The pot plants of Brexit

We’re at that phase in the Brexit talks where the EU has realised that further rebuffs of Theresa May would be very like repeatedly kicking a small and particularly dense puppy which persists in doing Jackie Baillies all over a very expensive rug. Any more kicks and the puppy is likely to expire, and then the Conservative party would only go and replace it with an incontinent creature with the attention span of a goldfish and the destructive instincts of a teething rottweiler which has swallowed ten grammes of amphetamine. Hence the rest of the EU decided that the latest dinner for EU leaders was to be Theresa May’s very own pity party.

Still, being patronised because she’s so weak and the Tory party is so hopeless made a nice change from the last time when no one wanted to talk to her. This is what constitutes progress for the UK in Brexit negotiations and heralds a whole new chapter in Britain’s brave buccaneering Brexit. We’re going to make fantastic trade deals with the rest of the world by making everyone feel sorry for us. Britain’s future can be secured if only we turn into a shambling ex-boxer who once was a contender for the title, but now is brain damaged and bankrupt. Still, look on the bright side, there’s already considerable evidence of brain damage in the Conservative cabinet and the hysterical right-wing British press. We’re halfway there already, and bankruptcy is looming too. Succexit!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Friday that the second stage of the Brexit talks, the trade negotiations, are going to be a lot more difficult than the divorce talks. Since the supposedly easier part of the negotiations hasn’t exactly moved forward with anything you might call speed, this doesn’t bode well for the second stage if and when the EU ever agrees to move on to it. The pot plants which Theresa May stared forelornly at as she waited for the meeting to begin have more agility than the Brexit negotiations. You could tell she was pissed off. The plants get fed a diet of crap but at least they manage to look attractive. No amount of crap that Theresa feeds the British public can make Brexit look good. But at least the pot plants managed to get on the table and to sit there looking pretty, the trade talks look like they’ll never get on the table in the first place and even if they do they’re going to look very ugly.

There’s an important lesson here for the British government and the Conservative party. If the UK replaced David Davis, Liam Fox, and Boris Johnson with a spider plant, a busy lizzie, and a knobweed, the Brexit negotiations would be considerably further forward than they currently are and then instead of threats of a hard border we could be talking about a herbaceous one. This idea isn’t as ridiculous as it might first sound as there is already a precedent. Since 2010 Scotland has had an ornamental cabbage as its Secretary of State. Although on second thoughts there’s no real need to replace Boris Johnson with a knobweed because he already does a very good impression of one. There’s no reason to replace the much touted Jacob Rees-Mogg with a plant, because he’s already a fossil. Mind you it’s not like there’s much point in offering this advice to the Tory party, because even though many people speak to plants, there’s absolutely no evidence that vegetables in the party are going to listen.

French President Emmanuel Macron accused the turnips of the Tory party of bluffing on the question of the UK leaving the EU without any deal. Theresa May has never raised the possibility of the UK crashing out without a deal during her trips to Brussels to stare forelornly at the pot plants on the table, and he slapped down David Davis by pointedly remarking that the UK negotiator was operating under Theresa’s authority. Or at least he is for now. The problem here is that Macron fondly imagines that the UK government is halfway functional, when in fact the only reason Theresa retains a veneer of authority is because the party wants her to grasp the thorn of Brexit so she’s the one that’s poisoned by it.

It took the EU leaders all of 90 seconds to decide that there hasn’t been sufficient progress so far, and they’ll wait until December to revisit the question of whether enough progress has been made to allow the UK to move on to the trade talks. That 90 seconds included the usual pleasantries being translated into 25 languages. The last time a decision was reached that quickly was when Reporting Scotland came across a news story about how yet another of the promises of the Better Together campaign had turned to dust and decided to broadcast something about how bad the SNP is instead followed by fifteen minutes of fitba and something about a murrdurr.

In the meantime the EU will discuss a possible trade deal, but they won’t discuss it with the UK, they’ll just discuss it amongst themselves in the same kind of way that you make sure that a really annoying relative is no longer in the room before you start to talk about them. But it did mean that Theresa could return to London with something like a victory which will help to bolster her position against the triffids in the cabinet. She can now present them with a firm commitment from the EU that in a few months time it will consider looking at whether there’s been enough progress . And expectations are now so low that that counts as progress all by itself.

