The Bank of England - with the governments nod and wink - has offered EU banks an olive branch by declaring a preferential trading status after the Brexit departure which will enable banking matters to continue as now after the official exit date. Sounds like a reasonable gambit particularly if it helps minimise any financial markets uncertainties. However, our EU friends (that's the bureaucrats and not the banks themselves) have quickly responded by saying that it is not a matter for any bank to decide upon rather it is their prerogative to make such decisions. Now that sounds like a bad day in the EU playground, doesn't it ? It's a bit like 'I'm going to take my bat away, so boo-yah to the rest of you !' If only the Europeans played cricket, but, of course, they don't understand the niceties of civilised behaviour these days (did they ever; I must check...). But, as we've said many times before, only we simple Brits seem to play by the rules whilst our political adversaries bend, manipulate, interpret and disregard rules to suit their game-plan. When will we ever learn that one, I wonder ?
Mr Verhofstadt is enjoying himself, it seems, taking some pleasure in having helped to screw the British on the terms of completing Phase 1 of the Brexit negotiations. But I love the YouTube clip of him declaring this move toward Phase 2 as being the result of a passion and faithfulness to parliamentary democracy and Nigel Farage's scathing put-down of him as something of a twerp who in reality is a EU federalist that by association defines Mr Verhofstadt as an anti-parliamentarian who hasn't the faintest interest in democratic processes. I suspect Mr Farage is beefing up at the gym again and preparing himself for future EU combat.
We then get Michel Barnier entering the fray with his tough stance saying that the post Brexit transition period should be terminated by 31st December, 2020 and that during this period Britain will be technically out of the EU (so no say in what goes on) but it will be bound by EU rules, single market, customs union, ECJ rulings and financial contributions. Great, we know where we stand then !
I'll return to my loose cricket illustration. If we Brits play by the strict rules of this tortuous Brexit negotiation and regard it as a civilised game of cricket then we'll end up bent backwards over a barrel and be forever the whipping post of the EU. We are dealing with bureaucrats intent on preserving an institution - an institution that serves those bureaucrats very handsomely in terms of rewards. They may have individual national political affiliations but as the EU they have no political or governmental platform - they are civil servants with a rule book that is so pliable it's barely worth having at all. If we, using politicians and diplomats, try to negotiate with this bunch using the orthodox style and language of inter-governmental diplomacy then we'll be over that barrel quicker than we think....Phase 1 has already shown how our team got well and truly trounced, despite their best efforts to say otherwise.
I'll again repeat several earlier blog appeals. Build a negotiating team that understands the European MO, include cross-party experience and expertise and involve skilled negotiators and business leaders who know what's at stake. If we don't, Phase 2 will end up as another serious screwing.