Post-Referendum Debrief July 14th

David Davis: Secretary of State for Brexit!

Theresa May has moved rapidly to appoint her Cabinet, with big jobs for Brexiteers.  David Davis as Secretary of State at the new Brexit department. Boris as Foreign Secretary. Liam Fox at International Trade.

These are positive moves, hailed by Nigel Farage as “inspired choices”.  I have to say that with this news, Brexit seems even more real and tangible than it did in the euphoric aftermath of the Referendum on June 23rd/24th. I can almost taste it. Liberation calls.

It’s wonderful to see David Davis back in harness – and in a key role.  He’s big enough and tough enough to front up to the EU institutions and to get the deal Britain needs.

The Express features “May’s team to battle Brussels”  while the Scottish Daily Mail headlines “Boris is back while Osborne is axed”.  I suspect that few tears will be shed for George.

Of course not all the papers welcomed the appointments. The Mirror headlines “Boris Johnson – Sorry World!”, showing the famous zipwire photo and fearing that Britain could be made a laughing stock. Tim Farron (“Who’s he?” I hear you ask. He’s described as Leader of the Lib Dems) has Tweeted “Johnson will spend his time apologising to nations he’s offended”.

Angela Eagle’s response to the news of Boris Johnson’s appointment is well worth 30 seconds with the video clip.

Owen Smith (again “Who’s he?” – and this time I’m not sure), who is said to be challenging for the Labour Leadership has said that his policy platform will include a call for a second referendum, arguing that many citizens who voted Leave are concerned at recent negative economic reports, and would like to change their minds. He has a point: the legacy of Project Fear has certainly spooked the markets, and any leave voter who expected sunlit uplands on June 24th was over-optimistic.

We always said there would be volatility around the referendum. It’s vital now to steady the ship, and I believe that Johnson and Davis are the men to do it.  And despite my reservations about Theresa May, she deserves credit for those appointments. Allister Heath has a thoughtful piece in the Telegraph welcoming the new Prime Minister’s commitment to Brexit – and the challenges she will face.

And how did Obama react?  “Not at all”, seems to be the answer. Theresa May has received calls from a number of world leaders congratulating her on her appointment, but the Express reports she has been “snubbed” by Obama, who has failed to call her. Oh well.  Maybe he had other things on his mind. Like the US Presidential election.

Signs of a slowdown?

The Telegraph Business News leads with “Signs of a slowdown hit UK economy in the wake of the Brexit vote”  – although much of the report is based on forecasts rather than data (another reflection of Project Fear). Unusually, the Times is rather less negative, speaking of a new interest rate stimulus.

But it also reports criticism of the Bank of England and Mark Carney from the economists at the Institute of Economic Affairs, who say that Carney should not have suggested a rate cut in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, because doing so merely reinforced concerns created by Project Fear, and played into a narrative of negative economic consequences.  They argue that he should have waited several months to see the real effects of Brexit before reacting.

Meantime the FT reports that the banking industry has criticised J.P. Morgan and its boss Jamie Dimon for the bank’s “deeply unhelpful comments” in the wake of Brexit. It has suggested it might move thousands of jobs out of London.

In any case, we can expect Theresa May’s bold appointments to calm the markets – as her own early coronation also did.

EU Council President Donald Tusk ‘Britain must be punished’

Bend over.  It’s six of the best from the President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk. He’s returned to fighting talk about “punishing” the UK for Brexit – to make sure no other EU member-states have the temerity to follow suit.

At least he’s being honest. The idea that the UK could leave, prosper and set an example to others has always haunted the Brussels apparatchiks.  But his attitude reflects the view of a career politician with little understanding of business and industry. Given the trade imbalance between the UK and EU, Brussels can only punish the UK by accepting even greater damage itself, which it can little afford in the parlous state of the eurozone economy.

As I have said before, the last thing Angela Merkel wants to see is thousands of unemployed German auto workers in Munich and Stuttgart – especially with an election looming. And while Brussels apparatchiks like Tusk seek to salve their bruised egos, wiser heads like Angela Merkel and the head of the German CBI Markus Kerber are being more realistic and speaking of “mutual benefits”.

