This morning the EU has agreed to start talking about possible trade deals with the UK - but amongst themselves rather than with Britain. There is still ‘progress’ to be made on the three underlying tenets of the EU’s Brexit position.
We should welcome the fact that there is at least some intent by the EU to eventually talk trade. But that is trade subject to conditions on those three principal pillars of argument - how much will Britain pay, what rights will EU citizens have and what will the Northern Irish border with the EU look like. As this blog has commented on many times before, those conditions are the negotiating objectives that have to be addressed bearing in mind that our true goal here is not solely to exit the EU but also to have the legal freedom to agree global trade deals elsewhere at the same time. One without the other is a non-starter. And the key word is ‘negotiation’. What our people have to calculate is what the true value of that dual departure objective is, not just in the here and now but over the next generation - and whilst that is our consideration we know full well that we will have to put money on the EU’s table to acknowledge that. Not an exhorbitant amount, but a fair amount that fulfils Britain’s legal obligations. Unless we calculate that sum and declare it in discussions with the EU then there will be no deal. Pure and simple.
Speed of negotiation is now very important. There is little real time left to get this thrashed out and again I return to my core premise that our negotiating team is not the right one to pull this off. But it is, I suspect, the only one we will have to deploy under our current political circumstances.
I’m amused by a photo appearing in the morning papers of Mrs May listening to Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron with the two latter covering their mouths so that lip reading can not be employed by the media speculators. What a state of affairs when our political heads have to resort to nonesense like this.
I’m less amused to hear that Britain is accepting ISIL jihadists back into the country without bothering to detain and possibly prosecute them because they were, in the authorities view, ‘just naive’ and not a real threat to mainland Britain. What absolute bunkum. These are ideologically radicalised individuals who have no love of this country whatever (other than the social benefits they will no doubt expect to be paid to them) and we should not be so tolerant of their behaviour or mentality. We don’t want to return to the days of Medieval persecution but we do need to ensure that dangerous people are either detained or denied return access to this country. How stupid can we really get when we just allow these people to walk back in as though nothing has changed ???
I’m equally unsurprised to hear how much revenue the Police are raising from speed awareness courses and the objective behind nabbing errant motorists in order to boost revenue rather than promoting better road safety awareness. I wholly agree that a growing number of motorists are disregarding anything that looks like a speed limit - a local B road near to me, for example, often looks like the M6 as motorists blatantly ignore any common sense as they charge through an urban area at break-neck speed - and that there has to be a mechanism of some sort that dissuades them from this behaviour. But whether the police are that bothered about this on the majority of roads is something of a question. If we accept that police resource is much more limited nowadays due to funding reductions then we might say to ourselves that that is the reason why speeders don’t get caught that much - unless there’s a camera about. But if that camera is there just to raise revenue and not instil a higher civic awareness and behaviour, then we’re all on a slippery slope to anarchy !
I see also that ex-presidents Obama and Bush are both levelling criticism of the Trump administration despite them being on opposite sides of the American political spectrum. Good for them. It’s about time that there was some real political clout opposing his mad antics. No doubt there’ll be a flurry of Trump Tweets about to be launched denegrating anyone bold enough to criticise. I wonder whether Trump thinks he is actually much different to the Oriental leaders of Korea and China in the way he behaves politically - he may possibly be completely blind to how the outside world see him ! Perhaps he should come to Britain where we can fawn at his feet and make him feel a bit better about himself.