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Monday, 4 July 2016

A Brexit interlude

I really need to get back to the thread of completing the story about Liverpool Council, but I need to say something about Brexit first.

I voted Remain, but I think the referendum outcome has to be respected, despite the appalling, misinformed campaign.  We're leaving the EU.

What puzzles me, is why we (the UK and some political parties) are not getting on with getting out.  The Treaty Article 50 needs to be triggered before negotiations can start.

I followed the debate in the European Parliament which passed its resolution asking the UK to stop messing about and get on with it.  (I paraphrase.)  I'm convinced the parliament was right.

An analogy comes to mind.  A drunk at a party decides the party is boring and loudly tells everybody that he's off to something better.  But then he takes ages finding his coat and retrieving his bottle of wine and continues to criticise the party rather than heading directly towards the door.  If this was your party you would want him gone so you could carry on.

And if this was your European Union, you would want the UK to get on with its decision because the continuing uncertainty is toxic.  We see the nasty right wing parties in continental Europe taking great comfort from Brexit.  Until the UK has left, it will be hard for the EU to settle itself and deal with other pressing problems - like sharing the refugee burden and taking collective action on climate change.

There are many details to be resolved, but the main terms of severance seem clear, even though the Brexiteers are in denial about them: we're either in the Single Market with freedom of movement, or we're outside with tariff and non-tariff barriers.  In the latter case, we'd expect more international business to want to be located within the EU rather than the UK.

The Brexiteers seem to be planning to "game" the French and German elections to put pressure on their governments to let us "have our cake and eat it" over the Single Market.  They argue that the UK's balance of trade deficit with those countries provides a compelling argument to create a special, favourable deal for the UK.

Well, for one thing it seems that a balance of trade deficit cannot be relied on to continue indefinitely into the future.  As I understand it we can only finance the trade imbalance by "foreign investment", i.e. outside companies buying up assets in the UK.  When we've flogged all our assets, what happens then?

But the bigger point may be the political one.  A diminished UK trade (dampened by tariff barriers) may be unfortunate for some continental exporters, but it will not be catastrophic.  A collapse of the EU could well be catastrophic.  There will be strong political pressure to show that the UK's decision to leave did not put it in an advantageous position, so that other Exit forces are not given encouragement to follow where Brexit has led.

All in all, it will be better for the EU and for the UK if the realities of the UK's position are made clear very soon.  The idea that we can prevaricate for several months and then take a further two years to depart is alarming.  Apart from the effect of uncertainty here and on the continent, it is likely that the politics of Brexit will dominate UK politics, and not in a good way, until we have finally left.

So I advocate triggering that Article 50 and facing up to what we've done.  The sooner the UK has its bottom spanked and is sent to bed, the sooner life can return to normal in the EU.  Before too many years have passed, the UK can say it's sorry and ask to be let back in.

In the meantime, many UK citizens are seeking Irish citizenship to retain their EU rights.  I have an Irish great-grandparent, but that doesn't qualify me to apply - it has to be a parent or a grandparent.  But I did wonder if adopted children could rely on the Irish citizenship of their adoptive parents?  Both my parents, sadly, have passed away so I am now an orphan.  Is there a friendly Irish family who would like to adopt me?

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Updates: what we now know about the Mayor and Council officers

I need to provide significant updates on information that has been provided under Freedom of Information law as well as information that is still being withheld.
I will return to this post shortly and do that.
In the meantime, new readers to this controversy should start at my earliest posting, below, and work forwards to see the whole picture.

For this and all subsequent posts and comments during the election period to 5th May 2016:

Election imprint: Promoted by and on behalf of John Coyne at 86 Belgrave Road, Liverpool L17 7AH