If anyone needed proof that there are elected politicians out there who do not know what they are talking about when it comes to Britain’s relationship with the European Union, and especially trade, then Mid Bedfordshire’s Tory MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries has come running to provide it. Her combination of ignorance and dishonesty is the best advert yet for mandatory testing of all Parliamentary hopefuls.
On the question of a Customs Union, the fragrant Nadine “admitted she had been stumped in a conversation with a politics teacher and didn't know enough about the trading relationships of the customs union's members to argue the point. After her colleagues replied on WhatsApp with arguments for leaving the customs union, Dorries said: ‘You have just convinced me what my gut always knew – it is so complicated and convoluted, we must get the hell out.’” She didn’t understand it, so we had to leave it. Ri-i-i-ight.
On tariffs, she has no more clue. Earlier this year, she stated “Coffee beans are free of duty. Roasted coffee beans have duty applied to prevent poorer countries from creating an industry of processing. British pay, German and Italian roasters benefit - the countries that produce the beans, remain poor”. Sadly, this was not true.
As Jim Cornelius - “not an expert, I just look stuff up” - told her (see the whole thread HERE), many of the poorest countries (Ethiopia, Uganda, Cameroon, Madagascar, DR of the Congo, Rwanda) are subject to General Systems of Preferences provisions, and their roasted coffee is subject to a Zero tariff. Others, like Kenya, have an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU and also have a Zero tariff for roasted coffee.
But some poor countries attract tariffs of between 2.8% and 7.5% for that product. The thought enters that this complexity is too much for Ms Dorries. Also, she appears highly susceptible to taking the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg on trust.
This love of simple, snappy soundbites has once again led her to make another totally untrue claim, and to no surprise at all this concerns WTO rules. Chiding her fellow Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, she chirped “I wonder how many Conservative voters would refuse to vote for us if we didn’t leave on March 29th? Leaving on WTO is not no deal. It’s the way the rest of the world outside of the EU27 trade and joining them is an amazing opportunity to do business”. No, it isn’t the way the rest of the world trades. It really isn’t.
Steve Peers of the University of Essex showed his exasperation. “Leaving without a deal *is* no deal, and the rest of the world does *not* trade on WTO terms. Can you please stop lying?”. So how did, for instance, Australia and New Zealand trade with the EU? “On the basis of WTO MFN plus supplementary agreements … Since both countries are negotiating FTAs with the EU and have other FTAs like CPTPP, it would be odd to suggest they are advocates of ‘WTO terms’ for trade”. Quite.
And what about Mauritania, sometimes cited as the one country that trades only on WTO rules? Charlie Bilsland had something to say about that: “even Mauretania has a trade deal with the EC of West African States”. Also, it may qualify for GSP status (above).
Emma Swann was also exasperated by the fragrant Nadine’s lack of knowledge. “Nadine, you have no business being in parliament with that level of ignorance. We trade with RoW via bilateral treaties as part of EU. We lose ALL OF THEM if we crash out”. Quite.
But Simon Smith had a solution to the problem: “Do your job and actually research this. I am beyond bored of the constant lies Westminster come out with. The sooner you are fined a weeks salary each time you lie the better”. Ouch!
Docked a week’s money every time she lied? Hell, at that rate, not only would Nadine Dorries never get paid, she’d have to pay We The People for permission to come to work. The Four Yorkshiremen were right, but perhaps not in the way the sketch intended.
This level of dishonesty and ignorance is unacceptable. No change there, then.
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