British PM signs letter that will start Brexit


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In the 1920s the British Empire was at its zenith. If you had told the average Englishman on the street in those days that it would all be gone within just a few decades and Britain would become the sick man of Europe, he would have laughed out loud at such a seemingly ridiculous prediction (in much the same way that Brexiteers laugh at the 'remoaners' today). As dramatic as the decline has already been, history is not yet finished with Britain. Brexit is a completely unprecedented experiment in international economics that will either end in disaster or prove all of the experts wrong. I don't think anyone knows what will actually happen but I hope the livlihoods of as few people as possible will be destroyed in the process. Good luck to everyone.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Sitting in front of a lone Union Jack

Hold that thought.

The Scottish Parliament yesterday approved a second Independence Referendum by 69 votes to 59 (readers may remember back in 2014 that the threat of expulsion from the EU was a major incentive for the 55% of Scots who voted to stay in the UK). EU-loving Scotland subsequently voted 62% against Brexit in 2016.

Following recent elections Northern Ireland, meanwhile, no longer has a Unionist majority in its devolved assembly. The region, which voted 56% against Brexit last year (despite the best efforts of its then-majority Democratic Unionist party), was omitted in Theresa May's perfunctory tour of the peripheral nations to promote British unity. Britain's Brexit Secretary, David Davis, has confirmed that NI would remain part of the EU should its people vote to rejoin the rest of Ireland.

With these two components gone (Wales is unrepresented on the flag), would that Union Jack be reduced to a stark and 'chavvy' (according to the Daily Mail) St George's Cross?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

A big gamble but given the state of the EU just now it may actually be a good one.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The European Union has to change. The UK is not leaving Europe it is leaving the EU. Great Britain will always will be integral to Europe's economy and security though NATO.

EU political and economic problems are manifest because all 28 are politically and economically unable to deal with the growing divide between north and south, exasperated and compounded by the continuing yet unresolved challenges faced by the EMU.

There is a huge structural imbalance, a monetary contradiction through the absence of a fiscal union. Underpinned by a resistance to Euro zone wide debt consolidation. All made worse by a continued lack of a policy for common taxation or treasury function. However this is a politically impossible to achieve, because of historic cultural diversity. A truism the UK has accepted at least politically.

Tomorrow Great Britain will begin the exit process triggering article 50. I have been analyzing Euro stat numbers.The statistical figures, to present a clear, hand on heart picture without political fear or favor. My opinion on how these negotiations will progress. I think it is safe to assume tomorrow (UK time) a thread will be forthcoming to present the different economic and political scenarios.....

I believe there are alternative options to UK membership. I think Brexit could offer a opportunity for all 28 members. If the political leadership replace angry indignation with calm resolve.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I agree that in theory it is possible for the UK to find a place outside of the EU but with access to the single market, but that would require some compromises to be made. It all depends on how much control the anti-EU Conservative nutters have over the negotiations. Theresa May comes across as a weak and uninspiring leader who lacks the strength to stand up to said nutters.

I hope the outcome won't be too bad, yet the shambolic, inept UK negotiating team inspires little confidence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Scottish Parliament yesterday approved a second Independence Referendum by 69 votes to 59

Theresa May has already refused to authorize another referendum until 2021. By then, Brexit will be complete and a new Scottish Parliament will be elected. And with power-sharing collapsed, Northern Ireland will soon again be under direct rule.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unless there is a civil war by the citizens of those states.

May's refusal can easily be overthrown by the people.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The SNP are keen to have another referendum but the Scottish people are not.

Time will tell if Brexit will have been the right choice.

All we can do it look at how things have gone so far. It is now almost April, and it is almost 10 months after the referendum. Things have not been as bad as people expected. The UK had the second highest economic growth in the G7 in 2016. A number of large corporations have invested more money into the UK, or have announced further investment. There was no punishment budget and the drop in the pound has caused a huge increase in exports.

