Boris Johnson, Yanis Varoufakis and Sir Vince Cable all have something in common….
All three have been in the news lately with their interpretations of events surrounding Brexit and the Negotiations. You’d think that three such people could never have anything in common, but funnily enough they do, and if you pick their comments apart you’ll find that…they all agree with me!
Boris is back in the news with his reiteration of the £350million per week, pre-Referendum, NHS side-of-a-bus promise. And it’s become quite the thing to interpret his comments. Personally I don’t see what all the fuss is about the £350million. Ok, I do see it, but I see it as one of the few things that the Remoaners have to clutch onto. Like a drowning man and a straw. But here are some trivial observations, backing up the Boris position:
- The £350million figure is correct, in that it’s the amount (actually slightly less than the full amount) over which we could have control. I know there’s a rebate, but apparently (and I only get this from Wikipedia so apologies if I’ve got it wrong) it gets renegotiated every seven years and has to be unanimously agreed. Well, pardon me, but we’ve seen how nice the EU is to negotiate with…Give me £10,000 and I’ll give half of it back. Promise. Except I reserve the right to change my mind. And I know a lot of our contribution comes back as expenditure in the UK. But we have little say in how that money is spent. So out of that £10,000 you gave me I’m going to spend the other half of it on you…I hope you like the avocado bathroom we’re putting in, it will be fashionable again one day, honest.
- By the time of the Referendum the £350million had been analysed to death. Everyone knew the subtleties in that number. Ok, maybe not Guardian readers or Lib Dem voters, but everyone else did.
- Who says that any promise has been broken? We know that Remainer promises have been broken, much of what David “I will not resign” Cameron said have turned out to be false. But it will still be years before we know if anything extra will be going to the NHS. And the more the Remoaners try to sink the Brexit ship the less there will ultimately be.
- Well, why not give £350million per week to the NHS? Nobody said it would last forever. Say two years of £350million per week, to go on new hospitals, infrastructure, technology,…A combination of the Brexit bonanza and drastic cuts to international aid and Bob’s your uncle.
Surely nothing he has ever said or thought can overlap with my more sensible, and real-world, views? Well, it so happens that we both agree that EU negotiations are probably doomed. And quite frankly I hope they are. He puts it down to the cunning of EU bureaucrats trying to mess up the UK economy. I put it down to the stupidity of the same bureaucrats. No one tries to negotiate in the EU’s bizarre linear fashion, not unless you are an idiot (my view) or wanting negotiations to fail (YV’s). Part of my reasoning is that we keep being told it will take ten years to negotiate a trade deal with the EU because it took Canada that long. Anyone who spouts that nonsense is also an idiot, it took that long because Canada was negotiating with the bureaucrats in the EU. That tells you everything you need to know.
I do admire the British negotiators, trying to do a good job for the UK while so many people (mostly who’ve never ventured beyond the M25) bitch about them. David Davis is criticized for making it up as he goes along. Of course he’s making it up as he goes along. That’s what happens in negotiations, for god’s sake! On the other side the EU negotiators can’t make it up as they go along, they are paralyzed, they can’t move from positions set in stone and are not quick thinking and fast on their feet. Never forget: “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy,” Helmuth von Moltke. And this applies to negotiating, setting up a cornershop, or actual battles.
Sir Vince Cable
Sweet innocent Sir Vince, bless his cotton, varicose-vein support hose. Now I’ve never agreed with a Lib Dem in my life. So what’s changed? Well, dear Sir Vince wants a second referendum after terms of Brexit have been negotiated. And I agree. But Sir Vince, wrong in the past in so many ways, is subtly wrong on this. He wants a referendum with the decisions between “Accept the Brexit Terms” or “Grovel Back to the EU and Stay In.” Close but no cigar. Remember the 52% who voted to Leave? Yes, there should be a vote but the two choices, consistent with the result of last year’s Referendum, should be “Accept the Brexit Terms” or “Hard Brexit, No Terms, WTO, and FO.”