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Mrs May’s ‘Brexit’ means ‘Anschluss’, if what Lawyers for Britain are saying is correct.

The good folk at Lawyers for Britain, (all donations welcome) led by Martin Howe QC, a nephew of Sir Geoffrey but we probably all have embarrassing uncles somewhere, have done a thorough preliminary analysis of Mrs May (the FFC)’s recent ‘Chequers’ Brexit proposals, the Chequers proposals are here. My summary (not Lawyers for Britain’s) is that, like Austria relegated to becoming the ‘Ostmark’ in 1938 in the Anschluss, it is more like becoming a Nazgûl in thrall to the Dark Lord than any form of independence. At least the Anschluss of 1938 was a blatant take-over, when this is meant to be independence.

Here are some key points, square brackets my addition:

the UK would be obliged to interpret these rules [for goods and agri-foods] in accordance with rulings of the ECJ under a system which would (whether directly or indirectly) bind UK courts to follow ECJ rulings. In areas where rules relating to goods are applied in a discretionary way under the control of EU regulatory bodies, it is inevitable that the application of the rules in the UK and UK regulatory bodies would continue to be bound by the decisions of EU bodies in the same way as if the UK were still a member state but without a vote or voice within those institutions. This would amount to a permanent vassal relationship in the area covered by the ‘common’ rulebook.

On changing our laws post-independence:

There is no indication in the text of the statement that the UK would have any ability to change any of the existing body of EU laws, however damaging they may be or become in the future – for example where restrictive EU laws block the development or deployment of new technology, such as in the biotech area where the UK has a huge opportunity to develop its leading industry and to sell its expertise and products around the world. In order supposedly to benefit the 12% of our economy which consists of exports to the EU, we would accept a binding obligation to freeze the laws which cover 100% of our economy consisting of domestic production and also imports from third countries

And this means of course, implementing EU law or face the consequences. “Fax Democracy” as it is called, yet so in effect independence is being transformed into loss of (pretty worthless) EU voting rights.

We also could not offer to recognise other countries’ systems for, e.g. food or drug safety, if importing from them, we’d have to apply EU rules to such products.

And of course, Mrs May commits us to maintain EU regulation, regardless of absurdity or impact, and perhaps letting the ECJ have the final say in UK law, a so-called ‘red line’.

Of even more concern is that the UK would agree “to maintain high regulatory standards for the environment, climate change, social and employment, and consumer protection – meaning we would not let standards fall below the current levels.” (Emphasis added). The problem with this is not a general requirement to maintain high standards, which we would want to do anyway, but the commitment not to let standards in these areas “fall below” current levels. Any changes to our rules in these areas which improve the competitiveness of UK industry would almost certainly be interpreted by the EU as allowing our standards to “fall below” current standards. This commitment is therefore an extremely dangerous one to undertake, particularly if it were linked to a binding enforcement mechanism and even more so if that binding mechanism ultimately becomes the ECJ

And for interpreting agreements, Mrs May puts us on a par with Moldova (but they generally have better wine).

Para 4(c): “consistent interpretation and application of UK-EU agreements” – putting the UK on a par with Moldova
12. This paragraph first states that the interpretation and application of UK- EU agreements would be done “in the UK by UK courts, and in the EU by EU courts.” This is what one would expect with any treaty arrangement.

But this comes with a grave note of caution:

13. However, it is important that this process should be mutually balanced (i.e that the ECJ and Member State courts should pay just as much attention to judgments of UK courts as vice versa), and absolutely essential that it be non-binding. Para 4(c) indicates that “due regard” will be paid to EU case law in “common rulebook” areas. This lacks mutuality – there is no suggestion that EU courts should pay “due regard” to UK courts, immediately unbalancing the relationship and placing UK courts in an inferior position.

Note that I am only summarising this piece, but it does look as if the Chequers document is either deluded or dishonest as to the extent to which the UK will have independence under this deal, which is, imposing on an independent country, a subordination to a foreign bureaucracy, without any mandate for taking such a step whatsoever. There is no mandate for any deal with the EU to make the UK subordinate to it, there is only a mandate for independence from the EU.

