The ‘Emperor of the EU’ …
A sennight – seven days – one week: yes, it’s now official, we’re Out. Royal Assent for the WA has been granted. You can watch the video clip of the announcement in the HoC here.
What now for the Remainers who’ve accompanied those last three years and seven months, the ‘Big Beasts’ who were never off our TV screens: the Heseltines, the Gina Millers, the MPs like Kenneth Clarke, Dominic Grieve, the former PMs like Major and Blair? What now for the Remain writers and journalists, the mostly Remain ‘Brussels correspondents’? So far – so quiet.
We’ve observed before that one paper only has a Brussels correspondent worth his salt: The Express. Late yesterday evening that correspondent, Joe Barnes, wrote a great summary, pointing out some EU ‘facts’ which the broadsheets have generously overlooked because they didn’t fit their Remain agenda. He explains why the EUrocrats are fearful:
“They [the Eurocrats] fear that a Britain free from the unnecessary regulatory constraints and the burden of bureaucracy would become a terrifying economic competitor on the EU’s doorstep.” (link)
They understand in Brussels what “Singapore-on-Thames” will mean for the rump EU, namely that:
“[…] a Westminster government could be able to adopt rapid regulatory framework changes to create a friendlier environment for manufacturers, software developers or even bankers. Such a post-Brexit strategy would represent a massive shift from the membership of the EU’s rigid, over-regulated single market and Eurozone. It’s this attitude and idea that has given birth to the so-called “level playing field”, which asks the UK to commit to maintaining its state aid, tax, employment standards and environmental protections.” (link)
In conclusion, this is the actual reason for Brussels’ insistence on a ‘level playing field, Mr Barnes finishing with a summary which describes the unspoken arguments with which M Barnier and the rest will fight for the EU’s economic survival:
“But it’s not Brussels’ sudden desire to fight climate change or protect workers’ right that drives their negotiating position, it’s a genuine fear that by scrapping cumbersome regulations Britain will become Europe’s premier economic destination.” (link)
It’s this fear of “unfair” competition, this sudden desire to create ‘level playing fields’ which has also driven the arguments by Ms vdLeyen at Davos when she proposed that “CO2 Border Tax”, as we reported yesterday (here). Please check out the report and analysis our friends at facts4eu have published regarding her speech (link)! In my ire about the Green blanket we can expect to be used to suffocate Brexit, I overlooked her overweening attitude, talking of the whole continent of Europe when meaning the EU.
Next, there’s an outstanding, devastating critique of M Barnier in the DT which is sadly paywalled. It hints at our Remainers having turned him into an oversized ‘Wizard of Oz’, accompanied by a steady denigration of our proper Brexiteer negotiators. They have constantly been supporting our wannabe Barnier Mandarins who led those negotiations ending in that May disaster.
I’ve been rubbing my eyes reading this article and kept asking myself why it is that such critique was never heard or seen in the MSM during those last three years and seven months:
“Over the last few weeks, Michel Barnier has been issuing a constant stream of demands, edicts and ultimatums over everything that Britain will have to agree to before it will be offered a trade deal with the European Union. But hold on. How come Barnier is still in a job? True, he was kept even as the commission changed to oversee the next phase of Brexit negotiations. And yet, in his first role as the chief Brexit negotiator he was a comprehensive failure. He overplayed his hand, and underestimated the resolve of the UK. And in the end, he blundered towards a much harder Brexit that seemed likely at the start of the process.” (paywalled link)
That’s another question I’ve not seen being asked before! Perhaps it’s because our mostly Remain MSM preferred us plebs to be in awe, cowed by that image they’ve perpetuated until now, of that huge, mighty EU and poor, inept Little England lacking in expertise, strength and ‘acceptable’ arguments. The conclusion of this article is another ‘keeper’ for the next months of Trade Negotiations:
“In reality, a trade deal between the EU and the UK is clearly overwhelmingly in the interests of both sides. The EU gets to maintain its massive surplus, and protects all the jobs that are created by selling stuff to Britain. We get the minimum of disruption to our economy. […] Instead, it now appears inevitable that the hapless Barnier will carry on meddling, making impossible demands, and issuing high-handed edicts, until a deal becomes impossible. A properly run organisation would have sent him off to rewrite Croatian fishing policy or Latvian industrial strategy by now. But as it’s the EU, he will stick around to make a hash of another round of negotiations.” (paywalled link)
I sometimes wonder, in the quiet moments of a sleepless night, if there are some machiavellian minds at work in our negotiating team who believe that, thanks to the Barnier effect, a No-Deal WTO Brexit is on the cards. The preparations for such outcome are certainly in train, shown by the sudden influx of gov.uk notifications received in the last ten days.
There’s another change in the atmosphere, hinted at in reports from Davos. One has to scroll right to the end of this articles, wading through the various arguments bigging up the EU. Here’s one that caught my eye. It relates to Johnson’s GE win, but illustrates nicely how the underlying EU mood might be shifting:
“The European politicians who spent so much of last year mocking the Boris story are now changing their tune. Victories like his are pretty rare nowadays, and no one else has worked out how to vanquish populism. Britain will leave the EU as the only member state with no populist parties in parliament – a feat that other European leaders can only dream of copying. It seems that conservatism – or the Boris version of it – is coming up with answers that have so far eluded most of the European Left.” (paywalled link)
Never mind that slur about ‘populism’. In the eyes of our MSM a party that has just won a resounding victory cannot be ‘populist’. Only the ‘extreme hard right’ parties are populist and somehow the screeches from Labour types, that the Tories are now ‘hard right’, don’t seem to have stuck.
Finally, here’s a quote from one of those fabled Big Business types, also picked up in a Davos report. After the well-known wail about ‘uncertainties’ and a possible ‘hard Brexit’, the CEO of ‘Deutsche Post’ came up with this:
“Mr Appel warned that Europe will suffer serious damage if the next round of Brexit negotiations break down in acrimony, with the UK sailing away on World Trade Organisation terms. “If we don’t get an amicable deal, growth will be zero or negative, […]” he said.” (paywalled link)
I wonder if Mr Appel will have a word with M Barnier. I also wonder if the shrill Remain Big Business managers here and in the EU will finally grasp that we in the UK don’t have to submit to EU decisions from ‘high up’. any longer. We can and will go our own way.
I think Big Business is frit – much more so than we peasants. They still have failed to understand that the EU needs us more than we need them. Perhaps now, with a week to go, they might adjust their EU view. Perhaps more articles about Barnier, the EU Emperor without clothes, will help in their learning process. Meanwhile, we’ll