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Thread: Brexit

  1. #46

    Re: Brexit

    Carole Cadwalladr

    Guardian reported previously how Johnson attended party at Evgeny Lebedev’s Italian palazzo. This was him alone & looking like ‘he was about to be sick on tarmac’. Today we report that earlier that day Evgeny’s father, Alexander, an ex-KGB agent, flew in from Moscow to meet him

    Here’s what
    says about ex-KGB agents: ‘There’s no such thing as an ex-KGB agent.’ Alexander Lebedev retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the London station. He lives in Moscow & runs businesses across Russia. To do so, he must be loyal to Putin, says Browder

    This is where Boris Johnson was that Friday. At NATO summit on Russia’s ‘reckless & destabilising’ activity, as foreign secretary in midst of Skripal crisis. Incredibly, he then slipped his security detail & flew to Russian’s house to meet ex-KGB agent. This man is now our PM

    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  2. #47

    Re: Brexit

    British diplomat in US resigns, saying she can't 'peddle half-truths' on Brexit
    Alexandra Hall Hall, Brexit counsellor in Washington, described UK government’s ‘use of misleading or disingenuous arguments’

    Julian Borger in Washington
    Fri 6 Dec 2019 17.40 GMT

    The British diplomat in charge of explaining Brexit to the US government, Congress and public, has resigned, saying she was no longer prepared to “peddle half-truths on behalf of a government I do not trust”.

    Alexandra Hall Hall, the Brexit counsellor at the UK embassy in Washington, had been frustrated with the job for some time, according to friends and colleagues.

    They said she felt she was not being given enough reliable information to do her job, which was to explain Britain’s departure from the EU to US audiences and help promote a strong US-UK relationship post-Brexit.

    Her resignation, which was addressed to the chargé d’affaires, Michael Tatham, and circulated among close colleagues at the embassy, was damning in its description of the Johnson government’s integrity.

    “I have been increasingly dismayed by the way in which our political leaders have tried to deliver Brexit, with reluctance to address honestly, even with our own citizens, the challenges and trade-offs which Brexit involves; the use of misleading or disingenuous arguments about the implications of the various options before us; and some behaviour towards our institutions, which, were it happening in another country, we would almost certainly as diplomats have received instructions to register our concern,” Hall Hall wrote in the letter, dated 3 December.

    The letter was published by CNN, and its authenticity was confirmed to the Guardian by diplomatic sources.

    “It makes our job to promote democracy and the rule of law that much harder, if we are not seen to be upholding these core values at home,” Hall Hall said. “I am also at a stage in life where I would prefer to do something more rewarding with my time, than peddle half-truths on behalf of a government I do not trust.”

    Hall Hall was still working at the embassy on Friday, but is due to leave in the week before Christmas. She is married to the American head of the International Republican Institute, Daniel Twining.

    “She was really good at her job and really well respected around town,” said a source who had frequent dealings with Hall Hall over Brexit and its consequences. “She has done everything right, and has had legitimate concerns. This is not something that has just developed in the past week or two. It dates back, but I had the impression her concerns were being dealt with internally. I am surprised it has come to this.”

    A foreign office spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on the detail of an individual’s resignation.”

    The UK embassy has been without an ambassador since July, when Kim Darroch resigned following the leak of internal foreign office cables in which he described the Trump administration as dysfunctional, faction-riven and inept. The nomination of a successor has been delayed by political turmoil in Britain.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  3. #48

    Re: Brexit

    Russia involved in leak of papers saying NHS is for sale, says Reddit
    Documents, believed to be genuine, were used by Jeremy Corbyn to lambast Tory party

    Kevin Rawlinson and Aamna Mohdin
    Sat 7 Dec 2019 11.57 GMT

    An anonymous online poster who disseminated documents later brandished by Jeremy Corbyn as evidence the Conservatives would put the NHS “on the table” in US trade talks was part of a campaign directed by Moscow, the site hosting the papers has said.

    On Friday evening, Reddit confirmed it has banned 61 accounts; including that of a user called Gregoriator, who it believes was part of a Russian information operation known as Secondary Infektion.

    The anonymous user posted copies of the leaked official documents on the site in late October. Corbyn presented the same documents at a news conference last week, saying they “leave Boris Johnson’s denials [that the NHS would be for sale] in absolute tatters” and touting them as “evidence that, under Boris Johnson, the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale”.

    Reddit insisted the post garnered minimal interest at the time and Labour has declined to reveal where it obtained the documents. The government has said it believes they are genuine.

    However, questions will now be asked about whether Russia had a hand in introducing the papers into the UK’s public discourse and, if so, what its motivations were for doing so.

    Nicky Morgan, the culture secretary, said it was “extremely serious” that the leaked documents could be linked to a Russian disinformation campaign. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday, Morgan said: “I understand from what was being put on that website, those who seem to know about these things say that it seems to have all the hallmarks of some form of interference.

    “And if that is the case, that obviously is extremely serious. And actually as culture secretary, obviously one of the things that we are looking for and monitoring is any interference in our elections.”

    The news also highlighted the vulnerability of the UK’s democratic processes to Moscow’s influence and will put pressure on Johnson over his refusal to release the parliamentary report into Russian meddling before the general election.

    It led Dominic Grieve, the former chair of the parliamentary committee that put together the report, to renew his criticism of Johnson on Friday evening. He said it was “unfortunate” the document had been shelved for what he believed were “wholly dishonest” reasons and called for its publication.

    Johnson has previously claimed there was insufficient time before the election but Grieve has pointed out the report had been signed off by the intelligence services and such documents are routinely published within significantly shorter timeframes.

    Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, renewed calls for the government to allow a report detailing Russian interference in UK elections to be published.

    He said: “If we want to get to the bottom of the extent to which the Russian state interferes in elections, can we please publish the intelligence and security committee report? Let’s get that out there. That should have been published ages ago.”

    On Monday, the social media research firm Graphika said that, while it could not definitively prove the Gregoriator account was controlled by Moscow, its methods closely resembled “techniques used by Secondary Infektion in the past, a known Russian operation”.

    It identified similarities, including grammatical errors in the early distribution of the documents via Reddit, three German-language websites and an anonymous Twitter account.

    Secondary Infektion is the name given to a Russian operation exposed by Facebook earlier this year, operating across six languages and dozens of platforms. Subsequent analysis by the Atlantic Council, a US thinktank, demonstrated it was behind a string of largely failed attempts to disseminate fake news, including a blatantly false story that British remainers were planning to assassinate Johnson.

    Announcing its move on Friday, Reddit said: “We were recently made aware of a post on Reddit that included leaked documents from the UK. We investigated this account and the accounts connected to it and today we believe this was part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia.”

    The site said it had found a “pattern of coordination” similar to that seen among social media accounts linked to Secondary Infektion, leading it to “use these accounts to identify additional suspect accounts that were part of the campaign on Reddit”.

    A Labour spokesman said: “These documents reveal the plot against our NHS. And of course neither the UK nor the US government have denied their authenticity. Our releasing them to journalists was clearly in the public interest.”

    The Conservatives have not responded to a request for comment.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  4. #49

    Re: Brexit

    Philip Gourevitch

    imagine having a passport that allows you to move freely between, live in and work in 28 countries, including many of the worlds most affluent, with excellent free health care and social services wherever you go & voting to tear that passport up and be stranded on an island.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  5. #50

    Re: Brexit

    Kieran Healy

    It’s astonishing. A stupid Tory set in motion the destruction of the Union to save his party, the LDs enabled it, an even stupider Tory will now preside over it, Labour failed utterly, millions will suffer, and more than half the country are patting themselves on the back.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  6. #51

    Re: Brexit

    UK must be loyal on standards in return for market access – Macron
    French president demands regulatory harmonisation as price of good Brexit deal

    Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin Brussels
    Fri 13 Dec 2019 16.34 GMT

    Emmanuel Macron has warned Boris Johnson that the UK must remain “loyal” to EU standards post-Brexit for British companies to maintain access to the European market.

