Video commentary on the Irish Brexit border question, Iain Duncan-Smith talking about Theresa may's most recent speech and the reduction in the number of NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training).
Video text (sources below):
Strange that after all the negotiations to reach a joint report last year, the EU just ignores the contents anyway.
The EU's response in their draft legal agreement to what was in the joint report issued last year shows two things.
The first is how dismissive of nation states the EU can be and secondly how institutionally submissive the UK has become in its dealings with the EU.
The EU does not care what is in the joint report, it does not have to because all the real onus in it has been placed squarely on the shoulders of the UK.
We are leaving the EU yes, but that does not mean that we have to make all the concessions. And that includes not rolling over to the EU annexation of Northern Ireland!
As far as I can see the only body that has undertaken to remain committed to the Good Friday Agreement and the avoidance of a hard border between North and South Ireland is the UK. Apart from recognition of the general situation, the EU appears to have made no such undertaking in the joint report. And now it is using that as a bargaining chip while the UK agrees to such things as 'unconditionally' supporting their defence with our forces.
The one-sided nature of it all just beggars belief!
The more you look at the joint report the more you get the feeling that it was drafted by supplicant Remain minded people with Remain firmly in mind!
That report does way more to protect the EU internal market and keeping the Republic of Ireland firmly within it than it does for the aims of an independent UK.
Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP, said:
"The draft legal text produced last week is not a full and faithful representation. It is utterly unacceptable for Northern Ireland to be treated separately from the rest of the United Kingdom as set out in the draft EU legal text. We will never support any such concept and the EU need to realise such concepts will never be accepted and agreed by the UK."
The truth is the EU is fully aware of how unacceptable to the DUP and UK this draft would be. But they have not signed up to those parts of it, only the UK has. And the proof of that is the very fact of the draft legal document itself.
But why is the UK so reticent in pushing its own advantages. A report in the Independent prior to the 2016 referendum pointed out that:
"Britain is far and away Ireland's biggest trading partner, accounting for 50 per cent of exports from the Republic. Ireland is virtually entirely dependent upon its larger neighbour for energy, importing 90 per cent of its oil and more than 90 per cent of its gas from the UK."
And it said that the effect of Brexit on the Republic could be 'devastating'.
Also, looking at Northern Ireland trade you can see that £15 billion is done with the rest of the UK, £4 billion with the Republic of Ireland, just £3 billion with the rest of the EU and £5 billion with the rest of the world.
This puts the message out loud and clear that, where trade is concerned, the island of Ireland as a whole has more of a stake in a successful UK than it has in the European Union.
And now that the Republic of Ireland has also become a net contributor to the EU coffers for the first time since 1973, things could become interesting as decisions are made on which member states will find the extra cash to fill the EU Brexit budget gap.
After all, would you want to belong to a political club that was doing its level best to distance you from the one market place that you rely on in an almost exclusive way?
The UK needs to playing hard-ball with this far more than it has – especially as both the republic and the EU have proved they are quite happy to do so themselves.
At least the words "Under the caveat that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed …." are in the joint report to give the UK a get out route to 'no deal', which may well be the end result anyway.
Moving on, apart from congratulating the Prime Minister on the 'clear direction' she had given the EU during her latest speech and asking her to remind Eurocrats during the negotiations that 'cake exists to be eaten and cherries exist to be picked' to much Tory applause in the House of Commons, Ian Duncan-Smith has also hit out at the EU's continued insistence that the current sequencing of the Brexit talks is followed.
This, he said, not only makes no sense because it is impossible to produce solutions for things like the Irish border question without knowing what the final deal will look like, but also that more and more people across the EU were getting angry over this approach.
Talking about the EU Commission's approach and the Irish border, the Tory Brexiteer said on Sky's 'All Out Politics':
"I think that there is more and more a pressing sense that they have got this wrong. They insisted on this stage by stage process. But what is actually going on – I've talked to a lot of representatives of various countries around and there's a lot of under-the-surface anger about the way that the commission is insisting on completing the process about the interim period, or the implementation period, without recognising that the deal that follows has a whole bearing on everything that will happen."
and continued saying:
"Unless we get to the point of a free trade arrangement, we cannot dictate what those borders will be like. So they have genuinely made a major mistake."
But one wonders exactly who our PM is really listening to on Brexit when the Times reports that she sought advice on what to put in her Brexit speech from David Cameron. Especially worrying when the committed Remainer is understood to have told her that the contents of her speech were 'sensible'.
Very worrying in fact!
And we'll end on some little publicised stats.
We were warned that a Brexit vote would lead to all sorts of doom and gloom, so it came as a nice little surprise to learn that the number of young people not in education, employment or training – the so-called NEETS – fell by 34,000 between the last quarter of 2016 and the last quarter of 2017.
Don't get me wrong, there are still 794,000 young people in this position and that in my book is 794,000 too many. But, had the number increased instead of decreased, I'm sure the BBC would have been full of it.