Monday, 11 December 2017

David Davis: 'I don't have to be very clever to do my job'

On LBC’s Nick Ferrari show, Brexit Secretary David Davis said that he doesn't have to be very clever to do his job.

He said:
"What's a requirement of my job?  
I don't have to be very clever, I don't have to know that much, I do just have to be calm.  
"That did test the calmness a little bit. 
"Anybody can do details, we'll let you do the details." 

I agree with David Davis that he is not very clever, and he does not know that much, and he does not do details.

But I strongly disagree with his assertion that these attributes are not vitally necessary to do his job as Brexit Secretary. They are, in fact, essential requirements.

Mr Davis says he's calm. No doubt his ignorance is bliss. But across the country millions are alarmed and in despair about the looming Brexit ahead. But don't worry, the Brexit Secretary is calm. (What's he on?)

This month David Davis was accused of ‘dereliction of duty’ after he revealed to a gobsmacked Commons Committee that the 58 Brexit impact reports he’d been boasting about for a year don’t actually exist.

Mr Davis admitted to furious MPs on the Commons Brexit Select Committee that “no systematic impact assessment” had been undertaken by the Government regarding Brexit.

That prompted suggestions that Mr Davis may have been in contempt of Parliament for failing to comply with the exact wording of the motion agreed by MPs that he must hand over the Brexit impact reports that he previously claimed had been prepared.

He couldn’t hand them over, he said, because they don’t exist.

Yet last June Mr Davis claimed that the Government had “50, nearly 60 sector analyses already done” on the impact of Brexit and in October he said that work had been undertaken in “excruciating detail”.

He lied.

Or we assume he did. Some commentators are now suggesting that the impact reports were prepared, but they paint such a terrible picture about the impact of Brexit that Mr Davis dare not release them.

Remain supporting Labour MP, David Lammy, Tweeted last week:
“At what point is David Davis going to be held to account for such blatant lying?
“He must surely now resign. He simply cannot be allowed to go around lying to Parliament and the British public in this way. Mendacious, conceited, vain, duplicitous, wholly unfit for office.”

A LibDem petition calling for Mr Davis to resign has so far received almost 30,000 signatures.

The petition states:

‘David Davis has misled parliament and under his leadership, the Brexit department has turned incompetence into an art form. He MUST resign.’ 

From the beginning Mr Davis has shown he knows next to nothing about how the EU functions.

That might not matter if he was prepared to learn fast. But he seems not to care. He doesn’t want to know. He just wants Britain to do Brexit, regardless of the impact (about which he admits he has done no research).

Back in 2012 Mr Davis gave a speech called, ‘Europe: It’s time to decide’. He was strongly critical of the European Union project claiming that an unelected European Commission was responsible for the laws of the EU. “That is fundamentally undemocratic,” he said.

But he appeared to have little understanding of how the EU functions. 

The European Commission has no power to pass laws. Only the directly elected European Parliament, in concert with the Council of Ministers, comprising ministers of the democratically elected governments of EU member states, can pass EU laws.

The EU Commission is directly responsible to the European Parliament which elects the Commission President, has a say in the choice of Commissioners, and has the democratic power to dismiss the entire Commission.

Mr Davis also claimed that the EU’s foundational principles and acquis could not be changed, and that was essentially undemocratic. It was in relation to this that Mr Davis made his comment:

“If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

But that’s not correct either. The EU is a democracy, and can be anything that all its members unanimously agree it can be. If that was not the case, there would not have been so many EU treaty changes – all of which were debated and passed by our Parliament in Westminster.

It seems, however, that Mr Davis misunderstands much about the EU and the way it functions.

During last year’s EU referendum campaign, he claimed that Britain would be able to negotiate individual trade deals with each of the EU’s member states. He said then, “Post Brexit a UK-German deal would include free access for their cars and industrial goods, in exchange for a deal on everything else.”

He added, “Similar deals would be reached with other key EU nations. France would want to protect £3 billion of food and wine exports. Italy, its £1 billion fashion exports. Poland its £3 billion manufacturing exports.”

He appeared to be completely unaware that one of the main basic features of the European Union is that EU countries cannot negotiate individual trade deals and instead do so as a bloc of all its members.

Then, after Mr Davis was appointed to be the new Brexit Secretary, he boasted that Britain would be able to secure free trade areas “10 times the size” of the European Union.

Liberal Democrat MEP, Catherine Bearder, had to point out that this would be 1.5 times bigger than the planet’s entire economy.

She commented:
“Unless David Davis has secretly discovered new planets we can trade with, there’s no way his figure could actually be reached.”
One year ago, on 11 December 2016, I awarded David Davis 5 stars out of 5 for double standards. I wrote then:

"Hopefully, as the Brexit Secretary, Mr Davis will learn more about how the EU really functions. Maybe he’ll then change his mind about Brexit. After all, isn’t the purpose of democracy to allow people to change their minds?

"But Mr Davis has flatly ruled out any opportunity for democracy to change its mind about Brexit. He said that there must be no second referendum, and he stated last week that although Parliament could vote on the final Brexit deal, it would not be allowed to vote on rejecting Brexit altogether. 

"That does not square with the earlier assertion by Mr Davis that if a democracy cannot change its mind "it ceases to be a democracy."

"For that, Mr Davis is today awarded 5 stars out of 5 for displaying double standards.'

David Davis has shown no improvement in a year. And so today, I award Mr Davis 5 stars out of 5 for gross incompetence and contempt. Not just for treating Parliament with contempt, but for treating all of us with contempt. 

He has to go. (Along with Brexit)


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