Ireland Getting Nervous About EU Stitch-Up

The Irish political class is getting increasingly nervous about the EU throwing them under the bus, with the Irish Independent coming out with a searing editorial today aimed at the EU after a “senior EU diplomat” reportedly said that the EU would force Ireland to “choose between setting up a physical Border with Northern Ireland and de facto leaving the single market” in the event of no deal. Ireland’s leaders slowly waking up to the realisation that the EU will happily toss them to one side once they stop being useful as a stick to beat the British with

Simon Coveney’s office was forced to respond, pointing to the EU’s numerous public statements that there will be no harder border in the event of no deal. He’s right, it is simply not going to happen over a few gallons of milk and bags of aggregate. So why is the backstop necessary at all?

Leo Varadkar has since upped the rhetoric today, saying that anyone who expects the “solidarity” of the EU with Ireland to change was in for a “nasty surprise”. If Ireland had continued working with the UK to develop technological solutions instead of treating the UK as an adversary and knowingly going down the path of brinkmanship over the backstop, the whole impasse could have been amicably resolved months ago. Instead Varadkar is nervously watching his (chlorinated?) chickens starting to come home to roost…

EU Investors Considering Moves to the UK Because of Brexit

The narrative of a mass exodus of City jobs has already been consigned to the Project Fear dustbin of history, with just 2,000 jobs now expected to move in the event of no-deal, compared to wild predictions of over 230,000 before the referendum. Now the FT of all places is reporting that EU asset managers are actually considering moving to the UK because of Brexit. That wasn’t in the script…

EU fund managers are up in arms over EU rules which would force them to trade dual-listed shares on uncompetitive EU exchanges after Brexit if the Commission refuse to give them access to London after Brexit. The German Investment Funds Association said that “without equivalence granted to UK trading venues, we see the real possibility of EU27 fund managers locating operations in the future in the UK”. London’s pull as the financial capital of the world is just too strong, whether the EU likes it or not…

Rachel Johnson Gets Her Breasts Out Against Brexit

The naked Cambridge Professor’s protests against Brexit might not be doing much to actually stop Brexit, but they have inspired Rachel Johnson to strip off for a naked Brexit protest of her own on Sky’s The Pledge last night, much to the disbelief of her fellow presenters. Viewers will be thankful it wasn’t any of the other members of the Johnson family who got their kit off over Brexit…

People’s Vote’s ‘Bregret’ Poster Boy Actually Voted Remain

The embattled People’s Vote campaign have released a new video featuring someone who claims to have voted Leave but now changed his mind to support Remain. It already has a combined 150,000 views across Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately for them, ‘Paul from Stoke’ is actually hyper-remain political activist Paul Tomlin, who even says he’s ‘proud to be a Londoner’

In the run up to the vote he pleaded with family and friends to ‘vote to stay’, posted that he will ‘get his country back’ if Britain votes to remain, and warned that ‘if we vote to leave there is no way back’. On the day of the results he lamented the Brexit vote with a vile post celebrating Nigel Farage’s plane crash.

Even more vile, in May 2016 he posted a picture of children in a Nazi death camp saying that voting to leave the EU would risk another holocaust.

This is who People’s Vote chose as their poster boy. Can they plausibly pretend that they didn’t know he voted Remain. Or did they tell him to lie..?

Now he proudly sharing the lie on Facebook:

Guido has reached out to Paul Tomlin for comment. He may well have “Bregrets” about his decisions now…

UPDATE: The video has now mysteriously disappeared from the People’s Vote Facebook and Twitter accounts. Naturally, Guido has preserved it for everyone to see…

UPDATE: Guido has spoken to Paul, who admitted that he was a remainer both before and after the referendum, but claims he nonetheless did vote leave. He told Guido that he decided to vote leave “a day or two” before the Referendum, and changed his mind back immediately after he left the polling booth. Conveniently, this time corresponds to immediately after the last post he made encouraging friends and family to vote Remain, and just before he posted implying he wished Farage had died in a plane crash…

Tomlin posted nothing about his short lived Damascene conversion on social media, and was not willing to share with Guido any texts or Facebook messages he sent to friends during this brief period. Seems legit…

Dutch Government Launch Brexit Muppet Mascot

The Dutch Foreign Minister has launched his country’s Brexit Impact Scan with a fluffy blue muppety mascot. The UK is the third largest export destination for Dutch businesses, almost twice as large as France and Italy. Pushing the message “make sure Brexit doesn’t stand in your way” the government is doing more than most to prepare for a clean break in just 43 days time.

