Words with oathbreakers: How should the EU deal with the UK?


Question: Do you know what could be considered the best approach to a hostage situation? From a game theory point of view, the best approach is to not give in to the demands of the criminals or at the very least not to do so publicly. This is done so that the act of taking hostages and bartering with them would be considered an unprofitable action on the hostage takers part and as such limit the act of taking hostages. So, if you were to give in on the demands of those who take hostages, the act itself would be encouraged on your part and lead to further hostage situations in the future.

Keeping this in mind, we shall now examine a thought experiment: You are a negotiator on a scene of a hostage situation with the power to make any decisions you deem necessary. The villain has locked themselves in their house with hostages and has threatened the lives of the hostages as well as your men outside the home, if their demands are not met. Their demands include but are not limited to money, getaway car and immunity against the crimes committed thus far. You are also aware that the villain in question is infamous for lying and still going through with their threats even after getting what they demanded. How would you act in this scenario?

Luckily most of us will never find ourselves in such a terrible situation, but based upon our quick overview of game theory, the worst thing you could do in our thought experiment would be to give in on the demands of the hostage taker. It is therefore woeful to see that in the real world, on the international arena, when met with threats by the UK, the EU has chosen to try and appease the party making the threats. The UK we once knew is lost, and what we are left with is this post-Brexit Britain, simply wearing the husk of its greater past self. The EU can no longer deal with Westminster the same way we could before, and as such we must ask ourselves, what should the new relationship between the EU and the UK be, or if there can even be any deeper relationship between the two.

To understand where we stand today and where we must go, it is wise for us to look back and see how we got here. After over 40 years of membership, the black sheep of the European Union held a referendum in 2016, which ended in the UK choosing to withdraw from the EU. After over 3.5 years and multiple Prime Ministers later, the UK made its exit at the beginning of 2020 and entered the transition period. At this time Boris Johnson had risen to the position of Prime Minister and had garnered a healthy majority in the UK Parliament. He did so by riding on the promise of the so-called heavenly “Oven ready deal”, which would heal all UK’s sorrows and bring an end to the negotiations of UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Known to us as the Withdrawal Agreement, it dictated the future between the EU and UK and established where the legislative borders of the two would be drawn. It was signed in January 2020, as an international treaty as well as into EU and British law.

“This does break international law in a very specific and limited way”, these words were uttered without any sense of shame in the UK Parliament at the start of September 2020. In less than a year the UK was trying to break apart the “Oven ready deal”, as the UK began crafting a domestic law that would contradict and rewrite parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. While this was happening the EU and the UK were still negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal, and this display of utter contempt to the rule of law should have been reason enough to end the negotiations, only to resume when the UK respects its word and fulfilled its duties as set out in the Agreement. But the negotiations continued and on Christmas Eve we had a trade deal.

So now the transition period has ended and all that are left are a few graze periods that the EU bestowed upon the UK, and with it a long companionship has come to an end. But what of that insolence we witnessed in September of 2020? Was that something unbecoming of the UK, a miserable speck on an otherwise pure path, or was it the clearest and loudest warning of what was to come? I dare say it was the latter without a single shade of doubt in my mind. In March this year the UK was treading the same path as before, announcing that they would extend the graze periods granted to them as they themselves pleased, aiming to break international law for the second time. In May this year some French fishing boats were protesting what they claimed to be poor British bureaucracy, denying them access to fishing waters around the Jersey island. The situation got heated and some alarming implications regarding Jersey’s electrical network were made by the French, to get the island to comply. How did the UK answer to this? Did they clear out the bureaucratic requirements, so that confusion and inefficiency be removed? Did they get in contact with Paris and have this unfortunate mess solved diplomatically as neighbours and allies? No, the UK decided to send in the gunboats as a show of force. In July this year the UK made a demand to the EU: rip apart the Withdrawal Agreement. The “Oven ready deal” was crafted and signed by the very people who now demand it to be nullified as unfit for purpose and renegotiated, a demand the EU has rightfully rejected.

These are but a few examples in what could be called the growing record of sins of the UK. This is not how a functional democracy ought to act, rather this is more akin to a failed state. And the worst part of it all is that the EU continues to engage with the UK as it once was, rather than what it is today. This is not the UK we once knew; one how kept its word and whose sigil brought with it legitimacy to whatever it was assigned to. The UK of today is a collection of charlatans, who built their government on lies and can maintain it only through dishonesty. The signature of Westminster is not worth the ink with which it is written and more than that, it actively devalues the paper which carries it. What fools are we to have taken any of their words as true in the past? And worse yet, what fools have we been to have tried to appease these serpents with flexibility and compromise?

So, what is there to be done? How should we continue forward? The first action of the EU should be to continue with the legal actions against the UK, which were started due to the UK neglecting its obligations and threatening to break international law. These actions were put on hold at the end of July this year, in an effort to try and appease the continually erratic UK. To go against one’s own word and obligations is something that cannot stand, and as such the EU must pursue its right to hold the UK to account. The second point, one that I hope all have begun to see, is to accept that we are dealing with a new entity, an untrustworthy nation lies at our doorstep, and we must put our foot down. We were promised corrective tariffs in the Trade and Co-operation Agreement and such measures should be taken immediately against the UK, followed by a re-examination of the EU’s treaties with the UK, as they were built on a mirage of trust, one that has been proven to not be there. Thirdly the EU must take a hard stance against the UK and no longer give in to threats and partake in appeasement. The belief that the EU will treat its member states as poorly as Westminster treats the nations of the UK, will feed into this reprehensible behaviour until the UK has managed to perform an economic annexations and subjugation of the entire island of Ireland, as indicated by the words of the Prime Ministers former advisor Dominic Cummings.

In this current reality Westminster holds three cards with which to do battle against the EU, and to each of them we shall try and find an answer. The first card is: Give us what we want, or we will conduct policy that causes shortages amongst the people of the UK. As heartless as this is, the wellbeing of the people of the UK is no longer a responsibility shared. External sovereignty dictates that it is the responsibility of the UK to care for its people, and we must be strong enough to hold our ground. Decades of companionship with the people of the UK doesn’t just go away and as such it is natural for us to care for them, but giving in to hostage takers cannot be our stance. We must stand our ground and in due time our friends on the isle will find their way back to us, so to guarantee a prosperous future awaits them at our side we must leave the fight for their health into their own hands.

The second card the UK holds is: Give us what we want, or we will stir the cool cinders of Northern Ireland until the streets run red. Out of their cards, this one is without a doubt the most dangerous one, as delegitimizing rhetoric against the Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement and the Northern Irish Protocol which protects it, can carry devastating consequences. As a union of peace and as a guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, it is only natural for the EU to wish to avoid any loss of life in Northern Ireland. In pursuit of this goal of peace, the EU has changed some of its own rules to ease the movement of medicine into Northern Ireland, as well as extended graze periods granted to the UK and continually offered alternatives to the UK in regard to frictions caused by UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The UK has returned our efforts by continued failures to instate the infrastructure Northern Irish Protocol requires, rather spending that time complaining how difficult it is to be a 3rd country. The EU has allowed itself to be tricked into believing that it must take on the herculean task of upholding the peace on the island alone, but this is not the case. The EU is not the only one acting as a guarantor of peace in Ireland, but so are the USA and UK as well. If the UK is willing to abandon its commitments to peace with its rhetoric, it shall then fall to the EU and USA both to stand for it. As long as the EU can trust the USA, we are not alone in our fight for Irish peace. But with these talks of nations, we must not forget the people themselves. The people of the island of Ireland rejected Brexit, the republic and north both. Those who now seek to undermine the Northern Irish Protocol and peace on the island do not speak for the people, nor have their interests at heart. They are a spiteful minority who see the people of Northern Ireland as pawns to be sacrificed in a sadistic game to attack the EU and Ireland both. So as before the EU must stand firm and trust its allies on the other side of the Atlantic. As long as we can trust the USA to hold to its commitments and as long as we remember that it is us who are fighting on the side of the people of Ireland, the threats of Westminster lose the bite it was meant to have.

The final card the UK holds is: Give us what we want, or we will turn Northern Ireland into a smugglers den, undermining the Single Market with illegal goods. Out of the three cards the UK holds, this is the one they have held the longest and might also be the one they hoped would grant them all their wishes. The belief the UK could through threats to the Single Market dictate conditions was shot down by EU’s negotiators when the legislative borders were drawn, but the UK has yet to toss this card. So how should the EU react to this particular scenario? The protection of the Single Market is self-evident, to not do so would mean betraying the member states and subjecting the peoples of the EU to goods unfit for human use. So how can we protect the people of the EU as well as protect peace on the island of Ireland? The only way is either for the UK to submit to EU’s regulatory power or keep the legislative border in the Irish Sea. The way the EU may counter this last card of UK’s is to stop appeasing UK’s threats and require them to uphold their duties as laid down in the Protocol, with the option of alignment always open. If or rather when this gets rejected by Westminster the EU must immediately muster its economic might with legal action, tariffs as set out in the Trade and Co-operation Agreement and if necessary economic sanctions. Should the UK still fail to enforce the border on the Irish Sea, the EU should be open to taking over the operation of said enforcement. As before, the key is to stand firm. The UK does pose a threat to the integrity of the Single Market and there is no trusting the UK in respecting it. But if there is no doubt that the EU will bring down the hammer of justice when the UK tries to undermine the safety and health of EU citizens, we should be fine. There are prices that even idiots are not willing to pay, so we shall simply attach said price tag to the UK's threats.

The tragic fall of the UK has been devastating to witness, how a nation on honour lost its way and became nothing more than oathbreakers acting like rabid beast. But melancholy and nostalgia for a better neighbour will get us nothing, what we need are actions. In this paper we have gone through a journey of the UK's fall and analysed the cards the UK holds in its hand. We have concluded that the best course of action for the EU is to recognize what the UK has become, a nation led by cheats. The EU must take a firm stance against the UK, stopping the appeasement the UK has robbed with its former reputation and demand law and treaties are respected, and that failure to do so will bring with it economic consequences of biblical proportions. The EU must also stand together with its Atlantic ally the USA, to protect peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland, as the UK seems unwilling to do so. To take such a strong stance is mayhap disheartening, but to do otherwise would mean making it clear that threats are a way of gaining what you want. But it is not the case. Only through negotiation and agreement can any party gain what it wants, and these treaties shall with trust be made firm. Such is the nature of sovereignty; within my domain I rule, if thou wish to rule with me it can be made so, try and assert thyself without consent and you will find your power lacking. A sovereign EU is stronger than threats made by the charlatans of a failed state, it is time we act accordingly.

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