Prime Minister May and her EU counterparts have fashioned a fiendishly deceitful Brexit deal that claims to be a "withdrawal agreement" but actually would bind Britain more tightly under EU control.
As Parliament prepared to go on Christmas break, British Prime Minister Theresa May (shown) made her final appearance of the year before the legislative body. She came on December 20 to make another desperate plea for support of her misbegotten Brexit deal, which is under attack not only from her own Conservative (Tory) Party, but also from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Democratic Unionist parties.
But she will be back when Parliament reconvenes on January 9, to push her cause again before the vote on the deal, which is (for now) scheduled for January 14. The Brexit agreement is supposed to provide for Britain’s exit from the European Union, in accordance with the wishes of British voters in the historic June 23, 2016 Brexit referendum.
Theresa May, who opposed the Brexit, afterward did a political about-face and insisted that she had heard the voice of the people and would honor the voters’ mandate. “Brexit means Brexit,” “Leave means leave,” she has repeatedly stated, reassuring Brexiteer doubters that she truly intends to finalize the UK’s divorce from the EU. But are these reassurances worth anything?
Apparently not, and many Brits — across the political spectrum — are convinced she is being totally deceitful on the matter. Brexit leader Nigel Farage declared May’s Brexit deal "an absolute disgrace" and called on her to resign. “She’s not just the worst Prime Minister I’ve seen in my lifetime but the most dishonest too,” Farage said on his TalkRadio show. Other critics have charged that May’s secret “negotiations” were, in fact, total capitulations to the EU, with EU officials actually dictating the terms of Britain’s fake departure.
May began negotiations with the EU on the separation agreement on March 29, 2017. Throughout the process, she made many trips to Brussels for conferences with EU leaders, as well as huddles with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and other European heads of state. The final product was so bad that on December 10 she had to cancel the vote on it scheduled for Parliament on the following day. “If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin,” May conceded. She knew she was far short of the 318 votes she needed to win approval for her deal. According to Sky News, she could count only 184 MP supporters. Other news organizations and analysts came up with similar calculations showing a huge shortfall.
May has said that she will continue to press EU leaders for concessions, in the hope of winning support in Parliament for the January vote. As we have said in many previous reports on Brexit, Prime Minister May’s intention appears to have been from the very beginning to carry forward the agenda of the anti-Brexit elites to promise, promise, promise, delay, delay, delay — knowing that every delay provides more opportunity to sow dissension, confusion, division, and Brexit fatigue.
In an interview with the BBC in Brussels at the end of November, Prime Minister May insisted that her secret deal, which had finally been revealed to the public, “is good for the whole of the United Kingdom.” “I believe it delivers on the vote the British people took,” she stated. “It delivers on the end of free movement, end of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, end of sending those vast annual sums to the EU every year.”
Is that true? Does Theresa May’s deal deliver on those promised objectives? Absolutely not, insist critics, who charge that the 585-page withdrawal agreement and its accompanying 26-page political declaration on the future relationship between the UK and EU are chock-full of legalese aimed at trapping Britain inside the EU indefinitely.
A considerable amount of the debate over Brexit has focused on the cost to British taxpayers for the “divorce,” with the UK National Audit Office (NAO) estimating that the divorce bill could be billions of pounds higher than the May government’s estimate of £39 billion, which was already stirring British anger nationwide. The UK Guardian reported that it had been informed by “a senior EU source” that May had agreed to a considerably higher sum of £53 billion. And, The Guardian explains, the EU’s own auditor says the amount the UK is obligated to pay is likely to escalate because it is linked to commitments and liabilities that change, such as increases for pensions and benefits for EU politicians and bureaucrats.
Sovereignty — the Real Sticking Point
However, the real issue that has Brexiteers most outraged — and which the political-academic-financial-and media elites in the Remain camp have taken the most pains to ignore, downplay, and ridicule — is that the May agreement is not a true exit or divorce. Not now; not next year; not any time in the foreseeable future. Contrary to her claims, say experts in the pro-Brexit camp, the May deal would lock Britain into the EU indefinitely.
A number of credible, detailed critiques have pointed out that Theresa May’s “deal”:
• Leaves the UK under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, with the ECJ claiming authority to override British laws and courts;
• Threatens British rights of Habeas Corpus and trial by independent jury;
• Leaves the free movement (i.e., migration) temporarily in place and greatly limits Britain’s future control over its borders;
• Gives the EU, in effect, a veto over Britain’s foreign and trade policy; and
• Makes it possible that EU military and police forces could be deployed to Britain and could be used to enforce EU “laws” and to arrest those who criticize and or oppose EU laws, regulations, and policies.
Some of the most useful critiques can be found on the following websites: Briefings for Brexit, an effort by top-flight academics led by Dr. Graham Gudgin, an economist, and Robert Tombs, emeritus professor of history, both at the University of Cambridge; Veterans for Britain led by Major-General Julian Thompson, Field Marshal Lord Guthrie, Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley, Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott, and Major-General Tim Cross; and The Bruges Group, the venerable Eurosceptic think tank of which the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was honorary president.
