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Thread: Brexit

  1. #76

    Re: Brexit

    Irish general election: Exit poll predicts 'tie' between three main parties

    From left: Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald

    The three main political parties have tied in first preference votes, according to an exit poll for the Republic of Ireland's general election.

    The earliest indications from the poll suggest there is little difference between Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil.

    Polling closed in the general election at 22:00 GMT.

    Counting to elect the 33rd Dáil (Irish parliament) will begin on Sunday in all 39 constituencies.

    Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald casts her vote at St Joseph's School in Dublin

    The poll was commissioned jointly by RTÉ, The Irish Times, TG4 and UCD and included sampling of 5,000 respondents at 250 polling stations.

    RTÉ says voting appears to have been "solid".

    A total of 160 representatives will be returned to the Dáil and newly elected TDs will gather on 20 February .

    The ceann comhairle, or speaker, is automatically re-elected.

    Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin and family at the St Anthony's boys' school polling station in Ballinlough, County Cork

    In most situations, the speaker does not vote, so a government will need 80 TDs to hold a majority.

    It is unlikely that any party will reach that number, so another coalition government is probable.

    The election uses proportional representation with a single transferrable vote.

    Voters wrote "1" opposite their first choice candidate, "2" opposite their second choice, "3" opposite their third choice and so on.

    People living on 12 islands off the coasts of counties Galway, Mayo and Donegal voted on Friday.

    Leo Varadkar casts his vote in Dublin

    Legislation to allow islanders to vote on the same day as other voters had not been passed by the time the general election was called.

    Traditionally, islanders have voted ahead of the rest of the country to ensure that bad weather does not hamper the return of ballot boxes to the mainland in time for the count, which will start on Sunday.

    About 2,100 island residents were eligible to vote.

    It is the first time that a general election in the Republic of Ireland has been held on a Saturday.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  2. #77

    Re: Brexit


    Sinn Féin to try to form ruling coalition after Irish election success
    Party disrupts Ireland’s centrist tradition by taking almost a quarter of votes

    Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent

    Sinn Féin will try to form a government in Ireland after apparently winning more votes than any other party in Saturday’s general election – a historic result that upended the political system.

    The party leader, Mary Lou McDonald, told cheering supporters on Sunday that a “revolution” had occurred and she would try to form a ruling coalition with other parties. “This is no longer a two-party system,” she said.

    Sinn Féin, once a pariah for its IRA links, won almost a quarter of first-preference votes, possibly pipping Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, two centrist rivals that have taken turns ruling Ireland for a century.

    It rode a wave of anger over homelessness, soaring rents and hospital waiting lists as well as disillusionment with the traditional political duopoly.

    McDonald, speaking over rapturous, deafening chants at a Dublin count centre, said she had spoken to the Greens and small leftwing parties in hope of forming a coalition without Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil – an unlikely scenario. She did not rule out a deal with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

    Parliamentary arithmetic may exclude Sinn Féin from power, however. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael ran more candidates and are expected to each win more seats than Sinn Féin in the 160-seat Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliament’s lower chamber, leaving unclear which parties – if any – will be able to form a viable coalition. Deadlock could lead to another election.

    During the campaign Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach and Fine Gael leader, and Micheál Martin, the leader of Fianna Fáil, both ruled out entering government with Sinn Féin, citing ethical and policy reasons.

    On Sunday evening, Varadkar told journalists in Dublin: “For us, coalition with Sinn Fein is not an option, but we are willing to talk to other parties.”

    Varadkar, Ireland’s first gay taoiseach, had hoped a healthy economy and his record on Brexit would deliver a third term for Fine Gael, but he encountered voter fatigue and anger over the cost of living and state of public services.

    Varadkar’s party colleague Richard Bruton, the outgoing environment minister, said Fine Gael’s poor but not disastrous results gave it a chance of forming another government.

    Asked if Fianna Fáil would now consider sharing power with Fine Gael or Sinn Féin, Martin appeared to leave the door ajar, citing a need for stability amid political fragmentation. “The country comes first … there is an onus and an obligation on all that such a functioning government is formed after this.”

