Brexit.

Sid

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France’s state secretary for European affairs has confirmed that the EU27 are not prepared to reopen the Brexit withdrawal agreement, and that without a “new political line” in the UK or a second referendum, Britain must expect to leave the bloc on 31 October.

“As President Macron has said, if there is a totally new political line in Britain, the Europeans would be prepared to reconsider,” she said. “But for now, 31 October is the final deadline.” A no-deal Brexit was “not what France wants”, de Montchalin added, “but we are prepared for it, and so it is now a realistic option.”
Emmanuel Macron said last week he considered 31 October to be the “final, final deadline” for Britain’s much delayed departure, saying he did not want the new European Commission and executive to have to deal with Brexit.
A no deal Brexit comes closer indeed.
As I suspected Macron has had it with the Westminster Punch and Judy Show.
And to be honest, I tend to agree with him more and more
No more vague promises to get another extension and then only kick the can down the road again, with no progress whatsoever.
It is time that the EU can move forward. With or without the UK.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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I've come to realise that people use their hearts and not their heads when choosing a political party to support. They cling to their ideas of what the parties stand for, and ignore what they actually say and do. It seems to me much like picking a football team and then sticking with them through thick and thin. The addition of Brexit choices to the mix is what has caused utter confusion, as that is also a subject on which most people have a heart-feeling either for or against the EU. It's hardly surprising that there is an overwhelming antipathy to the EU in the UK when the papers have barely ever said anything positive about the EU - all the coverage has been persistently negative. I never saw any coverage of the financial support given to deprived areas, or the provision of superfast broadband to Cornwall etc.
You've got to understand that the vast majority of people does not use media to expand their horizon, but to confirm it. Since we are in the age of the filter bubble this is nowadays a real problem.
 

Chin Rey

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While it's all very well that the son of a German draft-dodger and brothel-keeper could go on to become a billionaire, and that his son should go on to become POTUS, this does not, in itself, prove that the US is a particularly fair or equal society.
I wouldn't call that an example of social mobility since Trumpy's gran hardly started at the bottom. ;)


Do I even have to say what I would pick if I had to choose between living in Finland and living in the US? :)
I suppose we can make an educated guess what your answer would be.

But the more I read here and elsewhere about Brexit and Trump, the harder I find it to compare the Nordic societies to the Anglo-Americans at all.

Throughout those two squabbles I've seen Brits and Americans (especially Americans) compare their societies to some Nordic country. Sometimes it's in a positive way, sometimes in a negative way but in either case it's usually so alien to the society I know and am a part of it's hard to relate to it in any sensible way.

I suppose it's the same the other way. When we Scandi... ummm... Nordicians? try to describe the UK or USA we usually miss the mark completely. The only thing we can be sure of is that we don't know each other nearly as well as we thought we did.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Emmanuel Macron said last week he considered 31 October to be the “final, final deadline” for Britain’s much delayed departure, saying he did not want the new European Commission and executive to have to deal with Brexit.
A no deal Brexit comes closer indeed.
As I suspected Macron has had it with the Westminster Punch and Judy Show.
And to be honest, I tend to agree with him more and more
No more vague promises to get another extension and then only kick the can down the road again, with no progress whatsoever.
It is time that the EU can move forward. With or without the UK.
He doesn't want the new European Commission and executive to have to deal with Brexit? Has he been out drinking with Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, or maybe sniffing some of Michael Gove's coke?

If we leave with a disorderly no-deal Brexit on October 31, what on earth does he think the first order of business will be for both the EU in general and for the Republic of France in particular, on November 1?

Could it possibly be mitigating the -- as yet unquantifiable but certainly immense and catastrophic -- effects of a no-deal Brexit on the EU, combined with agreeing with the other EU states some sort of emergency package to keep things going in their interests they can then offer -- effectively impose on -- a dazed UK as it wakes up to political and economic chaos, and then to get down to what was always planned to be the longer and far more challenging task (now far more challenging because of the circumstances) of agreeing a longer-term relationship with what had been, until recently, one of the EU largest economies?

If he seriously believes that, he's so stupid or mendacious (or both) he'd probably stand a good chance of running our Conservative Party at the moment.

If the UK leaves the EU, whether in October or at some future time, whether having accepted the Withdrawal Agreement or without a deal at all -- then negotiating a long-term EU-UK relationship will dominate (and poison) UK politics and will also be a really major issue for the EU for at least a decade to come. Both sides have always known that -- why else does he think the "backstop" is so important and contentious?