If we do not see any huge negative impacts in the future, I am sure there'll still be people who keep going on about the catastrophic consequences. I think the latest term is cliff edge.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is now almost April, and it is almost 10 months after the referendum. Things have not been as bad as people expected.

Nothing to do, of course, with the fact that the UK's trading status hasn't changed one iota, and that Sterling had sunk to ¥127 in October compared with ¥162 at the end of May.


2 ( +4 / -2 )


....and the yen was 147 in December. What's your point? If the yen continued to drop, then yes that would be something. But it hasn't. Are you moving the goalposts of doom?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

From the Eurostat numbers provided, the 2015/6 UK budget contribution was18.103 billion Euros. The UK also contributed 19.92% GDP to the EU single market . Assuming Eurostat calculations are OECD verified, it is logical and understandable that the EU negotiating have prioritized budget contributions and perceived UK obligations at the top of the list.

There is also EU/UK accumulated shared asset distribution to take into consideration. This negotiation should not be mistaken for either, access to EU single market or in any way in conjunction/contusion to/for/with an FTA. EU budgeting, gross national incomes levels, also future funding to secure affordable levels of member states sovereign debt liability will be affected.

There is absolutely no room or place for nutters either in or from EU/UK negotiating positions.

That is why from a public/media perspective, we are going to see political grandstanding, all amount of toys are going to be flying on and off the table. Big girls blouses will be bellowing. UK MP's of all shapes and sizes, EU MEP's, plus assorted EU head of state will be crying foul play whilst arranging abusive swear words with there Alphabet soup.

The real big boy stuff, will be handled by front and back office teams of analysts, treaty lawyers, single market bureaucrats and EU regulation specialists. UK has for 44 years, been integrated into a EU commerce, political/economic, procedural regulatory framework agreements, that cannot be unilaterally unpicked. The administration and organization to build this framework is almost unfathomable to understand.

The scenario for any member state to actually want to leave was never envisaged so why plan for it.

Which explains why article 50 (Lisbon Treaty) is unfit for purpose. So what fallback action/position do bureaucrats and civil servants take? Well, they look into how they can redefine EU membership to force a square peg into the round hole. Economically and politically it choosing the correct size of hammer, and how far back one has to swing it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And now we set sail aboard the Titanic... :(

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What's your point?

OK. Use the Indian Rupee, then. 95 ↓ 81. Great for exports.

Not so great for JLR profits repatriated to Mumbai.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As a thought, Associate EU Membership has been proposed on a number of occasions. EU-Ukraine Association Agreement the full text below is a example. For significant political reasoning (Russia), is a one foot in one foot out arrangement, focused heavily on an economic form of convergence, trade, sector cooperation.

However in the context of direct alternatives to complete withdrawal, and the overriding consequences to both the EU and UK economies in the event of failure to negotiate a deal. The underlining protocol and principals to associate EU membership present a transition that could lead to compromise.

In 2013 Andrew Duff MEP penned a discussion piece for the politics and policy blog EUROPP. Duff is unashamedly federalist. The top paragraphs pertain to Turkey, Cyprus and multi tier governance, so scroll down to How To Do It, and there is a interesting workable set of proposals.

The case for an Associate Membership of the European Union..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can't wait to see the NHS receive 350 million pounds a week because of Brexit.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The letter of notification of Great Britain's invoking article 50, being hand delivered to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council by Senior EU envoy Ambassador, Sir Tim Barrow. Rather underwhelming document after 44 years .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Being debated in the British parliament and currently on BBC World one of the country's most important decisions for decades.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Guardian live feed PM question time including first page of the letter.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Excellent news.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"They also agreed on the importance of entering into negotiations in a constructive and positive spirit, and of ensuring a smooth and orderly exit process.”

As long as the Brits pay the £50 billion exit bill, everyone on the continent and in Ireland will keep a 'positive' spirit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's really a question of where international companies move their EU HQs. Ireland? France? Germany? If England gets into some sort of trade spat with the EU then companies like Nissan, Honda and Toyota may reconsider their UK factories.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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