Prepare for Hard Brexit

 

The content of the UK’s White Paper on Brexit is somewhat irrelevant. It follows on from theUK’s statement of intent in its twelve principles outlined last February here:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-38836906

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-united-kingdoms-exit-from-and-new-partnership-with-the-european-union-white-paper

The White Paper to the horror of Frankfurt and Brussels at last puts flesh and bones on the UK exit.

Subsequent amendments to the White Paper Teresa May under pressure from Tory Brexiteers has agreed to:

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/mps-approve-amendments-to-customs-bill-insisted-on-by-hard-brexiteers-1.3567206

Debate is heating up and there may be further amendments perhaps developing into a Protocol that will be added to any further leave proposals.

“One of the amendments makes it unlawful for Northern Ireland to form a separate customs territory to the rest of the UK. Treasury minister Mel Stride said the government accepted the amendment because it reflected its policy on the Border backstop and its interpretation of the joint report agreed with the EU last December.

The EU’s backstop proposal would treat Northern Ireland as part of the EU customs union, but Britain has proposed that any backstop should apply to the UK as a whole.

The bill will now move to the Lords, where it is likely to be amended further, before returning to the Commons. During that process some of the amendments approved by MPs on Monday could be reversed.”

What is clear is that the White Paper has focused on the precise terms of Brexit bringing more clarity to the issues involved. Such clarity has come at the expense of the Irish position on backstop that according to Leo Varadkar copper fastened agreement by the UK there would be no hard border between NI and southern Ireland.

Publication of the White Paper and controversy about its terms is largely moot. The EU will be against any terms in such a paper. It does not wish to see any template for withdrawal from any member state that can be agreed to. So while the White Paper brings clarity to the issues involved, the imminent prospect of a Hard Brexit is brought forward.

Instead of putting Ireland first as Michel Barniere has falsely claimed, instead Ireland has been used as a stalking horse against Brexit by the EU, with no financial or other support offered to Ireland. This is the similar pattern followed under our bailout when unconscionable terms were imposed only mitigated when similar terms had to be replicated for Ireland following insistence on better terms to Spain and Portugal successfully achieved by their negotiating teams.

As the UK gears up to spend its circa £8bn annually to the EU now targeted to improve the NHS Ireland’s odious expense of EU membership will increase: its agri sector suffering exchange rate and border control problems with its largest trader coupled with declines in CAP from the EU.

Figure on larger waiting lists, portacabin schools if at all sanctioned, to replace leaking infrastructure. More austerity imposed from the EU and locally with even greater dides between rich and poor on this isalnd.

Meanwhile with plans for a European army https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/06/europe-forges-ahead-with-plans-for-eu-army/ at an advanced stage supported in the main by German, French and Italian ministers eg proposals to make equipping vat free the EU is well on its way to becoming a modern-day Orwellian reincarnation of the previous Soviet USSR its intent to police itself in place of NATO.

We are clearly on the brink of becoming a vassal state of the EU with diminished sovereignty cocooned in self constructed bondage to a EU financially and economically at war with the UK.

This is to the detriment of our sovereign status achieved in 1916 and subsequently at great cost to the state. Now squandered in a misguided love affair with an EU whose project is at best in decline.

We would clearly be better off negotiating a deal with the UK uniting north and south of this island in return for Commonwealth status or better.

Culturally, socially and economically and linguistically we turn to the UK and west to the USA but we are determined to pursue a crippling and twisted alliance with the EU that has already decimated us with bailout, led to a declining health and education service. Our future should be global instead of being burned at the stake by membership of the EU.

With Brexit and the curious similarities between the debate over backstop and Cyprian difficulties over de jure control over the northern part of Cyprus, Ireland is well on its way to duplicating and reenacting the problems in recent history of Cyprus:

“The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the entire island, including its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, with the exception of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia which remain under British control according to the London-Zürich Agreements. However, the Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts: the area under the effective control of the Republic in the south and west and comprising about 59-percent of the island’s area; and the north,[26] administered by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and covering about 36-percent of the island’s area. Another four percent of the island’s area is covered by the UN buffer zone. Other nations consider the northern part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces.[27][28][29][30][31] The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union.[32]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyprus

Ireland’s economy is already in a fragile state and we are clearly with Brexit in danger of further risk replicating the problems of Cyprus in 2013

“The 2012–2013 Cypriot financial crisis was an economic crisis in the Republic of Cyprus that involved the exposure of Cypriot banks to overleveraged local property companies, the Greek government-debt crisis, the downgrading of the Cypriot government’s bond credit rating to junk status by international credit rating agencies, the consequential inability to refund its state expenses from the international markets[1][2] and the reluctance of the government to restructure the troubled Cypriot financial sector.[3]

On 25 March 2013, a €10 billion international bailout by the Eurogroup, European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) was announced, in return for Cyprus agreeing to close the country’s second-largest bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), imposing a one-time bank deposit levy on all uninsured deposits there, and possibly around 48% of uninsured deposits in the Bank of Cyprus (the island’s largest commercial bank). A minority proportion of it held by citizens of other countries (many of whom from Russia), who preferred Cypriot banks because of their higher interest on bank account deposits, relatively low corporate tax, and easier access to the rest of the European banking sector. This resulted in numerous insinuations by US and European media, which presented Cyprus as a ‘tax haven’ and suggested that the prospective bailout loans were meant for saving the accounts of Russian depositors.[4][5] No insured deposit of €100,000 or less would be affected.[6][7]

Nearly one-third of Rossiya Bank‘s cash ($1 billion) was frozen in Cypriot accounts during this crisis.[8]

Compared to the number of cranes on London’s and Edinburgh’s skyline, there are none in Dublin. Armegeddon plans for the UK following Brexit are proving less credible than similar dangers for the EU especially considered in relation to ongoing and present concerns over Italian banks and concerns over the refugee crisis.

In housing Eoin Murphy is adept at fooling inept interviewers by picking little irrelevant balls out of his arsenal of minor and mostly failing projects spinning the subject line away from the lack of cranes over large-scale housing projects in cities around our country. Propaganda that flies in the face of facts is the currency of the moment.

Difficulties in our health and education sectors and homelessness fly in the face of arguments that our economy is thriving. At best we are struggling.

Meanwhile the Irish government has signaled the addition of between 1000-2000 extra custom officers to be deployed in Irish ports. This will inevitably delay transit times for Irish goods travelling to and from the UK involving extensive paperwork prior to travelling to help with preclearance plus the processing of such documents.

The cost will be borne by Irish taxpayers clearly Varadkar has not even raised the question of financial support for Ireland given Ireland will be expected to be a Frontline buffer state for the EU guarding the borders of the EU as a free service on behalf of other members of the EU. This wasteful expense conceivably will mean a lower budget available for our hospitals, universities and schools.

Its disastrous impact may not be gauged until this foolish plan is put in place. Clearly we are on the road to economic perdition and partition. The folly of unquestioning obedience to Frankfurt and Brussels led to our bailout is clearly following a similar path to financial collapse with our housing bubble and now Hard Brexit with the EU washing its hands of our problems.

Brexit….White Paper is subject to ongoing debate:

“It would end vast annual contributions to the EU budget, releasing funds for domestic
priorities – in particular our long-term plan for the NHS.
It would take us out of the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy,
ensuring we can better meet the needs of farming and fishing communities.”

“For democracy, leaving the EU’s institutions and reclaiming the UK’s sovereignty,
ensuring the laws people live by are passed by those they elect and enforced by UK
courts, with clear accountability to the people of the UK.”

In a foreword, Teresa May comments: “It would preserve the UK’s and the EU’s frictionless access to each other’s markets for goods, protecting jobs and livelihoods on both sides, and propose new arrangements for services.”

“Where the
UK had made a commitment to the EU, including in those areas where the Government is
proposing the UK would remain party to a common rulebook, there would be a clear
process for updating the relevant rules, which respected the UK’s sovereignty and
provided for Parliamentary scrutiny.”

One is prompted to ask if this could be a blueprint for other countries to use to leave the EU, the customs union and the single market.

“Economic partnership In designing the new trading relationship, the UK and the EU should therefore focus on ensuring continued frictionless access at the border to each other’s markets for goods. To deliver this goal, the Government is proposing the establishment of a free trade area for goods. This free trade area would protect the uniquely integrated supply chains and
‘just-in-time’ processes that have developed across the UK and the EU over the last 40
years, and the jobs and livelihoods dependent on them, ensuring businesses on both sides
can continue operating through their current value and supply chains. It would avoid the
need for customs and regulatory checks at the border, and mean that businesses would
not need to complete costly customs declarations. And it would enable products to only
undergo one set of approvals and authorisations in either market, before being sold in
both.
As a result, the free trade area for goods would see the UK and the EU meet their shared
commitments to Northern Ireland and Ireland through the overall future relationship. “(p11)

“fishing, putting in place new arrangements for annual negotiations on access to waters
and the sharing of fishing opportunities based on fairer and more scientific methods –
with the UK an independent coastal state.”

https://www.ft.com/content/dffd77ec-867f-11e8-96dd-fa565ec55929The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union

This paper provides a cohesive position that can be used to benchmark progress and secure terms agreeable to both the UK and the EU. It should hold no fears for Brexiteers that the Brexit project will be compromised as its highly likely none of its aspirations will be agreed to at EU level. Its likely the long signalled hard Brexit on this blog, will go ahead. Much to the chagrin of europhiles and EU negotiators.

‘Europe still thriving despite air of uncertainty’ is the title of Dan O Brien’s article in Sunday Independent Business P4 8 July. He has a very questionable definition of the word ‘thriving’.

He fails to mention the effects of Brexit on the makeup of the future of the EU and its financial cost. He declines to mention the falling value of the euro against the dollar. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/17/forex-dollar-sets-4-month-high-vs-yen-buoyed-by-rising-us-yields.html

Concerns over Brexit, Italy are of no concern to Dan. German exports up 10% while most of its neighbours experience stagnation even in a period of low to negative interest rates show the EU is less than uneven in economic performance most of the periphery still struggling.

Dan relies on EU-wide jobless figures ‘few months away from recording its lowest unemployment rate this century’. In an age of manipulation and falsification of data based on moving goal posts such as zero hour contracts.

https://sites.psu.edu/gershcivicissue/2017/03/15/unemployment-and-how-to-manipulate-with-statistics/

In the US Trump has suggested instead of the official unemployment rate 4.7% the real rate is closer to 42%. ”

” if you tack on all of those who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time positions, the rate jumps up to 9.2%.

While working part-time can fall under the umbrella of underemployment, there are other factors like a mismatch of human capital to a job (i.e: A PhD at McDonalds). It measures what percentage of people in the labor force are not being used to their most efficient/maximum capabilities. These types of underemployment are important too because they can show how well the labor market is performing in highly skilled and specialized industries. The current estimated underemployment rate is 13.7%.”

In Ireland young accountants married to professionals or those with Phd’s cannot afford homes.

Rather than a power house of growth the EU has serious economic and geopolitical problems that keep it barely above water. Its ECB is embarked on a bond buying programme targetting rich corporations rather than Main Street. Its euro is in decline against the dollar. It has no plans other than the setting up of a pan european army to make things better.

We should seriously consider leaving with our closest neighbour before the EU once again makes us walk the plank.

We should prepare for another visit from the Troika.

 

 

till again…………

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Housing Crisis Worsens

June 22, 2018

This blog called for the resignation of Housing Eoghan Murphy, TD Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, Dublin Bay South

But he’s still there full of nonsense in the face of evidence his policies have never worked but are crumbling everywhere.

The housing crisis continues to deteriorate and its worse than stagnation. Nothing is being built of note, such as the following in Copenhagen, Denmark, “The 8 House is a new innovative building in Copenhagen that offers 62,000 square meters for residential, commercial, and communal use. Designed as a mixed-use residential development, the 8 House provides more than 540 units of housing, catering to occupants ranging from singles to growing families, the young and the elderly. Each unit of the building will come with a small space as a vegetable garden. ” https://urbanlifecopenhagen.weebly.com/housing.html

Sadly, lack of leadership, enterprise and innovation and independence is the hallmark of subservience and obedience to the authoritarian rule of distant bureaucrats in Frankfurt’s ECB HQ washing their hands pretending the fault is ours.

Pretend ‘subsidiarity’ is the elixir of choice to manage our Fiscal Space; it pretends Irish politicians have both the political will and freedom to end homelessness and our property crisis.

Behind the scenes their hands are tied by Europe.

The fact a no confidence motion has not removed Eoghan Murphy him from his position is evidence other government parties cannot or would not change his policies. Hypocrisy is rife.

Vulture funds have been a distorting feature of the market place for quite some time. But news is large multinational corporations from at home and abroad are hoovering up the market before the plans are dry.

The Kerry Group have been actively purchasing properties held for their employees in satellite towns around Dublin. They will use their own transport to take workers from these locations to HQ each day.

Similarly its reported large MNC’s are purchasing properties off the plans in Dublin for their workers. The consequence of this drain on property for the individual or couple wanting a home start will be devastating.

Expect bigger shortages and higher property prices only affordable by vulture funds or large MNC’s.

Meanwhile the ESRI is now expecting 14,100 fewer homes to be built in the next 2 years. It’s also emerged that Department of Housing figures on new homes have been vastly overstated.

As noted in this blog and now “Dr Conor O Toole, of the ESRI, said that while lending risk was being managed “much better” by the banks, this could “quickly unravel”. He said asking banks to hold more money in reserve “may be an approach that’s prudent” – but this could make it more difficult to secure a mortgage.” Independent, 19th June, Gavin McLoughlin and Cormac Quinn.

Critics of the above scenario talk or right-wing ideology informing the above policies, but such critiques ignore the elephant in the room, the European Central Bank and how the Irish economy is being managed from afar.

Fiscal Space is the room and we wear the EU  straight jacketed same as Greece. No chance the ECB in the face of a national emergency on housing will allow government here some fiscal space to build affordable housing for young people. Let’s face it, they got burnt before and German and French banks want their money back.

News at home is worse. Government is encouraging with open arms vulture funds from abroad to invest their money in Irish property.

We’re no Canada or Australia willing to impose a 20% investment tax on overseas Chinese money preventing locals from entering the property market. We give vulture funds charitable status no tax on profits. Our economy is built on paper funded members of government sitting on large property portfolios doing nothing but accumulate as much wealth for themselves and their friends in the financial sector as possible.

Its ironic Michel Barnier to visit Ireland and Northern Ireland  had so little to say about the issue of the Irish border other than to demand the UK to solve the problem. We’ve had no proposals put forward from Europe on the way forward other than the faint hope Brexit can be stopped.

The call to put Ireland first in negotiations over Europe rings hollow with the lack of support for Ireland from Europe following its financial collapse. Banks of France and Germany were protected and the bill for this was given to us. No burden sharing! We should not be fooled twice.

Michel Barnier presenting the draft Withdrawal Agreement

It’s just another brick on the road towards a Orwellian and dystopian relationship under  authoritarianism imposed on us by the declining EU.

Locals can’t compete against these speculative casino investments.

Meanwhile the Brexit Games continue. No agreement will be reached by the UK and EU simply because the EU cannot negotiate. The council of ministers in the European parliament are curtailed by lack of authority to negotiate trade matters.

Such matters are the prerogative of officials in the EU under the control of the ECB endlessly pouring over documents in committees set up to carry out European Treaties that slowly erode democracy.

Unelected and powerless the EU rejects proposals from the UK while the UK prepares for a hard Brexit.

At some point someone will mention to Leo Varadkar as a member of the EU he’s responsible for his own borders.

Who will pay for this and other losses down the line in a country hell-bent on lining the pockets of the rich with loot stolen from the present and future of its young people?

You should be interested in these matters of consequence.

 

Till again….

 

 

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/workingpapers/soci/w14/text1_en.htm

https://brianmlucey.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/danish_housing_dublin-1.pdf

Letter to Donald Tusk

April 13, 2018

https://www.centralbank.ie/publication/quarterly-bulletins/quarterly-bulletin-2-2018

In its quarterly bulletin for April 2018 the Central Bank states p8 “The Central Bank is forecasting upward revisions for growth in 2018 and 2019, reflecting strong domestic momentum and the improved overall outlook for trading partner countries” the bulletin contains no deep dive into the impact of Brexit on various sectors of the Irish economy.

It’s not sure “given the complex, multi dimensional nature” of new US tax laws what the impact of these will be for Ireland…..

Turning to Brexit, any increase in trade frictions between the UK and EU 27 will generate a reduction in long-term living standards, compared to the counterfactual of maintaining the status quo…Potential risks include a disruptive UK exit from the European Union next year, an increase in protectionist trade policies, changes to international tax regimes that can have an impact on FDI decisions by multinational firms and disruptive movements in bilateral exchange rates…

The bulletin contains no deep dive into the actual reduction in living standards due to perhaps an increased overall cost of the European project on member states due to loss of contributions from the UK.

It appears to this writer the overall impact of Brexit for the UK contrary to the propaganda of the Central Bank will be positive due to lowering of its exchange rate its exports will be on the increase, tariffs between the UK and the EU will benefit the UK more than the EU.

The bulletin has little probity of the nature of lending in Ireland into the construction sector and the scandal of lack of provision of housing for both the homeless, the young people who wish to start homes, and those families in need of social housing.

It does appear that the ECB has turned off the stopcock flow of lending into the Irish economy with no developers, no large construction projects, allowed. Austerity rules!

Both the Central Bank and NAMA policy decisions need close investigation to uncover their responsibility for the bank heist that has had the profound effect of capturing politicians responsibly tasked with serving the needs of Irish people: politicians abrogating their responsibilities in favour of subservience to policies suffocating development of the Irish construction industry.

The Central Bank is keenly aware of the exposure of Ireland’s open economy to the volatility of changing international taxation and trading conditions. 14000 in arrears at IPBS only allowed debt renegotiation to the present market value bubble valuations on offer, the Central Bank has no solution for other than the ECB urge to sell these mortgages to vulture funds.

The Irish economy is largely fed by the presence of a small number of MNC’s using financial loopholes and tools that avoid taxes from goods they sell overseas channeling them into inflated Irish GDP figures and tax revenue. These loopholes are about to close under pressure from both the US and the EU.

The probability of a hard border with Brexit and its consequent impacts on trade could see Ireland with its own barbed wire fence similar to Poland’s intention for its borders.

Meanwhile to steady Irish nerves in a show of pat on the back, flattery, pumping up, acclaim, solidarity, Donald Tusk came to Dublin last week.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/eu-chief-donald-tusk-says-brexit-makes-him-furious-and-reveals-hes-a-conor-mcgregor-fan-36794933.html

Donald Tusk is leader of the European Council since 2014 and previously was pm of Poland for 7 years and as we prepare for Brexit we see him quite frequently in Ireland. We had few visitors from Europe during the financial crisis of 2010/11 and subsequent bailout. As Enda Kenny sought support in Europe for Ireland’s position, he was met with a rather embarrassing silence.

We were bullied and harried by Jean-Claude Trichet head of the ECB for daring to question the odious terms of our bailout.

When inspectors arrived here demanding reforms in the banks they also were concerned about costs in our legal profession and they demanded reforms there as well. So it was rather ironic to see Donald Tusk  receive an honorary life membership to UCD’s Law Society. Perhaps this is insurance to woo support from Mr Tusk against further opprobrium of the Irish Legal profession from the EU.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/troika-wants-swift-action-on-banks-and-legal-profession-1.1577339

https://villagemagazine.ie/index.php/2018/01/dail-and-its-legal-reform-is-pro-lawyer/

Proposed reforms of the legal profession have been lying on a shelf for the past decade:

“The Bill mandates that legal-cost determinations are to be ‘published’ by archiving them locally in each county registrar’s office. This obscure arrangement powerfully inhibits legal-costs research and therefore public awareness of legal costs.”

Transparency demands that they be published and searchable on the central court website. This would also be cheaper.

Also, the recently introduced practice of allowing journalists into family law cases needs to be extended to legal costs adjudications relating to family law cases.”

Anti competitive practices abound with only a solicitor allowed to shop around for a barrister encouraged by greater fees offered by the most expensive barrister. Fees are shared between barrister and solicitor. There are cumbersome obstacles to investigating fairness and we have the highest legal fees in Europe.

This endangers democracy with legal fees obstructing litigation on matters that the public require protection.

Instead of focusing on these matters Tusk attacked Brexit stating he was furious about it.

When it becomes the will of the people against the will of the EU and the will of the democratic wishes of the people becomes a cause of fury for the EU, we should all be concerned. Don’t expect respect for the will of the people from Mr Tusk.

Rather than selling the benefits of the EU to the Irish people he chose to heap praise and compliments on Irish culture. disingenuous flattery of the highest calibre.

I would like to take issue with “I don’t like Brexit. Actually, that’s an understatement: I believe Brexit is one of the saddest moments in twenty first-century European history.”

On the contrary Brexit to be one of the greatest democratic moments in twenty first-century European history.

If Brexit fails, democracy in Europe may become a distant memory.

http://www.theweek.co.uk/87057/is-poland-drifting-towards-totalitarianism

In Mr Tusk’s home country:

“The European Union is considering unprecedented disciplinary measures against Poland over its judicial reforms – specifically, the adoption of 13 new laws that allow the Polish government to meddle in legal matters and threaten the independence of the judiciary.”

I suppose given the above state of the legal profession in his native country it may have felt embarrassing for him to lecture the Irish legal profession on its lack of reform.

The problem for Tusk is that the EU is in a mess. Dancing on ice it cannot respond to the next financial collapse very likely precipitated by Brexit that unlike the Federal Reserve the ECB has no tools to deal with.

Crisis countries with high debt to GDP ratios including Ireland notwithstanding its inflated GDP courtesy of leprechaun economics through the central “statistics” office are fragile, volatile and extremely vulnerable to downturn.

The EU for the next crisis has no means to bail out Ireland and fellow EU members such as Italy. Greece has been a disaster and continues to be so.

Irerland’s mortgage arears crisis has not been dealt with, there are 14000 of these in IPBS up to 26% of its loan book. Instead of best deal for its customers IPBS is in process of selling these bundled loans to vulture companies.

Its spokespeople encourage such underwater loans to engage with the banks. The only write down they are willing to discuss is write down to present market value of these properties, market value inflated by shortages and inflated, market value bubble.

Instead of serving customers they would rather fleece them to vulture funds.

The Irish economy exposed to rampant excess in stamp duty fed off its previous property bubble is now experiencing an equally damaging contraction due to the economic effects of laisser faire landlord rent extraction.

Money is fueled out of the economy into a property and rental bubble instead of having capital bringing life into the economy flowing into new enterprise and new business. We are the victims of financialisation funneling capital into the hands of the few and away from economic and market investment development of our capital infrastructure that is the sign of a healthy economy working for its people.

