Politics Live 29 April 2019
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Oh Dan you are an incorrigible delinquent at times alright we're going to welcome on Pascal Lamy he is former director-general of the World Trade Organization and former EU trade commissioner welcome to the program you're giving a speech tonight about brexit I think you also giving a speech about climate change and the current situation on brexit now you said this morning on the BBC on the Today program that we made the wrong choice in negotiating withdraw agreement first and then the rest what did you mean well I'm trying to understand why both UK and the EU bit more UK than the EU in this mess it is a mess my conclusion my own interrogation that it was always to be a mess but some thought it wouldn't be some for breakfast would be sort of short surgical deep blog operation that was not to be done has always been and we should have understood that on both sides by the way better at the beginning a long painful on scrambling process right well that was I agree with salami I think the important point was the biggest mistake was made was right at the beginning when the EU and the UK agreed to put the withdrawal process first and separate that out from any kind of future relationship I don't and I spent weekend half ago I spent two hours with mr. Barney and his team talking about how you can unscramble this separately and I made a proposal the point is did you think first of all but did you think it was going to be simple surgical and easy I never said it was going to be simple I don't think it ever was going to be simple but the key question was it could have been a lot easier and I think the main point is that the two elements of those elements together first of all what dictates the way you leave and your future relationship are inextricably linked because often the future relationship dictates what kind of process of departure you have and therefore whether there's issues around money there all day at the same time but to separate them has been an unmitigated disaster because it's meant we never get to the future relationship or let's remember that this very specific interpretation of article 50 was not the EU interpretation it was the British Prime Minister was under formidable pressure from registers who said Bridget is Bridget we have to do it now we have to do it now and in order to do it now let's stop the process negotiate with Robert agreement and then we will see now the we will see is now taking revenge the reason why the thing doesn't work politically in the UK it's not a new problem I mean there's reality there's never been a negotiation between EU and UK the fundamental problem is whether UK can agree with UK on what bracelet is about ie ie how much of regulatory divergence do the British people want in do they want a big divergence do they want a small divergence if it's a big divergence you exit a lot politically and economically and this has a big cost if you exit a little this is a little political but at a much lower cost and this trade-off between how much you exert politically and how much we get economically is not available for the moment because it wasn't really search that was to be determined later all right so later is taking revenge do you agree well I actually is one of those that said we should have settled where we were going to be as the number one priority what we want and this is the point I just made earlier because we haven't sat down and agreed what the future relationship is going to be which by the way dictates what those relationships are across the board with its customs union or whatever then it's been the wrong way around now I have to say quite categorically the problem isn't just I've never been able to agree here the truth is part that is true isn't Parliament itself is not in agreement really the British public because the Parliament is being elected mostly full of people like Vince who just don't want to leave anyway and the reality has been there for a process of blocking this so you know with respect to salami here domestically the public said they wanted to leave and we should have delivered the leave by now on the 29th of March not that has been the disaster I agree I agree that the public decided they wanted to leave with absolutely no clue of what the implications of that would be economically they will hold again and again with salami by the chancellor everybody else it'll be a disaster if you go it'll be economic suicide that jobs will be lost they were old all of that they still voted to leave the idea that somehow they had no idea what was going they didn't believe that and they voted to leave so let's get on with it look look I was the chief of staff in 1985 when we met with Margaret Thatcher and I was there and had a discussion with her whether moving the direction of the internal market was the right thing to do and she said yes of course because integrating markets reducing obstacle to trade removing border is a great thing for us all which it was now if she was right and I think the Tories roughly believe she was right unless I don't understand properly British politics moving the other around is at a cost if moving the single market if integrating these economies if removing the borders were so beneficial going the other way around has a cost how much of a cost how much of a loss depends on how much UK dance to deviate from EU regulation and back to this problem and I agree with you that's the big issue but there's no compromise today and the fact that we've left the future open allows the sort of paranoia on both sides brexit jurors believe they will be cheated and we may not believe they will be cheated that's that's I think well I actually I think it comes down to one element all of these are the debate about what the future relationship should be but the truth is you could get this deal through if the EU and the UK were prepared to agree to the alternative arrangements on the Irish border which allowed you to have no fixed border and the process now these have been worked through they've been proposed but the government's never put them to them I spent at two hours yovanna the other day talking to others they all know that this is where it's going to have to be because the existing backstop does not work in practice it was plucked from Turkey and it does not work all right so the reality is doing that we'll get this agreement through and the rest is then down to about a year an hour's worth of serious negotiation about whether we want a trade deal which with respect I was director German of the World Trade Organization for eight years of my life which has something to do about custom procedures and this notion that exiting the internal market implies no border iron is pie in the sky there's no way you can exit the internal market without a border by the way that is not when did we when did we have the internal market when we removed the borders yeah yeah but we didn't remember how to remove the border when we were outside of the Schengen Agreement and the point it's also worth remembering is that the existing borders you take something like Rotterdam which does all the ex non EU trade coming in including SPS food markets etc they inspect less than 2% and they don't do it at the border they do it well back