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Harry Child
Harry Child
6 months ago

Where is the press coverage of the Birmingham fiasco Labour run Council.
If anything shows this country how a Labour Govt would manage to run things, it is there for all to see but it seems to be ignored by the media. Just imagine if it was a Conservative run council there would be endless articles how incompetent they were to run anything. Those of us who have lived and worked under 3 previous Labour Govt know the disaster that awaits.

Paul T
Paul T
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

And the Welsh NHS and all those local authorities that habitually return a red rosette that all, remarkably and coincidentally, remain in poverty and need no matter who is in government.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

The British State is different from the Government which is different from the Executive. The most powerful of the three is the permanent unelected Soviet like Power Blob of Civil Service, public sector, Regulatory Technocracy or Quangocracy which includes NHS Bank of England and more. As with its twin guardian protectors – the BBC and Euro warped Law – it is ideologically progressive and therefore hostile and resistant to any anti progressive elected Government. This is why any efforts to enjoy our independent status and move the UK away from its current status as still legally EU compliant Province has been resisted and sabotaged. Rishi’s Executive – shorn of so many key levers of power – must be seen as a tiny leaky lifeboat being bounced atop a stormy hostile ocean of leftists. The chance to challenge the New Order State first constructed by Blair has been lost, possibly forever. A Labour victory = Game Over for genuine democracy, for wealth creation and true freedom.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

The Tories have been in power for 13 years, about the same time as Blair. He spent the time reforming the public sector towards his preferred vision, the Tories have done nothing to reverse those changes.
In the UK we give parliament almost unlimited power as long as it can convince a majority of the house to do so, the fact the Tories have been too cowardly to use that power to enact any kind of reform and take on the vested interests in the civil service is solely on them

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What utter nonsense; ‘unlimited power’!!! Did you fall asleep in 1989?? Have you not noticed Devolution? How last week crazed EU legislation holding up 150,000 new properties -was not overturned because of 800 unelected Peers? Who decided our interest rates this week? Hunt you think? Who controls the NHS? Who determines the 5 Year Net Zero budgets (clue – it was the CCC Quango – not a Parliament who gave a legally binding policy running to 2050 fully 90 mins of token debate. Have you not noticed that Rishi and Suella cannot control illegal criminal people smuggling from France? Unlimited powers??!! An unknown maybe Russian judge in a secret hearing said Nyet to ypur Super power Parliaments new law!!!!! How can you have totally failed to comprehend THE defining feature of governance here since the 90s – the EU compliant deliberate emascation and limitation of executive power and the growth of the NMI system,
Regulatory Quangocracy and Blob. The meek Tories have failed to dent its power yes. But you surely cannot believe the Perma Blob they face is neutral and not pursuing aggressively a fully progressive agenda. Even Tony might blanche at the dark pit his ‘vision’ and reforms have led us into.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

We’re out of the EU, if the Tories haven’t repealed those laws despite having an 80 seat majority then the fault lies entirely with them.
One of the reasons I voted to Leave is to put power back in the hands of elected MPs. If they are too scared not to wield it then they deserve all the backlash that comes their way.
If you can’t get rid of the quangos after 13 years, or reform/abolish the Lords if they’re preventing you from carrying out your manifesto then what’s the point of being in government? I’m sick of hearing how hard it is to get anything done. They used to blame the EU for their incompetence, now that particular comfort blanket has gone it’s civil service being used as the excuse

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Absolutely on the button.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But it IS hard. Leaving the EU did not change the radical structural revolutions encrusted onto a New State by Blairism and the EU. If the Fool Johnson had not let his goverment get mugged by the pro hard lockdown public health bureaucracy (the levers to control which he did not hold) well maybe. But lockdown was a kamikaze act of national.and political self destruction andeant any reform agenda was torched. Everything needs to be changed- and the Blob are resisting that change. You do not address the mamouth scale of the task. Devolution, the Bank or the entire machine of Regulatory Quangocracy first??

