May’s disingenuous Brexit vision


May’s disingenuous Brexit vision

Theresa May’s Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit at all, argues Bruce Oliver Newsome. It sees us continue to sacrifice our national sovereignty, continue to pour money into the EU’s coffers, all the while increasing our economic uncertainty and stability.  

Seventeen months ago, a new Prime Minister said that “Brexit means Brexit.” Yet Theresa May has contrived to delay the separation, to separate without a final deal, to extend the EU’s jurisdiction, and to extend Britain’s payments to the EU. Effectively, we won’t be sovereign, but we’ll still be paying, driving more uncertainty, and enabling more instability.

Let’s consider the first problem: we won’t be sovereign. The deal that Theresa May claimed in the wee hours of 8 December 2017 wasn’t a deal to leave, it was British surrender in return for further talks. May committed to pay a divorce bill (without specifying what Britain is paying for), to keep Britain’s border with Ireland aligned with all EU principles (such as the free movement of people), and to align British law with the European rights of the 3.3 million EU citizens in Britain (including the right to remain indefinitely).

Thus, Britain won’t regain economic, judicial, or border sovereignty. All alignments are subject to the European Court of Justice, but the government hasn’t admitted this, although May smuggled into a letter to parliamentarians an admission that both sides must agree “at the point of exit” the ECJ rulings to which British “courts will pay due regard”. She discussed only the reduction of the ECJ from superior court to consultant, for a period of eight years, over the rights of EU citizens in Britain. The EU won’t reciprocate any British rights or laws to protect British citizens inside the EU, except contribution-based entitlements.
British-Irish alignment at the border has no expiration. The illegal migrants and traffickers who use France as their preferred stepping stone will displace to Ireland, but Britain’s obligations not to interfere will remain the same, and the ECJ will judge.

After the collective Euphoria, commentators are only just realising that the deal won’t deliver economic sovereignty. British business leaders are complaining of more uncertainty, not less.

The second problem is: we’ll still be paying. May had secretly raised her offer to at least £40 billion, just to enable further talks on leaving: her letter to parliamentarians did not admit any amount, while underlings held to a line of “about” £39 billion, to be paid over indefinite years, although they conceded that the final total could be much greater. Probably it will surpass £50 billion.

This will hurt Britain’s economy, public services, and political stability. Other than border control, the most appealing argument by Brexiteers was that Britain should spend at home what it pays to the EU. True, Britain gains economically from the single market, but it pays exorbitantly for the privilege.

The uncertainty about what Britain pays is a scandal in itself. In 2015, Britain paid to the EU £14.6 billion, after rebate, in fees and costs, and another £1 billion for the EU to spend on international aid (although the British government counts that billion towards its own spending of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product on international aid). The EU’s grants or subsidies to Britain amounted to something less than £6 billion in 2015, but since Britain doesn’t control EU spending, EU spending does not directly reduce Britain’s contribution. In any case, some proportion of EU spending in Britain is overhead that is returned to Brussels, and some is not spent in Britain, such as when British academics are sponsored to see how great Brussels is.

Thus, a fair measure of Britain’s contribution to the EU is at least £15.5 billion per year, or £42.5 million per day.

The EU is expensive because it is a profligate, inefficient socialist enterprise, redistributing wealth to the least deserving, while hypocritically privileging the unelected administrators, journalists, and academics who pretend otherwise.

The EU frankly admits that it wants Britain to pay not just for operational obligations but to fill a hole in its finances, but that is the EU’s fault. It taxes the most valuable single market in the world, but wastes its revenues keeping afloat its distorted programmes, including the Common Agricultural Policy (to keep French farmers producing unwanted food) and the Eurozone (to enable Greek socialists to keep spending without passing the bill to voters).

Here we’re talking about centrally-planned outward spending, without adding the operating costs of its extravagant central government in Brussels, which gets nothing done until the last minute of farcical summits, when everybody emerges to praise each other for reaching an agreement, and the journalists are bribed with free meals and booze to overlook the lack of substance.

The third problem is: we’re planning for longer into the future with greater uncertainty. Britons voted for Brexit in June 2016; May promised a quick deal to reduce uncertainty, then perversely promised a long transition period and multiple options from “hard” to “soft.” The British government has just reached its first “interim agreement” towards further talks – incidentally, on a last-minute schedule driven by the EU’s upcoming summit.

