New Boss, Same as the Old Boss! The proverbial saying which seems so applicable to both the Conservative party, and indeed the Punch and Judy politics of Westminster.
The person or the party leading the country might change, but the general direction of ideology, policy, and where this country is driven does not.
Particularly with a view to this country’s membership of the EU. It was this situation, and the resultant feeling of being disposed and disenfranchised, that led to the biggest vote in our history rejecting the EU and, if the political establishment weren’t apparently so tin-eared to public sentiment, their cosy collective set up.
The Old Boss – Mrs May
The nadir of this lofty approach to the British public was reached with Mrs May and her team concocting the dire Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.
Where they hoped they could deceive with an arrangement where, although we technically did “leave the EU” by terminating our current membership, we instantaneously re-joined as part of the new Withdrawal Deal.
We would leave one set of internationally binding EU treaties only to sign up to a new treaty where we had to re-obey all EU law – including the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for up to a 3.5-year “Transition” period. One where we would have no say or escape and one which would be adjudicated by the ECJ.
Where we could only then either agree to the Future Relationship terms outlined in the Political Declaration, which the EU placed in front of the UK. Terms which the Withdrawal Agreement legally compels us to accept as the basis of said Future Relationship. OR we failed to agree the Future Relationship terms in which case the Withdrawal Agreements provisions now known as the Backstop meant that Northern Ireland would be annexed from the UK and ruled by the Irish Republic and Brussels.
Thankfully this ruse of Brexit In Name Only (BRINO) was well rumbled. The result – a government and Conservative party shredded to near collapse, hemorrhaging membership and decimated in the EU elections. Where the public registered their contempt for the Withdrawal Agreement with the Conservatives scrapping less than 10% of the vote.
This collective kicking finally gave realisation that the Withdrawal Deal was dead. Mrs May was finally ousted before the point of implosion and Boris Johnson given a chance on the promise the deal was “dead” and that Brexit would be delivered.
The New Boss – Boris Johnson & Why It’s Dire For Fishing
Alarmingly, the proposal announced by the government merely dilutes the Backstop and does nothing to deal with the rest of the dire implications of the Withdrawal agreement.
The Backstop has now taken up all the political focus – either because it was the most punitive condition or deliberately to distract from the rest of the dire deal which remains just as cataclysmically dangerous for Britain.
Additionally, unless the Future Relationship terms outlined in the Political Declaration are wholly re-written then we are heading towards a bad place indeed.
For our fishing industry that is so totemic it would be a complete surrender. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory when we are mere weeks away from a No Deal Clean Brexit. Where, automatically, all EU law including the CFP would cease to apply.
Meaning Britain would revert to international law as a free and independent coastal state, with complete sovereignty over all waters and resources within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) out to 200 miles or the mid-line.
Automatically repatriating our rightful share of fish stocks, boosting our industry to being worth some £6-8bn to rural and coastal communities, and giving Britain the freedom to implement fit-for-purpose policy to replace the dysfunctional CFP rules so we husband our greatest natural resource for generations to come.
What the Withdrawal Agreement does is means “leaving” the CFP, becoming an “independent” coastal state, but then instantaneously handing all our waters and control to the EU as we re-obey the CFP for up to 3.5 years for the Transition period.
During the Transition the EU would be free to impose detrimental rules to cull what’s left of Britain’s fleet.
With every reason to do so as under international law as we’d no longer officially be a member but an “independent” nation, just one that happened to be an EU vassal state satellite obeying their every rule. This means they could cull our fleet and then claim the “surplus” of their “independent” neighbours’ resources we no longer had the fleet to catch.
They could insist under Article 5 terms of “good faith” (i.e. obey the agreement in full) that Britain;
– Fully enforce the illogical discard ban.
– Abolish the 12nm limit that protects inshore fishermen.
– Use UK resources as collateral in international negotiations.
– Worst of all, despite Michael Gove protestations to the contrary, the agreement would allow the EU to cut UK quotas.
(To be continued tomorrow with Part 2)