Designed from Day One to fail, the Brexit process has now borne bitter fruit infested with worms. The ‘success’ presented to the British People – at a time of fear-mongering about collective security against Moscow – is what UK Remainers and Eurocrats hope will produce a sense of relief in Britain. It won’t. In an in-depth special today, The Slog analyses why ending up with little or nothing from Brexit was always inevitable.
‘The “breakthrough” Brexit agreement was struck after the Theresa May made concessions over the rights of EU citizens. Last night Scotland’s fishing leaders condemned the deal, which will mean fishing opportunities continue to be negotiated during the two-year transition period….’ Times
‘European Union citizens moving to Britain during the Brexit transition period will have the right to stay indefinitely after Theresa May caved in to Brussels’ D. Tel
‘There is no spinning this as a good outcome. It would be easier to get someone to drink a pint of cold sick than try to sell this as a success. In a warning shot to Theresa May, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson also declared fishermen were “deeply frustrated” with the deal….’ Mirror
The business press and the currency markets are delighted with the “deal” that David Davis brought home from Brussels yesterday. But it is riddled with concessions on control of our borders and waters – two central UKIP platform planks from the start – is only applicable to the transition period, leaves us with a divorce bill we had no need to pay, and still means that open fishing waters and an Ulster in the EU customs union remain on the table for the EC to pick at.
Why have we taken nearly two years to go backwards from where we were at a snail’s pace? And is a clean Brexit now more or less likely?
A close examination of the subterfuges, plots, delaying tactics and British collapses throughout the 22-months of quicksand-surfing reveals how the Referendum result has been betrayed.
What we have essentially had throughout the talks are three sides negotiating about something, wherein one side would rather chew glass than complete the talks, the majority of the other side are under orders to stay, but the minority loyal to UK voters want to leave. None of them know what they’re doing, but that doesn’t matter because the objective is, for two of the three sides, to do nothing.
There are some well-meaning negotiators on the UK’s Brexit team. There are none among the Brussels mob. And this is, I suggest, a premise that is easy to support, by the use of damning behavioural evidence.
The British Referendum about EU membership took place on 23rd June 2016. That is just three months short of two years ago. For some reason never properly explained (almost certainly consisting primarily of delaying tactics by the clear majority of Remainers in the Whiteminster élites) it was the 29th March 2017 before the negotiating “period” began – just over nine months after the result was known. The human female can gestate an entire new life form in that period…..but not start a negotiation.
Things got sillier still, because it took another eleven weeks before the “formal” negotiations started. So by the time the three sides sat down in Brussels – both sides of a British civil war and the European Commission – almost a year of time had been wasted. Of course, those in the EU and UK who had no intention at all of obeying the British citizen did not ‘waste’ that time at all. Every last senior member of the EC, Europhile interests in the UK, and the banking/media/bourse axis of globalism dispensed an enormous amount of time, effort and money on social media, in the press and on television lamenting the UK decision and framing arguments in favour of a second Referendum….despite the assurances of all Parties beforehand that the “the People’s decision will be binding….Brexit means Brexit”.
During this period, American B2B TV network Bloomberg (whose owners had poured in millions via Paris to support the Remain campaign) broadcast expectations of doom for the UK economy in the light of the vote. They were wrong. The Bank of England’s Governor (a former senior Goldman executive) made two press statements and one rate decision way beyond his legal remit. His predictions too proved to be entirely without foundation. The BBC’s news bulletins and analysis programming devoted not a single edition to the Brexit case, and over 80% of all its interviews were held with rabid Remainers ranging from LibDem self-destroyer Nick Clegg to the obscure German pr consultant Nina Schick.
The globalist billionaire misanthrope George Soros donated £500,000 to anti-Brexit campaigners and new Parties during this period, claiming to have done it “out of affection for Britain”….a State whose currency he had years earlier shorted ruthlessly in the hope of driving it into the arms of the as yet non-existent EMU (Euro).
