As MPs from across the country enter into a range of discussions regarding the European Union it is inevitable that their lack of understanding will emerge in public. There are many MPs whose grasp of the EU demonstrates how unsuitable they are to make decisions on behalf of the rest of us. A classic example of this came out yesterday in a discussion described as “UK’s Withdrawal from the EU” which involved a series of comments from Henry, the Crawley MP:
“It is a pleasure to be called to speak in this important EU withdrawal debate..it is now more than two and a half years since the referendum took place…We have heard this afternoon calls for a so-called people’s vote…That would certainly do a lot to damage our democracy and prolong uncertainty”
Now clearly Henry thinks that asking voters to take part in one decision making process is a good idea, but to ask them to take part on a second occasion is a bad idea, which one could assume that he doesn’t want any more Council or General Elections. In any event if Parliament cannot resolve matters after nearly three years reconnecting with the people makes sense!
“Mention has been made of how we should be taking no deal off the table. I have never known a negotiation where one party goes in and says that they are not willing to walk away from that negotiation”
The fact is that every negotiation has similar elements to many other negotiations but each one is also unique. I have certainly taken part in lots of negotiations and whatever words are used, I do know of many where getting a positive outcome is seen as essential, and the threat of departure by one party leads to a collapse of confidence in the people responsible for establishing a deal. The arguments of win-win-win sometimes get used. In any event a public negotiation is bound to be very different to confidential commercial or contractural negotiations and our nation cannot take risks in the way a business may claim they are willing to do so!
“The European Union is increasingly a protectionist bloc. The European Union is not outward and global in its approach. This country, with its unique global links, can use them to have a much more positive future”
It seems strange to suggest that the EEC which involved six other nations on the day we joined along with Ireland and Denmark, and now as the EU has 27 other nations could be described as lacking global interest. Add to this the fact that over 60 other nations now have free trade arrangements with the EU and there are several in the middle of discussions so in fact half the world is in a trade deal with the UK as a result of our membership of the EU!
“I think people in this country have rejected the status quo, and I see Brexit as an opportunity for wider constitutional reform in relation to devolving power, fundamentally changing the way the other place works fundamentally and many other aspects.”
It is fascinating that someone who does not want people to vote on similar matters because that would damage democracy, is now claiming that we have constitutional reform on the table that will devolve power, but perhaps Henry can explain what reforms he has in mind and then his speech will be a bit more credible!
“we absolutely should be seeking and honouring a deep and close relationship with our neighbours and allies in Europe, but the trouble with a customs union, which Labour Members advocate, is that it would prevent us from doing the global free trade deals that, in a world that is getting smaller, are key to our prosperity…The key to this country’s future prosperity is our unique global links, and being a conduit for that thanks to our proximity to Europe.”
I confess I find these comments to be highly confusing, but I know Henry won’t be willing to explain his comments so perhaps we will need to write them off!