Monday, 1 May 2017

Theresa May is out of her depth

The substance of the Juncker leaks is in dispute. One thing that is not in dispute is that May thinks the matter of the fiscal settlement is leverage. It isn't. For sure it would torpedo a number of ongoing cooperation agreements and major joint programmes and would land member states with a larger bill but the net effect is the UK having a junk rating and no trade agreement. It's a very serious headache for the EU. For us it's a catastrophe. Interest payments on national debt alone would skyrocket so we still end up paying substantial sums to somebody.

Some leap to May's defence saying that it is negotiating ploy. I have never heard anything quite so daft. If you are going to play these games then any implied threat has to be credible. The "Give me what I want or I will shoot myself" caper just isn't credible. But more worryingly, May does seem to believe that the walk away option is an option.

Some of the core examples I have used like rights in EU airspace are the more obvious examples but there are some three hundred policy areas where there is integration - which would stop functioning overnight. The Tory assumption is that this can be offset by going ultra free trade and becoming a first world European tax haven. To make good on this we would have to basically drop any pretence of ethics and effectively become the world bank for the black market and every tinpot dictator going. The EU would not be alone in taking action to frustrate anything we do.

In this, we would not only be leaving the EU, we would effectively be junking the entire international order of treaties. That sounds superficially appealing but it isn't a good idea. Once you start unravelling that you basically greenlight a worldwide trade war in which nobody wins.

As to May's position on any subsequent trade deal, remarks made by Juncker only really confirm what we already know. Nobody on the Tory benches has the first idea how to go about such an undertaking or what is even involved. It is a real testament to the strength of the hermetically sealed bubble they have engineered for themselves.

On present trajectory the EU is absolutely right. May is delusional and there is no possible way she can make a success of it. She's not even past first base in understanding the very basics.

Reaction from the Tories and the Brexiteers though has been depressingly predictable. This is sold as the EU taking a hard line when in fact the EU position is entirely consistent with how the EU operates. The system has rules and it intends to uphold its own rules. Any exceptions it makes must be done in accordance with WTO rules which means there can be no special exemptions for the UK.

This is the most depressing thing about Brexit in that the positions are now hopelessly polarised. It seems that in order to display your pro-Brexit credentials you have to back the PM no matter how absurdly out of kilter with reality she is. One has to defend the inexcusable.

I don't deny that the leaks published via Twitter may have some embellishments but most of it seems to fit with what we already know. It all seems too plausible. Sadly, instead of acknowledging this stark reality that our PM is way out of her depth, Tory bloggers are busy spinning the fact that Juncker leaked the nature of a confidential meeting - thus proof that the EU is not acting in good faith and seeking to undermine confidence in the PM.

Make of that what you will but I take the view that Brits need to know a lot more about their government's position than we are being told. When you operate under a shroud of soundbites and secrecy you cannot be surprised if the public leap on any morsel of information. Personally I am glad it is out in the open that the PM has shit for brains and hasn't the first idea what she is doing. Since there is an election on this is useful to know.

No comments:

Post a Comment