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

So because it’s hard to do, then it’s not worth even trying? You’d fit in perfectly with the current crop of Tory MPs seemingly. Rather than doing their job it’s easier to sit there complaining about things they have the ability to change.
There’s nothing stopping them restructuring the civil service or stuffing it with people more aligned to their policies. There’s no reason the independence of the Bank of England can’t be rescinded and the situation changed back to how it was 30 years ago. Any law copied from the EU can be amended, and any grouping such as the ECHR can be left. Of course doing this may lead to pushback elsewhere so it’s the job of parliament to debate the merits or otherwise of making these decisions, but there’s absolutely nothing stopping them from happening if a majority of MPs wants it to happen. Sitting there complaining about the Blob is just lazy

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Fine. Purge the 600,000 wfh civil servants and sack Bailey. Hurrah. But what about devolution? Just knock down the new Parliaments? Repealling 20 years of legislation? And what of the thousands of other Quangos given autonomous powers to regulate every area of the economy?? And the Euro laws?? The point you so blithely dismiss is that this counter revolution would take every day of a 5 year Parliament and more. The entire State has been taken. It was DESIGNED to reject any anti progressive political body. And it RESISTS. I am as critical as you about the feeble wet mess that has been Toryism since Cameron. They fully embraced and strengthened the Blair Model. I just think you gravely underestimate the force of the resistance and have naive faith in the power of national Parliaments post Maastricht. MPs and Parliament betrayed Brexit!!! It was the people who got it over the line!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

If it takes every day of a 5 year parliament to reform the civil service and legislate power away from the quangos then so be it (they’ve had 13 years in fairness), that’s what they’re paid to do. You seem to be of the mindset that because it would be difficult to do them they shouldn’t bother, and instead sit there moaning about the reforms and policies Blair undertook during the time he had the power to do so. I’m no fan or Blair but you can’t blame him for using the power we give to governments to restructure the civil service to achieve the aims he was elected for. If he can do it why is it impossible for the Tories?

Harry Child
Harry Child
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Blair’s government was reported to have passed over 127500 new pieces of legislation in his 10 years and as a judge commented in2010 it would take years to work out their implications. You only have to examine the chaos of the May’s government to see how impossible it would be to legislate the power away from ‘quangos’ without putting in place replacement legislation to run the services these quangos manage.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think you’re missing the point. Government now cannot go against the quangocracy blob. Whichever levers it may reach for they find those levers no longer do what they’re supposed to do, but hat ‘progressives’ in the blob want tem to do.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

The government has the power to set the laws required for those levers to work again. We have no constitution or anything limiting the power of governments in the UK (apart from passing laws that can never be changed by subsequent governments), as long as they can command a majority in the house they largely have free reign to do as they please. Moaning about being prevented from doing as they please due to EU law when they have the power to revoke those laws us just pathetic in my eyes

roger dog
roger dog
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It would appear that most MPs are as left-wing and obstructionist as the civil service.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  roger dog

I don’t doubt it, my point was that they are the ones who have the power to change things. The fact it hasn’t happened means their either happy with the current situation or that incompetent they don’t know what they’re doing. My money is on a little of both

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Personally Billy The Tories since the Referendum have been Fractious. There just seems to be a permanent Internicine war going on in the Party, which is why they have become useless.. Sunak is a managerialist. His proclamations on Net Zero while correct will not go unchallenged by the blob ( Leftist activist Lawyers), the same crew who have the Tories flailing around like a Rabbit with Myxomatosis. But to answer why they have nothing to repeal Blairs laws is that many deep down are Blairites anyway.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Martin

Unfortunately I think you’re right, most have no intention of taking on the civil service because the top brass at the civil service’s views largely align with those sitting on the Tory benches. To sit there moaning about the civil service blocking reforms is largely for show, as they never had any intention of those reforms in the first place

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

If you are happy with Tory corruption and incompetence then you are part of the problem. In any case the polls demonstrate that the Tories will be crucified at the general election so your comments are irrelevant

Luke Piggott
Luke Piggott
6 months ago

Dare not use the term “corruption”. We reserve that for the states of the global south. Over here we refer to it as “cronyism” to soften the blow. Either way, I would like to see why the test and trace all cost the taxpayer £40+billion. Plus the thousands of other examples of handing public funds to businesses and NGOs run by associates/ spouses of govt ministers. The truth is, the Tories are a party by the elite, for the elite. They always have been and always will be. Unfortunately, Labour are no better. I personally feel politically homeless. God help us all.

