Silly Season Has Begun

12 July 2018


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Tory Brexit White Paper is Unworkable


The minority Tory government led by Theresa May (for now) finally issued its White Paper on Brexit. Typical of the whole mess, there were not enough copies to go around in the House of Commons at first. When MPs and the press finally did get to read its contents, it was a grand disappointment for both sides of the argument on leaving. It has five main principles that are unworkable. If implemented, it will be a soft Brexit with Britain giving up much of its influence within the EU to have the appearance of sovereignty outside it. More likely, the discussion will waste more time, and a hard Brexit becomes more likely with each passing day.

On the economy, there are two areas of idiocy. First, the proposed system would "enable products to only undergo one set of approvals and authorisations in either market, before being sold in both." If there is a variation between the UK and EU, one set of approvals will have to be an either-or arrangement with the UK getting the short end of the stick. If there is no variation, why leave?

The second economic area of unworkable ideas is laid out in the Guardian, "The proposal would involve a common rulebook on food and agriculture, and UK participation in EU agencies for chemicals, aviation, medicines, 'accepting the rules of these agencies and contributing to their costs'." So, the UK is not leaving in these industries, which adds up to billions of pounds.

The free movement of people dies in this proposal. The future migration policy has yet to be decided in the House of Commons, so it's anyone's guess what happens. The commitment to attract the best and brightest from the EU is fine, but it is undermined by the fact that people can go anywhere in the EU but need special arrangements to enter and stay in the UK. All things being equal, the best and brightest go elsewhere because of the added red tape.

The facilitated customs arrangement is simply laughable. The UK and EU will be a "combined customs territory" with the UK applying the EU rule book for goods destined for the EU. This would "preserve frictionless trade for the majority of UK goods trade, and reduce frictions for UK exporters and importers." Maybe, but it seems like a bureaucracy about to expand radically and a gift to smugglers.

The one objective that doesn't seem too unrealistic is the security partnership. The UK would continue as a member of Europol, and defense and foreign policy concerns would be coordinated. This is workable because there is Interpol and NATO. The UK will continue to be a member of these bodies, and their work covers Europe more than adequately.

The worst of this, though, is the timing. The White Paper comes after 18 months of negotiations and more than 2 years after the referendum. It's more than a bit late to put together Britain's goals. This should have been issued by the Leave campaign, or at very least, by the government a year and a half ago. Instead, it appears just before the silly season. Or perhaps, it is that season's opening act.

© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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