TAFTA/TTIP Just Got Harder: Brexit Is 'A Midsummer Night's Nightmare' Says EU Trade Commissioner

from the massive-potential-win-for-humanity dept

After the dramatic and largely unexpected victory of the "Brexit" (Britain Exit) camp in the UK -- those who want the country to leave the European Union -- politicians around the world are trying to work out what the implications will be. For the UK, of course, it meant an immediate trashing of the UK pound against the US dollar; for the US, it meant the loss of a reliable ally within the EU camp. As The New York Times puts it:

No country shares Washington's worldview quite the way Britain does, they say; it has long been the United States' most willing security ally, most effective intelligence partner and greatest enthusiast of the free-trade mantras that have been a keystone of America's internationalist approach. And few nations were as willing to put a thumb as firmly on the scales of European debates in ways that benefit the United States.

Now that quiet diplomatic leverage -- including moderating European trade demands and strong-arming nations to contribute more to NATO military missions -- is suddenly diminished.
As that mentions, trade is one area where the UK played a key role for the US, and its departure from the EU will make negotiations for the TAFTA/TTIP deal, now dragging on into their fourth year, even harder, since the UK was one of the main countries pushing for it. The European Commission is worried: after the results of the Brexit vote were known, the EU's commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström, called it "A midsummer night's nightmare," (original in Swedish.) However, she also insisted that she would press on regardless:
I am determined to make as much progress as possible in the months to come. This is particularly true for our negotiations with the United States on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
But as Politico.eu points out, once the UK leaves the EU, TTIP won't be such an attractive deal for the US:
"We certainly lose an important market," said MEP Bernd Lange, the chair of the European Parliament's international trade committee, of the U.K. "In a way, that means losing leverage."
Losing that leverage will make it harder to wring concessions out of the US, which was not particularly keen on offering any even before. The USTR's lukewarm post-Brexit statement hardly gives the EU much hope of the US meeting its main demands:
The importance of trade and investment is indisputable in our relationships with both the European Union and the United Kingdom. The economic and strategic rationale for T-TIP remains strong. We are evaluating the impact of the United Kingdom's decision on T-TIP and look forward to continuing our engagement with the European Union and our relations with the United Kingdom.
The problem is that without some clear wins for the EU, it will be very hard to sell the TAFTA/TTIP deal to Europeans and the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who must ratify the deal once it is finished. A report on Reuters is already pessimistic about TTIP's chances:
The historic divorce launched by Thursday's vote will almost certainly further delay substantial progress in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks as the remaining 27 EU states sort out their own new relationship with Britain, trade experts said on Friday.

With French and German officials increasingly voicing skepticism about TTIP's chances for success, the United Kingdom's departure from the deal could sink hopes of a deal before President Barack Obama leaves office in January.
That view was backed up by the following new report:
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Sunday blasted a planned EU-US trade treaty, saying the ambitious deal was against "EU interests."

"No free trade agreement should be concluded if it does not respect EU interests. Europe should be firm," Valls told members of the governing Socialist Party, adding "France will be vigilant about this."

"I can tell you frankly, there cannot be a transatlantic treaty agreement. This agreement is not on track," Valls said.
Meanwhile, in an open letter to the EU heads of state and government, 240 European organizations have called for the TTIP negotiations to be abandoned now:
People across the continent have a greater awareness of trade deals than at any previous time. Any move to express renewed support for TTIP will be highly publicised and scrutinised across Europe. We therefore appeal to you to use this opportunity to heed public opinion and urgently withdraw the mandate for TTIP.
The UK probably does not care about the havoc Brexit is wreaking on TAFTA/TTIP, not least because it has its own huge problems in the area of trade. Once it leaves the EU, it will need to renegotiate all the trade deals that it currently enjoys as a result of being part of the European Union, as well as striking some new ones. Naturally, the most important of those would be with the US. Even if some kind of TAFTA/TTIP deal is achieved at some point -- possibly years down the line -- the UK will not be part of it. As a result, it needs to agree something with the US on its own.

