British humiliating themselves internationally

I have written many times about how the world would be a better place if politicians could admit they got things wrong.

The simple fact – and it is a fact – is that those who proposed “Brexit” on the basis that the EU would be bound to give the UK a good deal plainly got it wrong. Now they should simply admit it.

From the very start, on these pages, I warned that entering negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship on the basis that at the end of those negotiations the UK would 100% have to leave was simply ludicrous. It hands all the cards over the EU and means – as is now happening – that the EU will simply dictate the terms of the UK’s exit. As Lord Heseltine said, this is not taking back control but ceding it.

A much more sensible route would have been for the UK to identify the reasons for the “Leave” vote and then propose a new relationship based, quite possibly, on greater border control (mind, it already has a lot more control of its border than it likes to admit) and perhaps even a reduced budget contribution (perhaps, for example, by separating UK aid to the developing world from EU aid). Whether that relationship was technically “in” or “out” would have been almost irrelevant – it would have maintained a free trading relationship with our closest allies, while also taking full account of the referendum result (i.e. of the reasons for it). The UK would have had a strong negotiating position, as other EU states would have been keen for the outcome to be “technically in” in order for no one else to be tempted to leave. The UK chose to ignore this sensible route.

And so it is that all the claims the Leave side made are proving false; and indeed many of the warnings the Remain side made are proving correct. Most of these claims and warnings involved finance, but in fact the most startling example thus far (and we are only a few days in!) came in the form of a bizarre comment by a Conservative and former Leader that the UK would go to war over Gibraltar if it came to it.

The whole point of the EU, its advocates constantly pointed out, is that it removes the need for petty nationalism and thus drastically decreases the prospect of war. If people in the UK, Spain and Gibraltar all have EU passports, agree EU standards and trade under EU rules, it frankly does not much matter whether Gibraltarians regard themselves as British or Spanish. If, on the other hand, this is made to matter by the UK not just leaving the EU but in fact even leaving the Single Market and Customs Zone, then conflict will inevitably ensue. It is, of course, utterly ludicrous for anyone to suggest that conflict will take the form of a ‘war’, but it will inevitably see tensions between the UK and Spain rise – noting that 26 other European states will have it in their interests to take Spain’s side.

This all simply leaves the British utterly humiliated. Far from a “modern” or “global” Britain, we now have buffoons hinting at war with Spain and restoring imperial measurement units (that no one else uses). The country is split down the middle – between those who want to live in the 1950s and those who want to live in the 1590s.

The whole thing is utterly ludicrous and demands an immediate rethink, before the UK’s delusions do some real damage – noting that such damage will only be to itself.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “British humiliating themselves internationally

  1. 416 says:

    Why shouldn’t any of this surprise me. I judged much of the Leave campaign on the apparent character of its proponents, and these recent “revelations” vindicate my gut feelings.

  2. Dave says:

    Refreshingly insights as ever
    Thanks

  3. William Allen says:

    There are two sides to disputes. The idea of Brexit seemed stupid to me, but the EU could have acted differently before the referendum, increasing the chance of a remain win. Then the PM give them months to try to reach out to the U.K. before triggering article 50. Did they take this chance – no they postured refusing any sort of negotiation before 50 was triggered. Now they are trying to use Gibs status as a bargaining chip.

    The more I read about the EUs approach to Brexit the more I actually think leaving will be the best thing for the U.K.

    • It was a UK Foreign Secretary who said the UK “does not have friends, only interests”.

      That applies globally.

      And it is, fundamentally, why Brexit is such a silly idea. Spain has 26 “interests”. Britain has none.

      It’s the way of the jungle.

      • William Allen says:

        Ultimately if the EU continues the Gibraltar nonsense, Spain will suffer more than the U.K.

        It says a lot that the EU is taking a very obviously hostile stance to the U.K. leaving. It does make you wonder how they would have reacted if the U.K. was a small defenseless nation. Would they act the way the USA did when certain states voted to leave the union.

  4. Edward McCamley says:

    This is true-but it does not go far enough.
    Apart from the demented views of Michael Howard, we have had the grovelling before Trump, the increasingly supine attitude to the ghastly regime in Saudi Arabia, and the determination to support the Saudis in a genocidal war in the Yemen.

  5. Yes i agree but would you also admit you were personally wrong to leave the Alliance Party for the conservative party and you seemed at that time to idolise Ian Duncan Smith one of the champions of brexit and somebody who is certainly stuck in the days of British Imperilism and right wing dogma -if you can admit you were wrong fair enough but can you -or will you make excuses?

    • Heh heh – “wrong” is a strong word because I learned a lot more than I would have done sitting in an office at Stormont, but let’s just say I would no longer be voting Conservative even in England and I am much more at home in the Alliance Party.

  6. Edward McCamley says:

    Just in. After threatening to withhold security cooperation with the EU, suggesting that the Royal Navy might be used against Spain, now May refuses to condemn Saudi atrocities in Yemen – and Liam Fox declares that Britain shares the values of Duterte, the thuggish President of the Philippines. The new global free traders will say anything to get a (bad?) deal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: