Barnier says he will NOT recommend to EU leaders next week that talks will move on.

  • Neiltoo

    It is never possible to know all the consequences of any decision where people are involved.

  • Easóg

    Did you ever see the British paying out money that they weren’t obliged to pay? How many billion has May offered as divorce settlements?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I remember my grandfather telling me that the lovable rogue in the Shore Road was a hitman for Al Capone once!

  • lizmcneill

    A prolonged depression wouldn’t be a disaster? Renewed civil unrest along a renewed hard border wouldn’t be a disaster?

  • the rich get richer

    Could we have a duel / joust / boxing bout at these Barnier / Davis outings….

    It needs a bit of razmataz .

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No, it’s an arguement for encouraging a real democracy to develop instead of this “ vote me in and clear off for five years” abortion called democracy, which produces a politically passive community which does not examine issues beyond a particular point. I want more genuine democracy, not this counterfeit.

    I’d have a more engaged public which had educated itself to the point that it could evaluate such decisions in regular referenda rather than a voting public directed in its opinions by mendacious PR manipulation.

    Try watching the last programme of “The Century of the Self” by Adam Curtis, to see just how manipulated and abused our current “ democracy” is!

  • Lagos1

    Did you ever see the British paying out money that they weren’t obliged to pay?

    Yes. For example, the British foreign aid budget is far from negligible.

    How many billion has May offered as divorce settlements?

    She hasn’t specified a number. But why should she? There is no legal obligation and any other form of financial commitment was made on the presumption of ongoing cooperation, good will and favourable trade. Even though the UK is leaving the EU, this does not necessitate that these things should disappear. Therefore its perfectly reasonable to clarify that theses things will continue before making any payments.

    By the way, it would be interesting to know if the EU would be so insistent about money if the leaving member was a net recipient rather than one of the largest net contributors.

  • Sean Danaher

    Indeed Ben
    wish I could watch from a safe distance. The history of this will be fascinating. What’s interesting that given the apparent ineptitude of Westminster opinion has vary changed with Britain still split nearly 50-50 as to whether remain or leave was the better option.

  • Skibo

    Lagos1 if the Uk leaves without a free trade deal, there will be tariffs on food imported. The price of food will go up. The price of food was kept low via farm payments subsidising the Farmer’s income.
    When these stop, two things will happen.
    Small farming and part-time farming as we know it will disappear and the size of farms will further increase. This will lead to more of the factory farming to keep costs down. This will turn off those concerned about where our food comes from.
    The second thing will be the increase in specialist farms selling direct to the public at a higher cost and a higher standard of care of the food produced.

  • hgreen

    Maybe because they weren’t facts at all.

  • Neiltoo

    I think it’s human nature you need to change rather than our democracy! – not that it doesn’t need fixed.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    So you’re even more disillusioned than myself! I still think that the hard knocks of making their own decisions rather than being spoon fed in the playpen would mature some of enough to do a better job than the representatives do. Their problem is that while their constituents lobby them, commercial interests lobby them with more of the readies to hand. Ineviably they can buy the better PR case.

  • Skibo

    My concern at the moment is the BOE raising interest rates and mortgage rates rising with them.
    Those people currently in a mortgage will find increased payments for both their mortgage and credit cards.

  • Kevin Breslin

    David Ford as a Minister for Justice said that the only way for him or any other minister from the UK to seek extradition from the Republic of Ireland is by a European Arrest Warrant.

    That’s kind of doing something against terrorism.

    Compare this to the former UKIP Leaver who thinks Brexit justifies him donning khakis grabbing a riffle and heading to the front lines to commit obvious acts of terrorism is good for the Irish Peace Process and we can see where the heart is here, and which group truly cares about Ireland.

    Same person opposes the European Arrest Warrant, I guess particularly if it means the UK can ask for his extradition from Germany after attempted terrorism against the British Government.

  • Kevin Breslin
  • Zorin001

    If I was good at Photoshop I would do up the famous Ali-Liston photo to put Davis and Barnier’s faces on them.

    Which is which is up to you guys.

  • Accountant


    I’m hoping that Carney is part bluffing, to get consumers to focus on their credit card bills. As inflation takes further hold and wages stagnate, the consumer will eventually get it, but hopefully not belatedly, as we chose last year to take a few more years of austerity.

  • Lagos1

    if the UK leaves without a free trade deal, there will be tariffs on food imported.The price of food will go up.

