Today we see evidence of an orchestrated campaign of misinformation on Brexit from France and Germany. Headlines in The Indy and The “i” speak of warnings from France and Germany. The Guardian and the Times focus on France, and President Hollande’s veiled threats of “consequences” of Brexit. And not very veiled threats, either. Hollande refers specifically to border controls, Single Market access, and other policy areas. The German Finance Minister is quite explicit: Britain could be “shut out of the Single Market”.
There is no substance in these threats. As I have argued in previous Daily Debriefs, even if France were to withdraw from the agreement that puts British border controls in Calais, we should still be able to stop (most) illegals in Dover, and send them back on the next train or boat. Germany and the EU can only stop access of British goods into their market if they withdraw from the WTO. These are empty threats.
But the timing of these threats is interesting. Cameron floated his idea of “migrant camps in England” as early as February 8th. But it was promptly dismissed by the French government. But then, on March 2nd, the very day before Cameron was due to go to Paris to meet President Hollande, up pops French Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron to reassert the border control threat, not so much as a possibility, as an inevitable consequence of Brexit. Next day, after the Cameron meeting, Hollande speaks menacingly of “consequences”, in rather the tone that a Mafia enforcer might use. Clearly our PR Prime Minister is using his lobbying skills. We used to speak of Peter Mandelson and the “Dark Arts”, but he isn’t the only one.
The timing strongly implies that we are seeing a campaign orchestrated by Downing Street and the Remain Campaign, to get foreign leaders to issue threats against Britain. We have seen this before. On February 27th, the G7 Finance Ministers, at George Osborne’s behest, included in their communiqué an explicit threat of the financial consequences of Brexit.
There is a very strong and clear presumption that Ministers in Her Majesty’s Government are deliberately urging foreign governments and ministers to threaten the economic prospects of our country. In the view of the Leave campaign, these warnings are misplaced. They are at the very least highly biased and partisan. And they risk becoming self-fulfilling, and doing real damage to our country and our economy quite independently of their substance. “Treason” is a strong and ugly word, but it is difficult not to keep it in mind when Ministers take action of this kind.
The Quiet Man speaks out
Iain Duncan Smith, in the Mail, has expressed similar concern about the behaviour of the Remain campaign — and by implication of the Prime Minister and the government. While recognising the damage that could be done to the country, he particularly draws attention to the danger of the damage that an acrimonious debate will do to the government and the Conservative Party. In fact we have an unprecedented situation where both our main political parties, Labour and Conservative, are simultaneously engaged in internecine strife. Some may see this as an opportunity for the third party. UKIP.
Donald Tusk mulls a UKIP policy
In a pathetic gesture, European Council President Donald Tusk has appealed to economic migrants to stop coming to Europe. The Express headlines“Migrants told to keep out of EU”. You might as well ask a lion to stop eating a sheep. But it seems that having tried everything else, and failed, Tusk is now thinking the unthinkable, and talking about turning back the boats, Australian style. The BBC reports: “Tusk says it is up to Turkey to decide how to reduce the flow to Europe, but that it could be time to turn back migrant boats trying to reach Greece”.
Of course UKIP has been arguing for turning back the boats for many months — and we have been vilified as heartless (even though this policy would stop the traffic, and stop the drownings). But perhaps the light of reality is dawning, and Tusk is prepared to accept that our proposal is a necessary condition for starting to address the problem.
“€uro will not survive another slump”
A new research note from leading international bank Crédit Suisse predicts that the €uro currency will not survive another recession in Europe.. “The viability of the €uro is contingent on the current recovery” says the bank. We’ve heard a bit less about the €uro crisis recently, and it’s easy to imagine that it’s gone away. It hasn’t. The demise of the €uro is “When”, not “If”.
To conclude, a blast of optimism:
John Longworth, Director General of British Chambers of Commerce, has concluded that Britain would be better off out of the EU, and would have a bright future as an independent country. He was speaking in support of a letter making the same pro-Brexit point from 200 small & medium size enterprises. He added (almost in the words that I frequently use) that “the EU has become incapable of meaningful reform”. Dead right, John. The only way is #Brexit.