There is a gigantic, smelly, doubly-incontinent Elephant in the Brexit room. It’s a subject about which commentators speculate in a sort of head-scratching manner; but I don’t think anyone as yet has got anywhere near to gathering more evidence as to what’s going on, and then using that to reach some sensible conclusions. Today, The Slog offers a thorough analysis of who and what are really behind the European Commission’s swaggering confidence.
Mr Enigma the Elephant is why, with the EU wobbling on several fronts, terrified of exit contagion and now facing a trade war with the United States, does Theresa May absolutely rule out (in private) the idea of walking away from the Brexit negotiations and leaving the Brussels sprouts to stew in their self-made sludge?
Only during the last week or so have some (probably mischief-making) leaks emerged from all over the place, both in the UK and abroad, “confirming” what many of us have long feared: that the UK is not going to walk away. But the question still remains, why? The pat answers don’t compute:
- She’s stupid. Wrong: she’s cunning and ruthless. There’s nothing she’d like better (and needs more right now) than to come out of the negotiations with a victory. But she has made all the mistakes that Greece made – and more – when it comes to giving off signals of weakness
- She fears the Remainers in her Party. Well, yes – of course she does. But if so, why give that message to the Commission? As I say, she is a cunning woman: she knows she’s in a negotiation, but to twist an old poker saying, she could easily bluff because she has a strong hand….and the EU is desperately short of liquidity.
- Equally, she fears the Leavers under Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson. No, actually – I don’t believe she does. With Labour’s eunatics and Tory fatcats voting together on a final “soft” Brexit, she sees the Hard Leavers as paper tigers. They could force a leadership contest onto May, but I doubt they would go that far.
- Her freedom of movement is being chiefly restricted by the connected politics of Cabinet big beast machinations, collective NATO security, oil, and internal UK security. For my money, the real problem lies somewhere within one or more of those four considerations.
Cabinet beasts and splits are obviously important: we shouldn’t lose sight of the certainty that, like most politicians, Theresa May will do anything to cling onto power. If she was any other way inclined, she would’ve resigned after the whopping kick in the butt she got for first of all cynically calling a General Election, and then behaving like a cyborg during it. But every move she has made on Brexit since then has involved trying to pogo-dance blindfold in a minefield. She tries to please everyone, and in so doing receives stereophonic criticism.
There are obvious ways to avoid being in that situation. If she was a truly committed Remainer, she could take the diehards on one side and simply say, “I will take the public stance of hard Brexit, but happily get a soft Brexit through the Commons when we get down to the detail”. But she hasn’t done that. Which suggests to me that – so long as Britain doesn’t wind up as a leprous sole trader in the World – she’s happy to exit the costs of being in the EU, but with a soft landing.
Sadly, this is precisely what the Sprouts say they will not give the UK at any price – but again, they would say that. Only the denser commerce-free Remainers on the Left are daft enough to think that the EU is in a strong position here: if the alternatives are losing €40 billion of EU subs and fees, or losing that and €85bn of trade advantage on top , given the rebellion now apparent across the Union, they will take what they can get. Certainly, there is no way the EU can afford a trade war with the US and Britain at the same time.
So domestic politics don’t go anywhere near to providing a full explanation of what’s going on below the water-line here. Someone or something elsewhere is telling her that, come what may; she must kneel before the power of the Commission in the end.
That somebody certainly isn’t President Trump. In raising steel import tariffs now, he has given the Prime Minister another ace to add to the cards she already holds. But then, The Donald is only the President: he doesn’t control the Pentagon and the CIA (or indeed NATO)…..any more than May, despite her strong security contacts, really knows what MI5 and 6 are up to.
Just last night (Saturday) there were major “civil service” leaks from the Department for Brexit alleging that a report had been given to the PM saying there are only two post-Leave scenarios: national bankruptcy, or severe food shortages. So toxic is this report, The Sunday Times alleges, it is kept locked in the 10 Downing Street safe 24/7.