Ireland is more and more developing like a dead cat bounce with growing infrastructural problems in the health system, in education: but most of all in growing inequality driving young teachers, nurses, doctors to flee Ireland to seek a more rewarding life elsewhere. Its preparation for the devastating effects of Brexit on this economy virtually nil.

Ireland is now reliant on a handful of MNC’s providing Corporation Tax and its tax system is weak and in need of reform.

Is there a better way?

https://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2012/aug/21/iceland-debt-relief-lessons-eurozone

“After much heated debate,  the government, the financial sector, and the federation of businesses agreed on a comprehensive debt-relief programme.

The main components were as follows:

For the household sector, debt in excess of 110% of the fair value of each property was written off.  Specific relief measures (administrated by a bank or a new debtors ombudsman) applied for those that could not service a reduced loan.

Low-income, asset-poor  households with high-interest mortgage payment got a temporary subsidy from the government.

Small to medium-sized firms could apply for debt relief if they could credibly document positive cash flow from future activities.

The firm had to be willing to re-engineer its operation so as to make best use of its assets. Given those conditions, the firm could expect its debt to be written down to equal the discounted value of future earnings; or alternatively, written down to the amount that the bank or other financial firm could expect, in the best of circumstances, to gain from taking the assets over and realizing their monetary value. Hence the debt relief programmes did not create new equity on the balance sheets of firms or households.

The process provoked plenty of conflicts. For example, the supreme court ruled some forms of loans in foreign currencies illegal.  The government intervened to extend the ruling to all foreign exchange loans granted to households.  These legal challenges have not yet been brought to an end, but so far 12% of the household sector pre-2008 debt has been written off.

The bottom line is that the government, the financial sector and the business sector collectively created a situation that leaves the financial sector with as good a result in terms of total debt collection as possible without the pain of sending most of the firms and many families into bankruptcy, unemployment and dispossession.

Thanks in good part to this tempered approach to debt write-down Iceland’s economy is now growing faster than most countries in Europe, and unemployment is less than 5% (having hit 9.3% in early 2010).

Of course, many Icelanders are still angry at the government and the banks, like their southern European counterparts. But at least they have a job, they pay property and income taxes, they service their reduced debt, and they can make plans for a vacation or a new car in two years’ time.

Thorolfur Matthiasson is professor of economics at the University of Iceland and member of a parliament-appointed committee overseeing equality of treatment in debt writedowns by the Icelandic financial sector.

Irish banks state they will not write off debt, but they lie, selling discounted lending to vulture funds is debt write-down for vulture funds.

Irish banks will not write off debt to its household lenders. They are caught between a rock and a hard place with many vultures circling. The high cost of evictions legal and otherwise will leave families needing accommodation and housing.

Thank you, Mr Tusk, for this mess foisted on our economy by the ECB.

Its bailouts of Greece, Ireland, Spain have been band aids facilitating only a dead cat bounce return to growth for the main financial players in the periphery countries, not for the population at large condemned to deteriorating public sector services and low growth.

The EU with its ill designed and diseased euro is being left behind globally in a large financial mess that has not served its peripheral members well.

Yes, Europe has seen the outbreak of peace and stability but undermining this peace and stability has been the unstable and deeply flawed, built-to-fail design of the euro currency system whose faults and failures left it gravely exposed during the recent financial crisis.

Its inability to handle successfully this crisis has brought a legacy of intractable and insoluble problems for the euro showing more and more evidence of future disintegration the more time goes by.

Mr Tusk, turning a blind eye to such matters may be easy for the smug, self-serving and obedient financially well off who wish the party to continue, but from the head of the European Council, its disappointing not to hear of reform both here and in Europe to end a Europe that has failed to live up to its ideals of democracy and equality.

Instead we get a Pavlovian I’m your buddy sentimental and complacent demagoguery with Donald Tusk is more Irish than the Irish themselves. He’s your pal. But only as long as you pay up your odious bailout costs to his real pal, Michel Barniere, head of the ECB.

A demagogue is a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

But hey, lets not spoil the party, I’m off to dream of leaving the EU, reuniting Ireland and joining the UK in its democratic resistance to this growing Orwellian authoritarianism and control that has become the new EU that is growing more grotesque and absurd by the day.

Regards,

Colm Brazel

 

 

till again…

 

Plan C Irexit

March 25, 2018

Preferred option B for this blog is Irexit with Ireland joining UK Brexit leaving the EU. Unification of the island of Ireland to follow with Ireland achieving a new status similar to the status of Scotland or Wales. All parties to negotiate agreement on new constitutional relationships that would cement economic and social ties seeing to undo the damage done by our divided island that otherwise post Brexit could easily see this island go the way of Cyprus partitioned with its borders and economic collapse with bail in of its citizens in spite of safeguards promising otherwise.

Another option A is the ludicrous suggestion by Fianna Fail of a backstop legally binding that would prevent a hard border in Ireland but would put a border for the 32 counties in the Irish sea. This has been attacked and vilified by unionists and Teresa May as a violation of the constitution of the UK and NI effectively an attempt to grab NI from its constitional place in the UK. Even more ludicrous would be the requirement as part of the deal for unionists to put up a border in the Irish sea preventing them trading freely with their largest trading partner the UK.

There is perhaps a simpler and more logical way forward if Occam’s razor like analysis is applied to the false dilemma and Gordian knot involved in trying to solve with Option A and B above.

NI will join Brexit, the Republic of Ireland will remain in the EU. There will be no hard border between NI and ROI. Instead of the border being in the Irish sea, the border is placed in ports that access EU countries from ROI. Quite apart from Schengen there is precedence for this with countries in the eurozone setting up borders to police immigration in violation of Schengen. However this border would concentrate primarily on trade issues.

Yes this would require a special status for ROI within the EU and would be in breach of Schengen and the free movement of goods and people within the EU but as a buffer state ROI would require exceptional measures with a new custom agreement between partners in shared negotiations between the UK, EU and ROI.

ROI would retain the euro as its currency and generally things would move along the same as they do now, but for the presence of a new border.

This border would be far simpler to police than a border between NI and ROI. Much work would need to be done to accelerate the movement of goods and people through that border. Negotiations could center on making the border as tariff free and as close to free trade as possible.

See earlier blogs on work that has been achieved in Hong Kong border with China. Paperwork and digital pre clearance for agricultural goods and goods from verifiable and known sources trading on a regular basis.

And what of counter arguments that would horrify us with the prospect of Brazilian beef undercutting our own beef prices or goods such as Mercedes cars on sale in UK with an extra tariff and the prospect of those cars imported through ROI into NI and flooding their market undermining their motor sales at the same time?

Yes, there are difficulties. But these difficulties are not insurmountable and our Dept of Finance can solve these on a case by case basis.

Such difficulties pale into insignificance compared to the imposition of a border between ROI and NI with a hard Brexit. Its time Irish negotiations over Brexit became a lot smarter than the ludicrousness of Option A. I note erstwhile Independent Stephen Donnelly trading up to Fianna Fail spokesperson on Brexit is trumpeting the phony solution of insisting on legal backstop for Option A above.

This is as phony a solution as the 8th Amendment support of his leader Michael Martin to abortion based on a woman’s right to choose out to 12 weeks to solve the rare occasions when primary care needs to e given to safeguard the life of a mother. But let’s not digress.

Let’s get back to the lives of citizens threatened with the imposition of a hard border and greater divisions than have ever been on this island between north and south. We should not have to pay through the nose for ludicrous politicians touting phony solutions hell-bent on making a bad situation worse.

Both Simon Harris Minister for Health and Michael Martin FF Leader of the opposition have gone very quiet on their support for the government’s position on the 8th Amendment following the strong showing of opposition to it last weekend.

Interestingly An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made a huge about turn on his policy re Brexit. Much criticised in this blog for his decision not to negotiate bilaterally with the UK, I picked up during this week that he met with Prime Minister Teresa May in bilateral discussions following his meetings with Trump and Merkel.

This u turn went unnoticed in the media but it went further than that. The UK were not vetoed by us preventing them get on to Stage 2 Brexit negotiations; in other words, the Stephen Donnelly approach was ignored and abandoned. I welcome that uturn.

Option C requires substantial work but it is doable providing there is good will toward this island from the UK and EU.

Preferred solution is our departure from the EU with Brexit followed by Irexit with further arguments in favour of this option to follow in part 2 of this blog for next time…

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hardbecause that goal …

Unfortunately we are beleagured by politicians who’ve failed the challenges of homelessness, trolloy crisis, unaffordable housing for young people, Irish water, debt renegotiation: we’ve no reason to think they should not also make a mess of negotiations on Brexit.

As for leaving it to politicians who according to Brendan Howlin TD leader of the Labour Party can be relied on to reflect the will of the people, what a fallacious view of politics? Ask the people are they satisfied with Irish Water, the trolley crisis, housing and homelessness policies delivered by politicians over the past number of years? Or do they consider politicians reflect the view of minorities such as the ECB in Frankfurt, the wealthy financial sector in Ireland, the bankers?

Meanwhile in an attempt to burn its bridges the Central Bank is considering a move to close its printing works removing our ability to print our own currency in the future and in the process lose a national asset:

http://www.thejournal.ie/currency-printing-ireland-3925140-Mar2018/?utm_source=shortlink

 

till again…

 

We Will Comply!

March 3, 2018

Much like the cowardly earthers in an episode of Star Trek confronted by the Klingons and asked to comply, Irish negotiators over Brexit have already complied and been assimilated by the dominion.

In a craven act of compliance ex taoiseach Enda Kenny set out the groundwork for a deal on Brexit by rejecting the possibility of a bilateral deal with the UK. He devolved Ireland’s negotiations into obedient and subserviant alliance with distant EU negotiators who would negotiate on Ireland’s behalf. (1)

Now Simon Coveney has rejected the possibility of bilateral negotiations with UK

(2)

By Elaine Loughlin and Daniel McConnell

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has ruled out any Brexit side-talks after British prime minister Theresa May suggested direct negotiations between Ireland, the UK, and the EU.”

We gave away our fisheries. We chose compliance and obedience in bowing down to the tough terms offered by Jean-Claude Trichet forcing our bailout saving senior bondholders of French and German banks at our expense.

Now when Ireland’s economic interests are at stake, we defer representation to Michel Barnier whose only method of negotiation is to pour scorn on the UK and Brexit.

“We are endlessly told by Brussels, and by sneering Remainers, that our Government’s positions are impossible. But Barnier’s are far more unworkable.

Theresa May cannot possibly let Northern Ireland stay in the customs union and be split from the UK. And not just because the DUP wouldn’t stand for it. Why did Barnier try it on?

Brexit means leaving the single market, customs union and ECJ jurisdiction.

It means honouring the referendum, not holding a replay. Get used to it. It’s just Brexit. It’s not hard.”

Its plain ludicrous to suggest NI should stay in the customs union with a border in the Irish sea. No, its worse than ludicrous, it smacks of gross incompetence that is inflamatory and unworkable. This position dramatically highlights the weak position of both European and Irish negotiators the only outcome of which is to infuriate Brexiteers and the vast majority of the people of the UK and NI.

This also underestimates the power of UK negotiators with a tradition of negotiation going back to Hong Kong, Good Friday Agreement, even India or indeed the Falklands. One may differ on outcomes, but the experience is there.