    But the UK will be setting the tariffs according to their own interests. For example, why would you think they are going to carry on applying existing EU tariffs on oranges in order to protect Spanish producers? With no British orange industry, they can reduce the tariffs and orange prices in the UK will go down.

    The price of food was kept low via farm payments subsidising the Farmer’s income. When these stop, two things will happen.

    Why do you assume they will stop? Don’t forget that with Britain as a large net contributor to the EU, any EU payments to farmers were still essentially payments coming from the UK taxpayer except controlled and allocated by the EU with a large slice sent to non-UK farmers. The UK may simply choose to continue with the subsidies. Of course they may decide to change policy, but that won’t be a necessary consequence of Brexit per se but simply a consequence of a possible post-Brexit British agricultural policy.

  • Reader

    Nap McCourt: Which politician is going to be brave enough to tell the British people that they were misled and wrong in their vote.
    Tim Farron, of course. He campaigned solidly after the vote then built his 2017 election manifesto on it.

  • Reader

    Skibo: Lagos1 if the Uk leaves without a free trade deal, there will be tariffs on food imported.
    No there won’t. Why would the UK government put tariffs on food imports?
    We will continue to import subsidised produce from the EU, and also get tariff free access to imports from the rest of the world.

  • Reader

    Kevin Breslin: He’s always so calm, but then again he’s an anesthesiologist.
    Anaesthesiologists do get access to really good “stuff”.

  • Reader

    Sean Danaher: Interesting you use that Americanised term and my wife whom is one of the premier Anaesthetic/Intensive care consultants in the UK (she was in 10 Downing St on Tuesday) described herself as an Anaesthetist…
    There was an TV advert many years ago where the punchline was “You’ve got an ology – that makes you a scientist”. Though Mike doesn’t seem to refer to himself using either term, and doesn’t seem to have been involved in the discipline except for a 2 year stint in the RCoA in recent years, which may not mean much. His degree was in Natural Sciences, not medicine.

  • Sean Danaher

    Hi Reader
    I think you are right and he is s PhD doctor. My wife is on the council of the RCoA and is pretty sure he is not a member of fellow.

  • Skibo

    I suggest you read the rules of the WTO before commenting. We are no longer in the times when Britannia ruled the waves and made up her own rules.

  • murdockp

    I remember a English Public School lad at university had a frame picture of the map of the British Empire on the wall.

    He was a good lad, but it was not lost on me that many see Britain as still having an empire, in particular those of a public school background.

    Essentially these are the very people undertaking the negotiations and we wonder what it is not going well.

  • Neiltoo

    Re. The Century of the Self, an interesting watch indeed. Interesting to see Derek Draper describe Tony Blair as the follower rather than the leader, comme Ledru-Rollin. Little mention though of how our press has been more than just complicit in where we are now. I also get the sense that how the BBC sees its role hasn’t really changed much in 50 years.

  • Skibo

    Nearly every country in the world who trades does so within trade deals or through WTO tariffs. The tariffs are set but can be negotiated and reduced accordingly with the agreement of the rest of the WTO members. There are around 164 members and observers.
    Why do I think agricultural payments will stop? Simple, if the Tories are in power, they will not allow governmental support to any industry. This was obvious from mining, ship building and steel. Why should agriculture be any different?
    The present government is very fractured and they cannot agree on the SFP. The general public give off stink about supporting the farmers, forgetting that they have to pay one way or the other to guarantee the standard of food.
    Time will tell for GB. Hopefully we will still be in the EU at that time.

  • Lagos1

    Nearly every country in the world who trades does so within trade deals
    or through WTO tariffs. The tariffs are set but can be negotiated and
    reduced accordingly with the agreement of the rest of the WTO members.
    There are around 164 members and observers.

    Yes, this is all true. But I don’t see how it supports the view that tariffs will go up on average for UK food imports post-Brexit.

    Simple, if the Tories are in power, they will not allow governmental support to any industry.

    OK, I can accept that it may happen – certainly there is much discussion of how new Zealand removed subsidies in the British press. However, it is certainly not what the Conservatives are saying and, importantly, it is not a necessary consequence of Brexit per se.

    Time will tell for GB. Hopefully we will still be in the EU at that time.

    If not, Brexit may then allow Corbyn to build a socialist paradise with subsidies for all.

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks, hgreen.

    Something is either true or untrue.

    If it is untrue, a diligent interlocutor will show it up as untrue by arguing rationally.

    The word MAYBE ( = perhaps it is true, perhaps it is untrue) represents a witless attempt to subvert a fact without doing any intellectual work.

