More screencaps from my iPhone today. Discuss?


  1. “Why does Labour believe the U.K. won’t preserve them?”

    They don’t – but they have to have an excuse to continue their plan to block it.

    The UK ( well no, the whole Western world ) has never been so devoid of quality politicians. I am not one for conspiracy theories ( believing that cock-up is usually more relevant ) but the globalists have had 50 years to put their mob in place, including the deep-states everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. RICHARD DRAKE 17 OCT 2019 2.49PM
    Toby Young (who is he?) dares say aloud what millions of trade unionists must be thinking: “Why can’t the next Labour government simply pass a law in our very own parliament giving us all the workers’ rights (and environmental protection) we want?”

    The other thing that’s been puzzling me for three years is: what’s so special about the Irish border that VAT has to be equalised and border checks imposed to stop cheating? Here in the South of France everyone pops over to Catalonia for their booze and fags (Martini at 5 euros per litre, whisky 8 euros.) There are roving frontier police away from the border, but to my knowledge they never stop anyone whose skin is the right colour. The UK is apparently not planning any tariffs except on a few items like steel and cars, which are difficult items to smuggle. I suppose there’s always the danger of some cunning British manufacturer shipping a transporter full of Nissans from Stranraer to Larne, and then via the lanes of Fermanagh to Cork and on to Roskoff, but surely the technology exists to intercept them? A man with a flag should do the trick.


  3. Toby Young? Son of Michael, who set up the Open University for Harold Wilson. Senior editor of Quillette. His profile of Boris Johnson there in July probably tells you everything else you want to know.


  4. 5. The Parties recognise the importance of global cooperation to address issues of shared
    economic, environmental and social interest. As such, while preserving their decision making autonomy, the Parties should cooperate in international fora, such as the G7 and the
    G20, where it is in their mutual interest, including in the areas of:
    a) climate change;
    b) sustainable development;
    c) cross-border pollution;
    d) public health and consumer protection;
    e) financial stability; and
    f) the fight against trade protectionism.
    The future relationship should reaffirm the Parties’ commitments to international agreements
    to tackle climate change, including those which implement the United Nations Framework
    Conventions on Climate Change, such as the Paris Agreement.

    I’m not sure how one can preserve decision making autonomy whilst agreeing to cooperate on the environment and to continue to abide by and implement the same rules as dictated by the UN.

    Click to access Revised_Political_Declaration.pdf

    Especially when you have a level playing field being imposed upon you:

    77. Given the Union and the United Kingdom’s geographic proximity and economic
    interdependence, the future relationship must ensure open and fair competition,
    encompassing robust commitments to ensure a level playing field. The precise nature of
    commitments should be commensurate with the scope and depth of the future relationship
    and the economic connectedness of the Parties. These commitments should prevent
    distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages. To that end, the Parties should
    uphold the common high standards applicable in the Union and the United Kingdom at the
    end of the transition period in the areas of state aid, competition, social and employment
    standards, environment, climate change, and relevant tax matters.


  5. Thanks Jaime. Lots to take in. On Labour’s stance, this all has to do the Revised Political Declaration transition stage anyway, which is to be negotiated over fourteen months. So in voting against Boris’s Withdrawal Agreement they’re doing what you may feel is the right thing for the wrong reasons:

    Or “Corbyn seems to be pretty cynical” as Hunterson put it.


  6. On the bigger picture I agree with this guy:

    And with this one:

    But Boris’s way (not Corbyn’s) we do have more freedom over ‘climate policy’ and that is a crumb of comfort.


  7. Richard. Exactly that. I hope that Labour vote this treaty down for all the wrong reasons. Why? Because it will not be amendable. Once signed, it will remain in force for as long as the UK and the EU exist. International treaties are binding and last for centuries. Rather risk an extension and general election than have this foisted upon the UK. There is no unilateral right for the UK to withdraw from it or amend the terms.

    Credit to Boris; it’s better than May’s “turd” – as Boris himself described May’s WA. But it’s still a crock of shit.


  8. So you don’t agree with Yarrow: “Treaties and agreements get adjusted & modified to reflect new realities”? I think you may have too rigid a view of international law. But you distrust the EU and on that we agree. As does this guy:

    That reaction surprised me. There may be more surprises on the way.


  9. Richard, I believe the problem is that the Political Declaration (which is the non-binding part of things) has been amended, and the draft Treaty, largely, has not. Even then, the revised Political Declaration looks truly awful to me.