The interim deal was immediately disputed: Ireland said Britain had committed to keeping the whole island of Ireland aligned with the EU, but May’s letter to parliamentarians confirmed her earlier pronouncements that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”; over the weekend, her chief negotiator (David Davis) said the deal had no legal status. However, both soon conceded to EU demands that the deal should be enacted into British law; otherwise (you’ve guessed it) the EU won’t allow further talks. Yet the deal was so badly worded nobody can be certain what might be enacted. Secretly, civil servants are already consulting about what would be acceptable to Brussels, but don’t expect either side to admit to renegotiation.

May had set a date for leaving the EU in March 2019, but has promised years of transitional arrangements. The EU has refused to discuss trade until after that date. For Britons, it will feel like giving up the deeds to the house but not the mortgage. Experience suggests that the EU will spend years on trade talks. Even then, everything will remain up for reinterpretation and renegotiation. Once Britain has committed its treasure and sovereignty, what leverage will it have?

We already know from the EU’s handling of migration that it makes final deals that it ignores. To whom would Britain appeal? The ideal arbiter would be the World Treaty Organisation, but May’s government has characterised WTO rules as the worst alternative to any deal with the EU.

In short, Britain’s relationship with the EU is getting riskier. The fourth problem is: the British government is enabling more regional instability. By funding the EU without securing EU reforms, Britain will be bankrolling the agendas that are destabilising the EU.

Additionally, a government of fake Brexiteers inevitably destabilises itself, by putting the multinational elite before the national majority. Most Conservatives rushed to praise the interim deal, in the hope that unity would help to improve the next one, but Conservative rebels defeated the government’s policy to implement a final deal without Parliament’s ratification. Meanwhile, the opposition has tabled more delays and deletions. One commentator characterised the interim deal as a “treason” that will ruin the Conservative Party, once ordinary voters get a chance to vote again. Another pointed out that provincial and local governments are looking for special rights to stretch the EU-Britain “hybrid” in their own favour, pushing Scotland further towards secession.

Even before the interim deal, a poll showed that three times as many Britons agree than disagree that the EU is winning the negotiations. The main material for dissatisfaction is the divorce bill. Most respondents opposed a bill over £25 billion. About a third preferred not to pay anything.
The government cannot pay that bill without ruining its claim to fiscal prudence. British governments have added £1 trillion of debt since 2008, a trend accelerated by Philip Hammond’s most recent budget, which raised forecasted-borrowing by £29 billion, even before the government’s pledges on Brexit, infrastructure, and defence.

In other words, the government’s approach to Brexit is making everything riskier. The only way for Britain to reduce these risks is to renounce its commitments to the EU, switch to WTO rules, and negotiate from a state of sovereignty and a relationship of certainty.

4.78 avg. rating (95% score) - 41 votes
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    Bruce Oliver Newsome
    Bruce Oliver Newsome, Ph.D. is a lecturer in International Relations as the University of California Berkeley
    • RationalEnvironmentalist

      We must send a message. Please sign the petition

    • lizmilton

      Worth reading on veteranstoday… “Brexit is still happening “…
      Michael Shrimpton QC thinks Maybe will be gone in the New Year…

    • hugodegauche

      The country has the government it deserves. The Tory Party really needs to be virtually wiped out at the next election. And I never thought I would see myself write that but I can see now it is very sick indeed. I live in a marginal seat and as things stand I will abstain as I am so angry at the Tory Party I will even bare the risk of a Corbyn government rather than vote for that lot again

    • caro

      Even apart from all the money May is offering ( austerity for us tho’ ) I also have reservations about her ‘deal’ on immigration. No immediate stop on it plus EU citizens who have elected to live and work in Britain will have the RIGHT to bring in a WIDE RANGE of family members whether they are EU citizens or NOT. This doesn’t sound to me like getting a handle on immigration . That was one of the reasons many people voted to leave . Many many people are sick and tired of having to cope with infrastructure and public services that are at breaking point.

    • 100

      What’s more insulting
      This utterly ludicrous “deal” that renders Britain as a slave to the EU , indefinitely or the fact that she thinks the people are stupid enough to believe her constant bullshit?

    • derekandclive

      Bureaucrats – the most evil, unprincipled, self-serving, dishonest sewer of rats on the planet. This whole construct is designed as their nirvana, where other people’s money can be taken by force and then used to enrich themselves and spend on any ideological fads they have whilst they remain totally unaccountable to anybody for their frauds and scams and nobody can remove them, prosecute them or challenge them because they are not democratically elected, they own the courts and they buy off the corporations and the media – is it any wonder that the likes of May (a politician and career bureaucrat) and all of her toadying civil servants and fellow Westminster troughers want it to continue as is – it is the mealticket to unbelievable wealth and power for them and their favoured chums for eternity and not a voter in sight to stop them

      • fred finger

        Slight problem, the citizens of Europe love being controlled by corrupt bureaucrats. Until that changes the chance of the EU reforming is zero.

