No Deal Nonsense

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There’s a lot of huffing and puffing going on at the moment about how the Government is ‘actively pursuing a No Deal Brexit’, as if Boris and his team have no other plan in mind.

Even this morning in the paper Ruth Davison (apparently no fan of Boris), was saying how she couldn’t remember anyone in the referendum debate saying they wanted to actively crash out (that fabulous phrase) with No Deal, and she didn’t think the Government should pursue a No Deal Brexit.

Yet, at no point has any of the current or previous leadership said that No Deal was their preferred choice. In fact, the only reason No Deal is even an option is because, a) it’s the legal default under Article 50 if no deal is arranged in the specific time, b) the Government voted in Article 50 by a large majority knowing this to be the case, and c) then continued to repeatedly reject Theresa May’s deal. Who are the ones actively pursuing No Deal?

For what it’s worth, here’s how I think it way play out (based on Martin Howe QC’s article in the latest Spectator):

1) No Deal preparations will go through the the roof, which we’re already starting to see in the activities of Sajid Javid, Liz Truss, Michael Gove, and (presumably) Dominic Cummings with the huge planned No Deal media blitz.

2) This will have a two-fold effect, first it will enrage both Remainers politicians and the media, helpfully keeping No Deal front and centre in people’s minds and, secondly, put the fear of Jeebubs up the EU, who, in their current financial state (particularly in Germany), simply cannot afford No Deal. Mrs von der Layen is already offering an extension.

3) Meanwhile, the UK Government will work on their own free-trade deal in secret (along with other FTAs with America etc. Not so secretly). This new agreement, based on GATT, will include a tariff-free interim agreement to get us over 31st October and out of the Union. The Government will present to the EU ‘at a time of their choosing’ (to borrow a phrase). This will allow both the EU, specifically Messrs. Barnier, Junker et al, plus the Irish Government a way of backing down from the precipitous and unstable ledge they have stepped up on to, as well as unify those divided by the current deal, which I’m fairly sure is regarded as dead in the water by the present administration. The first step in doing this would be to settle the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK Expats in the EU. The first thing Boris did in his Thursday was to guarantee the rights of EU Citizens (and I agree, it should have been done three years ago), so we’re already off to a good start there…

4) We will leave on (if not before) the 31st October and everyone will be happy and think Boris is the best thing since pay-as-you-go bikes.

Shiny Happy People

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Kudos to Boris Johnson on becoming the next Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party. I only hope that he can bring about the energy that our country so desperately needs at the moment. I still have very fond memories of the summer of 2012 and the wave of optimism that swept the country during the Olympics. I know this wasn’t entirely Mr Johnson’s doing, but he did play a part (along with his team).

I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the warm weather, but the torrent of vitriol that has followed the announcement on the Guardian app is somewhat disappointing, if not unexpected. Even among my co-workers I heard very few exclamations of delight, and a whole lot of groaning. It’s all too easy to criticise, but I didn’t see any of them up there at the hustings or stepping in line behind Tom Watson to oust Jeremy Corbyn.

I’m no huge fan of Boris, but I do think we should at least give the guy a chance. I would like to see him prove his critics wrong, if only because if he does, I think the country will be a much better place. And if he fails, then quite frankly we’ll be just where we are now, wallowing in pity and clueless about how to resolve Brexit.

I’d much rather be in Boris’ shiny, happy, energised dreamland, and I don’t think it would take much to get there, just some good, solid leadership. Let’s hope he’s up to the task.

Fudge no more?

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And so the glorious fudging of Labour’s stance on Brexit appears to be coming to an end with Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to Labour Party members saying that, in essence they will oppose any deal that the Conservatives generate, but if they win an election, they will ‘renegotiate’ a new deal. Quite what they think they can renegotiate that Boris the next Conservative leader can’t that actually looks like properly leaving, I don’t know.