Whether the EU can collectively agree anything among the 27 that is not forcibly imposed on all through its secretive and lobbyist led committee system, is another story.

There is more of a democratic tradition in the UK where politicians seek to serve the governed rather than the governors compared to Ireland and EU where politicians serve the governors be they banks or cartels involving inner core lobbyists such as Germany and France or multi nationals.

Irish politicians are currently actively lobbying to return €13bn to Apple!

The problem with the EU (6) is that Europe is being crucified on the Cross of the Euro. The euro has failed the periphery and its future at best is stagnation and further austerity. The euro has failed Europe and threatens to turn Europe into a totalitarian version of the former USSR.

It appears Ireland now supports the creation of a European mega-army now that its main opponent, the UK is about to leave. this does not augur good for democracy in Europe or elsewhere.(3)

 

Driven by the failing euro politics in Europe is lurching dangerously to the right.(4)

 

“The populist, anti-European Union Five Star Movement (M5S) is likely to emerge as the single largest party, according to recent polls, but a coalition of center-right parties cobbled together by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi could emerge with more seats in parliament.

Further complicating things, around 40% of voters remain undecided. No party or alliance is expected by analysts to earn an outright majority, meaning Italy could be plunged into months of further political deadlock at a time of financial uncertainty for the country.”

(5)

If Italy leaves the euro, the euro is finished. Many agree the euro is proving a divisive game changer for Europe that Europe could well do without.

March 4, 2018 in Italy should provide interesting complications for the future of Europe.

Meanwhile Ireland is facing a drop in its farm payments CAP budget due to withdrawal of UK and finance will have to come from elsewhere. Before the ink was dry on his effort to grab territory in NI for the EU, Barnier was signalling that there would be a hard border required in Ireland. Most likely given the impossibility to negotiate terms with all the difficulty involved there will be a hard Brexit followed by a Canadian style border in NI.

Ireland has closer links to the UK than it has to Europe in spite of what Irish europhiles would have you believe. We need to be at the negotiating table and not sell ourselves short.

The problem is in Irish politics we have mutton pretending to be lamb.Irish Water, Voting Machines, Homelessness…these guys are adapt at bad governance even before bankers put them into their pockets.

Varadkar and Coveney allied with europhiles such as Sinn Fein seeking a pretend united Ireland nothing but a vassal state of the EU with its failing euro, its drift to the right and now its mission to arm itself notwithstanding memories of 1940-45. We should heed the warnings of George Orwell in Animal Farm and 1984

Its up there in terms of incompetence our loss of Irish fisheries, the odious deal imposed on us via Bailout that surprised even the IMF, imminent common harmonisation of tax policies that will raid our Corporation Tax, the cost of physical infrastructure and manpower to police our border, border tariffs that could crucify our agricultural industry, losses due to currency exchange rates with Ireland crucified on the euro peg, as sterling devalues…plus the loss of growing friendship and a greater divide than ever before on this island.

Surely we should not capitulate to the demands of Coveney and Varadkar and Sinn Fein to suspend our disbelief and refuse a place at the table that will negotiate our interests……..handing over our future to those who’ve screwed our interests in bailout negotiations in the past. Massive propaganda from state media says we should.

Or perhaps we need a visit from Jean-Claude Trichet to excoriate Irish journalists questioning him on the risks of burning bondholders in German and French banks when we took one for the team:-)

(a)https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/banking-inquiry/former-ecb-boss-jean-claude-trichet-rejects-claims-ireland-was-blackmailed-ireland-into-troika-bailout-31185320.html

(b)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAf7J4a_T1g

Of course tremendous pressure was put on certain politicians whose obedience and compliance was utilised to sooth the nerves and the purses of European banks exposed to our losses.

Coveney and Varadkar with limited foresight and imagination and skill set ask for other options from the UK to prevent a hard border.

How about ROI Republic of Ireland joining the UK with Irexit. Should this option not be explored. Why is there total silence from the media in Ireland on this option, let’s call it optionA?

How about another option lets say Option B? How about ROI leaving the European Union customs union?

There are too many suckling politicians and other financial beneficiaries of the status quo in Ireland to want any change to the status quo  making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Meanwhile Ireland drifts towards a proto Latin American banana republic fed by propaganda burying intellectual probity with pretend politicians mouthing puppet  nonsense such as we’ve heard over the past week from Barnier and Co.

These politicians led us into financial collapse before and it looks like they’re intent on losing it again.

till again………. 

 1. https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/taoiseach-rules-out-bilateral-brexit-deal-435678.html
2. https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/simon-coveney-rules-out-any-brexit-side-talks-with-britain-467818.html
3. http://uk.businessinsider.com/eu-countries-agree-mega-army-2017-11?r=US&IR=T
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_general_election,_2018
5. https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/28/europe/italian-election-2018-explainer-intl/index.html
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_of_Gold_speech

 

Brexit should mean Irexit

February 20, 2018

Another reason to leave the EU is the deluge of propaganda typical in the following poll

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/fine-gael-support-surges-on-back-of-brexit-row-1.3318116

This gives Fine Gael at 36% up 5%. This is the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll!!

I don’t know how these polls are conducted but I believe they need to be investigated rigorously to probe impartiality!

The hospital trolley crisis continues unabated with hospitals at dangerous crisis point throughout the country. Homelessness continues to be on the increase.

“PTSB, still 75pc owned by taxpayers, shocked the market this week when it emerged efforts to mop up its balance sheet were far more drastic than anticipated.

It involves the disposal of some 20,000 impaired residential mortgages.” This would mean a huge rise in homelessness. I’m guessing none of the above were polled by Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.

There was a suggestion that the following offer to landlords could be extended to homeowners in arrears, however it appears Fine Gael and the banks perhaps influenced by the large number of td’s who are landlords, will get a more favorable deal than if they were thrown to the wolves in the vulture funds.

There is also evidence to suggest Frankfurt is putting pressure on Irish banks to sell to vulture funds. This writer has frequently pointed out the policy on homelessness is dictated from The ECB in Frankfurt contrary to what the government and the Irish banks would have you believe.

The ECB through the imposition of fiscal limits the so-called fiscal space determining our budget prevents the investment in our housing infrastructure required to solve our homelessness crisis.

Such large-scale investment would make housing affordable but reducing the cost of housing would risk current borrowers falling into negative equity leading to investment flowing out of casino housing and property the implications of which would collapse the banks.

https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-mortgages/bank-to-write-off-debts-of-more-than-1000-landlords-under-deal-36597051.html

Meanwhile local developers will not invest in large-scale construction because of the excessive building costs and that affordability issue making the selling on of such property as unviable.

Fine Gael enjoy the surging support mentioned above on foot of not reducing the cost of land through restructuring of our planning laws and reducing the huge tax it takes on construction such as the large vat rate that does not exist across the water in the UK.

Authors of the debacle of Irish water, the sell off to the vulture funds, the failure to negotiate a fair bailout, are now authors of 10 Priorities of the National Planning Framework, Project Ireland 2040, on foot of a lack of satisfactory progress to deal with the issues of the day as eg above, bring us their dreams of the future.

Of course this is misdirection to take attention away from the clear and present danger of crises that do not reflect well on governance in Ireland 2018. Its a ploy tried by many failed African and South American and East European formerly USSR states who promise nirvana and deliver its opposite.

Fine Gael are busy with their latest project managing Brexit. They will gladly sacrifice Irish farming to build and pay for the new border with its huge cost dictated to us by the Michel Barnier French politician leading EU negotiations on Brexit.

He will ensure costs against France and Germany are not exposed to possible losses by Ireland: in the Financial collapse where 40% of losses of the total EU losses were shafted onto Irish shoulders, he’s busy sending signals to us that there will be a hard border.

Varadkar and Coveney unable to defend their own people mistaking their interests for the interests of Irish banks and vulture funds are preparing to sacrifice rural Ireland, just as they have sacrificed tens of thousands of homeowners to the banks.

Meanwhile propaganda and misdirection continues, whether it is the 8th Amendment  debate that censors discussion on the provision and cost of hospital services and the cost to the Irish taxpayer, or the abandonment of those in mortgage arrears, or the lack of real debate and preparation for Brexit.

There is some debate but it’s largely nonsensical such as the effort of Fine Gael suggestion last November that the only way to avoid a hard border in Ireland was, essentially, for Northern Ireland to remain inside, or as close as possible to, the customs union and single market. The Irish border would move off the island into the Irish Sea.

Since then Coveney and Varadkar have made fools of themselves over devolved government in the North to the point of visiting NI anticipating this announcement.

The term dim-witted comes to mind. Often this term has been leveled at Brexiteers as anti Brexit propaganda:

The Sunday Times:

“Those who voted ‘leave’ are often dismissed as dim or racist. But now some of Britain’s top academics and thinkers — from the left and right — have banded together to put the positive political and economic case for independence

Brexit supporters are overeducated toffs who dream of ruling the waves and biffing Johnny Foreigner. Or they are racist proles too dim to see through the lies of the Brexit campaign. Either way, they have one thing in common — they are all, every one of them, as thick as the slowest-witted plant in your garden.

That link between low IQ and a Brexit vote is now an entrenched ideology among many, if not most, remainers. You hear it at dinner parties, you see it on television, you read it in frothing newspaper columns and you can detect it in the fear of professional or private exposure among many “leave” voters.

But, from today, Brexiteers can come out of the closet and hold their heads high. They will know that they have the support of Nigel Biggar, professor of theology at Oxford; Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6; David Abulafia, professor of history at Cambridge; and Sir Noel Malcolm of All Souls, Oxford. In fact, they will have the support of 37 of the brightest people — both from the left and the right — in the land. And soon there will be many more of them.

The list is due to appear because a pair of Cambridge academics, one leftish, one rightish, were sick of the vilification of Brexiteers, the distortions of the remainers and of being “deluged with one-sided propaganda”. In a calm, professional egghead sort of way, they’re mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it any more. “I thought of it during one of those terribly pessimistic weeks,” says the economist Graham Gudgin, of the Judge Business School at Cambridge, “when Theresa May wasn’t going to last until teatime and there was definitely going to be a second referendum. Together we thought, ‘Gosh, we ought to be better organised than at the last referendum.’”

“It was,” says Robert Tombs, emeritus professor of French history at Cambridge, “the whole tide of propaganda about how awful everything was, how awful everything was going to be, and we didn’t believe this. We realised quite a lot of other people didn’t believe it either.”

They are dismayed by the contempt for Brexiteers shown by remainers. “Graham and I have working-class or lower middle-class backgrounds,” says Tombs. “I do feel you just can’t write off a large part of the population as being unworthy of consideration.”

Together they have designed a website — briefingsforbrexit.com — that will go live in the next few days. The mission statement makes it clear this is an assault on the too-thick-to-vote theory of Brexit. By word of mouth the news got out and, without a word of publicity, they suddenly found they had a pantheon of super-smart supporters. “I’ve been surprised by how many people found out about it and came on board quickly,” says Gudgin. “We would not have known about them unless we set this up.”

They are fully independent: the website is the only cost, and Gudgin paid for that. The anti-Brexit campaign is not independent; it has just received £400,000 from the financier George Soros. “[His] support for the pro-remain campaign shows there is a lot of big money behind hardline remainers, whose interests have little to do with the interests of the country as a whole,” says Tombs. “It shows that independent, self-funded initiatives like ours are all the more important. The other important news is the selective leaking of unsourced statistics; this shows again how much expert scrutiny is needed.”

