Letters

A Day in London: 2020

by John Brian Shannon

Welcome to London, 2020. You’re in the former Battersea Power Station where the British International Motor Show is being held this week!

Artist rendering of the renovated Battersea Power Station in London, UK that will be home to Apple Inc.

Artist rendering of the renovated Battersea Power Station in London, UK — Apple’s UK & Commonwealth HQ. Business Insider

Apple Inc’s new UK & Commonwealth HQ is full of Alan Turing-esqe brilliant people glad to be hosting the show in their auric new building — and for the first time anywhere, iDrive (Apple’s shiny new hydrogen powered car) is on public display.

Aside from its obviously stunning design, the best thing about this car is that it can’t be stolen because unless the owner of the car is within a few feet of the car with his/her iPhone on and logged-in to the iDrive app, it is just a piece of aluminum, glass and plastic that can’t go anywhere. There’s no computer or operating system to allow the car do anything at all, save for the iDrive app in your iPhone or iPad.

apple icar concept car in london, uk

Early Apple iCar concept.

No iPhone or iPad? Then you’re not the owner of the car. Because a matching serial number iPhone & iPad is provided with each Apple Car, with thumbprint security and as many passwords or login captchas as you want. It’s up to you.

Even if someone steals your iPhone and manages to locate your car, you can always “Log out of all devices and apps” remotely from any computer or smart phone on the planet — including the app that drives your beautiful new Apple Car. (Stolen car coasts to side of road, wholly inactive)

Now, that’s what I call a user-friendly car ownership experience.


And Brexit, You Ask? Pshaw!

Brexit came and went a long time ago. Neither Project Fear or the extreme Brexiteers were right; The UK coasted through 2019, Brexiting on March 29 as scheduled and other than a temporary blip in the markets things continued as normal. Yes, even the Sun rose in the sky the next day. Astonishing!

But not really. For all the hype, compared to other events taking place in the world Brexit turned out to be a sideshow. Only hyperventilating European politicians on both sides of the English Channel noticed Brexit.

After dipping to 1.2% GDP growth in 2019, the UK recovered and is now looking at 2% growth for 2021 — not due to Brexit — but due to the fact that Remainers are no longer sabotaging the UK economy hoping for it to fail so they could get their way.

Since the summer of 2019, the UK joined the USMCA (the new NAFTA agreement) and the CPTPP, and the new Commonwealth of Nations Free Trade Accord (CNFTA). In 2020, the UK has signed trade agreements with countries that have a combined population of 5 billion+ people.

A free trade deal with the EU (based on the excellent CETA agreement the EU has with Canada) is expected to be signed by the end of 2020 and go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Food shortages, rioting, family strife, civil war? Not a bit of it.

Every politician who tried to make a career out of Brexit is gone. Whether extreme Brexiteer, extreme Remainer, whether continental European or Briton; Every politician who held an extreme Brexit position was invited by their respective parties (and voters, hehehe) to leave politics.

Enjoy the day Britons, legal migrants to the UK, and visitors! You’ve earned it.

Oh, and the UK and the EU signed a modified Withdrawal Agreement on the 11th-hour of March 28th, 2019. But you knew that.

Theresa May: Out of the Frying Pan and Into 2019

by John Brian Shannon

Well Brexit fans, that was a year, wasn’t it?

Everything that could’ve happened, did happen — except for a 2nd EU referendum which (speaking hypothetically) if the Leave side won, might’ve put a stop to the complaining of Remainers who still can’t reconcile the fact that they lost the referendum 2 1/2 years ago. It’s time to move on, folks!

But what if Remain had won a 2nd referendum on EU membership, you ask? It would’ve turned it into a best-out-of-three affair that would’ve required another costly and divisive referendum to settle.

If the UK had unlimited funding and unlimited time — a best-out-of-three referendum scenario would’ve worked out nicely, wouldn’t it?

Just for the record, Brexit would’ve won it two-in-a-row, thereby preventing the need for any third EU referendum and Remainers (I’m sure!) would’ve thanked Brexiteers for saving taxpayers even more millions for a third EU referendum. Because for Brexiteers it’s all about saving UK taxpayer money. You’re welcome! Just another Brexit dividend.

