Theresa May Goes the Full Farage 83


Theresa May’s breathtaking claim that the EU is interfering in the general election has moved the Brexit negotiations to a whole new level of confrontation. Those who think that international negotiations on future trade relations are best conducted in an atmosphere of extreme mutual hostility, are nonsensical.

Good deals come from good relationships.

It is also extraordinary that May appears to be staking out her appeal exclusively on UKIP territory. I am quite sure she is following her own, natural, very right wing instincts. But by taking this aggressively right wing position, she is opening up a flank to the Liberal Democrats and severely endangering her prospects in Scotland, where UKIP never achieved anything like the traction it did in England. She also seems to be calculating that the ordinary Brexit voters take an extreme view and would welcome an absolute dust-up with the EU, irrespective of its long term effects on the UK.

Doubtless all of this was comprehensively polled and focus grouped, but I suspect she has miscalculated on a great many levels.

Now let us examine the truth of May’s claims of EU interference in a British election – a very serious charge indeed. These are May’s words today, presumably very carefully considered.

The European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials. All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election which will take place on 8 June.

Let us examine these claims. Firstly she says that the European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. But it has not. The European Council has just adopted the negotiating positions, which are precisely the same ones circulated by Donald Tusk before May announced the election. So those positions have not hardened. The Commission has today made plain that the financial settlement and rights for EU residents will have to be broadly settled before trade negotiations start. But again that was precisely their position before the election was announced.

So what has happened since the election was called which is new? Well, the European Council has affirmed that if, in accordance with the provisions of the Good Friday agreement, Ireland were to unite, the expanded Republic of Ireland would remain in the EU. But that is not a “negotiating stance” it is purely a reiteration of the pre-existing legal position in regard to the Good Friday Agreement.

Two things have arguably changed. An estimate of 100 billion euros has been put unofficially on the UK’s residual obligations, which is higher than previous estimates, but as this is a matter of collation of innumerable programme agreements different estimates are bound to emerge. As the Commission very reasonably pointed out today – while refusing to endorse the 100 million estimate – the residual obligations will depend on the date of actual Brexit, as yet unknown. The only real new point is the Commission’s legal claim that the UK is not entitled to a share of EU fixed assets. But the timing of this was dictated by a claim by Boris Johnson, so it was hardly an interference in the election.

So the alleged hardening of the Commission’s negotiating positions is a fiction. It simply does not exist.

May then says that threats have been made against the UK. I can find nothing that remotely constitutes a threat. To state that the trading position of a non-member must necessarily be weaker than the trading position of a member is not a threat, it is a statement of the obvious. May’s perception of threats is a paranoid delusion.

Finally, she claims that all this has been timed to affect the result of the general election. That is the weirdest claim of all.

The Downing St dinner at which May made a fool of herself was an initiative by May. She issued the invitation and she dictated the timing. It was not vicious foreign enemies who are all out to get her. She may be forgiven for being aggrieved that the poor opinions of her were leaked to the press. But anyone who knows anything about the EU knows that everything leaks, all the time. In general it is a very open institution. The Commission has in any case to report progress in the negotiations regularly to the European Parliament.

The other recent events – the European Council summit and the approval of the negotiating stance by the European Parliament – were all on schedules decided before May announced the election. So it was impossible that they were “deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election”, when nobody knew there was a general election at the point the timings were decided. The Council, Parliament and Commission press briefings which were set in train by these events were all absolutely routine and in no sense specially timed or orchestrated.

May’s attack on the EU is therefore demonstrably and indisputably untrue. All the events she alludes to happened either on dates agreed before the election was announced, or on dates decided by herself. It is an impossibility for them to have been timed to influence the election.

Having disposed of May’s cataclysmic rant, here is an interesting thought. From all round the country, TV news has been showing me constantly for days placards bearing Theresa May’s name but no mention of any political party. These placards therefore cannot count as national party advertising as they advertise no party. So they must count against May’s personal candidate spending limit in Maidenhead, where they are beamed wherever the placards may be held up, plainly doing no function other than to promote May personally as a candidate.

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83 thoughts on “Theresa May Goes the Full Farage

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  • fwl

    Yaroufakis, a remainer, has advised that as we have voted out we wake up to the difficulties Greece experienced in negotiating and avoid negotiations ie play hardball.

