UKIP Conference Postscript
As expected, Diane James was elected as the leader of UKIP. The Guardian has this: “Ukip elects Diane James as new party leader – First female leader will inherit party riven by infighting and complicated by Nigel Farage staying to shape its EU strategy”.
The New Statesman has this: “Why Ukip’s new leader Diane James should terrify both Labour and the Tories”.
The Liberal Democrat Conference
The Liberal Democrat Conference started yesterday in Brighton. See the Conference Agenda. The Guardian has these reports on yesterday’s developments:
- “Leadership contest cost Labour Sheffield byelection, says Tim Farron”
- “Nick Clegg says Brexit chaos can help Lib Dems back to power”, and:
- “Farron invites Labour and Tory members to join Lib Dems”
The sad fact of life is that the Liberal Democrats paid a very high price for going into coalition with the Cameron government. Yes, the have the right ideas on Britain’s membership of the EU, but it is hard to see how they can recover from their near obliteration in the last election in time to be effective in opposing the Tory & UKIP Brexiteers.
The European Union and Brexit
The Telegraph has this: “Brexit deal threatened with veto by four countries unless Theresa May guarantees their citizens right to work in Britain“. This is about the negotiating position of the Visegrad states: The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. It is a perfectly understandable position from their point of view.
The Commission is, of course taking a hard line as explained by the Financial Times: “Europe spurns UK plea for Brexit guidance – London’s attempts at secret talks get cold shoulder from Brussels“. This approach, of course, strengthens the Commission’s negotiating position and, in effect, says that talks cannot start until the Article 50 Notice is given.
The Prime Minister is very wisely not saying when she will do that. See this in the Mail on Sunday: “No 10 cools talk of a new year Brexit by insisting Theresa May did NOT tell EU chief she’ll trigger the process in January or February as Brussels digs in over free movement of people.”
The Chancellor is also wisely seeking to avoid a “hard Brexit”. See this, also in the Financial Times: “Cautious Hammond argues against Brexit clean break – Chancellor’s warning voice on dangers of going too far“.
The Chancellor, the Prime Minister and the Bank of England must be taken to know what a hard Brexit would do for the economy – and, if they are in doubt, the Chairman of the Bundesbank has made matters clear: see this in the Guardian: “Hard Brexit will cost City of London its hub status, warns Bundesbank boss – Passporting rights to operate across EU will be lost if UK does not at least stay within the European Economic Area, says Jens Weidmann“.
However, the Eurosceptic loons in the Conservative Party are hard at work. See this worrying development reported in the Telegraph: “Theresa May faces rebellion as Tory MPs launch new ‘hard Brexit’ campaign“.
How this may develop remains to be seen. This opinion piece in the Guardian is worth reading: “It is not ‘time to move on’ over Brexit: it’s time to fight – As the reality of what lies before Britain dawns, the voice of the people, which spoke via the referendum, may well wish to speak again“.
Janet Daley writes this in the Telegraph: “The EU still hasn’t understood that it is a totalitarian institution“.
The reality is that the Commission, is getting above itself. The EU treaties are written as between the Member States and at present the UK is a Member. Our negotiations should be with the governments of the other Member States.
The proper role of the Commission is akin to that of the civil service – to give effect to what the Member States decide.