Don’t let no deal talk distract from how bad the deal actually is

The next crucial vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal takes place on Tuesday. Much of the focus has been on taking no deal off the table. That’s important, because it would be a disaster.

However, we shouldn’t forget that the actual deal would damage us too, leaving us poorer and less safe.

Back in November, the Bank of England said that all forms of Brexit would leave us worse off than staying in the EU.

Vince said at the time:

The Bank of England has concluded that Brexit – with or without a deal – will leave the UK poorer, less productive and with an economy 4% smaller than if we had stayed in the EU.

Although the headlines are drawn to the dramatic economic collapse forecasted in the event of no deal, this report shows that the deal will cause harm to our economy and the living standards of people around the country.

The Conservative Government must stop using fears of no-deal to pretend that its deal will be good for the economy; today’s assessments put that myth to bed. It is time for a final say on the deal, with the option to remain.

This came around the same time as Philip Hammond admitted that there wasn’t an outcome of Brexit that would leave the country better off.

Tom Brake said:

It was shocking to hear the Chancellor candidly admit that Brexit will make the country poorer.

The Government’s own analysis shows real wages falling, every region in the UK worse off and no Brexit dividend.

The assessment of Theresa May’s deal assumes a rapid transition to a frictionless trade deal with the EU and other free trade arrangements with third-party countries, but the prospect of these negotiations happening quickly is wildly optimistic.

In reality the Conservatives’ deal could leave the UK much worse off than even these dour assessments forecast.

The case is stronger than ever for giving the public the final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU.

And Ed Davey found the Withdrawal Agreement withdrew the UK from useful information networks:

Article 8 of the withdrawal agreement, published by the Government this evening, states that the UK “shall cease to be entitled to access any network, any information system and any database established on the basis of Union law”.

Article 63 states that we will only be able to access the Schengen Information System for a maximum of 3 months after the end of the transition period, and Europol’s SIENA platform for a maximum of 1 year.

Meanwhile, Article 62 makes clear that the European Arrest Warrant will only apply to people arrested before the end of the transition period.

He said:

Theresa May’s deal finally spells out in black and white what the Liberal Democrats have been warning about for the last two years: Brexit will rob the UK of crucial cross-border crime-fighting tools that help to keep us safe.

After the transition period, we’ll lose the European Arrest Warrant and access to vital data-sharing systems, making it harder for the police to put serious criminals behind bars and keep us all safe.

The Government says it hopes to strike a ‘comprehensive’ deal on security co-operation, but euphemistically admits negotiations have been ‘particularly challenging’. Essentially, Theresa May is asking us to trust her to sort all this out within the next two years, while admitting that she’s failed to make any progress over the last two years.

For me, the worst thing is that it kicks so much down the road. We haven’t got a clue about what our future trading relationships with the EU and everyone else would look like.

Failure to reach a trade agreement before the end of the transition period could put us on a dash off the cliff edge at the end of next year. Except at that point we would be out of the EU with nothing we can do about it.

Don’t think the extreme No Dealers in the Conservative Party are going to give up fighting for that calamitous option if May manages to get her deal through. The moment of danger will not pass if we get a deal. That’s one of the many reasons why we need a People’s Vote.

As Vince said when the deal was announced, it is a disaster for the British people.

This is a sad day for everyone involved; the deal the EU have endorsed remains a disaster for the British people.

What has been agreed is vague at best and is essentially an agreement to have an agreement. There is still no majority in Parliament for it, and “No Brexit” remains the only real alternative.

Nobody voted to make themselves poorer and damage the UK’s standing in the world. It is time the Prime Minister granted a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Nonsense Caron, why only today 900 jobs where created in the UK, O no silly me 900 jobs where transferred to Holland from the UK.

    Key EU medicines regulator closes London office with loss of 900 jobs
    European Medicines Agency heads for Amsterdam 63 days before Brexit

    Still they will still need our expertise, why the Brexiteers always tell us “They need us more than we need them”, what do you mean the article says

    Britain’s leading role in evaluating new medicines for sale to patients across the EU has collapsed with no more work coming from Europe because of Brexit, it has emerged.

    The decision by the European Medicines Agency to cut Britain out of its contracts seven months ahead of Brexit is a devastating blow to British pharmaceutical companies already reeling from the loss of the EMA’s HQ in London and with it 900 jobs.

    No doubt Glen, Peter and the rest of the brave Brexiteers will fix it, a few letters in green ink should sort it.

  • Anything other than Remain (and I would go as far to say Remain with full integration – Euro / Schengen and so on) is a disaster.

  • Barry Lofty 26th Jan '19 - 2:43pm

    Hear Hear to all the previous correspondents if only the message of what a disaster Brexit would be and the sensible arguments put forward by Lib Dems for another referendum could be more widely acknowledged!!!

  • William Fowler 26th Jan '19 - 3:12pm

    Pre the vote, George Osborne gave fair warning of the economic damage leaving would do and people still voted for it, Mrs May’s government has failed to adjust public spending to suit projected falls in govn revenue, hence the sorry state of Sterling, with more falls to come possibly (it has recovered recently, not sure what it is now pricing in), all a bit of a mess. Now even the EU is running around in circles on whether there will be a hard border in Ireland if no deal, its own logic burning out brain cells. Yes, remain is a lot better than leaving and leaving will only work if the State is rolled right back and everyone puts in more effort for UK Ltd.

  • John Marriott 26th Jan '19 - 3:13pm

    Please can we have some balance? Yes, a Brexit, even with a Deal, will make us poorer; but I, for one, would accept that if we could just move on. As a pragmatic remainer, who does not want us to join the euro, to sign up to Schengen, or to move any further down the federal route; but who accepts free movement of labour but not of people, and who recognises that no future referendum will put the matter to bed short of a landslide (20%?) for either side, I am prepared to let a free voting parliament see if it can put together a deal so that we can get on with the job of negotiating a future trade relationship with the EU.

