Saturday 13 March 2021

Lord Frost is absolutely right to be getting tough with the bullying EU, says IDS

Some good stuff from Iain Duncan Smith in the Telegraph (really). A couple of facts, some exaggeration, some lies of omission and a massive strawman or two - mixed so skilfully that one doubts it was serial liar and thicko IDS who wrote it.

He essentially says that Lord Frost can't trust vengeful Europeans and should kick them in the goolies at the start of every negotiating session. One wonders why David Frost, Chief Negotiator for Exiting the European Union from July 2019 to January 2020, Chief Negotiator of Task Force Europe since January 2020, didn't try this.

There's also a good pop at Olly Robbins, sneeringly referred to as "Sir Oliver" by Sr Iain. As Olly quickly found a lucrative post at Goldman Sachs after orally copulating EU negotiators (I paraphrase), I have little sympathy for him.

For those who feel like a splutter, read on for the full text of the Duncan Smith drivel.

It didn’t take long before the usual suspects were out, attacking the appointment of Lord Frost and trying to lay the blame at his door for what they referred to as our deteriorating relations with the EU. Frost, the Remainers claim, is too abrasive, he needs to be more conciliatory, soften his tone.

Yet we already know where such a hopeless negotiating stance leaves us, for it was that approach to the talks early on that left the UK with the mess of the Northern Ireland protocol in the first place.

Compare Lord Frost's performance in the Brexit negotiations with that of >Olly Robbins (remember him?). Robins was the exact opposite of Lord Frost, always smiling at Monsieur Barnier and constantly showing, as one attendee of the meetings put it, as though he was desperate to be friends. Perhaps even worse, I have been told that these meetings often descended into a farce with debates breaking within the UK side over the issues raised. When this happened, the EU sat in disciplined stony silence, smiling to themselves no doubt at the chaotic and unprofessional UK team.

The reality which Sir Oliver seemed unable to grasp was that the EU, once Britain had voted for Brexit, had no interest in being "friends" with the UK. They knew that the post-Brexit negotiation was all about the end result. Throughout, in contrast to the UK negotiators, they never lost sight of the simple principle that the UK must be taught a lesson pour encourager les autres in the EU who might have the temerity to think of doing the same.

This, of course, never stops. Just see how the EU has gone out of its way to blame the UK for its own vaccine disaster. First when they realised that they had failed to order them on time, they lashed out and tried to stop European producers from sending any more to the UK. Then, in a fit of pique, they invoked Article 16 of the Northern Irish protocol to close the border in Northern Ireland as well. This was done without any consultation as is required by the treaty.

Even though the EU backed down, they had exposed their casual disregard of the sensitivities of Northern Ireland. Remember during the negotiations how they endlessly intoned that they were determined to protect the Good Friday/Belfast agreement. Then, without even speaking to the Irish, they trashed it.

What the Article 16 episode shows above all else is that the EU only ever cynically sought to use the North/South border as a stick with which to beat the UK.

This EU animus just rolls on. See how Macron and Merkel claimed, disregarding the evidence, that the Astra-Zeneca vaccine didn’t work on over-sixties and even that it was generally ineffective on all ages. To top it all, the president of the European Council has even claimed, absurdly, that the UK had imposed an outright ban on vaccine exports to the EU.

Lord Frost knows the Protocol, which the EU still hasn’t ratified, was originally not intended to be permanent. It can and must be replaced, for the sake of good relations in the province. He knows he has to insist the EU recognise that the Withdrawal Agreement was very clear that the Protocol would be "superseded" and the Political Declaration even referenced "alternative arrangements" to replace it.

But Frost has learned something else during his trade agreement negotiations – that we are competitors with the EU now and the EU won't volunteer to change anything unless they have to. That’s why he needs to be tough in the negotiations and if the usual suspects accuse him of upsetting the EU, then he should take it as a badge of honour.


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