Friday 13 September 2019

Corbyn Tories seek Boris surrender to EU (Pakistan Observer)

THE former Home Secretary in the Teresa May government of the Conservative Party is the latest to seek to weaken UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s negotiating position with the European Union to the benefit of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and EU headquarters in Brussels. The reality is that the EU will still need the UK if the entity is to retain its present strength in global market, just as the UK – even outside the EU – would find it an advantage to have normal trading relations with other European countries. “Normal” would be defined as trading relationships under WTO rules, as between Japan (a non-EU member) with its European trading partners. Teresa May believed that it was a mistake for voters in the UK to have opted to leave the EU, and from the start of her Prime Ministership was visibly half-hearted in negotiating terms with Brussels.
Given that only Germany and the UK provided a surplus of funds to the EU, all other countries being in deficit, the Germans in particular (as usual working in an unobtrusive fashion) sought to make the process of divorce so painful that London would reconsider its decision through a second referendum. While on the surface Prime Minister May functioned as though she was sincerely seeking a separation agreement with the other members of the EU, in reality she adopted a stance that would (or so she hoped) make voters in Britain re-consider their earlier decision to walk out of Brussels Club. The agreement worked out by Mrs May was tilted against the interests of the UK, leaving the country with none of the powers it earlier had to influence decisions in the EU Councils, but with most of the obligations of the EU Charter still needing to be met by the British government.
In particular, a huge payout had to be given as ransom to Brussels for walking out of a union to which the UK had contributed far more than what it had taken to, unlike Germany, whose exports and influence grew substantially as a consequence of being in an EU that included another big contributor to the Brussels budget, Britain. The agreement worked out by Mrs May infuriated the Conservative Party, and led to her replacement in the course of time with Boris Johnson, who had served as her Foreign Secretary and who was squarely within the English tradition of exuberant eccentricity, such as that demonstrated by some of the anchors in the BBC, whose twitching and staccato sentences are often more entertaining than educative.
Unfortunately for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a section of his party has from the start been seeking to ensure his failure in the job undertaken by him, which is to leave the European Union either on terms better than those negotiated by Teresa May or without any deal. If the latter, any effort by Brussels to inflict pain on the UK may hurt the country in the short run, but would damage the interests of the EU far more within three years. In negotiating with the EU, it is Boris Johnson that has the stronger hand and not Brussels, but that position of strength is getting eliminated by sabotage from within the Conservative Party itself. To the glee of both the Eurocrats Jeremy Corbyn, Parliament in Westminister has passed law after law that weakens the negotiating position of the UK in any last-minute talks with the rest of the EU.
The intention of the Conservative Party rebels (who are acting in sync with the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats) is to show up Boris Johnson as a failure by making sure that he will have to surrender to Brussels and finally accept either the Teresa May deal or go in for a fresh referendum. The Eurocrats expect that this time around, there will be a majority for the Remain Faction that seeks to keep Britain in the EU. Certainly the self-created confusion and chaos within the Conservative Party may persuade several voters to back the Remain faction. However, they may have the effect of hardening the anti-EU feeling that is latent in the UK (which is being flooded with migrants from the poorer countries of Europe, even as Teresa May and others of her disposition kept out qualified individuals from India on the ground that they lacked European ethnicity). In 1940, the easy course would have been for incoming Prime Minister Winston S Churchill to come to a agreement with Adolf Hitler and stop fighting.
That would have saved Britain nearly five years of war and losses in life and treasure, not to mention the dissolution of the British Empire. Subservience to Berlin would have avoided that, at least in the short run, but over a longer period, would have been the ruin of Britain. Churchill held his ground and refused to follow the counsel of several in his party (such as Lord Halifax) who wanted a negotiated end to the war throughout 1940-41. As a consequence, the Allies won. Should Boris Johnson succeed in leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October, that would be in the “never agree to surrender” tradition of Winston Churchill. However, many within his own party seek to ensure that he fails in this monumental task, success in which will be to the long-term interest of the UK although there will be economic pain for about three years following the exit of Britain from the EU without an agreement. The Germans in particular must be delighted at the attacks from within on Boris Johnson, unlike in 1940-41, when the overwhelming majority of Conservatives held their nerve and agreed with Churchill that surrender was not an option.

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