Posts Tagged ‘Theresa May’

In Erdoğan’s warped world, even intellectuals are now ‘terrorists’ | Kenan Malin

Turkey’s president is destroying civil society, hardly noted when he was here last week

Imagine a seminar in London. Around the table are Blairites and Corbynistas, Ukippers and Remainers, Scottish Nationalists and Tory Eurosceptics, Islamists and English Defence Leaguers, radical feminists and transgender activists. All discussing Britain’s political future, with deep disagreements but with mutual respect.

It would be difficult to picture this in London. Still less that a similar seminar could take place in Istanbul. Yet, when I gave a lecture there last September, that was just what it felt like. I was talking about populism and immigration. In the room were students of all political persuasions: supporters of the ruling Justice and Development party and critics, liberals and social democrats, Turkish nationalists, Kurds and Armenians. They had deeply differing views, but all had a commitment to open dialogue.

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Tories take four-point lead over Labour in latest survey

Brexit supporters appear more pleased with Theresa May than remainers are with Jeremy Corbyn

The Tories have opened up a four-point lead over Labour – the biggest since last year’s general election – as Remain voters appear to be losing faith in the ability of Jeremy Corbyn’s party to handle Brexit.

The latest monthly Opinium/Observer poll puts the Conservatives on 43% (up three points) while Labour is down one on 39%. The Liberal Democrats are on 6% (down one), two ahead of Ukip (also down one).

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Mrs May’s Flimsy Free Trade Agreement with the EU

Mrs May’s Flimsy Free Trade Agreement with the EU

If and when Mrs May, Mr Davis and the Department for (not) Exiting the European Union eventually sometime in the 2020s finalise a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), it could potentially render the UK somewhat powerless against EU hegemony.  Hardly then taking back any form of control, but rather giving the EU carte blanche to ‘turn the screws’ any time it wishes. This potentially painful situation arises as a consequence of how the Single Market, the EU and our own Government, including the Civil Service, functions.  

As first stated in her Lancaster House speech 17th January 2017, Mrs May recklessly decided to leave the Single Market (and the wider European Economic Area, EEA), when the UK notionally leaves the EU on 29th March 2019; to become an EU temporary or permanent  Vassal State. In place of membership of the Single Market she proposes an ambitious Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to provide a continuation of existing stable ‘frictionless’ trade with other Member States of the EU and avoid trade ‘falling off a cliff’.   Trade deals with the EU are usually complex and slow to negotiate, taking several years. However, Mrs May and Mr Davis believe it can be negotiated and finalised in a matter of months, originally before we leave the EU, but now agreed with the EU to last from 30th March 2019 until 31st December 2020 (called by the EU the Transition Period and by Mrs May et al the ‘Implementation Period’).

The negotiating period for the FTA is very short and likely to be further truncated due to delays in fully agreeing Phase 1 conditions of the Article 50 negotiations for the Withdrawal Agreement incorporating conditions for the Transition Period. This is a recipe for concessions being made on the UK’s side to the EU (as Mrs May becomes more desperate for a deal) and for mistakes being made that only show up later when both parties start implementing the complex and wide-ranging FTA.  Taking shortcuts and failing to adequately review or fully ‘bottom out’ issues and their implications are likely to be the order of the day.

The British negotiating side is further hampered through a general lack of motivation and expertise in intra-governmental negotiations in the Government, Parliament and the Civil Service.  After kowtowing to the EU and its executive (the European Commission) for 43 years, our government has lost much of the acumen necessary to govern a sovereign country competently and responsibly. In any case the responsibility (‘competence’) for negotiating FTAs rests with the EU. Competence built up over many years is easily lost, just outsource to the EU and its gone, but much more difficult to reacquire especially in a short period.   The Civil Service having increasingly become a rubber-stamping organisation for EU directives, and lacking understanding what they are inflicting, could prefer to remain under EU leadership; it makes for a quieter decision-free and responsibility-free life. This would lead them into more readily acquiescing to EU demands. This seems to be the case on defence and defence procurement where the plan appears to become increasingly closely integrated with the EU.

The EU negotiators, on top of their subjects, are running rings around our negotiators, who are repeatedly caving in to their demands and agenda. The EU’s negotiators are demonstrating a level of competence that is far superior to that of Mrs May, Mr Davis and Department for (not) Leaving the European Union.  Their dedicated website and Notices to Stakeholders (under Brexit preparedness) are not replicated on this side of the Channel.  A major consequence has been that the EU has effectively been in the lead all the time, setting the terms for the negotiations and setting demands far outside what they are reasonably entitled to. For example, Article 50 negotiations were originally intended to cover financial arrangements for a Member State leaving the EU, nothing more.  Also they want to control UK fishing during the Transition Period through continuing the Common Fisheries Policy and afterwards by treating it as a common resource.  The EU’s position is becoming more uncompromising slipping in further demands outside those strictly necessary for trade.

Another major weakness on the UK’s side is a lack of understanding of how the EU and the Single Market (or wider EEA) function.  The aspirations of ‘frictionless’ trade through an FTA and a soft border on the isle of Ireland cannot be achieved by this route as repeatedly stated by the EU’s side.   Leaving the Single Market (or wider EEA) on 31st December 2020 (when the Transition Period, for now, ends) makes the UK into a ‘third’ country, nominally outside EU control, and subject to the same treatment as any other ‘third’ country trading with the Single Market (or wider EEA).  It is membership of the Single Market that delivers customs cooperation between Member States across a range of products and, therefore, frictionless internal trade (not membership of a customs union).

