As if it hasn’t been hot enough across Britain this week, the diehard Remainers continue to pump their usual hot air into the atmosphere. A particularly egregious example of the genre, dealt with by Catherine McBride on the BfB website this week, was a Reuters report claiming that EU–UK trade will ‘collapse overnight’ without a trade deal. How Reuters thinks that the US and China became the EU’s largest trading partners without any such agreement with the bloc we don’t know.
In happier news, reports suggest that a free trade deal with Japan could be finalised imminently. As we have previously reported, many in Japan view Brexit as an excellent idea and look forward to working with their UK allies to make it a success. With concerns about China increasing all the time, close ties with its regional competitor Japan grow ever more valuable.
Meanwhile, a study by the Institute for Government has made the unsurprising finding that No Deal Brexit preparations improved Britain’s response to coronavirus. One of the strongest arguments for Brexit has always been the fact that we would be better off relying on our tried-and-tested national structures in a time of crisis, rather than the more nebulous supranational structures of the EU. This is a clear example of that principle in practice. The task for the government now is to continue to strengthen our national institutions, to make sure the country is ready to stand on its own two feet, come what may.
On the website this week
No Reuters, trade will not “collapse overnight” without an EU UK agreement, by Catherine McBride
This week Reuters published the most extraordinary article about the EU UK trade talks which clearly displayed how little either the journalist or the EU ambassadors she interviewed, understand about trade, price elasticity or consumer preference. One sentence in the article read: ‘Without an agreement, trade and financial ties between the world’s fifth largest economy and its biggest trading bloc would collapse overnight, likely spreading havoc among markets, businesses and people.’ As Catherine McBride explains, this statement is completely wrong.
“one thing is clear, EU UK trade will not ‘collapse overnight’ without a trade agreement, it would just become ever so slightly more expensive although maybe not for UK consumers.”
Another “illegal” immigration record that no one should be celebrating, by Catherine McBride
Much fuss was made by the Government about introducing an Australian Style, points-based immigration system, most UK politicians seemed to have skipped over the other side of this system: Australia’s zero tolerance of illegal immigration. The two only work when operated together.
“If the UK wants to help 4000 genuine refugees, then why not follow David Cameron’s example and fly immigrants in from the worlds many refugee camps.”
Key points this week
Trouble for the Tunnel?
The Guardian recently carried an article referencing the EU’s desire for the European Court of Justice to play a role in the arbitration of disputes over the Channel Tunnel, notwithstanding the EU’s abandonment of its previous insistence that the ECJ should have oversight in other areas. Yet there are simply no grounds for the ECJ to interfere. The Tunnel was built under the bilateral treaty of Canterbury (1986) between the UK and France, and any problems can be resolved through ordinary bilateral procedures. Disputes are matters of international law, without the need for any specifically EU involvement. More generally, rail and transit conventions between the UK and EU member states operate internationally, and in terms of Brexit legislation have thus been the easier topics to deal with.
Belying the ‘Brexit Brain Drain’
Another article in the Guardian, this time based on a report claiming that emigration to Germany from the UK has risen significantly in the years since Brexit. The report it’s based on hasn’t been published yet, but you can see a preview here. Several flaws are immediately apparent. Firstly, it only uses statistics up to 2017 – a year after the Brexit vote. Secondly, the gradually increasing migration trends it cites predate Brexit by several years. But thirdly and most bafflingly the report only considers emigration, without comparing immigration from Germany to the UK. If you want to argue for a brain drain, you need to show not merely that people are leaving (and what sort of people are leaving) – you also need to prove that people aren’t coming from the EU to this country. And with large numbers having applied for (and been granted) indefinite Leave to Remain, the suggestion that skilled Britons are leaving a ‘sinking ship’ is simply propaganda.
The Benefits of Freeports
A recent study, covered in the Financial Times and elsewhere, claims that Freeports will provide negligible economic benefits. This animosity reflects the EU’s dislike, which attracts corresponding resistance to the policy from Remainers. (Cf. A Guardian article about how a freeport at Hull ‘could spell doom for grey seals’.) Freeports offer a way of avoiding the red tape Brussels would like to suffocate us in on the Irish border. If the whole island of Ireland was treated as a free port there would be no need for the Protocol, but Brussels’s preference for protectionism and taxes inhibits it. Moreover, the study from the University of Sussex concentrates on duty savings, dismissing ports’ contribution to ‘levelling up’ as ‘nothing to do with the “port” aspect’. But this is to miss the point. Freeports would be designed to divert shipping from crowded areas, and boost the ports’ vicinities with warehousing, distribution, manufacturing and other services by what’s known as ‘industrial agglomeration’, with potential benefits also accruing from reduced border paperwork.
‘Key points this week’ is compiled by a Cambridge PhD student
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How you can help
There is much about Brexit still 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 – for example, in rural areas, articles on the threat to British agriculture. Alternatively, make an appointment to speak to them at their next surgery. Let them know what you want post-Brexit Britain to look like.
As Boris Johnson said in in his post-election address, 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 will be good for the UK economy and for our own democratic governance. We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
An Oxbridge PhD Student
Dr Graham Gudgin
Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Professor Robert Tombs
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge