Did the Foreign Office learn from our Falklands Victory?
No it did not. It continued to pluck at Mrs Thatcher’s sleeve whenever she tried to confront European Community aggrandisement. The Foreign Office disapproved mightily of Mrs. Thatcher’s determined efforts to recover a proper rebate of the EC fee we were charged. They refused to link Spain’s wish at the 1992 Council in Barcelona to get a huge chunk of the EC’s structural funds to build all those splendid roads and railways, with their wish to get access to British Channel and North Sea fishing waters. So Spain, never inhibited when it comes to claiming (pride not withstanding), ended up with both funds and fishing, largely in both cases at Britain’s expense.
What the Foreign Office will do if left in charge of the Brexit negotiations
If left to itself the Foreign Office will put coming to an “amicable” agreement with the EU27 above everything else. Among other things they would agree to:
- Continued EU access to British Continental fishing waters.
- Continued UK payments to the EU budget at virtually the same level as at present (citing Norway as an example).
- Continuation of EU immigration citing “difficulties of distinguishing between new arrivals and long-term residents”. Tame economists will be wheeled in to “prove” that Britain needs hundreds of thousands of fruit pickers, cleaning ladies, carers, plumbers (of course), nurses and doctors, etc. etc.
In short the Foreign Office’s implicit aim will be to nullify the British people’s vote for Brexit and try to keep everything the same before and after the referendum vote, pleasing those they see as their colleagues in the EU and foreign capitals will be top priority.
Who should negotiate the terms of Brexit?
This should be in the hands of a small executive group reporting directly and openly to a select committee of the House of Commons once a month the Brexit Select Committee. The group would be led by an individual with a long-term principled record of supporting Brexit. Candidates for the job would apply to the Select Committee and would not necessarily be an existing or former member of the House of Commons. He or she would recruit like-minded individuals for the negotiating executive group. Reasonable fluency in one of the other principal EU languages: French, German, Italian in particular, would be required. Members of the existing EU committees (e.g. Coreper) would be chosen to form subcommittees for technical advice on EU procedures, but would absolutely not be members of the executive negotiating group.
This way will ensue that Britain negotiates using all its leverage to:
- Recover our fishing grounds.
- Taper off payments to the EU budget so that existing contracts in its different countries are completed with a time limit of 3 years maximum.
- Introduce a system of employer sponsored job permits for new EU migrants or those resident for less than 3 years at the referendum date.
- Replace the Human Rights Act with a statute which ensures the judges do not use the Convention on Human Rights to block deportations of non-British citizens. As part of this measure, remove the right of foreign nationals to legal aid.
- Resume our seat in the World Trading Organisation (WTO) and ensure that the EU has no role in British negotiations with third parties, nor that its common EU tariff would apply to the UK.
- Under the auspices of the WTO negotiate a tariff-free trading agreement with the EU along the lines of the just completed EU-Canada treaty, or better still continue with the present régime for the free movement of goods and capital.