Above, Love Decade – Dream On / Is This A Dream.
The reason for choosing the above is obvious: With each side continually scoring “own goals”, the whole EU referendum campaign was a surreal, “Alice in Wonderland” event. Politics post the Brexit vote appear to be still stuck in Wonderland!
Below is a report – reproduced in full – from a New Zealand news website on a recent visit by NZ’s Prime Minister to Europe.
[START] Prime Minister John Key says he was “quite shocked” to find during his recent trip to the UK and Europe that there is no plan for what Brexit is going to look like.
Mr Key is in Indonesia leading a high-level trade mission following a week of meetings with leaders in London, Rome and Paris.
He told a business breakfast in Jakarta that in the aftermath of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, there’s plenty of uncertainty about what will happen next.
“The most significant takeaway message is no one has a clue what it’s going to look like,” Mr Key said on Monday morning.
“We were quite shocked, we really thought when we got up there that there would be this plan that we had just missed in the New Zealand media – there is no plan.”
Mr Key went on to say that the UK government hasn’t done any work on what Brexit will involve and officials were in fact stopped from doing such work.
There are also difficulties for both Britain and the EU because negotiations on new free trade deals can’t get under way until the UK has finished its “divorce proceedings” from the EU, Mr Key said.
However, Mr Key said Brexit could mean Europe puts a bigger emphasis on its links with countries in Asia. [END]
THIS IS VERY WORRYING!
We have to ask WHY?
An optimistic explanation would be that the new May government is in the process of “getting it’s ducks in a row”. In one of her first acts, Mrs May very sensibly created a new department of state specifically to deal with Brexit. This is the Department for Exiting the European Union (DETEU) or “D2”?
Herewith is the website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-exiting-the-european-union
Another very sensible act of Mrs May was to make it clear that Article 50 would not be invoked this year.
This is why your Editor welcomed the start of the litigation over Article 50 in yesterday’s article (http://www.british-gazette.co.uk/2016/07/19/article-50-three-cheers-hip-hip-hurrah-the-litigation-begins/).
Your Editor has come in for some flak from some readers (who prefer to criticise privately by email and not publicly via comments) particularly for stating that those calling for immediate invocation of Article 50 outside Mishcon de Reya’s offices were idiots.
The fact of the matter is this however: Since the department of state that has the prime responsibility for conducting the negotiations is not fully set up, invoking Article 50 and set the two year clock ticking would be idiotic and therefore those advocating such a course of action are best described as idiots.
As it is the litigation presents Mrs May with the perfect excuse for delay.
Although Prime Minister John Key has stated that there appears to be Brexit no plan, clearly Mrs May would be completely inept and incompetent were she not giving any consideration at all as to what Brexit will look like – and we know that Mrs May is not inept and incompetent. Mrs May is in Germany today meeting Frau Doktor Merkel and later will be travelling to France to meet President Hollande. Clearly she will be observing what the “lie of the land” is.
Of course, this all boils down to one question: Just what are Mrs May’s intentions?
She has gone on record as stating that “Brexit means Brexit”. She has gone further however: She has stated that we [the Tory government] intend to make a success of it [Brexit].
Mrs May however has problems. Big problems.
The first of these are the litigation vis-à-vis Article 50 itself. It is the opinion of your Editor that the case will go all the way to the Supreme Court and it is likely that they will rule that Parliament must enact legislation and that the Royal Prerogative cannot be used on this occasion – due to Article 50 having the de facto – if not de jure – effect of repealing an Act of Parliament (ECA 1972).
Whilst the British Gazette welcomes the delay caused by the litigation, we do not welcome (although it cannot be avoided) the need to enact legislation for Article 50 as this will of course bring forth inevitable attempts by the Remainians and the Remainiacs to have the negotiations put to a confirming second referendum.
As stated in earlier articles, this eventuality must be avoided at all costs for the EU would be bound to exploit this to their advantage. The government should object to these calls not only because it prejudices a successful Brexit but because it is legally flawed. This is because Article 50 makes no provision for a “we want to think about it” scenario! Once Article 50 is invoked the parties have two years to reach an agreement. If at the end of two years, no agreement is reached the member state in question exits the EU in any event. Any extension of the time period requires unanimity. Any competent lawyer (this presumably therefore excluded all lawyers who would support the Remainians and the Remainiacs calls) will point out that one cannot make an agreement or otherwise contractually bind a party that is not party to either an agreement in question or enactment in question. In other words, because it would be necessary to seek the agreement of the other parties to make Article 50 “haltable” via a confirming referendum any clause seeking a confirmation referendum would have to regarded as null and void. This takes us back to King Canute when he demonstrated to his courtiers the limits of temporal power! We would also point out that it is the view of your Editor that such a “halt” would in and of itself require treaty change. However since the prospect of a second referendum presents the possibility of Brexit being cancelled the EU would creatively interpret the treaty to allow such.
