Friday 21 February 2020

The Passing of Leo Varadkar

'But the humiliation is not entirely over for Varadkar. For the moment, he stays on as caretaker leader until a government can be formed. In that capacity, it has fallen to him to negotiate the EU’s budget for the next seven years. These were never going to be easy negotiations given that the EU’s coffers have just been left with a Britain-sized hole. But if Varadkar was expecting any favours from the EU for his role in Brexit negotiations he has been left sorely disappointed. Ireland has been asked to pay more into the EU’s
coffers while suffering sharp cuts both to payments for farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy and to infrastructure under EU cohesion funds. Varadkar has called the proposals ‘unacceptable’, but is unlikely to win any concessions given that Germany and a bundle of other Northern European ‘frugals’ are holding out strongly against any increased burden on them.

'The sad thing is that Varadkar was exploited and now he has been hung out to dry. During the Brexit talks, he was drafted in to do the EU’s dirty work for it. The EU hit upon the issue of the Irish border as a device to try to trap the UK in EU regulations forever and Varadkar was used in order to help exaggerate the border issue. It never did make much sense why Britain would have to remain in full alignment with EU regulations purely to avoid a hard border in Ireland when Switzerland has a free-flowing border with several EU countries in spite of not being a member of the EU, the single market or the customs union. Even so, the EU nearly pulled off its trick. Had parliament voted for Theresa May’s deal – which even Boris and Jacob Rees-Mogg did at the third time of asking – the EU would now be rubbing its hands having neutralised the threat of a competitive, free-trading and deregulated Britain.'

Ross Clark today in the Spectator Coffee House blog

'We should certainly not gloat. This is no time to gloat. But I can tell you, I am gloating like hell.'
Willie, Viscount Whitelaw, as he then wasn't, Margaret Thatcher's deputy, sometime in the 1970s.

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