Fortunately, as time is short, there’s no time for another referendum to ensure ‘The People’ voted the ‘right way’ and only the usual malcontents are holding placards and yelling at cars, because, well, they didn’t get their way!

That old democracy thing really sorts them out, doesn’t it? (“Why can’t I just get my way every time?” “Because, democracy.”)


Only 90 Days Until Brexit

Although UK Prime Minister Theresa May tried mightily she wasn’t able to get a draft Withdrawal Agreement passed in the House of Commons that would’ve allowed the UK and the EU an easier transition through Brexit and (bonus for the EU!) a £39 billion, one-time payment.

However, the EU is well-known for its last-minute 11th-hour deals, and nobody should expect the draft Withdrawal Agreement to be modified enough to pass in the UK House of Commons and be approved by each EU27 country until at least March 15th. That’s just the way they do things there. Hey, they’re allowed to use whatever negotiating ploys they want, as is the UK. All’s fair in love and divorce, they say.

In the meantime, Theresa May has but one option: Prepare for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit with as much enthusiasm as she can muster, getting all of her departments moving in the right direction, and she must continue with the non-Brexit business of running the country — until the 11th-hour people want to talk again.

And they already know what they must do in order to gain a deal that will pass on both sides of the English Channel: It’s as simple as removing the Irish backstop, or putting a firm end-date on UK Customs Union membership. Either of those choices are fine.

And once that happens the UK House of Commons will pass the amended draft Withdrawal Bill with plenty of bipartisan support as party politics must step aside for the good of the country at such historical moments, and it’s likely the EU27 parliaments will pass it as well.

For EU countries, there’s not only continuing access to UK markets to think about, there’s that £39 billion one-time payment to gain or lose. And if they miss it they’ll have only themselves to blame because all it takes to obtain that £39 billion payment is a signed Withdrawal Agreement — and that means signed by both sides — the UK and each of the EU27 countries.


Steady-On, Theresa, Until the EU Get Serious About an Implementation Period + Withdrawal Agreement

According to the terms of Article 50, Brexit will occur on March 29, 2019 and it’s the default option — no matter what else happens or doesn’t happen in the meantime. If the Withdrawal Agreement never gets signed, Brexit will still occur. Let’s make no mistake.

However, Theresa May has no power to force the EU negotiators to the table in order to arrive at a mutually beneficial Brexit agreement. If they want a deal, they’ll show up prior to March 29, 2019.

But if they don’t, the UK gets to keep the £39 billion and spend it on the NHS and other important parts of the UK economy and the UK will be completely (and mercifully) out of the European Union governance architecture. Which might involve a little ‘short term pain for long-term gain’ for both sides.

Yet it’s coming out a little more each day that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenario isn’t as scary as Project Fear has made it out to be. Let’s try to forget how wrong they were over the past 2 1/2 years. Nobody is listening to their ‘sky is falling’ toxic talk any more.

Almost every economic indicator in the UK is on the uptick since the EU referendum and a lower pound sterling works to make UK exports affordable overseas. Which is a very good thing for British manufacturing — a sector that has fallen to less than 10% of UK GDP since the 1970’s when it contributed 25% to UK GDP.

One of the best things about Brexit is that the UK will again forge its own trade relationships with the rest of the world instead of being tied to the EU economy which has fallen from 25% of global GDP in 1993 to 11% of global GDP in 2016, and is projected to fall further to 9% of global GDP by 2020.

While we should wish the EU27 well, it’ll be a breath of fresh air for British exporters to finally leave the bloc. Yet, let’s hope the UK can leave the EU on good terms, with a decent Withdrawal Agreement that’s acceptable to all 28 nations, and with a CETA-style trade agreement.

Anything less than that minimum level of success would be a case of leaders on both sides of the English Channel shooting themselves in the foot.


HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

No Deal Brexit Preparations to begin January 1, 2019

by John Brian Shannon

Just like clockwork and as promised by the Theresa May government preparations for a possible No Deal exit from the European Union will begin on January 1, 2019. The Prime Minister has said it all along yet no one believed her, even though there were plenty of examples when she informed the media in advance on what actions she would be taking in relation to Brexit and when, and then did exactly as promised.

She didn’t keep her promise to hold the vote on the draft Withdrawal Agreement last Tuesday. However, politics isn’t like baking a cake where you simply assemble the ingredients, mix it all together, and throw it in the oven for an hour.

