Corbyn and Starmer are deluded if they think the EU is going to roll over, play dead and allow the current customs arrangements to remain while at the same time relinquishing political and other control over us. Theresa’s our only hope, says Neil Jopson.

In his article on this site on the 22 January headed “May is a modern day Neville Chamberlain”, Bruce Newsome omitted one significant word, “appeasement”.   Would not “Theresa the Appeaser” have made a good headline summarising her apparent performance to date?

However, all eyes will now be turned to see what the Labour Party is going to do in practice, now that they have changed their stance on a customs union. As anyone who has debated knows, it is far easier to attack your opponent’s arguments than to construct boiler plated ones of your own. No doubt Labour see a Customs Union as a way of attacking Mrs May, but do they really believe that the EU is going to roll over and play dead and allow the current customs arrangements to remain while at the same time relinquishing political and other control over us? If I were the Prime Minister, I would invite Messrs Corbyn and Starmer to join a team of national unity and participate in the negotiations. I suspect though, that if Mr. Corbyn did end up waving a piece of paper and uttering the words “Trade in Our Time”,  it would be at an unacceptable price.

George Santayana was  a professor in philosophy at Harvard known for aphorisms, one of which was “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – usually reduced to “History repeats itself”. What is now the European Union was set up after the end of the Second World War in 1945, with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars on the European Continent. The six founding countries were Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, all of which had suffered an economic and human catastrophe in the defeat of fascism. Webster’s  Dictionary defines fascism as, “a political philosophy, movement, or regime ……that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”

In 1933, the Welsh Journalist Gareth Jones wrote in an article in the Western Mail and South Wales News,  of the Brown Shirts  “They have dealt a deathblow to democracy in Germany, and have made Parliament into a despised relic of the past.” He posed the question “Why has Germany suddenly become so ruthless, so nationalistic, and so thorough in sweeping away the democratic Republic formed after her defeat in 1918” 80 years later, one might well ask the same questions of the European Commission. No elected leader heads the Commission. They are all political appointees; they all seek to be dictatorial.  The EU currently has three Presidents. It only needs a European President Xi to come along and the alarming vision of a United Europe may become a reality, whether member states like it or not.

As a bystander whose experience of the situation is only what I read in the press, it seems to me that it is the Commission and its unelected representatives, who are making all the running in negotiations, in the pursuit of a politically impossible United Europe. The people of the UK have voted to opt out of membership of this political union. One might have hoped that in a so-called democratic world, that the UK decision would be respected in the EU Commission.  Instead, it has been met with aloof sneers. When a marriage, a business arrangement, or any other form of agreement ends, it is not for one party to the agreement to dictate terms on which the other may leave, yet it is my understanding that this is precisely what the Commission, this centralised government, headed by dictatorial pen-pushers are doing. I would suggest that these mandarins need to realise that those who voted to leave the EU in the Referendum wanted, was to be self-governing and self-regulating.

Trade is the only bargaining chip the EU Commission thinks it has, but do the French, German and Italian car makers, the winemakers, cheese makers, and whatever else makers of Europe really want their sales to this country restricted? I doubt it.  I have read that the rest of the EU sells about £80 billion more to us in goods and services than we sell to them.

Are the EU bureaucrats really so fanatical as to want to sacrifice trade for political dogmatism? The answer is probably “Yes”, and if they see the UK in the form of Messrs Corbyn and Starmer coming cap in hand, seeking a customs union, then their answer will be a long list of requirements. So, let Corbyn and Starmer have a crack at getting a sacrifice-free agreement.  It will be a case of “Come back Theresa May.  All is forgiven”.

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