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Messages - Cain

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31
Robert Peston has sources on the Brexit deal:

https://www.facebook.com/1498276767163730/posts/2093159307675470/

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This is one of the more important notes I've written recently, because it contains what well-placed sources tell me are the main elements of the Prime Minister's Brexit plan - which will be put to her cabinet for approval on Friday.

I would characterise the kernel of what she wants as the softest possible Brexit, subject to driving only the odd coach over her self-imposed red lines, as opposed to the full coach and horses.

And I will start with my habitual apology: some of what follows is arcane, technical and - yes - a bit boring. But it matters.

Let's start with the PM's putative third way on a customs arrangement with the EU, which has been billed by her Downing Street officials as an almalgam of the best bits of the two precursor plans, the New Customs Partnership (NCP) and Maximum Facilitation (Max Fac).

Last night I described this supposed third way as largely the NCP rebranded - which prompted howls of outrage from one Downing Street official.

But I stand by what I said. Because the new proposal of the PM and her officials, led on this by Olly Robbins, retains the NCP's most controversial element, namely that the UK would at its borders collect duties on imports at the rate of the European Union's common customs tariff.

The UK would in that sense be the EU's tax collector. And although the UK would have the right to negotiate trade agreements with third countries where tariffs could be different from the EU's or zero, companies in the UK importing from those countries would have to claim back the difference from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), much in the way they currently claim or pay different VAT rates when trading with the EU.

The reason why, from a bureaucratic if not economic viewpoint, the UK would in effect remain in the EU's customs union is that there is no other way of avoiding border checks between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Or at least that is what the PM and her officials now believe.

To be clear, this would be an asymmetric agreement with the EU: Theresa May may ask EU governments to collect customs duties on behalf of the UK from companies based in their respective countries, but she knows they will respond with a decisive no, nay, never.

Which may seem unfair. But actually this would only be a problem if there were an imminent prospect of a future British government wanting to impose higher tariffs than EU ones. And certainly the political climate now - outside of Trumpian America - is for lower tariffs.

Just to be clear, there will be some of Max Fac in this new synthesised customs plan: IT and camera technology employed to reduce the bureaucracy and frictions of cross-border trade.

But the True Brexiters won't be wholly relaxed (ahem) by what they are likely to see as NCP by another name.

And there's more, of course.

Because frictionless trade and an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic cannot just be achieved by aligning customs collection rates.

It also requires alignment of product standards, for goods and agricultural products.

Or at least that is what the PM will insist on with her Cabinet colleagues.

And that alignment would in effect replicate membership of the single market for goods and agri-foods.

Which would see European standards and law continuing, ad infinitum, to hold sway over British manufacturing and food production - though the ultimate court of appeal in commercial disputes. would, in May's and Robbins's formulation, be an extra-territorial international court, like the European Free Trade Area's EFTA court.

Given that the ECJ would still have a locus below this final adjudicating tribunal, I assume the True Brexiters such as Jacob Rees-Mogg will be unamused.

But maybe they would take comfort that a British parliament could always withdraw from the trading arrangement, if there were concerns that the rest of the EU was discriminating against the UK.

At this juncture you are saying, I am sure, "oi! what about services?" - given that the UK is largely a service economy (80% of our economic output, our GDP, is generated by service businesses).

Well there is an aspiration to maximise access to the EU's giant market for services by aligning professional and quality standards, for example.

But equally there is a pragmatic recognition that maximising such access would require minimising restrictions on EU citizens moving to the UK to live and work; there is a calculation by Robbins and his officials that, among the EU's so-called four freedoms, free movement of services and free movement of people are pragmatically connected.

And since the PM has pledged to impose new controls on the free movement of people from the rest of the EU, she accepts that the EU will insist on some new restrictions on the sale of British services in its marketplace.

But May and her ministers are hopeful there is a deal to be done here, a trade-off: preferential rights offered to EU citizens to live and work in the UK, compared to the rights available to citizens from the rest of the world, for improved market access in Europe for British service companies.

We'll see.

In the round, you may conclude - as I have - that Theresa May wants a future commercial arrangement with the EU that is not as deep and intimate as Norway's, but is not a million miles from Switzerland's.

From which there follow two crucial if obvious questions.

Will the EU - its chief negotiator Michel Barnier and the 27 government heads - bite or balk?

If Barnier's word was gospel on this, the plan would be dead at birth, because it does put a wedge between the four freedoms: May wants complete freedom of movement for goods (and capital), but restrictions on people.