Strangely ITV is reporting much more constructive comments from Tusk , saying that the UK and EU will remain “the closest of allies” following their “divorce”. Maybe Tusk has a touch of schizophrenia. Or maybe you can’t believe all you read in the papers.

Merkel and the EU Army

Again and again we’re told that the threat of an EU Army was one of the “lies” of the Leave Campaign. Yet here it is again, and Merkel is pressing on with it. Maybe it’s for use against member-states that have the temerity to apply for Article 50.

French fishermen fear for Brexit

The Telegraph reports that French fishermen are concerned at the possible damage to their industry if their access to British waters is restricted after Brexit. They are right to be concerned.   It will be little consolation for them, but they may want to reflect on the benefit they have enjoyed as they have been allowed to plunder a British resource for 43 years.

But the report illustrates the pusillanimous attitude of many in our UK media (and people in authority who should know better) when we read that “British fishermen have been warned of the difficulty of negotiating new arrangements”, while The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations has said: “We can certainly seek to renegotiate quota shares, as well as access arrangements, but it is realistic to expect that there will be a price”.  Whose quotas, for heaven’s sake? They think we have to buy the rights to our own fish?

Hang on a minute, guys.  For a newly-liberated UK, these are our waters under international law. They are our fishery resources.  As an independent country, we won’t need to negotiate anything.  Our starting point is that the fish are ours, and we decide how they will be exploited (and sustained). We may of course choose to offer access to other nations, either long-term or perhaps on a tapered basis.  Then indeed there would be a price – paid by French & Spanish fishermen to the UK.

‘Please don’t be nasty to Spain and Portugal’

In 2015 both Spain and Portugal exceeded the EU’s 3% deficit limit, and could be liable for fines as high as 0.2% of GDP.  But France’s Finance Minister Michel Sapin has appealed to Brussels not to “punish for the sake of punishing”, arguing that the fines would further damage the countries concerned, and do no one any favours.

This situation shows the absurdity of the EU’s construct for monetary union.  First of all we have euro-zone rules which the countries find they can’t achieve. And why can’t they achieve them? Why because of the eurozone itself!  Then we have a system of penalties which is counterproductive.

If they can’t find revenues to cover 97% of their expenditure commitments, how will they pay the fine? Then we note that the fines are discretionary. It is not a rule-based system founded in the rule of law.  It is a system of arbitrary patronage, like some Mediæval Satrapy, where sucking up to the Sultan is the only hope of leniency.

And finally there is the ultimate ignominy of once great nations going cap-in-hand to plead for mercy in Brussels, and of democratically elected governments not allowed to manage their economies. Thank heaven we voted for Brexit.

Airbus joins Siemens: backing Britain after Brexit

In yesterday’s Debrief I noted that having spoken out against Brexit before the Referendum, Siemens has done a quick U-Turn and confirmed that it will remain, and invest, in the UK. Just too late for yesterday’s Debrief came the news that Airbus has made a similar announcement. Fabrice Regier the CEO says “We don’t expect it will affect our operations here where we have 15,000 employees”.

Farage confirms membership surge

Nigel Farage has confirmed that “significant numbers” of disaffected Tory supporters have left their party to join UKIP in the wake of the Conservative Leadership elections. I suppose the Boris/David appointments weren’t merely a sop to eurosceptic Tories?

Perish the thought.

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26 Responses to Post-Referendum Debrief July 14th

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:


  2. foxbarn says:

    Great debrief Roger. And on the markets, to update the moaning minnies: the FTSE is 6723, amazing I know. The FTSE250 is heading back to 17,000 at 16846 and Sterling is clearly coming back, now 1.3230. So where, Guardian readers, is the ‘Brexit crash’??? All we need is for our anti-Britain Goldman Sachs Bank of England Chief to stop talking down our country and we’ll be on the way to success. Perhaps Mrs May could replace him with Jacob Rees-Mogg.

  3. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Since a few bricks are being flung around I’m hoping Aunty T flings a couple at the DECC Dept and the Foreign Aid swindle. Thats the swindle that fattens Merc and BMW order books largely.

    US Trade continues…so what the end of the queue crap is about I don’t know:
    “UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) yesterday handed Boeing $6 billion-worth of orders, for nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and 50 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters”.

