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Brexit (the EU Referendum debate)

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1360707.  Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:01 am Reply with quote

Mr Johnson told us that he would absolutely categorically 100% definitely do the thing by 15 October, and he did it on 16 October. That is to say, he did not do as he promised that he would. Not good enough.

If you think being a day late is acceptable, you should try submitting your tax return a day late. If you do, you'll be fined £100 for late submission, and you'll be charged interest at a mere 26 times base rate on any tax that you pay a day late.

1360712.  Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:21 am Reply with quote

What he said was
"There needs to be an agreement with our European friends by the time of the European Council on October 15 if it's going to be in force by the end of the year.

So there is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point. If we can't agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on."*

If you submit your tax return a day late, then you will be fined on Feb 1st, not Jan 31st.


1360726.  Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:24 pm Reply with quote

I don't care about which day the announcement came, what I find shameful is that it not only got to this, but that Johnson is announcing they'll walk away now.

Why? It hasn't helped in any of their negotiations, and Europe hasn't walked away.

And the longer this takes the less trust there is in British industry, and the Pound.

For the sake of saving face and wanting to show they saved the equivalent of 0.1% here or there, they are forcing us to start from an ever dropping starting point.

1360729.  Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:34 pm Reply with quote

I don't think anyone is "walking away", but in order for there to be a realistic resolution the nuts and bolts needed to be agreed by yesterday. The announcement is all about preparation.

1360851.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:41 am Reply with quote

Can we stop distracting with semantics?

So many people in Government and elsewhere have used the term "walk away", you can google brexit walk away and you get lots of hits from interviews and news articles.

1360869.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:22 am Reply with quote

You can - but the problem with ignoring that is you risk being led by people who only want to provide one side of the argument.
Do you honestly think there will be no further discussions on a trade agreement with the EU?
Or as was pointed out when the “announcement “ was made there is little chance that it will be completed by the end of the year (something pretty much everyone knew anyway)?

1360876.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:27 am Reply with quote

I don't honestly think either way, I hope there will be further discussions, but if you listen to Johnson and Gove it's a case of "yes, that's what's going to happen", so are we to ignore that completely?

Also, it's not just about whether we have a trade deal or not, it's about the rhetoric in between which is creating huge fluctuations in the currency markets which, while profitable to me personally, is playing havoc with business that is happening right now at this very moment.

1360877.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:28 am Reply with quote

You can have trade talks without all this stupid grandstanding which is weakening our starting point.

1360884.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:49 am Reply with quote

The problem is that Mr Businessman (other genders are available) need to know the likelihood of an outcome.
All the announcement has done is advise that.
The announcement was that if agreement isn’t reached by a certain date then we will need to prepare for no agreement- because there isn’t going to be any further extension sought. The link I provided explains why that is the case.
It also explains that discussion is ongoing- but preparation for no agreement is required.
How does that weaken our position?

1360912.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:47 am Reply with quote

You're twisting what I've said, I wrote "weakening our starting point", not "weakening our position".

The impact of Covid 19 has skewed everything this year, so I won't take any of the current investment statistics in because that would be unfair.

So looking at 2019, there are a number of studies around with various figures, so I'll take one that seems to have less alarming figures, Harvard Business Review, which suggested 6% drop in investments in two years after the referendum, and that productivity fell by approx 0.5%.

The pound losing against other currencies has made buying parts from other countries more expensive for UK manufacturers.

All this means that whatever trade deals we do sign, whenever trust returns and we start increasing productivity, you start from a lower starting point, and when accounting for growth this has a huge knock on impact.

As an example, I recently helped a friend revise a business plan for finance he originally wrote just a year ago because the increased costs of parts and transport have pushed his budgets up by a little over 8% (part of this is Covid, but this is an example of how a change impacts business). The initial plan was based on a 6 year forecast of 7% annual increase in profits, but because his initial costs are now increased he's starting from a lower position, that small change means other costs that lower the annual forecast to 5.7% annual increase, and this means the forecast will not reach he same level until year 9 instead of 6, affecting his cost of finance (and availability), it affects his profit margin and leaves him even more exposed, and less likely to be able to expand any time soon.

