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Gale's View - 10/04/2019

April 10th 2019


I have voted three times, along with the majority of the Conservative party and a few Labour colleagues who have defied their whip, for a Withdrawal Agreement determined between the United Kingdom and the remaining twenty-seven states of the European Union that would have delivered the `divorce` part of Brexit by the March 29th deadline that had been anticipated. True, there would have been a very short delay while the necessary enabling bill was passed through both Houses of Parliament and true, also, that the hard pounding needed to secure our trading  and relationship arrangements with the EU`s R27 would have followed but we would, effectively, have been on the way out.


That the majority of the Labour Party, while led by a man who consistently puts his dream of a General Election opening the door of Number Ten to a Marxist Government above the National interest  voted against the deal was inevitable. That a small but decisive group of Brexit zealots within the Conservative Party, together with an Irish Democratic Unionist Party that is out of step with public opinion in the Province, should have thrown away the best and indeed the only deal on offer is incomprehensible.


Let us revisit this: The Prime Minister`s Withdrawal Agreement takes back control of our borders and ends free movement of people from within the EU, it ends the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice within the UK. It vastly reduces ( no ‘solution’  eliminates entirely) the amount of money that we pay to the EU, it allows us to set our own rates of VAT or a successor tax, it allows us to strike free trade deals around the world, it scraps the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, it protects the Union of the United Kingdom and it  maintains our anti- terrorism and security arrangements with the rest of Europe. As I said to a friend recently “ which bit of that do you object to “?


I accept that there has been concern expressed about the ‘ backstop ‘ for Northern Ireland but given the undertakings that have been secured I regard those objections as a synthetic reason for voting against anything other than a ‘ No Deal’ departure.


All of the other options put forward, ‘ Norway 2.0’, a customs union ,’. Canada plus’ and variations on these themes would leave us with most or all of the drawbacks and none of the advantages of leaving. Brutally,we would be better off remaining within the European Union but that is not what people voted for and not what we are trying to deliver.


‘No Deal’ ,,the holy grail that the Brexit zealots seek, is a misnomer. The idea that we can walk off into a World Trade Organisation sunset is a nonsense. First, fresh agreements will have to be reached  wit( the WTO itself -not impossible but time- consuming. Next, we will still pay a considerable bill to honour our legal obligations to the European Union. Finally, and this is the crunch, we will still have to negotiate a fresh trade deal with one of our largest markets - the Europea; Union!


Given the Parliamentary arithmetic and the fact that those upon whom she ought to be able t9 rely upon for support t9 5he left and right of the Tory Party, together with the DUP, will not back her the Prime Minister has to seek support for an agreement from elsewhere and for this she has, in my view wholly improperly, been vilified.This is not, as has been suggested, ‘ an act of treachery’ and she is not ‘ sitting down with Corbyn to sell outBrexit’. She is engaging with the Leader of the Opposition, a man chosen not by her but by the Labour Party; to see if in the national interest common ground may be found. Those talks may prove fruitless but she has to try and she is right to try.


By the end of this week things may look very different. As always, when looking into a crystal ball three days in advance of publication, things can change and in once sense have to because at the time of writing we are scheduled to crash out of the EU without a deal on Friday April 12 th.


I still hope that with the writing now in block capitals on the wall those on both sides of the House who still have the ability and the sense to put Nation before Party or doctrine will back the Withdrawal Agreement and allow Britain to move forward. If they do not then I fear that the only people to gain will be the enemies  of our United Kingdom.

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