Time for the Flexcit approach to Brexit?

I have just read an interesting piece by Lord Hague of Richmond (William Hague) in the Daily Telegraph defending the Prime Minister and her handling of the negotiations over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Lord Hague describes how the Conservative Party is stretched to the limit over our relationship with the EU which is hardly a surprise to those of us that follow politics. I take a vicarious enjoyment from this in that the party that took us in to the European Union is the party with the most troubled conscience over it, karma I say.

During the referendum Lord Hague campaigned for us to stay in the European Union and I see little that suggests he has changed his mind; however he has been consistent in respecting the outcome of the vote so I respect his views and acknowledge his democratic credentials so I am prepared to listen to what he has to say.

He rightly identifies the struggle the Prime Minister faces in keeping her party together, the need to keep the Democratic Unionists on board and the seemingly intractable problem of the border in Northern Ireland. Whether by design or poor strategy the Prime Minister has created a situation where the negotiations have moved to a point where we either defend the Union or we accept that part of it remains under EU jurisdiction.

There is of course an argument to throw Northern Ireland under a bus, not sensible in my view but it is an argument – George Galloway has already suggested just that in terms of the need for the unification of the island of Ireland. In isolation it is a valid argument but would strengthen the case of the Scottish Nationalists who see remaining in the EU as their route to independence (I know – lets not do that one right now). In any case I don’t think any Prime Minister wants to go down in history as the one that broke up the Union. For the sake of brevity, right now that dog don’t hunt, the Union has to stay intact – at least for now.

My take on Lord Hague’s intervention is that the shrewder Remainers have made the calculation that if the final months of our membership of the EU reach a point where all the discussion is about protecting the Union and negotiating a deal with the EU takes a back seat then we create the conditions for leaving the EU in the Spring of next year without a deal – the so called Hard Brexit.

Many of my fellow Brexiteers are strongly in favour of a Hard Brexit, I am not one of those and cards on the table here I have long been an advocate of Dr North’s Flexcit plan:

Dr North’s Flexcit Plan

For the purpose of this blog it means invoking Article 50 and dropping into the EEA / EFTA arrangements for a number of years to allow us to catch our breath and prepare for full independence. I won’t go into lengthy details about Flexcit (the plan is over 400 pages long) but I will attempt to summarise why I favour this option.

The notion that any nation is completely sovereign is not an accurate characterisation of the modern world. Even China signs up to international agreements that take certain decisions out of their hands, this is not a bad thing when we consider the good regulations that come from international bodies, for example last year the aviation industry had the safest year ever courtesy of international co-operation. The key difference here is that intergovernmental agreements tend to be transparent and come with accountability. The EU operates a supranational model where decision making is opaque and there is little visibility of the people that exert control over our lives- even in Communist China people know who their leaders are. Put as simplistically as I can the EEA is more of an intergovernmental arrangement – unlike the EU. In general terms the EFTA pillar of the EEA allows us to participate in the single market, negotiate trade deals, frees us from the European Court of Justice and allows a better degree of control over immigration since it reverts back to free movement of labour not free movement of people – i.e. you can’t come here just to sign on. There are a number of models of the EEA / ETA arrangements, my preference would be the Norway model.  I feel I must re-emphasise I see the Norway model as a fairly pain free stepping stone to independence not a final destination.

What struck me about Lord Hague’s piece was that for the first time I have heard a senior Tory float the idea of EFTA arrangements. Whilst this is a good thing in my view I am irritated by his sudden realisation. It was because of Remainers like Lord Hague who insisted on telling people if we left the EU we would lose access to the single market and it was Remainers and their knuckle headed Project Fear that prevented this option for Brexit getting the consideration it was due.

More worryingly, Lord Hague mentioned in passing that Parliament could block any attempt to leave the EU without a deal. I am certain that is exactly what will happen, I am certain that any attempt at a Hard Brexit will ultimately fail – not because of the will of the people but because it provides exactly the excuse our political class need to prevent our country leaving the EU. Of course this will be dressed up as acting in the national interest.

Hopefully I have managed to convince some of you to have a deep think about the Norway option, it may not be exactly the Brexit you wanted but please do think deeply about what I have said. The Hard Brexit many of you wish to see will in my view achieve the exact opposite, your argument does not have the Parliamentary arithmetic on its side, mine probably does. Think about it, I implore you, put emotion to one side and really, really think about it, we only get one shot at this.

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The Dark State Fools

On the rare occasion when my diary is clear from meeting world leaders and strutting the global stage; a nice weekend starts on a Friday evening with a beer in my local tavern in the company of my better half followed by a nice home cooked fish meal. Once fed and watered I like to settle in front of the TV and veg – Friday night is the night when I don’t want anything too taxing so a good comedy fits the bill perfectly.

The trouble is that these days the shows I can actually enjoy seem to be getting fewer and fewer. I still love QI and Room 101 and I found Toast quirky but addictive but most of the others now like Mock the Week just seem to follow the same hate Brexit hate Trump mantra. This is not to say I am a huge fan of Donald Trump – but the hysteria is getting a bit boring now, in any case if misogyny is their pet hate why does the King of Saudi Arabia get a free pass?

Comedy can be cruel and poking fun at the rich and powerful is considered fair game although I think a line needs to be drawn when the target is going through personal turmoil, the rich and powerful people are human like the rest of us. That aside I accept the deal, what I struggle with is that modern comedy seems to focus solely on areas that threaten a Globalist worldview but choose to ignore things that really do deserve to be laughed at. When it comes to religion Christianity and Judaism can be taunted mercilessly but Islam is scarcely touched – at a time when humour really could do some good.

