Brexit.

Luisa Land

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I have a question to those who live in UK:
On the background of the coverage of Johnson's visit to Scotland, NI and Wales, especially in view of the reaction in Wales to Johnson when he visted, some commentators here in Germany interpret the reactions that more and more people in the UK are slowly becoming aware of the negative consequences of Brexit.
Remembering that Wales voted for "leave", but now great concerns have arisen among the population (at least such concerns are reported for Wales)

Certainly there will be some who have changed their minds in favour of the EU, but is that really such a big number so that this tendency could be decisive for the elections?
What are your observations and experiences?
 

Chin Rey

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Certainly there will be some who have changed their minds in favour of the EU, but is that really such a big number so that this tendency could be decisive for the elections?
I don't live in the UK but I don't think anybody knows for sure.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I have a question to those who live in UK:
On the background of the coverage of Johnson's visit to Scotland, NI and Wales, especially in view of the reaction in Wales to Johnson when he visted, some commentators here in Germany interpret the reactions that more and more people in the UK are slowly becoming aware of the negative consequences of Brexit.
Remembering that Wales voted for "leave", but now great concerns have arisen among the population (at least such concerns are reported for Wales)

Certainly there will be some who have changed their minds in favour of the EU, but is that really such a big number so that this tendency could be decisive for the elections?
What are your observations and experiences?
You have to remember that our elections are for single member constituencies by the first-past-the-post system, so the figures in national polls can't be used directly to assess the likely outcome of any general election.

Instead, what psephologists usually do is start by looking at the actual votes cast in the previous general election (since the way people voted in the last election is the best guide to how they will most likely vote in the next one) and use that try to calculate how the next election will go.

The big worry for the Conservatives is that they are losing votes on both sides -- the Brexit Party on the right and the LibDems on the left (at least in the South of England) are syphoning off both pro- and anti-Brexit voters from them.

Conservatives who just want to leave the EU, deal or no deal, are defecting to Farage's party, and Conservatives who want a softer Brexit (or even to remain) are defecting to the Lib Dems, and the further the Conservatives move to the right, to try to stop the defections to Farage, the more pro-EU Conservatives they lose to the LibDems.

The LibDems are also, of course, attracting Labour voters, but according to all the computerised models, apparently, including the one the LibDems use, the LibDems cost Labour votes but cost the Tories seats -- that is, Labour voters in much of Southern and South Western England, where the Labour candidate doesn't stand much chance of winning, are generally prepared to support the LibDem candidate to keep the Tories out, but tend to remain loyal in other areas (including the so-called "left behind" pro-leave areas of the North and Midlands) or, if they think Labour are too pro-EU, they're far more likely to vote for Farage than for the hated Conservatives.

It's really difficult to predict what's going to happen, because we've never been in this kind of situation before, and with first-past-the-post in seats with up to 4 parties in serious contention (rather than the more usual 2) a small change in the numbers can make a huge difference in the number of seats won by each party.

Nevertheless, if you look at the LibDems' 100 top target seats, you'll see that the overwhelming majority of them are held by the Conservatives, who, of course, were the major beneficiaries of the collapse of the LibDem vote in 2015, as a result of their having spent the previous five years in coalition with the Conservatives. That's now completely changed.

So any election in the immediate future is almost certainly going to be bad for the Tories and good for pro-remain parties.
 
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Daniel Voyager

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The EU says this today
Earlier on Tuesday, European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said: “I can remind you that the EU position remains unchanged.

“We have agreed the withdrawal agreement with the UK Government, the deal we have achieved is the best possible deal and we are always willing to add language to the political declaration but not reopen the withdrawal agreement.

“The no deal scenario is obviously not our preferred outcome and we continue to believe that an orderly Brexit is the best outcome for all.”
Source: 'We will leave!' Michael Gove sends stern warning to EU 'refusing' to negotiate new deal

A general election or a peoples vote is not needed before 31st October.

I really don't get how the EU still says the withdrawal agreement with the UK Government is the best possible deal. It's been voted down three times and it's dead now.

Why can't the EU just reopen the withdrawal agreement so a new deal could be agreed. It can be put to MPs where it may pass.
 
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Tigger

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The EU says this today


Source: 'We will leave!' Michael Gove sends stern warning to EU 'refusing' to negotiate new deal

A general election or a peoples vote is not needed before 31st October.

I really don't get how the EU still says the withdrawal agreement with the UK Government is the best possible deal. It's been voted down three times and it's dead now.

Why can't the EU just reopen the withdrawal agreement so a new deal could be agreed. It can be put to MPs where it may pass.
Reopen it to what end?

The agreement was negotiated between the UK and the EU. The fact that the UK parliament wont pass that agreement is entirely an internal UK problem.

