IEA: Brexit Britain Should Commit to Unilateral Free Trade

Guido hears today’s new Institute of Economics Affairs report on trade policy has been well-received by ministers. It argues that no deal with the EU on trade would not be a disaster for the UK, recommending Britain commits to a policy of unilateral free trade with the rest of the world, eliminating all barriers to imports regardless of whether other countries impose tariffs on their imports from the UK. It would then be up to the EU if it wanted to impose tariffs, which would hurt EU consumers by raising prices. In such a scenario, the IEA report concludes the UK would likely be given tariff free access to the single market:

“There are many myths being perpetuated about trade policy – and more specifically about the UK’s relationship with the EU – that must be debunked. Many people believe that disaster will befall us if we do not forge a deal with the EU. In fact, we could unilaterally eliminate all import tariffs, which would give us most of the benefits of trade, and export to the EU under the umbrella of the WTO rules. Then we can seek free trade deals with all major trading partners, including the EU.”

If a bad deal is offered by the EU, the UK should say thanks but no thanks, walk away and unilaterally set tariffs at zero…

Nick Timothy’s Lessons From Yanis

Those Tories uncomfortable with Nick Timothy’s more statist policy platform will be amused to see he is a disciple of Yanis Varoufakis. The book beardless Timothy is reading is the Greek firebrand’s “My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment”. Nick was one of the leading Brexiters in the government before he quit, no doubt he and Yanis have some shared experiences…

People’s March For Europe: Theresa May Must Explain Chappers’ Deleted Twitter

This press release has just been sent out by the People’s March for Europe, the organisers of the hotly anticipated James Chapman rally launching his anti-Brexit ‘The Democrats’ party.. They are claiming “James Chapman’s twitter account has been hacked and suspended without his permission… We demand an immediate and full explanation from the Prime Minister and the Secretary of the Cabinet, Sir Jeremy Heywood”. Guido has called them up – they won’t say if Chappers wrote, authorised or has even seen the press release. Are they really claiming that the PM or Cabinet Secretary has silenced Chapman’s tweeting? This could be bigger than Watergate*…

*Chappers did also tweet that he was “lashed” about 4 a.m. local time after saying hello to Vladimir Putin.

UPDATE: The account is back up!

Vince Cable: I’m Not Supporting Chapman

This afternoon James Chapman claimed Vince Cable will be helping him launch his new party:

It’s news to Vince. A LibDem spokesman says Cable may attend anti-Brexit events but will not have anything to do with ‘The Democrats’:

“There is no question whatsoever of Vince Cable supporting the launch of a new party, as James Chapman is suggesting. A new party is completely unnecessary.”

During literally hundreds of non-stop tweets today Chapman has repeatedly called Theresa May and his former boss David Davis “Nazis“. He has also had an interview with Channel 4 News cancelled diplomatically for “technical reasons”. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Journalists and Remainers enabling this single-sourced nonsense need to take a look in the mirror…

Unemployment Rate Lowest Since 1975

Worth keeping on about this. During the referendum Osborne and the Treasury said unemployment would rise by 500,000 in the immediate aftermath of a Leave vote. Today’s new figures:

  • Unemployment fell 57,000 between April and June 2017
  • 157,000 fewer than for a year earlier
  • Unemployment rate is 4.4%
  • Down from 4.9% for a year earlier
  • The lowest since 1975

It was a big fat fib…

Transition Must Be Short Enough to Keep UK Appealing to New Trade Partners

As Guido reported yesterday morning, most Leave Tory MPs are on board with David Davis’ customs union plan. The influential European Research Group of 80+ Tory Brexiteers last night gave their blessing to the “welcome” proposal. What Leave MPs do want is for the transition period to be as short as possible. Leave Tories have indicated they support a time-limited transition completed by the next election, though they would obviously prefer it lasted closer to 1-2 years than 3. They have several arguments for this. One, the transition phase must be short enough to keep the UK appealing to new trade partners – a very important point which is being argued by Leave MPs at the moment. Two, it must be strictly time-limited and short enough to allay concerns it could be used to keep the UK in the EU by the back door. Three, Tory MPs believe it is vital voters see as much progress as possible on the results of Brexit, on immigration and new trade deals, before the next election. As we said yesterday, that means the transition finishing with time to spare…