Things were not helped by UK Prime Minister May’s decision (despite solemn promises to the contrary) to call a snap General Election for June 8th 2017. Her cover story for this cynical volte face was that she needed “an overwhelming vote in favour of the Government to strengthen our negotiating position”. This was humbug of the first order: Theresa May had been a committed Remainer during the referendum campaign. Her main desire in calling the election was first, to rout a Labour Party that seemed hopelessly divided; and second, to garner a larger majority so she could ignore the Conservative backbenches packed with committed Brexiteers.
It all went horribly wrong. Committed europhiles in her Cabinet like Philip Hammond and Jeremy Hunt openly flouted her authority once it was clear she was (so to speak) holed amidships. The Remain tendency in the Tory Party now gleefully leaves her in position as a puppet PM highly unlikely ever to achieve a clean Brexit. Right wing Leavers, meanwhile, fulminate in their impotence: for they shrink from calling a leadership election that might let Corbynista-Momentum Labour in.
So much for the genuinely divided and disorganised British side of things….a situation that has allowed the European Commission to harp on endlessly with “We are ready, you aren’t….just tell us what you want and let’s get on with the process”. This alleged position is in turn both mendacious and hypocritical: as we shall see, the finances of the eurozone in particular are in a parlous state, and if the UK does make a clean break with the European Union, Italy may well follow suit quite quickly. At that point, in its current form the EU would be both fiscally and financially unsustainable.
As the timeline shows, Brussels has followed a consistent, unswerving policy of dismissive rejection of every proposal put by the United Kingdom. Having become deranged by the vast, unaccountable power they have garnered over the last twenty years, the Commission is determined that – before Britain comes back crawling on its knees into a halfway house Brexit – it shall be humiliated after the fashion of Greece. It really is all rather pathetic. But as Yannis Varoufakis tried to point out to Mrs May, “there is no negotiating with these people”. He was ignored….as was I when I said the same thing to Athenian friends during 2011-13.
The anarchy began when – on the first day of formal negotiations, June 19th 2017 – the EU leaked several garbled versions of what it wanted as a divorce settlement. The Brussels side of the table (personified by Michel Barnier) went a stage further by saying that, until the exact divorce settlement had been agreed, no other elements of the Brexit talks could even be considered.
The EU’s stance was outrageous: it represented not only a totally unsubstantiated blackmail demand – nowhere in Article 50 will you find any mention of there being a leaving fee for exiting the Union – but to block any discussion of practical administrative urgencies on such a spurious basis was a very clear attempt to slow the speed of talks down to a vicious circle. The British side issued a press release saying they would “challenge” the demand. This quickly turned into a media circus choreographed to suggest that the UK “was all over the place”, “hopelessly unprepared” and so forth.
For those still unconvinced by this account of what happened, I would point all doubters to Theresa May’s letter of two months earlier – March 29th 2017 – to the EU Council, in which she made it abundantly clear that “We will of course continue to fulfil our responsibilities as a member state while we remain a member of the European Union, and the legislation we propose will not come into effect until we leave”. Nobody at the time had any doubt that what she meant was any existing budgetary obligations would be honoured in full.
This put Brussels in a tricky position: May was playing a straight bat, but it was important for the EC to cast the British in the role of deserters leaving unpaid debts behind. Another concerted media campaign now began in the US, UK and EU to suggest that the left-field blackmail demand was really about UK obligations. The UK, went the narrative, was trying to do a moonlight flit: it was being “obdurate”, “obstructive” and “dishonest”. Once again, La perfide Albion was there for all to see: Britain wanted “to have its cake and eat it too”.
On March 30th 2017, French president Francois Hollande delivered a blow to Mrs May’s proposed timetable by issuing this abrupt press release “The president has indicated that the talks must at first be about the terms of withdrawal, dealing especially with citizens’ rights and obligations resulting from the commitments made….”