    I view the next few weeks with fascination, with a liberal dose of fear. It is a fascination to see if our ‘Mother of Parliaments’ can adapt her procedures to cope with problems unforeseen when we voted nearly two years ago to ‘take back control’ and which no political party alone seems capable of resolving, and a fear that partisan loyalty and the inability to compromise might triumph instead and scar us for many years to come.

  • Barry Lofty 26th Jan '19 - 3:59pm

    The lack of any compromise seems to be shown mostly by the arch Brexiteers whom , I suspect, have their own reasons for wanting a No Dea! Brexit???

  • Yeovil Yokel 26th Jan '19 - 4:39pm

    “Yes, a Brexit, even with a deal, will make us poorer; but I, for one, would accept that if we could just move on”. Sorry, John Marriott, but it wouldn’t out work like that. As many others have pointed out, in this forum and elsewhere (e.g. Margaret Beckett’s terrific speech in the HoC before Christmas), with a Brexit deal the wrangling would simply resume on the 30 March and would likely go on for YEARS! We won’t experience the joys of Spring in just over two months’ time, rather the gloomy Winter struggle will just carry on.

    Liam Fox promised that he would have 40 trade deals lined up ready for Brexit Day, but after two years he hasn’t negotiated a single one. No, if we sign up to any of the deals on offer not only will we be worse off, but the anguish and frustration will continue to gnaw away at us. Personally, my Irish ancestry could give me an escape route from this madness, but I have too much emotionally and financially invested in my farming and conservation interests here.

    As for the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’ – Pah! ‘Fading Dowager Duchess’ more like.

  • Arnold Kiel 26th Jan '19 - 4:42pm

    The trouble with compromise in this case is that it would mean leaving, the wrong choice. The right choice, to remain, logically cannot concede anything to leavers. So we have to go for full victory.

    The same goes for “balance”, John Marriott. Becoming poorer would be ok if its proponents had admitted to that. They didn’t and Osbourne was not believed. What do you mean with “just move on”, btw? Aren’t you aware that this withdrawal agreement just marks the beginning of the real Brexit-process, as Caron rightly points out? It settles nothing, establishes new unrealistic deadlines, perpetuates division and uncertainty, and kills off the option to preserve the current very favourable arrangements. How could any “pragmatic remainer” miss that last chance?

    The US is properly investigating the crime Trump and Russian collusion. When will the UK investigate the crime Brexit and Russian collusion? So far the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ is clearly underperforming. Trump will eventually land on the mist heap of history. Britain has only 65 days left to do the same.

  • John Marriott 26th Jan '19 - 5:10pm

    @Arnold Kiel
    Leaving = “the wrong choice”, remaining = “the right choice”. No. Leaving WITHOUT A DEAL = “the wrong choice”. I might agree with you that remaining is the right choice; but try telling that to the third of the electorate that still appears to disagree. Who knows what external forces influenced the 2016 Referendum. Whatever they were, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be around if we ask the people again.

    I’d rather give our elected representatives one last chance to sort something out, which could well require the postponement of Article 50 for a limited period of time. Call me naive if you like; but I would still like us to exhaust all possibilities first before we ask the people again.

  • David Becket 26th Jan '19 - 6:47pm

    @ John Marriott

    Why should a third (max) of the UK electorate drive this country into an economic disaster? That is not democracy.
    Produce a positive remain campaign, not much sign of that yet from our leaders, and we could put the one third in their place

  • David Evans 26th Jan '19 - 6:49pm

    While I can see John Marriott’s logic, all I see an postponement of Article 50 achieving, is to give Theresa May yet more time to come back with Her (failed) Deal mark 3 or 4, with an extra giveaway to by a few more MPs votes here, a promise of a Lordship or two, etc etc. While embedding in yet more of the people’s minds – this is the only deal on the table, let’s get on with the job.

    To use an expression adopted by Caron in the past (but not about this deal) – It isn’t possible to polish a t*rd. However, if you allow them ever more time to keep coming back again and again, they will win. If only because ever more companies will turn their backs on us and people will eventually say, “We’ve taken the hit, and those jobs aren’t coming back. Don’t let that sacrifice be for nothing.”

  • Peter Martin 26th Jan '19 - 7:08pm

    @ Caron,

    You’ve quoted a statement by Vince Cable who has said:

    The Bank of England has concluded that Brexit – with or without a deal – will leave the UK poorer, less productive and with an economy 4% smaller than if we had stayed in the EU.

    But how reliable are BoE ‘conclusions’? Not very – according to their chief economist.

    Andrew Haldane, said it was “a fair cop” referring to a series of forecasting errors before and after the financial crash which had brought the profession’s reputation into question.

    In football parlance this translates into “We’re crap and we know we are!”

  • Peter Martin 26th Jan '19 - 7:31pm

    @ Anold Kiel,

    ” So we have to go for full victory.”

    Who’s ‘we’ ? I lived in Australia for quite a few years and I always was somewhat circumspect on Aussie political matters because I wasn’t a citizen. Maybe I was just being too polite?

    Are you available for the Lib Dems next pro-Remain political broadcast? You could perhaps give us a selection of your thoughts on Brexit. You could tell us all we had to
    “Unconditionally surrender to the EU or be a failed state”.

    I’m not sure what the viewers would make of it. I don’t thing Henning Wehn would like it. He’d think you were stealing his gags!

  • Well Peter, looks like you’ve given up trying to use facts, probably a wise decision they were at best dated and in many cases wrong, but attacking the man because he’s “furrin” well that’s low, but not unexpected by a Brexiteer. You have finally descended to the level of most of our Brexiteer posters; have you considered joining the new UKIP you would seem a good fit.

  • Peter Martin 26th Jan '19 - 8:52pm

    @ frankie,

    Am I the only one who finds this “unconditional surrender” and “full victory” stuff offensive?

    I wouldn’t advise Arnold to come into my local and say this sort of thing too loudly. We’re a tolerant bunch, we aren’t all white English, and he could well get away with a Henning Wehn type routine if it was done in the right spirit. But there are limits, and I suspect it wouldn’t just be me who was of the opinion he’d exceeded them!

  • Bless Peter you and the pub bores are a tolerant lot. I rather doubt that, I suspect you are more the “In my day, we told old Johnnie foreigner what to do, pip pip types”. Sadly sitting in spoons waiting for the old days to come back and reminiscing about your action packed career, in the long distant past. Times moved on Peter, we are no longer heading up a large Empire and you no longer have any skin in the game, your day has past, so why ruin the future for those that have one. The answer of cause is you don’t want to accept things have changed, your no longer important and no amount of voting to turn back time will change that. Brexit has many strands but the voting to feel important again and turn back time to my youth, should not be discounted. I have two aged relatives who only raise from their depression when the prospect of Brexit turning back time and showing” Johnnie foreigner” who’s boss pop up in the conversation. Apart from that the only joy they seem to get is looking forward to death. The last hurrah and as they both said “The loss of jobs is worth it” just so they can feel something.

  • @ Frankie. As a Remainer, I’m afraid I’ve got to tell you that your posts are getting towards 10 in a 1 to 10 scale of absurdity. I’m afraid you are doing the remain cause a disservice.

    Your comments about your aged relatives are particularly offensive.

  • John Marriott 26th Jan '19 - 9:33pm

    @David Becket
    The problem is that in 2016 there wasn’t really a clear majority for anything. It’s just that the largest minority was for Leave. As 27% of the adult population failed to vote and presumably could be argued to have forfeited their right to be counted it is true that of those who did exercise their right a small but significant majority voted to leave. Therefore, given the closeness of the result, the government would seem to be trying to exit the EU as painlessly as possible. Now you could argue that that’s democracy.

    @David Evans
    Even if you got another Referendum, you surely can’t do it all by 29 March. Logic would suggest that you would at least have to postpone Article 50. That would be a start. If a majority in Parliament can be found for a deal, which proves acceptable to the EU and business as a whole, I could live with that and I reckon that a majority of the public, with the possible exception of hardcore Remainers and Leavers, could as well.

  • David,

    My comments would only be absurd if they where where untrue, they are not. The two relatives in question are over eighty have both lost their wife’s and are struggling to carry on, their words not mine. They only talk with any joy about their “times in the forces” and how Brexit will make things like they used to be. They are struggling to carry on and they are far from unique. They feel isolated and unwanted but Brexit gives them the feeling that they are important and are masters of their fate. It has been said Brexit was a cry for help, well in their case it was and the cry was “Don’t forget about me”. It is sad that the only way they can feel important is to effectively burn down the economy, but to be fair to them if you feel that disconnected and unwanted by society perhaps they have a point.

    As to the comment being distasteful, well the truth often is.

  • John, again I acknowledge the argument in your latest post as being valid, but it isn’t an argument that is relevant to the post before that on 26th Jan ’19 – 5:10pm, which I was commenting on. In that post you said “Call me naive if you like; but I would still like us to exhaust all possibilities first before we ask the people again.”

    So it is clear you were arguing for us to give Theresa May more time to look to find a Mark 3 deal or a Mark 4 deal, and definitely not arguing for us to give parliamentarians time to arrange a referendum. Giving Theresa May more time is the absolute opposite of giving parliamentarians time to arrange a referendum.

  • Katharine Pindar 26th Jan '19 - 10:12pm

    Andrew Adonis, the tireless anti-Brexit peer, speaking to a well-attended meeting in Keswick this afternoon, gave four clear arguments we can use if, as we hope, we have to persuade enough of the country to vote Remain in the projected People’s Vote. They are, in brief, a) the economic argument, the country poorer, etc.; b) the Irish border issue; c) the blighting of the freedoms of our young people; and d) security in being in this grouping of European nations which keep the peace together.

    He was incidentally very funny about his arguments with Nigel Farage, who doesn’t want us to pay anything at all to the EU when we leave. ‘But what about paying your pension, Nigel?’ says Andrew – ‘After 20 years as an MEP you should be paid £78,000 a year, and probably you will live many more years. Perhaps you would like to donate it to the NHS ?’

  • Peter Martin 26th Jan '19 - 11:37pm

    While the Europhile Centre-Left hold Europe dear to their hearts, the reality is that their dreamworld is falling apart.

    I agree with these “30 top intellectuals” that the EU is “coming apart”. I don’t, though, quite follow their logic, as articulated by Salman Rushdie that therefore there is a need to “rescue the country from the calamity of Brexit and go a long way towards rescuing the EU as well.”

    Keeping the UK in the EU isn’t going to help the EU in the slightest. The idea that we can significantly help “rescue the EU” by halfheartedly staying in, is really quite fanciful. After all the trouble we’ve caused? 🙂
    To have any influence at all we’d have needed to be in the EU to the same extent as France and Germany, with the euro and Schengen etc, for the last 15 years.

    Even if don’t leave, we’ll hang on to our opt-outs. We’ll have near to zero influence. We’ll be told to sit in the corner and keep quiet for the next decade!

  • David Raw
    I suspect Young Francis thinks his anecdotes about his relatives are universal truths which give him a special insight into the minds men!

  • Arnold Kiel 27th Jan '19 - 5:54am

    Peter Martin,

    I use the term “we” quite innocently when associating with likeminded fellow citizens of the world (sorry, nowhere) like frankie. I continue to forget to ask for birth-certificates before doing so. I am sure I would also find a lot of common ground with your mates in your local, as we (!) all suffer from poor British (not European) governance.

    Rereading the post you so kindly provided a link to, I found nothing to take back. The whole UK is now discussing the options of failure or surrender (my word, but a British sentiment: EU membership is in reality pooled, extended, and thereby defensible sovereignty, but you and too many Britons cannot see that).