    No one has been able to dispute the three facts which I stated, for the very good reason that those facts are indisputable. Your own comment represents a refusal to engage in rational argument.

    So does Hugh’s sublimely inept reference to the Gadarene swine, which ‘ran violently down a steep place into the sea’ (Mark 5. 13). If the demon-possessed Gadarene swine were smug, then the Erymanthian boar must have been phlegmatic.

  • If Remainers like you have turned against the EU, there must be more Leavers travelling in the opposite direction because today’s YouGov poll shows the gap has widened further:

    Wrong to leave is now at 47; Right has dropped to 42, Don’t know still at 11%.
    p6 (Fieldwork 10-11 Oct 2017)

  • Skibo

    David your three statements:
    1) Nobody confessed they were wrong as the result of the referendum was there for all to see. While I voted remain, I fully expected the English to vote leave. The vote I was surprised at was the Welsh. Perhaps a further inspection of the regions may show that the Welsh did not but the English welsh did!

    2) The economic disaster is not upon us yet but just keep and eye on the financial industry and their movements, just so it won’t be a surprise when it happens.

    3 )Ah Theresa May’s government or can you actually say it is a government or a gaggle of politicians with ten different ideas as to what Brexit means!

    And your final statement, Trump winning the Presidency, leavers winning the referendum, who would back a third ace of Republicans winning a border poll, certainly not the clever people but they have form in being wrong!

  • David Crookes

    Seaan, I recall a jumping contest in which one earnest gentleman (Number One) would have had a completely clear round if his horse hadn’t dislodged a single piece of coping on its final jump.

    Last to compete was a somewhat frivolous gentleman (Number Two), whose horse audibly touched four poles and two copings in the course of its last eight jumps without actually dislodging any one of them.

    Number Two won the cup. At the post-event tea-and-sandwiches-fest, he was pretty well boycotted by a morose multitude of the righteous.

    Life can be like that, and history can be like that.

  • Skibo

    If you accept the way that the WTO works and how tariffs are set then you must accept that until trade deals are negotiated, we must work directly within the current WTO tariff levels. Currently the tariffs for agricultural produce are set at 40% to protect the agricultural economies of all countries. The levels are different for other produce but I believe cars will increase by 10%.
    How do you know a Conservative is lying? I thought you heard it before! They say the levels of support will continue till 2019 and they expect them to continue after but nobody of any substance will guarantee that.
    I support Corbyn in his socialist values. I do not see why certain elements critical to the economy should be in the hands of multinationals paying dividends to to the well off at the expense of the lowest in society but I am concerned at his attitude to the EU also. It has changed over the lat year and hopefully will move again closer to the vision of Chuka Umunna.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks a lot, Skibo.

    The Wonderful Clever People have been wrong on many occasions.

    No one would mind if from time to time each one of them contritely quoted Proverbs 30. 2 (‘Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.’).

    But they tend not to do that.

  • Lagos1

    Currently the tariffs for agricultural produce are set at 40% to protect
    the agricultural economies of all countries. The levels are different
    for other produce but I believe cars will increase by 10%.

    WTO rules do not oblige members to charge the maximum tariff levels. A country can unilaterally set lower tariffs so long as it does not discriminate outside a recognised FTA.

  • Skibo

    Isaiah 2:12

  • Skibo

    The UK could apply for MFN and use the tariffs agreed with nations in a similar circumstance. The issue would be, would the EU agree to that of the divorce settlement is not agreed?
    A further issue is any member of the WTO can contest a more favourable tariff level if it effects their trade.

  • Accountant

    I can go both ways, so to speak – preferably Remain, but not a slow Leave with massive uncertainty in the interim.

    Would be great to see the Wrong to Leave quickly put clear blue water between it and the lunatics. If they can’t do that quickly, I would say UK should get on with quick, hard Brexit. Just to completely confuse, I take a different (always Remain) position on what is best for me/NI !

  • Brendan Heading

    It depends on how you look at things.

    I believe that if a hard/uncontrolled brexit happens then there will be massive consequences in terms of public spending, collapse in the economy etc. We’re talking about a scenario where there is no agreement – at present – to allow planes to take off.

    The fact that massive losses have not yet occurred may reflect a belief within the markets that the hard brexit will not happen. There are people who think that brexit won’t happen at all.

  • Brendan Heading

    It’s starting to look like a mutually destructive outcome. While you can lay the blame on UK negotiators, at least they are respecting people’s democratic wishes – then trying everything.

