The Fake Political and Media Class 323


This blog has been silent for three weeks so nothing would stand between the “bold” predictions in my last article, and the proof that they were true. I am in fact neither particularly prescient nor brilliant. To anybody with serious experience of diplomatic negotiation, it was very obvious a deal was fairly easy. As I predicted, the level playing field mechanism is solved by it not only being a case of the UK following EU standards, but of mutual rights. In the entirely improbable circumstance of Tory UK adopting higher environmental, social or safety standards than the EU, the UK will have resort to a range of measures against unfair competition; just as the EU can in the much more likely scenario of the UK failing to keep up with evolving improvements in these areas. The same goes for state aid. The mutual obligation undercuts the “sovereignty” argument and squares that (silly) circle. Elsewhere, a few tonnes of fish here or there was never going to outweigh the manufacturing interests on both sides. So this very limited agreement, covering the 22% of UK/EU trade that is in goods, was always a shoo-in.

As I also predicted and still predict, the media will now go wild about “Johnson’s Christmas Triumph”.

What I want to discuss with you is not the agreement itself, nor the process of reaching it, but the quite extraordinary fact that a deal which was always going to be made, was the subject of pretend cliffhanger drama and tension by the entire professional media and the entire professional political class, both government and opposition, not just in the UK but right across Europe and on other continents as well.

Sane, sober and alone, any serious professional political journalist knew that this deal would be made and broadly what it would look like. So did Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon, Bill Cash and Nigel Farage. Yet absolutely everyone has been pumping out this false narrative of cliff-hanging tension, as have the national ministers of EU states in the EU Council and the Members of the European Parliament.

Why? I think this really is quite a profound question. And I think the answer is that the professional media and political class – the latter an ever burgeoning number, battening on to the body politic at our ever increasing expense – have become simply a form of entertainment. High politics is no more than a form of reality TV, where both those taking part and those reporting on it know that dramas and crescendos have to be manufactured to keep the plebs interested and keep the golden goose laying. The politicians and the political journalists have a joint interest in putting on a show over artificial crises. The worrying thing is, they manage to convince themselves, at least some of the time, to their own professional gain, that the version they are promulgating of what is happening, is reality.

Let me add a few thoughts to this. The first is that I do not think that anybody except a very few utter nutters really believe, for example, that Jeremy Corbyn is personally a racist. Yet the mainstream political and media classes pump out the anti-semitism slur in a continual stream. This forcefully reminds me of the run-up to the Iraq War, when I asked an FCO colleague working directly on Iraq how he managed to do his job when he knew full well that Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction. He replied to me that he was an avid player of “Football Manager”; while in the game he really was immersed for hours and the manager of Arsenal, once he left the game of course he knew he was not. Walking into the FCO to work was the same. While in the FCO, he believed Iraq had WMD and acted on that basis; once he left in the evening he did not.

In a sense this game, where the political and media class connive at contrived dramatic happenings, replaces and covers for the absence of real differences in politics, as will be illustrated when Starmer’s Labour votes for Johnson’s Brexit Deal. Just as they have failed to oppose even the granting of powers to kill and torture to the security services, or the granting of amnesty to those who commit war crimes. When you do not really have an actual opposition, you will get pretend political events. I am also reminded of those in the SNP who pretend to be absolutely committed to Scottish Independence, while having not the slightest intention of doing anything towards that goal that may jeopardise their comfortable and well-paid political careers.

I stand by my prediction that phasing of implementation of procedures will mean that the non-tariff friction that is, despite this agreement, going to make UK trade in goods with the EU much more logistically difficult, will not have immediate effect, so in the early part of 2021 Brexiteers will be gloating that predictions of doom did not happen. I also stand by the prediction that the real effects will come through slowly and surely and increase both inflation and unemployment in the second half of 2021. This agreement of course covers goods only – the UK financial services industry will become still further oriented towards servicing non-EU clients seeking minimal scrutiny. The EU will now be able to impose a transaction tax as a brake on reckless trading in derivatives. London will become the high risk centre for the dodgy money and the fast buck, to an even greater extent than it is already.

Johnson will now surf a jingoistic media wave and be hailed a great success. Which, for us Scots, makes it still more certain he will never agree voluntarily to an Independence referendum. Anybody who now argues the route to Independence must only lie through the agreement of Downing Street, is arguing the Unionist Case.

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323 thoughts on “The Fake Political and Media Class

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    • Martin

      What is the real inflation rate today? I has to be near 10%. Packaging is shrinking on many products.
      What is the real unemployment figure? 5 million is one guess.