    In reality, the failure of no deal, even May’s deal, would also be a surrender: to the ERG who have drawn May’s red lines all along. They want a failed state to take over and surrender to the US (currently run by Trump), in parallel to swiftly fulfilling all EU-demands to get transition back. Surrender wherever you look.

    While all of this is going on, nobody has realised that the Japanese have given up on providing the UK with energy while the French and Chinese increasingly struggle to do so. Symptoms of failure everywhere.

    David Raw,

    when commenting Brexit realistically and lightly, where frankie excels, the absurd is unavoidably never far. He did not say his elderly relatives’ sentiment is universal, nor do I believe it unique.

  • Arnold Kiel 27th Jan '19 - 7:56am

    On the note of obsession with nationality, especially the German one, an enlightening contribution was just published by the ever admirable Guardian:

  • Arnold

    I would never say that people claiming to be “citizens of the world” were citizens of nowhere. I would say the phrase ignores the reality that there is no universal right to live in any country one chooses , no universal political system, no fully agreed on set of values, and little support for the idea amongst national electorates anywhere. You might believe you are a citizen of the world, but political and social structures strongly suggest that you are not.

  • Peter Martin 27th Jan '19 - 8:59am

    @ Glenn,

    Possibly there are ‘citizens of the world’. Another term would be stateless refugees and I’m sure they all wish they weren’t. They aren’t in a good position. They desperately want a passport of some particular country.


    The question of nationality can’t simply be decided by how ‘beastly’ or ‘friendly’ we are with German people. The most important football match between us was, IMO, the one held between the lines at Christmas time in 1914. The result of that ‘contest’ hardly matters of course.

    Nevertheless, we have to recognise Europe for what it is. It is not America. It is composed of separate nations, whose residents speak different languages, have different customs, and have far greater loyalty and attachment to their own country than to the EU or to the idea of “Europe.” Despite being a free trade area, goods, capital and people move less freely than in the USA.

    For all its faults there is no penny counting internally in the USA. There are surplus states and there are deficit states. We can probably guess which is which but it isn’t a subject much discussed there. It is accepted that states like Mississippi will have a net inflow of Federal dollars and other, richer ones, will have a net outflow.

    In the EU Germany has to accept that there will be a net outflow. I don’t believe you accept that and I don’t believe the majority of Germans accept it either. They take the view that if they can be in surplus then so can everyone else. If they can’t it’s because they (ie the Greeks and Italians) are lazy, incompetent, spendthrift etc. This German hectoring doesn’t do anything at all for peaceful relations. When that changes I’ll change my view of the EU and maybe my view on German conservatism.

  • Arnold Kiel 27th Jan '19 - 9:24am


    of course there is “no universal political system, no fully agreed on set of values”, but “little support for the idea amongst national electorates anywhere”? I would hope that, despite our differences, the UK and continental European political systems (representative democracy) and set of values (e.g. human rights) are rather close by global or historical standards, despite recent tendencies in the UK to retreat from both.

    And having the right to live in 28+ countries of my choice, a concept with majority support in 27 of them, is at least a good start. Not even Peter Martin was disputing this, just my right of freely expressing my opinion.

  • John Marriott 27th Jan '19 - 9:29am

    @David Evans
    May Deal, Boles Deal, Corbyn Deal. Take your pick; but perhaps we should use tge May Deal as our launch pad. If Parliament steps up to the plate they are all capable of being hijacked. Instead of instantly demanding another referendum, I’d rather see what happens over the next few weeks in Westminster. However, for whatever plan to emerge, or even another referendum to be organised, the deadline of 29 March has got to be extended.

  • Peter Martin 27th Jan '19 - 9:44am

    @ Arnold,

    Not even Peter Martin was disputing this ….

    ie Freedom of movement. Wasn’t I?

    Mmm. I’m happy to have Jurgen Klopp live and work here. Not sure about you though! 🙂

  • Peter Martin 27th Jan '19 - 10:19am

    @ Martin

    ” Monolingualism is a peculiarly English problem that does lead to the kind of inward looking conservative nationalism that Peter Martin seems to espouse.”

    You’re simply missing the point. My French was pretty good at one time. I’ve rarely been called upon to use it everyday life so I am very rusty. The fact is that English is the world’s lingua franca and English speakers, and it’s equally true for all English speaking countries besides England, simply don’t get the opportunity, or have the need, to practice different languages.

    That’s just the way things are. Also the world being divided up into countries is just the way things are too. It’s nothing to do with my personal choice. The EU, and its ever closer union, is just another attempt to make one larger country of of several smaller ones. Our own UK is just such an example of that too. It’s a difficult task to achieve though.

    There’s nothing much wrong with that – if you know what you are doing. A single country does need a single currency and that’s, politically, where the euro comes in. But the way it has been implemented indicates to anyone that the EU PTB didn’t know what they were doing and the way they are going about it is never going to work.

    I agree that someone with much more right wing views than I could say the same thing so, I would accept my objections to the EU are probably more technical than political.

  • We are all diffrent Glen and yet we are all the same. We all want to feel important, we all have a devil and an angel on our shoulder, the problem is we to often listen to the devil. In the case of many people the devil is whispering ” fear the furrin, he wants our little village” and people believe him, ” run away from the world” he simpers and people believe him, “you can be young and mighty again” he hums and people believe him, “Tell the world, we rule” he murmers and people believe him. The problem is he’s selling a road to hell and when the price comes due he will sit on other shoulders and scream “Tis all the fault of the fools, make them pay”.

  • Peter Martin,

    questioning my right of residence along my freedom of speech is at least consistent. Less consistent is your preference for Juergen Klopp, a much more effective voice against Brexit than mine.

