Shake it all about: Brexit thread II

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  • sionisais wrote: »
    On the Good News front, the prime movers behind Brexit, to whit UKIP have been all but wiped out at these local elections.

    Or alternatively, now that the Tory party agenda has been taken over by the ERG, the UKIP voters (who were majority Tory originally) have returned to the fold.

    This seems far more likely

  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Over half way through the two-year post Article 50 period the government has created a International Trade Specialism in the Civil Service. I can only assume the delay has been caused by the infighting between Messrs Fox, Davis and Johnson.
  • And, once again the Lords has put a spanner in the works of the nuttier Brexiteers, this time kicking both Tory and Labour leadership forcing the Commons to debate EEA membership, for which there is no "but the voters have spoken" option since we were asked about leaving the EU not the EEA.

    Happy Europe Day.
  • And, once again the Lords has put a spanner in the works of the nuttier Brexiteers, this time kicking both Tory and Labour leadership forcing the Commons to debate EEA membership, for which there is no "but the voters have spoken" option since we were asked about leaving the EU not the EEA.

    Happy Europe Day.

    Just curious - has opinion polling been done on remaining in the single market, or on being in a customs union, or on something like Canada (in one poll covering all options or in separate polls for each option)?

  • The polls I've seen have been on how people would vote if the referendum was held now (slight drift from 2016 to a small majority favouring Remain), whether there should be a second referendum on the same question (no), whether there should be a referendum on the final deal (inconclusive). But, I've not come across a poll on view on different Brexit options.
  • I keep hearing the argument that the hard right have taken over the Brexit political discussions in government, and that this would lead to a low tax low regulation economy, where of course, some people would become very rich, and some people presumably even poorer.

    I find it hard to assess this view. Granted, hard Brexit arguments sound hard right, but I'm not sure that their aim is that kind of economy. I suppose it's a bit like disaster capitalism. But it all has a smack of conspiracy theory, where by hard core Randians are even now salivating at the prospect of private firms taking over the NHS, loads of profit for them, and loads of trolley waits in corridors for us. It might be correct, or not. As with most things about Brexit, it's shrouded in secrecy and obfuscation. It might be the will of the people, but the people are kept in ignorance.
  • I find it hard to assess this view. Granted, hard Brexit arguments sound hard right, but I'm not sure that their aim is that kind of economy. I suppose it's a bit like disaster capitalism. But it all has a smack of conspiracy theory

    I think it's a fairly simple to draw the connection between the various Brexiters and the other pronouncements they've made on how they believe the economy should be constituted.

    They are generally from the economic right of the conservative party, and people like Rees, Redwood, Fox etc having a past history of making comments regarding their support for a low tax/small government future. Prominent brexiters (Banks, the Norgroves etc), and the think tanks that support them (ASI, Legatum and so on).
  • Some people are actually saying that a right wing coup is in progress, of course, fulfilling the 'will of the people'. One problem is that Labour seem relatively quiescent about this, and seem to line up with Mrs May on Brexit.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    As with most things about Brexit, it's shrouded in secrecy and obfuscation. It might be the will of the people, but the people are kept in ignorance.

    There is some ignorance and some secrecy, but for the most part the PTB haven't a clue . As for a right-wing coup, that's a term I haven't heard since the days of General Sir Walter Walker and the McWhirter brothers back in the 1970's! They were quite seriously of the opinion that Harold Wilson was in the pay of the Kremlin.
  • I keep hearing the argument that the hard right have taken over the Brexit political discussions in government, and that this would lead to a low tax low regulation economy, where of course, some people would become very rich, and some people presumably even poorer.
    The problem is that there are a large number of species within the genus "Brexiteer", and they aren't all far-right - and even those that are far-right demonstrate a range of emphases on different right wing policies.

    So, for someone who wants to see a reduction in regulation (workers rights, consumer and environmental protection etc) then Brexit provides that opportunity since the EU is quite strong on regulation to protects workers, consumers, the environment etc.