Mr Corbyn goes on to say that ‘whoever becomes the new Prime Minister should have the confidence to put their deal, or No Deal, back to the people in a public vote. In those circumstances, I want to make it clear that Labour would campaign for Remain against either No Deal or a Tory deal’.

He tries to placate leavers saying that ‘a customs union [and] a strong single market… is a sensible alternative’. Last time I looked, that was just being part of the EU, without any of the benefits of being a member, and I think most people know that. Presumably, they are banking on people to reject it in a second referendum, which by that point will be so ridiculously one sided as to not even be worth worrying about, the options being, 1) Remain and 2) Remain in a really daft way.

What’s more interesting is that the Labour leadership do, finally, seem to be bowing to pressure to go all-out remain (albeit in a clever way); the threat of the Lib Dems just becoming too much for them. While they fudge it (there had to be a bit!) by saying that they haven’t decided on their stance for any possible election, the wording is strong enough that it would be fairly hard to renege on this stance if there is, as is becoming more and more likely, a fairly sharpish snap election once Boris the new PM is in number 10.

I suspect Boris Johnson’s more hard-line stance will also be another factor in this, as well as the diminishing opportunities for Grieve and co. to try to stop a no-deal Brexit with today’s amendment not being selected again.

Inconsequential words

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Well, I just watched the hustings show on the BBC and quite frankly I think it was a huge waste of time.

Emily Maitlis seemed to spend most of the limited time Boris Johnson was given talking over him trying to remind him of things he said. Indeed, most of the questions seemed deliberately worded to allow Emily to go on the BoJo offensive – she had all her embarrassing Boris quotes lined up ready – although in fairness she did once do the same to Jeremy Hunt. Both Jeremy and Boris did a great job of ignoring her, although Boris realised this and his apology to her was one of the lighter moments of the show.

I’m not sure any of them came out of it particularly well. Rory Stewart seemed a bit vague and waffly at times (but did talk some sense), and Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt were competent, but in the most part didn’t say much of consequence. Michael Gove seemed to have a lot of air-time, and as a result may stick more in people’s minds, but his heart-felt thanks to each person who asked a question (when perhaps he should have just been answering the question) made me cringe.

I don’t think any of them said anything we didn’t already know, and none of them really properly answered any of the questions, or for that matter, really interacted with the people asking questions. None of them, for example, had the courage to tell the young lady who asked them to commit to cutting carbon to Net 0 by 2025 that it just isn’t economically possible. The poor Imam who asked the question about ‘words having consequences’ just looked like he’d been set up by the BBC to have a poke at Boris. The woman from Southampton mentioned that her husband’s job was at threat from a No Deal Brexit, but no-one asked exactly how that would happen (I couldn’t figure it out, and presumably neither could they from their answers).

I’m not sure what was worse, the BBC’s efforts to make them look daft, or their own inability to add anything useful to the ongoing debate. Either way, as I’m not a member of the Conservative Party, so don’t get to vote, it’s just an hour of my life I won’t get back…

Ch-ch-ch-changes

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One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is the human resistance to change. Time and again, no matter what our political, religious or social outlook on life, the old reptile brain creeps in at the first snifter of something new. Is it dangerous? How will it affect me? Will it hurt/kill/eat me? We’re all conservative at heart, it’s how we choose to react to these changes that defines us.

Some people will see anything as a threat. In the past, Galileo was forced to recant his affirmation that the Earth was not the centre of the cosmos. Today, remainers desperately hope for a second referendum so the loathed leavers can eat their words.

I find it sad that a group of remainers have crowd-sourced enough money to take Boris Johnson to court for the ‘lies’ he propounded in the referendum, particularly the nefarious £350m for the NHS. Last time I looked, Theresa May had already effectively fulfilled this promise last year, before we’ve even left. And why just target Boris? It smacks of witch hunt.

And where is the court case against members of the remain community, who predicted dire warnings of recession, housing crisis and more should we vote to leave (not just when we leave), and these were proved to be ‘lies’?