Truth, frustration and mixed messages

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BORIS JOHNSON: Rebuked by Theresa May.

HARD Brexit or soft Brexit? Should Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty be triggered now or later? There seems as much confusion in Britain as to its negotiating position and the timing of negotiations as there is frustration in Brussels. 

On the one hand, there’s international trade secretary, Liam Fox, making the case for hard Brexit – the UK outside the EU’s single market but with full control of its borders – and David Davis, the Brexit minister, saying much the same thing, while on the other, Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, stating that claims of an ‘automatic link’ between single market access and freedom of movement were “complete baloney.” (He was rebuked by Mrs May for urging the government to ‘get on’ with triggering Article 50).

Who envies Mrs May? Not only does she have these three alpha-male Brexiteers to keep on message but also has to come up with a negotiation package that will unify the country. One thing’s patently clear though: whatever it is, it won’t satisfy everyone. A soft Brexit won’t appease the millions who voted Leave, who expect curbs on immigration and an end to contributions to the EU budget. For them, only a hard Brexit will do. 

And what about the millions who voted Remain? A soft Brexit might go towards healing some wounds, a hard Brexit would leave them raw. 

Theresa May’s honeymoon period is well and truly over – a period when her predecessor was the target of much criticism – for recently it’s been her turn as the target of considerable retaliation in rushed-out memoirs by aggrieved followers of David Cameron.

But say what you will about Dave, and believe me I have, didn’t he reveal something unusual in politicians on leaving Number 10: some self-awareness? When Tony Blair left, it was all drama. When Dave left, he admitted self-effacingly: “I was the future once.”

The brutal decision to fire the ‘Cameroons’ and appoint the three Brexiteers may be the canniest move Mrs May ever made… or be the act of sowing the seeds of destruction of her premiership. Only time will tell.

Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89;£0.79) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.

19 COMMENTS

  1. it is so easy for shortthand to become commonplace ,without really knowing what it means. I am no wiser for the term Brexit, or triggering. Used so much by the media, one does wonder where we are all going, and some of us would really like to know. It looks as though a member state wishing to apply to leave the EU must, through its’ consitutional requirements, make a written application to leave. This has morphed into ‘triggering article 50’. There may be reasons included in this application made by the UK government, which could cause internal national passionate debate anyway, and that is after it happens. Two years (at least) could then pass by where 27 nation state members, work out the terms and conditions of the UK leaving. Then what happens ? Even if this timescale goes as far as 2019, there will be German and French elections not to mention the EU elections, and an upcoming UK general election. Can one find any sensible translation – and possibly an interpretation of the word ‘negotiations’ . How does one do that if one is distrustful of the EU machine anyway, and, not included in the decision making process, which we believe will set out the terms and conditions of leaving the EU. (Art 50 clause4)
    The usual sensible column by NJ prompts more questions and rather obviously leans towards the who., why , when, and cost of what the UK is digging deeper and deeper into.
    Ups an downs, roller coaster, volatility, quantative easing, bumpy ride – all quite meaningful expressions, or maybe not. .

  2. Brexit is simple, it mean Britain leaving the EU.

    Where we are going? simple, out on our own to work with the world and remove ourselves from a mixed up Union run by a bunch of despots where we have the final word on our civil rights and judicial system in out country. BTW, I don’t think we will be the only ones to be honest as other countries are getting fed up with the EU and EC also.

    The exact answers to the questions you and others might have are not written anywhere and will only come to fruit through negotiations… that word many seem to be having a problem with on this.

    Your last sentence is exactly right, but we will be in a far better situation out of the EU than being in it so it will be all worth the ride. My advise to people who are worried about it is to sit back and get on with your life then deal with anything that comes up as it comes up, as much as there might be things to deal with that people won’t like, I have the feeling most people like you will be pleasantly surprised and when done will wonder what all the fuss was about 🙂

  3. Mike, your complete confidence we will be “pleasantly surprised and when done will wonder what all the fuss was about” displays a touching faith that our politicians will deliver on all their promises! I genuinely hope your crystal ball’s not broken.

    Fact: Amber Rudd takes a leaf out of Hitler’s book on dealing with the Jews, announcing she will force UK businesses to reveal the details of their foreign workers. Then, just a week later she drops it because of all the fuss.

    Fact: Hundreds of thousands of expats have been around 15% poorer for the past 6 months due to the weak pound and it’s getting worse. That’s causing a fuss.