And finally, on the FCA ‘Facilitated Customs Arrangement’ for UK-EU trade (‘FCA’ – pronounced ‘FuCA’, rhymes with ‘Theresa’).

Para 4(d): “Facilitated Customs Arrangement”
22. This paragraph is very difficult to understand in the absence of any detail. However, the first and most obvious and indeed important point is that the attempted introduction of the “FCA” would cause significant delay before the UK can leave the EU customs union and choose to set its own tariffs, whether by unilaterally changing them or abolishing them against free trade partners. We are now already over two years after the referendum. It beggars belief that it should be contemplated that administrative issues about customs processes could be allowed to dictate the whole trading future of the UK by preventing us from implementing tariff changes even after the end of the implementation period (31 Dec 2020 – 41⁄2 years after the referendum). Yet this seems to be the message of this paragraph. This would be severely damaging to the political prospects of the government and of the Conservative Party, since it would remove the chance of giving tangible benefits of Brexit before the next general election to low income families by removing or lowering tariffs on goods, particularly those where the UK has no or limited producer interests to protect.

Quite.

32 comments to Mrs May’s ‘Brexit’ means ‘Anschluss’, if what Lawyers for Britain are saying is correct.

  • Ljh

    When do we start hanging them?

  • john in cheshire

    May God help these traitors. Mrs May should know all about God’s wrath for those who disobey Him. And destroying nations is something He forbids, as she should know.

  • Mr Ecks

    It is a brazen sell-out.

    Already rejoined UKIP which should do well. Since the vile hack Starmer is shouting Customs Union on behalf of ZaNu that now means that the boss class of all three UK “main” parties are now recognised as solid Remain scum.

    Also good is that Johnson and Gove –the slime axis –are now busted flushes and have zero chance of credible leadership. Outside of more fucking remainers then JRM is it as a leader.

    If he and the ERG have the balls to stand on Monday most of the nation( remainiac stooges excepted) will be behind them.

    May out on her arse in humiliation is worth praying for.

  • mickc

    I always thought Boris was just a gobloon on a stick….and so it has proved! I foresee the Tiber foaming with blood….a comment blocked elsewhere, I hope not here!

  • Pat

    Although it would be good if members of the CBI were subject to the rules of the single market, however described, as they seem to be the ones most in love with the thing. I wonder how long it will take them in any case to realise that such membership will see them stitched up?
    Actually I think the problem is that the lobbyists currently employed to lobby the EU for favourable regulations are lobbying their employers for continued employment.

  • JadedLibertarian

    If Britain’s exit of the EU doesn’t result in a warehouse in Dover selling Henry Hoovers with motors over 900w to hard done by French people, it’s been done all wrong.

    Do the conservatives realise that Theresa the Appeaser isn’t just destroying her party, but the country as well? She has to go or we’re all screwed.

    If things keep going this way, pretty soon it’s going to be time to act out our own little “Scouring of the Shire” (one of the best chapters of LOTR by the way, and the fact that he left it out showed how Peter Jackson didn’t understand the book at all).

  • Robert

    Is anyone at all surprised by this?

    People who voted for the UK to leave the UK mostly came from one of two groups. One group was driven largely by a nativist dislike of immigrants, and a nationalist dislike of being subject to laws and courts seen as foreign. The other group was driven largely by a desire to break-free of the EU’s bureaucracy, and with a vision of the UK as a free-trading, much more free-market economy. (Of course there is more complexity, but I think that characterisation is broadly correct.) The problem is that the two groups don’t have the same vision of what the UK outside the EU looks like, and each has fundamental disagreements with the other. In consequence no coalition exists that is able to implement any post-EU vision for the UK. I think all of this was clear before the referendum.

