Post-Referendum Debrief July 13th

Brexit: May just doesn’t get it

“Brexit means Brexit”, says Theresa May.  But does she actually know what Brexit means?  A story in today’s Express suggests not.  May says she will make control of immigration her top demand in her Brexit negotiations with the EU.  But Theresa, Brexit means we’ll be an independent country again.  We don’t have to go cap-in-hand to Brussels to request permission (Please Sir can we have our ball back?) to control immigration.  As an independent nation, we just do it.  That’s what independence – and Brexit – mean.

And Philip Hammond doesn’t get it either.  Here is our Foreign Secretary (and Remain supporter) saying that a Brexit deal will take longer than World War 2 – until 2022, indeed.    Why?  Because it’s such a complicated issue.  He appears to think that Brexit is just a super-charged version of Cameron’s failed “renegotiation”.  In other words, he’s planning to negotiate new conditions of EU membership, or associate membership, or Norway-lite, with free movement (perhaps with cosmetic adjustments), EU budget contributions, and controlled by EU law.

So let me spell it out, for Theresa and Philip.  We invoke Article 50 as soon as possible – say in September.  And on October 2018, we’re out.  We’re a free and independent nation (like most other nations in the world – how scary can that be?).  During those two years, we seek a free trade agreement with the rump-EU.  We shall get it.  Why?  Because Article 50 requires the EU to create favourable trade terms with neighbouring countries.  Because politicians and leading business figures in the EU are already calling for “a mutually beneficial relationship”.  And above all, because we have a huge trade deficit with the Continent, and therefore have a very strong negotiating hand.

There are those who believe that as the months tick by without agreement, and we approach the two year deadline, we will have a weaker and weaker position.  But on the contrary, the EU has more to lose by failing to get a deal.  Does Angela Merkel want to see thousands of unemployed German auto workers in Munich and Stuttgart?  She does not.  In fact the closer we get to the end of the period, the strongerour hand gets.

I firmly believe this will happen in the Two-Year Article 50 period.  But is it a risk? What if we fail?  Then we fall back on WTO rules – exactly the same basis on which dozens of countries (including the USA, China and Russia) trade with the EU – yes – and get access to the Single Market.  And the total annual duty on our exports to the EU would be less than half our current net EU budget contributions.  Even failure to achieve a free trade deal leaves us with a win-win situation.

What about the City?  The doubters and the Remainers say “You may get a Free Trade Deal on goods, but that will leave the City of London – our vital financial services industry – out in the cold”.  But it doesn’t have to.  Given the huge trade imbalance, we should negotiate to include services in our free trade deal, to give a more balanced and proportionate result.  In any case it’s arguable that the City will do better in global markets outside the remit of damaging EU financial regulation.

Let’s bury Project Fear

Now that the succession of Theresa May has been decided, and a big element of uncertainty removed, we’re seeing the economy bouncing back.  The FTSE 100 is in Bull Market territory. The Pound has recovered sharply against the €uro and the dollar.  Siemens, previously opposed to Brexit, has done a smart U-Turn, and committed to further UK investment. And consumer spending is buoyant, with John Lewis reporting strong sales.

Meantime a host of foreign countries have indicated their willingness to enter bilateral trade talks with a newly-liberated Great Britain. It’s a well-worn cliché, but it has rarely been more apposite: We have nothing to fear but fear itself.  Yet the publicly-funded BBC is still desperately trawling for negative stories on Brexit, seeking to vindicate the discredited Project Fear.

For a more measured critique of the post-Brexit economic situation, but from a Remainer’s perspective, try Ben Wright in the Telegraph.

May’s Cabinet

Many of the papers speculate about Theresa May’s Cabinet.  Will she include Brexiteers, and which ones?  Will there be a job for George Osborne?  Or Boris Johnson?  Some report that she is keen to achieve gender balance in the Cabinet.  That’s a fine aspiration, and there are some very capable women to choose from (not least Andrea Leadsom. And Priti Patel).  Perhaps Theresa was inspired by Marks & Spencer, which is setting up an all-women panel to advise it on fashion.

