I’m calling it the ‘Big Bill’, not the ‘Great Reform Bill’ as (a) it will not be a great bill and (b) it’s coming with a huge price-tag. It’s no wonder the government have been so secretive about Brexit: their plan is far from cunning.
For decades Eurosceptics have pointed out the huge regulatory costs of EU membership. When the Treasury, which had been content to sign a blank cheque in 1972 and never actually costed EU membership, finally did some costings in 2005 they came up with around £50 billion a year for business and £25 billion a year for central and local government, including the NHS. These are wasted costs, i.e. the costs of unnecessary regulation. They will have gone up since, indeed the bill for EU regulatory excess is unlikely to be less than £100 billion this year.
DEXEU have followed the old Amateur Night Out approach of the Treasury. The rather thin White Paper contains no costings at all. What is more, since the Tory Government has failed to eliminate the deficit, largely thanks to EU membership and the German-sponsored 2008 Financial Crash, the public expenditure element will have to be borrowed. Obviously not all of the burden falls upon the public purse, although higher regulatory costs means lower profits and a reduced Corporation Tax take.
The government plan to blow around £150 billion over the next three years on this madcap scheme to keep the UK strangled in EU red-tape. Had we gone down the Vienna Convention route and denounced the TEU on that glorious, historic morning of 24th June we could have been out in a matter of weeks from now.
The White Paper is legally as well as economically illiterate. DEXEU have swallowed the Foreign Office line that Article 50 is the only legal route out of the EU. I knew several members of the Labour Cabinet in 1975. They would have been startled to hear that had the votes in the referendum been fairly counted there was no peaceful route out, short of caving into European blackmail, and that we would have to fight our way out.
Of course we could have denounced the TEU under the Vienna Convention on 12 months’ notice. As it is, the government has committed itself to a time-wasting and pointless set of negotiations which were close to collapse within 48 hours.
Seemingly oblivious of the fact that there is no provision for exit fees in Article 50, the Commission wants to land the UK with a bill of about 50 billion euros. Upon what planet are they living? Here on Planet Earth even the government have cottoned on to the fact that we are not obliged to pay an exit fee.
Fanatical free-traders, the government wants a free-trade deal, despite the massive deficit in goods with the EU27. Put shortly, they want to keep exporting British jobs to Europe. Thankfully the EU won’t agree a free trade deal without labour dumping, i.e. through their intransigence and desperate desire to harm the UK, the Europeans will help save us from our own government.
The talks will struggle on for a few more months, but they’re dead already. They are already in competition with the German-Polish talks over Danzig in 1939 and the discussions between the US and the Japanese Empire in 1941 as the silliest international negotiations in history.
We saw the true measure of German desperation last week with that crazy plan to have a tame Islamic nutter assassinate Theresa May, one of the most harmless politicians in the country. Thankfully the attack failed, although the next one may not, since the government are not shutting down Germany’s UK operation (GO2) and are adopting Mossadeq’s fatalist strategy in Iran in 1953, i.e. sitting back, doing nothing and hoping the next plot will fail as well.
There is no room for Carswell-style complacency. The job is not done. We are still in the EU, indeed the Cabinet Office obviously intends shadowing EU policies like we shadowed the Deutschmark at the end of the 1980s, in the desperate hope that Brexit can be reversed. Thankfully, there is no plan to assassinate Douglas – I intend no offence when I say that it would be difficult to determine the point at which brain activity ceased and a bye-election was needed.
As part of the EU shadow policy the government, insanely, plans to keep VAT. Do they not know that it’s an EU tax? Desirous no doubt of causing accidents and keeping freight off the railways the Department of Transport plans to keep lorry weights at the absurdly high EU level. It also wants to maintain high rail fares by hanging on to the current, EU-mandated rail privatisation scheme, which has cost a number of lives.
No trade negotiations with friendly countries such as the USA have been started, and there wasn’t a word in the White Paper about abandoning compulsory metrication. In short, it’s business as usual in Whitehall.
The government made two huge mistakes last year. Firstly they failed to denounce the TEU on 24th June, as Cameron had promised. Secondly, Sir Jeremy Heywood, strongly rumoured to be a Remoaner, was kept on as Cabinet Secretary. The Tory Party then compounded these mistakes by electing a Remainer, albeit not a moaner, as leader.
The White Paper suggests that the government’s commitment to Brexit is lukewarm. The Cabinet Office, so contemptuous of democracy that it rigged the 1975 referendum result, remains hostile. They would dearly like to drag us back in after the 2020 election, just as they were dearly hoping to see the Coalition returned to power in 2015.
One sign that the Civil Service has reconciled itself to Brexit will be the trade figures. These have been manipulated for years in order to boost support for the EU. A reversion to trade stats prepared in good faith would be highly symbolic. It’s time to stop pretending that South Korea is in the EU.