Conservatives – May Government
The Telegraph goes with “The Blueprint for Brexit: how Britain will negotiate out of the EU and spend for the sake of the economy”
Perhaps, less encouraging for the PM was this in the Guardian: “The Guardian view on Boris Johnson – no joke at all” – which asserts:
“Mr Johnson’s first foray will be a meeting with EU foreign ministers on Monday in Brussels. Celebrity and brash behaviour will not go far in the pursuit of strategic goals – and Britain right now has much to try to secure. Mr Johnson will no doubt continue to make headlines, because that is his special talent. But his appointment is, simply, very bad news”.
Brexit = Break-Up of the Union ?
The Prime Minister is due to travel to Scotland today. No doubt she will have access to this morning’s headlines in the Scottish newspapers:-
The Scotsman: “Alex Salmond warns Theresa May: Don’t mess with people of Scotland”.
The Daily Record has: “Theresa May to hold Brexit showdown talks with Nicola Sturgeon tomorrow as new PM heads to Scotland” and “Separate EU deal for Scotland written off by new Chancellor Philip Hammond”
The Prime Minister, as a Unionist, will be only too well aware of the risks to the Union which a Brexit vote would engender. Let’s see how she gets on with Nicola Sturgeon.
David Davis – Delivery of Brexit
The new Secretary of State has this on the Conservative Home website: “David Davis: Trade deals. Tax cuts. And taking time before triggering Article 50. A Brexit economic strategy for Britain“. On first reading some people might even think it is quite sensible.
The same text is also reproduced, together with some pretty graphics (which were not part of the original post) in, of all places, the Sun newspaper: “BREXIT STRATEGY May’s new chief Europe negotiator David Davis lays out plans to take us out of EU”
One supposes that Sun readers quickly lose interest in text that does not have pictures or graphics.
This rather charming exercise in tarting up the text might serve to remind people just who the old codger newly recycled as Secretary of State for Brexit really is. He has rather faded from the public mind since he last held office as Minister for Europe in the John Major Government until 2nd May 1997 when he was replaced by Douglas Henderson – though he has since been a fairly well regarded member of the Conservative Party’s “Awkward Squad” on the back benches. – declining to join the Cameron coalition government in 2010.
However, the Financial Times has a very good “Brexit Briefing” e-mail service and Mr Davis’s article was discussed in this morning’s FT e-mail:-
“How credible a negotiating strategy is this? Not very, says John Springford of the Centre for European Reform. “Mr Davis does not understand the economics. Some 45 per cent of UK exports go to the EU and, on average, about 8 per cent of the exports of each member state go to the UK. So there is far more at risk for Britain in conducting a hard ball trade strategy with the EU.”
Springford says: “Overall, I don’t think Mr Davis’s piece really tells us much about what the UK’s negotiation will really be like. The analysis is so flawed that the mandarins in Whitehall will tell him he has to think again.”
I’m not so sure about the Mandarins. Most of those with good experience of negotiating trade deals have either retired or moved to Brussels where the EU can make good use of them – and they will probably prefer to remain there.