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That May speech… and what isn’t in it… October 2, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Here’s something to read, the full text of May’s speech on the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ and so on.

Any concerns about the prospect of a ‘hard border’ on this particular island? They won’t be allayed by anything in the speech, because it doesn’t address the (presumably from her perspective) small matter of the only land frontier the UK currently has. Indeed Ireland isn’t mentioned at all, and the only mention of the island is a sort of cursory one:

…the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union are the responsibility of the Government and nobody else. I have already said that we will consult and work with the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, because we want Brexit to work in the interests of the whole country. And we will do the same with business and municipal leaders across the land.


But the job of negotiating our new relationship is the job of the Government. Because we voted in the referendum as one United Kingdom, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, and we will leave the European Union as one United Kingdom. There is no opt-out from Brexit. And I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom.

There. That’s it.

I hardly need point out that the rest of it – particularly the ‘vision for Britain after Brexit’ is built on bizarre optimism and boosterism and the now characteristic rhetoric that essentially argues the EU needs Britain more than Britain needs the EU. No surprise there. But really, at times it goes beyond parody. For example:

We have the best intelligence services in the world, a military that can project its power around the globe, and friendships, partnerships and alliances in every continent. We have the greatest soft power in the world, we sit in exactly the right time zone for global trade, and our language is the language of the world.


1. CL - October 2, 2016

“I want it to involve free trade, in goods and services. I want it to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the Single Market – and let European businesses do the same here. But let me be clear. We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.”-May.

Free movement of goods, but not of people? Unlikely. Its all rather vague. In a few years we’ll know more.


sonofstan - October 2, 2016

To be fair to May (!) her vision isn’t that different from the way the EU views the rest of the world. Free trade as much as possible but no free movement of labour into fortress Europe – just between those inside. She just wants the same thing in one country.


Gewerkschaftler - October 2, 2016

Which is a fair point.

But isn’t that the case with every economic power within capitalism? The US. Or even increasingly China.


WorldbyStorm - October 2, 2016

It’s going to be interesting to see those two visions collide.


2. Gewerkschaftler - October 2, 2016

Much of the new law will have to be made without the consent of the Little British parliament by the executive, just because there is so much of it – the point that experts in EU made before and after the referendum.

Another plus for the beneficiaries on the Tory Party ‘benefactor’ shopping list – a huge potential for sweetheart backroom deals.


RosencrantzisDead - October 2, 2016

There will probably be very little substantive legal change in the short to medium term. New laws will slowly get rid of the older ones.

I would expect to see some silliness, such as a law allowing for shops to specify weights in lbs, ozs. and stones. Or lengths measured in feet, inches, and yards. I recall that being a tabloid cause célèbre about fifteen years ago.


3. John Connor - October 2, 2016

Hard to see all this as anything other than yet another step in the decline of the Empire!

Good article in the FT last week saying that the Germans are becoming seriously browned off with the Brits. The essence of it was that the EU, ‘guided’ of course by the steady hand of Frau Merkel, will happily produce a fudge – but the Brits have to play the game.

As the Germans were aparently already annoyed at the way the Brits were talking, this speech today will worsen things significantly.

Run on sterling tomorrow?


WorldbyStorm - October 2, 2016

I was wondering that too re sterling. Possibly a bit early but…


4. gendjinn - October 2, 2016

“…in the interests of the whole country. ”

When you substitute “SE England” and/or “London” for “whole country” you will find her speech makes sense.

The optimistic pablum represents the sum total of energy the Tories plan on putting into softening the impacts of Brexit on everyone else.


WorldbyStorm - October 2, 2016

It is bizarrely parochial. Again I’d be deeply critical of the EU but this is crazy stuff. There’s hardly the pretence of an effort to understand how these things work, just hollow rhetoric.


gendjinn - October 3, 2016

I think if you dial your cynicism up to a dark, bitter roast it will start to make sense.

Someone wants to make Market Forces a reality.


sonofstan - October 2, 2016

With Scotland lost to labour, the tories just need the SE and outer london.


gendjinn - October 3, 2016

Which inexorably drives them further right in pursuit of those UKIP voters that were the MoE in many constituencies in the GE.

It is possible that having gotten their referendum and Brexit the UKIP voters will not return to the Tories in the next GE. With the collapse of LDs that would put Corbyn in.


5. FergusD - October 3, 2016

Still not clear whether May wants access to the EU single market or not. Yes, but in her terms is unlikely to happen so it seems no. So then we have the idealism of Liam Fox, free trade everywhere. Total confusion from the govt. The Tories will spend years in this mess, but probably slipping in “free market” changes wherever they can. “Business” already has some worker’s rights in their sights, I think they will find time to change those laws as soon as possible.

If the UK is not in the single market what will the Japanes car markers do? You would think they are even now thinking of moving production elsewhere. Sure, the move would be expensive but in the long run? With Poland and other East European countries eager to have them/expand their production, why not?

The time zone thing and financial services. Paris and Frankfurt are one hour different to London. Not a big deal. I bet most of those in financial services there speak pretty good English, especially in Frankfurt. If eurozone passporting goes from the UK that business would move – especially UK based versions of US banks. And then why not move a lot of the rest to avoid splitting your European operations?

I really wonder what the like of Liam Fox think will be so wonderful after Brexit. Some sort of Cayman Islands writ large? A massive off-shore banking zone? And manufacturing? Maybe they don’t care about manufacturing at all? Is this their future for the UK?


Gewerkschaftler - October 3, 2016

I fear you’re dead right on the manufacturing front – who on earth would set up there now? And who, with a large market in Europe, will not be considering moving on?

It terms of finance, fraud, tax-evasion and money-laundering (aka the City of London) – a large Cayman Islands was what I had in mind as well. But there’s only so much hot money out there isn’t there? Cue large losses of jobs in the South East.

Doesn’t the original Caymans do this significantly cheaper?


Joe - October 3, 2016

Well, the original Caymans might do it cheaper but we must never forget that Ireland is the best little country in the world in which to do it.


6. Joe - October 3, 2016

From today’s Guardian:
“Britain’s exit from the EU will begin when May sends a letter to Tusk, spelling out her intention to trigger article 50. EU leaders will then meet, without the UK, to draw up a mandate for the talks. Diplomats are taking soundings on national red lines, which are likely to cover the single market, financial services, the status of Gibraltar and the rights of EU citizens settled in the UK.”

So what should Ireland’s national red lines be?
– No hard border
– Access for our exports to UK markets with minimal if any tariffs etc
– Common travel area both ways between UK and RoI
– Mutual ‘exchange of rights’ between UK citizens and ROI citizens i.e. no change in current arrangements …we get the vote and the dole etc over there, they get the vote and the dole etc over here

Isn’t that it? We would want things to carry on between the two countries on these islands as they were before we both joined the EEC and as they have done since we joined the EEC?

I recommend anyway that we control the reflex to kick the Brits when they’re down. Cos if we hurt them, we hurt ourselves too.


7. sonofstan - October 3, 2016

Is there no end to Brit self- centredness, even as they want to be alone? the Guardian reporting the defeat of the referendum in Colombia as ‘a Brexit moment’


8. benmadigan - October 3, 2016

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