A column penned by Boris Johnson that called on fellow ministers to stop blaming Brussels for all our problems has come back to haunt the PM as Brexit talks reach a cliff edge.
The article, penned in 2013, said that if Britain left the EU “we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by Brussels”.
It has resurfaced after the UK became engulfed in a blame game over the union as both sides struggle to get the “oven ready” deal through in time to be ratified.
Short-termism and inadequate management
Indeed, the Prime Minister may want to observe the advice of his younger self, who had some choice words to say on the matter when his predecessor David Cameron grappled with calls to guarantee a referendum if he got re-elected.
In his article published on 12 May 2013, Mr Johnson said that he would support a national vote, but warns that Britain’s problems will not be solved by simply leaving the EU as many of his Conservative colleagues apparently believe.
“If we left the EU, we would end this sterile debate, and we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by “Bwussels”, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and underinvestment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure,” he said.
“The answer is nothing to do with the EU”
“Why are we still, person for person, so much less productive than the Germans? That is now a question more than a century old, and the answer is nothing to do with the EU. In or out of the EU, we must have a clear vision of how we are going to be competitive in a global economy.”
This weekend shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves urged Boris Johnson to “get a grip” and “rapidly accelerate talks” when he returns from his holiday in Scotland, with the disruption of a disorderly exit threatening to compound the economic fallout of coronavirus.
“Last December the Prime Minister told the country he had an ‘oven ready’ deal and in June he claimed it could be delivered by the end of July,” the Labour MP said.
“The failure to make more progress in August only adds to the uncertainty for industries from freight to farming.”