    Politics isn’t about deciding what you think is the best course of action, and then arguing for it – hoping to persuade others to change their minds and agree with you. It is about trade-offs and compromises, and building coalitions with people that you have fundamental disagreements with, and who have values that you find inimical. The leading politicians who wanted the UK to leave the EU completely failed to understand this, and so no work was done towards building a coalition able to articulate and implement a coherent vision of the UK outside the EU. I think all of this was clear before the referendum.

    In the referendum I voted for the UK to remain in the EU, largely because I thought the most likely outcome of the UK leaving would be the UK being subject to laws it had no say over, and that the UK was better off being in the EU and able to influence those rules, than outside with no say. It looks like that is exactly what is happening.

  • JadedLibertarian

    Politics isn’t about deciding what you think is the best course of action, and then arguing for it – hoping to persuade others to change their minds and agree with you. It is about trade-offs and compromises, and building coalitions with people that you have fundamental disagreements with, and who have values that you find inimical. The leading politicians who wanted the UK to leave the EU completely failed to understand this, and so no work was done towards building a coalition able to articulate and implement a coherent vision of the UK outside the EU.

    I think people thought that leaving the EU would, you know, involve leaving the EU. More consensus than that was not required. However since the British people voted “wrong” the political class have decided to fix our mistake by reconstructing the EU membership package line by line. That way we can be “in” the EU without being in the EU.

    This is called treachery.

    Even now I would argue with your “better off in” sentiment. This clusterfuck is still better than being in for the simple reason that we’ve got one foot out the door. When the EU burns (and trust me, it will) will be able to distance ourselves from it that much more easily.

  • Runcie Balspune

    People who voted for the UK to leave the UK mostly came from one of two groups. One group was driven largely by a nativist dislike of immigrants, and a nationalist dislike of being subject to laws and courts seen as foreign.

    Ah the old Clinton-esque argument, I’m surprised you didn’t descend to using the word “deplorable”. This is the very reason many people voted the way they did because of elitist overtones like this.

    I disagree entirely with your analysis, the “dislike of immigrants” is “dislike of immigrant customs that threaten our core principles” and the fact that these are forced upon us by those with no concern or accountability of the consequences of the social disruption, and your use of the word nationalist is disingenuous and perverse, the EU laws are not “seen as foreign” – they _are_ “foreign” – for they are for the interest of other nations solely for their benefit and ultimately to our detriment, all under the banner of “economic fairness”, ask any UK fisherman.

    I am sure there are people who are outright racists and closet nationalists, but there is a broad middle ground of opinion who honor the inherent egalitarianism of this great footballing nation and would like to see it preserved and flourish with benefits to all, including immigrants.

  • toryboy

    Well, the mask has certainly been torn off of our elected dictatorship.

    The British state grows less legitimate by the hour.

  • Regional

    The British voters have only two choices, Typhus or Cholera given the quality of politicians to chose from.

  • Chip

    Wondering how this all ties in with the US ambassador’s statement that Trump will offer the UK a zero-tariff free trade deal.

    Will the UK permanently shackle itself to a moribund EU – and relinquish its ability to negotiate independent trade agreements – at the very moment it could secure one with the the fastest growing big economy in the developed world?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Chip, never underestimate the stupidity of the average politician! And politicians love shackling people by outlawing actions, so I think they’ll take the moribund EU.

  • Regional

    Nicholas never underestimate the stupidity of voters.

  • shlomo maistre

    On June 9, 2017 someone by the name of Shlomo Maistre said:

    https://www.samizdata.net/2017/06/theresa-may-your-taxi-is-waiting-for-you/

    TLDR: Theresa May has been planning to stab Brexiteers in the back since the moment Brexit won in the referendum and almost everything she has done since before she became PM has been designed to optimize her hand in delivering to Brexit what Brutus delivered to Caesar. Those who are surprised at this turn of events are not only naive but fundamentally ignorant of the inevitable tendencies of democratic governance.

    Those blaming Theresa May and not democracy for this situation simply do not comprehend the game they are playing, how ignorant they truly are.

    On April 19 someone by the name of Shlomo Maistre said these things:

    1:

    Would snap elections have been called to “strengthen” (read: find excuses to not follow through with the results of the referendum) the government in the event that Remain had won? To ask the question is to answer it.

