The arrival of information from the House of Lords and House of Commons always comes a day or two after the speeches were made, which is of course perfectly reasonable, given that such translation involves hard work from people who are working on our behalf. So late yesterday just before the end of the year an email arrived with a number of speeches including this one from Alf Dubs who is a Labour Lord. His speech was in relationship to the EU Deal arrangement and he made the following statement. It seems very clear to me that this is why our Government is so incompetent and we need them to radically change their behaviour so that as we move forward as a Nation, we achieve some very positive opportunities. Had they behaved differently at the end of last year, we might have achieved a more positive result which sadly we did not.
I have a sadness about this because I believe in the EU, its values and its internationalism. Many of these attributes are British attributes—things that we helped to develop and encouraged within the EU. However, we have to move forward. Over the years, I have had the privilege of serving on the EU Select Committee and two of its sub-committees. These committees and their work were well regarded across the EU; sometimes, their reports were translated into local languages, indicating the high regard in which many parliamentarians throughout the 27 have held this country for a long time.
In the negotiations, I was impressed by the solidarity that the 27 showed—something that our negotiators never expected, I think. Our Government acted as if we could pick off the EU leaders one by one and try, as it were, to sign little deals and try to get a more favourable outcome, but we were thwarted in that. The solidarity shown by the 27 was commendable; I congratulate the EU on the way on which it retained that sense of unity.
As it happens I worked for over a decade in a position to try achieve unity between organisations and I was proud of some of the success we achieved and equally saw some of the failings to do so. I can only hope that our Nation’s political leaders will try to learn from this statement. Sadly they are probably not going to. However the need for us as we take on the role of the G7 Chairmanship and organise COP26 this year demand that we handle things very differently from how we dealt with our EU Deal arrangement.