Tag Archives: EU

NI protocol: Frost’s new plan gets cold reception from EU. Rightly?

Lord Frost: he has turned his back on ‘Building Back Better’ and he isn’t ‘Getting On’ with anything – particularly the EU and Northern Ireland.

Both the UK and EU are putting forward ideas to change the Northern Ireland Protocol that aims to prevent a hard border being set up between the province and the Republic of Ireland. The problem is obvious: they don’t agree.

Worse still is the admission by Brexit Secretary Lord Frost that the UK only signed up to the protocol, back in 2019, because Boris Johnson was in a hurry to “Get Brexit Done”.

The implication is clear:

Johnson has only ever seen Brexit as an electoral tool – to fool voters into electing a Conservative government. He never really supported its agreements.

Let’s remind ourselves of what Johnson said about the deal in 2019, and what he has said about it since:

So it was a “great new deal”, but only up to the point at which it was implemented, after which it was a barrier to trade. A barrier that Johnson and Frost created!

Frost has now turned on the deal that he himself, personally, negotiated, saying that it is no good. It seems the whole world has responded with incredulity at the sheer cheek of this man, many agreeing with Neale Richmond’s analysis of him, below:

Frost reckons the NI Protocol is unworkable and blames the EU for imposing rules that restrict the flow of UK goods across the artificial border that Johnson put in the middle of the Irish Sea after lying that he’d do no such thing.

He has devised an entirely new protocol that strips the European Court of Justice of its governance role and proposes international arbitration of the way provisions in the protocol are implemented.

But the EU has said it would be very hard to see the Protocol surviving without ECJ oversight and was set, today, to propose its own changes:

The proposals are understood to include a unique deal around agri-food – which includes agriculture, horticulture, and food and drink processing – aimed at sharply reducing the checks on products moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

There will also be an arrangement to allow the continued sale of chilled meats from Great Britain in Northern Ireland; these products were facing a ban.

The EU has also said it is going to change its laws in an attempt to solve regulatory issues which are posing a threat to the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.

Clearly there are huge differences between the two sides and these are likely to lead to weeks of negotiation, with the future of peace in Northern Ireland – as provided under the Good Friday Agreement that many signatories have already abandoned – in the balance.

For Johnson and his government, the damage has already been done. Their contradictory behaviour has been universally condemned by opponents and former allies alike, both within and outside the Conservative Party:

Particularly infuriating is the Johnson government’s refusal to discuss any of its policies without lying about them – including this one:

Clearly there was no good faith and the plan was always to cause trouble in Northern Ireland and to rip up the agreement later.

And what about Bernard Jenkin’s appearance on the BBC’s Newsnight?

Notice the faux pas at the end when he said, “We tried to make it worse – work.”

But Jenkin wasn’t convincing. Too many of us have had our eyes opened to the harm these lying clowns have caused, and we’re not going to believe any more.

Some of us have been proved to have been right all along:

We are realising what Johnson has been able to do, simply by lying repeatedly to us – not only about Brexit but about everything else he was planning to do:

And we see the consequences:

The trouble now is those tribal members of the public who simply won’t accept the evidence that is now in front of them.

It is.

And some will carry on supporting it, even when their own standard of living plummets.

All we can hope – those of us who seriously want a better future for our bitterly divided and misled island nation – is that enough people have realised the depth of Johnson’s – and Frost’s – betrayal to make a difference before it is too late for us all.

But the clock is ticking…

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‘Unpopular’ Johnson to fight shortages with temp EU driver scheme – with too few places

Empty shelves: Boris Johnson created the shortages with his stupid Brexit – as this satirical image makes clear. Now he’s scrambling to find short-term solutions because he’s upset that the backlash is harming his popularity.

Boris Johnson’s idiocy has painted him into a corner so tight that his only choices make him look even more blindingly daft.

His Brexit stopped EU haulage drivers from working in the United Kingdom and this led to a worsening of the shortage the country was already facing.

Johnson refused to put HGV drivers on the list of those who would be allowed to work in the UK, saying that the country (in fact, only a quarter of current UK citizens) had voted to end freedom of movement.

How true those words became!

Now we have no freedom to move groceries…

No freedom to move other goods…

And because fuel tankers aren’t reaching filling stations, no freedom to move at all. On this, Johnson’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, tried to assure motorists that there was no crisis – and they ignored him, sparking mass-hysteria panic-buying.

This response from the public indicates that the population at large has no confidence in government claims.

That’s what happens when a prime minister lies constantly – and leads a government of liars.

Now, Johnson is planning a U-turn, saying he will put EU drivers on the visa scheme allowing them to work in the UK.