    • boptah

      ” The only way for Britain to reduce these risks is to renounce its
      commitments to the EU, switch to WTO rules, and negotiate from a state
      of sovereignty and a relationship of certainty.” that is exactly what we need to do ASAP.

    • caro

      She’s got to go!
      We don’t want THEIR version of ‘Brexit.’ We want to LEAVE. That’s what we voted for and we’ll get it come what may. ( Pardon the pun )

    • here’s looking at you kid

      ‘You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’ A. Lincoln.
      May, your ‘deal’ is a turkey and the people know it.
      Your achievement will be Brexino.
      For Gods sake, grow a pair and stand up to the EU.
      Or prepare for WTO.

    • The Banana
    • Andy

      The only thing that can be done is to destroy the EU before it becomes a Fascist totalitarian ‘State’.

      • SeeYouAnon

        It’s likely to destroy itself; but in offering money and this pathetic endorsement of its politics, we have simply prolonged the agony for everyone else.

    • lizmilton

      Thank you, Mr Newsome …your succinct article should put our PM, media and Parliamentarians to shame…

    • Bogbrush

      This article is just frothing.

      The money is neither here nor there, by your own calculations we’ll be in the black within this Parliament.
      Ireland will be fudged like Ireland (and the Irish) always do.
      The ECJ is the only thing that I want to see a sharper end to.

      Now the big thing is not sacrificing trading freedom but this article is just a tin foil hatters delight, as some of the comments here show,

      • caro

        I have reservations about May’s ‘deal’ on immigration. No immediate stop on it plus EU citizens who have elected to live and work in Britain will have the RIGHT to bring in a WIDE RANGE of family members whether they are EU citizens or NOT. This doesn’t sound to me like getting a handle on immigration . That was one of the reasons many people voted to leave . Many many people are sick and tired of having to cope with infrastructure and public services that are at breaking point.

      • SeeYouAnon

        I wish it was, but at best, we have been left in a very precarious position. There was no reason for the PM to give away so much in exchange for so little.

        The odds of this ridiculous arrangement bringing any advantage to this country are slim indeed. The odds of it wreaking damage are high. This is a great deal of power to sacrifice for the sake of a few business arrangements.

        • Bogbrush

          Only getting away from the ECJ Customs Union matters. The money, by the authors own calculation is under 3 years fees, so we’re getting out reasonably clean considering. Hell, we piss £40bn away on nonsense every year!

          I’m not complacent but I’m reasonably ok about things. The huge questions are going to be what use we made of life outside the EU. It’s here that I have next to no confidence in any politician, and I’m not too happy about my fellow citizens.

          • MrVeryAngry

            In lots of ways I agree with that. If paying the EU shits some dosh gets us a special deal with the EU that is better than WTO why not? What really matters is getting out from under the ECJ, the SM rules, the EU’s (self-serving) interventions, the re-establishment of Common Law, Parliamentary Sovereignty (i.e. the Sovereignty of the UK electorate), being able to slash taxes and regulationism etc etc.

            • SeeYouAnon

              It’s the latter part of that which I think is under threat: the money is just the icing on the cake for the EU.

              The problem lies within the implementation period: its definition, its length, its cost (which will be more than financial). It gives the opportunity for the EU, and others hostile to Brexit, to seize much more power with no redress at all. Brexit could be ended within that twilight zone.

            • MrVeryAngry


      • lizmilton

        I suggest you read a little more widely…I even have a list for you..start with “Treason at Maastricht “…Followed by “2030: your children’s future in Islamic Britain “ and “ Britain’s great immigration disaster .” Both are on Amazon…although the government will not tell us how many billions migrants are costing us, the Danes keep a record…the similarities between our systems make it very clear the government telling us about the rising costs of “social care” is not for our elderly…
        Then, have a look up the Cloward piven strategy…
        Followed by the documentation on
        To see the EEC was set up in 1941 to ensure complete German domination of Europe…as was the ECJ…which is why their “rulings” seem strange sometimes…
        Check out how the Cabinet Office conspired to ensure MP’s did not have the opportunity to read the Lisbon Treaty…Search and read
        “UK Parliament comes to an effective end”

        And the plans for the Parliament of Mayors to replace Westminster…See

        • Bogbrush

          This kind of underlines my point.

