Another Monday – another week where most players are on holidays. Another Monday where I’m scrabbling for grains amongst a heap of pebbles. Another Monday where the Sunday TV shows, visited by C-List politicians, have yielded only dross and ancient “Project Fear” items. Let’s start with the big one, splashed out in The Sun:
“Sneaky EU chiefs are planning to hit Britain with a tax bill for £1TRILLION, it has been revealed. Whitehall officials believe they are storing it up as a “secret weapon” to unleash if Brexit talks turn against them. The demand will come on top of the £39billion “divorce” bill they want as part of a smooth departure deal. […]Civil servants have told MPs that the bill is being held back and is most likely to be issued when Britain is “defenceless” during an implementation period. One senior source said: “This is another reason why we cannot allow ourselves to be locked into the EU institutions after October 31.” (link)
Strangely enough none of the other online papers or indeed the BBC seem to have picked up on this. Note also that this came from ‘senior sources’, apparently in Whitehall. Is it a ‘reverse Project Fear’? With no corroboration, I’d say it’s more in the way of bait – click bait, that is.
That doesn’t mean other ‘Project Fear’ promoters haven’t been busy. The DM picked up on one report in The Guardian, according to which our kids won’t be able to go to school:
“A leaked Education Department report says classes could be cut under No Deal. The memo warns fresh food for school meals could run short due to panic buying. A worst-case-scenario DofE estimate predicts food price increases of 20%.“ (link)
How the Education Department knows for certain that there will be food shortages is interesting. One wonders though if this leaked ‘secret report’ is just another Oldie from the times of Hammond and May, dug out to fill space. After all, Mr Cummings threatened all leakers with immediate sacking …
Here’s another ‘prominent Remainer, the apparently now inevitable Tony Blair. This report in The Express (link) is jaw-dropping, showing Blair’s to ‘blame the Tories’ and blame Mrs Thatcher:
“Speaking to Michael Portillo in his documentary series The Trouble With the Tories, Mr Blair said: “One of the most bizarre aspects of the debate in the Conservative Party today is that at the heart of the Eurosceptic case is that we are not in control of our own laws because of the single market. “The single market being, essentially, a creation of the Thatcher administration in the 1980s.”
Good grief! How Mrs Thatcher was able to do that, apparently against the will of her own Party and also forcing the rest of the EU into this: no explanation! Blair and Labour are clutching at self-fabricated straws here – and no wonder when one sees the next report:
“Jeremy Corbyn is so spooked by Boris Johnson’s bounce in the polls that he may backtrack on his newfound pro-Remain rhetoric, party insiders claimed last night. They said Mr Johnson’s surge in the opinion polls […] was panicking the Labour leader into rethinking his shift against Brexit – barely a month after he said that his party would campaign for Remain in a second referendum on a Tory Brexit. The so-called ‘U-turn on a U-turn’ will outrage pro-EU Labour moderates […] But the move would be cheered by many Northern Labour MPs, […]” (link)
If you needed any further proof that for our politicians Brexit has become the ultimate plaything in a forthcoming GE, then surely this is it! Do you want more examples of politicians using Brexit as means to cling to their seats? Here is another one, if true:
“Conservative MPs are secretly begging for Nigel Farage not to field Brexit Party candidates against them in a forthcoming general election, a source close to the Brexit Party has claimed.” (link)
That this made it into yesterday’s papers is astonishing. It’s hearsay, based on something Arron Banks said. I’ve quoted it only to show the desperation also wafting through the MSM who are clutching at straws because there’s no real new. Anything with the word “Farage” in it now has become ‘News’. Of course, we also find an article on a ‘reverse tactical voting’ plot:
“Remainers intend to target the seats of 100 pro-Brexit MPs in the biggest coordinated attempt at tactical voting in British history. The plan for the next general election campaign, by the People’s Vote (PV) campaign, is aimed at ousting Eurosceptic MPs and denying Boris Johnson a majority.” (link)
For some unknown reason I cannot access my ‘The Times’ account so I am reduced to quoting what the report in the DM quoted … highly unsatisfactory, I know, but it can’t be helped.
There are more straws in the wind which should interest us. See for example this attack on Corbyn:
“Ex Labour-minister Alan Johnson says Labour is heading for a ‘disaster’ with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm and says many of the women on the benches, including Rachel Reeves and Yvette Cooper ‘would do a much better job’. Alan Johnson delivered his grim verdict on the future of the party following Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell’s damning comments earlier in the week. Mr Campbell accused Mr Corbyn of being ‘asleep on the job’, launching a tirade against the current leader’s perceived failings as he became yet another figure to warn about the opposition party’s future.” (link)
Then there’s this worrying piece of news – again not taken from the original report in The Times for which I apologise:
“The Northern Irish party propping up Boris Johnson’s Government has urged the Prime Minister to seek a time-limit to the Irish “backstop” in exchange for agreeing to an all-Ireland food customs regime. The shock solution was revealed by the Irish edition of the Sunday Times, without citing sources. According to the newspaper, the DUP is prepared to discuss an all-island regime for food in exchange for a time limit on the “backstop” clause. […] “The DUP has urged Johnson to seek a time-limit to the backstop, somewhere between three and six years, as a quid pro quo for a pact on food,” said the article. That would mean the time limit on the backstop would extend beyond a three-year implementation, or transition, period for a further three years, into the future relationship phase. (link)
“We have not received any proposals from the EU or the Irish government to express concerns on the backstop,” DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson told Reuters when contacted regarding the article. “And if we do, we will give them consideration, but we are not committed to any option at this stage.” (link)
I’ve given this report prominence because it gives a hint that the possibility of a transition period – where we’d still be ‘In’ for all intents and purposes – is being talked about in the upper reaches of the Johnson government. That must worry us.
The indefatigable Sir John Redwood published another worrying piece of news in his Diary yesterday:
“The former leader of Germany’s SPD (Labour party) and possible candidate for Chancellor of Germany has called for a federal Europe and the exit from the EU of any country refusing to ratify the Union treaty needed. Perhaps those Remain advocates who said there was no such plan may like to comment, given similar ideas from the President of France.” (link)
Personally, I don’t think the Remainers are going to give a damn about this at all, so don’t hold your breath waiting for a reply. What the Remainers ought to be asked about, and what the ‘transition period’ promoters ought to be asked about, especially in view of the uncorroborated ‘bombshell’ of us having to pay the EU £trillion, is a report on EU and German finances in the German paper ‘Die Welt’ this morning.
That report points out that the German government bonds are now all bringing negative returns, thanks to the continuing zero- and even negative interest rates by the ECB:
“Savers in Europe currently lose 160 billion euros per year, without this gigantic redistribution democratically legitimized by a Parliament.”(paywalled link, in German)
One doesn’t need much of an imagination to ponder what this might mean for the EU Economy. However – if we stay ‘In’ because of a transition period, we will also be dragged into this downward spiral even though we’re not in the Eurozone, simply because we’re chained to this sinking albatross.
But hey, our kids cannot learn in school unless we’re in the EU, right? And we’ll all starve and the sky will fall in if we Leave, especially if we have to pay £1tr.
The sky will certainly fall though when our economy is being dragged down by the EU. Do economic circumstances simply not exist for Remainers?