The British European Referendum

Should Britain leave the EU?


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Martin Mayers

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The real question here is: Will you be allowed to import food from an EU country to the UK and how will you get to the UK. To my understanding flying there will become difficult as the framework will have to be re-negotiated. Roads will probably be clogged by trucks.
Don't be silly. Of course we'll be able to import food. Worst case scenario it will cost a little more. We import bananas from Africa, the Caribean and South America and lamb from New Zealand for fuck's sake. You guys appear to be losing your perspective on this.

Roads being clogged by trucks may be a realistic concern until the border controls situations are resolved and systems put in place. That part of this might concern me. Fortunately I live in the northern wastes and actually couldn't give a shit what happens to the road systems in Kent and whether that has a potential impact on foreign people who appear to be gleefully laughing at us, yet in the next breath want to visit us. Harumph.
 

von Marwitz

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I'm a rather angry remainer.

But listening to Europeans enjoying themselves a little too much at our imminent demise is slowly swinging me in the opposite direction.
I for one am not enjoying this a bit. It is a lose-lose situation, both for Britain and the EU. Schadenfreude is not in order here.

I understand that we're not really liked. I 'get it'. The psychological impact on nations of being slapped around by us over the last few hundred years is bound to have an impact. It's not easy to tolerate within the EU ranks a country who stands up for themselves and won't be bullied around (like your Greeces, Italies, etc.) by French and German Eurocrats. This toxicity of thought process unfortunately is colouring negotiations from the EU side.
Well, who 'likes' the Germans? :dontknow We are readily tolerated if we stand by with the pay-check. As long as we don't ask questions what's going to happen with the money. But all hell and gall breaks loose if we do. Of course, we also had our turn in slapping other countries around but reading the headlines of some of the less prestigious UK newspapers one gets the impression bytimes that Heinkels are in the skies above London at the very moment and operation Sealion is ongoing.

I guess we have to put up with it, regardless if we are Germans or British or some other countries in Europe. It is rare that powerful nations are liked.

Ultimately though, it's probably going to happen. And I'm surprised that the EU are taking a negotiating position which will damage the UK horrendously....and damage the EU horrendously. It makes no sense to me. But what would I know?
It is a lose-lose situation for all involved so everyone will attempt to limit the damage to one's side.

But one thing you must appreciate. You are negotiating with the Conservative AND UNIONIST Party of the United Kingdom. If you seriously think that a vote will pass through our Government that puts us in any risk of a break up of said Union, you're utterly deluded (not "you" of course....I mean the EU). I don't feel the EU appreciate this entirely.
This is the point because things have become so bitter:

The British see the United Kingdom endangered.
The EU fears desintegration if providing the UK with generous terms in contradiction to its own rules and interests and providing others with a successful example to follow suit.

So there are serious interests at stake on both sides.

I think it falls short to lay the blame at the feet of 'German and French eurocrats'. It is remarkable, that over the course of the last years since Brexit something very strange happened: All EU countries - not just Germany and France - seem to be quite united in their stance towards Brexit from the start until the end. And on this position there has been surprisingly little squabbling throughout this time nor has the united position deteriorated over the years. This is a rare occurrence. The British probably did not expcect that, nor me for that matter.

We have seen, that not even Germany or France have the power to dominate Europe. Merkel has tried with her refugee policy and failed (which is good) and still does not see the point. It did not take the UK to stop her. In this case, it was Hungary, Poland, and Austria before others that did the trick.

No country in Europe put up comparable opposition in case of Brexit in favor for UK interests. Why?
I *think* the answer might be that they believe it serves their very own interest better (and not necessarily that of Germany or France). I think the answer is not that 'evil' Germany and 'evil' France forced the rest to do so. It could not 'force' the others to give in with regard to the refugees (luckily), so why should it be able to do so for Brexit?

Well, as a bottom line, the whole Brexit affair turns out to be a much more utter mess than anyone would have expected.
 