1360974.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:41 pm Reply with quote

The starting point of the trade negotiations was December 20th not October 15th. So how does the acknowledgement that the likelihood of there being no settlement at the emd of the transition period weakening that?
No one is suggesting that there will be no effect - there obviously will, and that will be exacerbated by Covid - but that isn't the fault of the UK, or the EU. It is what it is, and all the announcement does is give some certainty - there is no "it might not get done" or "there might be an extension" So business can now work out what it needs to do to minimize the effect.

1360979.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:13 pm Reply with quote

Come on, don't play the "I don't get it" trick, especially after I gave a real life example that affects people, that's just trolling.

I'm not talking about start of negotiations, I'm talking about the start of the agreement itself, when all sides know what to expect for the next year, 5 years and 10 years when planning on their investments.

In the meantime, business can't wait, so they have to take investment decisions based on how the market is reacting to events, and when politicians like Johnson and Gove use these negotiations as a way to appeal to their base support it weakens the pound, and takes away trust from the financial markets, and not only are investors being put off, but so are buyers who don't want to be locked into a deal that could be worth 10%-15% less in a year's time because some politician's opened his mouth.

1360984.  Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:36 pm Reply with quote

What do you mean by "starting position" then?
Because honestly, I don't get what you are saying. I originally thought you meant our current position, and you said I was twisting your words because you said starting position. When is the starting position - because we have been negotiating for the last ten months. And by suggesting that an agreement is unlikely business is being prepared for that outcome.
The only surprise for business now is if there is an agreement - but that would be a "good surprise" wouldn't it?

1361039.  Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:40 am Reply with quote

Notice that the government have stopped referring to a "no deal" brexit quite so much, instead preferring to refer to it as an "Australian-style deal". Since Australia doesn't have a deal with the EU, this is code for a no-deal brexit.

As evidenced yesterday when Alok Sharma was asked to explain the difference between the two. After much fluster and bluster, he eventually admitted the difference is "a question of semantics".

1361290.  Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:20 pm Reply with quote

This is very long indeed but I can't resist posting it. Originally from Twitter.

Thread Reader

#TheWeekInTory returns, and I’m very sorry, but it’s a monster. The little scamps have achieved quite a lot in the - yep - FIVE DAYS - since the last one.

Let’s dive straight in with probably the most gobsmacking sentence you’ll read all year…
1. NHS staff were polled on whether, in recognition of their efforts to fight Covid 19, they would prefer to be given a badge or a snack box

2. It was reported 2 out of every 3 hospices will have to make redundancies. In a pandemic.
3. The govt published a poster: “We plan to cut all homeless people in half by 2025”, which is a bit severe even for Priti Patel

4. The govt insisted we all comply with Test and Trace rules, and then excluded restaurants in the Palace of Westminster from Test and Trace rules
5. In Sept Boris Johnson announced a £100bn “Operation Moonshot” to fix Covid “within months”

6. A month later it was leaked Moonshot was cancelled

7. The next day it was revealed the govt still pays over 200 private consultants up to £7000 per day each to work on Moonshot
8. So 2 days after it was cancelled, it was reinstated, but now Boris Johnson said it will “take time”

9. We’re still giving £100bn to private suppliers for a vaguely rapid thingy to do a hazily defined whatchamacallit that will happen too slowly to produce any useful results
10. In May Boris Johnson reassured a grateful nation that “nobody will go hungry as a result of Coronavirus”

11. He then denied food to the UK's 600,000 poorest children

12. So Marcus Rashford ran a campaign to get the kids fed
13. Then Boris Johnson congratulated Rashford on the MBE he got for his campaign to overturn the cruel policies of [checks notes] Boris Johnson

14. And then 3 days later, Boris Johnson refused to feed the kids again
15. And then, (because let's face it, allowing children to starve barely raises an eyebrow any more) the govt won a vote in parliament to prevent child refugees from being reunited with their families, because obviously that's helpful to ... anyone know who that helps? Anyone?
16. But the govt pressed ahead with helping British people to lose weight (by starving them), and it was reported the (obviously) private contract to provide emergency food-parcels is charging £44 for a box that costs just £19 at Aldi. And the govt one contains rotting food.
17. In Sept Boris Johnson said “a free press is vital in holding the government to account”

