“No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal”? 187

These are some of the inevitable and automatic consequences of “No deal” with the EU:

1) A fenced hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, likely re-igniting the Troubles
2) 900,000 UK citizens resident in EU countries have to return back to live in UK
3) Tariffs on all UK goods exported to the EU, almost certainly triggering a major recession
4) Massive bureaucratic non-tariff barriers to British exports – sixty pages of forms for every consignment
4) No access to the Schengen database and other EU security and policing resources
5) British citizens need to apply for visas to visit EU countries and stand in two hour long queues at many EU airports
6) UK universities removed from World’s leading scientific and research programmes.

Those are just for starters. These are the natural consequences of not being an EU member. They could be seriously mitigated by negotiating a deal. But they are inevitably what “No deal” means.

I have not included the massive harm that would hit the UK economy if EU citizens were deported as a result of “No deal”, because that is not a necessary consequence. The UK could unilaterally decide to allow them to stay. Sadly such wisdom is improbable.

So when Theresa May states “No deal is better than a bad deal” she is talking absolute nonsense. It is a ludicrous display of machismo from the “leader” of a country which has put itself into an extremely weak negotiating position.

“No deal is better than a bad deal” went down very well with the leaders’ audience on Channel 4/Sky last night. It is shorthand for “we will reduce immigration and we don’t care how much it hurts us”. Both Brexit and the Tories represent at base a visceral xenophobia, nothing more and nothing less. The slogan appeals to racists.

Jeremy Paxman failed to push Theresa May at all on the stupidity of the “No deal” slogan yesterday, instead just giving her the opportunity to repeat it again and again to the applause of morons. I like to believe that Theresa May is not stupid enough to believe what she is saying, but the more I see her…

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187 thoughts on ““No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal”?

1 2
    • Ishmael

      It’s basically saying I’m crap and can’t get a deal at all therefore = no deal is better. Many people won’t look past it.

      • Shatnersrug

        She really is counting on the geriatric vote alone here.

        I notice rent-tool in the independent is doing the old criticising may and giving Corbyn a supposedly easy time but all the while implying that common sense says we should begrudging stay with the Tories. Of course this is a) rentoul is about half as smart as he thinks he is and b) because his boss stands to lose his newspaper should corbyn become elected.

        • Jo

          Well she’s certainly hit the geriatric vote when it comes to social care, Winter fuel payments and the triple lock on pensions!

      • reel guid

        Brussels is saying that UK post-brexit financial contributions to the EU budget are needed to fund EU employee pensions. That it is non-negotiable.

  • Dave

    Your support for immigration as good for the economy is the economics of Ponzi capitalism, that relies on more and more immigrants to fuel the bubble that will eventually burst leaving behind all the social and economic problems it was meant to solve. It like saying you can’t have a successful sustainable economy without a rising population and if so why not abolish contraception and abortion as well as borders!

    • Gordon McAdam

      No it isn’t. No it doesn’t. No it won’t.
      No it isn’t.

      Makes about as much sense as what you said.

        • Shatnersrug

          Dave, this isn’t true. Absolutely no reason why Britain could not have full employment should it wish. The decision to keep many unemployed and then blame immigration is entirely political.

          • Phil the ex-frog

            “Absolutely no reason why Britain could not have full employment should it wish.”

            Fat chance. Unemployment is how capitalism reallocates (and disciplines) labour. It is a fundamental mechanism of our economy.

            eg When a widget is made cheaper elsewhere (automation, cheaper labour etc) uncompetitive producers must go bust and lay off. Workers must then compete to find new jobs in a profitable business.

          • Shatnersrug

            Phil this is a lazy doom lord attitude. I’m tired of you and loonie and you’re “it’ll never work” attitude. I can just imagine what you’d have been saying had you been around after the war. “Fat chance” “never going to happen” well it did happen and it can happen again.

            Money is NOT real it’s made by the government and it’s cancelled out when you pay it back as tax – anything else you hear is a political lie to ‘control’ the public – the problem with Ee-Aws like you is that you play into the hands of elites by continually recycling the falacy that they are all powerful. They are not, they are surprisingly weak which is why they spend so much money knobbling politicians and the media. You’d do well to rethink your world view rather that giving up before you’ve even started the fight.

          • Node

            Money is NOT real it’s made by the government ….

            Actually, no. It’s created by the banks, out of nothing. Many of our problems would be solved if the government DID make our money :

            “I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.”
            – Baron Nathan Mayer de Rothschild, 1840-1915

            “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the world – no longer a Government of free opinion no longer a Government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men…. Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the U.S., in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.”
            – President Woodrow Wilson, 1913 (after signing into passage the Glass Owen Act of 1913 that established the Federal Reserve System)

            “The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.” AND “The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it.”
            – John Kenneth Galbraith, circa 1990

            “Bankers own the earth; take it away from them but leave them with the power to create credit; and, with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again… If you want to be slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers control money and control credit.”- Sir Josiah Stamp, Director, Bank of England, 1940

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Node : thanks for the Stamp quote, the best I have ever seen on the subject.

          • Phil the ex-frog


            No more boom and bust! The government is going to ban it!

            Come on mate, from Beveridge to Brown (and everytime else) this fantasy is alway hitting the brick wall of reality. Sustainable full employment is a theory*. It has never actually happened. Even in 1950s Britain it was never really full employment. More importantly, it could never last. The cycles of capitalism are inevitable (probably for reasons such as technology that I brushed on in my previous comment). Even if you don’t understand or accept the theories, you must have noticed that economic cycles always happen. Always. Throughout the entire timespan of capitalism. To pretend otherwise is a serious denial of reality.

            And I can assure I do not think anyone is all powerful.

            * Of course the language is twisted so that when economists say full employment they mean something else. For example Osborne claimed full employment when he meant lower unemployment that rival nation states.

          • Phil the ex-frog

            “Many of our problems would be solved if the government DID make our money”

            I am very far from sure about that. Got to go now, I’ll try and respond later.

    • Ishmael

      There is no doubt extra labour is used in this regulated for banks and corporations system to drive down wages, workers rights etc. As it always has be they immigrants or not.