Paul M. Weir

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According to some as yet unnamed Tory, us Irish "should know our place"!
Of course, we also had our turn in slapping other countries around but reading the headlines of some of the less prestigious UK newspapers one gets the impression bytimes that Heinkels are in the skies above London at the very moment and operation Sealion is ongoing.
If you do invade, could we have Northern Ireland back. Please ... Pretty Please? :oops:
 

TopT

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Of course, we also had our turn in slapping other countries around but reading the headlines of some of the less prestigious UK newspapers one gets the impression bytimes that Heinkels are in the skies above London at the very moment and operation Sealion is ongoing..
I have heard that we already have the makings of scenario pack in the making if this were to become a fact :):)
 

Dave68124

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Struck me after reading the latest article on Brexit in the WSJ that regardless how the UK turns out, this is far from over for the EU. Becoming very clear to me the UK independence as a separate country is at question even with the deal. Other countries in the EU will take notice too and I believe some have - such as Italy telling the EU to go get fucked on their budget.

Germany and France appear to be running the show in the EU, but they have been economically screwing the rest of the EU countries for about 30 years now with the Euro so I can see they have significant interest in seeing the EU and Euro survive so they can continue to ride their economic gravy train. Best thing the UK ever did was to keep the Pound.
 

BattleSchool

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As a politcal project, the EU is finished, IMO. It remains an open question whether the EU will survive as an economic union.

The "borderless" Europe envisioned by the architects of the EU has created continent-wide security problems--not all of which are confined to the Schengen Area. At the same time, the Euro-zone has led to economic instability in much of southern Europe.

Perhaps a little controlled "disintegration" of the EU is needed, if the organization is to have a future. And maybe, Brexit is the catalyst for a rethink of what the EU should be, not what it currently is, nor what some in Brussels want it to be.
 

von Marwitz

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As a politcal project, the EU is finished, IMO. It remains an open question whether the EU will survive as an economic union.

The "borderless" Europe envisioned by the architects of the EU has created continent-wide security problems--not all of which are confined to the Schengen Area. At the same time, the Euro-zone has led to economic instability in much of southern Europe.

Perhaps a little controlled "disintegration" of the EU is needed, if the organization is to have a future. And maybe, Brexit is the catalyst for a rethink of what the EU should be, not what it currently is, nor what some in Brussels want it to be.

I do not think so. The political project of the EU is basically a sound concept and successful overall.

You have to keep in mind that the nations of Europe have up to WW2 basically fought each other for centuries. Viciously.
Since the end of WW2 we have enjoyed the privilege to live in the longest peaceful period (without open war) that we've ever had. The EU and its predecessors played on vital part in this.

That said, I agree that a 'United States of Europe' is only a vision. It cannot be decreed. And if it will ever come to pass, it will need time. Lots of it. The only way it can conceivably work is if the nations gradually grow together. It is a matter of generations.

And the European countries have made mileage along that path. Never before has it been so normal to travel from one country to the other within the EU. There is hardly any school that does not have a partner-school in another EU country. A hundred years ago, entering another country often meant carrying a rifle. The extent of economical convergence is illustrated just now in the realization what a titan task it is, to undo it. It requires years if not decades to make new treaties and to adjust the legal system.

Probably the main reason for the current difficulties within the EU is that it has accepted too many new countries before they were ready in the hope that they would make up for it when being members. Basically handing out the benefits but not imposing the requirements. IMHO this has been a cardinal mistake, though I concede that there are few historic moments in which extending the EU is possible - like the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. We could observe, that many of the new members found it hard to catch up on one hand and partially were not willing or able to fulfill their promises with regard to living up to the requirements. (Not) fighting corruption in some of the eastern countries of the EU is one example, not fulfilling the economical and financial requirements is another (Greece). So admitting numerous new member states before they were ready imported a plethora of problems and increased the 'spread' of development between the furthest and least developed countries within the EU significantly.

