Knife to a Gunfight
Johnson has always fancied himself as a modern-day Churchill. The last-minute “deal” on Brexit was more reminiscent of Chamberlain. Another Sir, Sean Connery, once famously said, “never bring a knife to a gunfight”. In some respects, we didn’t even have a knife. Claims that the EU was “mean”, and didn’t deal in “good faith” fails to acknowledge that the EU’s first duty is to secure the best deal possible for the single market. The right thing for our government to have done was to have taken the same attitude towards our negotiating stance. Instead, we lept out of the bed completely naked, screaming divorce.
Another issue is the EU doesn’t trust us. They would have loved to keep us in the Union. They expressed this wish by handing us the best deal out of any members. Was it mean when we went to Brussels year after year complaining and asking for more? Or, was it looking after our interests? The EU saw it as dealing in bad faith. It seems they were excellent students.
What Deal Did We Get?
We don’t really know, is the truth. Much of what is to come has not been settled. We did get a deal for fisherman. In fact, that’s about all Boris could point to in his news conference. That and the laws we wouldn’t have to bow to. Unless we want to trade with the EU. He left that bit out.
Johnson’s promise to have a non-tariff border was a lie, much like the £350 million for the NHS. Those were his two big promises. Neither were true. Does anyone remember that? Other than fishermen, we did secure tariff-based trade for manufacturing. Those businesses are busy trying to conform to the new reality. Yes, I said tariff-based trade. The added paperwork and cost is substantial and may make many uncompetitive. We have already experienced the queues brought about by delays at the channel. Just in time supply chains are a thing of the past for now, and that will also have a negative impact on British manufacturers.
The government brings up fish a lot. Even that wasn’t an overall success. In five years we may well be back to fish wars. Remember those? A return to the good old days, you know, blackouts, the IMF bailout, and strikes. Can’t wait.
We do have a deal most of which is undefined. Little like a mortgage with a payment amount to be determined at some point by the bank.
What About the 80%?
Johnson and his barrow boys have yet to mention what’s going to happen to the majority of our economy, services. We are a service-based economy. They are too busy selling day-old fish. Fish accounts for less than 1%, although you would have thought we all owned boats.
The largest contributor by far to GDP is financial services. They are currently in limbo. The firms based solely in the UK are. Those with offices in Europe are downsizing UK operations and expanding in places like Frankfurt and Paris.
Any chance the EU will cry foul for us? Stop International firms moving people and money to Europe? Yeah right. No, the reverse. In the same way, we took advantage of the single market to make London an international finance hub, the single market countries who have long wanted a piece of London’s action will be hard at work building empires off our back. They have already moved trillions of pounds in assets out of the UK.
He’s Behind You!
It’s probably fitting that a Brexit deal appeared during the Pantomime season. They have all the same elements. A feckless arrogant character who can’t seem to keep up with his nemesis requiring help from the audience. In our case the audience failed to participate.
We are where we are, an idealistic mess punctuated by throwing our toys out of the pram. The EU didn’t hand us a bad deal; we created it ourselves and the government owns the results. That’s why they are spinning hard pointing to fish and ignoring elephants.