest of it. Whilst that might be partially propaganda, it is clearly a very different approach to the EU from the west-European populists.

Hungarians have bitter memories of Turkish domination, Austrian domination, and Soviet domination. They are very sensitive to invasion and dominance, understandably so. Naturally, they can perhaps be inclined to view the EU negatively. Some more extreme Hungarians dream of "Greater Hungary" (roughly equal to adding Transylvania, Slovakia, northern Serbia and Croatia), even though only Translyvania has significant Hungarian populations. Their argument is that the European consensus will never it give it to them, so perhaps they should leave. But that is an extreme minority.

Mostly, there's a degree of reasonableness that many Europeans feel about what the EU is for and where it should go, and that perhaps a trading block with looser political ties is preferable. On the other hand, I think it is flagrantly unreasonable to think the EU should be so politically loose as to be a load of liberal democracies funding corrupt, illiberal authoritarians such as Orban to cement their rule. And so I have precious little time for the contemptible attitude of "EU stay out of our business (but give us lots of your money)".

Ninjamedic:
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/eu-rejects-theresa-may-s-irish-border-proposals-says-report-1.3467713

Back to square -1 then.

Ans as a bonus: https://www.rte.ie/news/ulster/2018/0424/956901-david-davis/

https://www.joe.ie/news/ireland-brexodus-623801

Maybe he's here handing out CVs?

CheetoDust:

Maybe he's here handing out CVs?

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-customs-union-tory-conservative-brexit-boris-johnson-a8321466.html

Man, who'd have thought our sarcasm would define Tory Policy?

I thought Johnson had lost leadership ambition as he kept on making gaffes that won't make him a Brexit martyr. He'll resign instead but that's rubbish as his Brexit credentials aren't up to those of the true believers like Rees-Mogg or Gove. He might try claiming centre-attracting candidate but most regard him as a buffoon and a liar, whereas Gove might claim that with his new, green credentials.

warmachine:
whereas Gove might claim that with his new, green credentials.

His GFA comments I'd imagine would bite him in the arse once the border comes back to the news as the deadline approaches, that would place Gove back on the hard-right.

https://www.rte.ie/news/ulster/2018/0509/961286-amnesty/

The sweet symphony of document shredders...

Ninjamedic:
https://www.rte.ie/news/ulster/2018/0509/961286-amnesty/

The sweet symphony of document shredders...

Calling the IRA an illegal organisation? Yeah true but somehow I don't think England filed a bunch of paperwork and followed the correct legal procedure for invading a country, subjugating it's people and attempting genocide via starvation. It's weird that the nazis were evil but the British were "an empire".

Silvanus:

CosmicCommander:

I'm an extremely hard leaver and I would optimally see the most complete and utter severance of all our arrangements with the EU and Customs Union at the shortest possible notice (if we wished, it could all be done within a week). Then post-hoc we make agreements and deals. But the problem is that the electorate never voted for that; leaving does encompass such a broad variety of options that there's no way to democratically sanction whatever outcome the nation chooses without another referendum. Which wouldn't be pragmatic. Thankfully I'm happy to sacrifice democratic procedure to expediency when necessary, so there may be a chance of delivering a leave from the EU along my lines after all if May and the milquetoast wets in the Tory party are ousted.

It could be done in a week... if the UK was happy to refuse to honour existing obligations (which is illegal), to default to World Trade Organisation rules, and to simultaneously ruin all faith overseas in the UK's commitment to diplomacy and law. Why on earth would anyone treat with a country which openly refuses to honour commitments it has made?

So, yes, it's technically possible within a week, but colossally ruinous and self-defeating.

1 Year Later...

>if the UK was happy to refuse to honour existing obligations (which is illegal)

I'm of the opinion international law is a myth; the few bodies of enforcement are generally ineffective at doing so.

>to default to World Trade Organisation rules

WTO rules are fairly decent.

>to simultaneously ruin all faith overseas in the UK's commitment to diplomacy and law

Not particularly. Article 50 makes the provision clear that states may leave the Union in accordance with their own constitutional requirements - we're hardly making a Duterte-esque stab at precedent, here. Moreso using existing mechanisms to achieve exactly what we desire.

And the faith of whom? The faith of the Davos Men? Their time is passing.

CosmicCommander:
I'm of the opinion international law is a myth; the few bodies of enforcement are generally ineffective at doing so.

International law is assuredly not a myth.