It’s still all about the money. Reports are that the EU is insisting on something in the region of €60bn which the UK will have to cough up to settle its financial obligations to the EU before it will consider moving on to trade talks. That’s considerably more than the €20bn which Theresa May has offered, and considerably more than the red white and blue cabbages in the Tory party are prepared to countenance. They still fondly believe that the UK is the stronger party in these negotiations, but the truth is that it’s the EU which possesses the pruning shears and the weedkiller. The reality of Brexit is that Britain is going to end up with what the EU is prepared to leave us with, and that’s going to leave us much worse off than before.


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47 comments on “The pot plants of Brexit

  1. The BBC prattles on endlessly about the huuuge sums of money that the UK is expected to pay if it negotiates a way of leaving, and subsequently carry on paying if it remains in the Free Trade Are. I think they want viewers to assume that this is some kind of imposition or blackmail, which to me somehow doesn’t seem very likely. But I’m still waiting for someone, on either side of the Brexit argument, to explain why the UK is under such obligations and what happens to the money.

    Can you help?

    • Though I am unable to give you references to back what I say, I have been aware, since not long after the idiotic Brexit vote, of the fact that the Disunited Kingdom is committed to pay about 60 t0 75 billion/schmillion £ $ Euros, because of previous commitments that they have signed up to. The idiots, whom we call the UK government, are trying to renege on their commitments and the Right Wing press bastards are backing them up on order to sell “news?”.

      • Brian Powell says:

        And then we remember the abuse that was thrown at Scotland if it became Independent without taking the huge bill we were supposed to owe. We would be pariahs and have no credit rating.
        Apparently that wouldn’t apply to the UK. LOLZ

  2. Robert Harrison says:

    That’s a bit cruel on plants at least they are useful to us not like the torys they are a virus which independence is the only sure fire cure to these lot

  3. benmadigan says:

    As a full member of the EU, the UK agreed to, and signed up to, certain agreements for financing projects etc. These have to be honoured, otherwise the UK is just welching on debts and breaking contracts etc. These are major liabilities.

    As a full member of the EU,like every other member, the UK was entitled to have a certain number of EU staff and functionaries. What happens to these people once the UK Brexits?Older staff may be able to take early retirement (and their pensions have to be paid by the UK). Others won’t be sacked but will see their careers sidelined. Their salaries and pensions still have to be paid. If not by the UK, by whom? They are only working there because the UK was a member.Are they to become collateral damage to other EU countries?

    These are just a couple of the issues that need to be sorted.

  4. Bill Hume. says:

    Pot plants eh? So that’s what they’ve all been smoking. Explains a lot………must be really good shit.

    • Thanks, Brian. Very useful, though it doesn’t explain why countries like Norway which are in the Free Trade Area (that the correct terminology?) but not the EU itself have to make annual payments.

      Presumably if, hoping against hope, the UK keeps intact its joint scientific research programmes with the EU, the cost of that would be met by part of the divorce settlement, but if as I fear we don’t (does a Government that can put Gove in charge of the environment have any concern for mere science?) then we’ll still be expected to pay what we promised, because we promised to.

      One further twist; what kind of terms could an independent Scotland hope to negotiate? We would at least start from a basis of goodwill rather than frustrated and well-earned contempt.

      • tartanfever says:

        Paul,

        Norway basically pays for access to the single market. All EU members have to pay their dues to the club, so it stands to reason that those outside the club should also pay, and a little bit more.

        Think of it like a Golf Club or Gym membership, if you want to participate, you have to pay a fee.

        Of course, like the dress code of snooty Golf Clubs, Norway has to abide by the rules, so the 4 pillars of the EU apply – including the rights of EU citizens to live and work in Norway – something that Brexiteers are unwilling to compromise on.

