Mudcat Café message #3998026 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165570   Message #3998026
Posted By: Dave the Gnome
27-Jun-19 - 08:12 AM
Thread Name: BS: Brexit #3: A futile gesture?
Subject: RE: BS: Brexit #3: A futile gesture?
Femi Oluwole in the Times today. Grateful thanks to "Our Future, Our Choice" for making it public on Facebook.

You know that kid who lied about doing their homework, then instead of apologising, tells the teacher that they never officially set the homework, and that not doing one’s homework is itself educational and looks great on a CV? That’s the kid who grows up to reassure millions of people they can vote to leave the EU without any financial consequences because we hold all the cards and would get a great deal. That’s the kid who, when the negotiations become an international humiliation, tells those same people they voted to leave the EU without a deal. That’s the kid who tells people he can renegotiate a new deal in a few weeks when the first one took two years and after the other side’s negotiators have shut up shop. That’s the kid who never really grew up.

In a Talkradio interview, Boris Johnson set out his prospective Brexit plans. Two of the three are for a no-deal scenario - which is interesting because, in June 2017, he said, “There is no plan for No Deal, because we’re going to get a great deal.” Here they are.

Plan A:

Pass the “best bits” of the Withdrawal Agreement through parliament, then “suspend” the commitment to pay the £39 billion, and then sort out the Irish border in the transition period after we’ve already left.

Even if Parliament agreed to pass a half-agreement, the EU 27 have already said that without the backstop there is no agreement and that it won’t be re-opened. So Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan amounts to little more than flying to Brussels and shouting at the EU Commission’s locked doors really loudly.

The backstop is there to ensure that there is always a system in place to avoid the need for checks on the Irish border. Without that safety lock, if one side pulled out, it could open the door to Ireland’s dark past. The fact that we’re prepared to remove that safety lock at all will make the EU even less willing to change it.

Plan B:

Use GATT 24 to produce a ‘standstill’, meaning the trading arrangements with the EU stay the same whilst we negotiate a new deal.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a piece of WTO law which allows an exception to the rule that you must apply the same tariffs to everyone you don’t have a trade deal with. The exception is in the case of “an interim agreement necessary for the formation of a customs union or of a free trade area.” That is exactly what our Withdrawal Agreement is. And, at any rate, such an agreement wouldn’t even be deemed “necessary” by the WTO.

So Boris Johnson is basically saying “We don’t need the agreement we’ve just spent two years negotiating, and which the EU has said won’t be changed. Let’s leave with “no deal” and it’ll be fine because I’ll get us a new one in the next few weeks.” Even if he got these magical standstill arrangements, a lot of the trade benefits of the EU come from having the same regulations, so he’d be signing us up to be bound by EU rules for up to 10 years, but without any representation in Brussels anymore. #TakeBackControl

Plan C: No Deal.

Parliament has already voted strongly against No Deal several times. No Deal was much less popular in Parliament than a new referendum. So Parliament won’t allow it. 54% of voters in 2017 voted for Parties who said they would reject a No-Deal Brexit, so Parliament couldn’t deliver No Deal without defying the people who elected it.

Boris Johnson often says we can leave without a deal and then be in a stronger negotiating position. If we haven’t paid the £39 billion settlement, much of which we legally committed ourselves to as EU members, then that’s the first thing the EU27 will demand. Also, if we leave without a deal, trade with those 27 countries gets more expensive due to tariffs and regulatory differences. For the EU, trade will only get more expensive with one country. If we’re too weak now, what do you think will happen when we’re the only economy in the world with no trade deals with its geographic neighbours? Who’ll be more desperate?

The only way out of this mess is a referendum between a solid deal and EU membership. But Johnson keeps ducking scrutiny (which, by the way, is why OFOC is putting 2000 rubber ducks outside his campaign office on Thursday). To be fair, this mystery man would make an amazingly consistent prime minister: three whole Brexit plans and each one is doomed to be an international failure… Goddamn, that’s impressive.

It would be funny if it wasn't so catastrophic!