Article 7, Brexit, EU, Immigration, Macron, Merkel, Poland, Refugees

POLES APART

Besides Brexit there appears to be another breakdown in relationships on the horizon within the EU with a divide growing between eastern and western Europe over immigration.  European Council President Donald Tusk called the EU’s attempts to impose mandatory refugee quotas “highly divisive” and “ineffective”, overshadowing the opening of the two-day EU summit which had been expected to concentrate on Brexit.

The reemergence of immigration at the top of the agenda shows how little progress has been made by the EU over the past two years in solving this political minefield.    In the end, the leaders made little headway saying that agreement on a new immigration policy was unlikely before mid-2018.

In what appeared to be a separate issue, in a joint statement at the closing of the summit on Friday 15th December, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that they will support the Commission if it decides to trigger Article 7 against Warsaw next week.   But they also voiced hope that Poland’s new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki would do what it takes to avert the sanctions through a dialogue with the Commission.

Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which has never been used until now, is sometimes referred to as “the nuclear option”.   It was designed to defend the EU’s core values such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law.   If the EU notices a “serious and persistent breach” of these values it can activate Article 7 and suspend membership rights, such as voting in the EU Council or access to the single market.

Commission Vice President Frans Timmerman said that he was concerned about four recent Polish legislative measures, including a law that would revamp the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), the body that nominates Poland’s top judges, ending the terms of its 15 judges and allowing parliament, where the ruling  Law and Justice party (PiS) has a narrow majority, to nominate their successors and should these new legislative measures be implemented, they would “greatly amplify the threat to the rule of law” and “seriously erode the independence of the judiciary,”

So why is the threat of triggering Article 7 being supported by Macron and Merkel.   The ruling PiS party in Poland have made it clear that they have the right to say “no” to refugees with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of  PiS stating in a speech in July 2017 that “We have not exploited the countries from which these refugees are coming to Europe these days, we have not used their labor force and finally we have not invited them to Europe.   We have a full moral right to say ‘no’.”

With France and Germany having the most immigrants per capita of the EU 27 states (the UK excluded) they are hoping that this threat will force the Poles to allow in more refugees.   Other countries, especially those in central and eastern Europe are not happy to share this burden due to worries about terrorism and cultural identity.

welcome-to-germany-merkelHindsight is a wonderful thing and maybe M&M are now seeing that the opening of their borders since the outbreak of the refugee crisis in 2015 as not the wisest of decisions made by their governments especially as France have seen 14 terrorist attacks since 2014 and Germany 6.   Merkel is also suffering at home, having seen her CDU parties majority reduced drastically in the last election with the right-wing AfD gaining seats in the Bundestag for the first time on the back of an anti-immigration ticket, a clear indication that the German electorate were unhappy with Merkels “Willkommen Alle” approach to the refugees.  She is now struggling to reach agreement with any of the parties to form a coalition government and there has even been talk of another election.

So all is not well in the United States of Europe

Interestingly, Poland have had no reported terrorist attacks since 2014.   Makes you think.

 

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Brexit, Conservatives, Corbyn, Election, Gender, Miners strike, Putin, Russia, Snowflake, Uncategorized

Weekly review (10th Dec 2017)

As usual the political week was taken up with Brexit and that is the main theme for this weeks Blog.  They say a week is long time in politics, they are not kidding.  I have also touched on my favourite pet hate, gender equality and there is shock news from Russia.  Finally, all is not well down pit.

Bordering on the ridiculous

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 18.03.05.pngSo during Monday 4th December we start hearing that a deal has been brokered between the UK and the EU which will enable the progression on trade talks.  Behind this story we have the rumour that  agreement was reached was due to the UK caving in regarding the Irish border and that they had agreed to let Northern Ireland remain in the single market and customs union thus resulting in no hard border.

As a result of this the DUP announced that Northern Ireland must not be treated any differently to the rest of the UK in the negotiations and that they would not support any agreement where this is not the case.   Obviously this would be disastrous to May and the Conservatives and call their alignment into question, thereby threatening the stability of the government.

Next we get a joint statement that the negotiations have failed to settle the division between the two sides but they were close and it was hoped all will be sorted by the following Monday.   This announcement came after a call between Theresa May and Arlene Foster the leader of the DUP.   This leads one to suspect that the rumour on Northern Ireland remaining in the single market and customs union was true.   This was later all but confirmed by sources.

