BRIEFING ON BREXIT
Posted on 03/11/2018
Former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, wrote an article in The Spectator magazine concerning the beleaguered Brexit issue. Sometimes, someone from the outside looking in can see things more clearly than those up to their necks in it. I agree with his observation that the vote for Brexit was a vote for self confidence in Britain’s belief in itself. Unfortunately, it seems that the British Government does not share that sort of confidence, It is a pity that they seemed too arrogant to heed the advice of an expert negotiator, Donald Trump. Instead they “”seem determined to broker a deal from a position of weakness.
Tony Abbott: How to save Brexit
It’s pretty hard for Britain’s friends, here in Australia, to make sense of the mess that’s being made of Brexit. The referendum result was perhaps the biggest-ever vote of confidence in the United Kingdom, its past and its future. But the British establishment doesn’t seem to share that confidence and instead looks desperate to cut a deal, even if that means staying under the rule of Brussels. Looking at this from abroad, it’s baffling: the country that did the most to bring democracy into the modern world might yet throw away the chance to take charge of its own destiny.
Let’s get one thing straight: a negotiation that you’re not prepared to walk away from is not a negotiation — it’s surrender. It’s all give and no get. When David Cameron tried to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership, he was sent packing because Brussels judged (rightly) that he’d never actually back leaving. And since then, Brussels has made no real concessions to Theresa May because it judges (rightly, it seems) that she’s desperate for whatever deal she can get.
The EU’s palpable desire to punish Britain for leaving vindicates the Brexit project. Its position, now, is that there’s only one ‘deal’ on offer, whereby the UK retains all of the burdens of EU membership but with no say in setting the rules. The EU seems to think that Britain will go along with this because it’s terrified of no deal. Or, to put it another way, terrified of the prospect of its own independence.
But even after two years of fear-mongering and vacillation, it’s not too late for robust leadership to deliver the Brexit that people voted for. It’s time for Britain to announce what it will do if the EU can’t make an acceptable offer by March 29 next year — and how it would handle no deal. Freed from EU rules, Britain would automatically revert to world trade, using rules agreed by the World Trade Organization. It works pretty well for Australia. So why on earth would it not work just as well for the world’s fifth-largest economy?
CHIMES COMMENT by James Williams
I personally visited some 10,000 houses in Portsmouth during the 2016 referendum campaign. Of course, I did not meet every single person in every house, but I did meet quite a number and I can tell you that everyone I met seemed to be thinking pretty hard about what Brexit or no Brexit meant. My overwhelming opinion was that, these ‘ordinary people’ of Portsmouth were not stupid. Many were seriously concerned about what it all would come to. I thus totally reject the claim that one side was stupid or flippant. At the end of the day, it is these sort of people who carry the full brunt of things if and when wrong decisions are made. Unlike, some of the comfortable classes that do not have to worry so much about getting mugged if they happen to slip out at 9pm to get some cat food.
Historically people, like those that live in Portsmouth have been through wars both home and abroad and many of their ancestors did not survive.
Britain is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019 with or without a deal, but Tony Abbott offered
5 points of advice in his article:
- Using rules agreed by the World Trade Organization, Britain set its own rules. As such, it can declare that it will not impose any tariff or quota on European produce and would recognise all EU product standards. That would mean there need to be no border controls for goods being imported from Europe.
- The UK should declare that Europeans already living here should have the right to remain permanently — and, of course, become British citizens if they wish.
- There should continue to be free movement of people from Europe into Britain — but for work, not welfare.
- No ‘divorce bill’ whatsoever should be paid to Brussels.
- There is no need on Britain’s part for a hard border with Ireland. Britain wouldn’t be imposing tariffs on European goods, so there’s no money to collect. Technology allows for smart borders, so that eliminates the need for a ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ arrangement. Also, Irish citizens retain the right to live and work in the UK in an agreement that long predates EU membership.
If the EU decides to get uppity about this kind of independence and try to punish the UK with tariffs, they are restricted by WTO rules that place caps on retaliatory action of 4-5%. Whatever they do, we have used to be a country that coped with threats and, we have a much larger ally across the pond that would be only too eager to a trade deal. In fact, Mr. Trump has already got one he ‘baked earlier’.