Conservative Remainer speaks on Brexit

Neil Carmichael was speaking at University of Nottingham on an Audit of Brexit, hosted by John Hess. My best effort at a write-up follows. – Carmichael is a Remainer and former Conservative MP. The current crisis is the second whereby MPs of there right had reacted against free trade and both had resulted in prolonged absence from power. No Dealers can’t cope with single market and customs union deal that is required to avoid a hard border in Ireland whilst a further deal is negotiated. No_dealers can’t cope with the prolonged jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Brexiteers are not facing up to the deals that the EU single market already has to cover half of our trade. Notable that the Single Market was designed with Thatcher, and the EU have insisted that come what may, they will defend the single market. The deal the EU is offering is the only deal for March 29th. There is now a blame game. David Davies appears not to have been engaged when Brexit Secretary. The UK has repeatedly misread the EU. So the UK has been outmanoeuvred. Meanwhile, France has been astute at offering good alternative locations for finance and the Republic of Ireland has been better prepared on the border. Meanwhile, we’re missing opportunities for us. The US-China trade spat should have been an opportunity for us. Instead Germany have 4 times more exports to China. And India, the Netherlands is a bigger trader than we, Mother Britain, is. So it’s about individual relationship with countries (rather than asserting the EU has been getting in the way). And it’s not just business. We’ll be out of agreement on tackling crime, and overseeing atomic energy and medicines, the headquarters for which is in England. As for Political Problems, there are several outcomes, all off them implausible, but one of which must happen. 1. The negotiated deal passes through Parliament – currently way short of the votes needed. 2. No Deal – not wanted by the EU, but they are preparing for it; not many votes for it in Parliament. 3. Change the deal – some tinkering to help appearances; but Merkhal had stressed that the EU has other things to think about – Italy and other borders. 4. People’s Vote – Remainers have been struggling with “Project Fear” label;. 1a. Talk of a National Government was noted. 1b/4b. Also of a General Election. [I challenged this presentation – I think it’s Deal, No Deal or Remain – with a referendum only being one of the Remain options – we might have to abandon the exit cos we won’t be ready.]
Notable was the challenges making deals had posed. And whilst for instance, the Indian Leader had talked about preparing for new deal, the leader has insisted that “free movement” must be part of such a deal.

Sausages in Berlin for teatime

“Leaving the European Union is the most fantastic opportunity for the United Kingdom. It means we can have the opportunity of setting  lower tariffs, cheaper food, clothing and footwear, helping the least well-off in our society the most.  The opportunity is being thrown away.  If you look at the deal, our tariffs will be set by the European Union and it will be illegal for us to offer lower tariffs.”

Rees-Mogg continues the Brexit idea that it’s good for Britain with the potential for lots of new lower tariff  trade deals.
Any new deals will not match the sheer scale of what we already have with the EU, and the single market means no tariffs.

“Because if we vote Leave, then we are in a position to dictate the terms in Britain’s economic interests.”

Brexiters are ignoring how hard deals are to reach – during the referendum, Gove said we’d have the upper hand in negotiating a deal with the EU – a kinda 21st century version of “on with the charge and we’ll be sucking sausage in Berlin by teatime!”; instead we could be consigned to the trenches for another 21 months (and we’ve been there 29 months already).

I’m sure it’s true that deals can be faster if for example we say to the USA that we don’t mind eating their chlorinated chicken.

Whatever the arguments are about tactics, we must keep explaining why Remain is the best way forward.

Cos Remain would win a next referendum (Channel 4 survey), and Remain\s support is slightly suppressed by the “let’s just get on with it” mentality.

Cos May announced there are three options –
– the deal;  (which is Brexit, despite what no dealers say);
– no deal Brexit;
– remaining in the European Union.

(She didn’t mention a new Labour minority gov’t negotiating a better deal.   Hmmmm.  Seems Corbyn and MacDonnell like sausage in Berlin too.)

20181115 163400 gb2422h guardian parliamentary voting blocks on theresa may eu deal

The Guardian helpfully publishes a guide to the voting blocks.
(A few more groupings might have been useful, cos I think there is actually a majority for Remain in Parliament.)