    On the other hand, if someone was primarily interested in sovereignty and Parliament "taking back control" then they could look to Brexit for that but be agnostic on regulation (so long as it's Parliament that gets to decide). Or, someone who's primary interest is reducing immigration might, again, be unconcerned over regulation.

    The various of the genus Brexiteer managed to work together to achieve a narrow lead in a glorified opinion poll, but are still fighting it out to see which of them survives to define what form that Brexit will take.
  • sionisais wrote: »
    There is some ignorance and some secrecy, but for the most part the PTB haven't a clue . As for a right-wing coup, that's a term I haven't heard since the days of General Sir Walter Walker and the McWhirter brothers back in the 1970's! They were quite seriously of the opinion that Harold Wilson was in the pay of the Kremlin.

    You mean this sort of speculation, presumably? https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/05/09/could-army-coup-remove-jeremy-corbyn-just-almost-toppled-harold/amp/

    [With apologies for the tangent].
  • And, the news this morning adds Leave.EU to the list of organisations found to have been in breach of electoral law over referendum campaigning. A fine of £70k for four offences, and their chief executive referred to the police. Which, sadly, makes no difference as it won't force a re-run of the referendum nor will anyone in government suggest that it throws doubt on the validity of the result. And, with the leave campaigns bankrolled by multi-millionaires even 70 grand will be seen as small change ... though the fines charged to UKIP were enough to bring them near bankruptcy.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    To quote the Electoral Commission's director of political finance and regulation, "the spending rules were in place to ensure public confidence in democracy and it was "disappointing that Leave.EU, a key player in the EU referendum, was unable to abide by these rules".

    "These are serious offences. The level of fine we have imposed has been constrained by the cap on the Commission's fines,"

    He's got a point. These fines don't deter these liars* and cheats* for one moment. These pitiful fines, levied for the most part on the better off if not downright rich, have to be contrasted to the fines and sanctions applied to welfare recipients if they fall foul of the regulations. I doubt if Arron Banks, Nigel Farage, Liz Bilney and co will go to jail.

    *not alleged. They lied about the £350million for the NHS and they have cheated on campaign finances. End of.
  • sionisais wrote: »
    He's got a point. These fines don't deter these liars* and cheats* for one moment. These pitiful fines, levied for the most part on the better off if not downright rich, have to be contrasted to the fines and sanctions applied to welfare recipients if they fall foul of the regulations.

    Given the relative scale of the fines, they are - to all intents and purposes - a cost of doing business.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    I voted remain.

    But if I was Theresa May and trying to square her red lines etc. This is my fantasy solution

    My preferred Irish border solution would be one the DUP doesn't accept - essentially retain the common travel area with Ireland and our effective external border being the mainland ports. I would not say it till the last minute and I would be gambling that the DUP won't bring down the government because they hate Jeremy Corbyn and enough MPs want the country not to just fall off a cliff that it will get voted through.

    This involves accepting the reality that some point it becomes much more likely NI will leave the UK and the island of Ireland will become one state. (I think this inevitable at some point in the future anyway.)

    I would cancel HS2 and taking those companies and that money, look to building rail freight routes and infrastructure - to support border checking at the major ports, possibly build a large airport in the north of the country too. Might actually insist all freight coming in, should come across the channel by air or rail. We actually, from a carbon perspective, want to continue to support a large trucking industry. Rail is easier to control. If you nationalised the railway, you could better integrate customs and immigration checks.

    I would introduce body heat scanning systems on gantries over rail lines leaving the ports to check containers for people.

    I would give indefinite leave to remain & right to remain with recourse to public funds to Europe citizens in the uk on Brexit day who request via their national embassy and I would make it their national embassies issue to administrate - therefore their nations fault and for their judiciary to settle if they cock it up.

    I would not issue visas to EU members, I would record them entering the country (scanning their passport) and require them to leave by a set period after their entry. And I would share a live database with their national embassy of who of their citizens are in the country at any one time. Status alterations (work permit, leave to remain etc) would also be added to that database.

    You already have to show your passport entering and leaving so this shouldn't be significantly more difficult for individuals to manage.

    I'd have a points based immigration system, with a certain number of points given for being a citizen of a member of the eu, and another set for the commonwealth countries - and how many points would be a negotiating tool for now and the future. For the transition period I'd set that point boost such as to give default free movement. (And that would simply remain for all citizens in the common travel area vs the rest of the eu after the end of the transition period.). The rest of the points would be keyed to the uk's economic and social needs. Immigrations applications would be processed by the uk's diplomatic missions abroad - informed by uk policy.

    I'd buy into continued membership of key regulatory bodies - and hope to sort out the complications of that later on (whether we build shadow institutions or continue to pay long term or what.)

    I'd try for the max fac option re customs infrastructure - lots of tech and infrastructure investment. (And I'd have started a lot earlier.)

    I'd ask HMRC to produce software for all vat registered companies to manage their tariff / standards syncing as they currently produce for minimum wage and national insurance. (You enter your info in one end, it spits out at the other what you need to pay whom. This could potentially operate via the government online portal)

    To get this done, I'd shadow all euro regs and tariffs for the transition period whilst the infrastructure is being built / software being written.

    During the transition, I'd try to negotiate trade deals by taking the existing eu deals, writing identical copies in which we pay slightly more to our bilateral partner and get back from them slightly less. Whether that's in terms of tariffs or non tariff Barrier's but the product standards remain the same and keyed to euro regs until a specified review date.

    I have no idea of any of this would work. Essential,y it is an attempt to contain rather than prevent economic damage.
  • If she's going to square circles and maintain red lines then she's going to need to be much more creative than that. The best option is to declare Brexit unworkable, throw in the towel and negotiate the best position for the UK within the EU given the bad blood and damage already caused. But, that will fail one of her red lines, so ...

    For a start I would say she needs to be serious about devolution and use it to her advantage. Give devolved authorities the powers needed to organise things differently in each region to meet the needs of that region. So, in NI that could mean a customs union/single market between NI and the EU to maintain the open border, with some requirement to maintain some customs arrangements between NI and the rest of the UK to avoid a back door by which British businesses could avoid the economic damage of exiting the customs union and single market. In Scotland it could mean Holyrood taking control of immigration such that Scotland can recruit the skilled people our economy needs without worrying how it will affect UK wide immigration numbers - England can set an immigration cap if it wants to deprive English business and services access to the staff needed, which will keep the racists in the SE holding the balance of votes in Tory seats happy.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited May 2018
    Might actually insist all freight coming in, should come across the channel by air or rail.
    Good luck with that: it would appear total maritime freight imports (243MT, p17) amount to more than one hundred times the combined total of air freight imports, i.e. about 1.3MT (57% of total air freight) plus rail freight imports (about 0.7MT if one assumes a similar proportion of imports to exports as for air).

    [I do preview post, honest]

  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    It's worth distinguishing between stuff that comes on a lorry (roll-on-roll-off or ro-ro) and stuff that comes as an unaccompanied container.

    According to this industry source, it is the ro-ro imports that would be affected by post-Brexit customs chaos. Systems already exist to cope with containers and bulk goods. Ro-ro imports are what feed industries with just-in-time supply chains, and thus disruptions caused by customs checks would have a domino effect across the manufacturing sector that they feed, but they represent just over 5% of imports. Not sure how this affects Doublethink's figures.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited May 2018
    Good point. I'm not sure where ro-ro freight comes in the maritime freight figures I cited.

    Either way, the more I think about it, the more leaving this state of affairs unattended spells chaos to me. You don't just devise an entire customs checking system and roll it out overnight. How long do we have left? Ten months?
  • My logic was to get roll on roll off onto freight trains - with the idea that we could then build staging areas for checks that don't involve operation stack - whilst cutting carbon emissions at the same time. No idea if it's feasible, but presumably, the whole of Europe will be trying to get truck use down to meet international carbon targets anyway.
  • Rail freight is one of those nice ideas that still has to happen. You still need a truck for the first and last miles and it is inevitably cheaper and simpler to take the load the whole way on a truck. The only place to my knowledge in Europe where rail freight has made a real dent is Switzerland and even there I think it's trucks on trains.