That must make it very hard for David Davis to read. But as with the stories about Jeremy Corbyn’s “army of hate” six weeks ago in the ST, it has all the hallmarks of a crude and utterly incredible piece of scaremongering propaganda….and both this title and the Daily Telegraph have infamous links with the security services.
Military Intelligence is, strictly speaking, part of the civil service. British MI puts an inordinate (I would say self-defeating) emphasis on the value of US intelligence – despite the fact that it has been shown time and time again to be fantasy drivel dreamed up largely by CIA operatives, with occasional Pentagon help, about events across the globe ranging from Pakistan via Iraq to Syria and Russia.
For me, the US military industrial energy complex is the main potential cui bono? winner in all this. They need to demonise Russia and Syria to maintain oil access, so they need to maintain NATO’s raison d’etre and spread the cost of their military enforcement of global hegemony.
Regardless of what the EU (and Macron in particular) are saying at the moment, if Britain leaves the Union and Italy becomes an active euro-rebel, there is no way the US will get Europe’s level of NATO contributions up: on the contrary, the EU will have to cut its military budgets…and over time, if there is exit contagion and/or the euro collapses, it could easily dry up completely.
Don’t dismiss this as fanciful: the leaked round-Robin memo (clearly visible to all rather than imagined by MI5 leaks) from the Commission of late last year was already warning of severe cuts to budgets.
Theresa May is perfectly well aware of the memo’s existence, totally up to speed on Italy, acutely aware today that Spain’s Mariano Rajoy is no more, and very clear on the popularity of Viktor Orban in Hungary. She knows she has the upper hand, and she can see for herself how EC desperation is turning into hysteria: this morning we read that Michel Barnier says the EU will “call off any further negotiations with Britain” because “all the issues surrounding Brexit negotiations have been solely caused by the UK and no one else”.
It’s the sort of risible nonsense Pravda used to put out in the days of the unlamented USSR. The Commission (you’d think) would know that it can only lose by such silliness.
Unless, that is, Brussels knows that it can’t lose. And the only way it could know that is via reassurance from the US Alt State that – come what may – Britain will be brought to heel.
So what exact threats is the British Government facing?
By far the most important ones are first, the degree of dependence of the British economy on financialised capitalism; second, a National Debt that doubled under the incompetent market-friendly Chancellorship of George Osborne; and third, the pitifully tiny gold reserves held today by the Bank of England.
The US has always favoured global money transmission pressures and fiscal debt dilemmas over economic sanctions when it comes to bullying other nations. The reason is simple: they work more quickly.
Freezing Iran out of petrodollar access got the Mullahs to the negotiating table in double-quick time. When in 2013 the newly elected Francois Hollande started mouthing off about Keynesian expansion in a socialist France, he suddenly found his bond yields spiking. The chaps from La Defense quickly brought him up to speed as to the identity of the attacker. Président Plat écran switched rapidly to collegiate monetarism. And in the last century of course, the US hegemonist George Soros tried to destroy a Pound he saw as a potential threat to EMU.
It is a simple threat for a nation controlled by megalomaniacs to make: “We will, at a critical time in your trading history, hinder your ability to obtain energy, double your borrowing costs, and reduce faith in your currency by selling Sterling at a rate with which your dwindling gold reserves cannot cope. The consequent money-printing will deliver you unto the kind of inflation to make Great Britain the Venezuela of Europe, and inevitably attract the attention of the IMF. But it’s your call….if you want to leave the EU, go ahead”.
This is my explanation as to why the inexplicable weakness of Theresa May’s government in its EU negotiations continues unabated. We have, over many years, brought the ‘Special Relationship’ with the United States upon ourselves. We are now reaping what we have sown.
Under these circumstances, I should like to thank our greatest patriot Nigel Farage for f**king off on his Alf Garnett tour of Australia and New Zealand