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So, Brexit....What's happening?

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The situation gets more insane by the day. Parliament will be voting on a possible move not to exit with no deal. But at the same time they won't accept the only deal on offer, which the EU have again re-iterated is not up for further debate. 

Seems to me there are many MP's who just cannot get their head round the hard fact that the EU is a brick wall which will not budge. 

 

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Best irony I thought was this weekend regarding the Republic of Ireland

If we leave without a Deal the EU have said they will impose a Hard Border between North/South Ireland, In the meantime the Vice President of Ireland says they will not support an option without the current Backstop to prevent there being an Hard border, therefore if all the other EU members review and suggest an alternative to the Backstop arrangement, the EU will still unable to pass it as one member will vote against. so they will get a Hard Border anyway!?

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4 hours ago, Chingford said:

Best irony I thought was this weekend regarding the Republic of Ireland

If we leave without a Deal the EU have said they will impose a Hard Border between North/South Ireland, In the meantime the Vice President of Ireland says they will not support an option without the current Backstop to prevent there being an Hard border, therefore if all the other EU members review and suggest an alternative to the Backstop arrangement, the EU will still unable to pass it as one member will vote against. so they will get a Hard Border anyway!?

Not as barmy or insulting as the egregious John Humphrys suggesting that Eire should leave the EU and join the UK. 

 

As for putting in a hard border, it's not been decided yet whose responsibility that would be. And the backstop was the UK's idea as part of the negotiations.

Edited by Peckris 2

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7 hours ago, Peckris 2 said:

Not as barmy or insulting as the egregious John Humphrys suggesting that Eire should leave the EU and join the UK. 

 

As for putting in a hard border, it's not been decided yet whose responsibility that would be. And the backstop was the UK's idea as part of the negotiations.

I'm not sure what he was thinking about there, but I think hell would freeze over before that happened.

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Hopefully some of you watched the programme about Europe (1st of 3 parts) last night? It made some things very clear :

  • the EU is not the monolith many people think - it's 28 separate states, who often don't agree
  • Tusk, rather than the monster some portray him as, was very helpful to the UK - when Cameron faced opposition from East European states to his emergency brake (denying migrants access to benefits), Tusk stepped in and helped persuade them to support Cameron
  • the UK had been granted opt outs not available to other members (Shengen, membership of the Eurozone, rebate)

Next week it will be on the Greek crisis. That should be interesting!

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EU is always Germany and France I think even they support other countries like UK, Ireland No Yes.   Amendment not pass in the parliament tonight?. 

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24 minutes ago, josie said:

EU is always Germany and France I think even they support other countries like UK, Ireland No Yes.   Amendment not pass in the parliament tonight?

I have been watching the voting live and the government did well in the amendments tonight. Government won all but two. It is looking at least a bit more likely that Theresa May might actually pass a Brexit deal before 29th March.

Parliamentary vote on options to prevent UK from leaving without a deal: rejected

Delay Brexit and rule out no deal: rejected

To give MPs the chance to vote on several different options before the end of March: rejected

Delay Brexit if a deal is not passed by 26th Feb: rejected

Rule out leaving without a deal: passed

To seek alternatives to Irish backstop: passed

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Cooper and Brady amendments passed. That's unhelpful. The pressure for taking no deal off the table emasculates our negotiating position by tying our hands behind our back. It's the one route we can take that would result in our getting something from the EU. Removing no deal means they could cherry pick access to all our markets whilst dictating how we have to behave, just to allow us some access to theirs theirs. WHEN WILL MPs HAVE SOME FAITH IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE TO THINK AND ACT INDEPENDENTLY? I want someone to stand up for this country, not pander to the unaccountable in Brussels who dictate yours and my lives. Why be part of something in which you have no say?

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Perhaps we could get the EU to agree to no deal? That would satisfy the Cooper amendment and its supporters by leaving with a deal.

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54 minutes ago, Rob said:

Cooper and Brady amendments passed. That's unhelpful. The pressure for taking no deal off the table emasculates our negotiating position by tying our hands behind our back. It's the one route we can take that would result in our getting something from the EU. Removing no deal means they could cherry pick access to all our markets whilst dictating how we have to behave, just to allow us some access to theirs theirs. WHEN WILL MPs HAVE SOME FAITH IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE TO THINK AND ACT INDEPENDENTLY? I want someone to stand up for this country, not pander to the unaccountable in Brussels who dictate yours and my lives. Why be part of something in which you have no say?

