European Politics General (Canada welcome too, I suppose)

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RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Jamaika is dead, theres no way the FDP and their leader Lindner will agree to a coalition now or after snap elections, the results of which would likely be very simular to now. So a minority government (now or after reelections) is very, very likely.

Honestly, I doubt anyone will be willing to trust Lindner after what just happened, he proved himself to be a fully unreliable coalition partner. My guess as to what'll happen is that Schultz might want to make a gamble again with re-elections, he'll try to overtake the CDU as the number one party in Germany, as he near almost did back in February, and attempt to spearhead his own coalition afterwards.

In the likely circumstances that his gambit fails, he'll likely turn back on his decision to form the grand coalition again, probably justifying himself with the rise of AfD, stating that such times are not times for chaos and whatnot.

I'm glad things have the potential to change too to be honest, what will follow is sure to be interesting. I highly doubt any of the parties would be willing to try a minority government though, even left-wing parties might not be too happy with an unstable Merkel over a stable one, as you pointed out, they'd all cut their right hand off if it means stifling the growth of the AfD.

Ninjamedic:
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/17/irish-pm-brexit-backing-politicians-did-not-think-things-through
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/brexit/brexit-republic-of-ireland-will-stand-fast-on-matching-customs-rules-36345334.html
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/boris-johnson-visits-simon-coveney-in-dublin-and-theyre-already-disagreeing-in-early-morning-press-conference-36328625.html

You just can't make this shit up, after all this time we still have no more an idea on the border (where's the clock now? 2 years? since we brought it up?), the NI executive hasn't been reestablished, and the Tories are playing fast and loose with the peace agreements while showing utter contempt for the stability of Ireland.

And if you think Varadkar or Coveney are biased, bear in mind Fine Gael is for all intents and purposes the Irish Tory party, if you cant get consensus with them you're fucked everywhere else outside of the Loyalists.

In all fairness to the Tories on that, they don't really know anything else about Brexit either. They're massively wasting time due to incompetence and inflexibility, the EU doesn't seem too eager to compromise, the whole thing is an absolute shitshow.

Also, I find Bo Jo's ability to survive in the political world absolutely baffling. He's a loser and an complete embarrassment, how is it that he still finds his way to perdure and keep trying to crawl to the top? A regular politician's career would be ended a dozen times over by now.

It's looking like Brexit trade talks will be blocked with failure to negotiate divorce terms as the reason. I reckon May will keep saying she's trying to start trade talks whilst the hard Eurosceptics of her party claim the EU will change their mind. Hard Brexit will loom on the horizon. The six million dollar question then becomes what the DUP will do about the impending hard NI border.

Sonmi:

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Jamaika is dead, theres no way the FDP and their leader Lindner will agree to a coalition now or after snap elections, the results of which would likely be very simular to now. So a minority government (now or after reelections) is very, very likely.

Honestly, I doubt anyone will be willing to trust Lindner after what just happened, he proved himself to be a fully unreliable coalition partner. My guess as to what'll happen is that Schultz might want to make a gamble again with re-elections, he'll try to overtake the CDU as the number one party in Germany, as he near almost did back in February, and attempt to spearhead his own coalition afterwards.

In the likely circumstances that his gambit fails, he'll likely turn back on his decision to form the grand coalition again, probably justifying himself with the rise of AfD, stating that such times are not times for chaos and whatnot.

I'm glad things have the potential to change too to be honest, what will follow is sure to be interesting. I highly doubt any of the parties would be willing to try a minority government though, even left-wing parties might not be too happy with an unstable Merkel over a stable one, as you pointed out, they'd all cut their right hand off if it means stifling the growth of the AfD.

I just really don't see a Groko under any circumstance. Reelections, no reelections, doesn't matter - another coalition with the CDU would mean the death of the party. Complete suicide. Another Groko means the SPD falls under 15% and stays there until their Corbyn shows up in a decade, IF their Corbyn shows up in a decade. Another Groko means the AfD will be second strongest party in 4 years time. Groko is just about the worst thing that could happen to Germany for all parties involved except for the CDU. The SPD knows it. They'd have to be completely fucking bonkers to go for it.

As for Lindner, you know, whatever. Sure you're not getting your head twisted a bit by the media there? God knows they're doing everything and anything to pin it on him. Its so stupid though. The FDP didn't promise to enter a coalition before the election, it was always "lets see what happens". They sat down and realized they had two options: ditch their entire program so the CDU could do whatever it liked or ditch the coalition and stick with their program. How does going with the second make him "unreliable"? You can't call him an unreliable partner when he was never partnered with anyone in the first place, nor bethrothed for that matter. If anything he's a MORE reliable politician than all the other cunts because he didn't sell out his entire platform to give him and his buddies a few cushy minister positions. And who would have thought I'd ever be saying that about an FDP politician.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
I just really don't see a Groko under any circumstance. Reelections, no reelections, doesn't matter - another coalition with the CDU would mean the death of the party. Complete suicide. Another Groko means the SPD falls under 15% and stays there until their Corbyn shows up in a decade, IF their Corbyn shows up in a decade. Another Groko means the AfD will be second strongest party in 4 years time. Groko is just about the worst thing that could happen to Germany for all parties involved except for the CDU. The SPD knows it. They'd have to be completely fucking bonkers to go for it.

You might be right about the grand coalition, but I really have trouble seeing the SPD turn down the chance of having a majority government should they, by any miracle, make it out first during the re-elections. I feel like a weakened CDU might let them believe that they can push their agenda better as well. Remains to see if it's a risk they are willing to take, it's one that the "centrist" elements of the party are willing to take at least.

