The Brexit Mirror — cracked from side to side

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Originally posted 2016-08-12 19:01:00.

The Brexit mirror cracked from side to side under the weight of simple, sheer reality this week.

The fissure in the Brexit mirror began to appear when Norway’s Foreign Minister told the world that no, the UK could not re-enter the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) just because it fancied the idea. The UK was a founder member of EFTA but left as a condition of joining the then EEC in 1973. Re-entry, however, would require unanimous approval from the remaining members and Norway is agin the idea. It’s not the only one to show reluctance.

So: Norway is not going to just roll over and let a bunch of insufferably entitled English Tories defenestrate its rectum. Which means that the UK will be locked out of the single market. Basically, that means that what little is left of the UK’s manufactory is fucked, and so is its banking sector.  Remind me what else there is in the UK economy? Oh, corner shops. Yahoo.

Individual deals.

But surely we could make individual deals with our former European partners?

No. We would have to make a deal with the EU nations collectively. And the other EU nations will be represented in trade negotiation by…wait for it…the EU. That’s the body we just told to go and sit on one while rotating. I can hear the laughter already.

Of course, we were not surprised that Slimy Gove, the spotty kid who’s constantly eating his snot, Fuckwit Farrage, who’s always looking at bigger boys’ cocks and DumBo who’s well, dumb, had overlooked the fact that other sovereign nations get to decide for themselves what they do. We were somewhat taken aback that apparently so did highly respected senior parliamentarian David Davis, who has been put in charge of negotiating Brexit with the EU. Gosh.

As Henry Porter, writing in Vanity Fair, said

‘I hesitate to be too brutal about Davis’s failure to grasp that E.U. countries cannot make discrete trade deals.’

Can’t think why, Henry. It’s basic EU law. I know you and Dave are chums but generally the terminally myopic are not allowed control of passenger vehicles — or any vehicles at all. I mean the Brexit mirror isn’t serving too well if people miss a basic one like that.

We always rated David Davis. What happened? Just how difficult was it to figure out that a post-Brexit UK could not make individual trade deals with other EU countries?


And now we are on this, how many international trade negotiators do we have, one asks oneself? Here again Mr Porter comes to the rescue: precisely none. That’s right.

No experienced trade negotiators.

The UK has no professionals skilled and experienced in negotiating trade deals for the UK…because since 1973, those deals have been negotiated by the EU…which we would be bargaining against…

I don’t like our chances, don’t know about you. But then, maybe the whole thing is a brilliantly Machiavellian stitch-up in which Theresa May has give the poisoned chalice of negotiating the impossible to the few remaining senior Brexiteers whose eyes do not actually swivel, well, at least not when there’s a camera watching. Maybe the plan is that they will make such a royal pig’s ear that the whole idea gets dropped.

Which would make it the best idea this month.

The crack gets bigger.

Then, in an excellent piece in the Evening Standard, David Allen Green, a lawyer and expert in international affairs, dropped a few more landmines — and the crack in the Brexit mirror just got bigger,

He said ‘the fact that leaving the EU may not be possible cannot be ignored’. Yes David, we’re listening.

He continues, rightly, ‘Thousands of UK laws — nobody knows exactly how many — are based on EU law… Some of the laws have effect without any UK-implementing measure.’

So how do we get back control over these laws, David?

Well, they have effect as a consequence of ‘the European Communities Act, which would need repeal or substantial amendment.’

Such a repeal or amendment would have to be debated by Parliament and go through the normal procedure that we described here.

So even if, in the Brexit mirror Alice in Wonderland, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty could be ‘triggered’ by the UK Prime Minister without reference to Parliament, for any change in the law to happen, Parliament would have to debate and vote on it.

Parliament, as we have mentioned before, will not be mocked.

Tell me, oh Brexit mirror

Let us be clear, oh Brexit mirror. The enabling legislation for the EU referendum on 23 June contained no binding mandate over either Parliament or the Prime Minister. Is that right?

Correct, undisputed.

Would it be true to say that the UK Prime Minister cannot use Royal Prerogative to force the trigger of Article 50, because the UK’s membership of the EU is a direct consequence of the European Communities Act of 1972? Because unlike other treaties, the UK signed the Accession Treaty because an Act of Parliament instructed it to.

(n principle, yes, but sub judice; this question will be settled by the court. But if you’re a Brexiteer, I would advise you not to get your hopes up.

The court.

Brexit mirror on the wall, even if the court decides that the UK Prime Minister actually could trigger Article 50 (don’t hold your breath) is it true that for any change in the law to happen, the European Communities Act would have to be debated in Parliament?

Yes, certainly. Governments in the UK cannot, except in extreme circumstances, make law; they can only propose it. Parliament disposes. The 1972 European Communities Act is good law and it is the foundation for a huge amount of UK law.

Let me be clear, oh Brexit mirror: Am I right in thinking that those who led the campaign to leave the EU, while promising that the UK could remain in the single market, had not actually asked the members of EFTA if it would be OK for us to rejoin?


And that they thought that we could just make ad-hoc deals with EU nations on an individual basis when that is specifically prohibited by EU law?


And that they assumed that the Government could just make all the legal changes happen without asking Parliament?

It appears so.

Were any of their suppositions based in fact?

Not one, as far as I can see

So tell me, Brexit mirror, what is there that could distinguish the leaders of the Brexit campaign from a completely useless, incompetent, odious shower of lying wankers?

I couldn’t possibly say.

A ‘hard’ Brexit will not happen.

Green, as we said two Fridays ago, affirmed that the ‘hard Brexit’ pursued by the swivelly-eyed back-benchers like Cash and Redwood ‘will not happen, and for good reason.’ He also reckons that sorting out the trade situation could take ten years, a figure we suggested several weeks before that.

The Brexit mirror is cracked from side to side. It simply, bluntly, is not going to happen, at least in any meaningful sense. It only remains to be seen how much suffering and financial turmoil May will permit before she actually does what she inevitably will do, and shove the damn thing in a skip.

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