Cooper didn't pass - that would have got Parliament to reject No Deal (i.e. legally binding). What passed was the non-binding Spelman/Dromy equivalent, which May will probably ignore with her usual obstinacy.

Brady passed, which has already been rejected by the EU - which we knew in advance.

All tonight's votes - with one exception - were party political, i.e. party before nation.

As for Britain acting independently, name me one law we've not been able to pass because of the EU? Name one aspect of YOUR  life that's been negatively affected by the EU? As for 'no say', we'd have plenty of say if we remained, as we have had for 40+ years. As for them 'cherry picking access to our markets', that's what British business wants! It's a win- win.

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55 minutes ago, Peckris 2 said:

Cooper didn't pass - that would have got Parliament to reject No Deal (i.e. legally binding). What passed was the non-binding Spelman/Dromy equivalent, which May will probably ignore with her usual obstinacy.

Brady passed, which has already been rejected by the EU - which we knew in advance.

All tonight's votes - with one exception - were party political, i.e. party before nation.

As for Britain acting independently, name me one law we've not been able to pass because of the EU? Name one aspect of YOUR  life that's been negatively affected by the EU? As for 'no say', we'd have plenty of say if we remained, as we have had for 40+ years. As for them 'cherry picking access to our markets', that's what British business wants! It's a win- win.

Although looking unlikely, at least as far as the current public face of the EU is concerned, I sincerely hope that they do give some ground on formally re-negotiating the backstop issue. The problem being, of course, the Irish Republic itself. They are just as stubborn and intransigent as the Northern Ireland unionists. If only some common ground could be reached between the two sides.    

With that said, Ireland would suffer even more than the UK in the event of a no deal, as they rely on the UK as a goods route from the EU.  

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11 minutes ago, Peckris 2 said:

Cooper didn't pass - that would have got Parliament to reject No Deal (i.e. legally binding). What passed was the non-binding Spelman/Dromy equivalent, which May will probably ignore with her usual obstinacy.

Brady passed, which has already been rejected by the EU - which we knew in advance.

All tonight's votes - with one exception - were party political, i.e. party before nation.

As for Britain acting independently, name me one law we've not been able to pass because of the EU? Name one aspect of YOUR  life that's been negatively affected by the EU? As for 'no say', we'd have plenty of say if we remained, as we have had for 40+ years. As for them 'cherry picking access to our markets', that's what British business wants! It's a win- win.

EU law has taken precedence over UK law as required by membership, so anything at national level has to conform to the terms dictated by Brussels. European wide standards require EU standard laws. Not being tied to the EU would provide flexibility if desired, not to adhere to their instructions. A common position might be desirable, but so would the ability to respond to changing circumstances. The EU doesn't stray from its rules based operation, so even if we need to react to a situation we may well not be allowed to. Our hands are tied by a group who owe us nothing.

The point is that over the past 40 years, this country has gone down the economic tubes somewhat. We are in an unhealthy position and the status quo isn't working for us, but that doesn't stop us having to pay year on year for the privilege. Only in 1974 have we been net beneficiaries of funds, and I remember the refund was flagged up at the time as being the exception. If we were net beneficiaries in bad times and funded others in good, then it would be easier to sell the concept of the EU to the man on the street - but we are only allowed to be net contributors.

What would have happened over the past 40 years had we not been members is speculative and hypothetical and we could have been better or worse off - nobody knows. But it is apparent that this country is haemorrhaging money as it stands due to the highly negative trade balance, and resources are finite. We need to take positive steps to move closer to self-sufficiency where possible. Being bound by EU rules is never going to let us nurture or support home grown enterprises. I would prefer that we spent our money on developing our own facilities rather than on propping up another state that needs life support. No country can be entirely self-sufficient with the exception of possibly Russia , or the US if it became less consumption minded.

Europe works very well for 5 of the 6 founding countries along with a few immediate neighbours, but southern Europe is a mess socially because of the commercial and financial flows back to the geographic and economic centre, i.e. Germany. Ultimately people need jobs, and that can only have any chance of happening with political union - which is only likely to happen in the short or medium term as the least bad option.

The rules are simple and straightforward. Any access deals require us to take instructions from Europe, who won't be wanting to do us any favours. All I see going forward is that they 'negotiate' continued payments to prop up their spending habits in return for access, while we have no say. There will be 27 countries, all pressing for their Brexit bonus. If we are 10 billion worse off now, then one can assume they will want that deficit to enlarge, to show that we are worse off. It's pretty unedifying.