    Successful negotiations occur out of good relationships where it is a win win. That is the marriage, when parties see a future and want a good relationship. However in a the opposite scenario ie the bust up success requires that both parties feel anxious. Then they can rebuild a relationship. That process requires considerable gamesmanship and hardball before it might refocus on a good relationship.

    • craig Post author

      Yanis hates the EU, and having discussed it with him personally I had no impression at all he was a remainer, though I don’t think it came up directly in those terms. A good man in many ways, but the one thing he undoubtedly is not an expert on is how to negotiate successfully with the EU.

      To further address your divorce point, I think it is a completely facile and inapplicable analogy. But having been divorced, I am glad to say it was done with sadness and mutual respect, the financial provisions were agreed with no dispute at an time and we never called each other names or made accusations of bad faith. The idea that doing so would somehow have improved the experience is bonkers.

      • Kate Francis

        Craig. I’m a fan, but seriously disappointed that you’re unaware of Yanis Varoufakis’ position on Brexit. This is from his book ‘And the weak suffer what they must’.

        ‘I was traversing Britain campaigning against Brexit Audiences were puzzled: ‘How can you, given the way the EU treated you and your country, tell us that we should remain?’ The reason (is that) I remain convinced that the EU must be confronted from within, rather than through a serious of exits.’

        Also you may be right that he’s no expert on how to negotiate successfully with the EU. He is however, quite honestly, prepared to accept that he didn’t negotiate successfully, and to explain why – as his brilliant article in today’s Guardian demonstrates.

        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/03/the-six-brexit-traps-that-will-defeat-theresa-may

        • craig Post author

          Kate,

          No, I am afraid I wasn’t aware. I appeared with him on Julian Assange’s referendum results discussion programme and managed not to pick up he was anti-Brexit. I have met him again since. Not sure how it passed me by,

          • glenn_uk

            I heard a “Start the Week” (R4, 4/4/16) in which he discussed his anti-Brexit stance. (I have a copy if you want it.) Heard the same on a few interviews subsequent to StW, so it was definitely not a one-off.

            In the book Kate references above, Yanis writes compellingly that it was impossible to negotiate successfully with the EU. Even after he pointed out that not only was it impossible to meet the conditions required for Greece, the actual implementation of these demands would hurt the EU as a whole.

            They knew, and did not care. They had decided to punish Greece, and quite enthusiastically so, as a lesson for France in particular. And Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal in case they did not accept the cruel austerity coming their way, and got too uppity. It was rather to his horror that he came to understand the nature of the negotiations he was attempting to steer.

            Beats me why he wanted the UK to Remain, other than to have someone against this sort of thuggish governance being _in_ the EU fighting against it.

            Personally, I saw it – and still do – as the primary reason why Leave was the right thing to do. Very regrettable indeed, but under the circumstances, we needed to go. The EU hierarchy is irredeemably corrupt. I say this with great sadness, as I considered myself a European above all national identity at one point.

          • DW

            I was also surprised that you didn’t know his stance on Brexit. Are you aware of his DiEM25 project?
            (From the DiEM website:)
            DiEM25 is a pan-European, cross-border movement of democrats.
            We believe that the European Union is disintegrating. Europeans are losing their faith in the possibility of European solutions to European problems. At the same time as faith in the EU is waning, we see a rise of misanthropy, xenophobia and toxic nationalism.
            If this development is not stopped, we fear a return to the 1930s. That is why we have come together despite our diverse political traditions – Green, radical left, liberal – in order to repair the EU. The EU needs to become a realm of shared prosperity, peace and solidarity for all Europeans. We must act quickly, before the EU disintegrates.

          • glenn_uk

            DW: “I was also surprised that you didn’t know his stance on Brexit.

            Heh… come on, even Craig doesn’t know everything! 😉

          • Deepgreenpuddock

            Seems quite possible, or even logical, to prefer ‘remain’ but still be sceptical re some aspects of the EU.

      • DW

        Varoufakis tried the reasonable good natured approach with the EU and was met with mafia like indifference and financial terror. The only way to get on with the EU gangsters is to agree with them and submit to an abusive relationship, unless you have some leverage. May’s mob are no better, so on one level it’s quite entertaining, if only they weren’t destroying lives in the process.

