Morning Briefing: Boris's "better Brexit" debunked - 6 ways to fight for People's Vote - 'constructive' SNP
Boris Johnson has gone in all guns blazing against Theresa May today, with a 4,600-word column in The Telegraph. But with only six months to go before we are supposed to quit the EU, Johnson’s six-point plan for a “better Brexit” is full of holes.
- “Chuck Chequers.” Fine, but May’s Chequers proposal was already killed off by the EU in Salzburg (though May won’t admit it). And Johnson doesn’t have a viable replacement.
- Ditch the Irish “backstop”. The EU probably wouldn’t accept scrapping their Irish insurance policy to keep the border open even if Johnson had a workable proposal. He doesn’t. He’s still relying on “checks away from the border”. That means physical border infrastructure and a harder border than today. It goes against what has already been agreed, and would trample over the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.
- “SuperCanada-style free trade agreement”. Presumably the “super” bit refers to a super amount of cherry-picking, which the EU will not tolerate as it undermines the single market and the EU project. In his article, Johnson demands no free movement, no role for the ECJ and that the EU accepts UK regulations. But he still wants “extensive provisions on services” and “smoothness” for our supply chains. This is a fantasy wishlist, and precisely what a free trade agreement outside the single market cannot deliver.
- Investing in border technology and staff. We will, of course, have to do this if Brexit happens. Think how better that money could be spent on other public services.
- Accelerate no-deal preparations and end “Project Fear”. Johnson is worryingly casual about crashing out of the EU with no deal, referring to “banal questions of bureaucratic procedure” and arguing we used to trade smoothly with France and Germany before. That was 45 years ago: complex legal frameworks and much smoother, integrated supply lines now exist. You don’t just wrench yourself out of those without causing massive collateral damage.
- Start negotiating free trade deals with other countries straight after Brexit. Has Johnson forgotten that we already have deals with over 65 countries - including, yes, Canada - thanks to our EU membership? We’ll have to renegotiate those just to get back to first base. And doesn’t he realise that we risk being bullied by America and China as we try to agree pacts with them - something they can’t do to the EU because its economy is bigger than theirs?
Dubbing May’s strategy a “moral and intellectual humiliation", Johnson - with the backing of other leading Brexiters - is laying out his stall two days ahead of Conservative Party Conference. It looks like that event will be devoid of answers: no answers from May on the main stage, and nothing from the Brexiters on the fringe.
Don’t worry though, there will be grown-up voices at conference. Conservatives for a People’s Vote are holding their own rally on Monday.
The last train for a so-called Better Brexit has long since left the station. What is on offer are Brexits that leave people asking “what’s the point”, “what’s the price” - or a blindfold deal where we don’t know the answers until too late. Politicians like Johnson can’t fix this - only you can sort this out: demand a People’s Vote.
HAVE YOU SIGNED THE PETITION FOR A PEOPLE'S VOTE?
Graphic of the day
Now, 6 ways to fight for a People’s Vote...
Although Johnson’s six-point plan is bankrupt, everybody can do their own bit in the next six months to get a People’s Vote. Here are six things you can do to secure a People’s Vote:
- March with us in London on October 20 - and get all your friends there too.
- Support the campaign. Have you signed our petition? You can also donate to the People’s Vote crowdfunder.
- Join a grassroots movement campaign for a People’s Vote: take part in one of the events for our National Day of Action tomorrow, there are plenty across every region and nation of the UK.
- Talk to friends, family, even strangers - but don’t lecture.
- Contact your MP. Let them know how important a People’s Vote is to you.
- Don’t give up. After Labour’s moves this week and shifts in public opinion, the prize is within our grasp.
Read more at InFacts.
Video of the day
WATCH: Emmanuel Macron says that if we don’t want to go ahead with Brexit we don’t have to. That's why we should have a vote on the final deal.
Scottish government has “constructive” talks on People’s Vote
Scotland's Brexit secretary told Holyrood on Wednesday that he had held "very constructive" talks with the People’s Vote campaign. Mike Russell stressed that the Scottish government would not oppose a public vote on Brexit, but said he wanted a guarantee that Scotland would not again be taken out of the EU despite voting to remain.
Scotland’s SNP government is against a hard Brexit but not an “enthusiastic advocate” of a People's Vote. An opinion poll last month for the People’s Vote campaign showed that SNP supporters back a new public vote by 6-to-1 and are opposed to Brexit by a similar margin.
Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire council yesterday became the first Scottish authority to back a People’s Vote. The motion was proposed by a Green councillor and supported by SNP and Lib Dems but opposed by Conservatives.
Changing your mind.
It's okay to change your mind. Sometimes things look better from afar then they do in reality.
Two-thirds of businesses not prepared for ‘no deal’
Here’s a troubling statistic: nearly two-thirds of businesses have yet to do any risk assessment of a no-deal outcome in the Brexit negotiations, according to the British Chambers of Commerce. The findings show many small- and medium-sized businesses are still “awaiting more clarity” from government or are suffering “Brexit fatigue” and have tuned out entirely. This is clearly a symptom of the shambolic back-and-forth from ministers over Brexit. But it will put businesses in an even more perilous position if the government tries to crash out of the EU with no deal.
Quote of the day
“Too many businesses across the UK are still not ready for Brexit. Many smaller firms don’t have the capacity to scenario plan, don’t think they’ll be affected or have simply switched off from the process altogether.
“With six months to go until the UK’s planned departure, firms still don’t have answers from government to the most basic questions about future trading conditions.”
Adam Marshall, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce
Tweet of the day
We wanted to change the debate about Brexit. We are doing it with young activists.
...read the entire thread here.
“I am really worried about the effect Brexit could have on my future especially as its effects will last my whole lifetime.” Join our peoples vote march on October 20.
More Brexit news…
Hugo Dixon: Amber Rudd’s intervention could be game-changer (InFacts)
Philip Collins: Tory unity on Brexit could see off Labour (Times £)
Matthew Smith: Half of Britons believe Theresa May would keep Britain in the EU if she could (Times £)
Today, Friday 28th September
|-||Parliament in recess for conference season|
|09.30||ONS: Business Investment in the UK|
|09.30||ONS: Consumer Trends|
|09.30||ONS: UK economic accounts|
Tomorrow, Saturday 29th September
|-||Parliament in recess for conference season|
|-||People's Vote national day of action|
|-||Six months to article 50 deadline|