I'm not so sure about the AfD becoming the main opposition should the SPD experience mass defections though, Die Linke could also profit from that, similarly to how the Socialistes' demise in France led to LFI doubling its voter base. The AfD does remain something to look out for though, you're entirely right on that.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
As for Lindner, you know, whatever. Sure you're not getting your head twisted a bit by the media there? God knows they're doing everything and anything to pin it on him. Its so stupid though. The FDP didn't promise to enter a coalition before the election, it was always "lets see what happens". They sat down and realized they had two options: ditch their entire program so the CDU could do whatever it liked or ditch the coalition and stick with their program. How does going with the second make him "unreliable"? You can't call him an unreliable partner when he was never partnered with anyone in the first place, nor bethrothed for that matter. If anything he's a MORE reliable politician than all the other cunts because he didn't sell out his entire platform to give him and his buddies a few cushy minister positions. And who would have thought I'd ever be saying that about an FDP politician.

Lindner is the darling boy of about half of the publications I read to be honest, a good deal of them have a pretty hard liberal bias to my chagrin, but yeah, they're going hard on him, I think mostly out of fear of a weakened Germany leading to a stagnant EU, or out of shock of Lindner pulling the trigger on Jamaica rather than the Greens or the CSU, who seemed much more vocal about their disagreements.

I'm rather disdainful of Lindner for a couple of reasons, and I'm not too sure his withdrawal from the coalition comes from an ideological place. If anything, I think he saw support rising for the FDP lately and support for its French equivalent (LREM) solidifying around 32 points as good omens for him to perform better should there be re-elections, allowing him to ask for a larger share of the pie should he be re-invited for a coalition. He's a careerist, he's opportunistic and pragmatic by nature.

Sonmi:

In all fairness to the Tories on that, they don't really know anything else about Brexit either. They're massively wasting time due to incompetence and inflexibility, the EU doesn't seem too eager to compromise, the whole thing is an absolute shitshow.

I'd be less pointed on this if it wasn't for the Tories Loyalist sympathies (looking at Gove for one recent example) and the dealings with the DUP. Letting the army off for their actions in NI is a red light there.

Also, I find Bo Jo's ability to survive in the political world absolutely baffling. He's a loser and an complete embarrassment, how is it that he still finds his way to perdure and keep trying to crawl to the top? A regular politician's career would be ended a dozen times over by now.

It's a strange one alright, he's got a Trump like appeal that didn't expose how utterly corrosive he truly is until the referendum. He was lucky for his tenure as Lord Mayor to inherit the fruits of Livingstone's work, and mostly got away with everything as the rest of the Tory cabinet got the brunt.

Ninjamedic:
snip

Actually trying to link to your first post, but bad at linking across multiple pages.

Of course the Irish PM is biased. He has every right to be, and that is his job. At least he is biased in a fair manner, unlike the likes of Sinn Fein or the DUP who are playing this for all it's worth.

The Northern Irish parties are squabbling like petty children. There is no real prospect of an agreement, entirely through the fault of the Northern Irish parties. The Tories are just following the terms of the agreements. (If you are referring to the DUP partnership, that's also understandable considering that it was mathematically impossible to have a functional government for anybody without DUP support, and having invoked Article 50 a functional government was in everybody's interest)

Sonmi:
Also, I find Bo Jo's ability to survive in the political world absolutely baffling. He's a loser and an complete embarrassment, how is it that he still finds his way to perdure and keep trying to crawl to the top? A regular politician's career would be ended a dozen times over by now.

Old. Boys. Network.

Boris Johnson is a backstabbing, self-serving, untrustworthy, incompetent prick, but he knows the right people. Same reason Rees-Mogg's name is suddenly everywhere.

As an interesting aside, note that the route of HS2 conveniently goes past Boris Johnson's fathers' recently purchased house, giving him a large profit (we are talking a couple of million) due to the compulsory purchase for no effort. And they say nepotism doesn't pay...

Ninjamedic:
I'd be less pointed on this if it wasn't for the Tories Loyalist sympathies (looking at Gove for one recent example) and the dealings with the DUP. Letting the army off for their actions in NI is a red light there.

Oh, and I don't intend to dwell on this one, but considering that the IRA were already immune from historical prosecutions due to the peace deal, it's not an unreasonable position to state that armed forces individuals should also be. Equal treatment and all that.

Forgiveness is the only way to let the past stay there, after all...

Yes, invoking Article 50 when no one in the country supporting it has a coherent plan beyond "Leave Europe" is in the best interest of the country.

You don't see the issue here and how it's come to this? Johnson came over not to discuss the issues, but to prevent any possible progress, what do you honestly think is the plan here?

Catnip1024:
Equal treatment and all that.

Forgiveness is the only way to let the past stay there, after all...

That's the Sinn Fein line though, they'd agree to turning in if the Army does as well, at least that is what they say. I'm not even a SF voter and I know it's the Brits being the main obstacle in that department, they don't want to see the British Army implicated in any manner so they'd rather try to get them off and leer at the Shinners for the sake of sabre rattling. I cant blame Gerry and the lot wanting a full across the board investigation provided they're being honest (and the DUP is on a whole other level compared to SF).

Ninjamedic:
I'd be less pointed on this if it wasn't for the Tories Loyalist sympathies (looking at Gove for one recent example) and the dealings with the DUP. Letting the army off for their actions in NI is a red light there.

Anger here is perfectly fair, and yeah, allying with the DUP is sure to send a very negative message to the Republic.

Ninjamedic:
It's a strange one alright, he's got a Trump like appeal that didn't expose how utterly corrosive he truly is until the referendum. He was lucky for his tenure as Lord Mayor to inherit the fruits of Livingstone's work, and mostly got away with everything as the rest of the Tory cabinet got the brunt.

Trump's (and arguably, Farage's) appeal is understandable as he (successfully) appeals to anger, he's a moron but he at least projects and feeds into very real, very present source of frustration for the American electorate. The people are also very much attracted to this very misguided notion of "strength" that Trump's permanent belligerence exudes.

