Home » Posts tagged 'post-Brexit'
Tag Archives: post-Brexit
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” — Benjamin Franklin
Theresa May’s EU draft Withdrawal Agreement seems to meet 3-out-of-the-4 metrics of the leave campaign, but importantly, it doesn’t meet the last and arguably most important metric of a successful Brexit; That of being able to negotiate the UK’s own trade deals — even after the official Brexit date is past!
That’s failure by any standard.
Adding Insult to Injury
Another knock against Theresa May and her draft Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is that she’s threatened to cancel Brexit altogether if the House of Commons doesn’t approve the draft WA she’s delivered.
That’s a direct slap in the face to 17.4 million British voters who voted to leave the European Union; They didn’t vote for a high-falutin’ 585-page draft Withdrawal Agreement, nor did they vote for a newfangled Political Declaration with the EU — they voted to Leave the European Union.
Although she’s only uttered that threat twice (in public, anyway) it’s the kind of thing you expect from 3rd-world strongmen — not a Prime Minister who represents the world’s oldest democracy.
It comes perilously close to Theresa May choosing to remain on good terms with her continental buddies, preferring them over the British electorate. And we know what that’s called.
Forget the Arbitrary Deadlines that Favour the EU Countries
It’s telling that Theresa May travelled to Brussels late last week and was suddenly found to be in possession of a fully completed 585-page Withdrawal Agreement, and startlingly, she told UK MP’s that they have only a few days to review it before they must vote it up or vote it down.
Aren’t Britons more important Theresa, than your EU friends? Was it not Britons that built the great country you’re privileged to lead, or was it your continental pals? Isn’t the democracy you serve more important than arbitrary deadlines set by the UK’s competitor nations?
Forget telling us with words. Show us.
“Don’t tell me what you can do, show me what you have done.” — Henry Ford
Meeting Three-Out-Of-Four Metrics Doesn’t Equal £39 Billion
Until Theresa May brings home a Withdrawal Agreement worthy of passing in the House of Commons, there’s no way UK taxpayers will countenance the transfer of £39 billion to the EU — and if Theresa May tries to strong-arm the ‘3-out-of-4’ Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons and thereby then feel she can pay her pals in Brussels a lump sum payment (which they haven’t earned) the Tory government will fall hard and Conservatives needn’t ever worry about forming a government again. Said every voter.
We Will Never be Here Again: Take the Time to Get it Right
It’s not like a Brexit deal comes around every winter just in time for Black Friday.
If ever there were a time to slow down and get it right — this is it — as opposed to Theresa May and her continental friends who want it passed through the House of Commons so they can get the £39 billion before anyone has time to study it too closely.
Perhaps each institution in the UK should be tasked with creating a report on Theresa May’s Withdrawal Brexit plan and publishing it publicly — the good and the bad — with gov.uk paying the bill and making those reports available (in PDF form) to UK taxpayers and other stakeholders in Britain’s future.
We know that partially financed by the EU institutions such as the CBI and others will like this deal because fundamentally it’s a BRINO deal (Brexit In Name Only) as trade with the EU and other countries won’t change appreciably as long as the UK remains in the EU Customs Union.
But other institutions and think tanks may have different ideas. Some may question why their members are to be held back (on account of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement) from trading with the world via new Free Trade Agreements that could be signed with other countries via better Withdrawal Agreement terms.
Here’s a Partial List of Countries Whose Leaders Have Publicly and Enthusiastically Endorsed Free Trade with a Post-Brexit UK:
The U.S.A. wants a zero-tariff free trade agreement soon after Brexit. Positive features of this agreement would be *reciprocity* which means nobody gets screwed on trade deficits, etc., and *equivalency* which means (among other things) that products that are safety certified in one country are automatically approved for sale in the other country. Thankfully, the Americans are strong proponents of both points. It’s such a good system that I hope that all of Britain’s future trading partners emulate this model.
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — there’s over 2 billion customers right there! — have all said they want free trade deals with the UK as soon as possible following Brexit. Some have gone so far as to say they would use the CETA agreement as a template for a new UK agreement to save negotiating time so they can get to the good stuff (high volumes of trade) sooner.
The TPP countries (now called CPTPP) led by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have all agreed to allow the UK to join the group as soon as Brexit is completed. This massive trade bloc is the 3rd-largest trading bloc in the world after NAFTA and the EU.
China has said that they would like a free trade agreement with the UK in the post-Brexit timeframe and China’s president has been travelling the world trying (and succeeding) to get free trade agreements signed with his country in recent months.
Many other countries too, would like to trade with a post-Brexit UK which is still the 5th-largest economy in the world (by GDP, but not by PPP) and the sooner all Britons realize that they are the 5th-largest economy in the world, the better. Because it seems that some Britons think they’re the 120th-largest economy in the world and act accordingly.
Paying £39 Billion to Give Up UK Fishing Rights to the EU (???)
What madness is this?
When you offer to pay £39 billion to a country for a bespoke Brexit deal/free trade agreement, and then they drop the free trade agreement portion, and then they say the UK must stay in their Customs Union (meaning the UK can’t sign its own trade deals) and then they tell you they want huge fishing rights in UK waters, and then they tell you they might not allow the UK to sell services in their economy, and then they tell you that UK airlines might not be able to land their planes in their country, and then they tell you that the UK can’t continue to be a part of the Galileo project that the UK partially funded — but they still want the £39 billion — they’re not your friends, Theresa.
It’s time to take stock and decide who you’re working for Theresa May. You either work for the UK or the EU, but not both.
We won’t be paying attention to your words, Theresa. We’ll be watching your deeds.
The days of a foreign power deciding how many people can live in the UK are rapidly closing. On any date past March 29, 2019 the UK government could decide to radically alter the future of Great Britain. And that’s a very good thing.
The Days of Unrestricted Immigration to the UK Are Soon Over
Until now, the UK has been forced to accept both new residents and transients who easily pass through the EU’s porous border control system called the Schengen Area (visit here to see a list of Schengen countries) where anyone from anywhere can simply walk across the border and are rarely challenged or identified by authorities.
Which is one thing if your country is on the outer rim of the Schengen Area and those undocumented people are walking through your country to get to another country; It’s quite another if your country is their destination.
8-Million Immigrants Later; UK Police & Security Services Know Surprisingly Little About Who Those Immigrants Are
And that’s the reason the UK has 8-million (mostly unknown) refugees and economic migrants. It’s a wonder there hasn’t been 10-times as many terrorist acts! A million thanks to the overworked police and to the security services who surely have more pressing matters to attend to, for keeping 99.999% of Britons safe from harm.
The Hidden Cost of Unregulated Immigration
Regardless, there is still a cost to all this additional policing and security work — whether that cost is under-serving other police and security files, or devoting more of their police and security service budgets to identifying and tracking imported (potential) problem people.
Yet the majority of refugees and economic migrants are decent people who want nothing more than to find a better life (in our UK that our forefathers built and fought for) and are prepared to work hard to accomplish that goal. But many aren’t.
And we don’t know who is who in that opaque world and we may never know as few have been vetted to a standard where we even know their names, their criminal background (if any) and other important information about them like their level of education, history of exposure to communicable diseases, extreme religious views, etc.
Getting Selective with UK Immigration
Once the UK regains control of its borders, the country can be very selective of who it allows into the country, but if a person lacks important inoculations like Chickenpox (varicella), Diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Meningococcal meningitis, Mumps, etc., (it’s a much longer list than that, FYI) those inoculations could be administered at any UK port of entry to protect that person and simultaneously protect all Britons from some nasty foreign diseases.
It’s far less costly in lives and in pounds sterling to provide those inoculations in advance than to allow the next contagious virus to infect 100,000 people because someone didn’t get £40 worth of vaccine at the border.
Each UK port of entry should have enough Doctors and Nurses to administer such vaccines to Britons at no cost (as infected people may unknowingly carry viruses into the UK population when returning from countries where the Zika Virus etc., are prevalent) and for the very same reasons, such injections should be free (and required) to refugees and economic migrants at every UK port of entry.
Proper Police Screening post-Brexit
With proper vetting procedures in place, the UK will never again import another terrorist or criminal entity if every refugee and economic migrant is required to produce a paper copy of a criminal records check from their country of origin as they enter the UK.
To speed throughput times at UK ports of entry, the Border Force should create a secure section on their website to accept digital copies of such documents to be submitted in advance of travel to the UK.
Such documentation should be viewed online by Border Force officers prior to each plane landing or each ship docking at any UK port of entry — then that person can hand the official paper copy to the border guard as they pass through the border control turnstiles.
Choosing the ‘Right’ Immigrants
In some years, the UK may find it has a shortage of History professors, while other years it may have a shortage of farm labourers (for two examples) but when the UK government regains control of immigration it can decide in advance how many of each to let into the country.
In other years it may be the case that the UK requires more engineers, General Physicians or construction workers; But when you’re in full control of your immigration you can allow exactly the number of people into the country every year that you need. And none that you don’t.
