Every 4 months Don writes a Milestones article for the BibleMagazine – in the following months we provide the article free of charge. here is the latest

Bible Magazine Spring 2019

Well here we are another three months on from our last update and we haven’t really moved any further forward.

Torrow MP’s are due to vote on the Agreement that Mrs May made with the EU last December. It was heavily rejected by Parliament when writing last issues update. It is set to be heavily overturn this time round as nothing has changed.  In spite of much effort to get the EU to hold out a figleaf to help her get the deal passed. But the EUI are not interested in helping. Firstly they believe that they have Britain “stitched-up” so as time and again during these tortuous negotiations, Britain will cave in and approve the Deal. This would be a disaster for Bruitain as she would be locked inton the EU without a means of exit. If she did agree to the deal then the only means of escape would appear to be to sacrifice Northern Ireland. Allowing this part of Britain to rejoin the Irish Rebublic and thus remain in the EU.This has been openy hinted at in Brussels, that the price for Britain’s divorce is to lose Northern Ireland.

Remember that the EU doesn’t want Britain to break awau from the EU. She is one of the biggest contributor to her coffers. The EU hates competition, and the prospect of Britain being free to sign her own trade deals is not a tought that brings comfort to the EU bureacrats!

According to  the Sunday Telegraph 03-Mar-19:

The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association, Joe Healy, spelt it out with a bluntness that EU leaders generally avoid: “It is very important that the UK in any deal wouldn’t be able to go off and do their own trade deals with other countries,” he said this week. The backstop had to be permanent, because EU exporters “couldn’t compete” with global producers.

 

Herman Van Rompuy, the former European Council president, reportedly put it last week, “with their backs against the wall, the abyss in front of their eyes and a knife on their throat. We are nearly there.”

This muddy soupy kind of drama

Here in Britain we are currently in a time of great political turmoil. As an EU diplomat put it:

“It’s getting so messy and absurd that even the funny elements of this are actually tragic … in this muddy soupy kind of drama we can also see these days it is difficult to get any sense of meaning or orientation, but I still can’t be so undiplomatic to tell you that there is no hope.” The Guardian 12-Dec-18

It was British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who is credited with the phrase A week is a long time in politics”. That was in 1964. Now, over 50 years later, a day is a long time!

Monday The country was anticipating the Parliamentary vote on the Agreement that Mrs May had brought back from Brussels. A very heavy defeat seemed a certainty. Then later that day, the vote was dramatically called off.

Tuesday Mrs May jetted round Europe pleading for changes to make the Agreement more palatable. The consistent answer was No! This is what was agreed, there can be no changes.

Wednesday Following her return, she was asked to see Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative MP’s to be told that he had received the necessary 48 letters of dissatisfaction of her leadership, which automatically triggers a vote of confidence in her leadership. This vote was held that evening.

As I write, this is Wednesday. By the time this is in your hands Britain may possibly have a new leader. The voting has gone in her favour by a reasonable margin (200 to 117 i.e. 63% to 37%). In past situations, the leader has subsequently stepped down. This would open the way for someone to try to salvage the wasted two years as Britain tried to cherry pick and keep as close to Europe as she could, to the detriment of her ability to be independent of Europe. The 2016 referendum was a vote to have the freedom to go what she assumes is her own way, but is in fact a God-ordained pathway, in order that she can fulfil her scriptural role. No longer as part of Europe but as a friend of Israel and a key Middle East player, who will oppose Europe’s coming confederation with Russia, to come against Israel. (Eze. 38:13)

Crisis in confidence

This crisis in confidence has arisen through the lack of support for the deal that she hammered out with the EU for Britain’s exit from the EU. Many of her ministers had resigned in protest at the deal. Her fellow MP’s were equally unhappy. Both those who wanted to Remain in the EU and those who wanted to Leave were united in their dislike of the package! The crunch was fast approaching with the matter going to Parliament for approval on Monday, December 11th. It was soon apparent, in spite of Mrs May’s insistence that what she had negotiated was a good deal, that she lacked support from both Conservative and Labour parties. After frantic activity by the Conservative Party Whips to persuade her MP’s to support the government, as this was the only deal on the table, it was clear that they were on a losing streak. With the prospect of the government losing the vote to accept this Agreement, by some 110 votes, which would have been an outstanding defeat, the pressure was on Mrs May to tweak the Agreement to make it more palatable. After a weekend of desperate calls to the EU leaders, the consistent answer was, this is our final offer, it has been agreed by all the 27 members, this is it.

On Monday 10th there was talk that the vote would be postponed. Whilst government spokesmen were telling the press that the vote wasn’t postponed, Mrs May was holding a frantic conference call with ministers to tell them she was calling off the vote in the hope that she could secure a better deal which they could hopefully win approval for. She could give no date for when it would go to parliament, but probably before Jan 21st. Brexit Day is scheduled for March 29th, 2019. So, the plug was pulled, and the press had to be told that yes, the vote was off!

The whole thing looks a shamble and Mrs May shown to be powerless. So where does that leave Brexit?

It seems clear that Britain is being driven to the brink. Such is the hold that the EU has on many of the government ministers, that they are afraid to let go and follow the ordained path for the latter-day Britain as a world-wide trading power in alliance with Israel and the “Sheba, Dedan” countries, working with her “young lions”. To Bible students the picture is clear! We can only begin to imagine the steady but skilful work of the angels that will eventually bring about that break with the continent. Only then can the final stages of the forming of the feet of iron and clay take place which will propel the Image of Nebuchadnezzar into the Middle East to meet its dramatic end by the Stone power.

Let us try to make sense of the confusion

What is the scriptural picture for these latter-days? This must be our starting position. Our problem is that of timing. We want it all to happen now! We want our Master to come! We have to await God’s timetable!

The two clear, basic prophecies for our day are contained in Daniel 2 and Revelation 16. They give us the skeleton on which to fit in the many other prophecies which add to the details. These two prophecies are more or less saying the same thing. One concerns the fate of the Kingdom of Men and its replacement by the Kingdom of God, the other tells of frog-like spirits (the spirit of the French Revolution and its humanistic thinking) which gather the nations to a battle where Hebrew is spoken—the land of Israel. There to be destroyed by the newly returned Lord Jesus and his immortalised companions. (Rev. 16:15,16)

The final part of the Image to be formed are the feet. They are an odd, impossible mixture of iron and clay. These two materials don’t mix, so its final stage is very unstable. We know that the dream was a history lesson spanning two-and-a-half millennia, of nations who had dominion over Israel. Its primary fulfilment, however, is a portrayal of what will be in the latter days.

But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; Dan. 2:28

The Image’s brief stand

It is only when the feet and toes are formed that the Image is completed! When these are formed, it can, as it were, march into the land of Israel, in its last defiance of God’s people, and for a brief period of time, triumph over the Jewish people. How long this time will be we are not told, but the spectacular end of the Kingdom of Men was shown in this vision.

Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. Dan. 2:34,35

The returned Lord Jesus and the resurrected and gathered saints make up the Divine stone power which destroys the Image and replaces it with God’s Kingdom based in Jerusalem. We learn from other scriptures that the destruction of the Image is not the work of a moment. The image topples by the power of Christ and the saints, the grinding to powder involves probably a 40-year period, until all opposition to Christ’s rule will have been subdued. All nations will be brought to exalt and glorify the King of Israel.

We know in Daniel 7, that these same matters are set out, not as four metals but as four wild Beasts. Again, when it comes to God’s judgement upon the Beasts, they are all present together.

I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. Dan. 7:11,12

The Roman fourth Beast will be destroyed, the other three Beasts live as nations, but in subjection to Christ throughout the Kingdom. Wild Beasts is God’s perspective of the nations. This is precisely what is picked up in the book of Revelation. Chapter 13 incorporates the four Beasts of Daniel 7 into one Beast system in various phases, eventually having a Dragon power in eastern Europe and a Beast power in western Europe. Just as the Daniel’s visions concerned the Power of Man in opposition to God’s nation of Israel, likewise do the various phases of the Beasts of Revelation. All are aspects of the Kingdom of Men which is opposed to the thinking and will of God, until the time of their judgment and replacement by God’s Kingdom.

The sixth Vial

Revelation 16 tells of the final stage of these systems.