That's not going be easy. A spokesperson for President Obama confirmed that the UK would not be getting any preferential treatment when it came to trade deals, and that it would have to wait its turn. As people are already pointing out, the UK's extremely weak negotiating position means that it is likely to end up with a really bad US deal:

Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said the "right-wing lurch of Brexit" could result in Britain signing up to "TTIP on steroids".
As well as its inability to haggle, there's another reason why the UK may sign up to something that is far worse than the current TAFTA/TTIP: the person seen as a likely successor to David Cameron as UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, thinks such a deal with the US would be an unalloyed boon. In 2014, he wrote a prophetic article in which he gushed as follows:
This pact is a massive potential win for humanity -- the closer economic union between two vast territories that share a tradition of democracy, free speech, pluralism: the Western values that are under threat in so many other parts of the world; and where almost everyone has English as a first or second language.

Trade between Europe and the US is already worth $4.7 trillion; this is the chance to go further. If the EU can't pull it off, we in Britain should offer to go first and do it ourselves.
It now looks increasingly likely that the UK will do precisely that. The big question is: will the US care?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 12:36am

    Malmstroem...

    This idiot "I do not take my mandate from the European people" woman is one of the reasons for Brexit. So condescending. Hope more countries will tell her to stuff it.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 12:46am

      Re: Malmstroem...

      "one of the reasons for Brexit"

      From my personal observations, the vast majority of people who voted to leave wouldn't know who she is. Even if so, ditching an entire democratic system because you don't like one of the people currently elected to a post seems rather silly.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 2:07am

        Re: Re: Malmstroem...

        "ditching an entire democratic system because you don't like one of the people currently elected" - that is a clever statement. So how many, would you say, is the threshold?

        Jokes aside, "one of the reasons" is not - contrary to what you suggest - the one and only reason. Have you read what I wrote you would have known.
        The condescending behaviour of Mrs. Malmstroem is a landmark, a mindset of EU bureaucracy - be it TTIP, CETA, or Syrian refugees. And there you have it a bit plainer - the European Commission's push for accepting refugees, regardless of common people's sentiments, had quite a bit to do with UKIP narration.

        Oh, and please, explain, how holding a referendum is "ditching the democratic system"? Or are you suggesting that EC is somehow more democratic than the direct vote?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 2:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

          Defensive and unable to read what I actually said, preferring instead to address assumed opinions? Sounds about right.

          "So how many, would you say, is the threshold?"

          No number is a threshold. Despite the misinformation often put out by anti-EU types, the system allows members to vote people in and out during elections. If you reject this because you dislike the result, it seems rather hypocritical to attack those of us unhappy with action being taken on a thin majority for criticising the exit vote.

          "Jokes aside, "one of the reasons" is not - contrary to what you suggest - the one and only reason."

          What are the other reasons? As I often say, while I don't think everyone who voted to leave is a xenophobic idiot, I rarely hear any reason to vote out other than a vague hope that things will be better in some way if we're only allowed to make our own mistakes. But never any actual plans or reasoning.

          "The condescending behaviour of Mrs. Malmstroem is a landmark, a mindset of EU bureaucracy"

          So, maybe it's time for the majority of voters to actually take part in European politics and vote MEPs in who will vote along their desires and replace her with someone more reasonable during the next election? Most people don't bother to vote for their EU representation, but they love to bitch about it when they don't like the people that other voters get appointed.

          "the European Commission's push for accepting refugees, regardless of common people's sentiments, had quite a bit to do with UKIP narration"

          Yes, a bunch of racist morons formed a party whose platform is mere xenophobia, and the misinformation spread had them worried. But, we weren't meant to point out the racism during the campaign because then we were being mean to UKIP voters...

          I'd love to know what those people think the EC's rulings were and compare them to the reality of what was really happening. Experience tells me that what the average UKIPper thought was going on and what was actually happening were completely different things. Like most EU rulings, nobody reading the average tabloid or the Fail would have any facts at their disposal with which to make their decision.

          "Oh, and please, explain, how holding a referendum is "ditching the democratic system"?"