        • A golf club visitor’s fee help pay for the greens, which the visitor actually uses. What is the rationale of Norway’s fee tot e EU, or is the argument that Norway indirectly benefits from how the money is spent by the EU being a more prosperous customer for its goods, or event that if Norway does not pay, it gets an unfair competitive advantage? (Both, BTW, morally defensible arguments)

          • tartanfever says:

            The golf club greens are the single market and free trade – which Norway’s economy (ie, businesses) use just like the visitor paying the green fee. (crikey this is turning into a weird analogy.) The single market and free trade was created for the benefit of EU member states – those members enjoy the best of those benefits. Countries outside can have access to those things, but they have to pay if they want to trade.

            Think of it this way, if it cost less to have access to the single market and free trade by NOT being an EU member, then everyone would just resign their EU membership and the whole thing would fall apart.

            • I still don’t quite get it. If a country outside the EU is trading with the EU, surely the EU is using that outside country’s facilities, to the same extent as that country is using those of the EU. If, by contrast, I visit a golf club, I am using a golf club’s greens, but the golf club is not using my front garden.

              Of course Brexit is lunacy, and of course the EU 27 are entitled to impose whatever terms they like. But in the event of Scottish independence, would Scotland be obligated to pay a fee to the remaining UK, and if not, why are the two cases different?

  5. David Agnew says:

    Hailed as a triumph. In reality it was an EU pity party for May. Merkel, who has enough problems of her own, looking at this pathetic farce and thinking, can’t we move this along?

    So no deals. No talks. But an affirmation to prop May up and for the EU to lend her some credibility that she lacks in the UK. Ironically they are also giving her the unity that she doesn’t have in her own party.

    That said. It pretty clear to me that through the herculean efforts of the UKs shitty press and those worthless cretins in her own Cabinet, that May will find a way to ruin even this chance.

    The A50 was a bell that should not have been rung. And it cannot be unrung. The minute she did, the UK was on the EUs clock and that clock is ticking. The UK was/is not ready for Brexit. The revelation today that they put more planning in for leaving without a deal rather than plan for a deal speaks volumes. That the no deal plan was cobbled together on a post it note, making it more idiotic than not having a plan for a deal is what leaves me gobsmacked.

    The UK is truly fucked. And we are led by knaves and spivs who think we’re still an Empire. And then we have Jeremy Corbyn. A man who thinks he can achieve what the tories haven’t planned for because he is less of a knob than Boris Johnson. Less vacant that David Davidson and less likely to make your flesh creep than Mogg – who if his career in politics doesn’t pan out, can always get a part as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty bang bang.

    God help us.

  6. […] Wee Ginger Dug The pot plants of Brexit We’re at that phase in the Brexit talks where the EU has realised that further […]

  7. Andy Anderson says:

    Exactly my reading of the situation Paul.

  8. Thank you Paul for a side-splitting account of the real tragedy that is Brexit. You have not disappointed my late night reading. Oh, and thank you for coming to Inveraray last W/E your, and WGD’s, presence plus your acerbic wit always lift my spirit & hope for an Independent Scotland, (despite my English accent!).

  9. hettyforindy says:

    Excellent analysis and analogy. The Aspidistras will be all people can grow, they thrive in cold, dark rooms. Brrrr.

    The poor, disabled, vulnerable, jobless, low paid no paid people at the bottom of the pile, will reap what these utter criminal britnats in WM are sowing. I hear that crime has risen by quite a bit in England, (13%) which is no surprise. People will despair and turn on each other, where really they should be turning on those responsible for the absolute catastrophe that is brexit.

    To think this is only just the start, but it looks bad, very bad.

    Not sure what the answer is right now. Perhaps there isn’t one, but people, communities taking back control of land and growing their own might be a necessity. Digging up that concrete driveway, or removing the gravel over the garden, might be a start. Bizarrely, ohhhh, Corbyyyiiin, is still being held up as some kind of saviour on twitter among Labour followers.

    Hard to see where this is all going to end, as brexit will be almost impossible to reverse.

    Scotland, it seems is swimming against the tide, let’s hope there are no freak waves, and that we reach the shore before the britnat whirlpool drags us all in with them.