On top of this too fast expansion, the EU has failed to adjust its organizational mechanisms accordingly before doing so. It has turned out that now the EU is a toothless tiger in many respects if its members simply break the rules they convened on, for example when they are exceeding the deficit, ignoring some EU laws, etc. It has to be noted that these misdeeds do not only apply to newer members but also to those that you can consider the core nations with much power. Neglecting to install mechanisms to enforce rules the EU countries have agreed on poses a huge problem when they don't.

The third reason that the EU is currently facing difficulties is the phenomenon of globalization. But this is not limited to the EU but extends to the USA i.e. all the 'West' in general and beyond. There are new players on the map, first and foremost China. The 'West' has to cope with serious competition where it used to dominate - militarily and economically. So far the attempted 'recipe' to cope with that have been attempts by policy makers of the West to tighten the belts for the common man while courting big business and finance. In the West, there is a relatively small group that has profited tremendously from globalization while for the small man wages have often stalled for years on end. The gap between the rich and the poor widens. This is felt by the people. Many in the West are not convinced that their kids will have a better life and opportunity than their parents. This used to be the opposite just a few decades ago. And this enables people like Trump or other populists that would never could even dream of holding an office if the politicians of the West had found a recipe on how to tackle globalization in which the breadth of the people feels to be also considered.

That said, the EU has no choice but to function as an economic union at minimum. Each country would be weaker if it attempted to face globalization individually as the European countries are not large enough to be of sufficient weight by themselves. This insight is probably the reason why the remaining 27 - being diverse as they are - basically stand together with regard to their postition towards Brexit.
 

BattleSchool

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I do not think so. The political project of the EU is basically a sound concept and successful overall. ...Since the end of WW2 we have enjoyed the privilege to live in the longest peaceful period (without open war) that we've ever had. The EU and its predecessors played on vital part in this.
Hogwash!

The EU has done virtually nothing to prevent interstate (or intrastate) war on the European continent. The Cold War divide suprressed national and ethnic rivalries. The EU cannot claim credit for "peace" during this period. When these historic rivalries were released with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the EU dithered, as Nato stepped into the breach. Outside Europe, the EU has little to show for its "program of peace."

Peace, i.e., any meaningful and sustained period of peace, has to be either fought for or defended. It cannot be purchased, or leased.

That said, I agree that a 'United States of Europe' is only a vision. It cannot be decreed. ...The only way it can conceivably work is if the nations gradually grow together. It is a matter of generations.
Clearly it's not just a matter of generations, as some two centuries of Belgian history illustrates. If the Flemings and Walloons can't get along after almost 200 years, how realistic is it to expect the rest of Europe to reach a consensus on a host of competing national/ethnic/religious/economic interests?

"Brussels" wants to build a better Europe. It should set an example by building a better Belgium.
 
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von Marwitz

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Hogwash!

The EU has done virtually nothing to prevent interstate (or intrastate) war on the European continent. The Cold War divide suprressed national and ethnic rivalries. The EU cannot claim credit for "peace" during this period.
You should probably invest some time to read a bit more about European history. Your thinking about maintaining peace seems to be only centered on the 'guns' part of it. That's the part of maintaining peace by mutual fear. But real peace is not founded on mutual fear but on mutual trust, relations and interdependence. Maybe this bit about the ECSC could serve you for starters:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Coal_and_Steel_Community

When these historic rivalries were released with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the EU dithered, as Nato stepped into the breach. Outside Europe, the EU has little to show for its "program of peace."
Well, since the fall of the Berlin Wall the US does not have exactly a record of creating peace in the world but for fighting wars. And whereever these wars were fought, the areas do not seem to have become more peaceful afterwards than before.

Peace, i.e., any meaningful and sustained period of peace, has to be either fought for or defended. It cannot be purchased, or leased.
I agree with your first sentence.

You can force 'peace' at gunpoint. But this is really either mutual fear or subjugation of one side.
You can purchase 'peace'. You could call it paying tribute. It might work for a while and be cheaper than waging war but usually fails in the long run.

In either case, though, you are not talking about real peace, because at least one side is forced to behave in a certain manner. Real peace is based on mutual agreement and trust.

A nation is well advised not to neglegt any of those elements.

