RANDOM THOUGHTS: MAY AND BREXIT

Munguin wishes David Davis the very ‘best of British’ when he goes to Brussels to start talks on Monday with his brand new team who have in the job only a few days and are still looking about to see where the canteen is. He doesn’t, however, hold out much in the way of hope that it will be anything other than a complete catastrophe. In the article below what was already a seriously bad situation appears to have become catastrophiceuscot

(From the FT: June 13.

https://www.ft.com/content/273fb412-503f-11e7-a1f2-db19572361bb

I’ve copied this from the FT (without permission) because some people don’t seem to be able to access their articles. I know there’s a payway, but I don;t pay and yet seem able to get in. Weird!

The UK’s Brexit department has seen two of its four ministers depart this week, just days before negotiations with the EU are due to start, in a sign of mounting tensions between Downing Street and the ministry’s leadership.

David Jones, who led the Welsh arm of the Vote Leave campaign ahead of last June’s referendum, was sacked on Monday night and replaced by Joyce Anelay, a Foreign Office veteran who campaigned to remain in the EU. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, was not warned.

George Bridges, who was in charge of pushing Brexit legislation through parliament, quit on Tuesday after falling out with Theresa May, the prime minister.

According to people close to Lord Bridges, an EU advocate, he had become frustrated with the lack of consultation between Downing Street and the Department for Exiting the EU (Dexeu).

“Bridges is said to have quit on policy grounds, convinced Brexit couldn’t work,” said one Whitehall figure. “There is some disarray.”

Even after the departure of Mrs May’s key aides after the election, Lord Bridges continued to be “unhappy with how things were going,” the Whitehall figure said. The challenge of taking a slew of Brexit-related legislation through a hung parliament in the coming two years was also daunting, his allies added.

Lord Bridges was replaced on Tuesday by Steve Baker, who headed the contingent of pro-Leave Conservative MPs during the Brexit campaign.

Officials tried to shrug off the news, with one saying that little should be read into the loss of some “junior ministers”. A Brexit department spokesman said it was “nonsense to suggest that the Department for Exiting the European Union is not ready for the start of negotiations”.

But Jill Rutter, programme director at the Institute for Government, described the personnel changes as deeply undesirable.

“This is absolutely the time when Dexeu needs to get moving, both with a major raft of legislation in parliament and the start of the Brexit negotiations. The departure of both ministers basically makes what was a difficult task even more difficult.”

Before the latest departures, Dexeu had already been hit by the exit of James Chapman, special adviser to David Davis, the Brexit secretary, who left Whitehall for the private sector. Mr Davis lost another key ally, his parliamentary private secretary Stewart Jackson, who lost his seat in the election.

Elsewhere, Lucy Neville-Rolfe, who was put in charge of overseeing Brexit’s impact on financial services in March, also abruptly departed on Tuesday.

Dominic Cummings, the mastermind of last year’s successful Leave campaign, said the departures were just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Bridges is said to have quit on policy grounds, convinced Brexit couldn’t work . . . There is some disarray

Whitehall figure

“Top Whitehall officials are screaming that DEXU [sic] under [cabinet secretary Jeremy] Heywood and DD [David Davis] is total shambles & disaster likely,” he said on Twitter. “If Leave MPs don’t assert themselves to force management changes on Number 10 and DEXU Brexit talks = guaranteed debacle.”

The two new ministers will have only days to get up to speed with a host of different responsibilities.

Barry Gardiner, shadow trade secretary, said the government should slow down and take stock. “This sort of turnover of ministers and senior advisers that the department has seen poses the question of how on earth, a week after the general election, the government can be ready with a new team in place to take the negotiations forward.”

It is the departure of Lord Bridges — voluntarily — which sheds the most light on the tumult inside Dexeu. He was responsible for taking the Article 50 legislation through the House of Lords and was effectively responsible for the fine details of the Great Repeal Bill.

