“Theresa May’s letter looking for a deep and special relationship with the EU…”

Now all the shouting and speculation is over this is the letter from Theresa May. Nothing new or radical, but the tone is measured and conciliatory, but going on her Commons statement she’s gunning for no return to an Irish border of the past (covers a multitude of sins).

But she also promised repatriation of powers to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.  Donald Tusk for his part has said that this process will be about ‘damage limitation’. That makes me think: money.

  • ulidian

    In unison with Washington, yes – they’re the only military partners that matter. Let continental Europeans go hang.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    A good percentage of the 120 front line aircraft are unserviceable, the destroyer component of the 20 combat vessels are unable to move in hot weather, the rest are on the verge of obsolescence. Westminster have got rid of the maritime patrol aircraft, etc. etc. And when you say ‘not enough aircraft for the carriers’ – you mean at the present time, none (operational).

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    ” no return to an Irish border of the past (covers a multitude of sins). But she also promised repatriation of powers to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.”

    No return to an Irish border is good news for Scots Independence – if Ireland can do it, so can Scotland and England. As for the promises of ‘repatriation of powers’ – we have heard these lies already, no-one with even a vestigial brain could believe them twice.

    The Empire must die.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Here’s another ‘annotation’

    “Ms May had called [4 times in her letter] for talks on a future comprehensive trade deal between the EU and UK to take place at the same time as the so-called ‘Article 50’ talks on how Britain will exit the bloc.

    Ms Merkel today however said that talks on British divorce terms would take place first, after which talks on a future relationship would “hopefully soon” take place”.

    It really casts doubt on the mental capacity of Theresa May that she would insist in her letter on terms which a) it was evident from previous comments would not be acceptable, and b) that she then went ahead and repeated them four times in her Article 50 letter.

    Angela Merkel, of course, only had to veto her once.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-article-50-angela-merkel-rejects-theresa-may-parallel-talks-a7656506.html

  • Karl

    Source : The Rock and Under Siege to name but two

  • Tom Smith

    You confine ‘security’ to military capabilities. Even at that the UK remains one of the two significant European military powers (alongside France).

    However the specialist security strength the UK brings to the table is in counterterrorism and intelligence analysis.

  • ulidian

    Well if that’s the case, then we shouldn’t have forces deployed elsewhere in Europe or be providing any security guarantees.

  • Karl

    I can accept that, but irrespective of their soft power in this field, its hard power is certainly on the wane.

  • Tom Smith

    Any Irish sympathy is, as it always is when it comes to the ‘Brits’, tempered by the latent antipathy that exists just below the surface in a significant section of the Irish population.

    Germany will certainly be in the vanguard of the discussion and will be the counterweight to the UK. Hardly surprising that the Germans will champion the EU’s position. The EU has after all worked well for Germany.

    The Euro in particular has massively benefited German trade by keeping German exports unrealistically cheap because of the Euro being pegged back by the poor performance of the ‘southern’ European economies. If the Deutsche Mark was still around there’d be many fewer BMWs on the roads. (It’s not for nothing that some continental wits refer to the EU as the ‘Fourth Reich’.

    Going east states actually do “care about the UK”. Poland in particular will be keen to ensure a good deal that protects its citizens currently residing in the UK.

  • Tom Smith

    No European power is capable of sustaining a game changer military in the field. That is why military cooperation is key (something that European governments are rather keen on – if for no other reason than being able to contemplate action without recourse to the US).

    The Europeans will remain supportive of including the UK within its joint military structures- despite your implied suggestion that the UK military machine amounts to little more than two men and a wee boy.

  • Karl

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, european armies were underfunded and turned their focus towards european peacekeeping and UN mandated peacekeeping.

    The last major unilateral action of geopolitical consequnce taken by the UK was Sinai. Every other action was in tandem and agreement with the US.
    The europeans have no interest in aping US foreign policy in the middle east or any where else. The were dragged kicking and screaming into Afghanistan on the basis of the US saying ‘you owe us one’

    The difficulty for the europeans is they are trying to develop an independent military and foreign policy both of which are opposed by the UK.

    While the EU may remain supportive of including the UK, its focus will be on building a european army and paying lip service to Nato while Russias military budget isnt too far off the same as Germanys. Hence very few european Nato members meeting the 2% spending requirement

    In short, rightly or wrongly, the area Britain is relatively strong in, isnt one that the europeans value very highly.

  • runnymede

    It’s not going to happen, no matter how much Irish Republicans hope it will

  • Neville Bagnall

    If for no other reason than self interest, Irish Eyes don’t want any “punishing” to occur.

    It is in both parties interest to minimise the damage through negotiation. But with the best will in the world, there are red lines, be they public or private. The UK has it’s headline ones (immigration) the EU has it’s own (not clearly articulated yet, but services regulation is looking like the strongest candidate)

    As for anglophiles in the east, the UK inside the EU was a much more attractive proposition than the UK outside. Not that they’re turning Anglophobic, but perhaps the ardour has cooled slightly. If the UK focus is turning away from Europe would it be surprising if their focus shifts too?

