Author Topic: Brexit Negotiations.  (Read 62363 times)

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Offline Mr. Minnow

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #580 on: August 01, 2018, 04:18:40 AM »
The old rhetoric about Brexit leading us to the "sunlit uplands" has now been replaced by assurances that there will be "adequate food". Good to know.

Meanwhile our new foreign secretary seems to be on a mission to prove he can be as much of a cockwomble as his not so illustrious predecessor. His "strategy" has been to say to the EU "you'd better blink first because we won't", while asking France and Germany to tell that nasty Mr. Barnier not to be so mean to us and give us a nice cushy deal. Barnier and the Commission are too inflexible apparently. Perhaps one of Hunt's civil servants can point out to him that Barnier was given his negotiating mandate by the member states. You know, like France and Germany.

In other news:

https://twitter.com/JoeTwyman/status/1024220891897647104 

Yeah, fuck peace in Northern Ireland, we want our blue passports back. What a time to be alive.

Online Que

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #581 on: August 01, 2018, 08:54:28 AM »
That the majority in the UK doesn't care about Northern Ireland anymore, is steadily becoming clear.

If the Irish Republic is smart, then after Brexit it will make the people of Northern Ireland an offer they can't refuse, and by international agreement they are entitled to a vote. Irish border problem solved...

Scotland might and the Chanel Islands will opt for (total) independence  (the latter can decide that unilaterally, without an referendum agreed by Westminster ). Gibraltar will probably compromise to save its skin, and agree to shared sovereignty with Spain.

Gina Miller, the advocate for parliamentary consent to the article 50 notice, has predicted a dismantling of the UK as a consequence of a hard Brexit. She might very well be right...

Q
« Last Edit: August 01, 2018, 09:06:07 AM by Que »

Offline Mr. Minnow

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #582 on: August 01, 2018, 09:35:40 AM »
That the majority in the UK doesn't care about Northern Ireland anymore, is steadily becoming clear.

If the Irish Republic is smart, then after Brexit it will make the people of Northern Ireland an offer they can't refuse, and by international agreement they are entitled to a vote. Irish border problem solved...

Scotland might and the Chanel Islands will opt for (total) independence  (the latter can decide that unilaterally, without an referendum agreed by Westminster ). Gibraltar will probably compromise to save its skin, and agree to shared sovereignty with Spain.

Gina Miller, the advocate for parliamentary consent to the article 50 notice, has predicted a dismantling of the UK as a consequence of a hard Brexit. She might very well be right...

Q

If Brexit turns out to be anything like as bad as it appears it's going to be, I'd certainly expect Scotland to vote for independence. In the 2014 referendum staying in the UK could be portrayed as the safer option, while independence was the leap in the dark. The latter might still be true, but it looks a lot more attractive if staying in the UK - and hence being stuck with a hard Brexit - looks certain to be a train wreck.

NI, not so sure. If you mean a united Ireland then it could happen, but the question arises of whether the Republic would want to join with NI. That's partly because NI is more heavily reliant on government spending than the rest of the UK, but also because you have to wonder if the Republic would want to take in a disgruntled minority led by the likes of Paisley Jr and the fragrant Arlene (especially given the Republic's liberal trajectory, which is in stark contrast to the more, er, "traditionalist" DUP).

Maybe if the arrangement were something short of a united Ireland then who knows. But any closer arrangement with the Republic, whether unification or something else, would mean some unionists abandoning their tribal loyalty, and in NI politics tribal loyalty is really tribal.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2018, 09:48:06 AM by Mr. Minnow »

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #583 on: August 01, 2018, 09:50:55 PM »
Good points on NI...

It might get caught between a rock and a hard place....

Q

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #584 on: August 02, 2018, 01:56:29 AM »
Good points on NI...

It might get caught between a rock and a hard place....

Q

Agreed.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Mr. Minnow

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #585 on: August 02, 2018, 06:26:06 AM »
That the majority in the UK doesn't care about Northern Ireland anymore, is steadily becoming clear.

The one thing that would make them care is if bombs started going off on the mainland again. But yes, apart from that, zero shits given.


There are reports that Germany might be willing to offer the UK a "blind Brexit", i.e. a deliberately vague deal designed to defer key decisions until after we've legally left the EU. This would allow May to save face and avoid a no deal scenario.

German sources have apparently denied these reports, and I hope they are indeed false. If a blind Brexit were to happen it's not hard to see what the consequences would be: the "meaningful vote" in parliament would be rendered meaningless, because you can't vote on a deal which doesn't exist. That would make it harder for the opposition parties to oppose it than a deal whose contents are known - especially if it were portrayed as a pragmatic move to give us more time. In reality the opposite would probably be the case: as soon as we'd left, the Brexit ultras would oust May and replace her with one of their own, who could then be relied on to fill in the details of a blind Brexit in a way which the ERG approves of, and there would be nothing pragmatic about that. That would be a disaster for the UK, and I'm not sure the EU would want a country led by Rees Mogg and co on its doorstep either.

 
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 06:38:33 AM by Mr. Minnow »

Online Que

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #586 on: August 02, 2018, 08:51:26 AM »
I understand the attractions of a "Blind Brexit" for the Germans and the rest of the EU.
It buys the necessary time to prepare better for a hard Brexit, and create possibilities for (further) damage control.
It also creates an extra window of opportunity at the UK side to avoid a hard Brexit.

But it is also a gamble. As you quite rightly point out, it can also keep destructive elements in UK politics in power, whether hard Tory Brexiteers or Jeremy Corbyn.

Although, if I am cynical: the possible downside of that gamble is for the UK far greater than for the EU. We are in all probability heading for a hard Brexit anyway, was has the EU to lose by buying extra time? It could save billions in economic damage.
What does happen in that scenario however, is giving up hope for a concession from the UK on Northern Ireland now, and probably indefinitely.... Which means NI is screwed unless by some miracle a hard Brexit is avoided, which brings us back to our previous topic...

Q
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 11:02:07 AM by Que »

Offline Mr. Minnow

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #587 on: August 02, 2018, 02:10:28 PM »
But it is also a gamble. As you quite rightly point out, it can also keep destructive elements in UK politics in power, whether hard Tory Brexiteers or Jeremy Corbyn.

I wouldn't bracket the Tory Brexit ultras with Corbyn. I'd like Corbyn to be more pro-EU, but a government led by him would sign up to a customs union with the EU and would not seek to diverge much from single market regulations. He would also be willing to do what is needed to avoid a border in Ireland (and if that pissed off the DUP I think we can safely assume he wouldn't mind too much). 

A government led by the likes of Rees Mogg or Johnson on the other hand....well, that's something else. No customs union, huge divergence from single market rules and an ultra-Thatcherite race to the bottom economic model, which is exactly what the EU has said it doesn't want to happen. Oh yeah, and sod the Irish border - government policy would be "well we don't want a border, if there is one it will be down to Ireland and the EU". Yes, that's complete bollocks, but that's what these lunatics are saying. A government of Tory hard Brexiteers is the worst outcome by far, both for the UK and the EU.

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #588 on: August 02, 2018, 10:42:05 PM »
Oh, there is definitely a huge difference between Corbyn and Tory hard brexiteers!! But not where it counts....  ::)

But Corbyn is clearly anti-EU, and I highly doubt if a Labour government under his leadership would have been much improvement compared to May. Thought that remains speculation....
The belated customs union offer was symbolic, and as has been established in many analyses, doesn't cut it.

Corbyn's major issue with the internal market, are its competition rules - which are at its very core - and its rules for public procurement in particular. Why spend money of the British taxpayer with foreign companies? Well, to get the best value for your money, for instance.... He also doesn't seem to understand that such a position would rule out any public contracts for UK companies anywhere in the rest of the EU as well. International agreements are reciprocal, you can't have it both ways.
In the end you restrict free competition without any economic gains... sounds like a swell idea...

And he doesn't like free movement of persons (labour) either. And I have sympathy for resisting the import of cheap labour. But in the case of the UK this was its own doing and a case of too late now to turn back the clock...
I'm wondering whether he accepts the ECJ?
Actually, he might be against the internal market altogether.... hence the customs union idea.

In this sense Corbyn is as deluded as any other Leaver...

Q
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 10:47:01 PM by Que »

Offline Mr. Minnow

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #589 on: August 03, 2018, 03:29:47 AM »
Oh, there is definitely a huge difference between Corbyn and Tory hard brexiteers!! But not where it counts....  ::)

But Corbyn is clearly anti-EU, and I highly doubt if a Labour government under his leadership would have been much improvement compared to May. Thought that remains speculation....
The belated customs union offer was symbolic, and as has been established in many analyses, doesn't cut it.

Corbyn's major issue with the internal market, are its competition rules - which are at its very core - and its rules for public procurement in particular. Why spend money of the British taxpayer with foreign companies? Well, to get the best value for your money, for instance.... He also doesn't seem to understand that such a position would rule out any public contracts for UK companies anywhere in the rest of the EU as well. International agreements are reciprocal, you can't have it both ways.
In the end you restrict free competition without any economic gains... sounds like a swell idea...

And he doesn't like free movement of persons (labour) either. And I have sympathy for resisting the import of cheap labour. But in the case of the UK this was its own doing and a case of too late now to turn back the clock...
I'm wondering whether he accepts the ECJ?
Actually, he might be against the internal market altogether.... hence the customs union idea.

In this sense Corbyn is as deluded as any other Leaver...

Q

He'd have to come off the fence he's currently sitting on if he were in power, though much of his 2017 manifesto could be implemented within existing EU rules. Nevertheless, it is indeed true that there would certainly be points of substantive disagreement between the EU and a Corbyn government. But the disagreements between the EU and an ERG government would be on another level, and the effect of that would be multiplied by the fact that the Tory Brexit ultras are motivated by an intense, visceral hatred of the EU which makes negotiations with them virtually impossible. They're still sometimes referred to as Eurosceptics but that isn't really correct - many of them are literally anti-European, as well as anti-European Union. 
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 03:32:25 AM by Mr. Minnow »

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #590 on: August 04, 2018, 03:25:53 AM »
As to Corbyn: he has a lot to answer for....
If Labour had a modern, centrist leader, the Tory govt might not have lasted this long.
By being who he is, and his tacit support of Brexit, he has already changed the course of history.

As to Brexit itself: it seems the option of another fudge/compromise on NI as a way to buy time by entering the fase of transition (to nowhere) is gathering momentum:

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So there are ominous signs that we could end up with a compromise on the Irish border, which forms part of the withdrawal agreement, and a very vague political declaration about the future UK-EU relationship, which puts off the crucial decisions on market access and customs until the implementation (or transitional) period lasting from next March to December 2020.

Such a minimalist deal might prevent a meltdown this Autumn that would bring May down. She might win over enough Tory MPs to secure Commons approval for such a threadbare deal, in order to “get Brexit over the line” next March, as Michael Gove urges. It would avoid a cliff edge exit. 

It would be a good deal for the EU, which would bank the UK’s £40bn divorce payment – part of the withdrawal agreement. But it would be a bad deal for the British public. Again, Tory party management would trump the national interest. The UK will have very little leverage in the negotiations once it leaves the EU, and would have thrown away its trump card – the £40bn.  It might be money for nothing, since we would have little idea about our future trade links with the EU.

As the Tory peer and former Brexit minister George Bridges warned in January: "My fear is that we will get meaningless waffle in a political declaration...The implementation period will be not be a bridge to a clear destination; it will be a gangplank into thin air."

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-macron-brexit-chequers-eu-negotiations-a8476051.html

Q
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 04:03:41 AM by Que »

Offline Mr. Minnow

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #591 on: August 04, 2018, 06:06:35 AM »
As to Corbyn: he has a lot to answer for....
If Labour had a modern, centrist leader, the Tory govt might not have lasted this long.
By being who he is, and his tacit support of Brexit, he has already changed the course of history.

If Labour had a "centrist" leader they'd still be as far behind the Tories in the polls as they were under Brown and Miliband, perhaps even further behind. It's the failures of Labour's self-styled "moderates" that caused the rise of Corbyn in the first place. They surrendered the intellectual arguments to the Tories, first by accepting the fundamentals of Thatcherite economics under Blair, then by accepting the austerity agenda and failing to challenge the myth that the crash was caused by Labour overspending. All of these could and should have been challenged, but they didn't do it, either because they didn't want to (Blair) or because they thought that it would backfire on them if they did (Miliband).

The calculation was that even if traditional Labour voters didn't like this drift ever further rightwards, they'd still vote Labour because they had nowhere else to go. It was a fatal mistake. First they were outflanked on the left by the SNP, which obliterated Labour in Scotland, one of the party's biggest power bases. But the drift to the right ultimately did them little good in England either. Even over the course of Blair's time they steadily lost support as their traditional voters, increasingly feeling ignored and taken for granted, stayed at home: they came to view New Labour and the Tories as two cheeks of the same arse. Those voters then became easy prey for UKIP, who did a good job of exploiting legitimate grievances and channelling that resentment into an anti-immigration sentiment - and by equating immigration with the EU, an anti-EU sentiment. By failing to challenge the nonsense that Labour spending too much on public services caused the crash, it turned out that, surprise surprise, they were blamed by much of the public for the crash: after all, if even Labour itself wasn't challenging this nonsense, then it must be true!

