Archive for the 'BREXIT' Category


The “Led by Donkeys” billboards probably won’t stop Brexit but they’ll undermine many political reputations

Friday, February 15th, 2019

In 2017 the movie,Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, won a host of awards and was a good demonstration of the power of this form of advertising. It is in relative terms cheap and can be focussed geographically.

Whether that was the inspiration for the “Led by Donkeys” crowd-funding campaign I don’t know but over the past our weeks a series of posters like the ones above have been appearing in prominent locations throughout the UK.

There’s one featuring Mr. Corbyn that simply is a blank Tweet which says a lot. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a picture of that.

My favourites are those reflecting views of the two former BrexSecs, DDavis and DRaab. In the current context both are highly effective. They are also an indicator that post-Brexit, assuming that it happens, it will continue to be a dominant part of the UK’s politics and will likely be flung back at the named individuals.

Mike Smithson


Six Fridays to go and punters think there’s an increasing chance the the UK will leave on schedule

Friday, February 15th, 2019 chart of movement over past 2 months on the Betfair exchange

A month ago it was a 14.6% chance

I’ve been on the Yes side of this bet for a week or so simply because I believe that TMay is so damn stubborn and focussed. Note the precise terms of this bet.

“For the purposes of this market leaving the EU is defined as the date when the treaties of the EU cease to apply to the UK. Examples of when this might occur include, but are not limited, to: the date specified in a withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU; the end of the two year negotiating period (29/03/2019) as set out by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (or any extension to this time period); or the date of the repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act. If more than one of these events were to occur, this market will be settled on the first of these events to occur. In the case of the two year time period in Article 50 being extended, via a unanimous vote by all EU Member States, we will settle this market on the extended date. This market will settle when the UK leaves the EU even if parts of the UK (e.g. Scotland, Northern Ireland) leave the UK or receive special status within the EU.

Mike Smithson


There was no big 8pm story as promised but leading LAB & CON figures have made interesting comments

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Mike Smithson


Six weeks tomorrow could mark the beginning of the end for the United Kingdom as we know it

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Pressure for Irish unification could just be the beginning

One of the features of Brexit, particularly a no deal one, is the impact that it could have on the integrity of the United Kingdom.

There has been polling already in Northern Ireland about how people would feel there about the Union in the event of a no deal Brexit. The numbers don’t look good for those backing the union and under the Good Friday Agreement the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland would have to call a referendum if there were strong indications that the public wanted to become part of a united Ireland.

Such a referendum on the unification of Ireland would be a traumatic event and would capture the attention of many parts of the world. You could see American Irish communities being very keen to support the North and the South joining together as one. There’s a reasonable chance that Ireland would vote for unification.

At the same time you could see similar pressure in Scotland for another independence vote and it would be hard for the Westminster Parliament not to agree to it. The chances in such circumstances of a vote succeeding must be quite high.

No doubt the moves in both Scotland and Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom would lead to similar pressures within Wales and it’s not beyond the bounds of probability that the Welsh could also go in that direction. The outcome would be that we will be left with just England.

So the stakes are very high in the coming weeks as Parliament decides what to do as MPs ponder whether to back the deal.

An England only problem for LAB is that without Welsh and Scottish MPs it is hard to see it ever becoming top party on seats something that only the hated Tony Blair was able to achieve. Prior to the Scottish IndyRef in 2014 LAB was the overwhelming major force north of the border with 41 of the 59 MPs. It was the loss of many of those seats which undermines Corbyn’s party’s position.

Mike Smithson


Long standing Brexiteer, Corbyn, needs more than just threats if he’s to budge on a referendum

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

I find this extremely hard to call but there’s a little doubt that Corbyn’s approach to Brexit, which has been very much out of line with his party voters and his MPs is stretching loyalty to the limits. Something could give in this critical period when the United Kingdom could be changed forever.

The problem, of course, is the memory of the last split within LAB when the SDP was formed in 1981. For me that’s a fairy key political memory but for most people it is just history.