Clearly it's not just a matter of generations, as some two centuries of Belgian history illustrates. If the Flemings and Walloons can't get along after almost 200 years, how realistic is it to expect the rest of Europe to reach a consensus on a host of competing national/ethnic/religious/economic interests?
Based on that assumption, what were the prospects of Germany ever developing into a nation over the last 200 years?
(You are looking at around 50 sovereign states.)

HRR_1789.jpg

The answer is common rules, common institutions, no tariffs at every border of every earldom.
 

Martin Mayers

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“When I look at Britain, I have the impression that they’ve lost their compass for the facts” German CDU MP

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-13/german-lawmakers-warn-u-k-against-illusory-new-deal-on-brexit?srnd=politics-vp

Oooo....hold me down in my enthusiasm for said politico point of view.


What utter horseshite.

Read the facts....then come back to us and, just for one, post something on this topic which is remotely fucking relevant, or even interesting !
 

Martin Mayers

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Struck me after reading the latest article on Brexit in the WSJ that regardless how the UK turns out, this is far from over for the EU. Becoming very clear to me the UK independence as a separate country is at question even with the deal. Other countries in the EU will take notice too and I believe some have - such as Italy telling the EU to go get fucked on their budget.

Germany and France appear to be running the show in the EU, but they have been economically screwing the rest of the EU countries for about 30 years now with the Euro so I can see they have significant interest in seeing the EU and Euro survive so they can continue to ride their economic gravy train. Best thing the UK ever did was to keep the Pound.
Yes...I think 500 years from now, when we talk of the EU 'debacle' that we'll say the same.

Thank God for the left wing Labour Party
 

Martin Mayers

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I do not think so. The political project of the EU is basically a sound concept and successful overall.

You have to keep in mind that the nations of Europe have up to WW2 basically fought each other for centuries. Viciously.
Since the end of WW2 we have enjoyed the privilege to live in the longest peaceful period (without open war) that we've ever had. The EU and its predecessors played on vital part in this.

That said, I agree that a 'United States of Europe' is only a vision. It cannot be decreed. And if it will ever come to pass, it will need time. Lots of it. The only way it can conceivably work is if the nations gradually grow together. It is a matter of generations.

And the European countries have made mileage along that path. Never before has it been so normal to travel from one country to the other within the EU. There is hardly any school that does not have a partner-school in another EU country. A hundred years ago, entering another country often meant carrying a rifle. The extent of economical convergence is illustrated just now in the realization what a titan task it is, to undo it. It requires years if not decades to make new treaties and to adjust the legal system.

Probably the main reason for the current difficulties within the EU is that it has accepted too many new countries before they were ready in the hope that they would make up for it when being members. Basically handing out the benefits but not imposing the requirements. IMHO this has been a cardinal mistake, though I concede that there are few historic moments in which extending the EU is possible - like the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. We could observe, that many of the new members found it hard to catch up on one hand and partially were not willing or able to fulfill their promises with regard to living up to the requirements. (Not) fighting corruption in some of the eastern countries of the EU is one example, not fulfilling the economical and financial requirements is another (Greece). So admitting numerous new member states before they were ready imported a plethora of problems and increased the 'spread' of development between the furthest and least developed countries within the EU significantly.

On top of this too fast expansion, the EU has failed to adjust its organizational mechanisms accordingly before doing so. It has turned out that now the EU is a toothless tiger in many respects if its members simply break the rules they convened on, for example when they are exceeding the deficit, ignoring some EU laws, etc. It has to be noted that these misdeeds do not only apply to newer members but also to those that you can consider the core nations with much power. Neglecting to install mechanisms to enforce rules the EU countries have agreed on poses a huge problem when they don't.

