Guest Blog from Ian Smale

BREXIT BLOG – A PERSONAL OPINION ON THE GOVERNMENT’S BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS

By Ian Smale – An experienced international commercial contracts negotiator

ian-smale

Ian Smale, is a Director at Colstra Limited

 

I have had a long career in international trade – in the global energy sector – running BP’s M&A team for five years as well as their policy unit on business leadership and acting on global contracts.

 

I voted to Remain. I was more motivated than usual to discuss the politics of Brexit during the campaign. I was disappointed by the outcome, but respect the decision to Leave.

 

Now that is done, how we leave and what relationship we retain with Europe, and other countries, is vitally important. All my experience in negotiation and deal making supports the idea of confidentiality – not showing your hand, playing hard, trading every point to achieve an objective.

 

However, the political nature of the Brexit negotiations, managing the expectations of voters in the UK as well as engaging the support of millions of Europeans as a positive influence on their Governments, will require a different approach. There is an urgent need to change current Government rhetoric in the UK and with Europe.
There is no question this is complicated. But allowing that to obscure a clear vision for what we want and how we might achieve it has led to distressingly bellicose statements. This is poor judgement by the Government and could confound our ability to negotiate the few key but significant issues:

  • What type of access to the Single Market and European customs union do we want?

 

  • What controls on immigration and relationship with EU nationals do we want?

 

  • How do we manage down or away the net contribution to the EU Budget, and manage expectations of what we intend to do with the money?

 

  • How do we become independent but aligned to key EU institutions, the European Court of Human Rights, and others like security, law and order and defence?

While mindful of the difficulties of negotiating through open channels – I believe there is real merit in stating a positive case for engagement and describing a constructive relationship along each of the axes above, without Britain’s current, “It will hurt you more than me!” dialogue.

 

The positions below are my proposal for an acceptable outcome, and set out a positive vision for our future engagement as an independent country with the European Union, as an ally, partner and friend.
Access to the Single Market – Becoming the global Free Trade champion

The relative-based arguments of loss or harm to EU member countries losing access to UK consumers or the UK losing free access to the Single Market belies the point that the UK will always be the junior party in this discussion with EU.

 

The consequences will impact the UK more significantly in the short, medium and possibly long term without free access to the Single Market.

 

Adopting a strong principle and commitment to Free Trade generally would allow a balanced approach enabling a very positive vision for the benefits of trade generally. An open conversation based on facts that recognise, where:

 

  • The UK is strong and can safeguard European relevance internationally (finance and services, IT technology, energy),
  • Where there is deep mutual benefit and interest (manufacturing, especially car and aircraft manufacturing etc.)
  • Where the UK is a net beneficiary as well as a strong market for European production would be a strong case and deserves to be an open, informed conversation.

 

Presenting the positive contribution of trade, the preservation of jobs, the benefits of open markets would allow a very clear statement of intent about the conviction we have as a nation to Free Trade as a core principle of wealth creation – a vision we can then consistently offer to others in the future.
Borders and Immigration – Welcoming contributors to our Growth, Success and Prosperity

Is the objective of access for skills and labour, but not benefits and welfare, so difficult to achieve?

 

Cameron’s negotiation prior to the referendum that sought to define a positive basis for open immigration remains a basis for a future relationship that would be welcome and is reasonable to many in the EU,

 

  • “Yes” to access to compete for jobs and opportunities in the UK’s positive economy,
  • “No” to access to benefits and welfare for a defined period;
  • “Yes” to those already here and of course an expectation of reciprocal treatment for UK citizen’s in the EU.

 

Thinking we are saving a powerful negotiating chip in denying the rights and contributions of those EU citizens already making a better than average contribution to our economy is churlish and short-sighted as well as creating huge uncertainty for very many people.

 

Let’s make the positive case that would flex with the rise and fall of our own economy and debunk the sham of “benefit tourism” and all the other scare stories that exist. We have always had control of our borders, more so than the European Schengen zone – we must continue to make a virtue of this but commit to do effect proper border control in the future.

Net contribution – the Trade-Off

This is our main bargaining chip with Europe, and we should be very careful how we approach this. A settlement that sees the UK continuing to make some contribution or tapering exit would be seen as a very positive basis by our European partners for phasing exit without losing access to the Single Market.

 

The alternative is redistribution to the companies – like Nissan – who will bear the burden of import duties, no matter how protected they may be by the weakness or depreciation of Sterling.

 

Yes, we would be “buying” access, and we will also have to adhere to EU regulations if we want to continue to supply. But this is a very positive and direct trade-off – the alternative will be a myriad of subsidy and complexity – as well as clear State intervention which will further complicate trade and relationships.

 

Politically this will be a challenge given the promises made during the referendum that all the money would go to the NHS, but this must be addressed by our politicians as part of a much bigger positive outcome.
Law, Human Rights; a UK Bill of Rights now please

It’s a shame there hasn’t been more progress on a UK Bill of Rights as an alternative to default EU legislation.

