How will the UK leave the EU

After last week’s post on “Brexit” we can now safely say Brexiteers have no idea. Literally, at least with regard to those reading this blog. Asked to come up with a proposal, none responded. Interesting, but unsurprising.

So, never mind how the UK should leave the EU (which, of course, it shouldn’t), how will it?

This is the scary bit. At heart the problem with referendums is they imply that 50%+1 get all they want and 50%-1 get nothing. As politics moves to the “right” while Labour simply leaves the field of play to others, this will only be even more markedly the case with regard to the means of exiting the EU.

David Davis may “want” an open border, but then Neville Chamberlain “wanted” peace. The fact is, as a consequence of his and his mates’ actions, the reactionary right-wing view on immigration won a referendum and will now expect its victory to be recognised before the next election. In this twilight zone of a post-factual world, that means absolutely controlling the border by May 2020.

And that is what will happen. It will make no difference at all to immigration, of course; nor will it bring down housing waiting lists, make it easier to see the GP or reduce traffic on the M25 and M6. But apparently what the people want they must get – and they will.

The consequence, of course, of “taking back control” will mean that the UK loses free and direct access to the Single Market. With absolutely no trade deals in place, there will then be only one option open to the UK – to become a “large Guernsey”.

Using its “control” of its border, the UK will choose rich and skilled immigrants, attracting them with low taxes (immediately, for example, it expressed an interest in bringing in Apple from Ireland, implicitly on the basis of it not having to pay Corporation Tax in the post-Brexit UK). This will also be a way to protect the Finance Sector, which will lose some business but also gain some from the wealthy incomers. As a consequence, property prices will rise, meaning that those who already own property will become apparently even richer and another consumerist binge will take place, creating (an illusion of) considerable economic growth, but all while the low-tax regime strains government revenues which are increasingly being eaten up in paying pensions rather than providing services or working-age welfare.

I can see how some on the traditional “right” were and are attracted by this vision. Quite how anyone on the “left” is, is beyond me, yet they seem disinclined to do anything about it (prioritising instead the big issues like, er, post-work drinks).

I don’t suppose it’s great news for Guernsey either…



4 thoughts on “How will the UK leave the EU

  1. korhomme says:

    I’m not surprised that you got no responses to the previous post. I did read it though.

    Nobody seems to know quite what Brexit is; nobody has any clear idea how to achieve something that they don’t know what it is.

    And in the N Ireland context, Brexit is incompatible with the Border and the Good Friday agreement, a circle that can’t be squared.

    Elsewhere, some are saying that Brexit may be impossible.

  2. The Listener says:

    Well written speculation! The elephant in the room remains free movement. Uncontrolled we will end up with the nastiness of hate crime and political instability as Germany, France, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands will suffer. As for ROI, any problems arising are but the collateral of independence which have to be worked through with calm policy plans and agreements. Ireland may have to consider its own position with regard to its relationship with a Europe where the voters, mainly in Western and Central Europe are beginning to question policy. It pains me that the EU will crack up because it’s unelected influencers cannot moderate free movement to areas where an influx can be absorbed and incentivise key persons to remain at home in Eastern Europe by funding incentive payments. Without that key individuals will be lost to poorer countries. To my mind the EU must be about improving conditions in Eastern Europe not just making Germany richer.

  3. I agree with both of you!

    I am increasingly convinced by the reality, even though I am uncomfortable with it, that “free movement” requires a degree of control (otherwise it will threaten democracy itself).

    And yet I am also convinced that the deal on free movement should be EU-wide as far as possible, albeit potentially with some additional control for the UK (and perhaps Ireland) given that it was so generous in 2004 (and also has certain specific arrangements re Commonwealth citizens).

    Although I wouldn’t rate the chances as high, a European leader prepared to countenance some restrictions on free movement in return for keeping the UK in a slightly looser EU may just be on to a winner. But that is hope; it is absolutely not expectation.

    • korhomme says:

      There’s some hairsplitting going on about ‘free movement’. I thought it referred to ‘people’ but others suggest it might mean ‘labour’. If the latter, what then about the families?

      As to the meaning of Brexit; it’s reported today that the PM doesn’t agree with David Davies’s statement to the HoC yesterday. Not even the cabinet seems to know or be agreed on what Brexit means.

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