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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "François Mitterrand"

Garvan Walshe: The cost of Johnson’s Brexit will be paid by his new Red Wall voters

Garvan Walshe is a former national and international security policy adviser to the Conservative Party.

Michel Barnier got his orders on Tuesday. They are the product of three years of a negotiation in which all trust has  been eliminated. If I were a Brexteer who wanted maximum divergence, I’d open the champagne. But if I had shares in British-based manufacturing industry, I’d get on the phone to my broker.

The Commission and EU member states have instructed Barnier to make three main demands that this Government will find it very difficult indeeed to acept. He has been told to obtain the UK’s agreement –

  • Not to lower the level of labour regulation below that which will obtain at the end of the transition period
  • Not to lower the level of environmental protection below the same level; crucially, he is required to get the UK to apply the precautionary principle in such regulation, which excludes alignment with American environmental standards
  • To apply European “Union State aid rules to and in the United Kingdom”.

This is not all. The EU has also taken care to include demands for “enforcement arrangements” binding in UK domestic law. It is doing what the stronger party always tries to do in negotiations, and transfer the risk, in this case of the UK trying to compete with the EU through deregulation, as Economists for Brexit argued during the referendum campaign that the UK should, and many others including the Prime Minister have repeated since.

Though there is in practice little chance of environmental or labour deregulation at the moment, the UK committed the Bond Villain fallacy of announcing its plan for world domination in advance, lulling the EU into a false sense of insecurity.

State aid, admittedly, is a more serious risk as long as the techno-Gaullist Dominic Cummings is around. Large dollops of it will be needed to deal with the cost of tariffs ocaused by an “Australian-style” – that is, non-existent – trade deal. It seems strange to me to leave the EU to implement the policies of Francois Mitterrand, but what would I know? I campaigned for Remain on the grounds that European integration was a capitalist conspiracy.

The EU’s determination to apply conditions for the elimination of tariffs places limits on the UK’s economic policy, though not ones that are in themselves too onerous. The British economy is, after all, dominated by services, not manufacturing. The application of tariffs on manufactured goods does not hinder the financial services sector, higher education, or the english language media market. The UK’s incentives for tech startups are among the most generous and easiest to access.

And even the elments of manufacuring that have the highest value added, namely the conceptualisation and design of products are, as the economist Richard Baldwin argues, essentially intangible. And even though EU freedom of movement, which had been essential to staffing the high value service sector has ended, the new points-based system can be adapted to ensure adequate labour supply for jobs like these. A high technology service oriented UK doesn’t necessarily require a zero tariff free trade agreement.

The dilemma that such an outcone would cause the Government is rather social and political. It would increase the weight in the economy of the tech and financial sectors, while making significant parts of the manufacturing sector, which is dependent on a European network of supply chains, unviable.

The extent to which different parts of the country would suffer from different problems would increase. In London and the South East, pressure on house prices and space would increase. In the Midlands and North, the decline in employment quality, as industrial jobs were replaced by low skill service sector employment, would feed into local wages and living standards, even if national averages disguised this divergence.

Fiscal transfers justified as befitting a One Nation Conservative Government could reduce this inequality – but would have to be paid for. How long a globally oriented service sector would be sustained under a high tax burden is very much an open question.

The nature of the Government’s majority makes this dilemma starker still. The election delivered Conservative MPs located precisely in these industrial areas that are vulnerable to the Government’s own policy of divergence. If divergence is indeed chosen, means will need to be found to compensate the losers. Infrastructure sounds like a good idea, but takes years to plan and build, and requires planning objections to be overcome. Its benefits accrue slowly, and over the decades of its lifetime.

In any event, people with the right skills will need to be found to build it. There is not in fact a pool of easy-to-employ people available, and employable people were not in fact displaced by an immigrant work force. In reality, not only did immigrants not “take our jobs”, but the other side of the coin is that there aren’t British people available to do the jobs from which they were supposedly displaced, because they weren’t displaced.

The Government has got its Brexit. Now it needs to make the painful choices that come with it.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iain Dale: Why shouldn’t the Conservatives welcome back the Kippers?

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

The fire in Notre Dame on Monday was a tragedy in so many ways – but one which unusually didn’t involve any loss of life. In a slightly twisted way, it’s probably an event which will work to the political benefit of Emmanuel Macron.

His popularity ratings are at an all-time low. Just 27 per cent of the French people approve of the job he is doing. They think he’s getting increasingly regal – not unknown for a French President (think Chirac, Mitterand) – and they have no confidence in his economic reforms. They see the havoc wrought by the Gilets Jaunes each weekend for the last six months, and realise that their President not only in large part caused these protests but also has no idea how to quell them.

Politicians are often judged by how they react to national tragedies and disasters. They present a real opportunity to either fall flat on your face if you strike the wrong tone, or capture the mood of the nation if you get it right.

Macron lost little time in visiting the scene. I suspect his presence wasn’t exactly welcomed by the ‘Pompiers’ who were still trying to douse the fire, but he would have been damned if he hadn’t turned up promptly…and was no doubt damned anyway for turning up with what some saw as indecent haste.

It will be interesting to see whether the Gilets Jaunes decide to cancel their protests in Paris and around the country this weekend. If they do, it could provide some much-needed respite for the beleaguered President.

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One consequence of the fact that Britain will now have to take part in the European elections is that Nigel Farage can’t present his LBC show for the next seven weeks.  Under OfCom rules, candidates are not allowed to present radio or TV shows during the campaign. So bang go my weekends – as I’ll be covering for him on Sunday mornings, while Eddie Mair will cover his weekday 6-7pm hour.

Last Sunday, I had Anna Soubry in the studio for an hour doing a 30 minute interview and then taking calls for another 30 minutes. She was in typical robust formm but was rather skewered by the final caller who asked her if it was true that one of her reasons for wanting to remain in the EU was because she wanted to reform it from the inside. Yes, she said. That was certainly the case.

The caller then said: “Well why haven’t you applied the same principle to remaining in the Conservative Party, Anna?” All I could think of was why hadn’t I thought of asking her that question! And that’s why phone-ins are the perfect example of the concept of “Wisdom of Crowds”. #BackInMyBox

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According to Guido Fawkes, the number of Conservative Party members has increased by 30,000 in recent months to 150,000. Some fear that is proof that there is “entryism” from people who have only joined because they want a vote in the coming leadership election.

If many of these people are ex-UKIPers, can they really be described as ‘entryists’, given that they were almost certainly Conservative supporters before they defected to UKIP. Surely the party should be embracing them with open arms and welcoming them home?

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The Conservative leadership contest is well and truly underway – though, for all we know, it could last for the rest of the year. This week, Sajid Javid has made an impact with his speech on crime.

The more personal part of his speech, where he claimed he could easily have been drawn into a life of crime, really hit home with a lot of people. Some say that he lacks the emotional intelligence to be a political leader, but this speech did a lot to address that. Expect him to do much more to show his personality and character over the coming weeks.

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On Wednesday, it was announced that I’m doing a show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. It’s called Iain Dale – All Talk… and I’ll be doing ‘In Conversation’ style interviews with all sorts of people from the world of politics and the media.

My guests will include: Nicola Sturgeon, Sadiq Khan, Kirsty Wark, Christiane Amanpour, Sayeeda Warsi, Sarah Smith, Johnny Mercer, Heidi Allen, Layla Moran, Alan Johnson, Fi Glover, Sarah Smith, Jacqui Smith, Louise Casey, Jess Phillips and John McDonnell. It will runs from 31 July-11 August at 4pm each afternoon at the Gilded Balloon. Tickets are available from the Gilded Balloon website.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com