Honestly, this the sort of nonsense we expect from the Conservative leadership also-rans, like Andrea Leadsom, not from the President of France.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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No Deal then

No, it's simply repeating what everyone knows.

The fact that, for example, everyone knew that Donald Trump wasn't going to build his wall at all, and even if he did, Mexico wasn't going to pay for it, didn't stop him saying so, and still doesn't stop him still bashing on about it.

Some candidates for the Conservative leadership are still trying to spin the No Deal Brexit line here, but even their rivals for that post are pointing out that they're saying it to please their target voters in the local Conservative Associations but won't be able/aren't sufficiently crazy actually to go for one should they find themselves elected.

When they have actually to face the political and economic realities, they'll do what they have to to avoid one.

My big worry about a no-deal Brexit is that it will happen by accident, with the then new Conservative PM doing his best to avoid it and and blaming everyone else if he can't (or she, but it's almost certainly going to be he).
 
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Sid

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Honestly, this the sort of nonsense we expect from the Conservative leadership also-rans, like Andrea Leadsom, not from the President of France.
Sorry, but it is no nonsense at all. It is inconvenient and not the best possible solution. Yes, all true, but no nonsense.
Seen from this side of the pond what is totally not happening in the UK is movement or at least working towards a Brexit solution.

What we only witness is a Tory theater about who will be the next PM and then everyone in Westminster will most likely go on a happy summer recess and then in October nothing substantial will be agreed. Yet again.

Macron will agree on another extension, but only if the UK comes up with a workable solution with a time table when what will be done to finally get an outcome.
The EU has problems functioning properly as long as it is not clear what one of the big countries is going to do. This can not continue for years to come. We (EU27) might be better off biting the bullet end October, then let the wound fester for whatever time the UK likes to play the Brexit game (Unicorns included).
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Sorry, but it is no nonsense at all. It is inconvenient and not the best possible solution. Yes, all true, but no nonsense.
Seen from this side of the pond what is totally not happening in the UK is movement or at least working towards a Brexit solution.

What we only witness is a Tory theater about who will be the next PM and then everyone in Westminster will most likely go on a happy summer recess and then in October nothing substantial will be agreed. Yet again.

Macron will agree on another extension, but only if the UK comes up with a workable solution with a time table when what will be done to finally get an outcome.
The EU has problems functioning properly as long as it is not clear what one of the big countries is going to do. This can not continue for years to come. We (EU27) might be better off biting the bullet end October, then let the wound fester for whatever time the UK likes to play the Brexit game.
The expectation here is much the same, except that the "workable solution" has to be a general election -- something has to break the deadlock and that's all that will achieve it.

The hope then is that the Conservatives will at that point implode and we'll end up with a minority Labour government who will then withdraw the A50 notification (and those who want to can blame the LibDems and SNP, who will, of course, take credit for saving us).

The other possibilities are just too horrible to think about right now.
 

Chin Rey

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He doesn't want the new European Commission and executive to have to deal with Brexit? Has he been out drinking with Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, or maybe sniffing some of Michael Gove's coke?
That's a she, not a he.

But apart from that, headlines can be deceptive. What Amélie de Montchalin actually said was that without a new political line in the or a second referendum, UK must expect to leave EU on 31st October.

I'm afraid that's just realism. Unless something drastic happen on the British side, a new extension will only postpone the inevitable. Let's hope something drastic does happen.
 

Innula Zenovka

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That's a she, not a he.

But apart from that, headlines can be deceptive. What Amélie de Montchalin actually said was that without a new political line in the or a second referendum, UK must expect to leave EU on 31st October.

I'm afraid that's just realism. Unless something drastic happen on the British side, a new extension will only postpone the inevitable. Let's hope something drastic does happen.
I was alluding to the quotation I reproduced in my post:

Emmanuel Macron said last week he considered 31 October to be the “final, final deadline” for Britain’s much delayed departure, saying he did not want the new European Commission and executive to have to deal with Brexit.
"He" was meant to refer to President Macron.

The only "something drastic" that can possibly happen between now and a conclusion to this stage of the Brexit process other than a no-deal WTO Brexit is a general election (and I think the that most likely the new Conservative leader will ask for an extension in order to hold one".

If the UK does not remain in the EU, then the new Commission can expect -- are expecting, in the unlikely event of the WA being accepted -- is to spend at least 2 years (and probably more) agreeing a new long-term relationship between the EU and the UK. A no-deal WTO Brexit will only make those negotiations more problematic, but either way, the idea that things can be resolved one way or the other in October other than by the UK withdrawing the A50 notification is simply nonsense.

Granting an extension to allow for a general election (and, as a remote possibility, a further extension to allow a referendum to take place, though I think that's becoming increasingly unlikely) is the only way for the EU to avoid, at best, several years' more of Brexit negotiations sucking up the oxygen.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Ah.. this is interesting (at least to me) and possibly significant:


Labour
will launch the first step in an audacious cross-party attempt to block a new prime minister from forcing through a no-deal Brexit in October.

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, threw down the gauntlet to Tory cabinet ministers including Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond, saying they should back Labour’s attempts if they were serious about preventing no deal.

If passed, the motion would give MPs control of the parliamentary agenda on 25 June. The same motion could then potentially be used to begin legislation to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal.

The motion, which Labour will table during the opposition day debate on Wednesday, has the backing of the former Conservative minister Oliver Letwin and the leaders of the Scottish National party, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

Unlike typical opposition day debates, the motion, if passed, will be binding, but it will need to secure the support of more Conservative MPs.

The plan, which has been a closely guarded secret, comes as several Tory leadership contenders, including Boris Johnson – who will launch his campaign on Wednesday – emphasised their willingness to accept a no-deal Brexit.

Those who have worked on the plan include leading former and current Conservatives including Nick Boles and Dominic Grieve.

Also this:

 

Chin Rey

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I was alluding to the quotation I reproduced in my post:
Oh, you mean the second quotation in your post - I only noticed the first one.

But he too says pretty much the same as Amélie de Montchalin:

However, Macron left the door open for another extension of the Brexit deadline if Britain decided to ask for time to launch a second Brexit vote. “It’s feasible if we have the perspective of either a new referendum or a totally new scheme which would be acceptable for the 27 and our negotiator.”
Hidden right at the end of the article of course. It doesn't make a good headline.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I think it's a difference in emphasis, that's all.

In the UK, most informed commentary (including from a lot of Conservatives MPs) works on the assumption that, whoever becomes leader of the Conservative Party, she or he will have to ask for an extension to hold an election or a referendum, and that all talk of renegotiating the Withdrawal Agreement at this stage is so much nonsense.

Looks as if politicians in Continental Europe are seeking to reassure their voters and to warn Conservative leadership candidates that they're not impressed with nonsense about Boris Johnson (or anyone else) making them give him a unicorn for breakfast renegotiate the WA because they're frightened he's serious about a no-deal Brexit.

Most people here are as sick and tired of the whole ghastly mess as are people on the Continent, and also accept that the only three options are no-deal, revoke or the Withdrawal Agreement. It's just that the political process, in both the Conservative Party and Westminster as a whole, takes time to catch up on it.

But there is movement -- see my post above about how Labour are leading a serious cross-party attempt to block a no-deal Brexit starting 25 June, which is the next chance they have.
 

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But the more I read here and elsewhere about Brexit and Trump, the harder I find it to compare the Nordic societies to the Anglo-Americans at all.

Throughout those two squabbles I've seen Brits and Americans (especially Americans) compare their societies to some Nordic country. Sometimes it's in a positive way, sometimes in a negative way but in either case it's usually so alien to the society I know and am a part of it's hard to relate to it in any sensible way.
Well, and why not - if you want to recognize what's good and bad about your own country it never hurts to look at how other countries are doing it and where the differences are.

In short term: the Scandinavian countries are still more or less states with a strong social welfare system, and their socities do benefit greatly from it.

The UK had a good developed social welfare system, also strong unions, until Margaret Thatcher happened and David Cameron shunned the rest. So looking at the Scandinavian states shows Brits clearly what they've lost since the 80s.

The USA instead never had a strong welfare system, and whatever rests were there, it was ushered by Ronald Reagan and most of his successors. The USA are like the UK on steroids in that kind of area, so basically looking at the USA shows the UK where they might end if not changing their course.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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A cruelly accurate and elegant assessment from Rachel Sylvester in The Times.

It's good to see that some of the old ideas and certainties about the duties of crown servants that I picked up from my late father are still alive and well in today's senior civil service:


Among her observations:
One minister predicts that Mr Johnson will win the leadership contest but his premiership will be “very short-lived”. “The Tory party is on life support. Boris is like a shot of morphine — they will feel great for a bit then realise it’s killed them,” he says. There could be another election, or a second referendum, within months.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Ok - so we'll see. For me social mobility is a fundamental part of social justice; you cannot have the latter without the first one. It just doesn't work.
You might find this article interesting -- it explains the political and social context in which the idea should be considered

 
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Tigger

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The expectation here is much the same, except that the "workable solution" has to be a general election -- something has to break the deadlock and that's all that will achieve it.