BoJo on the other hand is just... there. He's a buffoon, but not a self-righteous one, he gets embarrassed and barely fights back, he's just comes off as plain pathetic.

image

Catnip1024:
Old. Boys. Network.

Boris Johnson is a backstabbing, self-serving, untrustworthy, incompetent prick, but he knows the right people. Same reason Rees-Mogg's name is suddenly everywhere.

As an interesting aside, note that the route of HS2 conveniently goes past Boris Johnson's fathers' recently purchased house, giving him a large profit (we are talking a couple of million) due to the compulsory purchase for no effort. And they say nepotism doesn't pay...

I'm very aware of Johnson's connections, but surely even they have a limit. How many times will they let themselves be embarrassed and betrayed over and over again before they collectively decide that enough is enough and that Boris is not worth keeping around?

As for Moggs being the party's "rising star", my limited understanding was that he's the Tories' attempt at attracting younger voters because he's so well-liked by the junior wing of the Party, who thinks he's a riot. Little do they know that acting like a total spastic (calling your sixth child "Sixtus" for instance) and reciting old-timey classicist rhetoric has a limited appeal.

Ninjamedic:
Yes, invoking Article 50 when no one in the country supporting it has a coherent plan beyond "Leave Europe" is in the best interest of the country.

That was done before the election. What's done is done. Even at the election, you wanted a strong government one way or the other. A dysfunctional one would just sit around while the clock ticked on.

That's the Sinn Fein line though, they'd agree to turning in if the Army does as well, at least that is what they say. I'm not even a SF voter and I know it's the Brits being the main obstacle in that department, they don't want to see the British Army implicated in any manner so they'd rather try to get them off and leer at the Shinners for the sake of sabre rattling. I cant blame Gerry and the lot wanting a full across the board investigation provided they're being honest (and the DUP is on a whole other level compared to SF).

I was largely referring to the amnesty conducted under the Blair government (the "comfort letters"), which effectively gave IRA members immunity from prosecution whilst not British forces. I'm not sure what the current legal position is regarding those, but afaik there have been no prosecutions for IRA actions during the troubles following the agreement, while there have been prosecutions of British soldiers. Consistency one way or the other works, anything else causes discontent and further division.

Although, let's be completely honest here - I don't believe for a second that, say ten years ago, Adams and McGuinness would have allowed a proper, truthful investigation into happenings. Another reason Adams should have stepped down years ago. Sure, there may be some form of obstructionism to investigation in the British forces, but the people at the top would not be the ones with the most to hide.

Well, heres an update from Germany:

This really shouldn't surprise me but it does. The SPD have backed off from their previous "not if hell freezes over" approach overnight and will now let their base vote on whether to enter coalition talks or not. Leader of the SPD Martin Schulz was pressured into this by the Bundespr?sident Steinmeier and many mid-to-high profile SPD politicians who are presumbly jumping at the opportunity of another 4 years of cushy minister jobs with free chauffeurs.

If this goes through it will be the death of the SPD for the foreseeable future, if not for good. Their voter base (which is literally dying out anyway) was already diminished by Schr?der and diminished further by years of coalition with the CDU. This would be the nail in the coffin. You can't go from "Absolutely no coalition with the CDU under any circumstances" to "We're entering a coalition with the CDU and get away with it when you're credibility is already severely damaged as it is.

Expect the AfD to become the second strongest party in the next election if this happens.

Sonmi:
You might be right about the grand coalition, but I really have trouble seeing the SPD turn down the chance of having a majority government should they, by any miracle, make it out first during the re-elections. I feel like a weakened CDU might let them believe that they can push their agenda better as well. Remains to see if it's a risk they are willing to take, it's one that the "centrist" elements of the party are willing to take at least.

I'm not so sure about the AfD becoming the main opposition should the SPD experience mass defections though, Die Linke could also profit from that, similarly to how the Socialistes' demise in France led to LFI doubling its voter base. The AfD does remain something to look out for though, you're entirely right on that.

Well, things have changed. See above. Rip.

The problem with Die Linke is that they somehow have a worse way of dealing with Germany's past than even the AfD. Now, as what is essentially a communist party they are obviously the first to condemn nazis, the right, defend remembrance culture, etc etc. That crumbles when it comes to the DDR though. Not that I'm completely unsympathetic to some aspects of the DDR, but just about everyone else here is. And thats why until Die Linke changes their approach, they won't break that 8-12% margin they've had forever.

For example, Germans are very worried about the stasi. Its why we're so butthurt when it comes to our privacy, its why the German government had to fight tooth and nail to implement laws about saving data on citizens which would have passed without a blink in other countries. So as you can imagine Germans were not happy when it was revealed that a high ranking SPD politician had cooperated with the stasi back in the day. What did the SPD do? Strip him of his post and polititely tell him to leave the party or get kicked. What did Die Linke do not even a week later? Offer him a prestigious post in theirs. I'm pulling figures out of my ass here but for a majority of Germans, that alone is a good enough reason not to vote left.

That and a few other things which have plagued the party for years (inconsequential stance on the massive question of refugees and immigration laws, youth activism is limited to fighting the spectre of nationalism, wishy-washy approach to Antifa which is neither condemning nor appreciative and thus isolates everyone, too afraid to be openly anti-American, etc) are why you can safely count Die Linke out, unfortunately. The moment they tackle these issues is the moment I join the party. The trouble is most of these have been around for decades without being addressed. They are simply to static to capture frustrated voters.

Sonmi:
Lindner is the darling boy of about half of the publications I read to be honest, a good deal of them have a pretty hard liberal bias to my chagrin, but yeah, they're going hard on him, I think mostly out of fear of a weakened Germany leading to a stagnant EU, or out of shock of Lindner pulling the trigger on Jamaica rather than the Greens or the CSU, who seemed much more vocal about their disagreements.

