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A defeated country? – Lawyers for Britain on Mrs May’s approach.

The good folks at Lawyers for Britain (all donations appreciated) have cut to the chase with Martin Howe QC’s assessment of the situation as it appears to him.

 The European Union’s proposals for the UK’s transition period make grim reading. They are the sort of terms which might be imposed by a victorious power in war on a defeated enemy. They are not terms which any self-respecting independent and sovereign country could possibly agree to, even for an allegedly limited period.

Apparently, we must agree to implement every new EU law while having no say or vote; and we shall not be allowed to conclude trade agreements, even to roll over existing agreements which the EU has with other countries so that they continue to apply to us, without the EU’s permission. We must abide by the rulings of a foreign court on which there will no longer be any British representation.

Apparently, an outrageous and demeaning proposal by the Commission that the UK should be subject to extra-judicial sanctions under which the EU could suspend market access rights is now to be “re-worded”. But that would still leave the UK extremely vulnerable to damaging new rules being imposed on us during the transition period by processed in which we would have no vote and no voice. As reported in the Telegraph last week, the EU has plans to use these powers in order to launch regulatory “raids” on financial institutions on British territory and to make rules which will damage the competitiveness of the UK’s financial services industry

Do not think that this is just a lamentation, there is a perfectly sensible alternative.

What is the alternative? One alternative if the EU persist in offering these unacceptable terms is to walk away from a deal with the EU altogether. That is possible; but there is another way. That is to walk away from the transition arrangement, but still to pursue a longer term trade agreement with the EU.

The post goes on to make a lot of valid points about a way forward, and has an excellent analysis. (Although he is wrong about there being no orange production in the UK, I have just finished a pot of marmalade made commercially from English-grown oranges, albeit on a microscopic scale).

But let it sink it, what we are facing is Finlandisation, a modern-day ‘Treaty of Versailles’ with us as the Central Powers, when it should be a re-run of 1776 and its aftermath.

33 comments to A defeated country? – Lawyers for Britain on Mrs May’s approach.

  • Stonyground

    Isn’t the problem that the EU cannot possibly allow the UK to succeed? If the UK breaks away and prospers then other nations will be saying ‘why not us too?’. Then the EU will be finished.

  • Stonyground (February 19, 2018 at 12:09 pm) is correct, but we should not discount the element of mere idiocy and “any view but ours is inconceivable (to us)” of the eurocrats. Their cloth-ear style that helped the Brexit campaign is (of course) continuing. “Oft evil will doth evil mar” – or at least, one can hope that the EU’s putting forward this bad a deal will cause more people than otherwise to ponder whether “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

  • Rob Fisher

    “If we have an FTA, the customs will let through goods which originate in the EU or the UK without tariffs, but will still collect tariffs on goods which originate outside the Free Trade Area.”

    Presumably if we “zero-ized” all tariffs on goods from everywhere, we don’t need any additional customs controls.

  • Mr Ecks

    Much as I despise the Fish Faced Cow she can’t seriously expect to get away with signing up to such a crock of shite. Even with all the scum in Parliament. She might as well hand Corbin the keys to No 10. Unless BluLabour are now such treasonous scum that they don’t mind ceasing to exist if it means victory for their EU pals.

    That doesn’t mean we should be idle. Now is the time to double pressure on the Tories to find a new leader. Rees Mogg being the best by far.

  • Fraser Orr

    The treaty of Versailles was written with three aims in mind: to punish Germany for their bad behavior, to recoup costs of that bad behavior, and to make sure Germany could never rise again. Consequently it seems like a good analogy for the deal with the EU.

    I can only assume that this is all fake and that the negotiators are actually negotiating with full knowledge of the hostility and bad faith in the negotiations, since a five year old child can surely see that that is the situation.