    To make matters worse, with rail you hit capacity issues a lot faster. It might not look that way when you gaze at largely empty railway tracks, but there can be huge bottlenecks running into terminals if the number of occupied slots start to increase.

    A lot of Brexit problems are because the devil is in (often counterintuitive*) details, whereas the general public has been told it's "had enough of experts".

    ==

    *for instance, I just learned this week that you get more exposure to particulate matter on the Tube than you do in traffic.
  • Perhaps a bigger thing has just happened, C4 news have said some prominent liberal unionists are now talking about a possible border poll.
  • Channel 4 News has learned that some respected figures from the liberal wing of unionism are now ready to talk with the government in Dublin about Irish unity - and even a border poll. channel4.com/news/by/gary-g…

    Tweeted by Hayley Barlow
  • Can't imagine this July will pass smoothly if such news gains traction. It would be a seismic shift for Unionists if true, but significant sections of the UUP have certainly expressed grave fears about Brexit and the future of the GFA in recent months. A border poll and discussions about it or a possible reunification could probably not happen without a devolved government in place (at least ideally), so the DUP aren't going to be rushing back to the table any time soon. That isn't a good thing. There are very significant social shifts taking place in Northern Ireland at present though - things I never thought I would see in my lifetime.

    Technically the British government could, I suppose, call a border poll. The GFA actually states the conditions under which this could take place. I doubt the British Government will honour it; they don't seem to care about honouring it in regards to Brexit. It's just seen as an inconvenience, but for the people of Northern Ireland and for the Republic of Ireland there's a growing unease that Britain is simply incapable of honouring it's legal agreements and is now deemed untrustworthy on the international stage. If they keep going down the route they are travelling at present they will almost certainly reignite the troubles.
  • My logic was to get roll on roll off onto freight trains - with the idea that we could then build staging areas for checks that don't involve operation stack - whilst cutting carbon emissions at the same time. No idea if it's feasible

    I think what Eutychus said above comes into play with this kind of substitution (you still need to get stuff off the train onto lorries - at which point you need to construct staging areas).

    I assume parts of the government are preparing for the case that Operation Stack has to be extended, as indicated by things like this:

    https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-05-21/HCWS698
  • More freight by rail is a good idea (recognising that you still need to transfer from rail to road at some point). It will ease road congestion and associated pollution by taking the longer distance transport onto rail, and it will require spending on the rail infrastructure which (hopefully) will also benefit passengers. But it does need staging areas to load and unload the trains, which could easily be causes of local congestion on the roads. As we currently seem to be heading, post-Brexit there will need to be customs inspection facilities - whether it is most efficient to have rail-freight terminals with inspection facilities at a distance from ports and Chunnel or centralise those facilities at the border point is another question. Clearly centralising them at Dover (and other ports) will require a substantial investment in lorry park facilities to avoid traffic chaos on the road network.

    If the rules segregating people and vehicles on ferries can be relaxed (which will possibly need changes in ferry design to facilitate emergency exit from the car decks) then I suppose it would be possible for inspections to be conducted on the ferry. Which would ease the problems associated with delays at the port.
  • I was able to watch some of the questions put to the UK's Immigration Minister today from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee regarding aspects of Brexit. To say it was a car crash would be kind. She was asked why the UK government was breaking the legal agreement bound in the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) regarding dual citizenship and access to passports from both the UK and the Republic of Ireland. She claimed she had no knowledge of this. She was questioned further on the details of holding dual passports, their cost, issues regarding naturalisation and the huge payment required of those who have lived in NI for almost their entire lives but are now being told they must 'naturalise'. She sat and grinned like a village idiot and said nothing.

