Reality has dawned upon the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator – that the EU is running out of time.
Michel Barnier visited London this morning for talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Brexit Secretary David Davis. He told the BBC: “We have not a minute to lose because we want to achieve a deal. Once again, we have not a minute to lose. There is so much work, so we have decided for this reason to accelerate all the contacts.”
However, it was the EU who slowed up everything from the very beginning, possibly in the hope that Britain would baulk and change its mind.
The EU continued to control the timetable, events and debate, even thinking the European Court of Justice should have jurisdiction over European citizens living in post-Brexit Britain.
However, today Theresa May has announced that Britain has ruled out any form of ‘customs union’. This may have spooked Michel Barnier into realising that the EU playing hardball may result in ‘no-deal’ after all, with disastrous consequences for European businesses. So now, he ‘graciously’ wants to speed up negotiations. Thank you very much, Monsieur Barnier. It is kind of you to tell us what to do – once more.
23 June 2016: “Brexit” won the Referendum and the UK voted to leave the European Union in order to recover its sovereignty and independence from a domineering international co-operative – billed at the time to become Britain’s ‘Independence Day’.
Majorities of Party constituencies of the UK vote to leave, balancing SNP claims that ‘Scotland voted to remain’.
EU called the shots from the beginning of negotiations.
21 July 2017: Vince Cable, the new Lib Dem leader, breaks another promise by promising a second EU referendum to “exit Brexit“.
15 Dec 2017: EU Army after Brexit.
5 Feb 2018: after dragging its heels, refusing to negotiate, trying to control what can be discussed, hoping the UK would hold a second Referendum and reverse Brexit, Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator, realises the EU is running out of time.
28 Feb 2018: Barnier calls upon Britain ‘to pick up the pace’ when announcing the EU attempted power-grab in Northern Ireland.
4 May 2018: a few months down the road, the Luxembourg Finance Minister tells the EU to hurry up.
8 May 2018: now the SNP is worried that we are running out of time. It is a pity that they never thought about this 18 months ago when the UK Government wanted to get on with negotiations. It is a feature of human activity that people leave things until the last minute and sometimes until it is too late. Jesus Christ warned about procrastination repeatedly and spoke a number of notable parables on the subject. He tells us to have our priorities right:
‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you’ Mat 6:33.
Otherwise we will discover too late that the door into heaven is shut against us.
25 Aug 2018: further EU delays.
10 Sep 2018: Barnier thinks a deal is possible by November. Playing ‘hard to get’ has its limits. Theresa May’s domestic problems makes a no-deal Brexit possible, which will be so bad for the EU that some deal needs to be determined.
19 Oct 2018: Barnier playing catch-up.
20 Oct 2018: large march in London by those who say that they did not know what Brexit was about and who want to vote again in a second Referendum. There is no evidence that they have changed their minds, simply that they want Brexiteers to change their mind. They have still to learn that ‘hard to get’ EU negotiators played hardball and are the real originators of a ‘hard Brexit’.
22 Oct 2018: not to be outdone by Barnier’s 90%, Theresa May says that 95% of the Brexit negotiations are completed. Barnier warned that the Northern Ireland border might be a deal-breaker, but Theresa May outlines her four steps to the finishing line.
14 Nov 2018: Merkel agrees to Marcon’s call for a European Army.
19 Dec 2018: now that the UK is playing hard ball and publicly preparing for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit after EU intransigence, the EU has been forced into doing the same and publicizing its plans for a no-deal Brexit. All of a sudden the EU is unilaterally offering a transitional period on flights and haulier freight belying the ‘project fear’ scare stories of the EU Remainers. Trying to recover the moral high ground they are advising member states to be ‘generous’ about UK citizens in the EU “provided that this approach is reciprocated by the UK”. This qualification is rather disingenuous because the UK has already stated its generous approach on this subject. Does the EU not believe us? This has been its problem for a long time; it did not believe that the UK was serious about leaving the EU. However, in a mean streak of control-freakery, the Commission has said that such generosity should not compare with EU membership, or the transition period on offer in the Withdrawal Agreement. What if a member state ignores this and considers its own interests in interacting with post-Brexit Britain?
7 Jan 2019: what is involved in the WTO terms after Brexit.
9 Jan 2019: a brief summary of the current state of play.
6 Feb 2019: President of the European Commission Donald Tusk is getting rattled and exposing his poor knowledge about hell. BBC’s Andrew Neil claims that a no-deal Brexit will tip the EU over the cliff edge.
20 Feb 2019: a petition to “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU” began today on the Government website. No half-measures here about a second reference. Indeed, it admits that it “may not happen – so vote now.” The petition begins: “The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is ‘the will of the people’.” Yes, that is what the Referendum result indicated. It continues: “We need to put a stop to this claim.” In other words, to contradict the Referendum. ” We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU.” So they do not yet have the proof but are looking for it. By 21 Mar 2019 it reached 1 million signatories. Main stream media publicity gave it a boost so that it passed 4.5 million on 23 Mar and on 26 Mar 2019 the number of signatories is rising towards 5.75 million, still far short of the 16,141,241 that we already know voted to ‘Remain’ on 23 Jun 2016. Brexit Day was scheduled for 29 Mar 2019 but with a fortnight’s extension to 12 Apr 2019 it will be interesting to see what happens. It might prove the opposite of what it hopes and intended to prove. I suspect that the BBC will announce with enthusiasm when each new quarter million is reached. Meanwhile, the map shows that in some areas of the country there have not been even one signatory. At 26 Mar 2019 the maximum percentage of voters in any Scottish constituency does not exceed 14% and most of them are in single figures. George Galloway on TalkRadio 23 Mar 2019 said that people were signing up with multiple email addresses, even the pope in Rome. A question about dubious signatories was asked at Prime Minister’s Questions on 27 Mar 2019 by Conservative MP, Maggie Throup (Erewash), who asked about reforming the e-petitions system.