  • Theophilus

    The problem always was the need for both sides to prove points that got in the way of what, as you say, has always been a predictible deal. The UK had to show how independant it is and the EU how it has the UK under control. They could not make it look too easy. These issues do not normally complicate a trade deal. So it wasn’t quite as simple as you say.

  • Goose

    “We’ll continue to be allies and partners but the dense ideological integration wasn’t for the UK”

    – Johnson, speaking today.

    It was never really given a chance. We’re indoctrinated to dislike the EU from a young age by a few tabloid proprietors, who saw the EU as a threat to their media empires, power, wealth and influence.

    This infected TV coverage. There are more reports on what’s happening in the EU on RT than on the BBC, Sky and Channel 4 put together.

    • Philip Maughan

      The power of propaganda was on full display today on BBC News, when they did a puff piece on Captain Tom Moore. This elderly guy set out to walk a few laps of his patio and hoped to raise £1000 for the NHS. Then the media got hold of it, decided that a soon to be 100 year old who was walking while weighed down by his military medals gave all the right patriotic and charitable signals and fanned it for all their worth. Celebrities (some of whom I would bet use offshore banking to avoid taxes) fell over themselves to be associated with Captain Tom and he ended up a media sensation, pulling in £33 million, such is the influence of the media.

      Meanwhile Tory Governments since 2010 have squeezed the NHS budgets. While it’s true to say the NHS budget has been ring fenced, the average annual increase of 1.4% per year is a lot less than the average budget increase since the NHS came into existence of 3.7% (source The Kings Fund) and nowhere near keeps pace with inflation and a population increase over the period of 4.5%. I calculated that in 2019 reduced spending on the NHS has resulted in a budget that was £30 billion less than it would have been if spending had continued at previous levels. You’ll not hear much about this in the media but hey, Captain Tom.

      • Stewart

        If I remember correctly, one of his children was the proprietor of a PR/media company which did rather well out of it
        pure coincidence, naturally

  • Ben

    When Boris is evicted from Downing Street I doubt the Trumpian imitator will go pyromaniac on you.

    President* Firebug is completing the job you guys started in 1812, leaving a reasonable facsimile of Civil War dead from his COVID negligence.

    We’d be glad to trade narcissists but not your cuisine.

  • John O'Dowd

    Another very insightful piece.

    To anyone who actually looks beyond the propaganda, it is abundantly clear that governments have been well and truly captured by a global cabal of plutocrats, and that a charade of democratic governance has to be enacted to cover up that.

    Politics is reduced to performance art – and lucrative careers are carved from both taking part in the performance, and reporting on it. An entertainment.

    Meanwhile, our wealth and our freedoms are stolen from us – and we have absolutely no say in our own fates.

    Blogs like this, and the ever decreasing minority of honest journalists (John Pilger, Chris Hedges Hersh, Alexander Cockburn and the late lamented Robert Fisk) are our only reliable sources of information and sound analysis. The rest are captured, tied up and function only to prop up their masters – which they are do quite willingly in full knowledge of it (savvy true-believer Andrew Neill, or like poor, Laura Keunessberg, Andrew Marr, and actually appear to believe the drivel that they are fed to spout). It is remarkable the extent to which, like these and Uncle Tom-James Naughty are compliant House Jocks.

    Thanks again Craig for your indispensable service.

    • Ross

      I think we’ve reached the inevitable stage of neoliberal capitalism, in which, so mired by its own contradictions and manifest inadequacies, that it can only continue under a model of fascist authoritarianism.

    • Ross

      What good is accurate information, in the absence of any ability to affect meaningful change? The power of good journalism is to expose truth, so that it can be known, and acted upon. Only in a philosophical sense is truth and end unto itself.

      • John O'Dowd

        “Only in a philosophical sense is truth and end unto itself.”

        Absolutely correct, no serious person would say otherwise. But information, knowledge and an understanding of underlying reality is the essential pre-requisite to targeted and effective action. For that we need real politics, and extra-political activity. There is not much sign of either at the moment. Ersatz parties, playing the phoney politics of differences without real distinction.

        The kleptocratic, plutocratic kakistocracy remains uncontested.

        But first it must be recognised and understood.

        • Ross

          We tried that around the Corbyn project, and it was dismembered to its joints by snivelling media toadies, and the corporate masters they grovel before.

          • Clark

            “…snivelling media toadies, and the corporate masters”

            Yeah, but they only do it because they’ve got ego problems; most of them actually believe their own guff despite it being in flagrant contradiction of reality. We keep organising, they keep deluding themselves; whose going to come out best eventually?

  • T

    It’s essential to forget that both Johnson and Starmer were leading pro EU voices just yesterday and that Corbyn is probably the most anti racist person in the country. Otherwise you could lose faith in our political and media class and start to question your sanity.
    Happy Christmas

  • Goose

    Not optimistic for the UK’s future, dominated as this country is by hugely regressive and authoritarian forces.

    The problem the Tories had with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU or ECJ) was it was limiting their abuse of power; ruling against things like mass suspicionless surveillance, finding in its judgement , “General and indiscriminate retention” of emails and electronic communications by governments is illegal, in a blow to what was May’s Snoopers’ Charter, which became the IP Act in response – legislating to move the goalposts.

    • Goose

      Tory and press attacks on the non-EU, European Convention on Human Rights and the Strasbourg based court will be the next big issue. Despite assurances to the contrary. We may find European values are all that kept fascism at bay.
      With the Tories and their press supporters : War really is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is strength.

  • Ross

    And no doubt amidst the bonhomie of this thin gruel deal, the absolute mountain of fraud (running into the billions) this government has committed will be memory holed. You simply can’t have a democracy (or at least not for very long) when you have a population so given to credulity in the face of blatant lies and propaganda.

    Trump has done a great service to corrupt governments globally, because his insane whining has poisoned the well, with any talk of widespread government malfeasance, now written off as being of the same ilk.

    Dark days indeed; the bleak midwinter withstanding.

  • Twirlip

    You may not think so, but I think you’re prescient and brilliant. (Excuse my sycophancy!) You’re onto something profound here. There is a nasty psychodrama in which we’re all forced to participate, if we do not do so willingly. The great Hitlerian “antisemitism” lie and the Skripal nonsense are what have most brought this home to me in recent years, but I still can’t really grasp the magnitude of the surreal collective delusion, as is illustrated by the fact that I was surprised by the agreement in spite of having read and believed the article in which you so confidently predicted it.

  • Butties

    This what the majority voted for. c/f Facts 4EU

    • The UK should be a fully free, fully independent, and fully sovereign country again
    • No jurisdiction by the EU’s courts – UK law must be supreme across the UK
    • No more massive annual UK payments to the EU
    • No freedom of movement – full UK autonomy over immigration and citizenship policies
    • No membership anywhere in the UK of the EU Single Market or anything like it
    • No membership anywhere in the UK of the EU Customs Union or anything like it
    • No ‘regulatory alignment’ of British goods, except for goods exported to the EU
    • Full and unhindered UK ability to implement new international trade deals
    • Full sovereignty over the 200 mile EEZ limit of the UK’s waters and ownership of all natural resources in them
    • No submission to the EU Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies in any form
    • No involvement in the EU Defence Union in any form – cooperation only when in UK’s interests
    • No submission to EU human rights laws or conventions
    • No change in the status of Northern Ireland and Gibraltar
  • ET

    Happy Christmas all. I read this insightful article whilst having a Christmas Eve pint because I can. I will never think of the phrase ” Big Brother” house in the same way again. Shame they can’t be voted out of the Westminster Big Brother house. Oh wait…………
    What about “I’m a politician get me out of here” or 24 hours in the House of commons.
    A pint for the best title for a new reality TV show.

  • James Cook

    “High politics is no more than a form of reality TV, where both those taking part and those reporting on it know that dramas and crescendos have to be manufactured to keep the plebs interested and keep the golden goose laying.”

    The political world is a stage where actors like Johnson make the perfect characters – the more clown-like the better to distract and confuse!

    You however, Craig, clearly “know too much to be useful anymore”.

    Thanks for sharing the truth and if it is possible to have a good holiday while everyone is wearing a face covering, I hope you will endure as best possible!
    Cheers!

  • Dungroanin

    I surrender. Happy Christmas to you and yours. Will put a pony in your Xmas sock. It is well deserved.

    What significant differences are there between this deal and Mays’s deal?

    Will I be able to travel to the continent as simply and take and comeback with whatever food drinks and stuff as I have been doing for 30 years?

    • doug scorgie

      SA
      December 24, 2020 at 17:06

      “So there is a 2000 page legal document to go with this cliffhanger. Somebody perfected the art of speed writing.”
      ————————————————————-
      Yes and the MPs will have to perfect the art of speed-reading before the vote in parliament on Wednesday!