  10. Richard, see also this:

    “Deal or no deal?”

    “The Withdrawal Agreement is unchanged, so I have no need to update my comments on it which set out the problems with it, especially concerning the powers of the ECJ and the money.

    The Political Declaration is improved. It now makes it clearer that any joint military actions requires the consent of the UK government. More emphasis is given to basing a future trade relationship around a Free Trade Agreement.

    The Declaration whilst confirming we become an independent coastal state for fishing purposes puts our fish back into play with the prospect of a new fishing quota and access based agreement with the EU.

    It suggests the future agreement is based on an EU Association Agreement, designed to get countries to converge with the EU prior to joining. This is not a good model. The ECJ remains supreme over issues of EU law in any dispute.

    The reworked Northern Ireland protocol raises the issue of how could Northern Ireland extricate from following EU rules and customs practices?

    This is an important question, as this draft Withdrawal Treaty does not have an Article 50 allowing unilateral exit .”


  11. The new Leave Alliance?

    Manic has also looked at the PD and is cautiously optimistic:

    I may or not respond on the legal details of whether this is a ‘reasonable deal’. But I was assuming international law includes treaty law. If not, my mistake. Nobody’s relying on me before tomorrow, or before 31st December 2020, come to that, happily.


  12. Richard North would be unsurprised that Fraser Nelson is now calling the deal a breakthrough, writing in the newspaper that he thinks has been the ignorant cheerleader for Boris over many sad years:

    After more than three years of debacle and disappointment, it can be hard to recognise a genuine breakthrough. “The ‘new deal’ is not Brexit,” declared Nigel Farage, a little too soon after the details were published. In the past, his instinct would have been correct. The Chequers agreement, the subsequent White Paper and Theresa May’s thrice-defeated deal all fell dismally short of a plan to leave the European Union in a meaningful sense. But this time, it’s different. What Boris Johnson has negotiated in Brussels really does seem to be the real Brexit deal.

    Freedom of movement? Britain will take back full control of its borders after a 14-month transition period. The money to Brussels? It’s being phased out, so we save some £70 billion over the next decade. The red tape? The nasty ‘level playing field’ commitments have been moved into the coming free trade negotiation. Global trade deals? We could start negotiating properly next month and the whole of the UK would be able to benefit from any free trade agreements from January 2021. Out, and into the world.

    For our part, plenty of concessions have been offered. The biggest is a compromise on Northern Ireland, allowing an all-Ireland economy with regulations set by Brussels – for as long as Stormont wants this to be the case. In theory, this keeps democratic control in the UK. There’s no unionist veto over the new arrangement, which enrages the DUP. Then there’s a slew of smaller points, important to Brussels: we agree never to tax Peter Mandelson’s pension, and so on. But this is the price of agreement, the currency of compromise. Under the circumstances, it’s about as good a deal as we could ask for.

    That’s in Win or lose this weekend, if the PM calls an election he is now unstoppable. North’s commentary in the early hours, which shows some of the potential legal, procedural and timing pitfalls, is at Brexit: it’s a deal, Jim…. But not as we know it, as Mr Spock of course never said. But it’s certainly true here. None of us has been this way before.


  13. Leave.EU and Arron Banks are peddling some serious misinformation on Twitter. I don’t know why but they are and they are probably misleading a lot of their followers.

    “Agreed” in response to a tweet saying that no previous government can bind the hands of a new government and that we should just sign up to Boris’s deal to get Brexit done. WRONG! This is a binding international treaty which, unlike the EU treaties which we hope to ditch, incorporates no unilateral right for the UK to withdraw. Therefore it is effectively forever and no subsequent government can amend the terms or withdraw from its international obligations under that treaty.

    As far as Boris’s deal is concerned, the result of any subsequent general election will be completely irrelevant. But Leave.EU and Banks are peddling the lie that getting Boris’s not very good deal over the line is just phase 1 of the war to get a ‘proper’ Brexit. Even worse, they are painting it as an opportunity to give Remoaners a good kicking. Nobody more than me would like to put the boot into Remoaners, but signing up to Boris’s deal is not doing that; quite the contrary, it’s an Orwellian boot stomping on the heads of 17.4 million Leave voters – forever.


  14. I think it’s easily explained Jaime. They’ve been boxed into a corner by Cummings, just like Labour and the Lib Dems. Nobody can afford to be seen, at the next general election, which will happen pretty soon, as the ones who have prevented Boris ‘Getting Brexit Done’.

