Saturday, May 06, 2017

British Local Elections May 2017

Council and borough elections are usually not of great interest particularly to those who are not really involved in affected areas, where there may be local controversies about  hospitals, housing, schools, traffic and other   issues which really only affect those living or working in the vicinity.

However given the national Brexit referendum and the Prime Minister's decision to hold a snap election early in June, with a view to securing if possible a larger parliamentary majority to facilitate the country's negotiations about exiting the EU, the outcome of the May local elections may be more relevant than usual.

My personal view is that the difference between UK and EU politics  has played a far larger role in the election results  than is suggested in the media so far.

A few days ago  UK Prime Minister  Mrs May met EU President  Mr Junker for dinner at No. 10 Downing Street. Almost immediately after that dinner Mr Junker appears to have gone straight to the leader of Germany which of course makes the largest net financial contribution to the EU (with that of the UK being the second largest). Somehow a German newspaper  then also received details of an interpretation of what may have occurred at the dinner with Mr Junker.

The German newspaper almost immediately published comments of course   biased towards Mr Junker's viewpoint,  about Mrs May's negotiating position.

It has since been made clear that so far as the EU is concerned all talks will be made public upon their happening despite the UK preference for confidentiality during discussions until progress has been made. The EU has also moved up its settlement claim from c. 50 billion Euros to c. 100 billion Euros and threatened legal proceedings if the UK does not pay up. A day later the EU laid down as  "a red line", the status of all EU nationals currently residing in the UK suggesting that they must have residents' rights determined by the European  courts rather than the UK Supreme Court.

The above kind of EU posturing has had the opposite effect  to that probably intended on many people in this country who have since voted in their droves for Mrs May's party. A large number of those who voted remain, myself included, will have been putting it mildly, irritated by such arrogance from EU civil servants.

Sadly in my humble opinion, the Junker  et al diatribes, make an hard Brexit without any deal much more likely.

From a legal viewpoint, it would be interesting to see what the outcome of any  legal proceedings  consequent upon Brexit not accompanied by a detailed agreement would be. Additionally  the outcome of a counterclaim by the UK for a fair share in the very valuable capital assets to which the country has been contributing at enormous annual cost for 40 years or so, eg the luxurious  EU  Brussels office  blocks, would be of interest. Which court I wonder?

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