Meet Theodora Dickinson. Since her last appearance on Zelo Street, she has, it seems, undergone some kind of makeover, but sadly, this has not extended to her ability to engage brain before ideology. Fortunately, she has - for the moment at least - ceased her previous demonisation of Muslims, and is now majoring in the economic detail of a No Deal Brexit. She is a political consultant. But she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
That ignorance includes, in Ms Dickinson’s case, the blind acceptance of whatever comes out of CCHQ without stopping and thinking first. Hence her Retweeting a whopper from the Tories about Freeports, which are now being touted as a great economic saviour.
Theodora Dickinson. Political consultant. Yes, really
“10 new Free Ports across Britain … Int’l Trade Secretary [Liz Truss] ‘They will onshore enterprise and manufacturing as the gateway to our future prosperity, creating thousands of jobs.’ We will have a truly independent trade policy after we leave the EU on October 31”. This is total bullshit. For starters, the EU allows Freeports. We had Freeports when an EU member. It was the UK’s own decision not to continue having Freeports.
As to “They will onshore enterprise and manufacturing”, this is a meaningless soundbite. But it sets out the terminally clueless Ms Dickinson’s approach excellently, such as her telling “There is an opportunity now - as we come out of the Common Agricultural Policy - to organise our support for agriculture in a way that suits the interests of UK farming”.
Yes, we know - it means bunging farmers lots of money for their produce as the UK exits from the EU and tariff barriers price that produce out of its present markets. It may also mean bunging sugar beet producers lots of money to stop them going out of business as tariffs come down on cane sugar and they are undercut.
This lack of understanding comes to a head as Ms Dickinson tells her followers “In the event of no deal we shouldn't impose tariffs on food imports. Alongside that, we should impose full tariffs on EU industrial goods (raising £10bn). This would place political pressure on the EU to strike a free trade deal as soon as possible”. Ho yus.
No tariff on food imports? Farmers go out of business, overwhelmed by cheap cane sugar, grain, beef and lots more. EU tariffs, meanwhile, cut off their export markets. Full tariffs on EU industrial goods? Fine. But the problem with that is, under WTO rules - which it seems Ms Dickinson has not understood - means we have to do the same to everyone else.
We could reduce those tariffs, but then, we’d have less leverage for that trade deal. Which brings Ms Dickinson to her peroration. “Many deals are in place already to ensure that planes continue to fly, hauliers have the requisite licences etc. Under WTO rules we will be free to set our own tariffs and make our own trade deals. We will have full control of our laws and our borders”. We have control of our borders and around 90% of our laws now.
Under WTO rules we will not be able to pick and choose on tariffs. And we will have next to zero leverage when it comes to trade deals. That this has not got though to Tory-supporting pundits is not unusual. Ignorance of reality comes as standard.
“Political communications and social media consultant”? I wouldn’t pay her in washers.
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