Category Archives: Trade

Should Northern Ireland split from the UK to end deadlock with the EU and keep Biden happy?

Deadlock: The EU has a trade agreement and couldn’t care less if it harms Boris Johnson. And Joe Biden’s commitment to co-operation with the UK may waver if a solution can’t be found and the Troubles return. What if the Province splits from the UK – for the good of its people?

It makes a nice story on the eve of a G7 summit – especially one taking place in the UK. And that’s what the BBC propagandists want.

But while US President Joe Biden and the UK’s pipsqueak Boris Johnson might agree that trade problems in Northern Ireland due to last year’s UK-EU deal need to be solved, we have no reason to believe they agree on how.

The European Union has no problem with the current situation. All the problems were created by Boris Johnson because he rushed through a trade deal, either without understanding it or without caring what was in it – to meet a deadline he thought he needed to maintain public confidence.

Even the BBC had to admit it:

French President Emmanuel Macron said: “I think it’s not serious to want to review in July what we finalised after years of debate and work in December.

“We have a trade deal – it has been painfully discussed for years… if six months later, they say: ‘What we negotiated with you, we don’t know how to respect it’, then that means that nothing is respectable anymore.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the Northern Ireland protocol – the name for the post-Brexit trading rules – was the “only solution” and should be implemented fully.

Biden’s interest dates from the 1990s, when his forerunner Bill Clinton worked with people on all sides of the Northern Ireland question to help bring about the Good Friday Agreement that ended the so-called “Troubles”.

The BBC (again) has already published details of a planned speech in which Biden was set to voice concerns that deadlock on the Northern Ireland Protocol could jeopardise peace in the Province.

Sadly, with Biden taking pains to stress that he is not “warning” the two sides in any way, the EU unwilling to give any ground at all, and Johnson incapable of understanding the complexities involved, it seems there may be “Troubles” ahead once again.

There is a simple way out, of course: Northern Ireland could vote to leave the United Kingdom.

I’m not even suggesting that this means joining the Republic of Ireland.

The simple fact is that the people of this region have suffered terribly because of the “Troubles”. If I was living there, I would be furious that Johnson’s insensitivity has put NI back in the firing line and would be prepared to consider any alternative to prevent it.

And there’s no reason they would want to stay in the union – Johnson has created a situation where they are actually worse-off, the longer they put up with the current situation.

If Northern Ireland quit the UK but did not join the Republic, Biden would be happy; future violence could be averted. The EU would be happy too – it would make trading much simpler.

The only loser would be Boris Johnson. He would become the prime minister who forced the nation to split – and voters are not likely to forgive him for that.

It would be poetic justice. He thought he could get away with any old rubbish. He thought wrong.

Source: G7: UK and US in complete harmony over Northern Ireland – Boris Johnson – BBC News

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Johnson hosts Orban visit: they’re all anti-Semites together

Boris Johnson and Victor Orban: they’re all in it together – if “it” is anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Boris Johnson is currently hosting a visit by the rabidly anti-Semite prime minister of Hungary, Victor Orban. Next week he’ll be welcoming Rowdy, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan!

He might as well.

Orban has been accused of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, based on his behaviour in office. Johnson has been accused of those prejudices, based on his behaviour both in Parliament and away from it (as anyone who’s read his novel 72 Virgins must know.

What’s the message here? That it is okay to be anti-Semitic as long as you’re supplying millions of pounds worth of arms to Israel so it can bomb Muslims?

Even the BBC’s report has mentioned that the visit has been met with widespread condemnation.

Here’s how some of it looks:

This commenter highlighted a decision by The Guardian (amongst others?) to describe Orban as “populist”:

Then there’s this:

Well yes. The Jewish Chronicle spent years campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, on the grounds that this veteran peace campaigner, who never wished harm upon anybody, was somehow a raving anti-Semite.

In fact, of course…

Now, in fairness, the Jewish Chronicle has published an article in which some Jewish voices have called on Johnson to raise the issue of anti-Semitism with Orban. No more than that.

But it does indicate that Mr Monehan’s sentiment in this tweet is accurate:

The real reason for the meeting is obvious: trade.

Having led the UK out of the excellent trading circumstances it enjoyed as a member of the European Union, Johnson is now reduced to grubbing around among the lowest of the low, desperately searching for someone who will take our products.

