11:34 GMT08 May 2021
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    The UK has been recently marred by a series of allegations of sexual misconduct by its senior MPs. Rodney Atkinson, founder of freenations.net website, one of Britain's most successful political economists and a former ministerial advisor explained to Sputnik Radio why these issues are unlikely to inflict any serious political damage.

    Sputnik: How do you think this scandal could damage the image of Theresa May's government, the conservative government is historically used to it, isn't it?

    Rodney Atkinson: The behavior of people like Jeffrey Archer, who then continues to be a member of the House of Lords, and a number of other individuals who behave beyond the levels of propriety, does not seem to have even stopped their own political careers, never mind damage the governments of which they were part of. So, I don't expect this to have any serious political damage. Indeed, the most serious allegations are against a Labor party official who actually raped a Labor activist. And even worse, the Labor party has apparently been covering it up. I am surprised that that, but someone who touched my knee in 2015 or someone who invited me to lunch when they saw picture of me in the newspapers, these kind of rather childish accusations against ministers and MPs [have got much of attention.]

    Sputnik: Is there a correlation between the prominent figures within Hollywood in the US and the MPs within the UK that are now bringing all this information and making it public?

    Rodney Atkinson: Well, they are both highly public activities – politics and Hollywood. They are both in a sense, you could say, in the entertainment industry. And it is usually the young, the very young in some cases, before they have even started a career, who are the victims of such behavior. And what these victims need is time and maturity in development to have the confidence to come forward and that takes several years. Also, if you have a lot of publicity in the press on both sides of the Atlantic, then those victims feel safety in numbers, and they could come forward for that reason.   

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    Sputnik: How is this particular ongoing situation with this news going to affect the public's perception and desire for Brexit? The UK parliament has recently voted to make the government disclose more secret studies on Brexit's economic impact. Do you think that these studies could provide any additional negativity, and with this news, with regard to the public's desire for Brexit to move forward?

    Rodney Atkinson: First of all, I don't think it will affect the government's position on Brexit and it certainly won't affect people's position on Brexit because the support for Brexit has been getting stronger since the June 2016 vote. First of all, they see that there is a lot of obstructionism by the EU negotiators, which is turning them towards [being a] Brexiteer. Secondly, they are just getting irritated that nothing has happened for so long. I think there is over 70 percent of people who say, "For God's sake, get on with it!" This sort of behavior pf MPs, although it is and can be a very serious matter, it ranks very low down people's political priorities when they realize a seriousness and the future prospects of Brexit.

    Sputnik: There are lots of talks with regards to the negotiations which do not seem to be going very quickly and now we have the problems with the Northern Irish board, with the biggest problem is obviously being the Divorce Bill. They are saying that at the next round of talks they will sit down to discuss a trade deal. What is your personal feeling, do you think it is going to be "the Eleventh Hour", sometime in March 2019, when everything is ratified and agreed, we'll be burning the midnight oil in March some time and all these agreements are going to come flying out of the doors?

    Rodney Atkinson: I really don't know. The trouble is that the EU side is being obstructionist, it is being arbitrary in deciding what it is prepared to discuss and what it is not prepared to discuss. These are unprecedented attitudes in international agreements. They've suddenly realized perhaps that they are being too unreasonable and they are beginning to give ground. But there comes a point, when ludicrous sums are demanded for an actual severance, which, under international law cannot be sustained but which Britain is prepared to pay in return for sensible trade negotiations.

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    Then, if they push their luck, people will say, "Well, no, this is just ridiculous. We are leaving. Goodbye. That’s the end of our contributions. And we will trade under World Trade Organization rules." This, of course, will be a massive problem of the European Union. I noticed the other day that there were thousands of financial jobs lost in London. But what they don't realize that there are far more EU financial institutions who need to have passports into London than London institutions which need passports into the EU. So if they don't come to an arrangement, there is going to be a lot of job losses in the EU's financial, car and industrial industries.

    One more thing which I want to mention: the vote in the House of Commons that the government should publish, these 58,or whatever it is, policy papers, looking at individual sectors and the consequences for Brexit, this was a very unusual constitutional vote, which the opposition called on the Queen to intervene.

    The Queen is extremely annoyed at this, not surprisingly. The people should be very annoyed as well because when the Queen was giving Crown prerogative powers to ministers to sign international treaties to surrender the democratic rights of the British people in parliament to the European Union in the first place, there was absolutely no objection to that. Now of course when the shoe is on the other foot, and we are coming out, suddenly these "Remainers" and "Eurofanatics" are very keen on constitutional procedures, which is clear hypocrisy.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Brexit, sex scandal, European Union, Rodney Atkinson, Europe, United Kingdom
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