Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 16, 2020

"It's a hard Brexit's a-gonna fall"

Today the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Great Britain is now preparing for a no-deal divorce from the European Union:

The UK has to "get ready" for no trade deal with the EU, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

Unless there was a "fundamental" change of direction from the EU, he said the two sides would not be able to agree a post-Brexit economic partnership,

The UK set a deadline of Thursday to decide whether it was worth continuing talks amid continuing disagreements.

Both sides have indicated they want to carry on but the EU has said it is up to the UK to make the next move.

The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said a no-deal outcome seemed to be moving closer after Thursday's meeting of EU leaders - which the UK was not present at - failed to "move the dial".

There will be no 'fundamental' change in the EU position. Yesterday's EU leader meeting had put the ball into the British part of the field:

At a summit in Brussels, the EU proposed a further “two to three weeks” of negotiations but Europe’s heads of state and government offered Johnson little succour, demanding that he alone needed to “make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible”.

The intervention was evidently regarded as incendiary in No 10 as Johnson had said he would make a decision on Friday on whether there were grounds to continue the talks. In September, he had said that without agreement by the time of this summit the government would “move on” to focus on no-deal preparations.

The summit communique issued on Thursday afternoon noted the lack of progress but asked the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, to “continue negotiations in the coming weeks”. To the frustration of Downing Street, a call for an “intensification” of talks, included in an earlier draft of the statement, was deleted by the time leaders signed it off.

The EU says Britain still has to move on several points:

Speaking after the briefing from Mr Barnier, [Taoiseach Micheál] Martin said that difficulties and challenges remain in securing an overall agreement and there has not been sufficient movement from the UK on the three outstanding issues - the level playing field, governance and fisheries - to suggest a deal could be done.

The level playing field refers to the aspiration that both sides will adhere to similar standards so as not to undercut the other in trade and investment. Governance refers to a system of resolving disputes between both sides in the future.

Johnson's rejection of the EU's position makes it likely that the talks are now over. The EU has had enough of him. There will now be a hard Brexit and with hard I mean a very painful one. As Yves Smith wrote earlier today:

[I]n the meantime, there are more and more reminders of what January 1 might bring. One of the most bizarre comes via CityAM, reporting on the results of a House of Lords study about the consequences of the Government having ignored the services sector in its talks. We pointed out from the very early days of Brexit that services deals are far more difficult to negotiate than trade deals, and therefore typically take longer to conclude. We were skeptical a trade deal could be struck in 24 months, and even more so, a services deal. Nevertheless, it’s yet another proof of how out to lunch the people nominally in charge in the UK are to see a report like this coming out a mere two and a half months before the drop dead date. From CityAM:

Britain’s £225bn professional services industry has been ignored by the government and is under “catastrophic” threat of losing business to the EU post-Brexit, a parliamentary committee has warned.

A House of Lords’ EU services subcommittee report published yesterday said the UK’s accountants, lawyers, recruiters, architects and advertisers are under risk of losing contracts and jobs when Britain formally leaves the bloc in January.

The report accused the government of ignoring the “hugely important sector” — which makes up around 13 per cent of the UK workforce — in trade negotiations with the EU…..

There are also huge unsolved problems with VAT payments, tariffs, import and export regulations for manufactured goods and agricultural products. There is the unresolved border problem between North Ireland and Ireland and a myriad of other difficulties. This hard Brexit will be expensive for British consumers and businesses:

A no deal brexit would result in tariffs on goods traded between Great Britain and the EU. These additional costs could make some industries unviable in their current form.

Many UK sheep farmers have narrow profit margins and sell a high percentage of exports into the EU; which is the destination for seven of the top 10 British lamb exporters. Without a deal, tariffs equivalent to around 76% would be imposed on some cuts of lamb.
Car manufacturers would face tariffs of up to 10% when selling cars to the EU, with Nissan warning in June that its Sunderland plant could become unviable in a no deal. Other manufacturers may follow suit.

The government’s own reasonable worst case planning assumptions suggest that in a no deal 30-50% of lorries at the key channel ports could be unprepared for new customs checks and that traffic flow through the vital short channel straits could be reduced by 60-80%. The Road Haulage Association has put the chances of ‘chaos in Kent’ at 80%.
Even if traders and border systems are generally ready and supply disruption is limited, consumers may still face higher prices. The Bank of England predicted in 2018 that a disruptive Brexit could see sterling fall by around 15% against the euro, making imports more expensive. Add to that an average tariff of 5.7% on UK imports and the costs of new non-tariff barriers (like customs checks), and many businesses will have no choice but to put up prices, at a time when many will be grappling with the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Under the Northern Ireland protocol, the border for goods moving from GB-NI will look very similar to goods moving between GB-EU – with no deal resulting in the most intensive checks. If the UK and the EU don’t agree a zero-tariff free trade agreement, the protocol says that goods ‘at risk’ of moving from Great Britain into the EU through Northern Ireland will have to pay tariffs.

It is now likely that on January 1 all trade between Britain and the EU will practically come to standstill.

Most of the above problems were foreseeable and many could have been avoided. But the current British government has done little to take care of them.

The level of incompetence the Johnson government has demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic was only overtaken by its desire to shell out lucrative contracts to its friends for services the National Health Service was much better positioned to provide. Covid-19 will not be over by January 1. It will continue to hamper the economy and daily life. Now put an ill prepared Brexit with all its consequences on top of that. How can anyone expect that Johnson will be able to handle that chaos?

With Brexit and Covid combined Great Britain will be in for a much greater pandemic depression that most other countries. It has so far only made a few trade deals that might buffer the coming slump. The U.S. is of course standing by to press the Brits into a trade deal that will rob them blind.

If the British economy will be back to its pre-Covid level by the end of the next decade the country should consider itself lucky.

When I heard of Johnson's  announcement today this song by Bob Dylan came to mind:

And what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singin'
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

Posted by b on October 16, 2020 at 14:51 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Somethings smell fishy when the EU and UK are totally integrating their militaries while pretending to be breaking up at the same time.

Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 16 2020 15:05 utc | 1

This was the plan from the start. The EU was never going to make a deal with the UK. They need to show the rest of the EU members what an exit will look like.

Go ahead leave, we will destroy your economy!

Posted by: Ed | Oct 16 2020 15:06 utc | 2

For Brexit to be a ‘ success ‘ would require a level of competence, foresight, ethics, humility and intelligence far in excess of anything any U.K. politician and the vast majority of bureaucrats has to offer.

There was an opportunity IF the U.K. had changed it’s stupid anti China anti Russia and anti anybody the other western powers tell us/we have traditionally considered as enemies dogma for Brexit to have certain advantages but the U.K. elites are too corrupt, too dishonest and too insouciant to be able to achieve anything positive.

I wonder if the populace will have the balls to do something about it or will the U.K. just become an irrelevance, despite it’s nuclear weapons on the world stage?

Posted by: Beibdnn | Oct 16 2020 15:31 utc | 3

have to agree with comment #2 - the EU wants to make an example of england the way they did with greece. they probably would have been fine having referendum after referendum until the populace voted the "right way" (see also: lisbon). with constant political nonsense and covid lockdowns that wasn't an option.

it's been a game of "chicken" and neither side wants to blink; this is how doughy fatass rich guys "bro down" with each other since they're not really capable of physical fighting or doing sports. it's almost like watching israelis "negotiate" but...with other israelis.

maybe if the NEDs and tabloid addicts had focused more on this and less on "rapefugees" and screeching anti-"semitism" fantasies things would be smoother. oh well!

Posted by: the pair | Oct 16 2020 15:32 utc | 4

It's Five Eyes against the world (plus Israel of course). You people have nothing on our English language supremacy. Bawahhhahhha!

Posted by: gottlieb | Oct 16 2020 15:46 utc | 5

"The U.S. is of course standing by to press the Brits into a trade deal that will rob them blind."

Correct. Not perhaps the snack we were looking for, but we'll take it. The Brits would do the same to us.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 16 2020 15:47 utc | 6

The UK's Brexit case illustrates how dominant capitalism is not only as a system (the "inevitable system", "natural system", "there's no other alternative" system) - but also how dominant capitalism is ideologically (liberalism).

In this sense, the idol of liberalism, its temple where the sacrifices to the church of liberalism are made, can only be the USA:

London follows Washington’s step on security, loses autonomy

The shadow of the Empire is indeed vast.

