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Brexit: into the madhouse …
Greg Lance – Watkins
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In my lifetime, we have gone through what amounts to a revolution, but in an area most people have never heard of – manufacturing quality control.
In the original system, production workers did their own thing while inspectors at the end tested the products and set aside faulty items for repair or “remediation”. This was changed to a regime where “quality” was built into the product throughout the manufacturing process. Faults were detected and eliminated during production so that each item came off the assembly line in perfect working order, “right first time”.
Clearly, though, this concept hasn’t reached the higher levels of politics. It seems our MPs can churn out the most unmitigated rubbish, with not the slightest concession to quality.
And, if one is unwise enough to suggest that the product is somewhat less than of sterling quality, there will always be those who will suggest that we pitch in to help improve it, in the manner of old-fashioned quality inspectors. It seems that there is no expectation that, with all their resources, MPs should get it right first time.
A classic example of this dynamic comes from Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central and co-sponsor of the “Norway-style” plan currently masquerading as a solution to Brexit under the title “Common Market 2.0” (CM 2.0).
Yet neither of these versions, it appears, found merit with those of our MPs who thought to pursue the Norway option in their own names. First Stephen Kinnock and then Nick Boles just had to reinvent the wheel and, on the basis of limited study and even less comprehension, came up with their own versions.
Having made a total mess of his first version, Nick Boles sought to come up with a revised plan, managing to make it even worse than the first, with the addition of a customs union. This was a wholly unnecessary adjunct as the EEA Agreement already makes provision for tariff-free trading between members, without the encumbrance of a common external tariff.
Nevertheless, despite the obvious problem of not being able to join Efta if we are in a customs union with the EU, Kinnock and Boles have persevered with this bastardised version, joined by the egregious Lucy Powell, who has recently been parading the merits of a revised version which, if things go well for the triumvirate, will become one of the options put to the House of Commons in the so-called “indicative votes” expected tomorrow (Wednesday).
Apparently concerned at the unfavourable construction put on tying in the customs union to CM 2.0, however, Lucy Powell popped up earlier this month to reassure BBC Today journalist Nick Robinson that the new version of CM 2.0 “does NOT propose a customs ‘union’ but Singke (sic) Market membership and a customs arrangement”.
This is an interesting claim as we see from the text of CM 2.0 that the “customs arrangement” to which Powell refers, “will involve applying the existing common external tariff”. And that, precisely, is the WTO definition of a customs union. This is a rose by any other name.
Now, here is a dilemma. On the basis of her education, one could judge that Lucy Powell is not an unintelligent woman, having read Chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford and King’s College London, gaining a BSc at the end of her studies. Furthermore, having worked as campaign director for the pro-EU campaigning organisation, Britain in Europe, one might suppose she was better informed than average about the EU and its workings.
With that, it is hardly credible to assert that Powell could not know that a customs union was a free trade agreement with a common external tariff, without also asserting that she is extraordinarily ignorant or so stupid that she does not understand what she is saying.
But it does not stop there. In common with her fellow enthusiasts for CM 2.0, she believes that her “single market plus a customs arrangement” not only negates the need for the backstop, but has the “added advantage of being an off-the-shelf, quick model”.
At this stage of the game, where there is so much known about the nature of the Efta/EEA option, two things are certain. Firstly, because the EEA is an adaptive framework, specifically attuned to each Efta State, it is not an off-the-shelf model. Secondly, given its complexity and the need for multiple bilateral agreements to augment it, the option cannot be a “quick model”.
Self-evidently, it would seem, Powell is ignorant about the EEA. But what sort of person goes into the fray on such a high-profile issue without first making sure that they are fully and properly informed? Is this someone going out of their way actively to deceive, or is it someone so stupid that they are incapable of informing themselves?
In my considered view, anyone who goes into the political fight without fully preparing themselves with the best possible information is exhibiting the height of stupidity. Others may care to label it differently but, base motivations aside, what better description is there?
As for further developments, if we see “CM 2.0” on Wednesday specifically set aside for MPs to vote on, we will see a number – perhaps several hundred MPs – plumping for an option that is not in the least workable, based as it is on a series of demonstrably flawed premises. Given the choice, do we brand these MPs ignorant, or stupid? And at what stage does the perpetuation of ignorance become, in itself, stupidity?
As to our response to these people, there are those who would have us treat them gently. Like Michael Portillo, they don’t like my “tone” and want me to expend time and energy educating our errant MPs, in the hope that they will mend their ways, rather than “insulting” them.
It has long been my personal experience that MPs follow along the general dictum that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. Offering unsolicited information to MPs is rarely successful – for it to stick, they must first ask to be informed, and be prepared to study what they are given.
Even then, we have the experience of Owen Paterson to guide us – a man with whom I worked closely for ten years, helping him with his speeches and keeping him briefed on EU-related matters. And yet, here is a man who has rejected almost everything he has been told, to adopt one of the most extreme “ultra” positions imaginable. To convey information is not necessarily going to have any impact.