There are many facets of an economy, but the best thing people could do is to put their money where their mouth is and conciously buy goods produced by people in this country. Supporting your own workforce is key to a healthy economy because it costs a lot to have people sat on their backsides doing nothing. Whilst we have a reasonable level of employment, we are effectively paying to provide for a lot of people in other countries. Whilst this might seem simplistic, we do need too start somewhere. Charity begins at home.

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Physicians were unable to reach a consensus: Should Brexit take place?

> The Allergists were in favour of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

> The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Brexiters had a lot of nerve. Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was labouring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted. Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, grow up!"

> The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it. Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow.

> The Plastic Surgeons opined that May's proposal would "put a whole new face on the matter." The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea. Anesthesiologists thought it was all a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

> In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Parliament.

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Dominic Raab has just said that the ball is in the court of the EU.....is this guy for real? The EU in the shape of Juncker and Barnier have made it abundantly clear that the deal is not up for re-negotiation. I'd say all balls were in the UK court. 

Parliament say they don't want a no deal scenario, but vote against the only deal in town. I truly believe their puffed up arrogance is now showing these people in their true colours.

Two choices, vote for the deal, or a disorderly brexit. There is the third one, a second referendum. Whether that will happen Christ alone knows.  

  

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6 hours ago, secret santa said:

Physicians were unable to reach a consensus: Should Brexit take place?

> The Allergists were in favour of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

> The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Brexiters had a lot of nerve. Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was labouring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted. Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, grow up!"

> The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it. Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow.

> The Plastic Surgeons opined that May's proposal would "put a whole new face on the matter." The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea. Anesthesiologists thought it was all a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

> In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Parliament.

Missed the gynecologists and their fannying around

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On 29 January 2019 at 11:05 PM, 1949threepence said:

Although looking unlikely, at least as far as the current public face of the EU is concerned, I sincerely hope that they do give some ground on formally re-negotiating the backstop issue. The problem being, of course, the Irish Republic itself. They are just as stubborn and intransigent as the Northern Ireland unionists. If only some common ground could be reached between the two sides.    

With that said, Ireland would suffer even more than the UK in the event of a no deal, as they rely on the UK as a goods route from the EU.  

I'm old enough to remember the first news of Bloody Sunday coming in; even though I was only a student (in Birmingham) at the time, it caused me real fear and depression as this was 'on our own doorstep' unlike the Arab / Israeli wars. Then two years later came the Birmingham Pub Bombings and it seemed - sorry to be emotional about this - as if 'darkness had settled over the land'.

The point I'm making is that the Good Friday Agreement is the best thing to have happened on our two islands in decades. We should never - EVER - risk going back to a situation where the "Troubles" might flare up again, and if the backstop is the best, or even only, method to prevent this, then Brexit is a tiny and insignificant price to pay.

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On 29 January 2019 at 11:22 PM, Rob said:

EU law has taken precedence over UK law as required by membership, so anything at national level has to conform to the terms dictated by Brussels. European wide standards require EU standard laws. Not being tied to the EU would provide flexibility if desired, not to adhere to their instructions. A common position might be desirable, but so would the ability to respond to changing circumstances. The EU doesn't stray from its rules based operation, so even if we need to react to a situation we may well not be allowed to. Our hands are tied by a group who owe us nothing.

This applies only to certain areas: food and drugs standards, medicines, clean beaches, workers' rights, health and safety at work, etc. I don't see anything to object to there. As to the rest, defence, criminal justice, welfare, transport, health service, education, housing, business, etc we make our own laws and always have. It's like when you join a golf club - you agree to abide by their rules, but they don't interfere in the rest of your life.

The point is that over the past 40 years, this country has gone down the economic tubes somewhat. We are in an unhealthy position and the status quo isn't working for us, but that doesn't stop us having to pay year on year for the privilege. Only in 1974 have we been net beneficiaries of funds, and I remember the refund was flagged up at the time as being the exception. If we were net beneficiaries in bad times and funded others in good, then it would be easier to sell the concept of the EU to the man on the street - but we are only allowed to be net contributors.