    I also fear BRINO. But I mean Brexit In Narnia Only. In the real world this is a horrible compromise but better than not leaving the EU at all. IMO. No Deal remains a threat. I thought Gove made it clear to Andrew Neil yesterday on Politics Live that it’s still there if the EU tries to take wrongful advantage of the many gaps and loopholes in the process going forward, as pointed out by the likes of Richard North.

    One purpose of my ‘Hope, Compromise …” thread was to get us thinking about incremental gains when some of our biggest hopes seem to have been smashed to pieces. Including Climategate in that, after ten years. I think public reaction to the madness of XR has helped us to hope for better things from the UK government in climate and energy post Brexit 2 on 31st December 2020. But incrementally. If any of us live long enough.


  15. Richard,

    Perhaps I was being a tad overly dramatic about the prospects of signing up to Boris’s treaty, which is effectively May’s WA unaltered plus some tweeks to the Political Declaration and some jiggery pokery applied to the backstop to make it not look like a backstop and to apply only to NI as opposed to the whole of the UK (which the DUP don’t seem to be buying). Martin Howe QC, whose expert opinion I have valued greatly, believes it’s a tolerable deal (just) but suggests that the government could (and should) have done much better. He’s written a slightly enigmatic post on the deal which is not that clear on the specifics. But here are a few quotes:

    Under the Theresa May (TM) deal, the UK would have been locked into a scenario where we would have been forced to agree to whatever terms the EU chose to impose for the long term relationship, as the only avenue out of the catastrophically damaging whole-UK backstop.

    Under this revised draft agreement, the negotiations are firmly based on achieving an FTA which, unlike a customs union, allows each party to conduct their trade policy with third parties independently of each other. Further, unlike under the TM deal, it becomes realistic for the UK to walk away from the long term negotiations with “no deal” at the end of the transition period. This gives real negotiating leverage to hold out against the unacceptable terms which the EU will surely try to impose.

    Then the negatives:

    The above are important – very important – positive changes, but the revised WA still contains many severely negative features. This is because the text of the NI backstop Protocol is to be revised, but unfortunately the actual WA text itself, as negotiated and serially capitulated by Theresa May, will be untouched.

    The most important and damaging feature which remains is the long term subjection of the UK to rulings by the ECJ. At present, the ECJ is a multinational court in which we jointly participate. After we exit the EU, it will become an entirely foreign court. It will be an organ of the opposite treaty party with whom we may be in dispute, owing no loyalty at all to the UK. It is virtually unheard of in international relations for any sovereign independent state to submit the interpretation of its treaty obligations to the courts of the opposite treaty party, allowing them to be effectively re-written for the benefit of that party.

    However, TM’s WA contains a clause (Art.174) which means that the nominally independent arbitration panel set up to decide disputes would have to refer any issues of EU law for decision by the ECJ, and moreover would be bound by the result. Where the dispute concerns such issues, this would reduce the arbitrators to being a post box to send the dispute on to the ECJ and a rubber stamp to formalise the ECJ’s reasons. The ECJ would be the effective decision maker.

    The clause in the WA would apply long term: for EU citizens’ rights, effectively in perpetuity, or at least for the lifetime of EU citizens in the UK and their children. Further, the revised PD commits the parties to including a similar clause in the long term relationship agreement with the EU, so it would be with us for ever. If level playing field clauses in the long term agreement are modelled on EU law, the clause would bite. It would convert obligations to follow EU laws as they objecively stand, in effect into obligations to follow unpredictable “reinterpretations” of EU laws by the ECJ in the future.

    What I think Martin Howe is saying here is that, once the transition period ends, the UK can leave without a FTA in place, but this is not the same as ‘leaving without a deal’ because the binding international treaty is the deal. It’s a bit confusing. Then he goes on to say that there was no need for a transition period anyway and it’s very dangerous for the UK:

    Secondly, the WA would still contain the so-called transition period. It is understood (although this is not reflected in the legal text) that Boris Johnson’s government would not agree to extend this period beyond December 2020. During this period, the UK would be subject to all EU laws, both those that exist now and those that are brought in during that period, but would no longer have a vote or veto.

    This situation is highly dangerous for some industries in particular: financial services, who may be subjected to rule changes designed to force business such as Euro derivatives clearing from the City into Continental centres, and our fishing industry who will be vulnerable to further severe damage during the period before they can escape from the Common Fisheries Policy. Against that, it is hard to see what is now the justification for this over elaborate transition period when we are going to change to a free trade relationship with the EU instead of remaining in the customs union.

    Then he asks whether it is a ‘good’ deal (Rees-Mogg cravenly calls it “superb”):

    In very important respects, this deal is much much better than Theresa May’s deal. But using that deal – utterly atrocious from end to end – as a flawed benchmark for comparison greatly flatters the Johnson deal.

    If we ask whether is it a good deal compared with the deal which a competent government could have negotiated with the EU, the answer is undoubtedly “no”.

    That answers that.

    Finally, Howe talks about the pitfalls of getting this passed through Parliament:

    If there is a “yes” vote in principle to the deal in Parliament on Saturday 19 October 2019, it is far from clear how the government intends to achieve the unprecedented feat of passing such a complex and controversial piece of legislation through both Houses in under two weeks.

    But that is not the most important point. Once a Bill is placed before Parliament, the government will have no control over what amendments are tabled and which will be passed by the last-ditch anti-Brexit majority in both Houses. Amendments could be made – for example either for a second referendum, or requiring the government to go back and negotiate changes to the deal – which might turn a just-tolerable deal into a disastrous one.

    Letwin is already proposing to table an amendment requiring an extension even if Parliament votes in favour, thereby making a mockery of the whole reason for rushing to get a deal in the first place. Overall, I think it’s best that it’s voted down, yet another short extension takes place and a general election is held so the people of this country can decide once and for all which party they support promising either Remain, Boris’s bad Brexit deal or the Brexit Party’s clean break.


  16. @Jaime
    where does the phrase “level playing field” apply when the UK MP’S/voters looking at the EU deal we have?
    get out & sort it later, maybe not the best divorce deal but we get to get rid off the kids (junker & the other kn*b heads)
    PS-never understood why anybody would play a game uphill, is it an English thing like cheese rolling down the hill?


  17. Jaime: I duly got to the Martin Howe article yesterday but via Johnson’s Brexit deal leaves me utterly depressed, even though I would grimly vote for it by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph, who also rates it. (Paywall, sorry, but it’s both convincing and depressing.) Someone whose judgment of economics and how it affects EU politics I’ve come to respect over a fair number of years. Well, I did respect him until he wrote a piece recently on how UK leadership in renewable energy could be the making of our economic future. Bishop Hill also seemed astounded by that one.

    I raise this for two basic reasons: in this highly complex situation (Brexit interrelated with energy/climate), we need to be careful neither to be tribal nor unwilling to admit we may have got things wrong. Is it possible that May’s last-gasp commitment to net-zero by 2050 could be turned into an opportunity? It flies in the face of everything I thought I understood but I *am* open to learning more, at least from the likes of Evans-Pritchard.

    And, as a further test of our tribalism, I thought this was the standout speech in the Commons today, before Sir Oliver Wetwipe had his wicked way with proceedings:


  18. The less I say about May, the better I think Richard. I was less than convinced by her fiery support of ‘Brexit’.

    These are strange times. Wetwin has delayed the meaningful vote, supposedly meaning that Boris has to now ask for an extension, the hope for Remainers being that a second referendum will be a condition of the extension being granted. Boris has said he will not ask and the law does not require him to do so. Farage has torn apart Boris’s deal, exposing it for the Brexit in name only which it is, which is still actually worse than Remain and, finally, Macron is hinting strongly that he will not grant an extension, which means that, if Boris can’t get his deal through Parliament (made more likely by Wetwin’s Traitor Amendment), then we Leave on WTO terms on 31st October! 4-D Chess is probably simpler!


  19. Boris was careful to say in the Commons that he would not *negotiate* an extension, not that he wouldn’t send the letter. The smart money seems to be on it being sent by 11pm but the PM making clear it’s from the Commons, not him. Meanwhile the mood in the country is surely more inclined to support him in a general election at the end of today than the start. (Not saying the deal is so good that this is a wonderful thing, but simply what I’d expect from the polling about to come down the pipe.)


  20. One other glimmer of hope arising from the debates on the telly today: Labour and the SNP seem to have made a much bigger deal of Boris’s proposed agreement not keeping EU workers’ rights going than the same about environmental protections. A sign that the public reaction to XR has made an impact cross-party?


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