Harry Child
Harry Child
6 months ago

What a ridiculous comment. You seem to have no understanding how Governments can work in a democracy. You appear to want a dictatorship to decide without debate or all the checks and balances built into the system, what they want. The harsh reality is that the country is so split in what it wants that it is almost ungovernable.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Child

For a slightly more politically balanced view of the problems many Councils are having see below:
https://news.sky.com/story/seven-other-councils-that-have-gone-bankrupt-after-birmingham-city-went-bust-12954995

Last edited 6 months ago by Philip Burrell
John Dellingby
John Dellingby
6 months ago

I do broadly agree with the author with the strong exception of calling the war in Ukraine “NATO’s war” (really?), the UK will never rejoin the EU, especially anytime soon. While the vote to leave the EU was itself close, it is entirely another thing to win a vote on joining the EU, let alone rejoining it. At best, it’ll be like that scene in The Simpsons where Homer quits his job at the Power Plant and later has to ask for it back in a humiliating fashion. All the more so when EU member states no doubt set out an extremely strict criteria for going back in, which absolutely will include having to adopt the Euro.

This also shows that those who want us back in really don’t know how the EU works. They actually genuinely assume the EU would just give us what we had. They are deluded.

V T C
V T C
6 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

If the EU becomes a series of concentric rings then Euro adoption won’t be a requirement at the outskirts. But I’m rather surprised at the mild tone and optimism in this article, especially from this author. Starmer doesn’t need to do anything to fulfill his promise because Brexit never happened. Have we lost track of the fact that it has been frustrated by the permanent state at Whitehall? The UK is a de facto EU member and, as the motto goes, on its way to an ever closer union.

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Yes, Kier is as delusional as always.
However, I would not dismiss uk joining EU.
You are right that if it was not pseudo religious project, no sensible EU leaders would want uk back.
However, return of uk would reaffirm vision of United States of Europe.
Which would mean allowing uk in on soft terms.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
6 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Absolutely correct. I actually saw a woman in the televised video of yesterday’s pro-EU demo saying almost exactly that – she wanted things returned to exactly how they had been. Such cluelessness makes one wonder…!

Josh Allan
Josh Allan
6 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

I usually don’t agree with Cunliffe but there is certainly truth to this, despite what the polls suggest. There were good reasons for both leaving and remaining in the EU. But there are no good reasons to rejoin.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
6 months ago

He won’t rejoin formally, but I’m guessing Starmer and Reeves will ‘shadow’ the EU institutions. This will be like voluntarily handcuffing yourself to a corpse, which eventually turns into a brain-eating zombie. It will be like Major/Lamont tying themselves up to the ERM which then blew up in their face, but this time playing out as farce instead of tragedy. I don’t think the EU is what they think it is, and I don’t think they have the first clue where the EU is headed as it attempts to deal with the twin disasters coming their way – demographic collapse with a rapidly aging population, and the unstoppable tide of migration from the south and east.

Last edited 6 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Remember though that Starmer new deal with EU would include them dumping 100k of immigrants here.
But they will be legal now.
So Starmer solves illegal immigration problem.
Pure legal genius.
“Jimmy can fix it”….

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
6 months ago

Keir Starmer will never rejoin the EU
There’s nothing to stop him. It’s right across the Channel; he’s free to go whenever he likes.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago

And the sooner the better. Hopefully he’ll take all the Maigham’s Cadwalladers, Blairs and Campbells with him.

Brendan Mc Sweeney
Brendan Mc Sweeney
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

One hopes for adult comments on UnHerd not trite adolescent moans.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago

Sorry, bit flippant I know. But do try not to be quite so po-faced.

jasper pike
jasper pike
6 months ago

Oh how awfully grand you are. Must be a riot down t’ pub

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago

UK must have plenty of boats left after all these immigrants sent to us by France.
Sunak should give him one with double engine and rudder fixed to Calais.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
6 months ago

While in no way a fan of the EU, I think that “sovereignty and divergence just for the sake of it” is a crock of the proverbial. It’s just petulant and unbecoming.
What the UK should use its freedoms for is to diverge where it makes sense to do so. Not just because you want to thumb your noses at Brussels; this is the equivalent of those silly people that disagreed with everything Trump said – simply because it was he that said it.
I think the political community would be a good thing for Britain to get and stay involved in: as we’ve seen with support for the Ukraine, Brits are still convinced that ensuring peace and harmony in Europe at large is the key to a peaceful life on the island, whether the UK is inside or outside the EU. This is as true now as it has been for centuries and Brexit, while it feels seismic, does not put even the tiniest dent in that truth.
Where the UK could diverge are things like data protection, AI and biotech regulation. I don’t have the impression that EU is going to make a good fist of regulating these areas at all (see the GDPR). There is the risk that the EU will still come down with its iron, competition-fearing fist if Britain were to do this. However, emotions have calmed somewhat over here since the worst of the Brexit process and there might even be some tendency towards understanding that Britain going its own way could even be beneficial to the EU aswell, as it shows up other (maybe better) ways of approaching the same problem.
We shall see. But I just don’t get this sovereignty purism. I think Rishi did a good job with the Windsor Framework: it was as close as you’ll ever get to squaring that circle and he deserves credit for the pragmatism he showed.
Re Starmer: forget him, the guy cannot be trusted.

