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You say that like it’s a bad thing, Mr Barnier

The Times tells us that a moment of decision approaches. “EU nations will block Brexit deal if Britain ditches Brussels regulations, warns Michel Barnier”:

National parliaments or regional assemblies across the European Union will block a future trade deal if Britain tears up Brussels regulations on competition, food safety, social standards or environmental protection, Michel Barnier warned today.

The EU was alarmed a fortnight ago when Liam Fox, the secretary of state for trade, hinted that after Brexit Britain would ditch regulations on health and the environment to secure new trading deals with countries such as the United States.

In a stark warning to Conservatives and Brexit supporters, Mr Barnier, the European chief negotiator on Brexit, warned that Britain’s choice between Donald Trump’s vision of a deregulated laissez-faire economy

Are we talking about the same Donald Trump here? Swanky hotels, reality TV, funny hair, President of the United States of America? ‘Cos that guy’s a protectionist. Like you.

or the “European model” of social and environmental protection will determine the shape of a final Brexit deal.

“The UK has chosen to leave the EU. Does it want to stay close to the European model or does it want to gradually move away from it?” he said at the Centre for European Reform in Brussels.

Any preference?

27 comments to You say that like it’s a bad thing, Mr Barnier

  • Mr Ed

    The UK’s EU withdrawal negotiations are being run as if we were sending Oswald Mosley to Munich or Kim Philby to Moscow.

  • JadedLibertarian

    No matter the outcome the fact that Britain is even talking to the likes of Barnier is a sure sign that Britain is now officially ball free.

    It’s like that kid who tried to negotiate with the school bully. “If you skip the wedgie and leave me an apple for my lunch I’ll do your homework and let you give me a swirlie…”

    The problem with this is:

    A) It’s pathetic

    B) It doesn’t work

    When faced with a bully it is far better to adopt a scorched earth approach. “Sure, you maybe could beat me up and take my lunch money, but I guarantee you this: it’ll cost you an eye to do so…”

    The problem seems to be that the political class love the EU and it’s free-spending power-without-accountability ways. It’s a system of government designed by politicians, for politicians. They’ve been forced out of the bully’s gang and they’re still writhing about hoping for a way back in.

    Once upon a time the likes of Alastair Campbell briefing against his own country and advising the Irish to play “hard ball” would have been met with treason charges and a date with Mr Hessian.

    That this stands is also evidence of Britain’s balllessness. I’m wondering if we’re so far gone we can never get our nuts back or if there’s yet hope…

  • Chip

    Trump has made protectionist noise – perhaps as part of getting better free trade deals – but there’s no dispute that he is taking a scythe to regulations.

    This is what Barnier was referring to.

    The WSJ had a detailed story on the dregulation push just a few days ago.


  • Lee Moore

    I’m struggling a bit with what the current negotiations are supposed to be about.

    I thought the EU had made a big thing about negotiating the details of withdrawal, before the future relationship inc trade agreements could be discussed.
    But what’s to discuss about the details of withdrawal ? They want a pile of money. We want what ? So far as I can see we want nothing at all, until we get on to phase 2. So the natural conclusion of phase 1 is nada.

    Once we get on to phase 2, the future, there’s stuff we want – like trade agreements and so on. Maybe we want to pay money for that, maybe not. But unless the money is a quid pro quo for something the EU is to deliver in the future, why would we even bother to discuss it ?

  • bobby b

    It all seems like going to a car dealership and arguing about price, with the dealer refusing to discuss what car you want to buy until there’s an agreement on that price.

  • Pat

    Two thoughts.
    As Mr. Barnier made plain nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Hence the slightest snag at the end of negotiations results in no deal. Expect that.
    Mr.Trump’s internal trade policy is Chrystal clear. Remove barriers to trade (called regulations in this context), reduce tarrifs (called taxes in this context). Perhaps his pose on international trade is a negotiating position, designed to get better terms for US exporters rather than institute protection.

  • Our decision to leave the EU just keeps looking wiser and wiser. Hopefully, that the conclusion being drawn outside SW1 (that’s “the beltway” for transatlantic readers).

  • Rob Fisher

    No deal; unilateral free trade; abolish corporation tax. Job (mostly) done (for now). Why are people even talking about 40 billion pounds?

  • Alsadius

    > “The UK has chosen to leave the EU. Does it want to stay close to the European model or does it want to gradually move away from it?”

    What a remarkably stupid question.

  • Thailover

    You voted to not be my thrall, but you can only play with us if you continue to act like my thrall and do as I say. Isn’t that fair? No?

  • Why are people even talking about 40 billion pounds?

    WE THE PEOPLE” aren’t. The conversation is purely between the traitors in Whitehall and the Quislings in Brussels.

    Fortunately, no deal will ever happen or if by some travesty it is agreed, it will never be ratified.

    All this continued haggling over money shows the EU’s overwhelming desire to punish Britain for having the temerity to ask to leave.

    On the plus side, there will be many who voted remain because of a balance of “Status Quo” and “Project Fear” that are now thinking that leaving is probably for the best.

    I doubt even a second referendum, if held fairly, would be a win for the EU.

  • Derek Buxton

    No doubt Barnier is of that special breed known as “enarques”, a bureaucrats bureaucrat and our team? do not understand what he is about.And that is the problem, a trained bureaucrat up against an MP of little training and an even worse PM. Of course, it should be noted that the EU is not about politics or economics, the purpose is to rule everything by the “elite”, bureaucrats all. I always chuckle when the French Revolution is mentioned, the claim was “Liberte, Equalite et Fraternite”, none of which they have.

  • Paul Marks

    As others in the thread have already pointed out – these “talks” are insane.