    • Tom Welsh

      I see your 2,000 page document and I raise you this 5,500 page document:

      https://rules.house.gov/sites/democrats.rules.house.gov/files/BILLS-116HR133SA-RCP-116-68.pdf

      This is now more the rule than the exception both in the USA and the UK. The PATRIOT Act was rushed through Congress, although there was not nearly enough time for any member even to skim it.

      What this state of affairs implies is that so-called “legislators” are now fully prepared to take their party leader’s word for the acceptability of new laws. The individual Congresspeople and MPs might just as well be counters in the pockets of their party leaders – or, for that matter, numbers in a spreadsheet.

      And that, in turn, means that the legislative branch no longer has any independence. It has become an appendage of the executive branch.

      • SA

        Doug and Tom
        Which begs the question whether these legislators have sets of oven ready (excuse the expression) legislations which they can tweak but that have been written before presciently.

        • Tom Welsh

          SA, obviously they must have. The timing excludes any other explanation. But the legislation is not written by the legislators or anyone closely related to them. Rather, it is written by the interests that are affected. Banking laws are written by the banks. Health laws are written by Big Pharma and the medical industry. Farming laws are written by Big Ag. And of course, “defence” laws are written by the armaments industry and the military-industrial complex.

          That’s one reason why I am opposed to the existence of political parties. Like the founding fathers of the USA (and Plato) I think they should actually be made illegal.

          Instead of parties, we need legislators who actually do their research, discuss issues and think matters out. To those who object that this would slow down the creation of new laws, I would reply, “So much the better!”

  • Ian

    I know you like to act as if you were the only one to foresee this and other events, but there have been plenty of commentators with roughly the same prediction. We always knew Johnson the charlatan would cobble a weak deal together at the last moment and declare a great victory. It’s how he operates. The reality will, of course, like his WA be entirely different, as again pointed out by many well-informed commentators. The first trade deal to put up barriers instead of removing them, Quite an achievement after four years of fiasco and a torrent of lies. Especially when a very decent deal was on offer, even after leaving the political union.
    As for the reality TV stuff, that has been apparent for a long time, but Johnson has upped the ante exponentially. Again, it has always been his MO, but was amplified by the new ‘science’ of social media manipulation and the support of the oligarch media. His disdain for the few democratic institutions we had left, and the undermining of them, is just part of the strategy Cummings and his backers were very enthusiastic about.

      • Twirlip

        Alternatively (this time rather than next time), actually quote some of those other prescient commentators! It would be useful to know where, apart from this blog, one can to go to find that kind of good sense, which we probably all agree is in short supply in the MSM.

          • Ian

            Tom Kibasi John Harris, Aditya Chakrabortty, or if you are interested in diplomacy like Craig, you could read Daniel Boffey’s behind the scenes account of the negotiations. Diplomacy may be ‘easy’ as Craig claims, but this had less to do with diplomacy than the politics of the right and its fundamental dishonesty, including their own utter ignorance and disregard for what the UK had got from being part of the EU. The overall ineptitude and crass stupidity is hard to believe, but it completes the transition from a functioning economy to one based purely on asset exploitation and ownership – financialisation, or a rentier economy – see Paul Klug.

  • Goose

    Just losing access to the Galileo high-precision beam encrypted military signal will cost an estimated £5 billion ( and that estimate is on the low side for an inferior, replacement GPS system). This after the UK invested £1.2bn in Galileo, in what are now lost ‘sunk costs’.

    Being a Tory really is ‘politics on easy mode’.

  • Mary

    Some of the headlines on the OTT BBC ‘Brexit webpage’ to illustrate the point. They are full of it in Portland Place. Double G&Ts all round at their local tonight.

    Video PM hails post-Brexit free trade deal with EU
    The deal between the UK and EU ends months of arguments over business rules and fishing rights.

    Video Brexit deal: How did we get here?
    Why did we need another Brexit deal?
    ‘Guidance needed’ to keep goods moving
    5 minutes ago Full text coming soon…
    11 minutes ago Parliament to be recalled on 30 December
    15 minutes ago Will you be able to study in the EU through Erasmus scheme?
    Live UK and EU agree post-Brexit trade deal Last updated 5 minutes ago
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/uk_leaves_the_eu

    Completed by our Laura – ‘Johnson gets the deal both sides wanted to achieve’
    Laura Kuenssberg
    Political editor

  • giyane

    Speaking as a man who lost a small fortune in the 2008 crash, because I didn’t understand how effortlessly the banking system and property prices could be pumped up or down by the PTB, I slightly resent your being so right in your prediction. But Hey ho! I also would not respect myself at all if I was a person who was so deeply politically cynical. I like a bit of emotion in my life. The idea of grey suits and Grub Street hacks knowing all along that Johnson isn’t bonkers is depressing. But I’m more glad I don’t inhabit that evil, cynical world of money than I’m pissed off with being wrong.

