Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 21, 2020

A No Deal Brexit Is Now All But Certain To Happen

"Fog in channel. Continent cut off." is a famous headline that was once used in a British newspaper (or maybe not). It encapsulates the snobbish British attitude towards Europe. Some fog indeed arose in the channel today but a much denser cloud will arise from the waters on January 1.

The new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus now per-dominant in south England has give a sudden foretaste of the chaos that can be expected at Britain's borders 10 days from now when Britain will leave the custom union and common market with the EU.

It remains unclear how much the mutant virus will change the course of the pandemic:

Scientists, meanwhile, are hard at work trying to figure out whether B.1.1.7 is really more adept at human-to-human transmission—not everyone is convinced yet—and if so, why. They’re also wondering how it evolved so fast. B.1.1.7 has acquired 17 mutations all at once, a feat never seen before.
One reason to be concerned, [Andrew Rambaut, a molecular evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh,] says, is that among the 17 mutations are eight in the gene that encodes the spike protein on the viral surface, two of which are particularly worrisome. One, called N501Y, has previously been shown to increase how tightly the protein binds to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor, its entry point into human cells. The other, named 69-70del, leads to the loss of two amino acids in the spike protein and has been found in viruses that eluded the immune response in some immunocompromised patients.
In a press conference on Saturday, Chief Science Adviser Patrick Vallance said B.1.1.7, which first appeared in a virus isolated on 20 September, accounted for about 26% of cases in mid-November. “By the week commencing the ninth of December, these figures were much higher,” he said. “So, in London, over 60% of all the cases were the new variant.” Johnson added that the slew of mutations may have increased the virus’ transmissibility by 70%.

Christian Drosten, a virologist at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, says that was premature. “There are too many unknowns to say something like that,” he says. For one thing, the rapid spread of B.1.1.7 might be down to chance. Scientists previously worried that a variant that spread rapidly from Spain to the rest of Europe—confusingly called B.1.177—might be more transmissible, but today they think it is not; it just happened to be carried all over Europe by travelers who spent their holidays in Spain. Something similar might be happening with B.1.1.7, says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Georgetown University. Drosten notes that the new mutant also carries a deletion in another viral gene, ORF8, that previous studies suggest might reduce the virus’ ability to spread.

Some 40 countries reacted to yesterday's news of the new virus variant by stopping air traffic with Britain. France closed all transport links with the island. Britain depends on food from abroad and there were immediately fears about supply shortages:

UK supermarkets and supply chain experts warned of potential shortages of some products if the French restrictions aren't eased soon. The UK government held a crisis meeting Monday.

One major supermarket chain, Sainsbury's, said it had stockpiled enough produce to prevent Brits going without their Christmas dinners but warned of shortages of some fresh fruit and vegetables if the situation doesn't improve soon.

"If nothing changes, we will will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli, citrus fruit — all of which are imported from EU at this time of year," Sainsbury's said in a statement. "We hope UK and French [governments] can come to a solution that prioritizes immediate passage of produce and food."

The closing down of transport routes makes little sense as the horse has already left the proverbial barn. The B.1.1.7 mutant was first observed on September 20. As it is now prevalent in south Britain it has certainly already crossed the borders and reached other countries. If it really has an advantage over other variants of the virus by being more infectious it will in the end be found all over the world.

Britain has an excellent integrated surveillance system for virus variants. In about 5% of all Covid-19 cases in Britain the virus genome gets sequenced. Other countries sequence one in 1000 cases or even less. There is no way they could find and isolate all carriers of the new variant.

The proverbial fog that came down with the new virus variant is therefore likely to lift soon.

But a few days later the fog will arise again. Over the last days the chance of a hard no-deal Brexit on December 31 has mightily increased. Without a deal the easy transfer of goods from and to Britain will end. As new procedure have not been put into place the chaos that will cause will by far exceed anything we are seeing today.

Yves Smith sees little chance for a deal to still happen. Her opener is appropriate:

One has to wonder if all the bad karma that the UK incurred in its imperial days has finally come home to roost with a vengeance. The UK has found that the Brexit cliff edge arrived early thanks to a Covid cordon imposed by its trade partners, and as we’ll discuss soon, the real Brexit cliff is bearing down on the UK.

The last negotiations on Sunday about a deal that would allow Britain common market access have failed. There are at least two open issues. Fishing rights for EU countries in British waters is the more populist one. But the 'level playing field', which means that Britain has to stick to some EU rules if it wants free market access, is the way more important issue:

Because the Brexit deadline “wolf” has been cried one too many times, the press is under-reacting to the failure to come to an agreement over the weekend. This is an event horizon. It even resembles the way the real-life version is supposed to work, that there’s no obvious change when an object gets irrevocably sucked into the gravitational field of a black hole. The two sides are bizarrely still talking about a deal that now can’t get done in time as opposed to changing focus to what happens on January 1 and what can be done to ameliorate the damage.

In fairness, the EU now looks to be engaging in an empty exercise simply to preserve its claim that it didn’t leave the negotiating table. But Barnier would need a new mandate to do anything different, or at least some interim guidance from the Commission.

Nevertheless, the talks appear to be terminal even though both sides are still meeting. The headlines in the UK press are also making it sound as if fish, which to Brexiteers means EU intransigence, are scuppering the deal, when the critically important “level playing field” is still unresolved.

The EU can now allow Britain free access to its market and allow it to subsidize its companies or to lower working, health or quality standards. That would give British companies an unfair advantage over those within the EU. Barnier, the chief EU negotiator, has order not to move on the issue. But in the eyes of a Brexiteer a 'level playing field' means that Britain must follow EU rules and thereby does not have full sovereignty. Unless Boris Johnson makes a 180 degree turn and accepts the 'level playing field' clauses today, no deal will be made.

Anything negotiated beyond today can not be ratified by the EU parliament before January 1. Those who expect that the EU parliament will fudge the issues, and will let a deal pass without having sufficient time to look into it, misjudge the mood Brussels is in.