A former adviser to John Major, he ran the Tory research department in the 2000s and became a peer in 2015. Before becoming a minister last year he ran a lobbying firm and was an adviser to Ana Botin, group chairman of Banco Santander. His close allies include George Osborne, former chancellor, and Lord Hill, the former EU commissioner.

“George had a gruelling and difficult job getting the Article 50 bill through the Lords, the upper house is pretty much uncontrollable at the moment,” said one ally.

Lord Bridges could take his recent experience back into the private sector, the person suggested.

 

a may dimbleby
Dimbleby, arch Tory, on election night.
abrex
But the important thing is “what does Arlene think?”
abr
Imalance?
abrexit1
Ouch.
abrexit
Keep calm and carry on.

 

 

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41 thoughts on “RANDOM THOUGHTS: MAY AND BREXIT”

  1. Will David Davis actually turn up on Monday? There is still no government programme that has been passed by parliament because there is no formal government. It is not clear what David Davis can legally negotiate because he a) doesn’t yet have the support of a parliament with majority agreement for his actions and b) hasn’t said what course he intends to take. Who does he represent? How do we know that he has consensus for his plan? What is his plan? And, as you posted here, who will be held responsible for carrying out the plan? All we have right now are some deeply flawed white papers (now hopelessly out of date) from the last parliament and a Tory manifesto pledge that merely pointed back to the white papers of the last parliament. None of that is the same as a formal programme with even the most tentative parliamentary approval or, perhaps more crucially, approval from his coalition partners. This is an embarrassing state of affairs.

    Btw you might have read the the UK Government tried to hire a number of trade experts but couldn’t negotiate salary with their preferred candidates. Deliciously ironic. This lot can’t even negotiate what they’ll have for dinner.

    I don’t know how this can get any worse but every time I’ve thought that it almost immediately got much worse. Starting to question my powers of imagination.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. If it were not for the fact that these people are negotiating our future, it would be so funny as to put the most brilliant satire shows out of work.

      I try to imagine the kind of comments that would ahve come from the likes of Ruth Davidson had the Scottish government got itself into anything like this kind of mess.

      Why on earth are they going into these negotiations at all before there is a government in place? I appreciate that for the first few days people will be accustoming themselves to the layout of the rooms they will use; where the toilets are, what’s the best place to go for lunch, etc, but as you say, they actually don’t have the authority to do anything else until the speech from the throne… and the possible confidence and supply agreement with the dinosaurs (ooops, sorry, they don’t exist) erm…. Arlene and her mates in the DUP.

      I’m beginning to wonder if anything else could go wrong and May could still be standing.

      Can you believe that she fell out with ministers in the department that was about to go into the most serious talks Britain has had in 60 years and more, and sacked them without even referencing the secretary of state?

      What kind of nut job is she?

      I heard that they were tyi9ng to get their hands on some trade negotiators from Canada and some from New Zealand, but I didn’t know that they had failed to recruit them. But I read somewhere that trade talks are now off the table, for the time being, so they can haggle about the minimum wage (sorry, living wage) for a bit longer.

      I wonder if someone is currently writing an ‘American Pie’ type movie about the British government right now.

      I’d not worry too much about your powers of imagination. It would take a Sci-fi writer to get this stuff right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe the immediate talks are talks about the talks so that gives the UK s0me time to sort itself out. Still, Davis will be making decisions for which he has no authority. The EU can make all the running, knowing that Davis has a weak domestic position. To be honest, it would have been that way anyway. Process is process, to paraphrase T May.

        The soap opera around T May is quite astonishing. One day it will be turned into a comedy starring Steve Coogan as Liam Fox. If we’re really lucky we can watch it from a mouldy sofa on a rubbish dump.

        The salary I saw was something like £160,000. That is a lot of money but … contract expertise costs. There are contract software developers with specialist skills making close to that kind of money in London and Oxford and Edinburgh. Mid-level developers at google would likely scoff at the salary offered by the UK Government. They are not responsible for the future prosperity of the UK for the next 25 years but still command a high salary due to the law of supply and demand. The post was Chief Negotiator for the UK. Chief Negotiator for 65 million people. The UK hasn’t got a clue.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. David Davis was good in the 1990s, decent in the 00s (opposed most of the NuLab ID bollox for the right reasons) but in the late 10s I’m afraid he’s past it – not quite obviously suffering dementia but given his select committee appearances earlier this year I reckon he has the early stages. I speak as someone who has watched a family member go through this.

