Tuesday, 7 November 2017

10 reasons the "revealing our hand will weaken our negotiating position" argument is so idiotic


Theresa May's cowardly new tactic of insulting parliament by instructing her MPs to not even bother voting on parliamentary motions so as to childishly claim 'the vote didn't count because we didn't participate' has backfired spectacularly.

Last week the opposition parties unanimously won a vote that the Conservative government should release the 58 Brexit impact assessments they've been hiding.After nearly a week of stalling the Speaker of the House John Bercow has given the government a deadline of the evening of Tuesday 7th November (today) to release them to the Brexit Select Committee or explain the delay.

This news has been greeted with howls of consternation from barrel-scraping Brexiters, who insist on mindlessly regurgitating the idiotic pro-secrecy line they've been programmed to believe in by the billionaire-owned extreme-right propaganda rags: "revealing our hand will weaken our negotiating position".

In this article I'm quickly going to run through several reasons that anyone spewing this pro-secrecy propaganda trope is a gullible halfwit.
1. If secrecy about the economic impact of Brexit is so absolutely vital in order to strengthen our negotiating position, how come the EU27 have openly published their own Brexit economic impact assessment? If keeping what you know out of the public domain is so spectacularly important, why on earth have the EU done this?
2. If the Brexit impact assessments showed that a "no deal" Brexit would be good for the UK economy, do you honestly believe the Tories would be so absolutely desperate to keep it secret? Do you really think they wouldn't be shouting from the rooftops about it?
3. Do you really believe that the EU haven't done their own impact assessments that show more or less the same poor outcomes as the impact assessments the UK government are trying to keep secret from us? If you do believe that they haven't bothered to model the impact of various Brexit scenarios, please refer back to point one and click the link. 
4. If you accept the evidence that the EU have modelled the economic impacts of different versions of Brexit, then it's obvious that they know that Theresa May is bluffing with a duff hand of cards, so continuing to keep them secret serves no purpose other than denying ammunition to her domestic critics.
5. It should be beyond obvious that the Tories are trying to keep these impact assessments secret, not because they don't want the EU27 to see them, but because they don't want the UK general public or their political opponents to see them. The EU27 have already modelled Brexit and worked out which kinds of scenario are least damaging to them (and to us). If the British public are handed a massive wodge of evidence that a "no deal" Brexit would be the most economically disastrous option, it would force the Tories into explaining why they've made threatening to inflict such a crappy scenario the absolute centrepiece of their so-called "negotiating strategy".
6. Didn't you lot vote for Brexit in order to "take back control"? So which part of allowing the government to hide vital information about the nation's future from you in order to protect their own party political interests makes you feel you have taken back control? 
7. Even if you don't personally have any curiosity whatever about what the government is trying to hide from you, surely you must accept that other people who actually do care about the nation's future should have access to this information? Otherwise you're arguing that the Tory government should have the right to act in whatever way they like, with no external scrutiny whatever. You're essentially arguing in favour of autocracy.
8. In reality Brexit is the most complex and risky diplomatic situation that the UK has faced since at least the end of WWII, with the likelihood of extremely harmful outcomes for both sides if it all goes wrong. If the only way you're capable of comprehending this highly complex process is through reference to ridiculously simplistic analogies to a win or lose game of poker where the players mustn't reveal their cards to each other, sorry, you're an idiot. And every time you fall back on this shockingly over-simplistic and actually very misleading analogy, you're just making yourself look even more of an idiot.  
9. Didn't you lot also bang on and on about the importance of "parliamentary sovereignty" during the EU referendum debate? Well - according to the actual rules of parliament, the government now need to release the Brexit impact assessments or be held in contempt. If you're still trying to argue that the Brexit impact assessments shouldn't be released, you're essentially arguing that parliament shouldn't be sovereign, and that the government should be allowed to act with impunity as long as they reassure you that they're delivering what you want. In other words, your position is that as long as the government propaganda is satisfactory, you're in favour of dictatorship.
10. Perhaps the simplest criticism of all is that your pro-secrecy position is little more than an assertion of your absolute faith in the government. 'The government are best placed to deal with this issue, I trust them 100%, and nobody else should worry their pretty little heads about what they're up to' is a shockingly naive stance even in the best of circumstances, but with people like Theresa May, Boris Johnson, the disgraced Liam Fox, and bumbling David Davis running the show it's absolute lunacy. Nobody with any sense would let that hopeless bunch organise a church hall raffle, let alone the most complex diplomatic process the nation has faced in decades.
It's important to note that this ludicrous "revealing our hand will weaken our negotiating position" argument won't go away if/when the Brexit impact assessments are released. It will simply morph into a Brexiter excuse for why Brexit is turning out to be such a shambles.

They'll brazenly ignore the fact that the reports they wanted to keep hidden actually predicted the economic shambles they're whining on about, in order to make the accusation that "Brexit would have gone brilliantly had you traitors not forced us reveal our hand to the EU".

The whole poker-based pro-secrecy argument is hideous idiocy. But it's going to come back again and again in different forms because the mindless propaganda rote learners have been programmed to regurgitate this piteous nonsense in lieu of actually forming their own political opinions.

The vital thing is that this kind of idiocy is repeatedly called out and ridiculed for the gibbering nonsense that it is. So feel free to borrow any of these points the next time you see anyone making this kind of simple-minded, shockingly gullible, and brazenly anti-democratic poker-based argument in favour of government secrecy.

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