Seasonal Foreign Workers Should be Pre-approved by the Border Force and Should Always Originate From Commonwealth Nations
Which is why the UK government should create a special category for seasonal farm workers so they can be efficiently notified by the Border Force website as soon as they are required for the season. (‘It’s time to pack your bags for your flight to Britain!’)
Such seasonal workers should be required to pay an annual £100 application fee and provide a digital copy of their criminal records check to the Border Force in advance via a secure website set up for that purpose.
If they don’t get hired, their deposit would be returned to them at the end of the year. If they are hired by their UK employer permanently, they would pay £100 per year thenceforth.
Once the Border Force has been notified by the relevant UK government department to allow (for example) 58,750 pre-approved seasonal workers into the country, they can easily accomplish this task by consulting the Commonwealth master list.
Large farm operators may decide to pay the £100 application fee on behalf of each person they hire from abroad and may also assist them in other ways such as picking them up at the airport and transporting them directly to their accommodations on the farm, etc.
This sort of ‘sponsor’ relationship between workers and their UK employers should be strongly encouraged by the government as it will dramatically minimize false applicants — those who never report to the farm and then go on to (unknown) activities in the UK.
All Other Foreign Workers Should be Pre-approved by the Border Force and Should Always Originate from The Commonwealth and the U.S.A.
To assist the UK economy during periods of peak manufacturing, or when the service sector requires more workers than are available in the UK, Britain’s businesses could draw from a pre-approved Border Force list of up to 1-million potential workers.
Pre-approved in this case means that such persons have proved their interest in working in the UK by prepaying their £100 annual fee to the Border Force, and have provided a recent copy of their criminal records check to the secure area within the Border Force website.
If they don’t get hired, their deposit would be returned to them at the end of the year. If they are hired by their UK employer permanently, they would pay £100 per year thenceforth.
Note to busy employers: It doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be appropriate to the particular job you want them to do or that the Border Force has their CV digitally stored on the Border Force website — but it will mean they aren’t a criminal or a terrorist and that they’ve taken the right steps to ensure they’re on the pre-approved list to work in Britain.
As soon as your telephone or Skype interviews are concluded, your new employee could be on the job in one day as all government paperwork would already be done months or weeks prior to your call.
Once supersonic airline flights resume between London and New York, your new employee from America can arrive before noon on the same day you approve them, and your HR department can give them the full orientation of your London office building that afternoon so they know where to park their rental car the next morning.
The UK would be the first country in the world to utilise such ‘Just In Time Labour’ in the same way the manufacturing sector has used ‘Just In Time Delivery’ to such good effect since 1990.
The Only (New) Immigrants to the UK would be Pre-approved by the Border Force and by Employers
Now How do You Feel About Immigration?
Isn’t that a better solution than having millions of undocumented people streaming into the UK sans job offers, proper inoculations, criminal records checks, and without any purpose in life other than to escape the problems in their own country?
Even if the number of annual immigrants to the UK were to increase post-Brexit (it won’t) the total number will be less relevant overall — as every one of them will be pre-approved and invited into the country by their employers — rather than millions of them just showing up and expecting the same benefits that British taxpayers are entitled to via their decades of annual tax payments.
After March 29th 2019, the UK will have entered the 21st-century where people will apply to reside in the UK and their ability to work in the country will be based on their merits rather than on their ability to run across a border.
In the future, immigrants will be perceived to be a welcome addition to the UK instead of being perceived as a potential security threat.
Which will result in a fundamental change in how Britons feel about immigrants in a general sense, and how they feel about their foreign co-workers and neighbours.
Welcome to the 21st-century!
As the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019 approaches the main sticking point to an orderly Brexit now appears to be the lack of agreement between the UK and the EU on whether or not there will be a hard border between the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland (NI).
But why there exists a sticking point that involves Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations is anyone’s guess as there’s no good reason for the EU to treat Northern Ireland any different from the way it treats the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom and has been since the year 1800 and such was formalized in a treaty that covered the matter and many other matters between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in 1922.
Q: What would drive European Union negotiators to want to inflame tensions in the region? How could that possibly benefit the EU?
A: The simple answer is that EU leaders don’t want the UK to leave the union and one way to accomplish that goal is to make Brexit appear to be a hopelessly complicated situation and EU negotiators would thereby hope to win in the court of public opinion. The theory is that UK citizens would then apply enough pressure on HM government to give up on Brexit.