It really did in those heady days in the 1979 to 1983 Parliament look as though that British politics was a changing forever. It did for a while and Labour remained out of power until Tony Blair became leader and went on to win the 1997, 2001 and 2005 general elections.

    I have had direct information on possible breakaways but I will only believe it when I see it. The party machines in the UK are so strong and powerful that getting a new grouping together and make it into an effective political force is very challenging indeed.

Correct me if I am wrong but I cannot see a current betting market on whether there’ll be a split.

These next six weeks are going by any standards to be high octane ones in British politics with both main parties split on the big issue of the day. What this will all lead to is hard to say.

Mike Smithson


The great Brexiters gamble – go with TMay’s deal or risking Brexit not happening at all

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

There’s an intriguing piece in the FT by George Parker and Henry Mance about an overheard conversation in Brussels by TMay’s Chief Negotiator, Olly Robbins which set out a different approach to put pressure on the hardliners.

Apparently they will be told – back the deal or risk a lengthy delay during which anything could happen. That broadly replaces what had appeared to be the strategy of making the choice between what’s on the table and a no deal Brexit.

In many ways the new Robbins approach seems stronger. The hardliners were probably ready to risk a no deal but putting the whole Brexit project at risk is a different matter. Half a loaf, as the old saying goes, is better than none.

Meanwhile as the chart shows there been a movement to Brexit happening on schedule although failing to meet the deadline is still the strong favourite.

Mike Smithson


TMay’s message that she’s prepared to countenance a no deal Brexit on March 29th seems to be getting through to punters

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

It’s moved from a 12.8% chance to a 26% one in just three weeks

Given what we know about TMay and how unbending she is I’m becoming increasingly convinced that when the time runs out at 11pm on March 29th the UK will in fact be leaving the EU.

She’s going to the wire and the message to MPs of all parties is that if the deal is not approved by then the curtain will close on the UK’s membership of the EU as laid down in the act that was passed to invoke Article 50.

This is a high risk strategy that can only work if MPs of all parties are convinced that she means it. It also sends out powerful messages to Tusk & Co in Brussels.

Mike Smithson


The search for a definition of BINO – “Brexit in Name Only”

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

One of the most controversial terms in the current UK political climate is BINO – Brexit in Name only. Its usage derives from a previous US election where Republicans not deemed to be ideologically pure were dismissed as RINOs – Republican in Name Only.

To the hardline anti-EUer BINO is a way categorising any move not thought to be pure enough as being a sell-out. To the hardline Remainers it raises the question of “what the hell is the point?”.

On the previous thread posted at 1.36am GMT my son Robert came up with this analysis which is worth of a wider audience.

“What do you define as not BINO?

Because there is a ridiculously wide range of outcomes.

Let’s start with Norway+. This basically involves remaining part of the Four Freedoms, and the Customs Union, but leaving the political apparatus of the EU, the CAP, the CFP and large parts of the intrusion of the ECJ into domestic affairs. (So, they would still adjudge on whether a firm’s output constituted high tensile or ordinary steel, but not on whether prisoners got the vote.) Now, that’s pretty BINOy, but it also removes quite a lot of things people get upset about.

OK, now let’s talk about the TMay deal. This removes all of the above, but also involves ending Freedom of Movement, and maintaining a Customs Union and special situation in Northern Ireland until a technical solution is found. It does involve a high degree of alignment between the EU and the UK in certain areas of regulation – such a data protection and product standards.

Then there’s Canada Plus. This basically means leaving alignment on certain product standards (albeit in all likelihood, given most are set by the ISO, the actual impact would be negligible). It’s quite possible for us to get to Canada Plus via the Withdrawal Agreement, of course.

Finally, there’s WTO, where we trade with the EU, and all the countries that the EU has trade agreements with, to trade on the misnamed “most favoured nation” status.

Which ones are BINO?”

Over to you.

Mike Smithson