This is the latest “Cabinet row erupts” story in the papers. When you consider previous “splits” on the single market, customs union etc, a debate boiling down to a matter of a few months is relatively small fry. As Guido has said for some time, there is a broad Cabinet consensus on the trajectory of the Brexit process – Stephen Pollard is worth a read on this today. It is nonetheless important for Leave MPs to keep up the pressure on the length of the implementation phase. The shorter the transition the better it is for trade deals, and the less likely it is for Britain to stay in the EU by the back door…

Concerns Raised About Chappers

James Chapman’s painful live-tweeted breakdown is the subject of growing concerns among his friends in Westminster. It is not hard to understand why Chapman is anguished. He was being eased out of the Daily Mail pol-ed role when he took up Osborne’s offer to spin for him. That’s the source of his surprisingly vicious animus against Dacre. He haughtily told everyone on the way out of Northcliffe House that he would be in No. 10 in due course, lording it over them when Osborne ascended to the premiership. Things did not quite work out that way.

For some time after Osborne’s sacking he was in limbo, eventually taking the role with David Davis at DExEU for which he was so unsuited. He then became a partner at lobbyists Bell Pottinger, his ability as a lobbyist counselling clients specifically on Brexit may be a little hindered by his very public and frequent meltdowns where he has attacked almost all the people clients might hope he had some influence with; government ministers, newspaper editors, not to mention influential journalists who write about his clients. His Trumpish tweets are not a conventional method of communication for usually discreet lobbyists. Never mind his publicly stated plans to set up a new party and stand for it at a by-election. Clients might see that as compromising his counsel and judgement just a teensy weensy bit.

On Facebook and Instagram there have been grim late night posts – subsequently deleted. Chapman was escorted out of parliament a few weeks ago after a particularly drunken episode. He has abused those who have tried to reason with him. All this has been an open secret in SW1 for weeks. His shouty crackers performance on the Today Programme brought it all into the open for the wider public. He has also to some extent gone public himself with his hundreds of round-the-clock tweets. Today he has flipped out with David Davis when only recently he told everyone he was on good terms with him. He’s demanded an emergency recall of parliament and challenged the PM to a public debate in Parliament Square, last week he claimed cabinet members were on the verge of defecting to his party. He’s called for Brexit-supporting publications to be shut down. He sometimes asks people like JK Rowling and Hillary Clinton to follow him on Twitter so he can directly message them. His tweets suggest that in his mind he thinks he is Britain’s answer to Macron leading his own party, “The Democrats”. We’ll pass over the naked Instagram selfies. In all this he is being egged on by idiots on Twitter, every bit of praise and support feeding into his mania.

Some former colleagues are going public, most are keeping their counsel private:

Many, many Remainers are in James’ mentions as well telling him to take a break from Twitter for his own sake. Sadly James can only see conspiracy:

These fears would explain why David Davis stopped short of kicking him too hard this morning. It’s sad to watch.

Labour’s Shadow Trade Minister Staggeringly Clueless on Customs Union

It’s hardly a surprise when a Labour spokesman goes on the airwaves to talk about Brexit and doesn’t have the first clue. But this from Shadow International Trade minister Bill Esterson on the customs union – his brief – is nothing short of extraordinary. He is completely clueless, completely out of his depth, unable to answer the simplest of questions, scrabbling about looking at his notes, completely unfit for the job. Embarrassing…

BBC Meets Young Leave Voters

The BBC meets young Leave voters to dispel Remain myths about Brexiteers. Not the sort of output you’d expect from the Beeb…

Remainers Divided, Can’t Agree Positions, View Each Other With “Suspicion”

An interesting story in the FT today reports that continuity Remainers are riven by splits, cannot agree on how to oppose Brexit and view each other with “suspicion“. The paper says “working out which MPs will vote together, and on which issues, has proved to be a political Rubik’s Cube, with suspicion on all sides“. There are apparently no less than three Remainer camps:

  • Pro-EU Labour moderates seeking to change Shadow Cabinet policy so Labour as a party can try to block Brexit.
  • Tory Europhiles who oppose their pro-EU Labour colleagues using Labour as the vehicle to reverse Brexit. Instead they want to change Tory policy from within because they don’t want Labour to score a win.
  • Anti-Brexit SNP and Plaid MPs who also don’t want Labour to take the credit for fighting Brexit because Labour is their main rival .