The Dutch government has already hired nearly 1,000 extra customs officials to prepare for a No Deal Brexit. Their Brexit Impact Scan tells businesses that:

“The United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – will leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019. That means that they step out of the internal market and customs union.”

If only the UK government was as unequivocal…

Red Len: Second Referendum Threatens “Democratic Fabric” of the UK

Len McCluskey has come out with the most robust line yet from someone close to the Labour leader against a second referendum, telling Peston that trying to “deflect away” from the result of the 2016 referendum “would threaten the whole democratic fabric on which we operate”.

Meanwhile John McDonnell was busy doing the opposite and talking up the possibility of a second referendum last night, when he wasn’t attacking Churchill. A deliberate two-pronged strategy from Corbyn’s inner circle or signs of genuine splits emerging?

Eurozone Industrial Production Plunges Even Faster than Expected

Just days after the European Commission slashed the Eurozone’s growth forecasts for 2019, the Eurozone’s economic prospects took another blow with the latest industrial production data showing even sharper declines than predicted. Eurostat’s December data found a 0.9% month-on-month decline in industrial output for the Eurozone. Economists had only predicted a 0.4% fall…

This translates to a whopping 4.2% year-on-year decline, significantly worse than the 3.2% predicted. Yet Remainers are still desperate to shackle the UK to an economic bloc with severe structural flaws and in long-term decline…

Tory People’s Vote Campaign Loses Most of its MPs Despite Burning Through £40,000 of Dark Money

The Tory awkward squad launched their own “distinctive” People’s Vote campaign last month under the excruciatingly bad name-pun of ‘Right to Vote’. At the time of their launch Right to Vote widely claimed to have 10 Tory MPs on board, although Phillip Lee only counted eight at the launch event – Sam Gyimah, Heidi Allen, Dominic Grieve, Justine Greening, Guto Bebb, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and himself.

That number appears to have shrunk even further by the time of their latest ‘intervention’ this week, with just four MPs putting their name to their letter calling for Brexit to be delayed – Gyimah, Lee, Grieve and Bebb along with two hardline Remainer Lords. They seemed so desperate for MP support that the letter even originally listed “Baroness Altmann MP” as a signatory before the amusing mishap was corrected…

Incredibly, Right to Vote have reportedly spent a whopping £40,000 so far, despite not even having a website or a Twitter account at the time they launched, and their woeful lack of impact generally. As a campaigning organisation specifically made up of members from only one party they also clearly satisfy the Electoral Commission’s definition of a ‘members association’, which means they have should have registered with the Electoral Commission and declared every donation they have received over £7,500 by now – they haven’t. By law, the public have a right to know exactly whose dark money they’ve been fruitlessly burning through…

Caroline Spelman’s Brexit Delay Hypocrisy

Just two weeks ago Dame Caroline Spelman was busy insisting that she had absolutely no desire to delay Brexit, despite People’s Vote being so enthusiastic about her amendment they were running sponsored Twitter ads encouraging MPs to vote for it. Spelman even emailed a concerned local resident to “[make] it clear that I want to see no further delay to the country leaving the EU”:

Her constituents will therefore be surprised to see her name appearing as one of the leading sponsors of Yvette Cooper’s retabled Brexit-blocking Bill which explicitly forces the Prime Minister to extend Article 50. A strange way of trying to ensure that there is “no further delay” to Brexit…

Whitto Slams Olly Robbins

Former Cabinet Minister John Whittingdale has given a frank assessment of Olly Robbins’ track record as Theresa May’s top adviser on Politics Live. And May went along with it all…

