Money, not disunity, the key to UK success

first_imgBut underlying the messy start is a crucial strategic goal for the U.K. government, which actually does not need to shatter the EU’s surprisingly unified approach to Brexit. That goal is to change how leaders in the 27 EU capitals define the “sufficient progress” that the European Council has declared must be achieved to move beyond the first phase of talks.EU leaders purposely never set fixed criteria for “sufficient progress” but they have made clear that they want agreement, or near-agreement, on what they have defined as the key divorce issues — including the financial settlement.Ellis, in his presentations to ambassadors, lobbied for a different interpretation of “sufficient progress,” in which negotiators on the EU and U.K. sides merely need to reach consensus on some broad principles.“One of the problems is the way the two parties imagine sufficient progress,” said a senior EU diplomat based in London, who attended the briefings. While the “set of principles” seems sufficient for the U.K., this diplomat said, “for Brussels, this is clearly not the case.”EU officials have long expected the U.K. to attempt direct outreach with individual countries, and they constructed their entire negotiating strategy to thwart such efforts.The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has been put forward as an instrument of the EU27, who dictated his mandate through tightly constrained negotiating directives, which include the “sufficient progress” language. At quick glance, the U.K.’s attempt at a Brexit “charm offensive” — by directly engaging ambassadors of the 27 remaining EU countries — might be easily brushed off as an ill-conceived and ill-fated bid to sow disunity in Brussels and gain advantage for London in the Brexit talks.And indeed, as POLITICO reported, the initial effort appears to have backfired badly, with two briefings in London only angering the EU diplomats who attended.Alex Ellis, a director general of the U.K.’s Department for Exiting the European Union who gave the presentations, was short on answers, according to EU officials with knowledge of the sessions. And, most maddening to his audience, he allegedly reneged on a promise of further details regarding the U.K.’s financial obligations as it exits the bloc. (The U.K. government says it “does not recognize this account” and denies that any such promise was made.) London, therefore, cannot go over Barnier’s head to the EU27, because he is merely doing what the EU27 told him to do in the first place. Asking the 27 to change Barnier’s approach is asking them to change their own minds.And that might not be impossible. “Sufficient progress” is a phrase crafted by the European Council that has no special legal basis. Article 50, the brief provision in the EU treaty covering a nation’s withdrawal, does not say anything about “sufficient progress” nor does it require withdrawal negotiations to take place in any set sequence.But if London wants to win hearts and minds on the Continent, it may need to concentrate on what most divorce talks focus on: money.“The EU wants concrete commitments from London on their financial obligations,” a second senior diplomat who attended the U.K.’s briefing said.This insight is from POLITICO’s Brexit Files newsletter, a daily afternoon digest of the best coverage and analysis of Britain’s decision to leave the EU. Read today’s edition or subscribe here. Also On POLITICO UK wants to copy and paste EU trade deals after Brexit By Simon Marks UK Brexit charm offensive falls flat By Simon Marks and Giulia Paravicinilast_img read more

Stamp duty changes in Wales will see average home exempt from tax

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Let loose from the noose…

first_imgI shot a lot of hoops in the backyard of my pal Robert Debelius on Eastern Avenue and this was on the corner boom box whenever Cheap Trick “In Color” or Tom Petty “Hard Promises” wasn’t playing. The first time I ever heard “Highway To Hell” was on DC101 in the parking lot of the Capital Centre seeing ZZ Top on the “Expect No Quarter” tour in March 1980 (my second concert after seeing Styx a month early at the Baltimore Civic Center). Everybody in the tailgate lot in Largo was singing it at full voice and knew every word. Bon Scott had been dead a month and four months later “Back in Black” arrived in that plain black embossed album cover with Brian Johnson and that screech. My parents camped out all morning at the Hecht’s downtown so me and seven of my friends could go to see AC/DC on the “For Those About To Rock Tour.” Saw them several times and have a few “Money Talks” bills that fell from the sky once. And, yes, I’ve seen the derriere of Angus Young on a few occasions as well… There has never been a finer rock song written than “Shoot To Thrill.” These were NOT lyrics designed for 12-year old boys! (And, babe, you can insert your love for Tipper Gore here, shaking a leg the whole way). Hey, man, these were cassettes! And who the hell would fast forward through “Giving The Dog A Bone” or “What Do You Do For Money Honey”?center_img Even after all of these years, rock and roll ain’t no riddle – it just makes good, good sense. Every word. Every song. In order. Never interviewed any of the AC/DC lads. Bummed about that… Every kid in my neighborhood had “Back In Black” on cassette – because it was portable – and Angus Young became the new Eddie Van Halen of my neighborhood on every bike. And for the next 18 months, “Hells Bells” was the anthem of Colgate long before my dude Trevor Hoffman ever came outta the San Diego bullpen. Crazy Rich. Snoball Joe. Chuck Piercey. Pudgie. The temperatures were high…last_img read more

WHY NOT ‘WALK THE LINE’ WITH BRIAN?

first_imgOn Sunday morning next a walk with a difference will make its way from east to west across Donegal following as near as possible the route of the old L.L.S.R journey from Derry to Burtonport.Brian (right) with his good friend, the late Eamonn Harvey on another fund-raising venture a few years back.The walk is the long-term dream of a Photographic Journalist, Brian McDaid who has life long interest in transport of all kinds.In 2006 Brian used his interest in motoring to raise funds and the profile of the Hospice in Donegal with a trip to Monte Carlo in a Mini Cooper, which was done in memory of his friend and fellow firefighter who passed away in the Hospice in January 2004 Ten years on from the death of Brian’s friend Eamonn Harvey, he wants to remember his late friend’s anniversary with a non money raising event, “Walk the Line” which is borrowed from a Johnny Cash song title and is an a tempt to walk from Derry to Burtonport keeping as near as possible to the old railway track as it makes its way through DonegalThe walk is not an to break a time record (if there ever was one) but it more to highlight awareness for the middle aged (like our Brian) to look after their health, High Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Diabetic and your mental state of health all can addressed by walking a little, regularly.Over the duration of the journey it is hoped that needs for regular exercise and regular check ups could help prevent more serious medal problems like heart attacks and strokes in the future.The journey will have breaks between stations along the old railway route starting at the Old Pennyburn Station site in Derry which will be launch by the Mayor of Derry Cllr. Martin Reilly and will make it way to Burnfoot and on to Tooban before heading in the direction of Letterkenny via Newtowncunnigham, Sallybrook , Manorcunnigham and Pluck Stations. The walk will head out of Letterkenny on to old Burtonport Line through Churchill, Kilmacrannan Cresslough, Dunfanaghy, Falcarragh, Gweedore, Crolly Dungloe before arriving at the end of the line.The total distance on the old railway from Derry to Burtonport is 74 miles. If you see Brian and co en-route, give him a beep or a wave in recognition of his great gesture. WHY NOT ‘WALK THE LINE’ WITH BRIAN? was last modified: November 28th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Brian McDaidburtonportDerrymen’s healthWALKlast_img read more