Happy Feck-off Farridge Day!

By |2020-01-31T08:49:57+01:00January 31st, 2020|Brexit|

Sometime ago I said that one of the few upsides to Brexit would be the departure of Mr Anarchy himself who has happily been collecting his MEP salary for the last 20 years while doing precisely nothing to warrant it (besides campaigning for re-election every few years.) Mr Farridge (note the the Anglicised spelling of a poncey foreign-sounding name) has been a waste on resources and a waste of European tax-payers money for two decades. No more. Indeed, another benefit for we Strasbourgeois is that there is now a much reduced chance of running into old gobby in the street, cycling through his cigar smoke or having to put up with his loud narcissism in a restaurant or bar. Yay! The other upsides to Brexit include... er, well I can't think of any right now. Perhaps we'll know in about ten years time what benefits it has brought to the UK and EU. Maybe it's time for a few predictions? Looking back at 2017 when I wrote this post - I wasn't far off what was to befall in [...]

Done? You have been.

By |2019-12-11T13:13:36+01:00December 11th, 2019|Brexit|

Get Brexit done. Three words. A slogan for the masses. Implying a vote for Johnson and the conservatives tomorrow will somehow put the whole sorry story of Brexit firmly into the past - so we can all move on. If only it were true, or so simple. God knows, I want to hear the end of it as much as the next man. The laughable hypocrisy of Johnson saying he "broke the deadlock" neatly overlooks the fact that he was as responsible for dithering, delaying and blocking parliament as his opposite number was. Who had the chance to get Brexit done when Cameron resigned? Boris Johnson. Who could have ensured a deal got through parliament by the 29 March deadline? Boris Johnson. The "new deal" Johnson negotiated, which did away with the backstop (the clause that might see the whole UK stay in the EU) and replaced it with a sea border (so Northern Ireland stays in the EU instead) - is pretty much exactly what his predecessor negotiated, if not worse. There's nothing to take credit for. But [...]

The Brexit party: in it for the money

By |2019-05-20T09:18:48+01:00May 20th, 2019|Brexit|

The European elections are upon us once more and once again the British electorate, if the polls are to be believed, are going to return Mister Farage to his very well paid position as uncooperative anarchist at the heart of the EU. However, despite the fact the Farage will continue to live life on easy street (as he has done since he was a child, despite his one time claim to be 'skint') it is hard to begrudge his success. After all, democracy is to blame, not Nigel. The fact that successive governments and the media have failed to explain to the common man what the EU is and how it functions has allowed Farage, Boris Johnson and others to paint their own picture of the institution, to their own, personal, benefit. And, as yet no-one has been able to hold them, convincingly, to account. There are a few simple facts that could do wonders to get the public to actually do something worthwhile with their European vote rather than simply use it as a protest for national issues [...]


By |2019-04-04T09:10:03+01:00April 4th, 2019|Brexit|

Like the Truman Show, we've all been asking ourselves "How will it end?" since the whole thing began back in 2016. Now, with the 'end' already in the past, we're wondering if it will ever end at all. I hate to think of the hours I've wasted following the 'crucial votes' over the past few weeks - naïvely thinking each time, it would be settled once and for all. But no. Next week maybe - when there will be another 'crucial vote' in the house of commons. Cliffhanger followed by cliffhanger. Currently, the representatives of the people of the UK have until the 10th of April, 6 more days, to come up with a viable plan to leave the EU on terms with a majority backing in Parliament. If they don't, then there is a very strong chance the decision will be made for them by the EU - and the dreaded 'no deal' scenario will come into force on the 13th of April. The problem is, of course, is that there are so many differing views and agendas [...]

The Gilets Jaunes – France’s answer to Brexit

By |2018-11-20T08:43:56+01:00November 20th, 2018|Brexit, Life in France|

Reading the BBC's "Have your say" comments yesterday, at the bottom of an article about Mrs May's attempts to sell her deal to the populous, I was once again struck by the ignorance of the Brexiteering public. One comment particularly stood out: someone complaining that May's deal to reduce immigration from the EU was not what he/she had voted for - it was immigration from OUTSIDE the EU they were concerned about! For me, the only thing that the Brexit vote underlined, was progressive governments', and to a large extent the EUs', inability to explain/educate people as to the way the EU functioned for the good (or bad) of the populous. After all, good education is fundamental to a tolerant, cohesive society - and likewise fake news (like the myth of the straight banana) will achieve precisely the opposite. Yet self-serving politicians, concerned only with their own prosperity, since the 1980s, never saw the need to invest in education. I recently had an online altercation with a old school-friend who thought that the camps in Calais were because of [...]