Sadly, some Brexiteer academics were afraid to join Briefings for Brexit. “They said, ‘I’d love to be part of your group but I haven’t got a proper job yet and I probably won’t if I’m identified.’”

“One of our contributors said he was told by a younger pro-Brexit colleague that his professor had told him that people who voted Brexit were the sort of people who sent his relatives to concentration camps,” says Gudgin.

For the same reason, some of the authors of essays on the site will be anonymous. Tombs says he had one pro-Brexit student who did not dare to say anything to her supervisor because he claimed all Brexiteers were racists. “I thought one thing we academics were paid to do was help explain things to people, but universities have become so simple-minded about this.”

Also self-interested. Tombs points out that universities get a lot of money from the EU, adding: “So many of our colleagues had wrongly taken a corporatist, selfish and narrow view.”

Gudgin and Tombs are an odd couple. Gudgin has the air of a former fast bowler, tall and lanky with a loose suit and tie; Tombs looks like an opening batsman, more buttoned-up, a continental intellectual. Gudgin votes Labour and has some time for Jeremy Corbyn; Tombs voted Liberal Democrat last time around and Tory before that. Gudgin is the economic technician, Tombs the big-picture historical analyst. Both are old enough to have voted remain in the 1975 referendum. Both did so on the basis they were voting for a free trade area. What they got was a nascent superstate hell-bent on absorbing all power into its own bureaucracy.

“To every crisis that comes along, the answer is always more centralisation, never less,” says Tombs.

Gudgin’s anger was driven primarily by economic distortions. At the time of the referendum there were two Treasury reports. The first was short term. It forecast that a vote for Brexit would produce an instant recession; in fact, the only thing that was instant was the refutation of the thesis by reality; we continued to have comfortable growth. The glaring flaw in the short-term report was a figure plucked out of the air. The Treasury wonks simply assumed the loss of business confidence would be 50% of the loss of confidence during the banking crisis. This was ridiculously high.

“It looks like most of the errors in the short-term report have been repeated in last week’s report from Dexeu [Department for Exiting the European Union],” says Gudgin. This was a leaked paper from the Brexit secretary David Davis’s Dexeu showing massive falls in growth in most regions of the UK. It did not show who had done the work or how it was done; it is uncheckable and, therefore, irrelevant in academic terms. In any case, Gudgin says, the figures are ludicrous.

The second report at the time of the referendum made long-term forecasts, and it has proved more enduring. It was very pessimistic. Gudgin says it is still the source of most remainer claims by television pundits and Europhile politicians. Tombs agrees: “The original paper has kind of coloured the whole debate.”

But Gudgin and a team of four economists — three of them remainers — proved its assumptions wrong back in 2016. They tried to organise a meeting but the Treasury “absolutely refused to meet”. They wrote letters to the Financial Times, but they were not published.

The errors were important but, perhaps, too technical to grasp. One showed the Treasury wonks had failed to take account of the fact that Britain is almost the only EU state that has more trade outside the EU than inside. This distorted downwards the forecast on trade. “They calculated the amount of extra exports to EU countries due to being an EU member, but took an average across all EU members rather than measuring the specific effect for the UK,” says Gudgin. “They then assumed all the gains would be lost on leaving and that no replacement exports would occur via new free-trade agreements. These are extreme assumptions and led the Treasury to an exaggerated estimate of the impact of Brexit.”

The other assumed a close correlation between growth and productivity, but the assumption was based on just two papers that found a link in emerging economies. There was no link in developed economies. Were these errors, I ask Gudgin, or deliberate massaging of the numbers? He says there are issues of civil service integrity and of scientific “sins”.

About the two reports at the time of the referendum, he says: “I was told not to be naive. The chancellor was George Osborne, and he was strongly anti-Brexit. The civil servants were asked to do a major report. What other conclusion could they come to?”

Gudgin, however, does not agree with the strong, ideological Brexiteers on the free-market right when they claim there will be an economic boom arising from our ability to trade freely without EU restrictions. By 2030, he predicts a Brexit fall in GDP growth of about a quarter of 1%, but no effect whatsoever on the much more important GDP per capita — the effect on us individually. But still the voices of Brexit disaster have the microphone. “Nobody who appears on the BBC and says ‘This is going to be a catastrophe’ is ever asked what their view is based on,” says Gudgin.

Tombs’s analysis is more political. A celebrated historian of France, in 2014 he published The English and Their History. It was, among many other things, a rejection of the postwar declinist narrative that has dominated the lives of three generations. “By the standards of humanity as a whole,” he wrote, “England over the centuries has been among the richest, safest and best-governed places on earth, as periodical influxes of people testify. Its living standards in the 14th century were higher than much of the world in the 20th. We who have lived in England since 1945 have been among the luckiest people in the existence of Homo sapiens: rich, peaceful and healthy.”

The postwar, post-imperial decline of Britain — one of the driving forces behind our decision to join the EU — is an illusion. Yet in the 1960s and 1970s it was treated as established fact. When we joined the EU (then the EEC) in 1973 it was in a state of panic. Britain, it was said, was the Titanic and Europe our lifeboat.

“I think, speaking as a historian and as a patriot, that we were taken into the EU on a misunderstanding of our situation,” says Tombs. “It would have been better in the 1960s and 1970s to continue to ask for a free trade agreement. I don’t think most people understood the full implications of what we were signing up to politically.”

Part of that illusion was economic, the belief that growth in the EEC was outstripping ours. In fact that growth rate ground to a halt soon after we joined because it was based on a quarter-century of recovery from the Second World War. We were actually doing rather better than Europe. “We looked at the record of growth in per capita GDP since 1952,” says Gudgin, “and growth was better before we joined the EU than after.”

Politically, Tombs now sees the EU as imperilled by its own mania for centralisation. He had hesitated to vote “leave” because he foresaw the chaos among politicians and the civil servants that would ensue. “But the reason I eventually voted to leave was because I think the EU is either going to break up, and break up very badly, or at least dissolve into a dysfunctional confederation of non-co-operative members, or it will become — and France’s President Emmanuel Macron has stated this very clearly, to his credit — much more centralised, and not through conventional politics. The European parliament is not the way in which it could work or, indeed, is being envisaged to work. It will become a much more bureaucratic system in which power is exercised through banks and government bureaucracies, not through a normal process of political discussion.

“We’ve seen how that works in Italy and Greece: a political choice is defeated by sheer weight of economic pressure — if you do this, your currency or economy will collapse. I don’t think that would last and I don’t see how it could have a good end. I don’t think we either want to be, or ought to be, a party to that.”

Gudgin adds — and the left should pay attention — that a fully united Europe would have a hopelessly poor social security system as the Germans and others would not be willing to support welfare for the Greeks and southern Italians.

Both despised the way each side conducted the referendum campaign and how lies and manipulation contributed to the current rancorous social and political divisions. The dishonesty left a persistent residue of anger and mutual contempt that poisons and obscures debate.

So there you have it. A Brexit vote is not a symptom of low IQ any more than it is of racism. Brexiteers should wave the list of names on briefingsforbrexit.com the next time remainers sneer at them.

On a personal note, I voted to remain, having been unsure to the last minute. I disbelieved the economic arguments; I thought them rigged. I just believed that, maybe, the EU could ensure peace in Europe for another generation. Briefings for Brexit has knocked that one down. Tombs points out that Nato and nuclear weapons have done more to keep the peace than the EU, and a paper on the site will show that the EU has stirred up more wars than it can ever have stopped.

“Instead of peaceful integration,” writes Philip Cunliffe, a senior lecturer in international conflict at Kent University, “the eastward expansion of the EU has disproved its claim to reunify the Continent and shattered its legitimacy as a peacemaker.”

In a new referendum I would vote “leave”. It’s the smart option.

It’s right to leave: the great minds thinking alike

ECONOMISTS
Dr Graham Gudgin
, Judge Business School, Cambridge
Paul Ormerod, visiting professor at University College London

PHILOSOPHERS/THEORISTS
Nigel Biggar
, regius professor of moral and pastoral theology, Oxford
Paul Elbourne, professor of the philosophy of language, Oxford
Dr Tom Simpson, associate professor of philosophy and public policy, Blavatnik school of government, Oxford

LAWYERS

Ruth Deech
Ruth DeechBEN GURR

Sir Richard Aikens, QC, former member of the Court
of Appeal
Baroness (Ruth) Deech, former chairwoman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
Dr Richard Ekins, associate professor in law, Oxford
Carol Harlow, QC, emeritus professor of law, London School of Economics (LSE)
John Tasioulas, professor of politics, philosophy and law at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London
Guglielmo Verdirame, professor of international law, King’s College London

FOREIGN POLICY/DIPLOMACY/DEFENCE
Dr Philip Cunliffe
, senior lecturer in international conflict, University of Kent
Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6
John Forsyth, former member of the council of the Royal Institute for International Affairs
Dr Lee Jones, reader in international politics, Queen Mary University of London
Sir Peter Marshall, formerly deputy secretary-general of the Commonwealth
Gwythian Prins, emeritus research professor at the LSE
Dr Philip Towle, emeritus reader in international relations, Cambridge
Sir Andrew Wood, former ambassador to Russia and a fellow at Chatham House

SOCIAL POLICY
David Coleman
, emeritus professor of demography, Oxford
Jonathan Rutherford, emeritus professor of cultural studies, Middlesex University
Dr Joanna Williams, author/academic

PSYCHOLOGY
Dr Terri Apter
, former senior tutor, Newnham College, Cambridge
Robin Dunbar, emeritus professor of evolutionary psychology, Oxford

BUSINESS
Alexander Darwall
, Jupiter Asset Management
Sir Paul Marshall, chairman of ARK Schools
Rory Maw, Bursar of Magdalen College, Oxford
Dame Helena Morrissey, Legal & General Investment Management
Edmund Truell, chairman Disruptive Capital Finance
David Abulafia, professor of Mediterranean history, Cambridge
Sir Noel Malcolm, fellow of All Souls College, Oxford
Dr Daniel Robinson, fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford
Dr Peter Sarris, reader in late Roman, medieval and Byzantine studies, Cambridge
Robert Tombs, emeritus professor of French history, Cambridge

NATURAL SCIENCES
Dr Ian Winter
, senior lecturer in the department of physiology, development and neuroscience, Cambridge

POLITICAL SCIENCES AND GOVERNMENT
Lord (Maurice) Glasman
, Labour peer and director of the Common Good Foundation
Robert J Jackson, professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and emeritus professor at the University of Redlands, California
Richard Tuck, professor of government, Harvard University”

In Ireland:

Instead of homelessness, no affordable homes for young people, dismantling of the agri sector in Ireland, hospital trollies, the smarter option is to join with Britain in Brexit, look to unification of NI and Southern Ireland and work for a UK arrangement similar to NI, Wales, Scotland and England with a new Ireland joining the commonwealth. 

FDI here is global and FDI won’t leave because of Brexit alone again contrary to claims of the contrary.

We need Irexit.

The alternative is a vassal state enslaved by France and Germany who will ruthlesslessly
dismember and loot this country to save its own financial sector.

Financial collapse and its fallout since 2010 through austerity is only the precursor of a much larger loss to this country if Brexit brings a hard border with tariffs, falling value of sterling that will break exports.

Eventually leaving Ireland more divided  than it ever was before.

As a vassal state of the EU we will not even be able to comfort ourselves with false notions of our sovereign independence long since handed over to the troika and the ECB.

Our role in the governance of the EU through parliamentary MEP’s will be more of an empty vessel than it has been ever before.