    • RobG

      Whilst Brexit is obviously important in the grand scheme of things, I really don’t see it as being that important in the forthcoming UK general election (I speak as a Brit who lives in France).

      Are you really all going to prattle on about Brexit whilst the NHS, and all other public services in the UK, are being destroyed?

      This country (the UK) is being robbed blind.

      • Loony

        As you say a lot of things in the UK are being destroyed – but maybe the people of the UK do not fancy being as comprehensively destroyed as Greece has been.

      • Stu

        RobG that is exactly what is happening.

        Polarisation is occuring around Brexit as it has in Scotland around independence. Blair and Clegg have both sniffed that this could lead to potential come backs. It is an extremely dangerous moment.

  • reel guid

    May is starting to look seriously unbalanced.

    It is a bit like Nikita Krustchev’s shoe banging at the United Nations General Assembly.

    • RobG

      Not quite that bad yet: Khrushchev didn’t wear $1000 dollar leather trousers and a thick, chunky chain around the neck that usually only dangerous dogs wear.

      Ain’t it great to be strong and stable.

  • Node

    I am quite sure she is following her own, natural, very right wing instincts.

    I am quite sure she is following the orders given to her by those who made her prime minister.

    • D_Majestic

      Yes, Node. As often, I think you are completely right about this one.

  • Stevie A

    100 Billion Euros Craig. You put in “100 million.”

    Very good piece from yourself as usual.

    May is either totally compromised and following orders, or totally corrupt. I am disgusted that she is involved in fabricated terror.

  • Loony

    This is one interpretation of events.

    It is however indisputably true that someone leaked a particular version of a meeting with the Prime Minister, It is equally true that the EU are now talking about a higher “exit fee” than previously, and it is true that they are talking about this at a time when the UK is preparing for a General Election.

    What all of this means is open to interpretation but it constitute vastly more public domain evidence of interference than the panoply of alleged interferences by Russia in any election anywhere when the outcome is not to the liking of the ruling elite.

    You play with matches then you get burnt – perhaps Mrs. May is somehow connected to the Bryant family

    • Stu

      The higher exit fee is a direct response to dullard Davies suggesting at the dinner we could pay nothing.

      To say this at a private dinner would have shocked the EU representatives.

  • Mari

    I think that she is playing the role of ‘victim’, assuming that Brexiters sympathize with her and vote for her in June.

  • defo

    Good old auntie, in the guise of Tory Kuenssberg reports her chucking the dummy out the pram as “The PM launched a stinging attack on the “bureaucrats of Brussels” in a speech outside 10 Downing Street after meeting the Queen.”
    These tory fuckers don’t half like their soundbites, preferably with violent overtones.

    “She said some in Brussels wanted Brexit talks to fail.”
    Sounds awfy like getting your excuses (for your own incompetence) in early.

  • Hieroglyph

    I am getting a distinct impression of ‘buyer’s remorse’ with the Tories. If – and it’s a big if – May wins the election, I’d be hugely surprised if she lasted her full term. She is apparently clever, by which I mean on top of her brief, and good on details, but has little in the way of personal charisma, interpersonal skills, and political nous. I can only assume she was deemed less risky than BoJo, and thus HSBC etc decided she was to be PM. She aint no Thatcher, that’s for sure. If that means she isn’t a psychopath and that she doesn’t spend xmas with Britain’s most insane pervert (Saville), that is demonstrably a good thing. It also means she won’t last 10 years, which says something rather dark about our corrupt political class.

    Here in Australia, we occasionally have a state vs Federal stoush. Generally, I take it with a pinch of salt; class allies faking an argument for political purposes. One could look at the UK vs EU ‘disagreement’ through the same prism, and I don’t think the ‘facts’ really matter all that much, to the Tories. They may have a vague point that the EU is playing hardball (they are), but clearly this is an electoral tactic, so we needn’t pay too much heed.

    I note Corbyn is having a good campaign. If you avoid the MSM, it’s quite clear.

    • RobG

      You live in a totally fascist state and are a vassal of the American Empire.

      What’s not to be liked?

      You’re one of the first who will be Nuked.

      It makes sense, dunnit.

