It’s looking like a clean break, thank goodness! I’ve been saying for over two years that a clean break was the likeliest outcome. Indeed, as many readers will know, I was totally opposed to negotiating with the EU in the first place. There was no need to use Article 50 at all. We could and should have used the Vienna Convention, giving say 12 months’ notice, which in turn should have been used as the transitional period.
Instead, the Cabinet Office and Theresa May embarked upon one of the most pointless negotiations in history, making fools of themselves in the process. The disastrous deal was not so much May’s deal as the late Jeremy ‘von’ Heywood’s deal. Very frankly it should have died with him.
The EU was never going to agree a deal which was in our interests. Since the annual trade deficit in goods with the EU is roughly £100 billion, even before adjusting for the Rotterdam/Antwerp Fraud, free trade is actually in the interests of their exporters. They have been tossed to the wolves, however.
The May/Heywood deal was bad on many levels. In describing the Irish Protocol as a ‘backstop’, the EU acted in bad faith, indeed the EU rarely if ever does good faith. The draft treaty was clearly intended to be permanent – a Final Solution, if you like.
Thankfully the EU has ruled out renegotiation. Far too many MPs have been making noises about supporting the deal if the backstop were removed. It’s the worst feature of the deal to be sure, but there are many other objectionable features, and yes, I have read it!
Mrs May and the Cabinet Office ought now to be concentrating their energies on preparing for life outside the EU. They won’t, of course – they’re obsessed with forcing the deal down our throats.
The entire episode has been hugely damaging for the reputation of the Cabinet Office, not just Theresa May. Having a Remainer as Prime Minister was always going to be disastrous. Sir Mark Sedwill has turned out to be a poor choice as Cabinet Secretary. Installed by May, he and she should go as a package.
It’s all very well Donald Tusk banging on about us Brexiteers not having a plan. We haven’t been in power. Had we been we would have been preparing to seize the great opportunities which lie outside the sclerotic, bureaucratic EU. The present situation has come about because the Prime Minister and two Cabinet Secretaries, in turn, refused to accept the result of the referendum and tried to tie us to the EU.
Of course, a clean break will involve some disruption, but not nearly as much as when we joined what was then the EEC in 1973, without a referendum. (Theresa May, by the way, seems to be labouring under the delusion that we only joined after the rigged 1975 referendum – in the Gregorian calendar AD 1975 follows AD 1973.)
The disastrous decision to join the EEC led directly to stagflation and the economic crisis of 1976 when that nice man Denis Healey (we only met once) had to go cap in hand to the IMF. It is often forgotten, but there was a mini-crisis as soon as we joined, in 1972/73. One of the casualties was HMS Eagle, the last command of a late friend of mine. She was due to be refitted to allow her to operate Phantoms and Buccaneers but was prematurely scrapped instead. She would have been very valuable in the Falklands!
I have never come across a Remainer with the intellectual honesty to link 1973 and 1976, let alone accept that opponents of EEC entry were right. Hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs were lost, and the country was reduced to the verge of bankruptcy.
It’s also a bit rich for Remainers to talk about a ‘divided Britain’. They weren’t too worried about dividing the country when they rammed the EU treaties down our throats, year after year. Unlike the decision to leave, the decision to join lacked democratic legitimacy, which the farcical 1975 referendum did nothing to remedy. (We actually voted to leave, but the regional votes were tallied up fraudulently by Phillip Allen, who was rewarded with a peerage.)
The truth is that EEC/EU membership has always been divisive. The country was sold a pup in 1972. Support for membership was boosted with fraudulent export statistics and bogus economic arguments. From the NHS to the railways the impact of EU directives on policy was minimised. No government minister dare acknowledge, for example, that the reason the NHS is forced to use so many expensive agency staff is the disastrous Working Time Directive. Rail fares are too high because train operating companies are forced to pay track access charges because community law, absurdly, prevents them from owning the track.
Leaving on WTO terms will allow us to negotiate free trade deals elsewhere, protect our industries from predatory European imports, scrap VAT and save tens of billions a year in unnecessary regulatory costs. Ending free movement should also see a sharp reduction in unemployment.
One of the hidden costs of uncontrolled mass immigration from the EU was the hundred plus billion pounds a year wasted on tax credits. Although the Treasury will never admit it, the real reason they went along with the idea was the planned eastward expansion of the EU, which was always going to depress wages. Tax credits were a way of making up the difference, in a desperate effort to shore up support for membership. In the events which happened, of course, the ploy failed. The cash could be used to boost industrial regeneration and spent on sensible things like aircraft carriers and tanks.
If the Irish government want to avoid a hard border, the remedy lies in their hands. All they have to do is serve their own Article 50 notice!
Life outside the EU is going to be wonderful. We are a great power and have a great future.