Theresa May hits back at negative EU briefings

Excuse me, what was Theresa May supposed to say at the dissolution of Parliament – everything is fine and dandy with the relationships with the EU. After learning that the exit bill from the EU is €100 billion, and that the European Court of Justice is required to be the arbiter of EU citizen’s rights when residing in the UK.

She is entitled to object, and in strong terms. I’m not of the opinion, held by many commentators – left and right, that it’s demeaning of the Prime Minister to respond as she did – READ HERE.

I couldn’t put it better than the incomparable Daniel Hannan,

Crikey, the EU wants us to pay €100 billion to leave

The Financial Times reports, “Brussels hoists gross Brexit ‘bill’ to up to €100bn – France and Germany back tougher approach to Britain’s departure obligations”. [Click on image to expand].

The UK’s annual net contribution to the EU is around £10 billion. Asking us to pay €100 billion up front is optimistic. No, it’s downright bonkers. It’s naive of the EU to release their estimate of the UK’s debt of between €91bn-€113bn during a general election campaign, for surely it will strengthen Theresa May’s vote. Is that what they want? Goodness only knows.

This nonsensical number, of €100 billion, is bound to increase the clamour for a quick exit from the EU, which I’d be against. We must now learn to play hardball with the EU. I recommend we publish our proposals for citizen rights in fine detail, and be prepared for public negotiations. The EU will soon see the benefit of conducting confidential negotiations.

Here are a couple depressing of quotes from the FT’s article,

It also reflects the steadily hardening position of many EU member states, which have abandoned early reservations about the bill’s political risks to pile on demands that will help to plug a Brexit-related hole in the bloc’s common budget.

At the request of France, Germany and several other member states, the commission also abandoned its initial plans to offer the UK a share of assets, worth between €3bn and €9bn, depending on the definition used.

I’ve been thinking. Never a good idea

I’ve been pondering whether I should burden readers of this site with my observations on the General Election, and the progress of Brexit negotiations with the EU.

You’ve guessed, I feel sure, that the answer is Yes. I hope not to be pretentious, though can’t guarantee what I write will be insightful, just the impressions of an ordinary guy.

I’ll attempt, with the help of my dear wife, who’s a whizz on Excel, a Brexit negotiations dashboard. Better get working on it now, as negotiations will begin in earnest shortly.

I will, of course, leaven such opinions with local stuff, and quirky finds from the dear old internet.

PS: Not a photo of me.

The battle of wills is surely between Theresa May and Angela Merkel

Lots and lots is written daily interpreting the minutiae of government words on Brexit. I don’t want to add to it. My angle is about personalities. Perhaps I’ve missed it, but the media don’t seem to be focussing on the key battle between to two main combatants, Theresa May and Angela Merkel.

theresa_mayLets look at what each has said in the past two days. Firstly, Theresa May on the Sophy Ridge Show in Sunday, then what Angela Merkel said on Monday.

Sophy Ridge asking about prioritising control of immigration over membership of the single market, Theresa May said,

‘We are leaving. We are coming out. We are not going to be a member of the EU any longer.

‘So the question is what is the right relationship for the UK to have with the European Union when we are outside. We will be able to have control of our borders, control of our laws.’

Angela Merkel, speaking to the German Civil Service Association, said,

angela_merkel_2011“One cannot lead these [Brexit] negotiations based in the form of ‘cherry picking’. This would have fatal consequences for the remaining 27 EU states.”

“Britain is, for sure, an important partner with whom one would want to have good relations even after an exit from the EU.”

But Mrs Merkel said it was important to be clear, “that on the other hand, we are clear that, for example, access to the single market is only possible under the condition of adherence to the four basic principles. Otherwise one has to negotiate limits (of access).”

Angela Merkel will, surely, have been aware of what Theresa May said on Sunday. No obvious agreement there that I can see. From what we know about the two of them, there are remarkable similarities. Both are religious, lead centre-right political parties, have held similar positions in their respective parties and government, are of a similar age, have no children, and are from a non-metropolitan background,

So far, so similar. Both have succeeded in the male-dominated world of politics, so will both have exhibited grit and determination to succeed and survive. Perhaps it might be said that both show a stubbornness. On Brexit both Merkel and May have frequently repeated their positions, with neither varying very much from those positions.

There’ll be appointed European negotiators, though not yet exactly sure who and what. While the people in the negotiations will be important people, they’re not as important, in my opinion, as that of Merkel for the EU, and May for the UK.

Alternative legal opinions on the High Court judgement on Parliament’s Brexit vote

I’ve read the whole High Court judgment on the case of Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. You can read it HERE.

The point of law was whether the Government had the power to sign Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. The judges said no it had not, and in consequence Parliament must have a vote prior to its signing.

In our constitution Parliament sits above the law – not though the rule of law. Inasmuch that the Government is answerable to Parliament. I suppose you could say that Parliament is superior to Government. Government governs – such a simple concept. Parliament oversees and holds the Government to account – again a simple concept. No need for the Judges to interpret this process – when it’s blindingly obvious what the nation expects the government and parliament to do – and that is to sign Article 50 to leave the EU.

judicial-power-projectIf you’d like to read some learned legal views on the High Court judgement, then you can at the Judicial Power Project. Pleasingly they’ve got five short legal critiques, and other brief legal views of what happens next, and the bigger picture.

Here’s the final part of one of the five views, worth reading all five. This one by Richard Ekins [click to read], who is Associate Professor of Law in the University of Oxford and Head of the Judicial Power Project.

The Government’s intention to trigger art. 50 by way of the royal prerogative, challenged in Miller, is entirely consistent with this rule. It is consistent also with responsible government and parliamentary democracy, for the Government is and always has been accountable to Parliament for its exercise of the prerogative.

Parliamentary sovereignty is rightly fundamental to our constitution. But the Miller judgment was not necessary to protect it and, welcome rhetoric notwithstanding, does nothing to uphold it.

A scholarly and readable review of the Brexit referendum

the-english-revoltI’ve read numerous articles analysing the result of the EU Referendum in June. I missed this one The English Revolt by Robert Tombs in the New Statesman on July 24th. While it’s a long article, it’s an excellent account of why we ended up voting to Leave the EU. Here are a few snippets from the article.

Worst of all, [Remain voters] main argument – whether they were artists, actors, film-makers, university vice-chancellors or prestigious learned societies – was one of unabashed self interest: the EU is our milch-cow, and hence you must feed it. This was a lamentable trahison des clercs. The reaction to the referendum result by some Remain partisans has been a monumental fit of pique that includes talking up economic crisis (which, as Keynes showed, is often self-fulfilling) and smearing 17 million Leave voters as xenophobes. This is both irresponsible and futile, and paves the way to political marginalisation.

Many Europeans fear that a breakdown of the EU could slide into a return to the horrors of the mid-20th century. Most people in Britain do not. The fundamental feature of the referendum campaign was that the majority was not frightened out of voting for Leave, either by political or by economic warnings. This is testimony to a significant change since the last referendum in 1975: most people no longer see Britain as a declining country dependent on the EU.