Enforcement can be an issue, because if a country really wants to kick up a fuss to the point it would require military action to compel them, then all military actions come down to the sovereign authority of other countries to enforce. Likewise sanctions are also ultimately enforced by individual countries. However, if it were believed that the UK had a valid debt to the EU which it would not pay, the EU could apply through courts for redress. At an extreme these could, for instance, include seizing UK assets.

WTO rules are fairly decent.

WTO rules are in the range of 1%-25% tariffs depending on what is being sold. The average is about 3%, which is fairly manageable. Nevertheless, it's an extra 3% cost on anything exported to the EU, and consequently decreases competitiveness, and 3% extra cost to the British public for anything made in the EU. Some are much higher: cars, for example, are ~10%. If a continental European is looking to buy a car worth 20,000 Euros, one made in the UK is going to cost 22,000. That's a lot of saving to avoid British-bought, considering most mass market car manufacturers are putting out cars with very similar performance and quality for the same price.

Potentially, of course, it's even worse than that: the idea of stuff made in one country and sold to another is very 19-20th century. These days, all sorts of components are ferried back and forth across borders in the production chain, meaning producing something complex like a car might involve many components in various states of manufacture crossing a border. All of which are hit with tariffs. What might also be a concern is what UK exporters will do to maintain competitiveness, because the answer might be to squeeze their workers in terms of job cuts, reduced pay and/or job conditions. In the example above of cars, the EU market is five times larger than the UK, so manufacturers will be motivated to move production to the EU.

And the faith of whom? The faith of the Davos Men? Their time is passing.

No, the faith of other countries. You wouldn't buy a used car from a dodgy salesman, and you wouldn't sign a major treaty with a country you didn't trust to uphold their end. Trust is something not often talked about, but matters.

Being seen as welching on a debt would not irrevocably scar the UK's reputation for generations. However, it might be seen as acting in poor faith and could potentially result in negatives. The UK is going to have to negotiate trade deals, and dishonourable conduct could result in less favourable conditions. It could maybe result in a decreased credit rating and increased interest rates for government borrowing, due to a perception that the UK is not a country that honours its obligations.

Agema:

Potentially, of course, it's even worse than that: the idea of stuff made in one country and sold to another is very 19-20th century. These days, all sorts of components are ferried back and forth across borders in the production chain, meaning producing something complex like a car might involve many components in various states of manufacture crossing a border. All of which are hit with tariffs. What might also be a concern is what UK exporters will do to maintain competitiveness, because the answer might be to squeeze their workers in terms of job cuts, reduced pay and/or job conditions. In the example above of cars, the EU market is five times larger than the UK, so manufacturers will be motivated to move production to the EU.

To be fair, there are quite complicated tariff regimes for processing basically allowing e.g. parts made in the EU to be moved out of it, used to make something, take that back into the EU and only paying tariffs on the work done outside, other parts coming from outside and transport/other overhead outside, but not on the original materials. So it is not as bad for production chains as one might thing, they don't pay tariffs for every step if they pay attention with their tariff declaration and are willing to document the whole production process and get the proper permits. There will still be some tariff left, but it won't be the total value.

Modern tariff laws are not as 19-20th century as some people believe.

Satinavian:
To be fair, there are quite complicated tariff regimes for processing basically allowing e.g. parts made in the EU to be moved out of it, used to make something, take that back into the EU and only paying tariffs on the work done outside, other parts coming from outside and transport/other overhead outside, but not on the original materials. So it is not as bad for production chains as one might thing, they don't pay tariffs for every step if they pay attention with their tariff declaration and are willing to document the whole production process and get the proper permits. There will still be some tariff left, but it won't be the total value.

Modern tariff laws are not as 19-20th century as some people believe.

True, but that surely requires negotiation and agreement. If the UK crashes out of the EU in an uncontrolled fashion (as is a significant risk), then such rules will not exist.

Admittedly, I am partly getting this confused with another issue, which is that customs checks will delay the delivery of parts across the border. Much these days works on the basis of delivery of items quickly and at short notice. To see how this can go wrong, consider the screw-up KFC had in the UK this year, when they switched delivery supplier and it turned out the delivery group couldn't manage what it claimed.

Agema:
True, but that surely requires negotiation and agreement. If the UK crashes out of the EU in an uncontrolled fashion (as is a significant risk), then such rules will not exist.

That depends on the side that gets the tariff (and thus has the ability to waive it). For the EU you can do that with every non-EU country atm. Special agreements are not necessary, but in case of "preference" they might allow treating some non EU material as EU made if it is beneficial in the overall calculation.
The UK can handle it differently in the future but the starting point would be similar.