The next day, Mar 31, Brussels demanded the UK rule out tax dumping as part of any trade deal struck during Brexit negotiations, and France and Germany refused to begin trade talks before Britain agreed to pay a Brexit “divorce bill”.
It was a clumsy attempt to blur the difference between obligations already accepted by Westminster, and a fantasy leaving fee that existed only in the sociopathic brains of EC functionaries desperate to retain their unelected power. But amazingly, it worked: in media across the World, the UK negotiators were again portrayed as sloping off without paying the rent.
The event that threw Theresa’s weakness into sharp, floodlit focus was the admission by Jean-Claude Juncker after his May 1st dinner in Downing Street that gratuitously leaking the entire proceedings to various europhile media “was a mistake”. Juncker insisted he wasn’t the leaker, but then he was on the record during 2014 as admitting several times on the record, “sometimes in diplomacy there is no alternative but to lie”.
However, in the light of such disgraceful behaviour, the UK Prime Minister restricted herself to a mild rebuke. She had by now learned that any resistance to the will of Brussels would be met with a media storm asserting traitorous behaviour on the part of the thought criminal.
And so the laborious “discussions” began. From here on, you really would have to be deficient in at least two primary senses not to spot the kindergarten rejection tactics adopted by the EU side.
On June 10th, Brussels rejected the U.K.’s proposals on EU citizens’ rights out of hand, as a “damp squib” – although the UK wanted to offer 3 million EU citizens in Britain permanent residency. On July 17th the EU Parliament formally voted it down.
May’s Election gamble was seen to have failed a week earlier. The EU was not slow to see the significance of her DUP Commons voting deal on July 20th: it now introduced the Irish Border issue as a cynical blocking tool, knowing full well that the pressure on the British PM would be enormous.
As early as 17th April 2016, Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had made the widely reported comment, “I think that the land border we share with Ireland can be as free-flowing after a Brexit vote as it is today”. It evoked no reaction from the EU at all. In fact there have never been any immigration restrictions between Southern and Northern Ireland since the Second World War.
Both Dublin and Brussels sources confirmed this week that, immediately following the Tory/DUP deal announcement, heavy EC lobbying of Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar began, with the specific aim of raising the spectre of ‘grey trading’ across the border. The Polish leader Donald Tusk flatly denies this, but these sources insist he was centrally involved.
On August 4th 2017, Varadkar made an unprecedented journey to Northern Ireland, in which he gave a speech of quite deliberately pointed emphasis on the Eire/Ulster border:
“[In 1979), the border was a very different place, a place of bloodshed and violence, of checkpoints. A barrier to trade, prosperity and peace. A brutal physical manifestation of historic divisions and political failure…..I have only a limited recollection of the border and the Troubles, but I know that I, like nearly everyone else on this island, do not want to go back to that.”
Varadker was six months old at the end of 1979.
His speech was an absurd juxtaposition of realities, suggesting that a hard border might bring back the Troubles. Northern Ireland’s executive was already hugely dysfunctional and in a political standoff. Varadkar continued:
“In the south we have found – over the past few decades – that the kinds of freedom some people thought were impossible have been achieved through the internationalist symphony of our membership of Europe….The challenge in our generation is Brexit. The Brexit negotiations are well underway in Brussels. And, to quote Michel Barnier, the clock is ticking. Every single aspect of life in Northern Ireland could be affected by the outcome – jobs and the economy, the border, citizens rights, cross border workers, travel, trade, agriculture, energy, fisheries, aviation, EU funding, tourism, public services, the list goes on.”
Leo obviously has a crystal ball of greater clarity than the rest of us, but setting aside the bloke’s clairvoyance, this was a lickspittle address lauding the EU as a paragon of libertarian virtue, and Brexit as The Hornèd One. Should the Taoiseach ever bother to go to Italy and Greece while parading on the world stage, I think he would find those assertions a tricky package to sell.