    Fact: Although the same weak pound makes UK exports cheaper, imports are more expensive. The UK is a big net importer, so this adds to the huge balance of payments gap and causes further price rises. Add to that the inevitable trade and customs tariffs on Brexit Day and prices will rise even higher. That’ll cause a fuss – for all but the very wealthy.

    I’d love to share your complacency and simple answers to complex issues, but when even Philip Hammond is forecasting a “bumpy ride” I think his crystal ball might be working better than yours.

  4. You don’t need to worry about my crystal ball Brian, I see the advantages in leaving the EU while you just see that you “might” have to pay for some health care, something that we will all need to do before too long!

    As far as forcing UK businesses to keep track of their foreign workers is concerned, well it’s about time and the fact you relate this to Hitler is beyond a normal level headed thinking persons capabilities. If this had been done years ago the government might be able to actually know who is in the country working and from where, a step that is needed in controlling statistics… but people like you always look at the negative on these things…. guess you will be calling me a racist now Brian, before you do remember that it is recording details of all workers not just those from outside the UK.

    Again I will state, “no one said it would be easy or not bumpy” so stop trying to pull punches with me that miss the mark every time.

    I can only think the wife gets you to go onto the computer to stop you whinging at her 🙂

  5. It’s actually an iPad, and I don’t whinge at my wife. I might mutter a bit when I’m heaving her wheelchair into the car, but it’s not aimed at her. It’s aimed at the dam’ wheelchair. It’s the heavy electric type. Gr’rr.
    😉
    Listen Mike, all I’ve done is mention a tiny fraction of the many facts that confound your stated prediction Brexit will be so easy we’ll wonder what all the fuss was about. You’re the one who keeps saying nobody knows what the outcome will be and then you go and predict the outcome saying everything will be fine! Hmm.

    Well it’s not fine, and here’s why. Brexit, by its very nature, will cost us all a great deal of money. It’s costing us dearly already and it hasn’t even started yet! Now if you’re so wealthy that doesn’t bother you, then fine. Lucky you. But the vast majority of expats are not particularly wealthy and many are genuinely worried about the big and chronic drop in their income. I have met people who are struggling financially already – people who did not anticipate being 15% poorer – and it is entirely due to the Brexit result and the consequent state of Britain’s financial affairs.

    That’s just one of the many new issues facing everybody. Recognising and dealing with them is not whinging. It’s being realistic. Admittedly, it’s not all doom and gloom either, but I don’t see the point of saying everything will be fine, when it’s not. Most people don’t care about Brussels or Whitehall or whatever. They just want to get on with their lives without being robbed.

  6. I didn’t say Brexit would be easy Brian, nowhere have I said that! In fact on the contrary, will you give this rubbish you spout a rest!

    The EU bureaucracy “which grows by the day” is costing everyone a great deal of money Brian. We buy goods from other countries that use cheap labour “which the EU condemns” because the EU makes sure doing business is expensive, some with tax and a lot of expense with the bureaucracy, it trips it up at every turn rather than make it cheaper for business to actually do business and create more employment within the EU… what happens is it shuts it down because we cannot compete with the likes of China.

    You say people are poorer and expats are struggling, there are people struggling everywhere Brian! Look at how small business in the UK has benefited from home tourism this summer, those small businesses that where struggling on sea side resorts in the UK, it works both ways.

    Every single one of the institutions that predicted doom and gloom immediately after a leave vote has now changed their tune and are trying to cover their tracks, BOE, IMF and others. I am not wealthy Brian, by any means, the difference is that I don’t care if it costs me a little more, the important thing is for the UK to be out of the vile mess the EU is and see what I can milk from being in it!

    Who is saying everything will be fine? I certainly haven’t said it, why don’t you start using your energy in a more positive manner rather than building mountains from nothing. 🙂

  7. Mike, you’re saying now that you did not write this, and I quote, “Brexit is simple, it mean Britain leaving the EU… Where we are going? simple… I have the feeling most people like you will be pleasantly surprised and when done will wonder what all the fuss was about.”

    Your own words speak for themselves.

  8. Yes Brian, the meaning of Brexit is simple Brian, it means leaving the EU… doesn’t mean to say the process is simple nor did I state it was! And yes, I feel people will be pleasantly surprised when its done and will wonder what all the fuss is about, the fuss that people like you and scaremongers instigate and create that puts fear in others… I have stated the process will not be easy and that will have bumps, I do trust you can read that! Now would you like to do us all a favour and get on with your life rather that your daft nit picking ramblings that fill these threads up with wasted space, people don’t want to read your carping “as you so refer to it on” with every desperate grab at straws on what is said to make it sound like you know what you are talking about, as I have said give it a rest or find something constructive to do 🙂

  9. Treasury’s own forecast, Mike and Roy, leaked to the papers – hard Brexit = up to £66Bn lost tax revenue and 9.5% fall in GDP. This is a truly awful forecast based on everything the Treasury knows so far. It will mean tremendous hardship for most Brits as the UK economy sinks even further and the pound is diving to further new lows right now..

