By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK
I was recently interviewed by Klaus Bernpaintner and Jesper Bleeke at Mises Sweden, on the subject of Brexit.
Alas, during the one hour and twenty minute interview, when asked about what drives the Remainers in the UK, I absolutely failed to mention ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. A classic opportunity spurned!
Anyhow, if you’re interested in what else we spoke about, here’s the introductory text to their interview:
“How Nigel Farage and Brexit are the nail in the coffin for the EU, how the British once again save us from a European Empire, how British politicians and civil servants tried to stop it – and can Boris Johnson manage it, with Andy Duncan from Mises UK.”
And here’s a link to the interview:
Fortunately, despite my valiant attempts to demonstrate my perfectly fluent Swedish, we quickly switched into English after a brief introduction.
I haven’t spoken so much for years. They really are hardcore when it comes to doing long podcasts, up there in Viking-Land!
A few observations;
1) The Backstop; The UK has said it doesn’t want a border. The Republic of Ireland says it doesn’t want a border. The EU says it doesn’t want a border. As you say, who is going to build it?
2) Boris; is a moral coward. In the 1997 or 2001 election there was a candidates’ debate in Benson, Oxford. Nigel Farage was there for UKIP. Boris chickened out, leaving an empty chair. Also, he spent a year denouncing Mrs May’s ‘deal’, then went & voted for the damned thing! He says we will leave ‘Deal or no deal’ What does that mean? I think it means there will be a tweak to the existing Withdrawal Agreement, just enough to shoe-horn it through Parliament. Then it’s back to business as usual. If Boris means ‘No deal’, let him say so, not hide behind an ambiguous sound-byte. We need to clear out all the Tory traitors and fellow travellers and elect some Brexit Party MPs, or we will soon be back where we started.
3) Theresa May; is clearly working for the EU. Whether she is the ‘worst’ PM depends on one’s perspective. I would nominate Cameron. It has been Mrs May’s job to try to clear up the mess he left, and you can’t say she hasn’t tried! He is the one who has jeopardised the whole EU project. Of course, if you view the ‘worst PM’ contest from a patriotic British perspective, things look different. But I think that is naive. The one good thing to come out of this debacle is that the traitors are exposed – it is now plain to see who is working for the British people and who is working for the EU.
4) I don’t think the EU’s game plan is to have us begging to be allowed back in – I think they would rather hold us up as an example ‘pour encourager les autres’.. The ‘Backstop’ will keep us in indefinite servitude with no say whatever – which is just what they want.
5) I share your concerns for Nigel’s safety. He single-handedly poses a real threat to some very powerful and ruthless interests, whose dearest wish must be to be rid of him forever.
6) It was Wilson, not Heath, who held the last referendum in 1975. To my eternal regret, I voted to stay in, as I believed the politicians when they told us it was just a free-trade area.
7) You chuckled when you suggested we might be forced to drive on the right (if we stayed in the EU). But for thirty years or more, all new roads have been designed to work ‘both ways’.
8) I agree that Nigel Farage has single-handedly brought about Brexit. Without him, the word ‘Brexit’ would simply not exist.
9) A verbal ‘typo’ – a few times near the end you mention the Lisbon Treaty when you should have said Maastricht.
The Backstop is a solution without a problem. We should call their bluff and put a hard border structure up – a wall or some such. They need us more than we need them. In fact, we don’t need them at all.
The only way the Tories will give us Brexit is by legal default in circumstances in which they are cornered and have no other option, probably in the process affecting to agree a face-saving arrangement with the EU. The hope was that this would happen by 29 March 2019. It didn’t, but the good thing is the Establishment are being wrong-footed and slowly backed into the necessary corner.
If, as you say, Theresa May really is working for the EU, then she is the worst Prime Minister ever. At least Cameron allowed the referendum. Heath is another candidate for ignominy, but he could argue that he took us in on idealistic grounds and wanted us to join it in the hope that British involvement would prevent a Continental federation forming. Major is also a contender, as he signed the Maastricht treaty, arguably the most important step to integration, and forced it through the Commons.