    If blame’s going to go anywhere it’s going to land on the people who brought about this referendum, and the people who failed to predict the consequences of implementing it.

    I’m still a Remainer, but the more obstructionist dogma I see from EU, the closer I get to supporting Rees-Mogg et al. EU might have been thinking it would win over the minds of some Leavers, but it’s probably pushed the hearts of more Remainers against it. While the logic of Brexit weakens every day, the EU is probably too unpopular now in UK for any changing of minds.

    I’m not sure how the EU can be blamed for “obstructionist dogma” at this stage. The UK still can’t decide what its position is, and is still trying to pretend to play games by suggesting it is serious about a hard brexit.

    The reality is the same as it was 24 months ago. The UK basically has no trump cards to play, and no negotiating position. The only threat it can muster is the threat to hurt the EU by throwing up trade barriers and crashing its own economy. Those of us on the Remain side warned of all this in the past; we said that it was in the EU’s interest to make brexit painful; and that the EU had probably been as generous as it ever was going to be to the UK (with substantive opt-outs across the piece). In response we were told to stop scaremongering and that the German car manufacturers would force the hand of the EU negotiators.

    As for the last part of your contribution, it’s a familiar kind of rhetoric – “that man was rude to me so I’m going to sit out in the freezing cold to show I won’t be pushed around”. It would be better if EU politicians did not behave so stupidly but this is a flimsy basis upon which to abandon the complex and mutually beneficial relationship which exists.

  • Brendan Heading

    Are there perhaps some carrots that could be wheeled out alongside Barrier’s sticks ?

    This is unlikely.

    Irrespective of your view on whether or not hard brexit is realistic or not, if the UK government thought it was an option it would have begun planning for it 18 months ago. Right up to the present day the Chancellor is refusing to implement any contingency spending.

    The UK’s negotiating position is fundamentally weak, the UK government knows it is and it is unable to disguise it. Why would Europe offer any concessions in those circumstances ?

  • Brendan Heading

    The EU can’t negotiate. They have to stick rigidly to their agreed program and principles

    It’s strange seeing someone highlighting that someone sticking to their agreed program and principles amounts to some sort of weakness.

    It’s even stranger when this is set against the UK scenario – a government which is unable to move beyond ambiguity and unable to even put on a united front.

    Effectively Britain is trying to buy a house from an estate agent who is able to discuss how many rooms it has and what size the garden is but will not discuss the price until they have signed up to pay it.

    It’s a false analogy. Britain doesn’t know whether it wants a house or not, and whether or not that house should be a bungalow or a semi. The estate agent is saying “I can’t tell you a price until you decide what you want”. There are, of course, problems with the 27 valuations, but we haven’t even reached that point yet.

  • Brendan Heading

    They want either no deal or a deal that keeps the UK as a member in all but name.


    Clearly that’s not a recipe for a sensible agreed settlement

    if you think “no deal” – which may well include things like the the UK planes not being able to leave its own airspace – amounts to some kind of alternative you’re a brave man.

    The sensible approach here would be for the UK to sign up to a soft brexit and then negotiate further withdrawal piece by piece.

  • David Crookes

    Superb, Skibo, thanks!

  • David Crookes

    While the referendum confronted voters with what appeared to be a great simplicity, there will be nothing simple about translating the choice of the voters into political reality. An awareness of that unpleasant fact will keep us from delivering wild oracles about what is going to happen in the very short term.

    There is no place in our present discussion for Harold Camping loyalists. (You know what I mean, Brendan. ‘His last two prophecies about the end of the world turned out to be wrong, but he’s definitely right this time.’)

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks for that link, sparrow.

  • William Kinmont

    I am not saying it’s a weakness ,from the EU side . It is however a problem if we are trying to find a bespoke solution that might make the best of a bad job. I’m not sure it’s a stength either , lack of ability to be dynamic is not a strength.
    Britain has asked its population and gained an answer you and me might not agree but it has asked. If Europe federalises and takes away alot of Ireland’s Identity I might not be a remainer in that constituency .

  • Lagos1

    MFN is the principal behind the WTO and the UK is a member in its own right so the EU can`t really contest that. It can contest the independent schedules that the UK will have to agree. But there again, various countries are already contesting the EU schedules being proposed to take into account the loss of the UK.

    A further issue is any member of the WTO can contest a more favourable tariff level if it effects their trade.

