It is so predictable: anything anti-Brexit gets the full attention of the MSM, especially if it’s about thwarting Johnson. Anything that puts the EU in a bad light isn’t worth mentioning. Above all, anything that could in any way be interpreted as ‘optimistic’ get’s the ‘it can’t be done’ treatment from ‘experts’.
Let me start with that last item. This is about the parallel trade talks Johnson is planning to hold with the USA and the EU:
“ Johnson is preparing to kickstart trade talks with both the US and EU within weeks of Brexit, it emerged last night. The Prime Minister will set out his vision for the country’s future in a major speech at the start of next month. He is also expected to publish a detailed set of position papers outlining the Government’s priorities for post-Brexit trade.” (link)
And what is wrong with that, one might well ask! Well, according to RemainCentral there’s this, for starters:
“There is concern in Downing Street that, with the EU talks being led by the Cabinet Office and the American talks being run by the Department for International Trade, there is a danger of mixed messages and confusion. […]Downing Street is under pressure from the European Research Group of Tory MPs to give priority to a trade deal with the US. Both Iain Duncan Smith and the faction’s leader, Steve Baker, have publicly urged Mr Johnson to strike a deal before this year’s US presidential elections in November.” (link, paywalled)
“Concern in Downing Street” – oh? We’re not even told this comes from ‘sources’ … but hey, get a swipe at the ERG in, to show that parallel trade talks are obviously of the devil! There’s worse. In an article ‘explaining’ the various concerns to its readers, Remain Central makes these points:
“As Britain takes back control of an independent trade policy for the first time in four decades, some industry leaders and experts have queried the strategy behind quickly launching negotiations with the two of the world’s most formidable negotiating powers. There are questions surrounding Whitehall’s capacity to launch talks with Washington and Brussels, alongside mooted negotiations with Wellington, Canberra and continued discussions with countries who hold trade deals with the EU like Japan and Canada. “Nobody else has ever done this before,” said one seasoned negotiator. “There’s a reason for that.” (link, paywalled)
Note well: it’s ‘some industry leaders and experts’ and a ‘seasoned negotiator’ – we’re not told if this is a government negotiator or an ‘industry’ negotiator. We’re not told which industries these industry leaders represent, we’re not told what these ‘experts’ are expert in. But the message is clear: since nobody has been doing this before, it obviously can’t be done.
It doesn’t occur to all those ‘experts’ that the reason nobody has done this before is that no nation has left the EU before. This is new territory. Instead of being courageous and looking for the best possibilities, those ‘experts’ are setting the tone for a new version of Project Fear: poor little Britain is incapable of doing anything for themselves and ‘we Remainiacs have told you before that Brexit can’t be done’.
The input from the EU also had to be mentioned in that RemainCentral ‘Analysis’. This is important because it shows the obstacles the EU is planning to put into our way:
“EU negotiators are also sanguine about the threat of the US making a ‘better offer’ to the UK. They point out that any trade deal will have to be ratified by the Democrat controlled House of Representative that is far less concerned about getting a quick deal with the UK. The Democrats are worried about the Johnson government’s plan for Northern Ireland. Unless any trade deal with the US satisfies Dublin it is unlikely to be ratified.” (link, paywalled)
How does the EU know that ‘the Democrats’ are worried? No matter … but see the reference to Dublin – and inevitably Dublin is putting their oar in. See this:
“EU chiefs could use the Irish border in a bid to strong-arm Boris Johnson into signing up to close-knit post-Brexit relationship with Brussels, Ireland’s deputy prime minister today hinted.” (link)
We already know that the EU won’t start any trade talks before March at the earliest, thanks to the reports by our friends at facts4eu which we quoted last week. The reason for that, as told to the DT by the EU spokesman Mr Mamer, is deliciously typical:
“Mr Mamer said negotiations will be started “as quickly as we can […] This is not a slowing down or speeding up of the process. This is simply the nature of the institutional process and the consultations that need to take place before the negotiation directives can be formally adopted,” he said.” (paywalled link)
This is the more gentle version of the bureaucrats’ mantra: ‘it can’t be done so therefore it won’t be done’. However, one issue is well on its way to being done: punishment! The Express – who seems to be the only UK paper with a working EU correspondent – reports:
“Brussels is plotting to block UK access to EU markets or impose crippling fines if Boris Johnson breaks the terms of any post-Brexit trade deal, diplomats have warned.” (link)
This ‘judicial’ punishment scheme is well advanced, as the following quotes show. It’s important. given the amendments voted for in the HoL yesterday (see below). Note that the EU puts this in place before trade talks have even started, to make it part of those talks:
“Brussels wants to prevent UK companies becoming more competitive than their EU counterparts by diverging from the bloc’s rulebook. […] Listing plans for a potential ultimatum, the bloc will seek to impose the maximum sanction if the UK “does not pay within one month or pay but still fails to comply after six months”. (link)
Read this as ‘we don’t know what we’re going to punish you for, but punish you we will’. And this is how the EU envisages that scheme:
“An EU source told Express.co.uk Brussels could seek to punish the UK in separate areas for the breach of any terms. This could include the bloc withdrawing market access for the City of London if the Government refuses to honour any future fisheries agreement. The document […] states “parts of any other EU-UK agreement” can be targeted to settle disputes.” (link)
Negotiating in good faith looks different to me, but then, what do I know, I’m only a peasant …! And so to our ‘noble Lords’ … The MSM are crowing that this was the first defeat for Johnson’s government. The underlying hope of our Remain Lords is that this will slow down the ratification of the Bill and thus perhaps even stop us from officially leaving on the 31st of this month. Non-paywalled reports are here and here. There were in fact three amendments the noble Remain Lords voted for. One is this:
“Members of the Lords voted 270 to 229 in favour of a change put forward by the Liberal Democrats which would give eligible European Union citizens in the UK an automatic right to remain in the country after Brexit, rather than having to apply to the Government to do so. This would also ensure they are given physical proof of their right to remain, while the Government has said only that people will be given a “secure digital status” which links to their passport” (link)
Has it occurred to those ignoble Lords that they are thus making EU citizens into 2nds class citizens who have to produce a paper (!) to show that they ‘have the right’ to stay? If one group of residents has to produce a paper – why not extend this to other, non-EU immigrants? And why, in the end, not have a general requirement for all UK residents to produce an ID card? Thin edge of the wedge, isn’t it!
The other amendments were in regard to the judiciary:
“Peers voted by 241 to 205 – a majority of 36 – to remove the power of ministers to decide which courts should have the power to depart from judgments of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and by reference to what test. A third defeat then followed, as peers backed a move by Tory former lord chancellor Lord Mackay of Clashfern to allow cases to be referred to the Supreme Court to decide whether to depart from EU case law. Voting on this amendment was 206 to 186 – majority 20 – as peers warned against interference in the independence of the judiciary.”(link)
You won’t be surprised at all when you see that one of the Lords supporting these amendments was Lord Pannick – he who acted for the fragrant Gina Miller – scroll down here.
The point of all these separate items is that Remain hasn’t given up at all and that, from ‘noble Lords’ to ‘industry experts’ to Dublin and to Brussels, they are now shifting their Brexit war to the minutiae of negotiations in the hope that we peasants, thick as we are, don’t understand what they’re on about.
Remain hopes that we won’t pay attention, that we’ll be getting bored, that many Brexiteers are going to go away after the 31st of January, believing that it’s ‘job done’.
They hope that, come the 31st of December, they’ll have managed to keep us In. I hope you see now that my cry for staying vigilant is not a facile slogan – and that we must, simply must