Here we go again.
The EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan tells the world Boris Johnson will cave in. What's that supposed to accomplish?
The EU failed to learn anything from Brexit, any step of the way.
- Had the EU given a bone to then Prime Minister David Cameron, the referendum would have gone the other way.
- Had the EU not played extreme hardball with Theresa May, the UK would likely be trapped in a customs union.
- Now, the EU is poking a stick in Boris Johnson's eye.
EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan says Johnson will Abandon Pledge on Brexit Transition Period.
“In the past, we saw the way the prime minister promised to die in the ditch rather than extend the deadline for Brexit, only for him to do just that,” said the recently appointed EU trade commissioner. “I don’t believe prime minister Johnson will die in the ditch over the timeline for the future relationship either,” Mr Hogan said in an interview with The Irish Times, referring to the need to negotiate the terms of the UK and EU’s future relationship within a transition period.
The former minister described as “very odd” the British government’s decision to include a clause in legislation ruling out an extension of the transition period beyond the end of 2020, suggesting the move was a political “stunt”.
“As things stand the UK wants to leave the single market and customs union. This move still baffles me because the full consequences of that decision are still not understood in the UK. Why trade a Rolls Royce for a second-hand saloon?”
Poke in the Eye
With those comments, Hogan just grabbed a stick and poked into Johnson's eye.
Johnson made a political statement about a Brexit extension when he was not in position to deliver. It's long over. There is no need to bring that up as a taunt.
And let's not equate that with statements he has made since he became Prime Minister in a Blowout Victory and is now in complete control of the UK side.
Who's the Bigger Liar?
The EU said it would never change the political declaration and it would not change the Withdrawal Agreement. In fact it did both.
So , who's the bigger liar?
"Why trade a Rolls Royce for a second-hand saloon?" is pure arrogance.
The EU is not a Rolls Royce. It is a mindless customs unions with masses of idiotic regulations.
Moreover, the organization is totally unwieldy, requiring 100% agreement among 27 nations to get anything done.
Deal Still Possible
Irresponsible tones makes a hard WTO fallback more likely.
However, I still expect a deal.
- Because it is in everyone's best interest to negotiate one.
- The EU, especially Germany, will lose more than the UK in the event of no deal.
Straw Man Arguments
One of the things I keep reading is that it is impossible to negotiate a comprehensive agreement in a year.
I agree. But that is a strawman. Nobody pledged to negotiate a comprehensive agreement in that timeframe. The WTO allows for a basic agreement with and long as 10 years to finalize it.
Perhaps there is some small, say 6-month extension to ratify a basic deal. So what?
By the way, the chief negotiator for the EU will once again be Michel Barnier, not Hogan. Thus, it is not Hogan's place to be running his mouth.
As long as Johnson does not give up fishing rights or agree to let the European Court of Justice (ECJ), be the arbiter in disputes, Johnson will have delivered Brexit.
I expect that outcome and was one of the few who did all along.
My friend Pater Tenebrarum at the Acting Man Blog offered this pertinent insight in a comment to my post Labour Slaughtered, Corbyn Refuses to Admit He is the Reason.
Assuming Johnson does get Brexit done (and it seems he will), this will be the first time ever that a popular vote that went against the EU is actually respected (as opposed to "repeated until the result is to the EU's liking"). It is actually quite a monumental event for that reason alone. And I think its importance is still underestimated. The EU now loses one of its biggest net payers. The remaining net payers henceforth will have to shoulder a far bigger financial burden to continue subsidizing the have-nots (and French farmers). I cannot imagine that this will be a friction-free affair. Particularly as the UK is bound to unleash the kind of tax and regulatory competition that is anathema to the socialist high tax "harmonizers" and centralizers running the bureaucratic Moloch in Brussels.
If Johnson takes offense at idiotic eye-poking maneuvers, especially if Barnier starts making similar statements, it increases the odds of not negotiating even a basic agreement.
If Hogan wants a deal, and he should, then he would be advised to shut his big mouth.
Finally, and to put Hogan's "Rolls Royce" arrogance into proper perspective, please consider Margaret Thatcher's Amazing Prophecy on the EU.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock