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Innula Zenovka

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Though I don't understand why she's being criticised.

Johnson and Frost hadn't involved her in the negotiations at all, and by the time the bill arrived on Christmas Eve it was too late for her to do anything about it, so why bother reading it rather than trying to enjoy whatever sort of Christmas she was able to have?

I mean, what would have been different had she blown out the nativity trail, spent the holiday reading the bill and then told Johnson she thought it was dreadful?

They weren't going to renegotiate anything by that point, by which time it was Johnson's deal or no deal, whether or not she bothered to read anything -- there was no more reason for her to read bill on Christmas Eve than there would have been in your or my reading the damn thing, particularly when she has civil servants to do that kind of thing for her.

That's what taking back control is all about, after all.
 

Sid

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I don't know where the British pay their ministers their excellent salaries for, but in general at this side of the pond we expect them to be on top of their ballgame for that kind of money.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I don't know where the British pay their ministers theier excellent salaries for, but in general at this side of the pond we expect them to be on top of their ballgame for that kind of money.
What would you have expected a Dutch minister to do in a similar position?

I'd have expected her to read the sections dealing with her responsibilities, certainly, in order to be prepared when discussing it with her civil servants over the Christmas break, who certainly will have been reading it in great detail and trying to determine how to implement the parts that apply to their department.

But since it was a done deal by the time she received it, and most of it is nothing to do with her ministry anyway, why spend Christmas Eve reading the whole thing?

What damage was caused, and to whom, by her attending the nativity walk, or what damage might she have averted by acting other than she did?

By the time thing thing hit her desk, the damage was all done, to my mind, and it was too late to undo it.

ETA


(I remember there was a similar fuss about Ken Clarke not reading the Maastricht Treaty, which he said was pointless because it takes a trained international trade lawyer to read and interpret that kind of agreement, and HMG had plenty of them on the payroll to read it and tell him what it all meant).
 
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Arkady Arkright

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Though I don't understand why she's being criticised.
I'd have expected her to read the sections dealing with her responsibilities, certainly, in order to be prepared when discussing it with her civil servants over the Christmas break, who certainly will have been reading it in great detail and trying to determine how to implement the parts that apply to their department.
But since it was a done deal by the time she received it, and most of it is nothing to do with her ministry anyway, why spend Christmas Eve reading the whole thing?
She's paid £100K a year. She should be doing her job, not messing about with Xmas walks.
 

Innula Zenovka

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She's paid £100K a year. She should be doing her job, not messing about with Xmas walks.
And I'm asking whether it's actually part of her job to read the text of international trade agreements rather than the reports and briefing notes on them that specialist lawyers working for the department prepare for her.

Several university groups and think tanks were busy over the Christmas break reading the document, and most of them had summaries up on their websites over Christmas and Boxing Days so the rest of us could make sense of the agreement (which is very technical stuff indeed).

I imagine her civil servants were performing a similar task for her benefit, together with a summary of how it affects the work of their department and how best to implement the various measures it necessitates and how to communicate to the fishing industry what they need to know and to do.

That's what she needed to read and approve, not the document itself.

Johnson and Frost brought back an agreement which everyone knew would be disastrous for the fishing industry, or anyone who knows anything about the fishing industry does, but I'm unclear how, come Christmas Eve, anyone could have mitigated the consequences of Brexit and their mishandling of it.

Say she'd blown out Christmas completely and spent it all reading the document.

How would things be any different up in Peterhead today?
 
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Sid

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She should have known what is in the agreement even before it was agreed. Christmas eve was far too late in the process.
I don't know how things exactly work in the UK, but here in NL every minister is the highest responsible authority for the department he/she is the head of.
The PM is 'only' the political leader and the chairman of the cabinet of ministers.
 

Innula Zenovka

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She should have known what is in the agreement even before it was agreed. Christmas eve was far too late in the process.
I don't know how things exactly work in the UK, but here in NL every minister is the highest responsible authority for the department he/she is the head of.
The PM is 'only' the political leader and the chairman of the cabinet of ministers.
Yes, so on Christmas Eve the Agreement -- a highly complex and technical document -- is at last finalised.

She and her department already know what's in it, or at least what's relevant to their work give or take a few details, and will have been busy since well before Christmas preparing for January 1st, deal or no deal, with the lamentable results we're seeing.