The Briefings for Brexit report entitled “Selling a sellout: the truth about the PM’s ‘deal’ with Brussels” charges that May’s Withdrawal Agreement (WA) “isn’t even a ‘deal.’ There is no future trade agreement with the EU just a non-binding wish-list, with our fisheries, farming, immigration and economic policies all set down as bargaining chips. The Withdrawal Agreement is in fact the most expensive divorce settlement in history, which we are under no legal obligation to sign.” It further notes that, “by accepting the current ‘Withdrawal’ Agreement, we are unlikely ever to leave the European Union. It would be more accurately termed the Remain Agreement.”
What about borders control and migration? “Free movement remains during the transition period, and rights obtained under free movement laws by EU citizens up to 2021 remain theirs for their lifetime,” the Briefings for Brexit report observes. Moreover, the UK “will be obliged to align its social security rules with those of the EU even after the transition period ends, so benefits will still be exportable to non-resident EU citizens. The Mobility provisions in the political declaration on the future relationship state that free movement will end in theory, but it envisages a raft of measures to facilitate travel for business, study, training and family reasons, which combined will not give us full control over our borders. Free movement is therefore on the table as a negotiating point. The EU is likely to insist on more labour mobility as a condition the future ‘partnership.’”
In another Briefings for Brexit report titled, “We need a Clean Brexit, not this mad Withdrawal Agreement,” author David Blake, professor of finance at City University of London, charges that “The WA has been drafted with the support of pro-Remain civil servants using the Mad Hatter strategy of putting forward proposals that are completely barking — leaving the EU, while still having to obey all EU laws, but without a vote or veto.” “The clear purpose of this strategy,” says Prof. Blake, “is for the population to begin thinking that, if this is what Brexit means, we’d be better off remaining in the EU. In short, the WA is not intended to be the final stage of a transition to a ‘softer Brexit’, but rather the first stage in the establishment’s campaign — led by the senior civil servants at No. 10 — to reverse Brexit.”
The EU grab for military, police power
The Veterans for Britain have been warning about a little understood part of Theresa May’s phony Withdrawal Agreement process that has been all but totally covered up by the media and the political establishment. They point out that while May and her cadres were negotiating the Brexit “withdrawal” they were simultaneously stitching up agreements with the EU’s military establishment. Britiain is thus already facing the very real danger that the faux Brexit agreement could de facto cede Britain’s sovereign power over its military to the EU and its growing military force.
“The whispering game is over,” the British military leaders warn in an analysis piece entitled “EU military has started and we must escape.” “The leaders of ‘Project EU’ are now openly calling for an EU Armed Forces,” the veterans note. “However, the concept is ALREADY well on the way. A range of new EU deals struck in 2017 push the EU’s Common Defence Policy a long way towards its destination of ‘Common Defence’ — the Lisbon Treaty term for a unitary military.”
“Within a year of the Brexit vote, Theresa May and her ministers had incredibly signed up to five separate EU Council agreements transferring military powers to the European Commission,” the veteran group reports. “The PM’s withdrawal proposals now seek to keep the UK in EVERYTHING which has been agreed since November 2016. The agreements place the UK into the EU’s military integration project, with serious consequences for UK defence autonomy and defence procurement. It all appears to have been kept out of MPs sight or at least filtered so they don’t understand the gravity of the power transfer.”
“Why have ministers entered these arrangements on the advice of a small band of Foreign Office officials?,” the Veterans for Britain ask. “Because they provide remainer officials and ministers with a U-bend route to EU membership in the future. Put simply, they are stitching up the negotiations by making the UK subordinate to new structures, budgets, policies, directives and financial payments.”
In an in-depth analysis of May’s Brexit deal, (Dangers to National Security and Individual Freedom in Mrs. May’s “withdrawal” Agreement) Torquil Dick-Erikson, a legal scholar and journalist with The Bruges Group, writes that “Theresa May’s ‘withdrawal agreement’ has been criticised for leaving the UK ‘half-in and half-out’ of the EU.” “Indeed it does,” he avers. “We get the worst of both worlds. The ‘half-in’ is that we remain subject to all the EU’s rules, regulations, laws and directives. The ‘half-out’ is that we lose our present — albeit paltry — representation in the EU’s council, Parliament and Commission, so we have no voice at all in deciding what the obligations shall be — not only as they stand at present, but also as they may be modified in future by decisions taken without our consent or participation.”
“This position as a mere rule-taker without also being a rule-giver, is what is meant by ‘vassal status,’” says Dick-Erikson. “We will therefore be governed more or less like a colony.”
There are very sound economic reasons as well for Britain to leave the strictures of the EU. A “clean Brexit,” as Professor Blake has noted, means “getting back to the real world” outside the EU’s customs union and single market, “where around 85% of the world’s GDP is generated — and which is where, even the EU admits, 90% of the world’s future growth will take place. In this world, we can set our own tariffs and regulations to suit UK customers and the 92% of firms that do not trade with the EU.”
Contrary to the fear-mongering being employed to frighten Brexit voters back into the Remain camp, the strongest arguments for Britain’s current and future prosperity favor a clean break from the EU’s clutches. However, as important as those economic matters are, the imminent danger to Britain’s national sovereignty is of far greater urgency and importance. And as more and more British voters learn about the deception that Prime Minister May and her EU counterparts have engaged in to overturn the results of the referendum and bind them under Brussels’ thumb, there is bound to be a growing groundswell of outrage over her efforts to sabotage Brexit and the tandem efforts to call for a redo of the referendum.
Photo of British Prime Minister Theresa May: Arno Mikkor (EU2017EE)