A Critique Of The Management Of Brexit.
Having used my definitive differentiation of the knowledge/belief dichotomy to attribute the mishandling of Covid-19 response to political reliance on belief and rejection of knowledge since March 2020 (c.f. Article 26), I now attribute the mishandling of Brexit to same reliance on belief and rejection of knowledge for what is now nearly four and a half years since the referendum result was declared. However, I recognise that the issue put to the referendum, was itself a matter of opinion/ counter-opinion; that opinion/counter-opinion is never more than belief/counter-belief in the absence of any citation of debate terminating conclusive knowledge; and that with the absence of any citation of such knowledge one way or the other, the result could only be a belief-consensus for leaving the EU or for remaining in it. Again, I recognise that there was no referendum vote for or against Lockdown in respect of Covid-19; that while the absence of a vote in this case was justified by spurious reference to science as provided by Sage, this ‘knowledge’ immediately became a non-conclusive debateable issue as far as Sage members and non-Sage members of a self-styled scientific community were concerned; that it can thus be concluded that no irrefutable scientific knowledge was or is referenced to support the lockdown; and that the Covid-19 issue was and is being handled as one of belief/counter-belief as was that of Brexit, and as are all others treated as transient belief-consensus pending further debate.
With respect to Brexit, it was and is clear that Mrs May did not want to leave the EU; that those who opposed Mrs May and her supporters were content to support the referendum result without actually endorsing it; that they were careful not to cite available knowledge as to the failure of the EU’s belief-only policy choices; that supporters of the EU were content to cite the belief-only difficulties which they claimed the UK would face were it to leave; that they avoided all reference to any knowledge-only benefits to be derived from leaving – as indeed did those who merely supported the referendum result. Again, for its part, the EU also relies on belief rather than on knowledge in seeking to retain the UK as a member and in doing so ‘Brussels has attempted to sabotage any hope of a deal with its bizarre approach to the Brexit talks’, as Daniel Hannan describes the situation in a Sunday Telegraph Article of 18/10/20. In this article, he states that he ‘had assumed that when it came to it, the EU would prioritise the economic interests of its 27 members; that ‘he was wrong’; that ‘by sticking to a number of deliberately absurd positions – including demanding British fish as a sort of leaving fee – Brussels has now effectively collapsed the talks’; that ‘there will be no trade deal’; and that ‘the question now is whether we agree a series of technical accords on aviation, road haulage and the like’.
He goes on to recall that ‘Mrs May’s accidental premiership, following the withdrawal of every other candidate, gave rise to her refusal to go for a quick and easy EFTA deal, at least in the short term, which would have obviated the row about withdrawal terms’; that the disastrous 2017 election ushered in a parliamentary majority ready to work with Brussels to reverse the referendum’; that ‘the other side acted on the flawed belief that, if the terms offered were harsh enough, Britain would somehow drop the whole idea of leaving’; that Michel Barnier saw it as his job to (as he put it) teach the Brits a lesson’; that ‘institutional inertia left him in place even when it was clear that that policy had failed’; and that ‘Britain was leaving anyway’; that ‘there was the disastrous insistence on the Irish protocol’; that ‘had it not been for the belief that Brexit might be overturned, perhaps Brussels would have listened to those who, in the aftermath of the referendum, wanted to draw Britain into a market-only tier, part of a “ring of friends” around the EU’.
He goes on to state that, ‘if nothing else, the lengthy talks served to establish beyond doubt that the EU was not negotiating in good faith’, that the French position on fisheries – the UK should be treated as a third country in every other respect, but should remain fully subject to the Common Fisheries Policy – is seen as preposterous by every neutral observer and by most of the EU’; that it does not even make sense in terms of narrow French interests’; that ‘Britain is offering French vessels a phased and partial reduction in access to our waters, not complete exclusion, but if there is no deal, there will be zero access for French skippers – who currently land 84% of all fish caught in the Channel’; and that ‘there is a suspicion in some Continental capitals that Emmanuel Macron is looking for an excuse to wreck the talks’; and that ‘no French leader loses votes by bashing the Brits’. Daniel Hannan thus concludes that ‘what had been Boris’s chief worry – a go-slow at French ports leading to tailbacks along the M20 – has been overtaken by travel bans and a fall in goods trade’; and that the difference between the basic no-frills deal which Britain wanted and no deal was pretty thin; and that ‘given the vast sums now gobbled up by the epidemic on both sides of the Channel, it now looks almost trivial’; and that ‘Britain should annul the Withdrawal Agreement which it signed on the basis of a promise that a trade deal would not only be signed but implemented in 2020’; that ‘we will guarantee the rights of EU citizens’; that ‘we will raise no infrastructure in Ireland’; and that ‘we should leave it to an international tribunal to work out any outstanding debts; and that it is time to turn our faces back to the open main’. 20/10/20.