MORE to follow
Stuff is about to get real. It’s ok though, Boris, Trump and Scomo (slomo, smoko, scumo) are in charge.
Excellent piece in the FT over the weekend from the reliably perceptive Wolfgang Munchau about the Brexit trade talks which start today.
” Here’s an astute observation from a former senior British official in the EU, which came during a conversation about political misjudgments: in the corridors of Brussels, one no longer bumps into Brits to talk about how the politics is shaping up back home. There is nobody around any more at the heart of the EU machine to tell you what the UK government is really thinking.
This decline in informal contact set in long before the UK officially left the EU at the end of January. It was part of the reason why EU politicians and journalists ended up underestimating support for Brexit in the UK at the 2016 referendum and afterwards. And now they may be misreading the UK’s implicit threat to end the trade talks in June.
The fundamental assumption in Brussels is that this will not happen. But can it be right? In the absence of perfect foresight, the best we can do when weighing up the possible success of the trade talks is to rely on revealed preferences — and from both sides.
The EU said loud and clear in February that it would not grant a Canada-style free trade agreement to the UK. The council of ministers has since hardened its position. I do not think the EU can easily climb down.
On the UK side, the signs are also clear. Boris Johnson began his premiership last summer by proroguing parliament. He went on to fight and win a general election.
The Conservative manifesto on which he has gained his mandate was explicit not only about going through with Brexit, but about establishing a distant future relationship with the EU.
After his election victory, Mr Johnson ruled out an extension of the negotiating deadline for a trade deal at the end of this calendar year. The UK parliament even passed legislation to that effect. He is, what’s more, backtracking on the level playing field commitment in the political declaration attached to the Brexit withdrawal agreement. He seems to be backtracking on the customs border in the Irish Sea as well. He got rid of a chancellor of the exchequer in Sajid Javid who would have constrained some of his fiscal plans to increase investment in pro-Brexit areas and support new high-tech industries. Both plans could easily run into conflict with EU rules on state aid.
Whatever you might think of Mr Johnson, this is a remarkably consistent story. So why would anyone think that he is bluffing?
Classic trade negotiations are win-win games. The negotiations that start on Monday will be different. Both sides have framed their objectives in terms of regulation, not of trade. The UK seeks maximum regulatory independence. The EU wants to prevent it on grounds of competition. If you take the politics out, it is not hard to construct a technical compromise. But there is no deal imaginable that would allow both sides to declare victory in terms of their stated goals. They have turned it into a zero-sum game.
Also consider another unusual aspect of this negotiation. The UK may be the smaller country, but it can secure its chief negotiating goal of regulatory independence unilaterally by walking out. The EU cannot do the same.
The political reality in the UK is that Mr Johnson has a House of Commons majority of 8O, and many of these MPs owe their political careers to him. There will be no rebellion. The worst to expect from the business lobby would be a raised eyebrow. British businesses are not going to stop Mr Johnson just as the German carmakers will not stop the EU.
Maybe we should start looking at second-best options: a no-deal outcome followed by a trade agreement a year or two later. This would clearly not be economically efficient. Both sides would incur the costs of no-deal first, the UK more than the EU. But at least we would find ourselves in a scenario where both sides stand to regain trade flows that had been lost in the rupture. The problem today is that the losses are hypothetical. In two years, they will have materialised. That could make it easier for the UK and the EU to calculate gains from a zero-tariff, zero-quota agreement.
This means that Europe as a whole, the UK included, should prepare for two foreseeable material economic shocks this year: a spread in the coronavirus and a WTO Brexit. I agree with Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, that the economic impact of Brexit on the UK is genuinely uncertain. Success or failure will depend on what the UK does with its new freedom.
The EU faces all these shocks, plus perhaps US tariffs on cars: the perfect storm for an economy dependent on exports and global supply chains. The EU cares deeply about institutions and laws, but lacks strategic thinking in virtually all policy areas. Brexit is not the biggest crisis for the EU, but it could end up as the wrong one at the wrong time. “
So, now that the School has been named, let’s see what all the hoo hah is about as to why the HSE wouldn’t name it, or the location. No sign of the pitchforks yet. Repro may be able to shed some light on it?
Now that the school has named the parents of children in surrounding schools are needlessly worrying about siblings of children in the named school being in junior schools. I live in the area. My children go to a school in the area and I am in WhatsApp groups for their classes. The panic is utterly ridiculous and all inspired by poorly informed morons on social media shouting about closing borders and shutting every school in a 5 mile radius. There’s talk about the students and staff being in quarantine (which they are not) so why aren’t their families? The fact that there is not one single proven case of asymptomatic transfer of the virus worldwide added to the fact that the HSE has told them to isolate immediately if they present with symptoms seems to be irrelevant when Dr. Qwerty weighs in.
People with no connection to the area are spreading the news far and wide. A parish priest in Co. Clare posted the letter on FB. Why? What difference does it make to his parishioners? Gossip and fearmongering won’t prevent a single case.
Apart from our obvious differences on Brexit I do find myself in agreement with you more and more often Repro old chap, especially over this coronavirus thing.
The level of hysteria fuelled by social media morons is alarming.
Not just in agreement on this but also on enjoying the works of Gilbert & Sullivan.
By jove, I’d forgotten about that.
I like to think of them as the original rappers.
Get a room. Two of a kind!
I’d say Liveline will be a howl this week.
Overheard in my local supermarket yesterday was the ‘Pearse Street hotel’ story – sealed off by men in white coats with virus victims inside. All because of that 4-second video. They haven’t checked if it’s true, because there is competition now in gossipy circles on who has the best virus story. Oh and the best joke too.
People are literally wallowing in their own ignorance.
It is truly bananas. Don’t get me wrong; I do not hope to contract this latest super flu but my word the hysteria is mad. I too am in a mammies whats app group and there is one lady in particular (who i am normally very fond of) who is bordering on hysterical. I have had to stop myself telling her to cop on on many an occasion. In the end I couldn’t resist and it was irritating me so much that I sent a “tongue -firmly-in-cheek” picture of a fainting hysterical woman and a link to an article from the 20’s about how women suffer more from hysteria. The same lady then that will talk about her son’s anxiety. Sheesh wonder why….
You have to laugh …
Well, aren’t we lucky to have such an expert on the matter in our midst?
How do you think the virus spread in Italy? It was introduced there by one person. How many have it now in an area smaller than Ireland in the North of Italy? You used a term ‘poorly informed morons’. That term would mainly refer to the HSE in my opinion.
If you’re saying that ordinary non-medical people discussing this are ‘poorly informed’, then you are correct. Courtesy, again, of the HSE.
However calling those people ‘morons’ is a bit rich coming from someone whose expert opinion is based on – what? – living in the area, and a member of a WhatsApp group.
On the meantime there are many school tours just arrived back from, or going to the North Of Italy and the advice from His Lordship, Repro, is ‘sure it will be grand’ – don’t worry.
Cop yourself on for god’s sake.
There’s not a single point in there that counters anything I said. I’m not even sure there’s a point in there at all.
The poorly informed I’m referring to are the morons who are calling for other schools to be closed and the families of all students in the closed school to be isolated. This is based on nothing more than fear and a lack of understanding of the basic facts about Covid-19. These facts are clearly laid out on the HSE website but, like yourself, these morons think they know more about how viruses spread than the doctors that specialise in viruses who are advising the HSE.
I’m no Lord so you don’t need to refer to me as one.
Cop myself on to what exactly?
(You did read in the front pages above that three more members of the same family tested positive – three related to a man diagnosed with it? – And our boyos reckon that close family should carry on as normal)
“This is based on nothing more than fear and a lack of understanding of the basic facts about Covid-19. These facts are clearly laid out on the HSE website…………”
Well, His Lordship (who knows all about this virus) has spoken and has referred to the HSE and its website in glowing terms. Short memory eh Repro? The HSE are well noted for paying out large compensation figures, also lying about things like the
Cervical Cancer screening.
You and your fellow ‘morons’, as you put it, seem to believe that a ‘wait and see’ rather than a proactive approach is best, while the EU raises the risk level to ‘moderate-to-high’
The cop-on comment is to draw your attention to the fact that this is indeed a serious threat, and not something to be played down.
Enjoy your holiday in Hameln
Since you have so little respect for the abilities of the HSE how about the WHO?
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
The last two lines seem to disagree with your belief that “this is indeed a serious threat”.
That’s why the EU have upgraded it to ‘Moderate to Serious’ then? Are you really that dumb Repro? Seriously?
Do you even know what that means or why they raised the status? Did the bit where they said we should not give in to panic even register?
You were implying I was incorrect when I said it’s serious. So have you changed your tune then? is it serious or not?
