Just so long as…
A fine old negotiation that turned out to be, didn’t it? Brexit, I’m talking about. Not heard? I expect you have. Perhaps you preferred to turn a blind ear. Understandable if you did. Anyway, the long and short of it is that for all the time spent negotiating with the EU, the tables have been turned. The EU rhinoceros has changed direction 180 degrees against the British cats pursuing it and bitten them hard in the you know what. The EU method is simple. If, post Brexit, you want to do a deal with Europe on the financial markets we shall be delighted – just so long as you follow the EU regulations for financial dealings. Valdis Dombrovskis says so. I call it game, set and scratch.
So what was the negotiating about? It was about The Deal. We all knew that. If we didn’t have The Deal, we were assured, everything would fall apart. There would be chaos at the ports, in the accounting offices, wherever. ‘No deal’ was out of the question, hence the protracted negotiations. We didn’t get to know what the negotiations were about – too detailed for the voters, of course. These were high-level talks of a hugely complex kind involving only the brightest and best.
Perhaps it wasn’t necessary to explain that these were the exit negotiations, not the post-Brexit staying-in-touch negotiations. It was to me. You see, I thought both exit and remaining in touch negotiations were being conducted together. At the very least I thought there would be some sort of ‘no war’ agreement as part of the £59 Billions payoff. Apparently not. As the EU Commissioner has just pointed out, Britain will be welcome to continue financial trade with Europe, on EU terms. So the negotiations weren’t about continuity but about escape?
That does put a rather different complex on it, doesn’t it? Will this set of conditions apply to all commodities and goods? OK to trade if you comply totally with EU regulations? Of course not, don’t be silly. It only applies to finance. All other transactions are up for grabs – well, up for negotiations anyway. Of course, finance is a major part of our transactions with EU. Never mind, we’ve lost that one. There are many more markets to try for. Aren’t there?
Yes, indeed. Just one snag though. EU is imposing carbon footprint limits on everything, intending to become the Carbon Footprint Exemplar of the world. We all cheer that to the echo – except the people who have been doing our negotiations for Brexit. They negotiated on the basis of one set of carbon rules which are now to be totally changed. To be honest, all the rules are going to change. The weather tells us that. Doesn’t it just make you spit?
I don’t want to depress you. There are plenty of good things to rejoice about in the world. And we now know what we need to combat these big, bully-boy tactics from countries several times the size of ourselves, clubbed together with the express purpose of preserving their standards of living and protecting themselves from disadvantageous trade deals. We must club together with like-minded countries to erect the same safeguards and barriers. I have two suggestions for starters – United States and Wales. The three of us would make a cosy ensemble.
There have been three cataclysmic idiocies about Brexit. The first was the referendum itself. Ill-conceived and badly run it was an example of sloppy politics at its worst. The second was “Brexit means Brexit.” At the time I said it was probably the silliest political statement made in my lifetime. I’d like to correct that and remove the ‘probably’. The third was the notion that Britain, for all its past glory, could stand alone in the world, socially, economically and defensively. Of the three, this is, and will always remain, the most ridiculous.
Britain is the country of my birth. It is not my home any more and hasn’t been for forty years. I weep for the first of these and rejoice for the second. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about Britain. I do, deeply. As with all those for whom I care, I would like some common sense as part of the deal.
Abandon Brexit and get busy making the EU a better place.
You’ll never regret it.