          • lizmilton


    • alecto

      This govenment is determined to destroy our country little by little and there is no one in Westminster prepared to put their heads above the parapit to stop it. Its shameful!

    • getahead

      Duplicitous bastard woman.

      • lizmilton

        There are many who agree with your description…she’s doing what she was put there to do by the Conservative Party…

        Look up
        “UK Parliament comes to an effective end”

        No worries about loss of sovereignty way back then…not a squeak.

        Duplicity is the name of the game in the Conservative Party…look back to Heath, Major, Cameron etc

        What hope is there when the so called “Father of the House “ happily admits he was 100% negligent and did not read the Masstricht Treaty …

        And then goes on to say he cannot wait for Westminster to become a Council Chamber of Brussels ?

    • Jolly Radical

      Farage said on Thursday that the entire Brexit process will have to be started again.
      He’s correct – May’s agenda is obviously to overturn the referendum result and keep us trapped in the swamp.

      • MrVeryAngry

        I am not sure her purpose is to overturn the referendum as such. It’s more that she has absolutely no clue as to what life can be like outside the EU. She is visionless and economically witless. (And I think a bit stupid – as in not very bright at all).

        • jazz606

          She’s just another useless arts graduate.

    • Robert

      “We already know from the EU’s handling of migration that it makes final deals that it ignores.”
      How true. I see Mr Oliver Newsome is based in California which is the location of a ‘classic’ TV Show – ‘The Rockford Files’. Now one of the recurring story lines in that show is of con merchants pulling a fast one on an unsuspecting or weak dupe – the latter referred to as a ‘mark’. One cannot help but feel, seeing Theresa May scurrying off to see public servants in Brussels at odd hours, that, as Jim Rockford might have said : “There goes the mark into a pool of creatures sporting dorsal fins”. It is remarkable how oblivious she seems to be of the situation – either that or she is complicit in the duplicity of what the Brussels public servants call negotiations.

    • Felt

      They don’t call her Treasonous May for nothing. She was seen by most of us as a Globalist plant from the start. She and her cohort had no intention in carrying out the referendum result. The snake Hammond as good as openly confirmed all this in China today. These duplicitous, treasonous people are going to make the Tories pay an unbelievably high price in the next GE. If they think this betrayal of democracy is something people will quickly forget, they are making yet another mistake. The people unfortunately, Leavers and Remainers alike face a 5 year destructive sentence under the Scarecrow and his manipulator.

      Shame on the Tories for sitting on their hands and being led by such unprincipled people. The Tory party is no longer fit for purpose.

    • Lacerta viridis

      The executive summary: May is a complete waste of space, and has capitulated to a foreign power in what amounts to treason against this country.

      • alecto

        It is treason and she should pay the ultimate penalty.

        • Andy

          Blair abolished that in 1998 so he could sign a protocol of the ECHR.

          • alecto

            I hope that b’stard get whats coming to him.

    • Malcolm

      It is getting very difficult, even accepting the most charitable view of what has taken place, to see it as anything less than parliament standing upon its head the constitutional convention that it is the servant and not the master of the British people. A clear instruction was given to parliament, at its own invitation no less, to leave the EU – not in part, not in name only, but in full – so that we regain what should never have been given away without our consent: our national sovereignty. The terms being demanded by the EU, and cravenly accepted by our government, are bad enough, but to see the EU keep shifting the goalposts and hypocritical MPs using the excuse of “parliamentary sovereignty” (something about which they cared very little when handing more and more power to Brussels at the expense of that very thing) to delay and reduce the impact of a real exit, is more than just dispiriting; it is infuriating, and many people will feel as I do that I will take my political revenge at the earliest opportunity. The price that parliament and most of its untrustworthy and arrogant members will have to pay for any betrayal may come as a surprise to them, but millions of us have waited patiently for 4 decades for the opportunity to rid ourselves of a political project that we neither wanted nor agreed to and are in no mood now to accept being ignored.

      • Nockian

        And isn’t that the end to this sham of a democracy ? It never was, it was just a clever game to give the population the illusion of control. Of course we were allowed to vote for any party (with it effectively being a duopoly) who promised to steal from Peter to give to Paul. We were allowed to vote for theft, because this is the basis of our constitution designed by looters, for looters; that all men are essentially evil thieves, robbers and swindlers by nature, hence we require a political structure that distributes the loot in some democratic fashion. When we were asked to vote on something related to individual freedom, then the doors of this sham began slamming shut. It is clear that we cannot democratically demand freedom because freedom is a danger to those who make their money out of moral corruption and seek to normalise it.

      • Mojo

        I totally agree. I also think the majority of the country are now very angry. But if we wait until 2022 to vent our frustration it will be too late. We now see that the Brexiteers in Parliament are not really working for us. Their hearts were never in the fight. Not one of them has stood up to Theresa May and insisted she change or cabinet or her policies. They keep saying they are biding their time and waiting for Brussels to walk. But Brussels will never do that. They are treating us as they treated Greece and we have a weak PM who has no notion of standing up for her country.

        When JRM became a member of Parliament in 2010 and started to make his voice heard, Cameron decided we needed a referendum. He knew very well that JRM was a close friend of Farage and believed in a free democratic country. He needed to destroy UKIP and very nearly did. Only JRM is a truly stout Brexiteer but he will never be allowed near the corridors of power. Unless we start to take our own action and insist that MPs are deselected we will not win our battle. John Longworth said a few months ago that we have such a tiny window of opportunity and if that slammed shut by TM we will never again be allowed to open it. I have stopped checking for Brexit news because I am so disillusioned with parliament and their arrogance. However, for the first time in my life, if someone organised a march on Downing street or Westminster I would travel to London and I would prepare to be violent.

        • Nockian

          No one wants to be the first to propose violence rationally because it’s abhorrent to those that still hold out the belief that something uncorrupted must exist at the heart of our state, but I’m more convinced now that we are rapidly running out of road with regard to words. Peter Hitchens has said that this has the potential to flare into civil war and perhaps that time has arrived.

        • SeeYouAnon

          Mrs May is still smiling, because her colleagues and the media are smiling.

          She thinks just as Cameron did. She thinks the country is happy too, bar a minority of discontents.

          Cameron got rather a shock. And now…

          • caro

            She hasn’t got a clue but worryingly neither have any of the others. What sort of Universe do they live in?

          • r3d3

            Hope so.

            Lots of time yet til 2022GE for reality to kick in..

            • grumpyashell

              There are local elections next May…so hopefully there will be a revolt of the voters for Brexit and decimate her fellow followers….ok,I know that councelors have nothing to do with national politics but they will take a fall for her…and they will not be happy in the constituencies

        • alecto

          Gove and Johnson were Trojan Horses just like Carswell was for UKIP. Infiltrate and destroy Brexit.

          • Countrywatch

            Carswell is quite the worst of all, in my view. Apparently cold, calculating, treacherous and utterly ruthless. Reminds me of one of Forsyth’s hired assassins.

    • Mojo

      Excellent article. The true Brexiteers i.e. those voters who absolutely knew what they were voting for have been very clear from the day we secured our referendum that this country needed to walk away from the EU institutions and revert to WTO immediately. We all knew the banks, the City and the CBI would create a stink. But we also knew the banks are fluid and actually move where they are best in a position to control finances and that is London and making new rules. The CBI we knew needed a good kick up the butt. But we all understood the importance of creating a trade deal with the EU outside the political project of Brussels.

      Our MPs unfortunately only ever think of their vested interests. They do not want the common man to create his own future, they are so europhiled and greedy they cannot see the damage they have done to this great country.

      Now we are in danger of losing our vote. We are in danger of losing democracy, which will never be returned to us unless we have another civil war. I cannot see that happening with the indigenous people and culture being washed away. Nigel Farage will yet again be proved correct when he says this Brexit will have to be refought within the next five years.

      Vote Leave was a sorry and shallow campaign and the conservatives refused to engage the strength of whom most of the country followed. Even now they try to minimise the impact of on the referendum. It is dishonest and dangerous.

    • Countrywatch

      Excellent analysis of the so called “deal” Theresa May has negotiated, and the path she has set us on. Charles Moore wrote in the D Telegraph of “complete capitulation”, which I believe it is.
      The Brexiter MPs have to act and swiftly, otherwise we will be the “vassal state” that Rees-Mogg refers to.

      • grumpyashell

        Brexiter MPs have not not got the bollux to act,they talk and talk and talk…nothing else…if they formed a block and voted as a block then I would have more trust or they went back to their constituencies and organised a rebellion of their constituents I would feel they actually did believe…otherwise I am afraid SFA will happen…the only other way is to say ok,you lot sit on your fat pin stripes,rabbit on and do bugger all…so the only other way is to get behind UKIP and get them winning those local elections next May

      • lizmilton

        Greece the Second for daring to vote against the EU, I fear…

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