Posted by: vk | Oct 16 2020 15:48 utc | 7

There is an excellent, and very long article by Perry Anderson in the New Left Review. So far as I can work out it is not behind a paywall.

Regarding the Brexit matter, generally: more than seventy years ago the historian GDH Cole, writing about the UK's post war prospects, suggested that the major threat to the country was not the Soviet Union but the United States.
Leaving the EU makes perfect sense but leaping from it into the arms of the United States is a move out of the frying pan into the fire. Independence is the alternative, trade and good relations with the rest of the world opening real opportunities not only for the UK but for the future of all.
The problem is that the broader ruling class in the UK-including the 'nationalists' in Scotland- is split into those who want rule from Brussels and Washington, jointly, and those who want direct rule from Washington. For two centuries Britain has been ruled by people whose deepest fears are of the people, they have looked outside for allies in keeping them down, as their recent over reaction to the threat of Corbyn showed, and are quite ruthless in sacrificing the interests of the many to those of the few.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 16 2020 15:48 utc | 8

The EU can`t compromise. If it allows "cherry picking" for the UK every member state will demand it`s cherry and the common market will fall apart. This is an existential issue for the EU where even the worst no-deal is better than a cherry-picking-deal.

The problem is that the members of the ruling class in the UK fully know and understand this. "Once the mighty British Empire leaves the EU will fall apart." They expect the EU to eventually accept their cherry-picking-proposal and agree to it`s own self-dissolution.

Posted by: m | Oct 16 2020 15:57 utc | 9

UE trade surplus with GB - 2019 - : + 85 milliards €.
Who is the boss ?

Posted by: aleksandar | Oct 16 2020 16:01 utc | 10

well i imagine corbyn is quite happy he is not in the middle of all this... better a boris the clown... i agree with bevin " For two centuries Britain has been ruled by people whose deepest fears are of the people.... as their recent over reaction to the threat of Corbyn showed, and are quite ruthless in sacrificing the interests of the many to those of the few." that sounds exactly right.... and btw bevin - your article is not behind a paywall.. thanks...

one more step to uk irrelevance.. divine comeuppance from the last few centuries of imperialism...

Posted by: james | Oct 16 2020 16:14 utc | 11

Bozo Bojo is a stupid, arrogant moron who thought he invented the wheel with Covid and landed himself in the ICU, and thinks he invented the wheel on Brexit and will get his ass kicked on that too.

His schooling via humiliation will be legendary.

I hope the EU that has been spineless on defending the JCPOA finally slams the door in Bozo's face. He'll be crawling for mercy.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 16 2020 16:27 utc | 12

+5 for the Bob Dylan reference.

Posted by: bjd | Oct 16 2020 16:27 utc | 13

To be contrary, NO, the EU did not wish a break with GB, and it did all it could to slow, halt, and prevent Brexit. Certainly that wasn’t much, as constrained by bureaucracy, instituted ‘rules’ and ‘principles’ etc. all of which exist to empower, regulate, EU actions - its hands are tied in a way, thru its own shoring up of control of members.

Why? Lost revenues for the EU, of course, lost jobs, lost trade, and criticisms and objections, even maybe to come, strikes, revolt, from below, certainly disturbance, problems... (Cos. exporting to GB, or importing, as well as melding to produce something…etc. Not to mention all the programs, student exchange, security, for ex, etc. etc.)

Plus of course the ‘bad image’ - strife and bodies leaving, even from a golf club, is not good for the managers of said Club.

It all all looks sh*tty, sets a bad example, others might follow, though that is not the main concern - the principal horror is job / revenue / trade loss in the rest of the EU — with the exception of some few who may benefit, like Ireland and maybe Belgium. But the benefits are v. local and don’t contribute to any further ‘solidarity.’

Then, Int’l geopolitics. GB (or what is left of it after N. Ireland leaves and Scottish independence gets a grip.. ok that is that is the future not in the present) is already aligned with the USA, e.g. vaguely against China, but all that is very iffy and the likes of Trump, and Obama before him, aren’t terribly interested in pandering to, negotiating with, this small outpost of lost, failing, Empire that they themselves have taken over!

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 16 2020 16:32 utc | 14

No matter how clever and prepared the UK was, there was zero probability of getting any fair deal with the EU. Being in the EU is bad, and trying to leave the EU is bad, for the EU will royally screw over any nation who dares to leave its corrupt, banker-driven clutches. The EU's rules are about as fair as the "terms of service" agreement consumers are forced to click on to use the services of corporations. All the rights lie with the EU, none with the other party. And of course trying to negotiate with the US is every bit as bad as trying to deal with the EU. The NHS will immediately go on the chopping block to allow US big pharma to start selling its wares at an incredibly high markup.

Posted by: worldblee | Oct 16 2020 16:39 utc | 15

There has always been something fishy about the ruling inhabitants of "perfide Albion". Mu ´y own homeland Norway has entered an echane agreement with the Kongolese, by with we (Norway) can have a lion in our national coeat-of-arms, in return for the Kongo (and Brazil and Portugal) be given the priviledge of having Norwegian baccalao (dried and salted tosk/cod) into theirs'. Quid pro quo in the Norwegian strategy -- but something never thought of by the Brits:
"Rule Britannia
Britannia rule the waves
that Britons never ever
Shall be slaves"
This became a British national anthem whilst the English were amongst the leading slave merchants of the World. Just like the Venetians who sold christian slaves to the Turks until Napoleon Bonaparte stopped that fol island and thei infamies-- "the people most alike to fishes" according to one medieval Pope.

Also: The symbol animal of the City of Lundum is the fire-spoting winged dragon near Picadelly Circus -- a completely Western European and North African invention -- not akin to the East Asian dragons that are aquatic creatures resting in mountains with no need for wings nor need to spout fire.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐 | Oct 16 2020 16:42 utc | 16

Let's just say you cannot expect to compete successfully in a modern technological world without nurturing ALL of your human capital, and that is why these class-based aristocracies cannot keep up. If you run the place like a banana republic, that's what you're going to get.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 16 2020 16:43 utc | 17

I am entirely with Ed (2). The EU has every reason to make this as painful as possible for the UK to discourage any further exits from the Block. Johnson's government hasn't performed in a sterling manner in their negotiations with the EU, to what end though, I do not know. It looks like basic incompetence, is there an actual plan in place? Importantly, will a no deal Brexit re-ignite the 'Troubles', as for all intents and purposes this will mean a hard border between Northern and the rest of Ireland?

Posted by: rgl | Oct 16 2020 16:55 utc | 18

Ed @ #2

Simple and precise. The EU philosophy dead on!

What gets me is the people determined to put all the blame on the UK. Understandable if one notices Yves Smith as one of the biggest critics. Naked Capitalism was against Brexit from the start. Thus everything bad that comes from Brexit is the fault of the UK, including the ignorant British citizens who voted for it. Yes the numbers were always against the UK. From a neo-liberal capitalist standpoint Brexit was self immolation. Nevertheless I have never appreciated the disingenuous Smith/Naked Capitalism bias in favour of the EU. Naturally not pro-EU, they'd never admit to that, but supporting policies that perpetuate the EU project.

Brussel's Trojan Horse? However, can we trust the Left to ever be supportive of the people and a free society?

Posted by: EoinW | Oct 16 2020 17:12 utc | 19

Britain doesn't have much in the way of its own business. A lot of it is somebody else's business and they aren't going to be real pleased at the tariffs they'll pay to sell to the EU. Businesses can flee to China and they can flee to the EU. Britain is signing off on its own destruction.

Posted by: Jeff | Oct 16 2020 17:24 utc | 20

I believe a hard Brexit when it actually happens, and not one second earlier.

So far the Likelihood has tilted toward BoJo torpedoing the Brexit itself, just as May did - he's just less open about it.

Posted by: michael | Oct 16 2020 17:24 utc | 21

The UK wanted a divorce while also retaining all of the benefits of being married. Beyond that posturing, they never managed to do any of the hard work necessary to make it a reality,just like the lazy husband who says he demands a divorce and then goes back to lying on the couch without even hiring a lawyer.

Of course the EU was never going to bend over and give the house away, but nevertheless this mess is owned by the UK, due to their stunning lack of understanding that the world no longer bows to their whims.

