Tag Archives: the guardian

LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: How to beat the ticking Brexit clock: let British business leaders do the talking

There are few people in this country who have as much experience in negotiating international trade deals as Miriam Gonzalez Durantez.  In her Made in Spain book published last year, she drops casually into a recipe that she came across guacamole when she helped to negotiate the EU-Mexico trade agreement.

She’s written in the Guardian about the many dangerous mistakes that the Government is making in its approach to the EU negotiations.

She has some scary observations about who is influencing these proceedings:

British business leaders were asked to share the table with the Legatum Institute, a thinktank with unparalleled access to Davis and Theresa May and that seems to have been at the origin of some of the preposterous positions on Brexit taken by the government so far. Its inexplicable presence at that table was the clearest signal that the government has not changed its views on Brexit after the general election even one tiny little bit.

The institute has established a special commission on trade that consists of more than 20 people with different “trade” backgrounds. It is run by a British American director. The Legatum member who has just been nominated the UK’s new chief trade negotiation adviser is a New Zealander. The funding of the institute comes from a foundation that is part of a Dubai-based private investment group. So much for the UK “taking back control”.

The Government invited 33 business leaders to a discussion with this organisation recently. She goes on to show how this institute may have influenced the Government’s comments on things like “frictionless” access to the single market.

Miriam goes on to describe exactly why such an approach is completely unrealistic:

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Vince Cable on Lib Dem prospects: You could come from third to first really quickly

In an interview with the Guardian published tonight, Vince Cable sets out some lofty ambitions for the party:

I ask him what would constitute success for his leadership. “If there is a significant improvement in our vote share, and a sense that we are back in the frame as a serious party being listened to,” he says. He is not looking merely at picking up the odd seat – his age doesn’t permit him that incremental approach – but is more interested in driving up popular support. “You could come from third to first very quickly.” He is encouraged by Emmanuel Macron’s remarkable ascent and the appeal of “radical centrism” in France, and draws parallels with Britain. “The right had become discredited in France, while here the Tory brand is becoming discredited by the day, and there was also a reaction against the Mélenchon left.”

That’s a long way from where we are now, so under what circumstances can we get there? Well, the true cost of Brexit is going to become apparent:

Cable stands by his suggestion that we may never leave the EU. “The Brexit process is going to get very messy. I meet a lot of senior civil servants and they’re trying to be loyal, but their eyebrows rise. They just can’t see how it can be done. The government haven’t taken on board the complexity of unwinding 40 years of regulatory activity.” He says the row over Euratomis a taste of the chaos to come. “The Brexiteers are only just beginning to understand the enormous can of worms they have opened up.”

Does he see any form of Brexit that can work? “I’m increasingly pessimistic,” he says. He thinks there is a 50-50 chance that Britain will get a deal and transition period that safeguard the economy. “That could happen,” he says. “But I think there’s a very high risk of the whole thing falling apart and crashing out, with all the costs associated with it. It’s at that point that the second referendum becomes absolutely essential.”

If you like that kind of thing, there’s a delicious put-down of Corbyn:

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LibLink: Brian Paddick: If we value our national security, we will avoid a hard Brexit

A couple of days before Theresa May’s ill-judged ultimatum in her Article 50 letter over trade and security, Brian Paddick wrote for the Guardian about how hard Brexit could damage our security. That’s right. If Theresa May gets her way, we will be less safe.

He started off by talking about last week’s attack at Westminster in which 4 people, PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Leslie Rhodes and Kurt Cochran were murdered. How do we balance the need to keep Parliament accessible with the safety of those in and around it?

That security must be balanced with an obligation to keep parliament open to the people. We shouldn’t turn Westminster into Fort Knox, even if such a thing were possible. But we can improve security, for politicians, staff and, crucially, police on the frontline.

Those officers are not armed. Armed support is a distance away. No one wants an ostentatious display of force, which would only increase that sense of alienation many feel about “Westminster”. But this attack shows, alas, that armed officers should be directly behind that frontline. Otherwise lives will be lost that could be saved. In this attack, I gather, it was only because a minister’s armed close protection officer happened to be close by that the assailant was stopped.

While millions are spent on surveillance powers and the security services, over the past six years £1bn has been cut from the Metropolitan police budget. That’s huge.

He went on to talk about how a hard Brexit could compromise our security effort both in cost and co-operation. 

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LibLink: Tim Farron: British voters must have the final say on the Brexit deal

In today’s Guardian, Tim Farron sets out the case for the people to decide in a referendum whether they wish to accept the terms of Brexit or remain in the EU after all.