    But in a sense I don’t feel too bad for the Brits here. They had a PERFECT opportunity land in their lap and due to a silly, narcissistic, self defeating attitude have pissed it away. I am speaking of course of the fact that the US President is the most pro Britain and anti Europe president since Reagan, and the fact that NAFTA is right now being renegotiated, and the fact that that President is known to go rogue. Britain could EASILY have gotten extremely favorable terms as a member of NAFTA and told Europe to go bugger themselves. But, apparently, because Trump says nasty things on Twitter, and because on one occasion in a secret recorded tape he said some really unpleasant things about women, Britain is all “we will protest the crap out of you if you come here” and so has largely pissed away the opportunity. It really makes me mad.

    You don’t need to like Trump to use him to your advantage. (I don’t much care for him either but I am happy to use him to get a MASSIVE tax cut, as I did). After all, Britains regularly host and celebrate leaders from really horrible places.

    Moreover, why they heck aren’t they trying to use the old Empire to their advantage? Me? I’d be trying to negotiate a free trade agreement with the commonwealth. It is a massive trading block and all would be advantaged by it.

    And finally, the ultimate solution to the European problem is to do that which horrifies all politicians, which is to make Britain a low tax haven. Of course the politicians won’t even countenance that or any of these other things. Apparently they’d rather go with the Michael Foot approach to politics and unilaterally disarm.

  • Yeah. As a Brit, I can only agree. Theresa May has done us right up. I would have gladly leapt into NAFTA….. It’s the downside to only having dead eyed clones as MPs.

  • Alisa

    Fraser nails it. I’d only replace ‘Brits’ with the British Government, and specifically its Prime Minister – AKA the FFC (you can thank Mr. Ecks for that one).

  • I’m very much with Fraser Orr here: the UK should join the North Atlantic Free Trade Association: as a founder member.

    Also POTUS is POTUS, even if you personally would prefer not to invite Trump to dinner. No thing is ever perfect – plan not to die waiting for it to be. So just chose the better options available, now or in the immediate future.

    Best regards

  • Mr Ed

    Founding a new NAtFTA ‘Nat-fatter’ would be a stroke of genius, and invite the Irish to join, what’s not to like? Then you would have Sinn Fein and the other pro-EU elements insisting on an intra-Irish border.

  • Laird

    Fraser is absolutely correct. After the blatantly anti-British Obama you should be ecstatic to have such a friend as Trump in the Oval Office. Of course, given that your political “leadership” appears to be actually considering the EU proposal, and didn’t just get up and walk out of the room when it was presented, strongly suggests that they are objectively stupid, as in having abnormally low measured intelligence. That would explain a lot.

  • Alisa (February 19, 2018 at 4:58 pm) is right to say ‘the British government’, not ‘Brits’. The latest opinion poll here said that 45% of Brits want the long-talked-of Trump state visit and only 39% oppose it – which, given the coverage we get of US affairs and the related tendency of the polls to skew in a PC direction, might easily mean it has majority support. It’s not that most people here know enough to challenge the TDS-inspired narrative or even want to dissent from it publicly (and so get shouted at), it’s that they don’t care. Just as most remainers are not remoaners, so most here know that Obama was anti-British and Trump is pro, and the virtue-signalling is boring.

  • bobby b

    “They had a PERFECT opportunity land in their lap and due to a silly, narcissistic, self defeating attitude have pissed it away.”


    A goodly chunk of Britannia seems to still love Obama, while he displayed nothing but contempt for them (or at least their roots), while Trump would have made the special relationship back into a Special Relationship.

    Lost opportunities, all for purposes of virtue signaling.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    It seems that Fraser (with Alisa’s minor, but important, edit) nailed it for all of us (so far).

  • Fraser Orr

    Just to be clear, it isn’t just NAFTA, even though that was a RIDICULOUS thing to leave on the table. Britain also has amazing relationships around the world. A free trade block with India, Australia, New Zealand, the Carribean, African countries and so on, plus the access that Australia would give into China and the rest of the east would be top of my priority list.

