April 15th 2018
If you haven’t caught up with this week’s new content on www.briefingsforBexit then please do. We provide below a summary of it.
Our media appearances
By far the most viewed and read Blog is authored by Professor Gwythian Prins. It has been reported widely in the national media and now has over 5,000 views on our website. Professor Prins argues that the that the EU will go the way of the Soviet Union and eventually beak up under the pressure of its own complexity.
If you haven’t had time to read it please do: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/eu-at-clear-risk-of-collapse-warns-major-new-report-by-gwythian-prins/
Prins is emeritus research professor at the London School of Economics. He is also a board member of Veterans for Britain.
Graham Gudgin gave a presentation at the Campaign for an Independent Britain rally in London on April 14th. This will be available on the CIB’s website alongside the other presenters.
Our blogs this week continue last week’s focus on border issues. This week’s blogs cover Ireland and Gibraltar, adding to last week’s blog on the Swiss border.
Where Are We on the Irish Border
The Irish land-Border remains a major sticking point in advancing the Brexit negotiations. In this blog article, Dr Graham Gudgin, former Special Advisor to the First Minister in Northern Ireland, outlines how far talks have progressed on this issue and what remains to be decided. The official position of the EU is that a frictionless border will be solved by Northern Ireland remaining within the EU’s customs union. This position, described in stark detail in the EU’s draft Withdrawal Agreement, was quickly rejected by Theresa May. Although the Withdrawal Agreement paper fails to spell it out this would require a customs border between Northern Ireland and GB which was ruled out in the Joint progress report of last December.
Further talks are now underway in Brussels on the basis of two proposals from the UK, aiming for progress before the EU Council of Ministers meeting at the end of June. These proposals are essentially extensions of the initial proposals made in the UK position paper of last August suggesting that administrative reforms and electronic border technology can deliver the ‘no hard border’ promise. The hard line adopted by the Irish Government since Leo Varadkar took over as Ireland’s Prime Minister last June, reversing the more co-operative approach of his predecessor, remains in place, but stands no chance of being adopted.
Even the EU’s own expert believes that customs checks can be achieved with no physical infrastructure at the border. Almost all of the small number of existing checks at EU borders are based on intelligence about illegal activity. Co-operation between the authorities in Ireland and Northern Ireland would mean that such checks could be done away from the border. A free trade agreement between the UK and EU would also mean no increase in existing incentives for cross-border smuggling. The blog’s conclusion is that the Irish Government and the EU have exaggerated the scale of the issue for political purposes and will have to back down. A sensible solution is possible, but it will require meaningful co-operation between the Irish and Northern Ireland authorities.
Gibraltar and the EU. Lessons From An Unprincipled Approach
Our own blog this week on “Gibraltar and the EU – lessons from an unprincipled approach” argues that the EU is being inconsistent in insisting on inflexible principles for the transition period and for the Irish border while flouting those principles in the case of Gibraltar. In the case of Gibraltar the EU supports the right to close the border, while in Ireland it insists on the border remaining open.
Spain’s current demands are deceptively dovish in comparison to those made by the EU over Northern Ireland. The demands, however, amount to joint control of the airport, anti-tobacco smuggling measures (there are already considerable measures), and measures on tax transparency. However, joint control of the airport would be to give Spain a role in Gibraltar’s lifeline service, particularly given Spanish unreliability over the border. On tax, Spain wishes to deal with Gibraltar separately from the EU’s general processes. Issues key to Gibraltar’s economy would be under Spanish supervision, with the EU ready to support its member state whenever Spain chooses to use the issues as leverage over sovereignty. If the United Kingdom does not agree, then Spain will have the EU’s support in whatever steps it wishes to take. The Spanish Foreign Minister, Alphonso Dastis, says he wants an agreement with the UK by October to allow the main UK: EU negotiations to proceed, but the points of dispute remain unresolved.
The blog concludes:
“The approach to Gibraltar by the EU, particularly in its indifference to the citizens’ rights issues where it has been absolutist, demonstrates a preference for power over principle. Which means shows of principle are not sincere.”
You can read it here: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/gibraltar-and-the-eu-lessons-from-an-unprincipled-approach/
We have also been busy on Twitter https://twitter.com/briefing4brexit retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the National News. Twitter Brexiteers have been active allowing messages to filter into the mainstream media that might otherwise have been overlooked.
@BrexitCentral reported on Friday the good news that: “In today’s news – Trade talks set to begin next week – Goldman Sachs boss admits he was wrong about Brexit – Australia to host new round of trade talks with Britain – Barry Gardiner denies denouncing Labour Brexit policy..” https://brexitcentral.com/today/brexit-news-friday-13-april/
@labourleave also tweeted out an article written by the economic commentator Larry Eillott for the Guardian. The headline reads: “Why the UK trade deficit with the EU is woeful and widening.” You can read it here: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/08/why-the-uk-trade-deficit-with-the-eu-is-woeful-and-widening?CMP=share_btn_tw
We hate to say but Graham and his colleagues told you so. Graham has always challenged the OBR economic forecasts and his economic research at the Centre for Business Research in the University of Cambridge has been widely reported nationally giving a more optimistic forecast for the UK after Brexit.
@LeavemnsLeave also tweeted out the Sir Bill Cash comment on an article in the Telegraph that “Pro-remain groups are launching a one million campaign to stop Brexit this weekend”.
Sir Bill Cash said: “The latest polling says 65 per cent of the British people do not want a second referendum; they are living in a parallel universe.” You can read it here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/04/12/bid-stop-brexit-remainers-launch-1m-campaign-keep-uk-europe/
We have enjoyed your engagement with us on Facebook. Here is a flavour of one recent strand.
You might like to read the Subscriber’s View post on our website and on Facebook by Ian Moody: https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/response-to-sir-vince-cables-comments-about-brexit/
He writes in a well-argued post: “Sir Vince Cable expressed the view in his Liberal Democrat Party speech on 11th March, 2018 that too many who voted for Brexit “were driven by nostalgia for a world where passports were blue, faces were white and the map was coloured imperial pink” and that by voting the way they did those people destroyed “the hopes and aspirations of the young for years to come”. What Cable seems unable to understand is that any relationship can reach a point where the erosion of trust and confidence has become so serious that the potential costs of ending the relationship are considered to be a price worth paying. On this view the Brexit result was neither nostalgic or reckless. It was inevitable.”
We also enjoyed the Bridgette Jeffery Browne Facebook comment on our Gibraltar blog: “The EU just doesn’t want any more countries to leave and so is willing to accept two totally contradictory approaches to borders in order to shore up its power base.”
How you can help
Do keep reading our posts, and tell others about us. We want you to share links to our quality content so that others can understand how Brexiting the EU can be good for the UK economy and for our own democratic governance. By sharing our content and articles we hope that we can increase public understanding of the real impact of Brexit on the UK.
As our Mission Statement sets out we aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long term impact of Brexit. The 5,000 views on the Prins blog confirms we are doing just that. Stick with us.
You can follow us on twitter https://twitter.com/briefing4brexit
Or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BriefingsForBrexit/.