Perspective on Brexit process

This week – indeed this month – has witnessed the on-going circus surrounding the Brexit negotiations. And we witness the principal actors in the Brexit drama playing true to character.

First up, the EU sticking rigidly to its position as the superior party dealing with a recalcitrant and rebellious member who must be brought into line because

a) the project is above the nation state, and the EU’s ordained role as federal super state cannot be questioned or put at risk

b) remaining members must be shown that rebellion brings seriously undesirable consequences.

Result ? In just the last 2 days we see the EU breaching the most fundamental principle and function of government, namely the security of its citizens:

  • on Thursday morning came the news that the EU has done nothing about preparing a regulatory framework for vital  financial contracts at the heart of the financial/banking sector – yet the UK has made preparations ….
  • yesterday the news that the EU refuses to entertain any talk of an agreement with the UK on the UK’s continued participation in intelligence sharing – and please note that everyone recognises the pre-eminent role played by the UK in Europe in this field

Again we see the the respective approaches of the Europeans and the British at work:

the Europeans are  philosophically and temperamentally top-down, authoritarian, imposing a given rule on the practice,  regardless of  circumstances;

whereas the British are temperamentally and philosophically inductive, determining the principles for action from the specific circumstances – building on particular, practical considerations to find a specific solution.

This lies at the heart of the disagreement between Britain and Europe and is revealed at every step. It is a reality which has never been properly realised and taken into account by either side. The sooner the British government sees this and acts accordingly the better for all.

It doesn’t matter what proposals the UK government advances, the EU will oppose them. It will oppose them because of its nature and its role;  and it will oppose them all the way to the 11th hour because that is the way the EU operates – everyone pulling their own way until the reality of the need for a compromise dawns and a last minute agreement is reached.

If the British government is to get any deal out of the EU it has to realise that it won’t happen until the last minute, and that even then it is unlikely to happen without major UK concessions because of the two fundamentals cited at a) and b) above.

The UK government’s only realistic and coherent option is to push hard on being prepared to go for the NO Deal scenario, and on being willing to carry that through.

The EU will respect nothing less, nor will it begin to treat in any meaningful way at all unless the government does this.

The key question is whether the EU will allow its nature and its horror of losing other members to dominate its approach to final negotiations, or whether it will put its members fundamental interests first.

The EU knows that all the Aces on every subject that matters are ACTUALLY with the UK and that it is not remotely in its members individual interests to lose out on the free trade deal the UK is proposing. Please note

  • The EU cannot afford to lose the annual net contribution of £10 Billion plus to its  budget because countries who joined to get their noses in the trough will now have to pay – among them Eire [please note this subtext to the nonsense the Irish government is now raising over the border with the North – please note also that the true interests of the Republic now lie in leaving the EU and remaining onside with the UK]
  • Key EU budget contributing members like France and Germany will suffer a serious economic hit on their exports if they lose the UK market whereas the UK needs a serious reduction in its balance of payments deficit with the EU – a fundamental  fact the media never mention
  • the UK is a key contributor to intelligence, both criminal and defence, unequalled by any other EU nation
  • the UK is a key technical contributor to the Galileo satellite GPS project
  • the City of London is unequalled by any other European nation and won’t be dramatically affected by Brexit, whereas the loss to the EU will be serious

The positions of strength and weakness of the two sides are exactly the reverse of what the media would have us believe.

Certain British media, notably the BBC – and the French media too – continue to hope for the abortion of Brexit and persistently make editorial decisions accordingly.

The bias is blatant. Disagreements in the British Cabinet are dwelt on ad naseam –  portraying  those promoting the vote to Leave as an awkward ‘Hard Brexit’ minority.

The assumption of EU rectitude and UK stupidity constantly informs the media approach.

It is incomprehensible to this writer that  anyone could have confidence in an institution which at its latest summit this week has shown itself yet again completely incapable of managing the immigration crisis – a crisis which has been going on for twenty plus years without any resolution by the Brussels bureaucracy.

But an honest representation of reality is evidently too much to expect.

The distortions and the half truths born of predisposition and its associated scepticism continue to be the stuff of  the distorted ‘debate’ around Brexit arrangements.

We even had the die hard Remain Tory rebels writing to the Times during the passage of the Withdrawal Bill  asserting that they accept the Brexit Referendum result but are asserting the principle of parliamentary supremacy !

When did they ever raise their voices for UK parliamentary sovereignty when all that regulation from the EU was passed unquestioned into UK law – a corpus of law so vast after all these years that it has had to be passed over wholesale into post Brexit UK law to avoid a serious legal crisis…

The question for Theresa May now is whether she will deliver on the substance of the vote to Leave the EU. Her coming White Paper in June will presumably start to give the detail of what she understands by taking back control of our money, our laws and our borders.

The Prime Minister continues to make the right sort of noises. But her willingness to concede vital specifics which should not be conceded is disturbing, viz :

  • a two year transition period [in reality 2 years of needless not knowing what will happen and two years of angst in which Remainiacs can complain bitterly about Brexit not working]
  • a £40 Billion divorce bill [totally unjustifiable technically – they should be paying us ! – reflecting a foolish hope that the blow to the EU’s continued existence will be softened, as well as acting as a bargaining chip for ‘better’ terms]
  • allowing ‘consideration’ of ECJ decisions, and even alignment  reference matters over EU citizens resident in UK
  • potentially allowing the ECJ to act as arbitrator over decisions it has played a part in [!]
  • talk of alignment with the EU Customs area to prevent a ‘hard’ border between Eire and Ulster [it’s not the UK that will impose a ‘hard border’ but the EU in slavish adherence to its Custom’s Union regulations !!!]

Theresa May needs to get real about the EU in Brexit, and about the Remain minded nonsense feeding the media frenzy on it.

If she doesn’t, she will end up betraying the June 23rd Vote, and reinforce the public scepticism [and worse] regarding our politicians and our parliamentary process.

Adapting Clausewitz, Brigadier JE Powell MP [now deceased] observed:

Politics is the pursuit of war, by other means

I sincerely hope that politics will remain the means by which we settle our deep seated and heart felt concerns.

The alternative would be hell.

Ray Catlin