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The EU is on the ropes yet still our negotiators fail to land a single blow


CONDITIONS for Brexit negotiations are now extremely bad for the EU and great for the UK, if only May and her fearful appeasers would pick up their swords and start to fight for us against an EU which means us as much harm as possible.

All MPs know that the negotiations are a sham and always have been. The EU is ruthlessly cornering the UK into an intolerable, humiliating and economically disastrous Withdrawal Agreement. The UK is submissive, appeasing and surrendering to all the demands made to it, as Caroline Bell’s Seven Deadly Sins has so clearly shown. Our leader, Mrs May, has accepted this asymmetrical structure and kowtowed. Even when Parliament devastatingly rejected this suicidal agreement to accept foreign rule and regulation by a hostile power, she continued the same policy. Initial brave words melted away, yet again as we knew they would.

But now this appeasement approach has descended to a new level of insanity, since the EU is in total economic crisis. Not only has the EU destroyed the Greek economy and jobs – yes, Ms Soubry, Dr Wollaston and Ms Allen, the EU is a brutal regulator, as the Italians are also finding to their cost, not ‘ever so nice’ as you wilfully assume. But now its main manufacturing engine, Germany, is faltering and desperate to maintain exports, notably to the UK.

A No Deal would cripple that massive trade surplus, and a tariff-free policy by the UK will do the same as other nations will cash in and undercut EU exports. A No Deal would devastate Italy’s exports to the UK,  and Barnier has received an open letter begging him to stop the punishment approach, grow up and deal reasonably with the UK. Add to this Trump’s trade war on German cars, and the EU is like a boxer after six rounds being pummelled and battered, swaying and weaving on the ropes. And still the UK ‘negotiating team’ fails even to aim a blow, let alone land one, on its staggering opponent. The situation cries out for the UK to sack its ineffectual bunch of lawyers, fooled into talking about EU metaphysics and small print. Instead hardened trade negotiators, knowing the realities of the fight game, need to be sent in and tell them that now Parliament has voted against it the WA is off the table.

They must be insistent that only a decent deal will do, now and not entailing two years as a penitential supplicant at the doors of the holy and mighty EU as a precondition. A deal now, no WA, or managed No Deal will happen, and then it will Germany, France, Italy and Ireland who will be in Tusk’s hell.

But no: we find Mrs May continuing to play cricket with the exponents of karate. Like it or not, the EU is a foe in all this. Why otherwise would it want to rule the UK’s economy for two years under this brutal WA?

What could demonstrate this better than its renewed attack on the City of London that goes back to well before the last election? It is a harbinger of things to come if our MPs do get cajoled into voting for May’s WA by ‘No Deal Project Fear’.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, as so often, pinpoints the problem:

‘It is hard to put a friendly construction on motives when the same Commission is currently attempting to shut down a large part of the City’s commodity trading business in a punitive attack. Brussels is pursuing Britain for failure to charge VAT on commodity futures, options and other derivatives on the London Metal Exchange, the London Sugar Terminal Market and other exchanges. This is to overturn a settled compromise dating back to the UK’s original derogation in the Seventies on zero-rated VAT in this market. Why now? The EU claims that Britain has stretched the scope of the derogation, but as the saying goes: the law is what you do to your enemies, it is what you interpret for your friends. It threatens to drive the business out of London and ruin one of the City’s prize industries. China, New York, Singapore and Dubai will be rubbing their hands with glee.’ 

The UK is faced with further depredation and even villainy, to cite Sir Ivan Richards, when we are under the regulation of Selmayr and Weyand for the minimum two years agreed by Mrs May.

Even after her massive Commons defeat, Mrs May has never really tried to get the EU to give up the backstop but once again simply begged the EU for better non-binding assurances, repeating her standard reaction when facing the formidable foe of EU power and arrogance, which is only ever to defer. With the cards startlingly in our favour, with her ‘deal’ defeated, it is high time to fire some bullets in response to the EU’s barrage.

Instead she has pointed her cannons towards the UK, choosing to run down the clock to force Parliament to accept her deal, sweetened or not, against the ‘Armageddon’ of No Deal. The choice into which she is bullying Parliament, however, is the one that really will put the UK in economic jeopardy. After two years and another threat of ‘crashing out with no deal’ any economic leverage the UK had will have dissipated and we will truly be a vassal state of the EU.

That is the real risk MPs must face up to as the countdown to March 29th enters its final weeks.

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

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