Where are we sailing?

The EU is floundering economically and the UK politically; nobody knows where Europe is heading.

Seeing But Not Believing

Why do so many trust what they are told and not what they can see? The EU has devastated the lives and futures of millions of its citizens, especially the young unemployed, through its extreme integration plans. It is like a ship in dangerous seas with only a few leaky lifeboats still on board. Whilst the UK has not joined its silliest scheme, monetary union, the whole crew is increasingly bound by the need to save it. Worse still the wily old European Central Bank captain is about to retire, to be succeeded by one who has a record of steering vessels onto rocks.

Ships 1Captain-in-waiting Lagarde has already holed Greece. The obvious safe passage was debt forgiveness and devaluation (leaving the eurozone) but she opted instead for shrinking its economy, making it less able to repay debts by increasing them in proportion to its diminishing wealth. This was to rescue the mad scheme rather than the people. As Finance Minister of France she left her country deeply in debt (and Sarkozy out of office). She engineered the biggest bailout in the IMF’s history for Argentina but will leave it floundering with huge inflation and interest rates when she takes up her new command. The ECB might at least have chosen a captain qualified by training (she’s a lawyer, not an economist) and some successes.

Barnier Blocking Brexit

Michel Barnier wrote a Daily Telegraph article (Sunday, 1st September) in which he states that: “The EU had already committed itself to working with the UK, during the standstill transition period, on alternative arrangements that achieve the same objectives of the backstop. We are ready to start this work immediately upon ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, in parallel to finally creating clarity on our future relationship.”

Good faith-1How disingenuous, why haven’t they started work already so that clarity on the backstop alternative and future relationship would be fairly clear by now, presumably with some commitments both ways? Obviously for the same reason as Barnier insisted on staging the fake negotiations of the last three years—so that the UK would have to make blind commitments, relying on the EU’s good faith and intentions, in order to make any progress. No progress was made other than potentially binding and deleterious obligations upon the UK with no significant compromise by the EU (who do not know the meaning of ‘good faith’).

Barnier is a skilful negotiator but it is difficult not to feel contempt for such an aggressive and self-interested agenda. It belies what the EU says it represents. The habitual deceit is evident in “during the standstill transition period”, when the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) permits the EU to change its regulations but binds the UK to adopt any changes. And hidden in “finally creating clarity on our future relationship” slips neatly over the EU’s refusal to discuss any such relationship until the UK has ratified the WA as it is.

Proroguing Parliament

Prorogue-2Prorogation is a normal, constitutional process but given the exceptional circumstances it certainly looks like a tactic. [1] Opponents have a simple, legitimate tactic to respond with, a vote of no confidence to try to bring down the Government. Instead they have used every arcane, twisted or newly-invented Parliamentary procedure (aided by the Speaker) to get their way and Johnson’s is no more outrageous, though it may be pointless or counter-productive.

What is more outrageous is that a clear in/out decision was given by voters and more than four out of five current MPs were elected on manifesto promises to leave the EU and its principal institutions—May’s Withdrawal Agreement doesn’t come close, May was only interested in immigration. Most Honourable Members have since reneged yet they have not stood again on a new promise; Carswell and Reckless stood in by-elections when they disagreed with their Government and changed party.

We’re not sure the tactic helps, not that Parliament needs the extra few days to debate what hasn’t changed so far, as MPs have had long enough to not agree about the only deal the EU says it will accept; they should debate the new agreement, if there is one, or vote down the Government if they don’t trust it to get one. Parliament repeatedly and very narrowly rejected what the EU won’t change, so why continue to discuss it rather than wait for something different or get on with removing a Government which is probably going to fail to bring anything different to discuss? Instead MPs want to force Boris to extend Article 50 for another three months so they can continue fannying about and give the EU no reason to give Barnier a new mandate.

Prorogue-1What proroguing Parliament does do is give John Major a reason to fight against something he did himself for a similar reason—to give prospective Prime Minister Corbyn an excuse to encourage people to break the law; and for people to protest in the name of their version of democracy, led by those who are on record as preferring revolution. But they don’t want any kind of democracy, they want to impose change without asking the majority (like the minority party in Russia, the Bolsheviks).

Meanwhile the EU increasingly cuts its parliament out of the loop by allowing only one reading of bills before agreeing any changes privately and refusing to publish the relevant discussions between leaders, lobbyists and officials in defiance of treaty obligations (the ‘trilogue’ process, see Law-Making in Secret-2: Update). “Not a lot of people know this.”

False outrage and hypocrisy is rampant in this whole argument, there is not much virtue or democracy.

[1] It’s worth reading the robust commentary by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Daily Telegraph of 29 August. Here are three samples:

We must…decide what is legitimate in the unique circumstances of Brexit, where the supremacy of Parliament is trumped by the higher legitimacy of a constitutional referendum.”

It [the EU] is a supranational regime guided by a Commission with quasi-executive powers that operates as an ideological priesthood.”

The insidious effect of this centralised power is to bleed the lifeblood of the national institutions. It saps their legitimacy. It infantilises the member states by usurping their functions.”


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