UK Politics

Britain’s Brexit fuse is burning dangerously short

We should have been a non-EU state by now

BY Gerald Warner   /  16 January 2017

Britain voted decisively to leave the European Union in mid-2016; it is now 2017 and nothing – absolutely nothing, not even the firing of the starter gun – has been done to implement the instructions of the electorate. Now we are told Theresa May is about to unveil her thinking on the subject. Does the country look as if it cares?

The enduring arrogance and sense of entitlement of the Conservative leadership clique imposed a Remainer as prime minister to execute Brexit. Who else thought that was a good idea? The Telegraph headline announcing the latest exciting development said it all: “Theresa May to side with Eurosceptics in major Brexit speech revealing what she wants from negotiations.”

Fancy that. After seven months of inanition the Prime Minister is to “side” with the majority 17.4 million voters who endorsed departure from the EU. That is good of her. And now she is to reveal what she wants from negotiations. Who cares? Why would anyone care what a defeated Remainer wants from negotiations that should not take place and which are an obstacle course set by Brussels apparatchiks to “punish” Britain and undermine her sovereignty and prosperity as much as they can contrive?

Article 50 is a permit to leave the EU under the most tortuous conditions, inserted into the Lisbon Treaty by Brussels and complicit British politicians to reassure the UK electorate that it was not imprisoned in the EU, even though it was. It envisages negotiations for departure lasting up to two years; that has now been reinterpreted to presuppose a minimum of two years’ negotiations. Brussels civil servants and their British opposite numbers have spent the seven months since Brexit concocting ever more complex issues to “negotiate” when all that is needed is for Britain to say goodbye nicely.

On day one of her premiership Theresa May should have sent a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, roughly along the following lines:

“I am writing to inform you that in compliance with the Referendum held on 23 June the United Kingdom has resigned its membership of the European Union, effective from today. We shall not be invoking Article 50 since we recognize it as an obstacle course erected in the interests of Brussels and there can be no obligation on us to comply with the law of an entity of which we are no longer members.

A UK parliamentary commission will now undertake the task of removing all EU components from UK law. We shall trade with all EU member states who want to have commercial relations with us, under WTO rules, until the obvious advantage to both parties inspires the negotiation of new trade agreements. I also give notice that European courts have now ceased to have any jurisdiction in the United Kingdom.”

Some such simple, clean break would have done the business. Market jitters would have ended months ago – except in respect of the crumbling EU – and Britain would be actively embracing the opportunities of restored sovereignty. But the British establishment is not only fanatically pro-Remain, it is marinated in a Brussels mindset that sees devastating another rainforest to add to the mountainous pages of the acquis communautaire as the answer to every problem.

The notion that departure is so straightforward is derided by Europhiles who assail any such suggestion with torrents of Brussels jargon and denounce people of common sense as “ignorant”. These are the “experts”, the naked emperors, the would-be authoritative buffoons who have presided over every disaster in the past 44 years. They are the same clowns who warned us in the 1990s that Britain would sink to Third World status unless we joined the euro currency. Britain now has a simple message for them: shut up.

Now the distinguished Remainers Theresa May and Philip Hammond are threatening (sort of) to leave the Single Market, Customs Union, etc. This so-called switch to “clean” Brexit is evidently a negotiating ploy to persuade Brussels to allow us to stay in the Single Market. As such, it exposes the enduring Remain mindset of those who are supposed to be enforcing the Referendum result.

The Single Market distraction is the biggest confidence trick since Tom Sawyer duped his friends into whitewashing his fence. The Single Market has consistently been portrayed as some kind of El Dorado when in fact it is a millstone round Britain’s neck. The aggregate GDP in 2015 of the 55 countries with an EU agreement was $7.7 trillion. In humiliating contrast, the aggregate GDP of all the countries with which Switzerland had agreements was $39.8 trillion; for Chile the figure was $58.3 trillion, for South Korea $40.8 trillion, and for Singapore $38.7 trillion. Some 90 per cent of the agreements those four countries had negotiated included services, whereas only 68 per cent of EU agreements did so.

The EU has opened a petty $4.8 trillion of services markets to British exporters. In two-thirds of cases, post EU agreements, the growth of UK exports has fallen. The bottom line is: exports of goods of the 12 founder nations of the Single Market are 14.6 per cent lower than they would have been had they been allowed to grow at the same rate as in pre-Single Market days and UK exports to the other founder members have been 22.3 per cent lower. Single Market? Beam me up, Scottie!

Holding out the Single Market as a supposed carrot to Britain is an audacious imposture. We need to get out of it, fast. The whole notion of the 27 states of the rump EU holding Britain’s feet to the fire in “punishment” for Brexit is a myth. In recent days reality has begun to dawn in Brussels. The financial services industry is not going to desert the City of London and move to Frankfurt: the EU needs London more than the City needs the EU.

Another Greek bailout crisis is looming as the euro currency continues to gnaw at the vitals of the Eurozone. In ten years’ time there will be no EU, at least in any recognizable form. America under Trump is well disposed to Britain and eager to cut a trade deal – if we can stop the BBC and the rogue intelligence community from blowing up the Special Relationship. New Zealand is queuing up too, to do business. Just get those bankrupts in Brussels off our backs and we can forge ahead.

Instead of fabricating absurd, modish fantasies such as the “Shared Society” (dear God!), Theresa May should have got us out of the Euroslum by now. Patience is running thin. We have had government in the interests of Islington and Notting Hill for long enough; it is time now for Sunderland and, imminently, Stoke-on-Trent to have their say. We should have been a non-EU state by now. If Theresa May imagines the public will tolerate a further two years of phoney, superfluous negotiations, or continuing membership, associate or otherwise, of the Single Market or any other EU institution, she is even more deluded than her predecessor.