May's bet is that his employers, the 27 prime ministers and presidents, will be less dogmatic.

But what about her own cabinet and parliamentary party?

If they are in the True Brexit camp, like Davis, Johnson, Fox, and Gove, won't they cry "infamy, infamy, etc", threaten resignation and launch a coup to oust the PM?

Well, what the PM will say to them is that her deal, she believes, is the only one around that stands even the faintest chance of being agreed in Brussels (though, to repeat, you would be right to be sceptical of that).

Which carries a momentous implication - namely that if they reject her vision of Brexit, the default option of exiting the EU without a deal would become the sole option.

And although many True Brexiters would say "hip hip for that", if a no-deal Brexit were to become the only game in town, there would be a revolt of MPs and Lords against the executive, against the PM and her government.

Parliament would - almost certainly - reject exiting the EU without a deal and could, probably would, vote for the UK to join the European Economic Area and remain in the EU's single market.

That would, for most True Brexiters, turn the UK into what they call a "vassal state".

So come Friday, Johnson, Davis, Fox and Gove face an agonising choice: agree to a Brexit plan from May which will stick in their craws like a rotting mackerel head; or reject it and take the risk that what follows is almost their worst nightmare, not a clean no-deal Brexit, but the detested "Brino", or Brexit in name only.

Of course there is always a chance that if they shout and scream loudly enough, May will buckle - and will allow the cabinet to agree on obfuscation for the White Paper on her Brexit negotiating position, to be published 12 July, rather than a clear and unambiguous plan to be put to the EU, of the sort I've described.

If that were to happen, her authority would be undermined, perhaps fatally. And the possibility of there being no deal with the EU, on divorce and future relationship, would become a serious, potentially catastrophic probability.

32
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Free Russian Orphans with Every Purchase
« on: July 04, 2018, 07:07:07 pm »
I actually didn't mention the best part of that whole thing here.

The sexual assault was made by one of our resident students, and I was the one who dealt with the situation.  Management went completely AFK, I had threats to get a foreign embassy involved (all the students are international), I had threats made against the student alleged to have done the deed by another staff member, I couldn't initially ID the student in question because we didn't have basic working office equipment, if proper staffing levels had been put on to allow for regular patrols (since this was a massive arrival day, with 70+ students and 4 groups arriving) then the incident may not have occured ....

It was a clusterfuck of a night

33
Aneristic Illusions / Re: UNLIMITED Immigration Nutbaggery Thread
« on: July 04, 2018, 08:52:41 am »
And then, consider the issue of children of people who went to fight for ISIS.  What to do with children of foreign fighters, how best to deradicalize and reintegrate them into society, is a big issue currently being discussed in terrorism policy circles.

Children are going to be locked up at Guantanamo Bay, under Trump.  Count on it.  Thankfully the number of US foreign fighters in Syria is pretty low...

34
If someone subjected my character to a scripted death, they'd get a D20 shoved somewhere very uncomfortable.

The only reason I'd even consider sticking around would be to Old Man Henderson the shit out of every single game from there on in.

35
Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: July 04, 2018, 04:29:11 am »
That, or Trump is more worried about Amerian witnesses than being rolled by Putin.

Because he's going to give Putin something, or tell him something, or agree to something, and he doesn't want anyone to know.  Just like when he ordered the press away from the White House before he gave the Russians that Israeli intelligence last year.

36
Aneristic Illusions / Re: UNLIMITED Immigration Nutbaggery Thread
« on: July 04, 2018, 03:09:32 am »
Concentration camps weren't enough, so lets have Kangaroo courts to try legitimise the villainy

Well, yes.  It is not at all unreasonable to put a 3 year old in court without the presence of a parent, or even notifying the parents that the hearing is to take place.

Fun question:  If a child were to be found against, how do you deport an unaccompanied 3 year old, when you have lost track of who the kid is and who his family is?

You stick them back in a concentration camp, of course.  That's the beauty of the system, once they're in it, it's permanent legal limbo.

37
Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: July 04, 2018, 03:07:49 am »
Trump is meeting with Putin without any aides or translators.

In fact, Trump is meeting with Putin without anyone else at all being present.  Not a single person will be in the room except Putin and Trump.

38
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Free Russian Orphans with Every Purchase
« on: July 02, 2018, 09:56:39 pm »
Kinda, though her skin colour would not make her very welcome there.  She's more Kingston, Jamaica.

Have you asked her to shut her stupid face?

Pretty much every day.  God I wish I had firing power.  Half the department would be gone, but it'd still give better service as a result.

