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Telegraph: How is our national interest served by MPs sucking up to Michel Barnier?

Date: 15 01 2018

How is our national interest served by MPs sucking up to Michel Barnier?

JOHN LONGWORTH

No sooner had I and business leaders representing the political spectrum made our way last week to see Michel Barnier than, predictably, the British Fifth Column of Anna Soubry, Chuka Umunna and co. decide to make their way this week to kiss the feet of the EU Chief Negotiator. 

Why these people, who are not batting for Britain and who clearly are prepared to undermine the will of the British electorate, should want to see Barnier is obvious. It can only be to collude. 

When I complimented Monsieur Barnier on his victory in the first round of negotiations over a “weak enemy”, i.e. Britain, he did not demur from this characterisation. It was clear from the glint in his eye that the thought of engineering another referendum was high on his negotiating agenda.

After all, it is by wearing down the resolve of the peoples of Europe and orchestrating new referendum, until the EU gets the answer it wants, that prior revolts against the inexorable march of the EU tyrant have been quashed. Witness France, Ireland, and the Netherlands to name but three. Only Norway resisted.

To have politicians in the UK who are prepared to put the interests of a foreign power above those of their fellow countrymen and women would have been unconscionable in the days of Winston Churchill. It is an indicator of how near our nation came to oblivion that we now witness this behaviour and it is only by the guidance of good fate that the referendum saved us from this.

But there is still a determination to drag us back by individuals like Soubry and Umumna, Blair, Adonis and Clegg, despite the fact that the behaviour of the EU and of its masters France and particularly Germany, tell us everything we need to know about why it was right to leave in the first place. Who would want to be a member of a club that behaves like they have, let alone be locked forever into an EU superstate?

But I have a message for UK “Team EU”, look at the facts and take these to Barnier. The British people didn’t set the benchmark of a successful Brexit as a trade deal with the EU, they set the measure as to whether we have taken control of our money, borders and laws – anything else is simply not Brexit, but at best Brexit in name only.

It was crystal clear to me and my compatriots, on leaving the meeting with Barnier last week, that the EU are quite prepared to sacrifice the short term economic woes of their countrymen in order to promote the long term EU project, the inexorable march towards an EU supranational state and that they have a steely determination to promote the interests of the 27 over those of the UK. There was no question of a special deal for Britain.

For example in the case of financial services, any such deal would cover those banks and institutions seeking equivalence and would require compliance with EU rules and the jurisdiction of the ECJ for any activity, including where that activity is exclusively outside the EU. The writ of the EU would continue to run without us having any say.

The irony is that the part of services which has a Single Market in the EU represents about 0.7 per cent  of UK GDP – banking which enjoys “passporting”.  Manufacturing in the UK, by contrast, represents 10 per cent of the economy. The rest of our economy,  is services (largely domestic) for which there is for the most part no single market in the EU, in fact there are plenty of non tariff barriers, which is why we have a far better balance of trade in services with the rest of the world than we do with the EU itself. 

So, why don’t we just get on and do a deal along the lines of Canada which covers 98 per cent of goods, and simply leave. The EU (even Barnier) say this would be straightforward. There would be certainty and no need for a transition period. We could then get on and take control of our money, borders and laws. Furthermore, we could then swiftly implement all those newly won economic freedoms which will make us better off out, than in. 

Economists for Free Trade estimate that given a clean break Britain will be £650 billion better off and the EU will be £500 billion worse off in NPV terms and a Canada style Deal would be a bonus on top of that. This is in stark contrast to the establishment economic commentators favoured by the naysayers. But then, only this week, the Economist magazine acknowledged that all of the predictions around employment, growth and exports related to the referendum, which it avidly supported, have been proved radically incorrect.

In fact, the remarkable thing is that the Economists behind EFT have been consistently correct over many years by comparison with so many of the naysayers – so why do we continue to believe the Treasury, the IMF, the OECD etc?

I doubt Soubry and Umunna et al will acknowledge they were wrong, nor will they ask for the things that will make Brexit a reality, these things are too simple and straightforward, and will produce far too good a result for Britain. The fifth column feed off complexity, delay and obfuscation. 

But if they won’t repent and pursue the national interest, it is incumbent upon our Government to cut through the Gordian knot that our enemies have created and get on and deliver Brexit.

John Longworth is co-chairman of Leave means Leave, an entrepreneur and a member of the advisory board of Economists for Free Trade

January 15th, 2018: Telegraph