    Brexit beat Remain. Why is an election required to follow through on the will of the people?

    That’s rhetorical and a trick question. Nobody in power gives a shit about the will of the people.

    Why anyone in favor of Brexit would react to this calling of snap elections with anything other than a mix of disgust and dismay makes no sense to me at all. The Conservatives have 330 seats. The Conservatives have the ability to deliver what a strong majority of self-identifying Conservative voters voted for in the referendum: Brexit. But apparently not the will to follow through on it without yet another election.

    2:

    So many assumptions, guesses, and speculations in Lee’s reply.

    Facts:
    1. Conservatives voted overwhelmingly for Brexit.
    2. The Conservative Party has the mandate and power to deliver to Conservative voters what Conservative voters want.
    3. The Conservative Party by calling snap-elections is in the MOST OPTIMISTIC scenario putting at risk a once-in-a-generation opportunity to gain perhaps a bit more leverage/power to deliver Brexit. I suspect that this is an attempt to make an own-goal look like a valiant effort on the football/soccer pitch.

    Instead of doing her job, which is to deliver on Brexit, Theresa May is taking every opportunity to find excuses to avoid doing her job.

    Again, any supporter of Brexit with half a brain reacts to this bullshit with a combination of dismay and disgust. Period.

    3:

    It’s win-win for May: either her hand is strengthened to actually follow through on Brexit, which protects her from Establishment forces out to cause trouble for anyone who follows through on Brexit, or she can no longer do Brexit as a result of the June 8 elections, which is what she really wants anyway.

    Of course, if her objective were not to politically protect herself but rather to withdraw the UK from the EU, then the wise course of action would be to not gamble a once in a generation opportunity to do what may never be politically feasible again for the mere chance of gaining a bit more leverage to follow through on Brexit. Instead, if her objective were to get the UK out of the EU she would get the job fucking done. Period.

    My comments were heavily criticized by multiple people here at Samizdata.

    Theresa May does not give a shit about Brexit.

    There were ulterior motives for this snap election.

    https://www.samizdata.net/2017/04/discussion-point-uk-general-election-called-for-8th-june-2017/

    and

    I was one of the guilty men to whom Shlomo refers, who did not think Mrs May trying to pad her majority was a bad thing for Brexit. In my defence, although I never believed she was possessed of much political talent, i did not expect her to conduct her campaign by area bombing the Conservative Party’s most loyal supporters (old folk with savings); then machine gunning herself in both feet; and then retiring to her tent to cry. My mistake.

    Lee, sorry but you still don’t get it. Your mistake (and the mistake of so many others in that thread) had/has nothing to do with miscalculating Theresa May’s political talent or misidentifying the political strategies she would use in her election campaign.

    Your mistake is in thinking that May wants to withdraw the UK from the EU. She does not want to do this in and of itself. She was perhaps willing to do certain things like activate Article 50 in exchange for being Prime Minister.

    Theresa May campaigned against Brexit. She was a Remainer at heart. She is still a Remainer at heart; the referendum on Brexit changed only the political incentives affecting her political career but it did NOT change what’s in her heart or what the entire global Establishment from NGOs to Ivy League to MSM to Goldman Sachs to IMF to UN to Federal Reserve to the State Department want from any PM of the UK: continued membership in the EU.

    Remember one of the things I said on April 19:

    It’s [calling snap elections] win-win for May: either her hand is strengthened to actually follow through on Brexit, which protects her from Establishment forces out to cause trouble for anyone who follows through on Brexit, or she can no longer do Brexit as a result of the June 8 elections, which is what she really wants anyway.

    It’s said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So is victory. Has the June 8, 2017 election result not very nearly achieved (and perhaps will more or less eventually achieve) what Theresa May campaigned for pre-June 23, 2016? Seeing what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.

  • Mr Ed

    Well, at least the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, the Rt Hon David Davis, has found the courage to resign.

  • Early-riser Mr Ed (July 9, 2018 at 6:27 am) beat me to it. Davis has resigned.