Really the government should have determined what parliament would have found acceptable before entering the negotiations and even before triggering article 50, as that is what started the clock ticking.

From the EU's perspective it's simple, they agreed a deal and the UK has immediately reneged on what it agreed.

The agreement offered is the best that can be had with the red lines that were presented by the UK government.
The EU itself has it's own red lines, including that the 4 freedoms are inseparable and that the GFA must be protected.

Johnsons position is that the EU must abandon one of it's red lines before he will even speak to them. Given that is entirely unacceptable there is no possibility of negotiation. Imagine if parliament had passed the agreement and the EU had changed it's mind and then demanded that the UK must agree to be bound by the ECJ as a precondition to further talks. That's what the UK has just done.

This is not a sincere attempt to re-open negotiations, demanding the removal of the backstop is killing the GFA and will never be accepted by the EU because it will never be accepted by Ireland.


e.t.a.
One more thing...

The whole complaint about the backstop is a smokescreen anyway. Johnson and the brexiteers argue it is not necessary as there is some technological solution to the border (but they can never say what that solution is).

But the backstop is a last resort, it would only go into effect if no other border solution can be found. So, if there is a technological solution as the brexiteers insist there is, they have the whole of the implementation period to find it and if they can then the backstop is irrelevant and would never happen.

So the only reason to object to the backstop is if the technological solution they claim exists, does not in fact exist. As that is the only time the backstop would matter.

At this point it's worth noting that the person given the job of finding the technology that can solve the border issue came to the conclusion that the the technology does not exist and then retired.
 
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Sid

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Why can't the EU just reopen the withdrawal agreement so a new deal could be agreed. It can be put to MPs where it may pass.
Because it needs not only UK parliament approval but EU27 approval as well. And Europe thinks this is as far as they can go.
Unicorns will not get included, no cake, no cherry picking.
 

Chin Rey

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I really don't get how the EU still says the withdrawal agreement with the UK Government is the best possible deal. It's been voted down three times and it's dead now.

Why can't the EU just reopen the withdrawal agreement so a new deal could be agreed. It can be put to MPs where it may pass.
It's the best possible deal within the limits of the "red lines" Theresa May laid down before negotiations started.

Barnier explained it all with this nice little graphical presentation:


(Source japantimes.co.jp/ the pic is all voer the web but they had the highest res version I could find)

The bottom line is, the UK is not willing to respect or abide by EU's policies in any way and that inevitably means there can't be any close relationship.

EU would have been happy to offer the UK a softer Brexit, that goes without saying, and it's what many Brits (including Corbyn) wanted too. EU might still have been willing to re-negotiate on such premises but that would require re-negotiations from scratch, not just some last-minute tweaks. Who wants another two year extension? It's exactly the opposite of what Boris & Co. want anyway - they want to give less and get more in return.

Johnson's unicorn demands contain three major issues:

1. Secure British expat citizens' rights in EU contries.
This is actually a fair demand but unfortunately it's not up to EU but to each member to decide.

2. No backstop
This is the situation:
  • The GFA dictates that there can not be a visible border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  • A "hard" border is guaranteed to cause a lot of trouble in Ireland and may even provoke a restart the Northern Irish civil war.
  • Goods and people moving into ROI from Northern Ireland will have to conform with EU rules and regulations. Goods and people moving into Northern Ireland from ROI will have to conform with UK rules and regulations.
  • An invisible border means that the authorities on both sides will be unable to enforce their rules effectively.
Anybody who can come up with an elegant and good solution to this conumdrum would deserve a Nobel Prize in politics (except there is no such prize of course). Nobody is happy with the backstop but it's the best anybody has managed to come up with. Johnson's "brilliant" plan is simply to clsoe his eyes and pretend the problem doesn't exist. I don't think that is a good strategy.

3. No divorce bill
There is no divorce bill but Eu expects UK to pay what they've already comitted themselves to and also pay a membership fee during the transition period while they still are effectively part-time members of the EU.
 

Tigger

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I have a question to those who live in UK:
On the background of the coverage of Johnson's visit to Scotland, NI and Wales, especially in view of the reaction in Wales to Johnson when he visted, some commentators here in Germany interpret the reactions that more and more people in the UK are slowly becoming aware of the negative consequences of Brexit.
Remembering that Wales voted for "leave", but now great concerns have arisen among the population (at least such concerns are reported for Wales)

Certainly there will be some who have changed their minds in favour of the EU, but is that really such a big number so that this tendency could be decisive for the elections?
What are your observations and experiences?
Wales is full of sheep farms. Over 90% of their exports go to the EU. If we leave with no deal they will face import tariffs of between 38% and 92%. This will do so much damage to sheep farmers that it may well spell the end of that way of life in Wales. This isnt what they were promised, they were promised things would be better instead they face extermination.