I'm rather disdainful of Lindner for a couple of reasons, and I'm not too sure his withdrawal from the coalition comes from an ideological place. If anything, I think he saw support rising for the FDP lately and support for its French equivalent (LREM) solidifying around 32 points as good omens for him to perform better should there be re-elections, allowing him to ask for a larger share of the pie should he be re-invited for a coalition. He's a careerist, he's opportunistic and pragmatic by nature.

Absolutely not ideological, its a pragmatic decision but still a very understandable one. The last CDU-FDP coalition isn't long ago. It hurt the FDP so badly that they didn't even break the 5% limit in the election after that. Now they're back and being asked to do the same thing again - go against every argument, whether pragmatic or ideological, to form a coalition. Thats not fair to Lindner or FDP voters for that matter. They shouldn't catch flak for refusing to play Merkels pet and I applaud them for dropping out of the talks.

Signed, someone who's not very fond of Lindner either.

Catnip1024:
That was done before the election. What's done is done. Even at the election, you wanted a strong government one way or the other. A dysfunctional one would just sit around while the clock ticked on.

What?

Sitting around while the clock ticks on is exactly what the Tories have been doing. That's exactly why we're pissed off about the border. Rather than answer or clarify anything about the Irish concerns, it's been nothing but procrastination, bluster and deflection from Westminster.

Although, let's be completely honest here - I don't believe for a second that, say ten years ago, Adams and McGuinness would have allowed a proper, truthful investigation into happenings. Another reason Adams should have stepped down years ago. Sure, there may be some form of obstructionism to investigation in the British forces, but the people at the top would not be the ones with the most to hide.

Again, a consistent investigation across the board is what SF has always supported or at least claimed to support. If the people at the top have nothing to worry about and had a chance to take McGuinness and Adams down why wouldn't they take it?

It's not as if they give a shit about maintaining the peace process given the lack of attention or will towards it, and the sheer contempt for what the majority of NI thinks in regards to the border. The GFA is being fed into the shredder right now.

Ninjamedic:
What?

Sitting around while the clock ticks on is exactly what the Tories have been doing. That's exactly why we're pissed off about the border. Rather than answer or clarify anything about the Irish concerns, it's been nothing but procrastination, bluster and deflection from Westminster.

You will note that I did not comment on the functionality of the current government.

Again, a consistent investigation across the board is what SF has always supported or at least claimed to support. If the people at the top have nothing to worry about and had a chance to take McGuinness and Adams down why wouldn't they take it?

It's not as if they give a shit about maintaining the peace process given the lack of attention or will towards it, and the sheer contempt for what the majority of NI thinks in regards to the border. The GFA is being fed into the shredder right now.

A consistent investigation is pointless if a previous government has already pardoned the most likely to be prosecuted on one side.

So there are a lot of barmy editorials popping up now, can someone living on in England fill me on what the border coverage is like?

Catnip1024:
You will note that I did not comment on the functionality of the current government.

Fair point there.

A consistent investigation is pointless if a previous government has already pardoned the most likely to be prosecuted on one side.

No real excuse to let the side that did arguably worse off. Then again, Heath has enough allegations as it is.

Ninjamedic:
So there are a lot of barmy editorials popping up now, can someone living on in England fill me on what the border coverage is like?

Border? What border?

We've got a wedding to plan, everything else can go hang...

On a serious note, the only headline I saw about it was Fox (I think) stating that a border deal has to be worked out at the same time as trade. Which, considering that it involves customs and the likes, is kind of a fair point. They are interlinked.

Catnip1024:
You will note that I did not comment on the functionality of the current government.

Quite.

I could just about stomach Brexit if we at least had a competent government to not make a total hash of it. Frankly, I think we should ask the EU for a 5-year postponement on departure, then task DEXEU with working out what the fuck it (and preferably also the country at large, although I appreciate that's somewhat optional in the world of government) wants so it can restart negotiations when it's in a fit state to conduct them.

Catnip1024:

On a serious note, the only headline I saw about it was Fox (I think) stating that a border deal has to be worked out at the same time as trade. Which, considering that it involves customs and the likes, is kind of a fair point. They are interlinked.

Yes and no.

It is true that certain specifics of the UK-Irish border cannot be arranged until the basis of a trade deal is known. However, the principles of how an Irish border might function can and probably should be discussed beforehand.

Firstly, let's bear in mind the EU has to represent the position of Ireland, and the UK-Irish border is a particularly big deal for Ireland. Ireland can very reasonably say that in order to be happy continuing, it needs to know what the score is going to be.

It is obvious the Irish border is a very considerable problem - the colossal wrangle over it with no plausible solution yet proposed is evidence itself. This defends the EU's position that the UK really does need to supply a plausible theoretical mechanism for its operation should the UK depart the single market. (And let's bear in mind, as the Norway-Sweden border demonstrates, there can be some significant complications, even though Norway is in EFTA).

For instance, let's imagine there actually is no open border resolution that is both practical and legal, and trade talks are carried out. Then near conclusion, it turns out the UK-Irish border is a bust. I do not think the EU wants to put a load of work into trade talks, and potentially have to be forced to start again from scratch when it turns out the UK-Irish border system doesn't work because no-one checked properly.

Agema:
Yes and no.

It is true that certain specifics of the UK-Irish border cannot be arranged until the basis of a trade deal is known. However, the principles of how an Irish border might function can and probably should be discussed beforehand.

Firstly, let's bear in mind the EU has to represent the position of Ireland, and the UK-Irish border is a particularly big deal for Ireland. Ireland can very reasonably say that in order to be happy continuing, it needs to know what the score is going to be.

