Richard North, 07/06/2018  
 


"It's warming up nicely. And the fun's only just begun. In the months and years ahead, we’ve got so much to look forward to. Resignations, accusations, splits, sackings, coups, tears, punch-ups, meltdowns… I can't wait".

So writes Michael Deacon, parliamentary sketchwriter for the increasingly dreadful Telegraph, commenting on the latest Brexit-related dramas in Westminster.

This supports his general theme that "Brexit is actually about to get interesting", to which he asserts: "I know. I can't believe it either. I'm pinching myself, just to check I'm not dreaming".

"For month upon gruelling month", he writes, "we've had to wade, bored and exhausted, through a tarpit of tedium. Speeches that said nothing. Negotiations that went nowhere. Questions unanswered, fights ducked, decisions deferred. In both the Government and the Opposition, political paralysis. Nothing moving, except the hands of the clock".

But now, he chirps, the waiting is almost at an end, adding: "Next week there's going to be a knife-edge vote in the Commons – and anything could happen. Will the Government be defeated? Will the Prime Minister be deposed? Will an enraged Jacob Rees-Mogg streak through the Palace of Westminster, whirling the ceremonial mace about his head and shrieking 'Down with Remoaners' in Latin?"

Would that this was the isolated viewpoint of a vapid Telegraph hack but, to judge from the demented leer on the face of Laura Kuenssberg when I mistakenly walked into the room while the TV news was on, this exactly reflects the consensus of the Westminster bubble, from the zombie media hackery to the dismal collection of brain-dead politicians.

Not one of them has made the slightest attempt to get to grips with the issues facing the nation, and in the list so gleefully trotted out by Deacon, there is not a single mention of the brooding presence of Brussels, where the crucial decisions will be taken.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph's idea of adding to the sum of human knowledge on the Irish border question is to publish an authored piece from Owen Paterson repeating that which he has said many times before, reiterating the same errors and half-truths that he has churned out before.

A "hard border" between the UK and Ireland, says Paterson, "is a practical impossibility". He adds that, "A border already exists between the two countries in currency, VAT, excise duties and security, and it is a tax point, not an inspection point", and then goes on to tell us: The Government's ambition to avoid a hard border is perfectly achievable with its favoured solution of "maximum facilitation". An expanded Authorised Economic Operator scheme can allow daily trade to continue seamlessly. GPS technology eliminates the need for any physical infrastructure, including cameras or number-plate recognition. Yet, all you have to do, Owen, is take on board that, after Brexit, the UK becomes in the eyes of the EU a "third country". The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic becomes part of the external border of the European Union. It really isn't that difficult to understand – even for you.

As such, there will have to be a "hard border". This will apply automatically – and for the very simple reason that, if the Irish don't apply border checks and goods enter part of the Single Market area, as is the Irish Republic, then it will not only be in breach of EU law – the rest of the EU will start imposing checks on Irish exports as they enter the rest of the EU.

The only way this can be changed is in "exceptional circumstance", where an accommodation unique to northern Ireland is agreed – "unique" so as not to create a precedent that the EU's other trading partners. And "maximum facilitation" simply doesn't cut it.

Notwithstanding that sanitary and phytosanitary controls require a border presence, industry has already given up on the idea, acknowledging that, even if it was possible (which it isn't outside the framework of the Single Market), the technology would take many years to develop and install.

But, if the Telegraph thinks that constant repetition is what makes for a useful contribution, the BBC's idea of Brexit journalism is to send a team out into the countryside. There, they find people who clearly don't have the first idea of what they are talking about, whom they interview and then bring back the work product to edit into a completely meaningless film which takes us no further forward.

Thus do we see James Williams, BBC Wales Brexit correspondent, deliver a piece headed "From farm to fork: The future of Welsh lamb post-Brexit". In the Ceiriog Valley, in Wrexham, he trills, Caryl Hughes is the fifth generation of her family to farm the land and its thousands of sheep. "'I'm pretty optimistic', the 27 year-old tells me as we follow more than 3,000 sheep to the fields", Williams's vapid narrative runs (cue pic of gambolling lamb).

And, amid the blather on tariffs, there is not a single mention of Notices to Stakeholders, to Border Inspection Posts or the need for veterinary inspection. Nothing is said of the small fact that the UK will be de-listed for the purposes of exporting goods of animal origin and, for a time after Brexit (in the event of no agreed transition period), export of Welsh lamb to the continent will be forbidden.

All we get is that it would be "catastrophic" for sheep farmers, according to John Richards of the Meat Marketing Board, Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) if Welsh farmers faced tariffs. But this same fool sees Theresa May's plan of reaching a tariff-free free trade agreement with the EU, outside the single market and customs union as "very positive".

Ironically, the reference to the meat trade tells us that some of the bigger players in Wales have hundreds of workers on their books and rely heavily on hiring people from other EU countries – 63 percent of abattoir staff and 90 percent of slaughterhouse vets are EU nationals, we are told.

Lost in history is the story of how the imposition of foreign vets by EU law was the direct cause of the closure of hundreds of small abattoirs, gravely damaging the meat industry and curtailing consumer choice. The potential removal of these vets (for which we fought so hard in the 90s) is now treated as a downside of Brexit.

With that, the piece drones on to a closure, with Helen Davies of the National Sheep Association telling us that "we will survive". She adds: "We all might have to work just a little bit harder to survive to start off with but I think once we've got over that initial sort of coming out of Brexit, I think there will be a positive future for us".

"It's difficult on the Brexit front-line", the BBC enfant savant concludes, "but one thing is for sure - the Welsh lamb industry is up for the fight".

In reality, the Welsh lamb industry doesn't seem to have the first idea of the shit-storm that is about to blow it away. What is confronting it is so potentially devastating that, unless urgent action is taken, within ten years you'll have to go to a zoo to find a sheep in Wales.

Going back to the idiot Deacon, if the journos had the first idea of what Brexit entailed, and had even the basic skills needed to do their jobs, they would have no end of "interesting" stories – starting off with the impending collapse of the Welsh lamb industry and all the economic and social trauma that that will bring. Their next port of call might be COM(2018) 397 final proposing a Regulation "complementing EU type-approval legislation with regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union".

The intended result is the instrument by which the Commission aims to liberate the UK car industry from its current regulatory base so that, in preparation for Brexit, manufacturers can transfer type approvals to EU regulators, thus enabling them to keep trading.

This is particularly useful for operations such as Skoda, which had elected to seek approval from UK regulators – as it was entitled to do under EU law. Unlike market authorisations for medicines, there has been no provision to transfer type approvals. This exposed car manufacturers who had UK approvals to the cost and delays of seeking new approvals, potentially having to shut down production until new approvals were granted.

Together with COM(2018) 447 final on the European space programme, this is tangible evidence of the EU distancing itself from the UK, breaking the administrative and regulatory bonds that have tied us all together for so long.

Such activity makes a mockery of any expectations that the EU would entertain revocation of the Article 50 notification. We have heard from many sources that, psychologically, the "colleagues" have already written off the UK. Now they are making it a reality. There is no going back.

Any halfway good journalist should be able to find enough "interest" in that to make a decent news story. But we don't have even halfway good journalists any more. Between shrieking girlies and zombies addicted to the "biff-bam" of personality politics, it is unsurprising that Brexit gets such a bad press. Reporting it adequately is totally beyond their ken.






comments powered by Disqus













Brexit - the first year - New e-book by Richard North
Brexit - the first year - New e-book by Richard North
Buy Now





Log in


Sign THA
Think Defence





The Many, Not the Few