    Many in Fianna Fáil, stung by the backlash over their confidence-and-supply deal with Varadkar’s outgoing government, would prefer a deal with Sinn Féin than another centrist alliance.

    Ireland’s single transferrable vote system of proportional representation means it could be Monday, Tuesday or even later before all Dáil seats are allocated.

    With 96% of first-preference votes tallied on Sunday, Sinn Féin had 24.1%, with Fianna Fáil on 22.1%, Fine Gael on 22.1%, Greens on 7.4%, and small leftwing parties and independents comprising the rest.

    It was a stunning result for Sinn Féin, which was the IRA’s political wing during the Troubles and remained a fringe party in the republic until well after the 1998 Good Friday agreement.

    It surpassed its 2016 election result of 13.8% by appealing to voters – especially the young – who felt left behind by a booming economy and chafed at soaring rents, homelessness, insurance costs and hospital waiting lists.

    Preliminary vote tallies suggested Sinn Féin could win around 36 seats, up from 22 in the outgoing Dáil, far exceeding its own expectations.

    Many candidates ratcheted up huge surpluses in urban heartlands while others appeared on course for unexpected victories in Galway, Tipperary, Roscommon, Mayo and Wexford.

    Gerry Adams, who stepped down as party leader in 2018 and as a Dáil member in this election, credited McDonald’s leadership and said he had not foreseen the extent of the gains. He said Sinn Féin would use its mandate to plan for a united Ireland – a defining tenet for the party.

    On Sunday night he tweeted: “I’m disappointed that [deputy prime minister] Simon Coveney says Fine Gael won’t talk to Sinn Féin. Obviously a misguided effort to wrong foot Fianna Fail. But I thought he was better than that. Incompatible policies fair enough. But has he learned nothing from the DUP? Sinn Fein voters lesser voters?”

    The issue of a united Ireland barely featured in the campaign, but an exit poll of voters found most supporting a border poll in the next five years. Sceptics say that could destabilise both sides of the island. Unionist leaders in Northern Ireland gave no immediate response to the results south of the border.

    People across the political spectrum said the election was seismic, even if its consequences remained unclear. The former Labour leader Pat Rabbitte said a tectonic shift had killed the old system of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael alternating in power with Labour or other small, establishment parties.

    The commentator Fintan O’Toole wrote in the Irish Times that young voters had shattered the taboo of backing a party associated with terrorism. “They have gone where they were warned not to go and in doing so they have redrawn the map of Irish politics to include territory previously marked ‘here be dragons’.”
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  3. #78

    Re: Brexit

    Javid resigned after Johnson pushed him to sack advisers
    Sajid Javid said ‘no self-respecting minister’ could accept the PM’s terms to stay in government

    Boris Johnson has moved to seize control over the Treasury in an unexpectedly brutal reshuffle that forced out his chancellor, Sajid Javid, and paves the way for a post-Brexit spending bonanza at the budget.

    Johnson staged the power grab over No 11 by issuing an ultimatum to his chancellor to fire all his advisers – a move that Javid later said “no self-respecting minister” could accept.

    In his place, the prime minister appointed Rishi Sunak, Javid’s ultra-loyalist deputy, who agreed to accept a pooled unit of advisers shared between No 10 and No 11.

    Javid’s exit comes after months of tensions between his team and Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, who had wanted more control over economic policy and spending plans.

    It marked the most dramatic moment in a ruthless reorganisation of the cabinet in which ardent Brexiters were brought in at the cost of ministers perceived as being disloyal or disobedient – silencing doubts over Cummings’s continuing importance to the Johnson project.

    The prime minister’s changes – which saw even successful ministers who have stepped out of line, including the Northern Ireland secretary, Julian Smith, and the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, replaced – came despite earlier briefing that the reshuffle would be limited in scope and ambition.

    Several Whitehall sources told the Guardian that Johnson and Cummings want No 10 want to consolidate their grip over the Treasury and Cabinet Office in preparation for wider machinery of government changes that they want to take place in the next year.

    In the short term, the reshuffle is likely to mark a shift towards greater spending and possibly tax rises at the budget, which is due to take place on 11 March if it is not delayed. Earlier this week, the idea of a mansion tax was floated, but some Conservative MPs believe a council tax revamp is more likely to be on the cards.