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.Rev.16:12-16

The final development of the final phase of the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet is still work in progress, like the Image’s Feet and Toes. We do not wait to see their final shape, as this will not happen until after the Return of the Master to gather and prepare his household for their future work. The Image and the Dragon/Beast/False Prophet will not be finally completed until Russia is in possession of Turkey, Egypt and Israel. This will mark the signal for the Stone Power to smite the feet and toes of the Image and grind it all to powder. Or in the language of Rev 16:16, Armageddon! The heaps of sheaves in a valley for threshing as described by Joel 3.

Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.

Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision [Heb incision, cutting, threshing]: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:12-14

Britain’s future role

So how can this help us to tease out future events? If Britain has a role outside that represented by Nebuchadnezzar’s Image, then she has to break away from being part of Image’s Feet. Her role is set out in Ezekiel 38 (see graphic), where we see Britain as a great Merchant power, operating with her young lion friends of the Commonwealth in the Sheba, Dedan area of the Gulf. Far from being part of the invading Gogian army, they are opposed to it! We will not here repeat the reasoning for linking Britain with Tarshish, this has been done many times in this magazine.

But wasn’t Britain part of the Roman Empire in the past? Yes and no! For a period she was. Britain was the afterthought of Roman conquests. The Roman world had been well established and the English Channel formed a natural boundary for the Empire. It wasn’t until 43 AD that the Romans conquered Britain.

The invasion of Britain was a war of prestige. The ‘mad’ emperor Caligula had been assassinated in 41 AD, and an obscure member of the imperial family, Claudius, had been elevated to the throne. The new emperor faced opposition from the Senate, Rome’s House of Lords. Claudius needed a quick political fix to secure his throne. What better than a glorious military victory in Britain? Roman Britain Dr Neil Faulkner

The might of Rome succeeded, and Britain came under Rome’s control, enjoying the benefits that it brought, but proved to be a troublesome people with an independent streak. Rome’s power was relatively short lived. Barbarian invasions brought the necessity of Rome’s military might to be diverted to other, more important borders.

The bloated imperial elite, the quarter-million-strong army, the thousands of miles of frontier to be guarded – it was a huge burden on the people of the provinces, a burden that was slowly eating away at the empire’s economic vitality.

In the meantime, Rome’s enemies were getting stronger, especially the Germans and Goths of central Europe, who threatened the Rhine and Danube frontiers. ibid

As the Roman troops were transferred to other borders, the flow of Roman army pay that oiled society’s prosperity, ceased.

By about 425 AD at the latest, Britain had ceased to be in any sense ‘Roman’. ibid

Britain rejoins the Roman World

So that phase lasted under 400 years. Fast forward some 550 years. Britain, under PM. Harold Macmillan pleads to be allowed to join this European Common Market that was prospering, born out of the ashes of World War II. Charles de Gaul of France said non to Britain’s “Brit-in” (the opposite of Br-exit), in 1963, and again under PM. Harold Wilson in 1967. De Gaulle could see that Britain’s links to America were not compatible with their aims. Britain’s influence would be to the detriment of France’s! It was not until after the resignation of de Gaulle that Britain, under the Europhile PM. Ted Heath, “Brit-ined” in 1973.

De Gaul was right, as angelic hands ensured that Britain held back the development of the EU, as the time was not then right, for the Beast system to develop. So it took much longer for the European Founding Fathers’ vision to be realised. They saw a united Europe, modelled on the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne where the Roman Church could play its role in establishing a United States of Europe, centred in Germany. These “Steps to Statehood”—see graphic—are now in place. Britain has resisted these steps but has been outmanoeuvred. It appears her work as a brake on the EU’s development is now over.

Tyre’s own feet shall carry her afar off

Another very relevant passage is found in Isaiah 23. The chapter speaks of the downfall of Tyre and its relocation afar off.

Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn. Isa. 23:7

It is fascinating to chart how the Tyre-like powers moved westwards. (See graphic. The dates are for guidance only as there were build ups and declines).

This chapter also speaks of Tyre being forgotten for 70 years according to the days of one king.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. Isa 23:15 ¶

At the time of the referendum, we pointed out that from the time of Britain’s humbling at the close of WWII to the Referendum vote to leave, was a period of 70 years. But what of the phrase according to the days of one king, or ruler? Interestingly, the one person that has held the Commonwealth together, ready for this time, has been the Queen. She ascended the throne upon the death of her father in November 1952. She began undertaking royal duties in earnest in 1951 because of her father’s ill health. Were Britain to still go through a transition period before finally breaking free this would take us to a 70-year period, subject to the Queen still being alive—she is a remarkably fit lady at present. Even if Britain did crash out in March it would take some time for agreements to be put in place so that she really could sing as an harlot.

