Friday, 23 February 2018

A house divided against itself cannot stand

This was the theme of one of Abe Lincoln's great anti slavery speeches.

Image result for house divided against itself
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other in the balance
Or if you prefer the King James bible :Mark 3:24
And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand
Mrs May's problem is thus as old as the hills. I fear her government's days are numbered and with it will go our dream of freedom from the evil EU empire, mene mene tekel tekel.  She has been weighed in the balance and found wanting The writing is on the wall after her Chequers feast


Edward Spalton said...

Starting to write my annual report for CIB members, I looked back at last year's and, on the EU front, hardly anything has changed. Just before Mrs. May's Lancaster House speech over a year ago, Sir Ivan Rovers, our representative to the EU resigned, reminding his colleagues that it was their duty to speak truth to government ministers, even if they did not want to hear it. In her speech, Mrs May said
that we were to be outside the EU and the internal market. Certain consequences flow from that, as the EU's procedures for dealing
with goods entering its territory from a " Third Country" ( which is what Mrs May says we are to be) are established and well known.
Yet for most of last year, government ministers aspired to " have our cake and eat it" - that is to leave the EU, make our own rules and expect the EU to continue to treat our goods and services as if we were still members.

The problem is not tariffs, which even MPS of all parties can dimly understand, but the EU's methods of determining compliance with
its health and technical standards. Without going into any of the detail, this process starts with the importer to the EU appointing a representative - either a firm or individual,established in the EU, to take responsibility to the authorities for the compliance of the goods in all respects. From the beginning the EU made it clear that it would not compromise on the integrity of these controls at its external,border. EU," Notices to Stakeholders" have been issued. But from HMG to British exporters - nothing at all.

Even countries with free trade agreements with the EU have to observe these procedures but they and other countries do have Customs Cooperation Agreements to make things run more smoothly - electronic pre- clearance, "'trusted trader" schemes etc. No significant country relies on "WTO rules" alone.. Making such agreements - or even just proposing them in detail - takes time. There is no evidence of any such activity by HMG.

So, as things stand, the divisions within our own house and gripless indolence by our negotiators have combined to make an " implementation" period necessary after we have left the EU at the end of March next year when the Article 50 notice expires.
Every indication is that this will be the most penal, extreme, vassal state type of arrangement imaginable. Ominously HMG wants it to be capable of extension beyond the initially proposed period of 21 months.

Meanwhile in the Westminster Palace of Varieties, some MPs are demanding the continuance of the Customs Union with the EU, completely unaware that this has hardly anything to do with actually clearing goods through EU border posts - but which would put a stop to all the promising trade deals in ( sort of)!negotiations by Dr Liam Fox.

Edward Spalton said...

Apologies. The diplomat's name was Sir Ivan Rogers but,master I pressed preview, M found my iPad would not let me edit.

Stephen Harness said...

It appears there will be a degree of clarity within the next month from both HMG and the EU.
I disagree that "a house divided against itself cannot stand". For the majority life is a compromise and always will be. It is for the skilled leader to either use the jackboot to determine a pathway or or find the middle way by compromise. It has been obvious from the beginning that on Brexit the house is indeed divided and compromises required.
Labour is divided on Brexit but will be much more willing to use the jackboot to keep the UK within the EU, especially if they sense the mood of the country has changed since the referendum. In short never trust a politician.

Niall Warry said...

The irony is that it is the Tories who say they want an uncompromising Brexit most who will be totally responsible for us ending up with the Transitional 'Pay no say' deal.

This situation will come about through total ignorance on the part of all concerned in Westminster who have little to no understanding how world trade works and donot understand that in the main the EU is a 'rule taker not maker'.

The Efta/EEA deal would divrice us from the political EU, keep our existing trade with the EU 27, allow us to exert control on immigration as needs require and allow us to do deals with other countries around the world. Yes we would be obeying the trading rules of the EEA but all trade deals require that and adherance to an adjudication process to resolve disputes.