    Let’s all hope we get a ‘soft’ Brexit instead.

  10. Have a giggle then – from the Telegraph and the Guardian today at the expense of David Davis, the Brexit minister:
     “Leaning on the dispatch box as though it were the bar of his favourite pub, Mr Davis reminded his opponents what an enormous mandate he had,” says the Telegraph’s Michael Deacon, 
    “‘A clear, overwhelming and unarguable mandate!’ he declared. He kept saying it. Biggest mandate ever.”
    But, Deacon continues, Brexit supporters like Mr Davis “must have received a different ballot paper” from the rest of the country, because questions about future immigration policy or British membership of the single market “were not mentioned on my defective ballot paper”.
    John Crace, in the Guardian, recasts Mr Davis as “Grumpy the dwarf Brexit robot”, “re-reading the statement he had made to the House at the beginning of September”.
    “Take back control, Take back control. Mandate. Mandate. Whirr. Whirr. Clunk. A metal shard flew out of his mouth and landed on the dispatch box,” he writes. “The repairs to Grumpy’s mechanism hadn’t been entirely successful.”

    Priceless!

  11. Is it really this complicated for you Brian or are you just trying to instigate aggravation as you tend to always do!

    The “Brexit is simple” was in answer to Ian’s “without really knowing what it means. I am no wiser for the term Brexit, or triggering.”, and so Brexit is simple, it means leaving the EU.

    This is a reason I always complain when people tend not to reply within the thread and comment they are referring to, in this case it seems to have happened to my comment which was in reply to Ian’s! I have no idea why it didn’t end up as a part of the thread for Ian’s comment as that is what it was in reply to so a programming bug on the posting system or mistake by me I have no idea… but the significance of it is the same!

  12. Hard or soft I guess depends on what way the EU negotiators go, if they “EU” insist on free movement and tariffs on a single market as they appear to be and try to bully the UK then definitely we need to go for hard exit, in fact anything the EU wants us to work with on ECR laws, judicial, sovereignty or other control from Brussels then no point in soft pussy footing about as the British politicians generally do.

    Many listened to the treasury’s forecast before the referendum as to what would happen right after “on an immediate impact of a leave vote” along with all the other financial wizards but not really much of that came about as predicted did it. Brian, you believe what you want and give your sphincter all exercise you want but my opinion is we “the UK and British in general” will be better off in the long run 🙂 Everything you go on about is speculation, speculation by the media and many people who don’t ever seem to get much right come to think of it”, just sit back and take the ride then see what happens.

    No point banging on about things you know nothing about, the politicians involved don’t so how can you! 🙂

  13. Problem is Brian that the country voted to leave, what has to happen in that process is… what has to happen so the UK can leave. It is very clear that the second most important thing for people voting to leave was immigration, membership of the single market is a part of this… that you and others can laugh about all you like, but the realistic situation is that it needs to be listened to, whatever you and others think! If it wasn’t listened to then I think there would be bigger problems ahead. The reason the UK is in this mess is because politicians never listened to people much in the past. There are major problems in the UK, Ireland and the USA because people are fed up that politicians do not give them what they ask for, no need to go into the Trump thing but why do you think he is doing so well? Politicians just feed themselves along with the bankers, the financial elite and fob the rest of us off, so…. immigration and single market are a part of the mandate the Tories have at them moment, it doesn’t matter that you or others can’t see it!

  14. No Mike. It’s obvious you didn’t hit the reply button. What you did instead was post a completely stand-alone comment which automatically goes to the top of the thread.

    It doesn’t matter though where the thing appears or who you were replying to. The fact is you wrote the words you wrote.

    Be aware though, after Tuesday’s awful events, it’s as if a bank robber has stolen 25% of all your money. Last year you got €1.35 for your pound. Now your pound buys 25% less. Who is the thief who has stolen a quarter of your wealth. His name is Brexit.

    I’ll explain in detail why the Brexit vote is the sole reason for all this later. It’s getting late and I need some sleep.

    Sweet dreams.