from the fix port I'm sorry I was over there I went through it with them the reality is technology now means the idea of barriers and voices is gone a total confusion and by the way which also exists on the neighbor side between the internal market and the customs union the customs union Israel tariffs goods the internal market is about regulations now if you want to divert which is what you want to do which is rather than in the end I think I think not much of that will happen in my own view but I may be wrong if you walk to diverge you have to accept that there will be a border because we you have to control things which abide to different regulatory requirement of course but you'd work on the principle of two things first is equivalence the second take for example the agreement and no it's not but you here is respects ample take what New Zealand does with the EU the using is not a member of the EU's not a member of the single market its foodstuffs are not inspected here because why they trust and agree that in New Zealand the inspections that bring their standards right are at the same level all better than that of the eve and they agree that that is done at the point of departure they are not done at the border so the idea of this being a border point really incorrect no no it's not completely incorrect I'm sorry I agree that if you want try to flow as nicely as possible many of customs procedures have to be moved upstream but you still need a border to check that this is the case the border is not a notional process that is about equivalence and agreement not specific border I mean I agree with is that equivalence is not a magic one you only accept equivalence if you trust and if your collective preferences are harmonized I agreed that for instance on beer there is nothing that really says how you produce beer in the opinion so there's been a written bedroom and in Bavaria and then Scotland and if good if beer is good for Scotland is good for Bavaria now that is okay it's not going to be okay that GMO food or about coronate poetry I'm sorry about that we will not accept GMO food if you want to accept if you want to accept if I don't know whether or not but if you want to accept chlorinated poultry or GMO food there will be a bother and cost because the UK says they won't erect a border and doesn't want a hard border the EU has pretty well said the same the World Trade Organization won't be putting up a border will it the border is something you need to protect your consumer your citizens from risk of imports that do not fit with your regulatory purposes take the example our environment for instance we have a relatively high per Environment Protection standards in the opinion if the UK exit and wants to move down there will be controls at the border but environmental goods or even it's not done at the border anything like that is done at the point of departure and the point of a right can I just say it is a very instructive conversation actually so I didn't interrupt but you know mr. Lumm is a public servant right who has headed the World Trade Organization for 8 years actually understands trade law and trade procedures which is why all this simplistic one can't get away with is just trying to say well it's all the fault of Parliament and people like me I'd be I'm completely open and honest about the Liberal Democrats opposition to brexit from day one we're not to simply sitting in any way whatever that what's what mr. Lama has brought out with crystal clarity is that we're not dealing with you know BEC suppress it isn't a minor issue you know you're in know you're out we've got a whole range of Rex adoptions that is the single point that is why Parliament is paralyzed because the brexit is cannot agree amongst them what form of brexit they want that's what we're having these elections that's where in a complete bind all right well let's um let's sort of move further if you like into the elections that are coming up local and European elections is this is it trade that's talked about on the doorsteps with brexit did you notice in all your discussions that you've had with local constituents that this argument that Ian Duncan Smith and Pascale and me are having was that something that people knew about no right we did to two big kind of in-depth features at the weekend about particularly at local elections and the first one was speaking to people in the parts of Greater Manchester that virtually nobody votes up to kind of 80 to 83 percent of people what was really noticeable I think you can sometimes overstate how much local elections were proxy for the national picture this time though it was quite striking that people were talking about brexit on the doorstep they were or certainly in leave areas anyway people are talking about brexit and when we asked people why they weren't voting whereas in previous years they might have just said oh you know there's no point I don't like politicians this time it was I voted in 2016 you know nothing has happened I'm not going to vote again and we had a lot of people saying we're never going to vote again I think you're absolutely right I think the big issue is the distrust in politicians it's that a thing of but I haven't seen anything happen and the problem is locally you have that issue of the pothole that wasn't dealt with or that other problem that you've spotted and you've seen and it's still a problem so you get that general distrust of well nothing happens at a council level nothing's happening at a national level does anyone really listen to me and does anyone really care what I think and I think the stairs he feeds into that as well because councils have been underfunded now for the best well at least have had their budgets reduced over the course of nearly a decade so councils are themselves less able to do the things that they used to be able to do so you know say you vote for a counselor in the council against it and they probably less likely to be able to fix whatever the thing was that you were annoyed about in the first place than they would have been ten years ago and then that's compounded by what's going on in Westminster do you think bricks it's going to happen that's got me I mean I probably changed my mind 24 times in the last hour referendum to place where are you today I'm my my heart is of course not with Bridget but I have to work with my expertise and my godson I think the likelihood Nonnberg zit is no but higher than it was a year ago and a year ago it was higher than the day after the referendum and I think the reason for that is that sort of the reality the problem of out scrambling is slowly back elating whereas a huge simplification and I think Vince Cable was right this what is either in or out people are starting to realize it's more complex than that now of course it leads to a lot of absurdity the fact that UK who voted to leave in June 2016 is now having to vote to elect European parliamentarians a month from now because this is the law and it's the law that UK people as long as you can have the right to vote on it obviously is frankly speaking this is absurd and this notion I must notion that these people will be legitimately elected members even Thomas we vote in a new commission and then they just make absolutely that I'm going to attend thank you very much for coming in