A change has come. In a full Marie Kondo declutter, Remainer dreams of a second referendum or a delay to Brexit (via the Cooper amendment) have been thrown out. MPs also voted to bin the Irish Backstop, passing the Brady amendment on Tuesday.
The PM has therefore set out to renegotiate the WA, sparking joy across the Tory party, which she has finally united behind her. The PM’s final try to get her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament on Valentine’s Day is bound to fail since it seems most unlikely that the EU will concede enough at this stage for that attempt to succeed.
Talks across the Remain–Leave divide organised by Housing Minister Kit Malthouse succeeded in finding common ground between the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg and Nicky Morgan. The so-called ‘Malthouse Compromise’ – which at the very least has a name to suit the history books – has been tentatively endorsed by Theresa May as a fall-back. The Compromise posits just what we have long advocated: Brexit based on a combination of lesser agreements with a free trade deal at its core and a short transition period.
The EU will, of course, continue to insist that the only options are the WA or No Deal until as late in the day as possible. MPs, who continue to maintain the same attitude to No Deal as a child to the dark, might fall for this, and try again to seize parliamentary control decision-making. This would be foolish and unnecessary; a Brexit based on a variety of smaller deals can be arranged quickly and effectively. The strengths of this plan should soon show through as discussions of the Malthouse fall-back continue.
Cracks in the European position are showing through more strongly than ever. Ten top German economists have this week called for the Backstop to be abandoned, labelling it a product of EU ‘dogma’.
The tired arguments for the necessity of the Backstop, which the EU have wheeled out yet again, this week, are also showing their limitations. We have repeatedly heard the claim that rejecting the backstop will undermine the Good Friday Agreement. But as Lord Bew argues, the Withdrawal Agreement itself contravenes the GFA. Since the GFA is an international treaty, the UK cannot sign another treaty contradicting it. The government should be stressing it as it goes into the last negotiating push.
Finally, the latest data show the UK economy has grown faster than the Eurozone in 2018. The EU is slowing towards recession with an unemployment already almost twice as high as the UK. As we say on the site, ‘they’ve all gone quiet over there’.
Robert Tombs has this week written and article for the Express, discussing Remainer efforts to reverse the Brexit vote.
Meanwhile our other co-editor Graham Gudgin has explained in the Belfast Newsletter how a series of smaller deals can solve the backstop issue, and deliver Brexit.
On the website this week
What a Boy Scout could teach UK supermarkets, by Catherine McBride
Economist Catherine McBride points out how successful businesses make contingency plans, rather than petition the government to stymie the democratic will of the people, as supermarkets are doing over Brexit.
“Hopefully, the customers of these unprepared supermarkets will move to alternative providers who have prepared for a no deal Brexit.”
The People versus Parliament, by Professor David Blake
Professor David Blake tells a bleak tale of the attempts by big business, the political establishment and pressure groups to prevent Brexit from reaching fruition. By deriding Leave voters as ill-informed, overly complicating the exit and turning Brexit negotiations into a charade, they have come close to overriding the referendum result.
“We have had enough condescension, complexity and charade.”
The European Commission is slowly strangulating Europe, by Professor David Blake
Professor David Blake also explains this week how the EU is run by greedy bureaucrats with no regard for democracy. They have ensnared EU countries in red tape, through the Euro, absurd regulations and tax policy – all in order to neuter national governments and march on with their sinister dream of a United States of Europe.
“The European Union is run by unelected power-hungry bureaucrats who have no interest in democracy but a great deal of interest in increasing and consolidating their power”
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On Facebook this week Louise Sheils enjoyed David Blake’s article on the people versus Parliament, and comments, “Outside London, the people are very angry. We have delivered parliamentary democracy to the World for 800 years and look where we are now”.
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An Oxbridge PhD Student
Dr Graham Gudgin
Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Professor Robert Tombs
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge