I am now weary of listening to a succession of self-styled media commentators spouting all manner of drivel about Brexit. Moreover, the politicians are no better, so the combination of the two makes appallingly stupid broadcasting. I am amazed that supposedly intelligent people can rattle on as they do, making crass error after crass error, without a single person seeking to correct them. In these surreal times, we are forced to accept that the Emperor’s new clothes really are there, completely covering his blatantly obviously stark naked body.
The position on our leaving is certain and unambiguous: on the later of two dates, the UK will be released from the Treaties, and will cease to be a member of the EU, freed from all its shackles. The later date is midnight in Brussels on 28 March 2019. The earlier is any date before that on which there is a formal Agreement reached in accordance with Article 50. All talk of “hard or soft Brexit”, “cliff edges”, ” transitional periods”, “a second referendum” and the like is simply meaningless.
More importantly, there is no “divorce bill”; there is no provision within Article 50, or anywhere else in the Treaty, for the EU to levy a charge on a country that is exercising its option to leave. Any attempt by the EU to impose such a charge should be summarily rebuffed by the UK.
Given that no agreement at all is required, it follows that there is no minimum in terms of length or complexity with regard to the content of any such agreement. Indeed, it is perfectly possible to reduce the necessary content to a single side of A4 paper. That agreement could have been reached already:
- “The EU guarantees the right of all UK nationals lawfully resident in the EU to remain in the EU in perpetuity and the UK guarantees the right of all EU nationals lawfully resident in the UK to remain in the UK in perpetuity. This provision must be agreed before any further negotiations take place. Once this provision has been agreed the following are the terms and conditions which the UK proposes as the withdrawal agreement pursuant to the provisions of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
- All trading terms, conditions and agreements relating exclusively to the sale and purchase of goods and services between the UK and the EU shall remain wholly unchanged from those applying at present.
- All arrangements, protocols and agreements relating to co-operation between the UK and the EU concerning intelligence, policing, the prevention of terrorism, and all other such matters, shall remain wholly unchanged from those applying at present.
- Until the UK is released from the Treaties pursuant to Article 50 the payments at present made by the UK to the EU and those made in any way shape or form by the EU to the UK or to any person, company, institution, partnership, charity, or any other entity in the UK, shall continue wholly unchanged. In the event of any deduction or reduction of any sort with regard to the said payments by the EU, the UK will deduct the amount of such deduction or reduction from the said payments it makes to the EU.
- When the UK is released from the Treaties pursuant to Article 50 it shall immediately cease all payments to the EU and shall not pay anything at all to the EU thereafter. There can be no payment for “continued access” or anything like that. The UK shall not make any payment of any sort, or in any way, at any time, to the EU beyond those hereinbefore specified, and the EU will not make any payment of any sort to the UK or to any entity within the UK as aforesaid beyond those hereinbefore specified.”
The European Communities Act 1972 now serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. If the proposed Repeal Act does not repeal it with IMMEDIATE effect, it will be making a gross error; and the distinct feeling I get is that gross error will indeed be made.
There is no complexity, urgency or magnitude in connection with “incorporating EU law into UK law”; it is all already there! All that is needed is a short clause in the Repeal Act replacing all the EU Regulations which will otherwise vanish from UK law upon the Release from the Treaties. The UK has the rest of the earth’s existence to decide from time to time about repealing or amending any of those laws. Of all the mistakes being propounded by all and sundry, it is this simple point which is being missed most often.
Of course it is sensible for some preparatory work to be done with regard to supplanting regulatory regimes which will cease to apply on Release from the Treaties. Likewise, similar preparations should be made for the internal payment of sums presently paid to the UK by the EU. These are indeed detailed matters, but with the army of civil servants available to do it, the work could be completed comprehensively in a month, surely?
The problem, of course, is a twin-headed monster: it is in the interest of the civil service to make things seem as complicated as possible – “jobs for the boys”; and is in the interest of the EU to spin things out for as long as possible, as the UK pays a net sum of £161 million to the EU EVERY WEEK!
Meanwhile the monster will be kept well fed and watered by various hacks spouting off their inanities every day.
What a world we live in, eh? Talk about fake news! This is fake politics, fake law, fake administration, and fake negotiation. Heaven help us!