Eric Schmidt and The Brexit Negotiations

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The pantomime resumes. Consider first the paragraph from the Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on “progress” during Phase 1, from 8th December 2017, which states: “68. The financial settlement will be drawn up and paid in euro.”

Alas, as for who is “winning” or “losing” in these negotiations? That single stipulation is all you need to know and absorb about an orderly withdrawal.

The DCMS Select Committee are back from the US with Amber Rudd visiting Silicon Valley in order to seek their compliance with UK AI inspired Internet Blocking Technology; with overt threats of legal enforcement in the UK. Thus the ongoing efforts to support an Open Internet and Net Neutrality are still being fought in the US. But is this Blocking Technology and other AI technology a potential backdoor? Where does Amber Rudd stand on China's “Internet Sovereignty” agenda given their latest proposals at the World Internet Conference in December? Is China her real market for this Blocking Technology?But how shall this UK technology comply with the free flow of data for the GDPR and the US Privacy Shield? Will this be a symptom of what is to come post 29th March 2019? Far more questions than answers.

One concern of mine is the establishment of a Great Firewall of Brexit and just how it can at the flick of a Master Switch be made to block everything from far-right and far-left ideologies, Eurosceptic and pro-European sentiments and thus effect the outcome of all democratic processes not just elections. Who shall get to decide what is fake and what is truth matters. Only when things are in the open can they truly be understood and dealt with properly, as driving ideologies underground represents an even greater danger to free societies. It all eventually comes down to policing properly the Rule of Law. (See IPv6 and the Communications Capability Development Program - what are they? Blog). Especially as the current ideological split in the government shall have a day of reckoning once PM May stops playing the divide and rule game with her party and cabinet. Shall it be fostered upon her by the EU-27 Council of Ministers? The UK, currently fractured, is still in the Spirit of Defiance Stage. With the Spirit of Self-Destruction Stage still waiting in the wings. (See Quite Desperation Blog). But the Spirit of Hope is still with us.

I have now absorbed the Speech by Michel Barnier at the Berlin Security Conference of 29th November 2017. Consequently I would call your attention to his closing remarks: “2018 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Saint-Malo summit, which was a founding summit for European defence. In 1998, contrary to all expectations, after seven hours of negotiations the French and British leaders agreed on the need to give Europe the capability to act autonomously in order to manage crises in its neighbourhood and beyond. I have always kept in mind the commitment made at Saint-Malo when working with some of you on the Convention on a Draft Constitution which became an integral part of the Treaty of Lisbon. I am convinced that it is this spirit of Saint-Malo that should characterise the future defence and security partnership between the 27 Member States and the United Kingdom. Our aim: autonomous and united European defence. Which means a Union capable of acting by itself and always supportive in its alliances. The construction of a ‘Europe of Defence' has begun. Obviously, we will not wait for the United Kingdom to implement it, but when the time comes we will be ready to cooperate with the United Kingdom. This partnership will be in our best interests, since it is what the European citizens expect and it will contribute to the stability and security of our continent and our neighbourhood.”

“Obviously”! Unfortunately for the UK Defence and Intelligence Community it seems to me that time shall be post 2025. Until then, NATO aside and noting the UK-France January Summit, accessing the new EU External Action Service Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) on a project by project basis is all we may be able to aspire too. When permitted by the EU Foreign Secretary, sorry High Commissioner, of course. The impact on the UK defence industry shall be clearer by October.
Recall my remarks on Cyprus from “More Chickens Coming Home to Roost” Blog of 30th November? In the recently released and agreed 9th January 2018 EU27 Guidelines, note the following:

“7. Since the arrangements applicable to relations between the Union and the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus will continue to be defined within the context of the Republic of Cyprus’ membership of the Union, appropriate arrangements should be determined during the negotiations as necessary, to achieve the objectives set out in Protocol 3 to the Act of Accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the Union.”

“Appropriate arrangements”! How did this paragraph creep into the Council of Ministers latest negotiation mandate? Tactically the UK blew this negotiation when they offered to return over 50% of the Sovereign Bases as part of the ongoing Cyprus Reunification efforts. Post Brexit why should the UK have any say on an internal EU matter with Turkey? But where in the popular media is this matter being debated? There is no application of blocking technology here. I shall properly decode this paragraph fully for you another time. Suffice to say that the Sovereign Bases move is known in non-diplomatic language, “as going for the jugular” which, of course, the Brexiteers exposed. Recall Don Mintoff and Malta from 1971 and its connections with the Common Market Referendum? What ever happened to David Davis Brexit pressure point identification strategy?