    Then she was asked about some of the finer points of immigration policy and how this might be dealt with in the context of the GFA. She spent a lot of time shrugging her shoulders. Eventually, after the panel were becoming both frustrated and flabbergasted, Lady Hermon MP asked if she had ever read the GFA and the response was no. In disbelief, she asked again, 'In the twenty years since this agreement, you have never read it?' The response was 'I might have been giving birth.' She was asked if she thought it might have been important to read the document before arriving before the panel. She shrugged.

    By this stage the entire committee looked as if they didn't know whether to laugh or cry. They wanted to drill down into the detail of proposals for immigration control and aspects of the border. She continued to shrug her shoulders and repeatedly said 'I don't know' or 'I can't answer that'. Eventually someone asked if she had ever been to the border. 'No' was the answer that arrived!
    Here's the BBC version of events.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-44213178
  • At least she's not Secretary of State for Northern Ireland ... though, if told that Karen Bradley hadn't read the GFA I wouldn't be falling off my seat in surprise.
  • Jane RJane R Shipmate
    edited May 2018
    In other news, Boris has identified the reason why other countries are not rushing to sign lucrative trade deals with us. Obviously it's because he needs a private plane painted in a cheerful colour: http://bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44221524

    In the interests of reducing the National Debt, I suggest we could achieve more or less the same effect by continuing to use the RAF's Voyager plane and painting the nose cone red.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Jane R wrote: »
    In other news, Boris has identified the reason why other countries are not rushing to sign lucrative trade deals with us. Obviously it's because he needs a private plane painted in a cheerful colour: http://bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44221524

    Sod that. Give him a military jet, paint red stars on it and fly around the North Sea.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    A comment in the Guardian -
    The Boris plane will use Phil Hammond's satellite navigation (Unicorn1) and always find its way back to the Kingdom of Brexit-Narnia.
  • I think that Corbyn comparing Brexit to the shambles on the railways is fair enough, but then he is telling Labour peers to abstain on a vote about EEA, thus helping May avoid defeat. WTF?
  • RocinanteRocinante Shipmate
    AIR this was at the beginning of (the month of) May and labour peers actually defied the whip? Corbyn is anti-EU to his bones, because he's an unreconstructed Bennite and regards it as a capitalist club that favours business interests. This was just him showing his true colours. He's obliged to mouth platitudes about soft Brexit because of the remain majority in his party. Official Labour Brexit policy is just as incoherent as the government's, something to do with leaving the single market and EEA and replacing it with a bespoke customs union. Just more cakeism really.

    Meanwhile May is a pragmatic remainer, who knows Brexit is lunacy, but is in thrall to the Ultras in her party and the DUP. She parrots the "will of the people" line as a substitute for leadership.

    Such is the bizarre, through-the-looking glass world of UK politics right now.
  • I think that Corbyn comparing Brexit to the shambles on the railways is fair enough, but then he is telling Labour peers to abstain on a vote about EEA, thus helping May avoid defeat. WTF?

    Except Labour have also tabled it's own separate amendment, which would tie the government to negotiate with a Norway+ model in mind, as it goes beyond the EEA in certain areas:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jun/05/labour-reveals-scheme-to-maintain-access-to-eu-single-market

    I think the reality is that the discussion over the last few months has created a situation where policies are relatively popular with the public until they are saddled with an association with the SM, CU and (increasingly) the EEA.

    To that extent I don't see this as such a bad step. In any case any amendment without 322 (?) votes is going to fail anyway - and I'm not sure the EEA amendment would necessarily get through because there are a number of people on the Labour right who are against FoM.
  • To that extent I don't see this as such a bad step. In any case any amendment without 322 (?) votes is going to fail anyway

    An article by Stephen Bush on just this issue:

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2018/06/could-labour-really-keep-united-kingdom-eea

    So basically any amendment without ~20 Tory rebels is dead in the water.
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    Rocinante wrote: »
    Corbyn is anti-EU to his bones, because he's an unreconstructed Bennite and regards it as a capitalist club that favours business interests.
    He's not wrong. The EU has always been more of a right-wing project. But now they're fucking it up for the wrong reasons (appeasing the extreme right) and it's up to the left to defend it. No wonder that it's a strange split we need to make sometimes.