It's over. Brexit is done. Unfortunatelly done in a way that maximizes the damage it will cause.

Posted by b on December 21, 2020 at 19:22 UTC | Permalink

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re gm | Dec 23 2020 0:12 utc | 97 on comment box expiring after 30 minutes
I've been doing the same as you for a very long time. The disappearing posts issue was unrelated to the comment box timer as I refreshed the page before the post pasted the comment in then posted it only to see it disappear as soon as I refreshed after posting.

I dunno what is doing it some obscure akismet rule which I've yet to suss I imagine.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 23 2020 1:20 utc | 101

James & gm I too do as you do and this is my 3rd post to say that. It is the comment box timer it is some akismet rule possibly relating to the confidential form of vpn I prefer to use, possibly not.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 23 2020 1:23 utc | 102

oops it isn't the comment box timer .

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 23 2020 1:24 utc | 103

Thanks for recommending that article by Larry Romanoff, Grieved (29), in the Unz Review. The sudden flare-ups of covid-19 around the world, at different times, is more than a little disturbing. On a different note, as alternative media stalwarts, MOA & TUR should be allies.

Posted by: Jeem | Dec 23 2020 1:37 utc | 104

There are increasingly genuine lunatics on this site, especially over the issue of Brexit, which few know anything about. Bevin's "it was a very large majority that wished to leave" was outstanding in being away in la-la land. Virtually the only time there was ever a popular majority for Brexit was on 23rd June 2016, and recent opinion polls for more than a year, maybe two, have been consistently anti-Brexit but not by a lot. Why do you think Johnson chose an election a year ago? Because if he'd chosen a second referendum to confirm Brexit, he knew he would have lost.

In any case the whole creaky unwieldy structure is coming crashing down. Macron orders a closure of the frontiers for 48 hours, and Britain is on the edge of starvation. Two weeks and they would have genuinely starved. It's that bad. The problem with vulture capitalism is that if you asset-strip everything as the Tories have been doing (since the time of Thatcher), there's nothing left to stand up to a crisis, now a double crisis. No industry, no retail commerce (eg Arcadia), little agriculture or fisheries. Just hedge funds in the City who are going to short sterling when real Brexit finally comes in 10 days. Shorting as you know is an indirect form of asset-stripping; it'll work fine to fill the Tories pockets for a month or two; and then what?

People don't understand how Britain is fed (let alone works), neither Brexiters nor MoAers. 18,000 cross-channel truck movements per day, unchecked by customs, bringing in food and parts for the remaining factories. All that is about to get a permanent slow-down in 10 days time. and all funnelled through a limited number of ports, which are already semi-blocked up. You have to see the system in person to understand how astounding it all is. Customs checking will wreck the viability, but not absolutely.

As I said earlier, I'm increasingly convinced that Macron closed the frontiers for 48 hours as a demonstration, to try and get some sense into the heads of the revolutionary nutters who are unfortunatelly leading the British government, but I doubt he will succeed. Once the ideology of the revolution wins the fight, however unrealistic it is, reality doesn't get much of a look in.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 23 2020 1:39 utc | 105

@ laguerre.. lets just take it one post or thread at a time...who in their right mind would vote for boris and yet they did! and didn't he represent this same lack of concern for any of the implications of any of this here?? as for food security in the uk - to a good degree it is the same situation on the planet at present with agribiz and transportation lines all very vulnerable to interruption.. i never knew the uk people to eat vegatables anyway... that was my impression back when i travelled thru the area... fish and chips is the thing... maybe it has changed radically from when i was their.. and as far as i can tell macron is a part of this same system of money calling the shots... the powers that be were freaked out at the thought le pen could get anywhere near the halls of power, so they brought in this non entity macron... so if anyone is putting the screws to anyone it is the same extremely wealthy playing a game with one another to arouse more fear then is necessary here... how do you fit into this?? thanks...

Posted by: james | Dec 23 2020 2:03 utc | 106

For those who are advocating revoking the will of the English people and taking away their collective right to be lemmings towards their own doom, can you please explain to all of us racist, snobbish, backwater types why we should support a repeal of Brexit?

And please indictate why we should support the London-based technocratic elite that was almost unanimously in favor of staying in the EU over the little people spread out around the island who wanted to stick it to the little shits in the city.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 23 2020 2:14 utc | 107

Posted by: james | Dec 23 2020 2:03 utc | 104

"the powers that be were freaked out at the thought le pen could get anywhere near the halls of power, so they brought in this non entity macron."

I'm afraid, James, that you too, far away in Canada from the action, are as unrealistic as some others here. Le Pen was never near power. She was comprehensively defeated in 2017, and even during the campaign, was forced to drop a Frexit policy like a hot potato, as a certain loser. It's only (far right) Brexiters and Steve Bannon types who think otherwise, as suiting their ideology) but you attach yourself to them. Macron is in power because he's quite good, ran an intelligent campaign, and most importantly his opponents discredited themselves, both Socialists (Hollande) and the Right (no-one wants Sarkozy back).

You are like even some (most) British government ministers (e.g., but not only, Raab) in failing to understand how dependent Britain is on imported food. The Brits are at this moment getting a nasty lesson, about to be made permanent in 10 days time. But it's not only the food, it's the just-in-time parts for the factories - the Japanese car plants in Britain have had to stop for lack of parts. Landrover production, an iconic British type owned by a nationalist Brexiter, is being exported to a plant in France.

Isolationist Brexitism is unworkable, but that's what Brexiters (and some here) want.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 23 2020 2:57 utc | 108

#105 Nemesis Calling

There is no possibility of Brexit being "revoked" in the near or medium future, because there is no way the 27 European governments who currently make up the EU are ever going to allow Britain to rejoin the club on anything like the remarkably favorable terms you had before Brexiteers "won". What you Brexiteers have "won" is a significant decrease in Britain's wealth, power, and influence in the world, which in turn will lead to a drop in the standard of living for the great majority of Britain's population. But the 0.1 percent of Britain will probably be unharmed by this.
Britain's immediate future will involve the struggle to determine whether it becomes an economic and political satellite of the EU or of the US. Scotland and maybe Wales may break off from Britain over this question. Over the next 1 to 5 years, you might still eventually make a deal with the EU that allows you to keep at least parts of your current economy functioning (by allowing you to retain some access to European markets), in return for continuing to obey EU rules. Of course, becoming "rule takers not rule makers" to the EU will be utterly repugnant to many, so you may instead decide to retain your "freedom" to slash your environmental standards and worker's salaries to the bone, in order to become more economically competitive. This might allow you to export more to the US and maybe even to some Asian markets, if you are prepared to meet at least some of their demands.

