German Cat Herding in BrExit

Some commentary and attempted parsing of an English summary of something originally no doubt said in German. Perhaps someone who is a good German speaker can find her original statement and better read the Tea Leaves…

(I’ve tried to get it to let go of the ‘mobile’ marker, but it won’t. Did down below on another story. It doesn’t think my Samsung tablet is a ‘mobile’, but on the Pi it does. Go figure…)

(Reuters) – International financial markets are very concerned that the European Union is no longer governable after Britain voted to leave the bloc, Chancellor Angela Merkel told her conservative party’s board on Monday, two participants in a call said.

So it’s a ‘leak’. Hard to get the original nuance, then… So they are worried about the EU being “governable”. One wonders if that’s code words for “under my thumb and control”?

Merkel said it was necessary to prevent other countries from following Britain’s exit path, said the two sources who took part in a telephone conference of the board of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

First impulse is to cause pain and whip the others into line. It would seem “unclear on the concept” of whipping being counterproductive to inducing a desire to “stay and play”… To me, that kind of talk say “run for the doors, find an exit, get the hell out!!! and watch your backside in the process”…

I wonder how it will be taken in The Netherlands, France, Catalonia, etc. etc.

Merkel added it was not the right time to pursue a quick deepening of cooperation between euro zone member states. The EU should instead act on popular concerns such as securing the bloc’s borders, creating jobs and improve internal security. (Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Michelle Martin)

“Deepening of cooperation”? Is that like “tighter chains and better whips”? Yoo Vill cooperate! {stamp boot}

Well, to me, it looks like you can read these tea leaves as the typical S&M Club Rules. You can check in, but can never check out. Failure to accept discipline will result in pain and more discipline. Whips and leather NOT optional. When in doubt, tie the knots tighter and make sure folks thinking about sneaking out see the pain in others.

Just the kind of “club” to leave immediately. IMHO, of course.

But perhaps I’m reading too much into one small translation of a German sentence or three from a 2nd hand report of a leak… Or not…


UK | Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:08pm BST

Analysis – UK’s friends seek EU third way as Johnson wants all the cake
BRUSSELS | By Paul Taylor

Boris Johnson’s rosy vision of Britain’s future relationship with the European Union after leading the victorious campaign to leave it resembles his declared policy on cake – “pro having it and pro eating it”.

Indeed he seems to think both are Britain’s entitlement, writing in a newspaper column on Monday that he expects to keep free trade with the EU, impose some curbs on migration from EU states and reduce payments to Brussels.

But legal experts say there is no way the UK could continue to have full access to the EU’s single market, especially for financial services, without accepting both free movement of EU workers and substantial payments into its budget.

Behind the public posturing on both sides, wise heads are starting to explore what room there might be for an enhanced partnership between London and Brussels short of full membership that could serve as a template for countries such as Turkey, Switzerland and perhaps one day Ukraine or Israel.

But the EU treaties appear to impose tight constraints.

Ah yes, the old “I’ve written down rules so you must follow them ploy… How about you just make some new rules, eh?

“There are limits we can’t cross. The more internal market access we give, the more you have to accept the four freedoms,” said Jean-Claude Piris, a French lawyer and former head of the legal service of the council of the European Union.

He was referring to the principle of free movement of goods, capital, services and people, anchored in EU treaties.

Ah, spoken like a true sociopath / sadist. You want the cookie? Get in the cage then…

The only correct answer to such things is to turn your rump toward the cage, do a large Lion Spray at it, and march out into the greater world. Yes, it is wild. But that’s where the Lion does best…

This next quote is just precious.

“And you can’t participate in decision-taking. That is for members of the club,” Piris told Reuters in an interview. “You can only do what the treaties allow. We’ll never change the treaties to give Britain a special deal.”

Clubs that come with leathers and chains often end with snips and regrets. Just say no.

The proper approach is to address it as “Two Equals”. The United Kingdom is one set of nations. The E.U. is another set of nations. Do they think the USA must “join their club” to trade? How about China? So they want a nice private club with “special access” for those inside of it, and pain and suffering dispensed at will. Sure sounds like S&M to me.