So much there is wrong, factually. In 1974 we had only just joined and there was no refund - Maggie T got that for us. As for our economy we were the 'sick man of Europe' back then, and I'm sure many of us are old enough to remember being bailed out by the IMF and the World Bank, even after we'd been in the EEC a few years. However, our economy has grown since then to be one of the healthiest in the world (5th largest? 6th? 2nd in Europe) and that's been due to inward investment (think motoring industry for a starter) caused by our being part of the world's biggest single market. Yet since the Referendum, inward investment in motoring has fallen from over 2bn in 2016 to .5bn now, mainly caused by worries over Brexit by foreign investors. That's just a single example.

As to what we pay for what is/was an economic booster, you've already seen the HMRC pie chart I posted above, showing that as a % of Government spending, our EU Budget payment is tiny.

What would have happened over the past 40 years had we not been members is speculative and hypothetical and we could have been better or worse off - nobody knows. But it is apparent that this country is haemorrhaging money as it stands due to the highly negative trade balance, and resources are finite. We need to take positive steps to move closer to self-sufficiency where possible. Being bound by EU rules is never going to let us nurture or support home grown enterprises. I would prefer that we spent our money on developing our own facilities rather than on propping up another state that needs life support. No country can be entirely self-sufficient with the exception of possibly Russia , or the US if it became less consumption minded.

As I already said, our EU contribution is tiny. We already DO support home grown enterprises - both Tory and Labour Governments since 1979 have done that. 

As for the trade deficit, that is still also 'tiny' (£8.3bn in 2018 which as a proportion of GDP - $2.6 TRILLION - is very small), and was mainly caused - according to government statistics - by:

  • The widening of the trade in goods deficit was due mainly to a £1.3 billion increase in imports (particularly fuels) from non-EU countries, combined with a £1.2 billion decrease in exports (including fuels) to non-EU countries, in the three months to January 2018. (The fuels deficit will be due to the continuing decline of North Sea oil and gas)

  • Large decreases in fuels export volumes combined with increases in fuels import prices had the largest impact on the widening of the trade in goods deficit in the three months to January 2018.

Europe works very well for 5 of the 6 founding countries along with a few immediate neighbours, but southern Europe is a mess socially because of the commercial and financial flows back to the geographic and economic centre, i.e. Germany. Ultimately people need jobs, and that can only have any chance of happening with political union - which is only likely to happen in the short or medium term as the least bad option.

This is a sound argument. However political union can only be taken so far - even without the British, consider the national psyche of Germany versus that of France versus Italy versus Spain versus Poland... it ain't going to happen.

The rules are simple and straightforward. Any access deals require us to take instructions from Europe, who won't be wanting to do us any favours. All I see going forward is that they 'negotiate' continued payments to prop up their spending habits in return for access, while we have no say. There will be 27 countries, all pressing for their Brexit bonus. If we are 10 billion worse off now, then one can assume they will want that deficit to enlarge, to show that we are worse off. It's pretty unedifying.

Eh? There will be no "Brexit bonus" (though I have absolutely no idea what you mean by that) if we remain.

There are many facets of an economy, but the best thing people could do is to put their money where their mouth is and conciously buy goods produced by people in this country.

No-one, least of all the EU, has a problem with that. They do not lay down the law who can buy what from where. They cannot dictate what we import. If we decide to do everything in this island (which has been impossible for over 2000 years by the way), then we can.

Supporting your own workforce is key to a healthy economy because it costs a lot to have people sat on their backsides doing nothing.

Agreed.

Whilst we have a reasonable level of employment, we are effectively paying to provide for a lot of people in other countries.

Only if we need workers. It's not just fruit pickers we need, it's also doctors and nurses too, who come in from both EU and non-EU countries.

Whilst this might seem simplistic, we do need too start somewhere. Charity begins at home.

I wish you'd admit to being against the EU on an emotional level Rob, rather than a fact-based level, which is rather shaky if you'll forgive my saying so.

 

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10 minutes ago, Peckris 2 said:

I wish you'd admit to being against the EU on an emotional level Rob

I have already said as much a while ago in a reply to Stuart.

Every graph of our contributions shows an initial downturn after joining to produce one year's net receipt of funds. After that we have always been net contributors. The contributions up to 10 years ago were on a gently rising line, with the smoothed data showing a net contribution of just under 5bn. Rather worryingly at this point, the net contributions reset at roughly double the previous level, which has been maintained ever since.

