Bow Group's Dan Hannan warns against Labour's inability to handle exiting the EU

By Daniel Hannan in the Sun

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IMAGINE that you’re buying a ­second-hand car. As you sit down opposite the dealer, you say: “Look, before we start, I want you to know that there’s no way I’m leaving ­without buying your vehicle. Now let’s talk about the money.”

How do you suppose the salesman would respond?

Would he welcome your positive attitude and cut his price — or would he thank his lucky stars and take you for every penny?

You might think I’m being silly. Surely no one would be so idiotic as to enter negotiations without a bottom line.

But that’s exactly what Jeremy Corbyn proposes to do in the Brexit talks.

Interviewed on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Tuesday, the Labour leader confirmed he “wouldn’t walk away without a deal”.

Lovely, sir. Paying cash then, are we?

We already know that the Eurocrats are playing hardball. Two documents released in the past week set out a tough line on migration and on money.

On migration, the EU doesn’t just want full rights for everyone who has settled here. It wants those rights to be ­guaranteed by Euro judges.

On the budget, as one Eurocrat told The Guardian: “I think our priority is that the UK will pay for everything.”

Theresa May has made it clear that if the EU’s demands are unacceptable, she will walk away. While that is not a great outcome for either side, it is not the end of the world either. With no deal, the EU could charge ­tariffs of up to £5.2billion a year on ­British exports, and we could charge up to £12.9billion a year on EU imports.

Bear those figures in mind when you listen to the EU’s ridiculous talk of a £100billion “exit fee”.

Eurocrats know that if they are dealing with a Tory PM, insisting on £100billion would wreck any deal, leaving them with nothing at all. But if they are up against Corbyn, who keeps telling us that “you don’t walk away”, they’ll hold out for the full sum.

It’s a similar story when it comes to migrants’ rights.

May has said she is happy to guarantee the status of EU nationals already here provided there is a reciprocal deal for Brits living in Europe.

Corbyn would give EU citizens full rights unconditionally, ignoring the ­interests of 1.2million Brits in France, Spain and elsewhere. Again, who would Eurocrats rather deal with?

Quite rightly, the PM has pointed out that Corbyn’s approach would leave him “alone and naked in Brexit negotiations”.

Jezza was peeved at her remark and said that it was “totally inappropriate to describe anyone as naked”.

In fact, the Tory leader was quoting one of Corbyn’s heroes, the firebrand Nye Bevan who told the 1957 Labour ­Conference that, if it voted to scrap ­Britain’s nuclear bomb unilaterally, it would “send a Foreign Secretary naked into the negotiating chamber”.

It was true then and it is true now. You don’t throw away all your best cards before you sit at the table.

The trouble is that Labour has never really thought of the EU in terms of costs and benefits.

From Tony Blair’s time onwards, calling yourself a Labour pro-European was really just a way of saying:

“I’m a reasonable, broad-minded internationalist.”

In debates against Labour Remainers during the referendum, I was constantly struck by how uninterested they were in the details.

Being pro-EU, in their eyes, meant being a cuddly, progressive anti-racist.

It wasn’t that they had dismissed the democratic and economic arguments against membership; it’s that they had never considered them.

Corbyn is not in this category. For most of his career, he opposed the EU on the same grounds that the Soviet Union did — that it was a capitalist racket.

I’m pretty sure that, in the privacy of the polling station, he voted Leave. If you doubt me, look at the naughty schoolboy look on his face as he walked out.

The trouble is, he can’t admit it. Bizarrely, the Blairites succeeded in ­turning him on the only issue where he was more in tune with the public than they were.

Divided, distracted and woefully ­unprepared, Labour would go into the Brexit talks with little sense of what it wants, and less sense of what to do if it doesn’t get it.

Theresa May, by contrast, is very clear. She wants a comprehensive trade deal, security co-operation and a fair deal for migrants on both sides of the Channel. She wants the UK to be the EU’s closest ally while living under its own laws.

But she is not going to enter these talks as a supplicant.

I know who I’d rather have speaking for Britain.

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Friday, June 2, 2017