He sets out what Theresa May is up to:

Theresa May’s tactic is clear: to accuse anyone who dares question her headlong, blindfold charge towards hard Brexit of being democracy deniers. This despite it looking increasingly likely that the result of her reckless, divisive Brexit will be to leave the single market and not reduce immigration – the very opposite of what Brexiteers pitched to the people.

Then he sets out the case for a referendum on the deal:

It was May’s choice to plumb for the hardest and most divisive Brexit, taking us out of the single market before she has even tried to negotiate. That’s why we believe the people should have the final say. Someone will: it will either be politicians or the people. If the people decide they don’t like the deal on offer, they should have the option to remain in the European Union.

This is simply too big to trust to politicians. May wants to hijack David Cameron’s mandate from the general election to deliver hard Brexit. Meanwhile, the recent tough talk from Keir Starmer won’t hide Labour’s feeble deeds: voting for Brexit, failing to stick up for the right of EU nationals to remain, and even now only really threatening to abstain rather than vote against the final deal. I have heard of loyal opposition, but this is craven.

And he points out that the outcome is likely to be far from what people voted for – and that’s going to be the fault of blinkered ministers:

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Labour leaflet: It’s a lie to say Labour opposes Brexit

This is a Labour leaflet being delivered in Stoke. Here they are, trying to out-UKIP UKIP.

“Every major party except the Lib Dems are supporting Brexit here in Stoke”

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LibLink: Sarah Olney: Theresa May’s visit to Turkey betrays our liberal values

Fresh from her meeting in Washington with a man who has extolled the effectiveness of torture, admitted sexually assaulting women and who thinks building walls between nations is a good idea, our Prime Minister heads today to meet the leader of a so-called democracy where human rights mean nothing and journalists are imprisoned.

Sarah Olney has written a blistering article in the Guardian, attacking the PM for betraying our liberal values instead of safeguarding our trading relationship with the democracies on our doorstep.

This tawdry tour shames Britain. This is a defining period on the international stage and we must consider to what extent this new course is safeguarding both our interests and values around the world.

In an age of “alternative facts”, there is no doubt about the realities of the Erdoğan regime. Even before last July’s failed coup, Erdoğan had begun systematically dismantling Turkey’s democratic institutions. Since the coup, he has embraced full-frontal authoritarianism. He is not only locking up journalists, but teachers, professors and policemen – all without due process. Not quite the outfit you’d have in mind for a regime described yesterday as an “indispensable partner” by Theresa May.

>Indeed, turn the clock back eight months and our now foreign secretary was slating the Turkish president. Yet Boris Johnson has fallen unusually silent – refusing to call Erdoğan out on his shocking crimes. There is a pattern here: ministers pursuing business deals on the international stage at odds with Britain’s best traditions and values.

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Tim Farron tops Guardian front page as Carmichael’s “You’re not an opposition” riposte to Thornberry gets biggest Question Time cheer

Last night, Alistair Carmichael took full advantage of the opportunity his last minute addition to the Question Time panel gave him to give both Conservatives and Labour a blast.

Watch him tell off Labour’s Emily Thornberry:

Earlier today, Tim Farron was the top story on the Guardian website as he lambasted Labour’s failure to put up any sort of opposition to the Tories.

In an overt attempt to steal votes from Labour in pro-remain constituencies, Farron said he believed Corbyn had put his party on the wrong side of the biggest political issue in a generation and was struggling because his MPs were increasingly split on how to respond.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 16th Aug - 8:57pm
    Michael BG, there are a number of different issues here. Our decline in the opinion polls occurred in stages as Tim13 comments above. The tuition...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 16th Aug - 8:49pm
    @Kirsten Johnson In your previous article you referred to Oxfordshire County Council recently voting to move to a committee system of governance rather than the...
  • User AvatarMartin 16th Aug - 8:14pm
    @davidallen, Brexit will cause a century of impoverishment? Obviously voters won't want to know if you make such ridiculous and unprovable claims, they probably think...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 16th Aug - 7:51pm
    I think that we need to be careful about rushing to judgement about what is going on. Something is clearly not right. The important thing...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 16th Aug - 7:36pm
    @ Joe Bourke “Trying to win votes by appealing to a section of graduates is not much of a strategy.” Scrapping the current student tuition...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 16th Aug - 7:17pm
    David Evershed. Given that there are at least five food banks in Buckinghamshire I would have that social justice in a rich county was infinitely...