Germany is insisting on more “EU democracy” (from a coalition that wants a federal Europe) before admitting any more new members. This is why we needed to leave in the first place. The EU persistently trends towards centralisation, integration and one-size-fits-none uniform policies, to the destruction of national identity and sovereignty.
One size fits Brussels
The UK Supreme Court hears a challenge to the constitutional basis of the Northern Ireland Protocol this week. It is expected to affirm the Protocol’s legality, albeit recognising that the legislation seriously compromises the Act of Union. Meanwhile, the European Parliament has given the European Commission powers to sanction the UK over non-compliance with the Protocol – including threatening UK access to EU aerospace. Such sanctions, if not compliant with treaty mechanisms, might themselves be internationally illegal if excessive in scope.
On the environment, the energy company Total has announced that the government’s windfall tax has caused it to rethink its North Sea investments. Given our need for energy independence, and the problems faced by the National Grid due to its reliance on intermittent renewables, the windfall tax may turn out to be a short benefit with a serious long-term cost. Other sources of power, like nuclear energy, still have their issues – France this week being revealed to rely excessively on Russian nuclear fuel.
Cutting the pipelines
More of the results of the 2021 census were published recently – specifically, the ethnic and religious data. These broad demographic changes, coupled with record immigration numbers this year linked to the processing of Ukrainians and the scandal of mass illegal cross-Channel immigration, have prompted criticism of the government’s direction (or lack thereof) on migration.
Finally, Ukraine continues its struggle against heavy Russian pressure. Russia continues its ruthless policies of destroying civilian infrastructure, and is most likely behind a serious of grisly packages sent to Ukrainian embassies around Europe. Still, Russian forces make little headway, amidst reports of high casualties, desertions and an EU-wide price cap of $65 per barrel of Russian oil (which is more important to Moscow than gas).
Co-editor Graham Gudgin was on BBC’s Newsnight to debate the economic impact of Brexit on the 25th of November – you can see that here from around 17 minutes in. Graham along with the other co-authors of our Report were also quoted in the Daily Telegraph – see here. Disappointingly, Ben Chu on Newsnight was quoted by the programme on Twitter and YouTube repeating an OBR claim of a 4% Brexit hit to GDP without Graham’s response that the OBR undertake no such estimates and merely repeat estimates from others.
Another of the co-authors of our Report on the impact of Brexit (now nearing 30,000 views) is the economist Julian Jessop. He was recently writing in the Daily Telegraph attacking some of the various misconceptions about UK trade and economic performance.
The Gloomy Investor’s Chinese Lessons for Britain, by Hugo de Burgh
The author of Mrs Zhu’s Chicken here argues that what’s going on in China is a wake-up call for the British.
“We, today, might ponder those Chinese patriots. It seems that, like China a hundred years ago, Britain is at risk of falling for a new iteration of totalitarianism, though seemingly less violent. Woke tunnels away at our identity, gains adherence to a fatuous set of supernatural beliefs and imposes a divisive moral hierarchy.”
Mrs Zhu’s chicken and the UK’s China policy, by Hugo de Burgh
We need a China strategy that serves British interests and reflects understanding of Chinese politics as well as wariness at China’s apparent power. A companion article, The Gloomy Investor’s Chinese Lessons for Britain, argues that what’s going on in China is a wake-up call for us.
“The rejuvenation of CCP ideology and its practices – arbitrary repression, confiscation of assets, cultural persecution – does not matter only to the 20% of humanity that is Chinese, or to the 128 countries for which China is the main trading partner, but to all of us. It has particular lessons for Britain.”
F is for Food – a primer on trade for George Eustice, by Catherine McBride
Mr George Eustice, sometime Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has been disparaging the trade deals signed with Australia and New Zealand. Has he forgotten what the F in DEFRA stands for? Has he also forgotten consumers and exporters in the UK?
“Consumers should note that Eustice does take credit for securing this delay in importing meat from one of the world’s largest meat exporters, even though the UK is presently importing over 300,000 tonnes of beef each year. Think about that next time you’re out shopping.”
The Guardian recently carried a headline about a study by the London School of Economics, which claimed that Brexit has forced up food prices. This study is flawed on many levels. To start with, it isn’t based on actual data that clearly show cause and effect – merely projections based on hypothetical modelling assumptions about trade frictions. These kinds of hypotheticals, as we’ve argued before, are flawed – particularly given that the UK hasn’t yet imposed checks on EU imports.
By contrast, UK food price inflation has been generally below that both of the Euro Area and the broader EU. It may be impossible to prove a negative – that Brexit hasn’t had an impact – but in the absence of more concrete data, the comparable trend lines suggest that it’s world food price shocks, rather than leaving the EU, that’s the real issue facing UK consumers.
Finally, those who worry about food prices would do well to advocate greater trade liberalisation with Australia and the US. Both countries produce more efficiently and cheaply than subsidised, inefficient EU farmers, and UK consumers would benefit from opening the market to their products.
Any Poll’s a Goal
Lord Frost on Twitter pointed out an example of “push polling” at its most egregious. Not least, the organisers put “gaining access to the European single market” as an option, when the UK already has access via the Trade and Co-operation agreement.
More broadly, the issue with the “Swiss-style deal” as recently touted in the media is that it represents “cakeism” (to use a Remainer term) at its most blatant. If you ask voters whether they want all the benefits and only some of downsides of EU membership, you shouldn’t be surprised when they say yes – but the option simply isn’t available. Indeed, the EU dislikes its current relationship with Switzerland and is trying to pressure Bern into a new, overarching agreement which has been rejected by Swiss voters.
We are also on Twitter, posting articles and retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the national news.
Discussion also continues over on Facebook.
How you can help
There is much about Britain’s relationship with Europe that remains to be decided. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Do continue to send them links to our articles, especially on matters relevant to your constituency. Alternatively, make an appointment to speak to them at their next surgery. Let them know what you want post-Brexit Britain to look like.
Yet it is also time for unity and reconciliation. Keep reading our posts and share links to our quality content to help others understand how leaving the EU has benefited the UK economy and democratic governance. We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
A Cambridge PhD Student
Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge