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After years of on-again, off-again negotiations, the UK and the European Union still haven’t been able to sign a viable trade deal allowing uninterrupted trade between the two countries.
But the UK has faced far bigger challenges in the 20th-century and in every previous century, and wound up victorious every time — therefore, in regards to Brexit, it’s time to cut our losses and move-on, and Leave the European Union just as UK voters instructed their politicians to do back on June 23, 2016.
In fact, all the years of back and forth negotiations, all the friction that’s occurred between the two blocs since 2016, and the billions the UK has handed over in the meantime to continue paying more than their fair share of the EU budget, has resulted in even more needless emotional trauma to all sides.
It’s now patently obvious that a WTO-style Brexit in 2016/17 would have been better for the UK, it’s business community, and for ordinary Britons too, had Britain just ‘up and left’ without a deal and went straight to a WTO trading relationship (beginning January 1, 2017) with the European Union.
Had UK MP’s followed both the letter and spirit of those instructions, the UK would’ve left the European Union on January 1, 2017 (probably on WTO terms) and gotten straight to work on what matters most to Britons — and all of it without a 1389-day delay!
Think about it. 1389-days later (and counting) we’re no closer to a Brexit trade deal with the EU than in January 2017!
After all the gyrations, after all the negative publicity, after all the name-calling, and all that grief — and nothing to show for it 1389-days later. Which I many times predicted throughout the entire Brexit saga.
It isn’t good enough; It isn’t what citizens are paying their politicians for in either bloc. The entire shambolic escapade of (former UK Prime Minister Theresa May) trying to get a deal — while the EU was seemingly trying to not get a deal — has been a colossal waste of everyone’s life. And that translates into a lot of wasted time and money for everyone.
I understood the EU’s position perfectly, it’s just that others didn’t.
The European Union doesn’t want a sudden exodus of countries from it’s bloc and therefore, making the UK’s exit from the EU seem like the biggest ordeal in the world might deter some EU-member nations from leaving.
My point is, UK politicians should’ve known that. They shouldn’t have fallen for so many false narratives/red herrings/obfuscation. But they did — and that’s the problem.
And that disability is called naivety.
European Union leaders shouldn’t be blamed for trying to make Britain’s exit from the EU as difficult as possible; I can relate to that, because if my 2nd-best economic contributor was trying to leave my bloc/organization/family, I’d be tempted to make life difficult for them. But I would hope that I didn’t get too carried away with making them PAY, PAY, PAY! for wanting to leave and skip to the infinitely more important point of trying to arrange a workable new arrangement, ASAP.
And that ability is called maturity.
Therefore, I respectfully call on UK politicians to become much less naive with regard to the European Union’s position (a bloc now proven to not be working in the best interests of the UK — and why would it? It’s in business for the EU) and I respectfully call on EU politicians to begin thinking in much more expedient terms for the remainder of the year so that a viable trade deal can be arranged between the two parties — to benefit citizens and businesses on both sides of the English Channel.
One would hope there will be a UK/EU trade deal signed by 2021, but there’s no reason good enough to give away the entire country as a way to obtain a trade deal — a deal that should be as important to the EU as it is to Britain.
The EU mindset seems to be to stridently ask for everything and if the Brits are incompetent enough to grant everything, then the EU won’t mind taking it.
But it seems that every time the UK government stands up for UK business and for Britons, the cries of being treated unfairly reach another record-setting crescendo.
Listen to the rhetoric that the EU side is using to force the UK to agree to their terms:
“The UK needs to take “significant steps” in the coming days to secure a trade deal with the EU, the European Council president said.”
“Charles Michel said talks were approaching a “moment of truth” ahead of a crucial EU summit…”
“The Irish PM, Micheál Martin said “movement” was required before “end-state negotiations”…”
“…Mr Michel said… the UK side needed to take “significant steps”…”
“The coming days are crucial,” he added.” — Excerpts from BBC
There’s nothing like putting all the pressure on the UK side hoping they panic and agree to sign everything away at the last minute! That’s obviously the EU tactic here.
The EU (so far) has Taught the UK that Polite Diplomacy Doesn’t Work
“Everyday, we teach others how to treat us.”
The UK side has played the entire Brexit thing very politely. In fact, too politely.
Former British Prime Minister Theresa May flew to Brussels dozens of times (often on very short notice) with no way to prepare as she wasn’t always told what was to be discussed — only to return later that day, disappointed, frustrated, empty-handed and beat-up after listening to another EU browbeating.
On top of all that, she was forced to face the then-cowed UK Parliament (not all of them, but enough to add more misery to her day) and face the then mostly pro-EU media.
She deserved better than she got.
I still feel sorry for Theresa May who was the UK’s diplomatic champion yet got nothing but disrespect from all sides. She deserves an OBE for her perseverance and for displaying almost superhuman goodwill towards the Inquisition panel over in Brussels.
Now we have Prime Minister Boris Johnson fighting for the UK and with a very capable team. Good luck, Boris! You’re going to need it.
More than anything else, were I advising UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, I would suggest he hire several of the UK’s best psychologists to explain to Boris and his team what is going on in the EU heads.