    In comments echoed by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the French president demanded continued regulatory harmonisation as the price for protecting the flow of trade, a demand that will be a cause of concern for the Conservative government.

    Macron, who noted in an aside that his country would soon be the only nuclear power in the EU, told reporters: “If Boris Johnson wants a very ambitious trade deal, there has to be very ambitious regulatory convergence”, adding in English: “Be my guest.”

    “We do not want them to be an unfair competitor,” Macron said. “My message to the UK is that the more loyal we are vis-a-vis each other, the closer relationship we can have.

    “If the British prime minister and the British parliament want an ambitious trade deal, they know where the European standards are … The more they are attracted to reducing standards – on climate, social standards or anything else – the more they walk away from the European market, the more they will be away from us. The more ambitious the trade deal, the more we need regulatory harmonisation.”

    The intervention from Macron came as the new commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned that the post-Brexit negotiations on the future relationship would drag on beyond 2020.

    Johnson has said he will not extend the 11-month transition period, during which the UK will stay in the single market and customs union, but that this provides “ample” time for a comprehensive deal on the future relationship to be finalised.

    Von der Leyen appeared to directly contradict the prime minister by warning that certain parts of the deal would need to be prioritised, including trade in goods, fisheries and security cooperation, but that others, potentially including the arrangements for the financial services sector, would be left for later.

    “We will have to prioritise,” Von der Leyen said at the end of a two-day leaders’ summit in Brussels. “We will put specific focus on those issues that were an economic cliff edge at the end of 2020 if they would not be done. Why is that? These are issues where we have neither a framework to fall back on nor the possibility to take unilateral contingency measures covering the period after 1 January 2021.”

    Von der Leyen described the plan as a matter of “sequencing” adding that “there will be more emphasis on a certain ranking”.

    The size of Johnson’s majority has been welcomed in Brussels, where the 27 heads of state and government have gathered for a two-day summit.

    Charles Michel, the European council president, said he expected the withdrawal agreement to be passed through parliament within weeks to allow the UK to leave on 31 January.

    “We expect as soon as possible a vote by the British parliament on the withdrawal agreement,” Michel said.

    EU leaders believe the Conservative majority will give Johnson free rein to decide his negotiating objectives and compromise in the talks where necessary.

    EU leaders are now waiting to see what incarnation of the prime minister will emerge now he is secure in Downing Street.

    Johnson had initially approached the negotiations on the withdrawal agreement with bullish, uncompromising talk, but swiftly broke his red lines to concede to a customs border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

    The Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, hinted at private assurances from Johnson that he would sign up to EU standards in order to secure a trade deal.

    “I’d like that to ensure we still have tariff-free and quota-free trade between Britain and the EU and to have a set of minimum standards so that nobody feels that there’s unfair competition or anyone’s trying to undercut them when it comes to labour rights, environmental protection and issues like that,” he said. “And [from] my conversations with Mr Johnson, I think he’s probably in a similar space, so it’s a case of now getting on with it.

    “It’s a case of now getting on with it and I think the prospect is there to develop a new future economic partnership between the EU and UK, and one that’s going to be mighty and good for all of us.”

    There is a debate among the EU27 and with the European commission on what might be possible to negotiate between 31 January, when the UK is expected to leave, and the end of the transition period 11 months later.

    The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, conceded at the summit that it would be “quite a challenge given the short time available” to find agreement even on trade by the end of next year. “We have to discuss the precise approach to these negotiations,” he said.

    The Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said her government would be pushing hard to maintain access to UK waters for Denmark’s fishing industry. “There is no doubt that fishing really matters,” she said.