Making fun of people that cannot fight back is moral cowardice; the great comedians of the past like Dave Allen were fearless in their choice of targets. The vast majority of modern comedians (Jonathan Pie being a rare exception) share this same moral cowardice, more than happy to virtue signal over Brexit, Donald Trump and Tommy Robinson they are absent when it comes to very real threats to our lives such as violent Islam.

BBC comedy output in particular now seems to operate exclusively from this playbook, by all means mock Nigel Farage dropping in heavy hints about his racism when he clearly isn’t a racist yet say nothing about Dianne Abbott – who clearly is. The topics and the angles are so predictable now it seems to me that the only way a comedian is ever going to get a slot on a television channel funded by taxpayer’s is to ridicule many of the things people actually support. Put it this way – how many comedians have you heard on a BBC panel show ripping in to the EU? Yep – none. Figure the break.

I have written before about how BBC news does not actually tell the news, it uses news items to push a Globalist agenda. Illegal immigrants are now undocumented migrants (or refugees), the predictable impact of mass immigration is deliberately ignored, instead we have a housing crisis or an NHS crisis – funny how it’s never an immigration crisis? The same dogma is fed to us through comedy and it is becoming less and less subtle.

I do wonder if any of them have the wit to ask themselves why its only their worldview that gets broadcast, doesn’t it occur to any of them that they are there not because they are funny but because they may serve the purpose of some very malign people? Marcus Brigstoke at least made some effort to understand this, not long after the referendum he noticed that when he performed outside of the London area people started to get up and leave when started his jokes about Brexit. Yet too few noticed that people that voted to leave the EU i.e. the majority didn’t take too kindly to paying their hard earned money to be called knuckle dragging troglodytes, I wish Marcus took his thinking to its logical conclusion and asked why the BBC is doing the same thing on a grander scale with licence payer’s money.

I am afraid all too many now do not deserve to be called comedians, they are nothing more than court jesters for the Dark State.

Article 50 and the Ides of March

Few of us that voted to leave the EU have enjoyed a day when it seemed crystal clear that the outcome of the referendum would be respected. Since the vote in 2016 I have not known one moment when there was absolute certainty we were leaving the EU. Straight after the referendum we had to endure weeks of abuse and hysteria from the media and all too many on the Remain side of the debate – not able for one second to enjoy the first ray of sunshine many of us had seen in years. Beyond this our establishment has tried every legal and political device to thwart the decision against a constant background of smears that somehow 17.4 million people were bribed by the Russians/Aaron Banks/Cambridge Analytica (tick one) to vote to leave the EU.

One further piece of law-fare got under the radar when the Labour party conference dominated the news. On Friday 21st September Scottish judges decided to allow the European Court of Justice to rule if Article 50 could be revoked by Parliament. So what? You may ask. Well this matters, it matters a lot. The Government still has the option of referring the decision of the Scottish judges to the Supreme Court (an ironic term when you think about it) but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Until now the understanding of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is that the nation that invoked it could not unilaterally withdraw it – a sensible provision if you think about it since a nation could use the withdrawal mechanism as a form of blackmail to get its way over some aspect of national interest. Notwithstanding this, given the time and effort the EU would need to devote to the process it had to seem like a one way process to deter nations from invoking it lightly. The only way the process could be stopped was if all of the remaining nations agreed for this to happen, not impossible but one or two would probably prefer to see the back of a nation that had caused them so much trouble, in the case of the UK a nation that has been a royal pain in the backside since it joined.

I don’t want to get into a Paddy Ashdown hat eating moment here but I am pretty sure the European Court of Justice will rule that Parliament has the power to revoke Article 50 effectively by-passing the other nations in the EU. What are the odds that this all happens at the time the Prime Minister returns to Parliament to vote on the deal – a deal the Labour Party has already stated it would vote against?

The timing of this is highly suspicious (to me at least), the ruling is expected in December which is about the same time the ‘meaningful’ vote Parliament on the deal Theresa May has negotiated with the EU. Since the EU has been negotiating with someone who does not want to leave, the Prime Minister of Parliament that also does not want to leave there was never any pressure on them to offer anything meaningful.

I have long argued that the simplest and easiest route out for us was by way of membership of European Economic Area (EEA) and then application to re-join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Time has pretty much run out of that option and we have a Prime Minister determined to negotiate her ‘Chequers Plan’ to a successful conclusion, a plan the EU has made abundantly clear is unacceptable to them.

To be fair to the EU they have been consistent in their message about the single market that there could be no cherry picking, since the Chequers Plan seeks exactly that it is difficult to see what the Prime Minister hopes to achieve here. Now there are many Brexiteers that want to see a clean break with the EU and don’t care for Chequers or the EFTA option – that is a separate argument, what I think is going on here is theatre, my take on it is that Theresa May will return to Parliament with a deal she knows neither side will accept – an achievement in its own right. Parliament will perform a pantomime for the plebs and vote it down and with the clock ticking toward our exit without a deal in March 2019 Parliament will vote to revoke Article 50 ‘ in the national interest’ and the coup against the people of this country will be complete.

Our establishment betrayed us by taking us into the EU in the first place; does anyone really believe they won’t try to pull the same stunt again? At least one thing, it will finally be as plain as the nose on your face that the people who own our country don’t actually live here.

A post script – a fellow blogger, David John Phipps has written an excellent follow up piece on this subject Article 50 Revocation