As the Tory leadership ballots land the odds suggest, it’s game, set and match to Boris Johnson. Though we shall have to await the results on 22 July for final confirmation, Jeremy Hunt would need a comeback against odds that even Coco Gauff would consider perilous.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy is being described as ABC. A is to negotiate a Withdrawal Agreement without a backstop. The EU has refused to do this, so B is a free-trade agreement using WTO rules to maintain zero-tariffs from day one. C is the fall-back of no deal, i.e. trading on WTO rules and facing tariffs for exporting into the EU. Our fear is that the EU will consider option A late in the day, offering a long end-date on the backstop. We hope PM Boris will not be tempted.
Meanwhile, attempts continue to try and undermine Johnson’s plans for a potential No Deal Brexit. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, told the Commons on Tuesday that “the Government’s analysis suggests that in a disruptive no-deal exit there will be a hit to the exchequer of about £90 billion”. Thus, in one of his last appearances in office, Mr Hammond repeats the discredited ‘analysis’ produced by the Treasury, and which we have repeatedly disproved.
As we have suggested, one of the signs of Boris Johnson’s seriousness if he becomes Prime Minister will be to disavow these empty and damaging predictions, and “bring in root-and-branch reform of the organisation – replacing senior officials and restoring the organisation’s reputations for expertise and neutrality”. Rumour has it that Hammond is trying to coordinate a group of Tory MPs who will try to block No Deal. It is more important than ever to make the argument that No Deal is nothing to fear.
Speaker Bercow has become the surprise Brexit hero of the week. He seems to have blocked the latest attempt to get Parliament to thwart a no deal exit looks to be failing, by refusing to select an amendment from Dominic Grieve and Dame Margaret Becket which would cut off funding to the Government.
On the 29th June, the Telegraph printed the following letter, referring to our letter of the 25th:
SIR – Has anyone risen to the challenge from Sir Richard Aikens and others (Letters, June 25) to refute their assertion that there is no impediment to immediate application of Gatt Article 24 after we leave the EU on October 31?
West Wickham, Kent
The answer, Mr King, is ‘No’!
Our co-editor Graham Gudgin took part in a Brexit debate in London this week, organised by Birmingham University’s Institute of Brexit Studies. As is usual in such events the panel consisted of three Remainers and one Leaver. The Remainers included former head of the civil service economic service (and convicted perjurer) Vicky Pryce, plus the head of German TV’s London bureau. The latter appeared to suggest that Boris Johnson had a ‘death-wish’ for the UK economy.
In response to a suggestion by one of our subscribers, our other co-editor Robert Tombs wrote a response to a long article by Sir Ivan Rogers, former ambassador to the EU, published on the Spectator Coffee House website. His response, “What Sir Ivan Rogers gets wrong about Brexit”, appeared in this week’s magazine.
On the website this week
A new Tory Project Fear, by Briefings for Brexit
We discuss Philip Hammond’s latest claims about the damaging effects of no deal, and the more surprising claims by Jeremy Hunt to the same effect. As this article shows, these claims have little basis in fact. Now that preparations have been made, a WTO Brexit is nothing to fear.
“Taking all these benefits into account, the result of a well-managed WTO exit would be not a major economic loss, but potentially a huge economic gain of up to £80 billion a year.”
Europe cannot escape nationalism, by Ashoka Mody
Ashoka Mody, visiting Professor in International Economic Policy at Princeton and formerly of the IMF, argues that the nation-state is the only organizational form that has democratic accountability and legitimacy. Ignoring this has trapped the EU in instability and conflict – just what the ‘founding fathers’ were trying to prevent. The EU must retrace its steps.
“An optimistic national revival requires reinvigoration of social democratic principles. Unfortunately, in the 1980s and 1990s, social democrats ran out of ideas, abandoned their traditional working-class constituents, and placed faith in Europe as the solution.”
The EU: no friend of workers’ rights, by Will Podmore
It has become a mantra, endlessly repeated by Remainer trade unions: “Workers must not pay the price of Brexit.” Will Podmore, member of the University and College Union, academic and author asks what that price would be. He also outlines the price to workers of staying in the EU.
“There’s the EU, in a nutshell: it’s a fundamental right for a company to move from country to country in search of lower and lower labour costs.”
We are also on Twitter, posting articles and retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the national news.
Discussion also continues over on Facebook.
How you can help
We urge our supporters to ‘take back control’ in our present confusion. There are thousands of you. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Write to your MPs. Perhaps send them copies of some of our articles (or links to them), especially when they are relevant to your local conditions – for example, in rural areas, on the threat to British agriculture. Better still, make an appointment to see them at their next surgery: they will take notice when people are lining up at their doors. Make you views known where MPs might be wavering, or where they are working to sabotage Brexit, especially in Leave-voting and marginal constituencies, which Richard Johnson listed in his recent article.
Do also keep reading our posts, and to tell others about us. Share links to our quality content so that others can understand how leaving the EU can be good for the UK economy and for our own democratic governance. We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
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An Oxbridge PhD Student
Dr Graham Gudgin
Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Professor Robert Tombs
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge