Canada-EU non-deal – dramatic collapse of the shining example for a post-Brexit future held up by the leavers

Business Insider UK reports:

Britain’s hopes of striking a post-Brexit free-trade deal with the European Union might have just been destroyed by a single regional government in Belgium.

This came after Wallonia, part of Belgium, effectively voted to veto the Candaian-EU trade deal.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, said in an official statement that the Canadian government was “disappointed” and that striking a deal would be “impossible”.

“Canada has worked, and I personally have worked very hard, but it is now evident to me, that the European Union is incapable of reaching an agreement — even with a country with the European values such as Canada, even with a country as nice and patient as Canada,” she said.

“Canada is disappointed and I personally am disappointed, but I think it’s impossible. We are returning home. At least I will see my three children tomorrow at our home.”

…Donald Tusk, the European Council president, said earlier this week that failure to complete the EU-Canada deal would make striking post-Brexit trade deals with Britain near-impossible.

And, my goodness, me – oh dear – the British leavers were holding up this Canada-EU deal as a model for us to follow post-Brexit! The Guardian reported in August:

David Davis, the new minister for Brexit, has called it the “perfect starting point for our discussions with the commission”. Earlier this year, Boris Johnson cited Canada and its trade deal as an example for the UK to follow, adding: “It’s a very, very bright future I see.”

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

No wonder the whole Brexit mess is now being compared to “The Italian Job”. See Anne McIlvoy’s piece in the Guardian today. As McIlvoy says, we currently seem to be at the end of the film, with the bus hanging over the edge of a precipice, with Boris Johnson in the role of Michael Caine saying:

Hang on a minute lads. I think I’ve got a great idea. Uh….Uh…

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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114 Comments

  • Doesn’t this prove the absolute opposite? If this had gone through Remainers would be screaming about how we need to stay in the EU. Yet vote Leave has been proved correct – in the words of the Canadians `it’s impossible to get a deal with the EU`.

    The EU is completely hopeless when it comes to our interests. It’s a laughing stock.

  • It also shows the EU to be dictatorial, very bad at conducting business and hostile to foreign governments. The other thing it shows is that “soft” Brexit is unworkable baloney.

  • It is interesting how Wallonia can veto this trade deal but the UK Government tell us that Scotland can’t veto full English Brexit. It just goes to show how much more influence Scotland could have within the EU than it does inside the UK.

  • Eddie Sammon 22nd Oct '16 - 12:50pm

    As Andrew Neil says, what future for the Customs Union if the EU can’t even sign a trade deal with Canada?

    There’s no good out of this. It means brexit will be more difficult and the EU is struggling to sign trade deals with other continents.

    Apparently the main objection was farmers. I’ll read their local press later if I can find the time to see what’s going on. The Economist reported the farmer’s objections.

  • John Peters 22nd Oct '16 - 1:30pm

    Drawing attention to the sclerotic nature of the EU is an odd thing to do from a pro-EU perspective. Are Lib Dems now signaling their willingness to embrace change?

  • Eddie Sammon 22nd Oct '16 - 1:35pm

    Just read the main story on the website of the liberal Walloon paper “Le Soir”. Wallonia’s Prime Minister still wants a deal but with “social protections the most elevated in the world which will serve as the standard for future negotiations”.

    There’s no mention of farmers, but that’s what everyone else is reporting. I presume he is trying to make this about more social protection vs less social protection but really there’s economic protectionism thrown in.

    It doesn’t surprise me it’s Belgium’s French speaking region waving the veto. The Francophone world views free trade as partly an Anglophone plot to enrich ourselves, in my opinion.

  • Some of these Brexit articles are sounding delusional. What almost every fair minded person will take from this is, if you want your country to cut trade deals, leave the EU. Rather than this showing us why we need to remain it shows why we will probably have to accept hard Brexit, because the eu are not capable of getting things done.

  • jedibeeftrix 22nd Oct '16 - 1:40pm

    @ Paul – “And, my goodness, me – oh dear – the British leavers were holding up this Canada-EU deal as a model for us to follow post-Brexit! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.”

    Rofl, Paul. Pardon me, but is this the well functioning institution into which you’d repose control of the future of British representative democracy? The high drama ill becomes you.

  • The collapse of the Canada-EU is depressing in terms of how poorly the EU functions, and is indeed an example of the EU’s ineffectiveness which caused me reluctantly to vote Leave. I would love to have had faith in the EU as a European project, and indeed have faith that one day a replacement project will emerge that does not try to force countries beyond their natural limits of co-operation. In the meantime, sadly, the current structure and aims of the EU are so poor that they have become harmful to their own member states and populations. I am with Lord Owen, who after Kosovo etc, and a whole career of being pro-Europe, finally took the view that we must come out of the EU. I am a Liberal Leaver – don’t care about immigration issues at all, but I do care about self-determination and our ability to make our own laws as we see fit from now on. I’m grateful to the EEC as was, for helping Britain economically and culturally from 1973-circa 1998, but since then the EU has become a negative overall. In their understandable desire to foster togetherness, they have forgotten our diversity.
    The elephant in the room in this discussion thread is that Canada has been thriving very successfully as a sovereign independent nation for a long time, without being part of the EU or even having a deal with them. We can do the same. It will be a nightmare economically for a while during the transition but it is worth it.

  • paul barker 22nd Oct '16 - 2:22pm

    Some of the comments dont seem to get what The Libdems are for. We are Reformists, if we see something wrong, we want to change it, make it better. We see lots wrong with Britain but that doesnt make us want to leave, like The SNP. We want to improve The UK & The EU & that means staying in both

  • This is a repost into a more appropriate category for the subject.?
    ————–
    Wallonia, is a master-class, in proving exactly why the Leavers have been shown to be correct, as far as the UK / EU sovereignty issue is concerned.
    The people at the top of the EU think [wrongly], that they are running a fully fledged country. But people within the 27 European countries, variously,.. believe that they still have full sovereignty,.. or maybe some believe that they are ‘pooling sovereignty’, for the greater good of the political union.
    But you simply cannot, pool sovereignty. The illusion of pooled sovereignty occurs in the mind of our ‘governors’ because the 27 cats happily give away the ‘soft’ decision making quite willingly to the big cat in the middle. The problem truly arises, when the big cat in the middle starts to ‘assume’, that the 27 cats are ‘supine’ in their attitude towards giving up *all* the rights of decision making over ‘the governed’ [27 nations].
    Some [easily given up], decisions are ‘soft’, because they are so harmless that it causes no consternation on the part of the 27 cats. Does anyone really care if the EU flag waves over Brussels,… whether the background colour is blue or some other,… or if it has 10 stars in a circle, or 100.?
    It’s the *big stuff*, in decision making terms, that shows up the true illusion of pooled sovereignty.?
    Using the USA as an example,.. several States have their own laws with regard to the carrying of guns,.. but the idea of Washington overriding the 2nd Amendment, by banning the citizen from ownership of guns would cause instant civil war in America.
    When the big cat begins to assume too much sovereignty, of a level that was not given, or,… inferred to have been given, the 27 individual cats will naturally begin to scrutinise the trustworthiness of the big cat, and begin to make a re-assessment of [each], their own red lines on sovereignty and decision making.
    Sovereignty is consensual,.. and on the 23rd June 2016, the EU lost the consent of the British people. No ifs no buts,…this UK cat,… is Leaving,.. in order to begin making its own decisions again. On the way to our freedom, there will be numerous mistakes along the way,.. but they’ll be our mistakes.