Posted by: Roy G | Oct 16 2020 17:27 utc | 22

In ireland, all we have left is schadenfreude and the mother-of-all last laughs, as britain waives the rules and stumbles ignominiously into oblivion.

Popcorn time.

Posted by: Underarm-piglet-#846 | Oct 16 2020 17:42 utc | 23

Either way the Brits are f*cked, signing a free trade agreement with the United States per Bojo wishes will guarantee a decline of the City as they won't be able to trade with the chinese and eurasian growth engine. Furthermore, their public health care system (NHS one of few things holding up on their island) is now on the block to be privatize and sold off to American hedge fund hyenas and insurance companies. Brits will soon get to experience the full force of the ''free market'' and financial oligarchs looting.

Posted by: Boss Tweet | Oct 16 2020 17:42 utc | 24

UK Outlaws versus EU Outlaws. Both sides will lose, but one will lose more than the other.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 16 2020 17:45 utc | 25

Posted by: Underarm-piglet-#846 | Oct 16 2020 17:42 utc | 23

Yes, the Irish definitely deserve to be able to watch this degrading spectacle from a safe distance. Best of all, it's not in any way your fault.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 16 2020 17:58 utc | 26

Tollef Ås/秋涛乐 | 16

Amazing appalling nonsensical rubbish about the Venetians.

Posted by: albert | Oct 16 2020 18:16 utc | 27

Lots of enthusiastic schadenfreude both in the article and the comments, but frankly no one is looking to come out of this with a major win.

Name me a country that is going to be demonstrably wealthier in twelve months time. UK will be doing well if it isn't a war zone, and so will Europe. USA probably won't be able to avoid it, except by attacking anyone and everyone else to "pull the country together".

We are all fcuked, to use an apposite euphemism.

Posted by: C | Oct 16 2020 18:39 utc | 28

Some thoughts on Brexit:

Brexit is a once a century societal choice. If the Brits follow through and complete their Brexit, it may, as some commenters have said, take them a decade to restructure their economy and regain the level of prosperity that they now enjoy. But in the end they will survive, and perhaps prosper as a dynamic, independent nation.

If they fail to follow through with Brexit, then the UK will be finished as an independent nation. It will be the vassal of a vassal. And when the EU project fails, which it surely will, the price that the UK will pay will be much higher than the short term pain that they will suffer from a no-deal Brexit.

The real losers from Brexit are likely to be:

- the British Elite, whose wealth is tied to the current economic structure. As the British economy restructures, much of the current asset base may lose much of its value. For the middle and lower classes, having had their assets strip-mined by the elites over the past four decades, they don't have much to lose.

- Germany. As aleksandar @ 10 comments: UE trade surplus with GB - 2019 - : + 85 milliards €.
Most of this surplus is with Germany. The economic hit to Germany will not be small.

- Europe. Europe as it is currently structured is not a sustainable entity. The loss of Britain only makes its survival less likely. Added to that is the fact that their hard line with Britain over Brexit risks turning Britain not only into a competitor, but an enemy; something that a weak and failing Europe can least afford.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Oct 16 2020 18:41 utc | 29

The Brits drew the proper conclusion from the way the EU mistreated Greece.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 16 2020 18:45 utc | 30

Silly speculation: Could the UK purpose of Brexit be to distance themselves as they encourage West Europe to attack Russia?

Posted by: oglalla | Oct 16 2020 18:52 utc | 31

seems Brexit is not the only problem on BoJo's plate.


seems like the Mayor of Manchester maybe about to make a stand
at having to bear the cost of a Tier-3 lockdown of Manchester (expensive)

" Mayor Andy Burnham and a raft of other Greater Manchester politicians have hit back after the Prime Minister delivered an ultimatum as the Tier 3 lockdown row rumbled on."

seems the natives are getting restless

Posted by: chris | Oct 16 2020 19:10 utc | 32

Oddly, whenever BREXIT is discussed, I rarely see a mention of the ancient tax-evasion fortress called City of London.

The UK had been a cherry-picking EU member all along, enjoying many special privileges and exceptions granted to it from the moment of accession. After the financial crises of recent years, too many other EU became fed up with the way that the City of London enables skimming off taxes and wealth from European societies and economies. In Brussels, new laws are being drafted that demand a degree of financial openness that the City of London refuses to give. IMHO this is the very issue that spawned the BREXIT campaign. Poor British landless peasants were fooled again by their feudal overlords. Rah rah rah!

In the very short term, the biggest winner will be the USA, becoming more dominating over the UK than it already is and stealing much of the tax-evasion business away from the City if London. In the long term, perhaps Eurasia will be the winner. Looking back at the nefarious role that the British elite have played in fomenting wars on the European continent, the Continentals should rejoice in their loss.

Pity the poor Limeys. Perhaps its time, finally, for a revolution and a real constitution?

Posted by: Lurk | Oct 16 2020 19:20 utc | 33

I just wonder if the British government, with the backing, encouragement or pressure from the City of London, is using COVID-19 as an excuse to do nothing and as cover for its lack of competence in negotiating BREXIT.

At any rate Britain under BoJo the Klown now resembles the Titanic on its maiden voyage across the North Atlantic to its fateful rendezvous with the iceberg.

The cast of that old TV show "Yes, Minister" could have done a better job of governing the UK.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 16 2020 20:12 utc | 34

I suggest a new unit of measurement, to indicate how much one dislikes a politician: the Trump. One Trump is a dislike, equal to the dislike Hillary Clinton feels for Donald Trump.

Posted by: passerby | Oct 16 2020 20:19 utc | 35

Review: The Left Case Against the EU

"From the perspective of British capital, and especially of the financial sector based in the City of London, there is no trade agreement that is superior to the neoliberal framework provided by the EU."

Posted by: John Gilberts | Oct 16 2020 20:22 utc | 36

Hi Lurk (33),
One article on Consortium News says Britain served as a USian Trojan Horse into the affairs of continental European affairs. Feel free to make of this what you will:

Were it not for Britain's ascension into the EEC, would countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal have joined anyway?

Also, some have claimed Britain started (or, at least, played a role in starting) WWI to prevent a potential economic alliance between Russia and Germany (an idea proposed by Otto von Bismarck IIRC) that would've rivaled the British Empire - not unlike the USA and UK preventing the completion of Nord Stream 2. What are your opinions on the notion?

Posted by: joey_n | Oct 16 2020 20:26 utc | 37

Jen @34: "At any rate Britain under BoJo the Klown now resembles the Titanic on its maiden voyage across the North Atlantic to its fateful rendezvous with the iceberg."

The US playing the part of the iceberg, apparently!

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 16 2020 20:54 utc | 38

If there is a no-deal Brexit with the concomitant trade, professional and social disruptions, return of a hard Irish border, etc. how low would it take before a no-confidence vote, a failure to form a new government, an election and the potential collapse of the Tories as a political force for the near future in Britain? I give it 6 weeks.

Posted by: lone plateau | Oct 16 2020 21:37 utc | 39

@ joey_n | Oct 16 2020 20:26 utc | 37

Actually, the UK's application for EEC membership in 1961 was veto'ed by France (under De Gaulle) for exactly the reason that he feared the UK to be a trojan horse for the USA. That is where consortiumnews likely got that notion from. Before the French veto was eventually lifted in 1973, Spain and Greece had already applied for membership, but in vain: they were found to be not democratic enough and the applications were rejected. After the return of democracy to Spain, Greece and Portugal these countries were granted membership of the EEC.

Personally I don't see the joining of the latter three countries as part of some dastardly Anglo-Atlantic plot to subvert the EU.

There is a notion that the EU in its initial form was created by the USA after WW II as a way to dominate and control Western Europe, as a civilian counterpart to the military alliance NATO. Note that both organizations are headquartered in Brussels. While the USA still firmly holds the reigns of NATO, it seems to have lost some of its grip on the EU.

As to your final question, I think that it is historically obvious that the British elite has been scheming against any agreement between continental powers that it deemed threatening to its formerly hegemonic interests. Since the downfall of the British Empire and the commensurate rise of the American Empire, Westminster is still operating in much of the same way, albeit now at the behest of Washington DC, where one should observe that there is a lot of continuity between the British and American elites.

Note that nearly all of the recent much propagandized anti-Russian public outrages feature a heavy, if not central, involvement of British institutions.