Thus it will be very much the case that we will know at the beginning of the Article 50 negotiations whether or not the Tory government is committed to Brexit or not. If they are there will be no second referendum in the enabling act. If they yield to the Remainians and the Remainiacs then Brexit is seriously threatened.
So, how do we think Mrs May is approaching this?
Probably like most British politicians. That they managed to come to a self delusion that the national interest and their party’s interest and by extension, theirs interest are completely aligned!
Let us therefore try and look at the situation through the eyes of a Tory – for that is what Mrs May is!
Mrs May had the schadenfreude of watching Labour’s agonies on the issue of building new boats to carry Trident. She herself knows that whilst nuclear weapons is the issue that divides Labour, Europe is the issue that divides the Tories. Mrs may will ow that if the Remainians and the Remainiacs in the Tory party get their way the Tory Brexiteers wil be in open revolt! A successful Brexit that makes both Tory Brexiteers and Remainiacs happy must be her objective.
Of course, Mrs May is a realist and not (unlike some Brexiteers) a fantasist and therefore realises that any compromise is bound to result in either side getting less than they wanted but she will likley hope that the eventual Brexit solution satisfies enough of them to sufficient degree.
The other thing to keep in mind is Scotland and Mrs May’s commitment to the Union. We would refer readers to the article we published three days ago: http://www.british-gazette.co.uk/2016/07/17/brexits-best-hope-nicola-sturgeon/.
It has to be remembered that whilst England voted 46.8% to 53.2% Brexit and Wales voted 48.3% to 51.7% Brexit, Scotland voted 62% to 38% Remain and Northern Ireland voted 55.7% to 44.3% Remain. Thus whilst the Brexit margin of victory in England was 6.4% and in Wales was 3.4%, In Scotland the Remain margin of victory was a whooping 24% whilst in Northern Ireland it was 11.4%.
This is why Mrs May has gone on record as saying that Scotland (in the form of the Scottish government) will be consulted and kept in the loop vis-à-vis the Brexit negotiations.
The British Gazette will now raise one of the negative consequences of Brexit.
We did not do this before and during the campaign as your Editor is an old fashioned old duffer who holds the now unfashionable opinion is that it is the job of one’s opponents to score their own goals and not his!
One of the problems Brexit may bring is the loss of some important agencies that are now located in the UK. In particular we are concerned about the European Medicines Agency (EMA). It began operating in 1995 and is currently responsible for the evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU.
Brexit raises questions as to whether the EMA can continue to be based in London. Even staying in the EEA puts it’s future in doubt. EFTA/EEA members can participate in EU agencies, but they have no voting rights and only limited management rights.
To have such a prestigious EU agency located on the territory of a non-EU member might be difficult to justify, while the prospect of the UK losing voting and management rights would be a huge blow to the UK pharmaceutical industry.
There is a similar problem with the European Defence Agency (EDA), which manages the A400M project, the strategic airlifter which is vital to the RAF’s future capabilities. That we would have no voting or management rights in an agency handling this multi-billion pound project would be intolerable.
As of this year, EFTA/EEA states participated in 14 EU programmes and 18 agencies, of which 13 were regulatory and five were executive agencies. For the UK, a wider level of participation might be expected, with the terms of participation in each to be established. To secure greater management rights, and any voting rights, will doubtless lead to bitterly-fought and time consuming negotiations.
However, this circle could go along way to be squared were Scotland to remain in the EU. This because the UK could seek to ensure that as part of the package the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Defence Agency (EDA) could relocate to Edinburgh.
This of course would raise the prospect of GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) being re-domiciled in Scotland with a possible move of it’s HQ from Brentford, Middlesex to north of the border.
This of course would be an enormous feather in Ms Sturgeon’s cap!
The huge advantage for the UK however is that this would in these particular aspects allow us to have some part of the cake and to eat it too. The downside being that being a small nation Scotland would not have the voting rights as the UK now has.