  • Richard Easter 22nd Oct '16 - 2:48pm

    ISDS or any version of it is immoral and treason anyway. No loss if this wretched corporate anti-democratic deal is binned.

  • I’m astonished you should portray this as anything other than putting the EU in a bad light.

    During the referendum campaign, I remember articles here on LDV telling us how great it was to have the EU negotiate trade deals on our behalf. It certainly doesn’t look like that here. Far from refuting the Leavers’ claims, this fiasco is showing the EU to be every bit as inept and dysfunctional as they said it was. And I say that as a Remain voter.

    By the way, the USA does more trade with the EU than it does with its neighbour Canada – despite having a free trade deal with Canada but not with the EU. You don’t need a trade deal to trade.

  • Oh, what a tangled web …

    One key lesson is surely that the Brexiteers’ promises are fantasy. Negotiating trade deals involves so many trip wires that as they say of them, “Nothing is settled until everything is settled”. That is why they take years not weeks to conclude. And it seems that the Walloons aren’t happy with some elements. Well, well.

    All those airy promises were based on the fundamentally wrong assumption that markets operate in a textbook supply-demand sort of way with everyone behaving perfectly rationally. In the real world they are driven by the push and pull of endless power struggles compounded by irrationality, ignorance and mistake and that changes everything.

    The EU is in a very fragile state. The Eurozone is a disaster that is getting steadily worse despite the frantic actions of the EC and ECB. In the circumstances what is the probability that the EU powers that be will seek to punish the UK for its temerity in resigning? Very high I would say, pour encourager les autres.

    So, it’s perfectly possible that they will agree among themselves that, in this exceptional circumstance, firms will be given grants to move operations into the remaining 27 (eg Nissan in Sunderland to anywhere in the EU) or face all sorts of tariff and non-tariff barriers. Several continental cities are salivating about their chances of getting firms relocating from the City. It’s hard to see what response the UK could mount except for being very cross (and very much poorer).

    As for deals outside the EU, May and Boris are making themselves as unpleasant as possible to by far the largest other country in Europe, namely Russia. Their incompetence knows no bounds. It’s high time we started demanding more than waffle.

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Oct '16 - 7:03pm

    Penelope Keith has been investigating BBC memoranda. David Attenborough was in Indonesia with a team. Promises made by the embassy in London were not adhered to in Jakarta. Substantial delays, tripling of some prices, etc. Once in the country they learned about some form of federal structure which meant that it would also be necessary to go through local customs and immigration procedures and pay further fees. He had to ask for more money.
    The point about trade deals is that the EU has a court, in the absence of which our exporters and importers may find themselves with caveat emptor.
    We had an experience of this kind trying to enter Zambia. It was a beautiful sunny day but we waited for an hour under the spray from the Victoria Falls. We did not guess that the local officials wanted to be paid directly, but if we had understood we lacked funds.

  • Gordon is confident that :

    “One key lesson is surely that the Brexiteers’ promises are fantasy.”
    I suppose, the obvious response of course, is let’s wait and see how successful or disastrous, negotiations progress, before we can all compare notes in April 2019.?

    ——-

    “So, it’s perfectly possible that they will agree among themselves that, in this exceptional circumstance, firms will be given grants to move operations into the remaining 27..”

    Under normal circumstances I would agree this might be an EU ‘spoiler strategy’,.. but we’re not in normal circumstances,.. not least because the planet [in general,.. and the EU in particular], is awash in copious amounts of un-payable debt, but almost zero ‘adventurous’ free capital, to play such sordid games.

    Reality is,.. the EU is crumbling, and will be lucky if it can carry its deeply insolvent banks, and its Euro currency into the tail end of 2018.?

  • John Tracey 22nd Oct '16 - 7:20pm

    No wonder people voted to leave. They were right, it is impossible to deal with these people.

  • paul barker 22nd Oct '16 - 8:26pm

    Sorry to go slightly off-topic but theres a new Poll (covered on Political Betting) which suggests that a new “Anti-Brexit Party” would get 26%, 7% ahead of Labour. Half of the 48% would vote for the new Party. I doubt any such Party could be created but it seems to me that it would be worth trying to adopt this identity – we could stand candidates as : “Liberal Democrat (Stop Brexit)”. Not only does this offer the possibility of increasing our votes but they would be more effective. 20%, for example as an Anti-Brexit vote would be very likely to be more geographically concentrated than 20% as traditional Libdems & would thus get more MPs. The fact that we are evenly spread has always worked against us in the past.
    This seems worth trying to me, what do other people think ?

  • There are just over 5 months before Theresa May has said that she will trigger Article 50, after which it becomes much more difficult to halt Brexit. It is 4 months since the Referendum. I can’t think of another period where Harold Macmillan’s throwaway remark, “Events, dear boy, events” has been so apposite. I rather suspect that the next few months will see a few curveballs thrown as well – as they say in the US (8th Nov. Presidential Election – start of 2nd American Civil War?); court case decision on Article 50; Nissan’s decision on the future of the Sunderland plant; December’s consumer spending figures; January’s unemployment figures; February’s inflation figures; March’s house price figures; resignations/sackings from the Cabinet. “May, you live in interesting times”. Comma deliberate.

  • paul barker 22nd Oct '16 - 9:20pm

    PS For Anti-Brexit read Stop Brexit. My mistake, the Poll used “Stop Brexit” & it is much stronger.

  • @paul barker: Liberal Democrat (Stop Brexit)

    Go for it, you could become a sort of anti-UKIP party and solidify the view of the Lib Dems as a single issue party.

    UKIP: pro-UK, anti-EU.
    Lib Dem: pro-EU, anti-UK.

  • If I had a Pound for every clown telling me about the Euro collapsing, just as the Euro soars against the pound, I would have a lot of pounds. Unfortunately since the Brexit vote the many pounds wouldnt be worth much.