    Satisfaction that there will now be clarity from the UK over the next steps has, however, been tempered by sadness at the its imminent departure.

    The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, said: “It is obviously a giant success for Boris Johnson. He is a charismatic leader. He won and now they will leave, unfortunately. That is bad news for Europe.”
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  7. #52

    Re: Brexit

    An interesting look at Brexit.

    Luke Pagarani @LukePagarani

    I did around 120 hours of canvassing in London, Bedford and Milton Keynes. I didn’t expect this result but here’s how I can make sense of it from what I encountered on the doorstep. 1/

    The age differential was stark. Of course many of the older people I spoke to were polite and pleasant but 100% of the people who were rude and hostile were 50-80 years old. All of the oldest (>80) and younger (<40) voters were polite, whomever they were voting for. 2/

    There was a visceral hatred of Corbyn (sometimes combined with Diane Abbott) from a section of voters outside inner London, primarily older white voters, both middle and working class. So far, so obvious. 3/

    How did the demonization of Corbyn have such a strong effect in 2019 but not in 2017? Although on the face of it that demonization has been raw and relentless, actually it has only circled around the key charge, never making it explicit,... 4/

    . so it has taken four years for low engagement voters to absorb it fully. The real charge against Corbyn is that he fundamentally believes that British/white lives are of equal value with the lives of others. 5/

    Our opponents wouldn’t put it so bluntly but that is what it has always been about. That prioritisation of British lives must always be assumed, never justified, taken for granted as the ground the state is built on, never officially avowed except through ritual. 6/

    The cenotaph. Gerry Adams. Prosecutions of historic crimes in N.I. Laying wreaths in foreign cemeteries. Poppies. Diane Abbott. Pushing the button. Watching the Queen at Christmas. 7/

    It is impossible to defend Corbyn against this unspoken charge because it is clearly true. 8/

    When these voters talk about having paid into the system all their lives, they’re not just talking about literal national insurance payments and the financial benefits they’re entitled to in recompense. 9/

    They’re talking about a life of loyalty and deference to the state they expected to be their exclusive patron; and now they see a Labour leader who seems to invite the whole world to his allotment, to offer his homemade jam to anyone who needs it,... 10/

    ... no matter which flags their ancestors have spilt their blood for. 11/

    I think this is also how the anti-semitism scandal had such a big effect on people who don’t really care about anti-semitism itself. Leaving aside all the people who do care about anti-semitism for its own sake,... 12/

    ... for a lot of people Corbyn’s association with anti-semitism seems to represent his association with Islam, where Islam in turn comes to stand for the undifferentiated mass of humanity making a claim for equal eminence. 13/

    What is particularly strange about all this is how it has moved away from primarily a concern about immigration itself, to a broader set of questions of patriotism, fiscal constraint, Brexit for its own sake rather than to end free movement, and deference to authority. 14/

    With such voters, already retired or coming towards the end of their careers, talk of what we can build together leaves them sceptical and uncomprehending. It seems more zero sum to them. 15/

    We have salvaged a small horde from the imperial wreck and only those whose fealty is proven can claim their share. I have absolutely no idea how we can appeal to such people. The idea of taxing the rich didn’t seem persuasive as these people just think it is impossible. 16/

    They want the patronage of the powerful, not to challenge their power. 17/

    I also canvassed a lot of young (18-35) working class people who had very little engagement with politics. Many had voted in the referendum (leave or remain but with much less conviction than the older voters) but only occasionally vote otherwise. 18/

    Many had never heard about class politics at all. The idea of working class people voting for a party to tax the rich to pay for redistribution and public services was completely novel, and generally immediately attractive. 19/

    It was amazing to see how quickly and instinctively they grasped a left-wing agenda while saying they had never thought about it before. 20/

    There seems like a huge opportunity there for the left to make inroads with younger non-graduates in towns but how do we reach them? Organising and social media I guess? 21/21
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  8. #53

    Re: Brexit

    Boris Johnson sees ‘wonderful adventure’ after Brexit. But Scotland and Northern Ireland brace for a bumpier ride.