There have been warnings that there will have to be a mass slaughter of Welsh lambs in the immediate aftermath of a no deal. The vast majority of Welsh lamb exports, 92%, go to the EU. Just 5% of lamb produced in Wales is consumed here.

 
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The refusal to negotiate until the EU drops the backstop is really just a way for Johnson to avoid talking about his plan. Because he doesn't have one. Let's start from a simple question: What agreement would pass Parliament? The series of indicative votes found a majority for only one position, that Parliament does not want a hard Brexit. But no other measure won the support of a majority.
 
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Kara Spengler

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I wonder if the EU27 is willing to grand an extension even for elections.
The UK had time enough to hold elections during the last years, but mainly used it for self centered political games and maneuvers, prehistorical time consuming procedures to get a new political leader of a party and so a PM. Fine that the UK appreciates all these political tactical poker games and procedures between parliament and government, but they are wasting that time 27 fold in Europe.

I keep saying it: It only needs one vote against it in the EU summit and there will be no extension, not even for general elections.
Macron has big plans for Europe and he needs results to get reelected too. And there could be more leaders who are not particularly fond of the already to long lingering situation.
I will take "what do politicians do without a deadline" for 100 please Alex.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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Why can't the EU just reopen the withdrawal agreement so a new deal could be agreed. It can be put to MPs where it may pass.
Because of the signals which the Johnson government has been sending over to Brussels; this agreement is the result of the UK dealing with 27 nations, and getting the approval of 27 nations takes quite some time. It took over two years to negotiate this WA, and all after it happened was no, no, no - by the parliament. This agreement was the result of several red lines on both sides - of course, the EU also wants to protect itself and it won't allow somebody having the major benefits of the EU without conforming to the major liabilities as well. If the EU would grant such a thing, it would make itself weak and obsolete. And to not forget is was the UK which triggered A50, so it's up to the UK to display some flexibility right now. Aside that, why go back to the table, when the government again won't be able to get it pass the parliament anyway?

The signal the Johnson administration send to Brussels is that it is now a hardcore Brexit administration, and that they don't really care about compromises. A new agreement though would require the ability to listen to each other and to make compromises - both are abilities, which Theresa May had, but Boris Johnson did not display so far.

So far, the image Johnson sends is vastly different - he's demanding, demanding, demanding - and doesn't care if his demands are possible, or not.

Johnson also crushed the tradition of any new head of government, which is to first visit the most important neighboring states to say "Hi", so for example France. Instead he went to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. This is a really strong gesture, namely "We don't need the EU" and "We don't care", which of course decreased the willingness on renegotiating as well.

For the EU to renegotiate the signals coming out of London must be different - Johnson is doing all in his might to don't go back on the table too soon, because his belief is "delays don't make deal - deadlines do."

Aside that, the EU right now is in between two terms as well, so also now occupied with itself quite much.

And last, but not least, of course the EU is setting a warning example here to showcase what you are going to loose, if you are leaving totally. Both sides are going to loose, but it is the UK which started the mess and it's up for the UK to sort it out.

The backstop is about border control; of course, the EU wants to protect its outer borders as the UK wants to achieve. I mean, one reason why many voted for leave was to get rid of the freedom of movement, taking back control on your own borders, so you cannot blame the EU wanting the same thing on her own borders.

In idea, the backstop is just a temporariy solution, until a real agreement has been made. So this means that the MPs don't have much trust in the government's ability to ever come to such a thing. And all the super duper technical solutions some people are fantasizing about is simply not yet there.
 

Innula Zenovka

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The refusal to negotiate until the EU drops the backstop is really just a way for Johnson to avoid talking about his plan. Because he doesn't have one. Let's start from a simple question: What agreement would pass Parliament? The series of indicative votes found a majority for only one position, that Parliament does not want a hard Brexit. But no other measure won the support of a majority.
The current political impasse can't be solved while the UK has the current parliament. However, if Johnson calls a general election under the present circumstances, then his party is likely to be annihilated.

Seems to me that Johnson realises this and is trying to position himself and his party for an inevitable general election this autumn, before we leave the EU, and wants to be able to present his party to the electorate as the ones who are trying to deliver Brexit but need a new mandate, in the form of a working majority, to do that.

I don't think he expects, or particularly wants, to win the election.