Last edited 6 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Paul T
Paul T
6 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

But in modern political polemic we are not allowed to diverge at all; its all or not at all as far as they are concerned.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

And that has to change. The tone of the discussion needs to become less fear- and more active-choice-driven, at least on the Brexiteer side of the argument. Alignment where it makes sense needs to be de-toxified and presented as Britain making an active choice for its own benefit which still leaves Brexit intact. Not as if it’s always some kind of massive defeat or paranoia that if you give the EU a finger, it will take the whole hand.
When Starmer talks about alignment in certain areas, he’s not wrong per se in my eyes – but he manages to shoot himself in the foot by seeming too stealthy, by being too closely allied with Blair, like what you are being presented with is not what you would end up with. And that just provokes defensiveness and suspicion. Starmer has got himself a reputation for not being trustworthy on Brexit and he’s not going to get rid of that. Too much water under the bridge.
The Tories are awful, but I much prefer Sunak. Yes, he’s a technocrat, yes he has flip-flopped, yes his wealth and über-cleverness might make him a bit unrelatable…but he’s just not shifty in the same way that Starmer is. If Sunak holds the line with the compromises on net zero now and makes sure to explain what he’s doing, why, and what the limits of any particular step are – in other words levelling with the public – I think he might be onto a winner. I instinctively have more trust in him to recast the relationship with Europe in a way that’s pragmatic and in Britain’s interests while still trying to “make Brexit work”.

Last edited 6 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“Starmer has got himself a reputation for not being trustworthy on Brexit”
And much else besides.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
6 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Sunak is a little bit shifty, Katharine. Remember the registration of the Ready4Rishi domain?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
6 months ago

All I’m going to say about that is: everything is relative. Compared to Starmer, Sunak is still the one I prefer. Even if you are choosing between plague and cholera.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

“Polemic’?! That is surprisingly, just polemic! Not real politics.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The most fascinating thing about Brexit is that in eight solid years I’ve never met anyone who knows anything at all about the European Union itself, the treaties, history and machinery. Once you know these things it becomes clear that Britain cannot be a member and remain a democracy. The choice is that stark. All this talk of ‘divergence’ or not is just pablum.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Germany is a democracy, is it not?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

No, it’s not. To constitute a democracy you need a parliament whose members are able to draft, amend and repeal legislation. Just as with every other EU member state a large and growing proportion of legislation that governs life in Germany is not drafted by members of the Bundestag, nor can it be amended or repealed by those members. The European Parliament does not have those powers either. Europe is on the way to being governed entirely by a self-selected elite.
That’s not democracy. We don’t have democracy here either – Britain is also run (badly) by a largely self-selected and powerfully self-interested oligarchy – but at least thanks to Brexit we still have the potential to evolve towards it.

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

What is really annoying (to me anyway), that all these Europeans would now be speaking German or Russian if it was not for British and USA.
Apart from Poles, Czechs, Finns, some in Yogoslavia and Greeks the rest of Europe were either Naz*s, Fasc*st, Vichy collaborators or assorted Qusllings in Norway etc.
Sweden was supplying German war machine and Switzerland laundering gold stolen from Jews.
What a bunch to give Britain lessons on democracy.

Harry Child
Harry Child
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Tony Benn is reported to have said ‘if you cannot sack them, you do not live in a democracy’ One of the few things he said that rang true then and is now being amplified by other nations in eastern Europe.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Voice of reason. 100% right on how best to use exploit our freedom to choose.

R Wright
R Wright
6 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I dont think you understand how direct and indirect effect work. We diverged years ago. Anything we have done since the end of the transition period is entirely of our own volition. The initial divergence has already happened, like two timelines being formed. Now the state is simply copying EU law wholesale.

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
6 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

We need to look at our relationship with the EU and ask ourselves where it benefits us practically not philosophically.
I think our negotiators may be surprised how much the proposed closeness benefits our neighbours rather than ourselves.
It is time our leaders put us first.

