After the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU resulted in a narrow majority in favour of leaving - remember, it was narrower than what Nigel “Thirsty” Farage said would have been “unfinished business” if the vote had gone the other way - and the dust had settled, we were told by our not at all unelected Prime Minister Theresa May that “Brexit means Brexit”. We were on our way out, and that was that.
Not even her appointment of the “Three Brexiteers” - David Davis, Liam Fox, and London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson - would stop the process, despite Fox being unfit for any kind of ministerial responsibility and Bozza being nothing more than a figure of ridicule. But now Davis, the one of the three capable of applying some thought to the exercise, has effectively admitted the game is up.
Davis today faced the Commons, a regular session for the Brexit minister, where Labour MP Wayne David asked him “Will the government consider making any contribution in any shape or form for access to the single market?” Remember, the central plank of the Vote Leave campaign - the lead group for the Outers - was those EU contributions. And the claim of what we could do with them if voters decided to leave.
Davis’ answer, “The major criterion here is that we get the best possible access for goods and services to the European market - and if that is included in what you are talking about, then of course we will consider it”, left open the door wide enough for Sterling to put on around 1% against the US Dollar and appreciate against the Euro. It pleased Remain advocates, and horrified his fellow Out campaigners.
And looks like we'll keep on sending the money
Fundamentalist Outer Peter Bone spluttered “People will be absolutely outraged if we came out of the EU and then carried on paying them £15bn a year, £20bn a year, whatever the figure is - no I don't think it's going to happen”. Iain Duncan Cough managed “I don't think there's any way in which you can reach a deal where you can say 'I'll pay some money in and therefore you allow us access' because you might as well have tariff barriers”, thus showing his basic stupidity. No payment and there WILL be tariff barriers.
Fantasist Tory Steve Baker claimed that paying into the EU budget “would not be free trade”. Think it would, Steve. But the reason for the Outers’ horror and deflection is not hard to fathom: this comes after it was reported that “Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has privately told at least four EU ambassadors that he supports freedom of movement - despite the Government's hard stance on Brexit”. And there was more.
“The high-ranking diplomats were speaking under the Chatham House rule, which allows their comments to be reported, but not directly attributed”. So we don’t know whose ambassadors leaked, but we know they leaked, and a Pound to a Euro cent they were authorised by their respective Governments to leak.
Paying into the EU budget for full access to the Single Market would put us in the same position as Norway, which pays as much per head as we do now - but is not part of the CAP or CFP. So we’d still have to separately subsidise farmers, and it would cost just as much. And we’d have to accept free movement. So perhaps someone would like to explain what the point of leaving would be? Don’t all shout at once.