There may be a division within the EU. Some ultra-federalists, like Verhofstadt, may want us out because it would then allow the EU to re-focus on integration with renewed vigour. Moderates like Juncker and Barnier may take a more commercial view of things and be just out for the EU’s self-interest.
Hi Hugo, Thank you for your thoughts, as expressed above. Well done for getting through one hour and twenty minutes! And particularly thank you for the clarification on the Maastricht Treaty. Best, AndyD
Here’s an explanation of the so-called ‘Backstop’ issue, as there seems to be some confusion about it:
(i). In order to protect the integrity of its Single Market, the EU requires border and customs controls between EEA Member States and those non-EEA countries and territories with which the EU does not have bilateral arrangements.
(ii). The EU’s stated concern is that even if Britain leaves the Single Market and otherwise has no bilateral arrangement with the EU, the daily reality would nevertheless be that goods, workers and services would still be crossing the land border between Britain and Ireland, thus establishing a de facto economic area between the two countries. This would be a rogue arrangement that undermines the Single Market, allowing British businesses to benefit from the Single Market notwithstanding the lack of any arrangements in place for conformity within Britain Single Market standards. In short, Britain would potentially be receiving the benefits of the Single Market without incurring the relevant costs and responsibilities.
(iii). This is obviously a problem for the EU rather than for Britain, or at least, more of a problem for the EU than for Britain. One solution for the EU would be to require that Ireland puts in place regulatory, customs and border controls and other economic checks to prevent the free-flow of goods. Another solution would be to in some way bind Britain to Single Market standards for a transition period pending a more permanent resolution of the commercial and trading relationship between Britain ad the EU.
(iv). Theresa May’s proposed solution, per her deal, agreed with the EU, is to lock Northern Ireland into alignment with the Single Market. This is objectionable because it effectively splits Britain into two economic areas, one – Northern Ireland – with its feet still de facto in the EU, the other – mainland Great Britain – outside the EU.
I believe the reason Theresa May has gone for this option is that it would inevitably take Britain as a whole back into the EU de facto within the space of maybe a couple of years. This is because in order to resolve the ‘backstop’ and re-establish seamless trade, the easiest option would be to agree for Britain to rejoin the Single Market or participate in it bilaterally in the same way Switzerland does – either option is a betrayal of Brexit.
In the speech she gave in the City shortly before her resignation, Theresa May came up with a new proposal that all of Britain, not just Northern Ireland, should be tied in to the Single Market. I believe Brexiters were also right to reject this, as it would just accelerate the objective Theresa May was hoping to achieve anyway using the Backstop.
In short, Theresa May has acted deceitfully all along.
As stated above, the real solution for Britain is just to tell the Irish and the EU that we are happy to continue with seamless trade, but they can erect a border if they want to. Personally, I would be tempted to call their bluff and start erecting a wall along the border.
Re your last sentence – “In short, Theresa May has acted deceitfully all along.”, I am genuinely shocked that any politician, let alone a vicar’s daughter, could so blatantly lie and lie and lie again. Ok, we all know politicians will bend the truth as far as they can, but this is eomthing else. She must know that nobody believes a word she says. Or does she truly believe that her ‘deal’ represents ‘Brexit’, and that her attempts to take us out of the EU are being thwarted by the ERG? Is it possible that she is so deluded that she actually believes this herself?
I think it’s both. She’s a liar who thinks her lies are honourable because, in her mind, her deal is Brexit anyway.
I do however think it’s wrong and unfair just to blame her for what has happened. She will have acted on advice, both from people politically close to her and also from the Senior Civil Service, and blue chip businesses will have weighed-in and told her that she must do things this way.
With powerful backing, she obviously assumed that she’d get away with it. The lies are no worse than the lies told by previous Prime Ministers, but she has been found out because the media is no longer in the hands of a few powerful TV channels and newspapers. John Major lied to the country and blackmailed Tory MPs to get the Maastricht treaty through. She’s upset because she thought she’s get away with it too and the miscalculation has finally dawned on her. We want Brexit.
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