IMHO, the best thing for the U.K. to do is demonstrate resolve to leave, and point out that the EU can take the loss of the net trade advantage they have, or they can “cut a deal” for open trade.

Skipping a bunch…

Brussels officials and lawyers say playing for time is Britain’s strongest weapon in the coming battle over the future shape of relations, but it is a double-edged sword.

The EU’s trump card is market access, especially for financial companies desperate to keep the “passport” that allows them to sell services across the bloc from London. Non-EU states such as Switzerland or Canada do not have that right.

Lawyers would say that. I have a different view. When dealing with folk into S&M and power games, the need is to demonstrate loudly and fully dominance. It does not matter if it is an attacking dog, a street fight, a ‘club’ you do not desire to join – but doesn’t want to unlock the door, or just a social insult to ‘put you down’. You turn, face it, and attack it. Bullies hate that.

It is a fundamental of pack animals (and people ARE pack animals). Only one of you will be the Alpha. Make it you.

Yes, there are some normal people in the world. “Folks you can trust”. Do your best to identify them and cherish them. In my experience, very few such exist among lawyers and politicians (though I have known some of them, so do not put them all in one box. Each person unique, please). IMHO, however, the verbiage being used by E.U. representatives and structure of the E.U. treaties makes it clear what kind of people these are, and they are not your friends. They use pack animal rules and S&M ideation.

Skipping more…

In the dance that prefigures negotiations, each side is displaying its instruments of torture.

Well, it isn’t only me seeing things that way…

Black shiny leathers, or deep blood red?

However, France and allies such as Belgium are worried that a prolonged period of uncertainty laced with informal talks on a special deal for Britain would be a recipe for unravelling the EU with others making copycat efforts to blackmail Brussels.

So “want my freedom and self determination back” will be “blackmail” from Marine Le Pen and Netherlands? Really?

Away from Brussels, some of Britain’s friends as well as old British EU hands are thinking outside the box about a possible third way between membership and a loose association with few trade benefits.

Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to the EU, developed with colleagues at the Institute for National Security Studies in 2010 a “membership minus” formula to which Israel might aspire if it reached a final peace deal with the Palestinians.

A country like Israel, Turkey or Morocco could participate in most or all EU agencies – such as the Horizon 2020 research programme – if it adopted EU rules and standards in those policy areas, without the full benefits or obligations of membership.

Ah, so only “in the club and leathers” on alternate Tuesdays… just paying the cover charge for an evening fling.

Frankly, I think it best to face the world and let the E.U. see your rump. Then again, I’m like that ;-)
I get it from both my British Mum and Irish / German Dad… (yeah, I’ve got all the attitude genes ;-)

The article then goes on to discuss some other ‘associate relationships’ and how they might be the model for Turkey or Ukraine. Skipping that…

However lawyers such as Piris and veteran diplomats such as John Kerr, a former British ambassador to the EU who is now a member of the House of Lords, said the treaties set firm limits to special deals for non-members.

“Where is the provision in the current treaty that allows that?” Kerr, who was involved in drafting Article 50, said in an interview with Reuters. “You could create it if you change the treaty, but as of now it doesn’t exist. The Brits will have to fit into an existing box.

How narrow a view. I mean, literally not able to ‘think outside the box’. In Silicon Valley whole companies have come into existence and created new products and markets in 2 years. There is plenty of time to shape the boxes.

But then the goal becomes more clear:

The other possibility is that Britain could delay so long, and talks could be so drawn out and the economic consequences so severe, that in the end the British electorate decides to stay in the EU after all.

Kerr said it would be unwise to try to force Britain’s new leaders to declare their intentions too early in a period of political and financial turmoil.

Remember that any time anyone says you need to be playing the long game. Don’t rock the boat. Find ways to keep attending The Club. Don’t turn in your leathers and for God’s Sake don’t take that chain off… here, let me hold the key for you…

“It’s not in anyone’s interest to bring things to a head now,” he added.

The prospect of a long, drawn-out and inconclusive farewell prompted French political scientist Jean-Louis Bourlanges, a former European Parliament member, to quip that the outcome of last week’s British referendum would make little difference.

“Before, the UK had one foot in and one foot out of the EU. Afterwards, it will be exactly the opposite,”
he said.

(Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald, Francesco Guarascio in Brussels, Jean-Baptiste Vey and Leigh Thomas in Paris; Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Peter Graff)

With friends like that…

I think you need to find another club. One that respects you more, punishes less, and understands symmetry in relationships better. (And yes, you can still wear the leathers if you want… but it will be your choice at your party… and without the locks and chains… Whips optional ;-) And the ‘safe word’ is “freedom”…

Me? I’d be running for the exit so fast it would make your head spin. I’ve been in those kinds of circumstances from time to time (see prior story about the neighbor kid’s club), and THE best thing to do is when you discover that mind-set on the “other side”, is get the hell out as fast as possible. Don’t finish your drink. Don’t ask permission. Just bolt for the car and get out. “Oh, look at the time” on your way out, but only to buy the needed couple of seconds (as a distractor) while they parse it.

Frankly, those quotes make my skin crawl. The “Spidey Sense” goes all tingly and I can feel the karate training coming on line. I would never “do a deal” with the S&M mindset on the other side. Constantly watching out for the shiv is not my idea of “worth it”. The punch may be tasty, but you just never know what’s in it tonight…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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15 Responses to German Cat Herding in BrExit

  1. omanuel says:

    Who guides the German cat?

  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    RUN! don;t walk, to the nearest EXIT
    It’s easy to leave the EU, just do it. Are they going to send in the troops to prevent Great Britain from leaving? Oh yes! an EU army and police force are a want to, not a reality, YET!
    Negotiations can come later, after the bureaucracies begin to starve to death and they lose their arrogance.
    Britain is a net provider to the EU, the Bureaucrats of the EU can’t afford the loss if the Germans don’t pony up more money. The rest are losers. These Bureaucrats are building their Empire and the loss of money and power is not in their plans. Escape while you can, while they are powerless. They won’t be for long. They are desperate to acquire Real Power. It is at the head of their shopping list…pg

  3. Clive Hoskin says:

    There are around 160 odd, countries who aren’t members of the EU,so go and work out a trade deal with them.

  4. Nick says:

    Merkel said it was necessary to prevent other countries from following Britain’s exit path

    That’s the EU’s fear. You’re spot on in pointing it out being a bunch of shits makes that more likely.

    So now think it through. How does the negotiation go?

    Here is what I think are the positions

    What does the EU want and what doesn’t it want?

    Top of the list, it doesn’t want to pay the UK for trade. That’s completely unacceptable.

    It really doesn’t want migrants coming back, because their economy is screwed. Far better to have them in the UK, the rest of the UK paying the difference between their costs and their taxes, than have them unemployed at home.

    It wants to stop others getting democratic ideas.

    It wants a super state.

    It wants a competitive advantage.

    It wants to protect their trade interests

    It wants free trade in goods services people and capital

    What does the UK want and what doesn’t it want?

    It doesn’t want migrants who are net consumers of state resources.

    It wants to limit migration.

    It doesn’t want to pay the EU.

    It wants a competitive advantage.

    It wants to protect their trade interests

    It wants free trade in goods services people and capital


    Anything you would add?

    Now notice. The red line for the EU is having to pay the EU post leaving. A disasterous PR.

    The UK doesn’t object to migrants, so long as they pay their way.

    Both sides want free trade, although the EU is very protectionist.

    So as I see it, the EU can have free trade, plus the other three including free movement.

    However, its going to have to accept either a migrant min wage, or a minimum migrant tax set at the level where they aren’t net consumers of state resources.

    The bit that the EU doesn’t get is that you walk away from a bad deal. So the EU’s real problem is that if the UK walks away, it automatically goes to tariffs, and the EU has to pay the UK, since it has the trade surplus. Oh dear, how can it prevent countries leaving when it has to pay them, and the countries don’t pay into the EU.

    Equally you know when Junker says the UK has to give notice before any negotiations, you know its a bad idea.