Posted by: Lurk | Oct 16 2020 21:56 utc | 40

I agree with the people here who state that Brexit represents both the end of the British Empire and of the European Union. It was a defeat for both sides:

Grosswirtschaftsraum as It Is

With Brexit, the UK will now unequivocally become an American province. It already was, but at least it was reserved some protectionist privileges the American Empire reserved to its most important and respectable provinces. Now it will become a full-fledged province, and the first step will be to sign a series of unequal bilateral treaties, which will include, eventually, the ransack of the NHS to American capital.

On the EU's part, well, it's there for everybody to see: it's the first time the EU loses territory (the UK). Before Brexit, the EU's history was the history of almost uncontested and hegemonic expansion, the apex of which was the expansion to ex-Yugoslavia and East Europe beyond Poland. It made a show of strength when it crushed Greece - the tiny Euro Zone rebel who cooked the books to enter the union. But that was just the prelude, as Brexit would happen only a few years later. In hindsight, I think historians will see either the Greek Rebellion or Brexit as the beginning of the end of the EU, at least in the form of the "European Dream" - one of the oldest dreams in human history, inaugurated by emperor Augustus in the first century CE.

Posted by: vk | Oct 16 2020 21:58 utc | 41

@ lone plateau | Oct 16 2020 21:37 utc | 39

That would not change much, as BREXIT is pretty much a done deal.

Also, contingency measures are already in place: thanks to the unrelenting efforts of the 77th brigade, the Integrity Initiative, and other sordid UK tax payer funded groups (and some additional help from the USA and Israel), a tory was installed as the leader of the Labour Party.

Posted by: Lurk | Oct 16 2020 22:02 utc | 42

@ vk | Oct 16 2020 21:58 utc | 41

I disagree that the EU will fail because of the loss of the UK or some minor consternation about Greece (yeah yeah not wanting to deny the hardships the Greeks suffer, but then again, the Greek governments have had a very big role in the creation of these problems.)

The EU stands or falls by the strength of the German - French axis. For now, all the rest of the union hangs off of that.

Posted by: Lurk | Oct 16 2020 22:15 utc | 43

It's not going to work out for the best for the EU either.
Is it,?
Kind of missed in the kick the Brit hysteria.

Posted by: Jpc | Oct 16 2020 22:39 utc | 44

Silly speculation: Could the UK purpose of Brexit be to distance themselves as they encourage West Europe to attack Russia?

Posted by: oglalla | Oct 16 2020 18:52 utc | 31

That might make sense if it's a means for Britain to conceal its role in fomenting Russophobia in the EU. I'd think of it as a clandestine operation.
Some argue that Britain used Germany as a battering-ram against Russia before WWI (and maybe before WWII as well, but not sure), only to fight with Germany after failing to contain Russia. The 'silly speculation' kinda reminds me of this, for what it's worth.

Posted by: joey_n | Oct 16 2020 22:42 utc | 45

"The U.S. is of course standing by to press the Brits into a trade deal that will rob them blind."

Guess what? If Bojo thought he couldn't get a better deal from the US than what Brussels is offering then he wouldn't be walking away. I seems to remember that recently a plurality of posters here were also predicting that el Trumpo would soon be dead from virus, or so damaged by the disease that he would be as good as dead.

Posted by: alpha | Oct 16 2020 22:49 utc | 46

Everyone concerned will loose whatever kind of Brexit emerges, especially the UK workers who will loose the protection of the EU labour laws. A race to the bottom for wages. The workers will be sorry they didn't vote for Corbyn who would have at least attempted look after their interests. A strange parallel with the US, significant elements of UK Labour would prefer to loose the election than have a pro-Palestine leader win. Their grotesque priorities are on display and it ain't the interests of the UK they really care about, ditto the Dems in the US, sick. A trade agreement with the US will turn out to be a one sided deal.A loose - loose situation.

Posted by: Paul | Oct 16 2020 23:06 utc | 47

As one of the top three economies in the EU, Britain had a lot of clout within the EU. It used it to get national exemptions from EU policies it disapproved of. That's why Britain didn't have to join the EURO zone, and was also able to block some things the US particularly wanted to not have happen, such as the formation of a unified European military. The US is potentially the big loser of Brexit, if it turns out that Britain's departure from the EU allows the rest of the EU to continue to unify and develop in ways the UK would have prevented, and eventually become powerful enough to escape US dominance. This trend will become more likely if Scotland and Northern Ireland secede from the UK in order to rejoin the EU.

Posted by: Fnord13 | Oct 16 2020 23:20 utc | 48

The egocentric narrowmindedness of the British establishment is a sight to behold.

It appears not to have occurred to them that the EU has zero reason to want to help boost Boris Johnson's political fortunes, and every incentive to ensuring that this process is as painful an experience as possible "to encourage the others".

Nor do they appear capable of comprehending a simple set of facts: as far as the EU is concerned the "British market" will be a tiny and insignificant percentage of their total trade, whereas from the British point of view even post-Brexit the EU market will be by far their most important export destination.

Certain dynamics are made inevitable by that simple realization, the most import of which is this: regardless of who holds the whip hand, you can be certain their name isn't "Boris". Boris should act accordingly but, no, no, he doesn't. He acts as if he is totally and completely lacking in self-awareness.

The British come across as amateurish, immature, blustering and pompous. They would have been better off electing Colonel Blimp as Prime Minister.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 16 2020 23:24 utc | 49

@46 "If Bojo thought he couldn't get a better deal from the US than what Brussels is offering then he wouldn't be walking away."

What "Boris thinks" and what "reality is" are not necessarily synonyms.

The Brits may very well think they can get a good deal out of the USA - after all, their own sense of self-importance appears to be boundless.

But the Brits were also convinced they could get a better deal out of the EU, and that confidence turned out to be very, very misplaced. That misguided sense of their own self-importance, you see.....

There is nothing in the USA's statements that suggest that they have warm and fuzzy feelings towards the Mother Country, certainly not where trade is concerned. Quite the opposite: Trump is a transactional character. It's all about the Benjamins, baby.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 16 2020 23:31 utc | 50

Paul @47

The Brexiteers certainly expected to get a trade deal with the US, if they got out of the EU, but ironically, there is now some doubt of that actually happening.Biden is an Irish American who helped push forward the Good Friday agreement between the UK and Ireland. He's recently generated some utter outrage among Brexiteers by suggesting that if he gets elected, he will insist Britain keeps an open border between Northern and Southern Ireland. That would mean keeping EU regulations in place within Northern Ireland, and could lead to northern Irish secession from the UK.

Posted by: Fnord13 | Oct 16 2020 23:33 utc | 51

Today New Zealand goes to the election. I predict a thumping Labour win. The NZ mixed - proportional electoral system is almost as difficult to explain as the Australian preferential system, most Australians don't even understand it. The NZ system means the parties need to discuss the outcomes to achieve a fair result. Australia by contrast has a winner takes all system.

I further predict the end of the NZ First party, one of NZ First's conditions to form the last coalition government was to "record a Cabinet minute regarding the 'lack of process' followed prior to the National {party led government's] sponsorship of UNSC2334" Barflies will recall the incoming Trump administration lobbied the Russians to veto this pro-Palestine resolution at the behest of the Bandit State. So much for foreign interference in US election, the real 'Russians.' The evil priorities are again on display with NZ First. Now about cancelling that NZ First led multiple million defence equipment order from the Bandit State.

Even the Green party has a co-leader, James Shaw who blows with the wind on BDS but the majority of NZ Greens favour real international law without exception and justice for Palestine. Unlike the wishy washy 'Tree Tory' Green's in Australia.

The NZ National party government to their credit broke Five Eye ranks by recognising Palestine many years ago under the Muldoon administration. They have been hollowed out since then into toads and yes men. Todays results will show it. These types do best in back rooms. They stand for nothing.

New Zealanders have a much more egalitarian ethos than other countries.

Posted by: Paul | Oct 16 2020 23:55 utc | 52

@ Bevin #8

Thanks for the Perry Anderson article. His books are all brilliant, especially Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, which never ceases to be relevant and, simply put, right.

Posted by: Patroklos | Oct 17 2020 0:07 utc | 53


I have read that somewhere. It's like unscrambling the egg. I don't have a problem with a united Ireland. Religious sectarianism belongs in a past age, everywhere. I suspect Scotland will leave the 'United' Kingdom too. I like the idea of PM Alex Salmond. Could that be why he was set up?

