WE ARE STILL FIGHTING THIS DEVILISH VIRUS, BUT THIS NEW YEAR REALLY IS ONE OF CHANGE AND HOPE [EXTRACT]
In the last few days of 2020, two big things suddenly went right. A great new deal with our European friends and a new vaccine against Covid
By Boris Johnson
Daily Telegraph – 31 December 2020
… I am absolutely confident that with the right energy and determination we can this year seize opportunities to transform our country – opportunities unknown to modern memory. In the last few days of 2020, two big things suddenly went right. Despite the many predictions of failure – and constant suggestions that the talks should be abandoned – we got a great new deal with our European friends and neighbours.
When I say great, I mean that it commanded the support of 521 members of the House of Commons, including most of the Labour Party, and with no Conservative opponents at all and (barring two abstentions) the approval of every single one of the illustrious Spartans, the lynx-eyed vigilantes for truth who have campaigned for the last five years for a proper Brexit that respects the will of the people.
They wanted to be absolutely sure that we have taken back control of our borders – and we have, with a points-based immigration system that starts today. They wanted to be sure that we had honoured the most basic promises of the referendum of June 2016, and taken back control of our money, our laws and our waters; and we have, in every particular. And yet it is also the essence of this treaty that it provides certainty for UK business and industry, because it means that we can continue to trade freely – with zero tariffs and zero quotas – with the EU.
I hope I can be forgiven for reminding the world that many people used to insist that you couldn’t do both: you couldn’t have unfettered free trade with the EU, we were assured, without conforming to EU laws. You couldn’t have your cake and eat it, we were told. Maybe it would be unduly provocative to say that this is a cake-ist treaty; but it is certainly from the patisserie department. I believe it is a big win for both sides of the Channel. For us, it means the end of the rancorous bickering about “Europe” that has bedevilled our politics for so long. It means the end of that uneasy feeling that we were constantly being asked to sign up for the details of a project – a giant federal fusion of states – in which we didn’t really believe and hadn’t really bargained for. [ ... ]