Maggie May !

UK Prime Minister Theresa May dug her heels in this afternoon in Florence when she confounded the commentators and laid it on the line to Brussels.

There were expectations of major concessions being aired in the bubble land our metropolitan media inhabits.

They’re so convinced of their worldview that their analysis is removed from the facts of what happens in the real world.

Paul Mason at the BBC was taken back. He was expecting “zingers” but got none.

The Prime Minister repeated her position: out of the Single Market; out of the Customs Union; out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice [total misnomer] – just like we voted for – in control of our laws and borders, holding our politicians directly to account.

We chose sovereignty and national democracy over pooling our sovereignty with other nations. We respect what the European countries want to do and wish them all the best – it’s in our mutual interests.

We note Mr Juncker’s recent speech – your vision, not ours [subtext: he proved we are right to leave this federalist, Big State project].

Our vision, however,  is mutually beneficial: to build a partnership in all areas founded on our mutual historical ties, shared interests and common values.

The Prime Minister unilaterally declared British commitment to citizens rights, and to mutual security co-operation.

We are leaving the European Union, not Europe !

Britain will meet her commitments because that’s the way we are. Of course !

She suggested a transition period [possibly 2 years] to ensure a smooth exit, and to resolve all problems once, not having to go through upheavals because one agreement has to be replaced or amended by another. This is the one concession [subtext: we’ll bail out your budget for another 2 years max after we leave – after that you’re on your own; get real, and sort your own house out].

She talked of a completely new framework for trade, different from any existing such as the Norwegian arrangement. Bespoke. We know that the EU can do them, because they use other models for their relationships in other areas, as with African countries.

She specifically rejected ECJ arbitration for an independent sovereign Britain on trade matters, pointing out the UK’s status of equality as a future equal partner with , not subject member of, the EU. 

She made clear that the ECJ wasn’t going to arbitrate on future questions over EU citizens rights in the UK,  but said – absolutely correctly – that our Judiciary is  world class and can be trusted.

A minor concession was to suggest that the legislation could require our courts to have a regard for ECJ decisions, but the decision must be ours.

And what she came to was this. After all the speculation about concession, she put the ball firmly in the EU court.

Imagination and realism are called for; we need to be creative and pragmatic to get beyond what is seen as a stand off between the two sides in negotiations.

She is of course right. That is what is needed.

She is of course being very British.  As pointed out in the last blog post and other pages of this blog, the British approach is completely different –  and that is at the heart of all our problems with the EU. Talk of pragmatism and creativity is alien to the mindset of the Brussels bureaucracy and to the continental insistence on broad authoritarian principle dictating practice.

She has dug her heels in.

She has basically said that the lady is not for turning !!!

She has made it clear that we are leaving,  saying that we’d had problems throughout our membership because of the basic difference that the British could not accept the loss of sovereignty, and democratic accountability.

We are leaving. Period.

And what is she doing after all these months, repeating the Lancaster House speech at this critical juncture ?

She is saying,

We hold all the aces !

We can – and we will – walk away without an agreement [ we are a successful people and economy; we look to the world for our future; we don’t need your protectionism, regulation and condescension; we don’t need to be paying vast sums to Brussels; we don’t need the massive current account deficit we have because we buy so much of your exports..]

whereas you are in the proverbial [ serious budget issues because we are leaving, and because all those takers now have to become net payers; serious economic issues for your exporters, especially German and French; serious challenges to your political model from eastern European countries pissed off by immigration; serious threats from the electorates of members States as pissed off by Brussels nonsense as we Brits are; seriously in need of our military and our intelligence capabilities which are the best in Europe… and that is all before we mention the mega issues you still have not resolved or can – the massive unemployment in the EU, the waves of unwelcome immigration, the serious divergence between economies yet all required to be or to become members of one currency…]

Those are the underlying facts of the matter, and for all their posturing and holier-than-thou mentality, the EU knows it.

And that’s what counts – not the pining for Eutopia and its associated mindset in the metropolitan media elite, blinded to where it’s really at and to what the situation now actually demands.

So, it looks like Juncker et al are going to be singing along with Rod Stewart:

You made a first class fool out of me, and I’m as blind as a fool can be….

Maggie, I wish I’d never seen your face !

Ray Catlin

You can catch the PM’s 35 minute Florence speech of today, Friday September 22nd 2017 on YOU  Tube at

or read the text at

PS Some us will, all the same, be watching for the detail in the Security Treaty: the abhorrent European Arrest Warrant is yet to be axed and we could get bound in under EU control of a new EU army…

Watch this space…

Different approaches; different needs

David Davis made a statement to the House of Commons this week. A telling statement – as was his interview with Andrew Marr last Sunday morning. [You can see both on the links below]. Mr Davis made some remarks which will come as no surprise to those who are aware of the nature of the EU.

Mr Davis informed the House this week that agreement had been reached on the EHIC health care arrangements, on social security and on frontier workers. These are of fundamental concern to British expats like myself living in an EU country.

But Mr Barnier does not appear to share Mr Davis’ joy at such important progress. This is because the EU has different priorities. For example, Mr Barnier still wants to impose the ECJ’s jurisdiction in the UK post Brexit; and he is evidently  frustrated at the pace of progress according to what he wants.

He wants the UK to agree to a financial settlement before proceeding to the vital post withdrawal trade agreement. He knows the British could leave without an agreement, and don’t need to push the pace. And don’t need to agree the financial package right now; it is, quite obviously, a vital bargaining chip in any such negotiations.

But the EU desperately need the financial package now. The EU is in  desperate straits with the impending loss of the critical net contribution the UK makes to shore up the wasteful EU project and machine.

He also needs to bend the UK to the EU will, and not just because it is in the nature of the EU supra national government to do so.

The UK exit of the EU will set a precedent for other nations. The EU desperately needs to set a precedent according to EU terms in case other member nations try to leave.

And his approach also demonstrates the continental political mindset.  It is top down, all embracing, authoritarian and convinced of its own correctness.

The British mentality is quite different, indeed opposite. And this is at the root of all the problems we have seen over the years between the UK and the EU.

We don’t start with an overarching principle treated as divinely ordained.

We start with the facts of the matter, and ask how best to deal with it and what the likely practical consequences will be.

They say, however,  that the principle or rule is paramount and all else must follow. Whatever the consequences, events must be shaped according to their will…

In reality of course, they invariably end up with x number of derogations or exemptions, in order to accommodate reality. It is very common here in France…

The existence of exemptions demonstrates the inadequacy of the general rule, and therefore of their approach…

But let me come back to specifics in this connection: an example from the recent talks over the so called divorce Bill.

Mr Davis reported that when a UK lawyer gave a talk to the negotiators examining the basis of the EU legal claim to a final bill, the EU team were frustrated and could not see the point: apparently they expected a counter bid, not a questioning of the basis for their claim.

The assumption that they are legally correct and cannot be challenged is typical of their approach.

And they remain unrealistically in EU mode – ie the supra national authority dictates to the individual national governments. That a national government should have the audacity not only to contradict but to logically explain why,  suits neither their unrealistic world view, nor their ingrained arrogance.

Ray Catlin