I have only one recommendation today - to watch the Prime Minister's Greenwich speech in full. This was not the painstakingly careful cautious Boris of the December hustings, the Boris protecting himself with a stuttering duffer act, but a keystone speech by a Statesman of undoubted intellectual grasp and vision. He damned the mercantilists and protectionists both, and spent half-an-hour championing the great freedom of trade, Smith and Ricardo. It will make uncomfortable viewing for the EU. He set out Britain's new place in the world as a newly independent State, deprecated the actions of both the EU and the US in blocking free trade and committed his government to catalysing trade against the sclerotic myopia that blinds both to its benefits.
After half a century of travelling the wrong path, the UK is back on course (my underlining) -
.. we will always co-operate with our European friends in foreign and defence policy whenever our interests converge – as they often, if not always, will – this will not in my view necessarily require any new treaty or institutions because we will not need them for the simple reason that the UK is not a European power by treaty or by law but by irrevocable facts of history and geography and language and culture and instinct and sentiment.He also blasted the jejune slurs of the dysfunctional left for the pathetic untruths that they are. Our social and environmental protections exceed the EU's - he quoted chapter and verse, available for all to reference within the full text of the speech. Neither would we be selling the NHS to the US. And neither would M. Barnier get any rights at all over the UK's EEZ waters -
And I say to our European friends – many of whom I’m delighted to see in this room – we are here as ever, as we have been for decades, for centuries, to support and to help as we always have done for the last hundred years or more and the reason I stress this need for full legal autonomy, the reason we do not seek membership or part membership of the customs union or alignment of any kind, is at least partly that I want this country to be an independent actor and catalyst for free trade across the world.
We are ready to consider an agreement on fisheries, but it must reflect the fact that the UK will be an independent coastal state at the end of this year 2020, controlling our own waters.The reality is that our own fishing industry has been run down for half a century, ever since Grocer Heath gave it away. That capacity won't come back overnight - not just boats and crews, but boatyards and slips, piers and moorings, processing and freezing plants, markets, transport infrastructure and the entire tail of the nascent industry. For as many years as it takes to rebuild UK capacity, we will licence EU vessels to catch fish in our waters. Those catch totals will only diminish - never grow - but how quickly or slowly depends in great part on the speed with which we will rebuild.
And under such an agreement, there would be annual negotiations with the EU, using the latest scientific data, ensuring that British fishing grounds are first and foremost for British boats.
This will not always be easy. This is a yard I knew well in Newhaven that built fishing boats under 20m - it is still there (at least on Google maps) but many more are not, replaced by ubiquitous jerry-built waterside apartments with galvanised balconettes and through-colour renders.
The Prime Minister helped scotch fears that his team was about to trade away British waters for the commercial gents in the City. It seems the commercial gents are supremely relaxed about EU threats anyway - and only Globalist mouthpieces such as the CBI are raising this as an issue. As Roger Bootle writes in the Telegraph
The fishing industry will, I think, be the litmus test. Apparently, Brussels is going to try to secure continued full access to British waters by trading this off against access to EU markets for the UK's financial services industry. The fishing industry may be pretty insignificant economically - and especially in comparison to financial services - yet it has enormous political importance.
It was sold out by Edward Heath, the then prime minister at the last moment during the negotiations that took Britain into the EU in 1973. And fishing is of particular significance in Scotland. The SNP wants to keep Scotland in the EU. If we sell out the fishing industry again this will be seen as a massive betrayal, especially in Scotland.
As for the financial services industry, that is a different kettle of fish - as it were. The EU needs the City of London as much, if not more, than the City needs the EU. If the EU makes things difficult for British financial services firms then it will be cutting off its nose to spite its face. Meanwhile, the City will thrive, as it always has done, selling services, including new ones based on fintech, around the world.Guido carries a full video of the speech. Sit back, clutch drink of choice and enjoy!
Prime Minister - Greenwich - 3rd February 2020