So it was that we ended up with a "moderate" Labour government extending the Thatcherite agenda of privatisation, "light touch" regulation on the financial sector - oh yes, and imposing a truly vicious new disability benefits system which was cynically designed to deprive as many vulnerable people as possible of the support they needed to keep their heads above water, and to hell with the human cost (which has proved to be dreadful). That the Tories were only too happy to support this and take it even further when they got back into power should tell you everything you need to know. When the Tories' austerity policies punished the victims of the crash instead of those that caused it, Labour's response was to agree. Oddly enough, "we'd implement austerity too, but we'd try not to look as though we relish it as much as the Tories" didn't prove to be wildly popular.

The 2015 leadership election perfectly encapsulated what had gone wrong. The Tories had fought that year's general election on a manifesto which included a pledge of benefit cuts which were even more vindictive and regressive. They never thought they'd have to implement it as Cameron expected another hung parliament. Then he won a small majority and had to do it. Corbyn opposed the cuts unequivocally. The three "centrist" candidates wrung their hands instead. For many former Labour voters that confirmed just how badly the party had lost its way, and even for many who hadn't yet abandoned Labour, that was the last straw. Result: Corbyn won by a landslide.

The reaction of the "moderates" to Corbyn's rise has been very telling. From day one they've been happy to go running to the media (the Tory press included) to slag him off. But ask them to come up with a set of policies which could win back former Labour voters and it all goes a bit quiet. Despite having had control of the party for 13 years in government, then five more years in opposition under Miliband, Corbyn's rise appears to have prompted little or no critical self-reflection from the "moderates". No willingness to analyse where they went wrong or their consequent role in Corbyn winning the leadership, little effort at revitalising their moribund intellectual position, nothing. Corbyn's 2017 manifesto, while unremarkable social democracy by European standards, was certainly the most left wing Labour manifesto for a long time, and the centrists were horrified by it. They seemed to be even more horrified when it proved to be the turning point in the campaign because it was - shock, horror - popular. How could this be? This is precisely the sort of left wing nonsense which would guarantee Labour's electoral annihiliation - except it didn't happen. They still don't seem to understand why, or even want to understand why. Until they do they'll get nowhere.       



Quote
As to Brexit itself: it seems the option of another fudge/compromise on NI as a way to buy time by entering the fase of transition (to nowhere) is gathering momentum:

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-macron-brexit-chequers-eu-negotiations-a8476051.html

Q

If they go for that it means no meaningful vote in parliament. It also means that after we leave some ERG-approved shitgibbon can fill in the details to give us the most deranged outcome possible. Is the EU really willing to have a country run by these maniacs on its doorstep?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 03:45:10 PM by Mr. Minnow »

Online Que

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #592 on: August 04, 2018, 10:44:03 PM »
I'm not going into your comments on Labour, my knowledge on UK politics is too limted for that. But I've read your insights with much interest.  :)
I do get the impression that the first-past-the-post systems creates undesirable political dynamics.
In tbe Dutch system the major centrist parties, like the social democrats, are flanked by smaller parties to keep them on their toes.

If they go for that it means no meaningful vote in parliament. It also means that after we leave some ERG-approved shitgibbon can fill in the details to give us the most deranged outcome possible. Is the EU really willing to have a country run by these maniacs on its doorstep?

There wouldn't be a deal to vote on, apart from the divorce agreement.....

The problem is that there are not that many other options left besides a hard Brexit.
Concluding a trade deal within the deadline of two years was always doubtful, but seems impossible by now. Unless the UK suddenly goes for the Norway/EEA option, but even then. The UK could retract the article 50 notice and abandon Brexit altogether. Or it could ask for an extension, wich - I think - would only be agreed to by the EU in case of a 2nd referendum or a general election.

A hard Brexit now, not only has economic downsides to the EU, but political ones as well. The EU could be seen as pushing the UK off the cliff to punish it, or worse, to force a change in domestic politics. There would be a lot of serious damage that cannot be undone.

A "Blind Brexit" would at least keep the relationship between the EU and the UK afloat, in hope of better times.
Off course, a 2nd referendum or a parliamentary vote to force May's hand, would be a game changer. But either seems unlikely at the moment.

Q

Offline Mr. Minnow

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #593 on: August 05, 2018, 02:07:13 AM »
I'm not going into your comments on Labour, my knowledge on UK politics is too limted for that. But I've read your insights with much interest.  :)
I do get the impression that the first-past-the-post systems creates undesirable political dynamics.
In tbe Dutch system the major centrist parties, like the social democrats, are flanked by smaller parties to keep them on their toes.

You're right about FPTP, it's now a clearly dysfunctional system. It means that the two main parties are coalitions in all but name. In the Tory party you have staunchly pro-EU people like Ken Clarke on the one hand, and on the other hand Brexit ultras like Rees Mogg. The old "one nation" Tories, who were largely in favour of the post-war consensus, have been pretty thin on the ground since Thatcher, but there are probably a few still around. There are few countries on the continent in which all these people would be in the same party.

