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Salzburg: A Clearly-Laid Ambush for Theresa May

by John Brian Shannon

EU leaders had been heard praising Theresa May’s Chequers plan in recent days and no doubt, she was in fine spirits as she flew to meet EU leaders in Salzburg Austria… only to find that her well-intentioned plan was unexpectedly ripped to shreds by some of those attending.

For some observers this came as a complete surprise, but for others it seemed an obvious psychological trap for Ms. May that would undermine her credibility on the world stage and work to strengthen her rapacious cohorts in the UK House of Commons who (the EU hopes) would become more united in overthrowing her than working for the UK.


Here’s what The Times of London is saying:

“For the embattled UK government, the punishment beating meted out by the EU this week will be deeply dispiriting. Salzburg was supposed to be a moment of breakthrough, or at least progress, with the Brexit talks unlocked by Chequers. Instead, the prime minister faces the daunting task of having to reset her Brexit policy to counter an intransigent EU.”Absurd Salzburg show proves we’re right to go

Here’s what Britons should be saying:

“Having been snookered into joining the EU in 1993 without a vote on membership, we’ve since voted to Leave (the first time we were allowed to vote on the matter) and as we’ve overpaid (subsidized) the EU budget since 1993 more than any EU country except Germany, would you mind treating us *about as well* as you treat any other significant market for your goods?”


Theresa May Keeps Jumping & the EU Says “Not High Enough”

Apparently, Theresa May jumping into the stratosphere every time the EU beckons isn’t good enough for the EU27 leaders.

The Prime Minister must be out of breath by now, Up, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down! Every two or three weeks she gets summoned before the EU Sanhedrin to explain why 17.4 million Britons decided to vote to Leave that august body — and why would she listen to British voters anyway?

Over the summer, it became something else when a number EU leaders believed they could browbeat Theresa May into delaying Brexit by telling her she should hold ‘another referendum to ensure that the British people are certain they want to Leave the illustrious EU.’

And now, it’s become something else again. It’s a game. They get Theresa May feeling hopeful that the EU has finally accepted her overly generous Chequers proposal… then they drop her off the edge of the world.

As far as negotiating tactics are concerned; Between enemies this is a perfectly legitimate machination. But for one EU country to employ it against a fellow EU country (albeit, one that’s soon to leave the EU) it is unseemly, at best. Lowbrow, at worst.

Were I Theresa May’s Chief of Staff, I would have said, “Get your stuff, we’re leaving” and flown her back to the UK myself if the pilots weren’t immediately available — without so much as informing the hotel front desk in Salzburg.


When people set you up to fail, they’re not your friends. So don’t be there.

A well-known quote: “Every day, we teach others how to treat us.” Therefore, if Theresa May continues to allow EU leaders to set her up for a fall and use tactics against her that are appropriate to use against the EU’s existential enemies only (certainly not to a fellow EU member and major contributor to the European project in the postwar era) without standing up for herself, she deserves everything she gets and I wouldn’t feel sorry for her in the least.

This *should be* the headline in today’s UK newspapers: “Theresa May shocks EU leaders by abruptly leaving Salzburg insults behind”

That’s the way you stand up for yourself. Whether I like or dislike Theresa May and her policies, we should expect EU leaders to treat the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and British voters with a high level of respect if they want to receive the same in return.

“Every day, we teach others how to treat us.” — Remember?

Whether they realize it, or not, the EU is teaching the Prime Minister that no matter how hard she tries to create a polite Brexit, they will arbitrarily disregard her well-intentioned plans, eventually causing her to give up on the EU as an institution where goodwill and diplomacy between nation states matter.


The United States is Looking Better Every Day!

Although President Donald Trump has firm convictions and definite plans for America, he’s a person who believes in polite diplomacy (whenever that is possible) and free trade when it works for the United States.

And on that note, America enjoys a trade surplus with the UK and has done so for as long as anyone can remember — which means the UK won’t be getting hit with U.S. tariffs anytime soon as the trade balance is in America’s favour.

In a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, the EU may need to find other customers for the millions of cars they export to the UK every decade. Germany alone exports 770,000 vehicles to Britain annually.

If the UK, the United States, and Canada sign a zero tariff trade deal on March 30, 2019 Britons will have access to more products than they’ve ever seen in their lives. And the price of goods in the United States and Canada are downright reasonable when compared to EU goods which often seem overly expensive for no discernible reason.

India, Australia and New Zealand have already indicated they’ll sign trade agreements with the UK shortly thereafter.

Lift up your eyes Theresa May, better days are ahead!