The third reason that the EU is currently facing difficulties is the phenomenon of globalization. But this is not limited to the EU but extends to the USA i.e. all the 'West' in general and beyond. There are new players on the map, first and foremost China. The 'West' has to cope with serious competition where it used to dominate - militarily and economically. So far the attempted 'recipe' to cope with that have been attempts by policy makers of the West to tighten the belts for the common man while courting big business and finance. In the West, there is a relatively small group that has profited tremendously from globalization while for the small man wages have often stalled for years on end. The gap between the rich and the poor widens. This is felt by the people. Many in the West are not convinced that their kids will have a better life and opportunity than their parents. This used to be the opposite just a few decades ago. And this enables people like Trump or other populists that would never could even dream of holding an office if the politicians of the West had found a recipe on how to tackle globalization in which the breadth of the people feels to be also considered.

That said, the EU has no choice but to function as an economic union at minimum. Each country would be weaker if it attempted to face globalization individually as the European countries are not large enough to be of sufficient weight by themselves. This insight is probably the reason why the remaining 27 - being diverse as they are - basically stand together with regard to their postition towards Brexit.
Sorry my German friend....and you know I am a HUGE Germanophile.....I still visit Die Mosel annually

But...translation.....German militarism failed in the 1940s......and German economism took over,

It makes me sick that Germany and France 'drive the ship'. In every sense of what's morally right, or justified....my country should carry the whip hand. WE stopped German militarism in the 1940s, before either the USSR or the USA became embroiled. WE busted ourselves post WW2 to help our European "friends" out. The entire attitude of Germans, French and the EU makes me fucking sick. With respect !

Sorry....it really pisses me off that countries whom have tried to lay waste to this continent in my grand parents' lifetime, have any control....pffff
 
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von Marwitz

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Well, I believe that no country in the EU should carry the 'whip hand'.

I can also comprehend why you do not want Germany and France to drive the ship. Heck, I'd like the UK to drive it too instead of leaving it.

What I cannot follow is that countries that have laid waste to this continent in our grand parents' lifetime should not have any control. The generation that did so is dead. The generation that is now in power in Germany and elsewhere was not even born then. Our generation and that of our parents that were children during the war have built and rebuilt Europe after the war, regardless of whether they are French, British, German or otherwise. So they all deserve their share of control.

And as, thank the Lord, at least within western Europe, we have for the time being and hopefully for as much time as possible into the future overcome outright war to exert control amongst ourselves, we have to do it by mutual agreement. Yes, granted, this is difficult, tiresome, and imperfect. But it is a whole damn lot better of what our grand-parents had.
 

Sparafucil3

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But listening to Europeans enjoying themselves a little too much at our imminent demise is slowly swinging me in the opposite direction.
Success is the best revenge. -- jim
 

Mister T

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From 2021 British citizens (like all aliens exempted from visa requirements to Europe) will have to pay 7 EUR to set foot on European territory for a fixed time frame. It's the same scheme as the U.S. ESTA in force for a decade now, only more reasonably priced.
 

Paul_RS

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https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2018/12/13/full-speech-sir-ivan-rogers-on-brexit/

Well worth a read.

Here's a taste:

the huge problem for the UK with either reversion to WTO terms or with a standard free trade deal with the EU is in services.

This is, perhaps, less a lesson of the last 2 ½ years than the curious case of the dog that has largely failed to bark so far. But it will bark in the next few years. And again, the public needs to be aware of the big trade-offs that are coming next…or resentment when the next set of climbdowns begins will be off the scale.

So far, both during the referendum and since, the trade debate has been dominated by trade in goods, tariffs issues and some discussion of the impact on manufacturing supply chains of departing the Single Market and Customs Union.

I don’t want to be excessively unkind here, but politicians find goods trade and tariffs more graspable than services trade and the huge complexities of non tariff barriers in services sectors. They rarely grasp the extent to which goods and services are bundled together and indissociable. They even more rarely grasp how incredibly tough it is to deliver freer cross border trade in services which, by definition, gets you deep into domestic sovereignty questions in a way which makes removing tariff barriers look

And they even yet more rarely grasp that, however imperfect they think EU attempts at internal cross border services liberalisation, anyone who has negotiated with the US, China, India, Japan or sundry others can tell them why far-reaching market-opening services deals are few and far between.
As the Prime Minister gradually backed away from her original red lines, as she realised she would imperil large tracts of UK manufacturing if she persisted with it, the position softened on quasi Customs Union propositions. Hence the constant howls of betrayal from those who thought October 2016 and Lancaster House mapped the only true path to Brexit.