The FT’s analysis of these Remainer splits and suspicion is: “while Mrs May claims a narrow majority of just 12 in the House of Commons, defeating her in the autumn may prove more difficult than the numbers would make it seem”. A slightly different narrative to the usual ‘Cabinet splits’ stuff…

Davis Diplomatically Distances Himself From Chappers

A few weeks ago James Chapman was talking up his apparently ongoing relationship with David Davis, briefing journalists that he should be the Prime Minister and regularly appearing in newspapers as an “ally” of DD. In an interview appropriately conducted by Jeremy Kyle, today Davis has diplomatically distanced himself from his former aide. Chappers has not taken it well, calling Davis a lazy, drunk liar on Twitter. Which makes those newspaper stories quoting him as a source last month look a bit silly. Meanwhile DD would not be drawn on Commando Chappers

Victory For Hammond? Proposal Meets Tory Leavers’ Demands

The Times and FT predictably report today’s proposal for a temporary customs union with the EU during the transition period as a victory for Philip Hammond. Is this true? Back in June Guido told you what most Tory Leavers want:

“Leavers want Britain fully out of the single market and customs union within two or three years, well in time for the next election. Tory MPs are concerned that the public will want to see progress on immigration and trade deals by the time they next vote. One of David Davis’ main reasons for lobbying Theresa May to call a snap election was so Brexit could be fully completed by the next election.”

DD’s proposal clearly meets the requirements of Tory Leavers so long as the transition period is short, time-limited and trade deals can be struck well in time for the next election, so voters can see evidence of progress in Brexit Britain. Guido has spoken to various Leave Tory sources this morning who support today’s plan so long as the implementation phase is as brief as possible and those trade deals can be struck with time to spare. As has always been the case. Backbench Brexiter Bernard Jenkin sums up the view of Tory Leavers:

“Anything that smooths our exit and gives business reassurance is good but it depends how long this transition period is. We must not look hobbled in our trading relationships with non-EU countries.”

Privately Tory Leavers feel these “victory for Hammond” headlines on policies they also support are a price worth paying to help build consensus. Last month Remain papers called the transition itself a victory for Hammond, even though the vast majority of Tory Leavers support it. The reality is a transition has always been sensible and inevitable, supported by Tory Leavers so long as their conditions are met. Today’s proposal meets those conditions on paper, over to the EU…

Gesture Politics

James Chapman, founder of the new anti-Brexit party “the Democrats”, is worried about lost marbles. Well, quite.

NiMo Shoots Down “Democrats” as ‘Silly Season Fantasy’

As a Remainer and famous critic of the government, Nicky Morgan (along with Anna Soubry) was top of the list of potential defectors for those seeking to form a new anti-Brexit party. Just one problem. Nicky thinks it’s a terrible idea and won’t be having anything to do with it. She dismisses “The Democrats” as a self-indulgent silly season “fantasy” in a withering article for ConHome:

“The silly season is clearly in overdrive this August, with speculation about the time having arrived for a new UK political party to be formed.  This would be a very bad idea for many reasons. Just ask those who were involved in the SDP: are any of them saying that a new centrist party is a good idea? … The national interest now demands that we stop indulging in political and ideological fantasies about new parties and start focusing on how we shape the rest of the 21st century in which the Conservative Party should want to be in Government with a broad base of support in the country.”

Ouch. Which leaves the current membership of “The Democrats” as pretty much just this:

That’s that then.

Hammond and Fox Dash Remain Media’s Wishful Thinking

Back in June, Guido told you a consensus was forming between Hammond, Fox et al on a time-limited 2-3 year transition outside the single market and customs union. As other publications breathlessly reported on Cabinet splits and Brexit coming off the rails, we wrote:

“Everyone in government including Philip Hammond agrees on a destination outside the single market and customs union… Hammond and Leavers now agree on a “softer landing”, so long as the transition is short and time-limited… this seems to Guido a sensible approach for a smooth, real Brexit.”

Yesterday Hammond and Fox dashed the hopes of the less reality-based Remainers, writing a joint article for the Sunday Telegraph confirming what Guido readers already knew:

“We will leave the customs union and be free to negotiate the best trade deals around the world as an independent, open, trading nation. We will leave the single market, because there was a vote for change on June 23rd and that is what we will deliver… We believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty – but it cannot be indefinite; it cannot be a back door to staying in the EU.”