  • Peter Martin 27th Jan '19 - 11:40am

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    I was aware that Jürgen Klopp has expressed anti-Brexit views. I would expect that nearly all EU nationals working in the UK to think along similar lines. But, and as the old saying goes, it’s not so much as what you say as the way you say it. I’ve never heard him be disrespectful to anyone whether it’s on football or other matters.

    You could well take out a leaf from his book on that!

  • John Mariott, thanks for the clarification. I accept that, almost certainly, Theresa May has insufficient time to put together an agreement that a majority in parliament can support (and that the EU will agree to). However, your support for giving more time to Theresa may for her negotiations, whilst superficially being very nice and liberal is in reality very dangerous with huge negative consequences and ultimately a strategy for failure, especially as you are supporting the idea that the Remain side should stop demanding another referendum in the meantime.

    What we need to be clear about, to ourselves and to the British public that this crisis is due to the lazy, ‘this is so easy’, approach Theresa May and her Conservative government has have taken to the negotiations as they have wasted two years of precious time. Whether it is Liam Fox’s “When you think about it, the free trade agreement we come to with the EU should be one of the easiest in human history.” or David Davis’ “It is like threading the eye of a needle. If you have a good eye and a steady hand, it is easy enough,” comments or many others, you have to accept that after 22 months, the Tories have not delivered a leave agreement nor a single trade deal.

    Giving them even more time by your “see what happens over the next few weeks in Westminster,” approach (whilst doing nothing to prepare the British people for a referendum) is to make the very mistake they have made. Quite simply you are assuming that we can just let the other team get on with their agenda for a few weeks, and assume that we will be in as strong a position then as we are now. Life doesn’t work like that. If we stop pressing, we will go backwards and become weaker, and whether it is May’s bad deal, or a catastrophic no deal, we will have let them get away with it.

  • However, even worse are the long term consequences.

    In either case we will be out, with as a poor best only 21 months for the Tories to finalise 40 trade deals, or no time at all if we crash out immediately. In either case we will get even more of what business describes as uncertainty (their euphemism for things are going catastrophically wrong) and more jobs will move out of the UK for good – Panasonic, Nomura and Daiwa, Muji, Lloyds of London, Dyson, Airbus etc.

    Overall, in either case we will be out with an immediate crash and burn, or out with a crash and burn in 21 months time.

    I just don’t see any benefit, other than you could live with that decision and you reckon that a majority of the public could as well. However, looking beyond a quick deal, I don’t think that you, or the majority of the public could live with the consequences of that decision over the years to come, but you would have to.

  • Frankie
    Your schtick consists of you putting words into other people mouths and arguing with things they haven’t said.
    So to adopt Frankie speak
    Tis a only a naïve who argues with himself, using the bargain bin profundity of a Mystic Mog book purchased from the shopping channel. But sadly the day of reckoning will come when days are reckoned and his follies are cast asunder or something or other. But the way will be hard because the devil is in details or is that in the deep blue sea or at the door. Anyway. that’s not important. Mark my words.

  • In the Spanish Basque Country where I live, successive Basque Nationalist governments of the Basque Autonomous Community have given long-term priority to increasing the percentage of the population that speak Basque.

    This cultural aim has a political undertone: there’s a clear moderately strong correlation between speaking Basque and supporting further regional autonomy or independence from Spain.

    Monoglots are, in my view, more likely to be anti-European (and vice versa). The prevalent complacent attitudes to foreign language learning have almost certainly reduced support for EU membership. These attitudes have been compounded by governmental indifference, which itself reflects such close-minded attitudes.

  • John Marriott 27th Jan '19 - 12:57pm

    @David Evans
    We can argue ‘til the cows come home as you and I did regarding the merits or otherwise of the 2010-2015 Coalition. Resurrecting what was said in the run up to the 2016 Referendum by either side doesn’t cut much ice with most of the third of the adult population that apparently still want out. It might be argued that, if the EU enthusiasts had been more honest about the failings of this organisation in its current direction of travel instead of accepting the inevitability of where it was heading (Clegg “more or less the same in ten years time”) we might not be where we are now. But we are where we are, so, as far as I can see, it’s time for a bit of realism and common sense, which have sadly been in short supply on both sides of the argument.

    As for giving Mrs May more time, do you really think that there is an alternative? Oh, but you do, don’t you? It’s called a ‘People’s Vote’, which sounds great; but which could conceal a nest of vipers. Yes, at 75, I do long for the easy life. I’m all ‘campaigned out’. Do we really want to give Messrs Farage, Elliott and Cummings, to name just three exponents of the ‘dark arts’, the kind of oxygen that another Referendum campaign would give them, especially if the Clegg approach is adopted again? Naively I still believe that a compromise might just be put together that over half the adult population might support, not just the 38% or so, who supported Leave, and the 36% or so, who supported Remain nearly two years ago.

  • Arnold Kiel 27th Jan '19 - 1:03pm

    Peter Martin,

    To be clear: the UK lives on administering foreigners’ (legal and illicit) money, sheltering the global rich, fiscally domiciling global resource extraction, a few hundred thousand brilliant minds in entertainment, arts, advertising, law, etc., educating the global elite, assembling (and exporting) foreigners’ blueprints in foreign owned and foreign managed facilities, powered by foreigners’ power plants, moving people in foreign (state) owned trains, foreign made cars, and foreign airplanes departing from foreign owned airports. Foreign truckers cross the channel on foreign-flagged ships for goods. It does so by extracting every last penny (plus some) from consumers for their daily needs and housing. It still cannot adequately staff its hospitals, schools, farms, restaurants, prisons, police forces, social services, construction sites, customs offices, ministries, trade departments, and balance its books. It cannot prevent people in work from food bank-use or homelessness; life-expectancy improvements have stopped. It is on EU single-market and customs-union life support.

    Sorry I found no nicer “way” of saying it. Wake up, “we” are beyond respect!