Speech to full Council on Brexit

On the speech to the Brexit report, submitted as Chair of Audit, first the BBC Radio Nottingham interview –
Thanks to BBC Radio Nottm for inviting me on to talk about the council’s report on Brexit.
Questioner’s challenge: – why set out the case for Remain? Isn’t it too late to do that?
My answer: I think Remain can still happen, so watch out for the next Treaty negotiation, the December European Council and then the debate in Parliament.
Questioner’s challenge:shouldn’t you be preparing for Brexit instead?
My answer:that’s what’s in the report – recommendations 3 and 4. But the govt’s assessment has become more serious and the plans to prepare are getting later.
Yep, what I didn’t think the outcome of the interview would be thatI put the recommendations in the wrong order.

Now the article based on the speech used to present a report full council, which can be found at –
Thanks to inspiration from Cllr Sarah Piper who commissioned on Brexit and how it might affect Nottingham and the City Council, 2 years ago, and which we have refreshed for publication and debate today.
A good deal of the report is handed over to the negotiations on Brexit and how they are evolving.
The Theresa May deal is the least certain, but in essence says, give ourselves another 21 months as we are – except political representation whilst we work out a new deal.Note, the EU deal with Canada took 7 years.
But Minsters who know what that might mean, suggest to carry all the advantages, it means committing to a regime where we carry all the future EU commitments with a much reduced say.
Colleagues might be most concerned by the specific consequences for Nottingham.
But I want to start with …
Emergency Planning
Preparing Emergency plans to cover the weeks running up to March 29th has become a major concern.
Over the weekend, it became clear that our military forces were being called upon to help out.
Contrast with in June, when concerns, if they were mentioned at all, mainly focused on huge delays at ports in Kent.
Because emergency planning has to plan for the worst, and leave us to do the hoping for the best, you do have to be wary of turning the volume to 11 when discussing the emergency planning.
But by September, it was clear that planning is having to cover failures of supplies to reach factories and offices; and failures of supplies to shops, including food and medicines.
We don’t know too much more, but it would seem national guidance has been slipping.
= Key Challenges =
The identifiable challenges and risks for Nottingham and the City Council, are –
Is it “No Deal”, or an agreed transition period, or what?
29th March 2019 is the date if we leave without a deal with the EU27.
31st December, 2020 is the date for either still “No Deal”, and a new deal based perhaps on the Canadian model, or a date by which we already know we’ve extended the transition, or a further failure to agree.
* final agreement content:
* The Pound:
* Inflation;
Economy: the removal of 750 or so trading treaties, with significant delays to be expected in reaching new ones, will affect growth, the ability to export, the timeliness and posts of imports; the desirability of Nottingham for inward investment; growth is expected to fall;
European Structural Investment Funds: their loss will cut off useful alternative routes for external funding when national government has been less supportive;
Skills: the impact on changes to the labour market to being able to fill posts;
Public spending: a smaller economy will lead to even lower public spending;
= City Economy =
European Structural Investment Funds:
(ESIF) money for this round of EU funding round (2014-2020) via Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2)’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for 2014-2020 is £214.3m.It is unclear where other similar sources of funding will be available post-Brexit.
EU funding: Nottingham had received at £190 million of EU funding since 2000;
Nottingham has benefitted from alternative funding being directed to us, when the national gov’t has directed funds to better off places.
University Research:
Our universities have been part of Europe’s drive on science which has taken it to being bigger than the USA or China.Now the ability to draw on EU research grants – worth £20 million – is compromised.
Exports: around 45% of our exports goes to the EU;
Company ownership: 2 years ago, out of 205 local companies that have group ownership overseas, 80 had parent companies in the EU;
Lower Growth:
Nottingham is the 22nd (of 62 UK cities included) most impacted by a ‘hard’ Brexit at -2.4% GVA (-1.2% for soft) over ten years.The model used underestimates the negative impact in industries where foreign investment is more important than trade barriers.
= City Council Treasury Management =
Risks identified 2 years ago need a re-statement since many of the issues concerned short term investments and then current events.
= More widely =
The status of the British border with the Irish Republic and potential threats to the Good Friday agreement is a very widely held public concern.
It’s why the UK and the EU 27 need a backstop on their current “Hold-it-off” deal.