    Plus, and here is the important point, in any negotiation the key is to have a strong BANTA, “best alternative to a negotiated agreement”, which is to say if you have a good deal with NAFTA, a good deal with the “Commonwealth Free Trade Association”, then your negotiating position with the EU is massively stronger, and you might even be able to leverage that into a decent and fair deal with them too. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to close the deal, you just have to fly to Washington a lot, and then fly around meeting leaders in Delhi, Canberra and Wellington to make it SEEM like you might get a deal there.

    But it seems that the negotiating team are all remainers, and are remainers because they have such a narrow view of Britain’s potential and place in the world, that they utterly fail to see any alternative to a “best deal with can get from Europe.” It is, after all, why they are remainers. Which is to say, they are a bunch of plonkers throwing a hissy fit. Good luck with that Britain.

  • A goodly chunk of Britannia seems to still love Obama

    I think a goodly chunk of Britainnia cares as much about who the POTUS is, as Yanks care who the British PM is, i.e. they gon’t give a flying fuck 😉 well, at least once you get beyond the media bubble.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    What would happen if the Boris becomes PM? Would he be more likely to break away from Europe? Who would be a stronger negotiator, and thus the preferred PM?

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    I just had a wild thought. The British Constitution is unwritten, so you could bend it if needed. Trump loves negotiating. Could Trump become an honorary PM? Does the PM need to be British? Think what deals he would make for you!

  • Thailover

    Politicians are f****** gutless. It’s up to the people to insist on a clean break away from the European Union. It’s just a matter if they have the courage and the good sense to do so. The British people need to ask themselves, is the goverment the servant of the people or are they themselves goddamn slaves. It’s as simple as that.

  • Roué le Jour

    It is pointless blaming politicians. The EU is a union of bureaucracies and Britain’s bureaucrats are literally desperate to remain a part of it and so they “advise” ministers accordingly.

  • RRS

    Ah to be Lochinvar riding in at the divorce rather than the wedding.

    Would that the U S should let it be known that it would retaliate upon the EU for the imposition of dastardly terms in international arrangements and relations – cite the “Marshall Plan.”

    We are the cultural, social, and economic ally of the UK, with many bonds, we should do whatever we can to impose severe costs upon the EU Commission for any attempts to take on the role of conqueror, where it is actually a survivor because of the UK – and barely one at that.

  • Mr Ecks

    RdJ–Which is why the entire SCS needs to be sacked en masse sans compo and pensions.

  • Eric

    Isn’t the problem that the EU cannot possibly allow the UK to succeed? If the UK breaks away and prospers then other nations will be saying ‘why not us too?’. Then the EU will be finished.

    That’s part of it. The other part is the people who benefit the most from having the UK in the EU have more affinity for their counterparts in the EU than they do for the unwashed masses around them.

  • To be honest, I find this a good thing. The more the EU can reveal its true self, and its contempt for Britain, the more the British people will feel inclined to reject it and throw people like Andrew Adonis and Gina Miller out of public life.

  • Roy Lofquist

    Question: Would you rather have a free trade agreement with The US, Canada, Australia, and NZ or an FTA with the rest of the world?

  • Mr Ed

    If anyone is in central London this Thursday evening 22nd February, 6.15pm, and is interested, Lawyers for Britain have an event on, with their President, a former Court of Appeal judge giving a speech at UCL making ‘the intellectual case for Brexit’ and a historian chap is going to, details below, free but they ask you to ask for a ticket.

    Sir Richard Aikens on ‘The Intellectual Case for Brexit’
    Dear Supporter,

    We bring to your attention an opportunity to listen to Sir Richard Aikens, former Lord Justice of Appeal and President of Lawyers for Britain, discuss ‘The Intellectual Case for Brexit’ alongside historian Professor Sir Robert Tombs. The discussion will be held at University College London, at 6.15pm on Thursday 22 February. The event is free to attend. Further details and registration can be found at the following link:


    If you can make it, we very much encourage you to attend what promises to be a fascinating and well-informed discussion.