Brexit Breakthrough?

By |2017-12-08T09:13:55+01:00December 8th, 2017|Brexit|

So the breakthrough deal is this: The UK is going to 'align' itself with the single market so that there is no hard border in Ireland. So it will be like being in the EEA - with the UK having to obey the rules to keep trading, but having no say in what those rules are. The only difference as far as I can tell will be that the European Court of Justice will not be the final court of arbitration - but rather some new court that takes the ECJ's views into account. If the UK do change something that breaks the rules they'll have to let NI decide what to do - which although no one dares to use the term - would give them special status with one foot in the UK and one foot in the EU. There will need to be an EU body set up to ensure the UK is actually obeying the rules and that untaxed goods aren't making it into the EU via the NI/UK backdoor. There will need to be [...]

It’s not too late to move to France

By |2017-06-27T16:35:02+01:00June 27th, 2017|Brexit|

Having successfully submitted my dossier for French naturalisation I am somewhat ambivalent to the proposals put forward by the British Government in round one of the UK's Brexit negotiations, not least because, provided my application to become French is approved, they will have precisely no affect on me nor my immediate family. I do have a great deal of empathy though for those living abroad, in the UK or in the EU, for whom the nonsense document published yesterday is supposed to safeguard "the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU." - a document that reads like a C-grade high school Social Science project. Frankly, if anyone wanted clarity on the coming arrangements for citizens they need only to refer to section 33 which, as I am sure you will agree, couldn't be more vague: "The ability of EU citizens arriving after the specified date subsequently to obtain further or indefinite permission to stay will depend on the rules in place at the time at which they apply. These will be [...]

Unhappy article 50 day

By |2017-03-28T10:11:48+01:00March 29th, 2017|Brexit|

So today's the day when Mrs May formally announces the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. It seems the time is right then to make a few predictions about the way things will go over the next few weeks and months as the negotiations commence and unfold: Value of sterling (£) The markets and money men seem to react most when there are nasty surprises. Given that article 50 has been a long time coming, I doubt whether today will see much of a change in the value of the pound. Indeed, it may even strengthen against the Dollar and Euro as teenage hedge-fund algorithm writers are most likely focussed on the political uncertainty of the coming European elections in France, Germany and Italy. However, the outlook for both Germany and France is positive for the pro-European parties so I'd expect the Euro to strengthen in May and then again in October. It is only the Italian elections in 2018 that are likely to provide any volatility - and even then the populists are unlikely to win [...]

The UK will become a tax haven

By |2017-01-19T10:01:49+01:00January 19th, 2017|Brexit|

That was the threat that May gave yesterday in her speech if the UK was forced to walk away from the negotiating table at the Brexit negotiations. Previously I postulated that UK citizens living abroad and EU citizens living in the UK would be used as May's key bargaining chip and, although that may yet come to pass, it seems she has decided that the EU will be more likely to react to a tax haven being set up on the edge of Europe. However, while the right-wing press might be applauding this manoeuvre, it is an empty threat. Why? Because it's going to happen anyway. In fact it's already happening. How many headlines have their been about the sweetheart tax deals and big multinationals not paying their fair share? The legality of it is neither here nor there for the UK government - as long as the super rich remain happy (because they fund the political parties.) Le Monde once described The City of London as Europe's biggest money laundering operation. Outside of the EU's banking regulation The [...]

There is a plan

By |2016-11-23T10:36:28+01:00November 23rd, 2016|Brexit|

Despite the accusations of having "no clear plan" for Brexit negotiations I believe there is in fact one and it's crystal clear, albeit conceived in cloud-cuckoo land. I reckon that May, Davies and Johnson will demand that the UK remain in the single market while doing away with freedom of movement. This is what they have implied time and again, and have not changed their tune despite the response from EU leaders. Presumably they are hoping that by sticking to this position throughout the 2 years of negotiations - the EU will eventually cave in and give it to them - as they have on many occasions in the past. However, I can see no reason for the EU to cave in this time. The main bargaining chip in the past has been the threat of the UK's withdrawal from the EU (for all our exceptions and opt-outs we've had as full half-hearted members of the EU club), but that threat can no longer be relied upon to get the EU's negotiators to back down - which means the [...]

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