    I am just listening to David Davis making a speech – he just does not “get it”, he does not understand.

    The European Union is not interested in making an honourable agreement, it is not our “partner” the European Union is our ENEMY. The European Union will seek to do us harm in any way they can – because (like all other efforts to “unite” Europe before it) it wishes to reduce the people of this land to a condition of servitude – to have no say in their own laws and no way of removing their real rulers.

    “Implementation Period” (what about the period from June 2016? business has ALREADY HAD plenty of time to prepare) “transition period”, offers of endless billions of taxpayer money to the European Union.

    Just STOP OBEYING European Union regulations and STOP PAYING THEM MONEY.

    And end these “talks” – just STOP.

  • Derek Buxton

    Paul, quite correct, they will not deal fairly, if at all. I seem to recall that Article 50 was imposed by an EU member who if I remember correctly was said to say,”It is a voluntary organisation and so there must be a get out clause in the final agreement”, hence the Article!

  • staghounds


    I wish, but still won’t be any Brexit.

  • Whether David Davis gets it or not doesn’t really matter Paul.

    He gives every appearance of negotiating “IN GOOD FAITH”, whereas the EU and Michel Barnier particularly are simply doing a political sand-bagging. They don’t give a crap about Britain or future trade or anything else, they are simply there to punish Britain for voting to leave to stop others from attempting the same.

    Regardless of EU intransigence the UK cannot walk away, because it is not in our long-term interests to do so, even if we know that no deal is possible because of the likelihood of faithlessness on the part of the EU at some point down the line.

    What David Davis is engaged in is political theatre, so that when the negotiations fail he can say with a clear conscience, “Well at least we tried our best”.

    Whether David Davis understands that his negotiations are just political theatre is an interesting point, but essentially moot, since all roads lead to the same destination and it ain’t Rome.

  • Lee Moore

    Spot on JG. It’s kabuki. I suspect David Davis knows it’s kabuki. I suspect Mrs May doesn’t.

  • Mr Ecks

    Give it a rest Staghounds.

    And the “Tombstone” / Brexit connection is not at all clear.

    Also towards the end of the movie Curly Bill Brosius (the late Powers Boothe) gets both barrels of a sawn-off shotgun thro’ the chest at the hands of Wyatt Earp( Kurt Russell).

    Now that is a much better metaphor for what we are going to do to the EU. Ride vengeance down on them–and Hell is coming with us.

  • Pat

    After reading above comments, perhaps DD’s negotiating strategy is to allow and encourage the EU to talk and behave like bullies. The payback would be Parliamentary rejection of a bad deal, and if necessary a larger majority for leave in a subsequent referendum.
    After all, the EU has very little to offer.

  • Chip

    May’s government needs to take their cue from Trump’s art of the deal. If you’re negotiating the price of your exit, you’re losing.

    Instead, they should be in detailed talks with the US on trade already, and floating a massive program to cut business taxes and regulations.

    The EU is a sclerotic, anti-growth failure with an increasingly discontented population. Tell them to stuff their socialist claptrap and tell the world the UK is open for business.

  • Surellin

    I thought the whole point of Brexit was that EU nations could block f**k all.

  • Mr Ed

    Tonight’s Daily Mail reports on Mrs May’s lack of self-awareness.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘The resignation of Robert Mugabe provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule. In recent days we have seen the desire of the Zimbabwean people for free and fair elections and the opportunity to rebuild the country’s economy under a legitimate government.

  • tomsmith

    Why are people even talking about 40 billion pounds?

    Because we are ruled by morons who don’t want to leave the EU?

  • Zerren Yeoville

    “Does it want to stay close to the European model or does it want to gradually move away from it?”

    Well, there’s a Hobson’s choice if ever there was one.

    Neither, thank you, Mr Barnier. I for one want to move RAPIDLY away from it – that high-tax, high-interference, high-bureaucracy model run by finger-wagging busybodies that has brought such unprecedented prosperity to Greece, Italy, Spain etc.

  • Mary Contrary

    Spot on JG. It’s kabuki. I suspect David Davis knows it’s kabuki. I suspect Mrs May doesn’t.

    My thoughts precisely.

  • CaptDMO

    Brexit, EU, and the ilk of Mr. Barnier’s bombast?
    Let me just say that….I’m in the nominally United States.
    We have our OWN issues seceding from recent infections of New World Order (by any other name)”economic” (ALSO, by any other name) idiocy,
    BOTH desperately in need of a spanking, and being sent to their room without dinner.

  • Mr Ed

    On this day, 78 years ago, a Royal Navy Armed Merchant Cruiser, HMS Rawalpindi, came up against the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau in the Iceland/Greenland gap. This ship was a converted ocean liner, effectively without armour, with 6″ guns, facing two of the Kriegsmarine’s most powerful battlecruisers with 11″ guns. The ship’s Captain, 60-year old Captain Cloverley Kennedy RN (father of the broadcaster Ludovic) knew that his situation was hopeless, but he did not surrender. He knew that a powerful Royal Navy force was nearby and it might avenge his destruction. Rather than roll over and surrender, May-style, he stood his ground and fought, what happened is summed up below:

    Caught between two superior enemies Kennedy realised that his last hour was at hand. While the Rawalpindi’s Signal Officer was correctly identifying the newcomer as a German battle-cruiser, the Chief Engineer appeared on the bridge to hear the Captain declare; “We’ll fight them both, they’ll sink us – and that will be that. Goodbye” He shook the Chief’s hand, turned on his heel and cleared the decks for action.

    How much less courage and decency it would take to simply walk away from this ‘Brexit’ farce and simply say ‘Goodbye, let us know if you want to sell us anything, 3 sheets of A4, 12-point, max.’.