• Doing Nothing: Doing Brexit!

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    Busy Doing Nothing sung by Bing Crosby, William Bendix & Cedric Hardwicke. Featured in the film “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”
    In his blog-post today, Doctor North correctly identifies some of the issues related to post Brexit trade deals: https://www.turbulenttimes.co.uk/news/brexit/brexit-sweetening-the-deal/
    Some of the plain simple FACTS of the matter include:

    - Most of the British People have been aware (without knowing all the details) that since the UK joined what was deceptively described as “the Common Market” the UK “transitioned” from importing many of it’s foodstuffs from what was once known as “the Old Commonwealth” (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa) to importing it’s foodstuffs from the more expensive source of continental Europe.

    - When politicians win an election, the voters expect them to deliver on the commitments and/or promises they made during the election.

    - It is universally known amongst all politicians across all the world (with notable exceptions such as Burma and North Korea) that FAILURE to deliver on elections commitments and/or promises is for them BAD NEWS!

    Thus when our Dearly Beloved and Esteemed Prime Minister was charged with “delivering Brexit” he knew that this was what the British People expected and any failure on his part would be judged harshly.

    Now it is well known that Doctor North and the BG consistently advocated before, during and after the referendum campaign a different approach towards delivering Brexit. We were advocating a transitional situation whereby the UK would remain in the EEA by rejoining EFTA and transitioning over a period of two to four decades to a situation where we could leave the EEA and adopt a stance that the present government appears to be heading towards.

    The differing strategies both had advantages and disadvantages.

    The BG/North strategy had the advantage of minimal economic disputation with UK agriculture, fishing, commerce and industry relatively little affected in the short term with a changes taking place over a period of time. In other words, the UK would leave the EC/EEC/EU very much in the same way it joined – it joined de jure (immediately) and de facto (gradually) and under the BG/North strategy it would leave in EXACTLY the same way.

    The disadvantage of the BG/North strategy is obvious! Those described as “Brexiteers” (UKIP and the ERG) would describe this as “BRINO” (Brexit in name only).

    The advantage of the Farage/Johnson strategy is just as obvious! Both men (and it MUST be said that had it not been for Nigel Farage the UK would NOT be outside the EU today) can state without equivocation that they have delivered Brexit.

    The disadvantage of the Farage/Johnson strategy is colossal economic and trade disruption. This disruption however has to an enormous extent being ameliorated by COVID-19.
    One of the clearest ways in which the Farage/Johnson strategy can bee seen to deliver Brexit is by re-establishing a trading relationship via deals with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa but also – very different deals – with India and Pakistan.

    In a curious way, an alternative title for today’s BG post could have been “Back to the Future” because in a way it is increasingly clear that this is EXACTLY what Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson intends to do.

    What – we hear your ask – does “Back to the Future” mean?

    THIS:

    Over the course of millennia what can be termed “the British countryside” has changed. Go back far enough – centuries before Stonehenge was built – and most of the geographic British Isles (Yes, Emily Maitlis, I know the term is now politically incorrect) was covered in deciduous temperate forest with a population of bears, wild boar and wolves – with beavers providing the essential water course management!

    Over the course of time these creatures were eradicated. There are now proposals to reintroduce some of these creatures. There is of course a more publicised proposal to increase the acreage of deciduous temperate forest substantially – not as commercial forestry but as so-called “CO2 sinks”.

    One can imagine some Tories might be thinking that they can use the UK’s “clean Brexit” to kill a number of birds with one stone. Using the climate change argument to justify it they can pay British farmers to act as environmental stewards of their land which will have been taken out of production or reduced to non subsidised high cost “niche products” aimed at those with the money to afford them. There is already legislation planned that threatens meat production in the UK via increased animal rights. This pleases the greens, the vegetarians and the vegans. UK meat eaters (i.e.; most of us!) will have our needs met by imported meat from the antipodes and elsewhere. Meanwhile, a trade deal with India will allow for large numbers of Indians to enter the UK for work related purposes thus giving UK businesses an almost inexhaustible labour supply of educated and skilled persons.

    Large numbers of people will increase the GDP but will require large numbers of houses to be built. One can imagine the new land policy will be largely self financing as the farmers will be allowed to convert a substantial amount of agricultural land for house building on which the government will be able to levy a development land tax which of course will help pay for the environmental management fee paid to the former farmers!

    I can imagine that there are going to be – in the not to far distant future – many voters who in 2016 voted for Brexit will wish they had voted to remain and many voters who in 2016 voted remain will wish they had for Brexit!

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