Think of how Greece and Cyprus have moved in terms of their own sovereignty under the EU..

The loss of billions in revenue each year to Ireland….

https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/unique-brexit-exposure-could-cost-ireland-billions-each-year-467105.html

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/research/brexit-and-the-consequences-for-irish-customs.pdf

Instead of focusing on a Planning Framework up to 2040, perhaps more preparation for Brexit 2018/2019 is in order…

Instead of empty vessels making the most noise.

 

 

…..till again

Prepare for No Deal!

January 24, 2018

Taoiseach’s speech in Strasbourg: https://www.finegael.ie/speech-taoiseach-leo-varadkar-t-d-european-parliament-strasbourg/

–   An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD

Europe has been a great success.   And we owe its achievements – peace, individual rights, equality before the law, prosperity – to that political creativity and the friendship we have built together.”

Unfortunately for its citizens Europe has not been a success. The greatest ongoing threat to Europe is the euro whose design was ill-conceived.

I also support the Subsidiarity and Proportionality Taskforce.  It is interesting that, on many matters, US states and Canadian provinces, even counties and municipalities, have greater autonomy and greater variation among them than EU member states currently have.  Do we have the balance right?  And does everything have to be harmonised and standardised?

These are good questions posed by Leo Varadkar but coming from a leader of a vassal state not even at the negotiating table to decide its future in the EU, they lack meaningful substance and are carried away by the wind.

The trouble is the project euro of fixed exchange rates is threatening the prosperity, cohesiveness and the very future of Europe.

Locking into a fixed exchange rate such as the euro has not enabled subsidiarity
the principle that decisions should always be taken at the lowest possible level or
closest to where they will have their effect, for example in a local area rather than for a whole country.

This principle was blocked by Germany insisting that the EU was not a transfer union meaning that states would support each other in times of crisis. There was no banking union nor indeed were central banks across Europe regulated by common deposit insurance or euro bonds.

Sammy Wilson of the DUP has labelled Varadkar a ‘nutcase’ a signal of growing frustration among unionists of Varadkar’s increasing tendency to pro European eulogy rivaling speeches of Kim Jong-un in praise of north Korea.

http://www.thejournal.ie/sammy-wilson-varadkar-nutcase-3805479-Jan2018/

However, numbers are growing and Many argue the euro has become an economic failure bringing peripheral countries to their knees barely able to cling onto stability following bailouts while austerity continues to make things worse.

Instead the euro was designed to level the playing field. On the contrary it has looted the periphery and concentrated prosperity in Germany and the inner core.

Our greatest ally in Europe, the UK, is now leaving. Its likely this will further concentrate flow of capital and resources to Germany rather than the periphery. Already Frankfurt is poised to grab any low hanging fruit transfer of financial services to Europe. This is in spite of heavy propaganda to the contrary, that financial services will flock to Dublin.

Rather than touting membership of the euro and the financial success that brought financial collapse to Ireland making us one of the most heavily indebted countries in the world, we should recognise in Ireland’s case FDI from the USA has saved us from the worst effects of financial collapse.

However with coming Brexit the euro could leave us worse off than Greece. So perhaps An Taoiseach needs to wake up or take off those rose-tinted glasses. Could we at least get guarantees from negotiators that Irish farmers in the 2020 transition period will not suffer loss of CAP repayments as UK has promised its farmers.

Wake up should include recap of Jean Claude Trichet’s visit to Ireland to put down local efforts to achieve a fair deal for Ireland on bailout in 2010.

“Leo Varadkar’s approach may make him popular in Brussels but it will eventually destroy Ireland,” he(Sammy Wilson) said.

“Upon reflection, I should have said Leo Varadkar’s EU policies defy logic rather than the language I used.”

While RTE is mainly a pro EU europhile broadcasting station, one programme that recently came out of its stable was one fronted by broadcaster reporter George Lee titled Brexit Farming on the Edge.

It did a good job setting down some of the real issues over Brexit currently politically avoided by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael in head in the sand fashion.

Recall the only improvements we got on bailout interest repayments came subsequent to successful efforts by Greek and Portuguese governments to achieve relaxation on their own debt repayment interest rates.

Throwing ourselves at the mercy of Europe is foolishly Quixotic and it will bring chaos to Ireland as Sammy Wilson has highlighted. Next financial collapse of our banks and the pensions of government ministers will be effected.

 

Youtube: https://youtu.be/YpSYBMltA-c

 

One of the greatest problems posed by Brexit is the lack of transparency, the obscurity surrounding the basic issues for the EU and Ireland  involving negotiations over Brexit. There appears to be a hard line ignorance of what the real implications are for this country.

The real issues are hidden from view and clouded in meaningless language no one understands.

Stage 1 of negotiations set about agreeing titles of negotiation positions that would later be fleshed out in Stage 2. Stage 1 outcome for Ireland was a meaningless conundrum copper fastening the impossible whose interpretation was whatever you made of it.

According to decisions depending on your interpretation Negotiations in Stage 2 would avoid a hard border and seek alignment north and south and Ireland/UK/EU; the only way to achieve this of course is if Britain were to abandon Brexit!

It’s very possible if not likely that Ireland in Brexit negotiations will be seen by UK and EU as an expendable casualty.

The Rand corporation(link below) have calculated negative effect of Brexit on UK trade over 10yrs approx 5%.

On the other hand, Effect of agri trade with UK up to negative 2bn annually from Ireland could be disproportionately catastrophic.

Loss of farm repayments, tariffs, decline in the value of sterling, decline in tourism not to speak of the decline in the value of the euro following breakup, could bring instability undreamed of and pose the end of the road for Irish farmers.

We won’t think of the financial abyss posed by falling Irish banks and bursting of a property bubble.

Stephen Donnelly representing Fianna Fail in Sunday Independent, 21.01.18 p30, has a 5 point plan:

In summary,

The plan is to get a transition agreement, avoid north south border controls, protect free trade between Britain and Ireland, protect nationalist interests during phase 2 of Brexit talks.

Donnelly’s recipe for success is free from any alarming sense of the wolves at our door but comes across as rather smug and vague and alarmingly nonsensical.

https://www.thesun.ie/news/2048377/george-lees-farming-on-the-edge-documentary-reveals-brexit-has-already-hit-irish-farmers-and-there-could-be-worse-to-come/

He does mention recent changes in the US tax code that threaten our Corporation Tax and he mentions that this can shortly be accompanied by an EU attack on our corporate tax base. But no mention of need for a place at the table for bilateral talks with Britain demanded of eu ‘partners’.

On foot of threats to our corporation tax and possible tariffs on exports to our largest export partner crippling our agri industry the most, we get the sense of smugly fudging and muddling our way through. It’ll be grand. Donnelly’s account is free of accountancy detail such as an in-depth analysis of the effect of a fall in sterling on our exports. Currently no buyers are coming from the UK to Ireland to attend our marts.

The biggest danger to our exports is not tariffs but exchange rates about which Donnelly has nothing to say.

Donnelly’s antidote to Brexit is to encourage a new wave of economic investment and expansion, aimed at growing and internationalising Irish-owned companies.’ With this suggestion showing an astounding ignorance of basic economics and the effect of international exchange rates on competitiveness.

Donnelly shows how ill prepared Fianna Fail are for managing Brexit.

Neither is there any effort of persuasion made that, for example, Germany use some of its surpluses to make up for the loss of a major contributor to CAP such as UK.

The effects of a sudden fall in the value of sterling, the imposition of tariffs on goods leaving Ireland for Britain, a reduction in farm payments supporting the Agri sector, the loss of £8.1 bn from Britain to the EU budget will all get debated in Stage 2 negotiations between the UK and EU.

The effects of even some of these changes on Ireland will be catastrophic.

No sense there of an eu buffer zone transferring funds to Ireland to pay for its embarrassing new EU border crossing into NI or compensation for loss of agri exports or further reductions in farm payments.

No opportunity to revisit Ireland’s lending arrangements with the EU and our bailout. Nor indeed no effort made to do the figures on the 40% loss of funding to the EU that’ll severely impact the EU budget.

Let’s look at CAP

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/602007/IPOL_STU(2017)602007_EN.pdf

Statistics in Ireland are unreliable following on from our leprechaun economics episode of 25% increase in our GDP in 2015 derided as leprechaun economics. Likewise this year growth is due to a small number of multinationals moving assets into Ireland. This offsets spending on retail that has declined and the spend on new cars.

How reliable are exchange rates showing the EU jump from 1.08 to 1.22 dollar to euro in a couple of months in spite of Brexit!

https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/small-number-of-multinationals-fuel-06pc-irish-gdp-growth-in-q2-35049317.html

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7886

“Accounting for these receipts results in the UK making an average net contribution of £7.1 billion between 2010 and 2014.”CBP-7602

In The Euro and its threat to the Future of Europe, 2017, Joseph Stiglitz writes(p23):

“Governments in the afflicted country do not want to tell their citizens that they have suffered in vain. Those in government at the time of a decision to leave the currency know there will be turmoil, and know that in the aftermath there is a large chance they will be thrown out of office. They know that regardless of who is actually to blame, they will carry the brunt of the criticism if things do not go well. Thus, all around, there are strong incentives not only to muddle through but also to claim victory based on the weakest of evidence; a slight decrease in unemployment, a slight increase in exports; any signs of life in the economy are now grounds for claiming that austerity programs are working.”

We are rained on by tiny improvements, a small reduction in the number of people homeless over December and Xmas, a few less on hospital trollies in A&E’s, some crumbs offered to first time buyers for exorbitant property that will collapse to negative equity on the first whiff of crisis.

We should be debating whether it is wise for us to leave the euro with the UK.

With Brexit remaining in the euro gets bleaker by the day. Given the shambles of negotiations in Stage 1, its hard to see any agreement on anything in Stage 2. Its clear the UK are already preparing for a hard Brexit, we should be too.

 

 

till again….

 

The Economics of Brexit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auxkoo1n6tQ

long term implications of Brextit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feugHdaC1b0

 

Not only is housing minister Eoghan Murphy not meeting targets to end homelessness but the targets he has to end homelessness are far below what is required to stop homelessness increasing.

“The minister also said that the Government cannot guarantee that there will be fewer homeless children next Christmas than there are this year.”

Does that not sound pretty pathetic to you as well?

To be fair a doubling of budget allocation has been earmarked for social housing but what is required is a radical overhaul of the minister’s housing policy to upscale it to 5 times the amount the minister intends to spend on it over the next 2 years.

The problem is the minister is seriously constrained in 2 ways. Firstly, his policy is based on local authorities taking up the call to engage local developers to build the numbers of houses required. Secondly with taxpayers money the minister is forced by the troika to act within its fiscal limits the fiscal space European bankers set for us, so no floating of Homelessness Bonds or on balance sheet large scale borrowings…we owe enough already and Europe will make us stew until it gets paid back!

The cost of building a house measured against the affordability of accommodation be it apartment or housing in a new estate has soared above what is affordable by the vast majority of those seeking accommodation. Developers know this and they are not keen to take the risk whereby their costs outstrip what expected returns can be made on their investment.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse news in this morning from Irish Council for Social Housing tasked with constructing up to 15000 social housing units over the next three years that their borrowings are to be reclassified as Government Debt by Eurostat. A similar move in the UK required legislation to overturn. This means their borrowings even more precarious and their promise to build the above equally so.

