I have just been watching one of those press conferences with David Davies for the UK and Michel Barnier for the EU. I am left, in these early days of September with an immediate choice: do I do irreparable harm to our TV and throw something at it or do I write to you, with my frustrations and annoyance bordering on anger? The latter thankfully won.
Let me begin with a brief summary of some facts:
1) On 29th March 2019 the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. Period. (No matter what the Remoaner-riddled, often-deceitful Establishment might yearn for, no matter the historical “previous” of the Capital of the EU, Berlin….ooooops…… Brussels telling countries (think Ireland, Holland and even France) who have the temerity to vote against what they want just to go back and vote again and again “till they get it right”, we are leaving…. get used to it.)
2) The UK has to pay the EU on leaving the balance remaining unpaid of its agreed contribution to the 5-year EU Budget for the period ending 31st March 2020. i.e. a year’s contribution. (Presumably less any funds that would have been paid by the EU to projects in the UK in that final year, although no-one mentions that)
3. Upon leaving the EU, the UK is free to negotiate and sign trade deals with any country as and when it likes. (and things look very encouraging with America, Australia and Japan for starters; “back of the queue” Mr Obama? I think not)
4. If no deal regarding a future trading and Customs relationship between the EU and the UK is in place by 29/3/19 then we assume the commercial arrangements of the World Trade Organisation. These currently dictate such things for the EU’s two-way trade with the USA, China and Japan, which all goes very well indeed. (Of course, a free trade arrangement, especially regarding non-tariff barriers such as the delays and mind-numbing bureaucracy at our border with those ever-helpful free-traders in France, would be preferable as would some sort of transition period to allow everything to be in place after negotiations have been completed at, presumably, a minute to midnight on 28/3/19, but all that is not essential nor a prerequisite; Remoaners please note)
And now a brief summary of what I see on this bright September evening:-
1. The Head Panjandrum, the Wannabe Napoleon aka Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for the EU has said that the British “had to learn” ……. basically about the way the negotiations would be conducted. The sheer bloody arrogance of it! Why should we be expected to do it their way, how they want it played out? They need us just like we need them. We are NOT on our knees begging to be given some scraps from the Berlin…..er…….Paris…..er Brussels table. What is it about the unelected, unaccountable, cognac-swillers of the Commission et al that automatically assumes we are somehow to blame, to be punished, to be treated as if they are doing us a big favour by even talking to us?
2. There is a strong Remoaning phalanx of the Establishment, be they from the media (checked out the BBC lately?), politics or Business, that is approaching all this as if we are the empty supplicants, aching to be forgiven and treated to a morsel or two. Forgive me for sharing this terrible thought but judging by statements I read and bias I perceive but I am quickly coming to the conclusion that there are many Remoaners who would love negotiations to end poorly for our Country so they can smugly say “We told you so!”
3. Every time one of “Unaccountable glitterati” come up with a Divorce Bill (€50 billion, €100 billion….they’ll soon be talking of sums big enough to buy the right leg of a footballer!) we hear those bleats of “OMG! That will cost us our Education Budget!” appearing as first item on the News as if they are gospel. Whatever happened to “Let’s start at zero: your call”? How can we trust a single calculation from an Organisation which hasn’t balanced its books, hadn’t received a signed-off, clean Audit for nearly two decades?
Presumably Monsieur Arrogance would tell us Brits we need to learn Euromaths where you:-
– Think of a Number
– Have a good slug of cognac paid for by a few million working taxpayers who never had the chance to vote for you
– Double it
– Have another slurp
– Call Berlin to check you’re on the right track
– Add on a hefty percentage to cover the inflation-proofed monster pensions of EU bureaucrats whose Passports to Freeloading Land need to be paid ad infinitum by more than just the German taxpayers
– Finish off the bottle and tell the Brits they are very, very naughty children, need a good slap and will not be given the sheer privilege of being able to buy one of the million German-manufactured cars we buy a year or the half-billion euros a year of Italian luxury goods or the hundreds of millions of eurosworth of French food and wine unless we cough up the spondooliks and do so without delay. If you will forgive the repetition, what sheer bloody arrogance!
4. Evidently the EU negotiators deal with us one week in four ….and then have the temerity to say WE need to speed things up! What they mean of course is that we are refusing to agree to what they want. What a shame! Why on earth does Her Majesty’s Opposition, both those of the Official variety in Parliament and those outside in the media and Business, say it’s the fault of HMG when there is delay or when Barnier gets angry. Not doing what the other side wants is not wrong!
5. We cannot stay in the Single Market and take back Sovereign control of our Borders Mr Corbyn. Geddit?
6. We cannot stay in a Customs Union and do our own deals with the World (remember: we are the fifth largest and most open developed economy on Earth seeking global trade in Asia’s Century). Please tell me you understand that, Sir Keir Starmer? (Just as an aside, Sir Kier, how does your ‘K’ go down with your Marxist mates in the Labour Party?)
7. We should give the right to EU citizens working here to stay here, NOW. Over. Sorted. Next?
8. Why is it that when there is no progress in negotiations it is our fault? Why aren’t you blaming the EU, Labour? That bunch of Marxists would just give in, cough a hundred billion and claim victory! Barnier must love you!
So let us now start to grasp the initiative. Let us publicly call this appalling behaviour by Monsieur Barnier for what it is. Let us ask those Remoaner saboteurs to get behind doing what the people voted for……and Leave the EU, no ifs or maybes, no “stay in under another guise”. We are where we are; millions of people who voted Remain now just want us to get on with Brexit; as a Nation we should be pulling together to get the best deal possible which might well mean saying, in the end, “Take it or leave it” to Brussels
Because, Michel, what part of “NO” do you not understand?