Be not intimidated…nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice. ― John Adams, 1765, British Citizen, Founding Father and 2nd President of The United States of America
It’s over! It’s over, bar the ridiculous charade of ‘tough negotiations’. The thoroughly nasty and vindictive European Union (EU) has won. And gallant, heroic and duped Mrs May and her negotiating team have already lost. We can forget a fair deal on Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and a free trade agreement. And, unlike in normal divorce proceedings, there is no independent arbitrator to ensure something approaching ‘fair play’ where differences are irreconcilable.
In any negotiation the parties have to progress in good faith because each knows things the other cannot know; privileged information that could be used by the unscrupulous to exploit the situation. Our contract law consequently places obligations on the parties and means of redress through the courts when one party abuses its position. Unfortunately the EU, so far, appears to be negotiating in bad faith, not telling the full truth about what can and cannot be negotiated, and the UK is buying the deceptions considerably weakening our position; the EU are effectively ‘laying down the law’ and simultaneously getting us ‘over a barrel’.
Ambassador (rtd) Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos (Former Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization) was on the inside of the Article 50 negotiations when it was included it in the Lisbon Treaty. He has revealed that Article 50 was only intended to cover financial arrangements for a Member State leaving the EU. The remaining conditions now being set out by the EU are outside its scope and can only have been included to pressurise us, exact a far heavier price and coerce others into not leaving the EU. It is one thing freely to negotiate issues that are outside the scope of Article 50 but quite another dishonestly to hold a sword of Damocles over Mrs May’s head that ‘everything must be agreed before anything is agreed’. Obviously Europhiles on the inside are not going to own up to this subterfuge; they haven’t up to now have they?
Then there is the misinformation about the Single Market, free movement of people, costs of Single Market membership and the jurisdiction of the EU’s European Court of Justice (ECJ) etc. Different arrangements are open to members of EFTA; the European Free Trade Association who are also members of the Single Market, (the European Economic Area (EEA)) but not Member States of the EU and its Customs Union. They can and do negotiate free trade agreements with other countries. Free movement can be unilaterally suspended by any member of EFTA by invoking Article 112 (the Safeguard Provisions) in the EEA Agreement. The UK as a member of EFTA would be able to do the same, if we chose to leave the EU and join this trading association of independent European countries to remain in the EEA. Also, it costs the EFTA countries little financially to be members of the EEA although Norway does separately contribute towards EU facilities or services used and to development funds. The ECJ only has jurisdiction over the EU Member States and hence over part of the EEA, but not over EFTA (i.e., non-EU) countries.
There is also increasing evidence that the EU is out to punish us for the temerity of Brexit. Their ‘negotiating position’ is hardening and the language becoming ever more strident. For example, see Britain needs fighting ‘Plan B’ for trade as EU turns screws on Brexit by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard first published in the Daily Telegraph 26th April 2017. They can also be very obstructionist. For example, see The six Brexit traps that will defeat Theresa May by Yanis Varoufakis, former finance minister of Greece, published in The Guardian 3rd May 2017. Perhaps worse, the EU knows how to inflict real damage on our economy in the event of us leaving the Single Market (EEA) and becoming a ‘third country’ with or without a trade deal. On the outside, we would face external tariffs, non-tariff barriers (such as special rules, standards, certifications, approvals and inspections) and a massive expansion of Customs Clearances both here and in the protectionist EU (which they might want us to pay for as well).
What we are seeing is a well-established modus operandi for the EU which can be explained in a few quotes from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission:
When it becomes serious, you have to lie.
We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.
There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.
Article 50 negotiations as they now appear can’t achieve a reasonable outcome in our interests (we are being misled) and who would actually choose to touch these EU people – gangsters more like – with the proverbial barge pole? We need a plan to out-manoeuvre them, a strategy to ensure they cannot hurt us and to avoid any negotiating except where we are the visibly stronger party; money and concessions invariably flow from the weak to the strong. These are high stakes and if we get it wrong the EU will likely exact a price worse than they’ve inflicted elsewhere, notably upon Greece.
We could ‘weaponize’ our ingenuity, industry and research to redress the balance of negotiating power, for example, by investigating background facts, intelligence gathering and analysis; something akin to the backroom work of Bletchley Park. There are obvious skeletons in the EU cupboard and some that need digging much deeper, such as the sinister origins of the EU and long-standing anti-British sentiments. The earliest predecessor of the EU (the European Coal and Steel Community) was profoundly anti-British and had an aim to damage our then industrial power. We were saved by the then Prime Minister Clement Attlee from this calamity, only to have later Prime Ministers and British civil servants collude in the EU’s ‘management of our decline’. Former EU insiders ‘coming clean’ could be goldmines of information.
We could cultivate allies and build alliances with those we can do business with to mutual benefit. The obvious ones are EFTA, probably by becoming a (temporary) member. The media here and overseas, up till now mainly Europhile could be another ally. Communications to influence public opinion are essential, otherwise the EU’s propaganda arm and fellow travellers will use it against us.
There are other things that can also be done to defend our national interests once it is recognised that the EU’s actions relating to Article 50 are part of a major scam.
England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example. William Pitt the Younger 1805