    The departure of the chancellor weeks before such a major fiscal event left the Treasury in shock and No 10 unable to confirm the budget would definitely go ahead on that day.

    Johnson’s spokesman was also evasive about whether Javid’s fiscal rules promising to balance the books on day-to-day spending by the middle of the parliament will remain in place, although he acknowledged they were part of the Tory election manifesto.

    Speaking from outside his house, Javid told reporters it was the prime minister himself who had tried to clear out his advisers, not Cummings.

    “I was unable to accept those conditions,” he said. “I don’t believe any self-respecting minister would accept such conditions, so therefore I felt the best thing to do was to go.”

    Downing Street sources insisted Johnson had sincerely wanted Javid to stay on and suggested the “spad unit” was a way of minimising friction between Nos 10 and 11, and avoiding the kind of tensions that hampered the Tony Blair government.

    “You either go the Blair and Brown way, or you do the George and Dave way,” said a source – referring to the close relationship between George Osborne and David Cameron, who shared an office in opposition, and took the same approach into government in 2010.

    No 10 officials were particularly irritated by what they regarded as a ham-fisted briefing about the HS2 decision by Javid’s team, that appeared to play up the chancellor’s role in approving the project, and pre-empted an official announcement by the prime minister.

    It is understood Javid was told most of his advisers would not be considered for roles in the new team, because No 10 believed they had not served him well, and had given him poor advice.

    Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, was also told he must fire one of his aides if he wanted to keep his job. Peter Cardwell, Buckland’s special adviser, confirmed that he had been sacked at the behest of No 10, with his boss delivering the news that his services would no longer be required without a specific explanation.

    However, Javid took the decision to stand by his five aides, after previously enduring the humiliation of having Cummings fire his former press secretary, Sonia Khan, last year on suspicion of leaking without informing him first. Khan denied leaking and was escorted out of No 10 after refusing to hand over her phone to Cummings.

    Javid’s resignation letter to Johnson contained a number of parting shots at the No 10 operation, including a veiled warning to Johnson about the influence of Cummings. He issued a plea for the Treasury to retain its “credibility”, and advised the prime minister that leaders needed to have “trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with”.

    Javid also stressed the need for prime ministers to be able to receive “candid and frank advice” in a suggestion that some of Johnson’s new loyalist appointments might not be capable of doing that.

    The number of women in cabinet fell from seven to six, out of 22, with the Lib Dems saying it was “unbelievable that Boris Johnson has managed to find a way to make his cabinet even more male-dominated”.

    The number of black and minority ethnic cabinet ministers dropped from four to three, out of 22, and the two ministers from a Muslim background – Javid and Nusrat Ghani – both left the government. The Sutton Trust found that 62% of Johnson’s cabinet went to fee-paying schools, against 64% previously, with 31% going to fee-paying school and then Oxbridge.

    Johnson cleared out a raft of other cabinet ministers considered insufficiently obedient, including Julian Smith as Northern Ireland secretary, Andrea Leadsom as business secretary and Geoffrey Cox as attorney general. Smith had angered No 10 over his Brexit stance and deal to allow soldiers to be prosecuted for crimes during the Troubles, while Cox was considered not enough of a team player. Leadsom had caused annoyance by writing a piece for the Telegraph stressing to guard against a “male-dominated environment” in the workplace.

    Several prominent Brexiters were rewarded with top jobs. Suella Braverman got the role of attorney general, after criticising judges for becoming too political, and Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a sceptic about the value of foreign aid, became development secretary.

    Alok Sharma, considered a Johnson ally, was given the job of business secretary and Cop26 president in charge of climate negotiations for the upcoming summit, despite having little experience in the area.

    Others to lose their jobs included Theresa Villiers, who was replaced as environment secretary by George Eustice, a supporter of Michael Gove. Oliver Dowden, a former adviser to David Cameron, was made culture secretary, replacing Nicky Morgan, who was only in place temporarily as a peer after stepping down as an MP at the election.

    Esther McVey was replaced as housing minister by Christopher Pincher, a former deputy chief whip, who becomes the tenth person to hold that brief in 10 years.