What did George Washington say about passionate attachments to foreign countries? Please remind the congress again. Tar and feather AIPAC then lynch Adelson and Saban to send the message. America can't afford to impose its will on the world it has lost decades of growth by stupid endless wars in the Middle East at the behest of Bandit State agents and operatives. Now they blame China for making the most of their opportunities.

Biden has shown he is up to meddling in the affairs of [selected] foreign countries. Imperial hubris is always fatal.

Posted by: Paul | Oct 17 2020 0:35 utc | 54

I read the off guardian response to your frenzied attack on them. Please see my in-depth analysis of you b. on off guardian under Molinos.

Posted by: lochearn | Oct 17 2020 0:52 utc | 55

re Paul @ #2 who reckoned

"New Zealanders have a much more egalitarian ethos than other countries"
Now apart from being w-a-a-a-y off topic, I cannot judge whether you are joking or wearing 50 year old beer goggles.

A huge and growing gap between rich and poor is a pretty good indication of a society that is no longer egalitarian.

According to the conservative New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
"There are around 682,500 people in poverty in this country or one in seven households, including around 220,000 children."

Aotearoa once had a decent enough public education system, although it was far from perfect 50 years ago with state funded schools for the wealthy such as Auckland Grammar, but now according to a recent UNICEF report :
"New Zealand has one of the most unequal education systems in the world and the gap between the highest and lowest performing students is being made worse by poverty, according to new research by Unicef."

Which is to be expected when the election boils down to a polite 'tussle' between a crooked (caught doing a Biden) conservative and a neoliberal poseur.
Absolutely nothing to celebrate really.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 17 2020 2:47 utc | 56

@55 The off-guardian article contains a quite reprehensible sleight-of-hand.

The author of that article (correctly) states that the infection fatality rate of Covid-19 is estimated at around 0.14%
They then equate that with the "fatality rate" of seasonal influenza, which they claim to be the same.

But here is the sleight-of-hand: nowhere in that article is it claimed that the "similar" value for the seasonal flu is actually a "comparable" value i.e. nowhere is it claimed that the value used is likewise the INFECTION fatality rate for seasonal flu.

Nowhere. Not once. Which is no surprise, because there isn't an INFECTION fatality rate for seasonal influenza.

The IFR of seasonal flue is impossible to calculate, since
(a) it's a *seasonal* influenza and
(b) a very significant proportion of the population gets a flu vaccine shot.

Both of those makes getting an accurate estimate of an INFECTION fatality rate for seasonal influenza impossible, because they both result in massive numbers of "false positives" for this year's seasonal flu.

Get is? The value of 0.1% for seasonal flu is the CASE fatality rate, which is then used for comparison against the INFECTION fatality rate for covid-19.

Totally invalid, since for any disease the CFR is going to be vastly higher than the IFR.

How much higher will vary, but it will always be much, much higher than the IFR because with a CFR value you are excluding all the asymptomatic infections.

So the trick in the off-guardian article is that the author insists on comparing apples against oranges, and then argues that they taste exactly the same. But if the IFR of covid-19 is around 0.14% and the CFR of seasonal influenza is around 0.1% then covid-19 is much, much deadlier than seasonal flu. Certainly by an order of magnitude, and probably by much more.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 17 2020 3:06 utc | 57

"The U.S. is of course standing by to press the Brits into a trade deal that will rob them blind."

Not that I'd believe Pelosi if she said the sky was blue, but the (highly under reported) line from both sides of the aisle is hard border in Ireland (which is what no deal will mean) = no trade deal for the Brits.

Posted by: SOMK | Oct 17 2020 3:45 utc | 58

@debsisdead 56,
sure there are people doing it hard in NZ like everywhere else. I took a shocked overseas visitor to Rotorua where the hotel was populated by homeless people whose accomodation was paid for by the government. Currently the Bluewater at Napier is booked out until at least next year to accomodate the homeless. That includes spas and the bar next door pumps every night. They have great views of the harbour and the sailing club. That situation applies all over NZ That looks very egalitarian to me.

Call them and ask. why are you booked out?:

Seats in Parliament are reserved for the indigenous Maori population. By contrast the indigenous Palestinians are oppressed and murdered every day for the last hundred years. They are lucky to not have their homes demolished and their land stolen.

Posted by: Paul | Oct 17 2020 4:10 utc | 59

Paul @59

"[Maori] are lucky to not have their homes demolished and their land stolen." Yikes! I guess you mean recently but the last NZ govt was pretty efficient at demolishing the State houses that housed a significant chunk of the Maori population (hence the 'homeless hotels' that ruined your friend's holiday, poor dear.) Thanks for your insights into the NZ/Palestine relationship, I knew NZ First had brought a fanatically pro-Zionist slant to the defence ministry but had no idea about the cabinet note and the weapons purchase (link?).

I share debsisdead's pessimistic view of NZ politics. In 2018 PM Adern went to occupied Palestine to 'celebrate' NZ's role in its conquest at the battle of Beersheva. When Palestine solidarity activists pointed out that our troops had committed a massacre in an Arab village nearby she asked to visit the village to offer an apology. Her officials had to explain that there were no more Arab villages in the Negev, having all been wiped from the map during the Nakba. It's entirely possible that that the some of the officers who presided over the massacre cut their teeth burning Maori villages during the NZ wars of colonization.

PS I will look to change my handle to avoid confusion (not really appropriate for a Pakeha anyway).

Posted by: Paora | Oct 17 2020 6:10 utc | 60

Re lochearn, comment number 55:

I went over to OffG to see what they had to say.

I am with you on this b, Good Luck & Keep up the good work

Posted by: Traveller | Oct 17 2020 6:39 utc | 61

Lurk @ 33

Like I once said to my friend: "why do you think all those russian and ukranian criminal oligarchs ran off to london with their money? for nice weather and good looking girls /s?"

London is capital of money laundering.

Posted by: Abe | Oct 17 2020 7:41 utc | 62

Thanks, Bevin highly interesting article. Makes much sense. I lived in Britain from 1972-1977, half a way in Ireland, up North close to the border.

The Brits are a very, very special people.

Basically, I never though Boris did envision anything but a hard Brexit. He and Farage fought so hard for it. In their arguments and their fights staying in the common market didn't matter much and I followed that closely. Corbyn on the other hand seemed to have mixed feelings, and did not surface a lot. In this context it's interesting to learn via Anderson that Labor already in the early 70s voted against joining the EU.

Much of this is a purely symbolic struggle it feels. Facts and fiction concerning fishery in the larger context of Albion reclaiming its seas - first step to Global Britain.

If it is not, what is it then?

Obviously, the EU cannot demand that its members adhere to certain social standards, consumer protection standards and adhere to basic competition laws and then allow an "outsider" to simply ignore all of that. Services is indeed a bigger question in that context too.

Posted by: vig | Oct 17 2020 8:06 utc | 63

Bevin #8, I think it was.
"half a way" Correction: half a year up North close to the border. Was quite heavy up there.

Posted by: Vig | Oct 17 2020 8:10 utc | 64

Well I only scanned thee comments briefly but I liked bemildred @6 best :-)

I disagree with all those who think that the UK- sorry - England - can make it as an independent country. No individual country can stand against the might of the worlds economic blocs. I do not believe that the UK can strike advantageous deals with Asia, or Europe or the Americas. We might be able to continue looting a few African countries until they move to China, but that's pretty much it.

Posted by: Tim Glover | Oct 17 2020 10:19 utc | 65

Beibdnn #3

I wonder if the populace will have the balls to do something about it or will the U.K. just become an irrelevance, despite it’s nuclear weapons on the world stage?

Thank you and I agree whole heartedly with your entire post. The perfidious albion has relegated itself to the village idiot class after Thatcher deconstructed its senior public service entirely and Blair followed suit. They have eaten the entire fabric from the inside and repair will take a generation plus.

The populace is barraged by propaganda so dense and all pervading that they may be incapable of even seeing their way forward as the hysterical nonsense is like a ghetto blaster of banalities. The city of London has control of a vast mass of global capital, gold and silver markets and maritime corporate controllers so I posit they will punch above their weight for another decade before sliding into the Thames sludge.

