t’s actually a speech that Boris Johnson should have made, and quite why cameras weren’t allowed to film it, God only knows. It articulated the Government’s plans for a post-Brexit Britain better than anyone else has done. It set down its approach to the free trade deal negotiations in a way that that no one could misunderstand. It set some red lines which Brussels will actually believe we won’t cross.
And if they don’t believe in them, well, yet again they may be in for a big surprise. Barnier and his little helpers are tying themselves up in knots with their utter hypocrisy over their about turn on offering us a Canadian-style deal, and they think we can’t see it.
It’s obvious that both sides do a lot of chest-beating at the start of any negotiation, so this one is no different. There will be an element of compromise on both sides but one thing I don’t see Johnson’s government compromising on is the notion of regulatory alignment. If Britain doesn’t have the right to make its own laws after Brexit and is obliged to mirror EU legislation, despite having no input into its drafting, we might as well not have left.
That doesn’t mean that regulatory equivalence on some (but not all) issues isn’t something that we shouldn’t consider. One other red line that must not be crossed is the arbitration method for resolving disputes. This cannot involve the European Court. The EU has arbitration methods with Canada and Japan which do not involve the supremacy of the European Court. Canada wouldn’t stand for it. Japan wouldn’t stand for it. Nor will we.
The grandstanding of Barnier on proximity demonstrates their fear that Britain will outcompete the EU on the world stage. And they will use any means – fair or foul – to prevent that from happening. Reading David Frost’s speech, it is clear to me that he understand that.
This site has the full text of David Frost’s speech. It’s well worth your time reading it. Once you’ve done so, spread the word on social media about its brilliance.