Her only way to seek to sell this politically – so far with very little sign of success – was to talk boldly about greater autonomy and divergence in services regulation.

The reality, as I say, is that UK services’ industries needs have been sacrificed to the primary goal of ending free movement.
And post exit, and post the end of any transitional arrangement, it is UK services exporters who will face the starkest worsening of trade terms because of the substantial difference between how far services trade is liberalised under even the highly imperfect European services single market, and the very best that is achievable under any other form of free trade or regional agreement on the planet.

Yet it is in services sectors where the U.K. currently has a sizeable trade surplus with the EU, whereas in manufactured goods we have a huge deficit.
For all the imperfections of the Single Market, services trade between Member States is, in many sectors, freer than it is between the federal states of the US, or the states in Canada. The US Government is unable, even if it were willing, to deliver on commitments in many areas in international negotiations, just as it cannot bind its states on government procurement, on which many federal states are as protectionist as it gets.
Not that one ever hears a squeak on this from those who rail at EU protectionism.

But the extent and type of cross border free trade that exists in the Single Market, ceases when you leave. A very large proportion of cross border services trade conducted outside the Single Market only happens because firms have offices physically established in the countries to which they are exporting.

So we know already that cross border supply will diminish pretty radically post exit, and that ease of establishment of legal entities and ambitious deals on the temporary free movement of workers and on the mutual recognition of qualifications will be central to trying to sustain trade flows in much colder conditions, to limit the impact on the U.K. economy.

But a substantial hit on the balance of trade and on the public finances of substantial relocations out of the UK’s jurisdiction is guaranteed, because we have rendered the best mode of supplying services across borders far harder.

The implications are obvious. And again the public is not being told of them. Because the fiction has to be maintained – at least until a first deal is done – that there will be no sort of preferential free movement terms for EU citizens.

We stagger on, constantly postponing the long promised White Paper on immigration post Brexit.

And after it eventually does get published, we know that, in reality, once the FTA negotiations truly get under way, and reality bites on the UK side, the policy, like so many others in the last 30 months, will simply disintegrate in the face of negotiating imperatives.

The EU already knows that the UK will, under whoever’s Premiership, be prepared to pay a heavy price to maintain better access to business, legal, consultancy, and financial services markets than other third countries have, to date, achieved via standard FTAs. Why? Because that’s an economic imperative for a country which has world class services capability, but needs market access.

That EU leverage will be deployed in the years ahead and it will be used to enforce deals on issues like fisheries, on which again referendum campaign commitments will be abandoned in the teeth of reality.

Those saying this now will of course get the ritual denunciations for defeatism, lack of belief, treachery and whatever.
But just give it 2 more years. The Brexiteers, the strength of whose case to the public always resided, as I say, in saying to the public that their leaders had mis-sold them on what the EU was becoming, have now done their own mis-selling. And they are in the middle of the painful process of discovering that, as trade terms worsen on exit, which they denied would happen, they will, under economic duress, have to let down the very communities to whom they promised the post Brexit dividend.

That penny is dropping. Just very slowly.
 
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Paul_RS

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The plan is already agreed by the EU. Problem is it's fatally flawed and can never get past Parliament.
The UK wants the EU to make adjustments. The EU won't do so.
If nothing is resolved then we exit on WTO rules.
Ivan Rogers:

You cannot simultaneously argue that it is perfectly fine to leave a deep free trade agreement with easily our largest export and import market for the next generation, and trade on WTO terms because that is how we and others trade with everyone else…

….AND argue that it is imperative we get out of the EU in order that we can strike preferential trade deals with large parts of the rest of the world, because the existing terms on which we trade with the rest of the world are intolerable.