18. This week, govt scientists reported they are being banned from speaking to the press, due to “the difficult political landscape”, meaning silencing science is a purely political act
19. More media news, and it was revealed that following a long, noisy, mostly Lineker-focussed campaign to cut the wages of BBC staff, the Tories offered to increase the wage of the BBC Director General from £100k to £280k, but only if it could be Boris’s friend Charles Moore
20. In June the govt gave a contract for PPE worth £32m to Pestfix, a sweet warehouse with assets of £18,000. The govt paid 75% upfront, and the delivered materials turned out to be faulty

21. The govt has since awarded 5 additional PPE contracts to Pestfix, worth £313m
22. The govt is now being sued to find out why it’s covertly handing out almost £350m to a crisp warehouse for PPE it has proved it cannot supply, and Pestfix is using the £350m to pay lawyers to stop us finding out why it got £350m in the first place. Still no PPE.
23. And now, the latest update on Mark Francois...

Nope, that's all I've got. Moving on...
24. Boris Johnson announced the new lockdown rules were “simple enough for anybody to understand”

25. He immediately got them wrong, telling the press separated parents could not see their children, convenient for a man who famously only acknowledges 57% of his offspring
26. Anyway, Johnson then said the rules were obviously too complicated, so he would overhaul them. Again

27. He said he’d liaise with local regions, and provide “improved financial support”

28. He then forgot to liaise with local regions, and cut their financial support
29. Boris Johnson said “whatever happens, nobody gets less than 93% of their current income”

30. People get a max 67% of their current income

31. The govt said it would “stop at nothing” to support people in Tier 3 areas

32. The govt stopped at £7.85 per person in Manchester
33. By contrast, Robert Jenrick improperly arranged a £25m gift to his own constituency - £237 per head, 30x as much as Manchester

34. And Boris Johnson paid £100k of public money for “IT advice” from Jennifer Arcuri, who this week admitted they were actually having an affair
35. Anyway, the Mayor of Manchester didn’t ask for such largesse, or even offer to pole-dance for the Prime Minister; he just asked for Manchester to get the same amount of money per person that is being given to Lancashire.
36. Boris Johnson said he “completely understands” why Andy Burnham objects to the settlement

37. And then Boris Johnson stopped understanding, and said Andy Burnham was “playing politics” and therefore he would impose direct rule on the region’s democratically elected Mayor
38. And in further boost to the govt’s support for regions, Daniel Kawczynski, Tory trade envoy to Mongolia and successful brain donor, called for the Welsh Assembly to be scrapped

39. Kawczynski then called for improvements to his local hospital to be scrapped. In a pandemic
40. And then, after many eventful years calling for Britain to leave the EU, and objecting to a (non-existent) plan for an EU Army, Kawczynski, a technically sane man, tweeted that we should “begin the process of creating an alternative EU” that is “predicated on defence”
41. Brexiters insist we can strike great deals around the world, and immediately failed in negotiations with Manchester and Wales

42. Which brings us onto Brexit: and Boris Johnson’s oven-ready deal has skipped the middle-man and gone straight into the toilet
43. This week the PM appeared on TV in the guise of a traumatised Shredded Wheat, and told us all we should get ready for No Deal

44. It was reported Boris Johnson was “startled by the EU insistence” that he sticks to the agreements that he, personally, insisted the EU signed
45. So the PM said we should walk away and have an “Australian-type deal with the EU”

46. It was quickly explained to the PM that Australia doesn’t have a deal with the EU

47. So Boris Johnson, now a master of detail, amended it to Canada-style deal next time he was asked
48. But then it was revealed the Canada/EU deal includes an arbitration mechanism that Boris Johnson has already rejected

49. John Redwood, a Tory MP and Vulcan, insisted all we want from the EU is the same thing Canada gets, such as protection of our fishing industry
50. Canada doesn’t have a fisheries deal with the EU

