“Words, words, words,” shrugged Hamlet. But words do matter, for they may change the perception of the concepts they denote.
The utterly objectionable and therefore funny comedian Jimmy Carr, for example, offers ‘struggle snuggle’ as an alternative to ‘rape’, claiming that thereby people would change their mind about the underlying reality.
This is an obvious joke that wouldn’t work in the real world. Yet when it comes to Brexit, similar verbal chicanery works a treat.
Brexit is a linguistic disaster, made possible by a thoroughly ignorant dumbed-down public brainwashed to ignore the real meaning of words. This leaves the field wide-open for political liars, which term these days is more or less synonymous with politicians.
Take the words ‘divorce negotiations’, for example. As a veteran of several of those, I feel qualified to assure you that Brexit has nothing in common with any such things.
A divorce is an (ideally) equitable bilateral agreement, wherein the two parties decide to cancel their marriage contract and sit down, in person or through their attorneys, to agree mutually acceptable terms.
Yet Brexit is by definition unilateral. One country in what is in effect a federation has decided to secede, a right stipulated in the articles of most federations, including this one. Historically, the rump federation can only stop this act by violent means, as the American Civil War shows.
However, by the looks of it, the EU isn’t planning a modern-day version of Operation Sea Lion, although the state of the British military, especially the Royal Navy, is such that this time around an invasion just might succeed. But that option is off the table.
What’s there to negotiate then? One doesn’t negotiate leaving a party once it has turned unpleasant. One thanks the hosts, gets up and leaves.
Another meaningless word is ‘owe’, as in “we’ll pay the EU what we owe and not a penny more.” I keep asking the same question and shall continue to do so until someone provides a sensible answer: Why on earth do we owe anything at all?
Continuing the party analogy, when we bid good night to the hosts, we aren’t usually asked to pay for the food and drink we’ve consumed – much less invited to negotiate the exact sum. We just go.
In this case we’ve prepaid for our now consumed and egested repast in annual instalments, making any demand for further payments even more ludicrous and shooting the party analogy down in flames. But ‘divorce’ doesn’t work any better, for its financial aspects include a division of not only liabilities but also assets.
I don’t know the exact amount of EU assets, nor our fair share of them. However, since the word ‘assets’ hasn’t even been mentioned, neither should we insist on using the misnomer ‘divorce’.
We can’t be expected to pay alimony to the EU, nor child support for its junior members, but what about paying for privileged access to the European market? Fine, I’m prepared to accept that for the sake of argument.
The principle has thus been established; now let’s haggle about the price. What price such access?
Like any market price, this should be established by market forces. So what’s the going rate for our access to other major markets, such as the US, China and Japan? The answer is zero, which is exactly the fair price.
Or rather it’s zero in terms of cash on the nail. We do pay for free access to those markets in kind, by opening our market to the countries in question. That, and only that, payment should be offered to the EU from the bottom of our hearts.
The EU’s demand for €50 billion and Mrs May’s counteroffer of €20 billion have absolutely nothing to do with either divorce settlements or trade negotiations. They’re talks between two parties in a shakedown.
The EU is the blackmailer essentially sending Britain a message along the lines of “if you ever want to see your country free again…”. Rather than refusing to negotiate with the blackmailer, Britain is the sweaty victim weeping into the phone receiver: “We’ll pay, we’ll pay! Please don’t hurt us! But will you please take 20 instead of 50? Please, we’re begging you… and the police won’t hear a word about it.”
This is exactly what’s going on. The EU may want our money, but what this wicked contrivance wants most of all is to punish Britain so severely that other members would think twice before trying their own exit.
The purpose of this extortion isn’t so much economic as political because so is the true purpose of the EU. The objective isn’t to create a single superstate for the benefit of its members. It’s to create a single superstate, full stop.
I was touched to see that even Nigel ‘Black Wednesday’ Lawson has come to realise this self-evident fact, albeit 25 years too late. As Chancellor, Mr Lawson (as he then was) thought it would be a jolly good idea not only to be in the EU but actually to join the ERM as a prelude to joining the euro.
That little misapprehension cost Britain £3.4 billion, but the other day Lord Lawson (as he now is) graciously agreed to acknowledge what has been blindingly obvious for decades to any averagely intelligent person with a modicum of knowledge about the EU. Better never late, I say.
Mrs May’s upcoming speech on her Brexit ‘proposal’ has been pre-billed as ‘bold’. Having been trained to realise that words in today’s political lexicon are used to mean something exactly opposite to their dictionary definition, I know what to expect.