But because there are fewer women than men  in Westminster, there is clearly a smaller talent pool there.  Some names being mentioned cause concern.  Amber Rudd, who as Secretary of State for Energy seems blissfully unaware of the generating capacity crunch that the UK is facing – or of the damage that current climate policies are doing to the UK(and the EU).  And Justine Greening, whose main skill seems to be hosing public money at corrupt régimes and kleptocrats around the world.  Not a prospect that fills me with confidence.

Cameron begs May to preserve the aid budget: As he leaves Downing Street, David Cameron has appealed to his successor to maintain the UK’s extraordinarily profligate and wasteful Foreign Aid budget, which he says is his finest achievement. Few in UKIP will agree.

Keeping the UK together:  the Scottish Daily Mail leads with Ruth Davidson’s warning to May that she must make strenuous efforts to appeal to Scottish voters, and strive to keep the UK united.  .  Where does UKIP stand on this issue?  The clue is in the name: the United Kingdom Independence party.

Labour’s travails continue: The Labour National Executive’s decision to allow Corbyn’s name on the ballot paper in the coming leadership challenge seems guaranteed to ensure that Labour’s civil war continues – and makes a complete split in the party more likely.

Merkel refuses special border deal for Ireland

The Express reports that Merkel has refused to give Irish leader Enda Kenny any assurances of a special deal regarding the border with Northern Ireland.  Kenny was hoping for a “soft border” arrangement that would allow easy passage either way, but Merkel is insisting that it be treated like any other EU border.  Of course after Brexit, Merkel must have no say in how the UK deals with its own borders, but Brussels can make and enforce rules for the Republic.  Perhaps Mr. Kenny should reflect on the benefits of independence.

Greece: Migrants break out of camp and attack police

Greece is having massive problems in dealing with its migrant in-flow.  In this latest incident, hundreds of migrants broke out of a camp on the Isle of Leros and started creating mayhem. .  Locals claim that migrant problems are damaging tourism, while charity workers have left following threats from far-right activists.  It’s worth bearing in mind that Europe’s migrant crisis has not gone away.

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22 Responses to Post-Referendum Debrief July 13th

  1. john0267 says:

    There is little doubt that the BBC is maintaining a clear bias in favour of the (ex)remain fear campaign, which suggests there was a deal that they would do so prior to the referendum, possibly connected with the renewal of their license, but their persistence now seems pointless unless there is another agenda that is attempting to minimise the Brexit intention of complete separation from the moribund EU project. Like Nigel I am very nervous that Brexit is to be corrupted by a Nottinghill cabal of ex remainers with the assistance of the BBC and that this should be publicly examined by the Brexit Commission when it is inaugurated.

  2. Ian Wragg says:

    Roger. If you really believe that the establishment will let us leave the EU you must be seriously deluded.
    Every trick in the book will be deployed to try and trick the voters into believing we have a good deal. They don’t believe we mean out as we are too stupid to understand.
    17 million voters are going to be seriously pi..ed off at the next election if we aren’t out.

  3. Shieldsman says:

    The Labour heartlands voted to leave the EU because they are sick to death of the effects of continuing high immigration levels. We have industrial wastelands with few jobs to replace the closed industries. The communities are being invaded by migrants who have no intention of integrating, often due to language and religion.

    You have it nailed when you say NO to freedom of movement and if there is no willingness for free trade then it is WTO. End of negotiations.

    Freedom of travel on a passport without a Visa was standard in Western Europe prior to the EU, and there is no reason why it should not continue. Right of residence was always the prerogative of the host Country in controlling its borders and immigration.

    • Graeme Chegwidden says:

      I agree, Shieldsman. We can even go to countries like South Africa for up to six months without a Visa (if one wants to of course!)

      And then in relation to getting Visas, what’s wrong with them anyway? Aren’t they a fundamental part of knowing who comes and who goes? Work permits, study visas, temporary and permanent residence (or ILR) and citizenship are all perfectly reasonable methods of controlling population movements, each with their own restrictions, privileges and benefits. Aren’t they normal things?