  • Paul W, you pointed out the stats in relation to trade between Canada and the US, and the fact that Canada’s trade with the EU is much lower as a proportion of total trade than ours is. I don’t dispute the figures but I would question whether, in the absence of a trade deal, we would lose all of that 49% – a lot of it would continue regardless. It isn’t necessary to have a formal trade deal in place between governments in order to trade. Yes, I accept there will probably be job losses and therefore misery and of course that made me hesitate. But this is not just about money.
    And in relation to Gordon’s point about the EU wanting to make things difficult for the UK “pour encourager les autres”, well, that was what the French generals said at Verdun about their own soldiers. Really, is that a way for democratic nations to behave towards each other? If other countries want to do what we are doing, surely they should be allowed to do so. The EU is not a prison, it’s meant to be a voluntary organisation.

  • Annabel, noone says the trade will stop. Merely that the terms of trade will be worse. Some things will be more expensive, others cheaper.

  • It is shocking that a Belgian region can scupper trade deals of this kind. It’s certainly not democratic for a tiny minority to hold the rest of the EU to ransom. It certainly doesn’t show the EU as anything other than dysfunctional and untrustworthy.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 23rd Oct '16 - 1:09am

    Paul Barker

    Stop Brexit etc and us becoming a one issue party is a recipe for disaster , silliness and lack of substance , in favour of short term perceived gains that would barely materialise.We are the sensible and radical moderate alternative to the Tories, not UKIP !

  • Just relieved we are leaving this monster and getting our independence back.
    Sure it will be a bumpy ride for a few years but well worth it.

    The old COMECON organisation would look truly proactive compared with the EU.

  • @”Paul Walter 22nd Oct ’16 – 1:43pm
    El Sid, so we’ll end up high and dry with no trade deal with the EU. That’ll be fun.”

    It won’t be easy. But it’s better to have a dream with a bad ending than a bad dream that never ends.

    This tells me that I have to accept that by honouring the wishes of the majority and leaving the EU we are going to get a hard Brexit and that it won’t be Teresa May’s fault.

    But it also tells me that in time we could have our own trade deals with Canada and the USA and a bright future, but they (the Eurozone) could end up with no economic growth and slowly turn into an economic basket case, a few of their members are there already.

    Reforming the EU is not an option as the only way to reform this would be to centralise more power nearer the top to allow the EU to override the wishes of Belgium and others and sign the deal anyway, and wouldn’t you guys have to offer us a referendum in those circumstances?

    Branding the party the anti Brexit party is short term opportunism. It’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. It is also a huge risk as ten years after Brexit the most likely outcome is that UK will be a strong economy and the EU an economic basket case. Being the party pledging to join the EU, the Euro and shengen under those circumstances would be a disaster under FPTP. You could find that there wasn’t a single constituency left where people thought that was a good idea. I would urge you to think it through more and not destroy the party.

  • Annabel is not the only one….The following was sent to me on another site…

    “Why is everything in life reduced to MONEY! Sod how the economy is we will be free of the EU and that is worth a hell of a lot. Brexit means absolutely no payments made to the EU and hence no involvement with the single market and their 4 freedoms. If we attach ourselves to the single market how and the hell have we left the EU?????????????????????????”…..

    It appears that, to some, being OUT is all that matters…..

  • Absolutely agree James, the sentence that needs to be heard is ‘the EU is incapable of an agreement ‘ (Chrystia Freeland).

    When a region of a country (Wallonia, Belgium) can hold the rest of the EU to ransom and ransack an important trade deal which would have benefited the majority it is a pretty poor state of affairs. France also vetoed the wishes of all other member countries to stop the farcical expenditure of millions, incurred by moving the EU Parliament back and forth between Brussels and Strasbourg each week, … just another example of how dysfunctional and unwieldy the EU has become.

    And if the SNP wants to force the hand of the British government by threatening to veto a Brexit deal perhaps it’s time Scotland had another independence referendum!

  • @ “Paul WalterPaul Walter 23rd Oct ’16 – 8:20am
    Annabel
    “But this is not just about money.”
    Then what on earth is it about then? Some sort of vague notion of Britishness as people go down to join the dole queue?”

    Come on Paul. You should know the EU is not all about money and that this is true for both sides of the debate.

    If you believe the polls then for leave voters the single biggest issue is sovereignty and the 2nd biggest issue is immigration. If you were to just dismiss that as some sort of vague notion of Britishness then I would suggest that you are not making the effort to listen too and understand other people’s concerns and opinions.

    For a political party not listening and not understanding equals bad election results that everyone else could see coming but themselves. This happened at the last general election, you would be wise to ensure it doesn’t happen next time round.

  • John Peters 23rd Oct '16 - 9:48am

    @Paul Walter

    Sovereignty has always resided with the people, not Parliament. For day to day purposes we are happy for Parliament to exercise that sovereignty on our behalf. Brexit will not be stopped by Parliament.

    I think part of the Lib Dem problem is they don’t understand anyone taking a stand on principle.

  • Paul,
    It’s not a vague notion of sovereignty. It’s about the nation state v the big vision of a super-state.
    Youth unemployment in Greece is 50% and is much higher than in Britain in a lot of other countries too. This is because we never that serious about the union and sensibly sought opt outs from its worst ideas. Leaving just formalises it. Anyway it’s a spilt milk argument.

  • William Ross 23rd Oct '16 - 9:58am

    The Wallonia fiasco shows how completely dysfunctional the EU is and how we wise we were for voting Leave. This ” big pretendy” country is absolutely hopeless, as the Canadian Premier confirmed. And Britain was going to be stronger in the World relying on these buffoons.

    Negotiating a trade deal with the EU may well take more than two years but we don’t need a trade deal anyway. WTO tariffs are generally low and we can compensate UK companies having to pay EU tariffs out of the EU contribution which we will ( thankfully) no more be making. We also think carefully about how to use the WTO tariffs which German car-makers will be paying us.

    What a great story from a pro-EU site.

  • Pat 23rd Oct ’16 – 9:27am…………When a region of a country (Wallonia, Belgium) can hold the rest of the EU to ransom and ransack an important trade deal which would have benefited the majority it is a pretty poor state of affairs……….

    I wish ‘Brexiteers’ would make up their minds…One moment the EU is a ‘dictatorial super-state’ that brooks no dissent and the next it’s an ‘incompetent collection of countries’ who can’t agree on anything’…

  • Denis Mollison 23rd Oct '16 - 10:29am

    I’m amazed at the lack of knowledge of the background over this trade deal in most of these comments.

    The proposed deal – CETA – has been opposed by people all over Europe – including in the UK – as being a sellout to global corporations, prioritising free trade over fair trade; a petition against it was supported by 3.5 million people.