    The job of chief secretary to the Treasury, who will play a key role in the upcoming spending review, went to the former Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay.

    James Cleverly was removed from his job as Tory chairman and put in the Foreign Office, with his old job given to the relatively unknown Amanda Milling – a longtime backer of Johnson who was onboard with his first leadership campaign.

    Apart from the chancellor, all the great offices of state remained in post and Ben Wallace clung on as defence secretary despite having been rumoured to be in line to lose his job.

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

    ― Frank Zappa

  4. #79

    Re: Brexit

    Not sure Javid out of cabinet is a good thing, but glad to see Leadsom go.

  5. #80

    Re: Brexit

    Callum May
    Feb 16
    I’m not allowed an opinion on politics but: maybe some of the colleagues who spent last night on air, keeping flood victims informed and entertained, then read in the paper that their station might be sold or closed should write a strongly-worded letter.

    No 10 tells BBC licence fee will be scrapped
    TV channels face axe in move to subscriptions
    Tim Shipman, Political Editor
    Sunday February 16 2020, 6.00pm GMT, The Sunday Times

    Downing Street turned on the BBC last night — vowing to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription. The national broadcaster could also be compelled to downsize and sell off most of its radio stations.

    In a plan that would change the face of British broadcasting, senior aides to the prime minister insisted that they are “not bluffing” about changing the BBC’s funding model and “pruning” its reach into people’s homes.

    The blueprint being drawn up in government will:

    ● Scrap the licence fee and replace it with a subscription model

    ● Force the BBC to sell off the vast majority of its 61 radio stations but safeguard Radio 3 and Radio 4

    ● Reduce the number of the corporation’s national television channels from its current 10

    ● Scale back the BBC website

    ● Invest more in the World Service

    ● Ban BBC stars from cashing in with lucrative second jobs.

    The plan marks a further escalation of hostilities between No 10 and the corporation following speeches last week by Sir David Clementi, the BBC chairman, who launched an outspoken defence of the licence fee.

    He argued that a move to a subscription model would mean a loss of earnings for the BBC that would lead to popular programmes being axed and that the introduction of Netflix-style payments could result in the loss of public service programming in a race to attract paying viewers.

    Ministers are already consulting on plans to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee from 2022 and have suggested the compulsory levy could be scrapped by 2027, when the BBC’s charter is set for renewal.

    A senior source said: “We are not bluffing on the licence fee. We are having a consultation and we will whack it. It has to be a subscription model. They’ve got hundreds of radio stations, they’ve got all these TV stations and a massive website. The whole thing needs massive pruning back.

    “They should have a few TV stations, a couple of radio stations and massively curtailed online presence and put more money and effort into the World Service, which is part of its core job.”

    The attack on the BBC will be led by John Whittingdale, the former culture secretary who was reappointed as a minister of state in his old department on Friday.

    One source described Whittingdale’s instructions from No 10 as: “Mission: attack.” Johnson’s girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, used to be Whittingdale’s special adviser.

    A No 10 source said: “The PM is firmly of the view that there needs to be serious reform. He is really strident on this.”

    The decision to ramp up hostilities is a high-risk move for Johnson’s team. Polls show the BBC retains high approval ratings with more than 80% of voters.

    The proposal to ban outside earnings comes after Kamal Ahmed, the BBC’s editorial director of news, who earns £205,000 a year, was forced to repay £12,000 he earned from addressing an investment conference. Today it can be revealed that Ahmed gave two other speeches last year for which he was also paid.

    A No 10 source suggested BBC stars making money on the side should pay the money to a charity such as Help the Aged as the BBC is threatening to cut free licences for the over-75s.

    “It’s an outrage that people who make their profile at public expense should seek to give themselves further financial rewards and personal gain,” the source said. “They’re basically making their names on the taxpayer and then cashing in. The BBC should immediately halt this practice and give the money to good causes.”

    Downing Street is already locked in a standoff with the BBC over its political coverage, refusing to put up ministers for Radio 4’s flagship programme, Today.

    “We could very easily get to the next election and never be on Today,” a source said.