So he is making a liar of himself – again.

And he is saying the scheme will be restricted to 5,000 drivers – nothing near the 100,000 who are needed.

If he’s saying this will be enough, he’s making a double liar of himself.

That’s according to haulage bosses:

Toby Ovens, managing director of Broughton Transport Solutions, said he is not convinced a temporary visa scheme will solve the current shortage of HGV drivers.

This is just another Tory bid to hoodwink us.

Johnson is saying what he thinks will calm us down: “All is well. We are solving the problem. Go home. Go back to sleep.” That sort of thing.

He’s just looking for short-term relief from the pressure this situation has created – not on the UK’s transport infrastructure, but on him.

He doesn’t like the fact that people are – rightly – blaming him for a crisis that would not have happened if he had not insisted on forcing on us all a Brexit deal that he had not even read.

And This Writer doesn’t think for a moment that it will do him any good.

Because we know we can’t trust him and his promises are worthless.

Source: Temporary visas for 5,000 foreign lorry drivers will NOT solve supply crisis, haulage boss warns  | Daily Mail Online

Racist Tories indicate they’d rather have criminals driving our lorries than foreigners

I’m not happy with this.

It seems Boris Johnson’s government is thinking of letting convicted criminals – who are serving prison sentences – deliver lorry loads of goods to ease the driver shortage caused by Brexit (not Covid-19).

The option was tabled by the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, which is apparently meeting with HM Prison Service this week (although I don’t know why. Most of the prisons are run by private companies these days, aren’t they?) to ask for lorry drivers to be prioritised on the Release on Temporary Licence (ROFL* ROTL) scheme.

The meeting comes after Nando’s had to close 45 fast food joints due to a shortage of chickens. In related news, McDonalds recently ran out of milkshakes.

And of course the nation is running out of patience.

But that didn’t stop ministers rejecting calls for temporary work visas to be handed to drivers from the European Union after overtures were made to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

The response was clear – and clearly racist: “The British people repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system and employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad.”

In other words: “We don’t want Johnny Foreigner coming over here and helping us out of a problem we created because of our racism against him! We’d rather cut off our noses to spite our faces!

The statement continued: “We recently announced a package of measures to help tackle the HGV driver shortage, including plans to streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and to increase the number of tests able to be conducted.”

In other words, new drivers will be trained to a lower standard, and tests will be of a lower quality, in order to put more drivers on our streets. And bring more death to our roads?

The alternative is the use of prisoners. You can read about it here and here.

Owain Gardner (below) makes some good points about it:

And so does Richard Murphy:

We’re coming to a point where we don’t mind who we trust to deliver our food – or what condition it may be in when it arrives. That’s why I don’t think such a scheme will work.

Which prisoners would the government allow to be used? What crimes would the government deem to be harmless enough to allow them to deliver food to us? How would they be supervised?

My guess is that the answers to these three questions are: any, all, and not at all.

And that creates a danger to us. It only takes one con with a chip on his shoulder to cause all kinds of problems. I’m sure I can leave the consequences to your imagination.

Oh, I’m exaggerating; overdramatising. Sure.

But we have prisons to stop dangerous people from doing dangerous things. This scheme will give them free rein to do it.

And I’m only wrong about this until something happens to prove me right.

*ROFL is of course an Internet acronym meaning “Rolling On the Floor Laughing”. I mention it because of its similarity to ROTL, and also to connect with Keir Starmer’s howler at his latest relaunch of his party leadership, in which he used the slogan “Winning The Future” (WTF). You’re probably aware that WTF is Internet-speak for “What The F***”.

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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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Tory Brexit has decimated the UK’s financial industry – and YOU will suffer the consequences

This is UK money: enjoy the sight of it because it is currently being turned into Euros and we are never likely to see as much of it again – and you have Boris Johnson and his Conservatives to blame.

Wow. Boris Johnson’s insistence on his silly Brexit deal has meant the one industry in which the UK remained a world leader – finance, is falling.

More than 440 financial firms have shifted thousands of jobs and £1 trillion of assets out of the UK and into the EU because of Brexit.

That’s about 10 per cent of the total assets held by the UK banking system – meaning that our banks have been decimated, according to the classical definition of the term (decimation, in army terms, was the killing of one in every ten of a group of people as a punishment for the whole group).

And worse is to follow, according to research from the New Financial think tank.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal didn’t cover financial services, you see. He relied on “blue sky” daydreaming that a separate deal could be reached with the EU. This dream has turned into a nightmare with the EU refusing to give ground.

7,400 jobs have moved from the UK to the EU – and are not likely to be replaced.