    Opposition to CETA may be over-alarmist, but it is certainly not about just a few Belgian farmers.

  • @Simon Shaw

    I think the Lib Dems being anti-UK, pro-EU will be the one which sticks.

  • Richard Underhill 23rd Oct '16 - 11:11am

    Liberal Democrats are heavily committed to devolution, although the current government is making a mess of it.
    Any party needs to think about international trade if it is serious about being government.
    Local, national ad international events all matter.

  • No, Brexit was not, for me, a rejection of free trade, quite the opposite. The EU might be a free trade area within itself but it has a thicket of tariffs and trade barriers around its outside edges, which make it hard for eg. African countries to trade freely with us on a level playing field. Our continued support for the EU has been indirectly making it very difficult for some emerging economies – basically we are keeping them 3rd world when they are perfectly capable of working their way into the first world. Unfortunately, a lot of these so-called free trade deals do contain some nasty terms benefitting big business to an unacceptable degree, e.g. scope for them to sue national governments if they change the law in such a way as to damage their profits. What cheek – no-one should be above the law. So these deals are not quite the wonderful things they appear.
    Paul W asked earlier what it was all about then, if not the money – others have andmsw

  • Joe
    ‘ Except is EU is not about free trade. It’s an expansionist political project with core of protectionism for the old mainland European powers.

  • …apologies. Others have answered that already. All I was going to add was that self-determination is what it was about. Very happy to have given up some sovereignty to the EU while they were a positive force for good, but now it’s important that we get back more control over our own law-making. Nothing is more important than freedom to run your own affairs.

  • “One moment the EU is a ‘dictatorial super-state’ that brooks no dissent and the next it’s an ‘incompetent collection of countries’ who can’t agree on anything’…”

    I voted Remain. But I would say it can be both at the same time. The Council is a collection of competing national interests with sub-national influences that allows tails to wag dogs. The Commission is dictatorial. The Parliament is a toothless waste of money.

  • @”Paul Walter 23rd Oct ’16 – 9:36am
    But El Sid what good are vague and misplaced notions of “sovereignity” (what’s happened to the sovereignity of parliament, for example, concerning Article 50?) and some sort of also misplaced and ludicrous notion of one day having control of immigration if people are on the dole queue and inflation is rampant, eroding the spending power of earnings?”

    Paul, by sovereignty what I think people mean is to be truly self governing. Being in the EU means that you have to accept the will of the EU on some matters, on other matters we have a veto but that comes with a price too. The price is other member states can also exercise their vetos and scupper things that we really, really want. Such as trade deals for example. If a country wants to be in the EU then it cannot be self governing in the true sense of the word. And the real power in the EU sits with people who are appointed rather than with people who are directly elected. Many people see this lack of democracy and lack of self governance as being to high a price to pay for the economic benefits, especially those with little to lose.

    I can totally understand why you don’t agree with their conclusions, but dismissing them as “vague and misplaced notions” tells me that you have made no real effort to see the debate from the other sides point of view.

    As for sovereignty being with parliament and not the people who put the MPs there, for MPs to argue that their ignoring the people who put the their because their will is sovereign and the people are just the plebs. Well 85% of your former parliamentary party experienced the consequences of that sort of thing, I doubt the sitting Tory or Labour MPs want to be next.

  • jedibeeftrix 23rd Oct '16 - 1:33pm

    @ Joe – “Whether it is TPP in the US, TTIP here, Brexit and now this. Agreements aren’t being reached because of political opposition to free trade.”

    No. You might have a better point if you said opposition to corpratism.

    To the French, the EU Commission is driving a Dirigiste platform shorn of noblesse oblige that is justification for intervention. For the British, the EU Commission is strangling the free-market with regulation that favours Corporate monopolist behaviour. For the Germans, it is all terribly confusing that Rhine Capitalism can be so distorted because the moral value of regulation is unrecognised. There is a difference between Corpratism and Capitalism that the EU Commission is not able to distinguish.

  • What an interesting debate and I favour Annabel’s arguments overall. One thing not adequately covered is why so many jobs are likely to be lost through BREXIT? Are the laws of supply and demand ceasing to operate? This is as daft as the suggestion that leaving is to stop all immigration. Neither bankers nor car makers are here for the weather and hasn’t Nissan just confirmed new models to be made in Sunderland? Let’s get behind the country with optimism and drive!

  • @ Peter
    “One thing not adequately covered is why so many jobs are likely to be lost through BREXIT?”

    There are a few factors. At the moment the uncertainty of the terms of trade between the UK and EU discourages investment in the UK in favour of investing in another EU country where there is not such uncertainty where the investor sees exporting to the EU as a main objective.

    In the long term those companies which have set up bases in the UK to export into the EU might decide it is no longer in their interest to be based here because of the tariffs on their goods that they wish to export into the EU.

    There can be knock on effects from both of these, the people not working because of these things are not spending, reducing demand in the economy and so other companies have to lay off people because they are producing less.

    Most of our exports go to the EU block and only small percentages go to each individual country, therefore it will take time to negotiate trading deals with each of these countries and the increased sales to these countries (if they materialise) will take a long time to come into effect on the economy.

  • @joe “The corollary is that where we already have free trade agreements (such as the Single Market) we should cling on to them for dear life.”

    We would like to. But it’s the EU, not the British Government, that are saying it’s hard Brexit or no Brexit. So I’m afraid that won’t be possible as the British Government are going to fulfil their manifesto promise and implement the result of the referendum. What else would you suggest they do? Refuse to honour the result that most people (and the vast majority of their voters) voted for and lose 85% of their seats to UKIP?

  • I find the idea that decisions are better if made by the UK government than if made by the EU weak. The majority of decisions made by UK governments in my lifetime I disagree with, but I can only think of a handful of decisions made by the EU that I disagree with and wish to overturn. I know that my vote in every general election has made no difference to the outcome because in none of them has the defending party in my constituency been defeated.

    Therefore maybe the problem with the EU is that people believe that EU decisions are never repealed. With the UK we can hope that in the future there will be a change of government and those decisions we dislike will be repealed and more made that we will like. And this is why people want decisions made at the UK level not the EU level.

  • jedibeeftrix 23rd Oct '16 - 4:52pm

    @ Michael BG – “Therefore maybe the problem with the EU is that people believe that EU decisions are never repealed. With the UK we can hope that in the future there will be a change of government and those decisions we dislike will be repealed and more made that we will like. And this is why people want decisions made at the UK level not the EU level.”

    Indeed. This argument is perhaps more important to left wing critics of the EU, for whom the Commission is an engine for capitalism.

    I also believe that decision making will be better, if only because being representative will be an easier task.

  • @Peter – no, Nissan has not announced they will build new models at Sunderland. The decision is due next month. In the meantime, the boss of Nissan (Carlos Ghosn) has had a personal meeting with Theresa May to seek assurances that the British Government will “preserve the competitiveness” of the Sunderland plant.

    Since having Nissan announce that they will build new models elsewhere in the EU would be so massively damaging to May’s Brexit narrative, I’m sure he was met with her signature on the bottom of a blank cheque.

    Some choice quotes from Ghosn – “If I need to make an investment in the next few months and I can’t wait until the end of Brexit, then I have to make a deal with the UK Government” and “As long as I have this guarantee … I can look at the future of Sunderland with more ease”.

    I expect Tata, Honda, Airbus, BAE Systems, GKN etc. to be parading through Downing Street with their hands out during the coming months.

  • @Michael BG “I find the idea that decisions are better if made by the UK government than if made by the EU weak.”

    So do I. One of my real bugbears in this country is the way the gutter press are free to wreak innocent people’s lives. I think France has it right on this and if we stayed in the EU I think it would only be a matter of time before the European Union drew up laws to protect the privacy and dignity of everyone because our own government refuses to do so.

    However that still does not mean that I want anything other than a democratically elected government to run this country.

    I think we need to be free to make our own mistakes as well. I believe self determination is more important than the “right” decision. In fact the fact that a decision is what people have freely chosen for themselves is what makes it right or at least legitimate.

    If we took the logic that the right decision was more important than who made it to its logical conclusion then we’d end up with some authoritarian bossy Harriet Harman type character dictating what everyone could and couldn’t say and smoking and drinking would be illegal.

    Many countries do work like that though, the Chinese Communist Party for example seems to get its legitimacy from years of solid economic growth lifting millions out of poverty. But if China had been a true federal democracy like India is then some of those things the government have done wouldn’t have been possible (think of how much more difficult growth has been for India). But I still wouldn’t swap India’s political system for China’s.

  • @Paul Walter “It is perfectly consistent to respect the “leave the EU” verdict of the people while also giving Parliament the right to exercise its sovereignity to decide the “when” and the “how” to leave the EU.”

    Sorry Paul. Have I been misunderstanding you on this thread? I believed that your good self and the liberal democrat party wanted to overturn the result either by having another referendum with an option to nullify the leave vote or use parliament to either overturn it directly or to delay invoking article 50 forever by entering into some bureaucratic process that would never end.

    To me that is not acting in good faith and is both undemocratic and dishonest. However if you genuinely wish to see the result of the referendum enacted (I.e ensure that we do in fact leave) but merely want to act to ensure there is as soft a Brexit as possible and that we’re as close to Europe as possible but still actually do what people voted for and leave then I’d wish you all the best in your endeavours (providing of course that you don’t attempt to redefine the meaning of the word leave).

    I too do not want a hard Brexit and I hope that we will still have close relations with the EU. But from where I’m sitting it’s the EU and not the UK government that want to make Brexit as hard and difficult as possible as not going through with it isn’t an option.

  • @Paul Walter
    “…giving Parliament the right to exercise its sovereignity to decide the ‘when’ and the ‘how’ to leave the EU.”

    Realistically though, Parliament has no power whatsoever to decide the when and how of leaving the EU. When are Lib Dems going to address the real elephant in the room here, which is that the main barrier to a soft Brexit is not Theresa May, but the EU itself? Not a single EU member has given any encouraging signs whatsoever that they would support a soft Brexit – and we don’t need just one to agree, we need all twenty-seven. It will never happen. Donald Tusk is right, it will be hard Brexit or no Brexit, and with the UK voters having already rejected no Brexit, it looks like hard Brexit it is. That isn’t Theresa May’s fault.

    I can’t help thinking that politicans’ energies would be better directed now at coming up with ideas to improve our chances of doing well post hard Brexit, rather than fighting for some kind of “phoney Remain” that is not really possible.

  • @ El Sid
    “I believe self determination is more important than the “right” decision.”

    Your argument could be used for the independence of Scotland or Wales. That it would be better for Wales to be independent because it is more important for the people of Wales to make their own decisions rather than pool their sovereignty with the rest of the UK. I do not think that the majority of the people living in Wales would agree with you.

    In fact the same argument could be used for the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms – Northumbria, (maybe Bernicia and Deira), Mercia (maybe Lindsey), Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, Sussex, Wessex, Kent, Kernow and Strathclyde-Cumbria.

    Maybe the same argument was used for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

  • John Peters 23rd Oct '16 - 9:35pm

    @Michael BG

    The choice of best government for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland is down to the respective electorate.

  • Denis Mollison 23rd Oct '16 - 10:55pm

    “Donald Tusk is right, it will be hard Brexit or no Brexit”

    Call me an optimist, but I’m still hoping it will be no Brexit.

    I do find the arguments about sovereignty narrow-minded and about “taking back control” laughable. For those who haven’t noticed it, we live on a small and inter-dependent planet. The nation-state is both too small and too large to deserve all our respect: we should have loyalties both more locally and more globally. The EU is a pretty much unique experiment in sharing sovereignty across nation-state borders. I love being a citizen of the EU and am angry to have my citizenship taken away for delusionary reasons.

    On social and environmental issues the EU has been a considerable force for good. On economic issues, I don’t like its policies, but I like our own country’s even less – and expect that if Brexit goes ahead it will be the poor who supported Brexit who will suffer worst, while the fat-cat Brexit leaders laugh all the way to their (probably offshore) bank.

    On democracy, the EU’s parliament is weak – because of course, governments like ours have not been prepared to allow it more power – but at least it is elected fairly, and has no unelected House of Lords.

  • “Is that clear? We respect the decision on 23rd June. We want a second referendum on the terms of the as-yet-unknown Brexit deal. Clear?”

    It’s anything but clear. Farron called for a referendum between the eventual Brexit deal or stay in the EU. He can try and spin it another way, he can try and fool party activists, he can’t convince me or many others that this wouldn’t be a re-run with a different question. It’s a departure question not a destination one. It doesn’t respect the decision that has been made. Had Farron called for a vote on hard Brexit vs soft Brexit it would respect the decision and be something I could support as being about destination. But that’s not the case.

  • @Michael BG

    I was at a business review meeting of a major UK company last week which reported that the recent devaluation of Sterling had now effectively blocked one of their main EU competitors.

    Meanwhile exporters to the EU have seen their product prices become around 12% more competitive.

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Oct '16 - 1:28am

    A new deadline has been created for Monday evening. I doubt the bill will pass though. What looks like a deadline has been described by an aid of Belgium’s Prime Minister as “an ultimatum” and now the Walloon press is full of news about the EU giving them an ultimatum.

