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Stop Talking about a £39 Billion Payment to the EU. It was Never Agreed

by John Brian Shannon

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Prime Minister Theresa May suggested to EU leaders that, ‘in exchange for a bespoke Withdrawal Agreement AND a bespoke Trade Deal with the EU, the UK proposed paying £39 Billion to the EU.’

Now, we all knew that £9 Billion of that £39 Billion was to pay for the UK’s ongoing commitments to the EU — such as pension payment obligations, programmes that the UK had agreed to fund or partially fund, and for other miscellaneous fees, charges, and payments that aren’t under any dispute whatsoever.

Let me be clear. In no way is £9 Billion of the then-proposed £39 Billion under dispute. The UK will owe that amount to the EU upon leaving the bloc and I don’t think anyone wants the United Kingdom to shirk on its legitimate obligations to the EU. Certainly, no British politician has suggested that paying the £9 Billion is under dispute.

So when we’re talking about payments to the EU we need to keep in mind that the remaining £30 Billion of the total £39 Billion was discussed in the context of obtaining a bespoke Withdrawal Agreement and a bespoke Trade Deal.

Neither of which look likely to happen now, or ever.

Why then do wags continue to chunter-on about this proposed £39 Billion as if it’s a living, breathing thing that might actually be due and payable, or might actually occur, when it was only ever a proposal?


Without a Withdrawal Agreement and Trade Deal that works for the UK there was never an agreement to pay £39 Billion to the EU. Full Stop!

An aside to Jeremy Hunt; Of all people, stop talking about it as if it’s a thing. It’s not.

Without a bespoke Withdrawal Agreement that works for the UK, and without a bespoke Trade Deal that works for the UK, there was never an agreement to hand over £39 Billion of taxpayer money.

So, stop suggesting that its a thing already due and payable when the conditions to pay it are nowhere near being met, nor are ever likely to be met.

Again, there’s no dispute about paying the legitimate £9 Billion to the EU, as that’s an expected and approved expense and payment isn’t contingent upon receiving a reasonable Withdrawal Agreement, nor a reasonable Trade Deal with the EU.

But if the Conservatives think they’re unpopular in the polls now, just wait until they hand over £39 Billion of taxpayer money for no Withdrawal Agreement and no Trade Deal. The Conservatives might not form a government for the rest of the century!

Brexit THREAT: EU will ‘INSIST’ on getting Brexit £39 billion from UK even with NO DEAL (The Express)

If this amount gets paid (for no Withdrawal Agreement and no Trade Deal) imagine yourself watching Prime Minister’s Questions when Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn thunders from the despatch box in the House of Commons, ‘This week, Mr. Speaker, the government has paid yet another £28,846,153.84 for no Withdrawal Agreement and no Trade Deal. What was the government thinking?’ (That weekly amount assumes the £30 Billion would be pro rated over 1040 weeks, or 20-years)

Labour leaders could milk that cow until the end of the century.

Let’s hope that Conservatives stop thinking that £39 Billion is what the UK owes the EU and begins thinking about it as £30 Billion the EU must earn!

So, how can the EU earn £30 Billion from the UK?

By working out a satisfactory Withdrawal Agreement and a satisfactory Trade Deal. Otherwise, no £30 Billion. It couldn’t be simpler.

Why Theresa May’s Draft Withdrawal Bill Should be Voted Down

by John Brian Shannon

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” — Benjamin Franklin

Theresa May’s EU draft Withdrawal Agreement seems to meet 3-out-of-the-4 metrics of the leave campaign, but importantly, it doesn’t meet the last and arguably most important metric of a successful Brexit; That of being able to negotiate the UK’s own trade deals — even after the official Brexit date is past!

That’s failure by any standard.


Adding Insult to Injury

Another knock against Theresa May and her draft Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is that she’s threatened to cancel Brexit altogether if the House of Commons doesn’t approve the draft WA she’s delivered.

That’s a direct slap in the face to 17.4 million British voters who voted to leave the European Union; They didn’t vote for a high-falutin’ 585-page draft Withdrawal Agreement, nor did they vote for a newfangled Political Declaration with the EU — they voted to Leave the European Union.

Although she’s only uttered that threat twice (in public, anyway) it’s the kind of thing you expect from 3rd-world strongmen — not a Prime Minister who represents the world’s oldest democracy.

It comes perilously close to Theresa May choosing to remain on good terms with her continental buddies, preferring them over the British electorate. And we know what that’s called.


