“A back of a fag packet speech” – Tom Brake on today’s Boris speech

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Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson, Tom Brake has responded pithily to Boris Johnson’s speech on Brexit:

Boris Johnson is completely deluded about Brexit. This speech wasn’t about the most important issue facing our country right now, this was about Boris’ ambitions to become the next Prime Minister, and it probably wasn’t much help on that front either.

The lack of detail and understanding shown in this back of a fag packet speech would be astounding, if we didn’t already know that the government has no clue and no plan.

As ever, Boris managed to find time to practice a dead language but failed to tackle the live issues. We are still completely in the dark on the government’s plan to tackle issues such as the Northern Ireland border which are central to his brief as foreign secretary and crucial to the future of our nation.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • nigel hunter 14th Feb '18 - 2:46pm

    Practice a dead language, Latin? Is he using his ‘smartness’ to develop his radix to build up his ambitions?His modus horribilis is whatever you want it to be.

  • Johnson’s ‘quip’ about sex tourism, especially in view of the Oxfam problems, shows his unsuitability for any position is any government…The man is a dangerous clown..

  • Boris
    “The British people should not have new laws affecting their everyday lives imposed from abroad, when they have no power to elect or remove those who make those laws. And there is no need for us to find ourselves in any such position.”

    That one statement from Boris is in itself enough to unreservedly, support our leaving of that unelected EU atrocity, imposed by the elitist stealth of Maastricht and Lisbon with no legitimate public mandate.

    Thankfully, Boris also concludes that ‘Brexit cannot be stopped’, and he’s right. Brexit can’t be stopped, so it would be prudent of all political parties to now re-calibrate their thinking, and policy plans, for a post Brexit world, where UK votes and UK voters, actually matter.

  • Johnson is merely show-boating to the Mail reading shire class, in the same way Trump show-boats at his rallies.

    Seriously who is Johnson actually impressing? The retired colonel brigade who go on about “Johnny Foreigner”, gassing badgers and prounounce Thatcher as “Thetcher”?

  • @Sheila Gee

    You are obviously a strong brexiteer.

    Clearly those on the Brexit side would not have shut up if we had voted to stay in. Farage was already starting to campaign when he thought the result had gone against him

    Similarly the referendum in 1975 was hotly debated for the next 40 years both between and within political parties.

    I think that the Remain side is unlikely to shut up! And it is likely that the EU will be a hotly debated subject for the next 40 years of British politics.

    I am also a little perplexed as to why Brexiteers have so little confidence in their arguments that they don’t want them tested by Remainers!

    Perhaps it is because there are two options with Brexit – the single market and being worse off and becoming a rule taker with no say on being a rule maker. Or outside the single market and very much worse off comparatively while still abiding by most of the rules of the EU as half our exports go there.

    A more than £300 million a week hit to our public finances is not one I want for my country or my fellow citizens. I want a well funded NHS and education system for them.

    Sorry if that makes me unpopular with you!

  • William Fowler 15th Feb '18 - 9:38am

    The main point of Boris is to get him into the PM slot when Mrs May finally gives up, and backed by a steely chancellor, get enough excitement into the Conservative party to keep out a potentially disastrous Labour party that would literally take the country back fifty years if not turn it into Zimbabwe. LibDems may have enough bounce to have a part in the next govn if they come up with sensible yet radical reforms, who knows, but seem to be more inclined to join in with what Sir Vince described as the fantasy economics of Labour. Bear in mind that only the political class is appalled by Boris as a clown, the general populace breathe a sigh of relief that he does not take on the mantle of politics for the sake of politics.

  • The EU is not some kind of Federal State like the USA. It does not make UK laws. It is a Common Market. This is what people voted to leave. The government , or more precisely parts of it, what to pretend otherwise. They have no idea what they are doing, mainly because they have diametrically opposed views. In the meanwhile we have a situation where the rest of Europe is able to plan for the future, but the U.K. is not thanks to a weak and divided government.

  • Let us not encourage smoking by mentioning “fag packets”.

  • “I am also a little perplexed as to why Brexiteers have so little confidence in their arguments that they don’t want them tested by Remainers!”

    Brexiteers have countered remainers arguments satisfactorily, many times, but remainers simply refuse to listen.

    For example – The Irish border ‘problem’, is more truthfully an EU border ‘grievance’ because the British side have said several times that from a UK perspective, no physical Irish border is necessary, and any customs checks that might be necessary can be done electronically and frictionless.
    So even though it’s a fact that the Irish ‘border issue’ is EU ‘driven’, and NOT a UK requirement, you can be certain that a few threads on from here, some ‘deaf’ remainer will repeat the very same pointless question:-

    ‘What are the *UK government* going to do about the Irish border problem?’