Bonus Videos:

Theresa May: EU criticism of Chequers plan is a ‘negotiating tactic’


Theresa May demands respect from EU and says their behavior is ‘unacceptable’


Related Articles:

  • Motor vehicle trade between the UK and its main EU partners — ACEA
  • Everything you might want to know about the UK’s trade with the EU — FullFact.org
  • Deloitte study finds that the German car industry would be severely hit by a ‘no deal’ Brexit — OpenEurope.org

Related Articles Since Salzburg:

  • Jeremy Hunt: Don’t mistake politeness for weakness — BBC
  • Theresa May’s withering riposte to the EU was the speech of her life — Telegraph
  • Theresa May Brexit deal: Why has the EU rejected the Chequers plan? — Express
  • Arlene Foster applauds Theresa May for STANDING FIRM against disgraceful EU — Express
  • Theresa May speaks to the BBC in New York on September 25, 2018 — BBC

Preparing for a Post-Brexit UK: Transportation

by John Brian Shannon

So many people are caught up in the present Brexit moment they forget there will be life after the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019.

With that in mind, policymakers must begin to focus on the problems that will still be with us in the immediate post-Brexit timeframe.

Q: Why can’t they do that now?

A: Because their hands may be tied by present EU regulations, or everyone is waiting to see what kind of Brexit deal the UK gets, or they’re busy advising business groups and the government how to maximize their Brexit advantage.

So let’s begin the post-Brexit era by solving problems we know will still remain after Brexit day — and use solutions that aren’t presently viable due to EU regulations or norms.


Ask Any Londoner and They’ll Tell You their Worst Daily Problem is City Traffic

Actually, the worst problem Londoners face is the weather. But the City’s notorious traffic congestion starts early, the roads become increasingly packed with vehicles, air pollution levels skyrocket, life occasionally becomes dangerous for pedestrians, and it wastes millions of hours of time every year.

Not only London, but Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast, Edinburgh and other UK cities force drivers to spend countless hours stuck in traffic and millions of gallons of petrol are wasted annually as cars and lorries inch along the country’s congested roadways.

Of course nothing can be done about it — because if something could be done it would’ve already been done! Right?

Except there is a way to decrease traffic congestion: Theresa May’s first legislation following Brexit should be to ban all lorries from operating within cities of 1 million inhabitants or more — from 6:00am until 6:00pm every weekday.

Lorries could still cross from the continent on ferries or via the Chunnel, operate in the countryside, passing through towns and smaller cities and arrive at (for example) London’s Ring Road anytime after 6:00pm each weekday. Yes, they’d need to obtain ‘the key to the shop’ to unload the shipment at ‘Mom & Dad’s Deli’ or perhaps drop an appropriately sized (and electronically locked) crate full of goods on the loading dock.

It’s a scheduling issue for freight companies; As long as their large vehicles are parked or otherwise off the UK’s major city roads by 6:00am each weekday they won’t incur automatic/electronic fines and they’ll be able to go on with the rest of their day as normal.

Trash haulers, freight delivery, fuel trucks and other transporters will simply adjust their schedules to comply with the weekday hours ban.


List the of Benefits of Such a Plan!

Think of Britain’s major cities free of lorries within their city limits from 6:00am until 6:00pm every weekday:

  1. Less traffic, less traffic noise, less congestion and less gridlock.
  2. Increased parking availability.
  3. Better visibility for cars, cyclists and pedestrians equals fewer accidents and lower NHS spending.
  4. Lower air pollution levels on weekdays result in fewer respiratory emergencies, thereby saving the NHS budget millions annually and helping the UK to meet its international clean air commitments.
  5. Although lorry drivers would work different hours, they’d have far less traffic to deal with between the hours of 6:00pm and 6:00am, their big rigs would have acres of room to maneuver around in and they’d easily find parking to offload or load their goods.
  6. An automatic/electronic fine for lorries that enter the city during banned hours of the day could go towards building major lorry parking/queuing areas on the outskirts of major cities. Perhaps a great place to set up coffee shops and motels dedicated to truckers so they can grab a few hours sleep before their afternoon shift/night shift begins? And (while they sleep during the day) have their big rig repaired at a shop within the secure ‘Trucker Zone’ area. If so, I want to invest in those dedicated Trucker Zones — talk about having a captive audience! — the lorries can’t leave until 6:00pm and if they do they would automatically incur a £100 fine as soon as they pass the “City Limits” sign a few feet down the road!
  7. Trucking companies could arrange to have a fully loaded lorry parked and ready to roll at such ‘Trucker Zones’ for each night shift driver to pick up at the beginning of his/her shift and provide a safe place to drop it off in the morning.
  8. Lorry drivers should gain free and hassle-free parking anywhere in the city between 6:00pm and 6:00am and receive special consideration from police in case a lorry driver happens to park in front of a ‘No Parking Zone’ for the few minutes it takes to deliver the load. As hardly anyone is around in the middle of the night and there’s no traffic, why make an issue of minor parking rules?
  9. Lorries leaving major UK cities at 6:00am could pull into the ‘Trucker Zone’ nearest them at the end of their shift, leaving the lorry there for the daytime driver to carry on with the day shift’s rural deliveries/pick ups.
  10. National productivity could be enhanced by requiring lorries to remain outside city limits (or parked within the City) during the daytime hours, giving them free run in cities until 6:00am.
  11. Cities might notice more lorry traffic at the weekend. However, the vast majority of cars aren’t on city roads during the weekend so lorry traffic won’t be too onerous.