Come Tuesday, we get the SNP requesting that they would like the same deal for Scotland and, incredibly, the Liverpool council requesting the same.  What next, separate governments for constituencies based upon how they voted.  Crazy!

We then get a Downing Street spokesman saying: “We have been clear that the UK is leaving the single market and the customs union – we are leaving as a whole. We will not be jeopardising the UK’s own internal market.”   So why wasn’t this said on Monday along with details of why agreement wasn’t reached.

To add to the confusion we have the many Labour views on the single market and customs union.    So where do the key members of labour stand?

Keir Starmer (the Shadow Brexit Secretary): wants the government to keep Single Market membership on the table, but he wants to end freedom of movement.

John McDonnell (the Shadow Chancellor): wants to leave the Single Market

Tom Watson (the Deputy Leader): wants to stay in it.

Diane Abbott(the Shadow Home Secretary): wants to keep freedom of movement

Barry Gardiner (the Shadow Trade Secretary): thinks that staying the customs union would be a disaster, contrary to the views of many of his backbench colleagues.

Put simply, the Labour pond is very murky and while they are in this state they will find it difficult to hold the government to account.

Interestingly the Irish Border was not initially identified as a sticking point.  However,  this has now become a key point, all since Jeremy Corbyn visited Brussels to meet the EU leaders in October.   Corbyn has stated that he very much backs a single Irish state.   M

Then to everyone’s surprise on Friday morning it was announced that a deal had been agreed.   A 7,200-word joint report from both side of the negotiations was issued detailing progress during phase one of the divorce deal.   The following, thanks to the Guardian newspaper, summarises the key points:

EU citizens

  • EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the rest of the EU have the right to stay. Rights of their children and those of partners in existing “durable relationships” are also guaranteed.
  • UK courts will preside over enforcing rights over EU citizens in Britain but can refer unclear cases to the European court of justice for eight years after withdrawal.

Irish border

  • The agreement promises to ensure there will be no hard border and to uphold the Belfast agreement.
  • It makes clear the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland, will be leaving the customs union.
  • It leaves unclear how an open border will be achieved but says in the absence of a later agreement, the UK will ensure “full alignment” with the rules of the customs union and single market that uphold the Good Friday agreement.
  • However, the concession secured by the DUP is that no new regulatory barriers will be allowed between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK without the permission of Stormont in the interest of upholding the Good Friday agreement.

Money

  • There is no figure on how much the UK is expected to pay but the document sets out how the bill will be calculated – expected to be about £50bn.
  • The UK agrees to continue to pay into the EU budget as normal in 2019 and 2020.
  • It also agrees to pay its liabilities such as pension contributions.

Other issues

  • The two sides agreed there would be need for cooperation on nuclear regulation and police and security issues.
  • There was an agreement to ensure continued availability of products on the market before withdrawal and to minimise disruption for businesses and consumers.

So now on to phase two and this promises to be even more difficult.   In phase two the two sides will need to:

  • Agree the final divorce deal figure
  • Reach agreement on the transition period and how it works, including how the UK will operate in relation to the single market and the customs union
  • How current free trade deals with third nations are handled during the transition period
  • Agree a trade deal between the UK and EU if possible

So we have only reached the beginning of the end.    More murky water ahead.

 


 

I’m not a gambling man…….

……but here’s a tip.   Put some money on Vladimir Putin to be the next Russian President.

Super-Vlad, as expected, has announced that he will seek a further term in office and will run for re-election in the March 2018 Russian presidential campaign.   He appears confident that he will be re-elected and with only Kremlin backed token opposition who would bet against him.

putin_2846194k


 

Not so Pink

Pop star Pink has announced that she will be raising her child, daughter Willow, as gender neutral. Her reason for this is that she is “allowing her to make free choices that aren’t dictated by what society states women should or shouldn’t do.” I’m all for freedom of choice but why does she have to be raised gender neutral.

Clearly, as Willow is only six years old she needs a little help as can be seen in the picture opposite.

Meanwhile, Pink previously confessed she is worried about her children’s future and admits it will “break her heart” when Willow finds out the “kind of world she lives in”. She stated: “I have a six-year-old little girl who I’m raising, and the day she figures out what kind of world she lives in is going to be the day that breaks my heart. I don’t yet know how to have that conversation. I’m hoping somebody else makes a speech and teaches me before that day comes.”

Yep, another Snowflake who will wrap her gender neutral children in cotton wall and then blame society (or Trump) when they cannot cope in the real world.