  • Peter Martin 27th Jan '19 - 1:42pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    I used to make my living designing and making electronic products. Other members of my family work in the pharmaceutical industry, in the NHS, in teaching, researching at universities. Just about everyone I know works in responsible jobs of one kind or another. These people are the backbone of the country and our economy and that won’t change after Brexit. I suspect most readers of LDV are in that category too. Who is making a living ‘sheltering the global rich’ for example? Anyone care to own up to that?

    The less than desirable aspects to our economy which you are keen to highlight have all arisen whilst the UK has been a part of the EU, whilst we have been a part the Customs Union and so-called Single Market. Now I’m not saying that it’s all the fault of the EU. We have our own neoliberal incompetents too! But at least we, unlike the Italians and Greeks, can change what we don’t like at the ballot box.

    We don’t want a situation to develop, as it surely will if we stay, where we vote a Govt in to do one thing and we have the EU telling us to do something else. We want all laws made and decided in Westminster. For good or for ill.

  • Try harder Glen, that didn’t even reach the level of gibberish. If you are going to try to be funny a level of wit is required, alas as we can see from your posts you lack it.

  • Peter,
    Will your relatives now have to travel to Amsterdam to meet the European Medical Agency? Have you asked them, where you even aware they might have to, after all they left London yesterday. I suspect if you ask you may gain a level of enlightenment that is painful but necessary. Have you asked your relatives what level of new cooperative research they are doing with EU universities, again a painful topic. Be an enquring mind, I fear however the answers you get will be painful to you.

  • Arnold Kiel 27th Jan '19 - 3:24pm

    Peter Martin,

    all these people and yourself work in reputable and qualified professions, I never doubted that. The relevant question is whether they could do so successfully without European IP, supplies, partners, sales channels, or customers. Sheltering the global rich feeds prime London realtors, builders, luxury retail, private banking, limousine-services, divorce-lawyers, and everybody else via stamp duty, VAT, council tax, and the occasional income tax receipts.

    The specific aspects of the UK economy are both weaknesses and strengths. They become especially problematic if one breaks the international links it is based-upon.

    You might see how little you can change about that at the ballot box. “we vote a Govt in to do one thing and we have the EU telling us to do something else”, such as?

  • Freedom of movement is not primarily about giving people opportunities. It’s an attempt to create a greater European identity which has accidently aided the gig economy. It also only goes back to directive 2004/38. In other words it is very very recent. The Lisbon treaty was only finalised in 2010 as the last act of the unpopular PM Gordon Brown . The EU itself is only goes back to 1993. So you really do not have to be ancient or above the age of 30 years old to have experienced life before the EU or before high levels of immigration became normalised.

  • Peter Hirst 27th Jan '19 - 4:34pm

    We certainly need more time to digest whatever new deal is proposed and it should be put before the British people. I will breathe more easily when it is clear that no deal is not an option and the choice is between the new deal and remaining.

  • @Glenn “Tis a only a naïve who argues with himself, using the bargain bin profundity of a Mystic Mogg book purchased from the shopping channel. “

    Whole heartedly agree with you, particularly as given Mogg’s reticence to commit anything to paper, all the pages will be left blank – for the reader to write their own words… 🙂

  • Teresa Wilson 27th Jan '19 - 7:17pm

    @ William Fowler

    George Osborne may have given fair warning but the leave side dismissed it as project fear and promised us sunlit uplands and a Brexit bonus. If people didn’t know who to believe that’s hardly their fault and it can’t be assumed they believed Osborne and decided to accept the economic consequences.

    If Theresa May reduces public spending any further quite a lot of us will end up dead. Rolling back the state sounds very fine, but the state is what pays our pensions, educates our children and looks after us when we are ill. Most of us, that is, who are not independently wealthy.

    No brexit will be work out well for the majority of us, however hard we work. And the country is not a PLC, it is a nation.

  • Peter Martin 27th Jan '19 - 8:24pm

    “Mrs May’s government has failed to adjust public spending to suit projected falls in govn revenue”

    So the Govt cuts spending which depresses the economy which cuts govt revenue, so the Govt cuts spending some more, which depresses the economy some more which cuts Govt revenue some more, so Govts cuts spending………

    Can you see the problem here?

  • Peter Martin 27th Jan '19 - 8:43pm

    ” The Brexit debate has been distorted by several myths. One of the most
    persistent and widely repeated is that the economic performance of the UK
    improved after joining the EU, (or EEC as it then was) in 1973. This claim was
    made by the OECD1 and was regularly stated in the media during the Brexit
    referendum campaign. ”


  • David Evans 27th Jan '19 - 9:05pm

    John, It’s not a question of arguing, it’s a question of looking together at the facts and the conclusions you reach from those facts in order to improve our future decision making.

    In the case of Theresa May, we have a PM who is determined to deliver something that is clearly hugely damaging to the UK, through loss of jobs, international influence, loss of jobs, inflation, loss of jobs and rising xenophobia. These are clear facts. You say you want to give her more time. I struggle to find your reason to give her more time other than most people will come to accept it.

    Just as with coalition, Nick wanted to prove coalition worked. And year after year he sacrificed councillors, MSPs, MEPs, and finally nearly 90% of our MPs and he failed to realise he was destroying the only thing that could deliver any hope of future coalition and consensus government. And throughout that time, people always wanted to give him more time, until it was too late, and all the work your generation and mine and others had put in was squandered.

    Putting it simply, if we are capable of learning form our mistakes, we have to learn that giving more time to those who are destroying the good things Liberals and Liberal Democrats have all worked over decades is quite simply crazy.

    As they say “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” Are you really prepared to do that and watch more of what we have built be destroyed? I can’t believe you are.

  • Peter Martin 28th Jan '19 - 9:24am

    There’s lots of talk about free trade agreements etc but let’s not forget that the EU is essentially a protectionist bloc.

