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Thursday, 8 February 2018

If you read just one thing today, read this

I cannot write without subtracting from the clarity and cogency of AEP's column in the Telegraph today. Please, if you read just one thing today, read this.
As a private citizen, I have made up my mind. The current negotiations with the EU have become intolerable. Britain should walk away immediately. It should ask for nothing from Brussels beyond a smooth handling of the switch-over and common-sense treatment of technical issues such as landing rights, Euratom, and cross-border finance. It should withhold the exit fee until the EU has complied. 
Edit - just this once...

"The nightmare recurs. Call it the British Versailles. Theresa May is ash-white and exhausted after sixteen hours of cliff-edge talks. The grim ordeal lasts deep into the night on Friday, October 19.
Britain’s friends around the table at the Justus Lipsius – named after the stoic Flemish author of "De Constantia" – wince with pain and sympathy at the emotional spectacle. Yet they say nothing. The sum of the European Council is of a different character from its parts.

The document sitting before Mrs May spells out the terms. There is no bespoke deal, and no market access for services. The "Canada plus" model has degenerated into a deformed variant of "Canada colonial" with a permanent EU veto over larger areas of British law and policy. It is the worst of all worlds: a limited trade deal under draconian conditions. Medieval historians would call it suzerainty.

The ghastly error of British negotiating strategy is laid bare. Either Mrs May signs, or she walks away and invokes the sovereign fall-back option of the World Trade Organisation. But by then it is already too late for the WTO. The customs machinery cannot safely be activated in the four months left before the Article 50 process expires in March 2019. There is not enough time for the necessary global diplomacy. With Treasury warnings of a sterling crash and a "Gilts Strike" ringing in her ears, Mrs May buckles to overwhelming pressure.

It is a diplomatic defeat of the first order. It brings about three quarters of the alleged trend damage to UK economic growth suggested by Treasury forecasts – 6pc of GDP over the long run under a free trade pact – without securing the central objective of British parliamentary self-government.

Note that the alleged damage would be only slightly more at 8pc under a WTO clean-break, an option that would still be possible (only just) if set in motion today. So even if we accept the Treasury figures – as a Gedankenexperiment  – the difference between a WTO deal that upholds British independence and a "Canada colonial" deal that ties down the UK in perpetuity is barely noticeable when stretched out over fifteen years.

Perhaps my dreams deceive me. Perhaps there will be a fudge of sorts. But what if the nightmare comes to pass?  Paris and Berlin have not retreated one millimeter from their core condition: that there can be no deal on services unless Britain accepts the Norway model (EEA). The UK must swallow the single market package, with euro-judges, and open-door migration, and EU directives forever.

The torrent of leaked EU strategy papers from Brussels are a disturbing foretaste of the relationship that awaits the UK as a "demandeur", pleading for leniency from a position of psychological defeatism. They strongly indicate that the EU is not only insisting on an asymmetric deal that locks in its £80bn goods surplus with the UK, but also that Britain should be bound by sweeping extra-territorial control and should pay annual tribute for the privilege of its own infeudation. It is not a Canada option at all. Canada would have rejected such terms without compunction.

Theresa May hopes to muddy the waters, arguing that the summit "breakthrough" in December refutes the critics and shows that deals can be struck after all. The cold truth is that she gave way on almost everything, and agreed to pay an £50bn exit fee on EU terms, largely in order a secure a transition that does not even allow Britain to strike fresh trade deals with the rest of the world.
As we are learning fast, even this transition is toxic.  The EU’s text threatens suspension of market access, the imposition of tariffs, curbs on banks, and the loss of landing rights, if Britain drags its feet on implementing new laws over which it has no control or is deemed to have violated transition terms, with the EU acting as judge and jury.

This follows leaks of internal papers last week that spoke of Britain almost as a pirate state, so depraved that it might start poisoning its own workers in chemical plants or starting belching black coal smoke from power stations in order to gain a competitive edge after Brexit. 

The text leaves no doubt that the EU aims to control Britain’s future tax policies, regulations, employment laws, and industrial regime, in fine detail – beyond any normal governance codes set by the WTO and the OECD – and that this deviant island should be watched, coerced, and brought to heel. These demands are self-evidently at odds with the supremacy of Parliament. In my opinion the language is indecent.

Some on the Remain side might say "I told you so", but such an argument will not carry them far in British politics since most voters ultimately put some value on such old-fashioned notions of country and national honour. The tribe of footloose "Anywheres" with a high reflexive loyalty to the EU idea, to borrow from David Goodhart’s sociology, makes up 20pc of the population, and most would probably display deep reserves of patriotism if push ever came to shove. Real "Global Villagers" with few qualms about the humiliation of their own country are just 3p
My question to Anna Soubry and the hard Remainers in Parliament is how they imagine that Britain would function as a colony inside the EU single market over time, and under the sort of regime that Brussels has in mind. Is it not a formula for perpetual conflict? Is it not bound to further poison relations between Britain and Europe, and to compound error upon error?

I say this as somebody who previously supported a Norway model, at least for a decade until the UK had secured other trade deals and become less vulnerable. Yet events have moved on and trust has been shattered.  As ex-EU commissioner Lord Hill told the House last week, the status quo ante no longer exists.

The act of Brexit has itself changed the political dynamic in Europe, leading to a dirigiste, anti-market, anti-City, and anti-innovation lurch in Brussels – which must lower the EU’s economic speed limit over time, nota bene. It is therefore even more urgent for Britain to reassert self-government. “For an economy that is as dependent as ours on services, how could we in all seriousness subcontract all our rule-making to someone else?” he asked.

The leaked EU documents tell us that Germany and France will not allow the UK to have a Norway deal on anything like Norwegian terms because the UK economy is much larger and – in their mind – poses a much greater danger to the EU project. Our trading rights could be revoked at any moment without the normal protections of the WTO."


Smoking Scot said...

It's a Premium article, only available to subscribers.

Just copy and paste it svp.

Raedwald said...

done ...

right-writes said...

We used to think that "Yes Minister" was comedy...

Now we know that the EU bureaucracy and the Whitehall bureaucracy are in cahoots with each other, and it is only to the detriment of the British people, AEP's 3% are all working in Whitehall, they are not funny, they are enemies, a fifth column.

Theresa May might just be just about to have her Thatcher moment, I remember her saying that she took civil service advice on trust, until one day she realised that these people were not trustworthy, but it was too late for her. Well the appeaser May has her head in the Tiger's mouth and still she tries to "negotiate", and what is more, she is devoid of the necessary skills... except perhaps the "poker face"... though I suspect even that is just wind.

As AEP says; "The current negotiations with the EU have become intolerable. Britain should walk away immediately. It should ask for nothing from Brussels beyond a smooth handling of the switch-over and common-sense treatment of technical issues such as landing rights, Euratom, and cross-border finance. It should withhold the exit fee until the EU has complied."

Poisonedchalice said...

This was never going to end well. The warning signs came early after the leave vote, when the EC said it would not tolerate any position that made it look attractive to leave the EU.

We need to walk away right now.

jack ketch said...

This is the BrexSShiteur version of "Project Fear", isn't it? Yes it could possibly so come to pass but more likely both BrexSShiteur and Remainer (yes really) Tory MPs would unite and stage a palace coupe . Problem is there is no John Major on hand, just Bojo or JRM and neither are what is needed. I begin to think even Cameron would have made a better fist of Brexit then May.

But then again the ECJ might throw a huge spanner in the Brexit works so all our musing may be naught.

Anonymous said...

"how they imagine that Britain would function as a colony inside the EU single market"

A question I put to a senior Civil Servant last weekend. With a supercilious smile he replied "well, that's your fault".

And that's as far as this country's strategy extends. As long as they can say it's all the ignorant peasants' fault, they don't give a toss, because in their rich and privileged world, they believe they will continue to prosper, in much the same way as Mugabe prospered in the country he destroyed.

Mr Ecks said...

The ECJ isn't going to do shit--and neither are you Jack.

The only shame here is that venomous traitors like you wont get your necks stretched as you deserve.

rapscallion said...