    Karla Adam and William Booth
    Dec. 14, 2019 at 11:51 a.m. EST

    LONDON — In a trip billed as a "healing tour" by aides, the newly elected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled Saturday to north England and promised a "wonderful adventure" was about to begin — once this darn Brexit was settled.

    “We’re going to recover our national self-confidence, our mojo, our self-belief, and we’re going to do things differently and better as a country,” Johnson told an audience of prescreened supporters at a cricket club in Sedgefield.

    The constituency was once held by a former Labour prime minister, the centrist and close Bill Clinton ally, Tony Blair. It swung behind the Conservatives big time in Thursday’s general election — whose outcome handed Johnson a clear path to steer Britain out of the European Union.

    Yet even as Johnson leaned forward with promises of good times to come, many are wondering which of the United Kingdom’s four parts — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — Johnson was appealing to.

    Scotland on Thursday overwhelmingly voted for a nationalist party that wants its own breakaway plan: secede from the United Kingdom and stay in the European Union.

    In Northern Ireland, for the first time in its history, the region elected more nationalist lawmakers, who support unification with the Republic of Ireland, than unionists, who emphatically demand to remain a part of Britain.

    Ever since England and Wales voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, while Scotland and Northern Ireland did the exact opposite, the sides have worried or wondered when the union might crack up over Brexit.

    The next few years may tell us.

    In England, Johnson’s Conservatives won new seats across the opposition Labour Party’s former working-class heartlands, giving his party its largest parliamentary majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987.

    Johnson acknowledged that the former Labour supporters who backed him were tentative, still skeptical crossovers. Yes, they swiped Tory-curious — but they were not true believers ready to back the traditional Conservative doctrine of lower taxes, less government, fewer services, and more free-market capitalism.

    Instead, these former Labour-leaners were driven to vote for Johnson over their frustration that the Brexit they had voted for in June 2016 was not delivered.

    “I can imagine people’s pencils hovering over the ballot paper and wavering, before coming down for us and the Conservatives,” Johnson said in Sedgefield.

    “And I know that people may have been breaking the voting habits of generations to vote for us, and I want the people of the northeast to know that we in the Conservative party, and I, will repay your trust,” the prime minister said.

    In Scotland, the task of healing is arguably greater. The first time Johnson was there as prime minister in July, he was booed.

    On Friday, Johnson spoke to Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, and rejected her calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence, which she says she now has a mandate for, following her own party’s triumph this past week. (In 2014, Scottish voters solidly turned down an independence question.)

    The Scottish National Party, which wants Scotland to break free, nearly swept the board in Scotland, winning over 80 percent of the seats, higher than even optimistic predictions.

    But the Scottish government can’t unilaterally call an independence referendum — they need the support of Parliament. And Westminster, now controlled by Johnson’s Conservatives, does not appear in the mood for another divisive referendum.

    Next week, Sturgeon said, she will publish her case to transfer powers from Westminster, so that Scotland can hold a referendum. Johnson has made it clear he will reject the request, setting up a battle to come. Given the Conservative landslide, the battle could rage for many years to come.

    “It would take massive and sustained protests — think Hong Kong — to be able to get Westminster government to change its position on this,” Thomas Lundberg, a lecturer in politics at the University of Glasgow.

    Johnson’s cunning, clever campaign that successfully united the pro-Brexit vote in Wales and England — and created an existential crisis for the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats — swept him into office with a mandate to “get Brexit done.”

    For the last three years, British politics has been dominated by Brexit, which Britons voted in favor of 52 percent to 48 percent in June 2016.

    Johnson is keen to push the Brexit process to the next phase. Starting Monday, Johnson is expected to announce his new leadership team, and then Queen Elizabeth II will formally open Parliament on Thursday.