    Protectionism hasn’t been invented by Trump. The EU has 10% import tariffs on all foreign cars. But the EU gets upset if anyone else wants to put similar tariffs on EU exports and cries PROTECTIONISM! You couldn’t make it up.

    The EU treats African countries as simply commodity providers. They are ‘free’ to export raw coffee and cocoa, for example, at low or zero tariff rates but if they try to develop those products by value adding them into chocolate and coffee products the tariff barriers really kick in.

  • Daniel Walker 28th Jan '19 - 9:59am

    @Peter Martin “The EU treats African countries as simply commodity providers. They are ‘free’ to export raw coffee and cocoa, for example, at low or zero tariff rates but if they try to develop those products by value adding them into chocolate and coffee products the tariff barriers really kick in.

    Thevery article you link to clarifies, in a correction, that the vast majority of African nations have zero tariffs on coffee, roasted, raw, or otherwise:

    The EU does charge a 7.5 per cent tariff on imports of roasted coffee from countries to which it does not offer preferential terms. But under its Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative for least-developed countries, almost all African coffee-producing countries can export roasted coffee to the EU tariff-free. Under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for other poor countries, the EU tariff on roasted coffee from Nigeria and the Republic of Congo is a reduced rate of 2.6 per cent. Far from discriminating against African coffee roasters, the EU gives them privileged access to its market.

    You should probably double-check before you post links.

  • Peter Martin 28th Jan '19 - 10:30am

    @ Daniel Walker,

    It’s unfortunate that the original author passed away before he had the opportunity to defend what he wrote. Of course the article isn’t just about coffee. The thrust of the argument is that the EU acts to suppress competition for its own producers benefit.

    There’s no reason, other than EU protectionism, why we shouldn’t see a lot more African products in the shops than we do.

  • Daniel Walker 28th Jan '19 - 11:19am

    @Peter Martin
    It is indeed unfortunate that the author passed away, but I have to say so glaring an error in basic research—from a professor, no less—on something he relies on for the thrust of his argument does not fill one with confidence about the rest of it.

    And the LSE argues that the EU isn’t particularly protectionist, and that the ECOWAS-EU deal is needed by West Africa (and includes an exception for “sensitive locally manufactured products”)

    Now, you might argue that developing African economies should be supported by developed economies, so that they are more self-sufficient and life is better for their inhabitants, both as something that is inherently good and from enlightened self-interest, and I would agree. But ECOWAS is capable of negotiating in its own interest, and appears to have done so.

  • @Peter Martin – “The thrust of the argument is that the EU acts to suppress competition for its own producers benefit.” and?

    You can replace EU with: USA, UK etc. i that sentence and it still makes sense, in fact part of Brexit is so that the UK can make trade agreements that are favourable “for its own producers benefit” or is Brexit actually about making life harder for UK producers but easier for those located overseas?…

  • John Marriott 28th Jan '19 - 12:17pm

    @Peter Martin
    As a Brexiteer, I assume that you agree with Messrs Redwood, Patterson, Johnson B, Davis etc. that we could easily leave the EU with no deal and immediately trade with the rest of the world on WTO terms. If this is the case, I would be interested in your reaction, or that of any other Brexiteer for that matter, to a short article on Page 9 of today’s Guardian in which ‘experts’ state that it would take us at least seven years to become a member of the WTO, that is, if no member objects (and I gather that a few already have).

    I would imagine that you would start by drawing our attention from whence the statement came – “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?”

  • Of course, the EU isn’t flawless in this respect, but it has been a greater forcé for free trade than China, the US, Japan for example.

    In any case, within the single market we have far more redress against non-tariff barriers than we do out of the single market. That’s unarguable.

    Much of the comment on trade on here seems, in any case, to make mercantilist assumptions. The UK has surpluses with some countries and deficits with others. This should only be a cause for angst, if said surpluses or deficits arise from unequal tariff barriers or non-tariff barriers.

    I remind everyone again of the principle of comparative advantage……….

  • Peter Martin 28th Jan '19 - 12:20pm

    @ Roland,

    It isn’t just about producers. I’m not sure why we have to have 48% tariff on cheese imports for example. 40% on lamb. That’s paid by consumers.

    Protectionism, which is generally considered to be a bad thing is, literally, about protecting producers, or ‘making life easier for them’ which you’re implying is a good thing.

  • @ Peter Martin
    You say,
    It isn’t just about producers. I’m not sure why we have to have 48% tariff on cheese imports for example. 40% on lamb. That’s paid by consumers.

    You’re right, Peter. The WTO have some eye-watering tariffs on dairy products, in particular. We’d be mad to want to trade on those terms!

  • The subject should be disassembled: PROTECTION (ism); also works with SOCIAL (ism). Suddenly, you have two universally accepted good things.

    Without protection, Britons would not have good healthcare for less than 10% of GDP, and Europe’s countryside would have large stretches of wasteland.

    Europe is rather open to African products, and strikes a negotiated balance between consumer- and worker-interests with other powerful producers.

  • Peter Martin 28th Jan '19 - 1:25pm

    @ John Marriott, I’d prefer the term ‘Lexiteer’. We may be a smallish number but there’s enough of us to tilt the balance!

    My understanding is that the UK is already a WTO member in its own right and has been since 1995.

    @ Chris Moore,

    There is the Lerner symmetry theorem, used in international trade theory, which states that an ad valorem import tariff (a percentage of value or an amount per unit) will have the same effects as an export tax. The theorem is based on the observation that the effect on relative prices is the same regardless of which policy (ad valorem tariffs or export taxes) is applied.

    This is somewhat counter-intuitive but I think what Lerner is saying is that applying an import tariff may well reduce imports but that, if currencies are freely floating, they will push up the value of your currency and reduce your exports too. Tariffs certainly reduce the amount of international trade.

    Large net exporters, almost without exception, tilt the balance of their economies towards exports by contriving to keep their currencies cheap – by one means or another.