    The beeb, who on subjects such as this may know something, are certain the EU will find May’s cringing concessions far from adequate, though the beeb speculates that the EU’s leaders may moderate how contemptuously they say so for fear of destroying May and getting something worse.

  • bob sykes

    So much for the illusion of British democracy. However, Brits are a thoroughly supine people, and I expect May will find a way to officially nullify Brexit.

  • Mr Ed

    And now Boris has jumped. Three principled politicians have now quit, including Steve Baker, erstwhile junior to Mr Davis.

  • And now Boris has jumped. (Mr Ed July 9, 2018 at 2:13 pm)

    And Trump is arriving on Friday. Well, at least Queen Elizabeth will be able to greet him in the confidence she’ll still be Queen by the time he goes. 🙂

    (An academic friend of mine once attended a three-day conference in a country in South America. They were welcomed ceremonially by one president and bidden farewell almost as ceremonially by another, a coup having occurred in the mean time. Luckily, we are a monarchy.)

    Interesting times.

  • Mr Ed

    I do hope President Trump goes ‘fully unscripted’ at some point in his visit to these shores with some offers of trade deals and helpful hints on doing deals.

    The BBC have actually given Boris’s resignation the status of being worthy of a newsflash, interrupting Wimbledon TV coverage during a pause in play, but probably just because they like shit-stirring.

  • The BBC have actually given Boris’s resignation the status of being worthy of a newsflash … but probably just because they like shit-stirring. (Mr Ed, July 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm)

    Even to the beeb, let us neither be unfair nor attribute machiavellian cunning. Dominic Cummings exploited the media’s obsession with “process and the snakes and ladders of careers” during the Brexit campaign. This is more of the same – and is exploitable in the same way, even though the beeboids who flashed it up during Wimbledon may well be remoaners who like May’s plan for the reasons we don’t.

  • RRS

    From a recent Email:

    Sorry to play this off on you if you are not interested or have not followed:

    Has anyone else noted the increasing similarities of the conduct of the “late” (dissolving) Soviet organization, which was reduced to attempts to “rule” (or “centrally direct”) by intimidations, or efforts thereat,(by the bureaucracies) in dealing with the disparate components within its shrinking and disquieted sphere —
    with the intimidative conduct of the bureaucracies of the EU in the dealings with the disquieted disparate components?

    Has the EU, by its centralizing, for the benefit of bureaucratic power, become the next example of “Soviet” type dissolution?
    (and for the same underlying reasons)

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Boris has the spine to leave the government if it does not follow through on Brexit. But Boris does not have the spine to fight for him or another pro-Brexit politician being PM to actually make Brexit happen. Convenient.

    Does Boris really want the UK out of the EU? Or does he want to look like he wants the UK out of the EU? Sometimes it is difficult to notice the difference; sometimes it’s not difficult to notice the difference.

  • Boris has always said that his support for BRExit came down only marginally on the “Leave” side. I’ve always believed that his support for BRExit was pure opportunism, however once he committed to “Leave” it was something that he’d have to follow through.

    I don’t think that Boris’ resignation today has anything to do with BRExit and has EVERYTHING to do with his own personal opportunism.

    If he had remained in the government, then he would have been tainted by Theresa May’s idiotic Checkers Memorandum.

    So by resigning today and citing “BRExit” (which presumably he has done in his resignation letter which I haven’t seen yet), but the truth is that he still desires Number 10 and sees an opportunity to oust Theresa May without doing it directly (since Theresa May has pushed this bullshit on herself).

    We shall see…

  • Shlomo Maistre

    A mantra of the Brexit campaign was “take back control” from the EU.

    Brexiteers are resigning from the UK government because they are not even in control of the UK’s government. Good luck taking back control from the EU when at no point after Brexit won the Referendum have Brexiteers actually, ya know, controlled the UK’s government.

    First order of business for pro-Brexit folks is to take back control of the UK’s government. Then a proper, hard Exit from the EU becomes possible.

