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Thread: The battle of Brexit!

  1. #1891
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    So we knew Cumming didn't like the people advising Sajid Javed already and this apparently lead to No 10 'insiders' referring to the Chancellor as "Chino" (Chancellor in name only). So a great new idea was dreamt up; that a unified team of 'spads' should advise both the PM and the Chancellor but guess who would be in charge and who would not be welcome... So Javed was told he could his post as Chancellor but his 'spads' had to go since this new 'team' would be operating. This was a no go for the former banker and prompted his resignation. He is replaced by the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury (the No 2 job to the Chancellor, MP since 2015) and former Goldman Sachs analyst Rishi Sunak who in two weeks is due to deliver a budget.
    Surprising development so early into a new term. I guess the new Chancellor will be more compliant with the PM's method of operating.

    Previous advisor has to be escorted out by an armed guard means there must have been a scuffle.

    As to the policy issues of this No 10/No 11 'spad spat' that has lead to the resignation of the Chancellor the basics of this the need for more money to fulfill Boris Johnson's expansive promises to "unchain the full potential of the UK" (which apparently the Tories have not yet managed to do despite having been in power for the last 10yrs) by hiring 20,000 new Police, 50,000 new nurses (which previous Conservative Governments had cut), 'build 40 new hospitals' (which it appears may not mean entirely new but rather additions of bits to existing hospitals), new buses (low carbon British built), High Speed 2 train line (which they signed off last week expected to cost £106bn) and sorting out the East/West train lines across the Pennines (Manchester to Leeds) etc... The latest 'Johnson plan' is a road bridge linking the British mainland with Northern Ireland as a sort of symbolic "We're not leaving you behind" although they have of course left N. Ireland in the EU Customs Union. In short 'unleashing the full potential of the UK' actually means the Government spending billions more for political effect. The problem is the money is not there and of course it the Chancellor who has the unfortunate responsibility of trying to balance the budget while faced with the political agenda of the PM. The impossibility of balancing the budget (a Treasury job) while funding these political promises of the PM are the basis of the issue at the heart of this 'spads spat' that has prompted what some of the British political press call a 'power grab' by No 10 on the Chancellorship. Some now refer to the Treasury as No 10a Downing Street.

    Needless to say the left wing press is having a field day; "Johnson’s choice of pipsqueaks and placemen, yes-women and yellow bellies is the most under-brained, third-rate cabinet in living memory." I do not altogether to with Polly Tonybee but it is sad and economically dangerous to see the independence of the Treasury undermined.
    That bolded bit is interesting. I did not realise the chancellor of the exchequer (aka finance minister ) had a degree of independence.

    In the Indian context the tension is usually between the finance minister and central bank. Govt for reasons of political expediency wants monetary policy tweaked or interest rates lowered to spur spending and growth and the bank wants to keep inflation in check so wants the rates as is or even raised. This frequently leads to spats in the media and at times the bank chairman resigning in favour of some one more compliant. This is where the question of independence for exactly the reasons you said comes up as well.

    The same term "power grab" gets said as well.

    Here it seems more serious. Do advisors only advise and ministers decide or has that flipped. In which case you have unelected 3rd parties coming in with a good chance of getting whatever their sponsors want made into policy.

    A strong network of advisors can effectively run the govt !!
    Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Feb 20, at 23:07.

  2. #1892
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Surprising development so early into a new term. I guess the new Chancellor will be more compliant with the PM's method of operating.

    Previous advisor has to be escorted out by an armed guard means there must have been a scuffle.


    That bolded bit is interesting. I did not realise the chancellor of the exchequer (aka finance minister ) had a degree of independence.

    In the Indian context the tension is usually between the finance minister and central bank. Govt for reasons of political expediency wants monetary policy tweaked or interest rates lowered to spur spending and growth and the bank wants to keep inflation in check so wants the rates as is or even raised. This frequently leads to spats in the media and at times the bank chairman resigning in favour of some one more compliant. This is where the question of independence for exactly the reasons you said comes up as well.

    The same term "power grab" gets said as well.

    Here it seems more serious. Do advisors only advise and ministers decide or has that flipped. In which case you have unelected 3rd parties coming in with a good chance of getting whatever their sponsors want made into policy.

    A strong network of advisors can effectively run the govt !!
    There has generally been some 'tension' between the Treasury and No 10, though alot depends on the personalities. George Osborn and David Cameron were famously very close to the point that Cameron did not have his own 'economic advisor' whereas Thatcher and Nigel Lawson fell out (leading to Lawson's resignation) directly about her 'economic advisor' Sir Alan Walters who criticised Lawson policy of having the £ shadow the Deutschmark. Blair and Brown relationship was one of convenience that Brown, who believed he was the more senior and qualified, always resented. Geoffrey Howe was fired over British entry to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism ( ERM the preparation for the launch of the euro) and sent to the Foreign Office; his resignation from there prompted Thatcher's demise. So Thatcher pre-empted any 'rebellion' (she thought) by appointing John Major who did join the ERM and ended up as PM when Thatcher's tactic backfired. During Norman Lamont's residence as Major's Chancellor the UK famously crashed out of the ERM. The point is a Chancellor holds the purse strings and this position gives him (or her though I do not think there has been a Lady Chancellor yet) considerable power. They are free to voice their own views on issues such as the ERM or how much borrowing there should be. Sajid Javed apparently proposed to balance the budget by 2025, which in normal conservative times seems like a worthy ambition but this would have been next to impossible in the face of Johnson's spending promises; something had to give.