      Any special agreements between countries to relax these arrangements are all very nice, but not necessary nor required for adequate relationships between countries.

  4. Flyinthesky says:

    There’s a game afoot and that game is to convince the populace we are out while being further entwined than we are already. Actual out can be achieved in a couple of years the illusion of out is going to take longer, being estimated at six years. I get the uneasy feeling we’re going to be shafted…..again.

  5. mike5262015 says:

    Roger, is there no way of offering assistance to Mrs. May ? I am sure that you and Hannan and Farage are ready, willing and able, and from this debrief it would seem that Mrs, May is without a clue on the hand she holds for negotiations. In fact negotiations is a big word for what amounts to – How can we help each others trade, now that we are out of membership ? Also, please can someone sign Article 50 ? I don’t like delay in that matter !

    • Graeme Chegwidden says:

      Mike, I wonder how many of the 17.4 million would sign a petition “Mrs May, sign Article 50 now!”? More than the claimed 4 million who signed the “second referendum” petition? Those posting on Roger’s blog probably all would, but that’s about 20 of us…

  6. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Exactly how bad can it get?

  7. RODNEY OLLEY says:

    Brexiters may well have to come to terms with reality which is that we won but only by four per cent. Had we have won by twenty or even ten per cent we would be able to demand all that we want but four per cent means compromise. Those doing the negotiating on the EU side will be fully aware of the situation and how tough they can be. Let’s not try to win the battle in a single day. Once the road to full Brexit has begun it can be regularly revisited. The main aim must be the restoration of control over our borders and the cessation of large amounts of our cash going into EU coffers. Let’s not think the remainers will accept that the battle is over just because of a democratic vote by the British people. They will be using any and every deviousness to achieve reversion and most of all studying everything we do or say to see if we provide them with ammunition.

    • Graeme Chegwidden says:

      Rodney, in terms of my (and others’) theory that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye, that in fact there is a far bigger agenda in the pro-EU camp than is publicly known or acknowledged, you are certainly on the money to warn that the battle is far from over.

      Monet, Schumann and friends who started the whole EU project in the closing years of WW2 wrote unequivocally that democratic processes would need to be subverted to bring about a single country called Europe under their control. The word “stealth” was used to describe their approach, to gain political power and to bring an end to independent European countries by pretending it was all just a large trade agreement.

      Discovering the facts of this history was the biggest thing that convinced me to vote Out.

      But bear in mind that this project will continue without us, and efforts to somehow rope us in will continue into the future. This should be a big red flag waving over any of our negotiations with them, and indeed over any of our support for those in the UK who keep pushing for us to be in tied in to the EU. One thing is for sure – these people are mostly not operating in ignorance of the grand EU plan!

  8. Josephine Hill says:

    The continued fuss about the importance of making a trade deal with Europe is totally unnecessary. The EU have far more to lose by not agreeing to favourable terms as Mrs Merkel has already found out from the Automotive industry in Germany. Let Europe approach the U.K. for a trade deal while we concentrate on making deals with our Commonwealth, who we shamefully abandoned to join the EU, and the rest of the World. While we are busy doing that let the EU have time to realise that the people of the U.K. will not tolerate freedom of movement as part of any trade negotiation. If this is not acceptable then they will have to find another market for their goods and Mrs Merkel will feel the wrath of the German automotive industry come the next election.
    Also the continued debate about what happens to EU migrants that have settled in the U.K. The answer is simple – provided that U.K. citizens living abroad are guaranteed the same conditions then EU migrants already in the U.K. and wishing to remain here should be guaranteed that right provided they are in full time occupation and are not claiming benefits of any kind. If they are paying tax and national insurance then they will be entitled to healthcare and education for their children. They should not be entitled to any other benefits, including child benefit, until they have been paying into the social security system for 5 – 8 years.
    All migrants and their families who are not in full time occupation should be returned to their own Country and all EU prisoners should immediately be deported.