Robbins Reveals Dishonesty of Government’s Stance

Olly Robbins has ended up in a significant amount of hot water after a sensational scoop from ITV’s Angus Walker in Brussels, who overheard Theresa May’s chief negotiator talking loudly to two colleagues in a Brussels hotel bar on Monday night. His remarks more or less confirmed all of Brexiteers’ worst fears that the wool is being pulled very firmly over their eyes…

Robbins’ revealed his plan to force the deal through by letting it go down to the wire and using the threat of a “long” extension to bully MPs into voting for the deal, saying “… Got to make them believe that the week beginning end of March… Extension is possible but if they don’t vote for the deal then the extension is a long one…” The Government’s long-held position has been firmly against any extension of Article 50. Now Robbins wants to weaponise that possibility to blackmail MPs. Forget the EU, it is clearer than ever that the UK’s own chief negotiator is not negotiating in good faith…

Robbins also boasted about the true nature of the backstop, revealing that it was not intended to be a “safety net” as it has been sold publicly but actually a “bridge” to the future relationship – exactly as his opposite number Sabine Weyand told EU ambassadors the day after the deal was agreed. Robbins told his companions: “The big clash all along is the ‘safety net’… We agreed a bridge but it came out as a ‘safety net’.” This blows another massive hole in May’s key commitments – this time on leaving the customs union. Robbins is answerable directly to the Prime Minister. How can she continue to stand up at the Despatch Box telling MPs one thing while allowing her chief negotiator to run round Brussels saying the complete opposite?

Corbyn Sneers at Second Referendum

Few people looked less impressed by Ben Bradshaw’s suggestion of a second referendum than his own party leader. Labour not even bothering to hide their disdain for a second referendum now…

Channel Tunnel To Remain Open If No Deal

The EU Commission has this afternoon published legislation on ‘Railway safety and connectivity’ which would guarantee the Channel Tunnel remains open for three months after a no deal Brexit, enough time for the UK and France to renegotiate the treaty that provides the legal underpinning for the crossing. Another piece of a managed no deal that Brexiteers were told was impossible…

EU Broke “Letter and Spirit” of Law in Scandalous Appointment of Juncker’s Monster to Top Job

The EU Ombudsman has delivered their final verdict on the utterly scandalous appointment of Juncker’s “monster” Martin Selmayr to the top job in the European Commission, concluding that “Selmayr’s appointment did not follow EU law, in letter or spirit, and did not follow the Commission’s own rules”. So much for the EU’s “sacred legal order”…

The Ombudsman “identified four instances of maladministration” in the handling of Selmayr’s appointment as Secretary-General and described the Juncker Commission’s failure to follow official recommendations on opening up the appointment process as “highly regrettable”, adding that “the Ombudsman looks forward to its implementation by the next Commission”. Barely a tickle on the wrist, let alone a slap.

Last December the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for him to quit. Naturally Selmayr has no desire to give up his corruptly obtained post and has ignored them. If a scandal of this magnitude had happened in a functioning democracy Selmayr would have been forced to resign in disgrace. Instead he is still the top dog in the EU’s most powerful institution…

UPDATE: The European Commission have put out a statement in response saying they “take note” of the Ombudsman’s verdict and that Selmayr “fully meets all the demanding requirements for the job” and is going nowhere. Rotten to the core…

Naked Brexit Professor Got Publicly Naked Long Before Brexit

Dr Victoria Bateman has shot to political attention this week for her nude media appearances. She told Good Morning Britain this morning that she had given up on using words and now expressed herself using her body.

“As an economist I am used to using words and equations to make an argument, and in the run up to the referendum I must have penned thousands of words… but I also know… that I’m affected by much more than words alone, that there is a power in going beyond words.”

You might have got the impression that Brexit had driven her to strip off. In fact she has found many different excuses to appear naked in public over the years:

  • She herself commissioned and posed naked for a life size portrait to “raise questions” two years before Britain voted to leave the EU.
  • She walked in naked to a faculty dinner to defend prostitution.
  • She walked in naked to a meeting at the Faculty of Economics in protest against the results of the EU referendum.
  • She filmed a video naked to “promote economists taking feminism into account.”
  • She tweeted a video of herself naked to protest the immigration bill.
  • She filmed another naked video to stand up for women’s rights.
  • She delivered an hour long nude lecture against Brexit then asked the audience to sign her naked body.

