Saturday 19 October 2019

What people are saying about Boris's deal

Charles Moore in the Telegraph today:

The real difference between the May era and the Johnson one concerns what happens next. If Mrs May’s deal had got through in March, it would have failed to clear the poisoned political atmosphere. With Mr Hammond still in place as Chancellor and Britain locked in the Customs Union, our direction of travel in relation to the EU would have been slowly back in. Sensing that the Leave campaign had lost in all but name, and that the Government did not mind this, British officialdom would have signalled to Brussels that it was back in business. The Establishment’s culture war against the 17.4 million Leave voters would have launched a new offensive.

If the Government wins today’s vote – and if MPs avoid nullifying it by voting for a second referendum or another extension – the political atmosphere is transformed. After three years of failure, we shall have success. After three years of deadlock, we shall have breakthrough. In the endless political contest between hope and fear, hope will have triumphed. Yesterday, I heard the BBC’s Adam Fleming referring to “Boris’s infamous phrase: ‘Get Brexit done’.” If those words are infamous to the BBC, you can bet they resonate in the country.

Charles Utley, son of the great T.E. Utley, on Facebook (reproduced by his kind permission):

The first thing to be said about this deal is that it is significantly different from Mrs May's. Many of us, I suspect, feared that Mr Johnson would simply accept almost all of the previous deal and just make two or three tiny changes to it. That is not what has
happened. Yes, of course, there are parts of Mrs May's agreement in this one. It would be very odd if there weren't. But the Johnson deal is different in several very important respects.

The headlines, understandably, are all about the demise of the backstop. That is vital. If we had left the EU without being able to enter trade deals with non-EU countries we might as well not have bothered at all. And it is also vital that Northern Ireland should be in the UK's customs area, not the EU's customs union.

But I accept that there are aspects of Northern Ireland's treatment in this deal which are not perfect. Allowing the EU to decide which goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are at risk of going into the Republic and should therefore be subject to tarrifs is far from ideal, though the fact that the scheme will be administered by the UK is some consolation.

In the long term, the VAT provisions could become detrimental to Northern Ireland. One must hope that that potential problem can be overcome.

But the reality is that the nonsensical theory that having a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would somehow breach the Belfast Agreement and lead to lots of nationalist violence has stuck. The EU could never have been persuaded that it has always been a myth. Any deal had, somehow, to cater for the EU's illogical prejudices about the "hard border". Mr Johnson's solution is vastly superior to Mrs May's.

The long term aims, as set out in the political declaration, are also much more beneficial to the UK than those Mrs May proposed. The aim now is to have a decent free trade agreement with the EU without requiring us to adopt all the EU's excessive regulation. It must be our aim to be able to prosper outside the EU while still being able to trade freely with its member states. That is the aim of the EU and UK as expressed in the political declaration.

I must grasp the nettle. Yes, I think this is a deal which should be supported. I know many of you will call me a traitor who should be hanged, drawn and quartered for letting down the "clean Brexit" cause. I must be strong and take your criticism like a man.

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