Marcus Fysh (Winchester College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford) has been Tory MP for Yeovil since 2015. He is firmly in favour of Britain leaving the EU, and to this effect he has been prepared to propagandise shamelessly on the joys of life outside the alleged horrors of the European Club. Sadly, his propagandising has led him to the point where he is in need of the nearest means for extinguishing his burning trousers.
Marcus Fysh. He went to Oxford. And not just to do the drains
Fysh has told anyone who will listen that leaving the Customs Union is no big deal. His example of how frictionless and trouble free trade can be outside such an arrangement is the border between the USA and Canada. This he claims to have seen for himself: “Visited this week. V efficient border: only 3% of trucks are pulled aside of which 99% just x-rayed further, adding 5-10 mins to the v short normal clearance time. Need for ‘hard’ border gateways on the border itself is driven by immigration ie people movement controls”.
Oliver Norgrove took issue with the “3% of trucks” claim: “This is false and a deliberate misinterpretation of what is in reality a staged process. Since there exists no customs union between the US and Canada, documentary procedures are inevitable. Every truck crossing from the United States into Canada must pass through and stop at what is called a primary inspection lane. No exceptions. Fysh makes no mention of this initial stage and so his figure is demonstrably inaccurate and he ought to withdraw his comment”.
Norgrove emphasises “every driver is subjected to this primary check”. He also makes this telling addition: “Canada and the US make up two thirds of NAFTA, itself a Free Trade Area. Notice once again how the existence of what is essentially a modified FTA does not in any way produce frictionless borders”. Free trade area or none, without a Customs Union, there is no frictionless border. But Fysh was having none of this reality.
Allie Renison of the IoD - not exactly the most slavishly Europhile body known to humankind - pointed out “I have shared commercial trucking guides for crossing the US-Canadian border numerous times before. Happy to again. Here is an abbreviated version which makes clear every truck is physically stopped” And his response to this reality?
“Ya da ya da”. This intellectual Colossus followed that with “The border doesn't worry Ford. Trusted traders scan their cards and move straight through - no wait. Suggest you talk to them and hear that effectively it means the trucks just slow down”. But Chris Miller, a real automotive engineer with experience of US/Canada crossings, responded “Working for Ford I have spent many hours in lines at the US/Canada border after supplier visits.... Should I have used the ‘it's not really a border’ lane?” And it got worse for Fysh.
Sam Lowe, another of those pesky knowledgeable people, observed “If you're suggesting the example of the Canada-US border offers a viable solution to the NI-Ireland Brexit border issue you really need to get a grip”. Quite. But Fysh was not yet Fyshed out, and so back he came with, er, “Ya da ya da gravity ya da ya da meaningless graphs, supposition and cod economics ya da ya da ya”. Reality is proving a challenging concept for him.
And that’s in addition to having his trousers well alight. Sad, really.