Would the EU abandon Varadkar? Perhaps. But it’s not at all likely. | Conservative Home


Throughout Brexit, there have been two apparently fixed points on the EU side of the negotiations. The first was their remarkable cohesion, in the face of a deeply divided British political class, and the second was their solidarity with Dublin.

As this Government’s efforts to negotiate Brexit reach their apparent nadir, it is worth paying attention to the other side of the table and noting that something appears to have shifted this week, at least with regards to the former point.

The apparent willingness of certain EU leaders to go for ‘no deal’, rather than endlessly indulging Parliament with a series of extensions in which it can continue to vote down the Withdrawal Agreement, seems to contradict the Union’s policy of catering to the particular needs of the Republic of Ireland.

Whilst the EU is perfectly willing to roll out the high-minded rhetoric about the vital importance of an invisible border whilst attempting to persuade the UK to adopt the backstop, it seems improbable that they would content to allow unregulated goods to flood into the Single Market through Northern Ireland in the event of no-deal.

 

Source: Would the EU abandon Varadkar? Perhaps. But it’s not at all likely. | Conservative Home

Henry Newman: How to manage No Deal? To start with, pledge to reduce tariffs. | Conservative Home


Another alternative, any comments?

61chrissterry

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Brexit negotiations are stalled. Only one issue matters – the Irish backstop. Despite all the drama and noises off about Chequers, “Norway for now”, and Super Canada, none of that matters if we cannot agree a divorce. And, unless the EU shifts tack, the only path to an orderly divorce is via the backstop. So we are facing down a growing risk of No Deal. No Deal could mean tariffs on trade with our largest partner – the EU. So, the Government should commit now to reduce our overall tariffs in the event of No Deal.

No Deal should be nobody’s preferred option. It would mean significant disruption. Aviation, haulage and transport, citizen’s rights, and many other areas would potentially be affected. Almost by definition it would suggest that relations across the Continent had broken down – the political and strategic effects could be profound.

But there might be little choice if the alternative would mean a backstop which threatens the long-term integrity of the United Kingdom. So what would it mean in economic terms? Open Europe’s analysis, published yesterday, reveals that in the medium term the static macroeconomic effects of No Deal would be material but relatively small. GDP growth would be affected – down an estimated 2.2 per cent by 2030.

Our model considers the cost of tariffs with the EU, as well as costs for customs and other non-tariff barriers. But despite these new costs, we found that No Deal would not be the biggest determinant of our prosperity over that period. Over the medium term up to 2030 the UK economy would continue to grow by around 30 per cent, even in the event of No Deal. Our research is in line with findings by the LSE, PwC and the OBR. Yes, other people have come up with bigger numbers, including the Treasury, but they have thrown in other effects which are much harder to model successfully.

What our research also shows is that the Government could take action to mitigate some of the medium-term effects of No Deal. If we left without a deal, there would be tariffs payable on our trade with the EU under WTO rules. (Britain can’t just choose not to levy tariffs on European trade). But we can change our overall tariff regime. Although our WTO commitments impose a maximum level on tariffs which can be charged with any member state, it’s open to the UK to charge less as long as they do this on a most-favoured nation basis. WTO commitments are a ceiling not a floor.

So in our No Deal report Open Europe looked at the effect of lowering all our tariffs on industrial and manufactured goods to zero (and we phased in reductions on agricultural goods). We then also improved our openness to services trade and foreign investment (we moved the UK to “best in class” levels). These steps – which the UK could do without any negotiation – would dramatically reduce the impact of No Deal. Our model suggests that the macroeconomic effect over the same period up to 2030 would be reduced from a 2.2 per cent to 0.5 per cent drag on growth.

 

Source: Henry Newman: How to manage No Deal? To start with, pledge to reduce tariffs. | Conservative Home

UK votes to Leave the EU


While the UK voted to leave the EU, not all of the UK was in favour, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU while Wales and England voted to leave. So where does this leave the future of Scotland and Northern Ireland, do they wish to remain unified within the UK and work together to bring about a greater benefit for the UK as a whole. Or, do they wish to split from the UK and become independent either as two separate entities or a combined new venture of Scotland and Northern Ireland. A fourth option will Northern Ireland reunify with the Republic of Ireland to create a unified Ireland. Only Northern Ireland and Scotland can decide.

Economically, the pound as leave became more certain continued on a downwards trend to a 30 year low and stock market trading is also on a down slide. But this would be expected as the financial markets do not deal with change well, especially one that as never been seen before. What we now need is strong leadership both politically and financially.

David Cameron did state that he would respect the wishes of the people, so you would have now expected that he will be working wholeheartedly to achieve a successful break from the EU for the greater good of the UK. However, as he as now resigned and expects his replacement to be in post before the next Conservative Conference in October was that another promise on which he as lied to the electorate. The Bank of England and especially Mark Carney have to do what is needed to stabilise the financial situation in conjunction with what is left of Cameron’s tenure and his eventual replacement.