I don't see this country's economy being so relatively well off or successful to warrant such an increase. There is a continual haemorrhage of productive jobs to eastern Europe and third world countries, on occasion funded by EU grants such as the transfer of Ford Transit production from Southampton to Turkey. Stunts like that don't help people see the EU as a partner working towards the common good. The country's trade imbalances are money leaving the country, little of which is likely to be reinvested here. Whilst employment numbers are buoyant, you cannot base the economy on fast food take-aways and the like. We consume just as any country has to, but ultimately need to make things we use and not just import them, but export too in order to fund the things that make us a 'civilised society'. To be reliant on others for things we consider basic is an abrogation of responsibility.

You can't take much, if anything, from isolated numbers, but for the past two decades this country has run a permanent trade deficit whereas previously it was up a bit, down a bit, but broadly level. That says things aren't working.

We have become too much of a dependent society at both a personal and national level, and a national change of mindset is required.

 

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You don't seem to have read my previous post at all Rob. I quoted plenty of facts and figures there.

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I read it but didn't reply to all the points raised because the answer consumes so much time and I also have to do real work sometimes. FYI, replying has taken well over an hour.

I agree that if you join a club you have to abide by their rules. That is normal, but I don't think their objectives align with our own which is why many voted to leave. Their increasingly federalist stance with a stated aim of ever closer cooperation will have a tipping point whereby retaining semi-autonomous parliaments becomes pointless. I don't aspire to that, nor do I believe does the majority of this country. As for them setting the rules, I believe it would be better for us to be detached from the EU, but initially transfer the existing laws into those going forward and then cherry pick those we wish to adhere to based on our needs. There seems to be an automatic assumption that EU founded laws are socially good and anything we might propose as a replacement is inevitably going to be bad for people. Why would they necessarily have the moral high ground?

I agree the rebate was negotiated through MT, but I was talking net contributions and on one occasion we actually received more in handouts than we put in. That was the point I was making.

Everybody old enough remembers the 70s. Rampant inflation, oil prices shocks (twice), Vietnam, ongoing Middle Eastern violence, three day weeks, miners strikes, year on year industrial unrest, Ireland, Baader Meinhof or their Italian soulmates the Red Brigade killing Aldo Moro, Afghanistan (again), IRA violence, Iran, the Munich Olympics, having to wait a few months for the final episode of Fawlty Towers to be aired......................... We all know the list is endless.

I don't agree that our economy is healthy. Of significant size - yes, but healthy? No. We have lost too much manufacturing capability to say the economy is healthy. Finance accounts for over 10% of the economy, and that is too much relative to the number of jobs created within the industry. The earnings base is too narrow and we have lost the ability to provide across the board facilities for the economy. That leaves us reliant on international suppliers or at least their political masters, at which point they have you by the short and curlies. The motor industry's reduction in investment is only partly due to Brexit. China has thrown a real spanner in the works simply due to the size of their economy and the number of potential consumers. Somewhere along the line the industry would need to contract and it just happens to be now.

To rebuild lost capacity using taxpayers' money would fall foul of EU rules and would be challenged as unfair by incumbent businesses, so government has its hands tied to a large extent when it comes to supporting business. However, the deficit in traded goods is in my view the most serious weakness of our economy and needs to be tackled head on. We really do need to support what remains, whether it be personal or state expenditure. We have never been and never will be self-sufficient as you say, but we do at least need the capacity, from which there is a chance, to trade out of our current dilemma.

The trade deficit might be small relative to GDP, but it is structurally permanent by now, having been consistently negative for over 20 years. In money terms it means a slow death by insolvency as the asset base of this country is systematically stripped bare to pay the nation's debts. There are insufficient earnings to afford the trappings of a western lifestyle that people now expect, so people draw down on savings, or take out a portion of their pension fund to buy the latest must have consumable item. That is the treadmill we need to get off, and as I said before, the status quo within the EU keeps us firmly on it. We have to be independent and outside the control of Brussels and its institutions.

Negotiating any trade deal with the EU will involve each of the 27 countries and require their approval. However, the way that the Agreement is structured will ensure that the EU holds all the cards. They can effectively tell us what they are taking and rest assured that every single country will want something in their favour - that's their 'Brexit bonus'. They have no reason not to press this case, as we have already waved the white flag. From our perspective a deal might be nice, but not at any price. Signing up to a tailor-made straightjacket in a vain hope that we will allowed trips away from the loony bin is not very palatable.

I really can't see May's agreement being beneficial in any way. We need to be either fully out, or fully in. Paying to not be in is just p'ing money down the pan and to agree on this route is verging on criminal.