    The other consequence of this is that new Chancellor Rishi Sunak in a more powerful position - even though his 'advisors' may be less of his own choice than previously. To lose one Chancellor so quickly - without having delivered one budget - is just about tolerable, particularly when the Government has recently won a majority but to lose two would raise serious questions confidence in the Government and almost certainly prompt a leadership challenge. So while they may have wanted to get rid of Sajid Javed's 'spads' ironically Rishi Sunak must probably be allowed his own advisors if he insists on it.

    As for 'advisors' in general sure advisors advise and Ministers decide but the list of options a Minister may decide from derives from how many options are presented to him/her. Thatcher's economic advisor Sir Alan Walters was famously a monetarist who believed in alowing the £ to float freely; directly contrary to the Treasury view under Lawson and Howe that the £ should shadow the Dmark and then follow the ERM (largely the same thing). So if Thatcher had not had that suggestion in her ear prompted by Sir Alan Walters would she have fallen out so often with her Chancellors? In the long term that argument was settled by what became known as 'Black Wednesday' when George Soros among others made millions speculating against the £, interest rates rose from 10% to 15% in a day to try to maintain the value of the £ but it all failed, the UK crashed out of the ERM (against Treasury wishes), the £ floated freely and UK economy grew on the back of a lower exchange rate. Treasury policy then altered to keeping inflation at around 2%. It does not mean Thatcher and Sir Alan Walters were 'right' and the Treasury, Lawson and Howe were 'wrong' necessarily it just means that is how it ended and this is one of the main reasons why the UK never joined the euro.

    To say that there is a "strong network of advisors can effectively run the govt" is almost meaningless as this has always been the case. Famously at King Charles Street (the FCO) there are "mandarins" who are usually senior civil servants long versed in the reasons why some things are not doable - the '[not] East of Suez' policy derived from the Suez disaster under Eden, the UK commitment to NATO and to an independent nuclear deterrent etc and until recently a commitment to participation in the EU. Why did the FCO support UK participation in the EU? Well as one Brexit MEP who had until recently sat on the EU Fisheries committee complained "What will happen now when there is no British participation in EU Fisheries policy?" It is better to be in and fight your corner than to be powerlessly shrieking from the outside. The Brexit crew clearly never thought it all through in the same manner the FCO 'madarins' had evolved a sorted commonly accepted wisdom of policy.

    Governments have advisors from Civil Servants to these 'spads' and interest groups (the Confederation of British Industry to the Minister of Trade, Royal College of Nursing the Health Secretary, Police Federation to the Home Secretary - all have to be kept happy to some extent). You do not get Government without all the inputs and all the options - in some ways the more options you have the better. Nor are different ideas about any policy necessarily unhealthy - the differing £ policies of the late 1980s and early 1990s was not itself unhealthy except until it lead to personal infighting between the PM and her then Chancellors. In general it is healthy for any Treasury and Foreign Office to have it's own views or 'received wisdom' based on it's own duties and experience and a Prime Minister (or President) is well served when such views are represented by their colleagues at such Departments though ultimately a compromise position is reached the PM gets all the options and can decide which advice to follow. It seems to me the only 'unelected advisor' who is running amok in the UK at present is Dominic Cummings, who's lifetime in No 10 having orchestrated the downfall of a Chancellor must now be more under question. So ironically in the end although at first glance the No 10 'spad' seems to overcome the No 11 'spads' the whole thing has backfired; the new Chancellor is now just about untouchable and Cummings will have made dangerous enemies among the other Ministers and in their Departments. This is how such things usually end - Thatcher weakened her own position in the end irretrievably by such infighting; if Blair had sacked Brown it would have been the end of him, and Johnson's No 10 and particularly Cummings place in it, is now weaker than it was before.

  3. #1893
    Regular Wonderful Plans's Avatar
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    Battle Brexit has ended.
    Hit the grape lethally.

  4. #1894
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    The UK is now effectively a prisoner of the EU. It has to accept all rules and regulations with no representation in the council, commission or parliament.

    Boris is going to make lots of noise from now until he strikes an acceptable deal. Whether he comes up with an agreement that is an improvement over that of his predecessor remains to be seen. But somehow people will believe it.