          It's not. But, let me explain it in small, easy to understand words. Ditching the EU is ditching a currently active democratic system. While the people who pushed for that vote have literally no solid plans on how to replace it. Is that easy enough for you, or is there another strawman you'd like to erect?

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          • identicon
            A. Lauridsen, 30 Jun 2016 @ 8:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

            Unfortunately, makeing the case that the EU has a democratic deficit is not hard to do.

            Lets first examine a democratic government as it is taught in any basic civics class. The tri-partion of powers into a judicial, executive and legislative branch. Each of the branches are supposed to have checks and balances, ensuring that one branch does not perform a powergrasp. At the very least, the legislative branch is elected by democratic vote.

            You might say that the EU has a two chamber system, where the parliament and the council each form a chamber. Except that: There is no direct democratic vote for the members of the council, and the parliament does not have any influence on the legislative process, except for a yes or no vote. Thus there is no way for the electorate to influence what laws are created and how they are worded.

            How then would you characterize the Commission? What role do they have in the executive and/or legislative branches?

            They have two roles. They prepare cases for the judicial branch to consider AND they decide which laws should be written and formulate those laws.

            What about the Council then? are they legislative or executive? Again, the answer is both. They even help decide which laws should be written and how they are worded. Easily on of the most powerful branches, and yet there is no direct democratic oversight for that branch.

            Two of the most powerful parts of the executive and legislative branch has no democratic oversight, or at best a very indirect oversight.

            Selecting members of the judicial branch is at best an obscure and secretive act. There are no checks and balances on the judicial branch, in fact, the EUCJ is quite famous for delivering verdicts which contradict previous verdicts.

            That's just the formalities, let alone the practicalities. How can you call the EU a democracy when it doesn't conform to even a very minimalistic definition of a democracy?

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          • icon
            trollificus (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 9:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

            I'd say presenting EU-free governance for Britain as "nothing", as you have done here, is more than a little disingenuous. Does Britain suddenly have no way to govern itself? Has Brexit left the UK with nothing in the way of governance?

            I'm going to have to pull out my dusty old copy of Wikipedia Brittanica here, but I'm pretty sure Britain governed itself prior to EU membership, and should be able to scuffle along after.

            As for immigration, there seem to be mutually exclusive realities. It is as if you have two friends at work who are next door neighbors.
            Neighbor A says:
            "We invited some black couples over for dinner and my neighbors were quite upset. Never knew they were so racist!"
            Neighbor B says:
            "My neighbor says he's throwing a party, but it appears to be a permanent open house! When I complained about things stolen from my property, people camping in my yard and his "guests" trying to ogle my wife and daughter when they shower, he accused us of being 'inhospitable' and 'racist' and said there was nothing we could do about it!"

            Not sure 'reality' is getting a clear presentation in either story there. But there's obviously a large number of citizens who felt "Shut up, hater." was an inadequate response to their concerns. The Brexit vote shouldn't have been a surprise, even to those who were certain Lindsey Lohan's support would help them carry the day. Maybe she should have supported before the vote.

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            • identicon
              Michael Evans, 30 Jun 2016 @ 2:42pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

              Addressing one specific point:

              The -EXTREMELY CLOSE- vote has revealed a deeply dividing population within the UK. The government has lost it's mandate of representing and enacting the will of it's population.

              More than anything else, the vote is also a vote of no-confidence in the leaders, all of them, within the UK. A complete reset and re-election should occur before any further actions are taken; including the actual invocation of any BRexit mechanism.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 4:45am

          Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

          Simple maths friend. I now get one vote every 4 years as opposed to 2. Leaving the EU has made Britain objectivity half as democratic.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 7:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

            Only in a screwed up mind can you reason that breaking away from an overlord makes you less democratic.

            How democratic the UK wants to be is up to its people. Either way, they get to have LESS choice in that matter if they remain in the EU.

            Forming a partnership is always about losing a certain amount of choice in your future. Dissolving a partnership is always about obtaining freedom you need. Whether it is for the better or the worst in this case remains to be seen, but to make blanket and ignorant statements that they will be objectively anything because of it is stupid.

            No one knows one way or the other. Like everyone else, you can only place your bets and see who "GUESSED" correctly.

