As the dust begins to settle, following the glorious news of Prime Minister Johnson’s last-minute ‘Xmas-present’ deal on the vexatious European Union ‘trade agreement’ problem, I was intrigued and not a little perturbed to hear some discussion on last week’s DW News between Professor Tanja Börtzel of the Freie Universität, Berlin and Tim Nuttall of The Economist.
Professor Börtzel smiles indulgently as she asserts that this is really a somewhat romantic notion; since the UK is still subject, indirectly at least, to EU regulations. She states that the EU leaders understand this ‘trade deal’ is allowing UK citizens to believe that they have retrieved their ‘sovereignty’; that, yes, there can be ‘divergence’, but only so long as fair competition is guaranteed. So, the professor seems to know what we don’t – that the EU tentacles actually do still restrain their troublesome island neighbour.
This ‘fairness’, this ‘level playing field’ (oh, how often have we heard this soundbite) is to be decided by an inevitable EU/UK Partnership Council, so it’s NOT decided by the UK government (her words).
Further, Britain will continue to pay into the EU budget, she avers, less than before, it’s true, but Britain has no control over how high these contributions will be. Britain will be very much constrained, the lady says, by what the EU will decide in the future.
Now, I’m very perturbed that these ‘small print’ details have neither yet been mentioned or published here in the UK, and I would like the present Prime Minister to either confirm or refute these statements. I would also like him to be completely honest (yes, I know he’s a politician, but we can only try, can’t we?) as to how many other ‘caveats’ there are in his wonderful trade deal.
I would like him to ‘be perfectly clear’, to quote his predecessor’s hackneyed phrase, beyond just the trade deal itself, as to where we now stand in relation to the European Council on Human Rights [ECHR], as also on the European Arrest Warrant [EAW].
To put it bluntly, are we in England now back under the ‘habeas corpus’ status of our common law constitution, or is the United Kingdom still subject to ‘corpus juris’? I stress this because, as we write, there are still at least two good, British citizens detained, un-convicted, in French prison conditions, who should be repatriated forthwith.
Those of us who carry these people in our hearts and our prayers know their identities. Your comments on a postcard please, oh, all right, online then, if you MUST!