    He wants a Canada style agreement with the EU and he thinks he can get this done in 11 months. Hah! i think the Canadians took longer than that to get their 1,600 pages long FTA hammered out with the EU.

    Keep in mind that while he is working out an FTA with the EU he also wants one with the US. So he can show he is not isolated.

    That is how crazy these ambitions are.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 18 Feb 20, at 19:55.

  5. #1895
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    As i listen to discussions on the topic, it seems Boris and his team have a vision but the civil servants ie bureaucrats were decidedly anti-Brexit with EU loyalties.

    They have replaced the advisers for the same reason. To be on Boris team you have to be 100% committed to Brexit as dictated by the mandate.

    So why did Sajid Javed resign then ? his advisors were that important to him to fall on his sword ? Does not make sense.

    I'm hearing Boris being praised for being decisive in putting the right team in place at the outset.

    Decisions that took several months in the past will take less time now.

    People become more confident in the decisions when they see bills being passed compared to the last three years of paralysis.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 19 Feb 20, at 01:04.

  6. #1896
    Senior Contributor Versus's Avatar
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    Congratulations for this sane decision.

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    https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/poll...ely-2020-02-20

    A deal can be done, and quickly. A deal the same year with the US isn't possible. Nafta's renegotiation (not even starting from scratch) took the US 3 years to ratify, and they're the ones that instigated it. It's still not ratified in Canada. I suppose on paper both sides could claim a deal is in the works, to sell to their bases. But no economic benefit would be seen until after the President's 2nd term, and a new President may not be interested or have the support of the other houses to pass a US-UK trade deal.

    Can we talk about the breakup of the UK? Scotland I don't think will leave. While the SNP has won a majority since 2015, boosted by their loss in the independence referendum, they rose so quickly, and I believe can fall just as quickly. Twice as bright, half as long, etc. The emotional will is there to pass the 50% "leave" threshold, but the economic questions still remain.

    I think NI leaving is pretty much a done deal now. We're talking about demographic change, a slow and steady outnumbering of Protestants by Catholics, and the historical reasons. Economic questions like currency are pretty much solved. Now there's a mechanism too, the power in Stormont to align with the EU and ROI. I'm not sure whether the new backstop can be maintained if a EU-UK deal is reached, as it's a last resort if no deal is made. But perhaps Republicans could make the argument that the "goods-only" deal isn't deep enough, and continued alignment is necessary.

    Of course it's up to the Republic too, but I'm sure they would welcome, at the very least, the increase of land mass. With the fixed borders of the 21st century, the only way to acquire new land is through independence and reunification, or to take it, Crimean style.

  8. #1898
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    I'm hearing Boris being praised for being decisive in putting the right team in place at the outset.

    Decisions that took several months in the past will take less time now.
    At the outset? You mean after the election or when he 'changed the team' in February? Speed of decision is fine but in fiscal matters it is more important to get it right and not live beyond your means. Otherwise sooner or later it goes to hell in a handcart and you end with the IMF.

  9. #1899
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    At the outset? You mean after the election or when he 'changed the team' in February? Speed of decision is fine but in fiscal matters it is more important to get it right and not live beyond your means. Otherwise sooner or later it goes to hell in a handcart and you end with the IMF.
    Changing the team soon after the election.

  10. #1900
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    So not quite content with the "team" he appointed in December he had to change it in February. Let me guess... Is this an example of Johnson's "decisiveness"?

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    Labour leadership contenders debate:



    Sir Keir Starmer (formerly the shadow Brexit secretary) is the clear favourite to win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Labour leadership contenders debate:



    Sir Keir Starmer (formerly the shadow Brexit secretary) is the clear favourite to win.
    I went to see him at his campaign launch in Manchester. I think he's really good. I've now joined the Labour party and will vote for him. Think hes the Boris-slayer!

    It will be interesting to see if the red wall consitituencies stay with Johnson or switch to Starmer in May. If they do vote labour I reckon theres a great chance of a labour government in 2024.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wonderful Plans View Post
    Battle Brexit has ended.
    Battle rejoin coming in 2024.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zara View Post
    I went to see him at his campaign launch in Manchester. I think he's really good. I've now joined the Labour party and will vote for him. Think hes the Boris-slayer!

    It will be interesting to see if the red wall consitituencies stay with Johnson or switch to Starmer in May. If they do vote labour I reckon theres a great chance of a labour government in 2024.
    Never voted Labour in the UK and not sure I could. If I were in the UK now I would probably be a LibDem.

  15. #1905
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Never voted Labour in the UK and not sure I could. If I were in the UK now I would probably be a LibDem.
    I've been a lib dem for the last four years, but the voting system is stacked against them, they cant win.
    Im anti-woke and and anti-socialist, but also anti-populist. If Starmer wins the leadership then Labour will have my vote for the first time ever.

    The Tories are no longer a moderate party they have been captured, just like Labour was under Corbyn.

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