What's she supposed to learn from reading the final text as soon as it becomes available, rather than having someone check it to confirm it contains nothing they didn't expect and that might affect the plans they've already made on the basis of what they already knew about its contents?

Most of it is nothing to do with her department -- she's not interested in subsidies for steel production plants or solar heating -- so there's no point in her reading it, and the stuff that is relevant she should already know about.
 

Chin Rey

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They're interested in a deregulated financial services market, which works out well for the whole sector. If -- for example -- Deutsche Bank's London offices can't now handle particular business on behalf of non-EU client, then that moves to their Frankfurt or Paris offices, while London handles that bank's European business on behalf of non-EU businesses that's better done outside EU oversight and regulation.

...

That works for the EU, too, since the Tory right's vision of a deregulated Singapore on the Thames in which EU satellite and correspondent offices can, when convenient, do business they couldn't safely do in the EU must have obvious attractions for many EU banks.
Yes, that seems to be the plan but there is a catch: there are already strong actors on the international finance market. I can't see any plausible reason why anybody would want to move their non-EU business to London rather than to Singapore or New York.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Yes, that seems to be the plan but there is a catch: there are already strong actors on the international finance market. I can't see any plausible reason why anybody would want to move their non-EU business to London rather than to Singapore or New York.
I dunno. They might not want to move existing business, but I can see it being a lot more convenient for both customers and for British and EU banks, insurers and other financial and legal services providers to develop their new non-EU business and products in London rather than the US or the Far East.

The City of London and the financial services market are far more important to both the British and EU economies than are British farming, fishing or manufacturing, and the fact that we've heard so little from that sector, especially compared with the loud cries of rage and anguish from manufacturers, farmers and the fishing industry, strongly suggests to me they're reasonably content with the outcome.
 

Chin Rey

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The City of London and the financial services market are far more important to both the British and EU economies than are British farming, fishing or manufacturing, and the fact that we've heard so little from that sector, especially compared with the loud cries of rage and anguish from manufacturers, farmers and the fishing industry, strongly suggests to me they're reasonably content with the outcome.
Yes, that's probably how City thinks but it's a big gamble. The good old rule for business that it is three times as hard to win new customers as it is to keep old ones still apply. Before Brexit they had almost a monopoly in the biggest single market in the world. They are giving that up to be better positioned to grad market shares elsewhere at a time when the global economy is in the biggest bubble in history. Location matters of course but not nearly as much as it used to be now that we have internet and especially not after Covid. Also, I'm not sure how much a deregulated financial market and the domestic economy influence each other but it's worth keeping in mind that UK's national economy is rather weak.
It may work but I wouldn't bet on it. Only time will show.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Yes, that's probably how City thinks but it's a big gamble. The good old rule for business that it is three times as hard to win new customers as it is to keep old ones still apply. Before Brexit they had almost a monopoly in the biggest single market in the world. They are giving that up to be better positioned to grad market shares elsewhere at a time when the global economy is in the biggest bubble in history. Location matters of course but not nearly as much as it used to be now that we have internet and especially not after Covid. Also, I'm not sure how much a deregulated financial market and the domestic economy influence each other but it's worth keeping in mind that UK's national economy is rather weak.
It may work but I wouldn't bet on it. Only time will show.
The city firms, though, are already multinational organisations. They're in competition with other firms and organisations, not cities or countries. Whether business is handled by Barclays London office or the Frankfurt office doesn't matter to Barclays -- it matters to the offices concerned, and the people who work in them, but it doesn't matter to customers or shareholders, particularly.

So for banking and financial services, which are multinational anyway, it's a chance to grow new business.

Barclays (or Deutsche Bank or whoever) London can develop new business with Asia and the Pacific, particularly when British National (Overseas) citizens of Hong Kong start to relocate here in large numbers, that it couldn't have done inside the EU, and their EU offices can now introduce existing EU customers to new Asian and Pacific products and services more or less directly.

That's the theory, I think.

Anyway, we'll see what happens, but I'm certain that if either the City or the international financial markets were dissatisfied with the outcome, we'd know about it by now, and the pound would have crashed again, as it did when the result of the referendum was known.

We'll see, though, as you say.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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Thanks to Brexit and COVID19 these are now happy days for Londoners looking for cheap real estate! According to the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence in the whole UK 1.3 million people have left, therefore around 700.000 in London alone!

According to them this is the biggest population decrease since the end of WWII.