I used to be of the opinion that once we triggered Article 50 we should negotiate with the EU in good faith, with an equable outcome for both, It does our cause no good to punish the EU in any way. The reverse is also true. It is quite clear that the EU have absolutely no intention whatsoever of giving the EU an equable deal, and may I remind Mr J Ketch, that it was Juncker that said "Brexit cannot be a success" They are out to punish us for the having the temerity to want to leave an organisation that we were never suited to in the first place.

Even recently I felt that we should still keep negotiating if for nothing else than to show willing, that we were prepared to explore all avenues, but no more. I've had enough. What they are proposing is not a deal, it's the equivalent of railway carriage in Compiegne on June 22nd 1940. It is utterly unacceptable and we have no choice but the get up and walk away.

jack ketch said...

The ECJ isn't going to do shit

Never a good idea to 2nd guess a court, it even says that in the bible. The ECJ may refuse to hear it or they may hear it and put Art50 in abeyance or any other option open to it. Juncker has been trying his best that it wouldn't come to an ECJ ruling, that it wouldn't be necessary, so I guess he is worried about the outcome of such a case.

Did you get out of the wrong side of your cot this morning, Ecky? Run out of war graves to spit on?

jack ketch said...

"may I remind Mr J Ketch, that it was Juncker that said "Brexit cannot be a success"

Reputed to have said, I believe? Although from the syntax it has the ring of truth to my mind, it is a fairly typical of a 'German' politician (not sure what language Juncker thinks in but perhaps his native German dialect?) stating a fact , as he perceives it , not a threat nor an article of faith. 'cannot' not 'may not'...Juncker probably spent hours when learning English learning the difference between the two .

Anonymous said...

Rapscallion, I think you mean November 11th 1918, the humilation of which led to WW2. The signing of 1940[sic] led to the Marshall Plan and Germany being where it is now.

rapscallion said...

Anonymous at 8 February 2018 at 10:13

No. The point is symbolic. They want to humiliate us in revenge for us humiliating them by choosing to leave. Germany chose the exact same railway carriage to humiliate the French so that they could go through what the Germans had to experience in 1918.

Ketch @ 8 February 2018 at 10:11
Juncker is a Luxembourger and thus speaks Luxembourgish - a West Germanic language.
Juncker is not a complete fool - he knew exactly what he meant when he said that "Brexit cannot be a success". All politicians choose their words carefully.
Lastly, exactly what power can the ECJ have in the UK, and if we choose to ignore it, what are they going to do to force us?

I'll tell you. Nothing. Rien. Nichts.

Cascadian said...

"The ghastly error of British negotiating strategy is laid bare. Either Mrs May signs, or she walks away and invokes the sovereign fall-back option of the World Trade Organisation. But by then it is already too late for the WTO. the customs machinery cannot safely be activated in the four months left before the Article 50 process expires in March 2019. There is not enough time for the necessary global diplomacy. .......succinct, and revealing.

Any real negotiation would only be effective if in the background the govt were building an effective coastguard, customs warehousing and systems and immigration facilities instead of HR2. They have revealed to the EU by omission that the negotiations are not serious.

You are being sold down the river, by Ms DisMay a remainer from the very beginning.

The much vaunted Canaduh plan is not designed for free-trade.

jack ketch said...

Any real negotiation would only be effective if in the background the govt were building an effective coastguard, customs warehousing and systems and immigration facilities instead of HR2. They have revealed to the EU by omission that the negotiations are not serious

Ain't that the truth! Especially bearing in mind Faragollum's recent comment that after so many months of 'negotiations' the UK.gove still hasn't managed to get the EU to understand it's position.

Anonymous said...

One of the strongest pieces I've read on this sorry episode Raedwald.

They say you can never entirely trust a dog due to its instincts, so for instance you don't leave your 'best friend' alone with your baby; because you don't know what its response will be at any given moment. The innateness of the political animal is what worries me most: do they think for themselves as rational beings or do they just respond to certain stimuli.


"The leaked EU documents tell us that Germany and France will not allow the UK to have a Norway deal on anything like Norwegian terms because the UK economy is much larger and – in their mind – poses a much greater danger to the EU project. Our trading rights could be revoked at any moment without the normal protections of the WTO."

Threatened they could turn nasty so we must assume it will bite. We've made our decision. We're getting rid of the dog


Hector Drummond, Vile Novelist said...

>It should ask for nothing from Brussels beyond a smooth handling of the switch-over and common-sense treatment of technical issues such as landing rights, Euratom, and cross-border finance.

This should have been done at the end of June, 2016.

Edward Spalton said...

"ACTIVATING THE CUSTOMS MACHINERY" is, I think, the key to the whole thing - not so much tariffs as the issues of Sanitary & Phytosanitary health and technical compliance of products. This still has not been faced. When Mrs May announced a year ago that we would be
outside the EU , EEA and Customs Union, the bovver boys of Brexit persisted for months in believing they" could have their cake and eat it". Whilst we had resigned from the club and would make our own rules, they believed that the EU would continue to treat our goods and services as if we were still members because " They sell more to us than we do to them". They also showed their disdain for the EU by taking their eye off the ball for two months to fight an election, after the Article 50 clock had started to tick.

Every firm exporting to the EU from outside has to appoint a representative firm or person resident in the EU to be responsible for health and technical compliance of products. Yet no advice has been given to businesses.. These things take time. When we joined the EEC the government gave very full advice in plenty of time. And, of course, officialdom has to gear up too - on both sides of the channel. So far, nothing discernible has been done- no new lorry parks, border control posts, computer systems, recruitment of new customs staff for training. I have been told the French take 3 years to train a douanier. Most of this could have been avoided by using the EEA as an interim ( shedfing the 75 per cent of legislation concerned with the EU political project at the same time) but that wasn't Brexity enough. So now we are going to be lumbered with a couple of years of total EU vassal status whilst DExEU catch up with the work which could have started over a year ago now. But, of course, that would have meant being straight with business from the start. So we look like ending with the worst of all possible worlds, kicking the can down the road for two years of total subjection with no,guarantee of a real deal at the end of it.

jack ketch said...

French take 3 years to train a douanier

I should imagine (although I don't know for sure) that that is because Douaniers, like their Dutch and German counterparts are all actual policemen ie warranted as police officers and armed. The training for UKBorder Farce appears to be an afternoon in a 'class room' above a chip shop somewhere God awful like Hull. We did used to have proper Customs Officers...and anyone who dealt with them and now with their modern counterparts knows which ones were the more professional.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

jack ketch @17:54

having experienced the downward trajectory of officialdom at UK ports of entry - both at ports and airports I'm left with no respect for them in any way, shape or form.

Many are merely taking their hourly rate and being functional - many others absolutely go out of their way to be arbitrary, bossy and obstructive beyond their actual mandate - it is exceeding tiresome.

I feel that this lowering of standards has in part been a deliberate policy.

If the present crew are left in place there will categorically be big trouble.

Edward Spalton said...

Jack Ketch & Gordon

Doubtless they will farm it out to Cariilion . Whoops! Sorry! Crapita or someone like that .

The very expensive computerised system which Crapita put in for armed forces recruiting has massive problems.

Of the officialdom I had to deal with in 1971/2 the Ministry of Agriculture were the tops. They explained the weird and wonderful Common Agriculutural Policy fully and even appointed people from the grain and feeding stuffs trade to supervise the inspectorate. This was what they had done at the beginning of wartime controls. The senior responsible civil servant, the late Sir Emrys Jones, from a Welsh farming family, was a very practical man. I did not get to know him personally until after we were in the EEC and he had resigned and become
Principal of the Royal Agricultural College. I was surprised to find he had been deeply opposed to the EEC's Common Agricultural Policy. He made sure the transition was as smooth as possible before resigning. Not a Sir Humphrey type at all..Last year, I wrote up my experiences of this time non technically in four episodes under the title THE MILLER'S TALE. It's on

Anonymous said...

"Every firm exporting to the EU from outside has to appoint a representative firm or person resident in the EU to be responsible for health and technical compliance of products."

say what, someone tell me, we haven't left the dastardly EU - yet and thus all of our stuff therefore totally complies with EU dictates, does it not? Thus, firms still needing, requiring to continue to export to the bloc, surely old bean, will of course keep up, yous knows.