      He’s not someone I’d want to be negotiating on my behalf on any matter.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hell, I hope not, Vestas. It’s a truly awful thing.

        He certainly seemed out of his depth, but I put it down to the fact that his remit is gigantic and so complex that a massive team will be needed to get through. A team he hasn’t got and can’t afford.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I guess BTP, that if, as Terry suggests, it’s talks about talks, he can probably act as a part of the interim government. The queen asked May to try to form a government and left her in charge, well, at least until she goes back and says she can’t. Which might be sometime this coming week.

        Even at that ministers stay in post until a new government is formed…

        Maybe the Tories will try with the Liberals, if Arlene goes too far with her demands that we all attend church three times every Sunday… but then, who would they negotiate with now that Tim has thrown in the towel?

        Like

        1. If LibDems elect Swinson, what is the chance she does a deal with Tories?

          Her voting record of yore is more Tory than Labour.

          If she gets in bed with the Tiories again, I think the LibDems would be totally wiped out. May is poisonous. Such a pact would make any rainbow coalition based around Labour dead in the water after conLib one collapses

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Too hot for politics. 30.2C & rising here in Leics – zero wind, zero cloud, lots of people turning boiled lobster colour in their gardens 😀

    In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have chucked the (ancient) aircon unit out earlier this year 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a skip outside to help get rid of 20 years worth of “stuff” around the place. Some of that stuff is in the loft. Not going to happen, really not going to happen.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Without reference to Google, I seem to remember this from my landscape gardening days. Looks a bit like cow parsley?
        Not as bad as a Wee Free elder of course. Can’t suffocate them underneath black plastic.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Turns out it was 25 degrees here, but the wind made it quite comfortable.

        LOL Brilliant, Ground Elder grows on Sundays, the heathen stuff. If I tell Arlene she’ll be over and turn it all into pellets for her mates.

        Like

  3. Looking at the ‘remain’ map it is strangely similar to the Scottish map of those who voted Tory in the GE which would suggest that the driving force behind the Tory votes was Brexit rather than the claim that the lost SNP votes were due to the prospects of an independence referendum.

    Like

  4. What a complete clusterfeck this is. Surely someone has to say that Brexit is the most idiotic thing ever devised by any politician. Surely?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Lingering at number 5 is the overly ambitious ERM exchange rate. The Iraq war’s a non-mover at 4. Up 6 places to number 3 – the cones hotline. Last week’s number 6 but up 4 places is hug a hoodie. And still at number 1 is Brexit, the longest-running number one in the UK chart of idiotic ideas.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to say that what I find fascinating is the complete inability of the legacy media to handle more than one story at any one time.

    Yes, Grenfell Tower is a deadfull event and those responsible have has to be held to account, BUT the actions or failures of the government in relation to the people are in the long term much more important.

    Brexit has disappeared from the front page and in some cases from all pages of the MSM.

    What the heck is going on?

    Brexit hjas disaqppeared from

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It hasn’t disappeared from the foreign press, nor from Facebook where links to said foreign press coverage abound. I know Britain is an island, but I wish it could be less insular ( LOL ) .

      Liked by 1 person

    2. There’s nothing tabloids like better than a disaster. (It’s up there with royal births, deaths and marriages.)

      Of course, some of them have managed to conflate the two. The Express reckoned that Kensington and Chelsea used this cladding because the EU made them. And Mail thought it was all part of the Green agenda, presumably instigated by the Brussels eurocrats.

