Land of Cheaper Wine and Honey Under No Deal

The government has today confirmed that all tariffs will be scrapped on wine and honey – along with 88% of goods imported to the UK – in the event of no deal. Get ready to pop the champagne…

This tariff arrangement would last for a year while a new permanent regime is being worked out and full Free Trade Agreements around the world are struck – and cut tariffs even further than Theresa May’s government planned, ensuring preferential access to the UK market for developing countries.

The Government is pitching this new regime as “a balanced approach”, as whilst the majority of goods will see their tariffs fall to zero, some tariffs will continue, including on bioethanol, fish, some meats, ceramics, cars, and clothing. In any case, No Deal will (temporarily) lead to a land of considerably cheaper milk and honey…

mdi-timer 8th October 2019 @ 2:05 pm 8th Oct 2019 @ 2:05 pm mdi-comment Comments
FCO “Crisis No Deal Response”: Go On Holiday

Yesterday’s story about the penny dropping at the FCO that Brexit was really going to happen on October 31 triggered the FCO press office into claiming that they had, of course, been training people on trade policy since 2016.  Unfortunately for the junior press office spinner trying to sell the line that this was just an expansion, Guido’s FCO sources suggest otherwise…

It’s all getting a bit hairy over at the FCO, departments are now being told that more and more staff will have to be deployed – unexpectedly – for Brexit related duties. Many unhappy senior staff are having to decide what they will have to stop doing to compensate for redeployed staff and resources…

Simon McDonald, the FCO’s Permanent-Under-Secretary, has written to staff telling them; “Preparing for a no deal response will become the FCO’s main effort… our EU exit work has to intensify across the FCO.” He goes on to tell them that the FCO Crisis Centre will be coordinating the effort – which tells you all need to know about the FCO’s attitude towards Brexit. Peter Jones, the FCO’s Chief Operating Officer, is coordinating the change in priorities with directors. As if it should not have been the priority since June 2016…

McDonald concludes “Preparing for October is the professional challenge of our lives” before going on to finish his missive “I hope, like me, you manage to take some leave over the summer in preparation for a busy autumn.” No sense of urgency even though a no deal Brexit has belatedly “become the FCO’s main effort”…

mdi-timer 16th August 2019 @ 3:08 pm 16th Aug 2019 @ 3:08 pm mdi-comment Comments
Hypocritical Hammond: I Prepared For No Deal But Boris Mustn’t Be Allowed To

Former Chancellor and perennial Brexit Eeyore Philip Hammond has taken to the airwaves today to warn of the supposedly dire consequences of a clean break from the EU. This is despite him being elected on a manifesto that promised the UK would leave with No Deal if the only alternative was a bad deal. Which, currently, it is.

On Today this morning, Hammond bizarrely doubled down on the notion that he had spent time and money preparing for No Deal, despite the reason for his interview being a big intervention saying such preparation would be damaging and undemocratic. It’s okay when he does it but when it’s Michael Gove and Boris Johnson that’s beyond the pale…

“We were already doing No Deal preparation… we spent £4.2 billion… a large part of it was preparation by the treasury to mitigate the impact on financial services.”

So why does he have a problem with this Government doing the same thing he supposedly did..?

Guido suspects that the reason for the disparity is that Hammond’s ‘preparation’ was purely cosmetic. Last week it was reported that a No Deal planning committee member had revealed that previously “the Treasury was blocking everythingwhereas things are serious now and ten to 15 actions are agreed every day.” Hammond is only upset that now people are actually undertaking the work that he bragged about doing while actually undermining it…

Downing Street sources have hit back hard saying the likes of the former Chancellor “never accepted the referendum result and they fought to overturn it.” Number 10 sources tells the FT that “Hammond and Clarke sabotaged the UK’s preparations to leave. Every day, officials tell us about decisions they took to stop us actually leaving” and The Times that “Everyone knows the ex-chancellor’s real objective was to cancel the referendum result.”

Hammond himself is doing nothing to dampen that analysis, talking up a second referendum again this morning.

“If we can’t resolve this issue in Parliament it will have to be resolved by either a General Election or a second referendum.”

If anyone believes he actually respects the referendum result, Guido has a bridge to sell you…

UPDATE: Guido asked team Hammond if there was any truth to the widely circulating story that the then Chancellor told the Irish that the British Government would never support No Deal during the negotiations that followed the defeat of the first meaningful vote last year. They refused to comment on it…

mdi-timer 14th August 2019 @ 9:04 am 14th Aug 2019 @ 9:04 am mdi-comment Comments
Calais Ports Chief: No Deal Scaremongering is ‘La Bulls**t’

Senior French official Jean-Marc Puissesseau has dismissed fears of transport chaos around the Dover-Calais crossing as “C’est la bulls**t”, saying: “Nothing is going to happen the day after Brexit… Britain will be a third country, that’s all, and there is no reason why this should lead to any problems. If both sides do their homework traffic will be completely fluid”. He should know, he’s only the head of the French channel ports…

He adds that while no deal would have been a problem in March “because nobody believed it was going to happen and they were all dragging their feet”, now everyone has an extra seven months is actually getting ready. Including the UK Government, this time…

Puissesseau accuses “certain individuals in the UK” of “whipping up this catastrophism for their own reasons”. Who could possibly want to do that…

mdi-timer 12th August 2019 @ 9:57 am 12th Aug 2019 @ 9:57 am mdi-comment Comments
CBI Dancing to Boris’s No Deal Tune

Boris’s strategy of doing the opposite of what his opponents expect – and actually being serious about leaving the EU deal or no deal – is continuing to yield results. Now it’s Eurosceptics’ longtime adversary the CBI who have been forced to come round. Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn took to The Times to set out their new “pragmatic” approach to no deal:

“Our view has not changed. Business wants a deal. But we are also pragmatists. We have been preparing our members for the possibility of no deal for many months. Now is the time to shift to an emergency footing… And, contrary to some claims, the EU is behind the UK in its plans to prevent the worst effects…

“The CBI has set out more than 200 recommendations for action. For the government, it shows that good work has been carried out in prioritising short-term stability and temporary measures, such as its approach to licences for regulated EU goods imports…

“For the EU, it means at least matching the UK’s sensible temporary mitigations in a range of areas. They must look at further potential temporary standstills and extensions of emergency measures, especially around borders and data flows. They should also bring forward the ability for UK firms to apply for essential licences as a third country before the UK leaves…

“Two stark messages stand out. The first is to get on with the work. The second is to get back to the negotiating table so that this wasteful and complex process becomes redundant. The EU’s preparations lag the UK’s so it’s in their interest as much as ours to use the dynamic of a new prime minister to reset the approach.”

The Times’ write-up even included the phrasing “the CBI is pressing Brussels to drop its boycott of talks”. Who’d have thought we’d see the day when the UK’s ‘biggest’ business lobby group finally decided to put the pressure on Brussels rather than Downing Street – as it has for the last three years? When the PM actually leads, others follow…

mdi-timer 29th July 2019 @ 11:25 am 29th Jul 2019 @ 11:25 am mdi-comment Comments
Barnier: May Never Threatened No Deal

Michel Barnier told Nick Robinson for a BBC Panorama special airing tonight that Theresa May “never” threatened to walk away without a deal. He said that the EU wouldn’t be “impressed by such a threat” and that it’s “not useful to use it”. It seems obvious that if Theresa May hadn’t just set out to “impress” the EU side or be “useful” to them, a tougher UK stance would have secured a better deal…

mdi-timer 18th July 2019 @ 9:31 am 18th Jul 2019 @ 9:31 am mdi-comment Comments
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