Tag Archives: Backstop

Boris thinks Widdecombe and Non-payment will sway EU his way….

In his BBC interview by Laura Kuensberg (interview text here), Tory leadership contender Boris Johnson said he had a far better chance of realising an agreed Brexit than May had, because the political situation both in Britain and on the Continent, in Brussels, has been fundamentally transformed since the March 2019 Brexit Deadline (and the British European elections).

Johnson says that the EU leaders are scared because the newly elected Brexit Party – and Tory MEPs – are a new, powerful Eurosceptic force, putting pressure on the European Commission and Council from within the Euro Parliament (EP). I think Johnson’s argument is that now that Ann Widdecombe sits beside known Euro-haters like Farage and Daniel Hannan, EU leaders have started quaking in their shoes and want to lose (or “liberate”) these MEPs soon by agreeing any October 31 Brexit, with or without a deal.

Johnson forgets Brussels has seen off worse anti-system politician threats, like J.-M. le Pen MEP calling Sobibor’s gas chambers a “detail in history”; and prime ministers like Berlusconi suggesting a German Socialist playing KZ Lager guard; or Orban, expelled from the biggest EP party for infringing basic EU principles. Adding Widdecombe isn’t a threat; the Christian and Social Democrats simply include “Renew Europe” Liberals (with new LibDem MEPs!) and the Greens in EP politics; Orban, Tories and Brexiters (who insist the EU is a Gulag Soviet Union) are kept shouting outside.

Johnson’s second point: he’ll use “creative ambiguity” about paying the £39 billion alimony to pressure the EU into a “May deal without nasty Backstop bits” (my paraphrase of his sketched deal). But what if Brussels uses “creative conditionality” about refurbishing the deal: “if you won’t pay the first instalment on the £39 billion, we keep the Backstop in”. And giving EU citizens (many who couldn’t vote for the EP, the hostile environment persists) legislative security as UK inhabitants was already offered by May, so won’t elicit EU leniency around any Brexit Deal.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Truth Hurts

So, the EU couldn’t hold it in any longer after bearing Farage’s taunts, and the mess with the negotiations by the prime minister the EU eventually lost their cool and the European Council President Donald Tusk wondered if there was a “special place in hell for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely”. Not sure whether to be shocked that he is offending the UK or say Bravo … I think Bravo, wish he would have said this a bit earlier.

The usual dross of right-wingers has come out with predictable counter comments: “arrogance of the EU…”; “this is what you would expect from unelected bureaucrats…”, “17 million people voted to leave…”, “The man has no manners,” said Leadsom, and it goes on.

I personally liked Guy Verhofstadt (EUs chief Brexit negotiator) who tweeted “Well, I doubt Lucifer would welcome them, as after what they did to Britain, they would even manage to divide hell.”

Amusing as this is, it’s just a storm in a teacup alongside the disastrous negotiation stance that the prime minister is taking. After losing the vote in parliament (one of the worst, if not the worst defeat for a government in history), she has not in any way changed her red lines. The prime minister’s plan B was to try to persuade everyone else that her Plan A was right. The government’s approach hinges on one thing, and that is some sort of a deal on the backstop which will appease the DUP. If this is achieved the European Research Group (wonder if they will change their name if we leave the EU) will vote grudging with the government; the alternative being an early general election that Labour has a chance of winning. The prime minister knows this, and therefore all she is focused on is trying to get a backstop acceptable to the DUP.

Posted in News and Op-eds | 107 Comments
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