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 months ago

I suspect that the article has the right of it. The EU ‘worked’ as long as the big boys, especially Germany, were bankrolling the rest. The days of the sunlit uplands are over even though the European Commission swan blindly on.
Just shows how a body that was promoted as a trade organisation can be corrupted by the political processes. Which is why any ‘trade alignment’ proposed by Starmer is just a relaunch of the EU grab for political power.

Haotian 0
Haotian 0
6 months ago

Cunliffe has surely been around the geopolitical block enough times to know that the periodic dreams of a multispeed EU/concentric circle EU never actually amount to anything. If they were ever going to then surely Cameron’s renegotiation of UK membership before the referendum would have been the occasion. After the Brexit process with its ‘no cherry-picking’ mantra, that prospect has never looked more distant.
Cunliffe’s endorsement of the idea that significantly ‘better’ things would be on offer in the event we joined the Single Market and Customs Union is both uncharacteristically neoliberal and uncharacteristically unthinking in that he was just repeating a catechism that has demonstrably been proven false.
The hypothesis was that our membership of the EU was so beneficial that leaving it would cause cascading catastrophes of systemic economic pain, such that the very idea was proof that the proponent was stupid, insane, evil or at best immensely gullible. Two years on and the main economic ‘pain points’ businesses seem to be demanding are addressed via a different relationship wit the EU are things like reduced checks on animal and plant products for the benefit of our international salesmen of cheese, and customs exemptions for the equipment of musicians going on a European tour.
I don’t mean to suggest that these things are not of significance to people in those sectors, and shouldn’t be addressed when the UK-EU FTA comes up for review, it’s just that they’re spectacularly niche compared to the apocalyptic visions that so many had between 2016 and 2019. I mean, even the notorious ‘customs red tape’ issue is largely evaporating over the next several years due to both the UK and EU unilaterally digitising, consolidating, streamlining and expediting all their customs procedures.
Surely the real reason that we’re not rejoining the EU is, ironically enough, that nobody can find enough Tangible Benefits to justify it.

Last edited 6 months ago by Haotian 0
Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
6 months ago

“Nato’s war in Ukraine” how am I supposed to read any further after POS like this? How about Winston Churchill’s WW2?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago

You’re right. It would be much better described as the ‘CIA’s war in Ukraine’.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
6 months ago

The real question, as the author hints at in the final paragraph, is not whether the UK rejoins the EU, but how much longer will there even be an EU to rejoin? The world is collectively retreating from globalism, and as the prime example of globalism’s overreach, the EU as it was is a likely casualty. Even if it isn’t dissolved outright, it might well be rendered irrelevant as the nation states increasingly pursue their own goals while ignoring Brussels to the greatest extent possible. A kind of Holy Roman Empire of the 21st century.

Karen Arnold
Karen Arnold
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I think you are right, the world is retreating from globalism, but the elites who want to run the global system have not yet realised it has slipped through their fingers. I can see the EU not becoming concentric rings of closeness, but as a patchwork of groups with more aligned interests and cultures, more of a network of alignment of about 6 or 7 groups. Each group would have links to its geographic neighbours but not those further away.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
6 months ago

Well done to the editor who chose the Starmer and Brand photos on the front page today!

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
6 months ago

Drapes! And just a tip, Philip, if you ever move house, it’s the windows you measure, not the curtains.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross
6 months ago

As ever nobody ever reads reports
”Fundamental questions are back on Europe’s agenda: The European Union (EU) iS reconsidering its geography, institutions, competencies, and funding.”
”the EU itself is not ready to welcome new members. The institutions and decision-making mechanisms were not designed for a group of up to 37 countries and as they are currently constituted, they make it difficult even for the EU27 to manage crises effectively and take strategic decisions.”
”In the past, major progress on integration was achieved thanks to packages that balanced different political interests. Today, this has become more difficult, both for deepening the EU and for increasing the number of its members.”
”if progress for 27 members is not possible, it may be mutually beneficial for all to design a path towards different levels of integration or some form of looser association for new or current Member States”
”Making the release of NextGenerationEU funds conditional upon compliance with the rule of law has proven effective, especially due to the scale of the funds being distributed. We recommend that all future EU funds, whether inside or outside the MFF, should be designed with a similar model of conditionality.”
“Before the next enlargement, all remaining policy decisions should be transferred from unanimity to QMV”
”the EU budget must grow over the coming budgetary period in nominal size as well as in terms of a proportion of GDP. The ongoing mid-term review has already exposed the extent to which the 2021-2027 budget was stretched beyond its limit by asking for additional contributions from the Member States. The prospect of enlargement and the reconstruction of Ukraine, as well as the fact that EUR 600 billion every year will be needed to meet the EU’s emission reduction objectives, all call for a substantially larger EU budget. Additionally, the debt issued under the NextGenerationEU programme will need to be repaid progressively as of 2027. A larger MFF is better agreed and transparently debated earlier rather than later, where it is likely that holes in the budget would have to be fixed.“
Madness to do anything other than stay clear!