However, he'd obviously prefer to lead them into a defeat rather than a rout, so they get a much-needed spell in opposition to try to recover from the collective nervous breakdown they've had over the last three years, secure in the knowledge that they've neutralised the threat to them represented by Farage and his party's latest incarnation, able to blame Labour, the LibDems and the SNP for whatever follows, rather than take the blame for the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

And, if by some miracle the Tories were to find they had a working majority that didn't depend on the DUP, then he'd be able to resolve the backstop issue by asking the EU to negotiate the deal on the basis that an open border between NI and the Republic could be retained by having the EU/UK customs border in the middle of the Irish Sea, which was originally the joint position of both the EU and the UK.

The next month is going to be all theatre, aimed at the British electorate in preparation for an election that's inevitable within the next few months. The only question is whether it happens before or after we leave the EU.

That's the only way to resolve the problem and, to my mind, all the main players' different interests (other than those of the DUP and Nigel Farage), in both the UK and the EU27, will be best served by an election before Brexit.
 
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Tigger

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So apparently Johnson is threatening to defy a vote of no confidence and will refuse to quit in that event as it is "only convention" that he should do so.

Unfortunately pretty much all of the UK's so called constitution is "only convention"

 
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Innula Zenovka

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Unfortunately pretty much all of the UK's so called constitution is "only convention"
The test, though, of any constitutional rule is not whether it's written in statute but whether it is fit for purpose in solving particular dilemmas.

The Fixed Term Parliament Act, for example, replaced the existing convention under which a Prime Minister losing a no-confidence vote would have to call a general election immediately with a statute mandating a timetable with various delays built into it.

In practice, I would say that was a serious mistake that's only made matters worse, and that the Act should be repealed as quickly as posisble since we were better off without it.
 
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Luisa Land

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this is an interview with Fintan O'Toole a columnist at the Irish Times and author of "Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain." published in the german weekly Die Zeit


At least I found it interesting and maybe its interesting for other Non-Brits too, cause it explains somewhat why Boris Johnson
is so popular with many Brits. While here on the continent Johnson is seen more as the liar, the clown...untrustworthy
 

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Because of the signals which the Johnson government has been sending over to Brussels; this agreement is the result of the UK dealing with 27 nations, and getting the approval of 27 nations takes quite some time. It took over two years to negotiate this WA, and all after it happened was no, no, no - by the parliament. This agreement was the result of several red lines on both sides - of course, the EU also wants to protect itself and it won't allow somebody having the major benefits of the EU without conforming to the major liabilities as well. If the EU would grant such a thing, it would make itself weak and obsolete. And to not forget is was the UK which triggered A50, so it's up to the UK to display some flexibility right now. Aside that, why go back to the table, when the government again won't be able to get it pass the parliament anyway?

The signal the Johnson administration send to Brussels is that it is now a hardcore Brexit administration, and that they don't really care about compromises. A new agreement though would require the ability to listen to each other and to make compromises - both are abilities, which Theresa May had, but Boris Johnson did not display so far.

So far, the image Johnson sends is vastly different - he's demanding, demanding, demanding - and doesn't care if his demands are possible, or not.

Johnson also crushed the tradition of any new head of government, which is to first visit the most important neighboring states to say "Hi", so for example France. Instead he went to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. This is a really strong gesture, namely "We don't need the EU" and "We don't care", which of course decreased the willingness on renegotiating as well.

For the EU to renegotiate the signals coming out of London must be different - Johnson is doing all in his might to don't go back on the table too soon, because his belief is "delays don't make deal - deadlines do."

Aside that, the EU right now is in between two terms as well, so also now occupied with itself quite much.

And last, but not least, of course the EU is setting a warning example here to showcase what you are going to loose, if you are leaving totally. Both sides are going to loose, but it is the UK which started the mess and it's up for the UK to sort it out.

The backstop is about border control; of course, the EU wants to protect its outer borders as the UK wants to achieve. I mean, one reason why many voted for leave was to get rid of the freedom of movement, taking back control on your own borders, so you cannot blame the EU wanting the same thing on her own borders.

In idea, the backstop is just a temporariy solution, until a real agreement has been made. So this means that the MPs don't have much trust in the government's ability to ever come to such a thing. And all the super duper technical solutions some people are fantasizing about is simply not yet there.
The irony is the UK already had several (3 I think) deals with the EU allowing them to opt out of things. If, in the far future, the UK rejoins the EU they probably will not get them again so the long term result of brexit could be MORE control by Brussels.
 
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Kara Spengler

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So apparently Johnson is threatening to defy a vote of no confidence and will refuse to quit in that event as it is "only convention" that he should do so.

Unfortunately pretty much all of the UK's so called constitution is "only convention"


 
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Chin Rey

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The UK's GDP deacreased by 0,2%, when comparing Q2/2019 with Q1/2019. This is the first decrease since 2012.
That may not be directly related to Brexit, it's possible they've simply run out of CCTMTESBTIAI (Clever Cheats To Make The Economy Seem Better Than It Actually Is).
 
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