Open Letter to Nick Herbert

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Dear Nick: I have read the report on the launch of your “Conservatives for Reform in Europe” campaign.  I have been in politics for seventeen years, but I don’t think I have ever seen an example of a senior politician writing such a spectacularly misleading analysis of a major issue.  I am reluctant to suggest that you set out deliberately to mislead, so I am forced to conclude that you have utterly failed to understand the position that the UK will enjoy after Brexit.  Your comments are so egregious that for the benefit of other readers, I think I have to quote them at length.

“Let’s be clear: leaving would not be a cost-free option. Quite apart from the risk to inward investment, the price of access to the market which British business requires would likely be a substantial payment to the EU, the free movement of labour and no say over the rules – all the very things that proponents of leaving claim we would no longer have”.

Let’s leave aside “the risk to investment” – though it seems strange for you to raise it just at the time when more and more multinationals, including Toyota and Airbus, have made it clear that they would stay in the UK after Brexit.  And let’s not forget that a major auto company, Ford, recently chose to close its commercial vehicle facility in the EU – at Southampton – and move it to Turkey, which is (so far) not in the EU.  Here is a major multinational betting with its wallet that it can service the EU market better from outside the EU than from inside it.  Given that after Brexit the UK would be in a position to offer lower energy prices, a less regulated labour market, and in due course lower taxes, Brexit can become an incentive for inward investment.

What really astonishes me, however, is your suggestion that the EU would demand – and be able to negotiate – a “price” for market access.  That price, you suggest, would include a cash contribution, free movement of labour and subjection to EU rules.  Are you wholly unaware that first of all, after Brexit, the UK will be the EU’s largest export market, bar none?  And that we run a very large trade deficit with the EU?  If anyone is charging for access, the commercial logic dictates that the UK should charge the EU for access, not vice versa.  Is there any other market to which the UK exports that seeks to extort a fee for market access?  And leaving aside Norway and Switzerland, which have rather special deals that we should not seek to emulate, is there any other country with a free trade deal with the EU and is required to pay Danegeld for the privilege?  Do we pay a fee for access to the US market?  Of course not.

The idea that the UK should pay a fee to the EU for market access, when we are their largest customer, is preposterous.

You imply that we should be obliged to “observe EU rules”.  This is an example of the apparently deliberate obfuscation on this issue by the “IN” camp.  Yes of course our exports to the EU would have to meet relevant EU product specifications, just as if we sell refrigerators toAmerica or tractors to India we have to meet the relevant product specs in those countries.  But that is a world away from suggesting that the whole British economy should be subject to the vast panoply of EU regulation, which covers practically every aspect of industrial and commercial activity.

Are you aware that even if Britain after Brexit had no preferential trade deal with the EU, the total duty due on UK exports to the EU under the Common External Tariff would be substantially less than our current net EU budget contributions?

Similar comments apply to the free movement of labour.  The EU has a free-trade deal withKorea (as well as many other countries).  Is there a free-movement clause in that deal?  Of course not.  The EU is currently negotiating its TTIP deal with the USA.  Do you imagine that that will have a clause allowing free movement of labour between the EU and the USA?

In the context of free movement and immigration, you make another comment which is profoundly (and it seems to me, deliberately) misleading.  You write: “(If we stay in) we would still be outside the Schengen area and so able to maintain our borders”.  But as long as we stay in the EU, and therefore subject to its free movement rules, we are clearly unable to control our borders – and that is probably the biggest issue in the whole EU debate.  Your throw-away line is unworthy of serious consideration.

It may be true that 3½ million jobs in the UK depend on trade with the EU (though not on membership of the EU).  But if so, it must also be true that five or six million continental jobs depend on the same trade.  If Brussels seeks to restrict UK/EU trade in any way, the continents’ captains of industry will be beating down the doors of the Commission.  Do you imagine that those smart guys in Munich will say “OK, the UK has left the EU.  So we won’t sell them any more BMWs”?  The hell they will.

Digby Jones, former Director General of the CBI, says that if the UK leaves the EU, we will have a free trade deal in 24 hours, and he ought to know.  It may take longer than 24 hours, but it will be readily accomplished in the two years prescribed by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

 

 

 

 

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14 Responses to Open Letter to Nick Herbert

  1. Absolutely spot on Roger. The Tories are playing a truly evil game of misleading the British public.

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Something like this: (Breitbart)

    Yes, a lot of our efforts this year should go to fighting a European referendum so that we may reassert ourselves on the world stage again. But don’t forget, once parliament is sovereign again, it will be a parliament that we have packed with soft-fascists. Those who want to tell us what to eat, drink, smoke, and think. And those who will today be discussing what amount of free speech should get you banned from this country.

    Rats nest(s) to be untangled!

  3. ian wragg says:

    We are being bombarded daily with scare stories about what will happen if we leave the EU. It’s time the out campaign made it clear what will happen if we vote to remain.
    Complete political and financial integration plus joining the dreaded Euro.
    The EU will eventually collapse as happens with all empires.
    I just hope the people who did their best to keep us shackled to this monstrosity will have all their possessions taken to mitigate the enormous cost and hardship foisted on the population.
    I bet the government are crowing at the loss of steel jobs. Another dirty CO2 emitting industry gone. Good for the environment to get all steel made in China.

  4. Ian Terry says:

    Well said Roger.

    Obviously another convert to Agenda 21 because that is the way he is heading.