Do you know what the biggest joke is that, complying to EU standards is perceived by some as to be a sort of 'raised bar', left alone, we can apply better standards ourselves: we just need to get on with it.

Do we have hte ambition to extricate ourselves, and then, have our political overlords already decided for us and if they have, then I predict trouble, all ways round there will be trouble, either kept in, or.

Finally, in another article in same edition (as above) of the DT, the guy who was adviser in chief to Theresa May (Nick Timothy) made the point and strangely, I do not disagree with it.

He speculates that if, the tories for whatever reasons sunder the party, leavers or remainers and if, a snap general election was called and Corbyn's labour party was returned to Government the fallout will be dire. Thus, the economic threat of leaving without a deal, pales into insignificance. Because what Corbyn and more worryingly that clusterfuck McDonnell has planned will crash the finances of the country, by comparison, walking away from the EU with no deal is a cake walk.

Edward Spalton said...


I fear you may be mistaken and suggest consulting the EU website on the subject of the appointment of representatives for firms which export to the EU from outside. This is no more than our exporters do when trading with other countries, so it is not insuperable. But they have not had to bother whilst we were EU members. The EU will not abolish such requirements - even for countries like Canada and Korea with which they have free trade agreements. As far as I know, no significant country trades with the EU on WTO terms alone. They all have additional agreements on things like customs cooperation - trusted trader schemes, electronic clearance etc - which help to speed things up.

I quite agree with you about Mr Corbyn and cannot think of a surer way than a botched Brexit of handing him the keys to No 10 . It would be far longer lasting than the effects of the ERM fiasco which destroyed the Tories' reputation for financial competence and ushered in the age of Blair.

For some really detailed independent research on Brexit matters, try . .

Anonymous said...


Erudite as ever, Mr. Edward Spalton, thank you for your most courteous reply and splendid was it. More's the pity that you and Dr North are not employed in some capacity by those attempting to prise, to get any sort of answer from the Berlaymont intransigents and Berlin proxy government.

I see and hear the quite logical and indeed cogent arguments made by such as Dr. North and about this unfathomable nightmarish, Labyrinthine intricacies of the, according to the new German Foreign minister, Herr Schulz what will be renamed the 'United States of Europe' a European federal union.

I do appreciate the detailed work necessary to effect the disentanglement of our links to the 'United States of Europe', staying within the EEA and in the interim was once my stated ambition.

The United States of Europe however, keep changing not only the goalposts but the venue, times, team numbers, colour of shirts, referees and state unequivacably that he game will be dictated by them and only them and all the arbiters are of course 110% biased towards team United States of Europe - it's a no win/zero game situation and yet, the UK it still, we talk as if we can gain some pathetic concessions.
You see Edward if I may use the familiar, even in the EEA we would still be under the cosh of the ECJ, they've, the United States of Europe all sorts of devious ways that they will set to undermine that aaid status, and as Ambrose asserted, that's merely another means to suzeraignty.

Anonymous said...

Pt II.

to you Edward, I say:

Here I am going to make a departure, I don't believe that anyone would argue that this nation, Britain is approaching a crossroads, for 45 years we've sat on our arses metaphorically speaking.

Our civil service has been corrupted and politicized, all the do these days is dream up algorithms used to predict some future disastrous economic prospects for this benighted realm.

The political 'fancy dans and daniellas' make play in Westminster in the smug self saiisfied knowledge that keepin Berlin sweet is all they have to do. So they gallivant, play stupid on stilts, threaten to promise Socialist Utopia (again) and all the people get is more taxes.

And the population slumbers on, fat, lazy, nannyified, tranquilized/drug addled, unschooled ignorant and now close to being overrun.

A verse you probably will not like but it could very well be written for these times:

It was on the good ship Venus
By Christ, ya shoulda seen us
The figurehead was a whore in bed
And the mast, a mammoth penis

The captain of this lugger
He was a dirty bugger
He wasn't fit to shovel shit
From one place to another

Friggin' in the riggin'
Friggin' in the riggin'
Friggin' in the riggin'
There was fuck all else to do

that's right though is it not for the administration, for Parliament everything is virtually done for em.