51. After a dizzying evening chasing reality in circles, it became an Australian-type deal again

52. The business secretary was asked the difference between No Deal and Australian Deal and had to admit: nothing
53. Brexiter Andrew Bridgen said we wouldn’t be limited to trading on WTO rules, we could trade on “WTO plus”, a thing that doesn’t exist

54. The Chairman of the Royal Inst for International Affairs said “it now seems likely that Brexit will lead to the break up of the UK”
55. The head of the CBI and head of the Fed of Small Businesses said the UK is not ready for No Deal

56. Tesco chairman said the UK will have months of food shortages after No Deal

57. British Pharmaceutical Society said there would be shortages of medicines if we have No Deal
58. Even William Shatner – yes, you read that correctly – got involved, explaining that Brexit means smaller overseas businesses importing into the UK have to pay £1000 just to file the forms to register for VAT, and therefore would likely stop trading with us
59. Reassuringly, the govt said it was “determined to continue to seek a deal”

60. And then the govt told the EU not to bother coming to London for more talks

61. And then multiple Tory MPs, each provided with real human brain, tweeted identical suggestions to “sod the EU”
62. Michael Gove, a quasi-sentient almond who last year said “Let no one be in any doubt how difficult and damaging [No deal] would be”, now went on TV and insisted the EU had to “make constructive moves towards a deal”
63. He then said, inside the same 2 minutes at the dispatch box in parliament, that talks had “effectively ended”; and then that the EU had taken the “constructive move” he demanded; and then that as a result, talks could now “intensify”. Wait for it...
64. And then he refused to restart negotiations anyway, cos honestly, what do words even mean any more

65. He claimed in parliament the UK would “do better” without the law enforcement cooperation we get from the EU, which made even Theresa May gasp “utter rubbish”
66. And then Michael Gove said we shouldn’t worry about the 12% unemployment the IFS predicts would be caused by a No Deal Brexit, because we can create lots of new jobs building enough lorry parks to obliterate Kent
67. I’m sure we’ll be fine, because the govt proudly announced a trade deal with Côte d’Ivoire, to which we sell 0.13% as much as we sell to the EU

68. The world-beating Test and Trace service sent hundreds of people to be tested at a testing site in Kent that doesn’t even exist
69. And then the world-beating app that is designed to give accurate information the public can rely on sent a series of incorrect and contradictory risk-level alerts

70. But good news: profits at Serco are expected to jump 18%, which I’m sure is your top priority right now
71. And on the subject of profit, Boris Johnson is rumoured to want to resign in March because his salary is too low. Which means in the middle of a Brexit crisis and a global pandemic, the Tory party will spend months fighting over which Dementor becomes the next leader
72. It’ll be Priti Patel, obviously, because this week she announced she, personally, would tell judges what constitutes “inhuman or degrading treatment” (being an expert) and they should no longer use the globally accepted UN Declaration on Human Rights
73. And now, unexpectedly, an all-bishops finale! The Archbishop of York was denied the traditional peerage on his retirement. I don’t know if you noticed - it's hardly worth mentioning, really - but he’s the first black Archbishop we’ve ever had
74. The excuse given by the govt was that it “needs to limit the size of the house of Lords”, days after ennobling 36 peers including Boris Johnson’s brother, Ian Botham, and Claire Fox, an unrepentant apologist for IRA terrorism who just happened to support Brexit.
75. Five archbishops appealed to the govt not to breach international law, which seems like a reasonable thing to ask. It's the law. Don't break it.

76. Beta-version human and self-styled "Brexit-hardman" Steve Baker said “of course they entitled to these views”
77. And then Steve Baker went on to say if they have the views they’re “entitled to”, they should be thrown out of the house of lords; and the Church of England, which the Queen is head of, should be disestablished. A perfectly sane response to being asked to obey the law.

Looks like I was taken in by fake news - item 3 isn't real.

So just 74 incredibly stupid things in 5 days.
Looks like I was taken in by fake news - item 3 isn't real. Sorry, I didn't fact-check enough.

So just 74 incredibly stupid things in 5 days. Seems fine.


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