  • staghounds

    As I’ve said since before the votes were all counted, there won’t be any Brexit. Your masters clearly don’t want it.

  • Brexiteers are resigning from the UK government because they are not even in control of the UK’s government.

    But who’s fault is that? David Cameron arrogantly called the referendum because 1) He thought the EU leaders would negotiate with him in good faith since he was “a good European” and 2) He thought that they would give him sufficient concessions that he could win the referendum.

    The reality is that EU leaders treated his “attempt at renegotiation” with utter contempt and this was blindingly obvious to anyone who cared enough to watch / read about the whole negotiation farce.

    Given that this was not an election and that every major political party supported remain (while a plurality of the electorate did not), there was never any political party or framework to deliver BRExit.

    May has tried to fake it (despite being a Remainer) and all she has demonstrated is exactly what was said 2 years ago that a BRExit PM and Cabinet was required to deliver a meaningful BRExit.

    I doubt that we will see any particular “Control” between now and the end of March 2019, just more increasingly meaningless and increasingly desperate attempts to agree a deal, with Michel Barnier rejecting all of them on behalf of the EU.

    If you want someone to blame for this then blame David Cameron.

  • bobby b

    Mr Ed
    July 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    “I do hope President Trump goes ‘fully unscripted’ at some point in his visit to these shores with some offers of trade deals and helpful hints on doing deals.”

    From what I’ve seen of the Facilitated Customs Arrangement, he’d better do it soon, or May will have to plug her ears and sing “la la la la la!” loudly when he does.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Brexiteers are resigning from the UK government because they are not even in control of the UK’s government.

    But who’s fault is that? David Cameron arrogantly called the referendum because 1) He thought the EU leaders would negotiate with him in good faith since he was “a good European” and 2) He thought that they would give him sufficient concessions that he could win the referendum.

    The reality is that EU leaders treated his “attempt at renegotiation” with utter contempt and this was blindingly obvious to anyone who cared enough to watch / read about the whole negotiation farce.

    Given that this was not an election and that every major political party supported remain (while a plurality of the electorate did not), there was never any political party or framework to deliver BRExit.

    May has tried to fake it (despite being a Remainer) and all she has demonstrated is exactly what was said 2 years ago that a BRExit PM and Cabinet was required to deliver a meaningful BRExit.

    I doubt that we will see any particular “Control” between now and the end of March 2019, just more increasingly meaningless and increasingly desperate attempts to agree a deal, with Michel Barnier rejecting all of them on behalf of the EU.

    If you want someone to blame for this then blame David Cameron.

    Blame David Cameron? Is this a joke? David Cameron was and is against Brexit. He is winning. Pro-Brexit people have lost and are losing.

    David Cameron is smiling right now because he wanted to make sure that Brexit would never happen and it is not happening in any meaningful, real sense.

    You are right about one thing. Without the majority of the Cabinet AND the PM being people who fought FOR BREXIT BEFORE THE REFERENDUM, the cause of Brexit is bound to be forsaken and abandoned.

    Blaming David Cameron for betrayal of Brexit is like blaming Chester Nimitz for the American success at the Battle of Midway. Nimitz wanted America to prevail in that battle just as Cameron wanted Remainers to prevail post-Referendum. He has won. What you call blame I assure you, promise you David Cameron considers credit. He not so secretly wants everyone to understand that while his side may have lost the Referendum, his side is winning, will win anyway.

    The truth is that Brexit has lost largely because Brexiteers did not have the spine or wisdom to demand that one of their own is made Prime Minister.

  • staghounds

    Just telling your spouse to file the papers won’t get you divorced.

    Brexiteers can want on. None of the people in a position to make it happen want Brexit, so it won’t happen. Just winning an election wasn’t enough. Welcome to British Democracy, again.

  • Paul Marks

    All the promises of Mrs May to deliver the independence of the United Kingdom from the European Union have turned out to be lies – blatant lies.

    Mrs May has revealed herself to be a liar, and to be an enemy of the independence of the United Kingdom. For this country to survive Mrs May must be defeated.

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