    Walloon’s First Minister has complained of the pressure the EU is putting on him. Who knows what is being said behind closed doors.

  • @ John
    “Meanwhile exporters to the EU have seen their product prices become around 12% more competitive.”

    The question I was answering is why unemployment would increase.

    There are benefits and costs to a devalued pound. The costs are higher inflation including higher costs for companies dependent on imports which could mean price rises for exports that nearly equal the reduction for foreign markets. If inflation is not linked to increases in wages then this will be also be deflationary leading to less UK purchases and less demand and more unemployment.

  • @John – “Meanwhile exporters to the EU have seen their product prices become around 12% more competitive.”

    That is far too simplistic a view. Some companies will do well out of the devaluation, and others will struggle. The only ones that see a complete unmitigated benefit are those without any costs in foreign currency.

    If you are a manufacturing company and you import most of your raw materials, or buy parts made from imported raw materials, then your costs are going up dramatically right now. If you then export most or all of your end product then your income is going up as well and the net effect is either neutral or slightly beneficial.

    But if you sell mostly within the UK you have a problem. The only way to recover the additional costs are by putting your prices up. No problem if you can do this and make it stick, although the effect is inflationary. But if you can’t force through price increases then the effect could be disastrous i.e. at best you may need to cut costs elsewhere by making staff redundant, or at worst you become insolvent and go bust.

  • Listening to some ‘Leavers’ it appears everything is going to plan.
    The collapse of the pound, the rise in inflation, etc. are all positive steps on Britain’s road to becoming a world superpower once again…
    I look forward to television re-runs of “Sanders of the River”,”Gunga Din”, etc.; to say nothing of endless WW2 movies….

    All together, “Rule Britannia, etc, etc….”

  • expats

    The leavers don’t share your pessimism, they see the drop in the pound and any inflation as a temporary thing. Despite the “dire warnings” of the remainers they don’t have a fear of the future outside the EU. I’m not sure what “Rule Britannia” has to do with it, but if you are making fun of people for being proud to be British I doubt that will convert many brexiteers.

  • “Aren’t the people allowed to change their mind when presented with a new set of facts?”

    Then sell it like that, as a re-run of Departure with more detail, instead of pretending and convincing no-one that it’s a destination question. It is the dishonesty I object to and it disappoints me greatly to see this party behaving in that way.

  • Malcolm Todd 24th Oct '16 - 10:39am

    I agree with Stevan Rose here. There is a profound and sickening dishonesty in the way this party is responding to the situation. By all means campaign for a “think again” second referendum. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that as a response to such a close vote — though I very much doubt it’s what most people want and I’m sceptical that the result would move in the direction we would want. But please, stop pretending that we can have a vote to choose between accepting the terms of a deal after Article 50 notice has been given or remaining in the EU. Without the agreement of all 27 other members, there is no mechanism to keep us in the EU once two years have passed after notification. So any vote will be between the deal that’s agreed (whether or not characterised as “hard Brexit”) and the hardest of all Brexits, i.e. we simply cease to be members with no agreement in place. I find it hard to believe that even this government could negotiate a deal so bad as to make the latter option preferable.

  • Denis Mollison 24th Oct '16 - 11:08am

    “a profound and sickening dishonesty”

    That’s an unpleasant and unfair way to criticise a necessarily slightly vague policy in a very uncertain situation. Despite what you say, it’s clear that some leading European politicians would be happy to cancel Brexit if neither party likes the outcome of negotiations. On he UK side all it would take would be a decision of Parliament, whether an immediate vote or one following a general election or second referendum. On the EU side, I don’t pretend to understand the Article 50 process, but since this is the first time it will have been invoked I’m sure the other 27 are capable of making it mean what they want it to mean.

  • Agree with my near neighbour Denis Mollison on the substance of the matter.

    There is, of course, a further resolution to the problem for those of us living in Scotland. We could choose, as the Scottish Green Party already has done, to be part of a social democratic Scotland that prefers to be part of Europe rather than be tied to a permanently isolationist nationalist right wing Tory England. I’d be sad about that for traditional family reasons, but the pros are becoming more attractive than the cons (of all descriptions) by the day.

  • @Malc – more to the point, the drop in the pound can reasonably be presented (as by the ever excellent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Telegraph) as a necessary but not sufficient condition for the rebalancing of the UK economy. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/10/22/inflation-next-years-ticking-time-bomb/

    As Evans-Pritchard notes, back in January the IMF stated that the pound was 18% over fair-value. In the months between then and the Brexit referendum the pound rose a further 7% primarily due to the influx of hot money from the far east. At the same time (and indeed over the last several years) the UK has been running a huge current account deficit – similar to the current account deficit seen during the Second World War. Except instead of using that money to defeat Nazism, we have been using it to finance lifestyles we have not earned.

    So Brexit has forced the pound down to what the IMF regard as its fair value. The fact that this “fair value” is an historic low says something about how unbalanced our economy is. As Evans-Pritchard notes:

    Britain has been living beyond its means, borrowing from foreigners on a grand scale to fund consumption that could not be justified by gains in productivity, and enjoying cheap imports at artificially depressed prices. Such was our fool’s paradise.

  • PS A further thought for Tim to campaign on…………… In effect the Brexiteers have devalued the pound…. Tim should say this loud and clear.

    Every time I fill the car, or look at the cost of a recent holiday in France (with the probable eventual loss of health cover), or consider the future for the millions of British ex-pats living in Europe, I most certainly do not bless our Donald Trump lookalike (with Churchillian pretensions) Foreign Secretary and his camp followers who somehow perversely think there is a virtue in sticking their heads in the sand. Independence Day for ostriches is a curious notion.

    PPS Churchill, of course was a rogue, so not too surprising Boris feels he is a kindred spirit.

  • Malcolm Todd 24th Oct '16 - 1:20pm

    Paul Walters
    the second referendum could for example simply ask: “Do you approve of the government’s proposal?” What is dishonest about that?

    What would be the effect of a “no” vote to that question?

    It’s dishonest in the same way that the Greek referendum on the bailout proposals last year (was it just last year?) was dishonest: there’s an unstated but unavoidable implication that there is some better alternative option on offer if you reject the one on the table. My point is that the alternatives at that point are realistically going to be “this deal or no deal and an abrupt Brexit in 2019” not “this deal or back to where we were on 22 June 2015”. Unless anyone can outline a realistic, non-hand-wavy scenario by which that will not be true?

    By the way, Dennis Mollison when I said “sickening” earlier, I didn’t mean it in a sneery, insulting sense, though I certainly should have realised it comes across that way. I meant that it really makes me, as a member of the party (however unenthusiastic), quite queasy. I simply can’t stand up for it and I don’t feel able to make a case for this party, because I find its signature policy at this point unclear at best and dishonest at worst.