    A No 10 source rejected Clementi’s claim that a subscription model would cost the BBC money: “The BBC is making a wonderful case for the importance of the BBC; if the people of this country agree, they’ll subscribe.”

    Clementi is in post until next year and will stay long enough to appoint a new director-general to replace Lord (Tony) Hall. Johnson’s aides have suggested they will appoint a new chairman who will fire the new director-general if he or she is not to their taste.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  6. #81

    Re: Brexit

    Am I the only one who sees Rupert Murdoch behind this?
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  7. #82

    Re: Brexit

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Am I the only one who sees Rupert Murdoch behind this?
    No. There was a lot on social media in the lead up to the Canadian election in October that when the Conservatives win they'll end all funding of the CBC. Whether that would have actually happened had they won I have some doubts. Things are very different in Canada compared to Britain because of geography. Thank-fully the Conservatives weren't elected to government.

  8. #83

    Re: Brexit

    Boris Johnson adviser quits over race and eugenics controversy
    Andrew Sabisky says he is stepping down as ‘contractor’ to No 10 after fierce criticism across political spectrum

    Rowena Mason Deputy political editor
    Mon 17 Feb 2020 20.01 GMT

    Boris Johnson’s controversial new adviser, Andrew Sabisky, has resigned after the prime minister was accused of condoning his writings on eugenics and race that suggested black people are on average less intelligent than white people.

    Sabisky said he was stepping down as a “contractor” to No 10 after a backlash within the Conservative party and across the political spectrum on Monday.

    Johnson’s official spokesman had stood by Sabisky and refused to answer more than 30 questions on the appointment and whether the prime minister agreed with the adviser’s views.

    But Sabisky himself tweeted on Monday evening: “The media hysteria about my old stuff online is mad but I wanted to help HMG not be a distraction. Accordingly I’ve decided to resign as a contractor. I hope no.10 hires more ppl w/good geopolitical forecasting track records & that media learn to stop selective quoting.”

    He added: “I signed up to do real work, not be in the middle of a giant character assassination.”

    Andrew Sabisky
    I know this will disappoint a lot of ppl but I signed up to do real work, not be in the middle of a giant character assassination: if I can't do the work properly there's no point, & I have a lot of other things to do w/ my life

    last of all I am beyond grateful to everyone who supported me publicly & privately, all kinds of great friends, left & right wing alike - you're the best people and eventually I will get around to thanking you all one by one
    Sabisky’s departure came after Conservative backbenchers lined up with Labour and the SNP to criticise the appointment of a man who had previously argued that there were “very real racial differences in intelligence” and said that benefit claimants should be encouraged to have fewer children than people in work with more “pro-social personalities”.

    Caroline Nokes, the Tory chair of the women and equalities committee, was the first Conservative to go on the record to criticise No 10’s handling of the situation.

    “Cannot believe No 10 has refused to comment on Andrew Sabisky. I don’t know him from a bar of soap, but don’t think we’d get on ....... must be no place in government for the views he’s expressed,” she said.

    A second Tory MP, William Wragg, broke cover on Monday evening, saying Sabisky “needs to go” and arguing that his presence in No 10 was “a poor reflection on the government and there is no way to defend it”.

    “‘Weirdos’ and ‘misfits’ are all very well, but please can they not gratuitously cause offence. I cannot be the only one uncomfortable with recent No 10 trends,” he added.

    With Downing Street remaining silent, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said the appointment was a direct reflection on Johnson’s leadership. “You can’t have people with these views operating at the heart of your government unless you agree with them. For Johnson to refuse to act and to condemn these views says as much about himself as it does about Sabisky.”

    It is understood several Tory politicians from black and minority ethnic backgrounds had made representations to No 10 about how the row over Sabisky’s appointment was damaging for the party’s relations with the black community.

    One Conservative MP from a BME background said: “I’m not necessarily against hiring intellectually interesting people with sometimes controversial views, but this guy just doesn’t seem very smart, and if you are not very smart and at the very least appear bigoted that cannot be a good look for the party.

    “By all means we should be against ultra-woke nonsense, but we should also stand against alt-right nonsense too.” Another said the No 10’s refusal to take a clear line on accusations of racism was “severely damaging” to its standing with voters.

