This morning I listened to the 1976 hit 'Hotel California' by the Eagles. Given Philip Hammond's interview on the Today programme earlier, it seemed like an apt choice.
The issue at hand is over whether the UK has transitional arrangements with the EU and, if so, what. Mr Hammond, faced with characteristically pro-EU questioning from the BBC presenter, stated his case. I was pleased to hear the current Chancellor saying, quite clearly, that the UK will be leaving both the so-called EU Single Market and its Customs Union. I was less pleased to learn that, in his view, a transition period could last up to 2022.
The reason for my displeasure is that such a transition could become the norm rather than the rounding error - in the context of our 45 year membership to the 'European project' - that other Cabinet members such as Liam Fox has stated. The prospect of setting up a new immigration system, customs infrastructure etc is understandable, however, to suggest that it can go all the way up to the next election is worrying.
My direct worry is that, under these circumstances, we won't actually leave. Yes, politicians will say that we've left; yes, there may even be no formal membership of the Single Market or Customs Union. However, when we are tied to same regulatory arrangements as the EU - overseen by a court system such as the EEA Court (whose ruling are regularly driven by the ECJ) - then the country doesn't have the necessary freedom to act as we were promised we would have if we voted Leave.
There is also a worry that the Labour Party could hijack leaving. Their position is all over the shop. On Sunday, Jeremy Corbyn ruled out remaining in the so-called EU Single Market; on Tuesday the Unions got involved; by Wednesday, John McDonnell - who has previously said that the Labour Party would leave the Single Market - doesn't rule out remaining within it. All this is rather confusing, however, could lead to an unholy alliance between the Trade Union paymasters and the Blairites still within Labour that are desperate to derail the process.
The prospect of this happening is one reason why this week we launched the Stop Blair Campaign. This campaign will look to use donations made up to our initial target of £50,000 to produce and distribute leaflets across the UK in an effort to put a brake on the pro-EU propaganda we hear through our news outlets daily.
To help ensure we can achieve a full Brexit, please donate to our Stop Blair Campaign.
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