Theresa Villiers U- turn! Arch Brexiteer opposes free trade deal with US as ” threat to the Union”

25 May

An intriguing little Brexit story.  At a post- referendum conference in 2016 I watched flinching as Ireland’s most eminent public servant Peter Sutherland, former Attorney General, former EU commissioner, first head of the World Trade Organisation, chairman of BP etc.etc ( now sadly dead), tore into the UK’s decision to leave the EU as insane, disastrous etc., giving chapter and verse.  As he finished he admitted with a grin he’d been ranting. Batting for Britain was former NI secretary Theresa …

Read more…Theresa Villiers U- turn! Arch Brexiteer opposes free trade deal with US as ” threat to the Union”

EU Report Shows Care Home Covid Deaths Lower in UK

20 May

A new report from EU’s Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on the prevalence of Covid-19 in long term care facilities includes a useful comparison between European countries, which may surprise British commentators. The EU’s numbers show that the prevalence of deaths in UK care homes is comparatively lower as a percentage than in other […]

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After Brexit, Britain’s farmers must come first

19 May

Tories were rebels once. And in morphing from Franco-Scottish, krypto-Catholic revolutionaries to Anglican English conservatives, they found a way to express both their patriotism and their independence: by the eating of beef. Beef stood for courage, manliness and the fighting spirit; indeed, as Ben Rogers mentions in his sparkling book on the subject, Georgian British […]

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Behind the alarmist noises, the UK and the EU have the basis of a deal. It will be criminal if they fail

16 May

David Frost and Michel Barnier standing together ( just about) Lurking not far behind Covid is the self inflicted crisis over the next stage of Brexit.  To many including me, the prospect of a border at the Irish Sea is as revolting as a  physical border on the island of Ireland. It’s no consolation that there’s a disconnect between the political rhetoric and what’s actually happening on the ground. The government has privately conceded there will be post-Brexit checks on …

Read more…Behind the alarmist noises, the UK and the EU have the basis of a deal. It will be criminal if they fail

UK-EU Future Relationship Negotiations Hit Roadblock

15 May

The third round of EU Future Relationship negotiations has just concluded, and UK Chief Negotiator David Frost has less than positive words to say about the EU approach. In a statement released to domestic media, Frost says: “I regret however that we made very little progress towards agreement on the most significant outstanding issues between […]

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Victory for the de Souzas and for Irish citizens’ immigration rights: a battle that should never have needed to be fought

15 May

Yet another example of ignorance of Northern Ireland affairs in different parts of the UK government. Derry born Emma de Souza has won her three year battle to allow her American husband Jake to live with her, an Irish citizen in Northern Ireland, without having to renounce her birthright as a British citizen which she doesn’t want to exercise. She wants to bring him in under EU therefore Irish not UK immigration laws. Her victory is a triumph of principle …

Read more…Victory for the de Souzas and for Irish citizens’ immigration rights: a battle that should never have needed to be fought

Boris Johnson’s perversity on the Brexit cliff edge reminds me of the Free State’s rejection of all things British

30 Apr

Warrenpoint Harbour The UK’s stubbornly negative  approach to future relations within the EU reminds me of the newborn Free State’s attitude to Britain after the trauma of independence. They can’t wait to be rid of even the symbols as well as the substance of the former power even  to the extent of trying to deny the facts of mutual interdependence particularly over the economy. Granted there are vital differences. No blood has been spilled over Brexit and… I was going …

Read more…Boris Johnson’s perversity on the Brexit cliff edge reminds me of the Free State’s rejection of all things British

Gove on Philosophical Differences Between UK & EU Negotiators

27 Apr

This afternoon in the Future Relationship select committee, Michael Gove explained that he thinks the negotiations are going as well as expected, the UK is committed to its original deadline, and that all UK proposals are based on the precedents of what the EU has agreed in its FTAs with countries like Canada and Japan. […]

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The return of every man for himself

20 Apr

Whatever happened to self-reliance? At school in the Eighties I don’t remember teamwork ever being greatly valued. Even on the sports field it was the individual who mattered. One enduring memory that reinforces this notion is of an away cricket match against a school that boasted the Test Match Special commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins’s son Robin […]

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Could Covid-19 vanquish neoliberalism?

6 Apr

Over the course of just a few months, the Covid-19 global pandemic has shattered practically every shibboleth in the neoliberal bible. The first and most obvious victim is the idea that money is a scarce resource. In recent years, any proposal for economic redistribution and increased welfare spending — such as those championed by Corbyn […]

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Theresa Villiers: Some close to the Government are willing to see the complete liberalisation of trade in agriculture. They’re wrong – and here’s why.

1 Apr

We should make any such reductions in tariffs conditional on meeting standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection which are as good as our own.

Theresa Villiers: Some close to the Government are willing to see the complete liberalisation of trade in agriculture. They’re wrong – and here’s why.

1 Apr

We should make any such reductions in tariffs conditional on meeting standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection which are as good as our own.