    At least one Tory special adviser had threatened to boycott meetings where Sabisky was present.

    Dr Adam Rutherford, a geneticist and author, accused Sabisky and Cummings of being “bewitched by science, without having made the effort to understand the areas he is invoking, nor its history”.

    He said the “moral repugnance” of the remarks was “overwhelming”, adding: “I am all for scientifically minded people advising government... [but] this resembles the marshalling of misunderstood or specious science into a political ideology. The history here is important, because this process is exactly what happened at the birth of scientific racism and the birth of eugenics.”

    The row over the appointment began over the weekend when it emerged Sabisky had been attending meetings in Downing Street, with reports that he had been hired as part of Cummings’ appeal on his blog for “misfits and weirdos”.

    After some of Sabisky’s controversial writings were highlighted, No 10 was asked at its regular Monday morning press briefing to clarify whether Johnson believed in eugenics or that black people had on average lower IQs than white people.

    Johnson’s deputy official spokesman declined to comment beyond saying: “The prime minister’s views are well publicised and well documented.” Asked repeatedly to point to where Johnson’s views were documented, he declined to answer.

    The spokesman also distanced No 10 from the remarks of Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, who said over the weekend that Sabisky’s comments were “not my views and those are not the views of the government”, saying the cabinet minister speaking only for himself when he made that statement.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  9. #84

    Re: Brexit

    We won't budge on escaping EU rules, says UK's Brexit negotiator
    David Frost says democratic consent would snap if UK agreed to EU alignment

    Daniel Boffey in Brussels
    Mon 17 Feb 2020 19.35 GMT

    The democratic consent of the British public would “snap dramatically and finally” if the UK continued to be tied to EU rules, Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator has said.

    In his first public speech since his appointment to the role, David Frost said Downing Street was not engaging in game-playing by rejecting alignment with EU laws after 2020.

    In a significant opening to Brussels, Frost conceded that the negotiators would need to build on the models contained in other EU free trade deals. But he insisted that the ability to break free from the EU’s rulebook was essential to the purpose of Brexit and that the UK’s position would be tabled in “written form” next week. “We are not looking for anything special,” he said.

    Frost, a former ambassador to Denmark, went on to reject suggestions that the European court of justice would supervise any “level playing field” conditions designed to ensure that neither side undercuts the other.

    He also said that the UK would not take part in any EU programmes or agencies that put the country under the jurisdiction of the EU court.

    “We bring to the negotiations not some clever tactical positioning but the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country,” he said. “It is central to our vision that we must have the ability to set laws that suit us – to claim the right that every other non-EU country in the world has.”

    The EU’s negotiating mandate is due to be finalised on 25 February. A draft document published this month indicated that Brussels would seek at least “non-regression” from current environmental, social and workers’ standards once the UK has left the single market and customs union on 31 December 2020.

    The bloc is also likely to demand “dynamic alignment” by the UK on the EU’s state aid and competition rules. The UK would establish an independent body overseeing the rules but it would work in cooperation with the European commission. The European court of justice would be the final arbiter of EU law.

    The EU has argued that the need to maintain standards is keener in the case of Britain due to its proximity to the European market.

    Johnson said in a recent speech in Greenwich that he would rather accept heavy tariffs on goods being traded than sign up to anything so onerous.

    Frost said in Brussels: “Regulations and regulatory decisions are so fundamental to the way the population of a territory feels bound into the legitimacy of its government that this structure would be simply unsustainable: at some point democratic consent would snap – dramatically and finally.”

    He went on: “It isn’t a simple negotiating position which might move under pressure, it is the point of the whole project. That’s also why we will not extend the transition beyond the end of this year. At that point we recover our political and economic independence in full. Why would we want to postpone it?

    “In short, we only want what other independent countries have. Boris Johnson’s speech in Greenwich two weeks ago set out a record of consistently high standards of regulation and behaviour in the UK, in many cases better than EU norms or practice. How would you feel if the UK demanded that, to protect ourselves, the EU dynamically harmonise with our national laws set in Westminster and the decisions of our own regulators and courts?”