      • Hieroglyph

        I live in Australia. However, your comment still applies. Pine Gap in Darwin is a massive communications\spying facility, which plays a part in drone death from above, so definitely a target. And the gutless satraps of the US Empire who infest parliament are all traitors and mostly entirely corrupt. Add them to your list of accountables, RobG, they merit their place.

        • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

          I thought Pine Gap was near Alice or are you just trying to confuse targets fot those North Korea rockets Turnbull was reabbiting on about?

          • Hieroglyph

            You are correct, it’s near Alice Springs. I’m sure his highness Kim Jong il has a much better grasp of geography than me though. In fact, I think he invented the subject, hail praise him. Probably during a round of golf, where he hit ten hole’s in one.

        • Stu

          The Gough Whitlam episode showed that Australia is completely bought and paid for by the American Empire.

          • Babushka

            Whitlam also played a part in the sorry saga of Harold Holt who was ‘accidented’ but the presstitutes created/staged the cover story of ‘drowning’.

            Whitlam’s ‘mate’ in the Labour Party, Bob Hawke was a Rhodes scholar. Do see The Falcon and the Snowman, which is a true story of how the various factions of the Global Establishment operate, and have always operated.

    • David

      I don’t think she is on top of her brief or good on details because if she was the EU VIPs that were invited to dine last week would not have been nearly as dismissive of her. Her very definite lack of charisma is also a major impediment to any positive progress for Brexit.

      Will she win the election?
      Probably.

      Will she win by the landslide margins of the opinion polls that were around when she declared for June 8th?
      Very probably not and if she does not achieve a decent majority that looks sustainable for five years then I don’t think she’ll be PM this time next year.

  • RobG

    The birds are singing here in south west France at 2am in the morning.

    Things arern’t what they should be in this world.

    And of course it’s all down to the psychos and loons.

    And you vote for them.

    • glenn_uk

      Rob: “…at 2am in the morning.”

      As opposed to 2am in the afternoon, I suppose… this avoidance of ambiguity is always appreciated.

      When I lived up in “The Smoke”, some song-bird started off at this time of year and pretty much sang all night. Not sure if it was after a mate, or laying down blood-curdling threats to any other bird thinking of staking a claim on his territory.

      It could be that climate change has made different birds, with different habits, move to different places as survival strategy dictates. Are you certain it’s the same birds singing the same songs, but now at different times? Seriously – I’m quite interested in birds. Used to volunteer at a bird rescue centre/ raptor rehabilitation clinic in the US during my spare time.

      • Sharp Ears

        Streetlight effect. I have a robin doing the same. Territory. That’s territory not Terror Tory. Does Treeza sing all night? Does Treeza sleep at night? Has she something of the night about her as the old bat Widdecombe suggested of Michael Howard?

        A pair of barn owls + 8 eggs. Live webcam. http://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/raptorcam

  • Chris Rogers

    CM,

    Given you support an ‘independent Scotland’, and given your own unreserved support for the EU, come what may, the fact remains that May’s carefully crafted tirade on the forecourt of Number 10 this Wednesday was so abusive to anyone who has any sense of proportion that surely the time is now upon us for Scotland to break with Westminster once and for all.

    Although I’m a Federalist as far as the UK’s political composition is concerned, surely it is but right for Sturgeon to withdraw all SNP MPs from this charade of a UK-wide General Election and offer the following proposition to the Scots electorate on 8 June: namely, issue new ballot forms for Scottish Independence and have the Scottish people decide once and for all who actually governs them and what destiny they want for their country.

    As Ms May has scant regard for anyone in our nation state, apart from the fortunes of the Tory Party itself and its donor class – the much trumpeted 1% – now really is the time to call Westminster’s bluff and make the call for full independence of a political structure that has now essentially gone berserk.

    You have discussed a ‘Unilateral Declaration of Independence’ on many occasions on this Blog, but now is the time to invoke such measures and gain the support of the Scottish Electorate on an Election date issued by Ms May. As such, and if Ms Sturgeon had any ‘steel’ within her, she’d call Westminster’s bluff and move for Independence without any instruction from Westminster.