Even if he wasn’t an anti-Semite and Islamophobe himself, those considerations would trump his own personal feelings.

If he gets to do a deal, he would happily tell anybody complaining that it is only business.

And his ministers, tasked with ensuring that a good trading relationship is created with this anti-Semitic, Islamophobic government, would give us the classic Nuremberg defence – that they are “only following orders”.

Source: Viktor Orban in talks with Boris Johnson amid condemnation – BBC News

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This is your Tory government: work contracts with ‘hostile’ nations and trade deals with human rights violators

Dominic Raab: his pretty words about human rights mean nothing.

Credit to Dominic Raab for finally admitting that he and everybody else in the Conservative government are immoral scum.

The day after Downing Street admitted its new media briefing room was built by a firm based in a nation hostile to the UK – Russia – he has admitted that his government will seek trade deals with nations whose governments violate the human rights of their citizens.

This is consistent with the Tory Bill currently working its way through Parliament that will strip you of your right to protest against other violations of your rights (or the law) by the Tory government, of course.

If your government is happy to strip you of your human rights, it will be happy to trade with nations that have done the same.

Raab said these countries are the “growth markets” of the future.

He neglected to mention that the reason they may be considered growth markets is because most right-thinking countries would never soil their hands doing deals with such vile creatures.

He also failed to admit that the UK has been reduced to considering such abhorrent activities because his government forced through the country’s departure from the European Union, which has been extremely harmful to everybody but the richest multi-millionaires.

Unbelievably, Raab tried to turn the argument against trading with these monsters on its head:

We don’t junk whole relationships because we’ve got issues – we have a conversation because we want to change the behaviour.

You don’t change the behaviour of others by giving them what they want, though.

And you certainly can’t lead by example when you are forcing your own country to backslide into the same dark-age ignorance as the countries you’re criticising.

Underlying all of this, though, is the fact that your fellow UK citizens voted for this. While our colleagues in Europe and elsewhere hold themselves to the highest standards, the UK voted to grub around in the dirt. And Raab isn’t even the dirtiest grotesquery in the Tory government.

Source: Exclusive: Raab Says UK Wants Trade Deals With Nations That Violate Human Rights | HuffPost UK

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Gove rebuked for fiddling the figures on post-Brexit trade

The UK Statistics Authority has delivered an official reprimand to Michael Gove and his Cabinet Office for faking the figures on post-Brexit trade.

The Road Haulage Association published the results of a survey in February, showing that the volume of exports to the EU fell by more than two-thirds (68 per cent) in January, immediately after the UK finally severed its membership of the European Union.

Gove’s Cabinet Office then pretended that the RHA was wrong, stating that “inbound and outbound flows (across all UK ports) were close to normal, at 95% outbound and 96% inbound, in spite of the impact of Covid lockdowns on trade.”

The UKSA’s reprimand pointed out that the Cabinet Office’s response contained “claims based on unpublished data, and as such these figures cannot be verified”.

Worse still, it referred only to “flows” of lorries, and not to the amount of freight they were carrying.

It is entirely possible that the number of lorries going out to the EU was almost as high from January 1 onwards as they had been before.

But the claim that exports had dropped by two-thirds is also likely to be true if most of those lorries were empty – and they were.

Gove has been caught trying to mislead the public over this important issue. By rights he should resign. But does anybody think he will?

Source: UK Statistics Authority rebukes Gove over Brexit figures | Brexit | The Guardian

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Bang goes the Good Friday Agreement as paramilitary groups accuse Johnson of betraying peace

Northern Ireland: it seems Boris Johnson’s stupidity may end not only his post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU but also terminate 23 years of peace.

Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland have withdrawn support for the Good Friday Agreement due to Brexit – and they aren’t nationalists but unionists.

The Loyalist Communities Council, a group representing the views of the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando, are protesting at Boris Johnson’s Irish Sea trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The group has written to Johnson and Ireland’s taoiseach, Micheál Martin, warning of “permanent destruction” of the 1998 peace agreement without changes to post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The letter said unionist opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol – the part of the Brexit deal that keeps Northern Ireland a part of the EU’s single market for goods – should remain “peaceful and democratic”.

But this is a decision to withdraw support for a peace deal that underpins power-sharing in Northern Ireland. If a solution is not found quickly, peace in the province could be lost – again.

And it would be Boris Johnson’s fault.

In fact, the Brexit deal seems to be unravelling fast for Johnson. The European Union has refused to ratify it for a second time after Brussels accused the UK of violating it.

The decision came after Johnson’s ministers said they would unilaterally change parts of the agreement to give businesses in Northern Ireland time to adapt to new trade rules.

Johnson is unsafe wherever he goes now.

If he decides to change the Brexit deal again, to preserve the Good Friday Agreement, his dream of free trade with the EU (which turned out to be a nightmare in any case) will be over forever.

But if he doesn’t, he risks re-igniting the Troubles – as violence by nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1998 was known.

Loyalist paramilitary groups endorsed the Good Friday agreement and say they have no desire to reignite the Troubles.

But the LCC said the Northern Ireland protocol had breached safeguards in the Good Friday agreement to protect the status of the province and the rest of the UK.

So Johnson has put himself in the worst of all possible worlds. And he only has himself to blame.

Source: Brexit: loyalist paramilitary groups renounce Good Friday agreement | Northern Ireland | The Guardian

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Brexit: Amsterdam overtakes London as Europe’s top share trading centre

Duper’s delight: Admittedly it was Andrea Leadsom, not Boris Johnson, who gave us the soft soap about Brexit leading us into “sunlit uplands” – but he was the figurehead for it. Surely he must have known it was a lie?

Didn’t the Brexiteers say this could never happen and that London would remain the financial centre of Europe (if not the world) no matter what?

Average daily trading halved from €17.5bn to €8.6bn last month, according to data released by the CBOE exchange – while trade in the Dutch capital surged from €2.6bn to €9.2bn as exchanges shifted order books abroad after Brexit.

It has happened because Britain failed to gain equivalence with the EU or strike a comprehensive trade deal covering financial services, meaning exchange operators such as the CBOE and Turquoise had to move their order books abroad by January this year.

The actual impact is small:

The change can be compared to moving a computer that processes online store orders from one city to another. While the computer has moved, all of its customers and suppliers are still in the same place. Likewise, while share trading has shifted, most of the traders, brokers and asset managers are still in London.

But the symbolic impact is huge.

Brexit is stripping the UK of its established place in the world. Thanks to Tories like Boris Johnson, the country is losing all of the power and prestige that ordinary people worked so hard to give our rich bosses.

In fairness, this decline may ultimately be good for us.

It might finally give apathetic Brits the kick up the backside they need to end the rule of the overprivileged few, introduce a fairer system that rewards those who actually contribute, and earn a return to the top.

But I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

Source: Amsterdam overtakes London as Europe’s top share trading centre | Financial sector | The Guardian

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If half our exporters are in danger due to Brexit, should we ignore them in favour of the other half?

Imagine this container ship half-empty and you’ll have an idea of the effect that Brexit is having on UK exports.

That was the rationale behind the support for the EU referendum decision, if I recall correctly: that the 48 per cent who were disadvantaged by it should accept that the 52 per cent had won.

Now we see 49 per cent of UK exporters are facing difficulties that are disrupting their business as they struggle to cope with Brexit-related bureaucracy and border checks that the Tory government spent years promising would not be imposed.

People are making the obvious comparison, and This Writer thinks it is reasonable to do so.

All right – the EU referendum vote was democracy in action and it was won by those who wanted to quit the European Union.

That decision has consequences, and we are seeing those consequences in action now.

In January, the UK lost 68 per cent of its export trade to the EU. Now we see that 49 per cent of exporting companies are experiencing difficulties with the new system. If the situation continues, they may close. Already fishery firms are closing.

If firms go out of business, people will lose their jobs and the economy will spiral into a recession so deep that 2008 will seem like a picnic in comparison.

I wonder if Brexiteers who work for affected firms will still be telling Remainers, “You lost – get over it!” from the food bank queues.

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Since Brexit the UK has lost 68% of exports to its biggest market – because Gove ignored the experts

Michael Gove says the UK has had enough of experts: it seems his Chelsea scarf has cut off the supply of blood to his brain.

Now we know why senior Tories have been quietly telling us we’ll have to wait a number of years before seeing the benefit (ha ha) of Brexit.