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          • icon
            art guerrilla (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 2:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

            on the assumption you were being sarcastic, i will try to do the reductio ad absurdum for the klass:
            why, think if we only had HFV* (* High Frequency Voting, just like High Frequency Trading! cool, huh ?), we could vote thousands of times a second, thus making us, i don't know, like a LOT more democratic ! ! !
            in fact, why not just let the computers do all the voting...
            what ?
            oh...
            really ?
            huh, okay then...

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      • identicon
        David, 30 Jun 2016 @ 2:45am

        Re: Re: Malmstroem...

        Uh, the European Commission isn't part of a "democratic system" and Malmström wasn't elected but appointed to her post.

        The whole problem with the European Commission is that it does not represent the people at all. It is a collection of lobbyists wielding political power. When Malmström gets lambasted for her "I do not take my mandate from the European people" statement, that's because people don't understand what the European Commission is. She is quite correct here.

        Of course the real question is how the heck an entirely undemocratic lobbyist organization not answerable to the people was created and set up to wield this kind of power.

        For the answer, follow the money for a few decades.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 3:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

          "Uh, the European Commission isn't part of a "democratic system" and Malmström wasn't elected but appointed to her post."

          You see, this is where I can't understand what the anti-EU crowd are actually talking about.

          Malmstom was nominated for a position by her peers then appointed. She and all of her peers were elected into the parliament as an MEP, which is what made her eligible. The commission is headed by Juncker, who was elected to run the commission.

          In the same way, nobody elected Teresa May specifically to be home secretary. She was nominated by people who were eligible to do so because they were elected MPs, then appointed by the prime minister who had been elected to that position.

          Yet, nobody's whining about how the home office is an unelected bunch of bureaucrats but the EC is. Nobody votes for EC members directly, but then nobody votes for cabinet posts either.

          Can someone explain to me what the massive fundamental difference is that makes one something people don't talk about and the other worthy massive change to our political system?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 4:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

            Malmstrom and the rest of the commission is not elected into parliament and has not been since she joined an earlier commission. Juncker was not as such "elected" either. His appointment was rather controversial since it showed the problem between the parliament and the european council of ministers methods.

            Comparing to a national government fails as soon as you accept that the election of Merkel or Hollande was completely out of the british voters hands. The main problem of the commission is that one person has the right to suggest and pull proposed legislation. As much as the commission is a collective, they are after all instrumented with powers that overshine the parliament completely in every way!

            When that is said, in actuality the commission is not the least democratic part of EU. Imo. COREPER and the minister-appointed lobbyists and local representatives are making the council a muppet-show theater with almost no responsibility left for the politicians... Wait, I am critizising the elected government representatives and their power in the organisation? Why, yes I am. They have build a wall of appointed people to cover their flanks politically instead of actually owning up to what the electorate asks for in democratisation. The commission is a shining example of democracy relative to those toilet-dealers.

            When that is said, Brexit is not the way to solve those issues. Nor am I per se anti-EU. But EU has been build in a problematic way and German politicians like Merkel are still oblivious to the issues with their talk about "making EU easier to feel for the common people". That is a 180 of what was an issue in Brexit. Gauch was closer, but I fear no politician is willing to take the steps needed to simplify EU with the needed reforms as it would diminish the national governments powers.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 4:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

              "Malmstrom and the rest of the commission is not elected into parliament"

              She was elected into parliament in 1999 and again in 2004. In 2009, Sweden nominated her for commissioner, and reappointed in 2013. the person who did this was Fredrik Reinfeldt, an elected leader of the country that elected her as MEP. Assuming a standard 5 year term, she can be removed in 2018 if not reappointed.

              She has been elected, and then appointed by elected leaders. How much more of the process should be up to a public vote?

              "Comparing to a national government fails as soon as you accept that the election of Merkel or Hollande was completely out of the british voters hands."

              Well, I'm still not convinced. Any problem you mention is also a problem faced by all the member states. No, the UK can't affect Merkel's election, but Germans can't vote in the UK elections. Nor can they vote for the people each country sends over as MEPs other than their own.