    Sooner the crying in London (Notting Hill etc) stops the better…just get a job and shut up basically! And asking idiots (leaders?) around the world what they think of Boris is puerile bollox!

    • KennieD says:

      I thought came out with an excellent quip this morning (or yesterday evening). When asked by a silly reporter if he was going to apologise to Obarma and others, Boris replied , “America will be ‘at the front of the queue”
      I suspect it will have flown over the heads of Obarma and all his bbc-type worshipers.

      • Rhys Jaggar says:

        It might be wise to see that the Americans aren’t so dumb as to turn down UK purchases of US products. What we want to see in return is Rolls Royce or someone else winning analogous orders in the US.

        A trading relationship is not ‘we give and they take’, after all……

    • catweazle666 says:

      You will like this Colin!

      DECC closure: Department’s end confirmed with Greg Clark appointment

      Theresa May has scrapped the department for energy and climate change (Decc) in her Cabinet reshuffle.

      The energy portfolio will now be covered by a new department led by former communities secretary Greg Clark.

      It will be called the department for business, energy and industrial strategy.

      Cue wailing, gnashing of teeth and impotent stamping of tiny feet by the Greenies.

      Oh, and not forgetting that Brexit means that the Paris COP21 agreement is in serious jeopardy too.

      It just gets better and better!

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        Hahahahaha and the mental issues follow.

        Caroline Lucas ✔ @CarolineLucas
        A serious backwards step. Climate Change needs a department & Cabinet Minister, not a corner of an office
        4:18 PM – 14 Jul 2016

        Corner of office it is then, close to the shredder and bins!

        Ed Miliband ✔ @Ed_Miliband
        DECC abolition just plain stupid. Climate not even mentioned in new dept. title. Matters because depts shape priorities shape outcomes.
        4:19 PM – 14 Jul 2016

        Depts were and still are shaping bank balances I reckon?

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        Whinge/Whine No 1:
        Caroline Lucas ‏@CarolineLucas 16h16 hours ago
        Caroline Lucas Retweeted Christopher Hope
        A serious backwards step. Climate Change needs a department & Cabinet Minister, not a corner of an office

        Whinge/Whine No 2:
        Ed Miliband ‏@Ed_Miliband 16h
        DECC abolition just plain stupid. Climate not even mentioned in new dept. title. Matters because depts shape priorities shape outcomes.

        More Whinge/Whine to come aka mental issues!

  4. Shieldsman says:

    I do not know whether Hammond who is as dull as ditch-water will make a better job as Chancellor than Osborne. His performance as Foreign Secretary in Cameron’s negotiations with the EU was pathetic, trying to make out that they had reformed the EU was laughable. What was that red herring he kept talking about – oh yes – I will deposit the agreement at the UN.

    Then how many years did he say Brexit would take?

    • Roger Turner says:

      Takes two hands to count up to six,
      Is that the minimum qualification for the office of Chancellor?

  5. Jane Davies says:

    It has been said that Francois Hollande spends £99,000 a year on his hair, his personal barber goes everywhere with him.
    This is the sort of vanity and waste of money, and who is paying for this I ask, that really pisses off the average Joe trying to make a living, working hard and being ripped off with taxes on every penny they try to earn. No wonder these spoilt extravagant people have no idea how the 99% of people live day to day. It is obscene.

  6. Ian wragg says:

    I hope Brussels piles on the pressure for a quick exit. After all getting out of the single market and reclaiming our territorial waters are not for negotiation.
    Anyone trying to sell an agreement where we accept free movement and paying a fee to allow them to run a massive deficit must be mental.
    Tusk and his mates are stupid and should not be taken seriously.

  7. Jane Davies says:

    Well what say you Roger?
    I hope this is not just an exercise like moving the deckchairs on the Titanic.

  8. Jane Davies says:

    This is what it say’s in my link above…….

    “Moving energy policy to the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy should give ministers a fresh impetus to ensure that the costs for consumers and businesses are driven down, not pushed further up,” said GWPF director Dr Benny Peiser.

  9. mike5262015 says:

    In some ways May has started well. so why don’t I trust her ? …………. It’s all nonsense unless UKIP, that started the need for referendum, is on the negotiating team ! ……….. and will someone please sign that blasted Article 50 !

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