Always a very powerful argument to claim that your neighbours or some other country want to restrict you. Also happens to be a line particularly popular with paranoid dictatorships. And a discouragement to business or said neighbouring countries to deal with you.
Maybe at some stage the government could be asked, who wants to control us more, the EU wanting us to sign up for level playing field conditions, or the US wanting us to sign up for food rules (and by the way level playing field conditions).
Another question for government - in what exact ways do the EU want us to forfeit our independence? How do these differ from, for example, WTO rules? And what rules are we prepared to sign up for?
A government playing with demagogue lines is always dangerous - and yes the EU don't take it seriously, but as we see in the US, a lot of the population will.

In effect the government is inciting us. And we will be the victims.
PS the sage sees a deal. I am less sure. Because one thing we learn from those that incite the crowd and then deal with the objects of that incitement is that they often have a short shelf life. A dangerous game indeed.
PPS George has been analysing the same piece with the same sort of questions
PPPS Meanwhile in the real world, rather than the pretend one in which the UK are leading to freedom and quite possibly world domination
If as UK consensus has it Gove is actually signalling he wants a deal he has a dangerous way of showing it. Because the EU shrugs, business leaves, and the Brexiteers sharpen knives.

Look again folks. He wants us to know he means it (and thinks that might influence the EU).
There still could be a deal but I find it very hard to understand how the last few days could be seen as the UK preparing for it. Not pressuring the EU on a single subject, or softening up MPs, quite the opposite. It could be bad tactics, or they really believe what they say...

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More from @DavidHenigUK

19 Oct
I'd expect it will be a slow road back to a UK-EU deal in the event of no-deal this year, would require the politics to change significantly, since it would have been UK politcs, not the content of a trade deal, that would have defeated a deal.
As for UK demands for talks to resume, they are easy to meet if the UK wishes to declare them met. Or not if not. The majority view in the EU is that the UK is talking to itself and please let us know if you move beyond that.
Incidentally anyone want to hazard a guess at the number of developed countries globally who do not have or are not currently negotiating a trade deal with neighbouring countries?
Read 4 tweets
19 Oct
Yup. Or even, as I keep saying, does the PM want "this" deal? And I've had a lot of conversations on that in the last few days, nearly all of them move from the content and talk instead of his personality. Wants to be the hero to everyone. Isn't possible. So how does he decide?
If you assume the PM will create a heroic narrative deal or no-deal, that isn't really the basis of his decision. The real world impact of different UK and EU positions on issues is fairly slim. But can the PM more easily survive trade chaos or Brexit backbench dissent? That...
Getting closer but still annoyingly missing key points. The UK does not have full freedom on subsidies anyway because of WTO rules (and other trade deals we will sign). And there's much more to the PM's decision e.g. obvious u-turn on Northern Ireland…
Read 6 tweets
19 Oct
Even church leaders are not immune from the Brexit cult that accuses those who with a different opinion of being divisive (and quite often, though not in this case, unpatriotic traitors).… Image
The relationship between a centralising government which struggles to deal with anyone else (e.g. Manchester, Scotland, London, the EU), and the pure Brexit cult for whom nothing (church, international law, economy) comes before hostility to the EU, is a dangerous one indeed.
A good example of the kind of nonsense currently coming from the pure Brexit cult (who let us recall right now want to break the Withdrawal Agreement and start a trade war with the EU). Encouraged by the UK government blaming the EU.
Read 7 tweets
18 Oct
Wise. The idea that it is necessary to firm up domestic support by insulting the other side of a negotiation is being heavily overhyped in the Brexit debate. Just as likely you talk yourself out of a possible deal. Image
Goes alongside the most often stated fact about trade talks, that it is either overhyped at outright wrong, that the EU or anyone else only does trade deals at the last minute. For which there is no evidence however often it is repeated as fact.
There's a role in trade talks for showing toughness, as there is for deadlines. In moderation. Ultimately it is about the red lines of both sides. Plus the surrounding mood music. And we still don't know in the case of UK-EU, because we don't know where UK red lines are.
Read 4 tweets
18 Oct
True. Which leads to the bigger political problem. If you imagine all that border friction at Dover, how do you think it is avoided on trade between Britain and Northern Ireland? Answer, as we know, is that a deal doesn't remove that issue.
There's also a second political issue, which is the anticipation that a deal leads to further smaller deals to ease border controls. Which is exactly what the Brexit ultras will fear about a deal, a gradual return to the EU's orbit.
I don't think most of the Brexit commentary understands that there is a set of UK decisions approaching in which some will lose out (deja vu for the DUP perhaps). So we need to ask who they are going to be. The ERG? Business?
Read 4 tweets
17 Oct
Brexit. UK-EU talks. Let's try to explain why we're in such a state, of increased risk of no deal, moving away from the fish and playing fields which are the detail but not the answer, to differing philosophies and divorce parallels that might just help... 1/
First, with apologies to those concerned, we need to go beyond those saying this is the inevitable path to deal / no-deal. Half of them will be right and I'll definitely be wrong (don't worry, I'm hedged in wine bets), but it wasn't inevitable, typical, or necessary. 2/
I'll also ignore the content of any deal, which has been clear for months, the UK compromises on level playing field, the EU on fish. Something so obvious really isn't the fundamental issue. Could, as some not noted for their perspicacity have said, be done in an afternoon. 3/
Read 19 tweets

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