In the seventies, and eighties and nineties, we wondered if “The Troubles” would ever go away?
Now we wonder how anyone could risk them coming back.
A shame to see the DUP back saying “Never”.
Is Remain still possible?
I thought it was right to re-state our position, if only because if it all goes wrong, people will ask why didn’t we say so?
I’ve also seen the question phrased as can Brexit be stopped?
Whichever way, with 3 separate group in Parliament – “No Deal”, “Theresa’s deal” and “Remain” – and with none of them having a majority, just how is it all going to pan out?
The risk now for Parliament is that MPs will not acknowledge that support for “Remain” is stronger, and it only lost by 4 points in the first place.
90% of Labour party members want “Remain”; 70% of Labour voters want “Remain”.
No surprise here, because Labour and the trade unions have come to value the European Union in ways we didn’t in 1975.
We found the regulation, defending terms and conditions and the industries and services that added value to our taste.
We valued alternative perspectives to Thatcherism and was is sometimes called neo-liberal economics.The greener approaches on the environment and mitigating climate change.
And we came to understand that being one of 9, has changed and we are now one of 28. A remarkable achievement.
Some of it we’ve been less comfortable with.The ECJ judgement of 2005 on paying native minimum wages; the golden rules on public spending; the Euro.
But the nearest I’ve heard to a Lexit argument has been “we used to call it a Capitalist club”.
And what we know is that what is coming is not a Lexit, but an opening of Britain to a free trade undermining our manufacturing and services in a new way, with more tax breaks for the very rich which the working people will have to pay for, and American stands on food – e.g. chlorinated chicken.
So we merely re-state that we are Remain
Cos if we hadn’t have put it in, people would have asked us.
Now some say it’s anti-democratic to have another referendum.
Can we really not change our mind?
But we don’t have to say how “Remain” will come about, cos we don’t yet have to.
We can wait to see what the options are after [a summit, and then the last meeting of the Council of Ministers].
We don’t even know if the Commons has given itself the space to call a General Election, because 1/3rd of members is all it takes to block it.
But could “Remain” even win a referendum?
Well, if there is another referendum, no-one could countenance “Remain” not being an option on the ballot papers when Channel 4 recently showed “Remain” would win.
It’s what the majority now want.
In part cos it will have only taken a few people in every hundred to have changed their mind.
But also because people who didn’t vote so much last time, typically the under-35s, are going to vote in bigger numbers, in the next.
Because, could “Leave” ever argue again that striking a deal was going to be easy?No.
Because, could “Leave” ever argue again that the UK would have the commanding position in the negotiations cos the EU needed us?No.
Because, could “Leave” ever argue again that there was all this money waiting to be given to the NHS?No.
Because, could “Leave” ever argue again that manufacturing, especially brought in from abroad, wasn’t going to leave us?No.
Because, could “Leave” ever argue again that the British border with the Irish Republic wasn’t going to be a problem?No.
Because, could “Leave” ever argue again that bananas could not be sold in bunches bigger than 3?No.Well actually they might.
We say No, No, No, No, and No, and that we’ll have to be better next time for the stuff that’s bananas.
The Channel 4 survey shows that alongside Rushcliffe, Derby would now be Remain, Broxtowe would now be Remain, Gedling would now be Remain,
And Nottingham would now be Remain.
The Recommendations
Are much plainer and simpler.
That Audit committee receive assurances that all council project and service plans have assessed the risk of Brexit to their objectives and ability to deliver.
That Audit committee receive progress on the emergency planning for Brexit.
Both, probably, in the new year.
Because at the Remembrance service yesterday know, those of us who carry the burden of government, might People will expect us to have prepared, rather than rely on their prayers.

Consequences for Nottingham of Brexit

At full council, I will be presenting a report which I have commissioned on Brexit and how it might affect Nottingham and the City Council.
A good deal of it is handed over to the negations on Brexit and how they are evolving.

In summary form, the issues are –

Nottingham has benefitted from alternative funding being directed to us as a. city in need, when the national gov’t has directed funds to better off places. We’ve drawn £190 million in 18 years.

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) money for this round of EU funding round (2014-2020) via Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2)’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for 2014-2020 is £214.3m.  It is unclear where other similar sources of funding will be available post-Brexit.

