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DANIEL HANNAN: Don’t panic! We can still get a strong deal with the most pro-Brexit House of Commons ever
This is the most pro-Brexit House of Commons ever elected. More than 90 per cent of MPs have just been returned for parties that are promising to leave the EU, namely the Conservatives, Labour and the Democratic Unionist Party.
That fact is worth remembering as you listen to the excited comments by British Europhiles about stopping Brexit, and the sneering by some in Brussels about the supposed hopelessness of our position now that Theresa May has lost her outright majority.
It’s hard to see how Brexit could be stopped even if MPs voted en masse against their party manifestos.
The EU’s Article 50, which began the formal process of disengagement, was triggered ten weeks ago. Thanks, paradoxically, to the Euro-fanatical campaigner Gina Miller and her court case, its triggering was endorsed by both Houses of Parliament, giving it unarguable authority.
In both British and European law, the United Kingdom will cease to be a member of the EU on March 29, 2019.
A lot of commentators misunderstand, or affect to misunderstand, this fact. Britain will pull out of the EU, with or without a deal, in less than two years.
The choice is not between leaving and staying. It’s between leaving in an amicable way and leaving with no agreement. Nothing that has happened this week will change that.
Everyone agrees it is better to withdraw in an orderly manner. We want to retain the friendship of our European allies. We don’t want a rupture that damages our economy or theirs, or that weakens the eurozone. Prosperous neighbours make the best customers.
That’s not to say that leaving with no deal would be the end of the world, simply that it is a second-best option.
Pro-EU politicians always use the same hackneyed phrase when they talk about a failure to reach terms.
They call it ‘crashing out’ of the EU ‘with no deal at all’. A more neutral way of putting it might be to say: ‘Enjoying normal, friendly relations with the EU, in the way that Australia and the U.S. do.’
Still, to repeat, both sides have made clear that they would much prefer an agreed and cordial withdrawal.
What might the terms of such an agreement look like? Has Britain’s hand been weakened by the election? Will Labour MPs work with Tory Europhiles to try to water down any deal? Will Brussels toughen its stance in response?
Again, it is worth looking at the manifestos on which Labour and Conservative MPs have been elected. Both promised to implement the referendum result.
Both accepted that Britain would settle its outstanding debts to the EU, but no more. Both opposed unrestricted migration. Both rejected full membership of the single market.
It is on this last issue, Britain’s economic relationship with the EU, that the two main parties are furthest apart, though not always in the way people think. Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, is keen on the single market. But his leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is more hostile to it than any Tory. He was a Leaver as far back as 1975 precisely because he didn’t like the economic regulations coming from Brussels.
His Euroscepticism was never really about sovereignty or reducing our payments or controlling our borders. It was about the way EU rules prevented Britain from implementing socialist policies.
Several trade union and Labour figures, including some Remainers, now see Brexit as an opportunity to withdraw from EU rules that hamper the nationalisation of industries, and encourage contracting out of public services to private firms.
By contrast, almost all Tories, Leave or Remain, believe that competition is good for consumers, and would happily retain single market regulations on, for example, not discriminating against other countries’ products. Is a compromise possible on the single market? And, if a compromise could be found that Parliament endorsed, would it be accepted by the EU? Yes and yes.
The single market is not a single entity. It is a collection of different rules and obligations, some of them more important than others. Leaving the EU necessarily implies leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and reasserting the supremacy of British law on our own soil.
But it does not prevent us keeping some of the EU’s economic arrangements through domestic legislation.
This is, broadly speaking, the position that Switzerland is in: not exactly in the single market, but not outside it either.
As I kept pointing out before and during the referendum campaign, Switzerland is the second wealthiest country in the world.
Unlike the EU, it has trade deals with China, Japan and other major economies. It manages to have a flourishing financial services sector which, as a proportion of its economy, is twice the size of ours.
It is often pointed out that Switzerland pays a price for these advantages in the form of freedom of movement.
It’s true that Switzerland allows EU nationals to enter its territory and claim certain benefits there — as Swiss nationals can do in the EU. But, crucially, those migrants must have jobs.
And their benefits, regulated by bilateral treaties, are not subject to constant extension by the European Commission and Court.
Britain had a similar arrangement until the Maastricht Treaty came into force in the mid-Nineties. We always allowed free movement of labour — the right to accept job offers in each other’s countries.
It was the invention of EU citizenship that created enforceable rights, including welfare claims, free university tuition, immunity from deportation and the right to bring family members into Britain.
Formal Brexit talks begin a week on Monday. They will be conducted, on our side, by officials and diplomats who have been preparing for them since last year.
They will answer to a government committed to implementing the referendum result.
The main difference is that, unlike in the last Parliament, most MPs now have a direct mandate for Brexit.
By all means let’s make it a friendly and mutually advantageous process. Let’s allow for interim arrangements. Let’s be flexible about timing. Let’s aim to keep bits of EU co-operation that suit both sides.
But let’s not pretend Brexit itself is in doubt.
The parties that wanted a second referendum were trounced on Thursday. The result stands.
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With an avg. 1.2M voters per MEP & Britain having only 8%, if united, say. The EUropean Parliament has no ability to make policy and has a Commission of unelected bureaucrats, thus clearly the EU is not even a pretence of being a democracy; yet The EU & many of its vassal States are willing to slaughter people in Sovereign States, to impose The EU’s chosen brand of democracy on them!
The imposition of a Government and policies upon its vassal regions such as the peoples of Greece shows just how far from being a democracy the EU is.
There will be little or no change in Britain’s economic position, when we leave the EU, using a better negotiated & updated version of the ‘Norway Model’ as a stepping stone to becoming a full member of the Eropean Economic Area, where all will benefit, as we secure trade relations with the EU’s vassal regions, with an EFTA style status and can trade and negotiate independently on the global stage, as members of The Commonwealth and the Anglosphere.
Do not overlook the fact that politicians have plotted and schemmed since the 1950s and we have actually been vassals of the EU, when it was still using the aesopian linguistics and calling itself The Common Market in the early 1970s, a name the bureaucrats arbitrarily changed to EUropean Union in the early 1990s as they worked towards their long term goals of an ever closer centrally controlled Political and economic Union with its own anthem, currency, flag and rigid central control by its self appointed bureacrats towards a new Empirate –
It will take many years to rectify the mess our political class got us into and we have no other peacefull means by which to extricate ourselves than to depend on that self same self styled elite, who all too often forget they work for us!One huge benefit of BreXit will be that we can negotiate with bodies like the WTO, UN, WHO, IMF, CODEX and the like, directly, in our own interest and that of our partners around the world, in both the Commonwealth and the Anglosphere at large; rather than having negotiations and terms imposed by unelected EU bureacrats and their interpretation of the rules handed down, as if they were some great achievement of the EU’s!The greatest change and benefit will be political, as we improve our democracy and self determination, with the ability to deselect and elect our own Government, with an improved Westminster structure, see >Harrogate Agenda<.
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