But, if we are having no impact, and no one is listening, one might ask what is the point of writing a blog. Yet that is precisely the question we could ask of every journalist and broadcaster, as we have a situation where the prime minister and her immediate advisors have long since ceased listening to anyone. We are all on the same footing.
Talking this over with Booker, he has long been of the view that we have no role in speaking the truth to power, as such. It is pointless even trying when they are no longer listening – or even capable of understanding what we say. Rather, we are writing the epitaph of a failed system for those who come after us. And that requires candour, not diplomacy.
Certainly, it is not possible to make any sense of what is coming out of Westminster at the moment, from any level – prime minister downwards. Someone on Newsnight even described parliament as a “madhouse”.
Yesterday, for instance, we had the bizarre experience of listening to Mrs May tell us that, “unless this House agrees to it, no-deal will not happen”, despite this self-same Mrs May previously telling us that no-deal is the default position.
In the same breath, we had her tell us that “no Brexit must not happen” and “a slow Brexit that extends Article 50 beyond 22 May, [and] forces the British people to take part in European elections, and gives up control of any of our borders, laws, money or trade, is not a Brexit that will bring the British people together”.
On the one hand, the only way a “no Brexit” can occur is if she allows it. In the absence of her deal being ratified, the most likely outcome seems to be that we will leave the EU on 12 April. That much is very much the view of the European Commission.
Since Mrs May is now saying that she will not even put the deal to another vote – as there is insufficient support for it – the only way that the Article 50 period can be extended beyond 12 April is for the UK to “indicate a way forward before this date for consideration by the European Council”. That means we are really in trouble.
The CM 2.0 charade indicates that, even after all this time, MPs are not capable of coming up with a realistic exit plan. Even while they have supposedly seized control of Brexit, they will fail to agree amongst themselves as to alternative courses of action. And whether this is a manifestation of stupidity may be a matter for debate, there can be no dispute that it represents a failure on the part of the political system.
Whatever else one might say, we were entitled to expect that our politicians deliver a rational and effective Brexit. And whether or not you think them stupid now, it would certainly be stupid of them to think that, after their failure, there can be business as usual.
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With an avg. 1.2M voters per MEP & Britain with 16% of EU GDP and 13% of the EU’s population yet having only 8% (if united) say, whilst holding less than 3% of the various offices within the EU Do note 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 despite its protestations!Do note that many senior apparatchicks and even elected politicians speak openly of the ‘Post Democratic era’ with no sense of shame or irony and in complete contempt of the so called electorate – yet The EU & many of its vassal States/Regions are all too willing to slaughter people in Sovereign States, to impose The EU’s chosen brand of democracy on them!
Now as President Junker announced in his ‘State of the union’ speech 2017 the aim is to create an EU military force and centralise ever more of the decision making and control!
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.
Just follow the recent EU display of so called ‘Democracy’:
France and the Netherlands voted against the proposed EU constitution in 2005, only to have those votes ignored.
Ireland voted against ratifying the Lisbon treaty in 2008, but then later under pressure & threats had to change its mind.
Greece for me was the final straw. It became clear in 2015 that it didn’t matter which way the Greek people voted. The birthplace of democracy had become its tomb. That was enough. I was going to vote to leave the EU when the chance came.
No political party of any significance in Britain took active steps to achieve a Referendum – the task was eventually taken by an Indipendent West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire who personally launched and funded the gathering of a petition of 225,000 signatures delivered to Parliament via Downing Street, thus forcing a debate in the House of Commons on an IN/OUT Referendum, which led to David Cameron’s first consequential rebellion.
It was due to winning that debate, officially opposed by every party including Ukip that David Cameron was forced to include a promise of an IN/OUT Referendum in the Tory Manifesto at the next General Election. The rest is history & despite no Parliamentary Party backing the OUT vote & Government spending Millions of Pounds of public money leafletting & promoting ‘Project Fear’ to try to persuade the British people to Remain just as they had at the first Referendum in 1975 – This time their lies and threats were not heeded and in the largest vote in British history Britain voted by a clear majority to Leave.
Nikki Sinclaire’s OUT result left Cameron & his co conspirator Osborne with no option but to resign, sadly some of the other traitors have remained to try to hinder progress to BreXit, aided by their corrupt allies in the EU and \eu funding and bribes!
There will be little or no change in Britain’s economic position, if we leave the EU, using a better negotiated, customised & 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.
This is of course dependent on a modicum of intelligence on the part of Britain’s politicians and negotiators but it also requires the integrity of Parliament to uphod democracy and the integrity of EU politicuians & apparchicks to act ethically and without their normal vindictive mallice.
I believe Leaving the EU will be turned into something of a rough ride by the ignorant and the corrupt but I have no doubt that in the long run Leaving the EU will prove conclusively to be in the best interests of Britain and our true allies. I also believe that Britain leaving the EU will prove to be the catalyst to great changes within the EU and hopefully its democratisation as without great changes it is indubitably doomed.
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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Greg Lance – Watkins
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