  • LeRoc wrote: »
    The EU has always been more of a right-wing project.
    I'm just rereading Tower of Basel which is mostly about the Bank of International Settlements but which incidentally makes the rather scary case for the EU being, in many respects and personnel, the final outworking of plans originally drawn up by Nazi Germany.

    (It hasn't put me off being a Europhile though).

  • Paul Dacre has resigned as editor of the DM. He's been appointed Chairman / Editor in Chief but it's unclear whether that's an actual job or just a rather nice title.

    The Tories will have to find a new leader now :wink:
  • LeRoc wrote: »
    The EU has always been more of a right-wing project.
    That probably depends on how you define "right-wing". It's always been, and still is, primarily a trade and economy focused organisation, with an added impetus (at least in the early years) of recognising that increased trade and economic dependence between nations should reduce tensions and reduce the chance of a further war between European nations. For some EU founders the prospect of peace was the driving force, and they saw economic ties as a tool too help achieve that (many, including founders of the European Movement including most of the war time leaders, saw the end goal of that as a united states of Europe), and were from all parts of the political spectrum. For other EU founders they saw economics and trade as a bulwark against communism, and would probably be mostly politically right wing. But, most would have been politically centrist, social democrats and similar, who appreciated the benefits of peace and holding against communism, but would have rejected the laissez-faire neo-liberalism that would privatise everything and push government into as small a role as possible (ie: much of the current Tory party) - they saw the EU as fundamentally a Common Market (which it still is), and a Common Market requires harmonisation of regulations (as noted on the Free Trade thread, significant differences in environmental regulation, workers rights and conditions etc will skew costs of manufacture and a Common Market needs the playing field as level as possible). On top of which the EU put food security as a priority (hence agriculture and fishing policies that go beyond harmonisation of regulation) and also research cooperation. And, a Common Market also benefits from barrier free movement of goods, services and workers.

    "Right wing" is difficult to define because it's a hydra of many heads. One head, generally strong in the UK but less advanced elsewhere in the EU is an economic neo-liberalism - privatise everything, cut government regulation as far as possible, low-tax, make the rich richer and the poor will benefit as that wealth trickles down. Of course, elsewhere in the EU we have nations with strong social welfare and publicly owned utilities etc., and in that regard the UK is an outlier where renationalisation of transport, utilities etc would bring us closer to the general European models (which is a "left wing" in UK terms policy ... so, does that make Europe "left wing"?). I would suggest that as the EU is not founded on nor strongly influenced by that UK right wing agenda, it can't really be applied to the EU.

    A second head of the right-wing hydra is the one that emphasises national identity. The sort of right wing that ran Germany in the second half of the 1930s, also evident in the UK in groups like the BNP and EDF, and similar nationalist movements elsewhere in the EU. Ironically, this form of right-wing is often an antithesis to the neo-liberalism. It seeks to have a strong government able to legislate in favour of the nation against the interests of other nations, it certainly doesn't see the benefit of free movement of labour between nations. It appeals directly to the poor, often scape-goating some identifiable "other" (in most modern examples the "other" being people from other nations or races) and promises to help the poor by taking from the "other" - priority for people from that nation for employment, housing, other benefits - with little in the way of "trickle-down" benefits. The intention of the EU to reduce barriers between nations in Europe is something this form of "right wing" opposes strongly, they want to raise barriers not bring them down. So, again it's not possible to call the EU right wing in this sense either.

    About the only way that it's possible, IMO, to call the EU right wing is that it's not fully supportive of an extreme left-wing agenda, not that Mr Corbyn is on the extreme left in any case. The EU has no problem with nationalisation of utilities and other key industries (otherwise that wouldn't be common throughout the EU), but would have problems with wholesale forced nationalisation of all business ala Stalin.
  • About the only way that it's possible, IMO, to call the EU right wing is that it's not fully supportive of an extreme left-wing agenda, not that Mr Corbyn is on the extreme left in any case. The EU has no problem with nationalisation of utilities and other key industries (otherwise that wouldn't be common throughout the EU),