      I could go on but as Gordon says your points seem like totally fatuous drivel.

  • Kempe

    ” I have not included the massive harm that would hit the UK economy if EU citizens were deported ”

    Presumably the deportation of UK citizens from EU states would have a similar effect on their economies, they’re not all pensioners and gangsters living in Spain, as would tit-for-tat tariffs on the import of EU goods and services into the UK.

    As nobody yet knows what might constitute a bad deal speculation is as ridiculous as the slogan.

    • Alex Birnie

      Kempe, I don’t know about other EU countries, but in Spain (which has around 300000 ex-UK immigrants), I’d be prepared to have a small wager that the vast majority of those UK immigrants ARE pensioners. The Spanish economy will have far less problems if they lose them, than the UK will if they lose their European ex-pats (see what I did there?) 🙂

      • Ba'al Zevul

        How so? The expat pensioners are spending their pensions (accumulated for the most part elsewhere) in Spain, and contributing to the economy (not only without undercutting local labour rates but boosting local service providers). Spain would be insane to send them home. Compare and contrast a Lithuanian farm worker, accommodated in a caravan in the UK, and sending as much as he can of what he earns straight back home.

      • David Rawlings

        300000 pensioners with incomes of say 10000 pa each, is equal to an export income of three billion to the Spanish economy, plus their capital inputs, say 50000 each, equals another fifteen billion in inward investment. I think Spain would be jolly sorry to see them go, and i think they’ve said as much.But don’t let me spoil your knocking of older people, accusing them of being responsible for Brexit and the failure of Scottish independence. Ageism is every bit as disgraceful as racism, but involves a great deal more arrogance.

    • D_Majestic

      If May gets back the problem is likely to be an incompetent deal leading to a bad one.

  • Sharp Ears

    I tried to count the number of times she said

    ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’

    ‘Bad deal’


    The video of the Brexit segment is within this.


    :: Jeremy Corbyn
    For Mr Corbyn, two difficult issues were raised by the audience – mirroring the ravine Labour has to try to traverse between its working-class Vote Leave base and its metropolitan Remain supporters.
    On the one hand, Mr Corbyn was asked why he will not be more robust on immigration and commit to a cap, while on the other, he’s asked why the 48% who wanted to remain in the EU should pick him over the Lib Dems.

    On immigration, he says the levels will probably be a bit lower – and on the matter of the why Remainers should stick with him, Mr Corbyn argues that the will of the people must be respected.

    :: Theresa May
    A safe spot for her. Goaded by Paxman over her apparent shift from Remainer to Leaver, she insisted that she wanted to “respect the will of the people” (cue applause). She added she was going to be a difficult woman when it came to negotiations, and she would walk away if she didn’t get a good deal.
    Verdict: May win. Solid ground. Asserts her position as the Brexiteer-in-chief.’

    • Ishmael

      Jesus, how can she stand there and say that about the NHS. knowing it’s utter crap.

  • Pyewacket

    Whatever her EU counterparts think of last night’s performance, I would hazard to guess. Scratching their heads in disbelief might be a good start though. They’re definitely not crying into their Muesli this morning, although they might be at some risk of choking while chuckling at the memory of it all.

      • Jo

        The BBC seems to be realising this and is redoubling its efforts today to make Corbyn look stupid (on child care costs).

        God this campaign has been the media’s filthiest ever!

    • Ishmael

      This goes WAY past that. There is something actually deeply wrong with these people.

      When your interests and malicious totally callus killers are perfectly aligned and you go on as usual…

  • Sharp Ears


    May woos working class with tough line on Brexit
    PM vows to reject Brussels demands over immigration
    Oliver Wright | Lucy Fisher | Bruno Waterfield, Brussels
    May 30 2017
    The Times

    Theresa May arriving at Sky for a TV debate last night. She is appealing to voters concerned about immigration and Britain’s sovereignty

    Theresa May will try to re-energise her general election campaign today by urging working-class Labour and Ukip voters to switch to the Conservatives over Brexit.

    With a new poll indicating that Labour is solidifying recent gains, the prime minister will seize on “aggressive” Brexit demands from Brussels to insist that only she can negotiate a deal to “define” Britain’s future.

    She will also explicitly woo voters who are concerned about immigration and Britain’s sovereignty, saying that their views have been “ridiculed and ignored for too long”. The Tories’ decision to use the final full week of campaigning to refocus on Brexit comes after a poll suggested that attempts to portray Jeremy Corbyn as soft on terrorism had failed to win over voters.

    The Survation poll… paywall….


    • Shatnersrug

      We can’t pay much attention to polls favourable or otherwise – they only exist to lead the public not to inform them. Reports of increases in labour polling serve to encourage labour voters to stay home and Tory voters make the extra effort. Every poll question is worded in a way that will garner the response the poll funders require. After every election they’re proved incorrect. And yet here we go again.

  • Ball

    7/ No access to European air space. The UK positioning itself as a connection hub between America and Asia will be over.

    Maybe Craig with all his maritime experience can comment on access to EU waters.

  • Lolwhites

    “Tourism requires airports to be open to people, and the Association of British Travel Agents tells us that getting an early deal is of the utmost priority. The chief executive of Stansted airport recently told MPs from our region that no deal means no flights. What assessment has been made of the cost to the British tourism industry of no deal?” Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge.
    That would deal with the problem of queues in airports, anyway.

  • Sharon Knight

    Conservatives are a disgrace putting us in this situation in the first place. Leaving the EU is an unmitigated disaster & once the Brexit lies were exposed, not to mention the dubious funding of UKIP & Vote Leave, the referendum should have been declared null & void. They have ruined the future for all but especially for our young who will probably leave in droves if they have any sense. They have divided this country beyond any government before. If Scotland can have a second referendum based on the fact that when they voted to stay in the UK, they assumed they would stay in the EU too. then we dhould too based on the facts as we now kniw them. I am appalled at how they are bringing this country to its knees & we do not need Dictator May leading us to ruin.

