Pete North Profile picture
Oct 5, 2018 20 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. Today in #Brexit tedium: You all saw the Barnier tweet reiterating that a Canada+++ is available and has been from the beginning. The ultra brexiters have taken that to mean an FTA plus whatever fiction they want tacked on to it.
2. They are dishonestly claiming this as a vindication of their position, conveniently ignoring that the EU will not agree to begin talks on any such agreement unless the UK signs up to an NI backstop. The EU is entirely consistent on this.
3. The ultas claim that a Canada+++ deal where they get to define what the plusses mean means that we don't need a backstop, Two problems here. The EU won;t agree to it and secondly, the details of their proposal has the same basic flaw as Chequers which the EU already declined.
4. All the same, the Brexit will use Barnier's tweet for domestic leverage and for propaganda purposes ignoring that fact that Barnier has not narrowed the options down, rather he is re-stating ONE of the available options. The EEA, for the EU is still on the table.
5. So really it;s another day where there is plenty of Brexit noise but no progression in terms of understanding and we are still waiting on Mrs May to bite the bullet and face the reality that she has to choose one of the options defined by the EU.
6. As you ought to know by now, Chequers is an attempt to reconcile the regulatory issues in order to produce a whole UK solution which removes the necessity for an NI backstop. She wants a partial EEA with unilateral divergence powers. No chance, Lance.
7. May has at least understood that there is no frictionless trade without regulatory alignment but is desperately seeking a means to find a solution that the EU will accept which also appeases the ultra Brexiters. No such solution exists.
8. So now she has the choice of an FTA which categorically will not be adequate for the purposes of maintaining frictionless trade and one that requires a backstop she has permanently ruled out. So she has two options... no deal or EEA+.
9. Here the EEA is not making it easy for May because Barniers advisers are listening to flawed advice which says an EEA solution must also have a customs union, which is a Brexiter red line and one red line we can pretty much all agree on.
10. This is a tactical error on the part of the EU in that they haven't really considered what they want thus are doing nothing to nudge the UK in the right direction and are increasingly making the more viable solution less politically viable for May.
11. As much as we are not seeing honesty, competence or clarity from the UK we are not seeing any tactical acumen from the EU nor are we seeing any kind of pragmatism or creativity. There is too much bad blood and I can't say I blame them.
12. The only way there can be a withdrawal agreement is if both dies come to an accommodation on the NI backstop. Personally I do not see what the fuss is about since it is only activated in the event that no solution can be found in the second Brexit phase.
13. If May was smart she would emphasise that aspect of it and sign it just to get the withdrawal agreement in the bag. Barnier has been keen to de-dramatise it and May could very easily play along by speaking more vaguely about a future whole-UK solution.
14. If I were May I would sign up to it, get the Withdrawal agreement in the bag and then resign immediately after Brexit and that way it's up to the Brexiters to find a way around backstop activation. It boxes them into the EEA and she won't even have to make the decision.
15. Ultimately the EEA was always the only viable solution and for all this fannying around May could have saved herself a massive headache by showing a bit of backbone but she has fallen victim to her own self-imposed red lines. She shot herself in the foot.
16. Being that May has all the decision making capabilities of a rabbit in headlights I rather expect she will pull a flounce at the last minute, expecting the EU to chase after her with an emergency offer to avoid no deal. I don't think they will. The stunt will backfire.
17. The ultimate conceptual mistake May has made is believing this was a negotiation where the relationship could be built from scratch rather than having to design an interface to a system of rules. She assumed the EU can and will bend its own system for the UK.
18. This is the one reality that has escaped May, most of the Tories, all of the think tanks, half of the British press and the broader public. They just don't understand the EU machine and the two sides are speaking different languages.
19. At this point if Parliament was reading the writing on the wall they would by now be asserting their own authority and looking to force May into the EEA but there lacks the coherence and the foresight so it we are all passengers of events awaiting the depressingly inevitable
20. All of this, though, was predictable - and predicted - even on my side of the argument, but saner voices were sidelined by all the clever little boys in various Tory think tanks who said we could get a better deal. Now we all pay the price for Tory arrogance.