              "When that is said, Brexit is not the way to solve those issues"

              Here, we agree. Ditching the whole thing because you don't get your own way is not productive, especially since we got a lot of concessions when we joined to begin with.

              I maintain that the main problem with the EU is that so much of the right wing tabloid press has been against it from the beginning that people actually believe banana stories and don't know how it's actually run. But, whatever change needs to happen can only be made within. Outside, we have no influence, but still have to deal with them.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 10:09am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

                As for election: There is absolutely no requirement for a commissioner to get "elected" before getting appointed. And Malmstrom was not elected by the public for her current job. Actually in Germany there has been a running joke that Oettinger (their current commissioner) was chosen by Merkel to keep him from reving havoc in german politics. Some of these appointees are still made up of the national dross.

                As for being appointed by an elected leader it leads to my rant about COREPER, the selected lobbyists and the regional politicians. I see the governments in the participating coutries as using appointing commissioners as another level of covering their ass from critique.

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          • identicon
            David, 30 Jun 2016 @ 5:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

            Huh? Malmström was a member of the European parliament until 2006. She quit and became a Swedish minister until 2010. Then she was appointed as a Commissioner to the EC (for home Affairs). And became Commissioner of trade in 2014. She was not a member of the parliament since 2006, and that was not what had made her eligible to the EC.

            Her appointment to the EC had to be acknowledged by the parliament.

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          • identicon
            A. Lauridsen, 30 Jun 2016 @ 8:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Malmstroem...

            She might be a former MEP, but lots of commissioners have never been a MEP.

            She was appointed by the Sweedish member of the Council. Each council member (Prime minister) can appoint one member and later approved by the parliament.

            The head of the commission is chosen by the Council and later approved by the parliament.

            Since the Council is made up of the prime ministers (or the resort ministers) the choice of who to appoint is about as opaque as who would become General Secretary of the Soviet Union.

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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 1:17am

    Yeah, signing on to TTIP / TAFTA in a non-Brexit world, or some even worse deal with the US years down the line would be just the acme of the UK "taking back it's sovereignty".

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 1:35am

    I'm not really sure I can take this article seriously at all, after seeing such a blatant and obvious disregard for the facts.
    Boris Johnson, thinks

    To see Techdirt peddling such patent nonsense really doesn't give me any confidence in the rest of the reporting on this site. Glyn should be ashamed of writing such easily disproven drivel.

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    • identicon
      Andy, 30 Jun 2016 @ 2:07am

      Re:

      I am surprised that techdirt is so negative about this, surely having no tpp or other deal is good, i mean that is what all posts about these deals are saying on this website, now suddenly there seems to be a problem that the UK cannot sign a deal we have all be told by this website is so bad for everyone other than the wealthy.

      Why suddenly is this website so against the UK leaving as they now will have to wait numerous years supposedly to sign a deal that is bad for it.

      The UK has lost many lives supporting American wars even if they are illegal UK supporting the wars made them slightly more legitimate than they would have been if the UK had not joined in. be careful what you wish for as if the UK is last in line for trade agreements then expect the UK to ignore the many many requests for support from the UK, support that is still very relevant even if the UK is out of the EU.Also remember that the UK has allowed many American bases on there land around the world , more importantly those bases are near the middle east, it would be a tragedy if that support was removed and US bases shut down and for the UK to rather have bases from other countries that America might not like happening, especially if the UK has to go to other nations for trade deals to make up for those lost in America..

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 2:31am

        Re: Re:

        "now suddenly there seems to be a problem that the UK cannot sign a deal"

        You don't appear to have read the same article I have. I'm reading a fairly neutral rundown of the problems this will now face, but not one that suggests it's a good idea to begin with.

        The one bad thing about it not passing is clearly listed at the end, however - if it fails or is long delayed, someone as dumb as Johnson may happily take the UK into a similarly bad deal alone.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 4:32am

        Re: Re:

        Oh my god, it was a snide comment about "Boris Johnson thinks" being incorrect because he's an idiot and does not think. Can you not read?

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 7:33am

        Re: Re:

        I agree with PaulT -- this article is a fairly neutral analysis.

