Saturday, May 15, 2021
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Our EU ‘friends’ step up the attack on the UK

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WHO could have imagined the visceral interweaving of the Covid crisis and Brexit? At the start of the European experience of Covid the Italians, desperately dealing with thousands of patients, appealed to their German EU friends for plastic protective equipment, of which the Germans had plenty. Nein, said Berlin to Rome. That coldly hostile response to a nation in deep trouble rang around the globe. So that is the nature of this EU and its ever-closer union, a sham of mutual affection and help. 

Germany now needs vaccines desperately, as does Italy of course, because the EU’s brutalist bureaucracy insisted on Brussels controlling the ordering of vaccines and then delayed in making any significant orders for the 27 nations which trust its efficiency. Furious at being sold out by the very EU which it manages, Germany looked for others to blame to divert attention from the fallibility of the Germano-French secular, infallible, Brussels Vatican. Ah, AstraZeneca! The supra-national EU used its brutal bureaucracy to raid AstraZeneca’s factory in Belgium, as if in time of war, then it announced a block on exports of vaccines, making those conditional on EU needs. It demanded Britain’s supplies to override the EU’s own sluggish ordering process (incidentally providing a brilliant advert for Brexit).

The day before this raid the EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides delivered an angry press conference saying: ‘Pharmaceutical companies and vaccine manufacturers have moral, societal and contractual obligations that they must assume.’

We do need to note Commissioner Kyriakides’s shrill hectoring words appealing to ‘moral and societal’ obligations. As a Greek Cypriot she is very well aware of the reverse of ‘moral and societal’ obligations dished out to Greece by the German bankers: destroying a nation state’s economy and making money for the bankers at the same time. British people remember the same trashing of moral and societal obligations in destroying British fishing towns by seizing fishing quotas via the Common Fisheries Policy. How about the moral and societal needs of the Italians referred to above when desperate for medical plastics? And now this EU Commissioner screams to steal contracted, paid for vaccines from the UK – as illegal cover for the outcome of Brussels’s lack of moral, societal and contractual concerns, the arrogant politburo approach we are now so used to from ‘our friends and partners’ of the EU.  

I now turn to the UK’s recently agreed trade deal. Lord Frost had fought off wave after wave of EU political demands. Then in the last week or so of negotiations Mr Johnson ‘took charge’, with Mr Gove of the Cabinet Office, and they surrendered. The promises made to the British fishing fleets were broken, and France rejoices. But never mind, the UK has a great deal, according to Johnson.

Almost immediately it became apparent that the EU had bad faith about this ‘deal’ and had prepared a Blitzkrieg of paperwork and bureaucratic attacks on UK exporters into the EU which revealed the ‘deal’ as a trap. The UK would have been far better off with WTO terms, certainly no worse off. Paying and getting tariffs would be easier than the bureaucratic blockade which began with the confiscation of a trucker’s ham sandwich by Dutch customs officials.

Since then the Department of International Trade has been advising small UK firms to relocate to the EU to avoid the elephant traps dug by the EU and fallen into by Johnson and Gove. 

Johnson and Gove basically hung small business and fishing out to dry, doing nothing by way of preparations for ‘no deal’, as the EU could see. The Internal Market Bill was a sham. Mr Gove told us that the Bill was the ‘insurance policy’ for the UK to avoid the EU interfering with goods to and from the UK mainland to Northern Ireland. Then he cancelled our ‘insurance’. The EU panicked and erected a customs border between Eire and N Ireland, causing disruption to goods into and out of the province, then cancelled that grotesque aggression after 24 hours. This was a hostile act which revealed what a sham this border issue was, devised purely to leverage difficulty for the UK’s Brexit. That means the WA PD was negotiated in very bad faith and can be revoked legally. Polling is showing a swing to a united Ireland. Well done Mr Gove, emerging as the secret appeaser of the ‘deal’. I would guess he is setting up the UK to appease Commissioner Kyriakides in her demands to seize UK vaccines. He says: ‘The right approach to take with our friends in Europe is to foster co-operative dialogue.’ 

Likewise the great Conservative Party tradition of smashing up the British fishing industry was maintained by the deal. The ‘red lines’ about taking back control of our legally sovereign fisheries were broken just a few days before a decent ‘no deal’ could have happened. It gave away a real ace the Conservative Government held over the SNP. Now Scottish fishermen feel deeply betrayed by the Aberdonian Gove. It is astonishing how The Boris and Michael Show undid the work of Frost, as in 2019, in another last-minute losing of their nerve.  

So not only does this ‘deal’ semi-detach Northern Ireland, it helps the Scottish nationalists in their portrayal of the Brexit deal as yet another sell-out by Westminster. The Prime Minister and his Minister for the Cabinet Office are putting a crowbar through the Union very effectively, as well as making life as hard as possible for small business and betraying the fishing industry. But, as usual, big corporations will be pleased: it is business as usual for them.

The picture is not good at all, not just one of teething problems. It is indeed time we wised up about the EU’s ‘specific strategic goal in making life worse for the UK’. John Redwood is the one MP who seems to realise this. 

The ‘deal’ has put the UK into a state of legalised economic and political harassment, the EU once more tricking the ever-naïve Johnson and Gove. The one saving grace is its revocability, but that would require a hard-headed, non-appeasing Cabinet, with steely determination to escape the gravitational pull of the EU, ‘our friends and partners’ in Europe.

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Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw is a Theological lecturer and Anglican clergyman

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