Brexit, Covid, UK & US Relations after Trump
My Discussion with John Browne by Kevin Murphy
2021 has been quite the year for Britain with the ongoing Covid pandemic, lockdowns and the finalizing of the nation's divorce from the European Union with Brexit. So what can we expect as we move forward? To get some answers I contacted John Browne to get his point of view on these issues and more.
Mr. Brownes distinguished career includes his time as a Major in the Grenadiers of the Royal Guard graduating from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, as an MP in the British Parliament from 1979 to 1992 and Westminster City Councillor from 1974 to 1978. He served on the Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee, as elected Chairman of the Conservative Small Business Committee, Secretary of the Middle East Committee and as an advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He holds a Masters of Science degree from Britain’s Cranfield Institute of Technology and an MBA from Harvard Business School. John Browne was also a VP of Britains UKIP party with Nigel Farage.
John Browne has an extensive 40 year background in the investment banking industry including Morgan Stanley & Co., Barclays Bank and Senior Market Strategist for Euro Pacific Capital, Inc.
He can be found routinely on television news and financial channels, including programs on CNBC, CNBC (Asia) and NewsMax TV.
Let's start with Brexit and your perspective of what is next for Britain.
John Browne: 'Britains negotiating position was reduced heavily by two things. One was the Covid situation and the other were the threats against President Trump who was Pro-Brexit wanted to make a beneficial trade deal like Canada has with the United States which would have largely replaced the loss of UK's earnings from the European Union. And so Boris Johnsons' negotiating position was weakened progressively by Covid through 2020 and then in the last months of 2020 after November 3 weakened severely by the American Election. Therefore when it came to the final negotiation Johnson had to give way on certain things. The European Union bully boys believed that anything they have to give way on they leave vague so that the EU can be subjected to future negotiations and the EU can reapply force. Also their aim under former Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Merkel together conspired to draft Brexit number one which looked like Brexit but was not. It would leave Britain in a situation where it was basically still tied to the European Union except in name, particularly with trade regulations and legal issues and therefore ready and primed for any future Prime Minister who was pro-European Union could just go back into the Union. Johnson got a great majority of voters to get out but his negotiating position was weakened as time went by so he gave way on a number of points. The present treaty has got a lot of vagaries in it and a lot of extensions of time for getting out. The departure of the European Union from British fishing grounds was pushed out many years and things like that are typical of the European bullies way. In the last few days, the Northern Ireland issue, which was never really solved, was left in the middle of the Irish Sea so that Northern Ireland was effectively neither in or out of the European Union this was to prevent a 'hard customs' barrier which of course is totally unnecessary in todays world. With IT and artificial intelligence you can tell exactly where every tomato has come from in seconds. So actually they could have had an electronic border. It would have worked perfectly well but it did not suit the European Union and Boris Johnson gave way. Luckily the European Union in the past few days started to bully Britain by saying you can’t have any European Covid vaccine that are produced by Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson within the European Union they can’t flow into Britain through Northern Ireland. This started to ration Britain. Luckily this got everybody even the Pro-European British people extremely upset because it was naked blackmail and a dastardly trick to hurt the British in the form of revenge. So now the power of popularity has swung back toward Boris Johnson and things are developing. I don’t know what form the treaty will take in the end in Northern Ireland, but certainly Johnson has had is hand strengthened. Next week we should hear something but at the moment it was a huge mistake by the European Union and a great gift that has energized and unified virtually everyone against them within the Great Britain. And so things are looking a lot brighter today than they were last week or let’s say two weeks ago.'
Now That President Donald Trump is out did President Trump in your point of view deserve a second term?
John Browne: 'Yes he did and most Pro-Brexit people in Britain liked him I can’t say all because he stood for free enterprise, free and fair trade and he stood for basic constitutional law. Whereas the Europeans don’t have habeas corpus in the law which means that a person has to be shown to the court to be alive. You can’t just sit and rot in a jail for six years without a charge being brought against you. You have to appear within days in a court in England and the charges leveled against you made public. You may be kept in detention and you may be granted bail or something but at least you have to appear in court before a judge to have charges read in order for them to detain you. Without habeas corpus you can just be detained as some British citizens have been for traffic offenses in countries in Europe under the notorious European Arrest Warrant for months on end without even a charge being brought. We think that’s unjust. We also believe in a jury system which is not the same in Europe and most often their judges are very political as one is beginning to see in the United States. So that was one of the biggest reasons we wanted to leave and even today with Brexit that’s been negotiated there is a lot of doubt over human rights issues. Are British justices still subject to European justice on human rights? Now that’s another area that Boris had to give way on to make up for the Presidential election and the Covid. He also had to give way on the fishing grounds. It seems ridiculous that Europeans should be allowed to occupy to fish English fishing grounds and overfish them. Someone like Austria which is a lovely country but has got no coastline whatsoever is allowed fishing rights in British waters. Anyway those are some areas where Boris had to give way. We also are members of NATO. Although the defense of Europe was crucially and quite clearly due to NATO. We’re an active member of NATO together with the United States and Canada and Iceland we don't believe in our forces being amalgamated with European forces. We do not believe in our police being amalgamated and having German or French police or soldiers stationed in Britain and so we’re out. Some of the tidying up operations still have to be done, quite a lot of them for reasons I’ve just given, but thank goodness the EU exhibited excessive bullying tactics in the last week over Covid. This has aroused more Brexit feeling than ever in Britain.'