Posted by: Fnord13 | Dec 23 2020 3:07 utc | 109

re NemesisCalling | Dec 23 2020 2:14 utc | 105 more tosh! I've yet to see anyone here argue that brexit should be scrapped. It's a farce, a three card trick pulled off by the englander elite, but like many others I don't want to see it stopped, it is about time all the englander drongos woke up to their own stupidity. Karma is a bitch but I doubt there is a single little englander who doesn't deserve what is going to happen to them.
My biggest concern is bucket loads of the racist petit bourgeois scum scarpering down to this part of the world to try and avoid the consequences of their stupidity.
Even now in the height of englander covidiocy they are whining bitching and moaning as they try to come here, upset that the few allowed in are subjected to quarantine. Just about every arrival caught trying to evade quarantine here has been an englander. I would ban the lot of them because like the white south africans who came here in the 90's, their ignorant exceptionalism disrupts the balance of the bi-cultural co-operation that contemporary Aotearoa is based upon.

I have no doubt that the Scots, and maybe even the Ulstermen will separate from the union over brexit and that is much needed. The welsh are just as screwed now as they have ever been, they are simply too close to the south eastern heart of the englander elite base and their populations too intermingled to be able to have a clean break from england's imperialism which has always been used to conceal the lie that is 'the union'.

People who truly understand the history & geography of europe and its colonisation by the romans, the saxons and the vikings ought to know that the englander conglomeration of those elites dominated europe for more than 300 years by playing elements of continental europe against each other.
It took england , Prussia & Russia to defeat napoleonic france at the start of the 19th century just as Russia, France & england tried to take on greater Prussia (Germany) at the start of the 20th century.
It was Germany & France who had the two largest standing armies in europe and in the 20th century euro war england sided with the french army and failed. Now that Germany & France are on the same page, probably forever, right now england has no one to back it up once englander jingoism pushes europe into another war.
Amerika won't go for backing england because the euro common market is not a market amerika can afford to lose.

Study the history of Russia, how it was settled by the Rus who were vikings outta Sweden who invaded Russia at the same time the Norsemen/Normans outta Denmark & Norway invaded western europe incl britain. How the Rus settled in what we now call Russia and defeated the black sea mob who had picked up Judaism from a few jewish exiles who escaped to black sea communities, then the black sea mob, invigorated by their new recruits swept north east to dominate the Ukraine and establish the Pale (since destroyed by A Hitler centuries later), became incrementally defeated by the Rus, it is possible to imagine that in a few years (alright decades), Russia and england both alienated from Europe, Russia by their old enemy Germany and england by their's, France, will recognise their commonality and work together to resist the franco-germanic entity which the EU will now become.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 23 2020 3:16 utc | 110

The key rookie mistake of UK is quite obvious: you can't piss off EU without an alternative. The alternative is either the US - which would turn UK into a vassal like East Germany in 1960, worse than it was with the EU -, or Russia/China. Since British leadership is so bonkers as to openly antagonize the only economic bloc that would actually treat them fairly, they're going to suffer a lot.
This, of course, is also true for any other Western country that wants to decouple from the uber-capitalism neo-liberal economic bloc that rules over America and Europe - their only path ahead is to jumo ship and side with Moscow and Beijing.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 23 2020 3:18 utc | 111

And Trump's love affair with war criminals continues. He pardon's all 4 of the Raven23, blackwater contractors. I believe 23 is the number of civilians they gunned down in Baghdad.

Pete Hegseth lobbied for them, he really loves war criminals. You can't judge American soldiers EVER! Just Iranians for what we think they might do in the future.

This is why I will not miss Trump. Could you imagine how enraged the Iraqis must be?
1. 4 contractors shoot up 2 dozen people in your own capital.

2. You are not even allowed to try them, they get whisked away to the occupiers court system which is already going to go easy on them and the lord and master President pardons them and thanks them for their service.

3. The occupiers snarl at you and question your loyalty to Iraq since you were only born in Iraq, we the U.S. invaded, we know how to run your country.

I don't know the facts of this case but we absolutely do not care about Iraq's sovereignty. We are just going to shoot up their country whenever we feel like it and then take it out of their hands. We have no empathy.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Dec 23 2020 3:26 utc | 112 <- British professional journal, September 15

Belarus’s beleaguered government remains unfazed by covid-19. President Aleksander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has flatly denied the seriousness of the pandemic, refusing to impose a lockdown, close schools, or cancel mass events like the Belarusian football league or the Victory Day parade.

Yet the country’s death rate is among the lowest in Europe—just over 700 in a population of 9.5 million with over 73 000 confirmed cases.


After this article was written, the number of deaths in Belarus almost doubled, but in most countries of East and central Europe the increase was much, much higher, these countries missed the spring wave and were hit very hard by late Fall/Winter wave. Now Belarus has lower mortality per million that each of its neighbors, quite a bit below the world average, not to mention European average.

In South America, Uruguay is a mysterious low outlier (Venezuela is an outlier too, but that can be attribute to economic blockade and ensuing low level of international travel). There should be a serious study of the methods in those two countries (tragic outcomes in Argentina and Poland, much milder in widely similar Uruguay and Belorus).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 23 2020 3:40 utc | 113

@ Laguerre | Dec 23 2020 2:57 utc | 106.. thanks laguerre... lets see how it plays out.. i wish willie would comment.. he is in france and i like his perpective when he offers it... i just can't see it this way, but am open to being wrong... the way macron treated the yellow vests tells me how much his viewpoint is out of sync with many in france.. that he is an ex or continued employee of the rothchilds wouldn't surprise me... i don't believe that is conspiracy theory either...