Guido isn’t a trained psychiatrist, so will be going out on a bit of a limb here, with this question: Could it be she is an exhibitionist who just likes getting naked?

Trimble Serves Legal Notice on Government Over Backstop Breaking Good Friday Agreement

Lord Trimble, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning architect of the Good Friday Agreement, has formally commenced legal proceedings against the Government to challenge whether the backstop is illegal under the Good Friday Agreement. Guido can reveal the formal letter sent to the Government Legal Department ahead of the Judicial Review challenge, which the Government must respond to by 22 February. The three possible defendants are identified as Karen Bradley, David Lidington or the Prime Minister herself…

The case will argue that the backstop breaches two key laws – the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Union of Ireland Act 1800 – as well as the Good Friday Agreement itself. Under the Northern Ireland Act and the GFA, they say arrangements to avoid a hard border should have been negotiated bilaterally at the British-Irish intergovernmental conference. The EU has already allowed the UK and Spain to sign a bilateral agreement regarding Gibraltar, why can Northern Ireland not be resolved bilaterally as well?

The crowdfund for the challenge to the backstop is nearing its initial target. If Guido readers want to support the legal challenge too they can donate here

Civil Servants Receive ‘Resilience Toolkit’ to Help Them Cope With Brexit Grief

Civil servants have naturally been grumbling about having to do slightly more work than usual as they prepare for Brexit. Luckily for those working in the Department of Health, they’ve just been issued with a “Toolkit for staff during EU Exit” on “Change management and resilience” to help them “understand the impact which change and uncertainty is having on the way you feel”. Seriously…

The toolkit begins by setting out the Department’s “values and behaviours” as a “Great [sic] Department of State”. Staff are then reassured that it’s “natural” for them to be going through the classic five stages of grief over Brexit. They are literally plotted on a graph – rebranded here as a “change curve”…

Staff are then instructed how to “take back control” and shut those bad Brexit thoughts out. The key is to “challenge your inner critic” and “kill your Automated Negative Thoughts (ANTS)”. Kill those nasty ANTS!

There are also some nice colourful graphs to help civil servants get in the “feel good zone”. Just the right amount of “healthy tension”…

Struggling with Brexit Derangement Syndrome yourself? Guido has done the public service of reproducing the ‘toolkit’ in full to help you get through your Brexit troubles too…

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May Keen on Corbyn’s Cop-Out

May’s official response to Corbyn’s soft Brexit offer has not done anything to calm the nerves of jittery Tory MPs, with May adopting a surprisingly conciliatory tone and offering only a lukewarm defence of the benefits of leaving the customs union. May opens the door to offering further commitments on following future EU laws and even says she is happy to “explore” Corbyn’s call to adopt “shared institutions and obligations” of the single market. May again signalling that she would sooner do a deal with the devil than allow ‘no deal’ to happen…

Steve Baker has sarcastically responded “It’s a good thing Corbyn does not realise the PM is already heading into what amounts to the EU Customs Union, or he would have to ask for more unachievable goals”. For a long time May and Corbyn’s positions have been differentiated more by rhetoric than substance, now they really are heading for ever closer union…

 

Leave Means Leave Announce ‘Anti-Singles Market’ Valentine’s Day Protest

Leave Means Leave have put out a charming message to promote the ‘special protest’ they are planning outside Parliament on the next round of Brexit voting on Valentine’s Day. Brexiteer heartthrob Harry has invited lovelorn leavers to join him in the hope of leaving the singles market. Only a diehard Remoaner with the coldest heart of stone couldn’t find this endearing…

Nigel Farage Forms New Brexit Party

The Telegraph is reporting that a new Brexit Party with Nigel Farage’s backing has been officially recognised by the Electoral Commission. Nigel says “the engine is running” and he stands “ready for battle”…

Friends of Farage tell Guido that he now reckons UKIP is “dead in the water” – the Brexit Party will give him a vehicle to run in the European Elections if Article 50 is delayed as well as putting pressure on the Tories to carry out Brexit properly.[…] Read the rest

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