    Frost offered an opening, however, for the two sides to develop the models of free trade agreements that the EU has signed with Canada, South Korea and Japan. Those agreements include provisions that prevent either side from ignoring or lowering labour standards to boost trade. They also provide for both sides to consult with each other on subsidies and find solutions where such state aid creates unfair competition.

    Frost said: “The reason we expect – for example – open and fair competition provisions based on free trade agreement precedent is not that we want a minimalist outcome on competition laws. It is that the model of an FTA and the precedents contained in actual agreed FTAs are the most appropriate ones for the relationship of sovereign entities in highly sensitive areas relating to how their jurisdictions are governed and how their populations give consent to that government.

    “So if it is true, as we hear from our friends in the commission and the 27, that the EU wants a durable and sustainable relationship in this highly sensitive area, the only way forward is to build on this approach of a relationship of equals.”

    Frost said that he personally believed that Britain’s exit from the EU had been “inevitable” and that he hoped to dissuade the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, from the view that Brexit was about “damage limitation”.

    Describing Treasury predictions in 2018 about the economy after Brexit as “speculative”, Frost said the studies exaggerated the impact of non-tariff barriers and customs costs to businesses and failed to recognise the likely upside of an increase in productivity.

    He said: “There is obviously a one-off cost from the introduction of friction and a customs and regulatory border but I am simply not convinced it is anything like the scale of effect that these studies suggest …

    “It’s possible to be political partner and economic competitor. Economic competition boosts wealth for everybody in the long run and the more genuine economic competition across Europe, but it’s not competition for low standards …

    “Michel [Barnier], I hope I convince you to see things differently and Britain doing things differently might be good for Europe as well as Britain … We understand the trade-offs involved.”
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  10. #85

    Re: Brexit

    UK to close door to non-English speakers and unskilled workers
    Government plans to take ‘full control’ of borders a disaster for economy and jobs, say industry leaders and Labour
    Lisa O'Carroll, Peter Walker and Libby Brooks
    Tue 18 Feb 2020 22.30 GMT

    Britain is to close its borders to unskilled workers and those who can’t speak English as part of a fundamental overhaul of immigration laws that will end the era of cheap EU labour in factories, warehouses, hotels and restaurants.

    Unveiling its Australian-style points system on Wednesday, the government will say it is grasping a unique opportunity to take “full control” of British borders “for the first time in decades” and eliminate the “distortion” caused by EU freedom of movement.

    But industry leaders immediately accused the government of an assault on the economy warning of “disastrous” consequences with job losses and closures in factories and the high street.

    Labour and the Liberal Democrats also condemned the plans while Unison, which represents health workers said they “spell absolute disaster for the care sector”.

    However, ministers argue they are delivering the Brexit demanded by the electorate – and say it is time for businesses to wean themselves off cheap migrant labour.

    A 10-page briefing document outlining the new immigration policy states:

    • UK borders will be closed to non-skilled workers – and all migrants will have to speak English.

    • Anyone wanting to come to the UK to work must have a job offer with a salary threshold of £25,600 – though a salary “floor” of £20,480 will be acceptable in special cases where there might have a skills shortage skills, such as in nursing.

    • There will be no route for self-employed people coming into the UK, spelling the end to, for example, Polish plumbers or Romanian builders arriving without a job.

    Border control will no longer accept ID cards from countries such as France and Italy. This, it is understood, is an attempt to clamp down on non-EU workers beating the system with forged or stolen ID cards.

    • The skills threshold for foreign nationals wanting to work in the UK will be lowered from degree to A-levels or their equivalent. The cap on the numbers of skilled workers is being scrapped – and a small number of highly skilled workers will be allowed to come in without a job.

    • The right of artists, entertainers, sports people and musicians to enter for performances, competitions and auditions will be retained.

    The government intends to launch a “comprehensive” campaign to prepare employers for the transformation in January next year when EU citizens will be treated the same as other nationals.

    However, the new policy drew immediate criticism from employers, particularly over the addition of waiters, waitresses and “elementary” agriculture and fishery workers to the list of low-skilled workers.

    Industry leaders warned the changes would have a huge impact on food processing factories that rely heavily on EU workers to keep the supermarket shelves full with pre-packed chicken, beef and pork cuts.