I assume they Tories will exploit their majority like never before and get Boris to push through all manner of legislation and appointments etc until the public start throwing up at the extreme of it all. Then they will do their usual night of the long knives and cast Boris and Dominic Cummings aside and push forward a 'nice chap' to smooth the dying pillow.

I do hope the heavy work going in to build the UK Workers Party can be rewarding. The electoral system is a disgrace so I don't hold high hopes.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2020 10:21 utc | 66

Yeah Right @57 Off topic, and you are mistaken. 0.1% is the WHO estimate of IFR for 'flu.

Posted by: Tim Glover | Oct 17 2020 10:28 utc | 67

Given the Great Reset and the New Green Deal, Brexit is now a very minor side-show

Posted by: archer | Oct 17 2020 10:30 utc | 68

@Yeah, Right #49

But I completely agree with your comment #49 :-)

Posted by: Tim Glover | Oct 17 2020 10:33 utc | 69

Between Brexit and Covid, the UK economy is heading into a tailspin that will take years/decades to recover from fully.

Posted by: Malchik Ralf | Oct 17 2020 12:40 utc | 70

Somethings smell fishy ... at the same time.
Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 16 2020 15:05 utc | 1

Switzerland thanks to its neutrality survived without scar to wars even in the center of Europe. If you didn't join the club yet, I'd give the same advice to Sweden (or Finland for that matter) you better stay out.

But smelly? No, tired old ill reflected routines.

Posted by: vig | Oct 17 2020 12:53 utc | 71

@67 Tim Glover, the article you link to is factually incorrect, as it relies upon a misreading of the WHO article that it relies upon for its "facts".

The article you linked to said this:
"In contrast, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the flu has an infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0.1% or lower."

That statement is false. Utterly and completely wrong.

The WHO article that the author relies upon as his source for the "IFR" of seasonal flu is here:

Go read it. That WHO document says nothing of the sort. Not once. Not ever.

I believe that the author's mistake was to misread this statement from that WHO document:
"Mortality for COVID-19 appears higher than for influenza, especially seasonal influenza. While the true mortality of
COVID-19 will take some time to fully understand, the data we have so far indicate that the crude mortality ratio (the
number of reported deaths divided by the reported cases) is between 3-4%, the infection mortality rate (the number
of reported deaths divided by the number of infections) will be lower. For seasonal influenza, mortality is usually
well below 0.1%. However, mortality is to a large extent determined by access to and quality of health care."

Read that paragraph carefully: note that when the WHO is talking about Covid-19 it is talking about deaths divided by REPORTED CASES which is the very definition of a CASE fatality rate, and it then compares that current estimate for the CFR value (3-4%) with the equivalent mortality rate for seasonal influenza (0.1%)

If the WHO is *comparing* those two values (3-4% versus 0.1%) then they must be *comparable* values i.e. one is the CFR value for Covid-19, the other is the CFR value for seasonal flu.

That WHO document does not once mention an INFECTION fatality rate for seasonal influenza, because the WHO knows full well that even attempting to guess the IFR for seasonal flu is a fool's errand. Nobody even attempts it, because they know it is impossible to measure it accurately.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 17 2020 13:02 utc | 72

Somethings smell fishy ... at the same time.
Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 16 2020 15:05 utc | 1

OK, strictly, I entertained the smelly idea below too vaguely, among other options:

The question asked was ab about Followers and Masters: is the UK the Pavolvian Dog that wags his tail following his masters signals; or is the UK the tail wagging dog US occasionally?

Strictly, not Gerald but Paul Robinson was asked that question. Anyway both are Brits:

To what end Paul? I don’t genuinely see any good that can come from it, nor any favour that will be gained, above that of a nice pat on the head. From the US boss (who seem bitterly disappointed that we longer be their Trojan horse in the EU).

Posted by: vig | Oct 17 2020 13:10 utc | 73

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 17 2020 13:02 utc | 72

Yup, Knightly botched the math, and given the way OG has conducted itself the last few years, I don't think it's an unfortunate accident either.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 17 2020 13:22 utc | 74

Unfortunately,a no deal Brexit is the only Brexit. Anything less, anything that negotiates, is short of a full Brexit. Now I despise Britain and I despise the EU and in their fight I wish both sides defeat, and if a no deal Brexit makes that likelier I'm so for it.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Oct 17 2020 13:27 utc | 75

donkeytale @Oct17 13:38 #76

In fact I predicted Brexit would never happen, mainly for the simple reason Britain can't feed itself.

I predicted the same but for different reasons: five-eyes Britain helps to keep EU in check and the City of London wants to remain as a top financial center.

Teresa May showed us that the establishment wants to keep UK in EU. And the establishment tries every possible trick to get what it wants.

Ok, maybe I was wrong.... However, I stand by my prediction.

Me too.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 17 2020 14:07 utc | 76

In my view, BREXIT was originally a concept that was pushed by Murdoch and his Cabal. He could not develop business in Europe and found himself locked into operating in the Anglosphere only. It was his revenge. He pushed (through his media network) the concept - very hard - and elevated politicians that supported his agenda. This was NOT about what is good for the UK ... it was his agenda that mattered. IT was NOT well considered, NOT properly calculated... NOT wisely reviewed. Its funny that an Australian with media interests has been given such a prominent role in the Affairs of the UK and America. And there always seems to be some 'whore' politician that is willing to sell out national interest in favor or fame (and fortune) purveyed by Murdoch's media.

Here we are some years later and the very politicians that he has been pushing on these ignorant working class people (to vote against themselves): i.e. Trump (and eventually Boris) will find themselves out of office. We are in the midst of a wholesale 'revolt' against Murdoch's agenda. He can't do anything about it.

Reason, reasonableness, proper consideration will ultimately prevail. Once people understand the stupidity and consequences of these decisions - it will ALL have to be reversed.

The simple reality is that an Anglosphere led by Murdoch and his political whores is a dumb proposition.These are stupid people.

After years of off shoring their economies to China, they suddenly see the emergence of China as an economic (and political) powerhouse. Today it is China that is Europe's largest trading Partner (not the US or UK for that matter). Thus US and UK can not call the shots with the Europeans. Its frustrating for them ... so these same people that pushed the 'China Agenda' ... are suddenly thinking that if they can't persuade the Europeans to put pressure on China, then they need to step away from Europe. Morons.

Meanwhile the Chinese are building super-highways to Europe - and cutting the costs of shipments to Europe. The Chinese are dominating Eurasia. The Chinese are dominating ALL fast growth export markets.

Brexit is a silly solution, to an economic proposition that US/UK peddled. The Europeans have NO incentive to compromise. Increased european trade with China (and Iran to by the way as sanctions get lifted in a few days) will more than make up for any impact of a no-deal Brexit for Europe.

Either this whole thing will be reversed (quickly) before Scotland splits off, or the UK economy further tanks ... OR the UK will be left to trade primarily with its Anglosphere partners.

Murdoch's concept was that somehow there can be two parallel economic domains - the Anglosphere and Sinosphere and that the UK can disengage from the Sinosphere and find greater prosperity. In his definition of the Anglosphere he includes India and the newly emerging Israel-Arab market (in addition to US, Canada, Aussies etc.).

The core issue is that NONE of its Anglosphere partners have the scale and means to replace China as a manufacturing super power. This idea that somehow India can be absorbed into the Anglosphere and replace China is not (in the near term) a reality. India has serious structural issues that will be very difficult to overcome. And with the rise of renewable energy, oil too will diminish in value and in turn diminish the value of a newly aligned Arab-Israel market to bring huge trading opportunities to the Anglosphere. Both India and the Israel-Arab markets face huge political risks going forward. The play out of the Anglosphere economic strategy will take a lot of time, and be very frustrating ... meanwhile Britons will suffer.

It won't be pretty. And if it doesn't pan out, what can the UK do about it? Start another world war? A no deal BREXIT is precisely a very very strong indication that the "strategy" will NOT pan out. Its an indication of impending strategic and execution failure. Its a 'sign of the times'...

Posted by: Ayatoilet | Oct 17 2020 14:45 utc | 77


I will quote you more liberally in the future.

I see that your worthy comment at "U.S. Fails To Find Allies For Waging War On China" was deleted. I replied to that comment but I didn't quote from it.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 17 2020 14:49 utc | 78

UK isn't an independent nation and their EU decision will be one that suits the empires requirements. Maybe ravelling in the east and unravelling in west is the project.