Posted by: james | Dec 23 2020 3:56 utc | 114

Debsisdead @Dec23 3:16 #108

It's a farce, a three card trick pulled off by the englander elite, but like many others I don't want to see it stopped ...

The farce is not Brexit but the pretense of democratic choice.

Some of us are waiting patiently for the hook - which always comes when democratic choice conflicts with EU integration (and any democratic choice that is adverse to the elite, actually).

Enjoy the show.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 23 2020 4:01 utc | 115

hey bunny - are you providing popcorn, or do we have to make our own?? merry christmas to you as well!

Posted by: james | Dec 23 2020 4:04 utc | 116

Exactly right. The crisis is deep and severe, but it has nothing to do with science. It is a political coup following the ongoing economic collapse. Now that the empire has run out of 3rd world countries to crush and rob, it has turned on its own populations.

Posted by: Norwegian | Dec 22 2020 12:29 utc 59

Yes, you are right about the elite turning on the populations of the rich countries. I thought they might be worried of a backlash, but nothing in sight yet. The pain will have be worse I guess before that happens. Your country has quite a nice rainy day fund created from selling of natural resources. To those who like to plunder, that must look like a juicy prize.

Posted by: Tom | Dec 23 2020 4:56 utc | 117

[Had not seen this on MOA]
EU prices for Covid vaccine disclosed...

Oxford/AstraZeneca: €1.78; Johnson & Johnson: $8.50; Sanofi/GSK: €7.56; BioNTech/Pfizer: €12; CureVac: €10; and Moderna: $18.

Posted by: chu teh | Dec 23 2020 5:43 utc | 118

re chu teh @ # 116

Yeah I saw it the other day too I first thought about linking it in with a story about price divergence but the issue of prices all mixed up, being in amerikan dollars, euros and englander pounds made the bizness too complicated.
That plus the fact that the prices listed are the cost price per dose for nations and doesn't reflect the cost to end user government which should include distribution costs eg Pfizer vaccine requires expensive logistics and infrastructure as it has to be stored below -60° C, some vaccines are single dose a few single and most of all it doesn't tell us what will be the charge for the most interesting of the lot, the one I & a couple of other loudmouths are currently harrassing the Aotearoa government to get should it pass the current tests (which it will!), the astra-zeneca Sputnik V mix.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 23 2020 6:14 utc | 119

There will be a deal - there's no other alternative as the country would collapse without one.

Posted by: Ruth | Dec 23 2020 7:50 utc | 120

One factor rarely mentioned is that the people in charge in London largely seem to dismiss the EU as not being "a real thing". They constantly tried to bypass Brussels during the negotiations in order to talk "directly" to Paris or Berlin. Many in London seem to perceive the EU as a transitional project, a kind of house of cards that will collaps soon once the Britain-card is removed.

Posted by: m | Dec 23 2020 7:53 utc | 121

The new variant CJD COVID is just there to scare people into foregoing their traditional Christmases. Asking people not to meet friends and relatives without a major scare or two would not work but the nvCOVID and introducing Tier 4 (when will they get to Tier 11? - ref. This is Spinal Tap) might have the desired affect.

Meanwhile with the possibility of a last minute agreement with the EU, Macron took the British's government's propaganda and used it to justify shutting down the Dover-Calais ferry/Channel Tunnel routes, the most important for delivering fresh food, fruit and vegetables from southern Europe to the UK in winter, just to show Johnson what a no deal Brexit would be like.

The British government leaving the UK almost totally dependent on France to keep these links open is beyond stupid. They should have diversified the routes by hiring ferry companies on all other routes to carry all lorries (not just UK ones) to/from the UK at the same price as the Dover/Calais route.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Dec 23 2020 9:20 utc | 122

I do believe, old chap, as I have since the moment I heard about the referendum that there will be no Brexit. Let's try to be nuanced: by Brexit I mean the amorphous concept the people thought they were voting for in the referendum. THAT Brexit will never happen. If UKanistan somehow does leave the EU, the exit will NOT resemble THAT Brexit.

Lets not forget also that the Brexit referendum was originally an internal Tory party idea (hat tip to Dodgy Dave Cameron). Why would anyone think that UK elites would stage a referendum AND do as it says? I mean come on, how naive can you be?

Posted by: Idiocrates | Dec 23 2020 9:47 utc | 123

To those with the eyes to see, the EU was an obvious screw up in 1992 with the Maastricht Treaty. That enlarged the EU from 12 to 15 member states with free movement between them.
It's all well and good when a trading bloc is a handful of countries with the same standard and cost of living, low unemployment and similar social practices. (not that we had low unemployment then.) Increase the number of countries in that bloc and you increase the diversity of the above.

I live in London. I tell people, you knew the EU was over in 2007 when all the Big Issue sellers turned into Romanian women. Why were people coming across the breadth of Europe to sell the homeless magazine on the streets here ??

I live in social housing, a block of flats. For the past decade there’s been a daily procession of european vagrants going through the communal rubbish bins here.
There’s a third world density of beggars on the streets, from all over the EU but preponderantly from E.Europe. I’ve spoken to beggars from Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Spain.
There’s no shortage of indigenous beggars and rough sleepers too, particularly the last few months.

For Brits, there’s been difficulty finding work since the 90’s but particularly this century. The gap between semi-skilled wages and the dole has been narrowing till, now for some people they’d be as well off unemployed as going out to work. Of the professionals that I know, none of them is getting above the London average wage.

People knew what they were voting for in the Referendum. The majority preferred the deep blue sea to the devil they knew.

Some links to illustrate. John Harris “Post-Brexit Alliance Building” (12mins)

and Mark Blyth “Athens Interview” excerpt (4mins)

Posted by: Tubbs | Dec 23 2020 9:51 utc | 124

@ Ghost Ship | Dec 23 2020 9:20 utc | 122

It's not only in the UK, and because of Brexit, that we have new COVID (same as last CIVID). I think you're onto something, think Weapons of Mass Distraction.

