This is the first in a series of posts, each of which gathers previous posts into a single theme. We provide a brief summary of each selected post.
A. Parliament has not been wholly sovereign since 1973 (when Ted Heath signed us up to join the EU), becoming less so ever since. Nick Boles promised to represent his constituents’ wishes by assisting Parliament to restore its sovereignty. He owes his influence on events there to this lie; the same is true for most of his colleagues.
Theresa May keeps telling us she has been clear about her intention to deliver the Brexit people voted for, whilst obfuscating it and backing the UK into a corner.
Today’s Parliament has even more divergent opinions on what the next stage of Brexit (or non-Brexit) should be.
News from Nowhere (28/03/2019)
B. Michel Barnier: “There will be no mini no-deal deals.”
Conservative MPs and Cabinet have considered May’s Deal, No Deal, a Mitigated No-Deal, a Managed No-Deal, a Norway-Plus Deal, a Canada-Plus deal or no Brexit at all. Meanwhile plans are finally being published in case the default happens, leaving on WTO terms with no EU agreement.
The EU says it will guarantee that its ‘peace programme’ promoting reconciliation in Ireland and Northern Ireland will continue. The strategy stresses that the EU’s customs rules would apply across the bloc, making a hard border seemingly inevitable.
If the UK crashes out (with a softened landing it now appears) there will be no formal transition so a big hole of up to 12 billion euros a year will occur in the EU’s budget. The EU’s plan doesn’t mention this, perhaps because it would display a weakness.
The EU and Remainers have often pointed out that EU exports to the UK are a far lower proportion of its total exports than is the case in the opposite direction. However, it is not simply aggregates that matter. Individuals, businesses and national economies will suffer if trade is unnecessarily restricted, especially at this time when trading conditions are tough and the eurozone faces its own cliff edge, perhaps even oblivion.
Mini ‘No Deal’ Deals (23/12/2018)
C. The Conservative Government offers a list of what they want us to believe about their draft withdrawal agreement (40 items). They are trying to steal our support with underhand propaganda. They need to persuade voters, unlike the EU government, which is not accountable to its citizens.
A quick read of a few of the draft Withdrawal Agreement’s 585 pages is enough to point up some of the dishonest claims made among their 40 Reasons and thereby to discredit the whole thing.
We 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 unlicensed contempt.
40 Reasons or 40 Thieves? (27/11/2018)
D. On the state of the Brexit negotiations. According to the EU the Brexit negotiations did not go well. According to the UK government the negotiations are progressing. The difference in interpretation is at least in part cosmetic.
These two ‘positions’ may be regarded as flatly contradictory. However, the EU has put up a non-negotiable position and the UK responded with a negotiating position, so there is no likelihood of agreement being reached. We think the EU is demanding something substantial from the UK so they can just say no. This confirms that they are not negotiating, just posturing while waiting for full compliance.
The point is that the Commission and the 27’s leaders have given Barnier an absolute mandate which he cannot negotiate.
Windmills of Your Mind (01/09/2017)
E. On the politics of the eurozone economy, notably France versus Germany.
The EU Observer reminds us that “any major change in the functioning of the European monetary union would entail EU treaty change, which requires large-scale negotiations and the unanimous agreement of all EU member states.” This is not possible for the foreseeable future.
We note that the ups and downs of the eurozone have paralleled those in the world economy generally and so cannot realistically be credited to the performance or policies of EU leaders. The EU’s economy is strongly linked to the wider economy so it would be surprising if it did not show some variability in line with that externally. Its increasing vulnerability is directly linked to these policies.
EU views are blinkered by their ideology; they attribute populism to a feeling of being on the losing end of globalisation, among other things. They believe they can fix this by tweaking their “growth model” to a more “inclusive” one, whatever that might mean.
Macron wants more EU because he believes that only that will provide the tools to resolve the problem of populism; Merkel wants the EU as it is because that benefits Germany.
Bonne Chance Avec Ça (29/05/2017)
F. Theresa May announced that Article 50 would be triggered on March 29th 2019. The Prime Minister seemed then to have painted herself into a corner over Brexit, perhaps under pressure from the hard-nosed extremists in her party, by repeatedly saying that no deal is better than a bad deal. Now she had wiped that red line and argues that ‘her’ (very bad) deal is better than no deal.
The UK spent two years wheedling and pleading for a few minor concessions but got nowhere other than the unacceptable withdrawal agreement. It’s likely that worried Continental manufacturers and farmers may become like allies behind enemy lines, resistance fighters against the EU and their own governments’ intransigence over a trade agreement.
The UK government has not offered a good reason for rejecting an interim solution, such as remaining in the Efta/EEA block, to which Britain already belongs as a member of the EU. Because an interim arrangement would be less work and trouble for all those involved, it would rouse fewer negative sentiments and indicate a willingness to negotiate seriously for a mutually beneficial outcome.
It seems that the EU prepared thoroughly for the negotiations while the British government relied on its conviction that it will be all right on the night and so failed to prepare for there being no deal at the conclusion, after two years – an outcome made more likely by their initial posturing and lack of imagination and preparation.
When British voters decided by majority that they wanted to leave the EU its leaders were shocked and many responded aggressively, but their own dissatisfied citizens were emboldened. We cannot know what kind of EU we shall be negotiating with before the Brexit process ends.
Deal, or No Deal (22/03/2017)
G. One hundred days after the Referendum we asked some questions, before Article 50 was triggered and negotiations had begun, such as: How would you like your Brexit? Why Brexit? Where is the EU going? Why is the free movement of people sacrosanct? Who needs enemies with friends like these? Why do the idealists ignore present failure? What if the barrel is rotten? Deal or no deal?
We offered some possible answers to these questions, including that the fact of Brexit is less important now than the manner of Brexit. Whether the outcome of leaving the EU is good or bad for Britain depends on how the process is managed, and the competence of those who manage it, in Britain and in Europe, as well as elsewhere.
The aim of the EU is to become a super-state, governing its member states. The leaders do not want to remind us of this because to declare it would be too risky; this is not an aim that many citizens could be expected to support. Many people are willing to believe in the declared goal, of economic growth benefiting all, and choose not to notice that the EU is not achieving this but is progressing fitfully towards its true goal of becoming a super-state.
EU leaders are behaving like playground bullies. Obviously the integrity of the Project matters more to them than the welfare of their own people. You might expect an idealistic and benevolent Union to part in a fair and friendly way with a country that wants to leave but that is not so.
There are two main reasons that lead us to believe that the EU project will fail. The first is ambition and the second is competence.
In our post (below) we concluded that any agreement reached in the Article 50 negotiations would also have to be put to the UK Parliament, which would have the opportunity to reject it. A draft agreement was rejected; uncertainty was rife and still is, more than two years later.
100 Days Review (Parts 1, 2 and 3) (21/10/2016)
H. In the final post in this first series we reviewed the ideology underpinning the politics in which the EU engages.
The current EU/EMU projects are justified by the belief that economic, political and social development can only be achieved from the top down. The assumptions on which this belief is based include the (unstated) belief that the nations of Europe cannot compete successfully in the world other than through a federal government in which self-selected (and unelected) bureaucrats rule on behalf of Europe’s citizens.
The true agenda – ever-closer union – is not the declared agenda and the declared agenda – a better and fairer life for all citizens – is designed to cover up the true agenda. The true agenda is to be achieved by fiat; by member states giving up ever more of their sovereignty.
The unjustified centralisation and top-down control provide sufficiently strong reasons for Britain, having avoided joining EMU, to leave the EU, before it collapses chaotically and destructively from the failures of its own logic and the inabilities of its managers to deliver outcomes that meet the needs of the peoples of Europe.
Past, Present, Future (16/05/2016)