    Yes, in so far as that the new tariff will have to be applied to the EU in the absence of an FTA. e.g. the UK could reduce tariffs on oranges to 2%, but this would have to apply to EU oranges as well. However, if the UK made a qualifying trade agreement with South Africa (currently already providing over 25% of UK oranges today) it could spell bad news to Spanish citrus growers.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Well at least you aren’t claiming that anything is going well,

  • Salmondnet

    Probably just an attempt at irony or to bait non-British students. No one really thinks we still have an empire, least of all those who went to public school, who tend to be from the backgrounds most affected by its loss and at the forefront of post-war “managing decline”.. The latter being a more likely reason for their rubbish negotiating skills – after seventy years of continuous retreat they have forgotten how to say no.
    In case it should be thought a source of bias let me confirm my state education.

  • Salmondnet

    That said, David Davis the lead negotiator was emphatically not a public schoolboy, notwithstanding any appearance to the contrary.

  • hgreen

    Your statements referred to “wonderful clever people”. A vague entity. Thus they were opinions rather than facts.

  • David Crookes

    Then everything that has been written about vague groups like ‘Leavers’ and ‘Remainers’ must be discounted as mere opinion. There is no point in attempting to deny well-known realities.

  • Nevin

    Theresa May’s family fortunes – her two grandmothers were in domestic service as young women.

  • hgreen

    No, leavers are people who voted leave, remainers voted remain. Pretty simple to understand. “Wonderful clever people” are simply people you don’t like or whose politics you don’t share. A subjective view. Thus your facts aren’t facts at all just your own opinion.

  • David Crookes

    If I pretend that I’m writing an academic book, and furnish my readers with documented evidence of thirty named Wonderful Clever People who made the three false prophecies which I mentioned a while back, zombie-partisans who refuse to accept facts will close their eyes to the evidence, and continue to believe that their own side is never wrong.

    Some of the Wonderful Clever People are quite incorrigible. They believe in the Divine Right of the Wonderful Clever People. (Across the Atlantic, the Democratic Party wants to move on with a new set of faces, but Mrs Clinton is still trying to win the election that she lost, and the permanently wide-eyed Mrs Pelosi, three years away from her eightieth birthday, still refuses to budge.)

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’m reminded of the Japanese management of the fire-Bombing of Japanese cities in the last years of the war! “All of this has been foreseen and its effects taken into account”…..


  • SeaanUiNeill

    Or the glory days when Britannia waives the rules…..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    How many ex- public school people do you know Salmondnet? Its pretty much my own mileau and from my experience I’d seriously question your suggestion that realism is one of their characteristics. Many shadow the older careers of previous generations by an engagement in international banking and work with the multinationals to build a nest egg just as their grandparents used the empire! Same habits, same mindset!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It was the Skins who burnt the White House. The regiment involved were the 27th Foot, later the Royal Inniskilling Fusileers! Another accolade for ununs!

  • Georgie Best

    Those in the last remaining outpost of Empire on this island have no problem saying “No”, it constitutes their entire vocabulary.

  • hgreen

    Yawn, more opinion you think are facts. Are these people the same who declared there’d be 350m a week for the NHS?

  • David Crookes

    Will some kind anagrammatist furnish me with a eupnoeic whoosh?

  • William Kinmont

    While we quarrel over the minutae of the differences in our cultures which are essentially the same, it is odd how this third set who have exploited us all happily live amongst us many still treating them with reverence.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I am always astonished how when networks of friends or family place people in jobs such as Mayfair and Knightsbridge estate agents, traders in the city, or on boards and they assume they are personally worth enormous salaries no-one could realistically claim to have earned! I have a cousin who is a hedge fund manager, but he has no illusions that his status signifies anything but luck and contacts.

  • William Kinmont

    Apart from half a dozen students from here and one comprehensive kid from Sheffield all my classmates at Uni came from this upper end Public school. Our summers were spent working in building sites to earn cash for next year theirs on safari in Kenya or up an Alp or on the families plantation in India. There was no jealousy between the groups within there was competition as to who had seen the most lions or laid the most blocks.Academically and physically we could claim to be ahead but when it came to talking professionally or in public they were on a different level. The Education system here still misses this mark entirely

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’d agree about today, but hen I went to London University in the 1970s I was told that a “ C” in NI A Levels equates to an “A” in the south of England exams.

  • William Kinmont

    Just watching some of the public school talk and network was an education.
    I would guess that although we happily socialised at Uni beyond that there has been little mixing. Mixed marriages across our religious divide being much more common than across this social divide., cant actually think of many amongst friends/aquantances.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Actually anaesthesiologists study anaesthetics, if you think scientists bring their homework home.