Tuesday, June 28, 2016


"I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe, and always will be. There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields: the arts, the sciences, the universities, and on improving the environment. EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU. British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. As the German equivalent of the CBI – the BDI – has very sensibly reminded us, there will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market. Britain is and always will be a great European power, offering top-table opinions and giving leadership on everything from foreign policy to defence to counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing – all the things we need to do together to make our world safer. The only change – and it will not come in any great rush – is that the UK will extricate itself from the EU’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation: the vast and growing corpus of law enacted by a European Court of Justice from which there can be no appeal. This will bring not threats, but golden opportunities for this country – to pass laws and set taxes according to the needs of the UK. Yes, the Government will be able to take back democratic control of immigration policy, with a balanced and humane points-based system to suit the needs of business and industry. Yes, there will be a substantial sum of money which we will no longer send to Brussels, but which could be used on priorities such as the NHS. Yes, we will be able to do free trade deals with the growth economies of the world in a way that is currently forbidden".
Boris Johnson, "I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe – and always will be". The Daily Telegraph. 26 June 2016, in www.telegraph.co.uk
"In his column in The Telegraph on Monday, Mr Johnson sketched a model of exit that seems to entail “access” to the single market — whatever that means — without paying in, observing its laws or honouring free movement. He did not say whether he also intends to bake a pie and put it in the sky. Whatever the sceptics, lacking his Homeric largeness of vision, think of his plan to cajole sentient heads of government into letting Britain systematically undercut them in their own market, he is entitled to try. Those of us who misjudged his potential to win the referendum cannot dismiss his capacity to bring something worthwhile out of it. But Leavers will understand one thing on taking control. Mr Cameron and George Osborne, his chancellor, did not sex up the official advice they received about the economic costs of exit. If anything, they sexed it down to avoid the charge of lurid alarmism that came anyway. The private dreads of people at the summit of the British state were worse than was ever let on. Unless they are taken with a sudden intellectual sunniness, it will remain the advice that Mr Johnson and his ally Michael Gove, justice secretary, hear as the new masters. The advice may turn out to be wrong but, on the morning after the referendum, the two men wore the haunted look of jokers at an auction whose playfully exorbitant bid for a vase had just been accepted with a chilling smash of the gavel. They must now govern as well as they campaigned. Ms May is a serious politician. Stephen Crabb, work and pensions secretary, understands the economically insecure Britain that voted to Leave. But unless we are to make a mockery of the referendum these politicians cannot lead the nation. For the sake of democracy and accountability, Leavers must be left to it, whatever it turns out to be."
Janan Ganesh, "Let the Leavers govern as best they can". The Financial Times. 27 June 2016, in www.ft.com.
"My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it".
Boris Johnson.
The British press is full of the succession struggle to occupy Number Ten Downing Street. Currently, in the pole position is the ex-Mayor of London, just ahead of the long-time Home Secretary, Theresa May 1. Notwithstanding my own grave disappointment with Johnson's ultra-opportunistic support for Britain leaving the European Union, I am one with the Financial Times' political correspondent, in believing that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is the very best person for the arduous job of being British Prime Minister at the present time. It is not, that I believe that Johnson is the most qualified or the very best candidate for the position. He in fact is not by any means either of these. Merely that under the current circumstances, if the commitments that he and his fellow adherent to Britain leaving the European Union, Michael Gove are to be ditched as negotiations commence with Brussels then it is better by far that the 'Leavers' undertake to do it. There will be a never ending storm of hysterics and conspiracy theories if May, who is the ultimate 'safe pair of hands' and is by far a better replacement for David Cameron, were to be selected as Prime Minister and who under the force of events had to water down, perhaps considerably Britain's negotiating positions in return for retaining access to the European Union's common market. If ugly concessions have to be made to Brussels then it is infinitely better that Johnson and Gove make them. Something which Johnson's Daily Telegraph article appears to show that they are slowly becoming aware of. As the chief economic correspondent for the Financial Times, Martin Wolf put it to-day:
"Brexiters must recognise something they prefer to deny: they cannot have their cake and eat it. Mr Johnson insists there will be “democratic control of immigration policy”. He also states that there will be “free trade, and access to the single market”. But, if the EU sticks to its current policies, then the access to the single market the UK has today is unavailable, because that is incompatible with controls on EU immigration. Mr Johnson needs to make a choice. “Access to the single market” are weasel words. Most will take it to mean the access the UK now enjoys. But it might mean the more limited access that the US, say, has. If that is all the UK seeks, it must say so. But leaving the EU and seeking to retain current access to the single market, while accepting free movement of labour, would be mad. If the UK were willing to accept all this, it should stay inside the EU, since it would continue to possess a voice in the single-market regulations that would affect it" 2.
1. See: Isabel_Hardman, "Tory leadership contest: the state of the race". The Spectator. 28 June 2016, in www.spectator.co.uk.
2. Martin Wolf, "What a Prime Minister Boris Johnson should do next". The Financial Times. 28 June 2016 in www.ft.com.


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