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March 25th 2018
Signing off on a partially-agreed ‘coloured in’ version of the EU’s draft Withdrawal Agreement last week seems to have led to a corner being turned in the Brexit process. Although confirmation of a 21-month implementation period is conditional on agreement on the Irish border, firms have somewhat greater clarity and talks can now begin on the key matter of trade. Putting the border issue aside for the time being also suggests that this will not in the end be allowed to block progress on a final agreement.
Theresa May’s reaction to the Salisbury chemical attack has also improved her image for statesmanship and her position is no longer being undermined on a daily basis. Opinion polls continue to show large majorities in favour of getting on with the job of leaving the EU. Life seems to be draining out of pro-Remain articles in strongly remain newspapers like the Financial Times, while pro-Brexit journalists such as Dominic Lawson in today’s Sunday Times have a spring in their step.
Robert Tombs is on a lecture tour in Australia and has a had a cheering reception. On being introduced to a sold-out lecture audience at the Institute for Public Affairs at Melbourne Central Library he was spontaneously applauded when it was revealed in passing that he supported Brexit. His views were also treated more appreciatively in a follow-up interview on Sky in Australia than has ever been the case on the BBC. You can view this interview at https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_5756126243001/
If you haven’t caught up with this week’s new content on www.briefingsforBexit then you can do so now, with further new blogs due this week.
Tara McCormack Reviews “After Europe”, a new book written by Ivan Krastev:
Tara points out in her lively review:
“More to the point, we do not have to look at immigration to understand the problems within the EU. Post Maastricht the EU has steadily removed national electorates from political decision making. Each time states that had a constitutional obligation to vote on any major constitutional changes voted on post Maastricht further integration treaties, they said no. Denmark (Maastricht Treaty), Ireland (Nice and Lisbon Treaty), Holland (Constitutional Treaty), France (Constitutional Treaty) all voted against various treaties. Greece of course voted in 2015 voted to reject the bail-out terms set by the EU. Denmark and Ireland were told to vote again and vote right this time. In the case of the Constitutional Treaty, which was rejected by France and Holland in 2005, the treaty was repackaged as the Lisbon Treaty. This too was then rejected by Ireland who had to vote again for the second time. So, as the phrase goes, it’s not like the EU can say it wasn’t told. The EU told itself that it was a post-political idyll but when the electorates were asked, they informed the EU that they disagreed.
This leads also to the (justified) feeling within the EU, as Krastev discusses, that people have little political control anymore. In 2012 a Future of Europe survey revealed that only 18% and 15% of Italians and Greeks respectively believe that their votes count even in their own country. And after the EU deposed Berlusconi and replaced him Mario Monti and the Greek people were told in no uncertain terms that whilst they could vote on a government they could no longer vote on their economy, it would be sur prising if any Italians or Greeks believed that their votes counted. As Krastev perfectly sums up, following the Greek crisis:
‘It was the most powerful restatement that the governing formula of the EU-namely, policies without politics in Brussels and politics without policies on the national level- had been enforced by the crisis.”
Meanwhile, Richard Tuck, writes about “Labour and the EU; Corbyn and the Customs Union”:
Tuck neatly sums up the position the Labour Party is now in:
“Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party has offered the chance of breaking out of the strait-jacket into which the EU has strapped all the political parties of Europe. As we can see in country after country on the Continent, it is the old left-wing parties which have been the chief victims of this strait-jacket. They have all suffered from the inability of their leaders to renounce their old allegiance to the European project, and it is no accident that the new left-wing parties such as Syriza which have begun to fill the gap left by the electoral implosion of the old parties are almost all in varying degrees opposed to the EU. The British Labour Party is at the moment the one exception to this rule, and at times in the recent past it has come perilously close to succumbing to the same fate as its Continental equivalents. Corbyn’s remarks on March 5th show that at some level he understands this, and it will be tragedy of historic dimensions if he allows himself to be forced back into the strait-jacket by timorous (or worse) colleagues in the shadow cabinet. “
We wrote last week about Richard Aikens’ blog: “The Intellectual case for Brexit: a lawyer’s view”: This blog has had nearly 1,500 Views already, so we know that it has attracted interest. His conclusion is worth repeating, “Personally, I would rather that ultimate decisions are made in democratically elected Parliament, rather than in the courts. That is my view of the world: I trust democracy; but I fear that the European Union does not.”
We have also been busy on Twitter https://twitter.com/briefing4brexit retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the National News.
This week has been particularly active with the new Transition Agreement between the UK and the EU laid bare as Theresa May, the Prime Minster, flew out to Brussels to sign it.
Theresa May said she looked forward to it being endorsed so they could “move on swiftly” to talks about the future UK-EU relationship, including trade.
@Kirstene4Angus is Kirstene Hair the Scottish Conservative MP for Angus and she sums up the anger over this deal in her tweet: “I could not be clearer – I will not vote for a Brexit deal that fails to take us out of the hated #CFP and deliver for our fishing industry. No ifs, not buts. #Brexit.”
@Econs4FreeTrade meanwhile were busy tweeting the Jacob Rees-Mogg (Cons North East Somerset) article from the Times in which he writes: “The prime minister will, at the European Council, get an unsatisfactory deal which we shall have to endure. There is much in it to regret and it illustrates plainly that although Theresa May has negotiated throughout in a sincere, cooperative and statesmanlike fashion, the same courtesy has not been extended to her in return.”
The Surprise for many was when the normally loyal Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan for Berwick got up at PMQs on Wednesday and asked the Prime Minister about the concerns of the Northumberland Fishermen about the Transition deal. Her twitter handle is: @annietrev.
What We Are About.
As our Mission statement points out: “What has brought us together is a firm conviction that Brexit is about reasserting popular control over decision-making in the United Kingdom. We do not think control is a fantasy or a dream. Nor do we think it is worth sacrificing in exchange for EU membership. We believe not in the sovereignty of governments, which EU membership props up all too well, or of supra-national bodies, but in the sovereignty of the people. After a considerable amount of economic analysis we also do not feel that leaving the EU will be economically damaging, even though a degree of short-term disruption may well be involved. We call ourselves ‘Briefings for Brexit’ because we aim to provide factual evidence and reasoned arguments. “
It has been a heightened week of tension for Brexit supporters so do keep reading our posts, and please do make your friends and colleagues aware of our quality content when they say Brexiteers don’t know what they voted for. By sharing our content and articles we hope that we can take some of the heat out of the debate and increase public understanding of the real impact of Brexit on the UK.
We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long term impact of Brexit.
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