Very late on Friday 17th and very early on the 18th of this month I was driving across Bodmin Moor westward on the A30. This was through what is called the “Temple to Higher Carblake Improvement”. There is a 40mph (sorry, 64 kph – Derek) speed limit enforced by SPECS. Whether or not the workmen were working.
Hundreds of motorists have been caught and fined. That’s the law. The rules.
For a long time now the USA has been the largest contributor by far to NATO. If the USA did not participate in NATO, NATO would cease to be. For a long time know US Presidents and their administrations have sought to encourage the European nations to contribute more but so far without much success.
Then on 8th November, 2016 Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.
President Trump wants NATO members to meet their 2% commitment on defence expenditure.
Herewith the Guardian’s report on this: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/18/mike-pence-widens-us-rift-with-europe-over-nato-defence-spending
Frau Merkel has said that Germany will do this. In 2024.
I wonder what “The Donald” said when he was told that?
We know what Monsieur Emmanuel Macron thinks of Madam May’s trip to meet “The Donald”. He suggests that Britain is becoming a vassal state of “Trump’s America” GOTO: http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-election-macron-britain-idUKKBN15B16C
We would suggest to Monsieur Macron that since France and (for the time being) the UK are vassal states of the EU the point is both wrong and moot at the same time!
Of course, if Madam May presides over a Brexit that eschews EEA membership then meeting the 2% limit will be among the least of the UK’s problems!
Given the number of very important elections occurring in the Netherlands, France and Germany later this year, it would be most convenient if the House of Lords were to block the Article 50 bill forcing Madam May to invoke the Parliament Act in October – one month after the German federal elections.
There are two good reasons for this:
1. The one above (wait and see who you’re negotiating with) and:
2. Nothing will get done until October! This is because the French and the Germans will have one eye on their election campaigns. As a result they will “hang very tough” – and the clock will be ticking.
Of course, we already know what a successful Brexit in 2020 will be: http://www.eureferendum.com/documents/flexcit.pdf
Like it or not, this is the 21st Century equivalent of Hobson’s Choice!
Of course one always has a choice!
Madam May could choose chaos and political death or Flexcit and have some change of securing her party’s re-election in 2020. For that to happen, Flexcit would have to be called “the Transitional Arrangement” – the idea being that “Nirvana” would be promised at a future date!
What it is important to remember is nothing is cast in stone. Things change. Constantly. Nothing stands still. The European Union has evolved from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) that was formally established in 1951. After Brexit it will continue to evolve. As will EFTA after the UK has rejoined.
The British Gazette is sticking it’s Editor’s neck out here but we are going to call the French Presidential election for Monsieur Macron. Marine Le Pen we think will come out tops in the first round but Monsieur Macron will sweep up the anti Le Pen votes in the second round to become president.
The “Flexcit Brexit” will result in the Eurozone consolidating itself through closer integration. The tensions generated by the migrant crisis could well encourage those EU member states outside the Eurozone to follow the UK into their own EFTA+EEA arrangement.
This means that sensible EuroRealists should be already thinking about how the new enlarged EFTA will develop!
Many Europhiles like Messrs. Clarke and Clegg will seek to try and reinvent the EU out of EFTA. What may well develop is two European confederations.
There will be the European Union comprising the present Eurozone that will be closely integrated – as demanded by the requirements of the common currency. Then there will be EFTA that will comprise those states presently in the EU but not in the Eurozone. With the exception of Sweden, these will be the NATO member states. The EU states may well leave NATO and form their own EU based military force.
This will mean the EFTA NATO states will form a buffer between Russia and the EU. Just as the old Warsaw Pact did!
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!