      Even if they are Tory papers I’m sure they will return to Brexit just as soon as there is a suitably disastrous story, or if one of the ministers falls and breaks his/her leg and has to be treated in a Belgian hospital.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Venality, intransigence and stupidity really are a toxic mix, aren’t they? Now we see the fragrant Ms. May doing one of the typical Unhinged Dictator things, one which they all do whenever that particular strain of authoritarian sociopathy gets a spoke stuck in its wheel: the heads have started to roll, and at the same time – I see some metaphors lying around that need mixing – many of the rats have decided to jump ship before she forces them to take a long walk off a short plank. I predict that those desertions will exacerbate the paranoia – the same paranoia that has led to her surrounding herself with so many incompetent no-hopers. The fact that she looks good in comparison to Michael Gove is not a consideration that would help sway any normal person, one would think; it is, however, symptomatic!

    It’s all very fishy, in my opinion, because this means that I can segue seamlessly into my next point, which is that it’s a damn shame that our fisherfolk in the NE have bought into the quaint notion that (a) it’s the EU that is 100% to blame for the state of the Scottish fishing industry, and (b) the plucky folk who negotiated with the EU on their behalf to make it that way must obviously be held completely harmless… I mean, it’s not as if they had any pals in the City who might be on at them to do a spot of horse-trading in Brussels to ensure that the financial institutions get whatever they want, with sinecure directorships for themselves and salaries with negotiably large numbers of zeroes on the end as the quid pro quo? No, no, heaven forfend, perish the very thought of such perfidy! Timeo divitēs Torios et remunerationpackagēs ferentēs, or something.

    Would anyone care to predict what they’ll try to put on the table in return for the EU giving the City the “passporting” it will need to stay in business post Brexit? Points will be deducted for the variations on the idiom of “selling down the river”. All on the assumption that the regime lasts out the week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They will allow Johnny Foreigner to continue to buy our wonderful jams and those world-class, award-winning, sparkling English wines – irresistible, I’d imagine. “Ah, monsieur Le Château Gove ‘dix-sept – c’est formidable!”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My word would be “imbuvable”, Andi.

        But yes, I remember when pressed about what we would sell to the world, besides weapons, someone came up with jam.

        So, everything is gonna be fine then.

        Mind you, making jam does involve growing fruit, and what does growing fruit require?

        Oh yeah, Europeans to pick it.

        Back to the drawing board.

        Do you remember when Gove was the English Education Secretary, and he decided that every school must have a King James bible. So despite the desperate shortage of cash for schools, he had a series printed specially, with a dedication inside: “Presented by the Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education.”

        Pompous little dick.

        Here’s a picture of his as Lord Chancellor:

        Like

      1. Thanks for the pic of Gove – I can reply now that my stomach has settled down again 🙂 I thought these guys went after such roles because of power and influence but I now realise that it’s for the amazing frocks, blouses and shoes. I notice that Ms Gove, however, doesn’t have the funky wig to go with the outfit: what a shame! I also like the splendid uniform of the flunkey to the left: he looks like a particularly splendid train ticket collector. In my ignorance, I don’t know the name of the office which this splendid functionary holds although I shouldn’t be surprised to discover that it’s something resonant like The Lord Chancellor’s Most Excellent Flunkey of the Steps or possibly even The Most Esteemed Wig-Searcher Pursuivant. We do these things so well here in the United Kingdom of Brexit-Delusia, don’t we?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. In the face of this, but with no other or any plan, Labour in Scotland cling to the Union and blame the SNP for all.
    The smallest minds with the biggest grudges.
    And as Ruth Davidson spent so much time prancing around with May we should remind everybody of her connection to the May catastrophe at every opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t forget the ever-reliable and ideologically consistent Ms. Dugdale and the ever-amusing Mr. Ian Murray ditto – such a shame that their love for and commitment to the Labour Party rulebook doesn’t extend to drumming themselves out of their own Party for telling SLab members and supporters to Vote Tory if it will KEEP THE ESSENPEE OUT – no, they only think of doing that sort of thing when SLab Cooncillors try to ally themselves with EVIL ESSENPEE NATIONALIST SCUM to prevent Tories being in charge of our local authorities. Those aforesaid Slab Cooncillors – how very dare they! Traitors to God, Queen and Empire!

        Like

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