The EU’s approach (to many products) within the Single Market is outlined in principle in COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT Enhancing the Implementation of the New Approach Directives , in more detail in the EU’s Guide to the implementation of directives based on the New Approach and the Global Approach and encapsulated in EU law in REGULATION (EC) No 765/2008 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 9 July 2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 339/93.  

The EU’s Guide in describing the processes involved and their overall approach, also provides an indication of where future problems could occur and how out of touch with the reality of the EU Mrs May and Mr Davis are.  Certainly at any time the EU can legally ‘turn up the screws’ where it wants to against any products. Mutual Recognition of Standards or an FTA will not make much, if any, difference, simply because the EU’s negotiators will make sure they don’t.  They really don’t have much alternative since to cave-in to UK demands would go against their direction of travel which has been set for many years and set a precedent that could be exploited by other ‘third’ countries.

There is no guarantee that we will get to a Free Trade Agreement. The Transition Deal and Withdrawal Agreement are still far from finalised, and as the EU have stated many times ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’.  However sacrificing UK fishing, defence and agreeing to continue to adopt existing and future EU laws et al in the hope of one day achieving a free trade utopia is to be delusional and incompetent in the face of EU and Single Market reality.  Mrs May could have pursued faster, safer and simpler approaches to leaving the EU; for example EFTA/EEA explained in some detail in Brexit Reset.  Instead, short changing the British people, she chose the slowest, most risky and complex route, leading a government ill-equipped to rise to the challenge.

The post Mrs May’s Flimsy Free Trade Agreement with the EU appeared first on UKIP Daily | UKIP News | UKIP Debate.

May names nine new Tory peers to bolster party after Brexit defeats

Timing of announcement prompts claims that No 10 is using royal wedding to hide it

Theresa May has on the eve of the royal wedding nominated nine new Tory peers, including the former cabinet ministers Sir Eric Pickles and Peter Lilley and handed one to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party as she tries to bolster her party’s fragile position in the House of Lords.

Four other former Tory MPs are to be elevated to a chamber which has defied May’s government on 15 occasions over Brexit, in an afternoon announcement that has prompted accusations that No 10 was trying to use Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding to bury the news.

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The House of Lords may save us from hard Brexit. But it’s still ridiculous | Rafael Behr

Theresa May shovelling Tory bodies into the upper house exposes its shortcomings – and liberals shouldn’t forget them

A remedy against affection for the House of Lords is to try explaining it to foreigners. Like a senate, you say, but the members are mostly appointed by party leaders. (Your listener’s eyes narrow with suspicion). Except some still inherit seats in lines of aristocratic succession. (The eyes now widen in astonishment). Oh, and the bishops.

How long is a term? A lifetime. But when new members are added, doesn’t that mean the chamber just gets bigger and bigger? Yes. Yes, it does.

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Britain will leave customs union, May says, to offer Ireland backstop

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday (17 May) Britain would leave the EU customs union after Brexit but a source said London was considering a backstop plan that would apply the bloc's external tariffs beyond December 2020.

PM set to nominate 10 Tory peers in attempt to overcome Brexit defeats

Labour peer Lord Adonis criticises plan as desperate attempt by May to boost fragile position in upper chamber

Theresa May is expected to approve the creation of about 10 Tory peers and hand at least one to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party in an attempt to improve her weak position in the House of Lords, which has already voted 15 times against her government over Brexit.

The elevations, which are expected to be announced in the coming days in Westminster, were immediately criticised by high profile remain Labour peer Lord Adonis as a desperate attempt by the prime minister to enlist people to boost her fragile position in the unelected upper house.

Tories tipped for elevation include former ministers Sir Eric Pickles and Peter Lilley. Adonis said: “This is a classic example of packing the Lords to try and make Brexit easier to endorse.”

Constitutionally, there is supposed to be a rough balance between the two main parties in the Lords, although at present there are 244 Conservative peers, including 49 hereditary peers, and 187 Labour peers. However, the Conservatives are far from a majority in a chamber that has a total of 780 members and has become the principal parliamentary opposition to Brexit.

That has meant that May’s government has been repeatedly defeated over the EU withdrawal bill, with peers inflicting 15 defeats on issues such as the customs union, the Irish border and removing the precise date of Brexit – 29 March 2019 – from the legislation.

Labour is expected to add three peers to its total representation, with the former party general secretary Iain McNicol and Martha Osamor, a race equality campaigner and the mother of MP Kate Osamor, heavily tipped to be ennobled.

That prompted a complaint from Adonis, who said it effectively validated the creation of new peers at such a sensitive time. “I’m very surprised that the Labour party is playing this game by agreeing to make a small number of peers because it legitimises the actions of the Tories.”

Other Tories who have been tipped for ennoblement include former MPs Andrew Tyrie, Sir Edward Garnier and Julian Brazier.

Party political peers are periodically created when No 10 indicates that it wishes to do so, although this round had been delayed for months. In February, May said she wanted to end the “automatic entitlement” to a peerage for holders of high office in an attempt to reduce numbers in the upper house to 600.

Former DUP MP William McCrea is expected to be ennobled, taking the Northern Irish party, which props up May’s government in the Commons, from three to four peers. Sources said the party had indicated that it also had been handed the right to make a second nomination.

One name believed to be under consideration is Diane Dodds, a DUP MEP who is married to the party’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds. However, a senior DUP source dismissed speculation about Dodds as “complete nonsense”, indicating she was too young to be in the House of Lords.

The Liberal Democrats, who have 98 peers in the Lords, are not expected to add to their number.

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