    • Walter Cairns

      The young leaving this country in droves – really? Have you had a good look at the youth unemployment figures across the Channel? No admittedly the position is less dramatic for graduates, but you know what? Our graduates simply aren’t interested! For years at my University I ran a session entitled “Destination Europe” setting out the various opportunities for graduates that were available in Europe. This was carefully scheduled during the University’s various employment weeks and fairs – guess what, out of a University of 40,000 students only a dozen turned up – and the majority of them were foreign exchange students! Also, if they do decide to seek their future abroad, I fear that the vast majority will be severely handicapped by their lack of knowledge of a foreign language. Here again, I know what I am talking about, I used to teach on various courses involving European languages (Law and French, Law and German, BA Business in Europe, BA International Business) – in the end we had to give them all up (or remove the language requirement from the business programmes) because hardly anyone applied. That is the reality I’m afraid, and no amount of hand-wringing will change that.

  • fred

    When you are horse dealing you have to keep walking away. If you say “I have to sell it so I’ll have to accept whatever you offer” then you will get sod all for your horse and if you say “I’ve got to buy a horse” then you must expect to pay a lot of money for it.

    Stand up to Europe, don’t let them push Britain around, show any weakness and they will strip us to the bone just as we would do to them. Britain wants the best possible deal for Britain and we won’t get that unless they know we are prepared to walk away.

    • craig Post author

      You are making a completely unsuitable homely comparison. An international negotiation of this complexity has no resemblance at all to buying a horse. But accepting your analogy with all its manifold flaws the situation is this. You need the horse to help with your harvest or you will starve to death. There is nobody else who can conceivably sell or lend you the horse. In this circumstance, a good relationship with the seller and appealing to his fairness and compassion, and the idea if you get in your harvest your farm will flourish and in future you will buy lots more horses, is all likely yo be more effective than stupid machismo. In this instance, the horse dealer knows that we cannot walk away (see above.)

      • Ba'al Zevul

        the horse dealer knows that we cannot walk away

        That’s the beauty of walking away. It confuses the horse dealer, and repudiates his claim to knowledge..

        The only requirement is to be absolutely clear, and really mean it, that the walkout is final*. If the choice is between a spavined nag fit only for glue – which will cost your hypothetical horse farm money to feed, and the cost of slaughter and disposal (under EU regulations, pretty astonishing), and walking away, then walking away is the only sensible option. Appealing to a horse salesman’s fairness and compassion is no more productive than appealing to – much the same thing – a second-hand car salesman’s; it shouts weakness. How much fairer and more compassionate are a bunch of politicians on the gravy train? LOL.

        I once did this to someone who thought I couldn’t walk away. But his basic assumption, that I had more to lose than he, was completely wrong. He called me back, and gave me what I’d stuck out for.

        • Shatnersrug

          I have to say Greece blew it this way. They took the vote to the public who rejected it, instead of walking away they capitulated, once this had happened the EU new they’d have it their own way, and so it was thus.

          The problem is that on both sides of the divide Political grandstanding is all for show it has very little to do with actual negotiations – May knows this regarding the EU and the know this regarding her. It’s pure electioneering and we can’t get too sidetracked with it.

          May’s gamble is that there are enough pensioners that don’t ask to many questions to get her elected. Our gamble is there is enough youngsters that are prepared to don the nose peg over the Blairites.

          Btw 1200 people die a day in this country – 80% are pensioners – there is a fairly good odds that Brexit will have minority support by the time it comes round.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            there is a fairly good odds that Brexit will have minority support by the time it comes round.

            Unless, of course, Brexit is actually a good thing. Which for young people looking for meaningful work, housing and local services, it could well be.

          • Habbabkuk

            “I have to say Greece blew it this way. They took the vote to the public who rejected it, instead of walking away they capitulated, once this had happened the EU new they’d have it their own way, and so it was thus.”

            Absolutely correct.

            As Varoufakis explains in his latest book “Adults in the room”, a negotiator has to be prepared to walk away and has to make it clear to the other party that this will happen in certain circumstances. Ie, it is not a bluff.

        • craig Post author

          Ba’al but in your instance you could walk away. In this case we really can’t or all the above happens.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            I’m afraid I’m with horrible Habba on your six points. I think they’re highly questionable.
            1. Not necessarily. Ireland could unify, and we’d be shot of the problem. Even some of the DUP Moustache Petes are beginning to wake up to this.
            2. We’re IN a major recession. And we can export elsewhere, given any indication that exporters will be supported.
            3. We don’t want to process sixty pages of forms, sure. But neither do they. I can import or export to China or the US without sixty pages of forms; fine. If they want to cut off their nose to spite their face, we can readjust and laugh at the bleeding stump.
            4. No access to their databases = no access by them to ours. Simples. Not only do we have pretty good spooks, we have a bilateral arrangement with the Yanks. Their loss.
            5. Visas, dealt with above. And I don’t see the requirement for visas to enter the US interfering too badly with our access there, do you?
            6. No. The global recession has already seen huge reductions in research spending worldwide, and I don’t see us banning European researchers (with their European funding) any more than we ban Chinese ones with theirs. Remember that we are net contributors to the EU. We can fund universities more efficiently without giving a third party the money to partially return for that purpose.

          • fred

            “4. No access to their databases = no access by them to ours. Simples. Not only do we have pretty good spooks, we have a bilateral arrangement with the Yanks. Their loss.”

            Not just the Yanks, Britain is a member of Five Eyes.

          • nevermind

            Unless, of course, Brexit is actually a good thing. Which for young people looking for meaningful work, housing and local services, it could well be.
            Baal, can you make any sense of your aspirational positive outlook above, is there anything in today’s Tory land that has induced this fanciful notion of yours?
            Was it the scrapped ESA payments and increased tuition fees for students that led you to think that eventually the Conservatives will do something good for young people?

            Or was it the massive affordable house/apartment building program in the pipeline/announced/ not quiet yet/ maybe sometime which would give them a positive future outlook, that led you astray?

          • Ba'al Zevul

            I hesitate to answer that, Nevermind, because the issue of poorly controlled immigration, and its effect on jobs, wages, schooling, community and housing availability is taboo. Even mentioning it in the context of European free movement makes me a racist, apparently.

