Sunday, April 14, 2024
HomeBrexit WatchMichael Gove, the Brexit betrayer

Michael Gove, the Brexit betrayer


OUR friends in the EU are now turning the screw on the UK, insisting on the full implementation of the Irish Protocol sundering the UK from Northern Ireland economically, never mind if it is causing severe sectarian tensions and threatening to undo all the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.

This was always intended by the EU as its illegal revenge for the UK leaving the EU as provided for by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The EU’s recent triggering of Article 16 of this Protocol, implementing a hard border between Eire and NI as a weapon against vaccine supplies entering NI, has breached the GFA and shown the Irish Protocol to have been only a lever against the UK in the ‘negotiations’ about Brexit. The GFA, a prior international treaty, was broken by the EU so the UK now is fully and legally able to revoke the Withdrawal Agreement/Political Declaration. That is clearly what needs to happen. It is an international crime for the EU to weaponise the Eire/NI border for its own motives. The EU needs to be given the fruits of its atrocious bad faith.  

But Michael Gove is running the UK side of this EU aggression, and appears to be doing a great job for the EU. He knew for sure that the EU’s Irish Protocol was there to put a sea border between the UK and NI, and he knew the EU would very likely enforce this. That is why he arranged the Internal Market Bill, to stop the EU blockading NI from the UK economically. Then he simply took away this ‘insurance’, knowing the risk to the integrity of the UK. He stands squarely responsible for exposing the UK to this aggressor. He has asked for a ‘grace period’ to allow normal trade flows, but that is being contemptuously denied by the EU, who insist that the UK has to show it is being truly obedient before any flexibility can be ‘granted’, in fact European Commission Vice-President Sefcovic says the UK must fully implement the Protocol and is not doing so: so much for Gove’s telling us that there would be a ‘light touch’ on trade flows between the UK and NI – yet more deceptive words.   

Gove got us into this grotesque national humiliation so Gove should get us out, but he is not. He is not even triggering Article 16 of that mendacious Irish Protocol using its grounds as preventing moral and social tension; this crisis would be an obvious reason. But no. Mr Gove wants to ‘refine’ the Protocol. He has told the DUP he will not trigger Article 16, let alone revoke the Mafia-style treaty he and the PM caved in to after David Frost had held the line against the predatory demands of Brussels. 

The mendacious nature of EU policy is shown in this weaponising of the Irish neuralgia. It is even weaponising the atrocities of its main members. As the Times reports, President Steinmeyer of Germany has angered Ukraine by defending a Russian gas pipeline project with the argument that his country owes Moscow a debt of guilt for Second World War atrocities. Really? How about some reparations for the wartime death and destruction visited on the UK by Germany – does that require the economic aggression of annexing Northern Ireland and foisting a coercive deal on the UK? The realpolitik of the EU knows no bounds. It is not a moral organisation at all.  

It does raise the question of Mr Gove and his behaviour. He used to be a good conservative Conservative. He fought a good fight in the Education Department against the woke agenda penetrating the syllabus, working with Dominic Cummings. But Prime Minister Cameron sacked Gove after the Blob’s campaigning against him, a truly pusillanimous and treacherous betrayal. I wonder if Gove drew a conclusion from this, viz not to suffer again for sticking to principle? – that’s just a guess. 

Come the referendum, Gove fought for Leave and earns credit for that. On Cameron’s resignation Gove at first backed Johnson as the next Conservative leader and PM, but removed his support and stood himself, letting in the disastrous Theresa May. He then became her chief henchman for changing Brexit into a fake, leaving the UK under EU regulation but with no say, and he pressed this terrible deal for three years. May was forced out after this deal was thrice rejected by Parliament, and Gove was, generously, given the task of Mr Fixit in the Cabinet Office by Boris Johnson. Since when his words have often been for a clear Brexit, but not his actions. He has never, it seems, truly rejected May’s Withdrawal Agreement and its poisonous Irish Protocol. Yes, they were tweaked a little, but Gove never repudiated them even when Johnson was saying they were dead – a lie, as it turned out. Now, when the WA/PD can legally be rejected as breaking the Good Friday Agreement, Gove is again fiddling with it, even as the EU will have no change at all. He is trying to maintain the fiction that the deal signed by Johnson on December 31 is fair and good for the UK. Johnson himself is more and more clearly being revealed as not a leader able to stick to his own vision, but a PR man, a follower desperate to please the voices next to him, whether Gove or Queen Carrie. His dismissal of Cummings was a disaster for Brexit.   

Now the EU victory is almost complete: they have blocked frictionless trade from the UK into the EU, while enjoying totally free unfettered access for their exports into the UK. 

They have stopped the reclamation of UK sovereign fisheries and are banning imports of Scottish shellfish. Now we hear the EU are to lock UK banks out of the EU. It is clear now that a WTO exit would have saved the UK on many fronts: in particular we would have a lever in the tariffs on EU car exports flowing into the UK market. This grotesquely bad deal means we have no lever at all. Mr Gove stands accused of a truly catastrophic sabotaging of Brexit, and sabotaging the integrity of the UK itself.  

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Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw is a Theological lecturer and Anglican clergyman

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