Ivan would have been Terrible

ivan-rogersThe resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers as the UK’s ambassador to the EU is both welcome and appropriate.

This is not criticise his professional abilities. But to have a Remainian in post during the Brexit negotiations would be like having a fascist as PM during WWII, or a communist as head of MI6 during the cold war, or a member of the KKK in charge of race relations.

We need as our ambassador someone who wants in his or her heart to get on with Brexit, and to do it promptly, properly and thoroughly.

A particularly striking need for the UK to escape the EU emerged a week or so ago from the Government’s consultation document Technical consultation on motor insurance: consideration of the European Court of Justice ruling in the case of Damijan Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d (C-162/13). It does not sound very exciting, but it is a real problem. The UK is obliged by EU law to enact legislation making insurance compulsory for vehicles used off public roads.

So every garden tractor, mobility scooter and even electric motor-assisted push bike would be regulated, and require to be insured. Huge and pointless hassle and expense.

Worse, it would be end of motor racing in the UK, since the ruling requires the insurance of racing cars. Which are uninsurable.[1]  So, effectively, this bit of EU legal nonsense – if it is to implemented – potentially spells the end of motor sport in the UK, at least for a while.

Since 1959, when Vanwall won the Constructors Championship, the UK has more or less dominated the design and construction of the best racing cars in the world. Even Mercedes F1 cars are designed and built in the UK.  Likewise, the UK has produced no less than 10 F1 champion drivers; no other country in the world has managed more than 3.

That is no accident; it is because the Brits love motor sport and have lots of it, and the many British champions have been able to learn their craft in a world of kart racing, bike racing and the masses of other classes that underpin F1.  Not only is this something to be proud of: it is big business. According the consultation document:

3.9 Some of the sorts of vehicles that fall into the category of newly-in-scope vehicles are motor sports (competitor-to-competitor cover would be required because the vehicles would be being used in a way that is consistent with the normal function of the vehicle i.e. competing in a race); mobility scooters; and electrically assisted pedal cycles.

3.10 The inclusion of some of these vehicles in the Motor Insurance Directive, as interpreted in the Vnuk judgment, is one of the reasons why the Government expressed significant disappointment with the Vnuk judgment.

3.11 The impact assessment describes the sort of costs that would be incurred if we were to adopt the comprehensive option. Some of those costs we know would be substantial and, in the case of motor sports in particular, could have a wider effect on the sector as a whole; representatives of this sector tell us that it currently adds in excess of £10bn to the UK economy each year directly employing 60,000 people in over 9,000 businesses. The UK Government wants to see more authorised and well-run motor sport racing, including on closed roads, not a vibrant industry crippled by new burdens.

What we need is a bit of spunk! Some leadership that says, “Bugger off!” to this EU nonsense. Not this half-hearted subservience:

2…The UK will in due course be leaving the EU. Until we do so, we will remain a member with all the rights and obligations that membership entails. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. Any future changes will be for Parliament to decide.

 A better idea would be for the Government, not to continue to implement and apply EU legislation over the next 2 years, but take a leaf out of the French book, and to delay, dilute, obfuscate and in every possible way treat EU law with the contempt it deserves.  What would the EU be able to do about it? Threaten us with expulsion?

And how can we best do that? By politely asking every EU disciple to butt out of the government process until Brexit has been completed.

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage reacts during a media interview outside the Marquis of Granby, Westminster in central LondonIf the typically-useless FO will not have Nigel Farage as ambassador to the US, maybe he could be the UK’s ambassador to the EU?

 

 

 

[1] See eg https://www.bennetts.co.uk/bikesocial/news-and-views/racing/british-superbikes/2016/december/new-legislation-could-mark-the-end-of-bike-racing-in-uk

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