Friday Caption Contest (Thumbs Up Edition)

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684 Days Since the Referendum, the Government Doesn’t Have a Policy on Customs

684 days have passed since Britain voted for Brexit. Theresa May has been Prime Minister for 664 days. There are just 325 days – ten months – until we are supposed to be leaving the EU. Still, the UK government does not have a policy on customs. 

Boris has given an interview to the Mail today in which he brands Number 10’s customs partnership proposal “crazy”. Guido has outlined the problems with it here. The customs partnership is dead in its current form, but the papers are full of speculation Downing Street is going to plough ahead with a rehashed version of the model rejected by the Brexit sub-committee last week.

Just as worryingly, Number 10 is putting off the decision yet again. Customs won’t be discussed at Cabinet today, we are told, nor at the next meeting of the sub-committee on Thursday. There are reports that the Commons vote on customs may even be delayed until the autumn, as May desperately tries to fudge what is already a fudge. Continually delaying the decision on customs is becoming a dereliction of duty. The uncertainty is harming the economy. The vague UK position is encouraging Brussels to wind down the clock and keep us in a full customs union. If Number 10 delay any further, the choice will be between a customs union and no deal, outcomes no one wants. Get on with it…

Boris on “Crazy” Customs Partnership

Boris to the Mail on May’s customs partnership:

“If you have the new customs partnership, you have a crazy system whereby you end up collecting the tariffs on behalf of the EU at the U.K. frontier. If the EU decides to impose punitive tariffs on something the U.K. wants to bring in cheaply, there’s nothing you can do. That’s not taking back control of your trade policy, it’s not taking back control of your laws, it’s not taking back control of your borders and it’s actually not taking back control of your money either, because tariffs would get paid centrally back to Brussels.”

May and Rudd Trying to Be ‘More Brexit Than Brexit’ on Immigration

Two pieces today express the unhappiness of Brexiters with Theresa May’s version of Brexit. Boris tells the Telegraph leaving will be “pointless” if we cannot diverge from the EU and strike trade deals with other countries, and makes the case for a “liberal” immigration policy that allows us to take “software people from Hyderabad” and “Australian paramedics” as well as skilled migrants from the EU. Fraser Nelson blasts May for pursuing “the wrong Brexit” in the Spectator, warning:

“Many Remainers genuinely believed they were engaged in a battle of ‘open’ vs ‘closed’ — and that ‘closed’ won. So as democrats, they ought to obey what they believe to be the demand of Brexit voters: clamping down on migration, sounding more tough and less liberal. This is a tragic misreading not only of the referendum result, but of public opinion today. Seeking to control immigration is not the same thing as being anti-immigrant…

Limits should be placed on unskilled labour, as is common in most countries, but skilled workers should be welcomed with open arms. There should be no more treating Australians or Indians as second class immigrants, and no more violinists deported to Massachusetts because they don’t earn enough.”

This is essentially the problem with two Remainers, May and Rudd, being in charge of the post-Brexit approach to immigration. In an effort to win the support of Brexiters, May and Rudd have overcompensated and tried to be more Brexit than Brexit, playing up to their caricature of what they think Leave voters want. A Leave Prime Minister would not have used EU citizens as bargaining chips as May did for so long. A Leave Prime Minister would not continue to favour EU migrants over non-EU migrants post-Brexit, as Brexiters fear May and Rudd will do to get a better deal. Polling by Open Europe found 56% supported continuing immigration “as long as there are controls to make sure they will contribute to our society, economy and way of life”. It is about control and fairness, not the cold approach exemplified by the Windrush scandal…

Boris: “Extraordinary” to Deny Russian Responsibility For Salisbury Attack

He says the Russians are “demented” for claiming Britain did it…

Jean-Luc Picard ‘Would Have Voted Remain’

Patrick Stewart tells Marr his Star Trek and X-Men characters Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier would have voted Remain. Boris dismisses him as “something to do with Star Wars” and says:

“We’ll be able boldly go again to areas that perhaps we’ve neglected…”

Boris on Corbyn

Boris on Jezza:

“28 other countries have been so convinced by UK case they have expelled Russians. In contrast, Jeremy Corbyn chooses to side with the Russian spin machine.”

Bully Bercow Brands Boris “Sexist”

Bercow says Boris is “sexist” for calling Emily Thornberry “Baroness Nugee”What would the Speaker call bullying female staff members then?

Russia on Boris

Slightly concerning Russian foreign ministry spokesman quote claiming Boris is:

“poisoned with hatred and anger”

Boris: Russia Has Been Stockpiling Novichok

“We actually have evidence, within the last ten years, that not only has Russia been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok itself.”

The major news from Boris this morning…

Boris: Putin Made Decision

“We think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the UK.”

Over to you Seumas…

No, Boris Didn’t Say England Might Pull Out of the World Cup

Various news outlets have reported that Boris threatened to pull England out of the World Cup during the Urgent Question on the spy poisoning today. If you look at what he actually said, he mentioned nothing about the England team and was clearly referring to “UK representation”. I.e. officials and diplomats from the UK government, not the England team:

“If things turn out to be as many members suspect that they are, I think we will have to have a serious conversation about our engagement with Russia, and for my own part I think it will be very difficult to see, thinking ahead to the World Cup this summer, I think it will be very difficult to imagine that UK representation at that event could go ahead in the normal way.”

Yet another example of certain media organisations hostile to Boris using a very serious story to make a cheap shot at the Foreign Secretary. Whether or not the government’s commitment to bring Russia “to heel” is an empty threat is surely a more pressing question…

Friday Caption Contest (SnowJo Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Boris on Corbyn’s “B*llocks”

Doesn’t take a lip reader to work out what BoJo thought of that Corbyn question…

Who’s Really Divisive? Top Remainers’ Unhinged Boris Abuse

Boris gives a speech reaching out to Remainers. How do some Remainers respond? With a torrent of personal abuse and conspiracy theories, refusing to engage with anything in the speech having already made up their minds beforehand, and calling him “mendacious” and “evil”, among other pleasantries:

Boris had a point about some Remainers suffering from “Brexchosis”. Who are really the divisive ones?

Optimistic Boris on Brexit’s Opportunities

“Brexit need not be nationalist but can be internationalist, not an economic threat but a considerable opportunity, not un-British but a manifestation of this country’s historic national genius.”

A Cabinet minister actually gives an optimistic vision of the opportunities of Brexit, rather than glumly talking about how to make the best of it. Why hasn’t this been the message from the government over the last 19 months?

Boris Brexit Speech

Tale of Two Interventions

Tuesday: Boris Johnson calls for more NHS spending, Downing Street organise for him to take a punishment beating at Cabinet and then publicly rebuke him to the Lobby.

Thursday: Philip Hammond calls for a sell-out on Brexit, Downing Street decline to comment.

Concerning…

Friday Caption Contest (Boris Bridge Edition)

Boris’ Holiday Car Trouble

MPs on their Christmas holidays update: The EyeSpyMP Twitter account has spotted a frustrated Foreign Secretary gesticulating at the car hire desk in Turin airport:

We’ve all been there…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Emma Barnett asks Barry Gardiner:

“Which Barry Gardiner is telling the truth? The one who speaks in private or the one who’s on TV now?”

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