The recent reassuring words of the Chancellor and the Trade Secretary do not detract from the fact that Project Fear is still going strong. The summer of scaremongering by Remainers, trying to obstruct Britain’s exit from the European Union, includes the pretence that we must pay a colossal £36bn ‘divorce bill’ to break the deadlock in negotiations.
Our own civil servants have been pushing for this payment, raising the suspicion that the same senior Whitehall officials who campaigned hard against Brexit last year are now trying to derail the talks and scare the government into an undemocratic U-turn.
The plain fact is Britain is under no legal obligation at all to pay anything to the EU and, if we do come to a financial arrangement, it should be a straightforward business transaction.
The whole idea that Brexit involves a “divorce” is a highly dodgy metaphor. We’re not married to our neighbours in Europe. That is wrong-headed nonsense. The countries on the Continent are not our friends, they are our competitors. In the everyday world of business, it would be ludicrous to suggest that we refrain from competition, for fear of damaging rival firms. But that’s what the Remainers are suggesting.