  • Denis Mollison 24th Oct '16 - 2:21pm

    @Malcolm Todd – `the alternatives at that point are realistically going to be “this deal or no deal and an abrupt Brexit in 2019” not “this deal or back to where we were on 22 June 2015”’

    I don’t think it’s yet clear which of those choices is going to look more relevant when we get to the decision point. Perhaps we should have a three-way referendum? – I wrote on how that should be done 3 years ago in the context of the Scottish independence referendum. More realistically, I would expect Parliament to decide which question is more relevant given the political situation at the time.

    [By the way it’s `Denis’ with one `n’, please]

  • malc 24th Oct ’16 – 9:38am………….expats………The leavers don’t share your pessimism, they see the drop in the pound and any inflation as a temporary thing. Despite the “dire warnings” of the remainers they don’t have a fear of the future outside the EU. I’m not sure what “Rule Britannia” has to do with it, but if you are making fun of people for being proud to be British I doubt that will convert many brexiteers…………

    The whole of the ‘Exit’ campaign was based on “Us and Them”, “Taking back Sovereignty/Control”, “Britain alone”, etc….Every poster I saw featured the Union flag…..

    To be told that ‘Rule Britannia’ has nothing to do with ‘Brexit’ is amazing!

  • @ Malcolm Todd
    “there’s an unstated but unavoidable implication that there is some better alternative option on offer if you reject the one on the table.”

    This is why I think we should be advocating negotiating two deals, one based on the Norwegian model and the other with total control over migration from the EU (EEA) and then put them to a referendum for the people to decide. It wouldn’t be a re-run of the in/out referendum, it would be only on the relationship we would have after leaving. If we could get the other 27 EU countries to agree to this before negotiations start, then we might have a chance of convincing the government to do this.

  • Malcolm Todd 24th Oct '16 - 2:51pm

    Denis

    My apologies for the extra ‘n’!

    There’s nothing wrong with a three-option referendum, but again (assuming that “stay in the EU” is to be one of the options), it has to be asked before Article 50 notice is given, otherwise one of the three options is not in the UK’s power to grant.
    That, in effect, means having a second referendum on whether to withdraw. If that’s what the party believes should happen, it should have the courage to say so!

  • Malcolm Todd 24th Oct '16 - 3:03pm

    Extra letters all over the place. Good lord, I’m inattentive today – better not admit what my day-job is. Sorry about that, Paul!

    If by “Norway option”, you mean joining re-joining EFTA, then again, what’s the alternative on offer and is it in the UK’s power to make it happen? There seems to be an assumption that we can just sign up to EFTA and it’s done; but actually, I think we have to apply for membership, and until we do that, we don’t know whether we will be admitted. Should we have a referendum on whether to join EFTA before we apply for membership? Or should we apply first, on the understanding that we’ll then have a referendum on whether to go through with it? Do you then Norway et al. will be keen to go through the trouble of negotiating our accession on that provisional basis, given our recent history?

  • John Peters 24th Oct '16 - 3:09pm

    According to the BBC it wasn’t just Wallonia.

    “The federal government, the German community and Flanders said ‘yes.’ Wallonia, the Brussels city government and the French community said ‘no’,” Mr Michel said.

    While you are sorting out the second Referendum options could you also add one to make Rule, Britannia! compulsory during school assembly?

  • @Paul Walter “Is that clear? We respect the decision on 23rd June. We want a second referendum on the terms of the as-yet-unknown Brexit deal. Clear?”

    No, I’m afraid that is not clear at all; and I also consider it dishonest.

    It is not clear for three reasons:

    Firstly, I don’t understand how the public can effectively be offered a vote on the terms of the deal as you cannot offer to give someone something that is not in your power to give. As far as I understand it, we invoke Article 50 and at that point we are committed to leaving 2 years later to the day. Only then can the talks start. The deal that we will get offered as a result of those talks will depend upon what EU is willing to give us rather than what we want, and we do not get to change our minds at the end of that 2 year process. Changing our minds and deciding not to leave would take the consent of all other 27 countries and there can be no guarantee that we would get that unanimous consent.

    The second thing that is not clear is how the Liberal Democrats can be said to be “respecting” the result of the first referendum. They cannot “respect” that result unless they are now committed to having us leave, which they are clearly not. Your response, Paul, tells me that as I previously though, the Liberal Democrats want a 2nd referendum to nullify the effect of the leave vote produced by the first one. The only way that this can be said to be respecting that vote is if you redefine what the word “respect” would mean to most ordinary people in this context and to deceive people is dishonest.

    The third thing that is not clear is what reason is there to believe that the results of the 2nd referendum, were the Lib Dems to actually get it and were it to produce a result that they didn’t like, would be anymore “respected” than the first one?

    Their response the first one was to initially claim that it was merely an advisory “plebiscite” and ask pro-EU MPs to consider themselves “sovereign” not the “plebs” and overturn it. The Lib Dems got a referendum on electoral reform and they didn’t respect that outcome either. They just said that in future the public would not be asked for their consent directly in a referendum and that the voting system should be change regardless of how the public feel about that.

  • Expats, I and all the other Leavers I know are very far from being flag-waving Rule Britannia types. We just want to get out from under the Commission and the CJEU/ECJ from now on – on balance it has been worth sharing a bit of sovereignty up until recently, I don’t disagree with Paul W (from way back in the thread) but looking at the future direction of the EU, it isn’t going in a sensible direction and

  • Sorry, sent before finished. I just want to reassure people that despite the media image of Leavers as racist/right wingers etc, there is a huge silent reasonable crowd out there like me. We don’t like Mrs May’s and Mrs Rudd’s tone at all, and believe they have completely missed the point of voting Leave which was to get back all of our own law-making power so that we can decide these things for ourselves. Once we’ve got that power back, then we Liberals need to fight for what’s right and not simply assume the country will be run by right wingers. We need to win the argument in the country, not hide behind the EU’s skirts.

  • Malcolm Todd 24th Oct '16 - 4:18pm

    Annabel
    Once we’ve got that power back, then we Liberals need to fight for what’s right and not simply assume the country will be run by right wingers. We need to win the argument in the country, not hide behind the EU’s skirts.

    Amen to that.

  • Annabel 24th Oct ’16 – 3:23pm………Sorry, sent before finished. I just want to reassure people that despite the media image of Leavers as racist/right wingers etc, there is a huge silent reasonable crowd out there like me…..