I think the saying goes: you cannot fool all of the people all of the time...but you can sure as hell try. Some of the time you may even prevail.

Posted by: Idiocrates | Dec 23 2020 9:53 utc | 125

@124 tubbs

Nice post. Thank you.

Thanks to neoliberals and urban elite, are cities are increasingly becoming hellscapes.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 23 2020 11:06 utc | 126

@ Posted by: chu teh | Dec 23 2020 5:43 utc | 118

Those are the prices the EU managed to negotiate, not necessarily what they really cost to produce and distribute.


@ Posted by: Idiocrates | Dec 23 2020 9:47 utc | 123

Well, Brexit's victory in the referendum cost David Cameron his job. He literally cried on camera in his resignation speech, just one year after a spectacular victory against Ed Milliband.

Posted by: vk | Dec 23 2020 11:37 utc | 127

Posted by: m | Dec 23 2020 7:53 utc | 121

Historially it does not appear to me that the Europeans have ever shown much talent for self-government, so I'd say the Brits are right about the EU disintegrating (isn't that the right word for it though?), they generally don't seem to be too bright about these things.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 23 2020 11:59 utc | 129

@ vk | Dec 23 2020 11:37 utc | 127

I didn't see him cry, but that's neither here or there...Just because Dodgy Dave lost his job does not mean it was a good idea.

Others have commented on the way EU and UK referendi have been treated i.e. ask the same question until you get the right answer, or ignore the people alltogether.

If I am not mistaken the Brexit one was the 3rd referendum in the UK (ever?) prize for guessing how the first 2 were treated. Remember, in the UK referendi are not binding...

So, it seems to me a silly/mistaken Cameron idea took a life of it's own once the elites realized they should not waste a good crises. I mean, a nation polarizing fuck up is just about perfect leverage for profit and power motives...

...and then the self-licking COVID ice-cream gave those (and/or other) elites an extra super-fine tool to ratchet things up.

Posted by: Idiocrates | Dec 23 2020 12:13 utc | 130

Posted by: Tubbs | Dec 23 2020 9:51 utc | 124

Yes. Clearly, people here in US knew who they were getting when they voted for Trump or anybody not Clinton in 2016, and 74 million of them just did it again in 2020. It is a moot point whether Biden will be an improvement on Trump too, I can see it going either way. He's going to have his hands full no matter what, and his competence for the job is totally speculative at this point. I don't think he will dither once he gets power, to many fires to put.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 23 2020 12:39 utc | 131

I’v got no time for Brixtiers genraly speaking they tend to be low intelligence bigots, they debate using worn out tabloid headlines, becouse they were brainwashed into being brain dead grunts by their controllers, the elite —- Murdoch Farage and Tory’s generally.
They basicly hate foreigners. They have violent tendencies and appear to enjoy other people’s suffering.

Brixitiers are the same fools / tools that have been spreading the virus around the U.K. encouraged by Farage. Perfectly happy with the suffering they course throughout the U.K.
thankfully they are a small minority ( but very noisy !!

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 23 2020 12:43 utc | 132

If Trump does not pardon Snowden and Assange, then Biden certainly will. Else what have people voted for?

Posted by: passerby | Dec 23 2020 13:01 utc | 133

The UK is leaving the European Union for the same reason Henry VIII left the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by: passerby | Dec 23 2020 13:11 utc | 134

@ Mark2 | Dec 23 2020 12:43 utc | 132

Clearly you oversimplify e.g

Poor and uneducated people may still be intelligent. That has nothing to do with having an opinion. If your choice is (metaphorically) between Hitler or Stalin then that is no choice at all.

Reality is something which happens whether you like it or not. Clearly many people wanted to just leave (and why not?) but others, left without a choice, through no fault of their own voted against their best interests. Nothing new there, just look at the US.

This is what you get in a propaganda-ridden society with delusions of grandeur, no real information and not enough education and facts to have an opinion...they were never in a position to make a difference.

It is clear to me the whole Brexit+Covid farce is driven by incompetece and bad will (feeling generous today), but blaming the patient for a doctor's fuck up is no way to proceed...

Posted by: Idiocrates | Dec 23 2020 13:14 utc | 135

Idiocrates @135
Both your points and my point aren’t contradictions.
My opinion is based on first hand experience (undeniable)
My opinion is not pleasant to you (maybe) or to others here !
It’s unpleasant for me to relate it. But is reality and undeniably true.
Rationalising the truth only clouds the reality.

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 23 2020 13:29 utc | 136

If Trump does not pardon Snowden and Assange, then Biden certainly will. Else what have people voted for?

Posted by: passerby | Dec 23 2020 13:01 utc | 133

I got some sample of election ads on YouTube, perhaps representative.

Trump urged to vote for him to stop Chinese hordes and street violence at home, something that he can do while "Biden is just to weak".

Biden declared that "everybody deserves dignity" and he implied that he cares about the plight of grandmas that could not see their grandkids because of Covid.

From that little sample, voters could wish to free Snowden, Manning and Assange, or to hang them all, and still opt for either candidate. Personally, I felt more inclined to Trump after Biden ads, which was tempered by Trump ads (so perhaps he indeed is a fascist?), but I am not a citizen here, so perhaps the ads were designed properly -- this seems to be a Dark Art. I wonder what is happening in Georgia where each side can spend more than 100 million dollars -- and so they shall! But it reminds me the only fragment of a Colombian movie I watched 40+ years ago.


The town is plastered with bill boards with a face of 40-sh man and a slogan "Voto Onofre! Onofre e differente". After a long day of campaigning, tired senatorial candidate relaxes with a girl (into 30-ties) in a hotel room, and chats with her after getting more relaxed. "What people say about me?" "That you are worse than others." "Why?" "Because you are different."

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 23 2020 14:06 utc | 137


You sound like a Guardian poster BTL...