Posted by: charming | Oct 17 2020 15:21 utc | 79

donkeytale @Oct17 15:02 #82

Thanks but dont get yourself banned for my sake.

No worries. It's common practice to reference the relevant part of a comment that one is replying to. I'm just going to include a fuller contextualization for my reply by providing more of your comment. Without that contextualization future readers are left scratching their head - as they will in my reply to you on the "U.S. Fails To Find Allies For Waging War On China" thread.

I think other moa commenters should also take care to provide contextualization when replying to worthy comments from you that merit a serious response.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 17 2020 15:28 utc | 80

@Yeah, Right

Well you are right, I did not read the WHO source. It is ambiguous, as you say, and therefore should not have been used as a reference.

Here is a letter to the BMJ which sounds plausible (though I have not followed up these references either!. The conclusion is that the IFR for seasonal flu is 0.04. I guess for a bad year that would go up well over 0.1...?

I guess the answer is - nobody really knows the numbers either for flu or covid.

Posted by: Tim Glover | Oct 17 2020 16:34 utc | 81

Oops forgot the quote. My last post, promise!

Research conducted in New Zealand (NZ) and internationally suggests that the IFR for COVID-19 is typically at least an order of magnitude higher than for seasonal flu. The most detailed study of seasonal influenza mortality in NZ to date estimated average annual mortality of 13.5 (95%CI 13.4, 13.6) per 100,000 population [1]. Furthermore, the proportion of the NZ population infected with influenza in a year has been measured from a seroconversion study at 35% (95%CI: 32%-38%) [2]. Combining these figures suggests an IFR for seasonal influenza of about 0.039% (ie, 13.5/35,000) in NZ. This seasonal influenza IFR is 17 times lower than that estimated for COVID-19 at 0.68% [3] and 0.65% [4], based on international data (there have been too few COVID-19 cases in NZ to produce an IFR estimate).

Posted by: Tim Glover | Oct 17 2020 16:35 utc | 82

I, personally,can't wait for the BritNats to experience total misery. COVID19 has already impacted on many industries and Brexit will just kill them off.

The Brits have yet to realise what they voted for and the penury they are about to be launched into!

Go, England: wear your crown!

Posted by: Bevin Kacon | Oct 17 2020 16:35 utc | 83

donkeytale @Oct17 15:41 #85

All my comments, both worthy and unworthy are deleted.

And then you proceed to demonstrate why b does so!

I believe b's interest [in his pandemic coverage] is mainly to help sow discord and weaken western alliances ...

b has many times expressed interest in the well-being of the Western public. You pretend to the same in your socialist rants.

It's not weakening "western alliances" to write about how the West has failed the pandemic test. Sly, uncaring power-elites (with Trump at the top of the heap) are using the pandemic to further their own agenda, chiefly: boost anti-China sentiment; bailout Wall Street and Boeing; and save lots of $$$ by killing the old and sickly poor (mostly minorities).

... [b is] repackaging pro-Russian propaganda.

In the West, inconvenient truths - like the illusion of democracy and elite callousness & warmongering - are branded as "pro-Russian propaganda."

[b]... totally lost credibility over the lack of Putin response to Israeli, Amerikkkan and Turkish war making contretemps where he and many predicted over and over how Russia would slap down these other invaders with supposedly superior military technology and moral character. None of which has ever been in actual evidence.

b's liberal comment policy allows for objecting to his view. I myself have been critical of b's commentary on a number of occasions. But no blogger will put up with constant sniping and bickering or trolls that color the truth to serve some agenda. That sort of thing detracts from and defeats thoughtful conversation about the issues.

Your comment is factually incorrect: Putin has responded and Russia does have superior weaponry.

Those who criticize Russia's response try to turn Russia's careful strategy into a negative.

<> <> <> <> <>

I won't respond any further to such "troll-like" argumentative points.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 17 2020 16:54 utc | 84

Debsisdead, I attended Epsom Grammar School in New Zealand, way back in the day, and I can assure you my parents were not wealthy. I believe Auckland Grammar had a slightly lower reputation back then. I took my own younger children down in the mid 80's and schools were still much better than in the US, and schools still excellent early 90's,last time we were there.

A huge change however was just beginning to occur. Big business was moving in, land prices in the cities rising dramatically. I headed to the South Island where the country was still as I had remembered it (not Queenstown, I can assure you!) Otago Peninsula, tiny schools, great teachers. That was the last of it, I guess. There were revamping messages bruited about on education soon after I left. Charter school stuff and the like; US 'values' creeping in.

I would guess there's a lot of damage to undo. More than 20 years of that train picking up steam. and John Key as pm, who had been a Wall Street protege' and hung out with Obama. Neoliberalism, Five Eyes, rot. Privatization on steroids. And when, finally, Labour was voted back in, it was like Obama's 'change we can believe in', still quasi-neoliberal. And I think they probably made mistakes - how could they not? They had to cobble together a coalition with two minor parties, neither of which had the full commitment to reform - at least, that is what seemed to me from here. And the out of power Nationals were loud on any imperfections. But now that the Adern government has been voted back in more decisively, without having to form a coalition, let's see if and how the needed reforms progress. Key had been on the corporate bandwagon. His party was neoliberal to the teeth, which hopefully most now see is a trainride to hell. New Zealand got very far along that track, and trains take a while to put on the brakes. Not easy, that.

You may have some legitimate gripes still, you are there; I'm not. But oh my, it is far better there already than here right now.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 17 2020 17:33 utc | 85

I love Brexit – for whatever damage it will do to the EU. Brexit may very well hurt the UK in the short run. But it’s going to hurt us (the EU) too, and I suspect it’s also going to hurt us much more than the UK. Take fishing rights. It’s an insane negotiating tactic to want to keep fishing in a country’s waters when that country is leaving the EU precisely because of such infringements of sovereignty. That’s mafia style, but some kind of mafia for retards. So I expect fish and chips to become slightly more affordable for Brits on their side of the Channel, but on our side, the price for fish will explode. Myself, I’m going to stock up on canned fish in the coming months, that’s for sure. German “Brat-Hering”, fried herring pickled and in a can. It’s absolutely delicious (especially together with “Pellkartoffeln” and diced cornichons and onions). It’s also nice to have around should the virus make shopping a problem again in the coming months. Canned mackerel too, maybe some canned salmon, though they don’t have that at most supermarkets.

Britain will be better off, because the EU is some kind of Babylonian Titanic, staffed by dimwits, Belgian or otherwise, who don’t even share a common language, a Titanic that’s already hit the ice. I’m talking about inflation here. Yes, they never had the Euro, but that won’t be enough to shield them from the coming disintegration of the Euro. Better completely disentangle from anything with even the word “euro” in it. When inflation becomes too obvious and everybody and their uncle scrambles to get their gold relocated from London, the Brits can just say, sorry, not possible. Then back their own currency with other people’s gold.

PS: I never knew that song was Dylan’s! I thought it was written by Brian Ferry. Thanks for enlightening me there!

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Oct 17 2020 19:56 utc | 86

Paora @ 60

You are on the ball! FYI the homeless at Rotorua were obviously out of it on meth amphetamines so we packed up and left town when we couldn't get to sleep. As for the WW1 charge of Beersheba. The Zionist regime tried to milk it for propaganda back in 2013 by issuing a joint commemoration postage stamp with Australia and NZ. However NZ declined to be involved so that left the Bandit State and Australia. The trouble was they couldn't get their history right after the withdrawal of NZ. One stamp commended the attack on the heights of Tel el Saba which was actually captured by the Auckland Mounted Rifles. The NZ High Commission in Canberra objected and Australia quietly withdrew the 'joint' stamp. See' Middle East Reality Check propaganda stamps 2' sorry there was a blackout and I lost the link.

As for the military weapons sales see the PSNA website. They have a petition.

Regarding the Cabinet minute it was celebrated in the NZ Herald 18 July 2020, 'Marking the NZ First Deal, the report card.'

My earlier election prediction turned out to be correct, NZ First is gone, Labour had a thumping win and there was a bonus. Veteran National Party toad and Zionist apologist, Gerry Brownlee, was voted out. Brownlee, as replacement foreign minister, visited Australia and was persuaded by PM Turnbull and FM Bishop to write a grovelling letter to the Bandit State apologising for NZ's co- sponsorship of UNSC 2334, which he did 'without cabinet approval' according to the NZ PM Bill English. What part of the Geneva Conventions does Brownlee not understand?
Zionism is not an easy sell in NZ and is increasingly repugnant throughout the world.