    As you are no doubt aware, those who wish to stop Brexit at all costs continue to spend and raise money at an alarming rate. George Soros, the Hungarian-American billionaire, recently donated £400,000 to the questionably-named Best for Britain campaign, which seeks openly to reverse Brexit.

    Jolyon Maugham QC, after a recent mauling in the Scottish Court of Session, is now proceeding to appeal in his quest to have the ECJ rule that the UK’s Article 50 notification can be unilaterally revoked. He is backed by a crowd-funded war-chest of nearly £60,000.

    Meanwhile Article 50 Challenge, another crowd-funded campaign, have raised a staggering £140,000 to support a meritless attempt to persuade the High Court that we haven’t yet decided to leave the EU.

    The pressure to Remain is on.

    We ask for your generous support so we can continue to make the legal case for leaving the European Union. Unlike some of those fighting against Brexit, Lawyers for Britain will not squander your money on fruitless, attention-seeking litigation. Your donation will help us to keep on producing expert legal analysis of the opportunities, and pitfalls, of the Brexit process. If litigation proves to be the appropriate course of action, as it was when we intervened in the Miller case in the Supreme Court, then your donation will be vital in helping us to make our arguments in court.

    If you are able to make a donation at this crucial moment in the Brexit process, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/lawyersforbritain, where you can make a donation online. If you wish to donate by other means, please email admin@lawyersforbritain.org.

    With best regards,

    Lawyer for Britain

  • staghounds

    So, still, there won’t be any Brexit.

    And it’s not a defeated country, it’s a willfully and unnecessarily surrendered country. Independence and liberty are hard and dangerous work. England just got tired.

  • So, still, there won’t be any Brexit.

    Yeah yeah, we’ll see what actually happens, I’m in this for the long game.

  • Paul Marks

    To those who demand a two year “Transition Period” – we have already had it, as the vote for independence was in 2016 and it is now 2018.

    We should declare independence from the European Union and not pay them anything (certainly not 40 BILLION Pounds) and we should not obey any of their laws (regulations) in our INTERNAL affairs or a our trade with third parties outside the E.U.

    The European Union has a massive trade SURPLUS with the United Kingdom so putting up trade restrictions is not in their interests. And the lawyers have already pointed out that we do NOT owe this money (the above 40 BILLION Pounds) to the European Union.

    “But Mrs May says……” – when I have a question about geography (Mrs May’s subject) I would be happy to ask the opinion of the lady upon such a matter, but these are legal and economic matters.

  • Biffa Bacon

    Did any of you guys really not see this coming? Of course the euros are going to push for as hard a bargain as possible. Start a zero-sum game, you can expect people to play for keeps.

  • William O. B'Livion

    Far be it from me to tell ya’ll how to run your country :), but from where I sit you opening position with the EU should have been

    “We’re out next week, piss off”.

  • James Waterton

    The European Union has a massive trade SURPLUS with the United Kingdom so putting up trade restrictions is not in their interests. And the lawyers have already pointed out that we do NOT owe this money (the above 40 BILLION Pounds) to the European Union.

    If anything, the UK is owed money by the EU. Oodles of the stuff. How much has the UK sunk into the European project over the decades? It owns a substantial share of the whole thing. That the EU is trying to stiff the UK with a hefty bill is pretty astonishing chutzpah. It ought to be the other way around.

    In 2017, a bunch of German car executives lined up to tell the Brits that they’d be willing to sacrifice their enormously profitable market position in the UK if Brussels’s thirst for vengeance against Britain demanded it. Funnily enough, the possibility that they may be bluffing crossed my mind.

    The EU is playing hardball because it thinks it can get away with it. It is probably correct, given the current crop of squishes in charge in the UK.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Roy, to ANSWER your question- YES.