    To be blunt, the people of Scotland deserve more than the hatreds May invokes and represents. Thus, and for the sake of the UK itself, its time to put this Union to sleep and embark on a new journey, one unhindered by a totally corrupted Westminster and cowardly Whitehall. Ms May present a ‘real and present’ danger to everyone on these Isles and a large Constitutional crisis may well topple her, her cronies and a Westminster Elite with zero backbone to take her and her callous Party to task. She really is an ‘enemy of the State’ and Scotland, indeed the UK, deserves so much more from its political class. If May wants a fight, lets give her a real fight, as such, Scotland declare UDI and vote on the matter this June.

    • fred

      “…and have the Scottish people decide once and for all who actually governs them and what destiny they want for their country.”

      And don’t worry about people voting for the union because in a couple of years you could have another once in a lifetime referendum and once again decide once and for all what destiny they want for their country again.

      • A Button

        Is it ever too frequent for people to have their say in their country’s future?

        The SNP’s last manifesto specifically mentioned a push for another referendum if Scotland faced a material change in circumstances. Brexit was named as just such a circumstance. The people voted overwhelmingly for the SNP, who are simply carrying out their manifesto promises. Hardly a matter for grievance.

          • JOML

            That’s not the last manifesto, Fred. You keep linking to the ‘easy read’ summary to misrepresent the position – then rant about small print when this is pointed out to you. Save yourself time and effort and just post ‘SNPbad’ – you know that’s “all that matters” to you. ??

          • fred

            Which is the version most people read.

            If it isn’t specifically mentioned in the easy read version then no mandate.

          • JOML

            Fred, most people will not read either. Anyone genuinely interested would read the manifesto. However, anyone remotely interested in politics would automatically assume the SNP would always have something about independence, without checking any literature. Have you ever had a good word to say about anything related to the SNP or do you automatically default to the negative?

  • Oliver Williams

    May issued the invitation to Junker and probably at a time when she knew that she was to call a general election.
    This has given her and the tory party the opportunity to present themselves in a Margaret-Thatcher-Handbag-Swinging image.
    It seems to have worked as all the papers are discussing her as that-bloody-difficult-woman.
    I don’t give credit to May for this idea but she would have gone along with it.
    In any case, she is now profiting from the circumstances in terms of UKIP voters being more attracted to the image portrayed.

  • Lee

    When your negotiation adversaries say you are living on another planet, you listen and understand. Even if you are Theresa “Maggie” May. You try to understand. You dont draw yourself up to your full three inches and give them bloody hell. That is what a person from another planet does. This is, as Craig tells us, not new. It started under desperate Cameron, who didnt really give a sod anyway, but desperately tried to save his peeling veneer by posturing that Britain had a negotiating position, and could win. Well, even he knew that was cobblers and buggered off as quickly as possible.

    With even only a passing understanding of the situation, one knows that the EU is in deep trouble. Significant sectors of political opinion in all the major EU members want their countries to withdraw. Its as obvious as the nose on May’s face that the EU cannot give May any concessions. There is really nothing to negotiate aside from some figures and dates. It is a routine divorce with the EU calling all the shots, and May is armed with nothing more than a limp parsnip. Of course, one would expect a guffaw like Farrage to strut up and down threatening the EU with his toy union jack. But one would have hoped the Prime Minister of the country, albeit selected with undue haste, and in retrospect disastrously, would be anchored in reality. The more she puffs waving her limp parsnip, the more Brussels will point out what a pathetic figure of fun she is. So, yes, Mr Juncker, I am pleased you can tell she is from another planet, and I thank you for dealing with her ravings with a degree of graciousness. Sadly, there is one thing England does very well, and that is to vote against its own interests. Jeremy may not be Brad Pitt, but no one can be as dismal as a dim-wit with a blue stocking sensibility, and a limp parnsip.

  • Clive Calderwood

    I am surprised that you can’t see that this is the EU’s big opportunity to get rid of a sizable chunk of the Greek debt. They just impose a huge bill on the UK’s doorstep and say that it is not negotiable. Job done.

  • Chris_C

    Re the Theresa May placards counting towards her campaign expenditure in her constituency – the laws in that area don’t seem to apply to Tories, so she probably has nothing to worry about.

    What puzzles me is when did the Conservative Party cease to be the party of business? What do the single-market-dependent British businesses – presumably the vast majority of them – go to get political representation and favours these days?