It is obvious the Irish border is a very considerable problem - the colossal wrangle over it with no plausible solution yet proposed is evidence itself. This defends the EU's position that the UK really does need to supply a plausible theoretical mechanism for its operation should the UK depart the single market. (And let's bear in mind, as the Norway-Sweden border demonstrates, there can be some significant complications, even though Norway is in EFTA).

For instance, let's imagine there actually is no open border resolution that is both practical and legal, and trade talks are carried out. Then near conclusion, it turns out the UK-Irish border is a bust. I do not think the EU wants to put a load of work into trade talks, and potentially have to be forced to start again from scratch when it turns out the UK-Irish border system doesn't work because no-one checked properly.

Yes, but you can't work out the principles of the Irish border without knowing what the trade situation is. A soft border undermines any kind of market separation. Which is why all this compartmentalisation of the talks is stupid. You can't say how a border will work until you know the terms by which both sides are treating each other. Because I can't imagine the EU being particularly happy with a potential scenario where the Northern Irish are able to produce goods to whatever rules they like, and have them ferreted across the border with no barrier.

And compartmentalisation prevents any useful compromises that might be made across the board, too.

Catnip1024:
Yes, but you can't work out the principles of the Irish border without knowing what the trade situation is. A soft border undermines any kind of market separation. Which is why all this compartmentalisation of the talks is stupid. You can't say how a border will work until you know the terms by which both sides are treating each other. Because I can't imagine the EU being particularly happy with a potential scenario where the Northern Irish are able to produce goods to whatever rules they like, and have them ferreted across the border with no barrier.

And compartmentalisation prevents any useful compromises that might be made across the board, too.

Look:

The UK either remains in the single market, or it has a hard border. The UK wants a hard border.

A hard border means systems to check people, goods and/or services. It has to exist somewhere.

If not across the Ireland-NI border, it means either moving the hard border between Ireland and the EU (for non-Irish), or between NI and Great Britain (for non-British). So, like Northern Irish have to have their passports checked to visit Liverpool even though it's the same country. Alternatively, what might be acceptable is some form of overlying administrative system between NI and Ireland that is secure and reliable, and effectively means no-one "on the ground" interfering with people's day-to-day lives (good luck with that).

If the UK cannot put foward a plausible mechanism for the necessary border systems... it has nothing to negotiate about it. You may as well be negotiating how much the toll should be to pass over a bridge that that will never exist. No plausible system, no NI-Ireland soft border. So government can just get a fucking move on and negotiate with what is has (a hard border baseline) rather than waste people's time and hopes negotiating fantasy.

The EU needs agreement from its member states to pass a deal. Ireland, in particular, cannot reasonably agree a trade deal without knowing its trade situation. Negotiations that leaves UK-Irish trade unknowable because it is based on assumptions of exception which no-one even knows can exist is a steaming cup of hot uselessness.

Agema:
Look:

The UK either remains in the single market, or it has a hard border. The UK wants a hard border.

A hard border means systems to check people, goods and/or services. It has to exist somewhere.

If not across the Ireland-NI border, it means either moving the hard border between Ireland and the EU (for non-Irish), or between NI and Great Britain (for non-British). So, like Northern Irish have to have their passports checked to visit Liverpool even though it's the same country. Alternatively, what might be acceptable is some form of overlying administrative system between NI and Ireland that is secure and reliable, and effectively means no-one "on the ground" interfering with people's day-to-day lives (good luck with that).

If the UK cannot put foward a plausible mechanism for the necessary border systems... it has nothing to negotiate about it. You may as well be negotiating how much the toll should be to pass over a bridge that that will never exist. No plausible system, no NI-Ireland soft border. So government can just get a fucking move on and negotiate with what is has (a hard border baseline) rather than waste people's time and hopes negotiating fantasy.

The EU needs agreement from its member states to pass a deal. Ireland, in particular, cannot reasonably agree a trade deal without knowing its trade situation. Negotiations that leaves UK-Irish trade unknowable because it is based on assumptions of exception which no-one even knows can exist is a steaming cup of hot uselessness.

You're missing the point. The whole point of negotiations is that positions change from the opening position to the final position. Compromises are made. Ideally everyone goes away equally pissed off.

The only way a refusal to enter negotiations leads is to break down negotiations, which would undoubtedly lead to a far harder border situation than if both parties grew the fuck up and started talking.

Catnip1024:

Agema:
Look:

The UK either remains in the single market, or it has a hard border. The UK wants a hard border.

A hard border means systems to check people, goods and/or services. It has to exist somewhere.

If not across the Ireland-NI border, it means either moving the hard border between Ireland and the EU (for non-Irish), or between NI and Great Britain (for non-British). So, like Northern Irish have to have their passports checked to visit Liverpool even though it's the same country. Alternatively, what might be acceptable is some form of overlying administrative system between NI and Ireland that is secure and reliable, and effectively means no-one "on the ground" interfering with people's day-to-day lives (good luck with that).

If the UK cannot put foward a plausible mechanism for the necessary border systems... it has nothing to negotiate about it. You may as well be negotiating how much the toll should be to pass over a bridge that that will never exist. No plausible system, no NI-Ireland soft border. So government can just get a fucking move on and negotiate with what is has (a hard border baseline) rather than waste people's time and hopes negotiating fantasy.

The EU needs agreement from its member states to pass a deal. Ireland, in particular, cannot reasonably agree a trade deal without knowing its trade situation. Negotiations that leaves UK-Irish trade unknowable because it is based on assumptions of exception which no-one even knows can exist is a steaming cup of hot uselessness.

You're missing the point. The whole point of negotiations is that positions change from the opening position to the final position. Compromises are made. Ideally everyone goes away equally pissed off.

The only way a refusal to enter negotiations leads is to break down negotiations, which would undoubtedly lead to a far harder border situation than if both parties grew the fuck up and started talking.