  • John Marriott 28th Jan '19 - 3:01pm

    @Peter Martin
    So, that’s it, then? Your ‘understanding’ is all we need? I was led to believe that our ‘membership’ of the WTO was dependant on our being a member of the EU and that would appear to be what the link you kindly provided us with is saying. All this ‘Lerner symmetry theorem’ stuff is beyond my pay grade. That’s not Alan Jay Lerner of ‘My Fair Lady’ fame, by any chance?

    You see, while you can be admired for defending your corner, your crusade, a bit like Mr Bourke’s crusade elsewhere for LVT as the solution to all our local finance problems, is not really getting us any nearer to figure out what the truth really is. All I know is that if we actually did what your theories suggest, there may be some of us who might prefer to take our chances with Armageddon.

  • Peter Martin 28th Jan '19 - 3:14pm

    @ John,

    There’s an article here on the subject. Naturally Remainers will try to maximise any difficulties.

    I’m not saying there won’t be a few but it’s hardly likely to take years to sort them out.

    The UK is net importing country and it’s not olny in our interest to resolve any issues in a speedy manner. The EU has it’s own more pressing problems. Just Google the words Germany, EU and recession to see what I mean. You can exclude any Daily Express hits if you like.

  • chris moore 28th Jan '19 - 3:41pm

    Hi Peter,

    I certainly accept that some of the nations that run a large trade surplus have made efforts to keep their currencies cheap.

    Germany and Netherlands have not had that tool at their disposal.

    In general, I’m not in favour of tariffs to protect home industries.

    (That having been said, countries like South Korea, Japan – examples I know slightly – used protective tariffs to “defend” nascent home manufacturing industries. In japan, there has been widespread use of non-tariff barriers to protect agriculture. This hasn’t been favourable to home consumers!)

    The single market is esteemable for precisely that reason. A sustained effort has been made over many eyars to strip away barriers to fair competition wihtin the EU.

  • @Peter Martin – “It isn’t just about producers.”
    Exactly, it isn’t all just about consumers or producers, in the real world ie. the world outside of O-Level Economic’s textbooks, things aren’t black-and-white and are much more dynamic and complex. For the UK to have a functioning economy post-Brexit getting the balance right will be critical; currently, it looks like we are going to the first major economy to give itself a dose of Disaster Capitalism…

  • John Marriott 28th Jan '19 - 4:30pm

    @Peter Martin
    I do not wish to enter into a long debate with you. Others appear to have beaten me to it. This is my last response on this thread.

    The real problem in all this is frankly that nobody really knows. It’s the ‘what if’ that worries people like me, who, in their dotage, yearn for a quieter life. Here are a few examples (I could give you plenty more):

    *What if, with a no deal Brexit, our membership of the WTO is challenged (as per your link from the Independent)?
    *What if we get a ‘People’s Vote’ and either Remain wins narrowly or Leave wins again?
    *What if major multinationals, particularly Japanese car manufacturers, not to mention much of the so called ‘Financial Services Industry’, do pull out of the UK?
    *What if the EU does stand together, despite anguished cries from ‘French cheese makers’, ‘German luxury car makers’ or ‘Italian wine producers’, to use tge phrases beloved of a certain Mr C Grayling’ in the run up to the 2016 Referendum, and refuses to renegotiate?

    I could go on.

    It’s interesting to see how Cabinet ministers, like Gove and Fox, who helped to lead the Brexit campaign, are now keen on a deal. Perhaps they have seen something that their former colleagues like Johnson, Raab and IDS haven’t.

    Yes, you can answer with ‘Project Fear’ – another glib phrase like ‘taking back control’ or even ‘trading under WTO rules’ – if you like. As someone who is no fan of the direction of travel of the EU, who supported the ‘Common Market’ back in 1975 and still reckons being part of a trading block that might be on the decline but is still a mighty force, and right next door, is a good idea, who has no desire for us to join either Schengen or the euro and who reckons that, if we had free movement of labour rather than of people, that might satisfy many of those who do have a genuine concern about immigration, I could live with a deal that, one could almost argue, not only gave us our cake; but allowed us to consume a good portion of it as well.

  • Peter Martin 28th Jan '19 - 10:31pm

    @ Chris Moore,

    “Germany and Netherlands have not had that tool at their disposal.”

    Yes they have. Its called the euro. If Germany and the Netherlands had been using their own currencies in recent years there would have been strong upwards pressure leading to a likely revaluation of both.

    Tariffs have to be combined with currency ‘management’, some would say manipulation, to produce the desired effect. That’s the point of Lerner’s symmetry theorem.

    @ Roland,

    O levels were phased out in English and Welsh schools years ago!

    I agree that it would be desirable to have a friendly trading arrangement with the EU. I’d prefer for us to have a similar relationship to the EU, which is on a course for the U.S.E. or bust, as Canada has with the U.S.A.

    But we’ve obviously upset our European friends who don’t seem quite so friendly any longer. I don’t believe we should allow ourselves to be coerced back in with our tail between our legs. If we want to be a member of the EU we should have the courage of our convictions and sign up to be members to the same extent as Germany, France, Italy and Spain. If we don’t we need to say so and leave.

  • @Peter Martin – “O levels were phased out in English and Welsh schools years ago!”
    Sorry, I didn’t realise that O-levels predated your schooling to that extent.

    >But we’ve obviously upset our European friends who don’t seem quite so friendly any longer.
    Well, that was always going to happen, given the UK attitude and approach to the EU, reinforced by Farage’s behaviour in the European Parliament. The only way for the UK to have got a favourable deal is for it have schmoozed the EU members into seeing that it was in their best interests for the UK to leave and that if the deal wasn’t good, the UK would just have to remain… Instead, we gave the EU two choices: The UK leaves with a deal ie. a small amount of mess, or the UK leaves without a deal ie. a get big mess; from the EU perspective, both are effectively the same – namely leave, so no need to do anything…

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