  • name required

    How i wish i could pay my mortgage by simply thinking / believing a thing.

    yet that is how many in the main stream appear to do so.

    the emperor has new clothes and you better fucking believe it…

  • Goose

    No doubt few would accept the proposition, but the British people are victims of our peculiar and unrepresentative FPTP voting system; overly concentrated power in Westminster and overly concentrated media ownership. Without this combination, Brexit simply wouldn’t have happened. Blair and Campbell bemoan Brexit – among its harshest critics, but Blair had it within his gift to introduce a proportionate voting system(AV+), indeed it was in their ’97 manifesto.

    Brexit is a triumph of bad things that are pretty much unique to the UK and the UK alone.

    • Goose

      Labour could have also tackled concentrated media ownership during their 13 years in power, had Blair rejected getting into bed with Murdoch.

      Every time we saw Blair stood alongside John Major, issuing dire warnings about Brexit over the last few years, ‘You reap what you sow’, came to mind.

    • Stewart

      “British people are victims of our peculiar and unrepresentative FPTP voting system; overly concentrated power in Westminster and overly concentrated media ownership. Without this combination, Brexit simply wouldn’t have happened”

      52% of the votes cast in the 2016 referendum were for Brexit. Alliances and power-sharing deals between the remaining 48% would not have changed this outcome. FPTP is not relevant here, and Brexit itself is pretty much irrelevant in the context of the world-wide medical tyranny we are all imprisoned by and being forced to pay for.

      • Goose

        No good looking at that vote in isolation. FPTP has shaped the whole environment, including the media environment.

        Was that 2016 vote the vote of a highly informed electorate, or an electorate beaten over the head with anti-EU tabloid headlines for decades?

      • pete

        There you go again with your 52%.
        You mean 51.9% of the 72.2% who actually voted. So not an actual majority of the whole electorate.

        The referendum being a simple binary decision is not comparable with the criticism of the FPTP system, which has different rules due to the number of parties and the bizarre boundaries of constituencies. I do not see how anyone could defend FPTP benefiting as it does the two main parties at the expense of the others. Nor can I see how you might defend the aggregation of power represented by the control of the mainstream media in the hand of a few moguls, or how that might be used to manipulate public opinion by pandering to popular prejudices.

        But what in blazes is the world wide medical tyranny?

        • Ralph

          Pedantic suits you. What part of people couldn’t be bothered to get off their butt to vote do you have a problem understanding? By not voting, they have effectively agreed to the majority vote outcome.

        • Stewart

          I am not “defending” FPTP or the MSM
          Also you must be aware that virtually all of the politicians and media in the UK were AGAINST Brexit?

          “what in blazes is the world wide medical tyranny?”

          Look out of your window

      • Bayard

        “52% of the votes cast in the 2016 referendum were for Brexit.”

        No they weren’t. A significant number of those votes were not for Brexit, but against the Tory government. If the government had been neutral, like it ought to have been, those votes would not have been cast. If the government had been for Brexit, they would have been against it.

    • Ben

      Capitalism made the MEDIA what it is today.

      Yellow journalism was driven by ad revenue and unit sales and the champions of same (Wm. R. Hearst et al) made no bones about it.

      WWII Correspondents came away from war with a perspective of Public Service and the advent of TV brought NEWS to the screen with an excellent idea.

      They convinced management NEWS should be free of economic influence and treated like a Public Service Announcement(PSA)

      NEWS divisions did not have to observe budgets or ratings and thus commercial spots were run but had no say on content.

      Now of course journalists must be slaves to ratings but they are not to blame.

      Capitalism killed Journalism.

  • Wall of Controversy

    Happy Christmas Craig in these miserable times. Regarding making correct predictions, I’d say the jury is still out on most of them. A deal was struck – no surprise there – I’ve always believed and repeatedly said a deal will be negotiated (since it serves the interests of both sides) and always maintained that it would be struck at the eleventh hour. That’s how deals are done. And yes, the Tories will now claim success obviously. But what else? The economy is likely to tank for reasons that may finally have little to do with leaving the EU and whether or not the Tories blame the EU for a post-lockdown depression and a tightening of austerity measures remains as yet just another prediction. It also remains nothing more than a prediction that Johnson has finally secured his position as PM – your headline forecast. Well let’s wait and see. I’d still give him a few months – say six months tops – before we see pressure really starting to mount for a leadership challenge – this deal will give BoJoke a momentary bounce in the polls and will buy him some time, but nothing more. People have very short memories these days. Added to which, the Tories are ruthless in all respects.