    • Graeme Chegwidden says:

      Josephine, a couple of caveats. It is not a case of not trading at all with the EU. The base line is WTO rules, which provides for trade with tariffs. If we have no other arrangement with the EU, we can simply match their tariffs. Due to the much touted trade imbalance, they will lose out that way. This is the biggest part of the pressure on them to make a deal with us. It might even make mores sense for us to use the tariffs collected from inbound goods to neutralise the tariffs they place on outbound goods. The difference could even fund the administration involved. The result would equate to a free trade deal.

      Regarding migrants, I think a blanket “amnesty” is not a good idea. We need to know who is here legally, which means some means of registering them. If we ask anyone who does not have ILR of citizenship to make application for some form of permit to be here we will then be able to identify them.

      A large number of migrants (perhaps millions) are here to work for a few years at most, send the money back to their families in foreign countries and return home after that. There is no point in giving these people citizenship. The same is true of students or “backpackers” who are here temporarily. Those who wish for ILR or British Citizenship could be asked to apply. For these people who intend to stay there could be an “amnesty”, which would only apply if their applications were received before a specific cut-off date.

      Next, we need to have control over funds leaving our country. This happens in a range of ways, but it seriously erodes the net wealth of the country, and impacts on the standard of living of all residents. Foreign investment commentary seldom recognises that investors always expect to take more out than they put in. A United Nations webpage tells us that India’s second largest source of foreign capital is due to Indian people working in foreign countries and sending the cash back to India. A big chunk of that will be pounds leaving the UK. Many countries limit the amount of money anyone can send out of the country. It might be a good idea for us to do the same.

      Finally, about criminals serving sentences for crimes of which they have been found guilty in a British court, if we just set them free and send them back to the countries they came from, they will then not be punished fully for their crimes. Yes, deport them once their sentences are complete. No reason to let them off.

  9. Ex-expat Colin says:

    FARAGE: Fisheries And Free Movement – What I’m Watching Closest In Our Brexit Negotiations

    Yep.. they will require watching closely and challenging where necessary.

  10. Dung says:

    If May really is trying to squirm out of a full Brexit then she may be instrumental in splitting the Conservative party and giving UKIP a huge boost at the next election.

    • Graeme Chegwidden says:

      Indeed, Dung! I have often wondered how many UKIP friendlies voted for Cameron at the last election just to keep Milliband out, or for other project fear reasons. Could it be the same as actually did vote for UKIP? Looking at how many people actually voted for Brexit despite Project Fear, I don’t think that’s such an unreasonable idea.

      Working directly off the actual voting figures and assuming UKIP “stole” votes in equal percentages from all other parties, UKIP would have won 119 seats and come third behind Con and Lab. Significantly they would have come second in 291 seats, almost double that of Con and even further ahead of Lab.

      Intriguingly each Ukipper would only have had to convince 1.33 other people to vote UKIP for them to have broken even with Con!

      It was government propaganda that UKIP could never have got into power. Bearing in mind the EU elections, the extent to which Project Fear was used against Nigel in South Thanet, the continuous vilification project against Nigel and UKIP in general, Cameron’s about face on the referendum plus of course the Brexit result, I would hazard a guess that the establishment was terrified because UKIP had a really good chance of taking power, if not with a clear majority, certainly as a major partner in a coalition.

      The thing is, UKIP still exercises huge sway in more ways than most realise. I remember a few years ago Nigel was mocked when he said UKIP would cause an earthquake in British politics.

      I want a bumper sticker for my car saying simply “Nigel Was Right!”.

  11. Please see John Redwood’s diary of 12 July, online, in which he describes how efficientlly we could escape by using the 1972 Act p re European Communities. If Mrs May really means Brexit business, that could be the basis of a quick exit, without drawbacks to us.
    What is your reaction to that, Mr Helmer?

  12. Dung says:


    That would indeed be a fast exit which is so so tempting ^.^ and maybe a last resort. However if we do that without first negotiating our exit we will be breaking treaties that we have signed up to and I do not think it will happen.

  13. Ex-expat Colin says:

    PM May sounds like a Cameron clone…oh dear!

  14. Ex-expat Colin says:

    now came away with Corbyn stuff…job, house and ..ummm forgot?

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