The hope then is that the Conservatives will at that point implode and we'll end up with a minority Labour government who will then withdraw the A50 notification (and those who want to can blame the LibDems and SNP, who will, of course, take credit for saving us).

The other possibilities are just too horrible to think about right now.
Again? Come on Innula, show me ONE labour MP who has ever suggested that Labour would revoke article 50 if they won a general election.

They won't. They absolutely will not revoke it. 0% chance of that outcome, UNLESS they need LibDems and SNP to form a majority and they make it a precondition of a deal.

A general election actually changes nothing with respect to brexit. The negotiations are over, the only possible outcomes are No Deal, May's deal, No Brexit. Labour will not revoke so no brexit is off the table, it would be electoral suicide for Labour to support May's deal and No Deal burns the country down. Labour will be as frozen as the Tories and will hemorrhage support just as fast.

Winning a GE pre-brexit or early post-brexit will be a poison pill for labour that they will struggle to survive.
 
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Tigger

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I think it's a difference in emphasis, that's all.

In the UK, most informed commentary (including from a lot of Conservatives MPs) works on the assumption that, whoever becomes leader of the Conservative Party, she or he will have to ask for an extension to hold an election or a referendum, and that all talk of renegotiating the Withdrawal Agreement at this stage is so much nonsense.

Looks as if politicians in Continental Europe are seeking to reassure their voters and to warn Conservative leadership candidates that they're not impressed with nonsense about Boris Johnson (or anyone else) making them give him a unicorn for breakfast renegotiate the WA because they're frightened he's serious about a no-deal Brexit.

Most people here are as sick and tired of the whole ghastly mess as are people on the Continent, and also accept that the only three options are no-deal, revoke or the Withdrawal Agreement. It's just that the political process, in both the Conservative Party and Westminster as a whole, takes time to catch up on it.

But there is movement -- see my post above about how Labour are leading a serious cross-party attempt to block a no-deal Brexit starting 25 June, which is the next chance they have.
It looks like Europe is concluding that No Deal is the only way to end the brexit fiasco and will allow the UK to fall out in order to inflict a dose of reality onto our political class and voters. The rest of Europe has seen what Brexit has done to the UK and none of them want it, no matter how mad they are, they won't be repeating Britain's mistake of leaping into the toilet and flushing their future away.


That is why some continental politicians are sadly coming round to the idea that no deal might be the only way to jolt UK politics into a clearer-eyed appraisal of the country’s needs regarding European markets, and what that costs.
...
“Brexit is dead,” one EU diplomat told me recently. Surprised by the bluntness of this assertion, I countered that it was very much alive. The clarification came back: yes, obviously it could still happen, and on the worst possible terms, but viewed from the outside, intellectually, as a proposition based on the original 2016 arguments for leaving the EU, the debate is over. Not even the most nationalistic parties in other member states contemplate taking Euroscepticism to the lengths taken in Britain.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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It looks like Europe is concluding that No Deal is the only way to end the brexit fiasco and will allow the UK to fall out in order to inflict a dose of reality onto our political class and voters. The rest of Europe has seen what Brexit has done to the UK and none of them want it, no matter how mad they are, they won't be repeating Britain's mistake of leaping into the toilet and flushing their future away.
Well... the EU must protect itself against a possible Boris Johnson government. Let's say the UK is installing a trolling commissioner, and the government will always block stuff just because it can, so disrupting the EU from the inside out. That's one possible tactic.

So of course the idea of finally coming to an end becomes more and more appealing, and people tend to care less about which one.
 
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Chin Rey

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Well, and why not - if you want to recognize what's good and bad about your own country it never hurts to look at how other countries are doing it and where the differences are.
Yes but I'm beginning to get a feeling we're comparing apples to oranges here. Or rather that we're talking about single superficial details without considering the context or the historical, geographical and cultural factors our different societies are built on.

I really started thining about it when people started discussing social mobility here. The idea that somebody could be against it, came as a total surprise. To me this is a vital part of the fundament for a thriving society. There's no discussion about the principles there at all: we want people to move forwards and upwards and develop their talents, not only for their own sake but also because that's where the wealth of the nation ultimately comes from.
As a former teacher I see this especially in education, which of course is a very important factor for social mobility. In the USA - and apparently in the UK too - the government spend money on education. In the Nordic countries we invest in it.
 
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