Ms May’s agreement is not good. But it is infinitely better than no deal.
However, Ms May’s deal is infinitely worse than the current deal the UK has with the EU.
We have full membership of a union of independent European nations.
We have 78 trade agreements in place that give our industries access to almost 200 global markets.
We are able to influence and change laws, policies and practices. Indeed, we have written and established many of them.
We have a host of opt-out clauses that specifically protect our national interests.
We have our own currency.
We have our border controls in other EU countries – that enable us to stop illegal, dangerous or criminal persons before they travel to the UK.
We have a special UK “rebate” that claws back almost 30 per cent of the contributions we make to the EU.
We are members of a common fisheries policy that has resulted in rebuilding cod stocks in the North Sea and has saved many species from extinction.
The CFP also gives our fishermen access to healthy fish stocks in Scandinavian, Dutch, Belgian, French, Portuguese and Spanish waters.
We have access to a local European workforce, who share our culture and most of whom have learnt our language.
These people work hard on our farms, in our market gardens, in our NHS, in care homes and on building sites.
We have free and open access to vital foodstuffs, commodities, medicines, vaccines, raw materials and manufacturing components as well as a host of other essential needs.
We have joint manufacturing and joint development and research projects with our partners in the EU and often funded by the EU.
We have access to healthcare in 27 other countries.
We have standardised mobile phone charges across 27 countries.
We can visit, live, work and study in 27 other countries.
The list of what the EU does for us seems endless and is ignored because we take it all for granted.
If, in 2016, the referendum had offered us these three deals:
1. No deal, through which which we will lose all of the above
2. Ms May’s deal, through which we will lose most of the above
3. The current membership deal, through which we keep all of the above – and we retain the influence, the power and the chance to improve it and reform it
...what choice would we have made then?
What the Tories REALLY want
Mainstream media coverage of the latest unfolding of the Brexit pantomime has completely ignored a central aspect of the Conservatives’ carefully constructed strategy.
Theresa May’s inveigling on the steps of 10 Downing Street, in choreographed Churchillian tone, that their Brexit “deal” is “in the national interest” takes political spin to new depths of deception and distraction.
It should be crystal clear to anyone with any political nous that the shambolic last-minute-itis of the painfully drawn-out Brexit “negotiations” has been entirely deliberate, in order to create a pretext for the Tories’ phony two-year “transition period”. This cunningly kicks the Brexit can down the road, thereby enabling the Tories to cling on to power right up to the next general election, and thus wreak a further two-plus years of scorched-earth, class-driven damage to the social fabric of the nation.
The evidence for this is copious. Only last week, the Foreign Office’s former chief mandarin, Sir Simon Fraser, tweeted that “David Davis was a terrible Brexit secretary. He could hardly be bothered to go to Brussels.” If the Tories had been serious about negotiating a final settlement in the two years available to them, why on earth would May appoint an invisible minister to lead the negotiations?
There are so many ifs, buts and unknowns in the current chaotic situation that the only sensible political strategy is to stay “in the moment” and cling on to power at all costs. That’s the Tory strategy, and that’s one thing, at least, that they’re supremely skilled at doing.
Dr Richard House
Having cake and eating it
When I read Simon Calder’s article about his conversation with Julia Hartley-Brewer, where the latter was demonstrating her usual total detachment from reality in what she was saying, I wondered where I had heard that kind of disregard for facts before. Oh yes, from Hartley-Brewer and her chums in the referendum: “We’ll get the cake-and-eat-it deal because the Germans want to sell us cars, the French their cheese and the Italians Prosecco.” Any argument to the contrary was haughtily dismissed just as in Simon’s piece.
And we wonder why Brexit is in such a mess (although it’s worth adding to this former Brexit minister Steve Baker on BBC Politics Live on Friday where he seemed to be suggesting that if he, David Davis and not to forget Suella Braverman had been left alone to negotiate we’d have a deal by now to satisfy the European Research Group, the DUP, every Irish person living and dead and, as a bonus, we’d know for sure who shot JR. Leaver, Remainer, visiting Martian, you can all count on Julia Hartley-Brewer to provide the comedy interlude to the current dire situation.
Less is more
As Prince Charles celebrated his 70th birthday I was reminded that he has, quite rightly, expressed the wish for a “slimmed-down” monarchy. Along with a number of his other publicly voiced ideas, this would be very welcome.
While it is clear a majority of the British people wish the monarchy to continue, most of us, I think, would like to see a good deal less “flummery” and quite possibly, given continuing pressure on public finances, a rather more economical model.
Rev Andrew McLuskey
Trump’s priorities are terribly wrong
I find it incredibly disturbing that our president could withdraw federal payments to California as the fires continue to rage on. As someone who lives in California and is experiencing the horrible air quality and is seeing the destruction that it has caused, it is shocking that someone could be anything but sympathetic. There have been 76 deaths and 1,276 people still missing, with the fire contained only 55 per cent from the Camp Fire in northern California while the Woolsey Fire in southern California is 82 per cent contained after burning 98,362 acres.
California currently has the worst air quality in the world, and many schools have been cancelled due to the health risks of being exposed to it. Considering that the president’s move to send troops to the US-Mexico border is said to cost around $220m, despite the fact that the Pentagon has stated that the caravan does not pose a threat to the US and would take about a month and a half to even reach the border, I feel that the president has made it clear what he prioritises in this country, and it certainly is not the lives of the citizens.
San Jose, California
A National Health scandal
What does it say about the current state of psychiatry when a fraudster with fake qualifications can work undetected as an NHS consultant psychiatrist for 22 years?
Dr John Doherty