Certainly, traffic and congestion in the UK aren’t the fault of the EU, but in the post-Brexit timeframe UK regulators will have a freer hand to solve many issues. Traffic congestion is a problem that affects everyone whether you drive a car, ride a bus, pedal a bike, own a business, or are a tourist who wants to get from tourist site “A” to tourist site “B” and not spend the whole day at it.

Cities depend upon free movement of goods and people. Moving to a two-track plan to obtain better use from city roads could radically change how we use cities. And the day after Brexit is as good a time as any to begin making the best use of those valuable assets.


Image courtesy of motortransport.co.uk

Is Growth Possible in a Brexit Economy?

by John Brian Shannon

“KPMG predicts economic growth of 1.4 per cent next year, but cuts this to 0.6 per cent if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.”The Times

While some firms predict slower than normal growth for the UK economy in the post-Brexit timeframe, it’s always good to reflect on the assumptions that forecasters employ in creating their reports and why such forecasts can cause more harm than good.

  1. If you tell your employees that, ‘the chips are down, the economy is sinking, and corporate belt-tightening isn’t far off’ they are likely to respond in a negative way. Some may look for other employment, some will opt for early retirement, while others spend more time in the staff room talking with their coworkers about their employment concerns than getting their work done. Which means such reports can actually cause the negative outcome they’re warning about. It’s human nature to perform to a predicted level instead of trying to exceed expectations. There are few exceptions to this behavior and they are called names like; Olympic athlete, Pulitzer Prize Winner, President, or Astronaut who have the innate ability to ‘power through’ the negative times without losing momentum.
  2. Such reports deal with known inputs only. For example, a zero-tariff trade deal with the Americans may seem far off today, but by 2020 it may already be signed. And not only the U.S., other political and trade blocs are likely to sign trade deals with the UK following Brexit. The AU (Africa), MERCOSUR (the South American trade bloc), the Pacific Alliance (several Pacific nations), the CPTPP (the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) nations, ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), The Commonwealth (Commonwealth of Nations), and China, are likely to expand their trade links with the UK after it departs the European Union. America and those seven trading areas will have a combined total of 7.0 billion people by 2020. That’s a lot of potential consumers, and the massive opportunities presented by signing zero-tariff trade deals post-Brexit are absent in most economic projections by design. Even if the UK were to sign only one free trade deal (with the U.S., for example) it could improve UK growth by a full 2 per cent or more. Presto! A shiny new UK economy!
  3. “Now we’ve got them!” While economic forecasting provides vital information for policymakers, Brexit negotiators aren’t helped by the news that growth will slow even in the face of a ‘good Brexit deal’ and will slow moreso in a ‘no Brexit deal’ scenario. It’s the kind of report that makes Michel Barnier’s day! KPMG is certainly one of the most respected firms around, but if you’re a Brexiteer and a report like this has been released to the public instead of it remaining in the hands of policymakers it plays with your mind; “Are they working for the UK’s best interests or are they working for the EU’s best interests?” (and) “Who commissioned (who paid for) this report and what parameters were used?”

So, while the good people of KPMG do their best to provide policymakers with the best near-term assessment of the UK economy, making such reports public can actually cause the negative things to occur about which the report warns.

That’s why policymakers everywhere must be ahead of the curve and treat all such documents as ‘the worst-case scenario’ without exception.

Now that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has been reliably informed that the worst the UK can do is 0.6 per cent growth between now and 2020, it should be an easy matter to arrange a number of free trade deals and blow the doors off that projection by 3 or 4 per cent by 2020.

Looking at this in the proper context means accepting that exiting the European Union is merely a necessary stepping stone to get the UK to 4 per cent growth by 2020 — which should result in Theresa May keeping the PM’s chair for at least one more term and with all past ‘political sins’ forgiven.

Not a bad deal Theresa, if you’re up for it! 🙂