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
6 months ago
Reply to  Neil Ross

Quite right about nobody reading reports. It was the Five Presidents’ Report of June 2015 that put my vote on the Brexit side of the ballot, but I couldn’t find ANYBODY who had ever heard of it, much less read it. Probably because it wasn’t tweeted, or part of a TikTok challenge, or whatever….

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago

Well, I read it – although it didn’t change my position. I’ve been a leaver since 1993 simply on the grounds that no politician has the right to change the arrangements under which (s)he is elected without seeking the specific consent of the electorate. Which is precisely what John Major did.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
6 months ago

Remainers: ‘Let’s rejoin, now!’
Voter: ‘Will that mean free movement, a hefty contribution to the European budget, continued membership of the ECHR and ever closer union?’
Remainers: Err, it’s complicated. You wouldn’t understand.
Voter. No thanks.

James Kirk
James Kirk
6 months ago

The EU are too busy with their own problems, those that Remainers turn a deaf ear to. What benefit are we to them? We still buy Audis, BMWs and Citroens. Our exports to them are up. Europe will turn its back on Brussels as Germany and France’s economies can no longer support the weaker south.
We’d be better off aligning with Poland, the Baltic and Scandinavia. The Netherlands are turning. Back home, ask the voters if they want the Euro, Starmer, like Blair, forgets to mention that.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
6 months ago

It is probably just that I am thick but I really could not see what this article amounted to beyond saying that Keir Starmer was being like most politicians – give them the prospect of power and their principles, morals and ideas all become entirely flexible in a monomaniac focus on wining. So what? This is hardly news. Harold Macmillan, Harold Wilson, Maggie Thatcher and Tony Blair were the same. Nevertheless some proved successful visionary leaders once in power and others …. not so much.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
6 months ago

EU decision-makers are hardly stupid and will offer a Labour government atrade deal which may encompass key elements of associate membership. Two key considerations here: firstly, the UK has failed once again on immigration tout court, and secondly, cooperation with Europe can be pitched as tackling the issue of illegal migration across the Channel.
As for the UK political class, they will as ever be making plans for the Eurozone. To win a referendum on the euro will obviously require significant demographic shifts in the electorate. The only way to monitor changes in voting patterns is to push out the boat further and further as regards returning to key European institutions.
In short, if the UK is not out of the European Court of Human Rights then it will be much easier politically to return to the Court of Justice.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
6 months ago

Are the concentric circles a new form of the ‘gearing’ by which method the EU has always worked?

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
6 months ago

John.Gray at Umherd this.week.-.we have moved beyond the politics of tragedy to the politics of the absurd. Binary meme thinking is no substitute for grappling with complex issues. There are no solutions, only trade offs

j watson
j watson
6 months ago

I think Author is generally correct – UK never re-joins with the arrangements it once had. Dynamic alignment, though denied as Policy by both parties, has though an inevitable gravitational ‘pull’ because of our geography and because we do so much trade with the EU. Both parties know that and whilst all Starmer can do at present is talk and outline, the Tories have v much moved in exactly this direction when making Policy decisions. In fact mores the point they never moved away in the first place for all the rhetorical nonsense. Starmer knows we can never get the deal we once had too, so we do need to now find a third way.
I suspect we end up close to what future historians will claim a Norway-type arrangement, but with alot of rebranding to ease the transition – less reference to Single Market/Customs Union etc. It’ll be for coming generations to decide, and they will indeed reflect that the 2016 decision did generate a further slow but marked acceleration in the diminished international status of their country when we could have taken much more grip within the EU building alliances with the more like-minded.
Multilateralism remains the only approach to illegal migration of course with any chance of stemming the flows so that reality will persist whether aligned on other matters or not.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I agree with most of that, except that the 2016 decision to leave the EU halted the process of accelerating the UK’s diminishing influence within a bloc whose relevance is in itself diminishing. Decisions like opting to stay with the EUs CE standards mark – while we wish to – make perfect sense. A later decision to diverge from it – when it is no longer useful – will be equally sensible.