    It may be trite, but it’s true….Whilst I’m sure that all ‘Leavers’ are not ‘racist/right wingers etc,’; I’m also sure that all ‘racist/right wingers etc,’ are ‘Leavers’…

  • Malcolm Todd 24th Oct '16 - 4:42pm

    expats
    “Whilst I’m sure that all ‘Leavers’ are not ‘racist/right wingers etc,’; I’m also sure that all ‘racist/right wingers etc,’ are ‘Leavers’…”

    Is there any point to that remark other than to smear ‘Leavers’ by association?

  • Peter Watson 24th Oct '16 - 6:34pm

    @expats “I’m also sure that all ‘racist/right wingers etc,’ are ‘Leavers’…”
    Given that the Remain position makes it much easier for a white doctor from Germany to work in the UK than a black doctor from India or Africa, I would not be quite so sure. There’s a lot more to racism than Brexit.

  • Malcolm Todd 24th Oct '16 - 6:54pm

    By the by, on the substance of CETA itself, I see from the BBC report that the “estimated amount that EU exporters would save in duties annually” is €500 million; and the total population of the EU is 508 million.
    Are we sure these deals are worth even the risk of undermining democratic control?

  • Steve Trevethan 24th Oct '16 - 6:58pm

    Well done Wallonia!

    The CETA agreement, which is presented to us as an innocuous bilateral trade deal, is a TTIP in sheep’s clothing. It is a “Trojan Horse” to further the creation of a “North Atlantic Trading Block” to be controlled by Washington as part of the “American Empire” aka “Globalisation”.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/towards-nafta-eu-economic-integration-back-door-canada-eu-trade-agreement-ceta-sets-the-stage/5547556

    Wallonia has been hit hard by “Globalisation” aka “The Financial/Economic Arm” of the American Empire.” It was a heavy industry specialist area. This has been “off-shored” and not supported. [Cf our banking industry]

    The Belgian government works and spends to support the people as individuals but there does not seem to be any significant government input into macro employment.

    I have spent time in Wallonia. I have never seen anything like so many beggars.

    The Walloons have had enough of Neo-Con economic theory and its callous practice.

    Well done Wallonia!

    PS. The current Constitutional Challenge against CITA in the Federal Court of Canada states: “CETA —over rides Canada’s ability to mount public programs on Health, Education, Social Services” and so on.
    “In short the treaty places the rights of private foreign investors over those of the Canadian Constitution and Canadian citizens.”
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/breaking-constitutional-challenge-against-ceta-trade-agreement-filed-in-canadas-federal-court/5552702

  • I am curious as to how EU exporters would “save” €500 million in duties per year. Duty is paid by importers, not exporters, and it goes to the national Government of the importer. A more accurate statement might be that the Canadian Government would lose €500 million of tax income on imports, but Canadians would get to buy cheaper stuff. And vice versa for the EU countries.

    I’m in favour of free trade, but against lazy, inaccurate reporting.

  • Stevan Rose 24th Oct '16 - 9:21pm

    Paul,

    I don’t think I’m jumping to any conclusions. Who said:

    “In voting to leave, there was no opportunity to vote for how future trading relationships should be, or how we should work with other countries over things like criminal justice, law and order, ease of travel etc. Voting for a departure is not the same as voting for a destination. When the deal is negotiated, in however many years’ time, the British people must have a chance to say if they would prefer the new arrangement, outside the European Union, or would prefer to remain inside the European Union.”

    That’s clearly a Departure question with just 2 choices, in or out. No vague parameters.

  • Gareth Hartwell 24th Oct '16 - 9:58pm

    I’m a bit depressed reading all the comments from people trying to use this to prove their argument one way or the other. Much as I am a vehement Remain supporter, in this case it is pretty obvious that the inability of the EU to negotiate a trade deal with Canada is bad for Britain outside the EU and would be equally bad for us inside the EU. It demonstrates that we cannot reach a trade agreement with our biggest market and also that the EU will find it difficult to make a major trade agreement with anybody else. But I would still say that an EU with Britain in it is more likely to be reformed than one without us. And ultimately if the EU fails and we return to cross-European national rivalries (and ultimately war) I cant see how that is in Britain’s interest, whether we be in the EU or outside.

  • jedibeeftrix

    Hard brexit may well result in higher growth in the long term, as regulatory and tax divergence from the EU ensues.

    but how long is the long term, as Keynes said

    ‘In the long run, we are all dead’

  • Mark Goodrich 25th Oct '16 - 3:04am

    Hear hear to Gareth Hartwell above. The thread was extremely light on comments which recognise that this news is both bad for the EU and for the Tories’ view of Brexit. It is a shame that some people are so locked inside their view of the world that they can’t see that an event can be bad for both….

    One point which emerges is that anything other than a Norway solution (single market plus ability to negotiate trade deals) is going to be impossible for the Govt to pull off. Of course, that will involve them having to fess up that they can’t stop free movement without destroying the economy so will be a difficult sell to the public.

    We are in the curious position that the Govt is both unassailable in the opinion polls and possibly facing dire electoral prospects in the next scheduled General Election as its Brexit strategy inevitably unravels…

  • Denis Mollison 25th Oct '16 - 8:07am

    @Mark Goodrich – “comments which recognise that this news is both bad for the EU”

    It would also have been good to hear more from those who think the news is good: CETA is a litmus test for what kind of globalisation we want.

  • I think the EU-Canada trade debacle shows just what shambles the EU has become, thank goodness we are getting out before it completely self destructs.

  • Katharine Pindar 26th Oct '16 - 1:38am

    It’s taken me a long time to go through all the arguments in this fascinating discussion, so apologies for writing so late. I agree with Paul Walter that it is honest to say we still believe Britain’s best course is to stay in the EU. So it doesn’t seem to me to be illogical to say that we do therefore oppose Brexit, as bad for the country.
    I don’t think we should say we want to represent the 48% (whether in the forthcoming Richmond by-election or generally), but they should not be forgotten, because it seems to me they could grow to a majority, with all the difficulties arising from the Scotland and Ireland viewpoints, the needs of business and the financial sector, and the growing unhappiness of the less well-off with rising prices and frozen benefits. It is because the facts are changing, as Paul has suggested, that opinions may change, and a majority may arise over the winter which would oppose Brexit in a second referendum. However, it does seem that we desirably need to have it, or a General Election, BEFORE Article 50 is triggered, because after that changing our minds though it is said to be possible will be difficult.
    As for the voting system, El Sid, again if the facts change we could ask for another referendum on Proportional Representation; the facts needed there are that a majority of Parliamentarians come to accept that the reform is right and should be carried through – as with the overdue reform of the unelected House of Lords.
    And finally, I understand as I think Denis Mallison was saying that CETA would not be a good thing, or TTIP either, for reasons which Global Justice Now goes into.

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