  • Andrew Sinclair

    Craig, you’ve raised an interesting point about electoral spending. I, like probably most of the population in Scotland, have received leaflets through the post from Ruth Davidson. Just like the placards you described, these leaflets too have zero Tory branding. As Ruth Davidson is neither a local council candidate nor a Westminster candidate so who will be picking up the costs for these? Against which campaign will they be allocated? How can we even track this? You might inadvertently have opened another can of Tory electoral spending worms. Great work. Keep it up please.

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      Good point-I had noticed the same thing. An exercise in ‘branding’. May and Davidson-brands, not policies,
      No proposals or policies to speak of, apart from the obvious. Not stable but rigid, not strong but bullying.

  • MBC

    I too was under the impression that Yaroufakis had strong criticisms of the current EU and thought it needed reform rather than Brexit, and of his Diem involvement. But that he thought the EU worthy of support and preservation. He was arguing that Britain should remain.

    If I was to be cynical I might suspect that as Britain is a net contributor to the EU budget, the position of Greece and other weak economies would not be helped by a major economy leaving and that this might be a personal reason against Brexit.

  • Andrew Nichols

    Now let us examine the truth of May’s claims of EU interference in a British election – a very serious charge indeed. These are May’s words today, presumably very carefully considered.

    Im confused. I thought it was supposed to be the Russians…Have we moved on from that meme now?

  • fwl

    Craig, when I referred to marriage & divorce by way of analogy I sought to agree with you on the suggestion that there are many situations where the focus is on a future relationship and so a good relationship in negotiating is key. But not all negotiations are like this. Clearly we need an ongoing relationship, but in essence we are leaving a dysfunctional bully. They will not be reasonable unless they are anxious, which they are.

    I’m not saying we have any moral high ground. Nor do I intend to encourage any unreasonable conduct in personal divorces. If however a sultan had to divorce his entire harem he would have come to come up with a plan, which might be run not talk.

  • Alcyone

    “Theresa May Goes the Full Farage” makes no sense. May has been crystal-clear from Day One that brexit means brexit with no vacillation about the democratic result of the referendum and holding no wriggle room whatsoever. In other words, the total opposite of your SNP’s version of democracy wrt your Independence.

    Its if Theresa May goes the Full Sturgeon, that the World would have to worry about Britain and her democracy.

  • Anon1

    Craig glosses over the matter of the €100 billion demand from Brussels, calling it a “matter of collation”. It is actually a €40 billion hike on previous estimates and signifies a hardening of the EU’S negotiating position against Britain.

    As the EU’s second largest contributor, they need our money desperately in order to keep bailing out Greece and other failed Eurozone economies. They are playing the bully in the hope that we will be cowed into coughing up one last enormous payment. They know that’s what Cameron would have done – the man who went to Brussels demanding nothing and came away with even less.

    I am pleased that May is adopting a tough stance, even if it just a negotiating play. We call all the shots here. We are the second net contributor. The EU relies on us for trade much more than we rely on it. They are playing hard but in reality just begging us for even more money in order to go some way towards filling the gaping hole that will be left in their budget after we leave. We do not have to pay them anything.

    But in trying to influence the UK election they have overstepped the mark. They say Mrs May is unfit to lead the Brexit talks and should be replaced, that David Davis should be replaced. According to Andrew Neil there have even been attempts by Brussels to get Davis sacked. All with a general election just weeks away. They would much prefer to be dealing with a weak leader like Jeremy Corbyn who would capitulate to all their demands. It is hardly surprising that they should seek to influence our election, as it is the last opportunity they have to initiate an outcome favourable to the EU.

    Mrs May is quite right not to allow this country to be bullied. The EU is about to realise that we are not Greece.

    • Alcyone

      Quite. And sniping in public about your dinner host, through junior people’s leaks, as also leaking out numbers not presented to the european parliament are not diplomatic and in very poor form. Loser’s do that kind of thing.

      Could this whole thing end up in court in the end?

      • D_Majestic

        Anon1. So you think that May, by totally brassing off the remaining EU States, is actually facilitating Lemming-Exit, do you? A bit like my wanting a neighbour to trim a large Sycamore-so I pop round and kick his shins for him. Do you really live on this planet?

