Tag Archives: eu trade deal

Post Brexit trade – a refreshing British-Austrian perspective from an experienced UK industrialist

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Last night’s Shirley Williams Lecture (SWL) was really enlightening but also quite scary.

The speaker was Juergen Maier CBE, described as follows on the SWL website:

One of the UK’s leading industrialists and business thinkers, Juergen Maier rose to prominence as the Chief Executive of Siemens UK. A regular on Question Time and a Board Member of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Juergen has been outspoken on major issues such as Brexit, Industrial Strategy and the 4th Industrial Revolution.

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EU Trade Deal: there are no good options left

European and British flags.

I hate 13th December. I really, really do.

On this day in 1984, my Grandma died, way too soon, at the age of 64. I still miss her.

And last year, in the early hours, any hope of avoiding Brexit evaporated as Boris Johnson got a majority that could have enabled him to govern with more wisdom and flexibility from the constraints of the reckless extremes of his party. He chose not to take that chance.

On top of it all, we lost Jo. I’m still not over that. She remains one of the most exceptionally talented people I have ever known. She’s proof that the best people don’t always win in politics.

An election once Jo had had the time to establish herself would, I suspect, have had a very different result.

We are where we are though. And it isn’t fun. 2020 has not excelled itself. A couple of bright spots – the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, to be confirmed by the Electoral College tomorrow, the development of effective vaccines against Covid have not lifted the gloom by much.

Now the dreaded 13th December is the day we enter the final stage of the Brexit drama.

Whatever emerges from the EU negotiations over the next hours is going to be far from good. We’re looking at a catastrophic no deal or a damaging fig leaf of a deal that will hurt our businesses and cost people their jobs and homes. Let’s be clear. The Government is choosing this path. It had better options open to it. When we were gripped in the first wave of Covid, they could have done the responsible thing and requested an extension to the transition period. We’d have voted for it, so would the SNP. Labour probably would and the EU would almost certainly have granted it. The more excitable ERG types on the Conservative benches would have made a lot of noise, but we would have bought ourselves some time and stability.

I’ve always thought that the Brexit agenda was mostly about turning our economy into a low regulation, rights-free zone. This is why they are so resistant to any future improvements in things like environmental standards or workers’ rights. They dress it up as sovereignty, but it’s an oligarch’s charter really.

They manipulated people’s feeling of powerlessness with false promises of taking back control. The truth is that those people at the sharp end, the lowest paid and most vulnerable, will have less control than they had before.

There should be no problem with accepting the EU’s reasonable level playing field requirement in the trade deal. I doubt that there will be any major changes within the next few years anyway. These things take time to get through and would take even longer to actually come into force. If there were any changes, we could debate them and decide whether to accept them or take the consequences.

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5 June 2020 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Tariff proposals show Johnson’s willing to break his word on Brexit yet again
  • Govt must be clear on process for regional COVID-19 lockdowns
  • Lib Dems push to strengthen support for survivors in Domestic Abuse Bill
  • Davey: Coronavirus death toll a national tragedy

Tariff proposals show Johnson’s willing to break his word on Brexit yet again

Responding to reports that the UK Government is considering accepting tariffs as part of any UK-EU transition deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit and Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

This proposal is the latest chapter in a long story of the Brexit reality failing to meet Boris Johnson’s rhetoric.

Johnson told British businesses, including farmers, they’d have tariff free access to the EU market.

But just as he promised Northern Irish businesses that there would be no checks in the Irish Sea, and consumers that we wouldn’t have chlorinated chickens on our shelves, it seems that this too is an issue he is willing to break his word on.

The Government risks selling out UK farmers and industry all for their ideological Brexit.

Govt must be clear on process for regional COVID-19 lockdowns

A Cambridge University and PHE England study has suggested the decline in the COVID-19 death rate in England may arrest by mid-June. Responding to this, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Munira Wilson said:

Scientists and public health officials sounded the alarm when the Government eased lockdown this week, given the COVID-19 risk level is still “high”. These findings show that they were right to advise caution.

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26 November 2019 – (most of) today’s press releases

  • Lib Dem policies would mean 600,000 fewer children in poverty
  • Lib Dems: Barnier comments show Johnson is lying to the country
  • Johnson’s Brexit Plans Disastrous for Welsh Farmers

Lib Dem policies would mean 600,000 fewer children in poverty

A report by the Resolution Foundation has found the Liberal Democrats’ policies would mean 600,000 fewer children in poverty by 2023-24, making it the most progressive of the three main parties.

The report also found child poverty risks reaching a record high under Conservative plans.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Tim Farron commented:

This report is a damning indictment of the Tories’ heartless welfare policy, which is

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