    So in the same way that the French Calais migrant border problem is a UK problem and thus justifiably paid for by UK taxes, then equally, it’s for the people on the EU side, who might wish to insist on a hard Irish border, to solve *their* hard border problem, because the UK government don’t want, or need, a hard Irish border.?

    My main point though, was that most of these ping-pong debates are largely academic now, because Brexit cannot now be stopped. We either agree a mutually satisfactory deal, or it’s WTO?
    And yes Paul, Turkey are very keen to ‘play nice’ over customs, because their greater goal is to get themselves on the EU ‘money teat’, like most of Eastern Europe?

  • The referendum is over. Decisions are now made by the U.K. government. They are failing to make them. They are failing the country. The U.K. will pay for this for many years to come. It is time to face reality. Stop trying to blame others.

  • John Marriott 15th Feb '18 - 5:51pm

    Gina Miller has a good piece in The Guardian today, which just about sums Johnson up.

  • Sheila Gee,

    I too dislike the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties and have long argued against their top-down, elitist and undemocratic direction of travel.

    But that doesn’t mean I want to leave the EU. It’s dug a hole for itself and sentiment for change is building across the continent; the euro is unsustainable and will soon collapse so we Brits are not alone in wanting to change things which creates the possibility of a much better plan, namely to ally with others to change it radically so that only those things that can be widely agreed, and clearly mutually beneficial to all, would be done at EU level.

    Now it’s perfectly true that this plan might mean making ad-hoc alliances with the likes of Germany’s AFD which would make some here choke on their cornflakes. But countries have interests, not friends – in WW2 we allied with Stalin for a common goal.

    Conversely, leaving next March is likely to be horrifically damaging, not least because of the astonishing incompetence of May and Co. They haven’t begun to get to grips with the detail or make concrete preparations.

    For instance, they want to leave the Customs Union. Fair enough but where is the infrastructure to handle the immense jump in customs clearances next March? It will probably require thousands of customs officers (3 years training AFAIK), lorry parks and suchlike (not started) and software (by chance an upgrade was in progress but not nearly powerful enough to handle Brexit). Then there’s leaving the Single Market: the government has no discernible understanding of the horribly complex issues involved.

    If a hard Brexit can’t be done, then we are stuck with a Transition Period but the EU27 hold all the cards and they know it, so they will – are already – dictate the terms. And they have been summarised as making the UK a ‘Vassal State’. The UK will have to obey all the EU27 rules and laws (including those not yet made) but have no say whatsoever in making them and that’s an invitation to let the EU27 asset strip the UK – and pay for it. So much for “taking back control”.

    It’s all so crazy I think most UK firms haven’t got to grips with it yet. I suspect that will start happening this summer. Expect fireworks when they do.

  • @Shelia Gee – re: the Irish border – I’m a little surprised that you haven’t realised that fundamentally for the British position to hold sway, the UK will need to remain in the Customs Union and Single Market…

    As for “any customs checks that might be necessary can be done electronically and frictionless.” Well, as someone involved in the design of such systems, it makes me and my colleagues laugh (all the way to the bank) just how little understanding of technology our politicians have, yet seem to believe practically any problem can be solved by simply waving the magic wand of technology at it…

  • “because Brexit cannot now be stopped.”

    May be – may be not!

    It might well have been the view on our EU membership in 1975.

    I hope that it will be less than 40 years before we rejoin as big comparative economic damage will be done. But no-one would have predicted the subsequent course of British politics in 1975 so I am not going to!

  • Richard Underhill 15th May '19 - 3:48pm

    The Times of Tunbridge Wells, 15 May 2019, page 13, column 1.
    “Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson could be prosecuted privately for comments made during the EU referendum campaign.
    A judge agreed to hold a public hearing on the matter after Marcus Ball, 29, brought the private case against Mr. Johnson for allegedly abusing public trust during the campaign.
    Mr. Ball alleges that the former foreign secretary committed misconduct in public office by endorsing and making statements which he knew to be false at a time when he was mayor of London and an MP.
    The allegation relates to the much-trumpeted claim by the Vote Leave campaign that the UK sends £350 million a week to the European Union, which was found to be misleading by the UK Statistics Authority,
    Before the hearing, Mr. Ball said: “This case is a world first, it has never happened before.
    A member of Parliament has never been prosecuted for misconduct in public office based upon allegedly lying to the public.”
    Could this lead to a recall petition?

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