The Conservative Government offers a list of what they want us to believe about their draft withdrawal agreement (now accepted by the European Council but not yet by the UK Parliament). They are trying to steal our support with underhand propaganda.
Below are some comments on a few of their 40 Reasons. We don’t expect them to respond to these, after all they have us voters to persuade, unlike the EU government, which is not accountable to its citizens (see the short video interview of Juncker expressing his unshakeable contempt for Britain and its people: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-46336137/brexit-i-m-never-changing-my-mind-says-juncker).
We assume that they do not expect many UK citizens to read the Draft Agreement and thereby spot the dishonest representation of the UK’s position if it should be implemented. We admit we skimmed a few of the Draft’s 585 pages but have read enough to point up some of the dishonest claims made among their 40 Reasons and thereby to discredit the whole thing, we hope.
- Free movement will come to an end, once and for all, with the introduction of a new skills-based immigration system.
Freedom of movement has always been qualified (see Freedom of Movement (1) from December 2017). In practice there will be little change from the UK’s position as a full member.
- We will take back full control of our money which we will be able to spend on our priorities such as the NHS. We will leave EU regional funding programmes – with the UK deciding how we spend this money in the future.
This is simply not true. From Article 136 (p.216)
- … the following rules shall apply to the United Kingdom after 31 December 2020:
(a) any amounts resulting, in respect of the United Kingdom, from adjustments to own resources entered into the budget and from adjustments related to the surplus or deficit, in relation to the financing of the Union budgets until 2020 in accordance with the Union law referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2, shall be due by or to the United Kingdom;
This makes it clear that the UK will remain bound by EU judgements and will never again have “full control of our money”.
- The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK will end.
This too is simply untrue. From Article 89 (p.148)
- Judgments and orders of the Court of Justice of the European Union handed down before the end of the transition period, as well as such judgments and orders handed down after the end of the transition period in proceedings referred to in Articles 86 and 87, shall have binding force in their entirety on and in the United Kingdom.
This speaks for itself and flatly contradicts your dishonest claim.
- In the future we will make our own laws in our own Parliaments and Assemblies in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
The draft agreement makes it clear that the opposite is true. From Article 4 (p.11)
- The provisions of this Agreement and the provisions of Union law made applicable by this Agreement shall produce in respect of and in the United Kingdom the same legal effects as those which they produce within the Union and its Member States.
And from Article 6 (p.13)
- … unless otherwise provided in this Agreement all references in this Agreement to Union law shall be understood as references to Union law, including as amended or replaced, as applicable on the last day of the transition period.
Strictly speaking of course you are correct, UK governments will make their own laws, which will then be overruled as necessary by EU laws.
- We will leave the Common Agricultural Policy.
Does the Draft Agreement say that explicitly? No, it doesn’t. In fact Article 132-1(c) makes it clear that the UK will still be bound by aspects of the CAP. This is reinforced in Article 8 of Protocols, Annex 4, Part 4, State Aid:
The Joint Committee shall adjust the level of support and percentage referred to in the first subparagraph informed by the design of the United Kingdom’s agricultural support scheme to any variation in the overall amount of support available under the Common Agricultural Policy in the Union in each future Multiannual Financial Framework (page 364, repeated on page 472).
- We will leave the Common Fisheries Policy and become an independent coastal state again, with control over our waters.
From Article 130
- As regards the fixing of fishing opportunities within the meaning of Article 43(3) TFEU for any period falling within the transition period, the United Kingdom shall be consulted in respect of the fishing opportunities related to the United Kingdom, including in the context of the preparation of relevant international consultations and negotiations.
The “United Kingdom shall be consulted” would not conform to many people’s idea of independence.
- We will be able to strike trade deals with other countries around the world. Deals can be negotiated and ratified during the implementation period and put in place straight afterwards.
This will be true only if the UK is free at the end of the Implementation Period, which will be at the EU’s discretion because of the backstop clause.
We could continue point-by-point but this is sufficient to show that Tory Party propaganda will not stand up to scrutiny. It exhibits the continuing contempt in which the British public is held by our rulers. But at least we can vote them out occasionally, which is not true of the EU when they treat us, and indeed all their citizens, with comparable contempt.