        I'd just like to add in general that just because a thing has some effects that one might agree with does not mean that the thing is good overall.

        (On a personal note, I have no strong opinion on the "brexit" question either way. It's not my nation and I don't know enough about all the issues involved to have a sense of the thing.)

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 7:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The real sense of the thing is politicians squabbling over who will rule the roost, along with the illusion being a player on the world stage.

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        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 4 Jul 2016 @ 7:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Get sucked into a European Federation of States not unlike the US, ruled by a Franco-German coalition but with lots of lovely trade and cheap holidays, etc., OR go it alone and have to start most of our trade negotiations all over again. The whole Brexit thing was mismanaged because the Brexit side didn't realise they had a chance of winning. There's Article 50 to be invoked, but that hasn't been done yet so the divorce has been announced but the papers haven't been filed yet.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 4 Jul 2016 @ 7:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The whole Brexit thing was mismanaged because the Brexit side didn't realise they had a chance of winning."

            Which should tell you all you need to know about how good an idea it is. That means that the people loudly calling for reform had no idea how that reform would happen. Therefore, they cannot be trusted for claiming it was a positive move in the first place. Actual research into likely consequences would have led to at least a rough idea of what to do next other than "submit article 50", which they're notably avoiding the responsibility of doing.

            Hell, they even seem to know this themselves. Farage quit today (although he's keeping his MEP salary for a few more years, hypocrite till the end). Johnson was outed, half the rest of the shower seem to be backtracking as hard as they can, with at leave one (Leadsom) being on record as stating that leaving the EU would be a horrible mistake just a couple of years ago. Such a positive, historic victory would surely mean a person stepping up to place their name alongside it in history, not scattering like cockroaches when the light is turned on them. They obviously realise what a horrible mistake the whole thing is, but now can't state that in public.

            It seems to be falling apart, so I'm hopeful it will be abandoned before too much damage is done - although there is going to be some fallout both domestically and internationally that we can't yet predict.

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 5 Jul 2016 @ 2:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I voted to remain for family and work reasons.

              Which should tell you all you need to know about how good an idea it is. That means that the people loudly calling for reform had no idea how that reform would happen. Therefore, they cannot be trusted for claiming it was a positive move in the first place. Actual research into likely consequences would have led to at least a rough idea of what to do next other than "submit article 50", which they're notably avoiding the responsibility of doing.

              This was a game of chicken. Remain lost, Brexit has gone over a cliff and the people who began the game have run away, leaving the vehicle to burn.


              Hell, they even seem to know this themselves. Farage quit today (although he's keeping his MEP salary for a few more years, hypocrite till the end). Johnson was outed, half the rest of the shower seem to be backtracking as hard as they can, with at leave one (Leadsom) being on record as stating that leaving the EU would be a horrible mistake just a couple of years ago. Such a positive, historic victory would surely mean a person stepping up to place their name alongside it in history, not scattering like cockroaches when the light is turned on them. They obviously realise what a horrible mistake the whole thing is, but now can't state that in public.

              The vote was so close it didn't even solve the "Oh, shut up, Eurosceptics!" problem. Whoever takes the helm of HMS Tory Party is aboard a leaky tub. I wouldn't want that job either — not without some thick plate armour for my back.


              It seems to be falling apart, so I'm hopeful it will be abandoned before too much damage is done - although there is going to be some fallout both domestically and internationally that we can't yet predict.

              Article 50 has yet to be invoked. Remember that episode of Father Ted where they kicked Bishop Brennan up the Khyber, then pretended it never happened? I predict something along the same lines will happen as the country wakes up to the awful stupidity of what they have done. If you're thinking of divorce, make the arrangements RE: kids, pets, and where to well in advance of writing up the papers.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 5 Jul 2016 @ 3:28am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "I voted to remain for family and work reasons."

                As did I. But, far from the only reasons.