Ah, so you don’t know what the EU’s status change means. I expected as much.
Thanks for the weather forecast. I note you’ve tried to dodge the question. Is this serious or not?
Did you answer my questions?
Sure did. But you have an aversion to answering.
Also – is it serious or not?
No you didn’t. Do you understand what the EU changing the status means?
Your question is a child’s question. Is it serious. In what sense?
And there you have it. The height of the Repro repertoire of exits. Toddle along.
So you can’t even elaborate on your question. In what way is it serious?
Is it a serious health threat? Not to 80% of patients who will recover without any special help.
Is the risk of being infected serious? Not if people follow the guidelines
– isolate if you present with the symptoms
– wash hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and warm water
– use a tissue and cough into your elbow
Is there a serious chance of more cases in Ireland? Of course there is. That’s been the HSE’s position since day one.
Is it being treated seriously by the HSE and the government? Yes. That’s why there’s so much information being spread about how to prevent it spreading and what to do if you present with the symptoms
Is there anything to be gained by creating panic and spreading nonsense about the HSE withholding information? No.
You’re gas alright. So you did eventually answer the question, and somewhere Contained within your answer you managed to agree that its serious. After all of that above. More than Jesus wept
You tend to interpret things to mean whatever you want them to mean so you take whatever you want from that post.
Bottom line is that the HSE is handling this exactly as it should be, given the level of risk, and your desperate need for an over-reaction will have to go unsatisfied.
What Covid-19 information on the HSE website do you think is incorrect?
Did I say the information was incorrect? You’re grasping at straws now.
You scoffed at me citing the website as a reference. If the information is correct then what’s wrong with me citing it as a reference? If the information is incorrect then what is incorrect about it?
An article in tonight’s London Evening Standard by British Health Secretary Matt Hancock gives a clear, no nonsense guide to how the British are dealing with the crisis.
I would be very surprised if the Irish approach is that much different – indeed I would expect health officials north and south of the border to be closely co-operating.
Speculation and scare-mongering by keyboard warriors serves no purpose whatsoever.
At times like this people need to remain calm and be sensible.
Ignore the knuckle-dragging conspiracy theorists on here who suggest otherwise.
You don’t get it then? The information they put there may be correct, but the website doesn’t include all of the information. Any clearer now?
Lord (the ultimate keyboard warrior) Charger has spoken. ROFL
What information do you believe it is withholding?
What is the source of this virus?
I’ve told you you’re wasting your time trying to converse with a silly.
I’m actually asking you or RB.
– the location, as in town, suburb etc. where it is.
– why they think that close family wouldn’t be at risk, and to carry on as normal.
– why they feel that major gatherings of people shouldn’t be cancelled. (Germany has done so)
I see Charger ‘oi reads the mainland newspapers’ Salmon is now an expert. ROFL.
Ooh Arr. I be knowin’ all dat deres to be knowin’ about everything. So much so that I’ll copy complete articles that the oirish peasants won’t have heard of. Ooh Arr!
Nothing is gained by naming the area. Instead panic is spread. People are asking if it’s safe to drive past the school because they would rather buy into the panic than read and follow the guidelines.
You have no idea what the immediate family of the patient have been told. That information was not released so what do you think they are carrying on as normal?
Did you notice that the Ireland Italy matches were called off?
Yes the match was cancelled, but no testing on the daily arrivals from Italy.
That’s the advice given to the families of the other pupils in the school. You know, the ones that are not showing symptoms. The patient himself is in isolation in hospital and we have no idea what advice his family got but unless they are showing symptoms there’s no need for them to isolate either.
What has testing got to do with mass gatherings? Quit shifting the goalposts.
Charger, that article pretty much mirrors the official reaction here. The aim is containment. The EU raising the status is based on their belief that containment MAY not be enough and it means governments need to be ready to move from containment to mitigation if it turns out that containment is not enough.
GAA matches still going ahead. French match still going ahead as far as I know.
Still going ahead in France because they believe the risk isn’t high. So you want us to ban GAA matches while other countries with more cases of Covid-19 are letting matches go ahead.
The HSE are telling you that the risk isn’t High. In the meantime, Google don’t agree, and Ryanair don’t agree, and both are putting in train actions they believe will minimise the serious risk of spreading this serious virus
You are reading what you want into Google’s test of their capability to close their office and Ryanair cancelling flights due to lack of demand. How about accepting the reality of the moves instead?
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