    I don't think this is entirely accurate Alan, because of the supra-national nature of the EU, its more accepting of exceptions when it comes to the grand-fathering of existing situations. So the existing national ownership of utilities, key industries etc is accepted of as a fact on the ground [not least because it remains the case in the EUs largest economies] - I think re-nationalisation would be treated somewhat differently. I don't think it's possible to pronounce definitively on the difference, because it would be the kind of thing that is subject to political manoeuvring and context at the time.
  • Yes, there certainly is some grand-fathering that exists. But, at the same time I've still not seen anyone ever point to anything in the EU structures or regulations that would say nationalisation would be impossible. The claim that the EU would prevent nationalisation was made frequently during the referendum campaign, but no one to my knowledge actually substantiated that claim.

    There has not been any problems from the EU regarding the (temporary/partial) nationalisation of parts of our rail network and banking sector. Nor, setting up publicly owned investment banks. Does it really make that much difference if the government takes over for a few years, or doesn't buy all the shares in a bank? Or, if it's a new venture rather than buying up something that already exists?
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    With the railways the issue is the Market Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package, which is not yet implemented, but which will require passenger services to be put out to competitive tender.

    There is nothing to prevent a publicly owned company from bidding, but it cannot be shown favouritism.

    Regarding the nationalisation of the banks: the EU state aid rules determine when you are allowed to do this. There is no ban on doing this, but you have to show it meets specific policy objectives. Example.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    With the railways the issue is the Market Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package, which is not yet implemented, but which will require passenger services to be put out to competitive tender.

    There is nothing to prevent a publicly owned company from bidding, but it cannot be shown favouritism.

    Though contra my previous post - I think it depends on how you read this legislation - a moderate reading would be that this applies in the cases where passenger services are put out to tender - it doesn't mandate that they have to be put out to tender
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    I'm having difficulty finding sources that aren't either blatantly partisan or impenetrably technical. But this industry source seems to think that tendering will be mandatory:
    France’s national railway services operator, SNCF, currently enjoys a monopoly over national and regional passenger services1. This will only change with the implementation of the Fourth Railway Package, which will require the opening up to competition of long distance commercial passenger services in 2020 on an open access basis, and of national and regional services from 2023/2024 on a "franchise/ concession" basis.
  • The rail industry here in France is certainly presenting it as mandatory (I do some translation work in the field), and it is one of the reasons invoked for the current reform of the SNCF (and the resulting never-ending strike action). Rail freight has been deregulated for some time now.
  • Thanks for that info. Reading between the lines, the Fourth Railway Package is designed to address the problems associated with integrating rail services across the EU - which is one of those great ideas, to be able to travel by train across the continent without regularly changing trains at national borders. This clearly involves multiple operators on the same tracks - eg: get on a train in Madrid with a Spanish operator, cross the border to France and you're then still on a Spanish operated train on French tracks, then carry on to Brussels. This could be a problem without the structures in place to integrate multiple operators (and, at this point it doesn't matter whether a single operator having to integrate services from someone else is state or privately owned).

    The Package does seem to have taken time to develop because it's a) going to break existing monopolies on services but b) recognises that provision of infrastructure is a "natural monopoly" and in many cases it is natural and cost effective for infrastructure and services to be bundled. How do you open up the infrastructure for multiple operators when the infrastructure (tracks, signals, stations, rolling stock) and services (actually running trains) are best managed together?

    What I'm still not seeing is anything preventing nationalised rail services competing for running services, just that the decision making process for awarding tenders shouldn't treat nationalised services preferentially. If the decision on awarding tenders is based on service quality and value for money then there's no reason that a private company will be better than a nationalised service provider. And, of course, we could see a state-owned railway company operating services in different nations (much like the state-owned EDF generating and supplying electricity in the UK).
  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    edited June 2018
    Some interesting nuggets from the leaked audio of Boris's bombastic speech this morning.

    I think this strengthens the idea that Boris believes he (his position) has the upper hand in negotiating with the EU and that the UK will get everything it wants eventually. Because, he apparently believes, the EU would be worse off in the event of no-deal than the UK.