                "The vote was so close"

                This is a major problem for all aspects of the discussion. Leavers need to remind themselves that they only won by a small majority and there's over 16 million voters who did not agree. They have no overall mandate, and those voices are not going to be silenced by a thin majority

                "If you're thinking of divorce"

                The analogy I've heard is that we shouldn't be treating this like papers have been served. All that's happened so far is that there's been an argument and the wife's decided to take some of her things and stay in a hotel out of town for a bit. There's a chance to reconcile and resolve differences before she visits her solicitor, even if she's not feeling like talking right now. Some people are acting like the papers have been sorted, signed and we're discussing where the kids are going to live, but in reality she's not even finished talking to her mother after storming out of the house.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Wendy Cockcroft, 5 Jul 2016 @ 5:33am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Yes to all. That's the most accurate assessment I've seen so far. I'm following @DavidAllenGreen on Twitter, he's a legal bod with an interest in the procedural stuff, so I'm getting most of my information on the subject from him.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MadAsASnake (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 3:19am

      Re:

      Gotta say "Boris Johnson, thinks" is:
      - a far more reasonable proposition than for some recent US presidents
      - not an endorsement.

      I don't think Boris expected to "win" and was simply trying to take Cameron out. Of the 4 promises the leave campaign came up with:
      - control over immigration (they already admit no advantage)
      - more money for the NHS (... oh, not)
      - better trade deals (as this article points out - unlikely)
      - sovereignty - uhhh - well, that would be pretty Pyrrhic given that we won't be able to exercise it and get any trade deals at the same time - oh, and our bargaining position? Not good...

      If Johnson does get the leadership, he's handed himself a poison chalice as he can't possibly deliver on his promises and those Leave voters that were persuaded by the campaign will be pretty angry when they find out. I for one don't think he should lead on the back of such a dishonest campaign.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 4:56am

    Small silver lining I suppose

    If the whole Brexit mess ends up killing off TTIP I suppose it will have accomplished one good thing at least.

    Given the US was already demanding 'concessions'(in the form of 'Let's do everything my way') when the UK was in a position to give the EU side of the negotiations a bit more clout, with the UK out of the picture I imagine the USG's demands going forward are going to make the previous ones look downright generous in comparison. If they are really determined to screw over the public in the EU they are going to have a real fun time folding again and again, giving the US anything and everything it wants.

    As for the UK and the trade deals they now get to renegotiate with the USG... bring your own lube because the USG isn't going to provide any for you, and you will need it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 6:14am

    the next state

    Boris Johnson sounds like someone in love with the US, I suppose His dream strategy would be for England to apply to join the united states.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robert, 30 Jun 2016 @ 6:46am

    TTIP and cooperation with the US

    Much of this misses the point . England (probably without Scotland and Norther Ireland) will now have a far right government, which will continue to favor TTP etc and go to war as demanded by the US. In return it might (might) get a trade agreement. The Brexiter politicians are a very nasty lot, similar to the Republicans. There will be a neo- liberal government that cuts the budget, No help for the poor, less money for health and education, and everything done as required by the super- rich.. This may not be what the man in the street voted " out" for, but it.'s what they' ll get. These people have been wanting this for years. They won't compromise now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 8:29am

    Free-Trade Agreements

    As long as they continue to be counter to the dictionary definition, the fewer there are the better off the citizens are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 10:17am

    White males will now get jobs

    That's a great analysis of the trade issue.

    But now that England's leaving the EU, all the dark-skinned Muslims won't be able to take minimum wage jobs from honest-working white males. That's what the Brexit vote was really about, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 10:58am

    Boris is out

    he's said he will not run for PM, so that worry is nixed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 3:28pm

    BREXITphobia?

    Sounds like many people are BREXITphobes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 7:50pm

    Cut to the front of the line

    Hey Britain, you don't want to "wait your turn" to sign on a trade deal with the US?

    Cut copyright terms, cut infringement penalities, abolish patents. Get a NGO to say copyright is bad for consumers.

    The USTR / MPAA / RIAA will be pushing for a new 'trade deal' before you know it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2016 @ 5:23am

    "Now that quiet diplomatic leverage -- including moderating European trade demands and strong-arming nations to contribute more to NATO military missions -- is suddenly diminished."


    It sounds like their trying to make a good thing sound like a bad thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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