Boris Johnson won the election on the promise of a deal with the EU that would be ready to go – he should keep his word, argues Mike Buckley
The UK economy is like the cartoon character who was forced to step on the plank but yet to be gripped by gravity, gazing with panicked eyes above shark infested waters. The break raises the tension and teases the audience over the promised reward of the sharks to their hunger.
Once leave programs are over and grants are spent, thousands of businesses and millions of jobs are at risk of being lost. In the words of the Prime Minister, “many, many job losses” are “inevitable”. It’s just a matter of time.
Each economy will be affected more or less depending on its built-in pre-virus resilience and the actions its government takes to mitigate its spread. National and local government, the Bank of England, businesses and charities all need to prepare to respond. Wise investments, grants, sector support and cheap loans could hopefully save a lot.
But the UK is on the cusp of a unique political and economic change. Brexit has started but the end is yet to come. The future relationship between the UK and the EU has yet to be decided. Even within the narrow framework of possible outcomes, there is still a real difference between the deal reached with the EU last fall and the end state of a global trade deal.
The month of June by Michel Barnier state of negotiations was a pessimistic assessment of progress. “There has been no substantial progress since the start of these negotiations”, he said. “We can’t go on like this forever. He has spent most of his time listing the commitments the UK made just a few months ago on a level playing field, fishing rights, state aid and so on.
Barnier’s central point was that the Withdrawal agreement and Political declaration were agreed upon as two parts of the same movement. The deal removed the UK from the EU with basic elements agreed. The political declaration is a roadmap for the future relationship between the two, endorsed by the 27 leaders of the EU, the UK and European parliaments. Johnson kept the deal and statement up in the air as the a real Brexit this would lead to “national renewal ”.
It took only 20 days for Johnson to abandon his commitments.
On February 20, less than three weeks after Brexit Day, The telegraph reported that Johnson had “made it clear that he would not be bound by the political declaration that sets out the ground rules for a trade deal.”
During the 2019 general election campaign, the British people were repeatedly told that Johnson’s deal was “ready to cook”- the implication being that the negotiations would end and the UK could finally move on.
The changes Johnson now wants to make are not insignificant. A level playing field – short for common high standards on state aid, competition, social and employment standards, environment, climate change and taxation – were agreed by the Prime Minister on the basis that the future agreement must prevent trade distortions and unfair competition. advantages. Agreements have been concluded on nuclear safety, the fight against terrorism and continuous surveillance.
But Johnson wants nothing to do with any of this now and says agreeing on common standards with the EU would not treat the UK as a sovereign nation. This is despite the fact that the free trade agreements that the EU has concluded with Canada and Japan include such commitments.
This is a major change that should be of concern to all voters who have come forward for Johnson’s ‘ready to cook’ deal. It is one thing to make minor changes to a policy, but quite another to tear the heart out when it includes issues of clear public interest such as food standards, nuclear safety and workers rights.
The Prime Minister is counting on the fact that the public will pay little attention to it. He does not know whether he will suffer more politically from a “no deal” or from the signing of an agreement with the United Kingdom with even minimal supervision from the European Court of Justice or from a tailor-made committee. The ‘no deal’ would be attacked by Labor as a failure and an economic disaster, but the signing of an external control would be attacked by Nigel Farage as a betrayal of Brexit. Johnson won’t want to risk being seen as the man who made the UK a rule-maker or a new faragist party.
Johnson is likely to hope that the impact of Brexit will be disguised speak once every 300 years recession that the Coronavirus is expected to create. But the fallout from the virus and a ‘no deal’ Brexit are damaging different sectors and regions. A recent report found that key sectors including manufacturing, banking and finance would be severely exposed by a ‘no deal’ Brexit and that damage would be concentrated in London, the south-east and the former ‘red wall’ areas “. Economists to believe that a collapse of the talks followed by an unmanaged exit from the EU would hurt confidence, spending and investment. The UK would experience a comparatively slower recovery from the pandemic recession than other major European economies.
At the root of this is trust. The ‘oven-ready’ Brexit deal was already much more difficult than the promises who won the 2016 referendum on the EU. No trade deal would be much worse.
Mike Buckley is director of the ‘Labor for a European Future’ campaign group
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