And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.

And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing. Isa. 23:17,18

Whatever previous fulfilment there may have been, it is clear that there is a latter-day application, for her prosperity is to be used in God’s service to help Israel. Here we have a certain picture of Britain, free to trade with the world and that she will prosper.

The EU plan—a United States of Europe

As Christopher Booker detailed in a Daily Mail article 31-Dec-2012:

The real story, surprisingly, goes back to the 1920s, when a senior League of Nations official, Frenchman Jean Monnet, first began to dream of building a ‘United States of Europe’, very much on the lines that decades later would shape the European Union as it is today.

After World War II, Monnet, by then the second most powerful man in France, finally set the project on its way. He knew there was no chance of bringing such an astonishingly ambitious vision into being all at once. So his plan was that it should gradually be constructed, piece by stealthy piece, without ever declaring too openly what was intended to be its ultimate goal.

At first it should be presented as just a trading arrangement, the ‘Common Market’ set up in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome. But the essence of that treaty was to create the core institutions of what Monnet always intended should one day be the ‘Government of Europe’.

The idea was to work for ‘ever closer union’.

Treaty by treaty, it would take over more powers from national governments, based on the sacred principle that once power to make laws was handed over to Brussels it could never be given back.

Ever more countries would be brought into the net, until the project reached its ultimate goal as a super-government, with its own president and parliament, its own currency and armed forces, its own flag and anthem — all the attributes of a fully-fledged nation state.

Thus, stealthily assembled over decades, would this new ‘country called Europe’ finally take its place on the world stage. What we found most shocking in researching this story was that, when Britain’s leaders first considered joining the project, they were made fully aware of this hidden agenda.

To what extent Mrs May is aware of this background to the EU I have no idea. As has become increasingly obvious, her negotiations have not been driven by her ministers but by her civil servants. They seem to have crafted what was agreed. It is not surprising that they don’t want to see Britain leaving the EU, when under the EU there are plum jobs to be had by working in the Brussels civil service, with eye-watering pensions!

Mrs May took over when David Cameron resigned, following the unexpected result in the June 2016 referendum. It had been widely assumed by most politicians that the British would vote to Remain part of Europe and that the referendum would be a good way to bury the matter.

A difficult time for Europe

Interestingly, this British “slap in the face” to all that Europe stands for, has come at a difficult time for Europe.

EU politics have traditionally been a game of triangulation between Paris, Berlin and London, often dominated by larger-than-life historical figures who gave an element of high drama to the proceedings. The current line up of hobbled leaders in all three capitals plays more like a farce.

What makes it tragic is that, collectively, things aren’t looking very bright for the EU as a whole these days. In fact, the member states’ surprising ability to maintain a hard collective line on Brexit negotiations is a rare moment of solidarity of late. WorldPoliticsReview.com 11-Dec-18

Migrants and asylum seekers are fleeing to Europe from the situation in Syria and the economic and political problems of Africa. The euro is still in deep trouble. Greece is facing economic collapse, Italy is facing bankruptcy and rebellion against the euro austerity rules. Spain’s separatists are wanting their independence. Poland and Hungary are making political waves with anti-EU feelings. France at the moment is facing street protests causing great damage and disruption to Paris. President Macron is seemingly powerless to restore normality. So, Brexit comes at a troublous time for the EU. They are also anxious that Britain doesn’t set a precedent. The EU is determined that it should be seen that once a member, one is locked in for life.

Germans roll their eyes at Britain

This headline is to a short piece from a German paper and sums up German feelings on Brexit.

Perceptions of “stability” are relative. Germans of late have been worrying about instability, but only because Germany had for so long been so very, very – so boringly – stable. Now, though, Germans are looking through their television screens to London and Paris, and lo, suddenly Germany looks stable again by comparison. The Germans I talk to are cluelessly wondering: What’s up over there?

First: Brexit, which increasingly looks like a sort of belated English Revolution. Germans do not understand it. They could never fathom why some English people (it’s really mainly the English we’re talking about) are so angry at the EU in the first place. But while they don’t understand, they also don’t really care that much. In Britain, Brexit may be the biggest, indeed the only, topic of conversation. But in Germany Brexit ranks quite low on most lists. Migration, pensions, the euro, Russia, the climate, Trump-Trump-Trump, Dieselgate: All these and more seem more urgent to Germans.

So when Theresa May suddenly yanks a Brexit vote out of the House of Commons, as she did yesterday, Germans just go back to their state of passive puzzlement. When May jets to “the continent” with another desperate plea to renegotiate – as today when she visits Brussels and Berlin – Germans just shrug. They, as continentals, feel they have offered a fair deal, and they see no need to change it. Britain just looks unstable to them, possibly mad, or even suicidal and beyond saving. But all this doesn’t touch Germans directly. Handelsblatt Global 11-Dec-18

Here is another article that emphasises that Britain takes second place to the wishes of France and Germany. This was following Mrs May’s desperate visit round Europe following the pulling of the Parliamentary vote.

Germany has a vested interest in avoiding a hard Brexit but an even bigger one in a strong EU.

The EU takes precedence

Together with France, Germany is the main proponent and driving force of the European Union. Thus the primary principle in Berlin’s Brexit policy has been to prioritize the welfare of the bloc. The EU, and its chief negotiator Michel Barnier, speaks on behalf of all member states collectively. Individual European nations have thus far forgone bilateral talks with the United Kingdom.

As Merkel has repeatedly put it “no third-party state can be better off than a member.”

Behind-the-scenes power

Although most of the attention during the long months of Brexit talks has focused on the Frenchman Barnier, the woman from the EU most responsible for the final form of the Brexit deal is his German deputy Sabine Weyand. Bloomberg has called her “the real force behind the Brexit talks.” She undoubtedly doesn’t want all her hard work to go for nothing and likely wields considerable power behind the scenes. Deutsche Welle 11-Dec-18

The disastrous Agreement

So, what was the Agreement that the EU hammered out and why was it such a disaster for Britain, but good for the EU as Mr Trump drily tweeted? Negotiations began in June 2017 and continued with face to face meetings most months. Britain’s wishes to negotiate the way out of the EU in parallel with a future trading deal were quickly squashed by the EU. Future arrangements could not be discussed until the “divorce” matters and costs had been sorted. This led to very one-sided negotiations. If one had an idea of what kind of a future deal one was going to get it would influence the amount of money one might be willing to pay to leave. At the end of 2017 it became apparent that one of the big stumbling blocks would be the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. At the moment because both areas are in the EU, trade flows seamlessly across the border. Once Northern Ireland is no long part of the EU, then border checks and controls will be required. Neither side want this.

How important is the two-way trade?

Using 2016 figures, the Irish Republic exports about £1.3 bn of goods to N.I. N.I.’s trade with Eire was £4 bn. Eire trade with the UK as a whole is around 13% of her exports and 20% of her imports. For both sides, smooth trade is important.

What turns it into a matter of religion and explains why the Pope is anxious that there is no hard border between them, lies in the division of Ireland back in 1919, when the Irish Republic was set up, initially claiming control over the whole island. Formerly it had been part of the United Kingdom. In 1922 the six counties that make up Northern Ireland exercised their rights under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, to remain part of the United Kingdom. The majority of those in N.I. are Protestant, whilst the Irish Republic is predominantly Roman Catholic. This led to a long period of “the Troubles” when civil war waged between those who wanted to remain in the UK—the Unionists, and those struggling to reunite Ireland—the Republicans.

The troubles were brought to an uneasy close with the “Good Friday Agreement” which was signed in 1998. As part of the agreement if there is a will on the part of the N.I. people to return to be one with the Republic, they can hold a referendum vote on the matter. At the moment there is a small majority of Protestants in N.I. That is expected to disappear in the early 2020’s, though some Roman Catholics are still happy to remain in the UK.

Europe would however be very pleased to break up the United Kingdom, and in the Agreement that has been drawn up, it separates Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, until the “backstop[1]” arrangement can be solved, which could be never! It pressurizes the North to rejoin the South. That way, N.I. would be allowed to rejoin the EU, as East Germany was, when reunification took place in 1990.