Don't get me wrong, this process is still not exactly easy and still far worse and more expensive than just staying in the customs union.

Admittedly, I am partly getting this confused with another issue, which is that customs checks will delay the delivery of parts across the border. Much these days works on the basis of delivery of items quickly and at short notice. To see how this can go wrong, consider the screw-up KFC had in the UK this year, when they switched delivery supplier and it turned out the delivery group couldn't manage what it claimed.

That however really is a problem.

Brexit is scary right now. May will largely accept whatever soft Brexit deal Barnier proposes because walking away with no deal is not an option. Unless watching her own party burn is an option. Trouble is, it may not make it past Parliament. The ultra-Leave Tories have broken ranks and would vote against it. Now, Remain Labour MPs could support it and Corbyn can't bully them back into line either but they may see political opportunity instead.

If May goes back to renegotiate, the EU Commission would shut the door in her face out of impatience and no deal could be ratified in time even if talks did resume. Brexit is owned by the Tories and when Dover becomes a lorry traffic jam, Labour MPs may believe the Tories get the blame.

Whether the electorate would blame all MPs, not just Tories is hard to tell. The UK political landscape is shifting around open/closed society, not socioeconomic class, and the old models no longer apply. So, it all depends on what the Labour Remain MPs think.

CosmicCommander:

1 Year Later...

>if the UK was happy to refuse to honour existing obligations (which is illegal)

I'm of the opinion international law is a myth; the few bodies of enforcement are generally ineffective at doing so.

In this instance, the bodies capable of enforcement are the parties to the original contract. Why on earth should any nation trade or create a contract with a government which refuses to honour the obligations it has agreed to? This would destroy any foundation for future international, trading and diplomatic relationships, as well as inviting economic sanctions which-- owing to the discrepancy in leverage-- could be crippling for the UK.

It is not a realistic option, at all, to simply refuse to honour existing obligations. The fallout would be catastrophic.

It is perhaps the most damaging pervasive myth of the negotiation-- damaging to our own negotiators most of all!-- that we have this option to simply turn our backs, ignore whatever we've promised, and set up shop. Anybody to genuinely suggest such a course of action simply doesn't understand the situation as it stands.

CosmicCommander:

>to default to World Trade Organisation rules

WTO rules are fairly decent.

They're decent as an absolute baseline. They are a colossal step down from existing structures. They would represent an immense levy on almost all forms of international trade with Britain's largest trading partners; an incredible upscale in the cost of business; and a stripping of regulations which the British currently take for granted (on quality and standards most importantly, but this is far from the entirety).

CosmicCommander:
>to simultaneously ruin all faith overseas in the UK's commitment to diplomacy and law

Not particularly. Article 50 makes the provision clear that states may leave the Union in accordance with their own constitutional requirements - we're hardly making a Duterte-esque stab at precedent, here. Moreso using existing mechanisms to achieve exactly what we desire.

Article 50 has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to honouring existing obligations. It does not present an opportunity to simply shirk the commitments a nation state has made. It's absolutely absurd to suggest it does, and neither of the parties in the negotiations-- neither the UK nor the EU-- have made such a suggestion. Even the most extreme advocates of a hard Brexit, such as Rees Mogg, have not gone so far into ludicrous territory.

I don't really have a stake in the Brexit nonsense, since my bloodline was thankfully exiled from Great Britannia in 1787 for the heinous crime of stealing two loaves of bread and a jacket.

But I did read this article a few days ago, which made the macabre observation that the UK is now stockpiling food in anticipation of a hard Brexit. Because, hey - it turns out the UK imports roughly half of their food supply, and of those imports, 70% come from the EU. So among the many immediate impacts of a hard Brexit - which would include all planes over Britain being grounded for the near future, because British pilots get their certification from the EU and those certifications would then become worthless overnight - you can also reasonably expect to be wrestling with your neighbour over two loaves of bread. And, presumably, a jacket.

bastardofmelbourne:
I don't really have a stake in the Brexit nonsense...

Oh but you do!

According to Brexiters, there's a huge Antipodean and Canadian (basically, Commonwealth generally) pot of trade gold at the end of the process. Apparently, 10,000 miles (more if by ship) will be no hindrance at all to a fantastic trade relationship, and we'll be begging to buy each others stuff en masse so trade will bloom to astronomical levels.