    Security is a red herring. A completely empty threat.

  • NotNowJohnny

    It is interesting to note that in relation to the return of powers from Brussels to the United Kingdom, it is the UK government’s expectation that there will be a significant increase in the decision making power of the devolved administrations. So the DUP’s objective of “getting our country back” will actually mean that Sinn Fein (with an even greater mandate now) will now get a significant say in how these powers are exercised rather than the UK government. Another spiffing move by the DUP to increase the power of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland it seems.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    And more evidence of Theresa’s smart operating tactics:

    “A European parliament resolution scoping out what will be acceptable to MEPs, who will have the right to veto any future deal, contains a series of demands that appear to scupper the British government’s hopes for the coming talks.

    The document, leaked to the Guardian, vowed that Britain would not be given a free trade deal by the EU in the next two years and said a transition arrangement to cushion the UK’s exit after 2019 could last no longer than three years.

    British cabinet ministers have repeatedly insisted that a comprehensive free trade deal could be struck within the two years of talks allowed under the Treaty of Rome.

    The document further suggested the UK would not only be under the jurisdiction of the European court of justice during any transition period but that its treatment of EU citizens forever into the future would be a matter for its judges.

    In her letter, May had insisted that leaving the EU would mean leaving the jurisdiction of the court in Luxembourg. However, Verhofstadt denied that this would be possible.”

  • Oggins

    Not sure how Tom did it, but he managed to put themuns into the first line. First class mopery.

  • Jimmyz

    As I thought……facepalm.

  • Jimmyz

    ” its focus will be on building a european army and paying lip service to Nato”

    Will the dodge their commitments to that just as they have with NATO ?

  • Jimmyz

    lol, using the indy as a source…………..

  • NotNowJohnny

    It would have made more sense to say.

    Going east states actually do “care about themselves”. Poland in particular will be keen to ensure a good deal that protects its citizens currently residing in the UK.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Which sources would you recommend?

  • Karl

    In fairness, both good films

  • Karl

    I think they dodged their NATO commitments when the Soviet Union disappeared and to a lesser extent because they didnt want to be a part of Americas post Soviet global adventurism.

    Setting up a European army will rely entirely on their own assets. They were v badly caught sort in Bosnia and things hadnt improved much by the time they intervened in Libya with the US have to provide most air to air refueling and SIGINT assets.

    They understand that to have an effective foreign policy you must have a certain degree of power projection. How much theyre willing to commit to a european army remains to be seen.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    It’s just convenient – you can easily read the letter online and see for yourself.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    The Daily Mail, I imagine.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Yes. They seem to be almost as stupid as May’s tories – but then I suppose they have some common political prejudices.

  • Katyusha

    The Europeans will remain supportive of including the UK within its joint military structures

    But will the UK be supportive of including the British military forces in joint European military structures?

    I’m all for a European military alliance free from the political interests of the US and Turkey, but there seemed to be particular animosity towards the idea of European military structures among the Brexiteer crowd.

    Intelligence and counter-terrorism is another matter, as being clandestine in nature the public naturally won’t be aware of the transnational structures that exist, and therefore the agencies can collaborate without fear of what the optics are.

  • Reader

    Doesn’t it look like May was entirely correct when she pointed out that no-deal would be better than a bad deal?
    Definitely worth considering the option that saves 60 billion pounds and two years of arguing.

  • Reader

    BoneaparteOCoonassa: the destroyer component of the 20 combat vessels are unable to move in hot weather…
    Very embarrassing. Though we aren’t talking about a hot day off Bournemouth – three outages have been reported in three years in the Gulf.

  • Reader

    katyusha: But will the UK be supportive of including the British military forces in joint European military structures?
    It doesn’t matter. Forces committed to an EDF will be a useless expense. the EDF will be far less than the sum of its parts.

  • Reader

    1) Does she still want you to keep paying the bills?
    2) Does she still want a key to your house?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Have you any bankable proofs of this assertion, RM?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Tom, have you spoken to anyone in the armed forces here? While not quite down to “two men and a wee boy”, I’ve certainly not found anyone as sanguine as you appear to be about the current situation.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Jimmyz. Trident requires joint “keys” between the British officer in charge go launch and the US liaison officer. The targeting is controlled by GPS which while it is directed by satellite is still control sourced in US mainland computers with over-ride. Now say the US liaison officer was compelled to surrender his codes, the secondary gyro targeting is highly inaccurate.

    But don’t take my word for it, check out this careful point by point submission of written evidence to the Select Committee on Defence titled “UK’s Trident System Not Truly Independent”:

    https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmdfence/986/986we13.htm

    This explains just how entirely dependant Trident is on US control areas. We are effectively paying, as taxpayers, for part of the defence system of another country, like some fool with a standing order to cover the monthly payments on a millionaire’s Maserati, which they are only permitted to sit in now and again.

  • SeaanUiNeill
  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    “she also promised repatriation of powers to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.”

    That makes me think: “Lies”.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Actually, no, it does not. No deal means chaos, 100 mile customs queues and lowest-common-denominator trading.