Theresa May has sold us out, as I predicted she would. It was always a mistake to put a Remainer in charge of Brexit. It was an even worse mistake not to force out the anti-Brexit Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. The Cabinet Office ran rings about the DUP on Thursday and have forced them into accepting an agreement which could cost us up to £1.5 trillion in the next decade and will drive up the UK’s debt.
The key phrase is “full alignment”. It appears in the section headed “Ireland and Northern Ireland”. It’s opaque, but can and no doubt will be interpreted to mean that the UK will remain a member of the single market and customs union in all but name, subject only to temporarily modifying the principle of free movement.
Very evidently Theresa May and the Cabinet Office remain fully committed to EU membership. The plan appears to be to deprive us of the economic benefits of Brexit, not conclude a free trade deal with America and stay so closely aligned to the EU that we will be able to rejoin without difficulty when the political situation permits, relying on the police and the Army to crush dissent.
The giveaway is the plan to give up to three million European aliens the vote. As a former Home Secretary, Theresa May knows perfectly well that settled status is a path to citizenship. If three million Europeans are added to the voters’ roll within the next decade the Tories will find it almost impossible to win an election, not least as they are alienating their core supporters.
Key elements of Labour reject Brexit and we will probably find Labour campaigning in say 2026 in favour of rejoining. Never forget that Harold Wilson, who worked for the Abwehr in World War II, applied to take us in.
Labour are astonishingly ignorant about the EU. Seemingly unaware that the IRA are controlled from Germany, Sir Keir Starmer only this weekend made historically illiterate comments about the Troubles in Northern Ireland. My old classmate Emily Thornberry is economically illiterate, with respect, labouring under the grotesque delusion that we benefit from the single market.
It looks as though the Cabinet Office and the Commission jointly envisage a ten year time frame for the UK to rejoin the EU, hence the 2 + 8 arrangement on the CJEU. As always with EU agreements it’s the secret protocols which really matter. Did May secretly agree, e.g., not to seek a free trade deal with America? If so it would explain her refusal to embark on serious trade talks with the US and her strategy of insulting America’s elected president at every turn. US intelligence are monitoring the talks closely and will be aware of May’s opposition to a UKUSA free trade deal. President Trump with respect knew what he was doing when he finally responded to May’s insults.
The agreement mounts a frontal attack upon Implied Repeal, a fundamental constitutional doctrine. Fortunately, since Parliament cannot bind its successors, that part of the agreement which states that the Implementation Bill will take precedence over all other statutes is void for illegality. Technically, Theresa May could be tried for her life at the Bar of Parliament for signing it.
Media briefings from Cabinet Office officials last week about ‘advisory opinions’ were an exercise in deception. The agreement contains no reference to advisory opinions at all. As it stands, our courts will be obliged to refer questions of community law to the CJEU and will be bound by its rulings. Having referred two cases myself as a national judge I am not unfamiliar with the procedure! The text will be interpreted to make Luxembourg’s decisions binding.
Officials have carefully avoided referring to the Commission’s right to intervene. That’s right – in every case before the British courts involving a community alien the Commission will have the right to intervene.
There are no costings for accepting the continued dumping here of three million mostly unskilled and semi-skilled community aliens. Since the annual cost of labour dumping is likely to fall between £50 and £75 billion, not including the social costs of pressure on housing, the immigration aspects of the agreement could cost the UK as much as £1.5 trillion. Community aliens already here will be able to stay for life, draining the British economy for decades to come. They do not pay enough in tax to cover the welfare costs of the British workers they displace.
Many of our expats are pensioners, i.e. take money out of the UK and spend it in Europe. Many of the others have skills which we could usefully use here. The agreement is overwhelmingly in the EU’s interests.
The flanking of the DUP, no offence intended, by the Cabinet Office has left us with a hugely expensive commitment to single market membership, albeit disguised as “full alignment”. Of course agricultural interests in the Republic want continued access to the UK’s market. What they should have done was pressure Dublin into withdrawing from the EU at the same time as us. That’s the only way to avoid a hard border.
The agreement to maintain the Common Travel Area is nonsense on stilts, because of Third Country Nationals. The EU visa regime will diverge from ours and passport control will be needed at the Anglo-Irish frontier. However the DUP may have done us a favour – this deal is so bad it is unacceptable.
May will have to go. Arlene Foster should be able to hang on, but with respect needs to understand that there will either have to be North/South or East/West passport and Customs controls. I want the frontier in Ireland, not on the mainland.