No Hard Feelings For Boris Johnson, But Why Did the Vote Go Wrong?
Today’s Financial Times reports that British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has accused the European Union of “farming out” the UK to the single market in order to secure its rebate. In a speech to the Spectator in London, he stated that “a deal which could be agreed today will be an obstacle to the renewal of the Lisbon treaty.” He went on to say that it was “no longer easy to maneuver the single market into the shape desired” due to the “very narrow terms of the Lisbon treaty.” He added that “the British people have a right to know exactly what the EU is planning to do with our money.”
The Financial Times, a newspaper generally known as the “mouthpiece of the financial world,” is obviously biased. Johnson should have let that be clear. It’s also ironic that the paper that is supposedly the mouthpiece for the financial sector is accusing the EU of “economic strangulation.” The Commission’s proposal is not some sort of economic strangulation, according to the Financial Times. The report continues:
“If the Commission’s plan for a fiscal stimulus package was understood, it would not constitute an economic strangulation, as many Brexiteerservatives believe, but merely a signal that Britain was still very much in the running to stay in the European Union. That may be partly true, but this time the signal will be stronger.” The Financial Times is obviously trying to create a perception that the UK would somehow suffer if it negotiated its way into the Single Market, and therefore, suggesting that the UK should not enter until “the final details are ironed out.”
The quote from the FT comes from a piece written by one of the Commission’s chief negotiators, Mr Mats van der Laan
In his article he says that it is “not clear” that there will be a deal before the end of the year. His comments were later denied by Mrs May. However, the article did refer to a view that the EU’s chief negotiator, Mr Barnier, had expressed during a press conference. Mr Johnson and Mr Cameron were apparently referring to the fact that Mrs May was planning to hold further negotiations with the EU, possibly in the autumn.
Now the Financial Times has taken this quote and reduced it to a fact
This means that Mrs May could well find that her plans for a softer approach to the single market will not work. She has also lost her previously strong support for staying in the Single Market. If this was the plan all along, it would be a strange thing to see them suddenly backtrack on it. Perhaps Mr Johnson and the Remain campaign realised that the Remain camp was on to their secret plan for a disastrous divorce. If so, it would be a blow to the Prime Minister’s hopes of remaining on track to get the country out of the European Union.
The question then is whether or not Mrs May’s government will stand by its commitment to a soft and slow withdrawal from the Single Market? If so, that might leave the door wide open for other Remain supporters to press for even more restrictive policies on the single market. There are those in the Leave camp who claim that if the Government sticks to its guns, it will find it very difficult to negotiate a favorable exit deal. Some claim that there has been an “undue” of free market capitalism in the Single Market and this is why countries like the UK have had problems growing economies. Whether these criticisms are fair or not is not clear, but the facts remain that Remain has no control over the single market.
If you really want a hard and fast Brexiting solution, you would expect the likes of Mrs May and Mr Johnson to blame everything and anything that goes wrong. But that is just not going to happen. It is too easy to blame Remain for being weak on the economy, when the Remain camp actually does have a lot to offer. They have a vision, they have policies which are far more favourable to the Remain voter than the Alternative, and they are not afraid to stand up to their opponents. All of this makes it very difficult to come up with a united front against the EU, let alone a soft and gentle strategy on the single market.
For Remain, this is not about losing face or playing politics
It is about standing up for the things which are right for Britain. The European Union may not like it, but Britain needs to make its mind up. If it wishes to regain its prosperity, freedom, and influence on the world stage, then it must take a hard stance on the Single Market and get serious about leaving the EU.