    It reminds me a bit of the Eton Wall Game, of which Boris was an enthusiastic captain. It's a stupid game of a scrum against a wall which usually ends no score.

    It seems that the prize Boris wants is trade with the Rest of the World without EU red tape. In an ideal world, the EU would recognise their dependence on trade with the UK and will continue with a free and open trading relationship (of course every rational person can see that's not going to happen).

    So in a less idea world, it seems Boris believes the UK could solve problems by opening borders to EU products coming inwards and finding other markets for British goods and services. If the EU wants to block British exports, well fuck 'em. It's short term pain but we'll win in the end.

    And, apparently, he thinks the Irish border is a non-issue. He seems to believe that the UK can just continue as before and that it'd be the EU which would want, and be responsible for, closing the border and any repercussions of that.

    It's like Eton wall-game bully, where going nowhere is considered a successful game. We might not have scored, but by golly the other chap didn't either.

    Of course, it takes a mere moment to realise how blind this thought process is. What happens if there are flows of EU migrants into the UK via the RoI? What happens if there is some problem with something from the EU? What happens if it proves hard to find alternative markets?
  • edited June 2018
    ...get on a train in Madrid with a Spanish operator, cross the border to France and you're then still on a Spanish operated train on French tracks, then carry on to Brussels...[p]ackage does seem to have taken time to develop because it's a) going to break existing monopolies on services

    It strikes me (in the light of recent and ongoing rail problems in the UK) that as well as breaking monopolies it's going to break timetables. Imagine standing at the French equivalent of Salford Crescent (heavily used urban commuter station which no-one more than 5 miles away has heard of) and hearing 'the next train passing platform 2 will not stop, and is a delayed intercity service from Zagreb to Rotterdam. Passengers awaiting the 10:22 to (Local) Airport might like to get a coffee while central services re-compute the transcontinental timetable'.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Thanks for that info. Reading between the lines, the Fourth Railway Package is designed to address the problems associated with integrating rail services across the EU - which is one of those great ideas, to be able to travel by train across the continent without regularly changing trains at national borders. This clearly involves multiple operators on the same tracks - eg: get on a train in Madrid with a Spanish operator, cross the border to France and you're then still on a Spanish operated train on French tracks, then carry on to Brussels. This could be a problem without the structures in place to integrate multiple operators (and, at this point it doesn't matter whether a single operator having to integrate services from someone else is state or privately owned).

    But the Package explicitly goes beyond international services to require tendering for national and regional services as well. It's obvious that Deutsche Bahn should be able to run trains from Paris to Berlin; less obvious that they should be able to run trains from Paris to Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
    What I'm still not seeing is anything preventing nationalised rail services competing for running services, just that the decision making process for awarding tenders shouldn't treat nationalised services preferentially. If the decision on awarding tenders is based on service quality and value for money then there's no reason that a private company will be better than a nationalised service provider. And, of course, we could see a state-owned railway company operating services in different nations (much like the state-owned EDF generating and supplying electricity in the UK).

    Or like Deutsche Bahn running Northern Rail ...

    I agree with your paragraph above, but it runs completely against Labour rail policy, which is to take the various rail franchises back into public ownership once they expire, and not re-tender them.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited June 2018
    Plenty of trains already run across borders here. I'm travelling from home to Frankfurt in the autumn on a total of two trains.
    Ricardus wrote: »
    It's obvious that Deutsche Bahn should be able to run trains from Paris to Berlin; less obvious that they should be able to run trains from Paris to Saint-Germain-en-Laye.(...) Or like Deutsche Bahn running Northern Rail ...
    Arriva UK is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, as is the Royal Train (source).

    Infrastructure companies have been separate from the operators for ages. The unions here are fearful that the SNCF reforms are just privatisation by stealth; they may be right, but as has been said this is not inevitable; it just means the public sector has to compete with the private sector to operate rail services.

    I don't think Labour could do what it aims to do in the UK if you were to implement the Fourth Rail Package.

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