39
Aneristic Illusions / Re: UNLIMITED Immigration Nutbaggery Thread
« on: July 02, 2018, 08:14:03 pm »
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/man-arrested-after-shouting-‘womp-womp’-and-pulling-a-gun-on-immigration-protesters/ar-AAzr1Nw?ocid=spartanntp

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'womp womp'

But remember


40
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Free Russian Orphans with Every Purchase
« on: July 02, 2018, 08:08:55 pm »
Kinda, though her skin colour would not make her very welcome there.  She's more Kingston, Jamaica.

41
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Free Russian Orphans with Every Purchase
« on: July 02, 2018, 06:25:19 pm »
Yvonne has...views.  A lot of them.  I won't even get into how she embarrassed practically everyone in a 50 mile radius when a student was dropped off by her parents, who are a gay couple.

But then her "Christianity" doesn't extend to not lying or stealing, so she's probably just a bigoted hypocrite.

42
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Free Russian Orphans with Every Purchase
« on: July 02, 2018, 07:17:54 am »
I love how my co-worker assumes that, if a sexual assault allegation is made, the woman is automatically suspect, if not at fault.

Yes, Yvonne, that 11 year old tease really seduced that 17 year old boy, with her coquettish, slutty ways.

43
Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: July 01, 2018, 04:06:37 pm »
My feeling is there are elements of both here.  I honestly think that people are discounting the idea that Russian military intelligence is a) staffed with loons who think they really are in existential conflict with the west, and b) are connected to far-right militias fighting the Donbass and the overall European far-right scene far too readily.

Translation: GRU has basically gone full 1960s CIA.  It's running black ops all over with deniable cut-outs in the form of hackers and far-right groups, without any necessary direction from the Kremlin.

At the same time, there's definitely an official, concerted effort.  If the UK government ever actually bothered to do a full on Parliamentary investigation (which we are still loathe to do, because it might upset Trump) we would find more links between Brexit, Russia and Trump than would make anyone comfortable.   A former police officer has done a lot of investigation on this front already, and found some extremely troubling parallels, including some quite damning forensic evidence (bot farms deployed to swing Brexit repurposed for Trump).  Before that, we had odd electoral instability in places like Bulgaria in 2013 and 14...test runs, perhaps?

The mix of covert ops and enthusiastic amateurs supported by state elements is likely what makes this appear as weird as it does.

44
Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: July 01, 2018, 12:21:16 am »
Also, I hope everyone's paying close attention to the NATO summit in 2 weeks time, to be followed (possibly very closely) by Trump having a meeting with Putin.

In anticipation of the NATO summit, Trump has once again been escalating the rhetoric against the alliance.  He reportedly said to Sweden's Prime Minister, when informed that Sweden is not part of NATO but sometimes holds military exercises alongside it "that maybe the US should consider doing the same".  More recently, he stated NATO was as bad as NAFTA (?). 

The US Ambassador to Estonia, a country with a large ethnic Russian population in its eastern provinces, also quit today, in protest of Trump's statements.

Now, this could just be Trump's retarded attempts at playing hardball with the NATO alliance....but I don't know.  With the way he's been acting in the past month, I have the feeling there is something more going on, that potentially something really bad is about to happen.

Always bet on the most criminally insane possibility.

Trump withdraws from NATO, citing the lack of increased military spending by Germany et al.

3 days later, in a meeting with Putin, Trump recognises the Russian annexation of the Crimea in return for a drawing down of Russian forces in Syria.  He officialises the recognition, while Russia does not significantly reduce its Syrian footprint.

I take out that bottle of Talisker Storm that I have sitting in my cupboard, set aside for a "special occasion".

45
Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: June 30, 2018, 02:22:04 pm »
Also, I hope everyone's paying close attention to the NATO summit in 2 weeks time, to be followed (possibly very closely) by Trump having a meeting with Putin.

In anticipation of the NATO summit, Trump has once again been escalating the rhetoric against the alliance.  He reportedly said to Sweden's Prime Minister, when informed that Sweden is not part of NATO but sometimes holds military exercises alongside it "that maybe the US should consider doing the same".  More recently, he stated NATO was as bad as NAFTA (?). 

The US Ambassador to Estonia, a country with a large ethnic Russian population in its eastern provinces, also quit today, in protest of Trump's statements.

Now, this could just be Trump's retarded attempts at playing hardball with the NATO alliance....but I don't know.  With the way he's been acting in the past month, I have the feeling there is something more going on, that potentially something really bad is about to happen.

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