Anne Marie Waters
Sunday December 13th 2020
Following the bulk of a year where we heard little but coronavirus, Brexit is back in the headlines. The reason is a looming date: December 31st 2020. This is the date we leave the EU and stop adhering to its rules. What this means is that we need new rules, but the simple trade deal that could have been reached long ago is once again eluding our leaders.
The sticking points relate to fishing, the ‘level playing field’, and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The fishing issue is simple, Britain wants exclusive access to its fishing waters, while the EU wants the continent’s waters to be open to all. There is simply no good reason for this to be a sticking point at all. It is entirely reasonable for a nation to want to fish its own waters, and it is entirely unacceptable that we maintain the status quo while it does (and has done) so much damage to the UK’s coastal communities and economies.
The EU however is threatening to cut off access to its market unless we allow fishing in British waters. There is no reason for this except, frankly, blackmail. Once again it displays a lack of will to meet a harmonious and amicable separation on the part of the EU.
A similar threat is made with regard to the ‘level playing field’. The EU will revoke access to its market for all products unless the UK agrees to harmonise its policies on workers’ rights, environmental regulations or state aid with the European Union’s. The reason for this is competition. The EU wants to ensure that the UK cannot gain a competitive advantage by being subject to different rules in the above areas.
On the flip-side; how can a nation call itself sovereign if it cannot determine its own economic or fiscal policy? It can’t.
Finally, within the new relationship between the two parties, there must be dispute resolution. The EU wants things to stay as they are and have the ECJ oversee things. However, chances are that the ECJ, which has always interpreted laws in favour of the EU and continued amalgamation, cannot necessarily be relied upon for absolute unbiased decision-making. And besides that, why should we remain under the jurisdiction of its courts when we are no longer members?
What we’re witnessing here is what we’ve witnessed from the start. The EU and its commissars are furious. They are furious at the prospect of losing one of the continent’s richest and most powerful nations. They’re also furious that we had the effrontery to vote against their wishes.
When the ‘little people’ rise up against the elite, they’ve got to hit back. They’ve got to put us back in our place. Brexit is quite possibly the sharpest slap in the face the EU has ever received, and it is thoroughly deserved. Time and again, Brussels has ignored the voice of the European people, but this one was too big to just sweep aside as it has done with referenda in Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and France in the past. (All four countries have been forced to vote again when they did not vote the way the EU wanted them to).
With this in mind, if the EU can successfully scupper Brexit, it will send a wave of defeat and powerlessness through Britain and let us know in no uncertain terms that democracy is over. Our power is gone. We must just accept it now.
That’s why Brexit is so important. We do not accept the loss of our democracy, and nor should we.
So, where are we now? The latest news headlines this morning are either gloomy or positive, depending on your viewpoint.
Boris Johnson went off to Brussels this week to meet with (unelected) EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The two had given themselves until today (Sunday) to reach agreement. They have not succeeded. Johnson now tells us that a ‘no deal Brexit’ is becoming very very likely. This is music to the ears of many Brexiteers, but what will it mean?
It will mean that our trade with EU will involve tarriffs and checks of goods between nations. The EU, with the help of the anti-Brexit media and its usual poison, is ramping up the scare stories this morning. These scare story scenarios have something important in common: they could all be avoided if the EU chose to avoid them. It will not choose to avoid them because, like so many Remainers here in the UK, it wants Brexit to be a disaster.
Long queues at ports, food shortages, landed planes, lack of medicines… all apparently awaiting us in a month or so. We’ll see.
The elite don’t want this to work, but it will, and it will if we in the UK hold our nerve and allow a No Deal exit to happen. The EU’s businesses don’t want friction, and they don’t want unnecessary delay or expense; punitive action by the EU now won’t last. It’ll only be punishing its own economy.
What is crucial here is that we leave, and not just in name only, because this is – and always has been – about far more than trade or money. It’s about the people retaking their power and winning one for democracy. It also gives the UK a better chance of continuing to exist as a nation and not a province of a Europe-wide super-state.
I’ve long believed that the only way to gain true freedom from the EU is to bring it down. Brexit also plays a crucial role in that – it is the first piece to fall. If this is a success, the EU is vulnerable to other countries wanting out as well. Italy, France, the Netherlands… all are seeing a rise in anti-EU sentiment. A successful Brexit means those countries will know there is a way out.
If more countries leave, the whole thing becomes untenable.
For my part, I want a close continent of fellow Europeans working together on the matters we have in common. But, we must work together as sovereign nations governed by their people. We cannot and will not agree on everything, and where there is disagreement, sovereign nations may go their own way with no punitive fallout from unelected bureaucrats.
Our policies, including those that require cooperation with other Europeans, must be decided by our people, never by a remote commission. Brexit is bringing us closer and closer to achieving that goal. All we must do now is stand firm. If we do, the future is ours.
Anne Marie Waters
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