Gove lets slip the truth about Brexit. The timing couldn’t be more embarrassing.

Michael Gove
Tom Coburg

Earlier this week, cabinet office minister Michael Gove dropped a spectacular clanger when he inadvertently revealed that the Johnson government’s Brexit dealings are nonsensical. The phrase Gove used to describe the latest agreement regarding Brexit and the north of Ireland actually describes the situation before the referendum.

U-turn on Irish border

On 8 December 2020, Gove and European commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič, co-chairs of the EU-UK Joint Committee, announced that certain clauses in the Internal Market bill relating to the north of Ireland would be dropped. This amounts to a huge u-turn by the Johnson government, particularly as only three months earlier Gove swore on his job that the government wouldn’t back down on the bill (and, presumably, any of its parts).

This change in direction means that there will be no checks at the border between north and south Ireland. However, there will be a “regulatory” border between the north of Ireland and the rest of the UK. The UK government has also issued comprehensive guidelines on what happens with goods entering or leaving the north of Ireland after 1 January.

The Northern Ireland Protocol, published in 2019 as part of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, provides further details. Crucially, the protocol “avoids a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and safeguards the all-island economy and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions”. That protocol will only last four years, after which it’s subject to renewal.

“Best of both worlds”

Gove triumphantly announced that the changes will mean:

Businesses in Northern Ireland now get the best of both worlds, access to the European single market and at the same time unfettered access to the rest of the UK market.

But as Dr Mike Galsworthy, founder of Scientists for EU, pithily remarked:

And Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Ian Blackford commented that if the north of Ireland can have the “best of both worlds” then so should Scotland:

Moreover, if the north of Ireland remains in the EU single market, that may add to the argument for an eventual united Ireland.

The Cameron endorsed document

But this “best of both worlds” when applied to Brexit is not some new notion. Far from it, for the phrase was the title of a white paper presented to the UK parliament in February 2016, with a foreword by then prime minister David Cameron.

The full title of the white paper was The best of both worlds: the United Kingdom’s special status in a reformed European Union. It argued that the UK should remain in the EU, given certain reforms within the EU.

Cameron stated:

Our special status gives us the best of both worlds. We will be in the parts of Europe that work for us – influencing the decisions that affect us, in the driving seat of the world’s biggest market and with the ability to take action to keep our people safe. But we will be out of the parts of Europe that do not work for us. So as well as being out of ever closer union, we will never join the euro and never be part of Eurozone bailouts or the passport-free no borders area.

He added:

Leaving Europe would threaten our economic and our national security. Those who want us to leave cannot say if British businesses would be able to access Europe’s free trade single market, or if working people’s jobs are safe or how much prices would rise. All they are offering is risk at a time of uncertainty – a leap in the dark. I do not believe that would be right for Britain.

My recommendation is clear: I believe every family, household, business, community and nation within our United Kingdom will be stronger, safer and better off by remaining inside this reformed European Union.

Now that’s all history.

Glaringly obvious question

Meanwhile, the negotiations between the UK and the EU in regard to what happens after 1 January 2021 are continuing. There may only be days to go before those negotiations cease, with only a no-deal option remaining and the consequent massive hit to the already coronavirus-ravaged UK economy.

But the glaringly obvious question remains: if Gove admits that the north of Ireland will get the “best of both worlds”, then why not the entire UK too? Indeed, Gove’s inadvertent admission arguably equates to a damning of the entire Brexit deception, exemplified by the lies sold by the Vote Leave campaign that he and Johnson fronted.

Featured image via Wikimedia

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  • Show Comments
    1. But the glaringly obvious question remains: if Gove admits that the north of Ireland will get the “best of both worlds”, then why not the entire UK too? Indeed, Gove’s inadvertent admission arguably equates to a damning of the entire Brexit deception, exemplified by the lies sold by the Vote Leave campaign that he and Johnson fronted.
      //
      Interesting outcome now AFTER ,D.U.P. going to bed with Ms May back in 2017
      until she got the boot from her own party members over the W-D- bill
      she & the D.U.P. help put together while in bed with one another.
      //
      All I can say is good luck all the parties of U.K. when they apply
      for independence now to leave us.
      1- Scotland leaving the U.K. area
      2- Wales leaving the U.K. area
      3- N-Ireland leaving the U.K. area
      On or before Next G.E. Boris + Ministers alike.
      Remember Boris the voter will decide this matter NOT Govt members next G.E. time.
      And we have ONLY you Boris + Tory party to thank for this mess unfolding now
      as you are in FULL POWER NOW and change the rules to soot? Your party needs
      not that of our 4 aligned union -country needs or other part of them fact Tory Govt plus, Boris within U.K. area ONLY is not the soul part U.K. area in charge now.
      ///
      FINALLY—Boris
      Will or have you sold out our fisheries in way in your new deal you come back with Yes or no?? -IN-addition, will you be bringing our larger ships back from other area of the world to (protect-police ) our U.K -WATER fishing rights now yes or no? as no ship are doing it now at this present time Boris WHY?

    2. In 2017 Labour under Corbyn promised to honour the Referendum result. By 2019 Remainers inside the Party had ensured pledge was broken- so Labour duly got wiped out.
      Then large swathes of former Corbynistas must have voted for their fellow Remainer Starmer to be the new Leader. Of course now he’s got the top job he can abandon all his bullshit “Socialist” pledges- and indeed his passionate commitment to Remain.
      A totally predictable tragedy for anyone who was hoping for a seriously radical government.

    3. Good news for a United Ireland. Its been a long time coming since the 13th century when it was split.
      Any time to unite is a good one.
      Also Biden says USA prefers not to have the border closed.
      Gove is covering up for his previous mistakes in foolery, and wearing his haunted castle look of appeasement to save his political skin.
      It may show the depth of the social financial mess that is just around the corner that he sees coming.
      Plans go awry!
      Now for Scotland, and Wales to have a life within the EU union which belongs to the 21st century instead of the sentimental desires of a bygone age when people were actually smart.
      Francis Bacon of the 16the century for one
      What’s astounding about this Brexit Fiasco is that no mature move was ever made by the Tories to work out solutions for a better world with its neighbour and biggest trading partner warts and all.
      Infantile comes to mind.

    4. Starmer’s fudge on the EU was intended to scupper Corbyn. Starmer has been a right-wing, Zionist plant all along. He never supported Corbyn’s politics. Had Labour stuck to Corbyn’s gun – the vote was taken, we are leaving – Johnson wouldn’t be PM. But the Labour right has always preferred Tories to socialists.

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