Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Abroad and Home

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  • Rob Stowell,

    And this approach to Northern Ireland has also got the Scots - including the Scottish Tories, I think - interested in the same sort of deal, despite there being a land border and all that. It's a mess that almost everyone wants to back away from, and noone can.
    David Cameron must be worried he'll go down in history as Britain's biggest twatcock.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2078 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Theresa May could well become this century's Anthony Eden.

    Neville Chamberlain, maybe?

    Scene: an airport in London. Prime Minister Teresa May climbs out of aeroplane just landed from mainland Europe.

    TM: I have in my hand a piece of paper...

    Arlene Foster: Not so feckin' fast there, Teresa, ye wee feckin' gack.

    Some random MP as yet to be cast: Speak for England, Keir Starmer! (note to editor: line may be cut depending on ability to find MP with actual guts).

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    For anyone on your side of the world still interested in Brexit:

    1) Here are the main upcoming dates for your calendars:

    - EU leaders meeting Sept 20th. It's likely that they will simply rubber-stamp a 'carry on on the present course' arrangement, with perhaps minor alterations.

    - UK Conservative Party Conference 30th Sept-3rd Oct.

    - EU summit Oct 18-19. Practically speaking, this is the last date by which a withdrawal agreement can be made, to finalise points such as customs arrangements, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, UK citizens living in the EU, mutual financial commitments, how to keep the Irish border fully open, etc.

    2) It's still an absolute fucking disaster. This is not hyperbole.

    At the moment, the most likely outcome appears to be 'leaving with no deal', which will apply as of March 29th 2019, if no agreement is in place. If the UK leaves with no agreement, then all treaties which the UK was a signatory to as a member of the EU cease to apply. There is nothing at the moment that will replace them.

    Having spent the last two years essentially arguing amongst themselves and ignoring the ticking clock in the background, the government is only just very belatedly and extremely dimly (and I'll heavily emphasise that they are extremely, extremely dim*) realising that this might not be A Good Thing. Not only do multiple industries rely on a seamless and fast supply chain across borders within the EU that are effectively nominal and in practical terms non-existent, not only do dozens of flights per day into and out of the UK rely on the UK being a signatory to these treaties (and are illegal without them), but the food, power, and medicine supply chain is also utterly reliant on it. It is estimated that without a deal in place, regions such as Cornwall and Scotland will start running out of food in a couple of days, and hospitals will start running out of medicine in a couple of weeks.

    The UK goverment is now looking at stockpiling food and medicine, and is making not-all-that-reassuring statements such as 'rest assured citizens, there will still be adequate food' (I wish I was joking - this is a very slightly paraphrased actual government announcement). It's absolutely flabbergasting that a (supposedly) rich and developed country, in the 21st-Century, with no imminent threat of war or overwhelming natrual disaster, should be attempting to calm the rumblings of citizenal disquiet by making statements like this.

    At no point in the negotiation process have the UK appeared to be taking the negotiations seriously. The EU has presented a range of possible options, which can be summarised on a single powerpoint slide. The UK has, in turn, provided....nothing of any substance. This is mainly because the government is caught between it's own extremist fringe and it's moderates. There are no options available that will not be unacceptable to the extremeists, and the government is cripplingly weak and needs the extremeists in order to stay in power, and therefore simply doesn't have enough power to effectively sideline the extremeist faction and make a choice, and so has instead settled for kicking the can down the road towards the edge of the cliff.

    *As an example of how dim they are, and I'll emphasise that this is simply an average recent example out of literally dozens I could have chosen, the current Secretary of State for Northern Ireland stated in a recent interview that before she was appointed (and I quote): "when I started this job, I didn’t understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues that there are in Northern Ireland. I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice versa.”

    She's 48, slightly older than me. She grew up during the conflict. I can remember bombs going off in the UK. I can remember mortars being fired at Downing Street. I can remember riots during marching season. I've probably heard or read the word 'sectarian' (as in: 'sectarian violence in Northern Ireland') literally thousands of times. It's hard to emphasise how basic that is. Possibly something like being appointed Minister for the Deep South, and not realising that the KKK might not vote for a black candidate. And this is the woman who is in charge of the region of the UK that has the only land border with the EU.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    (not) making plans for Nigel?
    Not so much Brexit
    as a Farage-go?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7743 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rich Lock,

    She's 48, slightly older than me. She grew up during the conflict. I can remember bombs going off in the UK. I can remember mortars being fired at Downing Street. I can remember riots during marching season. I've probably heard or read the word 'sectarian' (as in: 'sectarian violence in Northern Ireland') literally thousands of times. It's hard to emphasise how basic that is. Possibly something like being appointed Minister for the Deep South, and not realising that the KKK might not vote for a black candidate. And this is the woman who is in charge of the region of the UK that has the only land border with the EU.

    On that note, the next big global conflict probably won't be World War 3, simply because mutually assured destruction made total war between great powers obsolete.

    What could well happen next is a "Great Troubles" or "the Troubles to end all Troubles", where militants within nations go UDA & IRA on each other, with the police & military struggling to maintain order.
    To name one example, the American UDA would probably include Atomwaffen, the Bundy militia, and Oath Keepers; the IRA equivalent would likely include groups like Redneck Revolt, Red Guards Austin, and the Huey P Newton Gun Club.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Thanks for your summary Rich. I haven't heard much about Brexit of late and assumed that progress was being made. Somewhat scary that it isn't. Glad it doesn't directly affect me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 608 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Well, let's put it this way: I have started stockpiling food. That's not a joke.

    Pretty much zero progress has been made in over two years. The 'best' that the government has managed to achieve in that time is the so-called Chequers 'deal'.

    It's not actually a 'deal' because the EU hasn't agreed to it, and as has been pointed out by many clued-up analysts, since it directly contravenes several of the positions the EU have unequivocally stated are non-negotiable (their 'red lines'), they won't, if at any point it is formally presented to them.

    As of today, it hasn't been formally presented, because several senior members of the Government, within a day or two of leaving The Big Summit Meeting where the Government thrashed this out and they agreed to it, disavowed it and aligned themselves with the swivel-eyed far-right loons who want a no-deal. It hasn't been presented to Parliament for a vote as to yea or nay on 'this is our agreed position as a country'. There is very, very little likelihood of Parliament as a whole voting for it as the agreed UK exit position/agreement.

    And...that's the best they've been able to do in two years.

    The Met police have cancelled all leave around the end of March next year, as they anticipate severe civil unrest (potential food riots, basically). The army has also been asked to prepare plans to deliver food, medicines and fuel in the event of a 'no deal Brexit. They may also be used to maintain public order.

    So. I'm quietly laying in extra tins, batteries, candles, and so on, becasue nothing that's happened so far fills me with any confidence that this isn't suddenly going to lurch sideways.

    If anyone is thinking of travelling to the UK around March/April next year, I'd think carefully about re-scheduling.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Maybe a little holiday in Europe or down in the land of plenty while it's going on?*

    The world is watching in steadily increasing astonishment at a formerly prosperous and powerful country imploding. It's not pretty. The worst part is that it's entirely an own goal. No external party can be blamed for any of this. It's like watching an alcoholic self destruction spiral, in a wealthy family.

    *I can't say things are all peaches down here - came across my first West Auckland shanty town on a walk last night. Along an unused pathway next to the railway line there was a row of 5 tent like structures, jerry-built from tarpaulins, housing at least 5 people, one of whom was a young woman, who looked as miserable as you'd expect, anticipating a cold, wet night. I know such sights are commonplace around the world, but it's something I've literally never seen in West Auckland before. Or actually anywhere in NZ, for that matter. This was a small homeless community doing their best not to die on the streets. I'm regular getting approached by beggars, and frequently questioned by the police just for walking around at night (a sign that they are struggling to deal with roving thieves and robbers). There is constant copper chopper presence most nights.

    At least it seems like the Government are doing their damnedest to crank out housing. It's long overdue, and Ardern has showed just how easily solved it really is, it only involves having a will to actually do it. I think it's going to take a long sustained bipartisan effort across at least 20 years to pull us out of the housing poverty spiral that's happened here, though, and I don't see any indication of National coming to that party. Long may they stay in Opposition, in that case, until they get their heads out of their arses. But established right wing parties all around the developed world are showing signs that heads up arses is the new normal, and nowhere more clearly than in Mother England.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rich Lock,

    The Met police have cancelled all leave around the end of March next year, as they anticipate severe civil unrest (potential food riots, basically). ….
    So. I’m quietly laying in extra tins, batteries, candles, and so on, because nothing that’s happened so far fills me with any confidence that this isn’t suddenly going to lurch sideways.

    The new Parliamentary dietary directive?:
    KEEP
    CLAM
    &
    CARRION

    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7743 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    At least it seems like the Government are doing their damnedest to crank out housing. It's long overdue, and Ardern has showed just how easily solved it really is, it only involves having a will to actually do it. I think it's going to take a long sustained bipartisan effort across at least 20 years to pull us out of the housing poverty spiral that's happened here, though, and I don't see any indication of National coming to that party. Long may they stay in Opposition, in that case, until they get their heads out of their arses. But established right wing parties all around the developed world are showing signs that heads up arses is the new normal, and nowhere more clearly than in Mother England.

    Mainstream Burkean/Merkel-ite conservative parties are either being infiltrated by Tea Party neo-nationalists (as in USA, UK and Hungary), or losing ground to their right flank by Tea Party neo-nationalists (as in Germany, France and Scandinavia). As I've previously mentioned, I'm hoping against hope that the Great Troubles isn't on the horizon.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Nice wee article in Newsroom about how it is in the EU's interest to make Brexit a mess, to disuade other countries from trying it on.

    It sums up with :

    Seen this way, the EU would be foolish to make Brexit easy for the Brits. It would only encourage the others. Instead, the EU would want a British post-Brexit recession, queues of trucks at British ports, and ideally some further disruptions to amplify its message: Don’t try this at home!

    Making Brexit tough has little to do with punishment for the Brits and everything with sending a strong warning to any other European country.

    The Brexit negotiations are therefore not a game of chicken. Worse, they are a calculated plot to show that a withdrawal from the EU may be legally possible but practically undesirable.

    The only chance to avoid this outcome would be if those EU members with strong trade links to Britain exerted their influence to allow Britain more favourable conditions. At this stage, however, it does not look likely that such concerns will sway the outcome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 608 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    That one's been going around for a while, and it's really a bit too conspiracy theory for me to take it seriously.

    The EU has offered a range of options, up to and including the Norway-and-virtual-border-in-the-Irish-Sea option.

    Which would basically solve the NI land border issue, and leave the UK in exactly the same position it's in now, in practical terms, except without much of a say in setting the rules and regulations. So the average business or individual wouldn't really notice much of anything - there wouldn't be queues at the ports or whatever, because we'd still be in the CU and SM.

    But May, Davis, Ress-Mogg, Johnson, et al have managed to comprehensively rule that out as an option. The UK has ruled that out as an option, not the EU.

    Essentially, it's shat itself and is now blaming the EU for not changing it's pants for it.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    Speaking of international relations
    - a reminder about Nicky Hager's public meeting in Chchch on Monday night.
    7.30pm at the cardboard/transitional cathedral, Latimer Square.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7743 posts Report Reply

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