 

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Another issue this country faces is the lack of skilled labour in certain fields, such as construction, plumbing, electrics. All vital components of basic infrastructure support, which cannot be robotised. Too many generations have been aspiring to university education in academic subjects, leaving a deficit in essential skills. As older workers with those essential skills retired, this has left an increasing deficit, which up until now, has been filled by EU migrant workers. Obviously, this skills deficit will be worsened, to a greater or lesser extent, by our exit from the EU  

I partially blame the schools system. When I hear what my sister's and brother in law's kids have been taught (niece & nephew aged 12 and 15), I am horrified at the strong politically correct bias, and the downgrading of practical subjects such as woodwork and metalwork, which were on the syllabus when I left school in 1994. This may be due to lack of teachers with the skill to actually teach those subjects. 

For anyone now leaving school, I'd say there is far more money to be made, both short and long term by various practical apprenticeships, and therefore plugging a skills gap, than by going to university to get a two a penny degree in an often worthless subject, and saddling themselves with massive tuition fees debt.     

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17 hours ago, Rob said:

I don't agree that our economy is healthy. Of significant size - yes, but healthy? No. We have lost too much manufacturing capability to say the economy is healthy. Finance accounts for over 10% of the economy, and that is too much relative to the number of jobs created within the industry. The earnings base is too narrow and we have lost the ability to provide across the board facilities for the economy. That leaves us reliant on international suppliers or at least their political masters, at which point they have you by the short and curlies. The motor industry's reduction in investment is only partly due to Brexit. China has thrown a real spanner in the works simply due to the size of their economy and the number of potential consumers. Somewhere along the line the industry would need to contract and it just happens to be now.

I agree about the death of manufacturing, but that was 100% down to the monetarist policies of Thatcher and her economic gurus, and nothing to do with the EU. As for the motoring industry, they themselves have said that 'Brexit uncertainty' is the biggest single factor.

To rebuild lost capacity using taxpayers' money would fall foul of EU rules and would be challenged as unfair by incumbent businesses, so government has its hands tied to a large extent when it comes to supporting business. However, the deficit in traded goods is in my view the most serious weakness of our economy and needs to be tackled head on. We really do need to support what remains, whether it be personal or state expenditure. We have never been and never will be self-sufficient as you say, but we do at least need the capacity, from which there is a chance, to trade out of our current dilemma.

You're confusing 'state aid to bolster existing businesses at the expense of competitors' (which is indeed contrary to EU rules, and one reason why Corbyn is at heart a Brexiter), with rebuilding manufacturing industry from scratch, and making it easier for entrepreneurs to do so, which is not anti-EU rules.

The trade deficit might be small relative to GDP, but it is structurally permanent by now, having been consistently negative for over 20 years. In money terms it means a slow death by insolvency as the asset base of this country is systematically stripped bare to pay the nation's debts. There are insufficient earnings to afford the trappings of a western lifestyle that people now expect, so people draw down on savings, or take out a portion of their pension fund to buy the latest must have consumable item. That is the treadmill we need to get off, and as I said before, the status quo within the EU keeps us firmly on it. We have to be independent and outside the control of Brussels and its institutions.

Again, this is nothing to do with membership of the EU. It began with the growth of the City (and easy credit) in relation to the rest of the economy in Thatcher's time, and it's been something of a problem ever since despite the services sector being now so critical to our economy.

Negotiating any trade deal with the EU will involve each of the 27 countries and require their approval. However, the way that the Agreement is structured will ensure that the EU holds all the cards. They can effectively tell us what they are taking and rest assured that every single country will want something in their favour - that's their 'Brexit bonus'. They have no reason not to press this case, as we have already waved the white flag. From our perspective a deal might be nice, but not at any price. Signing up to a tailor-made straightjacket in a vain hope that we will allowed trips away from the loony bin is not very palatable.

'What the EU is taking'? Apart from what we owe as a divorce payment (which covers our existing commitments plus anything we still pull during any transition period) there is no Brexit bonus. We need them and they need us. Both sides lose by Brexit, and the harder the Brexit the more both sides will lose, so both parties are interested in a deal. By the way, we didn't 'wave a white flag', we opted to leave. There's a big difference.

I really can't see May's agreement being beneficial in any way. We need to be either fully out, or fully in. Paying to not be in is just p'ing money down the pan and to agree on this route is verging on criminal.

Fully in is the better option. Fully out would be a potential disaster. May's deal is bad bad bad, I agree, but not as bad as No Deal, and she seems to have converted to agreeing with virtually everyone else on this now.

 

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