It's a similar story with Labour. Blair and Corbyn would never be in the same party in most European countries, and I've heard several prominent Blairite commentators say they'd rather have a Tory government led by someone like Cameron than a left wing Labour government.

The other effect of FPTP is that it effectively disenfranchises millions of voters, because elections are decided by floating voters in marginal seats, even though they make up only a tiny sliver of the electorate. That was one factor in the Brexit referendum: all votes were equal in their impact on the result, so many people voted in the referendum who saw no point in voting in Westminster elections, which have often produced a House of Commons which was nowhere near an accurate reflection of how people voted.

It's also very hard for smaller parties to make an impact under FPTP, so it reinforces the system of two main parties. The supposed justification for this system is that FPTP guarantees government which is strong and stable (to coin a phrase) - in other words, governments with majorities big enough to get their legislation passed. Indeed, governments with big majorities can do more or less what they like without bothering to listen to dissent even on their own side. But even that argument has worn thin, with two of the last three elections producing hung parliaments and the other only a small majority for the Tories. There are also fewer marginal seats than there used to be, so hung parliaments or precariously small majorities appear set to be the norm for the foreseeable future. If anything good could come out of Brexit it would be to strain the two party system past breaking point and well and truly blow it up. I'm not holding my breath though.   


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There wouldn't be a deal to vote on, apart from the divorce agreement.....

The problem is that there are not that many other options left besides a hard Brexit.
Concluding a trade deal within the deadline of two years was always doubtful, but seems impossible by now. Unless the UK suddenly goes for the Norway/EEA option, but even then. The UK could retract the article 50 notice and abandon Brexit altogether. Or it could ask for an extension, wich - I think - would only be agreed to by the EU in case of a 2nd referendum or a general election.

A hard Brexit now, not only has economic downsides to the EU, but political ones as well. The EU could be seen as pushing the UK off the cliff to punish it, or worse, to force a change in domestic politics. There would be a lot of serious damage that cannot be undone.

A "Blind Brexit" would at least keep the relationship between the EU and the UK afloat, in hope of better times.
Off course, a 2nd referendum or a parliamentary vote to force May's hand, would be a game changer. But either seems unlikely at the moment.

Q

Of the options you mention, a blind Brexit may be the most likely, simply because it allows us to avoid a no deal scenario - at least for the time being. The big issues can be deferred to the transition period, though it seems likely that we might still be faced with the distinct possibility of no deal when that period runs out. There's also the risk, as I said before, that once we're legally out at the end of March, May is ousted and replaced by the likes of Johnson or Rees Mogg. If that happens, no deal would be highly likely - zealots, by definition, are people who don't compromise on their ideological purity. If a blind Brexit gives us a government like that it will be a disaster for us, and not great for the EU either.   

Offline Mr. Minnow

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #594 on: August 05, 2018, 02:33:13 AM »
A few days ago the governor of the Bank of England was accused by the Brexiters of indulging in "Project Fear" when he described the chance of no deal as "uncomfortably high". Liam Fox has now said it's the most likely outcome. So presumably they'll be accusing him of "Project Fear" as well. Or perhaps not.

EDIT: here's the article:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/aug/05/liam-fox-says-no-deal-brexit-now-more-likely-than-an-agreement

You have to admire the sheer cheek of this bit:

Quote
Fox said: “It’s up to the EU27 to determine whether they want the EU commission’s ideological purity to be maintained at the expense of their real economies.”

That's a hardline Brexiter accusing the EU of putting ideological purity before economic benefits. Self-awareness is clearly not Fox's strong point.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 07:34:55 AM by Mr. Minnow »

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #595 on: August 07, 2018, 10:02:23 PM »

Offline Mr. Minnow

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #596 on: August 08, 2018, 02:29:37 PM »
"Brexiternity": a never ending Brexit to nowhere...

Not so! Jacob Rees Mogg has assured us that we should know the full economic impact of Brexit in about 50 years.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #597 on: August 11, 2018, 10:17:25 PM »
As we (in the UK) slide towards the 'No Deal' abyss the danger is that the government will ask for emergency powers and our democracy will be eroded, which I find very worrying.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline NikF

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #598 on: August 11, 2018, 10:26:44 PM »
I have dual citizenship and so if the worst comes to the worst I'm moving across the water and next door to aligreto. He doesn't know this yet.  ;D
"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Brexit Negotiations.
« Reply #599 on: August 11, 2018, 10:57:32 PM »
Will have mine soon too and the three of us can form a commune!
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 11:02:32 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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