If moving beyond WTO terms with major markets represents a major step FORWARD in liberalising trade, then deliberately moving back to WTO terms from an existing deep preferential agreement – which is what the Single Market is – represents a major step BACKWARD to less free trade. You really can’t have it both ways.

Well, when I say “you cannot” argue this, clearly many can and do. But it is well beyond incoherent.

It is fine and legitimate to argue that – especially in the current obvious absence of an ability to drive forward major multilateral trade liberalisation at a time when the US has manifestly ceased to be interested in it, and may indeed be setting about deliberalising trade, undermining the World Trade Organisation and regretting having allowed China into it – the UK should aim at a global lattice work of bilateral and plurilateral free trade deals.
It is equally legitimate to argue, as I mentioned earlier, that you only want free trade deals which stop well short of the intrusion on national sovereignty which Single Market harmonisation and mutual recognition via supranational legislation, adjudication and enforcement entails.
As long as one also recognises that all trade deals inevitable erode and trammel one’s sovereignty to some degree – often to a significant degree.
Binding international commitments to opening each other’s markets – on goods, services, government procurement, whatever – seriously limit one’s capacity to regulate sectors of the economy as one might ideally see fit.

Genuinely free global trade actually seriously trammels national sovereignty. Hold the front page.
Indeed, the greatest reason to be a passionate free trader – which I am – is surely precisely that: it curtails the ability of myopic politicians to erect barriers to commerce in the name of sovereignty and national preference against non-national producers.
This is why our current debate on sovereignty and “taking back control” is often frankly so bizarre. It is just comical listening to Right wing populist politicians claiming they are avid free traders and simultaneously saying that one of the purposes of taking back control is to be able to rig domestic markets / competitions in favour of British suppliers / producers.

Protectionism is always someone else’s sin, of course.

And the Tory Party has been through these – decades-long – spasms before. Joseph Chamberlain’s Tariff Reform and Imperial Preference campaign, as loudly pious, nationalist and messianic as many today, led all the way through to his son Neville’s protectionist legislation of the early 1930s which helped worsen a post financial crisis economy. Sound familiar?

A post Brexit Britain which is committed to openness and free trade will need first of all to run hard to stand still, as 2/3 of UK exports are currently either to the EU or to countries with whom the EU has a preferential trade deal, which we shall have first to try and roll over.

Market access into the EU WILL worsen, whatever post exit deal we eventually strike. And the quantum by which our trade flows with the EU will diminish – and that impacts immediately – will outweigh the economic impact of greater market opening which we have to aim to achieve over time in other markets, where the impact will not be immediate but incremental
.

As the country debates its future trade policy in the next stage of negotiations both with the EU and with other sizeable markets it needs honesty from politicians that trade agreements take a long time.

That even if every one we aspire to were completed, this will have a really very modest impact on overall UK economic performance.
And that every version of Brexit involves a worsening of the UK’s trade position and a loss of market access to its largest market. As we strive to limit the extent of that worsening, public debate will have to be serious about what the real trade-offs are. Because the EU will be quite brutal in teaching us them.

Meanwhile, before we have even left, we have seen, in the last 2 ½ years, the most anaemic boost to UK net trade triggered by ANY major sterling devaluation since World War 2. For politicians not completely blinded by their own rhetoric, the warning signs for the UK economy as we worsen our trade terms with the Continent are there to see. Again, public debate needs to be based on the realities, not on fantasy. Or the reality will soon catch up with us.
 
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Paul_RS

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Don't be silly. Of course we'll be able to import food. Worst case scenario it will cost a little more. We import bananas from Africa, the Caribean and South America and lamb from New Zealand for fuck's sake. You guys appear to be losing your perspective on this.

Roads being clogged by trucks may be a realistic concern until the border controls situations are resolved and systems put in place. That part of this might concern me. Fortunately I live in the northern wastes and actually couldn't give a shit what happens to the road systems in Kent and whether that has a potential impact on foreign people who appear to be gleefully laughing at us, yet in the next breath want to visit us. Harumph.
It's May's deal or remain. A second referendum is now a distinct possibility.
 
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