The UK produces 60% of its own food and hard Brexit won't stop imports, just slow it down by clogging up lorry traffic at customs inspections. So there won't be national starvation, just less quantity, less variety, and more expensive food. Especially for fresh fruit and vegetables, which has a short shelf life. And medicines. Also, meat but that travels better frozen. So, the Brits will be fighting over bananas as our wallets shrink and health worsens. And customs borders also mess up the just-in-time supply lines of high tech manufacturing. In other words, starvation by the poor and crappy lifestyle for the middle classes.

But I can't see hard Brexit happening for more than a year in worst case scenario. If, for some reason, Parliament votes against the final trade deal, the empty supermarket shelves would bring out the protesters. That will include the elderly and northern Leave voters, the demographics both parties have been trying to appease. Even the ultra-Leaver MPs will realise their dream is dead and Parliament will push for open borders. The EU doesn't want an economic meltdown in its neighbourhood, so will grant it.

And that's a worst case scenario. I reckon the Remain Labour MPs will realise they'll be blamed as well as the Tories if they vote against the final trade deal.

Agema:

bastardofmelbourne:
I don't really have a stake in the Brexit nonsense...

Oh but you do!

According to Brexiters, there's a huge Antipodean and Canadian (basically, Commonwealth generally) pot of trade gold at the end of the process. Apparently, 10,000 miles (more if by ship) will be no hindrance at all to a fantastic trade relationship, and we'll be begging to buy each others stuff en masse so trade will bloom to astronomical levels.

We have trouble shipping sheep to fucking India.

Agema:
International law is assuredly not a myth.

I'm of a Hobbesian persuasion on this; the only legitimate authority to enforce law has to be unilateral and all-powerful. Multi-laterally enforced 'law' can have attempts at enforcement, but I consider it mythical due to its comparative lack of potency and efficacy.

WTO rules are in the range of 1%-25% tariffs depending on what is being sold. The average is about 3%, which is fairly manageable. Nevertheless, it's an extra 3% cost on anything exported to the EU, and consequently decreases competitiveness, and 3% extra cost to the British public for anything made in the EU. Some are much higher: cars, for example, are ~10%. If a continental European is looking to buy a car worth 20,000 Euros, one made in the UK is going to cost 22,000. That's a lot of saving to avoid British-bought, considering most mass market car manufacturers are putting out cars with very similar performance and quality for the same price.

Potentially, of course, it's even worse than that: the idea of stuff made in one country and sold to another is very 19-20th century. These days, all sorts of components are ferried back and forth across borders in the production chain, meaning producing something complex like a car might involve many components in various states of manufacture crossing a border. All of which are hit with tariffs. What might also be a concern is what UK exporters will do to maintain competitiveness, because the answer might be to squeeze their workers in terms of job cuts, reduced pay and/or job conditions. In the example above of cars, the EU market is five times larger than the UK, so manufacturers will be motivated to move production to the EU.

You have listed very real economic concerns as a result of dropping out of the EEA, of course. More trade barriers are necessarily going to mean ceteris paribus reduced competitiveness, an increase in costs for domestic products, and greater incentive for employers to relocate their manufacturing facilities to friendlier business environments. My putative solution for this has always been to encourage a simultaneous refocus towards a more technocratic economic plan, rather than to leave it at the hands of avaricious markets. Heavy domestic investment in manufacturing capability, strong defensive tariffs, more robust laws regarding remuneration, and greater degrees of partnership between state and industry.

In short, a movement away from anarchic market economics to an autarchic and corporatist model. Of course, this is anathema to many, but it seems to be the only viable solution if you are serious about nationalism and social stability.

No, the faith of other countries. You wouldn't buy a used car from a dodgy salesman, and you wouldn't sign a major treaty with a country you didn't trust to uphold their end. Trust is something not often talked about, but matters.

While I agree that the form of the arrangement wasn't on the ballot, surely the fact that a referendum supported this decision shows that this hardly was a move from duplicity or bad faith? The first obligation of a nation is towards its own people, and it seems that most reasonable actors will honour such a decision.

Being seen as welching on a debt

I think most people who want a hard break who aren't insincere demagogues would agree that the EU will be owed their membership fees up until the time in which the UK leaves.

would not irrevocably scar the UK's reputation for generations. However, it might be seen as acting in poor faith and could potentially result in negatives. The UK is going to have to negotiate trade deals, and dishonourable conduct could result in less favourable conditions. It could maybe result in a decreased credit rating and increased interest rates for government borrowing, due to a perception that the UK is not a country that honours its obligations.