            There’s a lot of hooey being talked on the subject of the ‘hard’ Brexit. This is not the first option, or the only one. Our well-paid troughers have as much incentive to minimise their own pain as anyone. Walking away is the last option. But it has to be there.

            Alea iacta est: And I see that Corbyn is very popular with the younger voter – whether this translates into a recognition that globalism, as exemplified by the EU, doesn’t offer them very much, is an interesting point for consideration.

    • Walter Cairns

      The young leaving this country in droves – really? Have you had a good look at the youth unemployment figures across the Channel? No admittedly the position is less dramatic for graduates, but you know what? Our graduates simply aren’t interested! For years at my University I ran a session entitled “Destination Europe” setting out the various opportunities for graduates that were available in Europe. This was carefully scheduled during the University’s various employment weeks and fairs – guess what, out of a University of 40,000 students only a dozen turned up – and the majority of them were foreign exchange students! Also, if they do decide to seek their future abroad, I fear that the vast majority will be severely handicapped by their lack of knowledge of a foreign language. Here again, I know what I am talking about, I used to teach on various courses involving European languages (Law and French, Law and German, BA Business in Europe, BA International Business) – in the end we had to give them all up (or remove the language requirement from the business programmes) because hardly anyone applied. That is the reality I’m afraid, and no amount of hand-wringing will change that.

      • Walter Cairns

        Sorry, this was a reply to Sharon Knight’s post above, for some reason it became detached from it. I would delete it, but there seems to be no mechanism for doing so. Apologies.

  • Ishmael

    It’s no just that Theresa and her cohorts are dismantling the NHS. They are profiting from it and private healthcare.

    They PROFIT from sick people, they make money out of people who need help.

    Just think about that.

    • philw

      Not just Theresa – dont forget Milburn and all the Blairites who are on this gravy train.

      For the first time in decades we have the chance to elect someone who will fight to save the NHS

  • Habbabkuk

    “Jeremy Paxman failed to push Theresa May at all on the stupidity of the “No deal” slogan yesterday, instead just giving her the opportunity to repeat it again and again..”

    Perhaps he failed to “push” her because he does not believe that “no deal” is as stupid as you and a number of other alarmists appear to think. This leaves aside the question of whether the expression “no deal” is actually meaningless per se.

    Firstly, no one at the moment has the slightest idea of exactly what the final “offer” will be. At the moment, both “sides” are hyping their demands and counter-demands. This is normal at this stage of the negotiating process, as anyone with any experience of negotiations – and especially “internal” EU negotiations – knows perfectly well.

    Secondly, this post indulges in precisely the sort of hype which one would expect.

    ALL SIX OF YOUR CLAIMS are false or at least candidates for serious questioning and criticism : the phenomena you enumerate are NOT the “natural consequences of not being an EU member” but a series of assumptions, not facts.

    Time does not permit a full discussion of all six points but let us just take one, which I have commented on before because of its particularly egregious nature (you will see that even this one requires quite a few lines):

    “5) British citizens need to apply for visas to visit EU countries”

    That is scare-mongering nonsense. As you know – or should know – visa requirements between Western European countries (but not for the Communist countries of Eastern Europe) for the purposes of visits and tourism, etc, were abolished WELL BEFORE the EEC/EC/EU came into being. For example, such visa requirements between the UK and France were abolished, through a bilateral agreement in the form of an exchange of notes, as early as 1947. Such bilateral agreements were concluded between the UK and all Western European countries in the late 1940s/early 1950s. There is absolutely no substance to your claim that visas will once again become necessary after Brexit .

    The most I can say to you is that you might be confusing a visa requirement with the stamping of passports upon entry into and exit from a Continental country – which is presumably where you get your “and stand in two hour long queues at many EU airports”. Now, on that claim : firstly, such passport stamping was abandoned decades ago; secondly, there is no reason to believe that it might be re-introduced; and thirdly, even if it was re-introduced, since the UK is not presently in the Schengen area passports are already controlled at the frontiers and stamping them would be a matter of seconds.

    • craig Post author

      Completely and utterly wrong and a prime example of your stupendous blinkered ignorance, Habbakuk.

      Other Western European countries indeed have visa free access to the EU, through a DEAL with the European Economic Area (EEA). But membership of the EEA entails membership of the EU single market and adherence to its rules, which the Tories have already rejected as part of their brilliant “No deal” strategy.

      So you are entirely, comprehensively and utterly wrong.

      • Habbabkuk


        You haven’t read what I wrote properly. UK visitors to France (this is the example I gave) have not needed a French visa since 1947. Hence the visa-free travel arrangement predates the EEC, the EC, the EU, the single market and the EEA, and has absolutely nothing to do with them.

        As visa-ree travel predates and has nothing to do with EU membership, leaving the EU is highly unlikely to change anything. It certainly doesn’t justify your scary, Nick Clegg-like strapline ” British citizens need to apply for visas to visit EU countries”.

        • craig Post author

          Yes, but it isn’t 1947, Habbakuk. We would not just revert to the status quo ante. France would have to apply the Schengen rules to us, and if we are not in the EEA, that means a proper full visa process. No getting away from it.

          • kashmiri

            Visa-free regimes are in place between EU and even such countries as Ukraine and Georgia who are not and will likely never be EU members; negotiations were naturally not linked to EU membership. I see no reason why UK cannot have such a regime negotiated. British excellence in stupid bureaucracy means visa procedures will be more painful for those wishing to travel to UK than for Brits travelling anywhere abroad, so I am sure EU will be pressed to negotiate visa-free regime asap.

      • Walter Cairns

        No he isn’t Craig, I can remember travelling freely between various Western European countries during the 1960s without ever completing a visa application form. This was well before the EEA was even thought of, let alone making a deal with the EU.

