Thursday, December 3, 2020
Home Brexit Watch A spoonful of fact to deal with Brexit delirium

A spoonful of fact to deal with Brexit delirium

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I’VE read that you can’t reason someone out of a position that reason didn’t get them into; but I submit that at least you can annoy the heck out of them with your own sweet reasonableness.

So: the British proposal to renege on that part of the Withdrawal Agreement which applies to Northern Ireland has galvanised the complacent EU negotiators, not to mention the treacherous element among Tory grandees; rather like the gas that finally forced the Alien from its hiding place in Sigourney Weaver’s escape capsule.

I would note that the proposed WA alteration is not to an existing state of affairs, but to one that was going to apply after the Withdrawal Agreement was finalised. As a groundling, it seems to me that the EU used Northern Ireland to create as much inconvenience as possible and that modern technology is perfectly capable of sorting out customs and excise issues without the need for Checkpoint Charlie.

Further, to the extent that the agreement hastily and foolishly entered into by our bluff, attention-limited PM qualifies our complete break with the power of the European Union, I would argue that it is ultra vires in the context of the binding plebiscite of 2016. Parliament does not have the competence to surrender our country’s sovereignty, as such eminent people as Lord Justice Laws and the late Tony Benn MP have observed.

Michel Barnier has spent much of the last four years pushing at an open door, so it is no surprise that his negotiating muscles have atrophied; but he must now wake up to the reality of a government that, if it does not mean what it says, may soon fall at the foot of the Red Wall that, to the surprise of the commentariat, temporarily loaned the Conservatives a crucial margin of political legitimation.

Finally, for those who babble about Little England (not knowing the original meaning of that term), a medicinal spoonful of fact to break their delirium: I give below a list of sovereign countries that are not EU member states and have smaller populations than ours. Is it proposed that some competing empires should gobble up all of them?

Rank      Country                                 Population

               United Kingdom                 66,796,807

1             Thailand                               66,550,992

2             South Africa                        59,622,350

3             Tanzania                              57,637,628

4             Myanmar                             54,817,919

5             South Korea                        51,780,579

6             Colombia                             50,372,424

7             Kenya                                   47,564,296

8             Argentina                             45,376,763

9             Algeria                                 43,900,000

10           Sudan                                   42,817,375

11           Ukraine                                41,762,138

12           Uganda                                41,583,600

13           Iraq                                       40,150,200

14           Canada                                 38,167,415

15           Morocco                              36,011,955

16           Uzbekistan                          34,403,054

17           Saudi Arabia                        34,218,169

18           Afghanistan                         32,890,171

19           Malaysia                              32,683,570

20           Peru                                     32,625,948

21           Angola                                 31,127,674

22           Ghana                                  30,955,202

23           Mozambique                       30,066,648

24           Nepal                                   29,996,478

25           Yemen                                  29,825,968

26           Venezuela                            28,435,943

27           Ivory Coast                          26,453,542

28           Madagascar                         26,251,309

29           Australia                              25,661,448

30           North Korea                        25,550,000

31           Cameroon                            24,348,251

32           Niger                                    23,196,002

33           Sri Lanka                              21,803,000

34           Burkina Faso                       21,510,181

35           Mali                                      20,250,833

36           Chile                                     19,458,310

37           Malawi                                 19,129,952

38           Kazakhstan                          18,773,648

39           Zambia                                 17,885,422

40           Ecuador                               17,565,560

41           Syria                                     17,500,657

42           Guatemala                           16,858,333

43           Senegal                                16,705,608

44           Chad                                     16,244,513

45           Somalia                                15,893,219

46           Zimbabwe                           15,473,818

47           Cambodia                            15,288,489

48           South Sudan                        13,249,924

49           Rwanda                                12,663,116

50           Guinea                                 12,559,623

51           Benin                                    12,114,193

52           Haiti                                     11,743,017

53           Tunisia                                 11,708,370

54           Bolivia                                  11,633,371

55           Burundi                                11,215,578

56           Cuba                                     11,193,470

57           Jordan                                  10,765,960

58           Dominican Republic           10,448,499

59           Azerbaijan                           10,095,900

60           United Arab Emirates         9,890,400

61           Belarus                                 9,408,400

62           Tajikistan                             9,313,800

63           Honduras                             9,304,380

64           Israel                                    9,249,225

65           Papua New Guinea             8,935,000

66           Switzerland                         8,619,259

67           Sierra Leone                        8,100,318

68           Togo                                     7,706,000

69           Paraguay                             7,252,672

70           Laos                                      7,231,210

71           Serbia                                   6,926,705

72           Libya                                    6,871,287

73           Lebanon                               6,825,442

74           El Salvador                          6,765,753

75           Kyrgyzstan                           6,578,400

76           Nicaragua                            6,527,691

77           Turkmenistan                      6,031,187

78           Singapore                            5,703,600

79           Central African Republic    5,633,412

80           Congo                                  5,518,092

81           Norway                                5,374,807

82           Costa Rica                            5,111,238

83           Palestine                              5,101,152

84           New Zealand                       5,030,847

85           Liberia                                  4,568,298

86           Oman                                   4,527,934

87           Kuwait                                 4,464,521

88           Panama                               4,278,500

89           Mauritania                          4,173,077

90           Georgia                                3,716,858

91           Eritrea                                  3,546,000

92           Uruguay                               3,530,912

93           Mongolia                             3,336,978

94           Bosnia and Herzegovina    3,281,000

95           Armenia                               2,963,000

96           Albania                                2,845,955

97           Qatar                                    2,749,215

98           Jamaica                                2,726,667

99           Moldova[s]                          2,640,438

100         Namibia                               2,504,498

101         Gambia                                2,417,000

102         Botswana                             2,374,698

103         Gabon                                  2,226,000

104         North Macedonia               2,076,255

105         Lesotho                                2,007,201

106         Guinea-Bissau                     1,624,945

107         Bahrain                                1,592,000

108         Equatorial Guinea               1,454,789

109         Trinidad and Tobago          1,363,985

110         East Timor                           1,299,412

111         Mauritius                             1,265,475

112         Djibouti                                1,108,567

113         Eswatini                               1,093,238

114         Fiji                                        889,327

115         Guyana                                787,000

116         Comoros                              758,316

117         Bhutan                                 748,931

118         Solomon Islands                 694,619

119         Montenegro                        621,873

120         Suriname                             587,000

121         Cape Verde                          556,857

122         Brunei                                  459,500

123         Belize                                   419,199

124         Bahamas                              389,410

125         Maldives                              383,135

126         Iceland                                 366,700

127         Vanuatu                               304,500

128         Barbados                             287,025

129         São Tomé and Príncipe      210,240

130         Samoa                                  202,506

131         Saint Lucia                           178,696

132         Kiribati                                 120,100

133         Grenada                               112,003

134         Saint Vincent and the Grenadines    110,696

135         F.S. Micronesia                   104,650

136         Tonga                                   100,651

137         Seychelles                            98,055

138         Antigua and Barbuda         97,895

139         Andorra                               77,543

140         Dominica                             71,808

141         Marshall Islands                  55,500

142         Saint Kitts and Nevis          52,823

143         Liechtenstein                       38,749

144         Monaco                               38,100

145         San Marino                          33,607

146         Palau                                    17,900

147         Nauru                                   11,000

148         Tuvalu                                  10,200

149         Vatican City                         825

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Rolf Norfolk
Rolf Norfolk is a former teacher and retired independent financial adviser.

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