WATCH: No-deal Brexiteer James Delingpole hasn’t read the trade rules he’s calling for


Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

Tinpot intellectual and whiny right-wing blogger James Delingpole appeared on BBC’s This Week to make the case for a no deal Brexit – and demonstrated with aplomb why it’s an absolutely terrible idea.

Presenter Andrew Neil asked Delingpole about World Trade Organisation rules (which Britain would automatically fall back on after leaving the EU without a deal).

If the UK chooses low tariffs or no tariffs to stimulate free trade under these rules (as free trade advocates suggest), it would have to treat every other WTO member the same way.

Neil asked: “Under your WTO rules you can’t pick and choose – if there’s no tariff on what you’re giving me or exporting, there’s no tariff on what he’s giving. And if you do that, why would anybody do a free trade deal?”

With the confidence of a man who has made it at least halfway down the “World Trade Organisation” Wikipedia page, Delingpole leant his elbow casually and triumphantly on the back of the sofa, and ever-so-smoothly replied: “That’s the base position, that’s the starting position, and then you negotiate from there. President Trump has already said that he’s happy to give us a fantastic deal.”

This is the moment when the panel burst out laughing in unison.

“Let me just clarify this,” said Neil. “If, because I’ve given the Europeans no-tariff access to the British market, under your WTO rules, I have to give the Americans tariff-free access as well. Why would they need to do a free trade deal? They’ve got the free trade.”

And in a beautiful distillation of all the mansplaining bullshit about Brexit that has ever been spouted, Delingpole replied: “Erm, I don’t know the answer to that.”

“Well, that’s honest. And on that, we’ll move on. Thank you.”


I'm a mole, innit.

Free trial CSS