Special measures should long since be in place such as large-scale infrastructural development plotted by a single agency with a publicly accessible mapping to show the plans as they unfold, numbers, locations with further relevant data to show the emergency measures involved is required at once.

The problem with this approach is this contravenes the fiscal limits imposed on us by the troika whose shadow overhangs this country. Such large-scale investment will not be permitted.

Homelessness is a measure of how badly membership of the EU is effecting future development of this country. Political powers have been stripped away and governance handed over to the banking sector whose rule is controlled by the ECB and monitored by the troika who’ve supreme control over budgetary limits, see earlier blogs.

There is a solution to homelessness and resolution of our status in a new post Brexit Europe but it involves both NI and Republic of Ireland uniting and establishing new political and economic relationships with both the EU and the UK.

Let’s take a look at the current status of these relationships. But before we do let me call on Minister Murphy to resign. He is currently out of his depth and at risk of being totally swamped by matters under his charge getting totally out of control as homelessness worsens as it has done throughout his time in office.

To be fair let’s not have him shoulder all the blame. Probably far more worthy of a call to resign is Deputy Martin of FF whose party has held this ramshackle government in place for so long. FF and FG  policies are pretty much identical by now.

But lets not digress.

“Ms May’s official spokesman said that, although she wanted a standstill transition, it would be outside the European institutional framework.

“We are leaving the customs union and the single market in March 2019. The prime minister has also said that, during that implementation period, you can expect things to be broadly similar to how they are today. Precisely what that looks like is obviously a matter for negotiation. We are now moving towards the position where we will be having that negotiation,” he said.”

“The agreement between Britain and the European Commission says that in the absence of agreed solutions, the UK will maintain full alignment “with those rules of the internal market and the customs union which, now or in the future, support North-South co-operation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 agreement”.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/uk-qualifies-implications-of-full-alignment-brexit-pledge-1.3320823

The problem is that full alignment can be taken to mean Britain does not leave the customs union. Equally it can mean its a fudge to mean whatever can be achieved to produce least damage to North South relations after Britain leaves. So far its an unachievable nebulous concept without content.

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
― George Orwell, 1984

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
― George Orwell1984

“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”
― George Orwell1984

OK let’s set by acknowledging there is objective truth by which falsehood can be measured.

Otherwise no point reading beyond here, better  head off with whatever prejudice makes you most comfortable however delusional this is…

In the above spirit, Let’s examine the “bullet proof” Brexit fudge that allows UK to proceed to stage 2 trade negotiations for Brexit. Moving to stage 2 is a major diplomatic coup by Brexiteers only succeeding by forcing EU negotiators to stare into the abysss of a hard Brexit.

It’s not bullet proof. Ask Sammy Wilson or Arlene Foster who flag the changes in the text under the heading “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. Their assent was bought with  guaranteed nod and wink that the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK will be protected in a final deal.

The so-called cast iron guarantee is subject to progress agreeable to UK and NI that will emerge in trade talks in stage 11. The following are some rather threadbare European documents on the detail of the Brexit  agreement.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/priorities/20160701TST34439/20160707STO36103/brexit-negotiations-deciding-new-eu-uk-relations

Note the terms used are in keeping with this writers favoured option of IRexit. What do I mean by that?

Well ‘Alignment’ between NI and Republic of Ireland can occur in a United Ireland for which a trade agreement between The EU and a new United Ireland;  the UK and a new United Ireland; can be agreed, while we head towards a new economic and political reality underscored by EU and UK support. This could mean Irexit meaning we leave the EU along with the UK. But a new political relationship between the south and northern parts of this island would be required. 

Lets not delude ourselves an opportunity to mend a broken Ireland if squandered can make the sundering of Northern and Southern Ireland worse.

Before examining the conundrum of customs union and alignment further, let’s have a comic interlude to smile at the interview of Simon Coveney when an incredulous interviewer asks him approx 7 minutes in if the agreement Coveney is preannouncing has been agreed with the DUP

Amazing news here broadcast by RTE announcing that we have the safeguards we need with no border, Coveney

http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=b9%5F10809020%5F135%5F04%2D12%2D2017%5F

Listen to Christopher Nevin on RTE news asking Simon Coveney if the DUP have been briefed and what is their reaction?

Surely the DUP have been briefed? Coveney says he is not going to get into that! What nonsense, what a mess!

So what’s the difference between membership of the customs union and regulatory alignment with the terms of the European Customs Union? None really perhaps political semantics. But using the term regulatory alignment allows the UK to enter into stage 2 of negotiations on a trade agreement between the UK and European Union. Job done.

In a previous blog https://colmbrazel.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/draining-the-swamp-with-irexit/

Irexit  under Brexit?

“Imagine that the UK and EU form a free trade area, but that the UK sets a 20% tariff on Japanese cars, while the EU sets a 10% tariff. Without border controls between the UK and EU, everyone would import Japanese cars into the UK via the EU — which would undermine the UK’s trade policy. Similarly, imagine that the UK does a trade deal with the US, and agrees to admit American beef duty-free, while the EU retains a 15% tariff. Again, absent border controls between the UK and EU, everyone would import US beef into the EU via the UK, thus undermining EU trade policy.”( Kevin O Rourke )

http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2017/02/16/brexit-customs-unions-and-borders/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-northern-ireland-border-guy-verhofstadt-single-market-customs-union-european-parliament-a7972596.html

“The resolution rubbishes Britain’s proposals for an infrastructureless NI border based on spot checks and says that the UK plan for a lack of physical infrastructure “presumes that the United Kingdom stays in the internal market and customs union or that Northern Ireland stays in some form in the internal market and customs union”. The PM has ruled out keeping the UK as a whole in the customs union or single market.”

The conundrum is simple Brexit means UK leaving the customs union free to trade as it will with other nations and trade blocks. alignment means the UK is shackled to follow the dictates of a customs union not of its own making.

Its true that Northern Ireland and the southern republic could in theory create a soft border similar to the Scandinavian model or the US/Canada model or that of China/Hong Kong. After ratification by the 27 of course, but this is a long way off, if not impossible to deliver and achieve.

Perhaps a soft electronic border with a variant of  The Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA)between Hong Kong and China.

“The Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) agreement between Mainland China and Hong Kong on their Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) programs for road cargo took effect on May 18, 2014. The Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) and General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) signed the pact in October 2013.

Under the arrangement, local companies in Hong Kong accredited as AEOs by C&ED and enterprises in China certified by GAC as AA class will receive clearance benefits at the same level.

https://www.jiffa.or.jp/en/news/entry-2907.html

Certificates of Non manipulation

http://www.customs.gov.hk/pda/en/traders/trade_facilitation/fta/faq.html

However, its difficult to square circles and make the distinction between leaving the custom’s union and some form of alignment (another term for customs union).

One option that should be explored by all parties is Irexit with Ireland north and south joining together under Brexit and adopting a new political and economic relationship with both the UK and the EU.

The choice is freedom to build a new island of Ireland with greater cooperation between north and south vs the puppet politics of homelessness.

Spot Arlene Foster in the following video in aid of Aspire NI.

http://www.thejournal.ie/arlene-foster-3731312-Dec2017/

||Happy Christmas||

till again

http://www.eoghanmurphy.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Housing-Budget-2018.pdfhttps://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2017/1219/928354-33-increase-in-those-looking-for-help-from-simon/

Irexit

December 2, 2017

“He added: “As the British Government has ruled that option out it must offer credible, concrete and workable solutions that guarantee that there will be no hard border whatever the outcome of the negotiations.

“As we discussed today, the period between now and the European Council meeting in two weeks’ time will be crucial – indeed, the next couple of days. So we don’t have long, but I believe that with the right engagement and with the right political will we can reach an agreement on the way ahead.”

Mr Varadkar’s ‘agreement’ is likely to coincide with John Bruton’s view below that the UK should not leave the customs union! This is both naive and foolhardy as it ignores the certainty of Brexit for Ms May’s government who have repeatedly stated Brexit means Brexit means leaving the customs union.

But Mr Varadkar warned: “I am also prepared to stand firm if the offer falls short.” ”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-donald-tusk-ireland-uk-offer-eu-britain-leo-varadkar-a8087556.html

Shirking its responsibility to come up with a solution to Ireland’s border problem with Brexit Donald Tusk head of the European Council passes the buck to Ireland’s Trojan horse.

Tusk is President of the European Council since 2014 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Tusk .

Ireland does not have a seat at the negotiating table of the EU for talks with the UK.

It’s not in the interest of the EU to lay out a policy document and agreement with the UK over Brexit as this weakens EU and could be a template for other leave campaigns should they arise after the UK. There are compelling reasons for Italy, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus to leave.

In Ireland anti Brexit sentiment among political parties is at its highest.  For example http://johnbruton.com/category/brexit/  John Bruton describes how leaving the EU puts Brexit in conflict with the Interlaken principles of the EU. Of course it does. They are leaving not joining the EU.

Brutonbelieves a solution to the border problem is that the UK should not leave the customs union and it should agree to a 6 year interim Brexit period during which he hopes the UK can be persuaded to change its mind.

Bruton and the EU and Ireland are practiced in multiple referendums until the result they want is forcibly achieved. No longer espousing democratic principles the will of the people regarded as malleable or an indifferent inconvenience that is easily subverted.

The principle of democracy with Brexit demanding the UK leave the customs union is strongly defended by the UK.

Fudging of Brexit demands that the UK reconsider its position is weakening the possibility of an agreed solution that won’t impose a hard Brexit.

Let me put forward a solution that will maintain the Irish Republic in the EU. If the EU made an initial spend of 50bn euro to support Ireland during Brexit this would make the spend on our population of approx 5,000,000 at 10,000 euro per person.

Currently https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/northern-ireland-public-spending-highest-in-uk-14020-per-head-35747632.html , NI has the highest public spend in any region of the UK with approx 15000euro per person.

This would compensate us for loss of trade and provide for our border out of public funds.

MrTusk and fellow European politicians have not been talking of any financial support for Ireland. Perhaps negotiators can enlighten us on why this is so.

Following our financial collapse and bailout we did not even get a ghostly presence of European politicians but we did get threatened by the bailout team supported by EU politicians who demanded terms that horrified the IMF.

It would appear post Brexit Ireland would have to be raised to the status of a protectorate and thus financial support for our loss is required.

It’s a tragedy that the Irish border will reemerge as a reminder of this divided island and divided people.

Withour common heritage and vast diaspora in the UK we should be leaving the EU with Brexit invoking an Irexit that can unite north and south and the UK.

The south has been a huge loss to the north and visa versa. We need northern Ireland politicians and southern Ireland politicians to bring this island forward rather than backward into a broken past.

Irexit will not mean MNC’s leaving Ireland. MNC’s are global in their sales. Irish farmers would continue to sell into the UK and worldwide. A free trade agreement with the EU will need to be agreed. Irish educational institutions and universities and public services especially healthcare would require upgrade and harmonisation with our UK counterparts.

Alas the political will and talent for examining the benefits of Irexit as opposed to remaining in the EU under the likes of Irish Water’s Phil Hogan keep the media in myopic tunnel vision focused on remain with the topic of leaving kept out of public discourse.

A few years of the consequences of Brexit for this island may leave it too late to get a better deal for Ireland leaving the EU.

Meanwhile we lurch blindly towards the nightmare destiny of the island of Cyprus rescued by EU bailin of depositors money in its banks recently following financial collapse of Cyprus.

