12 Mar 2016

Just whose side are the Tory eurosceptics really on?

David Cameron has criticised Boris Johnson’s suggestion that the UK could mimic the limited Canadian free-trade agreement with the EU. Cameron pointed out that Canada has been negotiating its agreement with the EU for seven years, and that such a long period of uncertainty was not an option for UK businesses.

This is what happens when people who have been completely disengaged from the subject for years jump in with any old comment.

People like Johnson hunt around on Google for a few minutes, find something that superficially looks plausible (when not simply making things up) and present it as the kind of solution we should aim for. Minimal effort, substantial coverage, maximum avoidable harm to the campaign.

Ask Johnson about the specifics of the CETA deal and I wager he would not be able to answer a single question accurately. We can be fairly certain that Johnson doesn't know any of this...

And there's plenty more where that came from. If Johnson and his ilk were genuinely committed to winning the referendum and taking Britain out of the EU, surely they would seek to advocate a plan for the government to follow that takes us out of the EU but enables us to remain in the single market (EEA) until such time as the end goal - a detailed comprehensive FTA - can be negotiated with the EU. Such an approach would de-risk Brexit when it comes to the economy and jobs, and would deny Cameron and the Remainiacs the opportunity to play their trump card - fear.

Given that Vote Leave refuses to advocate a plan and won't budge from its insane scorched earth vision of ditching the EEA, it is entirely appropriate to ask if these people are on our side at all.

Vote Leave has become a magnet for many Tory eurosceptic MPs who are long on self  promotion, short on knowledge and possess no desire to understand what Brexit really entails or acquaint themselves with international trade and its rules before talking about it. This is why the likes of Boris Johnson, Chris Grayling, and Graham Brady damage the campaign when they limit the arguments to a narrow focus on trade with the EU, and still get it badly wrong. Theirs is the "It'll be alright on the night" campaign, but the reality is it won't if they screwing us.

They ignore other hugely important matters that would need to form part of a future agreement with the EU because they are ignorant of them or don't understand them. Compare that to the long standing and committed Brexiteers supporting The Leave Alliance, who have taken the time to identify and factor in to Britain's needs from a deal with the EU, some of which I referred to in a previous post:
These levy and trade issues are important, but are a minor issue in the overall scheme of things when compared with our future need to cooperate with the EU on inter-agency matters such as medicines, trademarks, aviation safety. Then there’s air traffic control, European single sky, maritime surveillance, Customs, environment, and any number of other areas where the new post-Brexit relationship will require new agreements on coordination and cooperation to be established.
Vote Leave is owned, was created and is still led by two Tories who have never publicly called for Brexit, only to stay in a reformed EU. It has never made a single call to leave the EU on their website or in any of their many briefings, updates, flyers and other materials. Instead of stating they want Britain to leave the EU, they fall over themselves to carefully use language that falls short of that objective, talking instead of only a leave vote and of 'taking control' and only calling for the repatriation of some, not all, powers.

The Vote Leave crowd don't even master the very basics. For example, its student arm, 'Students for Britain' looks forward to Britain regaining its seat on the WTO. We never lost our seat at the WTO. Vote Leave's chairman, Lord Lawson, vehemently stated on the BBC that the EU isn't a member of the WTO. It has been a full member since January 1995. Vote Leave's campaign director, Dominic Cummings, has even bizarrely claimed that the treaty-bound mechanism to be followed if leaving the EU, Article 50, isn't the best or only legal method for terminating our treaty commitments.

Now add in Boris Johnson's completely ill informed and self defeating endorsement of CETA, opening the door for a gleeful David Cameron to give the leave side another punch in the face, and Michael Howard's comments that we can vote to leave to make the EU gives us more crumbs from the table, and you see a big picture where Vote Leave, the front runner for official designation seems to be doing all it can to undermine its own campaign objective and lose us the referendum.

Ask yourself, are these the actions of a group that is determined to win and get the best for Britain? Or is there an agenda at play which will hand David Cameron an undeserved victory that will be bad for democracy and bad for our country?