Britain kicked this whole process off unilaterally. Why is expecting its government to have a plan that goes beyond "We want everything good and nothing bad but we still haven't decided exactly which things fit into each category yet" a monstrous requirement from the EU?

Avnger:
snip

To go full groundhog day - negotiation is a process where two groups start from different positions and make compromises until they reach a mutually palatable position. If you itemise everything down to individual decisions, compromise is not possible. If you haven't allowed discussion on subjects which are inherently related to the subject in question, it is impossible to determine how palatable each individual decision is as part of the overall package. You can't agree on a soft or hard border without simultaneously agreeing on certain aspects of trade arrangements.

It is futile the UK government putting forward a plan while the EU refuses to discuss anything beyond the initial scope.

I'm not saying that they have one, I'm saying that people need to look at the big picture, and bickering over individual points without the big picture helps nobody. Except the subset of Junckeresque pricks in the EU who somehow think that delaying and playing hardball until the UK backs down will help the overall situation, rather than lead to the plagues of Moses scenario (staying in the EU but making such a colossal pain of ourselves that they wish they had let us leave. Which is my new favourite strategy. Misery loves company).

I mean, the current position could be summed up as follows:

EU: What are you proposing for the Irish border situation?
UK: Well, that rather depends on what agreements we come to regarding trade, obviously.
EU: We don't have authority to talk about trade until we have agreed on the Irish border situation. What are you proposing for the Irish border situation?

Catnip1024:
To go full groundhog day - negotiation is a process where two groups start from different positions and make compromises until they reach a mutually palatable position. If you itemise everything down to individual decisions, compromise is not possible. If you haven't allowed discussion on subjects which are inherently related to the subject in question, it is impossible to determine how palatable each individual decision is as part of the overall package. You can't agree on a soft or hard border without simultaneously agreeing on certain aspects of trade arrangements.

It is futile the UK government putting forward a plan while the EU refuses to discuss anything beyond the initial scope.

I'm not saying that they have one, I'm saying that people need to look at the big picture, and bickering over individual points without the big picture helps nobody. Except the subset of Junckeresque pricks in the EU who somehow think that delaying and playing hardball until the UK backs down will help the overall situation, rather than lead to the plagues of Moses scenario (staying in the EU but making such a colossal pain of ourselves that they wish they had let us leave. Which is my new favourite strategy. Misery loves company).

I mean, the current position could be summed up as follows:

EU: What are you proposing for the Irish border situation?
UK: Well, that rather depends on what agreements we come to regarding trade, obviously.
EU: We don't have authority to talk about trade until we have agreed on the Irish border situation. What are you proposing for the Irish border situation?

Let's be clear on the fact that the UK government are not victims here. The EU was pretty clear from the outset on the fact that the UK would not be getting any preferential treatment in terms of trade or border access if they decided to leave the EU. Now that the UK has to face the cold reality that the EU wasn't grandstanding but were being straight up truthful, they want to paint themselves as the victims.

Because, let's be serious here: Why should the EU compromise? What's in it for the EU? The EU's inner market is big enough that while the loss of the UK might sting, it can remain intact. By going soft on the UK and giving it concessions, the EU is basically inviting anyone else who might have second thoughts about the EU to leave and then demand preferential treatment, in essence eating their cake and having it too. Since the prospect of preferential treatment to the UK is a lose/lose for the EU and that it would rather see the UK remain in the Union then leave it, why should they compromise?

A negotiation requires both parties to have something the other actually wants. In this case the UK can offer nothing to the EU, so the EU is doing the only sensible thing and telling the UK to suck it up and face the harsh reality that leaving the EU means actually leaving the EU.

So, some kind of progress is being made on the Brexit negotiations. Apparently the Brits and EU have decided the Brits will probably pay somewhere between 50 and 100 billion euro's depending on how you count (whether you subtract the money going from the EU back to the UK for example). I don't think the results are entirely public yet, most of it is complicated as this was mostly based on existing obligations and some of it involves payments for a pretty long time into the future, like retirements for EU civil servants, so the numbers are rather fuzzy. Next up, probably a border deal. I'm hoping for a variant that leaves all of the island of Ireland without needless violence.

Gethsemani:
Let's be clear on the fact that the UK government are not victims here. The EU was pretty clear from the outset on the fact that the UK would not be getting any preferential treatment in terms of trade or border access if they decided to leave the EU. Now that the UK has to face the cold reality that the EU wasn't grandstanding but were being straight up truthful, they want to paint themselves as the victims.

There's a difference between "no special treatment" and "we're intentionally going to be cunts about it". Which both sides are being atm.

Because, let's be serious here: Why should the EU compromise? What's in it for the EU?

Peace and stability in one of its member states? The opportunity to continue trading with what is still a significant market? The opportunity to look like the more mature and sensible party, as opposed to a vindictive beauracracy loathe to relinquish any power?

A negotiation requires both parties to have something the other actually wants. In this case the UK can offer nothing to the EU, so the EU is doing the only sensible thing and telling the UK to suck it up and face the harsh reality that leaving the EU means actually leaving the EU.

Forcing a complete break damages the EU, financially and politically. It would be a case of cutting off your toes to spite your neighbour.

The idiots pushing a hard line on both sides are complete fucking morons. I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they are idealists, but I get the impression that they are all just cunts.

But none of this changes the fact that it is common sense to discuss trade and borders in parallel. Preferably at the same fucking meetings.

Catnip1024:
There's a difference between "no special treatment" and "we're intentionally going to be cunts about it". Which both sides are being atm.

There's a difference between cold, hard, calculation and being cunts.

These sorts of negotiations are not chummy, back-slapping jollies. They involve deep, fundamental issues which can significantly affect the life quality and wealth of millions and millions of people for decades to come. The responsibilities on these people and the factors they have to try to consider and deal with are vast.

The EU is almost certainly not trying to make the UK's life difficult for shits and giggles. Please for heaven's sake put your anti-EU prejudice aside and think about that perhaps the EU has some really important concerns that it really wants addressed, and after that it's the reality of tough negotiation. You and the UK may have different concerns: but honestly, those don't magically have any innate superiority to the EU's. That's what having a difference of opinion is all about, and the start of a successful negotiation should be about trying to understand what the other party wants, not calling them a bunch of cunts because just because they don't agree on everything.

It's not like the potential difficulties and complexities of Brexit and the weaker bargaining position of the UK went unmentioned in the campaign. And guess what - it's turned out to be true. Brexiters campaigned on voted on a load of wishy-washy generalisations like "take back control" and the EU being insufficiently undemocratic, without giving due attention to the fact that what it's really about is enormous series of immensely complex regulated systems. Already a load of assumed promises (e.g. NHS funding) have been washed down the drain. Substantial swathes of the (mostly Brexit-voting) country like Grimsby, Cornwall, farmers and others are appealing to the government to save them from the ramifications of leaving the EU, because the negative ramifications of all those systems disappearing has suddenly become ominously clear and they don't like it.

It's not like Brexiters weren't warned that they didn't really know what they'd be getting, and the uncertainty of it all. And sure, Brexit voters might not be shooting the dog themselves but they sure as hell handed a loaded gun to someone they knew had a penchant for shooting dogs. This is a form of psychological escapism: scapegoating. It's the EU's fault. It's Westminster's fault. "It's the fault of anyone except me that the decision I made seems to be turning out much worse than I expected."

Yeah, okay, it's their fault (especially Westminster's) a bit. But really, it requires deep reflection on the part of Brexiters to think about whether they truly made a good choice. And if they still want Brexit that's okay, but what they should do is take responsibility for themselves and their democracy. Campaign to make sure it turns out right rather than slump into feeble protestations of innocence and helplessness whilst casting bitter aspersions at everyone else as if they're the victims of the process, when if fact they're the instigators.

Ninjamedic:
https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2017/1204/924815-single-market-eu-negotiations/

TAKE THAT YA ORANGE BASTARDS.

image

I remember that when the UK snap-elections happened some pro-EU people I know said that weakening the Tory government would actually be bad for negotiations. A stronger negotiating partner is better for everyone they said. I now see what they meant. This would have been easier if May didn't have to rely on the DUP. From the EU side, Ireland seems to be holding its foot down on this border-issue and I can't blame them either.

Pseudonym:

I remember that when the UK snap-elections happened some pro-EU people I know said that weakening the Tory government would actually be bad for negotiations. A stronger negotiating partner is better for everyone they said. I now see what they meant. This would have been easier if May didn't have to rely on the DUP. From the EU side, Ireland seems to be holding its foot down on this border-issue and I can't blame them either.

It's not just about Theresa May's weakness, though, is it? Imagine May had a safe majority and could simply force this through: there'd be a massive outcry, unhappiness and ructions in NI anyway. It is yet another example of Brexiters not having stopped to really think about vital systems and processes by which the country (and EU) operates.

What we're also witnessing is Ireland being able to push around a country over ten times larger... because it is part of an alliance. The EU is largely crushing Britain in major point after major point, because it is far more powerful. A far cry from the claim that the EU would give the UK whatever it wanted because the UK "holds all the cards". And there are still Brexiters who think the UK can have what it wants if only the UK stopped pussyfooting around and stamped its foot hard enough. They just don't get it.

This is also an omen for whay is coming when the UK decides to step out into the world and negotiate deals with other major countries. It's basically going to stare exactly the same in the face. Countries like the USA and China aren't going to be any nicer, and will likewise leverage their power for all it's worth (to them, not us).

Pseudonym:
I remember that when the UK snap-elections happened some pro-EU people I know said that weakening the Tory government would actually be bad for negotiations.

Well, not just negotiations.. any kind of minority government is a disaster waiting to happen, which is why they have a long history in the UK of falling apart. They create political paralysis and bad decisions. For example, the Tories have agreed to invest over a billion pounds of public money in Northern Ireland in exchange for a confidence and supply deal which, it turns out, is worth very little.

But yes, weakening the Tory government has certainly increased the possibility of a no deal, which would be disastrous. But put it this way, the deal we were being sold by the Tories was already disastrous. Weakening the Tory government did serve to make clear the level of dissatisfaction with the nonsensical and ideologically driven "hard Brexit", and in that sense any rollback was a victory.

And ultimately, I don't think people are responsible for the abject stupidity of the current government in choosing to deal with the DUP.

Me, I'm just waiting for property prices to crash so I can buy a cheap home before the inevitable inflation wipes out the value of my savings.

evilthecat:
Weakening the Tory government did serve to make clear the level of dissatisfaction with the nonsensical and ideologically driven "hard Brexit", and in that sense any rollback was a victory.

Well, I'm not sure.

I think you'll find a very healthy majority of Brexiters are convinced they made the right choice. They see the negotiations falling apart, the UK government conceding on everything and they know its going badly...

...but they don't think there's anything conceptually wrong with Brexit. It's the EU's fault for not just doing what the UK wants. It's Westminster's fault for making a hash of it. It's the Remainers' fault for undermining the process. The government should compensate them in place of the benefits they got from the EU. It's everybody's fault they psychologically need it to be in order to avoid coming to the conclusion that perhaps Brexit was ill-considered. That, in the end, means that problems are going to push more and more of them into supporting a hard Brexit: shooting themselves and the country in the foot is less painful than admitting a colossal mistake.
.