11 Mar 2019: EU front-man Verhoftstadt demonstrates why Brexiteers want to leave the EU.
12 Mar 2019: after Geoffrey Cox’s last-minute negotiations yesterday, the Attorney General’s legal advice published today says that the legal risk to the UK in the Withdrawal Agreement is reduced but unchanged – the UK could not leave the EU without the consent of the EU. The EU wants to continue to try to control post-Brexit UK.
12 Mar 2019: the House of Commons hands the no-deal option over to the EU. Although the House of Commons rejects the no-deal option, the EU still has the option, which it will use to force a long extension to Article 50. It is still on the EU table and used by Barnier.
13 Mar 2019: the no-deal option is abandoned by UK Parliamentarians and it is now in the EU’s hands.
16 Mar 2019: a reminder about the short-comings of the discredited Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between Michel Barnier and Theresa May.
18 Mar 2019: the Speaker of the House of Commons throws a spanner in the works. Unexpectedly at 3:30 p.m. today he announced that the Prime Minister cannot bring substantially the same motion about the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement before the House of Commons for a third time after two massive defeats, in the same day as Jacob Rees-Mogg of the European Research Group (ERG) said that a Bad Deal is better than no Brexit. He told LBC radio today: “No-deal is better than a bad deal, but a bad deal is better than remaining in the European Union in the hierarchy of deals.”
20 Mar 2019: the UK is well-prepared for a no-deal Brexit contrary to public perception.
21 Mar 2019: 1000 days since Brexit, eventually the EU blinked.
22 Mar 2019: small to medium-sized companies at CBI conference want a no-deal Brexit.
23 Mar 2019: another large march in London by those who think another referendum will unlock the political impasse of a Remainer majority of House of Commons MPs refusing to implement the majority will of the country. The problem is not the people but the political intransigence of Remainer politicians who think “we know best”. These marchers have still to learn that fighting against the status quo is resisted tooth-and-nail by those who are benefitting very well from it. Such marches are unrepresentative, being biassed towards those living near the corridors of power in London and Edinburgh. The number of marchers was inflated because the truth is not good enough for Remainers.
25 Mar 2019: Oliver Letwin’s back-bench cross-party motion succeeds by 329 votes to 302 in taking control of the Parliamentary agenda in order to explore ‘indicative’ options to try to find a parliamentary majority instead of a no-deal Brexit. The papers’ report the next day.
26 Mar 2019: after EU blinked, the chair of the European Research Group (ERG) Jacob Rees-Mogg may blink also. Sammy Wilson of the DUP has given a stronger lead than Rees-Mogg. Nigel Farage on @LBC said that @BillCashMP is preparing a legal challenge but Farage has no confidence in the independence of the British judiciary. What an opportunity for the Supreme Court to recover supremacy from the European Court of Justice. Sir Bill should go for it. A provisional list of Tories spooked into supporting the Withdrawal Agreement now includes Rees-Mogg, but Rees-Mogg himself says that the integrity of the UK is more important than the EU and that he will support the DUP. The ERG coalition is splitting from the DUP.
27 Mar 2019: EU Council President Donald Tusk has encouraged MEPs at the EU Parliament to think that they are representing the 6 million Europeans who signed the Petition to revoke Article 50 (see 28 Feb 2019 above) and the reported 1 million who marched for another Referendum (see 23 Mar 2019 above) and “the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the EU” . At present the petition stands at 5.86 million including the pope in Rome. It is another example of the EU camel putting its nose into the UK tent. Donald Tusk claims an ‘increasing majority’ want to remain in EU and appeals over the UK Parliament to Remainers.
27 Mar 2019: Theresa May intimates she will stand down if her Brexit deal is passed. She hoped this would win over sufficient votes, but the DUP did not change their opposition to her negotiated Withdraw Agreement.
27 Mar 2019: indicative votes in the House of Commons showed that there is no majority for any alternative Plan B Brexit.
29 Mar 2019: EU continues to use the no-deal threat after the UK handed it over to them. Sir Bill Cash’s speech on the deficiencies of the Withdrawal Agreement. 11 p.m. ‘No-Brexit’ arrived and passed without a whimper.
5 Apr 2019: Theresa May wrote to Donald Tusk asking for a Brexit extension from 12 Apr till 30 Jun 2019. The EU Commission meets on 10 Apr to consider it.
9 Apr 2019: The Times reports a possible extension till 31 Mar 2020. Instead of Parliament ‘taking back control’, witness a few individuals in an arm-wrestling match and Theresa May has with one arm tied behind her back. Although the House of Commons took no-deal off the table, the EU continues to use the threat of no-deal as leverage in its arm-wrestling.
24 Sep 2019: Supreme Court decision that Parliament was not prorogued.
31 Jan 2020: Brexit arrived finally at 11:00 p.m.