WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE EU/UK TRADE BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS?When trying to work out what the British Establishment are up to in the Brexit negotiations it is worth bearing in mind that all the members of Theresa May’s Government have made their political careers, at least in part, out of claiming that they were Eurosceptics. The reason for that was clearly revealed in the EU Referendum when it appeared that over 60% of Conservative Party members voted for Leave and over 60% of Conservative Party voters voted for Leave.
It follows that anybody who was aspiring to be a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate or Minister before the Referendum would have destroyed their career if they had admitted that they would do what they actually did do during the Referendum - which was vote for remaining within the EU! You cannot therefore trust at face value anything that these people say about their politics. Let’s therefore look at what they are actually doing.
In analysing this it is worth thinking what you would do if you were a Minister in a Government which was enthusiastically committed to exiting the EU. The first thing that you would do would be get all of the research done as to what the difficulties, bottlenecks and obstructions would be in fully exiting the EU. David Davis is the “Brexit” Minister. Davis in many respects is admirable, but he nevertheless showed his compromising character in dropping his previously vocal support for an English Parliament, when it looked possible that he might become Leader of the Conservative Party and he was told that the Conservative Party would not support that. This is the same David Davis who has now admitted that in fact the Government has not done any proper research on the consequences of leaving without a trade deal. He admitted that this had not been done because the Government has no intention of leaving without doing a trade deal. That is a highly revealing indication of the Government’s agenda from somebody who is supposed to be one of the keenest “Brexiteers”.
The second thing that you would of course have done was to have opened up negotiations with all those countries that are interested in doing a trade deal with us and also with the World Trade Organisation and any other entities that we will need to be dealing with immediately upon exiting the EU. None of this has been done! That is another highly revealing fact as to what the Government is actually up to.
Another thing that any Government truly committed to exiting would be at the very least thinking about doing is reverting to England’s historic, strategic and diplomatic position in trying to make sure that no one power dominated in Western Europe. At the moment that power is of course the EU and therefore a Government committed to exiting the EU would be looking for allies and working with any opportunity to break-up the EU block. Obviously that would have meant supporting Catalonia and using our potentially massive trade leverage with Southern Ireland to force them out of the EU. In addition we would of course be seeking to work with the European Free Trade Association, EFTA, to reinvigorate that as a block which could counter the EU. It hardly needs saying that none of that is being done and, indeed, Theresa May’s Government backed the Spanish repression of Catalonian Independence and has not even shown any support for the Eastern Europeans opposition to EU policies on mass immigration.
Last, but not least, a truly Brexit orientated Government would absolutely refuse to pay the EU a single penny that we didn’t owe them, let alone over £50 billion of English taxpayers’ money.
Let’s not forget that any talk of payments to remain within the EU single market is actually talk of the use of ordinary English taxpayers’ money to subsidise big business in maintaining their access to the EU markets. It is not as if membership of the EU single market is of net benefit to the UK already because although we can buy as consumers (if we have the money!) Audis, Mercedes Benz, etc without paying a tariff the fact is that not only do the Germans and the French, etc., sell us more cars than we sell them, but also there has been a balance of trade in favour of the EU for almost all the last 30 years. This means that actually when considered a national economy the EU profits more from UK trade than the UK profits from EU trade. It would also mean if we went to tariffs that substantially more tariffs would be paid to our Government than would have to be paid out to the EU. Concessions are therefore not being given in the interests of ordinary people, or of our Nation, they are being given in the interests of the Conservative Party’s backers in big business corporations and in the City.
So where are we going I hear you ask? I thought one of the most interesting conversations that I have heard recently was one in which it was being suggested that the Westminster rumour mill is talking about Theresa May having gamed the DUP into refusing any different treatment for Northern Ireland than for the rest of the UK over the proposal that Southern Ireland and the EU had signed off on, which was that Northern Ireland would retain “regulatory alignment”. The rumour is that Theresa May wanted the DUP to refuse that for Northern Ireland only so that she could apply pressure on members of the Cabinet to accept “regulatory alignment” for the whole of the UK. If that remains accepted then we will not have properly have left the EU. The only plus of that situation is that as Michael Gove has been saying, then we won’t be constitutionally part of the EU and that means that a future Government (with more spine than the current one) can change anything that is being agreed at this stage.