Salzburg May’s Munich?


Sir Vince Cable calls us Brexiteers “fundamentalists”. We are to blame for future years of economic pain and are supposed to have had an “erotic spasm” in voting to leave the EU.

We’ve taken a lot in the last years. I guess that is the price of winning the EU Referendum. The last standing Remainers are as Nick Clegg predicted for the Brexiteers when he expected them to lose. Japanese soldiers:

Yet the really hard thing to take is not the abuse from the likes of Clegg. Nor the daily lambaste from unelected irrelevances like AC Grayling, Gina Miller or Lord Adonis. Not even those shrill rants from the peculiar #FBPE crowd. Not even the rubbish that every day emerges from the BBC, the Treasury, the IMF or the CBI – Project Fear, as it has come to be called. What really irks is a Tory Prime Minister, who in her Lancaster House speech outlined the Brexit that Brexiteers voted for, reneging on her promises.

Chequers est mort. Stephen Kinnock MP kindly reminded us of that:

So why is Theresa May heading to Salzburg sticking to this awful fudge? It is not what we voted for. Why?

  • “Common rulebook” for goods and keeping other EU laws kills vital parts of any UK free trade agreement. Whilst services are vital, the core of any FTA is goods, market access and rules of origin. Goods and services are entwined e.g. selling 30 years maintenance with a new plane.
  • Former New Zealand Trade Minister/High Commissioner Lockwood Smith: “if the UK wants to be a serious player in moving forward on matters critical to the modern economy, remaining part of the EU’s regulatory regime, even just for goods, would not be helpful.”
  • UK becomes rule-taker like Norway. But our economy is far larger and more diverse than Norway’s (x12 in size) – the world’s 5th largest economy stays in the hands of EU rule-makers.
  • Totally unrealistic to think Chequers is a temporary fix and the EU will renegotiate a new deal. Norway has been stuck with EEA for 25 years. There will be no Article 50 to legally compel EU to negotiate, it will be down to political priorities. India has taken 10 years so far, the Gulf states 18 years. This is our one opportunity and we must get it right now.
  • What will Britain have actually exited from if “Brexit” occurs on these terms? A half-way house that satisfies neither Remainers like Nick Boles nor Leavers.

May seems to be in bunker spirits whilst in Britain and kowtowing to EU leaders – who we Brits did not elect, like Merkel and Macron – whilst abroad. And, frankly, it’s embarrassing. It’s shameful. It makes Britain look weak in the world when we are far from that in so many respects.

Bring back a piece of paper from Salzburg which we do not like, May, and you’re gone. Outside of the bunker those in the Conservative associations, who man the fetes and who set up the jumble sales – the backbone of the party since 1834 – have memories and votes. May’s political hero is Joseph Chamberlain – it would be a shame to be remembered as a Neville.

No deal is better than a bad deal – your only escape.