Britains Intelligence Services are very sophisticated they must have read early that President Trump was going to face a fraudulent election in the United States in which he was going to lose and Britain moved very quickly to congratulate the United States prospective President.
Your view on UK & US relations under President Biden?
John Browne: 'The United States is the number one ally to the United Kingdom and we are the most fervent supporter of the United States. We even changed our name from Great Britain after the war to United Kingdom so that we sat next to the United States in all theses international gatherings. United States/United Kingdom. When I was in Parliament, I attended a lot of these multi-national gatherings. Often the United States /United Kingdom were the only two nations that agreed on certain subjects. It’s was very nice when sitting amongst 168 delegations to be sitting next to the only one that agrees with you. So Britain has a long history and the special relationship has been long established. I think Britain is the only Armed Forces that can be integrated within not alongside but within the United States Armed Forces. In other words the British Battalions in Afghanistan are serving under American Brigadiers and things like that. And particularly in the United States Navy-the 'Hunt for Red October' long ago showed exactly that sort of cooperation in submarine warfare. It’s a crucial relationship. Britains Intelligence Services are very sophisticated they must have read early that President Trump was going to face a fraudulent election in the United States in which he was going to lose. Therefore Britain was very quick in congratulating the United States prospective President. Now you could argue that that is deserting Trump which it was but the reason is that Britains interests are to be in with the United States regardless of who is President. President Biden who doesn’t like Britain took Winston Churchill’s bust out of the Oval Office like Obama. He has very different views of the world and economy than Boris Johnson but none the less we have to deal with whoever is the President. I think British Intelligence Services picked up that it was going to be a massively fraudulent election. Regardless of whether it was fraudulent or not Biden is the President of the United States and that’s who Johnson has to deal with. So Britain was quick to congratulate Biden. A great friend, President Trump, is a very great loss to Britain but we have to deal with President Biden and that’s the sad but hard fact.'
The subject of trade and the UK and the £9 trillion Asian Trade Agreement. What do you know about it ?
John Browne: 'The most important part about it was that of sponging off America. It was China orientated and China eroded American economic and financial predominance around the world. That was the main aim. It wasn’t so anti-British. There were more opportunities in it for Britain than disadvantages, unlike American where there were massive disadvantages and very few advantages. So Britain and America had different points of view and different interests. Britain had to be very careful having left Europe, after being in the EU for decades, a lot of UK trade was orientated to Europe which as you know is very socialist and closed therefore we had broken relationships with a lot of other countries with whom we have ancient - I mean a hundred, two hundred year old trading relationships and particularly around the Pacific; Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, just to mention a few. India's vast market of 1.2 billion people and Australia's vast resource market and so on. So, we had to break ties with them to be within the socialist European Union with tariffs against them. So for Britain to go into this agreement as a free nation, outside the European Union, we were able to open opportunities to re-establish our old trading relationships, with these nations which we are doing now. So we had different interests to those in respect to the United States.'
You worked closely with him with UKIP. What do you see in his future as far as politics for Britain?
John Browne: 'Well it’s very uncertain. Nigel Farage I’ve know for forty years worked with him as a candidate and under him as a vice president in the United Kingdom Independence Party. He’s a wonderful guy and he is now probably the greatest orator in Europe now. He has a huge following and has done more for Great Britain than any other member of Parliament other that Margaret Thatcher. And yet he goes derided by the main parties. They haven’t given him anything. Let alone a peerage, he should have been a Viscount by now by British standards but they hate him because he was anti the Establishment. It shows how powerful the Establishment is as now they are trying to castigate President Trump who went to work against the Establishment. So they tried always to push him down but he keeps coming up. I don’t know what this new suggestion is going to be over the Brexit coming up next week and what role he’ll play but he is still a major political figure in the United Kingdom despite the Establishment. Highly popular and you never know what’s going to happen next. Anything can happen on a dime in this world and the European Union showed these bullying tactics over the Covid. Therefore, Nigel's future remains an important but unresolved issue. You never know what Nigel may play in any future struggles. The world is in such a very turbulent state at the moment. America is very turbulent with the threat of massive social unrest. Europe is in a massive turmoil because Britain has left and other countries are thinking of leaving which would bring down a the huge organization of the European Union. They have tried to punish Britain to discourage any other countries from leaving. Why when Britain goes and does very well which it’s probably what it will do with a faster growth rate than the European Union why shouldn’t we leave? Why should we take these bullying people from Brussels? There is such turmoil ahead you never know who is going to come up. It could be Nigel Farage who’s a great friend of President Trump. President Trump could come back you just don’t know in these very turbulent times. America is split down the middle in an almost violent way with potential abuse, social unrest. The European Union is deeply split now between those who want to go ahead aggressively and those who want to be less aggressive and some wanting to leave. It’s a difficult situation. You’ve got China rapidly taking over from the United States aided by the spread of Covid and by President Biden in the United States. We are heading for great turmoil in which notable leaders rise and sometimes older leaders who’ve been prominent before like Nigel Farage and President Donald Trump rise again. I don’t know what Nigel's futures going to be but he’s still has the potential for a great future. He is such an attractive personality and speaker. Some of those people that voted against him voted to remain in Europe actually like Nigel enormously and under different conditions like this Covid thing may now vote for Nigel Farage again'