        • Deepgreenpuddock

          You didn’t travel ‘freely’. Essentially it was Western Europe. There were elaborate procedures to get into other countries. Also it was possible to work overseas but this was because people operated outside a regulatory framework. So i turned up at a Danish farm and got a job for a few days apple picking but it was more to do with the novelty than anything else, both for the farmer, and myself( and the opportunity to chat to the delightful blonde farmer’s daughters that had caught my eye.
          East Germany and the Warsaw pact countries COULD be visited but it was a hassle and if i remember rightly it was necessary to have some personal contacts /sponsors to get the visas for Eastern Europe.

    • Matt

      So we should feel reassured about May – rather than talking rubbish, she’s in fact using terms that are meaningless. Great.

      Wouldn’t it be a useful exercise to have a view of what ‘no deal’ looks like? CM has had a stab, how about a more positive suggestion of what no deal would look like in 2 years.


  • fred

    “4) No access to the Schengen database and other EU security and policing resources”

    There was a man talking about this on Radio 4 just this morning. Access to the database in not dependent on EU membership. Britain will still have access and still be a member of Interpol after we leave the EU.

    • Habbabkuk

      I confirm the above, although I am not sure that the UK could remain a full member of EUROPOL (not Interpol!). I believe full membership is reserved for EU members but non-EU states have liaison officers at Europol HQ.

      This question is like so many of the others, in that, in theory, there would be nothing to stop the EU 27 from cutting off all cooperation with the UK. The real question is whether they would wish to put an end to various arrangements (whether of an economic or non-economic nature) which are of MUTUAL benefit.

      The same argument, by the way, applies to Craig’s point No. 6 :

      “6) UK universities removed from World’s leading scientific and research programmes.”

      (I leave aside the points that Craig says “World” and not “EU” and that some non-EU states – such as Israel – are fully involved in the EU’s R & D frameworks)

  • Trent

    Summary: “Some of our trading partners are threatening to place rocks in their harbours and therefore we must submit to them.”

  • Ishmael

    Labour under JC are the best people to get us through brexit. Given his past enthusiasm for the notion he’s just the sort of person needed to try and make some good (or least harm) from it.

    Those who do benefit from what stability we have should think very carefully about our future.

  • nevermind

    I shan’t even comment on Paxi’s last night stand yesterday, it was appalling and only recognisable by the absence of serious issue such as this.

    A hard Brexit will present us with the same hurdles as mentioned by Craig, except that they would be stretched out and come with a slower pace. No doubt Mrs. May will say that all those commonwealth countries such as…. will be gagging to have trade deals with us.
    Well, if they have not got any trade deals with the EU and or want to jeopardise such a deal for trading with us, and that includes many so called Common-wealth countries.
    The City of London is setting Mrs. May up for a low wage and low tax principality, which would work against the EU and its aims, she is steering their boat, not that of the UK and its inhabitants.
    No deal was never an option in the referendum, it was ‘the best possible deal’. That none of these politicians spouting garbage knew what it would involve, that their knowledge of EU matters is as bad as that of the media is essentially why we get waffled at, is the sad story of this referendum and the flounces who could have stopped it by resigning their coalition.

    No deal means that some 42% of EU NHS staff will leave almost immediately, that’s surgeons, theatre nurses, and some very well trained staff with tremendous knowledge and know how, there is only Labour addressing this issue with some seriousness.
    But not to worry, the inexorably rising (up by 3.4%) amount of multimillionaires in London, some 4549, including the owner of the i newspaper who printed this number, will not be stopped by this brain and science chaos, but it will challenge those who who serve them, the doctors in Harley Street, to review their Hippocratic oath and offer to help out in the NHS.

    • Habbabkuk

      “No deal means that some 42% of EU NHS staff will leave almost immediately, that’s surgeons, theatre nurses, and some very well trained staff with tremendous knowledge”

      That is the sort of mindless nonsense which the Remainers could do without.

      It does NOT mean that either those people will wish to leave or will be obliged to leave.

      But feel free to prove me wrong. Talk us through why some 42% of EU NHS will either wish to leave or will be obliged to. Supply the basis for your assertion.

      • nevermind

        This mindless nonsense, as you so call it, comes from the horses mouth, i.e those EU NHS staff who answered a survey. They will wish to leave, obliged or not, if politicians can’t see past their own personal gains.
        Why should they want to wait until they are dissed for everything that goes wrong with Wreckxit, daily reminded of their ‘furriner’ status and or disregarded and spat at by a politically manipulated public?

        They will wish to leave because of the cuts to staff, uncertainty, stress and strain the privatisation process puts on their patients and them, which, in its first faze means wrecking the NHS, it just does not square with their Hippocratic oath.
        You might have become attached to unaccountability, but please do not push your negligent standards on to others.

        • Habbabkuk


          I’d like to reply to that if I may.

          You say that NHS staff from the EU 27 would want to leave. I do not believe that that would be the case.

          Firstly, they are, I imagine, working in the NHS not because of a Bevan-like wish to contribute to making the UK a better country but, rather, because of a number of factors which have little to do with UK membership of the EU per se. For example, there is work for them in the NHS whereas there may not be in their countries of origin; they might feel that the pay and terms and conditions offered by the NHS are better than those obtainable under their own public health systems; many are here for professional advancement reasons. All those reasons, by the way, also apply to (for example) Greek academics who are heavily represented on the staffs of UK universities.

          Secondly, I do not believe in your “they will be spat at” argument. For that argument to be true, you would need to make out a case that EU 27 medical staff are made to feel unwelcome both in general and on an individual basis; there is, as far as I’m aware, no evidence for that.

          Thirdly: this brings us to your argument that “they will wish to leave because of the cuts to staff, uncertainty, stress and strain the privatisation process puts on their patients and them”. Now, you may well be right that some may wish to leave for those reasons (assuming the elements you mention are correct). But that argument has everything to do with conditions in, and the possible evolution of the NHS and nothing to do with whether the UK remains in the EU or not. That is because the health( or otherwise) of the NHS is a national matter and nothing to do with EU membership.

          Fourthly, there is nothing to suggest that UK authorities would decide to dispense with the services of staff from the EU 27 currently working in the NHS, nor indeed that they would freeze future recruitment of such staff. There is absolutely no reason why they should do that.

          • nevermind

            You mean to say that you are prepared to gamble that these people were fibbing, not meant it when they answered the survey.
            And you are prepared to gamble EU citizens current pawn status, versus the health of the patients that would suffer.
            I’m not

    • Ba'al Zevul

      British GP’s are already leaving the NHS in droves. Nothing to do with Brexit, everything to do with appalling working conditions. The solution is not to import replacements, but to ensure the NHS works properly.
      It’s not fear of Brexit that’s been driving EU nurses to leave the NHS. It’s the appalling working conditions again, and the knowledge that they can do better elsewhere.


      Anyway, why would we be needing to import nurses? Because we *can’t afford* to recruit and train them here. And why all that? Because the NHS is now required to be a business, not a service. Which (the clue is in the name) is what it was set up to be.

      • Habbabkuk

        It is useful to read your comments together with mine, posted at 13h27.

  • Nathaniel

    I think the plan is to crash out of the EU without a deal – the projected ‘negotiations’ are a chimera at best. This then creates the context for the Tory right to impose massive shock therapy on the population. This will be sold as a result as the intransigence of the EU in failing to make a deal(‘We made these commitments before negotiations with the EU broke down…’) . The ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ line is a preparation for this.

    • Shatnersrug

      This assessment seems to be based on the spurious idea that Tories know their arse from their elbow.

      • D_Majestic

        Ha, ha, ha! Excellent. But it’s the power embedded behind the thickos which most concerns me.

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      i was in the process of writing a comment to similar effect. I think for many Hard brexiteers/tory right wing the desired outcome is an abrupt and final break with the EU on no terms at all . Their motivations are visceral and ideological, and they are convinced that the alternative Trumpled world is theirs for the taking.
      May is very vulnerable to these elements within her party. I fear she may simply be a plausible figure chosen to avoid revealing the basilisk under the lid of Tory thinking.

      Politics are endlessly interesting of course because it is a reflection of our brain activity, infinitely reflected by an infinite number of imperfect mirrors.
      May is a curious creature because her impulses are probably ‘good’ and she would try to deliver ‘fairness and justice’ as she sees it, through the prism of her mind, and my hunch is that while pragmatically accepting of the imperfection of the world, she is ‘essentially’ a high anglican with a strong strain of ‘do gooderist’ Christian mentality, combined with a bourgeois sense of personal entitlement ( sanctimonious), a powerful ego, with an underlying conviction of righteous superiority, veering into narcissism (look at her clothes choices for a casual insight into that, indicating a rather ‘louche’ taste), of having a ‘cross to carry’, and a great purpose- to make the kingdom of heaven on earth, as this was conceived by the various seers and divines, such as King James the 6th, who had the bible written in English, who were in a position to define and deify their dreams as the word of God.
      I also suspect she was brought up with the kind of busy conviction which would make here an avid and conscientious pupil and lay the foundation for a very good administrator and a sense of control, attention to detail, and a capacity to engender order.
      I am struck by the odd fact that so many PMs are convinced Christians. Blair, Brown, and May certainly. Not sure about Major and Cameron -(maybe someone can tell me). That seems improbable in the sense that committed Christians in this growing secular country are rather more scarce than three out of five.

      Theresa May is not however a free agent of her kind of benign Toryism, despite the impression of the promotional literature for this election, which places so much emphasis on her not so upright , hump-backed, spindly frame. She has a ‘kind’ but intelligent face and her height and body shape conveys disciplined,stoical, fair minded imperiousness, reminiscent of the Thatcher ‘sexiness’ of a previous era.

      The reality is that she is subject to the visceral convictions of hard brexiteers, who are motivated ideologically. These are people who define the Tory position and now claim to be the righteous defenders of the will of the people. People like Fox and Gove. Johnson is there too but he is a transparent opportunist and as such reveals his weakness like a trail of leaking diarrhoea behind himself,

      My strong sense of these people is that they have a visceral dislike of the EU and only a ‘hard’ Brexit will do. ‘No deal’ is their preferred option. Gove weaves himself round with a plausible web of rhetoric but underlying his beliefs is the sense of loss he feels over his childhood world that he thinks was so desirable. in other words these things are visceral, emotional responses. All rhetoric is erotica.( as said by Richard Seymour recently).

    • Hieroglyph

      The Tories want us to be Little USA. So, your thesis could well be right. Ms May is clearly a rabid globalist, and imposing Greek style shock therapy on bankrupt UK, whilst blaming the EU, could well be the strategy. Military on the streets already, just in case.

      Still, she’s about to get her ass handed to her by a left-winger. So I guess we’ll never know. It’s getting to the stage where even Habbacuck is going to vote JC, though he’ll deny it to his masters. Vote JC everyone – save the UK.

  • Prasad

    I am so glad to have found your blog.

    It is like getting a daily dose of sanity.

    Any chance of an up or down marking option in the comments?


  • Dave

    Whataboutery if all the English population moves abroad and boosts everyone else’s economy and send the receipts home, how would England fare then?

  • Sharp Ears

    Apart from his shady dealings with a ‘Chinese tycoon’
    and his plotting with Allam about forming a breakaway pro EU party

    Blair has not had much to say on Brexit since the beginning of the month.

    Tony Blair announces return in bid to influence Brexit debate

    Does the psychopath not know how much he is hated and reviled by the British people?

    Former PM is not standing in election but says he feels compelled to re-enter political fray to warn of economic perils of quitting single market

    • Robert Crawford

      This Universe is Governed by the “Law of Attraction”.

      That is to say, what you think about you bring about.
      Good or bad, if you keep talking and thinking about it, you are going to get it. Nothing surer!

      Give your undivided attention to what you DO WANT, and watch what happens.

      Thoughts produce things.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Don’t worry. He’ll be back. After the election. Then he will decide whether to take his newly-re-elected MP’s aboard the new party he feels Britain is crying out for, and drastically reduce Old Labour’s strength in the Commons, or whether to continue working via Progress to undermine Corbyn from within the party. Meanwhile, he mustn’t give Corbyn grounds for throwing him out. All this and more in the usual place, some time ago.