And I’m happy to inform you as to what those psychologists might say…
‘Mr. Johnson, there’s no agreement that will ever be good enough for the EU. They are suffering because their best example of what the EU is trying to attract to their bloc decided to leave and they are embarrassed and upset. And to add further pain, the UK was their 2nd-best economic contributor to the European Union annual budget.’
‘Nothing you can offer them Boris, will ever be good enough, no matter what! Therefore, trying to give them a sweet deal on fishing rights, automobile trade, energy, or anything else in an attempt to soothe their hurt feelings represents the worst kind of political folly.’
‘Therefore, please walk away Boris if they’re going to put a higher priority on their bad mood than on their future relationship with the UK and The Commonwealth of Nations.’
Let ourselves never fall into the trap the EU has set for itself.
After a gestation period that would’ve impressed a Brontosaurus (44-months, or 188-weeks if you prefer to measure time by the week, or 1317-days, or 31,608-hours) the UK government finally kept its promise to Britons who voted for Brexit on June 23, 2016.
So, after bobbling the ball for 3.5-years, the UK government finally got it right (Thanks, Boris!) and at 11:00pm GMT on January 31, 2020, the UK left the European Union. And not a moment too soon, as if the dithering on the UK side had continued much longer the UK would’ve been thrown out of the EU — instead of leaving of its own accord! Yes, the frustration with successive UK governments grew to record highs over the past 3.5-years…
Anyway, that was then, and this is now, as they say.
What Next for the UK?
According to the terms of the Brexit agreement with the EU, the parties have 11-months to agree a trade deal to govern the future trading relationship, unless the parties decide to extend the trade deal negotiating period for another year, or longer.
I feel positive about getting a trade deal with the EU as it’s so obviously in the interests of both parties to arrange a fair-to-both-sides trade agreement, that there will be a signing ceremony before the end of 2020. Let’s hope!
Of course, the EU isn’t the UK’s only trading partner, so a trade deal with the Americans is important for the UK, And that too, must be concluded in a reasonable timeframe if the UK is to capitalize on its economic prospects following its departure from the European Union.
Let’s hope that Boris Johnson’s team sees the value of signing onto the CPTPP agreement — to become a member of the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership agreement — which is a huge trading region headed by Japan as the leading economy in the bloc.
Subsequent deals with Commonwealth of Nations countries — I’m hoping for a massive agreement between all Commonwealth nations, on par with the excellent CPTPP trade agreement. And, why not? The UK has ignored the Commonwealth for far too long now and huge opportunities await UK companies within that 2.5 billion member bloc (2.5 billion citizens/consumers in the Commonwealth of Nations countries by 2022) and further, the economy of that bloc consists of rapidly developing economies whose citizens are now beginning to enjoy real growth in their disposable income. Disposable income that could be used to purchase UK goods and services if you take my meaning.
Yes, huge trade opportunities await the UK, and not a moment to lose going after it. Because if the UK doesn’t go after that business, some other country or bloc will snap-up all of it and could completely displace UK trade in each country. That’s the punishment for taking too long to agree a trade deal.
Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her government found out what happens when it takes too long to accomplish something really important to the UK people, and those excessive delays are the only reason that Boris Johnson is now the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. So… fast, fast, Boris, on the trade file!
And thanks for getting Brexit done.
Putting the UK – EU Relationship in Context
All in all, the UK – European relationship has been a good one when measured over the past 107-years.
In that time, the UK fought to bring peace to the continent in WWI and WWII, it was a solid contributor to the NATO alliance during the Cold War, the UK participated in operations like the Berlin Airlift, the fall of the Wall/reunification of Germany, and in missions in the Balkans to try to prevent genocide and enforce International Court of Justice rulings against non-state actors there, and it invested trillions of pounds sterling in the continent in the 20th-century.
The UK helped to bring peace and prosperity to Europe and was an early supporter of a unified Europe from the time of former UK Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill — although Winston often said that the UK did not belong “in” continental Europe, but rather, that it should support a unified continent from “outside” continental politics.
Having played a pivotal role in the creation of a peaceful and prosperous European continent, the UK can now leave with its head held high, having accomplished all of its long-term objectives there, knowing that the ongoing peace and prosperity on the continent will continue for decades to come, due in part to the UK’s huge commitment to continental Europe since 1913, or thereabout.
Although the Brexit process might have frazzled nerves on both sides, there’s no doubt that the United Kingdom and the European Union will continue to be allies sharing a similar worldview and will continue trading with each other on an epic scale. While some tears have been shed over Brexit, the special relationship with our continental friends will endure for centuries to come, of that there’s no doubt.
Now, let’s make it easy on ourselves and quickly agree a fair and comprehensive trade agreement, so that both parties can continue to build on the successes of the previous century — as befits true neighbours, friends, families, and allies — thereby setting the bar for how countries can and should work together to create a better world.
And I wouldn’t expect anything less from Prime Minister Boris Johnson or from EU President Ursula von der Layen. In fact, we’ve only just begun!
Thumbnail image courtesy of www.ft.com