As reality hits home and the deadline for concluding negotiations with the EU ahead of the UK’s departure comes ever closer, it is becoming abundantly clear that the country is heading for a state in which the vast majority of its citizens will be considerably worse off than before. Moreover, the EU negotiators have poured cold water on Theresa May’s co-called “Chequers compromise”. Opinion is moving against the whole idea of leaving.
Thus the increasing desperation of those, ideologically or otherwise, who are wedded to the idea of seeing the UK out of the EU. Moreover, none of those people is yet ready to accept any blame for the failure to negotiate, the lack of readiness for what may happen next year, and the litany of lies fed to the electorate in order to get them to vote for something that is already slowing down the economy.
The panic has been joined today not just by those in and around Government, but the snake-oil purveyors in the right-wing media. For the Tories, disgraced former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has claimed the EU is “intransigent”, and as the BBC has reported, “He said the EU had to decide whether to act in the economic best interests of its people, or to go on pursuing an approach determined by an obsession with the purity of its rules”.
But he wasn’t hanging on desperately to maintaining the purity of his ideology, oh no. Nor was the also disgraced former minister Priti Patel, who “has called on Mrs May to have the ‘backbone and confidence’ to back Britain in the negotiations with the EU”. What would give the PM that confidence? Ah well: “we are dynamic, competitive and growing”. So more meaningless buzzwords, then. And added to all of that we have the snake-oil.
This has come from the increasingly right-wing Spectator magazine, whose editor Fraser Nelson talks well, but lies badly. “A no-deal Brexit is nothing to fear, says Prof David Collins. A tried-and-tested alternative to an EU trade deal - the world trade system - is ready and waiting” he tells, citing someone whose biography shows has no experience in trade negotiation. The response has been swift.
Sam Lowe has noted Collins’ fixation on trade facilitation, pointing out “Golden rule: anyone who points to trade facilitation agreement as a solution to Brexit either hasn’t read it or is banking on the fact that no one else will bother to read it. Largely exists to bring transparency & predictability to customs procedures of developing countries”. The full thread of his response to the Spectator article can be seen HERE.
And former trade negotiator Dmitry Grozoubinski has let his frustration at the snake-oil peddling show as he tells “I've negotiated in the WTO, unlike the author of this article who appears to have read the title of some WTO agreements and inferred a system which does not exist. This article is incorrect on every count. I am so sick of writing these threads I could vomit”. His full thread can be seen HERE.
The situation requires rational and honest debate. Instead, we get amateur hour panic from those in and around Government, and peddling of falsehood and misinformation by a right-wing press. Both strands are a sign of ignorance and desperation.
Meanwhile, the deadline approaches with no credible solution in sight. No change there.
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