According to the Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, an intransigent approach to negotiations by the EU could increase the risk of a no-deal Brexit.


Dominic Raab said in the House of Commons today that there is a risk of a no deal Brexit especially if the EU engages in a deliberately intransigent approach.

Answering Brexit questions he also said that preparations for a no deal WTO Brexit were progressing, with the recruitment of 300 extra customs personnel and 600 more planned as well as 300,000 letters having been sent to current customs users and 145,000 to VAT registered businesses.

Legislation to prepare for such an outcome would also be put before the House in the second week of November he said.

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said it was far too late for no-deal Brexit planning and called the government's preparations 'bluff not planning'.

As I've said before, as far as I can see this is all about putting the building blocks in place for the prime Minister's Chequers based Brexit In Name Only deal to be accepted by the country and parliament.

One of those building blocks is to scare Tory MPs into either believing that the Chequers deal with all its flaws is better than a no deal WTO Brexit, or that by not backing Chequers the country will find Corbyn at the helm steering us towards the rocks of national bankruptcy.

But, and it's a huge but, the Tory Brexiteers are not guaranteed to vote for Chequers and the opposition benches are more likely than not to vote against a Tory proposal on principal alone.

If that turns into a government defeat just this side of Christmas and the EU continues down its now well trodden path of intransigence, then no-deal looks more and more likely. As I doubt there will be no time for referendums or general elections to have an effect on that outcome.

You have to remember that the EU thinks it has the overwhelming support of the UK civil service and well over half if not three quarters of the members of the Houses of Commons and Lords on its side, with all of them plus the press continually telling the Eurocrats that UK voters have changed their minds and now want to stay in the EU – so of course the EU is going to be difficult all the way down the line.

Now is the time for the Tory European Research Group to ensure they have the numbers to vote Chequers down.

Moving on to Freedom of expression, the YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has issued a message to account holders warning them that Article 13 of the Copyright Directive going through the EU law-making process at the moment "…threatens to shut down the ability of millions of people – from creators like you to everyday users – to upload content to platforms like YouTube".

She also said that: "It threatens to block users in the EU from viewing content that is already live on the channels of creators everywhere…"

But further than that, she also pointed out that this new law would have a detrimental impact on jobs as well as artistic expression.

"This legislation – she said – poses a threat to both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world.

"If implemented as proposed, Article 13 threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ.

"The proposal could force platforms, like YouTube, to allow only content from a small number of large companies.

"It would be too risky for platforms to host content from smaller original content creators, because the platforms would now be directly liable for that content."

Now, most people would be happy to see copyright holders receive the rewards for their work and recognise that some people use social media to rip off other peoples' work for their own profit.

But the Copyright Directive places huge legal and technological burdens on the platforms that host their account holders' material.

To screen the perpetual tsunami of material being uploaded every second of every day would place an impossible burden on the platform providers to the extent they would end up having to reduce the amount uploaded and who was allowed to upload it.

It would no longer be 'social media' within the reach of the European Union Courts. YouTube for example would become just like a set of TV and radio stations, with no comments allowed or highly moderated at best.

Facebook in the EU would just be a big media and big business propaganda outlet and all comments would be fully moderated.

It would be a return to the days of the TV, radio, newspaper and letters to the editor with everything screened to be safe, with no room for individual thought or input.

And all of that is exactly what the internet was supposed to prevent.

Now, EU supporters will say that the legislation is not written that way, it is not meant to stop creativity or memes and fair use etc.

My answer to that, is the social media platforms aren't looking at intentions, they are looking at the business and legal risk to themselves. If the onus is now on the owners of such platforms to filter content or face liability, then they will not take chances with grey areas in the law such as those surrounding copyright and the different interpretations in different jurisdictions – straightforward blanket action is far the easier and far the cheaper option and that could include geo-blocking.

Those in the European Union who use the likes of YouTube may wake up to a message one day saying that they still have access to their own material while logged, in but that it will not be viewable by anyone else within the EU.

And for the Eurocrats and other similarly democratically challenged organisations, it will have the added boon of shutting down avenues for dissent while keeping a propaganda outlet available to them.

Can you imagine what a bland wilderness EU social media would be if this ever came to pass, which it looks like it will! What will our social media relying youngsters think of that?


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