Perhaps I am starry eyed about NZ as I spent years in Australia and can see the difference.

Posted by: Paul | Oct 17 2020 20:17 utc | 87

Police officer poisoned by novichok in Salisbury to quit

So, is he going to be "suicided", or did he received a generous pension and a very nice house in the middle of nowhere in England's countryside?

Posted by: vk | Oct 17 2020 21:06 utc | 88

michael #21

I believe a hard Brexit when it actually happens, and not one second earlier.

So far the Likelihood has tilted toward BoJo torpedoing the Brexit itself, just as May did - he's just less open about it.

michael, mate, steady on - lay off the cool aid.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2020 21:29 utc | 89

jackrabbit #84

Comparing your posts #78 and #80 with this one #84.

Are there two jackrabbits? each with a different attitude/interpretation.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2020 21:37 utc | 90

UK is irrelevant, who cares?!


Posted by: Nick | Oct 17 2020 21:40 utc | 91

passerby #35

I suggest a new unit of measurement, to indicate how much one dislikes a politician: the Trump. One Trump is a dislike, equal to the dislike Hillary Clinton feels for Donald Trump.

I'll play.

Donald Trump 1 trump
Hillary Clinton 10 trumps
Benny nuttyahoo 20 tumps
Boris the menace 20 trumps
Debbie Wasserman Schultz 20 trumps
Joe Biden zero trumps as he keeps dropping them in his soup
Rachel Madcow 25 trumps

your turn.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2020 21:50 utc | 92

To Paul (#47), I agree with what you wrote (i.e. ordinary Brits & Yanks voted / will vote for the zio-con candidate -- even though Starmer / Biden work against our interests), but in your short paragraph above, you managed to use the word "loose" five times when what you meant was "lose". We who expect social justice in the West might as well learn to spell that word properly...

Posted by: Jim Dandy | Oct 17 2020 22:33 utc | 93

So, Boris the menace has appointed former Australian PM Tony [the mad monk] Abbott as a trade negotiator for the UK, watch out UK and watch out Australia. The mad monk desperately wants a knighthood. Could that be why Tony, or should I say Sir Tony, tried to make the Duke of Edinburgh a knight of the realm? Imagine how stupid that stunt was.

Posted by: Paul | Oct 17 2020 23:03 utc | 94

@81 Tim Glover

WHO is measuring the IFR for Covid-19 because, well, it can. And it can do that because:
a) This is a "novel" virus i.e. it wasn't around last year.
b) There is no vaccine

So if you take a blood serum sample and it shows antibodies for coronavirus then you are certain to have been infected.

Compare and contrast to the seasonal flu.

You may have caught the flu two years ago.
You may have had a flu shot last year.

So you take a blood serum sample and it shows antibodies. But what does that actually tell you about THIS season's flu?
Were you infected by THIS year's influenza strain?
Or are you showing the results of last year's flu shot?
Or the bout of flu you had two years ago.
How do you tell the difference?

People like Kit Knightly and the rest of the "It's just the flu!!!!" crowd have leapt on the WHO's estimate of the IFR for covid-19 because it gives a much smaller value than the CFR, and from their PoV that suits them just fine. But they then have to make the comparison with seasonal flu, and that leads to a problem: nobody thinks that it is possible to come up with an accurate measure of the IFR for seasonal flu, for the reason I give above. So they don't, they all talk about the CFR for seasonal flu - which is at least going to result in a credible measure.

Which is a problem, because you can't compare the IFR of one disease with the CFR of another.
Kit Knightly does so anyway, and gets around it by simply hoping that nobody notices.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 17 2020 23:29 utc | 95

@81 "The conclusion is that the IFR for seasonal flu is 0.04. I guess for a bad year that would go up well over 0.1...?"

In a bad year the number of deaths go up, but so does the number of infections i.e. both the numerator and the denominator go up.

So, yeah, the IFR will change, but doubtful it would change by an order of magnitude.

Here is an excellent article on how even knowledgeable people are conflating IFR with CFR

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 17 2020 23:51 utc | 96

uncle tungsten @Oct17 21:37 #90

Only one long-eared Jackrabbit !!

What you're referencing is my side of a conversation with donkeytale. b later deleted donkeytale's comments.

donkeytale will occasionally make a good comment that adds to a discussion. I recognize this even if I disagree with his POV. He did so on the "U.S. Fails To Find Allies For Waging War On China" thread.

I replied to his comment on that thread but I didn't quote from his comment because I was replying to multiple points that he had made. b subsequently deleted donkeytale's comment and that meant that future readers can't see what I was replying to.

So it makes sense to quote donkeytale in the future when he makes a comment that warrants a serious reply. However, after I told him I would do so, donkeytale went into a anti-b rant which I then felt compelled to reply to as it immediately followed my acceptance of the need to contextualize any reply to donkeytale.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 18 2020 5:07 utc | 97

Lurk | Oct 16 2020 19:20 utc | 33

There was another type of brexit voter. The nihilist.

My personal experience was that of British business exploiting immigrants whilst pouring scorn on British workers (For example, Priti Patel described us as lazy). It is easy to see the lure though. Immigrants are desperate and have no knowledge of employment laws. But I didn't let this fact clash with my options.

The reason for my vote was that one group had backed themselves into a corner (those that profit nicely from the continuing EU membership).

They had metaphorically got ready for suicide. They had bought the chair and rope, assembled the noose, placed it over their head(s) and started rocking the chair. I gave it the kick it needed to topple over. One moment of satisfaction was seeing Cameron run away crying (I know he is laughing now, but that's the case of all ex PMs).

The biggest satisfaction though was hearing remainers bleat about selfishness (which ever side won meant a bum deal for me and my ilk). I remember one chap accusing me of deliberately trying to destroy his life. He didn't like it when I pointed his previous voting choices never included others needs or suffering. I remember another whining about not being able to take their dog skiing (I can barely afford three days camping in tents).

We've been encouraged to crap over each other for at least thirty years. My vote didn't allow that luxury, but it did give me the chance to reach up and pinch their nuts.

Am I sorry? No. Remain would have continued the status quo, giving at best a slower decent into the fire. I got to take a few of those stood on my shoulders with me.

As Carlin said "Right now, right this minute, it's as good as it gets" He was a very talented observer.

Posted by: Some Random Passerby | Oct 18 2020 13:33 utc | 98

I almost never contest or correct, because I'm interested in different povs, and hey, anything goes :) ...but...

No, Ed @2, and the pair @ 4, the EU has been very reasonable, even bent over backwards. The EU is slow, bureaucratic, and certainly in the eyes of some, domineering, inflexible, yes, true ...Dealing with it is wearisome, time-consuming, exasperating, no quick gent's deals (pirate booty, say, or hedge fund participation) can be agreed on pronto, in one day, or max 2 weeks.

GB is a big loss for the EU. A loss in trade, in expertise (as Naked Cap. makes clear the services will suffer - not just those in GB..), loss of EU ‘prestige', 'Harmony' .. a block that sticks together and may get bigger...(Expansion to East..)

The 4 freedoms apply in less places, biz oppos are lost, much time (money) will have to be spent to deal with the multiple problems that will arise, enormous. (N. Ireland - expat citizens - unemployment - more ..)

Geo-politically it is a disaster, makes the EU less tied to what they see as the Mega-Power, as it now no longer includes a 5-eyes country.

The attitude it is all the fault of the EU is BS. It merely parrots tabloid sentiment, sleazy propaganda aimed at dumbing down Brits and earning clicks. (And possibly, trapping them in a dystopia where Unions, Environmental Protection, free primary schools, a decent NHS, no longer exist.)

From someone who campaigned hard against joining the EU (1992, Switz.) - I am even more strongly anti-EU than at that time.

The left in GB was split between Labour-left-pro-exit, and the third-wayer ‘globalists’, the credentialised class who in the main were Remainers. I blame Corbyn - aka the Lab. inner core - for not taking on that split and *doing something*, an unpopular view for sure.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 18 2020 13:46 utc | 99

Time to send the Liberal Genius Trudeau-Castro wunderchild in to solve everything!
Canada to the rescue. Again.

Posted by: JoeG | Oct 18 2020 17:49 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.