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Mon Feb 17, 2020, 01:53 PM

Brexit: The British government starts to recognise reality

https://fedtrust.co.uk/brexit-the-british-government-starts-to-recognise-reality/#more-4404

Michael Gove’s acknowledgement that trade between the UK and the EU after 1st January 2021 will be far from frictionless is a watershed in the Brexit process. The claim that Brexit would not significantly impinge upon British trade with the European Union was central to the 2016 Leave campaign. So central indeed that government ministers spent the three years thereafter repeating this dishonest assurance in the face of ever-mounting evidence to the contrary.

With its 80-seat majority safely secured, the British government has concluded that now it is safe to begin the process of gradually accepting the negative consequences of Brexit, so vigorously denied hitherto. Naturally, this acceptance of reality remains only grudging and partial. Michael Gove spoke as if the imminence of border formalities were an uncontroversial prospect long accepted by all parties. He also seemed wholly unembarrassed by the short length of time available for preparation until the end of December and the five years at least it will take for the government’s new frontier trading regime to be in place. There is a bitter irony in the fact that the government has begun its painful journey towards at least partial European realism by announcing the imposition of extensive paperwork and similar formalities. It was a repeated trope of the Leave campaign that bureaucracy and “red tape” disfigured and delegitimised whatever may have been the original and commendable goals of the EU’s founders .

The enduring denial that Brexit would involve customs and other checks at the border(s) of the EU was not merely a political and rhetorical convenience. The equivocation about the objective implications of Brexit for cross-border trade reflected a continuing disagreement among Leave voters and later within government itself about different models for quitting the EU. Campaigners for a Leave vote knew that there is not and never has been a majority within the British electorate for any specific form of Brexit. Any serious discussion during the referendum campaign of realistic alternatives to current British EU membership would have risked splintering the Leave coalition. Post-2016 government ministers have been forced to realise that any concrete form of Brexit, be it “hard” or “soft,” brought with it highly unpalatable consequences which they have been reluctant to discuss honestly with the electorate. Until now.

It seems from the recent rhetoric of Michael Gove and other ministers that the British government has now intellectually resolved the Brexit conundrum by tilting decisively towards a “hard” Brexit. All the ‘inverted pyramid of piffle’ about “having our cake and eating it,” about “exact same benefits” and about the UK’s “having the upper hand” in negotiations with the EU has melted abruptly in the first heat of this new phase of negotiations. The warnings of “Project Fear” have now become the acceptable discourse of ministerial pronouncements .

Hard truths

snip

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 02:13 PM

1. And there you have the game plan of rw politics.

It's about winning the short term game. Once you win and the fortunes of the few are solidified just let the rest fall where it will. The long term and the broad welfare is of no consequence. The ends justify means and rw ends are shallow.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 02:23 PM

2. Great comment.

Wish I could "rec"

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 02:26 PM

3. You've hit the nail squarely on the head...

...Real actual Brexit -and its consequences- will resemble NOTHING like what the Brexiteers have sold to the Brits, unfortunately.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 02:28 PM

4. And people still don't understand the consequences of what is going

to happen on Jan 2021, if they go out on a no deal. Johnson will dress it up but if they don't agree on standards for imported goods, they really can't agree on anything else. And on top of that, there is zero incentive for Trump to give them any sort of good deal.....the UK are desperate to get a deal done, but Trump can let them swinging unless he gets what he wants. I don't see how they won't end up in an awfully worse place than they are now.

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Response to OnDoutside (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 04:11 PM

8. I don't claim to be a political scholar but it doesn't take one

to see what happened, what will likely happen and why. If one can clear their head of the rhetoric then look at it broadly while considering human nature it's pretty hard to miss. I think many are willing to buy or vote for someone to make decisions for them so they don't have to think. That's not how a free society works. There will always be someone willing to take over and the outcome of our turning loose of the reins is a fall.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 06:10 PM

9. Probably the best term for them is the low information voter. There's massive cognitive dissonance,

My own sister-in-law puts up lots of forwarded Facebook posts (usually from political groups with non obvious names) of homeless or patients on long waiting lists, yet screams that the government are taking too much tax from her. I've stopped trying to reason with that level of stupidity.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 02:40 PM

6. +1

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 02:28 PM

5. They will still blame the EU (and everyone else) at every opportunity

The question is, how long before people wise up to their con tricks?

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 03:28 PM

7. And many Brexiteers already say they see five fingers

The claim that the electorate voted in 2016 for a “hard” Brexit is the precise equivalent of the Interrogator in George Orwell’s “1984” who shows Winston Smith only four fingers but insists that his victim should be willing to say he sees five at the Party’s behest.

When I pointed out to a rabid Brexiteer that the official Leave campaign said

"Some claim we will not get a trade deal but there is a European free trade zone from Iceland to the Russian border and we will be part of it.

he denied reality and said that "will" means "could". And then said that since being a member of EEA, the European free trade zone that includes Iceland, would mean being part of the single market and using the European Court of Justice, it would actually be against the decision to leave, but everyone should have known that, and so a hard Brexit is the only thing any Leave voter wanted.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 06:17 PM

10. And with the U.S. and Australia telling the U.K. that they must do a deal with the EU first,

they have very little room to negotiate. They may well use Northern Ireland as a hostage, but Pelosi has already said that she would block any U.S. -U.K. trade deal if the U.K.tried to screwed. I really don't know how they proceed.

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