    Reading his comments the old saying about urine, neck and rain comes to mind.

    With people like this at Westminster the country is doomed.

  5. barrymx5 says:

    Paying to access a market is in effect a tariff. These are bound by the WTO, of which the UK is a founder member.

  6. catweazle666 says:

    ” I am reluctant to suggest that you set out deliberately to mislead, so I am forced to conclude that you have utterly failed to understand the position that the UK will enjoy after Brexit.”

    You demonstrate a much more charitable view of Mr. Herbert than I – and I suspect very many others, Roger.

    His dubious – dishonest even – catalogue of potential economic catastrophes contingent on our departing the increasingly ramshackle “Great Experiment” are straight out of the Cameron-Juncker playbook, and it is beyond belief that any informed individual could possibly believe such a farrago of lies and half-truths.

    The EU needs the UK infinitely more than the UK needs the EU, so the barrage of such mendacious propaganda can only increase as Indepencence Referendum Day approaches.

  7. Maureen Gannon says:

    Roger cannot this be challenged by you on the media , so that people can hear how they are being duped Nigel is on LBC cannot he allow you the spot for one week to get this message across, we have to break into the voting for a coloured rosette mentality of people, the Election proved that .

  8. Jane Davies says:

    Once the UK leaves the EU sinking ship and all the lies told by various politicians, and their supporters, are proven to be a deliberate tactic to mislead the public I very much hope there will be an election which will name and shame the liars, and therefore traitors, and they will be run out of office. To add to the naming and shaming their goodies and fortunes obtained whilst they clung to the gravy train should be confiscated and sold and the proceeds shared among the taxpayers, who over the years have lost trillions of their hard earned dosh over this disgraceful fiasco called the European Union. Meanwhile I hope UKIP and those who support Brexit, like Digby Jones, stand up and expose these lies and the liars and the real reason they want to stay in the EU. The gloves must come off and the guilty ones must be made to pay.
    A good open letter Roger…..I hope the little weasel gets to read it!
    Maybe some of his constituents will pass it on to him.

  9. Christopher Browne says:

    Most of all we should remember those rats that gave the impression of being “Eurosceptic” but turning their coats once the threat to career and pension became apparent.

  10. Pingback: Tory Remain group's false Brexit claims - absurd or deliberately misleading? -

  11. Anne Palmer says:

    If the EU is to “SPEAK” for all its Member States, there is no point in having ANYONE in those two Houses of Parliament. A reminder also, that our very own Common Law Constitution forbids us allowing foreigners “speaking” for us. “The Act of Supremacy 1559 went even further. It included the words: “…all usurped and foreign power and authority…may forever be clearly extinguished, and never used or obeyed in this realm. …no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate…shall at any time after the last day of this session of Parliament, use, enjoy or exercise any manner of power, jurisdiction, superiority, authority, preeminence or privilege…within this realm, but that henceforth the same shall be clearly abolished out of this realm, for ever.”

  12. john timbrell says:

    All very well but all UKIP MPs and MEPs are ignoring the elephant in the room. The fact that all UK treaties with the EU are unlawful as the letter from the then Attorney general to Edward Heath Shows. See http://www.englishconstitutiongroup.org/damning-letter-from-lord-kilmuir-the-lord-chancellor-to-edward-heath-2/
    To the Chief Executive Officer of the SUPREME COURT.

    NOTICE.
    I require you to pass the below for the information of each of the supreme court judges.

    BACKGROUND.
    I apologise for using this procedure but because the subject is of such national importance I think it is necessary to use it.

    To Each judge at the Supreme Court.
    Whilst watching an interview with Lady Hale I became aware that judges at the supreme court can call in cases from the lower courts where the subject is of national interest or there are points of law that need close examination.
    During this time of public discussion of the position of the UK in the EU I believe that the general public should be made aware of the legal and lawful position of all the UK’s treaties with the EU. Some, but few, people are aware that at common law giving away our sovereignty is a serious offence. The Attorney General’s letter to Edward Heath explained to him that this was so. The knowledge that Edward Heath knew of this is available to be seen in his private letters.
    Rodney Atkinson and Norris McWhirter laid Misprison of treason charges against Francis Maude and Douglas Hurd. The case was stopped by Nichloas Lyell the then Attorney General while parliament was in recess.

    This matter is of major public concern especially as all parties in government of all political persuasions are attempting to change our constitution presumably to place the sovereignty of parliament above that of the people.
    I wish you each to call in the Rodney Atkinson and Norris McWhirter case not to necessarily to continue with the prosecution but to examine and rule on the unlawfulness of the EU treaties as according to common law and the constitution.

    As this subject is of growing public interest and previous attempts to get this subject aired publicly have been blocked I will circulate this widely. Many men and women of this country are looking to the Supreme court and pleading for your help.
    Yours sincerely, John Timbrell. Cider Mill Cottage. Prossers Wood, Drybrook. Glos. GL17 9EY
    This email has been sent from a virus-free computer protected by Avast.
    http://www.avast.com

    • Jane Davies says:

      Treason indeed, so how come the guilty were allowed to get away with this? Not only did Heath deliberately lie to the people but he was allowed to carry on by those who knew this was a treasonable offence. The very last sentence on the link is interesting ” It is a Praemunice to subject Her Majesty’s Courts of law to the domination of a foreign court outside of Her Majesty’s control.”
      Maybe somebody should remind the law lords of this before they write Sharia law into British courts of law.

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