A REMINDER is in order, less for TCW readers than for the combined forces of Remainer and Brexit bigwigs of so-called high principle, of what happened to Greece and Italy when the EU took control of their economies. Which is exactly what the EU is desperately still trying to retain hold of with these current trade talks.
The former Prime Ministers Sir John Major and Tony Blair are a lost cause, but the Lords Howard and Lamont whose high-minded concern is about about the principle of adherence to law, rather than the substance of the matter, should know better.
A kind of Conservative/Remainer coup against democracy, which they are aiding, is apparently under way with MPs and peers rallying to support M Barnier’s raid on Parliamentary sovereignty via the murky depths of the Withdrawal Agreement. PM Johnson’s eleventh-hour Internal Market Bill, to stop the UK becoming subject to EU controls over a potentially wide range of law-making, has become the new talisman of Remainer demonology.
The Bill is designed to establish a post-Brexit basis for trade within the UK and, though late in the day, importantly and reasonably seeks to escape the objectionable sections of the Irish Protocol. These include the pointless stipulation that Northern Ireland businesses fill in customs declarations for everything they sell to GB plus its implication that government assistance to businesses in GB be vetted by Brussels in case goods from assisted firms leak into the EU via NI. Finally, and correctly, it gives the final say to the UK on which goods exported from GB to NI are at risk of crossing the unmanned Irish land border.
Of course, were the EU reasonable, as yesterday’s Briefings for Britain email argued, this could have been achievable by further negotiation but ‘as the clock-watching Mr Barnier might say “ze clock is ticking”, and no such agreement had been reached.’ To sum up, the EU should have been sensitive to the over-reach in the Withdrawal Agreement, but to quote Briefings for Britain, ‘sensitivity has not been its strong point’.
I think the word euphemism applies.
The EU holds no standards when it comes to behaviour or the law. Remember its icily cruel treatment of Greece, to German advantage, O Tory MPs and peers? Yanis Varoukis, author of Adults in the Room: My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment about the 2015 Greek bail-out, turned into a film by the legendary Costa-Gavras, yesterday hit out at ‘Barnier and the bureaucracy in Brussels’ for trying to impose state aid rules on the UK that even Germany and France refuse to follow.
For some bizarre reason these ‘Conservative’ parliamentarians’ memories are very short. They appear to want Parliament to become the glove puppet of Brussels, and an EU trade colony. Their claim this time is that the Bill breaks the WA Treaty, which it almost certainly does not. Martin Howe QC has made quite clear the Bill is needed to maintain the free flow of trade across the nation in the post-Brexit world and is necessary for the UK to ‘protect itself from abusive exercise of treaty powers’ by the EU following its departure from the bloc. His Telegraph article deserves reading in full.
Yet John Major has joined Tony Blair in urging this ‘abject capitulation’, Blair’s own description of the WA, and is backed by two Tory Brexit Peers who cannot have examined the substance of the Bill.
We seem to have reverted to the days of Speaker Bercow breaking Parliamentary law to usurp the position, de facto, of the PM in setting the timetable of the Commons. We are back to Chancellor Hammond conducting secret meetings with EU lawyers to write legislation preventing a no-deal Brexit, legislation which basically forced the UK to sign the WA. This constitutional subversion was overcome by the electorate in giving PM Johnson an 80-seat majority. But the remainer ‘Conservatives’ simply stayed in their burrows till opportunities arose to continue their sabotage. Brexit was always about regaining our democratic liberal way of sovereign self-governance: these technocratic Remainer globalists feel more loyalty to the EU than to the UK, and have little time for the national borders so necessary for democracy, in line with Whitehall ideology and its machine for decades synthesised to Brussels.
Frau Merkel is issuing punishment threats if the Bill goes through. Barnier has threatened to block UK food exports across the Channel and from the UK to Northern Ireland. No doubt the U-boats are being built in Bremerhaven and the EU will send us the invoice. These threats simply add to the long list of evidence that the EU is not negotiating in anything like good faith. It wants a UK trade colony, not a partner.
This faux outrage about breaking international law deserves wider scrutiny. Treaties of the EU can never be broken, opened or amended, OK? So let’s go back to the Lisbon Treaty, closed, sealed, unbreakable: well, no, the Franco-German axis forced the EU to open and amend this Treaty when they wanted to extract more cash from member states to pay for the Greek bailout loans. At the time Irwin Stelzer wrote:
‘The Franco-German alliance announced that it will seek to have the Lisbon Treaty amended to incorporate a provision setting up a permanent bailout fund, and to strip nations that breach EU fiscal rules of their voting rights in the EU. Late Saturday, EU leaders capitulated, and signed on to the plan to amend the Lisbon Treaty.
‘Note that this plan covers all EU members, not only those countries that replaced their own currencies with the euro. If subjecting Britain to fines if the eurocracy doesn’t approve of its fiscal policy, and being able to call on British cash for bailouts isn’t a further transfer of sovereignty from Britain to Brussels, it is difficult to tell what is.’
So treaties can be opened and amended and were, when it suited France and Germany. Of course this Greek story descends into the depths of Hades when Germany got the ECB to cutoff liquidity to the Greek banks, overnight crippling their economy. The EU took over running the Greek economy and battered it savagely, to save the German and French banks which had overdone loans to Greece and refused to let that nation go into insolvency. The fact that is less well known is that Germany profited immensely from this crucifixion of Greece. An institute based in Halle argued Germany’s balanced budget was possible in large part only because of her interest savings amid the debt crisis. The estimated €100billion Germany had saved since 2010 accounted for over 3 per cent of GDP, it said.
The EU has a dark history of inhumane treatment of its members, to the advantage of its Franco-German core. Italy knows this all too well, having an elected leader ejected in favour of an EU technocrat replacement and economy-shrinking austerity measures imposed, all to keep the euro currency from harm.
So, Conservative parliamentarians and peers, remember this: you are inviting a wolf into the fold with your grandstanding Remainer binding of the hands of PM Johnson – to quote Sir John Major.