As we lose our focus, our soul being bartered for in the land of the pissing statue, as the nation bewcomes ever more venal and where the public sector is stiffing the system to enrich themselves and cocking a snook at the taxpayer. Oh indeed yes, and that needs correcting, thus, out of the United States of Europe and they (the public sector bigwigs and senior management structure) immediately start to feel the hangmans noose tighten and an icy vice grip on their sac.

What else have we got to do, unless, we're just jacking off.

Thus, to getting out of the United States of Europe is not only salvation for the UK manufacturing sector and for our sovereignty but heralds salvation for our very souls, it is right, it is right and fitting.

Edward Spalton said...

Dear Anonymous,
Having been opposed to our EEC/EU membership since 1972 , I am as keen to be out as anyone.

The EEA countries are not directly subordinate to the ECJ . There is an interesting talk on YouTube by Professor Carl Baudenbacher, retiring President of the EFTA court about the very different way they go about their job in comparison with the ECJ. Prof Baudenbacher is Swiss and he also gives an interesting insight into his country's arrangements.. A strong Brexiteer lawyer friend of mine was considerably impressed. Other advantages are that the court has no formal powers of enforcement and we can leave by simply giving a year's notice.
Additionally the EEA gives the possibility of getting straight out of the Common Fisheries policy. As things stand, HMG's transitional phase plus
present proposals for the EU ( Withdrawal) Bill would almost certainly ensure that arrangements very similar to present would continue.

I think there is somewhere between a high risk and a certainty that general public opinion for independence would not survive an economically disruptive Brexit - most probably to Mr Corbyn's advantage. Additionally, I believe separatist sentiment in Scotland and Wales would increase greatly, risking the break up,of the U.K. - the aim of every would-be dominant European power since 1707.

Having debated and lectured in sixth forms and colleges for almost ten years, I was very aware of the strong increase in Europhile
sentiment in the last four years - an experience shared with other pro -independence colleagues. A subtle indoctrination has worked its way through from infants ( where it starts with nice colouring books and games) to sixth forms. This is the reason for the pressure for
votes at 16. Other forms of political correctness have been increasingly dominant in education for the last forty years. We are not the country which joined the EEC the massive influx of aliens has really been a case of the government electing a new people

Just before the referendum, I was discussing all of this with a lady, a really doughty campaigner, the sort of person who drove the campaign long before it was fashionable. I said that the EU would still be there after we had won and we could not haul up the anchor and sail away. " Oh I do wish we could" she said. So do i! However, whilst he was a Minister at DEXEU, David Jones recognised reality when he said we would not be leaving Europe geographically!

So we are between the proverbial rock and a hard place

Kind regards

jack ketch said...

I think there is somewhere between a high risk and a certainty that general public opinion for independence would not survive an economically disruptive Brexit
Ed Spalton (very much the Thinking Man's Brexiteer).

With temerity I disagree with you there. I see a general acceptance among Brexiteers, BrexSShiteurs and the Gen.Pop that however Brexit goes down it will hurt. It's only my opinion but I reckon The British Public will accept a degree of, even quite severe, Economic disruption for a period....unless house prices plummet of course.

Edward Spalton said...

Jack Ketch

I hope you may be right.

House prices! Yes - along with the NHS, the twin altars of the real national religion.

There's a good article in this week's Spectator which I have only skimmed so far.
It suggests that the inflation of asset prices ( of which housed are one group) has been overwhelmingly
to the benefit of the well off - whose property value has benefited from Quantitative Easing.
Whereas the least well off have taken a severe hit .
And, of course, even quite well paid young people cannot now get on the "housing ladder" with one salary or wage.
If married or cohabiting, both have to work - or they can wait ( not too impatiently I hope) to inherit from people
of my generation.

Budgie said...

Edward Spalton, I think I'm right in saying that Dr North originally promoted the Art50 to EFTA/EEA option because he believed that it would take a decade or more to work through the thousands of pages of EU Regulations, giving us time to enact new UK statute in their place.

Of course, by patriating EU Regulations with an enabling bill modeled on the ECA1972 itself (which does the same thing from within the EU) that problem is overcome. That rather left North high and dry. Still, he has stayed unswervingly loyal to his own logic despite the fact that the grounds have changed.

Unfortunately for him, and you, the EEA agreement is in the gift of the EU. Whilst the EFTA countries may let us re-join, the EU will exact a price for the EEA agreement. That is what the EU does. Always. There are only two ways to approach the EU - as a supplicant; or as an equal. Asking the EU for a bespoke trade deal as Mrs May is, or the EEA deal that you plead for, makes us the supplicant. And as a supplicant, whatever the candy floss "deal", we're finished as a nation.

The only way to approach the EU and survive is as an equal. That means we CANNOT ask for anything. We must serve diplomatic notice and leave. Ironically that will be the only way to properly negotiate with the EU. But only sometime in the future. In the meantime we must swallow the medicine, become a third country and use the WTO. You may have read AEP's DT article, as Raedwald describes above. AEP is correct. At last. Though AEP is only about 5 years behind me.

Edward Spalton said...


We are already in the EEA agreement .
On joining EFfTA ( which we do have to ask for) our negotiations would principally be with EEA/EFTA not the EU. EFTA has indicated that the request would be accepted.

Professor George Yarrow of th institute of Regulation says we would still be in the EEA even after we had left the EU, if we had not specifically given notice to leave. That is the view taken by Lord David Owen .

Dr North thinks differently on this point. He usually does!

I did read AEP's article and found several points which I,would dispute.

I can quite see why people are just fed up and want to clear off but Davis's " have our cake and eat it " fantasy was never going anywhere. He told an America audience he was relying on his qualities as ( and I quote) " a charming bastard" to get his way. Not surprisingly it didn't work!
Barnier has been a model of transparency and consistency by comparison.

Things may clarify shortly but the government has been unable, so far, to come up with anything but meaningless phrases like " deep and special relationship" . To borrow from the era of the South Sea Bubble, their policy is " a scheme for an enterprise of great advantage but nobody to know what it is"
I earlier made the point that, if we followed the sort of line you propose , then exporting businesses would need to be fully briefed on compliance with EU entry procedures for Third Countries which would also require massive official reorganisation on both sides . As far as I know, no country trades with the EU on WTO terms. They have all been " supplicants" for mutually advantageous additional agreements.
Out of the EU, unless we were in the EEA , we would have to become a " supplicant" as you put it for something as basic as our driving licences to be valid in the EU and vice versa. As in many other things, the balance of convenience of both parties would make it a no-brainer. But unless DEXEU has thought of it and a thousand other details, the existing treaties simply cease to exist at Brexit, leaving a vacuum.

Edward Spalton said...

Professor Yarrow's Organisation is the Regulatory Policy Institute NOT the Institute of Regulatin

jack ketch said...

Project Fear-the Overdrive Edition

Seriously, this is embarrassing, even to Remainers. Soros doesn't seem to be getting value for money, there are easier ways to stop BrexSShite than that. Come on Soros,s top virtue signalling and get serious.

Edward Spalton said...

Jack Ketch

Some Eurosceptic organisations got very uptight when Tony Blair started his anti Brexit machinations. They wanted to shut him up and started a "Stop Blair!" campaign.

I attended a large pensioners' meeting (effectively a Labour party fiefdom) in early 2005.
There was a very heavyweight platform of MPs, MEPs and Councillors, trying to get people on
message for the general election which was held in May. Every time anybody on the platform mentioned the name of Tony Blair, the pensioners all hissed. They hated his guts!
It was an eye-opener for me as I don't attend many meetings of Labour supporters.

I suggested to our Eurosceptic friends that Blair should be encouraged to tour and speak in all the Labour heartlands. He could be a useful pro Brexit secret weapon.

jack ketch said...

He could be a useful pro Brexit secret weapon Ed Spalton

If it were anything other than Brexit, the fact Blair was pro something, anything, would automatically make me anti. Hell, sometimes I feel Brexit would be worth it just to wipe the supercilious smile off Blair's face but then I remind myself the good of the country must go before personal satisfaction.