    Tom Hadley, director of policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said: “Jobs the government considers ‘low-skilled’ are vital to wellbeing and business growth. The announcement threatens to shut out the people we need to provide services the public rely on.

    “We need access to workers that can help us look after the elderly, build homes and keep the economy strong.”

    UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said “ruling out a temporary, low-skilled route for migration in just 10 months’ time would be disastrous for the hospitality sector and the British people” and deter investment in the high street.

    The Confederation of British Industry director general Carolyn Fairbairn said the removal of the cap on the number of skilled workers was “welcome”, but she warned that in “some sectors, firms would be left wondering how they would recruit the people needed to run their businesses.

    “With already low unemployment, firms in care, construction, hospitality, food and drink could be most affected,” she said.

    The hospitality sector will also be hit with no “barista visa” for coffee shops, despite warnings from Pret A Manger two years ago that only one in 50 job applicants were British.

    Also vulnerable are hotels that rely on EU workers for cleaning, kitchen and chambermaid staff, and big business and homes who rely on EU workers for cleaning, security and housekeeping.

    Labour’s shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said the demand for immigrants to speak English was “dog-whistle stuff”.

    “Most people who come here to work can already speak English,” she said. “But are we really going to block maths geniuses whose English isn’t great? It’s inhumane and damaging.”

    She continued: “Ultimately, it will also be very difficult to attract the workers we need at all skill levels while the Tories’ hostile environment is in place. It needs to go.”

    Partners at the immigration law firm Fragomen urged the government not to close the borders overnight and to reduce the cost of visas for the new era migrant.

    “If it comes to a point where it is harder to access labour then don’t turn off the tap overnight. Give people time to adjust. Please make the system cheaper – it is just ridiculously expensive,” said Ian Robinson, a partner at the firm and a former policy official at the Home Office.

    But with its 80-strong majority, the government can deliver on its new policy with a immigration bill expected to ease through parliament in the coming months.

    “UK businesses will need to adapt and adjust to the end of free movement, and we will not seek to recreate the outcomes from free movement within the points-based system,” said the government in a briefing paper.

    It also said that employers would have to work harder to recruit and retain British staff.

    “It is important that employers move away from a reliance on the UK’s immigration system and as alternative to investment in staff retention, productivity, and wider investment in technology and automation,” the briefing paper added.

    Special arrangements are being made for seasonal workers who harvest the fields but this is only set at 10,000 places, far below the National Farmers’ Union’s (NFU) demands for temporary visas for 70,000 in 2021.

    Minette Batters, the head of the NFU, said it was “ironic” that the government was encouraging people to increase the amount of fruit and veg in diets, yet is “making it harder for that fruit and veg to be produced in Britain”.

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

    ― Frank Zappa

  11. #86

    Re: Brexit

    As long as the EU and the rest of the world apply the same logic, I see no issues.
    Want to work in Hungary? Better speak Hungarian.
    Missing winter...

  12. #87

    Re: Brexit

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post

    • Anyone wanting to come to the UK to work must have a job offer with a salary threshold of £25,600 – though a salary “floor” of £20,480 will be acceptable in special cases where there might have a skills shortage skills, such as in nursing.

    • There will be no route for self-employed people coming into the UK, spelling the end to, for example, Polish plumbers or Romanian builders arriving without a job.

    “With already low unemployment, firms in care, construction, hospitality, food and drink could be most affected,” she said.

    The hospitality sector will also be hit with no “barista visa” for coffee shops, despite warnings from Pret A Manger two years ago that only one in 50 job applicants were British.

    Also vulnerable are hotels that rely on EU workers for cleaning, kitchen and chambermaid staff, and big business and homes who rely on EU workers for cleaning, security and housekeeping.
    This is going to go belly up quick. I can't wait to see video of these rich people waiting an hour for their latte art beause there's only one barista in the entire cafe.

  13. #88

    Re: Brexit

    I'm sure that native born Brits will be lining up for the jobs no longer done by "foreigners".

    Thhis is wht they voted for and that is what they're going to get. I have no sympathy for them.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa

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