Our universities have been part of Europe’s drive on science which as taken it
to being bigger than the USA or China. Now the ability to draw on EU research grants – worth £20 million.

At risk – 45% of our exports go to the EU.

Business confidence, especially around decisions relating to inward investment, will likely be significantly weakened.

Nottingham is the 22nd (of 62 UK cities included) most impacted by a ‘hard’ Brexit at -2.4% GVA (-1.2% for soft) over ten years.  The model used underestimates the negative impact in industries where foreign investment is more important than trade barriers.

Here’s how the relevant section reads –
Nottingham has benefitted from significant European Funds in the past including funding for BioCity, Old Market Square, Nottingham Contemporary and the New Art Exchange.
The City has seen at least £190 million of EU funded projects since 2000 via the ERDF, ESF, Horizon 2020 and FP7 funding programmes.
Over recent years, around £20 million of our two leading Universities’ total annual income has been derived from research grants from EU sources.
The associated impacts on key areas of development like science, the environment and health, through the loss of the EU’s collective capacity for research and expertise, is likely to be significant for the UK without requisite agreements and clear working relationships. This implication could see Nottingham falling behind in sectors where we are currently strong.
From a local business perspective, 45% of our exports go to the EU and the relationship post-Brexit will have significant impact on the success of those businesses going forward. Similarly business confidence, especially around decisions relating to inward investment, will likely be significantly weakened.
The UK, with the creation of the single digital market, stood to be one of the countries that would have gained the most economically and this poses a missed opportunity, especially for Nottingham and the sectors we are looking to grow.
Nottingham City accesses European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) money for this round of EU funding round (2014-2020) via Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2)’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
D2N2’s ESIF allocation for 2014-2020 is £214.3m. This consists of both the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF).
It is unclear where other similar sources of funding will be available post-Brexit.
A Centre for Cities / LSE Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) report published in July 2017, looked to model the impact of both a ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ EU Exit on economic growth in individual Cities in the UK, over ten years, compared to what continuing membership would have delivered. Though heavily caveated, it suggested:
Nottingham is the 22nd (of 62 UK cities included) most impacted by a ‘hard’ Brexit at -2.4% GVA (-1.2% for soft) over ten years.
That the model used underestimates the negative impact in industries where foreign investment is more important than trade barriers.
The rise in the rate of inflation over the last year or so, often attributed to the fall in the value of the pound following the referendum result, now appears to be moving back. The CPI measure was 2.4% in September 2018, down from 2.7% in August.
It is important to note that whilst we have assessed the anticipated high level risk/impact of Brexit, we have not comprehensively reviewed the opportunities that remaining a member state would bring. The aforementioned creation of the single digital market, for example, highlights a clear missed opportunity that could have been of great benefit to Nottingham. Other similar opportunities have not comprehensively being scoped.

Remembrance prayers for those who govern

20181111 105719 ab0400h remembrance sunday service james stapleton_Fotor_Fotor

That we pray for the peace of the world and for the relief of suffering at such events might seem obvious.
But always struck that we then for those “who bear responsibility for government.”
As if it was dropped upon us when in so many cases, we have gone out and sought it.

Still, sympathy for this having to deal with Brexit, eh?
Except, Theresa May is Prime Minister because of the vote for leaving the European Union, and because despite believing we should stay in the European Union, kept a low profile rather than trying to change the public’s mind.
And as became clear in 2017, she she needed the practice.

Little sympathy from The Observer today, who in commenting on the latest ministerial resignation, the 14th under May,  say this –
“Brexiters claim that the bad faith and incompetence of May and her fifth-columnist civil service negotiators are the cause. The reality is that Britain’s position was incoherent from the start – simultaneously wanting the benefits of EU membership even while leaving. Moreover, a country of 65 million people is simply weaker than the EU of 450 million, which is doing no more than properly protecting its interests. Brexiter promises of easy trade deals and all the rest, as [the resigning minister] ruthlessly exposes, were fantastical lies.
“The result, as [the resigning minister] writes, is that the country faces the choice of either the chaos of a no deal – risking depression, food and medical shortages and the collapse of the Dover-Calais transport link – or mitigating that debacle by never-ending “vassalage” to EU regulations in a customs union and single market from which we dare not depart because of the economic damage. We will accept EU rules, make contributions to its budget, but play no part in making them.” 