The backstop is needed

The EU has made it clear there can be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Merkel reiterated the principle that this is non-negotiable. If that means the former stays in the customs and trade union despite being part of the UK, so be it. Merkel is all too aware of this paradox as she showed in a recent speech to business leaders. Deutsche Welle 11-Dec-18

Mrs May’s Agreement with the EU

There were two parts to the Agreement that was drawn up—one binding, the other non-binding. (See graphic).

The UK government’s legal advisor, Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, was forced to reveal what was his advice to Mrs May and her cabinet about the technicalities of what was contained in the Agreement. Mrs May was reluctant, but she lost three votes on Brexit matters in one day in Parliament, the last time this happened was in the 1970’s. Withholding his advice was voted to be in contempt of Parliament and so had to be published.

His advice showed just how Britain had been stitched up by the EU.

By agreeing to a backstop concerning the Irish border, the UK was committed to remaining in the EU and paying her yearly dues (probably without any rebate) until the problem of the border was solved. What ever solution that Britain put forward could be turned down by the EU (as they have done so far with the UK’s possible solutions) His advice was that “All they would have to do to show good faith would be to consider the UK’s proposals, even if they ultimately rejected them.” Therefore, there was the prospect of Britain never being free because she could only do so when all 27 members of the EU said they were happy with the arrangements. France would not give agreement as long as Britain persisted in retaining fishing rights nor Spain until she had her way over Gibraltar. Under this Agreement, Northern Ireland would have to remain in a full customs union with the EU, to ensure a soft border as is the present situation. The border between the EU and the rest of the UK would have to be in the Irish Sea and the rest of the UK would be in a separate customs union, thus breaking up the existing relationship. “The implications of NI remaining in the EU Single Market for Goods, while GB is not, is that for regulatory purposes GB is essentially treated as a third country by NI for goods passing from GB into NI. This means regulatory checks would have to take place between NI and GB, normally at airports or ports, although the EU now accepts that many of these could be conducted away from the border.”

The Agreement also prevents Britain from bringing into force any Trade Agreements she might make with non-EU countries. She is free to draw them up, but they can’t be implemented while she still remains a member of the EU, i.e. until the resolution of the backstop.

Britain would remain tied to all the new EU regulations that will continue to pour out of Brussels, but with no input whatsoever. She would have no control over her fishing rights, the EU would continue to allocate quotas.

She would be a vassal state.

What should have happened now

If Parliament had voted on Tuesday on the Agreement and it had been accepted, then two days later would have been the final EU heads of Government meeting for the year where it would have rubber-stamped, as they had agreed to the text at their previous meeting.

Then the fun would begin!

To complete the withdrawal agreement process, it is not enough for the government to get parliament to approve the so-called “meaningful vote” on the principle of the deal. It must also pass, through every stage and through both houses, a withdrawal agreement bill. Such legislation is not only necessary to ensure parliament has the powers to implement the agreement but is also formally required for the withdrawal agreement to be ratified. No bill, no deal.

At a minimum, the withdrawal agreement bill will have to include proposals that cover citizens’ rights, the transition period, and the payment of the so-called divorce bill. It might also cover the administration of the border with Ireland. In other words, night after night, the government would face huge defections on its own side and be relying on Labour votes that probably won’t be forthcoming. The Times 12-Dec-18

But it doesn’t end there. When Britain has finally agreed to all the elements, it will be back to the EU Parliament.

Oh, and I nearly forgot another thing. These are only the requirements for Britain to pass the deal. The EU has its own procedures. Most important is that its parliament has to give assent. And it has always said that it could take three months to do that. At the very least this is an extra complication. ibid

Mrs May would be heavily dependent upon the Labour Party to get anything through Parliament. This she cannot rely on unless there are substantial changes—which would then be unacceptable to the EU.

It has every appearance that Britain has, through Mrs May’s dithering, been brought to the brink. A non-deal Brexit looks highly likely.

Mrs May faces leadership vote

This evening, the Conservative MP’s voted on whether they want to change their leader, following the triggering of a no confidence resolution. by the receiving of at least 48 no confidence letters by the 1922 Committee Chairman. The result has just been announced, 200 for, 117 against, so she has the support of 63% of her MP’s This will not be sufficient to get items through parliament without Labour support. It appears that at every stage things are being pushed to the limit!