Remainers such as yourself are just as good at bigotry. Your post oozes hypocrisy and intolerance.

Accusing people of having low intelligence in a post littered with grammatical errors ain't a good look either.

Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Some Random Passerby | Dec 23 2020 14:14 utc | 138

Some Random Passerby @138

Nonsense! Our resident fascist antifa poser has invested so much energy into wildly signalling the virtues that are most highly prized by corporate mass media that his imagined moral perfection has achieved godlike superiority. If the poor unfortunate were only American then he could be truly and transcendentally exceptional.

Well, at least in his own opinion, which is based upon firsthand experience, which in turn makes that opinion unassailable. Shame on you for doubting such a paragon of divinity!

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 23 2020 15:32 utc | 139


LOL. Have one from the bar on me, you've earned it

Posted by: Some Random Passerby | Dec 23 2020 15:42 utc | 140

So last night the French relaxed the restrictions across the border, as long as travelers test negative for the virus.
There’s an air field 20 mile from Dover with thousands of lorry’s parked up. A motorway jammed solid with lorry’s, Dover itself I’m told every spare bit of concrete has a lorry on it.
The drivers who have been waiting longest at the actual port are being told to drive the 20 mile to the airfield and be tested. From there they have to join the back of the several thousand long queue and wait there turn to cross the channel.
Merry Christmas ?

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 23 2020 15:52 utc | 141

Not so fast, looks like there will be a deal in the next 24 hours.

Posted by: Shaun | Dec 23 2020 17:05 utc | 142

I’ll just quote a bit from the Guardian, hidden away in this great distraction of the last minute deal. IT CANNOT BE.

‘ A vote by the European parliament to give consent to a trade and security agreement with the UK is no longer possible, given the lack of time left before the end of the transition period.’

When’s a oven ready deal not a Xmas deal? When they didn’t check the instructions that it needed to be defrosted a few days beforehand. Lol

Posted by: DG | Dec 23 2020 17:42 utc | 143

abriel moyssen | Dec 22 2020 7:46 utc | 45

The looming crisis should open up possibilities for a real left-wing government beyond Jeremy Corbyn.

I see in a Pew Research poll, today or yesterday, that a majority of 18-24 year old Brits think that Margaret Thatcher was the best PM. I know you cannot trust polls but....

Posted by: foolisholdman | Dec 23 2020 18:09 utc | 144

NemesisCalling | Dec 22 2020 13:42 utc | 61

The quotation of The Times headline "FOG IN CHANNEL< CONTINENT CUT OFF" related to the time before WW2, maybe before WW1. It was an old story when Claud Cockburn joined the Times staff. (See his autobiography "I Claud". Well worth reading for itself, if you haven't already.)

As to the British being "snobbish"; I (as a Brit) would describe them as being a bit "exceptional", similarly to the USAmericans but less exaggeratedly so. Chauvanist, certainly. Snobbish? No I don't think that is quite the word I would use. Not of the population in general though there are certainly a largish number of snobbish Brits, especially among the well-off and the Tories.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Dec 23 2020 18:34 utc | 145

Robert Lindsay | Dec 22 2020 16:52 utc | 70

You guys are right. Nothing adds up.

The Skripal story is even more ridiculous and mutated much more than once a week!

Posted by: foolisholdman | Dec 23 2020 18:50 utc | 146

Mark2 @ 132:

There were many reasons that a slight majority of UK voters (or those who actually bothered to turn up at the the polling stations to vote in the referendum) for wanting to leave the EU. Among them was the fact that legislation in the EU parliament originates from the EU presidency and the lobby groups and other EU institutions that influence it. Individual EU parliament members do not initiate bills themselves; the bills come from the Presidency. The UK govt frequently took advantage of this fact to introduce legislation it knew would be unpopular with the UK public into the EU parliament and have it rubber-stamped with EU approval. Then the British public were unable to complain and the UK govt could shrug its shoulders.

An additional source of resentment was that immigrants from other EU member states, particularly from the more impoverished nations in eastern Europe, were driving up unemployment and poverty in Britain and depressing wages and working conditions (and the laws protecting these) for those Britons who still had work. Since all mainstream British political parties supported the EU project, they were not motivated to address any of the economic problems and their consequences (increasing inequality, pressure on social services, higher levels of crime) presented by unrestricted immigration from other EU member states.

Young UK adults, most of whom apparently didn't bother to vote in the referendum, probably believed they can always escape to other EU countries to find work or when the going gets tough - only to discover that life across the Channel is not so good either and France and Germany have similar problems.

I wonder though if my comment and others expressed by Random Passerby and W Gruff will be enough to encourage you to reconsider your opinion. You consistently don't come across as a very enlightened commenter.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 23 2020 18:58 utc | 147

snake | Dec 22 2020 18:07 utc | 76

What is needed is a way to prevent infection, a aerosol or chewing gum that can kill the virus or attach to the virsus so that it cannot infect human cells.

This sounds like a job for hydroxychloroquine (NOT chloroquine which can damage the retina.) or ivermectin used as prophylactic or early-stage treatment.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Dec 23 2020 19:02 utc | 148

Roger | Dec 22 2020 20:53 utc | 84


They are the fake co-opted “left”, it all started with Kinnock in the 1980s and went downhill from there. What is needed is a real industrial policy, trade protection, and competition for firms at home. This will never happen in the UK, as Tony Benn found out in the 1970s when he was blocked at every turn.

No. It started with the Atlee Government. The "Nationalization" was a scam whereby the commanding heights of the economy, coal, steel, rail, road transport, docks, electricity, water which were run down and needing investment were "Nationalized" under the same management as before and the working class was forced to make the investment in modernization that the stock market did not want to make. These industries then sold their products to big capitalist firms, dirt-cheap. This resulted in the nationalized industries "running at a loss"! This was then used by the MSM to play the ever-repeated refrain; "Socialism is all right in theory, but it always makes a loss in practice!" In addition, every burocratic cockup by a "nationalized" enterprise was blamed on "Socialism".