A colleague today has tweeted the passage where Michael Gove said “because if we vote Leave, then we’re in a position to dictate the terms in Britain’s economic interest.”  

Meanwhile, Nottingham City Council is to take a report on Brexit at full Council, to set out how we should get already as possible for the consequences for Nottingham of Brexit.

Missing out on EU opportunities

201810 anti Brexit art work joke 50p coin 45119637_1012210822296694_6402268990915215360_oI attended a couple of “Another Europe is possible” meetings in part to reflect on a previous post about the challenges Nottingham faces as we are preparing for, or rather threatened by, Brexit.
Reports of how the EU is now bigger than the. USA in science prompts thoughts to how we might miss out on their progress.  Moving on with progress on health, the environment and tackling corporations on tax avoidance.
One risk that deserves better understanding is the impact of people who are European citizens, but not British.  Up to 3.8 million were mot allowed to take part in the 2016 referendum.  Might people leave Britain, many of them working in the hotel and catering trade?  What might the challenge to the economy be, and to public services, if shortages there make public sector caring jobs less attractive.  A take that this means more jobs for local people begs the question about how crops can to be left in the fields, or in the greenhouses, this year.
The group are pushing for a People’s Vote, which is often challenged with how do you choose 2 options from the 3 touted?  One retort – list the three options – Crash out; May’s deal (which is crash out after a while before new trade deals can be struck), and Remain. A more complicated referendum might actually re-iterate how this matter deserves consideration.
The early challenge to leaving with or without a deal is the race to strike new trade deals, especially with an America with lower standards on food (e.g. chlorinated chicken).
Reminders too, of people like Professor Minford, who wanted to write off Liverpool.  The raw globalisation that will follow Brexit will threaten most what traditional manufacturing businesses we have, a constituency that seemed particularly motivated to vote Leave.
I’ve been wondering about withdrawing Article 50 – which I am assured the UK can do – we must be able to, cos what if a General Election led us to say we’ve changed our mind? Concern at the meetings was to do that in isolation leaves that sense that the result of people expressing their view is to be merely turned over by the political class.   But I think it may be needed cos realisation of  the crisis to come will prompt people to say “stop” cos we’re not ready.
A reminder that the process will be, and has been, making young people feel like they have not say.
For me, another chance to say the challenge to EU membership problem developed from a ruling (by the European Court of Justice) saying that people from abroad could be paid different rates of pay, and terms and conditions, and that by 2010 at least, so many people were bewailing lack of opportunities for employment for local people, and problems caused at work places by people who were not properly trained.

All in all, time for a stock take of the challenges to Nottingham prompted by Brexit.

BTW Independent article on public understanding of Brexit.


Against Brexit hold a stall in Hockley

The stall offered a chance for people to out stickers against the questions “Is Brexit going well for the country?”, “Will Brexit be good for the NHS?” and “Will Brexit be good for jobs?”.  Practically 100% “No” when I arrived, but then a man came up to protest with some anger, and an anger that was not assuaged as the stall happily let him vote “Yes” to the 3 questions.  Now sure, it might be an example of confirmation bias, but it’s not illegitimate.
More alarming is the polling saying that people don’t care about the rights and wrongs of Brexit anymore – that they just want it over with.  Something tested by Frank Skinner hosting BBCtv’s “Room 101”, and his audience kinda coughed and shuffled their shoes.
Well, we better hope people do care.  Cos the peace of Ireland is at stake.  The peace deal said no borders, and not being in the customs union means a border.
As best we can tell, there is a low prospect of Theresa May and the government negotiating a deal of any kind, but it seems a majority of Conservative MPs want that rather than no deal at all.  The problem than is the determined minority set to vote against any deal.
Nor do Conservative MPs seem set to vote for an early General Election cos that needs a two-thirds majority.
And the default coming out day is March 29th.
So maybe now we have to keep working for a delay for the date, which the EU would have to agree, or that Britain withdraws its application to leave under Article 50 and ponders on when to submit it again.
Meanwhile Labour’s line remains – any deal must meet 6 tests, and if it can’t, a General Election should be called to decide our future, and if that is not granted, a referendum on the options on our future with Europe, including the option to Remain.