I notice that the number of years mentioned seems to vary between five and 50. That also tells us much.

But it is our memories that we should be consulting. We were told that Brexit would take us out of the shadow of the EU and into the “sunlit uplands” of independence (even though we were never dependent on the European Union, when the UK was a member).

That was the happy fantasy; this is the bitter fact:

The volume of exports going through British ports to the EU fell by a staggering 68% last month compared with January last year, mostly as a result of problems caused by Brexit.

It’s a drop of two-thirds – a disastrous amount for any country. For the fifth-richest in the world, it signals a precipitous fall to a place much lower in the international wealth rankings.

And there must be no passing of blame. Responsibility lies firmly with Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, it seems – who ignored repeated warnings from the Road Haulage Association.

In a letter to Gove dated 1 February, the RHA’s chief executive, Richard Burnett, also told the minister he and his officials had repeatedly warned over several months of problems and called for measures to lessen difficulties – but had been largely ignored.

In addition to the 68% fall-off in exports, about 65%-75% of vehicles that had come over from the EU were going back empty because there were no goods for them to return with, due to hold-ups on the UK side, and because some UK companies had either temporarily or permanently halted exports to the EU.

“I find it deeply frustrating and annoying that ministers have chosen not to listen to the industry and experts,” he said.

Ah, well. We all know Michael Gove’s views about experts.

Yes indeed. Mr Gove said the people of the UK had had enough of experts getting it wrong all the time.

Unfortunately for him, it seems the experts – and, yes, they do come from an organisation that can be reduced to an acronym – were right and he was wrong.

I wonder how many billions of pounds he has cost his fellow UK citizens?

Source: Fury at Gove as exports to EU slashed by 68% since Brexit | Brexit | The Guardian

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Tory blames Covid for Northern Ireland trade problems & admits it would have been better to stay in EU

Empty shelves: in fact this shot  is from the shortages when people were panic-buying before the first Covid lockdown. It should therefore be no surprise that Brandon Lewis is using Covid as an excuse for the consequences of Brexit.

How else are we to interpret Brandon Lewis’s admission that the European Union’s Single Market offers a “competitive advantages”?

Wasn’t the UK supposed to become more competitive by leaving the EU?

Lewis was responding to complaints that hundreds of products have disappeared from supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland after Brexit.

According to the Belfast Telegraph,

Hundreds of products have disappeared in shops, many online sellers have stopped supplying NI customers, and freight hauliers report bottlenecks caused by new EU paperwork needed before lorries can board ferries from Great Britain.

Lewis said the shortages were due to Covid-19, not Brexit. But we all expected that, didn’t we?

If that’s the case, then why this post-Brexit disruption when traders had been promised unfettered access between Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

He said – well, hear it for yourself. As an added bonus, you get Peter Stefanovic demonstrating that Lewis was lying:

In another interview, on Radio 4’s Today programme, he undermined the entire argument for leaving the European Union at all:

Wow.

Okay.

In that case, let’s challenge Lewis to put it to the test.

If he thinks Brexit has put Northern Ireland at a “competitive advantage”, let’s see him go there and stand in front of a supermarket explaining to disappointed shoppers why they are now better-off.

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Brexit: EU firms refuse UK deliveries (Vox Political Scrapbook)

So much for the big tory “bonfire of red tape”.

It was a David Cameron project, as was the EU membership referendum of 2016. Cameron succeeded in creating more red tape than any previous UK prime minister, it seems.

Oh, and the bureaucracy that he destroyed? That was saving us from the corruption that is now the hallmark of Boris Johnson’s administration.

A growing number of retailers in the EU have decided they won’t deliver to Britain because of the new costs involved in sending packages after Brexit. Companies have said they are unwilling to register for VAT in the UK, with one Dutch firm calling the red tape “ludicrous”.

Brexit disruption means Sainsbury’s has reportedly lost around 700 product lines in Northern Ireland – where it has been forced to stock goods from Spar. And Marks & Spencer said new trading rules in place since Britain left the EU were delaying deliveries of food to its stores in France – where branches had empty shelves on Tuesday.

Source: Brexit news – live: EU firms refuse UK deliveries as Boris Johnson’s India trade trip scrapped

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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