‘Operation Stack’. It’s a term anyone who listens to traffic reports on national radio stations will have been familiar with for years. It’s a logistics exercise, which involves parking lorries on the M20 on approaches to Dover and Folkestone – effectively turning them into giant lorry parks. It happens every time the French decide to blockade their border on some pretext or other. And it is a fairly frequent occurrence, too. Because if there’s one thing the French are good at (besides wearing hooped shirts, consuming amphibious limbs and urinating in public) it’s striking militantly. Moreover, in spite of the media’s collective amnesia, causing traffic inconvenience in Kent was common enough even when we were members of the ‘precious’ European Union with all its supposed benevolence and magnificence.
Even so, there are significant elements of the British media who are keen to portray this as a potential future for us once we step out of the EU’s regulatory orbit. Nothing is mentioned about the fact both Felixstowe and Immingham (the two other principal ports on the east coast) are operating as normal. Very little is said about France being the only European country to impose travel restrictions on UK freight as well as passengers. You see, when the EU talked of prohibiting ‘cherry picking’, they only intended it to work one way. When it came to the ability to plunder British territorial and economic waters at will, they wanted to pretend Brexit had never happened. Well it has in law, and it will in practice in just over one week’s time. It’s why Macron has precipitously decided to throw some sort of Napoleonic hissy fit. As for Boris Johnson’s discussed deal, I’ll wait to see it in its entirety before speculating. The question for me is: Will any potential trade friction be worth it? You bet it will! Because I have seen nothing in the past four-and-a-half years that has persuaded me I made anything other than the correct choice when I opted to Leave in June 2016.
Why is this? Because the European Union – at its most basic level – has two primary functions:
1). To maintain the hegemony of Germany as a manufacturing and export powerhouse.
2). To provide an endless supply of subsidies to keep afloat a woefully inefficient French agricultural sector.
Everything else is subordinate to those two objectives. It’s why, notwithstanding 47 years of UK membership and supposed ‘influence’, those objectives remain unaltered. It’s why we’ve had the scourge of ‘food mountains’ down the decades (even when parts of Africa were starving back in the 1980s). It’s why a currency specifically designed to maintain Germany’s economic and trading prowess was foisted upon Mediterranean states under the guise of European monetary solidarity two decades ago (and why several of them have barely grown in the intervening period). It’s why Merkel invited 1 million folk in from the Middle East in 2016 with the intention of boosting Germany’s potential labour pool. And when the German Chancellor’s folly ignited mass illegal migration into the Greek Islands from Syria via Turkey? Germany then ordered Greece to close its borders. Consequently, those islands that were once a paradise for holidaymakers have been turned into an archipelago of internment camps, with the Greeks shorn of the ability to deport them.
But forget a Greek exit from the EU. Forget, too, any prospect of states who use the euro seeking to emulate our Brexit. Their economies are too mired in debt and too beholden to the mighty single currency to be able to break free without massive economic turmoil. The Brussels juggernaut will plod on regardless, always keen to gloss over any vestiges of public resistance to its grand plans. As for the EU presenting itself as a club of untold riches, it is worth remembering that in 20 of the 27 present member states, economic growth actually fell after they joined.
I’m not saying all will be well in the UK in the years ahead. There will be peaks and troughs. But they will be OUR peaks and troughs – created by those we elect at will and can subsequently remove at will. This French blockade is nothing more than the last desperate breaths of resistance against the dying of the light. More importantly, it is one that will not be forgotten by a British public in their future consumer choices. The UK share of EU imports has already fallen by over £6 billion in a year. I look forward to that decline accelerating in the years ahead.
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