The EU also needs to reflect how they are to proceed, for it is now clear that they will, eventually, lose a major contributor to the EU, especially financially and there are other countries waiting in the wings to decide if they to wish to have similar referendums, these I believe could be Italy, Netherland, Spain and possibly France and even so, to some extent Germany.

Also how will the USA react, for it is now certain that TTIP is even more seriously damaged, as they were expecting UK support to push this through the EU, to counter an ever-growing discontent with the proposed treaty in some of the other EU countries. So was Obama talking for the good of the UK when he stated he wished the UK to remain in the EU, or just the interests of the USA and especially their multinational companies.

Times are a changing and for the benefit of the UK we all need to be working together no matter how we viewed and voted in the Referendum.

Ireland Becomes the First Country to Legalize Marriage Equality at the Ballot


Original post from Care2

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marriage equality

Ireland did it! In a landslide victory the Republic of Ireland has become the first country in the world to legalize marriage equality by a public vote. Here’s what you need to know and why this may even be important for the marriage equality fight in other countries.

The vote, which occurred on Friday, May 22, saw a large voter turn-out and, most notably, many Irish people returning home from England and other areas to ensure they could have a say in the vote as Ireland has no postal or absentee voting system.

The result, which was announced by late Saturday, saw more than 62 percent of the voting public say “yes” to same-sex marriage, with just under 38 percent against it. While that was largely in step with the polls, the fact that the Yes campaign managed to retain the strength of its support surprised many as the margin was expected to narrow considerably once people actually got to the ballot.

Indeed, many commentators were worried that the vote could be much closer due to rural communities failing to really take in the Yes campaign messages, however in the end voting data suggests that support was strong even among rural communities, and certainly much stronger than had been expected.

Senior Religious Figures Say the Vote Was a Wake-Up Call

In the final few days before the vote, several conservative Catholic bishops took to their pulpits to urge a “no” vote on the marriage equality question, relying on tactics such as suggesting that children would be harmed and that mothers in particular be devalued as a result of same-sex couples being able to wed.

In the wake of such a massive defeat for the No campaign, religious progressives and secularists alike have warned that gone are the days when the Irish people would take morality lessons solely from the Church, and especially not when those same religious figures used scaremongering tactics about harming children and damaging society as a whole rather than simply relying on their religious teachings.

Fr Brendan Hoban, co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), is quoted as saying: “It was clear from the beginning that the bishops’ decision in policy terms to campaign for a blunt No vote was alienating even the most conservative of Irish Catholics.”

In particular, reflections on the No campaign have said its chief mistake was to try to use the age of the Yes movement against them: after campaigning began in earnest at the start of the year it quickly became apparent that the younger generations were overwhelmingly in favor of marriage equality. The Church therefore set itself against that movement, but in so doing it may have made a blunder that will have long-lasting consequences. As we know, religious influence is in decline in many places, and particularly in Ireland where prosperity has led to a rise in secularism. The Church needs young people on its side if it is to survive as even a shadow of the former power it once was, but by being so uncompromising during its backing of the No campaign–which also received heavy support from American religious groups–there is the fear that it has alienated Ireland’s younger generations, something that can not be easily undone.

 A Call for Action in Northern Ireland

Critically, the vote in the Republic has been seen as a chance to push the Northern Ireland government to act on this issue. Northern Ireland is now the only place in mainland UK that does not recognize same-sex marriage despite the fact that public polls show that there is significant support for marriage equality.

Unfortunately, Northern Ireland lawmakers appear to be unmoved by the strength of support that was seen across the border. DUP MLA Peter Weir is quoted by the BBC as saying that, essentially, it doesn’t matter what public appetite wants, it’s lawmakers that have the final say:

“We are defending the role of traditional marriage,” he said.

“This is an issue that has been debated on four occasions in the assembly and, on each occasion, it has been rejected by the majority of assembly members.

“We believe that the traditional marriage definition is correct one. We would be concerned about the impact on Churches.

“We don’t really run social policy in this country by way of referendum.”

What’s interesting is the disconnect there between the public and Northern Ireland’s lawmakers, and that never makes for a good time for presiding governments. What seems certain now, more than ever, is that Northern Ireland’s ban on marriage equality cannot last for much longer and now it’s a question of whether Northern Ireland’s lawmakers will finally act, or whether the courts will need to be involved.

What is very encouraging though is that this vote has also emboldened same-sex marriage advocates in Australia, Germany (which has equivalent partnership rights but technically not marriage) and in Italy, where activists have vowed to demonstrate that the religious hold on this issue has slipped and that the public is ready for marriage equality.

So congratulations to the Republic of Ireland whose vote in favor of marriage equality was incredibly meaningful not just within its borders, but for same-sex marriage battles across Europe, too!