Budgie said...

Edward Spalton, That we would remain a contracting party to the EEA, upon leaving the EU, is not commonly accepted, except by Remain groups. Both the UK government and Judge Baudenbacher, the President of the EFTA Court, think otherwise. There is no precedent for any nation not in the EU or the EFTA being a party to the EEA agreement. In any case, as I said, the decision is not merely a matter for the UK because the EU would have to agree with it. Which still puts the UK in the position of a supplicant. And the EU will exact a price for that.

There are 196 separate nations in the world (well, 195 if you believe China's claim to Taiwan). Of those, 165 nations are not in the EU or in the EFTA's EEA. All of those can, and most do, trade with the EU under WTO rules. There are no other global trading rules. Yes, the EU has some "mutually advantageous additional agreements", but that's the point - "mutually advantageous", so it absurd to pretend that the third countries were supplicants. But we are. That is precisely why I said we should become independent first. So we can deal with the EU as equals.

Anonymous said...

DP111 ...

It will eventually come to a fractious divorce. When that happens we will need America more then ever. Therefore, I find the continuous hate fest of Pres Trump running on the BBC, not in the nation's interest.

Edward Spalton said...


We are only 13 months away from Brexit when, failing agreement to the contrary, all EU treaties fall to the ground and HMG is apparently still not agreed on a policy. As far as I know, no country trades with the EU under WTO rules alone.
Becoming independent first and placing at risk 8 per cent of GDP ( in exports) is hardly likely to strengthen our negotiating position. At present the only place where businesses can get guidance to the likely effects of your recommended policy is - the EU itself!

So I agree with anonymous that it's likely to be messy and disadvantageous . Mrs May could hardly have put herself in a more supplicatory position if she had tried.

Budgie said...

Edward Spalton, If the government has no policy with only 13 months to go, that is the governments fault. They've had 19 months already. But is that the case? I don't think so. Mrs May's policy is in all practical respects your policy. She may not call it the EEA agreement for political reasons, but she wants a "deep and special relationship" with a free trade agreement. That is what the EEA agreement is. Certainly the EU won't give us better than the EEA: likely a lot worse. Why? Because at the time the EFTA countries were not supplicants but equals in the negotiations. But we are supplicants now.

You are wrong that "no country trades with the EU under WTO rules alone". Or, rather, the "alone" caveat is disingenuous. Actually 98% of global trade is conducted under WTO rules (see WTO website), including EU trade. WTO rules are comprehensive in their own right. Moreover, when a trade agreement is signed by WTO members it is negotiated under WTO rules, agreed under WTO rules, and is registered at the WTO as an RTA or MRA. That means it becomes part of the WTO rules.

Now in theory, when the UK leaves the EU, we "lose" the agreements made by the EU with third countries. But most of them are minor, and many of them can be novated. Indeed the UK and rEU have already jointly submitted a letter to the WTO promising that quota access to the respective markets will be honoured pro rata. Yes, there have been objections to that letter, but that itself shows the rest of world's economies are keen to have their own trade deals with the UK. The big EU trade deals - S Korea and Canada - are headlines, but years away from being fully implemented, anyway. Don't forget that over 60% of UK exports (allowing for the Rotterdam effect) are to the rest of the world under WTO rules. So we know the WTO ropes already.

Edward Spalton said...


As you write so authoritatively I am very surprised that you have not read what the British government is not telling UK producers.

Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Food Law (on the EU website)

"All union primary and secondary law will cease to apply..." Completely new labelling, certification requirements and inspection regime will be needed.

and also bear in mind that much of our trade with the rest of the world is carried on through treaties negotiated on our behalf by the EU because we contracted that job out to them.
There is a general presumption of continuity but it is not automatic . "WTO rules" are the umbrella under which such arrangements are made - not the agreements themselves. I know of at least one British organic cheese manufacturer which is considering stopping production for the American market now until it is clear that satisfactory new arrangements can be made (Cheese takes time to mature)
You should also Google BREXIT MONOGRAPH 17

I do wish it was all as easy as a terrible toddler throwing his toys out of the pram and the kind grown-ups putting them back - but it's not.