Yet again Parliament voted to have a vote on Brexit. Yet again we’re treated to an obvious ruse to kill Brexit by a thousand delays.
Parliament, its spokesmen say, voted to have not just any old future vote, but a ‘meaningful’ one. The meaning the next vote will be full of is all about turning Mrs May into a lame duck PM, and her whole negotiation team into dummies to Remainer ventriloquists.
While sabotaging Brexit is a likely result of this ploy, putting a Trotskyist government in power is almost a certain one. Nothing like PM Jeremy to make us miss the EU – should we ever leave it.
This debacle mirrors the one across the Atlantic. Both Trump’s presidency and Brexit represent a mass rebellion against the entrenched apparat. In both countries, the apparat has closed ranks, putting aside any party squabbles.
A specific battleground chosen for the clash doesn’t matter. In the US, anything Trump says or does, irrespective of merit, draws the amount of vitriol I’ve never witnessed in a rather long lifetime. In Britain, Mrs May, herself an apparatchik, gets some abuse too, but she’s merely collateral damage. The real target is Brexit.
The Brexit referendum represented the first strategic defeat for the apparat. Yet, having lost, the apparat didn’t accept defeat gracefully. Instead it chose gamesmanship over sportsmanship.
I pride myself on finding a precise term to describe the resulting mess: European leave.
Unlike what we call French leave and the French call English leave (filer à l’anglaise), ‘European leave’ doesn’t mean leaving without saying good-bye. It means saying good-bye without leaving.
Britain said good-bye to the EU in March, by officially triggering Article 50 to the Lisbon Treaty. Now, following a human gestation period of nine months, we still haven’t left. Moreover, No Exit signs are flashing through the fog surrounding the issue.
The fog is thick and getting thicker by the minute. It’s made up of such words as ‘soft’, ‘hard’, ‘deal’, ‘negotiations’, ‘divorce’, ‘bill’, ‘citizens’ rights’ and so forth.
These words aren’t necessarily nebulous in any context, but they definitely are in this one. Not only do they obfuscate the issue, but they’re specifically designed for this purpose. They’re also designed to inflict humiliating punishment on every British subject who dared vote the wrong way and, by extension, on Britain.
Our inept government, in cahoots with their EU counterparts, has elevated mendacity to a height never before seen in British politics. Our ministers pretend that they actually want to leave, that the EU is our friend who genuinely wishes to make the parting of ways painless, and that real negotiations are taking place.
What is in fact taking place is an elaborate charade designed to keep Britain in the EU de facto – and probably de jure as well. Meanwhile HMG is acting like a schoolboy submitting to corporal punishment and manfully pretending it doesn’t hurt.
One mendacious pretence is that the issue is so devilishly complicated that it doesn’t lend itself to a simple solution. And so it is – but only because it’s enveloped in a deliberately laid smokescreen.
Let’s clear it away and look at actual, as opposed to virtual, reality.
1) Membership in the EU compromises British sovereignty. Traditionally, Britain has resisted similar encroachments with all she had. No foreign power representing such a threat has ever been regarded as a friend.
2) Since the EU threatens our sovereignty by peaceful means, it’s possible to resolve the issue without resorting to force. However, no matter how civilly talks are conducted, they should proceed from the premise that we’re indeed talking to a hostile power wishing to take from us something we desire to keep.
3) Since the sole purpose of the EU is political, the political aspect of Brexit should supersede all others. The EU wants to create a single European state; Britain wants no part in it.
Therefore, HMG is duty-bound to leave the EU, effective immediately. Because this issue isn’t negotiable, there’s nothing to negotiate – and nothing to delay the outcome.
4) Only when the separation has become final can we begin to negotiate other things, such as the economic relationship between the two parties. Since the political aspect is in no way contingent on any other, such negotiations should be guided by normal practices involving two sovereign powers.
5) Trade negotiations can only proceed from considerations of mutual benefit. Any attempt by one side to use economic tools to blackmail or punish the other should put an immediate stop to the talks.
6) A side allowing such underhanded tricks to go on or, worse still, pretending that the other side isn’t playing them, is bolstering the other side’s interests and hurting its own. By doing just that, the British government is in effect colluding with the EU to act against Britain’s interests. Such behaviour might in some quarters be described as treasonous.
7) Complying with the EU’s extortionist demand to pay at least £39 billion as a precondition for even considering what’s mendaciously called a trade deal proves that no bona fide negotiations between two equals are taking place.
Britain isn’t legally obligated to pay anything – Brexit is a dissolution of a political entity, not a marital divorce with one party paying alimony to the other. Nor am I aware of any moral obligations to pay a penny, but, if they do exist, Britain may, as a gesture of good will, offer a one-time payment of a billion or two – not the ridiculous amounts being extorted.
As to the trade deal, meaning access to the single European market, Britain should pay for the privilege exactly what the EU’s other major trading partners are paying: nothing. If the USA and China don’t have to pay billions for doing business with EU members, neither should Britain.
Britain doesn’t actually need any ‘deal’. If the EU proves obstreperous, we may simply conduct our European trade by WTO rules. The EU is a protectionist bloc, but there are internationally accepted rules limiting its protectionism. Should it go against them, it’s the EU and not Britain that’ll become the pariah state.
8) Doing business in foreign countries means complying with their laws. However, it doesn’t mean allowing their laws to extend to our internal affairs. No European court can have jurisdiction over those.
Hence, rather than obeying EU laws or incorporating them into our own, we must declare them null and void – while reminding ourselves that, in my parents’ generation, most of Europe was governed by Nuremberg laws or their local equivalents.
9) Having an open border with one EU member means having one with them all. An open border with Ireland therefore defeats two major objectives of Brexit: regaining control over immigration and leaving the single market.
As a minimum, there should be controls over the goods entering the UK and the migration of non-Irish nationals. In any case, Anglo-Irish relations have a long history, predating not only the EU but indeed the Holy Roman Empire. Making Brexit contingent on the resolution of any possible problems is an underhanded scam and nothing else.
There, I hope this simplifies the issue. Glad to be of service, Mrs May.