Forget the Arbitrary Deadlines that Favour the EU Countries

It’s telling that Theresa May travelled to Brussels late last week and was suddenly found to be in possession of a fully completed 585-page Withdrawal Agreement, and startlingly, she told UK MP’s that they have only a few days to review it before they must vote it up or vote it down.

Aren’t Britons more important Theresa, than your EU friends? Was it not Britons that built the great country you’re privileged to lead, or was it your continental pals? Isn’t the democracy you serve more important than arbitrary deadlines set by the UK’s competitor nations?

Forget telling us with words. Show us.

“Don’t tell me what you can do, show me what you have done.” — Henry Ford


Meeting Three-Out-Of-Four Metrics Doesn’t Equal £39 Billion

Until Theresa May brings home a Withdrawal Agreement worthy of passing in the House of Commons, there’s no way UK taxpayers will countenance the transfer of £39 billion to the EU — and if Theresa May tries to strong-arm the ‘3-out-of-4’ Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons and thereby then feel she can pay her pals in Brussels a lump sum payment (which they haven’t earned) the Tory government will fall hard and Conservatives needn’t ever worry about forming a government again. Said every voter.


We Will Never be Here Again: Take the Time to Get it Right

It’s not like a Brexit deal comes around every winter just in time for Black Friday.

If ever there were a time to slow down and get it right — this is it — as opposed to Theresa May and her continental friends who want it passed through the House of Commons so they can get the £39 billion before anyone has time to study it too closely.

Perhaps each institution in the UK should be tasked with creating a report on Theresa May’s Withdrawal Brexit plan and publishing it publicly — the good and the bad — with gov.uk paying the bill and making those reports available (in PDF form) to UK taxpayers and other stakeholders in Britain’s future.

We know that partially financed by the EU institutions such as the CBI and others will like this deal because fundamentally it’s a BRINO deal (Brexit In Name Only) as trade with the EU and other countries won’t change appreciably as long as the UK remains in the EU Customs Union.

But other institutions and think tanks may have different ideas. Some may question why their members are to be held back (on account of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement) from trading with the world via new Free Trade Agreements that could be signed with other countries via better Withdrawal Agreement terms.


Here’s a Partial List of Countries Whose Leaders Have Publicly and Enthusiastically Endorsed Free Trade with a Post-Brexit UK:

The U.S.A. wants a zero-tariff free trade agreement soon after Brexit. Positive features of this agreement would be *reciprocity* which means nobody gets screwed on trade deficits, etc., and *equivalency* which means (among other things) that products that are safety certified in one country are automatically approved for sale in the other country. Thankfully, the Americans are strong proponents of both points. It’s such a good system that I hope that all of Britain’s future trading partners emulate this model.

Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — there’s over 2 billion customers right there! — have all said they want free trade deals with the UK as soon as possible following Brexit. Some have gone so far as to say they would use the CETA agreement as a template for a new UK agreement to save negotiating time so they can get to the good stuff (high volumes of trade) sooner.

The TPP countries (now called CPTPP) led by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have all agreed to allow the UK to join the group as soon as Brexit is completed. This massive trade bloc is the 3rd-largest trading bloc in the world after NAFTA and the EU.

China has said that they would like a free trade agreement with the UK in the post-Brexit timeframe and China’s president has been travelling the world trying (and succeeding) to get free trade agreements signed with his country in recent months.

Many other countries too, would like to trade with a post-Brexit UK which is still the 5th-largest economy in the world (by GDP, but not by PPP) and the sooner all Britons realize that they are the 5th-largest economy in the world, the better. Because it seems that some Britons think they’re the 120th-largest economy in the world and act accordingly.


Paying £39 Billion to Give Up UK Fishing Rights to the EU (???)

What madness is this?

When you offer to pay £39 billion to a country for a bespoke Brexit deal/free trade agreement, and then they drop the free trade agreement portion, and then they say the UK must stay in their Customs Union (meaning the UK can’t sign its own trade deals) and then they tell you they want huge fishing rights in UK waters, and then they tell you they might not allow the UK to sell services in their economy, and then they tell you that UK airlines might not be able to land their planes in their country, and then they tell you that the UK can’t continue to be a part of the Galileo project that the UK partially funded — but they still want the £39 billion — they’re not your friends, Theresa.

It’s time to take stock and decide who you’re working for Theresa May. You either work for the UK or the EU, but not both.

We won’t be paying attention to your words, Theresa. We’ll be watching your deeds.