Which has a microscopic chance of succeeding. To wit: Widely published online polls circulate in the UK media say things like; ‘Most Remainers these days just want to get Brexit over and done with’ due to the economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
And the Brexit timeline doesn’t seem to faze EU negotiators either — who it must be said — are representing the interests of the EU27 and not the UK, nor of individual Britons. Which puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it?
“Countries don’t have friends, they have interests.” — Sir Winston Churchill
Other items like the Belfast Agreement (read the complete text of that agreement here) also known as the Good Friday Agreement which lists no requirements for a hard border, soft border, or no border… also doesn’t seem to matter to EU negotiators.
And of course it doesn’t. Why would it? The EU’s negotiating teams are working for the interests of the EU27 — as you might expect — and not the interests of the UK nor of individual Britons. It’s preposterous to expect European Union negotiators to work for the interests of any country other than the EU.
Option One: The Question Everyone Asks: Why Not a Regular Land Border Like Every Other Country in the World?
The simplest solution would be to create a normal land border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and the EU’s Republic of Ireland along the entire 310-mile-long boundary between the two countries and everyone on both sides could thenceforth act like adults and there needn’t be any more trouble there than any other border in the world.
Practically every country in the world has a border and rarely are there problems with this modality in the 21st-century.
Maybe it’s time for both sides on the island of Eire (which both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland share) to craft a new agreement that creates a normal, hard border (just as all mature countries do) and thenceforth ‘agree to disagree’ (just as all mature countries do) and ‘agree to agree’ on matters of mutual interest (just as all mature countries do) It seems that 99 per cent of countries manage to do this just fine.
Perhaps this is asking too much of the UK and the EU, or of the people of NI or the ROI… but creating a normal border between the two Irelands would demonstrate to the world that the Belfast Agreement was an important step towards permanent peace on the island of Eire and it would show the world that *forward momentum never stopped* on either side since the 1998 signing of that accord.
Profoundly, a one-page addendum could be added to the existing Belfast Agreement spelling out the frames of reference with regards to a normal land border between the UK and the EU. Problem solved!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Brexit turned out to be the impetus for a new and better relationship between Eire’s people?
Think of *those* photo-ops UK and EU negotiators! For the rest of the 21st-century you’d be the darlings of the world media along with Irish people on both sides of the border.
Option Two: The Present Course Leads the UK and the EU Towards Dispute
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has spent the past two-years hopscotching all over Europe trying to create a workable Brexit deal — and in this context ‘workable’ means a Brexit agreement that works well for the UK and its people, for the EU27 nations, and for the EU/EC leaders in Brussels. Very admirable, Theresa.
Apparently, 95 per cent of the Brexit terms and conditions are agreed according to UK PM Theresa May and the only sticking point is agreement on a border/no border between ROI and NI. If accurate, that’s good news!
The UK Prime Minister has said on many occasions that Northern Ireland is clearly a part of the United Kingdom (which is indisputable) and it must remain so following Brexit. As has has Arlene Foster, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.
So, if EU negotiators were trying to steal Northern Ireland by stealth, they ran into a brick wall when Theresa May and Arlene Foster joined forces. (And hey, there’s nothing wrong with the EU testing the resolve of the UK and NI to see if they are still firmly committed to keeping Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom)
But now that it’s been made clear to EU negotiators that it would be unseemly of them to continue to try to pull Northern Ireland away from the United Kingdom. And classy people that they are, it’s doubtful they’ll continue to try.
The present course that leads the UK and the EU towards dispute with both Irelands isn’t about any of the foregoing. It’s about Theresa May’s plan to keep all of the UK in the Customs Union — rather than what the EU wants — which is to keep only Northern Ireland in the Customs Union.
Which is why some observers question the EU’s motives, as retaining the EU Customs Union for Northern Ireland but not the rest of the UK is exactly the way a country would try to annex a territory or province by stealth.
In fact, there is legal precedent.
In the 1930’s, General Motors Corporation enjoyed very lucrative and exclusive U.S. government contracts to build military vehicles — and was allowed to compete against Ford and Chrysler in the public marketplace. Likewise, Chevrolet (a privately held company) competed against Ford and Chrysler.
By the 1950’s Chevrolet’s booming sales meant they had problems producing enough parts to build the huge volumes of cars they were selling and (incredibly) had pre-sold tens of thousands of them to buyers who were impatiently awaiting delivery of their new Chevrolet vehicles.
Subsequently, senior GM and Chevrolet executives met and came up with a plan for GM to build huge numbers of engines and transmissions for Chevrolet using Chevy designs, standards, and manufacturing practices.
As Chevrolet increased their sales exponentially, it leaned evermore on GM to provide parts for Chevy cars, but by the late 1950’s GM was building thousands of vehicles for Chevrolet in GM factories.
Things came to a head in 1959 when Chevrolet accused industrial giant GM of trying to take-over the much smaller Chevrolet by stealth.
In U.S. Supreme Court later that year, the court found that there was so much cross-over between the two firms — that no one, not even Chevrolet’s own lawyers! — could say for certain what belonged to GM and what still belonged to Chevrolet.
Therefore, the U.S. Supreme Court reluctantly ruled in GM’s favour and General Motors immediately accelerated the integration of Chevrolet into GM to prevent renewed legal action by Chevrolet’s lawyers. Shortly thereafter, Chevrolet ceased to be a separate entity and ‘became one’ with GM.
And here is the lesson for the United Kingdom:
If UK negotiators are weak and allow the EU to incrementally absorb Northern Ireland into the EU — after a certain point no international court could say exactly what belonged to the EU and what still belonged to the UK/Northern Ireland. Shortly thereafter, Northern Ireland would ‘become one’ with the European Union.
All of which means that the UK cannot afford to lose this battle. The very nature of the UK is threatened, while for the EU it’s merely an opportunity to gobble-up more territory and punish the UK for leaving.
For Theresa May, keeping the entire UK in the Customs Union seems the only way to abide by the Belfast Agreement and prevent Northern Ireland from being assimilated by the EU.
Recent commentary from her MP’s and from those in the UK media have forced Prime Minister May to say her plan is a temporary one — as leaving the European Union and its Customs Union was a major reason why 17.4 million voted to leave the EU.
Therefore, she and the EU have more negotiations ahead to arrive at a permanent solution to the Northern Ireland conundrum.
Will it get done in any reasonable timeframe? No one knows, because all the EU ever says to the British Prime Minister is; “No”, “No”, and, “No”.
So, wish her well no matter which side of Brexit you’re on, because getting a negotiated Brexit that works for both sides is in everyone’s interest.
Option Three: A So-Called ‘Hard Brexit’ is the ‘Emergency Out’ for the UK
If the EU won’t (1) accept a normal border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and (2) if the EU won’t accept the entire UK staying in the Customs Union for a specified time (until a Northern Ireland agreement can be negotiated) then (3) the EU will have triggered the ‘default option’ for the UK — which is to leave without any agreement.
See how it’s all about the decisions the EU makes?
Such a so-called ‘Hard Brexit’ is what Brexiteers have been clamouring for as it best represents their desire for a clean break from the European Union and would allow the UK to begin free trade negotiations immediately following the official Brexit date which would supercharge the UK economy if handled correctly.
Strangely, it also represents the easiest pathway for the EU! The only risk for the EU (at this point no one knows exactly how much risk the EU might sustain in such a scenario) is to the huge trade surplus in goods that the EU presently enjoys with the UK.
But a Hard Brexit would allow the EU to divert its attention to Italy — which for solely economic reasons — might need to leave the EU and the EuroZone for a specified number of years in order to save its stalled economy.
The Hard Brexit option seems to enjoy plenty of support in the UK (except for the Prime Minister and the Chancellor who seem to think it’s the worst available option) but it would be the quickest deal for the UK and it would also allow the EU to instantly pivot to Italy and give 100 per cent of its attention towards creating innovative workarounds for the Italian economy.
Which, if everyone is thinking rightly should make Brexiteers and EU negotiators natural allies regarding a Hard Brexit — especially when framed in the context of Italy — and the sooner Brexiteers and EU leaders realize this, the better.
Place Your Bets!
Option number one (as above) is the best option in my opinion:
The Theresa May 95 per cent Brexit + a normal border between ROI and NI.
Option number two (as above) ranks third place in my opinion:
The Theresa May 95 per cent Brexit + the entire UK stays in the Customs Union for a series of 6-month periods in order to provide the time to negotiate a comprehensive Brexit deal that solves the Northern Ireland conundrum. It’s also the most dangerous Brexit plan by far… re-read what happened to Chevrolet (as above)
Option number three (as above) ranks second-best in my opinion:
The Hard Brexit is the purist’s Brexit — and although it could incur the largest amount of disruption, such disruptions seem wildly overblown (UK agriculture contributes only .52% to UK GDP for example) and a Hard Brexit would gain the UK the most in the shortest amount of time. For certain, the Hard Brexit option must be Theresa May’s ’emergency out’ in case negotiations go bad. And likewise for the EU, the worse it gets in Italy, the more a quick and easy-to-arrange Hard Brexit should appeal to the EU.