Bellum Civile

I’ve just posted a new book on Amazon Kindle. It’s a loose translation in idiomatic modern English of Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Civil Wars that followed his crossing of the Rubicon. It’s a bit of a tome but a fascinating story, when all the flowery language and repetitions are cut out. If you haven’t a clue what JC got up to after he splashed over that rather insignificant brook, which has turned into one of the most famous rivers in the world (even if most people don’t even know that the rubicon is a river!), the book is priced at less than a dollar +VAT

EU NEGOTIATIONS

There is still an undercurrent of insinuation that the EU negotiations for Brexit will a) be complex, b) take a long time, and c) lead to a renewed offer of terms we can accept to stay in Europe after a second referendum to force a Yes vote.

Theresa May keeps chanting ‘Brexit means Brexit’. The ministers she has appointed are all hardline Brexiteers or, at least on the face of it they are. David Davis and Liam Fox moreso than Boris, now the Foreign Secretary. It is to be hoped that they don’t go back on their word.

There is no need for the negotiations to be long or complicated, unless the politicians allow civil servants control of the proceedings. Various tongue-in-cheek suggestions have been made on how to curb the proceedings.The best I’ve seen so far is that they should be based on the selection of a new Pope. The delegates should be locked in a room with no food or drink until the onlookers see a puff of white smoke from the chimneys outside. What a good idea!

Brexit is NOT about money or trade, it is about who governs Britain. They (the EU) need us far more than we need them. We have a trade deficit with the EU, therefore OUR Market is far more important to Europe than the single European Market is to us. We have always traded with the world and, hopefully, always will. A few years ago, most of our exports to Europe were for re-export via Rotterdam, because our ports had been so run down by strike action that they had failed to keep up with the need for container handling facilities. That error has largely been remedied, but I suspect that Rotterdam still does a large amount of container handling business that won’t be directed back to our still union-riddled ports.

Under international law Britain cannot simple revoke the European Act (or whatever it was called) and walk away from Europe. Nevertheless, we should be perfectly capable of taking charge of the proceedings and making sure we are not browbeaten into allowing concessions such as continued free movement of EU citizens and continued extortionate contributions for access to the single market. Out means out. We must no longer be subject in any way to EU Law as of now or very soon – not when they feel like it. We must continue to honour our international obligations, but our supreme court must be the decider, NOT the European courts. That must happen NOW, whether they like it or not. It is to be hoped that we will cease forthwith to accept EU legislation as binding, and begin the work to rid ourselves of so much red tape that has been foisted on us ‘on the nod’ by our spineless politicians.

I don’t think anyone can say that Davis or Fox are spineless. Let’s hope they can stiffen a few backs to get what they want.

Run Rabbit, Run

There should not be a re-run of the referendum. The EU has been rejected by a margin of 4% on a 70+% turnout. The Scots rejected the idea of leaving the Union by a similar margin on an even larger turnout in which 16-18-year olds were allowed to vote (so letting minors vote doesn’t necessarily get the result you want). The Welsh got their Assembly by a 0.6% margin on a 50% turnout, an Assembly that was always going to be Labour-dominated (or so the Blair Government of the day expected).

There were, of course, calls for re-runs by the losers, but that’s not the way British democracy works. The result of a referendum is not supposed to be binding on Parliament, but it would be very foolish of the occupants of the Palace of Westminster to go against the expressed wish of the people.

Some think that the UK Brexit negotiators should be looking for Brussels to come up with promises of a better deal for us to remain in the EU. They really believe that will happen and we will then be offered a second referendum to allow us to sensibly – in their opinion – reverse the decision. It happened for Ireland, remember?

If you want to see rioters out on the streets of Britain, that’s the way to go.

The fear of contamination in Brussels is almost tangible, they say. Several core countries in the EU have large minorities agitating for their own exit from the EU. The Scots believe they can stay in the EU on their own and negotiate a settlement with Brussels. That won’t happen. If no one else does, Spain will veto any attempt by the EU Commission to negotiate with Scotland. It would be a precedent for Catalonia to go it alone and they certainly don’t want that.

Brussels wants rid of Britain as fast as possible. The Emperor has no clothes. He doesn’t want anyone else to see that.

Hatred – The Worst Letter Yet

In yesterday’s newspaper I read a letter written by one of the many poor losers in the Brexit campaign. The author wrote that he was coming to a point where he hated the winners – the Brexiteers. What a terrible thing to say! A clear majority in the referendum expressed its wish to leave the EU. I believe (but can’t prove) that most of them were not expressing any form of race hatred. They merely want to live in a free, democratic country, governed by Members of Parliament elected by the people, not one dictated to by faceless, unelected bureaucrats, working for a political construct that can never work, whose endless outpourings are nodded through the European Parliament by MEPs, mostly with interests very different from our British MEPs whatever their political alignment.

Poor losers are to be pitied at any time. Those who turn their natural disappointment into hatred are destined to live on into a very unhappy future.