BEANO: Brexit Existing As Name Only

27th September 2016

Today the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, gave a speech about the WTO.

In this speech, he says:

The UK is a full and founding member of the WTO.

We have our own schedules that we currently share with the rest of the EU.

These set out our national commitments in the international trading system.

The UK will continue to uphold these commitments when we leave the European Union.

(There is a great fisking of this speech by Ian Dunt here.)

This speech follows the recent statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that EU funding will be guaranteed until 2020.

Could it be that the United Kingdom is not heading for a Hard Brexit or a Soft Brexit, but a Brexit existing as a name only?

Could there  be a BEANO Brexit?


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24 thoughts on “BEANO: Brexit Existing As Name Only”

    1. Good point, S. There seems to be a collective political silence about the pending litigation regarding the Royal Prerogative and by whom, how and when the Article 50 notification trigger will be pulled, “Something may turn up, Mrs May, may be next May”…

      1. Don’t forget the Decision. If the referendum has no legal consequence can it be one? If not then how do we arrive at one? Constitutionally speaking.

  1. The trouble is that there are those who view Brexit as the legal, constitutional, political and economic equivalent of separating mutually-conjoined quintuplets, and there are Leavers who regard is as utterly straight forward. Virtually no-one is in between, and that’s because, ironically, both camps are completely correct.

    In practice, Leaving will indeed be very simple, just like separating conjoined quintuplets is. Let an idiot hack away for half an hour with a meat-cleaver and hey-presto – they’re all free!

    The difficulty is doing it while making sure everyone survives and has a decent life for the decades to come.

    That’s the part the blustering, blundering Leavers don’t want to face up to.

    1. I am convinced that many “Leavers” thought that “Brexit” would be as legally straightforward and simple as terminating the membership of their gym club…

  2. BEANO, or BINO as I called it until today, is undoubtedly the most sensible way to get out of the referendum fiasco, so I’m fairly certain that it will not be the road taken by this government.

  3. I love your acronym BEANO Brexit. It takes me back to my youth and the Beano comic that used to arrive weekly in South Africa by Union Castle Mail-ship. Then Britian used to be looked up to greatly as the place for all things good – from MG sports cars, to Norton motorbikes, to Dinky cars to comics with Roy of the Rovers. Are any of them made there any longer, or if they are will it be for much longer? Today the UK has sadly become somewhat of a joke, but hardly comical.

    The Tories having assigned responsibility for Foreign Affairs to a large floppy yellow haired Christopher Robin who has lost his Pooh Bear, the other twosome, Tweeldedum and Tweedledee, charged with Brexit being chopped down by the May Queen while chanting “Brexit is Brexit! Off with their heads!” Then there is the new Socialists with a leader who does not lead or attempt to wrest back control from the Tories, but is carried with great momentum to who knows where, while his MPs scratch their heads and look on from behind. They don’t want Brexit, they want to get back into power, but does he know or care?

    A Funny Farm or an Animal Farm? I think there was greater sense back then to be found in the Beano; we then had Dennis the Menace (no relation of Margaret) and Desperate Dan. One to turn a trick or two and one to punch his way out of difficulty! Certainly more amusing than the current crop to profess to lead the UK while looking back and chanting “Make Britian Great Again!”.

    Wait, maybe they will soon be joined from across the Atlantic by another trumpeting clown! “Make America Great Again!”

    Of course, we also have our own cross to bear at the southern tip of Africa – a clown swaying to and fro while singing Umshini Wami (bring me my machine gun)!

    1. Well, don’t fr an instant underestimate Boris Johston, no Christopher Robin! He was Editor of the Spectator – only a highly intelligent and able man could be asked to do that – and a very successful Mayor of London (replacing a very dodgy and corrupt politico) He has intellectual ability, charisma, genuine ability to get on with all sorts of people, and he is a inspired choice for Foreign Secretary.
      If Brexit happens – and we are watching Mrs May – it will be done with panache and good nature.
      If there is any failure, it won’t be due to Boris J, or Liam Fox, Or David Davis, who aren’t idle!

        1. Boris’ knowledge is only matched by our own JZ who said all the continents of the world could fit into Africa.

        2. I would point out that unless Mr Johnson has renounced his US citizenship in the last few years he is very much an American. I will leave the other two things open for debate.

      1. The unspeakable in pursuit of…? Tally ho! Certain that some of those “Leaping Leavers” from nearby Sunderland thought that a vote to leave was like winning a World Cup Final against Germany and “Roy Of The Rovers” had scored the winning goal.

  4. I am not surprised that the UK is accepting the EU’s WTO conditions — it would be hard to do otherwise — and think that, if you wanted to be generous to Fox, you could say that Ian Dunt’s fisking is overdone. What surprises me is the arrogance of the speech.

    Fox is saying, “Don’t worry. There will certainly be a seamless transition to the UK’s new WTO schedules”. But presumably he is giving this speech to representatives of the other WTO members. For there to be a seamless transition requires 1) that the other members keep trading with the UK on sensible terms even though the UK’s schedules have not yet been accepted and 2) that the division of the EU schedules that the UK and the EU agree upon is eventually accepted without objection by the other 163 members of the WTO. Fox’s speech seems to take the goodwill of the audience on these two points for granted. I think there are more diplomatic ways to approach this issue.

    1. My understanding is that WTO disputes are not ‘stoppers’ in the accepted sense. You are expected to carry on with what you are doing while the dispute process operates, not to stop.

      Remember the issue with the US and extra-territorial banning of betting web sites? There the US continued for years while the dispute continued. I see no reason why Britain would not do the same.

  5. Thank you, Kevin. Interestingly this litigation was referred to on BBCQT yesterday evening by one of my favourite panellists Bonnie Greer, a very cool and well informed person. Unsurprisingly, a fellow panellist Rod Liddle, who, not only looks like a caricature of a “Sun” columnist, but is one, attempted to “rubbish” the action with a less than forensic throwaway put down. However, it is obvious that the fact that this litigation may be staying TM’s finger on the “trigger finger” seems to have escaped the notice of public and politicians, neither Priti Patel, Conservative, nor the Labour “Shadow Justice Secretary”, nor the Ukip MEP, a solicitor, made any comment that I can recall.

  6. Have you revised this opinion since the Conservative Party conference? Would be interested to know if the comments from May, Johnson, Davies, et. al., have shaken your confidence in the BEANO possibility? Thanks.

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