This article was originally published in December 2018.
The British Prime Minister’s Brexit has been so epically disastrous that it has trapped the EU into an ideal result for the UK. This is consistent with the upside down world she inhabits where virtually every statement about her Brexit is the opposite of the truth. Her Brexit failure could be the way to a clean clear Brexit with most of the negotiating power shifting to Britain.
It was the Chinese warrior Sun Tzu who wrote some 2,500 years ago in “The Art of War” that an over confident general should “not pursue an enemy who simulates flight” as the retreat could be leading to an ambush. The Spartans successfully used the feigned-retreat tactic at Thermopylae in 480 BC.
Of course Mrs May’s flight is not a feint but a genuine collapse. The EU is jubilant. The surrender document (Withdrawal Agreement) is too good to be true. They charge on and laugh at the failure of the British political class. But they forget they are dealing with the British people not their politicians. Ironically we can turn May’s genuine defeat into a real victory.
Accustomed to top down political power and public obedience the continental politicians (and especially the unaccountable EU Commissioners) did not reckon with:
- The automatic nature of the UK’s withdrawal
- The lack of time for another referendum
- The automatic default option of the “no deal” which is in fact a clear deal based on World Trade Organisation terms
- That those terms mean a big windfall for the British Treasury when we apply WTO tariffs to German and French exports to the UK
- That those costs would be on top of the very high price of those exports to the UK market after the Pound’s decline so EU manufacturers will have to reduce their prices and profits
- The UK keeps its £39bn + exit fee so other EU States will have to pick up the difference
So already the EU is coming up with agreements on citizens rights, air traffic, banking, customs checks, personal data, holiday makers and general transport between the UK and EU and – before March 29th – I am sure much else. Those planes will fly, there will be no problems with medicine recognition, no Mars bar or drinking water shortage, we will not lose our seat at the UN (although we would if we stayed in the EU).
And as the future of the May deal is constructed around the mythical Irish problem (although that is by far the least of its critical defects) we suddenly hear from the European Union that UK citizens will have to pay 7 Euros to go on holidays in the EU after Brexit. So much for the seamless border demanded by the EU between Northern Ireland and the Republic!
Suddenly we will find that what was a disaster and what were unsolvable problems can be solved surprisingly quickly. But only if there is pressure. Only if the UK has a political leader with the spine to assert no deal. Only if the 29th March looms ever closer. Only if French and German industry see the writing on the wall and start to order their politicians to stop playing politics and get a free trade deal done.
When we have left they will come begging to us. But only if we leave with “no deal” and exploit the brilliant incompetence of Theresa May which has caused the EU, with great hubris, to charge into the trap.
May’s Brexit Delusions
The British Prime Minister asserted that she had negotiated a good trade deal when there is no trade deal. There might be one after we are trapped in the EU for at least 2 years but her Withdrawal deal has nothing to do with a future trade deal. She said we need a “deal” to leave the EU but we do not. She said her deal means leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court, the end of free movement, the withdrawal from the customs union and the single market but her deal does none of that. Her deal even means that (unlike when she started) we would no longer have the unfettered right to leave at all!
When seeking votes in the confidence motion to remain leader of her party she lied to MPs by saying that the Democratic Unionist Party (on whom she relies to govern at all) was happy with her deal. They denied it. She said she would not be party leader going into the next election only for her words to be interpreted by her clique as the mere “intention” not to. Subsequently she went back on that and now is committed to going before the next election. Mrs May cannot even rely on her own deceptions!
First the Withdrawal Agreement was going to be put to parliament, then May cancelled at the last moment even as her allies were on the airwaves saying it was going ahead. She had previously told the EU that she would cancel the vote even before her Cabinet knew. Then she went on an ill-fated trip to demand changes to the Agreement but the EU said her ideas were “nebulous”.
- They did not know what she wanted from them
- They would not re-negotiate but would find a form of words
- Mrs May said those words would be legally binding even though the EU specifically said they were not
- The EU even deleted sentences of support for May from the communique.
But in mad May world she said she had made good progress! She still thinks she can get the deal through the House and that the E.U. is negotiating. That is “self delusion beyond repair” as the late Sir Alfred Sherman used to say – self delusion shared by her own MPs who have just confirmed her as leader!
Theresa May set out the principles for Brexit (because they were precisely what the British had voted for in the referendum) in her 2017 Lancaster House speech. The only way those promises can be fulfilled is by the defeat of her own Withdrawal Agreement and the “no deal” Brexit which she rejects.
The UK Is All Set to Go
Wages are rising, real wages after inflation are rising, employment has reached record levels – all as 132,000 fewer “EU citizens” work in the UK.
And the Pound? Well you have heard of these City economists saying how disastrous leaving the EU will be. But it seems when actually asked to predict the level of the Pound after Brexit next year the major banks all say it will rise from its present level of $1.26! Nomura says massively to just under $1.60. Barclays say around $1.30, JP Morgan and Citi bank say around $1.37 and the French Bank BNPP say $1.47.
While predicting chaos from a no deal Brexit the CBI has just published data of UK manufacturing success with orders growing for a second month in a row in December. The CBI’s monthly order book showed a positive reading of +8, after November’s +10 but well above average levels and a measure of expectations for the three months ahead rose to +14, its highest level since September.
If you want something more vox pop you might like to hear the lead singer of the very successful pop group Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson who has said that “Brexit will open the UK to the rest of the World”.
The UK has just announced it will stay in the Common Transit Convention giving “simplified cross border trade for UK businesses exporting their goods” and “provide cashflow benefits to traders and aid trade flow at key points of entry …….. traders will only have to make customs declarations and pay import duties when they arrive at their final destination.” As John Redwood MP says: “How about some apologies from all those who said border friction would be very damaging?”
So Armageddon it is not!
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This article was originally published on Freenations.