Sir Richard Aikens

was an excellent and courteous judge

I am astonished he has signed this letter:


Yes its astonishing that some people have the balls to correct the propaganda that is being peddled. 

We should probably have him burn or re-educated or something. 

You don't think there could be some political undercurrent here, do you?

It may be plausible or even legal, but in Europe it is a toxic political turd that will never be shit...

The BBC has explained it very clearly:


GATT XXIV requires an agreement at least of an interim nature. So it is of no assistance in the event of a no deal Brexit, and the EU has said they will not reach an agreement without an agreement that avoids hard borders in Ireland. 

I find the second paragraph an astonishing thing for Sir Richard to have put his name to.

But a one page interim agreement cancelable on notice to keep the status quo (including keeping borders open) would avoid a hard border in Ireland (for so long as the agreement remains in place).

Presumably the signatories think that the one-pager noted in the letter would be sufficient to qualify as an agreement "of an interim nature" without needing the full WA. 

As to whether the EU would accept that, I think that they have indicated they would be prepared to enter into a Canada type free trade agreement, haven't they? This would appear to be a way to get there. Of course, they may continue to believe that holding our feet to the fire to get the WA signed would work but I think they would be wrong. 

DD: "for so long as the agreement remains in place": I think this is the bit the EU has a problem with.

the letter is a wind up, you can tell because Tomboner has signed it last

Their interpretation of GATT 24 would effectively render the most favoured nation rules meaningless wouldn't it?

Also, I'm not sure their position is supportable.  

GATT 24(5)(a)&(b) do permit for an interim agreement, but (c) requires there to be an agreed plan and schedule for the formation of a CU and/or FTA in a reasonable period of time.

7(a)-(c) require that the interim agreement plan and schedule be submitted to the other GATT contracting states, who can effectively decide to accept it or amend it if they do not think an agreement is realistically likely to be reached in a reasonable time.

Given that the UK has not, over the course of 3 years, clearly identified what it actually wants a future relationship to look like, other than deep and special, how can a plan and schedule realistically be submitted?

That letter feels to me to be disingenuous.

LF: exactly: the provisions of XXIV make it clear there has to be a written agreement, even if only interim

I don't know about disingenous but it certainly sounds unhinged in a Brexit nutter way

well, they do say there would have to be a written agreement, they just take the view (rather unrealistically) that this could be a 1 pager which i assume refers to current arrangements?

so they're not actually saying anything new or overly controversial

Even if we could agree something pursuant to GATT, in theory, there is nothing telling me that the EU is interested in just hiving off the trade issue in this way; the withdrawal agreement tries to deal with all aspects of separation from the EU and that's the way the parties have been looking at it for a long time.  Would be surprised if the EU agreed to change that approach at this late stage.

the really odd thing is the position of the Brexiteers, they are absolutely determined that economics cannot trump politics for the UK and simultaneously absolutely determined that economics must trump politics for the EU

it's completely mental that they refuse to act rationally and argue that this is justified because the EU will act rationally

I think this is bascially how the first world war started (TBC, no chance of armed conflict here, just comparing mindset of international relations)