Covid 19: the Brussels friendly virus

Author Will Podmore

Has Covid-19 infected the Brexit process? For the diehard Remainers, it has become the excuse they have been looking for. The government should extend the Brexit deadline “if necessary”, says Keir Starmer – already revealing himself as a master of the snide insinuation – clearly hinting that in his opinion it will be necessary.

And like a bad penny, up turns Gina Miller again to say she “now believes Britain’s exit from the EU must be delayed”, according to the Daily Mail.

The infection has spread to Tory ranks, too, with Dominic Raab’s former chief of staff, Nick de Bois – described in the Times as a “leading Brexiteer” even though hardly anyone has heard of him – saying the public would find it “incomprehensible”.

Actually, what would be incomprehensible would be for the government to give in to the siren song that Covid-19 has made Brexit impossible. On the contrary, it has made it even more urgent – and made any delay potentially even more damaging.

First consider that any delay would mean extending the transition period, under which Britain is subject to all EU rules but has no role in shaping them. Under which Britain is subject to all rulings of the European Court of Justice but has no judges sitting on its bench. Delay means extending this period of vassalage.

The impact of that would be, literally, incalculable. Who knows what directives and regulations will spew forth from the European Commission as it struggles to restore the very concept of a European Union? As it struggles to make itself relevant to anyone after revealing itself as impotent to stop the suspension of free movement, of Schengen?

Think what further delay would mean to the fishing industry, already hanging on for dear life while EU ships plunder Britain’s fishing stocks and EU regulations make it increasingly impossible for smaller ships to fish economically. It would be a death sentence for British fishing.

Further delay would mean being forced to send further billions off to Brussels, money needed here to rebuild Britain. Worse, Britain is increasingly likely to be saddled with its “share” of the EU debt that has piled up, on top of the debt the government has already incurred.

And how long for? Covid-19, we are being constantly told, is likely to come back again in the autumn. Once you start a delay, when do you stop? (Never, you can hear the diehard Remainers saying to themselves.)

All this at a time when Britain is seeking to conclude trade agreements with countries from Australia to the US – none of which will be happy to conclude an agreement if they don’t even know when it will start.

While Britain will still be a trading nation, attention is already turning to concepts of security. Energy security have been discussed for a while. To this we should now add health security.

What do we need to produce here, or be able to produce rapidly, to cope with expected medical emergencies? Make your own list: gowns, face masks, rubber gloves, ventilators, vaccines, antibiotics.

What do we need to do to ensure food security? If farmers can charter planes (half full at most to ensure social distancing) to import Romanians to pick crops, why can’t they afford to pay proper wages to British workers?

Who do we need to train here? When will we end the reliance on imported medical staff?

The final break with the EU will also leave Britain free to restructure the economy to make it more able to cope with future epidemics. State aid will be necessary to shift the economy away from its dependence on long supply chains. The last thing Britain needs is to have to go begging to Brussels over every move involving state aid.

What is clear from all the chatter about delay is that the enemies of Brexit have not given up. They will use anything, even the tragedy of Covid-19, to try to overturn the will of the British people.

The forces for Brexit cannot afford to hunker down and wait for the Covid-19 crisis to blow over. We must demand, loudly, no delay. Not another day under the EU thumb.

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5 Comments on Covid 19: the Brussels friendly virus

  1. I would dearly love to believe our political establishment would follow the points, very sensible ones too, raised in the article along the lines of self-sufficiency. However, I fear ‘globalism’ runs through the establishment like ‘Brighton’ lettering used to through a stick of rock.
    If anything we may be told we need EU to keep us safe. That I’m afraid is how low my personal trust is in our political establishment, and I’ll be mighty surprised if we don’t see an extension regarding EU.

    On a slightly different note, I see that while we are being urged to stay at home to protect the NHS, we still have visitors arriving by the dinghy load and being brought ashore. No strain on resources though I’m sure!!

  2. What you do not say is what is happening in the EU itself.
    German economy is collapsing.
    Fight between Brussels and practically everyone including Germany and Netherlands.
    EU is in a fight to save itself.
    Target 2 will blow the finances up.
    EU will probably try to ban cash.
    And so on.

    • How can Italy possibly want to stay in the EU, after watching the EU dithering and then deciding to give most of its aid money to Africa?

      How can Greece possibly want to stay in the EU when besieged by an invading army that the EU subsidises?

      How can the UK possibly want to continue paying money to the EU, with nothing in return, instead of spending the money on saving UK lives?

      The answer is that people in Italy, Greece and the UK have been betrayed by their politicians in the past, and will continue to be betrayed by their politicians in the future. In our elections, we’re offered the greater or lesser of two evils, never anything good. What we’re offered is either a lot of socialism or a little bit less socialism.

      As the founder of the Brexit Party, Catherine, do you have any hope that a party like yours will ever have any real influence? Or do you think, as I do, that parties like yours are doomed to be taken over by politicians as soon as they start to look dangerous?

      Oh well. Il faut cultiver notre jardin. My peas are doing well, and it will soon be time to plant the runner beans.