The Brexit deal that Theresa May's team negotiated leaves the UK in such a weak position that other countries thinking of leaving the EU will be seriously reconsidering.
Does bad luck really come in threes?
First there was David Cameron who backed himself into a corner over a UK referendum that he believed he would never have to hold on EU membership for Britain; then there was Theresa May, a pro-remain British prime minister who’s heart was never really in securing a ‘proper Brexit’ to appease her die-hard eurosceptic cabinet members.
Now, Britain holds its breath to see if its parliamentarians will throw the cat amongst the pigeons in early December when MPs will finally vote on May’s Brexit draft, with many pundits claiming that it will be rejected.
If the draft is rejected, May will have to fend off yet another political crisis and the UK will head towards the March 29 Brexit date with a no-deal offering two scenarios.
One, WTO trade rules will kick in, which is bad news for both parties, but more so for Brussels as German and French companies which enjoy at least $110 billion of sales to the UK will have to expect tariffs on them, which in turn means a slump in sales and potential job losses.
Two, both parties will agree for an extension to negotiations of perhaps one more year, which would undoubtedly mean a better deal for Britain.
May has insisted that the EU will not come back to the negotiating table one more time, but in reality, they will do just that when its top officials see that Brexit is blowing up in their faces and threatens to wobble the already weak EU project, which is heading towards elections just a couple of months later.
In reality, many economists argue that the EU trade deficit with the UK is more like $227 billion, but no matter. For Britain, the question in both of these scenarios, of course, is whether Theresa May will remain in office.
The problem really for both sides in the UK—those wishing for the UK to remain in the EU and those pushing for a departure—is that the Brexit deal that Theresa May believes she has brilliantly negotiated isn’t really a Brexit at all.
It is little wonder that EU figures are happy with the deal as it serves the Brussels project almost entirely and delivers hardly anything in return to the UK. For months, eurosceptics, including myself, have argued that the EU was trying to trick the UK into a deal which only ruins the UK and makes Brussels shine into the bargain.
The argument was always that Brussels was never really sincere about being a straightforward negotiator but really playing a game of dirty tricks, forcing Britain to quickly start negotiations to kickstart a two-year deadline and then waste all of that time in pretending to the UK team that they were open to negotiation.
In reality, we now know that the EU side was entirely disingenuous as May’s Brexit deal is a great deal for Brussels, and a truly rotten one for Britain.
Right from the off, I have always argued that the biggest fear for the EU, was that Britain would leave the bloc and set a precedent for other eurosceptic countries—Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy and perhaps Denmark and Sweden—to follow.
Its main focus from the very beginning is making sure that Britain becomes the template example of why they should not consider leaving.
Now Brussels has what it craves: a weak Britain about to be pounded by a Brexit deal which in fact will cost it a fortune and keep it under the thumb of the EU.
Under the deal, if Britain wishes to stay in the ‘single market’ (continue trading with zero tariffs with the rest of the EU), then it will have to respect EU laws. This is absurd given that a big complaint from British business was that it was being beaten by non-EU companies, who weren’t shackled by EU regulation, and are flooding the same market with cheaper goods.
But the greater absurdity, which will have them laughing in Brussels for weeks and months to come, is that the deal that May has proposed will not let Britain negotiate trade deals with other countries around the world – a key, if not fundamental point of Brexit for most Tories who saw EU membership holding Britain's economy back.
This is the Brexit which the EU will now serenade to eurosceptic countries while saying, “even Britain couldn’t leave the EU in the end, even with a $55 billion divorce settlement – so how do you think you will ever manage it?”.
Without having the right to negotiate trade deals, a Britain with a post-Brexit weakened pound, will be walloped. It is, in a nutshell, an Exocet missile from Jean-Claude Junker and his federalist buddies in Brussels, to ensure that Britain fails in its endeavours to prosper.
To have control of immigration isn’t really a big deal as May fails to explain in her speech in Brussels on Sunday 25th. There will be a price for Britons wishing to visit, work or live in the EU.
No longer having to pay $21 billion each year (net) into the EU budget also isn’t that huge a deal given that half of it comes back with subsidies anyway; compared to the $45 billion divorce bill which is also part of the deal and it becomes clear that the EU will still be taking money off cash-strapped Britain for many years.
Theresa May goes on about Britain having control of its laws and being free from EU courts and claims that the UK will take back its fisheries so the absurd practice of Dutch fisherman fishing in UK waters, and selling their catches to Britain, might end. And it might.
But it’s the dreaded EU Customs Union and remaining in it which is the killer blow to Britain’s post-Brexit prosperity, and the EU knows it. To deny Britain access to this without giving up its right to cut a trade deal with whomever will guarantee poverty, austerity and economic decline.
The EU couldn’t conjure up a better PR campaign for its own longevity than what it has in store for the UK with the May deal. The blue sky thinking by Britain’s economists who wanted a Brexit was the UK following through on the trend of exporting more to non-EU countries. And getting deals with China, India, USA and Canada. If it can’t do that because of this wretched deal, then there really is little point to Brexit.
Theresa May has been tricked by the EU, an organisation which has a reputation for not respecting referendums (when they don’t deliver the vote it wants) nor respecting the democratic process. It has, since its inception, always behaved like an autocratic, super state bully who is omnipotent, as a counterweight, to its member states democratic systems.
What we are witnessing with the Brexit deal is just that: a weak Britain which has been tricked and bullied into a deal which will only serve the purposes of the EU. It’s almost a stroke of genius for Junker and his officials who must be toasting champagne in the Belgian capital after the EU Summit where all EU leaders backed the deal.
The deal is a shocking embarrassment for the UK that and shows it has a prime minister who seems even weaker, more naive and vain that Neville Chamberlain who came back from Europe in 1938 waving a document which he claimed would save Britain from the abyss.
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