Saturday, May 25, 2024
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TCW’s Brexit Watch: Fears are growing that we might chicken out


BREXIT watchers continue to note the sheer force of Remainerdom in the Government and much of the mainstream media – most notably in the Left-leaning Financial Times – and its capacity to keep repeating Project Fear themes, that even Brexit sympathetic Ministers can fall for.

Liz Truss and George Eustice, possibly co-ordinating with the Irish EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan, have suddenly issued an attack on the idea of a quick deal with the US. They have flagrantly contradicted Johnson’s statement that a chlorine wash on chicken is fine, which raises the question as to who is governing the country, individual ministries or the Prime Minister?

I am pretty sure Theresa May would have told Truss and Eustice to back the Government line or go. But the PM’s appeasement of these two ministers makes us wonder if he regards their defiance as useful preparation for a U-turn.

Truss and Eustice have, it appears, unilaterally decided to ignore the evidence that chlorine-washed chicken is as safe as water-washed chicken, as well as the fact that the EU itself declared such chicken unproblematic.

They also seem to have ignored statistics that show food poisoning from chicken is higher here per head than in the US, or that the UK government under Defra’s aegis permits the continuing cruelty of halal slaughter, which, in the face of all normal Western animal welfare practice, still raises little outrage – as I wrote in March. 

Truss also astonishingly says that she is now in no hurry to get a trade deal with the US, it can wait. The articles in the MSM against chlorine-washed chicken piled up in the last weeks in what appears to be a concerted attempt to scupper a US-UK trade deal, bringing farmers anxious about their futures onside and climaxing with that great food expert Will Hutton joining the cacophony of Project Chicken Fear. If we are to believe him, the US is so full of toxic food we would never visit again. 

Ireland’s Phil Hogan recently added his two pennies worth, stating that the UK is not free to do a deal with the US until it has completed ‘a pact’ with the EU. Yet Article 50 says nothing about such a pact.

The truth is, as top economists and businessmen such as John Longworth know, that the UK needs above all a Brexit with as little connectivity as possible with the EU structures. It’s Remainers who want to tie the UK into EU food regulation.

As to quite how malevolent the EU is on the question of post-Brexit farm trade, it has demanded that the UK be banned from issuing counter-tariffs against EU food imports, even when the EU imposes tariffs on UK food – and that, it says, is a ‘level playing field’. Why we have not yet walked away from these threatening, bullying talks is another mystery.

Damien Phillips, writing in the Telegraph, discloses that the talk in the City and in the London establishment is that the UK is going soft on quitting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

He writes that the headline about the EU and UK edging towards an agreement on extradition means a very dangerous power being handed to the EU to take people from the UK with no prior evidence of their having done anything wrong. So much for taking back control. 

The more we hear of the Prime Minister taking part in the talks, the more worried we should be. Johnson has also said that his deadline to complete the talks can slip from the summer to the autumn; once again a mark of weakness that he clearly has not learned from, and an encouragement to EU intransigence and even increasing its demands.

Damien Phillips’s article, plus the Truss and Eustice insistence that the US trade talks are of no great priority, indicate a government once again fearing that it has not made the necessary preparations for a no-deal Brexit – a government in panic appeasement mode and preparing for Brino (Brexit in name only), under cover of headlines disguising the reality of what is happening.

Harry Western’s warning that a clever con trick may well be in the pipeline (see his article reprinted in TCW), is being taken very seriously by the Brexiteers of the European Research Group of Tory MPs. Its members are so worried by this threat of a Brino trick that they have warned the Prime Minister that many MPs will vote against it. 

The essence of the trick is that the UK would abide by all EU regulations, but if it wished to buck any, the EU could apply tariffs – a recipe for obedience to the EU regime under the cloak of being free.

I can’t help wondering if this suggestion, a U-turn from David Frost’s steadfast path, has emerged just as Simon Case has been made the key civil servant in 10 Downing Street. He was a colleague of Olly Robbins from 2017 in the Theresa May team dealing with Brexit and how to obviate it.

Wikipedia says: ‘In March 2017, Case was announced as the Director General for the UK-EU Partnership. He took up the post in May 2017. In this role he was “leading the UK Government’s work on exiting and seeking a new partnership with the European Union within the UK Representation to the EU”. In January 2018, he was appointed Director-General Northern Ireland and Ireland: in this role, he acted as the lead civil servant for finding a solution to the Irish border issue post-Brexit. 

This new suggestion for a de facto submission to EU regulation has been likened to the Olly Robbins Chequers plan, and who knows whether Case’s influence might be detected? Perhaps, however, he is now an enthusiast for a clean break from the EU and its anti-democratic controls. 

In short, Brexit remains on a knife edge, despite all the PM’s cavalier claims that he will walk away if a good deal is not secured. It is clear to any neutral observer that the EU is determined to impose a very damaging deal on the UK and nothing else.

Anyone sanguine about this might remember the issue of massive post-Covid eurozone liabilities and how the UK needs to get as far from those as it can to minimise all connectivity and obligation to an organisation which continues to be expert at taking resources from the UK – for example, £1.6billion last May alone.

The EU is not going to blink; it has no reason to do so. If Boris Johnson again loses his nerve, we will get a very bad deal indeed, however much it is disguised as a triumph by the PM – who did not, remember, ‘die in a ditch’ on signing the toxic ‘vassalage’ Withdrawal Agreement / Political Declaration. 

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

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