A lot of what is being published by the FT, Guardian and Evening Standard at the moment is wishful thinking, and sometimes just plain wrong. For weeks they reported the government was being torn apart by splits over the transition. Then Osborne’s Standard praised Hammond for securing victory on the transition and said the government had made the “right call”. Today Remainers are moaning Hammond has “caved in”. The reality has been clear for some time for those willing to see it: a time-limited 2-3 year transition outside the single market and customs union. As Guido readers have known for months…

Remoaners Lose as Voters Strongly Back ‘Hard’ Brexit

Remoaners have lost their battle to derail Brexit as the public overwhelmingly backs a ‘hard’ exit from the EU. A major new study from the LSE and Oxford University shows even remain voters now generally reject the ‘soft’ Brexit policies advocated by the remoan lobby. The findings refute the often-repeated claim that Britain is deeply divided over Brexit: in reality, both leavers and remainers are broadly united behind a ‘hard’ Brexit on almost every major issue. The study, seen by BuzzFeed, shows:

  • 67% of people surveyed prefer the so-called “no deal” outcome to a ‘soft’ Brexit
  • 68% of people surveyed would choose a ‘hard’ Brexit over a ‘soft’ Brexit

Remain voters tend to support so-called ‘hard’ Brexit positions on most major negotiation points:

  • The majority of remain voters oppose the continuation of free movement. Instead, they tend to back ‘some’ or ‘full’ control over UK borders, even if that means lower EU immigration levels than now;
  • Remain voters do not want the UK to be subject to ‘all EU laws and all ECJ decisions’;
  • Remain voters tend to support paying a smaller rather than larger divorce bill to the EU, and would support paying no bill at all;
  • Remain voters do not support continuing massive payments to the EU;
  • Labour, SNP, Plaid Cymru, and Lib Dem voters only marginally preferring a ‘soft’ Brexit to a ‘no deal’ outcome (by around 60/40).

Professor Sara Hobolt of the LSE said:

“Overall… there is on aggregate higher levels of support for outcomes that resemble the ‘hard Brexit’ position put forward by the government. Remain voters are willing to acknowledge that there are key negotiation outcomes – e.g. limits to freedom of movement – that they may not like, but that these outcomes still respect the referendum vote and are therefore legitimate. In other words, Remain voters concede that the features that lead them to prefer a particular negotiation outcome do not, in fact, respect the referendum.”

The study will be seen as a bodyblow to the metropolitan remoan class whose views are evidently not shared by the country as a whole. This exposes die-hard remainers as having the extreme position relative to the ordinary population. In all but 11 of 42 possible Brexit scenarios presented to the 3,293 participants, remain and leave voters were within five percentage points of one another. Conclusive proof that the public backs Brexit…

Friday Caption Contest (Commando Chappers Edition)

This morning James Chapman tweeted that “I don’t often wear pants”. This is evidenced by his revealing Kardashian-style Instagram account which has shocked the ladies (and gents) who were his former colleagues in the Lobby.

Click to Buy

Wittiest winning entry will receive a copy of Why Vote UKIP: The Essential Guide by Suzanne Evans. Entries only accepted in the comments…

Rees-Mogg vs Chapman

James Chapman, the former pol-ed, turned SpAd turned lobbyist putting the potti into Bell Pottinger, claims that the Tories will never win an election again and that Cabinet ministers sympathise with setting up a new centre party, “the Democrats”Chappers sounding crackers

City Envoy Slams “Bewildering” Brussels

The City’s envoy to the EU has slammed the “bewildering” approach of Brussels to Brexit negotiations. In a dossier of dispatches seen by City AM, former LibDem Home Office minister and City of London Corporation special representative Jeremy Browne wrote:

“The inability of Brussels to comprehend British politics, or read the British character at the most elementary level, is bewildering… [there is] a recognition of the scale of the City of London, and acknowledgment that inflicting excessive harm on London would have negative consequences for the EU27 as well as for Britain”.

Browne said that EU efforts to pick on the City were motivated by:

“[a] supervisory and quasi-nationalistic desire to prevent business continuing as usual in London post-Brexit… they are affronted by the idea of London remaining brazenly unaffected.”

Tough…

EU Mired in Summer of Food Safety Scandals

Europe’s egg contamination scandal is finally making headlines in Britain after a small batch tainted with a toxic insecticide reached the UK from the Netherlands. On the continent, the situation is worse. Millions of eggs have been withdrawn from sale in Germany, and around 180 Dutch farms have been shut down.[…] Read the rest

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