News from Grassroots conservatives

Grassroots respond to White Paper on Brexit

16 Jul 2018

Since the publication of the White Paper, Grassroots website has received a number of extensive communications. They all reject the White Paper.

A.     Get on with Brexit

I am fully supportive of Theresa  May, but just wish she would get on with the job

Even if there was another referendum who’s  to say the result might not be the same?     I wouldn’t be changing the way I voted.   For the past several hundred years we have been battling the European Countries who desperately have tried to take us by force on too many occasions. The sooner we get rid of this noose of the EU hanging round our necks, the better for all concerned.

I support whole heartedly what Ed Costelloe says.

B.    Expulsion from Soviet European Union

Alternatively, if we remain in the EU for the time being, it will only be a few years before we are expelled for not wanting to follow their Soviet European Union path which would mean we won’t have a divorce bill to pay.  One thing we can almost guarantee, the EU will want more money and on a permanent basis if they agree to this.

C.     Common Rule Book – farcical; Facilitated Customs area – too complex

Theresa May’s covering letter refers to many things which are both obvious and expected in leaving the EU. However, her statement that “In short, the proposal set out in this White Paper would honour the result of the referendum.” is both wrong and frankly dangerous, both for the country and The Conservative Party.

I will enlarge with one or two particular points: 

Common Rule Book

Quote from pg.49 of White Paper

“163. In the context of trade negotiations, a common rulebook for goods would limit the UK’s ability to make changes to regulation in those areas covered by the rulebook. If the Government wanted to make a change, including in light of trade negotiations with other partners, it could discuss this with the EU through the mechanisms set out in chapter 4.”

The suggestion of a common rulebook sounds very collaborative, but means the UK agreeing to take on the EU’s rules and regulations in all these areas, as I can’t see the EU trying to get all other countries to agree and adopt a separate rule book with us.  The idea that we can “discuss” changes that we want is farcical.  How does this satisfy the principle of us taking back control if we have to discuss and get an agreement with a separate state for every change we want to make?

All standards in all market sectors can be maintained without any control from or allegiance to the EU or any other country.  We just need to set those standards ourselves and if it suits the UK to comply with EU standards then that’s fine and they won’t complain.

Facilitated Customs Area

The White Paper says the UK would also apply its own tariffs, and an independent trade policy, for goods intended for consumption in the UK. It would still seek to strike its own trade deals around the world, even though bound by EU rules and regulations.

Neither Brexiteers nor the EU think the proposal has much chance of working because of its sheer complexity.  If the facilitated customs area is an attempt to solve perceived problems with the Irish Border then few people see this subject as anything but a red herring.  The Irish problem won’t be solved purely by a customs arrangement with the EU.  The Irish have smuggled over that border for decades and a customs union won’t stop it. Northern Ireland is part of the UK. Eire is part of the EU. The border arrangements need to reflect that.  How you then facilitate the crossing can be agreed once we know what the trade arrangements will be after leaving.

The real problem here is that we are failing to define our exit position from the EU.  We are unambiguously leaving. That has to be the starting point. We should pay nothing to leave but certainly, pick up any residue pensions/severance costs for our officers that are leaving a post.   Once a leaving position is determined, then one can establish forward positions on collaboration between two truly independent bodies.  Really leaving is what was voted for and halfway houses don’t please anybody. Even Peter Mandelson is stating that this is the worst of both worlds.  Having any obligatory control from The EU or the EC of HR is a recipe for a vassal state.  Right thinking people will never want to be slaves to a regime where they have no say in the policies.  That way lies madness.

The events of recent days have put The Conservative Party in a perilous position.  UKIP are gaining ground at its expense and leaving Labour with a lead in the polls (YouGov. poll since Chequers). Not fulfilling the pledge to leave the EU will continue that trend.  I have re-joined The Conservative Party now so that I can perhaps have a small say in the succession in the party.  I’m hoping that the P.M. resolves the current parlous position so that there is no necessity for a change in personnel although I’m not hopeful.  If there is no change to the direction then I will vote for a party that will deliver what was promised.

I get the division around the desire for Brexit but that argument was decided on two years ago.  It now needs strong negotiation from people with a clear end objective.  This is currently an attempt to “fudge” and it is disingenuous to imagine that the public can’t see through it.  Get a Brexiteer to negotiate Brexit, not someone who doesn’t really want it.

D Trade on WTO terms from March 2019

E.    Maintain freedom of movement within Ireland. Exit on WTO terms

The current Brexit Plan is hopeless. The Irish border problem could be resolved by moving the border to the UK ‘mainland’ while finding a method to deal with some consequent trade, immigration & political matters particularly regarding the attitude of Northern Ireland Protestants - these would be relatively minor issues in comparison to the overall picture. The overwhelming importance is to maintain freedom of movement within Ireland as a result of which sacrifices would be needed on lesser matters.

Present the EU with a decision to exit on WTO terms without compromise, they will most likely make some concessions in their own interests. If not just fold up the tents quietly and go without a backward look but with pride & dignity.

Britain will be free to join other giant trade groups and re-establish her historic position as a true world trader instead of being strangled in a sclerotic & tottering EU.

Appoint Jacob Rees-Mogg as Party Leader because only he has the intellect, toughness & wit to handle this extreme turning-point in British history.

F Too many concessions made at the start of negotiations

Theresa May’s proposal may be acceptable as a fall back position, however in negotiation it is important to leave oneself room to make further concessions. To present your final position too soon is to demand something like unconditional surrender on the part of your opponent which is likely to be resisted.

The ideal would be a position where we are on good terms with the EU and free to trade with both EU countries and others but free from any obligations imposed by others.

G. Do not confuse Brexit with subsequent deals

Despite disgraceful attempts to overturn the democratic referendum there was an overwhelming majority against the unelected unsackable EEC bureaucrats and in favour of reclaiming direct democratic government with full control of our borders. These are the absolute red lines. Outright crossing them would signal utter contempt for Democracy itself as well as for the electorate.

This would bring about the downfall of the then leader and  condemn the political party implementing the betrayal to many years in the wilderness.

We wish to continue to trade and cooperate with our mainland European friends. But talking about a ‘Hard’ or ‘Soft’ Brexit is powerful rhetoric being used to conflate Brexit with subsequent deals. Hopefully, these will be conterminal. Sadly, politicians are not necessarily the best people for some deals, being tempted to prioritise short term political aims over securing good long term results. Indeed, our current leader may be over-prioritising an understandable wish to retain personal power.

There has to be enough in any deal for each side to feel that it is worth proceeding and that it will lead to an on-going mutually beneficial relationship. This is the way they should be judged, rather than seeking to crow about ‘winning’. But any concessions should breach neither our sovereignty nor the direct control of our borders. It is open to negotiation whether individual trade deals should be done under EEC or UK law but any minor concessions in these areas must be tightly circumscribed and ultimately must remain under our long term control.

Of course we will go along with many EEC directives in order to achieve harmony and trade but it has to be our choice rather than being legally bound to do so. Inevitably there will be episodes of blurring but indications are that the current proposals are set to surrender too much. We seem to be on the point of agreeing to accept harsh penalties. Are these being matched by an adequate quid pro quo? It all seems a bit craven

Realistically immigration will continue on much the same scale if only because of demographic demands. But we have to be in ultimate control and certainly cannot continue to submit to the European Court of Justice. The situation with AbuHamzaal-Masri was intolerable.

This does not mean that we should be insensitive to the ECJ’s decisions with which we might well choose to go along when we concur or feel that they are in our best interest. This is a far cry, however, from the degree of submission currently proposed.

In security, defence and science, I suspect EEC needs us more than we need them but cooperation is usually mutually advantageous. There has to be a will to succeed, however, matched by preparedness by both sides to give as well as take which could  involve cash payments in either direction. We regularly part with money in a supermarket to get what we want without resorting to threats, calling each other names or lashing out.

No one said all this would be easy but neither would remaining in the EEC have been a safe option. Meanwhile the uncertainty caused by self-destructive political infighting is weakening us all.

posted by Grassroots Conservatives in News