Last edited 6 months ago by Ian Barton
j watson
j watson
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

My point on UK influence is the Franco-German-Benelux core control of EU, which one might argue persisted to some degree pre-2016, would not be so much the case now and with the UK aligning itself with Poland, et al. The chance to seize more of the direction of travel was going to present.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

i would suggest that the Franco-German core control is now diminishing. Power in the EU is moving East ..

Last edited 6 months ago by Ian Barton
j watson
j watson
6 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I agree, and the sadness is we could have helped lead/support that and helped EU move in some different directions.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

As we stand today looking at the absolute failure and paralysis of the EU in dealing with the migrant crisis that began in earnest more than eight ago, and the pathetic half-hearted, piecemeal response of the EU and its member states to the war in Ukraine, I can only once again marvel at the ability of Europhiles to deny reality in order to continue their utopian dream.
The EU is inherently systemically weak, for a very obvious reason. Each of its member states has its own particular national and geopolitical interests and international alliances it wants to protect. When that is put in the context of an organisation that requires the unanimity of 27 separate countries to proceed in major policy areas, we get the inevitable paralysis or fudged unsustainable compromises that characterises the EU’s response to every crisis it has been faced with. Rather than coming to multilateral solutions it leaves the Continent with no solutions or half-baked compromises.
At the beginning of the migrant crisis we saw how still independent minded border countries in Eastern Europe took charge of the situation and erected barbed wire fences and put guards on their border to shut out the hordes. The EU response was to chastise and threaten legal action against those member states for breaching EU law. Now the Dublin Regulation system has collapsed, there is complete impasse on fake asylum seeker distribution, and member states have abandoned Italy to deal with the invasion on their own.
The response to the invasion of Ukraine is the same story. The vested interests of member states, and Germany in particular, has resulted in a disunified response and shameful foot dragging in providing assistance. Britain, on the other hand, free of having to appease the EU and other member states, took a leading roll, It is the EU and many of its member states and not Britain, who are now suffering “diminished international status“. 

j watson
j watson
6 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Failure on migrant crisis – not as if UK has been more successful outside of it is it! What solution did we find? It is of course a really complex problem. The answers still require multilateral persistence as we are finding. Boats especially have presented a different challenge to a land border that can be fenced off.
Ukraine – where EU has divisions or differences the transparency that comes with open Government means one can see these. But without the EU support Ukraine would not still be fighting after 18mths, nor have Russia on the backfoot. Who’d have predicted that? Of course needed US support too, but were there no EU support too US would have withdrawn.
Given our example, how many would wish the EU to implode, and unique crises like Covid, Ukraine, migrants, it’s somewhat more remarkable it’s held together. Politics can be messy and imperfect of course but seems to be some pretty strong glue somewhere. That glue may not always be welcomed of course, but given we showed how to leave not as if it’s impossible. Nor has another nation had a party elected on a manifesto of Leave. V intriguing.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Our migrant crisis is the result of the EU’s failure to deal with its migration crisis. Those waiting on the French coast did not fall out of the sky; they came through EU countries.
Our solution is copy Australia’s astoundingly successful policies to stop the boats. Leave the ECHR (something we would be unable to do as an EU member state) and other associated asylum agreements, provide a robust naval defence, anyone getting through would be transferred to holding centres on Ascension Island with minimal accommodation and support, where they will stay until they agree to go back voluntarily to their own country or another country willing to take them.
The EU has eight years to provide your multilateral solution and the situation has only got worse and any solution more remote. All the EU has come up with is pathetic sticking plasters such as paying billions to Turkey and unsavoury North African regimes to reduce the flow. Such agreements have left the supposedly mighty EU at the whim of blackmailers and fragile transitory regimes.
My point about mentioning the actions of Eastern European states is that what has worked is unilateral action by sovereign states. That is what will solve the migrant problem for Italy and any other member state willing to defend its borders. Defence of border and turning back migrants is the only solution. Europe and the rest of the world should adopt the policy that refugees should go to the nearest safe country that will take them and be obliged to remain there. A person who has found safety is no longer an asylum seeker and if they choose to leave safety they become an asylum shopping economic migrant,
The structure and political ideology of the EU will never allow it to adopt the only real solution. It will continue to offer nothing but no solution or desperate sticking plasters. The migrant crisis will end, but only with unilateral action by member states to protect their borders, just as they did before the EU existed when Europe never experienced migration crisis from the outside.