Forgive the Prime Minister for a promise that was broken for a good reason.

Why allow a vote when the thing you’re trying to approve will certainly fail? That would’ve wasted the time of every MP in the House of Commons and provided the EU with an advantage over the holiday season; Namely, EU officials getting to spend the holidays blaming the UK for failing to pass the draft Withdrawal Agreement which would’ve put the UK government deep into defensive territory by the time they returned to Parliament on January 7th.

Theresa May and her government have looked wobbly at times throughout the past 2.5 years, but at ‘mission critical’ points she and her ministers have delivered. Strange, but heartening.

“Through perseverance, many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.” — former British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881)

The latest example of that is the kept promise to begin preparations before January 1, 2019 in case of a No Deal Brexit by ensuring enough medicine will be available for every Briton (including Theresa May’s medication for her diabetic condition) and now, the UK military has offered to assist the government in the immediate post-Brexit timeframe — including 3500 troops for government use.

Such army personnel can drive transport trucks, direct vehicular traffic at the ports, fly goods by military aircraft to remote parts of the UK, and fill any staffing or logistical gaps that could be created in the case of a sudden No Deal Brexit scenario.

It may be highly unlikely, but it’s still good policy to plan for gaps or shortages in the system.

“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. — former U.S. President, Ike Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)

In a fluid situation it’s a great thing to plan ahead, yet once having arrived at the ‘gap in the road’ (for example) or having arrived at a day when there actually are milk shortages (for another example) it’s ongoing planning that will save the day.

Ongoing resourcefulness and a permanent ‘CAN-DO’ attitude, combined with relentless pursuit of important goals is what will allow Britons to succeed every time. Ask any gold medal athlete or any 5-star general, or any platinum selling recording artist. A ‘CAN-DO’ attitude is a million times more valuable than a ‘CAN’T DO’ attitude.

It’s those qualities that Britons have displayed over the centuries that worked to create the great United Kingdom we see today; The 6th-largest economy in the world (and for a few centuries, the largest economy in the world by a significant margin!) with a very high standard of living and quality of life in the here and now.

Although all of those stats could and should be even better than they are at present, it’s still a magnificent accomplishment.


Micheal Gove & Sir Nick Carter Give Hope that there is No Problem Too Big for the UK to Handle

‘Hope’ is a powerful word. If people have hope, if they see a reasonable plan forming, and if they see people like Micheal Gove handling the worst-case scenario far in advance of any potential problems, it provides the hope that’s required for human beings to maintain a high level of life satisfaction and function most efficiently. There are more quotations about ‘Hope’ than about any other single word in the English lexicon.

“Nothing is ever a problem” must be the mantra of the Brexit Secretary if the UK’s exit from the European Union is to succeed.

Whether help from the UK military will ever be required or not, it’s good to know that General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff has reached out to Micheal Gove, the Brexit Secretary, to inform him that it’s available if needed.

That’s a government and a military infrastructure working together to ensure that nothing is ever a problem for Britons. See; Operation Yellowhammer.

In the meantime, the more and better the UK government and the UK military prepare for a No Deal Brexit, the more EU negotiators will become convinced that the UK really is leaving the EU and that they may need to modify the draft Withdrawal Agreement in order to prevent a so-called ‘Hard Brexit’ scenario — which will negatively affect the EU’s trade surplus with the UK presently running at £95 billion per year (net, £67 billion annually) and with no ability for them to replace that massive (obscene?) trade surplus anywhere else.

By virtue of Brexit Secretary, Micheal Gove, and Chief of the Defence Staff and General Sir Nick Carter working together to prepare for a No Deal Brexit, Theresa May ensures that the EU will be much easier to deal with henceforth and she can expect the Irish backstop (a red herring if there ever were one!) to be dropped from the draft Withdrawal Agreement so that the European Union’s £67 billion (net) annual trade surplus with the UK isn’t lost over something far less important.

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What would happen if the UK Parliament rejected Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Plan?

What would happen if the UK Parliament rejected Theresa May's draft Withdrawal Plan?

Click image to listen to the MP4 audio on BBC 4.

Prime Minister’s Questions January 9, 2019

The Nigel Farage Show January 7, 2019