DAY by day, Prime Minister Johnson reverses the bleak negativity of his predecessor’s legacy, politically, economically, diplomatically and emotionally. All of a sudden that which was frozen and fixed against us is being thawed: it is no longer, as the Chronicles of Narnia told us, ‘always winter and never Christmas’. I recall a sermon by a well-respected Rabbi, Louis Jacobs, in which he asked, ‘Did Moses plant his foot in the Red Sea which then parted, or did it part first?’ Johnson has put his foot into the blocking, threatening sea, and the miracle of its parting seems to be happening.
But, to risk pursuing this biblical analogy, the forces of the Pharaoh have not given up in their desperate efforts to bring the Hebrews back into captivity; far from it. Day by day the negativities of Remainerdom shoot their arrows. Most recently we have the cohorts of the ‘ambassadors’ warning that the UK’s status in the world will be irreparably damaged with a no-deal Brexit, which means they want the UK inside the Withdrawal Agreement and therefore under EU regulation.
Signatories argue that the UK will lose international clout and influence by detaching from the EU, and lose out economically. This chimes in with the rather desperate claim that a free trade deal with the USA will be just as enslaving as being controlled by the EU, to which the clarifying question is ‘Are Australia and Canada enslaved by their trade deals with the USA?’ In fact if the ambassadors now are really concerned about the UK losing power and influence on leaving the EU without ‘a deal’, why did they not protest at the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, which puts us under EU regulation, annexes economically a British region, and all without a UK veto. That ‘trade colony’ status, to quote Guy Verhofstadt’s description, would surely necessitate the UK losing its seat on the UN Security Council as a nation state in charge of itself? A trade colony half ruled by a foreign power, barred from access to any other legal jurisdiction than the European Court of Justice – such an entity is not even a nation state. Where was your voice of complaint when the WA/PD was published, if you were concerned at loss of international status?
Further, the behaviour of current ambassadors gives the impression that they are keen to diminish UK influence as a sovereign nation state altogether, let alone uphold it on the world stage. Earlier this year the UK’s deputy Ambassador to the UN, Jonathan Allen, declared that 2019 ‘has to be the time when the silent majority stand up and are less silent. Otherwise we will lose ground to the national sovereigntists’. How, O ambassadors, does this square with protestations about losing national influence when your own staff are keen to melt it away?
In truth, the FCO long ago declared its hand as very keen to surrender national sovereignty to EU technocratic management and sell out on democracy, in document FCO 30 / 1048. Of course that body does not want the UK to quit Brussels controls, which will grow and grow along with the project for a federal European state.
And yet not all our ambassadors are of this fundamentalist euroholic ilk. Sir Peter Marshall did protest at the WA/PD, calling it an illegal document, designed to humiliate and cheat the UK and conducted in bad faith. At last the plain truth told by a high-ranking diplomat! ‘Hijacks,’ says Sir Peter, ‘if they are to be successful, depend on the entity targeted eventually giving in, in one way or another. The UK has no intention of obliging. Where there is no agreement, article 50(3) comes automatically into play: “the treaties shall cease to apply to the state in question”, unless the European Council unanimously decides to extend the period of negotiation. We do not therefore leave: we are ejected.’
It is entirely the fault of the EU that this hijack attempt has failed, and they need to face up to what they have tried to do, and diplomatically do a face-saving reversal and make a legal fair deal. Sir Peter is a former permanent representative to the United Nations and was Commonwealth deputy secretary-general, 1983-88. He ends his devastating criticism and protest, so sadly missing from the Times’s list of remainer ambassadors, by declaring ‘the best approach, nay the essential approach, for global governance is to practise what you preach, and to respect other people, not to humiliate and cheat them.’
It is high time for the EU, notably Barnier and his team, to begin to receive this message – after all, he began this whole process of coercion by demanding ‘trust’ from the UK.