TODAY’S focus is on the outrageous and barely legal political demands EU negotiators have been hurling at the UK throughout what is supposedly a trade negotiation with a ‘third country’.
Brussels has withdrawn none of its earlier mortar bombs and added several others, notably French assistance to illegal migrants over the English Channel.
Let’s again ensure we get the full picture of the EU’s true aim. As EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier told Le Point magazine in 2016: ‘I shall have succeeded in my task if the final deal is so hard on the British that in the end they’ll prefer staying in the EU.’
And don’t forget the BBC documentary by Belgian Euro MP Guy Verhofstadt, which brazenly told us of the EU’s aim to turn the UK into a trade colony, and saying that the Withdrawal Agreement achieves this.
The EU continues to demand political controls over UK territorial waters, over internal trade with Northern Ireland, and over ‘state aid’ to industry, which means ongoing regulative controls. Yet it is the World Trade Organisation that ensures fair trade, not the EU, as outraged Brexiteers have warned the PM
The EU has a terrible track record in treating the UK with even the pretence of fairness in regulation. It ‘regulated’ UK fisheries by taking away British fishermen’s rights, and rendering previously well-curated waters into an ecological desert by handing them over to any EU nation wanting a piece, ruining coastal communities and an industry in the process.
That is EU ‘regulation’, aka depredation. Why should we trust it, or be left with no vote on it? Basically, the EU is a corrupt regulator. It appears to want ‘a deal’ so as to continue access to UK government contracts and military procurement, on ‘beggar my neighbour’ terms, described here and here by the admirable David Blake.
No wonder perhaps that last week the British negotiator tabled a draft free trade agreement to try to unblock stalled negotiations.
The EU describes this as ‘desperate’, implying that it expects the UK to crack soon.
The EU is not the only enemy of a Brexit which delivers the aim of the referendum winners. The other is Whitehall and its allies in big business and finance, commented on by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard with his usual clarity back in January.
Whitehall always intended, from our accession to the European Community in 1973, that the Civil Service would increasingly grow entwined with the Brussels bureaucracy and away from Parliamentary loyalty and scrutiny. ‘How do voters hold this Caesaropapist structure to account?’ asked Evans-Pritchard. ‘They cannot do so. That is what Brexit is about.’
It is indeed what Brexit is about, and any trade ‘concessions’ that surrender this taking back of democratic control should not be touched with a bargepole.
Yet Whitehall shows little sign of positively embracing Brexit and has issued yet another ‘dossier’ of apocalyptic doom in the case of no deal being reached, or rather forced on, the UK – similar to Sir Mark Sedwill’s original ‘leaked’ dossier telling us of price rises, trade collapse, mass migration, and so on.
This Project Fear approach from a desperately discredited Treasury, perpetuated through the Osborne and Hammond years of anti-Brexit groupthink and sabotage, persists.
Yet many commentators and economists think a no-deal result will be fine and little different to a ‘bare bones’ Free Trade Agreement.
None of the great departments of state have set their minds to positively exploiting Brexit. Defra – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs – has no real appetite for a clean break. It seems to have done no real preparation for it and apparently wants to stay in the captive EU market under its regulation, as indicated by environment minister Victoria Prentis in May.
She said the Withdrawal Agreement will automatically convert EU farming regulations into UK law at the end of the transition period. RIP for getting free from EU controls and for a deal with the US – which is outrageously being told to copy EU/UK regulations into its law.
Although commentators have pointed out the need for the UK to walk away from the WA for just such reasons, or to insist on removing such unfair terms under the joint committee on which Michael Gove sits, no such work is being done as far as we know.
The Department of Trade and Industry continues to emit hot air about a new free-trading UK, while failing to conclude vital trade treaties with the US. Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry appears to have almost gone rogue, pursuing a Remainer agenda, as revealed by David Banks here.
And if the UK replaces its tanks with German Leopard tanks, as recently reported by Lucy Fisher in the Times, it would further tie the UK into Germany post-Brexit.
Labour has rightly warned against giving a £1.5billion contract for building Royal Navy vessels to foreign firms. The UK will lose any vestige of capacity to build such ships unless it gives the order to a British firm. Such is the plight of our defence under this Conservative government. Procurement should be a vital Brexit gain for us, but only with a clean Brexit – which the MoD is fighting tooth and nail.
We have to hope that Boris Johnson finds some spine before, scared by officialdom, he loses his nerve again and bottles it – as he has already done so many times since taking office.
Without having looked at the bookies’ odds, I would guess they are betting on the PM caving in to a really bad deal, coated with chocolate.
Can he afford yet another catastrophic failure politically? He should ask himself, whatever the possible cynicism of his co-Vote Leave founders. Betrayal of his voters with a pig in a poke Brino – Brexit In Name Only – would surely ensure a quick political demise.