    • Hieroglyph

      It’s quite funny actually. Blair seems to know literally every shady crook the world over. Remember Peter Foster? Blair seems to attract these people – which is very, very telling. Isn’t it odd to think that the UK had an actual psychopath at the helm for 10 years? I’d love for him to go to jail – for the mandatory clinical assessment if nothing else.

  • Peter Beswick

    Craig is no longer (if ever he was) helping his cause.

    Sturgeon is still bleating about “choice”

    The Scots have made their choice. Respect it.

    The UK has made its choice. Respect it.

    Walking away from a deal is a choice. But in the case of Brexit it isn’t, by walking away from a negotiation you have made a deal. The deal is to negotiate with individuals instead of a committee, that is eminently sensible in the circumstances. (Divide and Rule)

    Would you like to trade freely with us and agree to managed 2 way migration? Yes? Then let your guys talk to our guys. Next!
    Would you like to trade freely with us and agree to managed 2 way migration? No? Next!


    • Ishmael

      “eminently sensible in the circumstances. (Divide and Rule)”

      Some intelectals are clearly dangerous. Nothing sensible about european history of slurring each other. Just were this mindset led and is leading again.

      • Ishmael

        The problem is when totally immoral bastards with no idea or care about how civilisations develops get there grubby stinking teeth into the body politic with infectious totally debased ideas about humanity. Usually based on racist/nationalist notiona and imply that we gain from “them” being messed up.

        See manchester.

      • Ishmael

        Sorry slaughtering* each other.

        I can barley contain my anger let alone pay attention to typing…

        If you would/could correct that mods it would be appreciated.

          • Ishmael

            Thanks, but I’m really not, if you know what I mean.

            Someone in the PRESS, needs to stand up, WAKE UP. And hang these people.

            Can’t all be this evil in the the UK, surly.

  • kashmiri

    Point 5 incorrect. Schengen zone and visa regime are unrelated to EU membership. Vide Switzerland, Norway, Monaco, Georgia, Ukraine, etc. Question re. universities is debatable – rankings and popularity are independent of membership in any pacts and alliances (Chinese and Indian students will fill unis up anyway).

      • Deepgreenpuddock

        Those lovely, profitable, well provided for students are of course subject to the temptations of other english speaking places( and indeed other language institutions ).
        Business wise, I guess the Americans have a very considerable edge in attracting students. They are certainly much more organised than the UK. let’s be honest.
        i also fear that the universities will decline slowly as they are consciously and (admittedly) slowly excluded and individuals replaced by (preferable) EU equivalents when it comes to major collaborative projects.
        IOW i rather think the bar for entry for British people will be made higher by Brexit(Talent of course supercedes such barriers) and the UK research scene will in effect lose out due to the shrinking industry sources of funds (both for research, studentships and post- graduate training).
        The fact remains that the EU is a large and dominating influence and it will not be passive or impotent in looking for ways to promote its best interests.those interests will seek ways to actively favour their own.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          The situation at present as regards research funding is far from healthy. My impression is that major international collaborative projects are mopping up a lot of funding which could be more usefully applied to cheaper and more innovative research. In fact, universities are now run by beancounters and their besuited minions, who seem to be the main beneficiaries of funding. IMO, some universities need to be closed anyway. Industry funding? If you have a good track record in the field in which the industry is interested, and don’t overcharge, whether you’re in a political club or not shouldn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is that you’re out there touting for business. Unfortunately, some UK universities aren’t: they tick the box marked ‘Research Sales’, staff its office with linear thinkers, and the university bureaucracy then ensures that nothing further happens.

          Brexit may have bad results for universities. But if it doesn’t give their corporate pants a good and much needed kicking, I am not a poisonous lizard.

          It’s about time we recognised, too, that a degree is in fact not a necessary qualification for a lot of the jobs which currently require it: a year in the Army would provide a significantly more mature and thoughtful individual for most employers, and he too would have to learn the actual job…on the job.

          Blair’s idiotic proposal that 50% of school leavers should go to university has thankfully been dropped, but there’s a crying need for technical skills which used to be the province of further, not higher, education. Tech colleges teach you a damn sight more than universities, and it’s practical knowledge (my opinion is formed by having attended both)
          And tech colleges, translating university theory into facts on the ground,are the key to actually having something to export.
          If Brexit forces a recognition of this I will be a very happy poisonous lizard.

          • Deepgreenpuddock

            I appreciate the comment and I sort of grudgingly agree about some of it. Yes the attempt to extend university education kind of backfired. It was an attempt to emulate the USA which has a different approach to tertiary education and is partly set up to cater for the expensive process of training people with only a modest capacity.
            So we had a highly selective system which catered for the smallish numbers of people who were deemed ‘suitable’ and this had something to do with ability. a figure that trouble me somewhat (it is not quite authoritative but based on widespread impressions- that about a third of the population develop the capacity for analysis and operating in an analytical intellectual framework. The remainder seem to remain unable to process with the use of symbolic language, and remain attached to concrete thinking patterns.
            The American university system has adopted means of catering for both the very capable, and the not so capable (whose parents, however, are capable of paying) by a system of cherry picking and prompt intervention to draw the capable into a network.It is rather clever because most of the time the ones less favoured don’t even know there are parallel processes going on. Frat boy culture coexists alongside the more serious processes.
            Anyway it seems to me that the UK universities were not set up properly to cater for a wider ability range and struggled to adapt. I can remember a distinct panic way back in the late nineties when universities were being confronted with people who needed support in developing skills that had previously been assumed to be starting points. I mean matters such as writing and structuring an essay in paragraphs, the ability to spell, punctuate and even read relatively complex material, and know how libraries work and how to access a reference.

  • Soothmoother

    Can you give us your thoughts on how hard Brexit would affect the EU? Surely it would be just as bad for Germany, France, Spain etc. I’d imagine the German automobile industry would suffer, as would the Spanish tourist industry. Aren’t both sides making threats? Surely you don’t reveal your hand before you enter negotiations.

