The present mess the politicians (Brexiteers and Remainians alike) have gotten the UK into brings to mind the age old picture of being stuck up a gum aka eucalyptus tree, as well as Canto VI, XVII in Walter Scott’s epic poem “Marmion” published in 1808.
Doubtless Mr Cummings and his colleagues will be congratulating themselves – we mention Cummings as he is part of the mind behind the strategy whereas a certain Boris Johnson appears to have fulfilled the role of mouthpiece – on their strategy. After all they will say:
“Well we’ve won haven’t we?”
Err……. No. Not yet!
If a certain Boris Johnson manages to get his name with AN Other candidate on the two person short list he MIGHT be handling the negotiations.
We enter the doubt for whilst we suggested in yesterday’s article Professor Wyatt was talking nonsense about the EU bouncing the UK into starting negotiations, it was the BBC who helpfully stated that EU Law is whatever EU leaders want it to be!
In yet another attempt to have Messrs. Cummings and Johnson to grasp the basics of the UK’s difficulties this organ will attempt – again – to explain this in terms that hopefully, even these two unfortunates can understand!
You see gentleman; you have just expended much time energy and effort convincing 52% of those who voted in the recent referendum that uncontrolled and unlimited immigration from other EU member states could henceforth be controlled and could indeed be limited.
There is a problem with this: this is dependent upon the UK’s – or what is left of it – accepting whatever terms the remaining 27 EU member states see fit to impose on it! It will be a take it or leave it scenario – probably with a very hefty price tag each way – a huge penalty to pay the EU on leaving and a somewhat lesser penalty were the UK to turn around and say they have had a change of policy and do not wish to leave. As alluded to before, these terms might make the terms of Austria’s ultimatum to Serbia in July 1914 appear generous!
The one way the UK could – and should – avoid this scenario is to announce that the UK will join EFTA upon leaving with simultaneous entry into the EEA. This things can be achieved and it would be difficult if not impossible for the EU to block. This would allow our industry (including the vital financial services industry) to continue as the UK would still be in the Single Market. The problem is that this would require compliance with the Free Movement of People policy. EU migration could be controlled in future either by deciding to leave the Single Market or by the Single Market abandoning that requirement.
Now at this point Messrs. Cummings and Johnson will be shouting at their computer screens and declaring that if they had taken the Doctor Richard North’s and the British Gazette’s advice the referendum would not have been won and that by judging from the demographics of the vote, the referendum took place just in time. The British Gazette would not dispute these claims, but would point out that the UK appears now to be in a most invidious position!
Whilst most of the significant member states are demanding an early submission of Article 50 the person who counts, Frau Doktor Merkel has indicated that she will allow the delay the British are seeking.
It must be remembered, that Angela Merkel is fluent in English and will be monitoring the reports about just what is going on in the UK at the moment. She will have noticed that along with the Tory party being in turmoil so too is the party constitutionally described as “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition” – aka the Labour Party.
The Parliamentary Labour Party appears to be coming apart at the seams!
Then of course we have Ms Nicola Sturgeon and her tribe of SNP MP’s.
Then of course we have the fact that most Tory MPs are Remainians!
Then of course we have the Tories small majority.
It may well be that there will be a move – by an opposition MP to move a Bill requiring that a binding referendum apply to the terms of leaving handed to the UK at the end of the negotiations. The Tory government would likely oppose such but it is likely that Tory Remainians would support it.
Should such a Bill become and Act the government may do one of two things:
1. Carry on with the likelihood of failure for the EU would have no incentive to impose other than the harshest of terms.
2. Abandon the process of withdrawal blaming the Labour Party, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats for effectively sabotaging the process and frustrating the democratically expressed will of the British People.
This of course will place the UK in an even WORSE position that it would have been had the Remainians had won the referendum!
Given the extent of the looming débâcle the Editor’s thinks that the excellent Mr Christopher Booker in his article (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/25/are-we-still-capable-of-governing-ourselves/) poses a good question about the fitness of the British establishment to govern themselves competently.