There have been five consecutive nights of rioting and looting in cities across France this week. Unrest began after a video of French police shooting and killing a teenager of Algerian descent went viral. More than 1300 people have been arrested and more than 80 police officers were reported injured. Two large policing unions issued a statement critical of the French government’s response so far and demanding more support.
Germany’s inflation rose unexpectedly to 6.8% this month. The country is already facing recession and rising unemployment. Meanwhile, Spain has become the first major eurozone country in which inflation has fallen below 2% for two years. The ECB now faces a dilemma: must countries like Spain suffer higher interest rates to save Germany from persistent inflation?
This week, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey announced that Brussels and London had achieved a consensus on the “majority” of an agreement for the UK to join a military project under the EU’s defense coordination group, known as the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO.) The project in question is related to military mobility across the continent and was described by Briefings contributor Professor Gwythian Prins as a “hook and bait” operation that opens the way for subordination under EU political command structures. The announcement was not received well by pro-Brexit MPs.
The Government’s policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda has been ruled unlawful by the High Court, which found that Rwanda could not be considered a ‘safe’ third country because of a risk that asylum seekers would be sent back to their country of origin. Reports that the legal challenge was funded with taxpayers money have caused outrage. The Government has said it will appeal the decision.
Lefty lawyers strike again.
Nigel Farage has claimed his vocal support for Brexit has caused his bank to close his account and for other banks to refuse his custom. Regulations which require higher standards of due diligence for ‘politically exposed persons’ (imposed while the UK was still a member of the EU) appear to be the reason behind the banks’ ‘commercial’ decision. Commentators have raised broader concerns about the power of banks to punish people with recalcitrant political views by denying access to services.
Owen Polley writes for The Critic magazine about the failings of the Windsor Framework.
Brexit has already saved is billions by Lord Lilley
Leaving the EU has given us back democratic control over our laws, money and borders. Yet too often we focus only on the failure to do more. In fact, quite a lot has been achieved.
Most fundamentally, Brexit has, as promised, given us back democratic control over our laws, money and borders. How those powers are used is up to Parliament and government. But if we don’t like their decisions, we can chuck the blighters out – which we could never do to EU commissioners.
Inflation not due to Brexit by Robert Lee
Economist Rob Lee views the UK’s inflation as not “uniquely bad” and nothing to do with Brexit. Inflation is set to drop sharply to the target level of 2% by mid-2024. Brexit freedoms may already be increasing UK economic resilience, but the BoE also needs to stop raising interest rates to avoid recession, and government must continue supply side reforms.
Both the Fed and the BoE have succeeded in bringing the grossly excessive money supply growth of the Covid period under control, but more recent US money growth has been notably lower than in the UK. In line with Milton Friedman’s dictum that “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon” it is no surprise that US inflation has thus fallen more rapidly than in the UK. However, in reaction to recent poor inflation data the BoE has raised the pace of its tightening programme, while the Fed has slowed down and indeed “paused” its rate hikes with the FFR at 5.25%. The current large gap between US and UK inflation rates should close significantly in coming quarters.
A bad deal for Northern Ireland
When the Windsor Framework was first agreed, it was hailed as a solution to the problems that the UK’s land border with the EU in Northern Ireland raises and it was rushed through Parliament with little scrutiny. Several months on, it is clear that the framework is not all that it was cracked up to be.
At the centre of the framework are the ‘green’ and ‘red’ lanes for goods entering Northern Ireland from other parts of Britain. The green lane, for goods intended to stay in Northern Ireland, was supposed to allow free and frictionless movement across the Irish Sea, while the red lane, for goods intended to go on to the Republic of Ireland, would impose EU rules.
However, the increasingly complex set of rules and regulations that a traders must navigate to qualify as ‘trusted’ and thereby qualify to use the green lane mean that internal UK trade is not frictionless. Faced with these barriers, businesses, especially small businesses, could end up using the red lane even if they could have qualified for the green lane.
Goods in the red lane entering Northern Ireland from other parts of the UK are treated as though they were entering the EU through Dublin, being subject to full EU controls and regulations. Duties on goods which do not end up in the Republic can be reclaimed, but this requires applying for a rebate from HMRC, bestowing more bureaucratic burdens on businesses.
What is clear is that UK businesses in Northern Ireland do not enjoy the same unfettered access the the UK internal market that equivalent businesses in England, Wales, or Scotland do.
The Centre for Brexit Policy has published a paper outlining the shortcomings of the Framework in detail and suggesting a solution: mutual enforcement, whereby the UK and EU agree to enforce one another’s rules on exports crossing the UK/EU border in Northern Ireland. For now, the Government seems committed to the framework as it stands, but the DUP’s persistent opposition means that a restoration of devolved government at Stormont is far from guaranteed.
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A Cambridge Philosophy Graduate