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Why has no one asked David Davis to ensure free movement for ferrets?

Ferret

A European ferret. Source: Wikipedia. © Creative Commons Alfredo Gutiérrez

The detail to be covered in Brexit negotiations is the stuff of nightmares. But sometime an MP,  is bound to table a Commons question, at the behest of constituents, on the free movement of ferrets.

Every year some 250,000 pets cross the Channel under an EU agreement. I have been unable to locate statistics showing how many of them were ferrets but most were dogs and cats.

Originally ferrets were excluded from the Pet Passport scheme but after a lot of squealing by ferret lovers in England the European Parliament voted in 2003 to extend the rules.

According to the Daily Mail in 2003: ‘The new law will make it easier for British male ferrets to meet French female ferrets,’ an EU spokesman said.

According to Politico.eu the EU chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, is aware that Pet Passports is one of the issues that will have to be settled. There is no evidence that even he is aware of the effect on ferrets.

But we don’t even know if David Davis is aware of the issue. When he gets down to details of Brexit I just hope he does a reverse ferret.

 

Mail and Express seeking to push UK over the cliff edge

On the day two British newspapers – the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, who else – celebrate the triggering of Article 50 with front page splashes picturing of Nigel Farage, beer glass in hand, perhaps we should remind ourselves of his image in Europe.

The two papers appear to be set on ensuring Brexit takes the UK over the cliff. And it is a safe bet Theresa May will utter not a word of criticism of the Daily Mail: she never does whatever the paper says.

This video of Farage at work in the European Parliament demonstrates his determination to insult the European Union.

Swift reactions suggest Article 50 letter was not given enough thought

Annotated letter

What TM wrote and what she means. Politico.eu has its interpretation.

That Theresa May’s Article 50 letter has been so quickly seen as a threat over European security co-operation suggests the drafting may have been hurried and not subjected to sufficiently rigorous checking in Downing Street. The alternative – that it was a deliberate threat – is worse.

The point was picked up immediately by LibDem leader Tim Farron who said Theresa May has delivered a “blatant threat” to the EU 27 by threatening to withdraw security co-operation if we do not receive a favourable trade deal.

Others in the UK and across Europe followed with similar comments.

Politico.eu has produced an annotated version of the letter and had this to say on the security issue:

WHAT SHE SAID:
“In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened.”

WHAT SHE MEANT:
If you want access to our superior intelligence on international crime and terrorism you’d better do us a deal on the stuff we want too. Just think about that.

Reactions to other parts of the letter were also swift. The Independent reports:

Angela Merkel has dealt an instant blow to Theresa May’s plan for Brexit by rejecting the PM’s plan for trade talks to take place at the same time as Article 50 secession negotiations.

Britain will be put into the slow lane for discussions about any future trade deal with the EU following an intervention by the German Chancellor, who intervened just hours after the UK invoked Article 50.

Was all this what Downing Street expected and wanted from the letter or is it a mark of poor drafting and hurry. They have had months to prepare the letter but it does not look like it.

The fight against Brexit starts today

The fight-back against Brexit starts today as the triggering of Article 50 opens negotiations on our future. For me the European Union is not only an economic union but a social and political alliance formed after World War II to ensure a peaceful continent.

This has been my conviction for a long time. At the age of 17, in 1959, I spoke in a debate on Europe and said we should not forget that Europe reached to the Urals. Long ago I realised I would not see that youthful dream come true, but I don’t want see what has been achieved thrown away by English nationalists.

I am angered each time Mrs May talks about representing everyone in the United Kingdom as she did this afternoon. That is not true. She does not speak for me. She has declared war on everything I believe.

There is no inevitability about what happens in the next two years. The EU will undoubtedly change in the next 18 months and such reforms will be the priority of the 27 countries remaining: the UK will have no influence but they could make Europe more acceptable to some here.

As the Brexit negotiations develop there will be changes in public feelings here. We simply cannot guess what will happen in the talks or how people will react. It maybe that a deal which would keep the Northern Ireland and Scotland within the UK could be reached or it could be going over the cliff edge.

My objective is to see the Article 50 letter revoked and the UK remaining a member of the EU. The argument that this cannot be legally done is fallacious. The law has not been tested and at some stage the European Court is likely to rule on this. There are plenty of people both here and in European countries believe it can be done.

But, in the end, it is a political matter. If both side in the negotiations wanted it to happen the law would not stand in the way.

I am optimistic because I don’t think Mrs May will want to go down in history as the prime minister who took England and Wales out of both the European Union and the United Kingdom.