Yesterday’s so-called story, making out the PM has no friends in Europe based on ten seconds of footage, only shows how much pundits have bought into Project Fear. The reality is EU countries aren’t united on Brexit – any more than they are on anything else.
Brussels may have tried to put up a united front against Britain, but it has already fallen apart. Behind the scenes, member states don’t agree with the Commission, and the Parliament doesn’t agree with the Council.
That’s hardly surprising. When has the EU ever been able to speak with one voice? It’s because there isn’t a single supranational interest which unites all of Europe that we voted to leave the federalist project – and why other European countries may soon follow suit.
The federalists at the Commission might want to punish Britain pour encourager les autres, but they aren’t the only people who matter. Other European nations are not blind to the mutual benefits of trade. They won’t back a negotiation based on spite.
Our media do nobody any favours by swallowing the Eurocrats’ hype.
When Philip Hammond told the Treasury Select Committee he supported a transitional deal with the EU, he noted that his opinion is the “universal view among civil servants on both sides of the English Channel.” Why does that make him think it’s a good idea?
Cheerleaders for a transitional deal claim it’s essential to avoid economic instability. But the public pretext for a policy and the motive for it aren’t always the same thing.
The real reason the mandarinate – along with the rest of our Europhile establishment – backs a transitional deal is that it could very easily turn into a permanent arrangement.
There’s no genuine justification for a stopgap. Because Britain is starting from the position of total regulatory equivalence with the EU, sorting out a new trade deal needn’t be so complex that it can’t be done in two years.
So the imperative should be to get on with it. Brussels should know we’re not prepared to wait forever.
Whitehall has always opposed Brexit. If we let officialdom dictate how the negotiations are run, we’ll never leave. This is no time for ministers to go native.