Separating the wood from the trees

As the “ping-pong” continues between the two Houses of Parliament over the amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, it is easy to end up very confused, bogged down by a mass of detail.

Part of the problem is separating the wood from the trees. Some items of news, touted as major developments, could better be described as “going round in circles”. More of the same, in other words. Take, for example, the “Backstop” plan announced by HM Government two weeks ago – a temporary customs agreement  which, so it believed, would solve the Irish border problem.  Any gambler would have been justified in betting that the proposals would amount to nothing new and would promptly be rejected by the EU.  This, of course, is exactly what happened. In his usual polite, but measured way, Michel Barnier dismissed the UK plans. Here is his speech. For those readers not wanting to read it in full, this short extract, where he contrasts the EU’s “backstop” proposals (which have been deemed unacceptable by  a number of pro-Brexit supporters in the UK) with HM Government’s, is sufficient to show just how wide of the mark our side still is:-

But let me recall that our backstop provides answers to each of these questions.

It provides specific solutions to the unique situation of Northern Ireland.

The UK is taking a different angle, however. It is looking for a UK-wide solution.

Let me be clear: our backstop cannot be extended to the whole UK.

Why? Because it has been designed for the specific situation of Northern Ireland.

What does it do? On customs, Northern Ireland would form part of our customs territory. What is feasible with a territory the size of Northern Ireland is not necessarily feasible with the whole UK….

So it’s back to the drawing board with the clock continuing to tick.

If further evidence was needed of how good life can be outside the EU, even for signatories of the EEA agreement, this documentary on Liechtenstein is worth listening to.  It includes an interview with the country’s Prince.  If anyone should know how well this small country is functioning outside the EU but yet within the EEA, its leader must surely be the man.

Such is the muddle at the heart of government that some serious commentators are now claiming that we will never achieve Brexit. The forthcoming European Council looks to be a bad time for Mrs May. On the one hand, she is nowhere near to coming up with any sort of agreement to which the EU will agree. On the other hand, some of her backbenchers are threatening to bring down the government over fears that Brexit will be botched and disaster ensue.

The standard of reporting by the press when it comes to Brexit has left much to be desired, Looking at things more objectively, the two problems the government is facing are closely related. There are unquestionably a few determined “wreckers” who have not come to terms with the Brexit vote and never will. There are also mainy remain-voting MPs who have accepted the verdict of the referendum but will only go along with the government’s plans if they are confident that the country will not suffer economic turmoil and dislocation. They, unlike their more gung-ho Brexit colleagues, are aware of the problems which we, among others have highlighted if we have to crash out of the EU without a deal and bringing down the government is the only weapon left in their arsenal.

We have long been saying that only a crisis will bring a change of direction.  Thankfully, the government’s complete lack of ability to address the outstanding issues, let alone throw its weight behind a solution which will be acceptable to Parliament, makes such a crisis increasingly likely.  If it leads to a reconsideration of something like the EFTA route, this could actually prove beneficial, detaching from the hard core head-banging remainiacs those pragmatic MPs who are prepared, in spite of their own personal preference, to support the people’s democratic decision with a sensible Brexit and thus ensure that we do finally leave the EU next March.

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  1. Adam HileyReply

    enough is enough get rid of the House of Lords replace with 2nd elected chamber so sick of these vermin in ermine trying to undermine this Country create a written constitution in a federal replace no party system

  2. Jason BarkerReply

    Here we are two years on the 23rd from the vote. I truly wonder where would we and the EU be now had we lost the vote. What other Countries would have now become members etc, If only we could see behind the EU closed doors.

  3. Phil JonesReply

    No EFTA. It’s a backdoor way of keeping the UK under the EU’s thumb. On 23 June 2016 I voted for the UK to leave the EU and that meant the UK returning to be a separate independent self-governing country with no more political ties to the EU than the US, Brazil, S Africa, Russia or any other so-called ‘Third Country’ (I would call them ‘countries’ and the UK presently an EU province!). The members of the EFTA are not politically free of the EU. In return for ease of trade with the EU, the EFTA members must allow free movement of persons from the EU. So it’s a trade arrangement in return for maintenance of EU political control, albeit less political control than the EU has over its Member States (read: provinces). And you only have to look at Switzerland (EFTA but not EEA) to see the growing problems with EFTA. In return for bilateral trade arrangements with the EU, Switzerland agreed to the EU’s free movement. Now the Swiss people are rebelling and demanding a referendum on ending free movement — which in effect means that they want an end to Switzerland being in the EFTA. For the UK, EFTA membership would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

    John, I don’t see how this website can be called ‘Campaign For An Independent Britain’ when you are in favour of the UK not regaining full and complete self-government. EFTA means that the EU retains some political control over the UK. No way. That’s not what I and many millions of others voted for in 2016. Those who voted in 2016 were the British public, not just business directors. EFTA might help UK businesses but it was not what we voted for. The vote was Leave or Stay, without a middle option like Half-Stay, and after the coordinated Project Fear by Big Business, the Government and the EU, the Leave side still came out on top. I am trusting in Mrs. May to deliver the full and complete Brexit that I expected from the Referendum result.

  4. StevenReply

    The continuation of free movement so that British businesses can have a supply of cheap labour in order to cover-up the fact too many owners of businesses here can’t be bothered to get their hands dirty and train the locals is WHOLLY UNACCEPTABLE to me and it is really about time the CONServative Party told businesses that business is supposed to be the NATION’S SERVANT NOT ITS MASTER. Many of us voted to leave the EU because we wanted this free movement to end and not to have our country become a second Poland. I have no objection to a LIMITED number of very highly-skilled Poles etc coming to live in Britain but to be honest businesses here have got far too used to chain migration of all types and it is time they were weaned off it – by going ‘cold turkey’ if necessary just like some drug addicts have to do.

    I would rather Brexit is cancelled than to have politicians lying to me and saying they have delivered a Brexit when it has been watered-down to the point whereby our country is not FULLY SELF-GOVERNING again which to me was the point of Brexit!

    If the Conservatives don’t intend to enact a REAL Brexit then why did they call a referendum in the first place? It is NOT our responsibility as an electorate to help them sort-out their massive internal divisions on the subject and the world’s longest-running political soap opera.

  5. StevenReply

    Speaking of Switzerland, we could learn quite a lot from them. Not only is Switzerland one of the world’s most democratic countries with a fair electoral system which accurately translates the will of the people into representatives in parliament (unlike ours) they are also careful to keep out of wars which don’t serve Swiss interests and I am sure that is at least one reason why they are so filthy rich.

  6. maryReply

    Steven: re reference to influx from Poland : the problem is far far bigger than that. When talking about “EU citizens” we’re also looking potentially at the entire population (which is largely islamic) of Africa, plus the Middle East !!!!!!!. MSM are keeping quiet about the scores of thousands of “migrants” who are arriving constantly by dinghy on mediterranean shores. Mainly young men to start with but later……. Italy is already wrecked by this influx and expecting other EU countries to take their share, they would achieve this through free movement plus granting of maroon passports. I have no doubt that TPTB are engineering this deliberately.
    Our politicians and the EU can’t be trusted, so I agree total exit with no EU tentacles left. Quickly, before the whole thing implodes and we’re left to pick up the bill for the ECB, the EU Investment Bank and everything else. And before integration and State arbitrary power over us all becomes complete and absolute. I heard the EU’s target date for this is 2025 so no time to lose.
    But I’d say, be careful what you wish for when you say rather no brexit than a botched one ! : once the EU has us “in the bag” we’re all in for a very big shock.
    All the business problems (grounded airlines, traffic standstills) pale into insignificance by comparison and could be solved if there were the will. Think of the money we’d save if we walked away no deal, we could use it to compensate any smaller businesses that lost out through brexit

  7. Adam HileyReply

    anyone noticed the odious pipsqueaks Prime Minister of Ireland and the Japanese ambassador mouthing off about brexit like it’s any business of theirs the Japanese diplomat needs to be put on the next flight home if He butts in again Varadker is a useful idiot of Brussels

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