Agema:

Pseudonym:

I remember that when the UK snap-elections happened some pro-EU people I know said that weakening the Tory government would actually be bad for negotiations. A stronger negotiating partner is better for everyone they said. I now see what they meant. This would have been easier if May didn't have to rely on the DUP. From the EU side, Ireland seems to be holding its foot down on this border-issue and I can't blame them either.

It's not just about Theresa May's weakness, though, is it? Imagine May had a safe majority and could simply force this through: there'd be a massive outcry, unhappiness and ructions in NI anyway. It is yet another example of Brexiters not having stopped to really think about vital systems and processes by which the country (and EU) operates.

Well, sure, but then May could afford to take a hit to her popularity as well. I agree there is no painless solution here but I think it might help everyone if whoever is in charge can decide on the least painful one without having to immediately fear losing their job or their next election.

Agema:
What we're also witnessing is Ireland being able to push around a country over ten times larger... because it is part of an alliance. The EU is largely crushing Britain in major point after major point, because it is far more powerful. A far cry from the claim that the EU would give the UK whatever it wanted because the UK "holds all the cards". And there are still Brexiters who think the UK can have what it wants if only the UK stopped pussyfooting around and stamped its foot hard enough. They just don't get it.

I suppose I'm just not getting something. How precisely are Irish and British interests all that different here? Both would want to prevent a Northen Irish disaster with reflaring 'troubles', wouldn't they? It's not as if Ireland has demanded that NI be given to them, they just seem to want a very soft border with NI to prevent something terrible.

evilthecat:

Pseudonym:
I remember that when the UK snap-elections happened some pro-EU people I know said that weakening the Tory government would actually be bad for negotiations.

Well, not just negotiations.. any kind of minority government is a disaster waiting to happen, which is why they have a long history in the UK of falling apart. They create political paralysis and bad decisions. For example, the Tories have agreed to invest over a billion pounds of public money in Northern Ireland in exchange for a confidence and supply deal which, it turns out, is worth very little.

I can imagine that buying the loyalty of one party by just dumping cash onto their local constituents is a bad way to do things. Speaking as somebody who has been ruled mostly by coalitions of multiple parties I think that that kind of cooperation requires at least some degree of trust and loyalty. That trust and loyalty is better secured by regular talk and some government seats than by money. It's not ideal but this is something else.

evilthecat:
And ultimately, I don't think people are responsible for the abject stupidity of the current government in choosing to deal with the DUP.

Agreed. Working together with one of the Irish parties just as the Brexit negotiations were happening was tempting fate.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/dec/06/david-davis-questioned-by-brexit-committee-about-impact-assessments-politics-live

So no impact assessments were ever done, that's just wonderful.

evilthecat:

And ultimately, I don't think people are responsible for the abject stupidity of the current government in choosing to deal with the DUP.

Define "people" here, do you mean the electorate? Tory Voters? Brexit voters?

Just consider the Conservative party is the businessmen's party. Yet they manage to flatline the recovery, watch a housing market fail to critical levels, leave a long standing ally in the dark to the point where they get pissed off and veto a deal, and they haven't done impact assessments of the biggest constitutional change in decades.

Never mind their disagreeable ideology, they're hopeless at what they're supposed to be best at. Jesus ****ing Christ!

Agema:
I think you'll find a very healthy majority of Brexiters are convinced they made the right choice. They see the negotiations falling apart, the UK government conceding on everything and they know its going badly...

True, but a healthy majority of Brexiters isn't enough to make a healthy majority of the electorate. Also, believing they made the right choice doesn't necessarily equate to completely not understanding the economic situation. Some people did vote on the basis of sovereignty, for example, or because they believed the EU has become too powerful (the "bendy bananas" rhetoric, rather than the "?350 million to the NHS" rhetoric). Sure, people don't often change their minds after they've committed to something because people don't like admitting they're wrong (cognitive dissonance) but they can still be concerned about the consequences and be worried that what they voted for doesn't seem to be what they're getting.

Certainly, if you look at the newspapers there's been an interesting shift from the Jingoistic rhetoric we saw before and immediately after the referendum, and the election was something of a turning point in that. Only the Express seems desperate to convince us that the current government is doing a good job, and even then the hoops they have to jump through keep getting smaller and smaller. Overall I think even among Brexiters there is now a degree of uncertainty, not necessarily about whether Brexit was a good idea (because they will find reasons to believe it is a good idea regardless) but whether there are going to be negative consequences for them. I don't think that's something many of them even considered before the referendum.

Pseudonym:
I can imagine that buying the loyalty of one party by just dumping cash onto their local constituents is a bad way to do things. Speaking as somebody who has been ruled mostly by coalitions of multiple parties I think that that kind of cooperation requires at least some degree of trust and loyalty. That trust and loyalty is better secured by regular talk and some government seats than by money. It's not ideal but this is something else.

Yeah, the fault is not with coalitions as a concept but with our political culture and system and (I would argue, at least) with the Tory party. The Con-Dem coalition, which could have worked, was an absolute disaster because the majority party still behaved as if it were in government alone, and because the Lib Dems did not really understand how it would be perceived among their own voting demographic (Lib Dem voters are generally voting on principle for a party they know won't win, and also tend to be more left than right).

I don't know.. Our political culture, for the most part, is too acrimonious and a lot of minor parties are too extreme. I can see a Lab/Green or Lab/SNP coalition working to a degree, but even then there would probably be tensions and risks (especially to the "junior" party).

Ninjamedic:
Define "people" here, do you mean the electorate? Tory Voters? Brexit voters?

I would say the electorate in general. It's unprecedented and displays a level of stupidity and nearsightedness which I think people have a certain entitlement to assume the government is above.

It's not just that they're a motley collection of fascists and evangelical dominionists (although that would be a compelling argument on its own) but the British government aligning itself with a party that represents one side of what was, until 10 years ago, a civil war in which said government was also involved is not something anyone should have to explain is a bad idea.

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