The EU have added to her woes by saying today that they will only give her 10 minutes to put her case for modifications on Thursday at the specially called EU leader’s meeting. She had told the Conservative 1922 Committee before the vote, that something legally binding on the backstop would be forthcoming. This was swiftly denied that they would agree to any legally binding text that the backstop would only ever be temporary. This makes Mrs May task of carrying anything through Parliament virtually impossible, as it reinforces the very real prospect of being permanently bound to Europe.

If she does eventually decide to step down, then she theoretically remains in office until her replacement is found. If only one contender emerges, they automatically become leader. If there are several contenders—as would be expected—then Conservative MP’s would whittle them down to two by means of ballots. These two would then go forward for the Conservative Party members to vote on in a postal ballot. The last time this happened was in 2003 when the then opposition leader Iain Duncan Smith was replaced by Michael Howard.

What are the benefits of Britain crashing out?

The EU is already stepping up its planning for coping with Britain leaving without an Agreement—the so-called hard Brexit. In spite of those favouring leaving the EU asking for the UK plans to be published as to what the UK government has worked out in such a case, nothing yet has been published. It would be very irresponsible if these are not in an advanced state, but it is understandable that Mrs May would not want these to be published. It has also been revealed that her Chief of Staff, Gavin Barwell, a passionate Remainer and her Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, along with her Chancellor, Philip Hammond have resisted preparations for a no Brexit deal. (Daily Telegraph 12-Dec-18) Yet for the banks and industry this is vital information as the Brexit date of March 29th rapidly approaches.

If there is a hard Brexit, then there will be no transition period. Britain will leave on March 29th and operate immediately on whatever terms she has drawn up. This is most likely to be World Trade Organization rules. These are the rules that are in place to govern the trade the EU does with non-EU countries, if there are no special arrangements in place. WTO rules are simple. The majority of Britain’s imports and exports are with non-EU countries and are under these rules. The infrastructure for dealing with non-EU countries is in place and operates smoothly. It may take time for the added workload from trade with Europe to be absorbed, but this is not thought to be a big problem. EU citizens rights have been guaranteed by the UK government. What has been lacking is the declaration by the EU of reciprocal rights. These would need to be negotiated. Many UK citizens in the EU have take the precaution to secure EU passports where it is possible.

The big bonus will be that Britain will not be required to hand over £39 bn to the EU coffers. As it would have had to be paid in euros its cost goes up as the pound has fallen against the euro.

Britain would also be able to take control of her fishing industry, which has been decimated by the EU quota system.

Planes should still be able to fly as they operate under non-EU rules. The EU could make life difficult and cause disruption to air and sea traffic, but it would hurt her more.

Because of the distortion that EU subsidies make to world food prices, Britain could see food prices dropping. UK farming is rising to the challenge of a steep drop in temporary migrants being able to assist with harvesting. Britain is in the forefront of using robotic technology in cutting costs and labour needs. Before Britain joined the EU, she grew much more of her food. Because of subsidy distortions, many became unprofitable. There is opportunity to increase home-grown crops and reduce food airmiles.

How is the EU affected by a hard Brexit?

The EU has more to lose. Britain can enjoy the fruits of her freedom; the EU has to face the loss of contributions and the payment of the Brexit divorce bill. As she exports far more to the UK than she imports she would risk retaliatory tariffs if she made trouble with trading with Britain under WTO rules. It would be in her interests to negotiate special terms with Britain, as she has done with many other countries. Britain is in quite a powerful position, once she can cast off the EU shackles!

We have run out of space again. This has not been an easy piece to put together as the situation has been constantly changing. Hopefully, God Willing, we can look at the many other news stories that have been crowded out of this issue. For Bible students this is a most amazing time to be alive and seeing event after event dropping into place. Let us bear in mind, that for the believer the most imminent thing will be the return of our Lord and Master. To prepare his saints for that wonderful work of bringing the earth into subjection to the Lord Jesus, and to help bring God’s people back to their land, that they may dwell in peace under the blessings that will flow from Zion, when:

Zions’s King shall reign victorious

And all the earth shall own his sway.

Come quickly Lord Jesus.

 

Words 6600

[1] This refers to the default position. If the border issue can’t be agreed, then this is what will operate until such time as a solution can be found.

 

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