MALLOCH: £60bn Brexit Bill? Just Give Every Brit £923.076 Instead…

Brexit
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What is 60 billion divided by 65 million?

The correct answer is: 923.076. Do the math or just ask Siri.

Would every one of you — all 65 million British citizens — pay nearly a thousand pounds each to remain a party to the European Union?

For that divorce bill, you could leave the Brussels mania and have some degree of autonomy and perhaps continue to trade with the other 27 member countries — although that too would need to be negotiated further.

Hold on to your hat; the Great EU Divorce Bill has come in and you have to, in all honesty, ask: is it truly worth the hefty, well unconscionable price tag?

In June 2016, in a democratic referendum, the British population decidedly said we want out! Brexit won a closely fought debate, fair and square. You spell it LEAVE.

Now unelected Messrs Juncker and Selmayr and their pernicious emissary, Michel Barnier, alongside the hack and toothless politician in the EU Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, have presented the bill to the UK negotiating team.

Verhofstadt has slammed the UK government’s proposals as “not serious, fair or even possible” — and Barnier in a voice of blackmailer said it was his job to teach the consequences of leaving the EU club.

If that is not extortion, what is?

Verhofstadt, the failure of a former Belgian prime minister and a staunch eurocrat, accused Theresa May and her team of “wanting Britain to enjoy all the benefits of EU membership without being a member-state.”

Please read the fine lines and all that is implied in this EU designed deal. Never buy anything without inspecting all the gory details.

The costs Brits are expected to cover in this deal include such questionable items as cohesion fund payments for poorer accession countries, complete budget payments for all EU expenses until 2020 — not on formally leaving in 2019 — extended pension scheme payments for EU officials, certain ongoing operating liabilities, all costs of the withdrawal process, certain relocation costs, foreign assistance pledges, decommissioning of joint nuclear research facility sites, and all funding for British teachers seconded to Europe.

The EU has outlined its completely self-interested methodology for extracting such ludicrous and exorbitant fees from the UK taxpayers. They think they have ALL the cards and will not back down even though the costs to European economies will be higher than those objectively determined to the UK, if it all crashes.

Mind you, this is high stakes poker and any thinking person can count cards and see a bluff in the making, if only they look hard and long enough.

You see, poker theory is simply the aim of maximising your wins and minimising your losses. How do you do this and win consistently at Brexit poker? By thinking about what cards to play; by disguising your holdings; by playing the right game; by adjusting to your opponents; and, by simplifying major decisions.

Got it? Don’t be bullied; play it cool, calm, and collected.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative parliamentarian has hit back at Brussels, pointing out that “UK taxpayers have paid vast sums into the EU over the past four decades.”

It is also clear that the UK’s share of the EU budget will be very hard to fill by the other countries, unless the rich Germans cough up.

Many in the Conservative Party, including Prime Minister Theresa May, have repeatedly said they utterly reject such a huge Brexit divorce bill.

Others have declared: “We should stop listening to this nonsense about what we should pay them and look into what they owe us.”

Asked about the chances of a 60 billion or more bill, UK Brexit Secretary David Davis insisted: “I don’t think we’re going to be seeing that sort of money change hands.”

Professor Anand Menon, director of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative, said that a case could also be made that the EU owes Britain money. He commented, “If we are liable for the liabilities, why don’t we also get some of the assets?

“If you look at it in divorce terms, it’s the same thing. We are going to share the overdraft, we are also going to share the equity in the house,” he said.

Clearly, Britain could look at what the EU owes in terms of assets, like EU buildings and the many contributions it has made, such as those to the European Investment Fund.

Recall, all accounting has two columns: Assets and Liabilities — and they need to be balanced out.

Examples of assets include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, prepaid items, investments, land, buildings, equipment, and goodwill. From any normal accounting equation, we see that the amount of assets must equal the combined amount of liabilities plus owner’s (or stockholders’) equity.

Surely, divorce is an ugly, messy, and horrible thing in personal life and in politics. But sometimes it is also absolutely necessary. It is the only sane route forward.

Britons need to ask what are they willing to pay to leave the EU on good terms? Because legally they can just leave on their own terms in 2019, now that they have made their intentions known by exercising Article 50.

WTO rules manage trade quite well for the rest of the world; so they are an acceptable fallback position. And the benefits of EU membership were arguably miniscule, anyway.

The House of Lords’ EU Financial Affairs Committee found that the “strictly legal position of the UK on this issue appears to be strong”.

If the negotiators fail to agree on a political financial settlement, it could become a legal case in the International Court of Justice or the Permanent Court of Arbitration, both located in The Hague. The result of such a court case would be impossible to predict and would likely take years to resolve.

Ask yourself would an international arbitration solution be preferable to a bad political settlement? How about to a form of expensive and unnecessary blackmail?

Walking away completely is another realistic option, saying, No Thanks and Goodbye — if not necessarily Good riddance.

Or, as an alternative, would the UK government be willing to give each and every British citizen 923.076 quid and call it a day?

I’d take the money and run…

THEODORE ROOSEVELT MALLOCH is a scholar, diplomat and strategist. His new co-authored book is entitled Common Sense Business, 2017.

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