Bristling Brock speaks out...


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With the Lords rejecting the amendment to the Brexit Bill and the EU issuing a distinct rejection of Britain's proposals for resolving border issues there is a danger that what should be Brexit will not actually occur, rather a capitulation to EU and Remainer influences will prevail and Britain will become an appendage of the EU.   Remainers must be rejoicing and the EU autocrats must be beaming at the difficult position this country now finds itself in.   That is if we accept that these un-elected forces are permitted to rule the day.   Needless to say, they should not be offered that opportunity to have their way.

Nevertheless, the government is weak - both in terms of its parliamentary position as well as its ability and resolve to robustly represent and deliver the legal mandate of Brexit.    And both these factors play to the tune of those that would destroy Brexit, philosophically and in real, pragmatic terms.   Without a Commons majority and the consequent reliance upon a Northern Irish faction the border issue between Ulster and the Irish Republic has become the battleground for Brexit.   That means a question of retaining customs union rights with the EU to ease trade and allow for the easy and unfettered migratory movement of EU nationals.   The counter idea of a hard border - which appeals to more than a few - which imposes UK defined migratory access but makes the fluidity of trade between the two Irelands more difficult and costly is the opposite to that which Remainers, the Lords and the EU desire.    What a connundrum.   But let us analyse what this means...

Customs union with the EU - after our departure from the political entity at the end of the transition phase in December, 2020 - means that whilst EU trade would to some extent be unaffected by the reality of Brexit and we would abide by EU tariff and certain free trade regulations.  Equally, the difficult issue of the Irish border question would be resolved by keeping a common tariff arrangement between the UK and the republic (for which, read EU).  The flip side to these 'advantages' is that the UK would continue to pay for these arrangements, would have no part in any negotiation in tariff changes or product categorisation and would be subject to the ECJ ruling on any disputes - all-in-all, a ball-game very much to the EU's favour.  Now let us delve further into a seldom discussed curiosity about EU tariffs...

EU tariffs relate solely to physical goods like cars, manufactured items and produce.   Because the EU is somewhat backward in its approach to service 'products' like banking, insurance, technology transfer and data management, the entire service sector is exempt from the regulatory control of EU trade and is therefore subject to an open market approach that incurs no specific EU involvement.   Now whilst Britain runs a negative trade deficit it is clearly important - but not essential - that we continue to trade as widely as possible.   Yet only around 20% of our trade with the EU is in physical goods; the remaining 80% is in services, ie, a continuing customs union arrangement would only benefit 20% of or trade activity with the EU whilst the other 80% could continue as it does now, outside of any customs union strictures.   So the issue becomes a question of: ' Do we wish to save 20% of our EU trade through a not-so-advantageous customs union arrangement when the real wealth of this country is being generated by the service sector which has no advantage in being within the customs union ?'  One might say, 'No brainer !'   Yet the politics of this make matters more complex, of course, as opting out of the customs union - which is the Brexit mandate - keeps us struggling with the Irish question.    What we should do, of course, is leave the EU in its entirety and resolve the Irish question as the issues present themselves and give a firm 'Non' to the EU.   Whether we have a government bold enough to do this is something else entirely.

North Korea seems to be offering olive branches before any negotiations take place.   How curious from a regime that has been belligerent toward the West for the last seventy years.   Let us hope it is genuine and that their suggested unilateral de-nuclearisation takes place.    


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