Its also ironic that Alecia Beth Moore chose the nickname Pink which is a colour usually associated with females. Maybe she should change it to NGC (Non-specific Gender Colour) or maybe Grey.


Mine Host

wilsonAnd finally.  Plans to hold a Conservative party dinner at the National Coal Mining Museum have been cancelled due to fears for the safety of staff.   The Dewsbury County Conservative Association had booked the event for 10th March 2018, two days after the anniversary of the 1984-85 miners strike.    Arguably not very tactful planning.

Campaigners, on the left of the political divide, said that the booking was insensitive to the former miners and families which industry they claim  was decimated by the Conservative government.   Interestingly Wilsons labour government closed 211 mines whereas Thatcher’s Conservatives closed 154.   Maybe time for a re-think.

Stating that they need to maintain political independence, the National Coal Mining Museum had initially rejected calls to cancel the booking.   However, after a number of groups across the country called for a picket line to be formed around the venue on the day of the dinner the event was cancelled.

In a statement, The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, said it was pleased the dinner had been cancelled, adding opposition was “important in highlighting the insensitivity and provocative nature” of holding the dinner at the museum.   Lets hope they do the same if the local Labour party request to hold a similar event.

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Corbyn, Fraud, Politics

Jeremy Corbyn appoints convicted fraudster to his parliamentary office

Hard-left activist Marsha-Jane Thompson has been employed by Jeremy Corbyn to work in his parliamentary offifraudce.  Thompson was sentenced to 100 hours community service after being convicted of fraud and false accounting after she admitted to filling out and submitting multiple voter registration forms herself.

When approached for comment about the controversial staff appointment, a spokesperson for Mr Corbyn conveniently stated: “We do not comment on staff issues.”

This news has only been covered by The Telegraph, The Mail and The Standard.   Absolute silence from the left wing press

 

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Brexit, Business, Ethnicity, Gogglebox, Sport

Some weekly observations

The mind goggles

goggleSo Jeremy Corbyn is to appear on Gogglebox.    I know this is for charity but can’t help but feel this is just more of Corbyn “Getting down with the kids”.   Glad to see he has nothing more important to do, like run the country.

UK’s most influential black person

I see that businesswoman Gina Miller has beemillern named as Britain’s most influential black person by Powerful Media.  Miller won a legal challenge on Brexit which ruled parliament had to vote on whether Theresa May could trigger Article 50.
Interesting that there is no “Britains most influential white person award” though.   In fact, if you Google “uk most influential white person” six of the first ten links found refer to Britain’s most influential black person.   Imagine if this was the other way around.

Super Troopers

downloadOn Wednesday night the Manchester City/Wolves Carabao Cup match ended all square after extra time. The game therefore needed to be decided by the dreaded penalty shoot out to see who would go into the quarter-final draw.   Following it on BBC Sport I saw that they were using the ABBA format for the shoot out.   WTF is that I thought!  Apparently this is a new system introduced by FIFA and EUFA which the FA will use across all English Football League tournaments from this season.  Instead of each team taking alternative penalties, team A will take the first penalty, team B then take the next two penalties followed by team A, repeat.   Hence ABBA.

The logic behind this new system is that there is greater mental pressure on the player taking the second kick in the traditional format.  My God, these players are paid an absolute fortune to take this type of pressure and are basically just doing their job.

For the record, Man City scored with their first A kick.   Wolves missed their “less pressure” B kicks with City scoring both of their following A kicks to win the match.    Looks like that worked then!

Why try to fix the something that isn’t broken.

 

 

 

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Brexit, Politics

Jeremy Corbyn to meet top EU negotiator and say Labour is ready to lead talks

Jeremy Corbyn is to meet the top EU Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier, European President Antonio Tajani and other key European politicians in Brussels today claiming that Labour is ready to lead talks.   He will also meet other European prime ministers in talks which he hopes will help in moving the Brexit talks forward.   His meetings are scheduled at the same time as Theresa May heads to a meeting of EU nation state leaders in a bid to kick-start stalled Brexit talks.

corbyn

Now I may have missed something here but if I recollect Labour lost the last election so are not in government and Corbyn is not Prime Minister.    So why is he really going to Brussels and why are the leaders of the EU ready to meet the leader of the opposition, something they don’t normally do?   Add the fact that Corbyn has voted against the EU in every parliamentary vote since the ’80s.  All very strange.

So why is he really there?  My theory is that he is there to undermine the elected government and that the EU leaders are happy for this to happen as they hope it will weaken our negotiations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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