Saturday, 22 October 2016

Weekend Update 22/10/2016 – Some Brexit Reality. Fertiliser, The Donald Was Right.

Treaties, you see, are like girls and roses; they last while they last.

Charles de Gaulle.

This weekend, some political reality on both sides of the Atlantic. Up first the reality of Brexit. There’s not much to negotiate, given the EUSSR – Canada trade pact fiasco. Just leave and talk later. In Europe they’re already drinking in the last chance saloon.

“Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?”

Henry Kissinger.

European Parliament head says will try to save Canada-EU deal

Fri Oct 21, 2016 | 8:42pm EDT
The head of the European Parliament said late on Friday he would hold emergency talks in a bid to save a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada that looks to be foundering amid protracted disagreements.

Hours earlier, Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland walked out of talks in Belgium, declaring that the EU was incapable of sealing the deal.

All 28 EU governments support the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), but Belgium cannot give assent without backing from its five sub-federal administrations, and French-speaking Wallonia has steadfastly opposed it.

Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, said he would meet Freeland at 7:30 a.m. local time (0530 GMT) on Saturday and Walloon premier Paul Magnette at 9 a.m. to revive the talks.

"We can't stop at last mile," he said on Twitter. Although Schulz is not directly involved in the talks on CETA, he has struck up a good working relationship with Freeland.

A spokesman for Freeland said he could not confirm the meeting would take place but said Freeland was still in Brussels.

The agreement, the EU's first with a Group of Seven country, would, according to supporters, increase trade between the partners by 20 percent.

An emotional Freeland earlier quit talks with chief Canadian and EU trade negotiators and Magnette.

Article 50 is irrelevant to our EU departure

By George Bathurst October 21, 2016
Article 50 neither starts Britain’s withdrawal process from the EU and nor is it particularly important when it is triggered, argues George Bathurst.

In a classic example of the false narratives described by John Redwood a fortnight ago, almost every day the Telegraph reprints falsehoods, claiming that before Article 50 was created there was no legal way to leave the EU. The BBC chimes in saying, “For the UK to leave the EU it has to invoke an agreement called Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.” You’ll note, however, that our legacy media organisations don’t cite sources for their supposedly factual articles.  This is because they’ve got it exactly backwards.
Article 50 is in fact what happens after we tell the EU we are leaving.

What starts the process is Britain ‘denouncing’ the EU treaties.  Denounce is an ugly word in modern English but in this context, it simply means to proclaim, with no need to be rude about it, that you no longer agree to the terms of a treaty.  Nations are free to make such a statement at any time. Without this freedom, rulers would bind their successors and make meaningful national democracy impossible.

Britain’s right to leave the EU in this way was confirmed in 1993 when William Rees-Mogg challenged the Maastricht Treaty, claiming it was unconstitutional and made the Queen a subject of the EU.  The High Court rejected the claim but in doing so relied upon the point that the Crown was free to denounce the treaty at any time.

When a country denounces a treaty, however, it is not usually open to it to denounce it in part.  You either reject it or you don’t.  Exactly as M Junker has said, you can’t have an EU a la carte.

To extend Junker’s metaphor then, leaving the EU is like leaving a restaurant.  You inform the waiter of your intention to leave; he brings you a final bill which you pay. And that’s it.  You don’t get into esoteric arguments about having and eating cake or whether you should pay the management’s pensions.

Article 50 then neither starts the withdrawal process nor is it particularly important when it is triggered. What is important is our relationship with the EU after we have left.  Recognising this would have a transformative effect on the discussion – instead of a grumpy divorce argument, it becomes forward-looking and positive.

It would also have a beneficial effect on our own mindset. Many people in UK politics, being too young to remember anything else, have grown up with a captive’s mindset, a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, which is why they seek comfort in the entanglement of regulations like Article 50.  Exercising our unilateral rights makes it easier to think like an independent country again.

Post denouncement, we won’t need the EU’s permission to decide how the EU trades with us.  We could use this unilateral power to erect trade barriers but we could also use it to dismantle them.  We could start by declaring that not only will all EU nationals here legally be able to stay indefinitely but also their countries will pay no tariffs or face any new obstacles for selling goods and services here.  We could also declare – unilaterally – that we will assume unless otherwise informed that our reciprocal rights will be continued.

At a stroke this would resolve much of the ‘uncertainty’ Remainers are complaining about and dash their hopes of making Brexit so complicated it never happens. It preserves the status quo for trade and puts us on the moral high ground.  It effectively dares the likes of M Holland to carry out his threat to ‘punish’ us, which then becomes very unlikely.  As members of the EU our only recourse for such bullying was to seek the EU Commission’s help, which France was often much better at influencing (which is why the EU does not have a free market in services, for example).  Once Holland et al realise that we’ve woken up to the fact that we no longer need the EU’s permission to act, that we are no longer captive and can reciprocate any obstacles that they put up to trade, and that they have more to lose than us, then it all becomes much easier.

All treaties between great states cease to be binding when they come in conflict with the struggle for existence.

Count Otto von Bismarck.

We close for the weekend on the other side of the Atlantic, with US politics. It turns out that The Donald was right all along. The Democrats campaign was full of fertiliser after all.

You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.

Charles de Gaulle.

While it might not make any difference to the elections outcome, it might be a pretty good idea of what’s coming America’s way under President Clinton, the sequel. What is it about presidential sequels? Bush the lesser springs to mind.

There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.

Count Otto von Bismarck.

We end for the weekend with the view from Jason in California.

Thursday’s  Al Smith Dinner Showed the Best & Worst in American Presidential  Politics
October 22, 2016 3:50 am  ET

This past Thursday an impressive array of notable New Yorkers gathered at the Waldorf Astoria in Midtown Manhattan to mingle and raise funds (estimated at $ 6 million) for Catholic charities, The dinner itself has a long history as its namesake was the first Catholic presidential candidate in 1928 and it has been held annually continuously since 1945. Past speakers and attendees have included President John F. Kennedy and former longtime Secretary of State (and 2016 attendee) Henry Kissinger

Traditionally the last public forum in which candidate for President share a stage and forum prior to the election, the dinner has provided an opportunity for candidates to showcase their sense of humor and look past disagreements if only momentarily. This being 2016 & an election cycle that has refused to conform with the expectations passed on by those before it, the jokes were rather caustic. Both Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton used the platform of the evening to “score” cheap political points, in an expensive setting nonetheless. Whether the American people and global observers should be reassured that both potential future guides of democracy can tolerate each-other’s company or put off by the tone of the evening is a matter of perspective. What is nearly universally certain though is that the line of the evening was “…and here’s exactly what you want to hear-, this election will be over very, very, soon. Fitting for what has been a bizarre election thus far, this nugget of truth was delivered by an individual with a rather intimate view of the oddities, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

N. Jason Jencka is presently studying Finance and Economics at Sierra Nevada College, located near the shores of Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada.His interests include the interplay between world markets and the global political sphere, with a focus on developments of both sides of the Atlantic in North America and Europe.In his leisure time he enjoys connecting with those people that have an interesting story to tell and a genuine desire to make an impact in the world.

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