Post Brexit we can easily become “…the Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts: the area under the effective control of the Republic, located in the south and west, and comprising about 59% of the island’s area; and the north,[24] administered by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 36% of the island’s area. Another nearly 4% of the island’s area is covered by the UN buffer zone.

The international community considers the northern part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces.[25][26][27][28][29] The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union.[30]” 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyprus

What a mess Irish politicians are making and they are making it bigger.

 

till again……………

Irexit  under Brexit?

“Imagine that the UK and EU form a free trade area, but that the UK sets a 20% tariff on Japanese cars, while the EU sets a 10% tariff. Without border controls between the UK and EU, everyone would import Japanese cars into the UK via the EU — which would undermine the UK’s trade policy. Similarly, imagine that the UK does a trade deal with the US, and agrees to admit American beef duty-free, while the EU retains a 15% tariff. Again, absent border controls between the UK and EU, everyone would import US beef into the EU via the UK, thus undermining EU trade policy.”( Kevin O Rourke )

http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2017/02/16/brexit-customs-unions-and-borders/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-northern-ireland-border-guy-verhofstadt-single-market-customs-union-european-parliament-a7972596.html

“The resolution rubbishes Britain’s proposals for an infrastructureless NI border based on spot checks and says that the UK plan for a lack of physical infrastructure “presumes that the United Kingdom stays in the internal market and customs union or that Northern Ireland stays in some form in the internal market and customs union”. The PM has ruled out keeping the UK as a whole in the customs union or single market.”

It is now the case  negotiations over Brexit are focusing on 2 key areas 1. the Financial and 2. the Irish Border.

To understand the latter consider the impact on Spain of Catalonia leaving Spain purely from a trade perspective; or California leaving the US; or Kerry leaving the Republic.

By way of further clarification could I take issue with the use of the term Sovereign Republic of Ireland in Brexit negotiations : “Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.[1] It is a basic principle underlying the dominant Westphalian model of state foundation. ” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereignty

Ireland has given up large chunks of its sovereignty to the EU many EU treaties ago and can no longer consider itself a sovereign republic.

Back to the point:

O Rourke quotes: “The Union shall comprise a customs union which shall cover all trade in goods and which shall involve the prohibition between Member States of customs duties on imports and exports and of all charges having equivalent effect, and the adoption of a common customs tariff in their relations with third countries.”

Clearly we deduce Ireland if it remains in the EU cannot negotiate a FTA (Free Trade Area) for itself to set tariffs on imports. If it did so, it would have to pay for and accommodate an expensive border. Ireland must abide within European rules.

So we are left with the remaining option to consider, NI remains within the customs union.

Leaving aside objections by the DUP let’s go back to the sovereignty definition above. The British people have voted as a democratic people for Brexit. This means at the very least leaving the customs union with a new sovereign UK setting its own custom duties on imports and exports and rejection of a common customs tariff set by the EU.

But Kevin O Rourke in this paper offers many compelling reasons for Ireland to remain in the EU largely attributing Ireland’s prosperity to its membership of the EU. Unfortunately his arguments view membership of the EU through rose-tinted glasses.

For example he ignores the fact that FDI investment in Ireland through the 90’s to this day largely exports to the rest of the world and not the EU.

Our membership of the EU is a card largely overplayed to explain the attractiveness for Ireland for FDI. Ireland has many other attractions for FDI other than membership of the EU. Ironically many of Ireland’s tax policies are considered by the EU as anti-competitive and unfair and are targets for revision.

O Rourke ignores the hosing of free money into Ireland through its membership of the EU area and the lack of financial controls that led to investment of large parts of this money into an unproductive housing and property market, with growth impelled through construction of ghost housing, land lordism, commercial property markets that were stoked in rush to profit margins by Irish banking under a Central Bank largely government free of ECB European regulation.

Ireland’s financial collapse circa 2010 was made in the promise of membership of the EU providing financial stability of our economy freed of exchange rate controls and uncertainties due to our national currency.

We would be free of such unforeseen consequences as financial collapse? In that regard membership of the EU has been a dismal failure whether through Irish or European bad governance.

We currently have a debt to GDP ratio of 75% https://tradingeconomics.com/ireland/government-debt-to-gdp

Since the Paradise papers and before the above 75% is unreliable as its made up of figures from our multi nationals that through means such as the famous Double Irish involve offshore sales, trick accounting methods dubious to say the least.

Here is Ireland’s €200bn+ debt clock and the figure rises by the second. It rises by over €300 per second. Our financial affairs and our banks are still in a perilous state.

https://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/ireland

Our banks are vulnerable to external shocks such as Brexit. UK is a major market that will instantly make our agri exports uncompetitive and through  inward flow of cheaper goods could severely damage our retail industry as well as our agri industry.

We havn’t done as well out of our membership of the EU as europhiles like O Rourke would have you believe. We gave away our fishing industry, compare ours to that of Norway, ” With a coastline of more than 83 000 km, including fjords and islands, Norway is one of the world’s leading nations regarding the production from marine fisheries and aquaculture. The fisheries sector has always played a key social and economic role, nationally and regionally, and has been the basis for settlement and employment along the entire Norwegian coast. The vast marine areas under Norwegian jurisdiction are among the most productive in the world and provide ideal conditions for aquaculture production. Fishing and fish farming represent 0.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, with 12 900 full-time equivalents employed in the sector. In 2009, Norway ranked 11th in global capture fisheries production and the 7th in aquaculture production. It produced 3.5 million tonnes of seafood, about 25 percent coming from the aquaculture industry. ” http://www.fao.org/fishery/facp/NOR/en

We have legacy issues stemming from financial collapse not the least of which is our homelessness, property crisis and trolley bed “8101 patients on trolleys in September 2017 awaiting admission for in-patient treatment. This represents a 7% increase when compared to September 2016.” https://www.inmo.ie/Trolley_Ward_Watch

Society in Ireland is more unfair and fractured the gulf between rich and poor widening rather than decreasing.

Membership of the EU involving tax harmonisation, defence, and EU trade policies changing with UK under Brexit make a compelling reason for Ireland to review its membership of the EU.

It seems to me we have 3 choices.

  1. Remain in the EU and take what comes. This would be economically, politically and socially a disaster for Ireland. O Rourke states “Those who want Ireland to leave the EU know that they are in a small minority, and many will not come out and argue for their position particularly strongly, for fear of being laughed out of court. The evidence that our prosperity is based on EU membership is overwhelming. ” O Rourke’s remain case is underwhelming to say the least as he cites the success of Finland in 1991 required to face up to consequences of break up of Soviet Union and Denmark in 19th century to withstand tariff changes. The problem here is we live in a new era of a global economy and switching from beef to dairy will not help us. We do not have a manufacturing base to rely on. Our property market is as dysfunctional as it was before the crash of 2010. Ironically, if our property market had been more successfully cauterised than it has been with bailout and with NAMA, we would be in a better place to deal with Brexit. As it is our economy is extremely fragile.
  2. We could follow Switzerland and leave the EU https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland–European_Union_relations  This would mean “The relations between Switzerland and the European Union (EU) are framed by a series of bilateral treaties whereby the Swiss Confederation has adopted various provisions of European Union law in order to participate in the Union’s single market. All but one (the microstate Liechtenstein) of Switzerland’s neighbouring countries are EU member states.”
  3. We could leave the EU and negotiate a Commonwealth FTA agreement with the UK that would include a 32 county dimension. This would invlove a political solution involving the island of Ireland and a new parliamentary democracy with Dail Eireann replacing Stormont. Legacy historical issues involving relationships between communities in a new Commonwealth of nations, Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland with greater freedoms in each jurisdiction would be a bold enterprise that could strengthen the island of Ireland and provide it with a dynamic future unfettered from the past that has cost Ireland dear.

O Rourke states: “Those who want Ireland to leave the EU know that they are in a small minority, and many will not come out and argue for their position particularly strongly, for fear of being laughed out of court. The evidence that our prosperity is based on EU membership is overwhelming. ”

O Rourke makes many fine points but overall i find his arguments for staying in the EU underwhelming. The EU is heading for greater centralisation and more exclusion of the periphery that will be to our cost. It has already been to our cost in its refusal to burn bondholders and saddle us with the cost of bailout to the dismay of the IMF.

I respect his opinions but take issue with his poorly chosen remarks above. There is a far greater number of Irish people critical of our membership of the EU as evidenced in our previous votes on Treaty matters, than he would lead us to believe.

Critics of our membership of the EU grow by the day. It would be much more helpful for informed debate if views on both sides were respected and derisory tones were left aside to allow evidence to speak for itself.

Evidence mounts by the second we should elevate the position of Irexit to give it the intellectual respect it requires by both our politicians and academia in Ireland. Its largely not debated whatsoever in RTE.

One political canard in this debate that informs debate at the moment is the unstated possibility that NI would leave the UK and join Ireland in a sovereign, united Republic and remain a member of the EU.

Firstly, we are no longer a sovereign nation. Secondly, while the Irish government may not respect the votes of the Irish people on European Treaties, Brexit will happen. NI as part of the UK with the DUP support of Brexit and the present government of the UK; to consider the possibility of NI leaving the UK under Brexit is ludicrous.

But if the proposal gains traction these facts will become immediately apparent.

New European Army !

Swamped by negative feedback from the citizens of Europe back in the ’50s the proposals to build a new pan European army with a new defence pact are back on the table: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/877711/Brexit-news-Nigel-Farage-European-Union-Jean-Claude-Juncker-Nick-Clegg-EU-army-video

“At least 20 EU members are expected to sign a new military collaboration pact – known as the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) – as early as next week.”

In a previous blog I’ve noted ”

Jean Claude Juncker has also suggested that EU member countries should give up their right to veto new tax laws.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/01/jean-claude-juncker-blocked-eu-curbs-on-tax-avoidance-cables-show

With  UK Brexit Ireland will have no friend in the EU to protect its interests as it becomes cocooned under German and French control as a new buffer state between the EU and UK.

The European spider as it has done under bailout will suck this country dry.

Already this country is a pawn in the negotiations exploited by the EU to damage Brexit and the UK.

Our bid to host the 20123 Rugby World Cup was a fail beaten by South Africa of all places https://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2017/0925/907332-irelands-rugby-world-cup-2023-bid/

But it is nothing to the failure of this government to chart us through Brexit waters which becomes more apparent by the day.

In general the bill for the mess has been put on the shoulders of taxpayers with the rich able to avoid those taxes and the bill is going to mount considerably.

Legacy issues hold us back:

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/trolley-crisis-more-than-80000-patients-left-on-trolleys-already-this-year-36304516.html

https://plus.google.com/share?url=https://www.rte.ie/radio1/marian-finucane/programmes/2017/1014/912337-marian-finucane-saturday-14-october-2017/?clipid=102630215%23102630215

Problems such as our homelessness and property crisis have been solved before when we were outside the EU. Fiscal rules within the EU prevent us investing in the infrastructure to solve the housing crisis so we increasingly see matters getting worse due to band aid efforts to protect the rich including our own banks.

Professor Drudy has solutions that are withheld from the public and he gets little publicity. But solutions such as his require us to reexamine our relationship with membership of the EU. We urgently need to recognise our need to join Brexit with Irexit to prevent lasting damage to the people of this island north and south.

Professor Drudy Committee on Housing and Homelessness

 

 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland%E2%80%93European_Union_relationshttps://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/2828/150-final.pdfhttps://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/taskforce-article-50-negotiations-united-kingdom_enhttps://ec.europa.eu/commission/brexit-negotiations_en#latest

 

till again….