As the country prepared to bid a fond farewell to cricketer Alastair Cook, it was the return to the media of another erstwhile opener, Geoffrey Boycott, who provided Brexiteers with the most welcome entertainment this week. The straight-talking Yorkshireman likened Remainer calls for a second referendum to a cricket captain suggesting the toss should be the best of three after losing the first, declaring that “they don’t believe in democracy” and are behaving like the “spoiled child in the playground”.
Meanwhile, Michel Barnier has indicated that the EU is prepared to accept that the payment of Britain’s £39bn ‘divorce bill’ must be linked to a trade deal, after pressure on this point from Dominic Raab. As the opposition continues to mount to Theresa May’s Chequers scheme, a quick cameraman captured a picture apparently showing details of ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ – the government’s no deal contingency planning.
Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England and less objectionable predecessor to the incumbent High Priest of Project Fear, Mark Carney, laughed off fears that the world’s sixth-largest economy would suffer food shortages or other apocalyptic consequences in a no–deal scenario. King pointed out that the real cause of any resulting difficulties would be government incompetence: “A government that cannot take action to prevent some of these catastrophic outcomes illustrates a whole lack of preparation… It doesn’t tell us anything about whether the policy of staying in the EU is good or bad, it tells us everything about the incompetence of the preparation for it.”
While the European Research Group appears to have abandoned plans to publish an alternative Brexit blueprint, they are said to instead be planning a series of anti-Chequersevents, kicking off with a speech on Wednesday by former Brexit Secretary David Davis.With the Conservative party conference nearing, the battle to control the direction of Brexit negotiations in these last few months grows ever hotter.
Graham Gudgin to speak at Holyrood Festival of Politics
Brexit – Armageddon or Miracle?
Wednesday 10 October, 15.45 – 17.15
On 29 March 2019 the UK will leave the EU, ending 46 years of membership. What will the repercussions be on trade, investment, immigration, employment and security? Join chair Rachel Sylvester, The Times, and panelists Dr Graham Gudgin of Briefings for Brexit; Professor Nicola McEwen, University of Edinburgh; and Dr Kirsty Hughes, Director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations, to debate the best and worst-case outcomes.
On the website this week
A Modest Proposal for the Irish Border, by Richard Tuck
Harvard University professor Richard Tuck explores how a little-used WTO rule could help solve the ongoing Irish border issue. Article XXI of WTO rules allows usual requirements to be circumvented when necessary for ‘essential security reasons’, a proviso which would allow Ireland and the UK to make special arrangements in the case of no deal (‘an emergency in international relations’). Contrary to claims that intransigence over this issue weakens the UK’s bargaining position, Tuck shows how this provides the UK government with a trump card in a ‘cliff edge’ scenario.
“In other words, a “cliff edge” puts Britain in an extraordinarily powerful bargaining position, as it can introduce tariffs vis-a-vis the EU in any way it chooses and wait for the EU to come to the negotiating table.”
The Treasury is Wrong: UK Trade will Shift to Non-EU Countries after Brexit, by Harry Western
Harry Western, a senior private sector economist, debunks Treasury claims that the UK will struggle to replace EU trade with that with the rest of the world after Brexit. As part of the slew of deeply negative predictions about the effects of Brexit in 2016, the Treasury claimed that the UK did not lose any trade from non-EU partners in joining, and so would not gain any in leaving. Western, however, cites historical studies –even one from the Treasury itself – which show how trade diversion is indeed commonplace in the global economy. These gloomy predictions from the Treasury run contrary to both historical evidence and current UK export trends.
“It is quite clear that the UK would have, after Brexit, the opportunity to switch from EU imports to rest of the world imports – with potential significant savings in areas like foodstuffs.”
The IMF Abetted the European Union’s Subversion of Greek Democracy, by Ashoka Mody
Professor Ashoka Mody of Princeton University asks, ‘who was accountable and who is accountable to the Greek people for the European handling of the Greek crisis’. In this searing critique, first published on the Open Democracy website, he argues that EU and IMF handling of Greece’s financial crisis takes economic colonialism to a twenty-first-century high, fundamentally undermining the foundations of Greek democracy.
“Powerful corporations and nations dictated an increasingly wider range of economic policies to weaker countries. The European handling of the Greek crisis takes economic colonialism to a twenty-first-century high-water mark.”
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We are also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/briefing4brexit, posting articles and retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the national news.
Discussion continues on Facebook too, with a particularly strong response to Professor Ashoka Mody on the EU, IMF and Greece. We also particularly enjoyed this comment from Fen Tiger: “Finally some academics and experts who view Brexit in a positive light… if we value democracy then we need to action the vote to Leave. It may be difficult for some to adjust but perhaps reading some positives will help.” We certainly hope they will.
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