Daily Debrief March 12th

BoJo’s big speech

Yesterday Boris Johnson delivered his first Big Speech on Brexit. It contained some typical Boris gems.  “The UK would thrive outside the EU”.  Yes indeed.  “Nobody in their right mind would join the EU”.  And he described Cameron as “a merchant of gloom”.

Boris cited the Canadian model (shortly to be concluded) as the sort of trade relationship we should aspire to — a Free Trade Deal between independent partners, and not (as we have now) a relationship in which one side sets the terms for the other.

David Cameron sought to hit back, saying “The Canadian agreement took seven years to negotiate”.  But (as Dan Hannan remarked) “That’s because the European Commission was negotiating it”.  You have to feel sorry for the EU trade negotiators.  Before they can even sit down with the Canadians (or whoever) they have to try to cobble together the conflicting objectives and interests and sensitivities of 28 separate member-states.  It must be like playing chess in three dimensions — and British interests are all too often lost in the process.  We must challenge the myth that we’re stronger in trade negotiations as part of the EU.  We’re not.  But after Brexit, our negotiators, working for the world’s fifth largest economy, will put British interests and objectives front and centre.

Oddly enough I was also challenged yesterday evening at the Derby University Brexit debate on the Canada agreement by none other than our Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP.  He told me (which I did not previously know) that the Canada deal leaves in place a 10% duty on car imports to the EU from Canada.  That will not happen for the UK though.  How do I know that?  Because in value terms the UK imports twice the amount of cars from the continent as we export there.  That gives us an unassailable negotiating position.

Clarion call from Tony Blair

Tony Blair has made a speech supporting Brussels, but saying he would not take a major rôle in the campaign (that’s a pity — it would have been a boost to the Leave side).  But he added that those on the Remain side should try to show the same passion and commitment as the Outers.  He’s noticed the difference.  As I like to say, misquoting Yeats, “The INs lack all conviction, while the OUTs are filled with passionate intensity”.  Differential turnout will play a big part in this campaign.

Syed Kamall MEP backs Brexit

My former colleague Syed Kamall MEP, sometime leader of the Conservative delegation and now leader of the ECR Group, has come out for coming out.  I thought he would.  He’s made a bold and principled decision, but then he’s a principled man.  Emma McClarkin and Andrew Lewer, the two Conservative MEPs for the East Midlands, are both also backing Brexit.

Trump backs bilateral trade deals

The Mail reports that Donald Trump, in what is seen as a boost to the Brexit Campaign, is to back bilateral trade deals rather than multilateral packages like TTIP.  Of course the USA already has around twenty bilateral trade deals (and for the benefit of those who still believe that the UK outside the EU is “too small” to make its own trade deals, every one of those twenty countries has a smaller economy than the UK).  I’m not sure that we’d want to hitch our star to the Trump bandwagon, but he’s made a very positive point on this issue.

Row over EU migrant numbers

The Mail headlines “Tell us the true number of EU migrants”,  reporting that HMRC officials are refusing to reveal the data.  While official ONS figures indicate that 904,000 EU migrants have arrived since 2010, it seems that 2.2 million National Insurance cards have been issued to EU migrants.  The Mail is right: the government should clarify the figures.  But it understands what a salient issue immigration is, and is clearly scared to tell us the truth.

“Kick Out the Foreign Crooks”

In a headline that some might feel a touch xenophobic (but has some basis in reality), the Express headlines “Kick Out the Foreign Crooks”.  The paper reports that MPs tabled a motion yesterday in the Commons calling for foreign criminals to be repatriated, and prevented from returning.  Most British voters would support that plan, but of course it has no chance of success, because it would drive a coach and horses through EU law and various human rights conventions.  Perhaps the best thing this bill can do is to highlight the extent to which we have given up the right to make our own decisions and to protect our own citizens.

Derby University Debate

If I may be permitted a personal story — last night I was on the panel at a Brexit debate organised by Derby University.  On my side I had Nigel Baxter, Midlands Chairman of Business for Britain, and son of the redoubtable Neville Baxter.  Against us were Secretary of State for transport Patrick McLoughlin MP, and former Secretary of State Margaret Beckett MP.  We were up against the big guns.  A vote before the debate among the 200+ strong audience gave a wafer-thin one percent margin to Leave — it was 34/33, if memory serves, with many undecided.  After the debate, Leave had a five point win.  46% vs 41%, with fewer don’t-knows.  On such small shifts are the destinies of nations determined.  But I was encouraged by the swing towards Leave after a long and lively debate, and against heavyweight opposition.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Daily Debrief March 12th

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Trump..non hitch. There’s nobody else except the Clinton Foundations spokeswoman (same old miss speak). And Trump mentioned crap US negotiators have to be dumped. If he does get in he’ll likely walk all over the EU deals…badly. Just saying it as it is…or as he does!

    He’s also anti Climate junk. And on that subject this oldy has arisen (H/T WUWT).
    The Greenhouse Conspiracy (1990) – Channel 4 (when it worked right)

  2. Pingback: Give Britain a deal like Canada when we get out |

  3. Shieldsman says:

    I have watched on two occasions member of the House of Lords waffling on about why they want to stay in or leave, and how do we get out under article 50.
    On whether to stay or leave there were no convincing arguments either way, and of those wishing to stay in there was no understanding of the disparity of the differences between being in the Eurozone and our not being. The direction of travel is quite different and greater integration within the EU is necessary to boost the EURO.
    We had one old buffer (Con.) praising Cameron’s deal where claims to reformed the EU. Very few at Westminster understand the EU and the plans being laid for the next treaty changes.

    On integration this is what Cameron signed up to: “(UK) will not create obstacles to but facilitate such further deepening (economic and monetary union) while this process will, conversely, respect the rights and competences of non participating member states”
    How will Cameron avoid being dragged in.

    Then we had two retired law professors saying Article 50 could drag on and on. When we vote to leave that is exactly what we must do in the most expeditious and sensible way possible. It is a unilateral decision and a Government responsibility, as Cameron is not capable he must be replaced.

    Who said what , where and when
    3. next generation should not have to live in a country in which their prospects and opportunities “end at our shores”.
    4. I look forward to the day when the Westminster Parliament is just a council chamber in Europe

  4. Tedgo says:

    I really do wish people like Boris would read the text of these trade deals before they advocate them.

    The new Canadian deal runs to 1500 pages and is about protecting the rights of big pharmacy, big agriculture, big media and big Corporations in general. Its all about intellectual property rights and foreign investor protection. Very little to do with free trade.

    One blogger described these trade agreements as “Democracy Insurance”, that is if a government decides to introduce legislation to protect health, the environment, trading terms and the like, then these foreign investors can sue those government for millions. Arbitration of the investors claims is decided by 3 person commercial courts made up of lawyer. The outcome of these courts is binding without appeal to any higher court. Madness.

    The Canadians are the worst at this, a Canadian company, who has spent a few million dollars surveying a pipeline to carry tar oil to America, has had its application refused by the Americans on environmental grounds. They are now lodging a claim against the American Government for 15 BILLION dollars, based on the loss of future profits. (The right to sue is based on previous NAFTA trade deals, the forerunner of these new trade deals).

    In comparison EFTA’s free trade deal with Canada runs to about 100 pages, of which 17 pages relate to tariffs. Media and intellectual property rights are left to normal government legislation, based on WTO norms. This is how it should be.

    I want to leave the EU, but we will need some enlightened and skilled negotiators not to get sucked in to this Corporate Welfare.

  5. Please may we have Mr Erdogan as one of our negotiators after we have won the referendum?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s