Dr Alf brings us an excellent and informative blog having completed his latest round of globetrotting but I cannot buy the Gideon Rachman analysis.
To begin with, £50billion GBP seems to me an excessive amount given that the negotiating period under Article 50 is supposed to be 2 years.
Our nett budget contributions after rebates are supposedly £12 billion GBP per year, so in my fevered brain that equals £24 billion GBP. The UK spends 2% of its budget on defence, mostly contributions to NATO, so as other EU countries spend half that amount and have done for the best part of 35 years that suggests a further downward adjustment which needs to be calculated.
We get access to the Single Market through which 44% of our exports go but lose an even bigger sum through loss of Corporation Tax to the Dublin Financial District.
Agreeing a settlement now will provide an incentive for EU negotiators to drag out the process so that we go on making budget contributions at the rate of £12 billion GBP per year so this approach is not sensible.
Hammond and May are at heart ‘Remainers’ and until they were confronted by backbenchers would have allowed negotiations to run out into the sand and then quit after the 2020 election. They cannot be trusted to deliver as evidenced by their choice of negotiators in the form of the three stooges Davis, Johnson and the hapless Dr Liam Fox. Negotiations must be time limited and conducted by someone like John Redwood who is more hard nosed.
In the background, we need to be encouraging German luxury car makers to pressurise Merkel who is no longer seen as popular or credible following the refugee crisis and we need to be dealing sternly with our own supplicants north of the river Tweed and West of the wall that Septimus Severus built to contain the Welsh. Both Sturgeon and her Welsh counterparts need to be placed on “thin gruel” in the form of no more Barnett Formula and the same logic in nuanced form needs to be applied to the lovers of Michael Ango in Cornwall and to Northern Ireland.
The EU accounts have never been signed off as kosher and are riddled with “financial irregularity” so before we hand over a “divorce settlement” we need to have the extent of this properly calculated and deducted from the final settlement.
If we cannot get traction in these talks and in very short order, then we should consider jettisoning the Celtic fringe, becoming a tax haven along the lines of a bigger Singapore, fracking in the north of England and attracting even more wealthy inward investors.
The EU currently owes £4.4 trillion GBP and if Greece or a PIIG country goes down it will be bankrupted and will split so the people we will negotiate with now will change, possibly within a year.
We must hold our nerve, not accept Juncker’s nonsense, and if necessary go for the “nuclear ” option.