And the UK is set to lose much of its £26 billion annual financial trade surplus, meaning the nation’s balance of payments (the difference between profits from exports and payments for imports) is likely to slip much deeper into the red.

It’s further evidence of a bizarre Tory policy – to give all of the UK’s business assets to foreign firms and governments.

The privatisation of UK industry – begun under the Thatcher governments and continuing to this day – has taken ownership of firms away from the general public and placed it mostly in the hands of foreign organisations.

Firms run by the governments of EU countries now run most of our railways, water services, and (I seem to recall) power supplies. Now our banking services are set to atrophy.

And of course, it will be ordinary working-class UK citizens like you and This Writer who will suffer.

Businesspeople always pass the consequences of their failures down. That’s why Tories have been able to persuade so many voters that pay rises for the workers are a bad idea – the bosses would not forgo their profits to support them but would hike their prices instead.

With less cash coming into the UK via the banks, the ultra-rich parasites will be looking for new ways to suck money out of us.

The result will be the impoverishment of the UK. We will be a once-great nation destroyed by political midgets with over-inflated opinions of themselves.

Source: Banks and insurers move £1 trillion of assets out of UK due to Brexit | The Independent

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Boris Johnson’s dictionary: ‘Very sensible, adj. obviously nothing to do with me’

“Very sensible” according to Boris Johnson: according to his new Police Bill, defacing the statue of Churchill will get you 10 years in jail. Rape will only put you there for five (if the Tories bother to prosecute you).

Boris Johnson has apparently come up with a new boneheaded plan to fool us into thinking his other boneheaded plans are actually good ideas.

He has taken to labelling his stupidest mistakes “very sensible”.

So, for example, responding to the EU’s announcement that it is about to take legal action against the UK after Johnson unilaterally changed the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit deal, delaying the introduction of new sea border checks on food, parcels and pets, among other changes,

the prime minister said the actions taken by the UK were “temporary and technical measures that we think are very sensible”.

No, they were very stupid. But Johnson is caught between a rock and a hard place. If he implements changes that mean NI is treated differently from the rest of the UK, then organisations in the Province will tear up the Good Friday Agreement.

It seems he’s decided that upsetting the EU is the least stupid thing to do – but it’s still not “very sensible”.

Another thing he thinks is “very sensible” is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently in Parliament, demonstrating that the Conservatives think damaging a statue is twice as bad as rape; the latter attracts only a five-year prison sentence while the former will put you in jail for 10 years.

Johnson said

the legislation was a “very sensible package of measures” .

One policy he didn’t say was “very sensible” was his plan to create miles of new bus lanes on our roads, and many more bus services in a half-hearted bid to get commuters out of their cars and onto public transport – a major u-turn for Conservatives.

In fact, cutting down on the number of cars with only one person in them, stinking up the country and polluting the world, is “very sensible” – it’s just that Johnson is the last person who should be promoting it because he very clearly isn’t.

Johnson seems to be crazy about buses – although his fixation has caused him more harm than good…

Do you even remember the Boris buses? It’s good to remember some of the white elephants from his time as London Mayor, isn’t it?

Johnson also loves a photo opportunity in a bus… although some might say this is to push the images of that big red ‘Leave’ bus, with the lies about spending all the EU subsidy money on the NHS instead, down the search engine rankings.

His latest bus-related project was heralded with another photo-op of him in a driving seat. No – I’ll save you from those pictures. Instead, let’s consider some of the responses after I passed comment on it:

 

And yet 13 million people voted to let him steer the ship of state. Not “very sensible” at all!

Source: Brexit: EU to begin legal action over alleged NI Protocol breach – BBC News

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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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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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Is this yet another example of Tory racism?

The Tories said that EU nationals would be encouraged to apply for “settled status” rather than being forced to leave the UK after Brexit.

That’s what they said.

But they have put obstacle after obstacle in the way – barriers to application and delays in Home Office decision-making being significant factors in pushing vulnerable EU citizens out.

And from January 1, EU citizens were quietly added to the Tory government’s voluntary returns scheme, offering them paid flights and £2,000 resettlement money to get them to leave of their own accord.

It seems clear that Tory policy hasn’t moved an inch since Theresa May was attacked so bitterly for sending advertising vans around London telling people from foreign countries to “go home”.

Worst of all, this is cutting our collective nose off to spite our face.

The UK relies on EU migrants to do a lot of important work. Without them – especially in the Covid crisis – we’ll struggle.

Either the Tories haven’t thought about that or – more likely, considering the Covid death toll – they simply don’t care.

Source: EU citizens offered financial incentives to leave UK | Brexit | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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