    • Gulliver

      “they need our money desperately in order to keep bailing out Greece and other failed Eurozone economies”

      Factually incorrect: – “The UK will not pay for future eurozone bailouts. This has already been agreed by EU leaders. In addition, the UK-EU deal from February, which will be implemented if the UK votes to stay in the EU, reinforces this and states that the UK would be reimbursed if the general EU budget is used for the cost of the eurozone crisis”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36456277

    • nevermind

      Its not a negotiation ploy or akin to any strategy, but loose talk and lies.

      What does Mrs. May not understand about 27 leaders who are united and said so? who is she talking about when she speaks of ‘ those reasonable leaders’?

      She had the chance to be magnanimous and say that the status and rights of EU citizens here are safe. Such a stance would have pulled the rug away from under Verhofstadt’s missives, would have left the ball in the EU’s court, but she is a right wing Kipper and forwards BNP policies form the past, so her self inflicted arguments, Anon1 is so prepared to accept the consequences of, will be received by us all.
      Far from wanting to negotiate the best possible deal for the UK’s businesses, some 45% of GDP now, she has raised the sceptre of walking out long ago, she had never any idea or concern to negotiate, instead she deliberately called an election to avoid justice and the continuation/start of the negotiations.

      her obstinacy and anger should be seen and read by many, so please share Craigs link to this article.

      Just to see how desperate the MSM is now to placate her twisted and wrong lies, just put ‘EU negotiators’ into your search engine and then have a look at the conformity of the bile that comes from it.

  • Gulliver

    It seems that you and Dr Richard North are in agreement, at least as far as T May’s tantrum is concerned: –

    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86463

    If T May has not yet realised that upon leaving the EU the UK becomes a third country in their eyes then she really hasn’t been paying attention to what the EU has been saying for at least the last 10 months, third country status will inevitably impact trade adversely even if the UK gets a very favourable deal which is looking increasingly unlikely given the rhetoric.. This “hardening” of the EU’s stance is actually simply the result of the UK leaving the EU, it’s got bugger all to do with the GE in terms of Brexit although T May clearly wants her support to think that.

    On the issue of whatever speculative figure is plucked out of the air as this week’s guess on the settlement is concerned, I’m pretty sure both the original 60 billion and latest 100 billion euro figure are FT guesstimates.

    I was depressed to hear the “no deal is better than a bad deal” nonsense has re-emerged, I had hoped that the absence of this “shoot yourself in both feet” threat was consigned to history following its absence in the TEU 50 letter but she and D Davis re-iterated it yesterday. If she genuinely believes that this is the case, and the EU call her bluff, then we have a problem, I am reminded of this blog post from Chris Dillow RE: the negotiating tactics of the psycho: –

    http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2017/03/david-daviss-strategic-ignorance.html

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      Interesting article! Strategic ignorance? That is all very well, and the article describes the run-up to the financial crisis as a case in point, but to paraphrase Burns – ‘Facts are chiels that winna ding’, or to put it another way there are underlying realities, and underlying probabilities. which cannot be escaped no matter the positive thoughts of the negotiators.
      The fact is that Crosby of HBOS , ‘the man with a brain so big it pushed his hair out’, was as susceptible to being deluded and carried away by his own briliance and sense of power as anyone of lesser gifts. Hubris is not a new phenomenon and almost universal but the scale of risk in the Brexit negotiations is particularly high-a false move is likely to be a folly of gigantic proportions.
      I think in the same way that the EU/Brexit negotiations will have unavoidable underlying realities that even May,Fox, Davis et al cannot stop themselves stumbling over.

  • Habbabkuk

    Varoufakis’ name is mud in Greece.

    His posing and pissing around, playing to the Greek gallery of SYRIZA supporters, lost a valuable six months and ended with Greece getting a tougher deal than woud otherwise have been the case.

    The irresponsibility of such people is staggering. Mind you, nether he nor his former boss Mr Alexis Tsipras will suffer, financially, from any of the consequences of their political irresponsibility; they’re very comfortably off and will remain so. Tossers !