Last edited 6 months ago by Marcus Leach
j watson
j watson
6 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Did it not occur to you that once we pissed off the French they’d have very little incentive to stop the migrants getting to the beaches? In fact were the tables turned we’d probably let them all jump on a ferry and send them across willingly. Are you really that sweet and innocent that you just want scream ‘not fair the EU being horrid to us’?
Come on engage with the reality of the problem.

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Solution is simple.
Sink the boats or at least tow them back to the point of departure.
We know exactly where they came from.
You might have moral objections to workable solutions to migrant problem.
But stop pretending that there are no solutions.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Once you adopt the single currency, leaving ceases to be an option. You have to go down with the ship.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Your last comment is factually, empirically and logically, way off the mark. “Stemming the flows” amounts to a decision not to allow people in. Political will. Not making your decisions subject to the infinitely complex multi dimensional phenomenon of European politics and judicial systems, to which we unnecessarily pay obeisance.

Harsh but true. In different ways, Saudi Arabia, China, Australia, Japan all stop people coming in to their countries they don’t want. And migrants of course however large their numbers don’t have to be by some law of God afforded exactly the same rights as the native born population.

Last edited 6 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
6 months ago

“And in any case, it is impossible to secure a better deal for Britain without re-entering the Customs Union and Single Market, both of which Starmer has ruled out.”
Got that right, at least.
“For these people, Brexit has become the default explanation for everything that has gone wrong with the country and in their own lives”
Just as, for Brexiters, the EU was their default explanation. You never shut up about the EU. Even after Britain left, there you are, still chuntering on, like a drunk with an alien-abduction fantasy.
“But the status quo is, in fact, a drift back towards the EU.”
Because, free trade, mercantile nation, nearest neighbours. All that sinful stuff which must stoutly be resisted by the cult of Brexit. Plan B: China. Ha ha
“By ensuring that Northern Ireland’s economic integration into the Single Market is not compromised, Sunak is again undercutting the prospect of regulatory divergence from the EU.”
Only for NI, and nobody who matters in England gives a flying fiddlesticks about Ireland, for heaven’s sake. It has no economic or strategic value, and is full of whingers who sponge off Britain. 
“Nonetheless, there are grounds for optimism for those who cherish national independence.” 
Is there any money in this “national independence” lark?  And is the author seriously suggesting that Britain is not independent? Is there no end to this Brexiter oppression Olympics drivel?
“as the EU dissolves into tiers, the politics of nostalgia will become increasingly impotent.”
You wish mate. As the UK squabbles and tears itself apart, for Brexiters like Re-smog, the politics of nostalgia have proven to be surprisingly resilient.

Last edited 6 months ago by Frank McCusker
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

It’s extraordinary how completely in denial Remainers are about the motives of Brexiteers. There were two issues: immigration and sovereignty. Everything else you guys yammer on about is just projection. No Brexiteer ever gave a stuff about the short term economics. We knew there’d be tough times. That’s the price you pay for self-determination.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Very well put. Can somebody also point out that droning on about the ‘lies’ that pro-Brexit politicians told during the campaign is futile – nobody believed any of the campaign slogans on either side.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
6 months ago

It was the “politics of nostalgia” fed by back to back reruns of Dad’s Army that led to the wafer thin majority (now eliminated by natural wastage) that took us out of the EU. But honestly, no remainer seriously thinks we can ever rejoin. Not even me.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
6 months ago

How many people did you interview and ask whether Dad’s Army influenced their vote ? I would welcome some empirical evidence if your answer is greater than zero.

Steven Pruner
Steven Pruner
6 months ago

Simon Blanchard: Who is “we” that no remainer thinks “we” can never rejoin? England? Wales? Scotland? Or N. Ireland (or a united Ireland)?

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago

None of the remeniac clowns I ever spoke to can explain how from 64% pro EU majority in 1973 referendum we ended up with Brexit?
Surely young people who voted then became old people who voted Brexit in 2016?
But keep dreaming your pathetic EU nostalgia…

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago

The danger, though, is not that we rejoin on equal terms, but that Starmer, Blair et al condemn us to rule-taking vassalage for the sake of their own ambitions.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
6 months ago

Clown.