Why the Brexit trade team has hired a New Zealander as lead negotiator

A week in which five somewhat underwhelming position papers were published by the Department for Exiting the European Union was rounded off by a piece of somewhat better news.

Next week, Crawford Falconer, a New Zealander, will take up his position as chief trade negotiation adviser at the Department for International Trade.

Mr Falconer brings with him some valuable expertise which our EU membership has more or less rendered extinct in the UK – 25 years of trade experience. He has represented New Zealand at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and held various posts in foreign and trade affairs in his home country.

As far back as 1973, we surrendered our right to negotiate our own trade deals and thus no longer had need of people with the necessary skills. Given that the freedom to strike our own trade deals was one of the most frequently-mentioned arguments in favour of Brexit, it is therefore encouraging that Liam Fox’s department has made this appointment.

For one thing, it shows that the UK Government is serious about developing an independent trade policy. More importantly, however, it shows  that a recognition has dawned at least in one Government department that trade deals are complex, requiring specialist skills. This is in contrast to some announcements – indeed, to some of the Position papers – which give the impression that obtaining a smooth Brexit will be a piece of cake.

It won’t be. For over 44 years, our country has been progressively denuded of many attributes if a fully-functioning sovereign nation. Many of us were profoundly unhappy about this and hence the energy and vigour of the Brexit campaign in last year’s referendum. We wanted our country back  – to take control once more and to end our subservience to foreign institutions.

The ramifications of that vote are beginning to reverberate through both Westminster and Whitehall. The buck will stop here – not in Brussels or Strasbourg! The EU can no longer be the scapegoat when something goes wrong.

Reclaiming our sovereignty requires not only a new mindset but a sharp learning curve for a new generation of civil servants. They are going to have to do things which have been sub-contracted out to Brussels for two generations. Not one UK Civil Servant still in employment has had any experience of negotiating a free trade deal on behalf of our country. Inevitably, therefore, expertise will have to be brought in from elsewhere to tide us over and the obvious places to look are those countries like New Zealand which share our Common Law legal system, our language and our outward-looking approach to trade. We can be grateful not only that there is an Anglophone world out there, but that our Commonwealth friends are prepared to renew and strengthen their ties with us after having been cast adrift so shamefully in 1973.

The more announcements we therefore hear of appointments like Mr Falconer, the more confident we can be that or government is really getting to grips with what it will mean to be a sovereign nation once more.

Photo by yellow book

The latest Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign bulletin has just been published

John Mills, a long-standing member of the Committee of the Campaign for an Independent Britain, is also the Secretary of the Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign, which produces a bulletin every two months on the Labour Party’s approach to Brexit.

The latest bulletin has just been published and can be downloaded here and previous bulletins are available from this page of our website.

Now available: Brave new Europe by Mick Greenhough

Mick Greenhough, a Committee member of the Campaign for an Independent Britain, has recently published a book called Brave new Europe.  Mick writes:-

I was a committee member on Leave.eu in the run up to the referendum having studied the history of the EU for many years and wrote this book when it became very clear to me that either Remainers were deliberately lying to us or they did not have much idea what the EU is about. The few MPs I spoke to either had a very sketchy understanding of the EU with many blank areas of knowledge or were in a state of complete denial.

The voting public simply did not believe the BBC and the mainstream media who all appeared so biased against Brexit that it caused many to ask; why they are so pro EU?

Much of the information within this book will come as a surprise, even shock to new readers. When you have read it then form your own conclusion as to the nature of the EU and whether the British public were right to reject it.”

The book normally retains at £10. 25, but is currently available at a special discounted price of £6.95 For more information, please see here.

Peer says that the General Election could mean that anti-Brexit Peers have committed the “ultimate act of political hara kari”

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)                                                                                          

News Release

 

19th April 2016

 

House of Lords “badly served” by anti-Brexit Peers as it faces threat to its powers from General Election

 

The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has reacted to the announcement of a General Election by pointing out the threat it is to the future of the House of Lords, following its opposition to the Government’s Brexit legislation.

Lord Stoddart said:  “The House of Lords has been badly served by those Peers who have threatened to delay or block Brexit completely, because their threats have certainly contributed to the Prime Minister’s decision to call a General Election.  Undoubtedly, the Tories will include a manifesto pledge to clip the wings of the Lords by sharply reducing the period by which Peers can block legislation.  They could also propose a reduction in the number of Peers or restrictions on their eligibility to take part in votes.

“Standing up to the Government is one thing but seeking to invalidate the will of the people cannot and should not be tolerated.  Opposing Brexit as strongly as they did may go down in history as the ultimate act of political hara kari by Peers who should have known better.”

Ends

 

A tribute to the late Helen Szamuely

With Helen’s death, one of the great freedom fighters of our time has passed on.

Born in Moscow, she was the daughter of a father who bravely opposed Soviet Communism; Helen understood it from an early age, and fought it long before the Wall came down.

She came to the UK at the age of fourteen and with a First in History and Russian from the University of Leeds and a doctorate from the University of Oxford, her knowledge of Soviet history and what it did to the Warsaw Pact countries was encyclopaedic.

So she also saw through the project of European integration from its inception, and was a founder member of the Anti-Federalist League, UKIP and several other resistance groups, also serving as Head of Research for the Bruges Group.

Slightly more surprisingly to many, she was also omnivorous in her love of the arts and could often be seen in the evening at private views for a wide range of styles.

Helen had a first class and incisive mind, and could be impatient with the less gifted, especially when she thought that even they should have been able to grasp the point she was making. But she was never unkind, and her generous sense of humour always carried the day.

We have lost a brave and good woman, and my thoughts are with her daughter, Katharine.

(This tribute first appeared on the Brexit Central website. Dr Szamuely was also a member of the Campaign for an Independent Britain’s Committee for many years.)