One has to wonder. Is this the most incompetent British government in living memory?
The latest fracas relates to the provision to the Brexit Select Committee of two heavily redacted lever arch files with assessments of the impact of Brexit. Michael Deacon in the Telegraph (£) summarizes better than I ever could the farcical contradictions of David Davis’s statements about the existence or non-existence of sectoral or not actually sectoral impact analyses. Deacon’s summary: “So, to recap: Mr Davis’s department both has and hasn’t produced almost 60 reports, and each one is simultaneously detailed, sketchy, and non-existent.”
But let’s leave all that aside. The argument now being put forward is that any publication of the sectoral analyses would weaken Britain’s negotiating position. That’s funny. So the government does an impact analysis and then blacks out huge sections of it so that they are not seen by ‘the enemy’.
What is the EU to conclude from that? Clearly Mr Davis and his team believe that the EU conclusion will be that Britain’s negotiating position is so strong, the impact of Brexit on the UK so wonderfully marvellous that they do not want those on the opposite side of the negotiating table to know about it.
Or maybe they believe that the voters’ conclusion will be that DExEU wants to protect them from knowing just how much better off they are going to be once Britain is out. Otherwise, I guess, they might be tempted to rush out and spend all their money before Christmas.
The reality is that the strengthening of the EU’s negotiating position is directly proportional to the amount of black ink on the redacted papers. What’s underneath the black ink is now irrelevant. Except to the average British citizen who has every right to know what’s in store for him or her.
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