I never cease to be amazed by politicians and their endless tortuous arguments about nothing at all. There is great deal of posturing about Brexit. The Labour spokesman wittering on about wanting to know what the terms of the UK Government stance is going to be. The answer is clear and everyone agrees, ‘the best we can get’.
What does that mean? It’s simple, well not quite, but simple enough for an elected MP?
- Best trade conditions we can get – a customs union- details will need refining. The situation on financial services is a key area to be negotiated. There are endless implications on trading standards but UK is a leader. There may be costs or contributions demanded by the EU – maybe they’ll be worth paying, maybe not.
- Control of our borders – our border controls are completely unfit for purpose though every one denies this. (Mrs May former Home Secretary struggled here and she knows it.) We will take at least ten years to get this under control. Control means accepting people who we need, and people who need to be here on humanitarian grounds. Free movement will be phased out. Sooner than later.
- UK laws will be UK laws, subject only to agreed treaties approved by Parliament.
- UK will remain an anti-terror intelligence hub for the west including Europe.
- We will sustain our Interpol links and criminal intelligence.
- Intellectual traffic will continue with the UK paying into the research funds in proportion to its input.
- UK will remain a leader in NATO, our defence expenditure will remain at 2% of GDP.
- There are many more issues of minutiae – all of which may be the subject of a Walloon objection. Who knows?
All this of course is a simple base but highly complex in the detail. And there is no particular order of preference here as all these issues are interlinked. But the principles are clear the UK wants to return to a concept of an independent state in a customs union or free trade area – full stop. The UK does NOT want federalism in any shape or form (especially military). The UK does NOT want fiscal union of any sort. The UK does NOT want involvement in a single currency or the support thereof.
The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish views and influence are essentially no more important that the regions of England, considerably less than the city of London.
Nicola Sturgeon in particular threatens the UK with a breakaway if she doesn’t get what she wants. Well tough! Scotland is, by the will of the Scottish people, part of the UK. Sturgeon cannot hold the UK Government to ransom every time the mood takes her. Both Scottish and Welsh regional governments should spend their time better managing the NHS and Education budgets in their control, than meddling in UK government business where regional MP’s are there to look after regional interests.
If the ‘Remain’ MP’s don’t get it, these basic ideas, then they should wrap up their tents and go home. Their job is to constructively support the government in its efforts to get the ‘best’ results for the UK. By all means argue about the detail but not about the principle which anyone with any common sense can see.
The Government could of course share the basic objectives. The PM must have freedom to negotiate, and come back to Parliament when she feels she will need approval and support. The knotty issue will be if Parliament decides it knows better and rejects the final agreement as not being in the UK’s best interests. Then I suppose it will have to be another referendum – God forbid!
Mrs Merkel knows what the terms will be. So what’s the secret?