Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 20, 2018

Cowardly Capitulation

Theresa May is facing a Brexit backlash from Tory MPs over her “abject betrayal” of Britain’s fishermen  with rebels planning a fishing boat protest on the Thames.Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of a 60-strong group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, and others are due to board a boat tomorrow in protest. Mr Rees-Mogg will board the boat and give a press conference before it casts off with other MPs to throw fish into the Thames in protest at the alleged “sellout” outside Parliament. Perhaps they should throw May into the Thames too?

UK fishermen asked that no element of the disastrous CFP should be replicated in UK law. The clean break under Article 50 of the TEU and Article 70 of the Vienna Convention should be taken. Replicating the CFP is environmentally, operationally and diplomatically ill advised. All the government had to do was cross its arms and say No! Instead we have surrendered to replicating current shares and access as part of a capitulation to EU demands to obey ALL EU law after we leave as part of a new transition deal and treaty.

This means our supine government and civil servants will technically “take back control as an independent coastal state” but will hand everything straight back to the EU on a plate where we are a satellite vassal state. It’s a pitiful, disgusting, abject betrayal. Even with the biggest democratic mandate in British history by 17.5 million people the europhilia in the conservative party and the effete, supine civil service means they will capitulate to the EU and throw coastal communities to the wolves.

The grave consequence is never escaping because the UK, in agreeing to re-obey the CFP in a new treaty, gives the EU grounds to claim continuity and continuation of rights under the Article 70 and Article 30 of the Vienna Convention of Treaties. The EU can take us to the cleaners by enforcing detrimental legislation to eradicate what’s left of the British fleet and then use international fisheries law (under UNCLOS Article 62.2) to claim the “surplus” resources we would have lost the fleet capacity to catch.

They can abolish the 12mile limit which protects our inshore and shell-fishermen, overturn relative stability shares. Most severely, being trapped in the transition means continuing with the disastrous quota system that forces fishermen to discard species they have no quota for as they try to search for what they are allowed to keep. Without addressing the cause of discards – quotas – the ill-founded discard ban means fishermen must stop fishing when they exhaust their smallest quota – a choke species – regardless of any other species they still have quota to catch.

Studies by public body Seafish have estimated this would mean approximately 60% of the UK’s resources would go uncaught due to this with a similar proportion of the fleet forced out and bankrupted. Brexit would have allowed the industry to dodge this bullet by allowing new bespoke British policy that would have moved to a new discard free management system where fishermen would be limited in time at sea in return for being able to keep all catches.

Now, whilst trapped in the transition, the EU can use the discard ban as a guise to bankrupt what’s left of the British industry and claim all our resources. This abject, limp betrayal of Britain’s hard working fishermen and coastal communities means we are staring down the barrel of a gun when a good clean Brexit would be a salvation, allowing repatriation of half our resources to create a £6-8bn industry to rejuvenate communities. The government knows full well and has been well briefed on the dire ramifications but have deliberately chosen to disregard all representations and public sentiment to supinely appease the EU.

The Prime Ministers Mansion House Speech said this transition sell out was close to being agreed. As early as February this decision to sacrifice fishing was confessed to by chief civil servants despite official protestations (most recently Michael Gove and Ruth Davidson) that fishing would be thrown away as part of a transition. All the histrionics of “leaving the CFP” and “taking back control” have been nothing but playing semantics as a smoke screen of rhetoric to beguile people whilst omitting that our control will be very limited whilst trapped in a transition.

Now we know why the government has continually reverted to a default answer rather than clearly stating in unequivocal terms not that we ‘leave the CFP’ but that there will be no continuation of it in any way shape or form post 2019. This cynicism has now been exposed as a PR exercise playing on words with the reality being that they are prepared to spit in the face of what folk voted for and toss many good MPs, who are genuinely behind the democratic decision and their coastal communities.

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