Today’s first letter is a press release from ‘Fishing for Leave’ addressing the “Scallop War”:
Caution Needed Over Scallop Resolution
Fishing for Leave campaign said they are delighted the Scallop Wars have starkly brought public focus on how unfair the disastrous CFP is to British fishermen and coastal communities and that they hoped there is a resolution to allow people to go about their lawful operation to support their businesses and families.
The group said talks to find an amiable resolution to the Scallop Wars are welcome, HOWEVER, that it was vital that any agreement does not, and is not used, to manipulate to prejudice Britain’s withdrawal from the CFP.
Spokesman Alan Hastings said:
Some members of FFL have raised the concern that agreeing to short term compensation to abide by local conservation measures specific to France could set a precedent.
A precedent that could be reversed by EU fishermen to claim compensation for loss of access to British waters post Brexit. It must be essentially recognised in any agreement that British vessels, in agreeing any package, are foregoing a legal right under the CFP of ‘equal access to a common resource’ to fish in the Baie de Seine waters outside the member states reserved 12miles. This contrasts with EU vessels who will lose all legal right to fish in British waters under the CFP as agreed in Article 50 with the “treaties ceasing to apply” and the CFP with them. It should therefore be recognised in any agreement that there isn’t any excuse for them to claim compensation for loss of CFP rights which will no longer exist as terminated under treaty law as the EU agreed. We worry that, regardless of EU fishermen not having a legal right to stand on, they could try to politicise any compensation as a propaganda weapon whilst trying to claim access to UK waters after the termination of the CFP. We hope caution dictates that some short-term offer of small beer compensation is not accepted which could be weaponised and thrown in Britain’s face to prejudice the true grand prize next year. We also hope that the agreement does not allow specific compensation for scallops to be cited as an excuse to back down in Brexit negotiations by an establishment particularly ambivalent towards asserting national interest.”
The next letter is from our correspondent Roger Arthur who asks if Ms May is going to be the latest incarnation of Houdini – or not:
TMay’s dilemma seems to be that she will not be able to get Parliament (never mind the EU) to agree 1. The Chequers Proposal, 2. A no deal exit or 3. A Canada+ option.
So here are three conceivable scenarios, a) a leadership election is called, b) she engineers a GE with a manifesto, asking us to decide between a no deal option, or an EFTA Norwegian style option. Does she have any other viable options?
She has already discounted another (3rd) referendum but would probably need EU agreement to an A50 extension, to facilitate a GE. The EU would probably be delighted.
She may then hope that Project fear mark 2, would scare people into opting for the Norwegian option, which comes with open borders.
Many voters would want to give her a good kicking at a GE and if there is one, we could well end up with Corbyn in No 10, possibly running a Coalition Government.
That is all speculation of course, but there is no doubt that May (led by un-elected advisors) has painted herself into a corner. The Canada + option being worked on by David Davis, before he was undermined by TMay and her un-elected aides, is unlikely to suit the majority of (remainer) MPs.
Indeed, the underlying problem is that there are too many remainer MPs and they do not want a real Brexiteer anywhere No 10. So even a leadership election could leave us with Hammond in charge.
As John Longworth says in this article, “We must never join the EEA (with the Norwegian Option) as this is a massive trap and would not be Brexit.”
So who thinks that she will have the backbone to chuck Chequers, going for a no deal exit on WTO terms and would she be able to get that through Parliament? That is the 6 million dollar question.
Respectfully, Roger Arthur