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More from @PeteNorth303

Oct 3, 2018
1. It is not conspiratorial to say that both Johnson and Rees-Mogg are front men for a very narrow set of interests. they are relying entirely on the IEA think tank set for ideas - which sees #Brexit only in terms of how their financial backers can advance their interests.
2. I have never heard JRM or Johnson give a detailed and convincing anti-EU speech. They know how to drop in buzzwords and eurosceptic terminology but they have stolen the clothes of anti-EU scholars who used to make up the eurosceptic movement.
3. Very skilfully they have cleaved euroscepticism away from Ukip which has freed itself to concentrating on grunting about Muslims. Most of the founders have either gravitated to the Tory fringes or bowed out completely.
Read 20 tweets
Oct 3, 2018
1. All the solutions to the various technical #Brexit concerns are to an extent sub-optimal, complicated and require a degree of compromise. Tories, though, would rather queue up round the block to be told life is simpler than it is.

2. Anyone can blether about sovereignty and self-determination but in the real world, regulation and rules are the WD40 of trade and without agreed norms trade simply doesn't happen. All trade agreements to one extend or other place constraints on sovereignty.
3. Brexit requires of us that we seek a balance between isolationism and subordination but since the EU is the regional and global regulatory superpower in this equation, to a larger extent it will call the shots. This is a simple fact of life. They are bigger than us.
Read 14 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
1. For the benefit of the hard of thinking and for possibly the billionth time, there is only ONE way to ensure the UK maintains its current trade with the EU and that is by joining Efta and retaining the EEA agreement. (#Brexit thread)
2.There are means to ensure the bare minimum essentials continue but the EU is a major market actually on our doorstep so there is no way we should even be considering options that only maintain the bare minimum. The UK as a matter of fact needs a fully comprehensive relationship
3. As pointed out by the European Commission, a customs union covers only those functions listed in red and is not EVEN required to address those issues. The majority of border concerns are regulatory issues covered by the EEA.
Read 10 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
1. So if reports are correct it looks like Mrs May is going to go with a customs union as her next move along with those rules necessary to keep the trucks rolling. No doubt this is going to upset the #Brexit Taliban. (thread)
2. As ever she's got it ass backwards where the the differences then between NI and mainland will be more profound than if we'd stayed in the EEA and ditched the customs union. This is what happens when you equate customs controls with customs unions.
3. So the plan, if we can call it a plan is a Turkey Plus sort of arrangement - or maybe the Jersey Option. Whatever ti is, it certainly is turkey - but it's bordering on workable which is closer than we've been before. It will probably fall over on the details.
Read 19 tweets
Sep 29, 2018
1. Time of a thread on this Toryboy dribble. The problem with a #Brexit FTA+++ ("with maximum recognition") is that the EU does not do mutual recognition where it has already has harmonised rules. it is never going to agree to an equivalence system. ...
2. Put simply if we go for an FTA+++ then the EU gets to decide the terms of those plusses. It can can look at maximum facilitation for revenue issues in relation to VAT and tariffs and technology can help but that pertains only to the customs union. The bits in red.
3. As you can see it doesn't even begin to address the issue of regulatory controls and though the EU does do MRAs on conformity assessment, they are never universal and only if there are exactly matched standards. The belief we can unilateral diverge is a fantasy.
Read 18 tweets
Sep 29, 2018
1. I very rarely say something is a must read because very little is, but the new report "Power, Platforms and The Free Trade Delusion" from @UNCTAD is essential to understanding political trends in the wake of hyperglobalisation. (thread)…
2. Essentially globalisation has created the conditions for corporates to tilt markets in their favour and evade tax. It argues that the loss of legitimate revenue along with rent seeking is a driver of inequality and exacerbated by e-commerce.
3. The report in places gets quite technical and if you are at all normal your eyes will glaze over some of it but it is worth a skim read at the very least. Interestingly it talks about increased markups, ballooning profits and a decline in wages. Globalisation exacerbates this.
Read 15 tweets

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