    • Peter Beswick

      After Brexit there is no EU, at best it will revert to a Common Market but Schengen delivers that with knobs on without the bureaucratic silly stuff. The people want peace and tranquility, education, healthcare and jusice that is equal for all (and no pot holes). Politicians want boundaries, rules where rules don’t belong, armies, weapons of mass destruction and the “people” to pay for it.

      The people never needed the CM / EEC / EU / Euro, politicians did. Not needed, failed experiment.

      • Ishmael

        EU sas a lot of issues, but how anyone can simply think of this in their nut as a failed experiment given history? And then actively work to undermine it ?

        And force a vote on it, using the disolusioned discontent of people (whose circumstances had near zero to do with the EU) to force there own sick and twisted divisive agenda.

        Nobody asked for this vote on brexit, nobody aside from a few totally immoral politicians in the Tory party and a few rabid nationalist who have always done so, two tiny groups who share a great deal. Who have now dealt a severe blow to all our stability.

        Well done, how great of you.

      • Habbabkuk


        “After Brexit there is no EU, at best it will revert to a Common Market..”

        I suspect that exactly the opposite is the case. When Mrs Merkel talks (now – having, after the Lisbon treaty, ruled out new treaty negotiations for “a decade”) about the need for the “EU to take a new path” she means greater federalist political and greater economic integration and not less.

        One of the ironies of the present situation is that it took Brexit to bring certain EU leaders to the realisation that the EU needs to change…..

        • Ishmael

          It’s a good irony, don’t you think habb?

          Whats good for the EU is good for us. Or “There’s room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory.” ?

          Perhaps that’s a little simplistic, but generally.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      I get the impression BMW et all would be up shit creek. Thanks to the availability of subprime mortages on cars (the PIP scheme) their market’s grown exponentially. But I’m not sure we can maintain the supply of the really crap drivers required to crew them, indefinitely.

    • Habbabkuk

      I will give you mine, but indirectly.

      Given existing trade patterns, economic common sense would seem to indicate that the EU 27 would not push for a punitive Brexit and would go for a mutually beneficial trade arrangement with the EU.

      However, that is to overlook the fact that certainly for countries like Germany, economics have on occasion taken second place to political imperatives (ie, what Germany saw as political imperatives. As any student of FRG – EEC relations after 1958 will know, there was a good deal of disagreement between Chancellor Adenauer (representing the political imperatives) and ECOFIN Minister Erhard (representing the “economic camp”) on various important aspects of policy relatd to the shape the EEC should take. One example was the possible subsuming of the EEC 6 into a larger European free trade area including the EFTA 7.

      Add to that the fact that Germany would be likely to suffer less from a hard (trade) Brexit than many of its EU 27 partners and that there might be a certain desire to make an example of the UK (cf, in the context of the eurozone, the recent example of Greece),I am by no means convinced that Germany at least (and now a Macron-led France as well) would worry too much about the possible negative consequences for the EU 27 of a very hard (trade) Brexit.

      • Ishmael

        You clearly have a competent mind habb. I wish it was more “on side”, of those who really need help.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Never forgot when my wife and I went to Ireland shortly after its Bloody Sunday in 1972. I was teaching a course on The Troubles, and wanted to see what they were really like.

    We arrived at Cork on the Queen Mary, as I recall, and we rented a car to make our way up to the North.
    At the pier, the car agent assured us that the necessary papers were in the glove compartment, and we never checked, as there was a push for us to get off.

    The trip up Ireland’s west coast was fabulous, especially the Cliffs of Mower (sp?) and Ackyll Island, but when got to the border, it was like going to East Germany, when there turned out that the necessary papers were not in the glove compartment, and nothing could be done about it despite our long arguments without entry officials. . So we kissed goodbye to seeing everything from the Giant’s Causeway to the Bogside.

    My wife was so angry about not going there that she refused to pay a penny to the car renter after we were denied entry into the province, and won. My wife was something when she got were dander up.

    Just ask British Airways about her when she didn’t get our seats she had reserved on one of its flights.

    I never tried to go to Northern Ireland again.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      It was still a great boon to me as it got me studying the revival of The Troubles a century earlier, resulting in the troubles Irish leader Charles Stewart Parnell was having, and A.V. Dicey, that law professor at Oxford, exploited to his own advantage at the expense of democratic rule for the whole of the island.

      No deal became the agenda then too rather than a dubious one.

    • JOML

      Cliffs of Moher – last time I passed there, the viewing point was closed because some poor man had jumped over the cliff and the weather stopped his body from being retrieved from the rocks below for a few days. Perhaps he was a Brexiteer, with no deal….

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Hope the frustrated viewers took advantage of the services of the nearby village of Doolin, not a place to miss too.

        Really should refresh my memory by looking at all the photos I took.

  • Sharp Ears

    May is about to speak BBC News channel. W. Midlands.

    Banner on the old bag’s bus reads ‘THERESA MAY FOR BRITAIN’.

  • Jo

    I see Corbyn is being stitched up on Daily Politics as they plug an interview he did today where he didn’t know a figure related to child care costs and was harangued constantly by a journalist as he tried to retrieve it. The female journalist’s repeated baiting of him was sickening to say the least.

    • Kempe

      But I bet you enjoyed watching Theresa May squirm when she couldn’t answer Andrew Neil’s repeated questioning on where the extra £8 billion for the NHS was going to come from.

      • Jo

        The difference there is that the Tories, in their arrogance, haven’t even bothered to cost their manifesto! I say the Tories, sorry, I keep forgetting May isn’t using her Party name in this campaign!

  • Republicofscotland

    As I have often repeated in here Brexit will be very bad all round for Britain. That’s why Scottish independence is a must.

    Meanwhile Sky has been putting down the SNP at the beginning of the SNP’s manifesto launch in Perth. Interviewing David Torrance, god only knows why. The BBC followed suit, as Victoria Derbyshire offered up difficult questions to Stewart Hosie, who answered them with a degree of ease.

    Eat your heart out Theresa May.

    • fred

      As far as Craig is concerned a bad deal is a good deal. He’s hoping to persuade people in Scotland to vote for independence so the crappier the deal and worse things end up for the people of Britain the happier he will be.

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