 

The absence of a written British constitution and our commitment as a nation to implement to the letter of regulation makes us victims of our own approach and has helped to deliver the many absurdities that so confound public opinion.

 

This is surely an opportunity for us to define what it means to be British – a Parliamentary democracy that is open, tolerant, steadfast, and defined by commerce and trade and with a commitment to freedom and fairness. Stating the case for how we will continue to engage positively as a partner and ally, while retaining our own sovereignty with dignity and some humility would be welcome at home and abroad. Defining how we will continue to support key institutions that have international reach will also be critical in today’s uncertainty.

 

I realise this is outline is simplistic, but we would do well to keep a visionary, forward looking and constructive position at the heart of everything we say and do.

 

To do that we need a plan!

 

We need to know what our Government is trying to achieve. We should be setting a vision that engages populations here and on the continent as stakeholders to create momentum towards a reasonable outcome.

 

We will not get our cake and eat it no matter what we do. There will inevitably be trade-offs, but perhaps the detail will fall into place in line with common consent.

 

At least we will not fail for want of trying!

 

 

MAN THE RAMPARTS!

img_9143R Julian Cox

Professor Michael Dougan was in fighting form when he addressed 850 “Remain” campaigners last week (Wednesday, 26th October) who had come to listen to him
at Bath’s historic “Forum” theatre.

It was packed even though the venue had been moved at the last moment to cater for the anticipated larger audience and funded through “crowd funding” operation subscribed through donating in advance a fiver or more a piece. Enthusiasm did not dim after an hour of Dougan’s speaking after which questions flowed thick and fast from an audience eager to learn what they could do next to continue their cause.

For those not familiar with Dougan he is professor of European Law together with  holding the Jean Monnet chair in EU Law  both at Liverpool University. He has gained  quite a following for his depth of knowledge in all things European  and where his views have been solicited by, amongst others, the British Government. He is a well known commentator on EU matters and where his “YouTube” video’s litter the channel. Detractors point out that the Jean Monnet chair is funded by the EU to the tune of £50,000 over three years!

In his address Dougan was dismissive of those wanting to fight ‘yesterday’s battle’.

‘The referendum result is over and done.The chance of a second referendum is zero. And few in Parliament are prepared to try and thwart what a democratic majority had voted for.’ By far the best idea he opined, was to make the best of Brexit and in the process seize back the agenda from the ideologues who had so far dominated the whole, referendum debate.

“More is at stake than Europe, Dougan said. ‘Democracy itself is in peril. What is the worst you can do is nothing! It is perverse that even now we are seeing
the sovereignity of Parliament, the body central to all law making activities in a democratic society,  undermined by a Government reluctant to allow it to express its views on the EU debate.’

Dougan said ideology and ideologues had been the key drivers of the whole referendum campaign. ‘And like all ideologues they told lies. When found out do what all ideologues do: they tell bigger lies!’

‘Democracy is ever changing’, Dougan said. ‘When one side loses it does not mean the losers must forever keep quiet. If they believe in their cause it means they must fight even harder. Much is at stake.’

‘The choice is simple for you. Fight even harder. Or watch our democracy wither.’

SURREY FOR EUROPE meeting 19TH SEPTEMBER

The Way Forward for EU supporters in Surrey – SURREY FOR EUROPE meeting 19TH SEPTEMBER

meeting-1

Jonathan Hoffman, head of research, Britain for Europe and Baron Armah-Kwantreng, chair, Surrey for Europe

fielding questions from the audience

Over 40 enthusiastic “Surrey for Europe” supporters from Epsom, Sutton, Kingston, Farnham, Weybridge and Guildford and neighbouring areas gathered in Epsom’s Spa Room at the Ebbisham centre, Monday evening 19th September to hear how to continue their support for Britain’s membership of the European Union.

The meeting, organised by “Surrey for Europe” was addressed by three speakers representing prominent EU-supporting organisations. Economist Jonathan Hoffman, head of research of “Britain for Europe” spoke about how the true economic fall out of the referendum has yet to show up in the economic data and about how tensions will increase among Theresa May’s cabinet as the time nears to trigger “Article 50”.

Hoffman declared: “Feelings are so high there is a real possibility of an outbreak of war within Theresa May’s cabinet.” He added any chance the EU might offer the UK a “sweetheart deal” would be undermined by East European states seeking parity for any reforms sought by the UK.

David Welsh, director of “Vote for Europe”, spoke of the various ways the threat of tactical voting could be used to bring democratic pressure on Brexit-supporting MPs who are out of step with their constituents.

Links to both speeches can be found on Surrey for Europe’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/epsomstrongerin

Kate Hammer, a US-citizen and long-term UK resident spoke about her “Don’t let the Brexit dust settle” organisation that uses open speaker events to broaden the debate and dialogue across all sides on the Brexit issue. Hammer’s 1,000 word submission has recently been accepted as evidence on the parliamentary enquiry on the Referendum.

meeting-2

A question from the audience during the lively Q&A session

Questions from the floor triggered a lively and informed discussion underlining the passionate commitment by all present to maintaining strong EU links. A number of contributors declared they had been encouraged by the speeches to believe there is a genuine chance that Britain might be able to remain a member of the EU.

Surrey for Europe will continue its role as the driving force for pro-EU activity in Surrey in the next few months by activities such as attending a pro-EU rally at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on October 2nd and campaigning in the Witney by-election. The group’s next public meeting in November promises to be of particular interest as it will look ahead to the government potentially triggering Article 50 in the New Year. The group is also reviewing a national group to affiliate to.

Press Enquiries: Roger Cox, Press Officer, Surrey for Europe – Contact details: info@surreyforeurope.co.uk

Interesting links

Most recent:

The Theresa May Float- Stop Brexit Tour

How to vote tactically in the 2017 general election

 

Archive:

#stillEU

How to lobby the Lords in the Brexit bill

What’s the Plan?

We must continue to keep up the pressure on our MP’s

Brexit: The Impact on Business

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Associate Citizenship for those of you who voted for remain

Petition: United Kingdom to not leave the EU

IS 0.14% OF THE POPULATION REALLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE ECONOMY?

Brexit censorship campaign

http://www.britainforeurope.eu/

Brexit weekly briefing: is Canada’s EU trade deal a blueprint for the UK?

http://www.moreunited.uk/

Brexit X-men: how the prime minister’s key negotiators are coping

Spectator: Betraying Brexit

Government to confirm that the June EU referendum was non-binding and advisory. – Petitions

Open letter to EU leaders – Not my vote

BREXIT: How does Article 50 work and can it be reversed?

http://uk.businessinsider.com/brexit-how-does-article-50-work-2016-7

More than 100 Tory MPs want to stop Brexit, says Ken Clarke

https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/politics/100-tory-mps-want-stop-brexit-says-ken-clarke/

Remove Gisela Stuart as chair of the inquiry into the future of EU-citizens in UK

https://www.change.org/p/british-future-remove-gisela-stuart-as-chair-of-the-inquiry-into-the-future-of-eu-citizens-in-uk

 

Ellie_web

More than sixty former European Community supporters from all over Surrey attended a meeting held last night (18th July) at the “Spa Lounge” in Epsom’s Ebbisham Centre.

 

It was called by Ewell based businessman Mr Tim Evans who had previously run the “Epsom Stronger in Europe” group that athough he had defeated local MP Chris Grayling’s “Brexit” stance, was not replicated across the rest of the country.

 

Mr Evans said: ’There was such a strong sense of community amongst our supporters and a belief in the European Community’s aims that I believed we should capitalise on this and look for a way forward. The numbers who turned up tonight were very encouraging encouraging.’

 

Amongst some of the measures discussed were challenging the Government’s legal right to implement Article 50 of The Lisbon Treaty by which the UK can leave the European Community; forming a nationwide European pressure group, and a more localised movement, “Surrey for Europe” group.

 

Amongst speakers at the meeting were local entrepreneur Charlie Perry who was trying to instil an ethos of “marching” in London and other cities to represent the embryonic views of any Surrey movement born out of the meeting.

 

Nineteen year old student Ellie Fallon spoke passionately about why her generation was “angry” at the way the Brexit vote portrayed her country as “Little Britain”.

 

And school history teacher Katherine Edwards spoke about challenging Chris Grayling’s role as Epsom’s MP.  ‘His Brexit views did not represent the views of his constituency with its clear  “Remain” vote. We should find an alternative MP who does represent the constituencies views. “

First Meeting of Surrey for Europe

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

More than sixty former European Community supporters from all over Surrey attended a meeting held last night (18th July) at the “Spa Lounge” in Epsom’s Ebbisham Centre.

 

It was called by Ewell based businessman Mr Tim Evans who had previously run the “Epsom Stronger in Europe” group that athough he had defeated local MP Chris Grayling’s “Brexit” stance, was not replicated across the rest of the country.

 

Mr Evans said: ’There was such a strong sense of community amongst our supporters and a belief in the European Community’s aims that I believed we should capitalise on this and look for a way forward. The numbers who turned up tonight were very encouraging encouraging.’

 

Amongst some of the measures discussed were challenging the Government’s legal right to implement Article 50 of The Lisbon Treaty by which the UK can leave the European Community; forming a nationwide European pressure group, and a more localised movement, “Surrey for Europe” group.

 

Amongst speakers at the meeting were local entrepreneur Charlie Perry who was trying to instil an ethos of “marching” in London and other cities to represent the embryonic views of any Surrey movement born out of the meeting.

 

Nineteen year old student Ellie Fallon spoke passionately about why her generation was “angry” at the way the Brexit vote portrayed her country as “Little Britain”.

 

And school history teacher Katherine Edwards spoke about challenging Chris Grayling’s role as Epsom’s MP.  ‘His Brexit views did not represent the views of his constituency with its clear  “Remain” vote. We should find an alternative MP who does represent the constituencies views. “