Posted by: foolisholdman | Dec 23 2020 19:24 utc | 149

Jen @ 147
The British and US bombed Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria ,Libya ect ect creating massive numbers of refugees.
Thatcher closed down a large amount of British factory’s purely becouse labour was cheaper abroad, India, Pakistan, China ect ect.
The British banking institutions were also encouraged to exploit curupt politicians/ buseness in many poor county’s.

The above facts created mass migration some economic some refugees.
Also terrorist attacks.
Racism became more and more prevalent in the U.K.
Hatred of Muslim’s and general xenophobia this was deliberately encouraged by the right wing media, Murdoch ect. So as to further justify bombing the Middle East to steal the oil.
Brixit was a Trojan horse rationalising race hate and fascism.

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 23 2020 19:57 utc | 150

Holy hyperbole Mark2. To Trumps doppelganger. You missed a spot. Careful. Rabies and other nonsense. Shakes head

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Dec 23 2020 20:16 utc | 151

Lots of very right-wing posts oriented Brexit here on what is ostensibly a progressive, leftish site.

Brexit is a conspiracy fomented by a small group of right-wing financial gamblers and chancers, who convinced the lumpen proletariat to support them in their selfish project to dump on both the the UK and the EU in pursuit of their own financial benefit.

The lumpen (and the rest of us - NB. of the total UK population, only a minority voted for Brexit) will be rewarded by job losses and higher food prices - higher prices for everything, and US 'chemically enhanced'! meat.

Scotland and NI who did not vote for Brexit, will soon leave the UK, which will continue it's irreversible decline to the same status as Portugal (and that's being unduly optimistic).

Posted by: Jams O'Donnell | Dec 23 2020 20:19 utc | 152

Following on from my last comment.
So as stated Britain created the mess, and now wants to walk away from it. Washing their hands of all responsibility and humanitarian implications.

Course and effect ! don’t blame the victem.

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 23 2020 20:31 utc | 153

The same governments that pretend to defend the human rights of the Oiughours in China,prove to be totally incompetent to organize essential services in problem situations.Over 5000 truckdrivers are herded in Kent without any toilets or food supplies.Truckdrivers are essential to feeding a nation as anyone can see,but they are real lumpen-proletarians to the criminals in government,whether they are British or French.

Still I can remember how in the eighties driving a truck through Switzerland to Italy,when there were sciopero (strike)-actions of Italian border personal,Guarda di Finanza etc.,the swiss road police stopped the trucks going in that direction on parking lots filling up ten or more parkings up to hundred km before Chiasso the frontier city,and organizing minibuses to collect the drivers and bring them to restaurants and returning them to their trucks after a few hours.

In every natural or chemical catastrophe ,do not even think about nuclear,modern day western governments are on the same level as India was in the seventies when the Bhopal disaster took place.They just don't give one shitty bit about you and me.Hang them all!

Posted by: willie | Dec 23 2020 21:32 utc | 154

If Britain wants to be independent let it grow its own food and produce its own clothes, or pay workers in other country’s a comparable wage per hour to the U.K.
Britain can’t support it self, that’s the sad fact.
Britain can only exploit other country’s through war, curuption and subsistence labour.
Oh and shafting the U.K. tax payer.

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 23 2020 22:25 utc | 155

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 23 2020 22:25 utc | 155

But the main means of subsistence is by toadying up to the US in every possible way, being an unsinkable aircraft carrier off the coast ion Europe, and being a US dagger in the heart of the EU.

Posted by: Jams O'Donnell | Dec 23 2020 23:01 utc | 156

I see no-one so far has challenged what I said @ 147 about how legislation originates and is passed in the EU Parliament.

I did make one error: I had said that legislation starts with the EU Presidency when in fact it starts with the EU Commission. My apologies for any confusion I might have created there.

EU laws begin at the European Commission (this is called the right of initiative). The European Commission proposes laws, either of its own choosing or based on consultations with other EU institutions, member states or public consultations.

At this stage, it is possible for the UK government (or soon-to-be was) to "consult with" the EU Commission to propose bills that it knew the UK public would disapprove of and which would not pass through UK parliament. These bills would then be put to the EU parliament. If Brussels passed them, then they had the force of law overriding UK legislation covering the same or similar issues.

Many people in Britain saw the Brexit referendum as an opportunity to close off that avenue to the British government of using EU parliamentary procedures and structures to avoid transparency and accountability to the British public. Unfortunately since the referendum, British politicians, their parties and other political institutions have only half-heartedly supported (if that is the right term) the decision to leave the EU.

The issue of Brexit is not a right-wing or a left-wing issue, or an issue of reactionary politics versus progressive politics, whatever those increasingly empty descriptions can be massaged to mean. It is an issue of how much sovereignty or self-determination a people or a community or a set of communities can be allowed to have, to determine their own future. It seems that on both sides of the issue, there are those trying to capitalise on the support for their own self-interest and manipulating public opinion.

It is petty and mean to damn the British public for putting up with governments since 1980 that came to power under dubious first-past-the-post voting structures (that allowed political parties with minority support to form government) and which frittered away North Sea oil wealth while squeezing ordinary people by eroding social welfare and education, and outsourcing their jobs overseas.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 23 2020 23:01 utc | 157

@ Debsisdead | Dec 23 2020 3:16 utc | 100

it is possible to imagine that in a few years (alright decades), Russia and england both alienated from Europe, Russia by their old enemy Germany and england by their's, France, will recognise their commonality and work together to resist the franco-germanic entity which the EU will now become.

I honestly don't think that Russia will readily trust England. At least not with what you mentioned earlier in your comment:
People who truly understand the history & geography of europe and its colonisation by the romans, the saxons and the vikings ought to know that the englander conglomeration of those elites dominated europe for more than 300 years by playing elements of continental europe against each other.

The policy of the USA's NATO - to "keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down" - doesn't look all to different. I reckon it has played a role in alienating Russia from Europe.
Some have also argued that Britain and the USA had their own plans of attacking the Soviet Union post-WWII (e.g. Operation Unthinkable).

Posted by: joey_n | Dec 23 2020 23:32 utc | 158

Christian J. Chuba | Dec 23 2020 3:26 utc | 112

I don't know the facts of this case [Trump Pardon's the Biden4] but we absolutely do not care about Iraq's sovereignty. We are just going to shoot up their country whenever we feel like it and then take it out of their hands. We have no empathy.

Changed your mind a la?

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Dec 23 2020 18:59 utc | 40

Posted by: pogohere | Dec 24 2020 0:11 utc | 159

I can't say I paid much attention to Brexit but in my thinking the vote was more a rejection to the status quo in Britain at the time. Very similar to the vote for Trump. My opinion was the PTB were pretty sure remain would win and most of the promotion was in that vain.
The people were not happy so voted for Exit the same as they voted out the guaranteed to win Hillary.
A spit vote if you will.

Posted by: arby | Dec 24 2020 0:57 utc | 160

Brexit trade and security deal with EU within 'touching distance', says No 10

The terms of the deal are not revealed yet, but, if everything goes as projected, it looks like Boris Johnson was brought to his knees by the truck drivers in the airport episode.

The UK will probably accept to adequate itself to EU regulations in exchange for a viable open border with the "Continent".

And to Caesar, Caesar's: good political move by Macron. In just two days, he showed the British who really controls the UK's real economy (i.e. excluding London).

Posted by: vk | Dec 24 2020 1:07 utc | 161

VK @ 161
Thanks for that VK I think you just nailed it. Well done.
One year of Boris Johnson and the U.K. is in a state of utter collapse on a scale of magnatude similar to the fall of the Berlin wall.
Right here right now.
Bozo Boris Brixit balls up + covid kaos boris cancels christmas !
Shock horror.
The irony, we are now the immigrants being kept out.

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 24 2020 2:10 utc | 162

Actually the financial sector is even more dependent on full access to the European common market than the real economy. Free-trade agreements for instance usually don't cover services (like financial services) but only goods. So any limited or selective access to the common market most probably wouldn't do for the UK financial industry.

But I agree that long queues of lorries are more visible and much more convincing.

Posted by: m | Dec 24 2020 6:54 utc | 163

b - you really have a very heavy infestation of integrity initiative 77th Brigade/ fake Alt-right/left, troll bots btl here.

Who are they ? Anyone pushing for the hard BrexShit.
Anyone claiming ‘sovereignty’ as being the issue (mahcunterrybak boo hoo patriot scoundrels).
Anyone claiming to be Marxist or Libertarian but having this issue as a shared desire.
Whatever mangled monstrosity is churned out for Bozo to claim some kind of ‘deal’ it is a hard BrexShit. No Access to the Single Market. No Freedom of Movement etc. All of which was supposedly the easiest deal ever!

The British people were 55/45 for remain going into the last days before referendum.
It miraculously ended up 17/16 in favour of LEAVE!! The results coming in from Sunderland being the first upset.
Sunderland had a VERY HIGH POSTAL VOTE and a unprecedented turnout !
So did all the other big Brexit supporting areas - anything above 72% turnout and above 15% postal vote composition is suspect .

As I said earlier it took billions of undeclared ££$$ to deliver that operation. It was a full FB/ Bannon run op. As were UKIP and its variants across Europe. There would have been no BrexShit without all that plain and simple Lies, Cheating and Stealing of the referendum.

Any chance of getting some top of the range pest removal medication on your btl propagandists?

Posted by: DG | Dec 24 2020 9:25 utc | 164

Posted by: Jen | Dec 23 2020 23:01 utc | 157

"The issue of Brexit is not a right-wing or a left-wing issue,"

That's an incorrect interpretation. Brexit is a far-right nationalist issue, with a few reactionary left-wing dinosaurs left over from the early 1980s, like Bevin (and one or two others here, who are not familiar with the issues).

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 24 2020 10:29 utc | 165

The UK is leaving the European Union for the same reason Henry VIII left the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by: passerby | Dec 23 2020 13:11 utc | 134

...unaware that four centuries have passed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 24 2020 10:35 utc | 166

Good observations from m & DG
Both got me thinking,
What did the 1% elite want regards Brixit ? (I think I answered that up thread. They transcend boundary’s)
How about the big London banks ? I felt m neatly delt with that.
So what about the zionists that completely control British politics now, left, right and center ? See above
What do you think ?

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 24 2020 10:42 utc | 167

BoJo delivered a 'deal'. But it has to be approved by EU parliaments.

That makes it still uncertain. We will soon be able to read the media tea leaves: joy at BoJo's 'Christmas gift' or complaining?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 24 2020 16:18 utc | 168

@ Posted by: m | Dec 24 2020 6:54 utc | 163

London (The City) has other (hidden) deals, if you know what I mean. It is safe, trust me.

Posted by: vk | Dec 24 2020 16:43 utc | 169

@ DG | Dec 24 2020 9:25 utc | 164.. interesting conjecture... any articles of substance to back any of it up?? thanks..

Posted by: james | Dec 24 2020 19:11 utc | 170

@ james | Dec 24 2020 19:11 utc | 170

Some references from when I looked at the numbers a few years ago. Besides from the illegal targeting of voters via social media there was the precursor of dynamic algorithms to release just the right amount of Postal Votes in the count. Indeed the exact close result so that it would not look suspicious.

Here is a graph showing the number of PVs this century - note the steep rise.

It is hard to get the info upto date but there are reports that in the last GE some areas had 40% PV’s! To stop Corbyn and get Bozo the majority that May had lost.

'Overall, 86% of the 8.5 million postal ballots issued during the EU referendum were counted in the final vote.'
8.5 MILLION postal votes were sent out !

A million were not RETURNED.

I wasn’t able to get the data sets for specific count areas via the Electoral Commission site to dig to the granular level. Maybe it has been done since academically - that’s what PHD students are for after all!

Posted by: DG | Dec 25 2020 20:30 utc | 171

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