Today, the MSM will be heaving with articles ‘looking back’ on 2019. Some will try to be different, looking forward to 2020, guesstimating what might happen in the coming months. I confess I was going to use our mountain of material on Brexit to write yet another ‘look back in anger’ article – but something happened, something which will also give us an outlook of what may occur in the next twelve months.
Briefly, in the year ending today, we went from Ms May’s manifest BRINO to ‘we leave on the 31st of March’ to ‘we leave on the 30th of June’ to ‘we leave on the 31st of October’ to Johnson’s ‘we’re Out on the 31st of December 2020’. It was a bit like the weather forecasts in one of our Red Tops, where the next deluge, the next blizzard, the next heatwave is definitely going to happen this coming weekend, until it doesn’t.
Given our experiences of 2019, I’m not looking forward with great confidence to a ‘Brexit 2020’ – but what do I know! Surprises might happen, even surprises not originating here in the UK. It’s called ‘events, dear boy, events’ and the funny thing is that all the tea-leaves-readers and professional doom-and-gloom merchants never confess that, yes, perhaps they didn’t get things right because ‘events’ happened. That would be bad for business, and at the turn of the year their services are more needed than ever.
Now – about what changed my mind on what to write in this last Brexit-Betrayal Column in 2019. It’s one of my favourite subjects: how the MSM copy from each other, not doing their own research and, being mostly Remain, leaving out some vital pieces. It is of course also about Brexit and about the EU.
Here’s the starting line-up: yesterday in the DT we read an article which was published at 11.55am, titled “Boris Johnson will be forced to extend Brexit transition beyond 2020, EU commissioner claims” (paywalled link). It’s a report on an interview in the Irish Times with Paul Horgan, the new EU Trades commissioner – more on that below. Next, RemainCentral picks up this story from the DT. Under the title “Boris Johnson will ditch Brexit transition vow, says EU commissioner” (link, paywalled) they publish their short ’article’ at 12.01am today.
Since it’s in The Times it’s gotta be important, so The Express goes next with their version, “Brexit LIVE: Brussels boasts Boris will soon BACK DOWN over Brexit extension” (link) at 00.04am, edited at 00.17am. The DM, writing “’He won’t die in a ditch for this either’: EU trade chief Phil Hogan predicts Boris Johnson will likely BREAK his manifesto pledge to take UK out of EU by the end of 2020” (link) is last, going public at 1.03am, edited at 4.13am.
The DM has put some work into their report, with lots of Johnson photos (not in a ditch, though …), and seems to have gone back to the original interview. The Express relies on the DT’s report whereas The Times – oh dear! It’s a short article, with just a brief quote from that interview, to which they add a reference to Ms vdLeyen’s ‘worries’ about the shortness of the transition period and a moan from the National Union of Farmers – yes, ‘chlorinated chickens’ are being thrown at us again.
Let me add a historical footnote here. When we were still In and the EU Referendum was a dream of Nigel Farage, there were extensive trade negotiations with the USA. The thing was called TTIP, the negotiations began in 2013 and ended without conclusion at the end of 2016. Some of the points of the talks were leaked – and it was the Germans who were outraged about “chlorinated chickens”. That was such a long time ago, wasn’t it! At the time of those negotiations there were of course no Remainers yet, and these EUrophiles were quite happy with the TTIP talks, those chlorinated chickens not being seen as a problem … how times change!
But back to the Horgan interview. Of course I went to the source, The Irish Times, not just to see for myself what the fuss was all about but to check how our MSM were reporting, i.e. redacting, this article. You can read the whole thing here. The ‘Johnson ditch’ is right there in the first two paragraphs. Interestingly, the Irish Times inserted some sentences about Ms vdLeyen’s interviews at that point. We wrote about them here. This is where The Times seems to have stopped reading and writing. It’s also the cue for the others to recapitulate and quote her again, although they do quote some other ‘juicy’ remarks Mr Horgan made.
However – they all omitted to mention a significant quote. One does have to scroll down a bit and one does have to pay attention because, somewhat hidden and probably inadvertently, Mr Horgan lets two rather important cats out of the bag. As there’s a bar on copying from the IT, you should go read it for yourselves.
He says that ‘there are positive aspects for making progress. We are not starting from scratch: 45 years of EU membership has led to deep integration in trade and investments and integrated supply chains. At the same time however, the UK wants to disentangle that integration and diverge from the EU. This will have negative consequences for our economies.”
Perhaps it’s not astonishing that our Remainers in the MSM overlooked this cat, ahem, quote. After all, they are trying so very hard to make us believe that Leaving is too difficult and traumatic. Mr Horgan however knows full well that these Remain moans about us needing to integrate and comply are hogwash. We have been and are ‘integrated’, these things don’t need to be negotiated, as in the trade talks with e.g. Japan or Canada.
The other cat is of course that ‘disentanglement’ will have ‘negative consequences for our – i.e. the EU’s – economies.’ And so we learn at the end of 2019, the No-Brexit-Year, that the EU will focus again on doing their utmost to make 2020 a No-Brexit-Year as well. They aim to force Johnson into that ditch, disregarding our now incontrovertible demand: to Leave.
It’s as if the rump EU, the 27 member states, believe that they simply cannot survive without us. Yes, well, they should’ve supported Cameron in his desperate bid to get some concessions … pride, as they say, goeth before the fall. So where are M Juncker and M Tusk now? Why is M Macron so desperate to butter us up with a medal for London, as The Times reports (link, paywalled)? Something to do with those strikes he hasn’t managed to stop? And isn’t it fascinating how, in their general adoration for Greta, none of our MSM, never mind those green-crappery-lovers across our political spectrum, never mention the Dutch and German farmers striking because of those EU Greta-policies?
The old Project Fear spectre hasn’t gone away. It now has the EU in its grip and, in the good old way of projection, Mr Horgan and the EU are desperate to project it back onto us. For our MSM, the Boris-in-the ditch imagery was irresistible. For us, it’s the recognition that the actual fear of the EU, of being left behind by us, will be the driver of those coming talks. That’s what that disregarded quote implies.
It’s not about trade, trade will adjust. It always does. For the slow learners in the EU: it is and always has been about our Sovereignty. Now it is also about Johnson doing what we ordered him and the last government to do – for the third time!
Trade once lost can be regained. Sovereignty once lost is lost forever, unless it’s taken back in a bloody upheaval. That is a thought Mr Horgan, Ms vdLeyen and the rest ought to ponder as they start into 2020. Meanwhile, until the 31st of December 2020, we will
Happy New Year to you all!