The clock is running…
The clock is running…
Before Christmas Guido reported that Andrea Leadsom was the first Cabinet minister to produce a departmental plan for Brexit. Today the Environment Secretary reveals what Brexit means for farming: a bonfire of cumbersome regulations that currently cost the industry million of pounds a year. When we leave the EU Andrea’s farming minister George Eustice will end the ‘three crop rule’ regulating how many different crops farms must plant. Defra say this will allow 40,000 farmers to grow the foods people want and add millions to the economy.
Barmy Brussels diktats defining what makes a hedge a hedge or when a puddle becomes a pond will be binned. Paperwork required from flood-hit farmers will be reduced, as will the number of expensive government inspections. Most satisfying of all: farms will no longer have to pay for and display ridiculous 6ft by 4ft propaganda billboards publicising the EU contribution for grants, as they are currently required to do. Millions saved, millions added to the economy, hundreds of thousands of hours saved. As the old joke almost goes, how does the Environment Secretary compare with colleagues on Brexit? She’s outstanding in her field…
Just a friendly reminder to the PM that she has, by Guido’s count, 86 days until her self-imposed deadline for the triggering of Article 50. Assuming she takes it all the way to Friday, March 31st…
The Times reported on Monday that she’ll trigger it in time for a European summit on March 9-10. The sooner the better…
Sir Ivan Rogers, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, has quit ahead of schedule rather than stick around to help work on Brexit. A £170,000-a-year former Ken Clarke aide, Rogers is seen by some as a caricature of an arch-Eurocrat, though others in Brussels say this is an over-simplification. What is certain is that Rogers was an obstacle to David Cameron seeking proper reform of the EU during his renegotiation. As Tim Shipman reveals in his unrivalled referendum book All Out War, Cameron’s aides blame Rogers for blocking them from seeking a better deal on immigration and the ECJ:
‘We were too beholden to Tom Scholar and Ivan Rogers,’ one Cameron adviser said. ‘They were status quo. They were happy to take “No” for an answer, happy to believe things weren’t possible when they could be possible. I’ve lost count of the number of times Ivan threatened to resign.’ The politicos say Rogers was aggressive in dismissing their arguments, and went over their heads to Cameron: ‘He would send emails that were the stuff of legend, saying why didn’t we know anything? We were just politicos, we didn’t understand.’ Another aide said Rogers’ emails were ‘notorious’.
Rogers also clashed with the special advisers over their desire to include reforms of the European Court of Justice in the renegotiation. ‘Korski had a long-running battle with ofﬁcials saying that we needed to do something, and he kept getting told that it was impossible to do something,’ a Number 10 source said. A range of proposals were put forward, ranging from new rules on the selection of judges to proposals for the EC] to get out of lower-level decisions. Their advocates believe the plan would have allowed Britain to get a serious review of the court on the agenda. It was rejected by ofﬁcials over the summer.
In the end Cameron’s renegotiation strategy of asking for very little rather than demanding genuine reform was fatal. Rogers was instrumental in that, and since the referendum he has been sulking and saying it’ll take 10 years to come up with a trade deal. A chance now for someone less pessimistic and more ambitious to take over…
Britain will be “older, more unequal and blighted by Brexit”, according to a gloomy new report from the IPPR think tank. Apparently there will be a decade of disaster and misery caused by the Leave vote. Two things the Guardian didn’t include in their write-up: The IPPR was formerly run by the head of the Remain campaign Will Straw. It is funded by the EU. Probably worth mentioning…
Today’s papers went big on a whinge from Dave Penman, general secretary of the trade union of senior civil servants, complaining that Whitehall needs more resources because of Brexit. Easy copy for struggling on-duty reporters in the dead week before the New Year. But it really isn’t news…
Today Penman says: “The civil service is going to have to be given more resources to deal with Brexit”. The same point he made on November 23: “With no additional funding, departments will once again be asked to deliver ever more with ever less”. And November 15: “there is a deafening silence from Ministers over whether any additional resources will be provided to deliver this momentous task”. And October 12: “the Government needs to provide the civil service with the capability and capacity necessary to deliver a successful EU exit”. And September 2. And August 31. And July 5. And June 24. You get the idea.
It’s hardly a surprise that the boss of a trade union wants more cash. It’s not even new information either, he’s said the same thing every month since the vote. That’s the problem with the Christmas period: full of repeats…
Ireland’s Finance Ministry is not holding back in the battle with the European Commission. In a legal briefing over the Apple Tax case the Irish government argues that:
There is no doubt that the Commission is trying to use State Aid laws to thwart Ireland’s competitive tax regime over which the EU has no competence. Ironically if Ireland loses it gets a windfall of €13 billion in taxes (about €2,600 per person). That is enough to wipe out the budget deficit for a couple of years…
Nevertheless it is a fight that Ireland wants to win. Post-Brexit Ireland wants to be seen as corporate America’s best friend in the EU. Ireland is looking to a high-tech future across the Atlantic…
.@BenPBradshaw: “Highly probable” the Russians were behind Brexit.
If you weren’t yet convinced, here’s Labour officially losing the plot. pic.twitter.com/ANsgEBQbMO
— LEAVE.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) December 13, 2016
Ben Bradshaw goes off the deep end and tells the Commons Russian hackers “probably” engaged in cyber-warfare to help Leave win the EU referendum, despite admitting “we don’t have any evidence for that”. Sad.
Journalist Ian Dunt is known as one of Westminster’s most vocal Remainers. His Twitter feed since June has been a slow motion and at times emotional breakdown, this is what he wrote the day after the referendum:
Dunt is the go-to Remainer for political TV producers and he has even written a book lobbying MPs to obstruct a proper Brexit. […] Read the rest
These are the names of the brave MPs with Leave constituencies who voted against triggering Article 50:
Graham Allen (Nottingham North) Nottingham voted Leave (50.8%)
Chris Evans (Islwyn) Caerphilly voted Leave (57.6%)
Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-Under-Lyme) Newcastle-Under-Lyme voted Leave (63%)
Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) Kirklees voted Leave (55%)
Angela Smith (Penistone and Stocksbridge) Sheffield voted Leave (51%)
Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) Carmarthenshire voted Leave (53.7%)
Mostly in Wales and the North of England.[…] Read the rest
One Tory, Ken Clarke, and 23 Labour MPs voted against triggering Article 50, as well as the LibDems and Scots Nats. Gavin Williamson, David Davis and Number 10 have played a blinder – a timetable for notification has been successfully agreed and those opposing have been flushed out.[…] Read the rest
The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive states that 20% of its total energy needs must be met with renewables by 2020. Time is running out, so Brussels is bankrolling boffins to avoid the embarrassment of missing the target. That’s why almost €3 million was spent on a four year project trying to generate electricity.[…] Read the rest
EU chief negotiator and professional Britain basher Michel Barnier has delivered his Brexit timeline:
March 2017: Article 50 notification
October 2018: Brexit deal agreed
March 2019: Ratification
Barnier says there is no negotiating room on the four freedoms, in other words we cannot retain single market membership and end freedom of movement.[…] Read the rest