  5. omanuel says:


    Today’s front page news report from Nature indicates McMillan Publishers are now running for cover:

    Click to access 534610a.pdf

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @A C Osborn:

    I dont doubt that this is history rhyming, but I’d like to see independent confirmation to preclude a little Russian deception…


    See the pdf in A.C.’s link…

  7. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith;”Never let a crisis go unused” comes to mind. This is just a temporary bureaucratic dictatorship, then later…………….. we will take our directions from parliament. O yeah! Right….pg

  8. tom0mason says:

    Unfortunately Boris Johnson has been obliged to stand down from becoming PM.
    So Mrs May, or Mr Gove, to be in the race to become the new UK PM. Maybe Boris now regrets his recent past’s indiscretions.
    I also note from last month that Germany is trying (desperately!) to stave off the day of Greece’s bankruptcy by ‘other methods’. Basically the Germans are trying to engineer a method whereby the next generation of Europeans will have to meet this difficulty…

    This essentially pushes the crisis off the shoulders of Tsipras, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande, and other European leaders — and onto their grandchildren. It allows Europe to give Greece sharp debt relief without actually having to cut the amount of money Athens owes. It would also extend a crisis that began in 2010 into the 2050s.

    It’s not clear whether this will be enough to pacify the International Monetary Fund. Its chief, Christine Lagarde, has repeatedly said that the emergency lending bank would not participate in the continuing bailout without forgiveness of Greek debt.
    Maybe this will ensure at least Greece is with Germany on how to handle Brexit. If so that only leaves Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium to pay off. France will then have to tag along. :)
    Yes I agree that Germany is herding cats to get all the EU leaders behind them but the bottom line is the exit process can only proceed when UK says so. That means the EU threats may cause more delay in any start in the UK exit, and that would hurt the EU. It looks very definite that the UK will not move on any exit procedure until the new PM is installed. The EU will have to wait until the internal politics of the UK Conservative party have settled.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    Sometimes I have these Puckish moments…

    With all the talk of Nexit and Frexit and more… I think it would be a very strong negotiating posture to float the idea of a “Euro-Free-Market”… State up front that the only “trade treaty” would be trade in goods and services free of tariff, with visa free (but passport to be displayed) travel and business “visits” of up to 6 months or 1 year. Season with the right to own property in any country and I think it’s a winner. 100% local political control, but free economics and painless business dealings. Essentially “EU without the crap”… (which might make a nice campaign slogan too ;-)

    Just threatening to push it would likely cause the EUrocrats to wet themselves…

    “Give us free market access, or we will give free market access to all”.

  10. Jason Calley says:

    Hey E.M., “Essentially “EU without the crap”

    Ha! Seriously, THAT is the kind of trade agreement that makes sense, and would benefit the people of all countries involved. Of course “EU without the crap” might not appeal to politicians who make their living by shoveling crap.

  11. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting book review and conclusions about the similarity to the EU and the Habsburg empire.
    I had not thought of that view but in some senses the current EU does have some similarities to the Habsburg empire. Grandiose ideas seem to never go away, they just keep coming back under new names and a different PR agent.

    Hopefully the similarities do not include another “great war” as it comes unglued.

  12. catweazle666 says:

    First, it is entirely unnecessary for the UK to be in the Single Market to trade with the EU, most other countries in the World such as China and Japan do so quite happily. The only difference is that there will be tariffs – typically around 3% – on goods imported and exported, which, due to the order of magnitude difference in the trade balance between the UK and EU, means that the UK will benefit by around an order of magnitude from the that discrepancy.

    Second, the conflation of financial services with goods is yet another Project Fear red herring, as in the main financial services are not covered by the single market, they are covered by a number of separate treaties. Given the magnitude of the London financial any threat that the EU will close it down is pure hot air, no more.

    The United Kingdom has the World’s fourth largest – and Europe’s largest – military, fifth largest GDP and sixth largest industrial output, and further, is the EU’s largest export destination – especially for cars. So we are able to negotiate from a position of very great strength, something the Remainiacs are desperate to keep the populace from realising. We are not remotely comparable to Norway or Switzerland, the two states that the likes of Cameron and his cronies are attempting to tell us we must emulate, we are vastly larger and more influential on the World stage than either.

    We’re better off out!

  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    I would expect that Britain will get a warm embrace from a Trump Administration as well as from the rest of the Anglo Nations…pg

  14. Gail Combs says:

    Trump has already said the UK goes to the head of the queu (sp)

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