  15. Ok expats, Mike keeps saying Brexit is a good thing. Well, here’s how a thief called Brexit has stolen a quarter of your income already and how he’s going to steal even more. Here’s how, contrary to Mike’s beliefs, Brexit is a BAD thing – for all of us.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37617813

    If clicking on the link doesn’t work, you can copy and paste it into your browser’s URL box or just type it in.

    Basically, what it’s saying is the British economy is in extremely poor shape with a massive difference between cash in and cash out. However, as long as Britain was going to be within the EU and the ‘single market’ or free market, it’s economic woes would be counterbalanced to some extent by the strength of trading as a member of the European Union. I tried to explain this before the vote took place, but I suspect few people listened.

    Now that it’s going to be outside the EU and on its own, the worlds currency investors have taken a good hard look at just how bad the trade gap and debt will be and they have sold their investments in the pound by the shed load. That is why the pound that would buy you 1.35 Euros last year is now buying you 25% less. All the experts say it will not recover to any significant extent and in fact will fall further – particularly if the Bank of England makes any further base rate cut(s) which actually weaken the pound.

    That’s how a thief called Brexit has stolen a quarter of your income and will steal even more.

  16. You show signs of a desperate person that has nothing better to do with themselves Brian, why do you try and scare people unnecessarily? You strike me as a sick person!

    We mostly know the British economy is in poor shape! The main cause has been the Blair government giving away so much on welfare to get votes, wars and then the Tories having to continue to keep votes and follow on from where Blair left off, the welfare cost is huge and takes up a major amount of taxpayers money… cut welfare I say! 🙂

    The economy of the EU single market is shrinking “getting smaller” while the economy in the rest of the world is growing, most countries within the EU are suffering economically and with unemployment, one of the main reasons the single market is contracting. Brussels do nothing that helps the economy in these countries to flourish again “nor do the actual countries themselves” but it is obvious the changes needed are not going to happen so it looks like the contraction will continue. Opening up the UK to talk & trade with non EU countries should boost the UK economy with extra exports, even if we leave the single market we will still be trading with the EU so trade with the EU will not be lost as many would like us to think, it might cost a little more but then if so it will cost them also so… anyway, until negotiations take place on this we simply do not know… nor does Brian BTW 🙂

    PS Is this your new phrase Brian? “a thief called Brexit”, might entitle you to a plaque from EWN 🙂

  17. Mike, ok, call me a” desperate person” and “a sick person”. It doesn’t alter the facts. Call me anything you like. I don’t care. Sticks and stones etc. Names will never hurt me. I do not “scare people unnecessarily” either. I just report the truth. If you find the truth unpalatable that’s your problem not mine.

    As I write this, it seems Theresa May’s announcement to apparently allow parliamentary scrutiny, instead of invoking Article 50 on her own, has helped the pound to climb up by 0.01 of a Euro since yesterday. Big deal. It will wobble up and down a little while the mopping up operations take place, but there is no denying the fact the Brexit vote has made us lose a quarter of our income compared with last year.

    By drawing attention to that I actually hope to help hundreds of thousands of expats in Spain and other Eurozone countries to plan ahead in full knowledge of where we are going. That is not scaremongering. It’s taking a practical approach to making vital decisions about our finances based on hard knowledge instead of sticking our fingers in our ears and engaging in wishful thinking.

    You are actually misleading people by pretending we will all be “pleasantly surprised and when done will wonder what all the fuss was about”.

    Aye, right!

  18. “Most” of what you quote Brian is speculation!

    The Brexit vote may have made you and some others loose a quarter of your income because of the exchange rate but it has and will make others more, as I endlessly tell you “it works both ways”, you just don’t seem to be able to grasp that!

    Not sure your information will help plan Brian, if the treasury and the IMF haven’t got a clue then how have you with the doom and gloom on the economy you quote? Anyone that needs help financially hopefully is smart enough to consult a professional than be guided by what you post. You rant on because you are loosing out on the exchange rate and “you” don’t like it! 🙂

    It is you who is misleading and I do wish you would quote my statements accurately rather than how you want people to interpret them. I never stated anything that would mean: “will all be pleasantly surprised and when done will wonder what all the fuss was about”, what I stated was “I have the feeling most people like you will be pleasantly surprised and when done will wonder what all the fuss was about”, there is no comparison Brian, stop trying to dig holes for others, you are not smart enough to prevent yourself slipping into them.

    I have better things to do than keep track of your childish misquotes, hopefully those reading are smart enough to wait until decisions are made… it will be a much healthier direction for them, than yours. 🙂

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