Again, this depends on the actual form of the negotiations, but in my ideal 'hard' case - an unconditional 'no deal' break - I don't think there would be a sign of having reneged on anything. There may be a loss of confidence from global capital, but not fears of duplicity (since a 'no deal' arrangement necessarily means the EU need not reciprocate with anything themselves).

Silvanus:
In this instance, the bodies capable of enforcement are the parties to the original contract. Why on earth should any nation trade or create a contract with a government which refuses to honour the obligations it has agreed to?

Because they realise that in the absence of a higher power to prevent the dissolution of the contract, the United Kingdom should be at liberty to leave if its people - to whom it ultimately serves - choose to do so.

This would destroy any foundation for future international, trading and diplomatic relationships, as well as inviting economic sanctions which-- owing to the discrepancy in leverage-- could be crippling for the UK.

This is a speculative point. You are a) supposing other parties will regard this act as a sign of untruth, b) that this will be a sufficient sign of untruth to deter them from cooperation with the United Kingdom in the future regardless of material benefits. Any observation of how global business, finance, and foreign governments are acting - and considering that they are hardly homogeneous in their views - hardly suggests that they are strongly opposed to the United Kingdom leaving.

Anybody to genuinely suggest such a course of action simply doesn't understand the situation as it stands.

Well, that's an accusation against me. Again, I'd like to see how - if at all - a non-negotiated departure will necessarily result in a global loss of confidence in Britain, based on non-speculative evidence.

They're decent as an absolute baseline. They are a colossal step down from existing structures. They would represent an immense levy on almost all forms of international trade with Britain's largest trading partners; an incredible upscale in the cost of business; and a stripping of regulations which the British currently take for granted (on quality and standards most importantly, but this is far from the entirety).

Having come from a post-industrial part of the country, I've seen the flipside of this. Dole queues, closed plants, and relentless bureaucratic inertia that stifles men and women getting jobs. I don't deny the cheaper products we enjoy today, and the higher production quality, and the better protections for the people and the environment.

But sometimes one should consider trade-offs. Rigorous domestic regulations can fill in much of the gaps left by an EU departure, and the people who ultimately feel the burn of trade barriers need not be the worst off.

Article 50 has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to honouring existing obligations. It does not present an opportunity to simply shirk the commitments a nation state has made. It's absolutely absurd to suggest it does, and neither of the parties in the negotiations-- neither the UK nor the EU-- have made such a suggestion. Even the most extreme advocates of a hard Brexit, such as Rees Mogg, have not gone so far into ludicrous territory.

Any commitments which were made to the European Union while the United Kingdom was a member were virtually all contingent on Britain's membership of the EU (and the enjoyment of the subsequent fruits). Thus, upon leaving, we no longer need to commit to them. That seems to be an obvious and reasonable position. Unless you can think of any counterexamples.

CosmicCommander:
Any commitments which were made to the European Union while the United Kingdom was a member were virtually all contingent on Britain's membership of the EU (and the enjoyment of the subsequent fruits). Thus, upon leaving, we no longer need to commit to them. That seems to be an obvious and reasonable position. Unless you can think of any counterexamples.

Mostly it is stuff you already have benefitted from but which are not yet paid (things like pensions) or stuff that you will continue to benefit from even after you leave because they are long term projects that can't be easily stopped or redirected spring next year.

I very much think it is reasonably to expect you to pay for that and that sentiment is shared by nearly all of your new prospective trading partners.

CosmicCommander:
My putative solution for this has always been to encourage a simultaneous refocus towards a more technocratic economic plan, rather than to leave it at the hands of avaricious markets. Heavy domestic investment in manufacturing capability, strong defensive tariffs, more robust laws regarding remuneration, and greater degrees of partnership between state and industry.

In short, a movement away from anarchic market economics to an autarchic and corporatist model. Of course, this is anathema to many, but it seems to be the only viable solution if you are serious about nationalism and social stability.

That is just wishful thinking. There is no way to boost the economy with a couple of small policy changes and the chances are even worse if at the same time stuff happens that is bad for the economy.

warmachine:
So, the Brits will be fighting over bananas

Ah, but they can be any shape banana we choose, without the meddling of the pesky EU!

The only upside to this whole pile of poo is that I get to do the told-you-so dance at the Leave voters I know, who've since pretty much all changed their minds (and sometimes, quite oddly, are trying to pretend they voted Remain, even though we discussed it at length at the time and all know how we each voted).

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