Carrot, Sticks and Fish

margirisI have noted before that the UK might discourage the EU from extending the Brexit agony by promising to veto all and any EU business it can whilst the UK is still a member. It is hard to see that it is good for the EU have a really stroppy member in its club. That is the stick.

The Telegraph leads with a story today that Hungary might veto any extension.[1] That would do the trick of avoiding another damaging extension.

The cost of an extension is huge. Not only does it cost around £1 billion a month in direct costs; it is causing massive costs in terms of economic uncertainty. And of course the country loses the advantages of cheaper non-EU imports (food, clothes, footware etc) as long as EU-imposed tariffs are keeping those imports out. We all know that, for the plotters, this is not about “no deal”; it is about “no Brexit”. And so Tony Blair et al will have been scheming with the EU for a long extension, or perhaps one extension leading to another, and another and so on until we all give up on ever winning independence. The Surrender Act is designed to give the EU the power to impose as long an extension as they like.

It is not only British humans who suffer. The Dutch have deployed a massive trawler – the FV Margiris[2] – in UK waters. It is said to be some 14 times bigger than the British trawlers which fish sustainably.[3]  This EU trawler now is seeking to extract as much fish as possible, killing many short-beaked dolphins (we like dolphins), bluefin tuna (they are endangered) and sea bass (they are overfished) on the way,  in the next few weeks. Just in case the UK does achieve freedom from the EU on 31st October, in which case the devastation of British fish stocks by EU boats will be promptly brought to an end.[4]

Estimates will vary as to how much damage will be done to the UK by another Brexit extension. £50 billion perhaps, if one factors in the risk of a long and/or further extensions. So it might not be a bad idea to offer Hungary, say, 20% of that – £10 billion – in return for Hungary vetoing any Brexit extension later this month. That should be a sufficient carrot for the Hungarians[5], who are less than enraptured by the EU anyway.

The EU would not like that, of course.

Neither would members of the UK judiciary who are bending the legal rules to try to prevent Brexit. If I were the government, I would not share until after the UK has safely left the EU on 31st October.

 

 

 

[1] Each EU country except the UK can veto an extension.

[2] It was previously known as the Abel Tasman. It had earlier been deployed in Australia, but happily was banned from Australian waters by the Australian government.

[3] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/04/trawler-14-times-size-uk-fishing-boats-plundering-fish-british/

[4] It is not just fish who suffer under EU rule. The UK cannot ban the live export of sheep (a truly barbaric practice) until it leaves the EU.

[5] It is well over double what Hungary gets from the EU each year; see https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/countries/member-countries/hungary_en

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