    • stuckdoonhame says:

      Hi, Hetty. And Paul! What really worries me about the “Ohhh Jeremy Cooorbyn” stuff is that our Scotland dwelling youngsters will become infected by the false hope it offers.
      Over the last few general elections (particularly since the Tory/Libdum coalition) I have bored my old man to death with the topic of omg imagine if we lived in England, who could we countenance voting for?
      This is a subject dear to my heart because by parentage I am half-English, have family there and could well have ended up living there had my father’s last stint in the RAF ended differently.
      I am proud to say I have NEVER voted for the Tories.
      I can’t remember the last time I voted Labour in a general election. Always voted SNP for Holyrood. Voted Labour in local council elections for “the man of the people” (larf) but never again.
      It seems to me our youngsters need not only to be reminded of the broken promises in 2014 but of the scare stories used in 1979 – ancient history to them but relevant to what we are up against.
      Hm, feel about of the Proclaimers “Lochaber No More” coming on ….

  10. Macart says:

    That was needed Paul. 🙂

  11. Keep the aspidistra flying, Paul.
    Ace.

  12. Anne Martin says:

    I am amused at the moment by a topic on an expat forum I read here in Spain. The forum in question is very much populated by English leavers (which is beyond my comprehension for people who live in Spain!).

    The topic is entitled, ‘Is it time to tell the EU to get stuffed?’ and, reading it, I thought that ‘the EU’ could be exchanged for Westminster and ‘the UK’ for Scotland. All their comments would apply beautifully to our situation.

    So, I ask the question on here. Is it time to tell Westminster to get stuffed?

  13. bjsalba says:

    When ot comes to the no-deal-go-to-WTO option touted by the rabid Brexiteers, I thought this encapsulated the problem in a nutshell.

    Poland’s former foreign minister @sikorskiradek has this advice for Theresa May on Brexit #r4today

    • Anne Martin says:

      That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. What a pity the UK gov can’t even understand words of one syllable.

      TM’s latest carchphrase, ‘a deep and meaningful relationship’ might impress the idiots in the UK but doesn’t cut the mustard with the EU.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Can you imagine this on the BBC six o’ clock news. No neither can I.

  14. tintochiel says:

    As so often when I read your articles, I laugh out loud and then get so frustrated that we are ruled by these utter spivs, planks and piss-artists. It’s an embarrassment to carry a British passport and every time I go abroad I have to buy the relevant Saltire plus Country X enamel badge to dissociate myself from these closet racists and xenophobes.

    Things would be so much simpler with a Scottish passport…..

  15. Roy Moore says:

    As my Physics Teacher used to write on my homework (sometimes); VG.

  16. Daisy Walker says:

    The last GE caught me out. I thought the Establishment/tories were completely incompetent with their ‘no to indy ref2’ slogan and nothing else. How wrong I was. It was a clear cut, well thought out, executed, deliberate plan.

    I suspect they are doing it again.

    As soon as the terms of Brexit are known and NS fires the starting pistol for Indy Ref2. England will insist on a new Brexit Ref – UK wide of course. And this time they will win.
    This gives the tories a legitimate out on their home made disaster.

    It will split the Indy ref vote – what kind of EU membership do you want with your indy ref/devo max, vow under new management?

    And as soon as England votes to stay within EU, all the conditions for holding Indy Ref 2 are null and void.

    We need to keep doing what we are doing, its all good stuff, but we need to be the safe place for the voters. When all the bad news of Brexit is doing folks heads in, and they increase their project fear 2+++, we need to be the no brainer, safe harbour, common sense, no effort required, let just vote for them and get it over with party.

    Putting this out there folks, for your thoughts.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      You could be correct here Daisy. A good point.

    • Illy says:

      “England will insist on a new Brexit Ref”

      Do you really think the EU will let them get away with that?

      “Sorry old chaps, turns out we didn’t really want to leave after all”

      Yeah, right. A50 has been invoked, we’re on our way out, and there’s nothing England (or Wales) can do to stop it.

      • I agree, Illy. Even if there were a 2nd Brexit Referendum with a different outcome, the EU would probably laugh fit to bust and say “Hard luck, Chaps!”