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      Name is mud? Everywhere. The story he told is that he was naive in that he assumed that everyone would be looking for an optimum solution. Not the case. It’s power, simply power, and the Germans and their allies simply dwarfed Varoufakis and Greece and their interests prevailed.
      Also I am sure Varoufakis has some celebrity and receives payment for speeches etc and television appearances interviews but why is that worthy of comment? Is he paid inordinately more than (say) George Osbourne? Is that not rather similar to comments about rich Jews? Prejudice? Somewhat.

      • Habbabkuk

        Not prejudice, just facts, Deep greenpuddock.

        It is a fact that the SYRIZA govt lost 6 months when he was posing and pissing around burnishing his macho rock-star image (during which time nervous Greeks sent 50 billion euros abroad and it ended with the imposition of capital controls)

        (BTW the govt with Tsakalotos as Finance minister has just lost another 6 months – which has cost it another memorandum taking forward austerity into 2019/2020)

        It is also a fact that neither Varoufakis nor Tsipras will be attending soup kitchens any time soon – or ever. They are both well-off, in considerable measure through their wives, who are both from wealthy families (especially Varoufakis’ wife). The point of mentioning that is to point out that they will not be affected, as far as their own wallets are concerned, by the consequences of their own duplicity and stupidity.

        • fwl

          I had thought at the time of the referendum that Varufakis made the best remain argument of all, namely its bust, you would now elect to join but as you are in stay in to balance things out and struggle for a solution.

    • Sharp Ears

      How unpleasant @ 10.14

      The EU have starved the Greek people aided by Goldman Sachs as has been reported on here.

      The Greek people have been generous and magnanimous in helping the refugees.

  • BabsP

    Surely her comments are designed to provoke anger in the hard Brexiteers stoking their existing dislike of all things EU. This is a simple strategy – yet again demonise “the other” and call on your voters to support you against them. It’s just a call to arms. It is interesting that the EU is “the other” interfering in our elections while Putin is accused of interfering in the US (and indeed everyone else’s ) elections. There is a lot to be gained for the elite in keeping the populace focussed on the (supposed) wrongdoing of others and thereby deflecting any critique of themselves. And the mainstream media beats the drums. Depressing.

  • Sharp Ears

    Ref electoral spending, leaving aside for the moment the 2015 election irregularities currently being investigated Ha!, there is also the question of donations made to MPs by the ‘United and Cecil Club’.

    The TheyWorkForYou website contains thousands of registrations of such donations.

    ‘SECRETIVE private members club United and Cecil, which has handed more
    than £500,000 to the party while taking advantage of a loophole in electoral
    laws which means its supporters can remain anonymous.’

    That quote comes from a report in the Sun! on the Black and White Ball February 2016.
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/politics/102194/black-white-and-blue-inside-the-prime-ministers-secretive-tory-fundraiser/

  • Ian Stewart

    Thanks for debunking May’s paranoia. And let’s hope the Electoral Commission is as on the ball as you over May’s election expenses. Its enquiries should perhaps also include her speech at the lecturn outside 10 Downing St, ostensibly to complain about the EU’s interference (per your article) but also serving to promote the messiah like Cult of May. Is this again using the trapping of Government AFTER the dissolution of Parliament, for personal gain, and is this breaking the rules?

  • Jon McKenna

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for your good article. My view for whats it’s worth … I have “boxed” with some pro-Brexiters this last 10 months, to the point of exhaustion. This coming general election is meaningless, unless all those who would prefer to remain in the EU consolidate efforts and form one coalition against the Nationalists. (Tory Nats) I think the chances of that happening are about the square root of minus one ! Too much normal party politics in the way. So, I reckon let the Nats win as many extra seats as they think they can get…. To take it one step further, let all remainers like me, back off completely and get on with whatever other things we can do to to mitigate whatever european aspirations we may still have. I am currently in Munich doing just this for example. It’s all too much and the time has come to live and let live….. I am a very disappointed Brit with interests in both the EU and South Africa. I’ve lived too long in countries, where I disagree with the ruling party. Now my country of birth, which I always regarded as a “safe haven” has done the same to my family …. Nowhere else left to turn and currently embarrassed to say I am British.

    I live in hope
    Jon McKenna

  • Dave

    May is turning this into a Presidential election over who should be Prime Minister, but the SNP did the same when they promoted vote Salmond as First Minister.

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