“No deal is better than a bad deal”. So said Theresa May once upon a time, a pledge repeated in the Conservative election manifesto of 2017. A pledge since thrown on the scrapheap of broken promises.
It might have been the Prime Minister’s epitaph, surely in political terms only days away. But No. After a marathon Cabinet meeting with her infinitely flexible placemen and women, supposedly ‘No deal’ is no more. Instead, Mrs ‘Brexit Means Brexit’ has decided that the way forward is to sit down with the man who bids to be the first Marxist leader of Britain and do a deal with him instead, based around the equally manifesto-denying idea of the UK remaining in the straitjacket of an EU customs union.
Mrs May cannot carry her ‘Conservative’ party. So, she bids to carry a life-long Marxist instead.
Back in the 16th Century, Bloody Mary, after losing our last European possession, moaned that we would find Calais engraved on her heart. Mrs May’s epitaph would make a marvellous parlour game. ‘Nothing has changed’ would be a firm favourite, but we think that it does not quite do her justice: “A bad deal is better than no deal” comes much closer to summing up the not so quite Herculean task of delivering on the biggest-ever democratic vote in our history: to leave the EU.
So that is what we now face. Mrs May, following the Ramsay MacDonald playbook of how to destroy a political party, now plans to cobble together a new and softer version of her dreadful Withdrawal Agreement in cahoots with said Islington Marxist. And if that fails to win over Labour support, she then proposes to let Sir Oliver Letwin, rightly dubbed the Prime Minister in all but name, to let Parliament, aka the Tower of Babel, (to) decide our future.
Time for a deep breath as the PM and her spineless Cabinet sink further into the swamp. There is a quick and simple way out of this mess, and it has the support of the Conservative Party in Parliament, a majority of the Cabinet, Conservative Party members – and the country at large. It is also the default legal position of the UK, assuming that the law of the land means anything beneath the fog of Mrs May’s obfuscation.
It is called ‘No Deal’. The logic is simple. Parliament – that means all Tories bar Ken Clarke and the vast majority of Labour MPs – voted to trigger Article 50. It voted for March 29, 2019 to be the last day of EU membership. It voted for the Withdrawal Act. And it remains, despite Mrs May’s quite extraordinary contortions in the dying days of her reign, the legal position. Short of Parliament agreeing to anything else, which it has singularly failed to do despite the best efforts of Viceroy Letwin, we are out of the clutches of Juncker and Co next Friday.
So what is this No deal thing that the PM now finds so horrifying, having once been so relaxed about it? Has she spent far too much time listening to the BBC and its Establishment lackeys whining about “crashing out” without a lifelong marriage to Brussels? Has she been suborned by her Whitehall Rasputin Olly Robbins into believing that it will be akin to a rerun of the Black Death (last seen around Queen Mary’s time)? Does she really believe that the CBI, which has been wrong about everything since the Roman invasion (Heath right; Thatcher wrong; ERM right; Euro right) has now found the Holy Grail? Is she convinced that EU-bewitched Labour MPs are her lodestar, not the 200 Tory MPs who have written to her backing No Deal? What planet is she on?
Even a majority of her Cabinet are reliably reported to be advocates of No Deal now that it is apparent to all that her precious Withdrawal Agreement, loathed by the Unionist Party, will not and cannot command a Commons majority.
We will try not to weary you with the economics. But at its simplest, No Deal means that Britain- a free and independent country before Ted Heath sold his snake oil-trades with the rest of the world beyond the EU on the same terms as the rest of the world trades with one another. So, given that the EU is a trading bloc of 28 countries, and the ROW amounts to about 170 countries, we would be joining the majority – which just happens to include such economic basket cases such as the USA, China, India, Japan, and Singapore.
Our calculations – and we admit that economics is an imperfect science – are that UK national output would be 7 per cent higher over 15 years (or about £140 billion) if we said goodbye to the EU and traded with it on the same terms as the rest of the world. This is because we would save a shed load of money in EU membership fees, get a boost from the freedom to buy food at world prices and slashing red tape on our firms, no longer have to prop up French farmers and Italian style gurus, and be spared the ruinous cost of subsidising low-skilled immigrants from the likes of Romania.
The Treasury (and the rest of the government-linked economics Establishment) take a different view, we hear you say. Quite right. They do. But then during the referendum campaign they predicted an immediate Armageddon if we had the temerity to vote to take back control. Just look at the facts: employment is at an all-time high; retail sales are growing fast; wages, including those for the low paid, are rising in real terms for the first time in a decade. We are doing better than the supposed European powerhouse of Germany.
And, who would believe HMRC, the heads of French ports, and even the EU Commission, itself, who tell us that the CBI’s horror show of port congestion and delays simply won’t happen.
Judging from yesterday, Mrs May is going to her political grave with a bad deal engraved on her heart. She still has a few days left to realise that a No deal would be a far better legacy to her country.
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