      • llly, I am no export but I think the A50 letter can be revoked.

      • Daisy Walker says:

        45% of uk exports are to Europe.

        8% – 15% (I’ve seen both figures quoted) re from EU to UK.

        For both sides the economic damage is substantial.

        So yes, the UK would get to re-join. There would be penalty clauses, they will not get the banks back, or the Medical Research Centre, or the previous agreed uk exemptions…. but with tail between legs, they would get back in.

        The tories would take a hit for a couple of GE’s, and then restructure and return.

        Labour would get in for a few terms, to do a mini austerity with a sad face, and destroy Holyrood from within.

        As far as I can guess the tories establishment are split – hard brexit = asset strip quick with a ruined country.
        Brexit soft or stay within = asset strip slow with continued austerity. In both cases the establishment profit.

        From their point of view – a hard brexit risks them losing Scotland – which is the golden goose for the uk.

        What I’ve suggested above, (with a new EU ref at the same time as a new indy ref) means the tory establishment are much more likely to destroy the indy movement this time round and put it to bed for a very long time.

        Why would they not do this. It is highly likely to win.

        If I’m not right about this, and I would like to think I wasn’t. At the very least it is worth having in the back of our minds as we campaign.

        They are the disaster, we are the safe competent ones.

      • Andy Anderson says:

        My view is that we would be allowed to stay if we had a ‘remain’ second vote and that the EU would let us.

        However if it became really argumentative during the next year then they could say No. The UK is a big player in the EU with 15% of the economy but we have always been half hearted Europeans from the UK government point of view.

      • I’ve just done a bit of research on this and found the following, which suggests that with mutual agreement, Article 50 can be revoked. Who new? http://ukandeu.ac.uk/can-article-50-be-revoked/

    • jk.scobie says:

      can only agree, shipyards no more add that to the list
      aye the westminster shower are a load of kniving bartsewards, let no one think otherwise

  17. Mark Russell says:

    Given what we now know about Brexit and the billionaire backers like Aaron Banks, Barclay brothers, Murdoch et al., it is morally indefensible to demand the UK taxpayer foots the bill for the divorce settlement and the economic chaos that will undoubtably follow.

    As regards the EU – we should be as generous as we can, as should any party seeking divorce and wishing to maintain cordial relations thereafter. May’s offer of a paltry £20bn may well reflect the dire state of the UK’s finances, but it is grossly insulting to an organisation that has delivered us peace and prosperity over the years. I have no idea what the financial implications will be for other member states when the UK finally leaves, but we should seek to recompense so their citizens are not penalised in any way by the UK’s decision. That will be impossible to predict therefore it would be essential to have a further assessment of the costs and additional payments if necessary every five years for the next four decades. An initial offer of £100bn with an undertaking to meet all future responsibilities under the divorce settlement should go some way to assuaging the obvious disappointment of our European partners.

    The government should either levy an emergency tax against the backers of Brexit or set up a fund so that those who are so convinced that leaving the EU will be beneficial to all concerned, can demonstrate the courage of their convictions and donate their own money to pay the costs. The government should also demand an equal amount is paid to the UK Treasury to mitigate damage in our own economy.

    £200bn for starters then revisit the deal every five years for the next few generations. It’s their project.

    Let them pay for it.

    • Nice thought …. if only!

      • Mark Russell says:

        Why not? There are good grounds for withholding income tax on the basis that the government fraudulently misrepresented the socio-economic impact of Brexit and acted ultra vires with the presentation of the Brexit Bill that limits scrutiny in Parliament.

        All that would take is five thousand determined individuals.

        • I’d love to see it happen, Mark, really I would. But how to orchestrate it and how to ensure that this selfish, greedy, self-serving, piss-poor excuse for a Government at Westminster could be coerced into making that demand of their wealthy pals ….

          • Mark Russell says:

            Just stop playing the game. It’s always about money – just start by sending back your tax demands to HMRC and redirecting liability payments to the Scottish Government instead. Do it as a donation – or drop the cash into reception at Holyrood. As Paul suggested in an earlier thread – by any measure.

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