    Johnson wants to hold a vote on his Brexit withdrawal agreement before Christmas. If it passes and then is ratified by the European Parliament, Britain will leave the European Union in January, entering a year-long transition period.

    When he was asked whether the dreams of those who want to remain in the European Union were over, Michael Heseltine, a former Conservative deputy prime minister and a prominent pro-European, said that the debate was over.

    “We have lost. Let’s not muck about with the language,” he told the BBC on Saturday. “Brexit is going to happen and we have to live with it.”

    Heseltine said that it could be 20 years or more before the issue of rejoining the European Union is raised again, but he added: “You can’t escape the devastating results on Scotland and Northern Ireland, so the agenda is not going away.”

    The divisions that existed last week have not disappeared overnight. Hundreds of protesters descended on the prime minister’s official residence at 10 Downing Street on Friday night, some waving E.U. flags and others carrying placards that read “Defy Tory Rule” and “No to Racism.”

    Johnson’s Conservative Party won 44 percent of the vote share. In Britain’s first-past-the-post system, that is enough for a thumping victory. But an autopsy of the results also suggests challenges that lay ahead.

    “Boris has won his gamble in England definitely and also in Wales, but the price is that you exacerbate divisions and you create a state crisis. The whole future, the territorial integrity of the state, is clearly in question in Scotland in Northern Ireland,” said Richard Wyn Jones, a politics expert at Cardiff University.

    Johnson is fond of calling the four territories of the union the “awesome foursome.” But unionists in Northern Ireland say that Johnson’s “oven ready” Brexit deal will leave Northern Ireland in the E.U.’s economic space, which they say changes the terms of the union for Northern Ireland.

    In Scotland, meanwhile, Johnson’s elite, old Etonian schoolboy persona goes down poorly. Sturgeon’s SNP has called him a “recruiting tool” for their cause. Polls in Scotland show that an uptick in support for independence over the past year have come largely from those wanting to remain in the European Union.

    Sturgeon on Friday acknowledged that the elections results do not mean that all those who voted for the party “necessarily support independence, but there has been a strong endorsement in this election over Scotland having a choice over our future.”
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  9. #54

    Re: Brexit

    The number of UK citizens obtaining citizenship elsewhere in UK. In these particular countries it's a bit easier (or a lot in case of Ireland) than elsewhere (Spain where lots of British live is very restrictive)

    Last edited by suliso; 01-08-2020 at 04:22 PM.
    Roger forever

  10. #55

    Re: Brexit

    Serious question: what are the chances that this never happens? That through political quagmire, delays, bureaucracy and everything they can throw at it, Brexit never happens? That this becomes the Korean War, technically still ongoing but in a truce?
    Because by now it has been years since they said they would leave. And yet they are still sitting at the table.
    Last edited by ponchi101; 01-09-2020 at 07:10 AM.
    Missing winter...

  11. #56

    Re: Brexit

    I'm agreeing with the need to ask this question, but I don't even have a guess as to the answer. GH

  12. #57

    Re: Brexit

    They're arguing over whether Big Ben should ring out once Brexit takes effect per the BBC (I think) . I had no idea that the clock had been shut down.

    Johnson has no choice but to make it go through no? Otherwise all the pensioners who want "foreigners" out will be mightily upset.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  13. #58

    Re: Brexit

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    Serious question: what are the chances that this never happens? That through political quagmire, delays, bureaucracy and everything they can throw at it, Brexit never happens?
    According to British guys in the office close to zero.
    Last edited by suliso; 01-09-2020 at 01:51 PM.
    Roger forever

  14. #59

    Re: Brexit

    Boris was able to pass his Withdrawal Agreement Bill with a majority of 99 earlier in the week. The UK will finally exit the EU on 31 Jan. Followed by - Boris' timetable - a year's worth of negotiating the UK's future relationship with Europe.

  15. #60

    Re: Brexit

    The UK has FINALLY Brexited!

    What a sad day for the European project.

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