  • Santa Sabina

    What do you all think of this, even if it’s in the Express (15/12/2020)?

    Hidden law means UK will remain subservient to EU control deal or no deal“, by By Torquil Dick-Erikson
    The government fully intends for the European Arrest Warrant conditions to be continued indefinitely. Replying to a formal Parliamentary Question from Lord Pearson of Rannoch, Baroness Williams, Minister of State for Countering Terrorism, confirmed this in the House of Lords.
    So, as it stands, anybody named in an European Arrest Warrant will be liable to be arrested and transported forcibly abroad, by the order of a foreign prosecutor whether ot not there is ANY prima facie evidence of a crime having been committed.

    https://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/1372705/Brexit-latest-news-EU-laws-european-arrest-warrant-extradition-Boris-Johnson

  • Goose

    You sense they could’ve agreed these terms months ago, and as said, it’s all about the optics; wanting to appear to be fighting to the last days.

    That Barnier and von der Leyen were willing to play along with this theatrical performance, put on for the ERG and UK tabloids, is the strange bit.

  • Ingwe

    It was always a false dichotomy. That the UK’s and E.U.’s interests were different. Capital still rules in both the E.U.and the U.K. and, despite the capitalists in both the U.K. and the E.U. scrapping over the the crumbs that fall from the table, they still get the workers of both entities to bake the cake and collectively slice it and distribute the slices to the 1% in the U.K. and E.U.

    As for regaining “our” ‘sovereignty’ the 99% will remain subject to control by capital in the U.S., E.U. and the U.K.
    Happy Christmas to the 99%!

  • Dungroanin

    I can’t see much difference for me personally between no deal and this in terms of my interaction with the continent. Selected bits of the EU press release:

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_2531

    “It is now for the European Parliament and the Council to have their say on this agreement.”

    ‘Big changes coming: getting ready 1 January 2021
    Even with the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement in place, there will be big changes on 1 January 2021.

    On that date, the UK will leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union, as well as all EU policies and international agreements. The free movement of persons, goods, services and capital between the UK and the EU will end.
    The EU and the UK will form two separate markets; two distinct regulatory and legal spaces. This will create barriers to trade in goods and services and to cross-border mobility and exchanges that do not exist today – in both directions.

    Thanks to intensive discussions between the EU and the UK in the Joint Committee and the various Specialised Committees, the Withdrawal Agreement – and the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, in particular – will be implemented on 1 January.
    On 17 December, the EU-UK Joint Committee met to endorse all formal decisions and other practical solutions related to the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. As part of these mutually agreed solutions, the UK has agreed to withdraw the contentious clauses of the UK Internal Market Bill, and will not introduce any similar provisions in the Taxation Bill.  

    Next steps
    The entry into application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is a matter of special urgency.
    * The United Kingdom, as a former Member State, has extensive links with the Union in a wide range of economic and other areas. If there is no applicable framework regulating the relations between the Union and the United Kingdom after 31 December 2020, those relations will be significantly disrupted, to the detriment of individuals, businesses and other stakeholders.
    * The negotiations could only be finalised at a very late stage before the expiry of the transition period. Such late timing should not jeopardise the European Parliament’s right of democratic scrutiny, in accordance with the Treaties.
    * In light of these exceptional circumstances, the Commission proposes to apply the Agreement on a provisional basis, for a limited period of time until 28 February 2021.
    The Commission will swiftly propose Council decisions on the signature and provisional application, and on the conclusion of the Agreement.
    The Council, acting by the unanimity of all 27 Member States, will then need to adopt a decision authorising the signature of the Agreement and its provisional application as of 1 January 2021. Once this process is concluded, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK can be formally signed.
    The European Parliament will then be asked to give its consent to the Agreement.
    As a last step on the EU side, the Council must adopt the decision on the conclusion of the Agreement.

    https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/eu-uk_relations_from_the_uk_referendum_to_a_new_trade_and_cooperation_agreement_-_infographic.pdf

    ————

    How great is it? Not much better than No Deal for most of us who go regularly.

    https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/eu-uk-trade-and-cooperation-agreement-new-relationship-big-changes-overview-consequences-and-benefits_en

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