He made the speech because he is an opportunist, showboating virtue-signaller, and always has been. But by early November, even the pro-EU Guardian was forced to note, ‘Leo Varadkar has in recent weeks become much more assertive in his insistence that the UK government addresses the border problem before Brexit trade talks can begin’.
People in Britain should note that the Brexit deal can be stopped or voted down at any time should a member State object….a point I have been stressing (in the face of a gale of fact-free derision) since June 2016. Do please follow the link to that Slogpost: I think any objective observer would have to admit I have been proved right.
On August 5th 2017, The British government published proposals on “a new customs arrangement that facilitates the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods between the UK and the EU”. It was rejected out of hand. This time the Czechs said they “didn’t like them”, but also the EU announced it was working on “its own set of proposals”. It would’ve been a good idea, perhaps, is they had told the UK team this before yet more time had been frittered away. Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s lead coordinator on Brexit and secret adviser to Greek carperbaggers, dismissed the proposals as “a fantasy”.
On 7th September, The European Commission set out its ‘principles for the political dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations’. These bore an uncanny resemblance to the Varadker speech, and never had a hope of being accepted by the DUP, which rejected them through November and December. Today – seven months on – there is “an agreement to try and make an agreement later on”. Orwellian or what? But also, of course, a spanner ready to be thrown into any tank driving through the minefield by any EU State at any time.
Once it was announced that Theresa May would make a key ‘olive branch’ speech in Florence on September 22nd, Verhofstadt immediately announced that all Brexit talks should be halted “because of this important political intervention”. More time-wasting, but no sign of a booking from the World’s media. It took Guy another six days to respond to the olive branch with these words:
“I rather imagine she gave her Brexit speech in Florence because she was familiar with the city’s 15th century politics of betrayal.”
All very helpful and proclaimed in a spirit of convivial cooperation. But most British observers beyond the robotic media pack – even many former Remainers – found her speech unnecessarily weak, and Verhofstadt’s quip infantile.
It didn’t help. On October 12th Michel Barnier announced that “Britain has made no specific offer of a divorce bill setlement, and so the talks have hit a brick wall”.
It was a classic of Doublethink: an alimony settlement with no basis in law is introduced as a blocker by the EU side….and so when Brexit talks stall on that basis, it somehow becomes Britain’s fault.
On October 17th, over dinner May pled with the EU27 for “a Brexit deal I can defend”, and asked for responses to her speech. They were, at best, lukewarm. The Big Chiefs made it bluntly clear during a frosty evening that they weren’t budging a centimetre, let alone an inch. And they didn’t. The PM described this the following day as “important progress”.
I could go on and on like this all day, but it would become tedious. May eventually offered a sum – a vast sum – to get the blackmailers and Tory Remainers off her back, but that sum is still the subject of both lies and conjecture: it does NOT include “British obligations to ongoing projects”, even though Remainer/Treasury officials continue to insist that it does.
Cutting to the chase, the EU has since last November put forward five sets of key Brexit proposals, every one of which has been rejected by Verhofstadt’s marauders within 48 hours. The divorce bill has passed into the murk of ethereal plasma along with the Irish border agreement. And for good measure, a separate proposal for financial free trade from London’s City on January 31st 2018 was rejected within hours. One prominent Labour Brexiteer told me last weekend, “that was probably the moment Boris Johnson finally decided he was on the wrong side”.
And so we arrive at yesterday, and the facile attempt to suggest that “an agreement is now in sight”, and this is “a major success” for British negotiators. It’s complete hogwash, and everyone knows it: this is the non-Brexit the Remainers hope to sell to the British in a mood of relief about additional defence security offered against “Russian poisoners” by the EU.*
Further, it contains numerous UK concessions, it only applies to the transition period, still leaves the Irish Border issue in limbo, and dumps our fishing fleet onto the sandbanks.
It is Dunkirk, but without the valour. And I rather think it has made a Tory leadership challenge inevitable…..whether such be palateable or not.