The government claims that sticking to the current Brexit deadline is ‘entirely possible’. But neither time nor the COVID-19 pandemic is on its side. Ros Taylor and Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz (LSE) round up this week’s developments.
The UK government insists that trade talks with the EU, and the transition period, will end on 31 December 2020. This will provide ‘certainty’ for business at a time of enormous uncertainty. Michael Gove even went so far as to argue that the COVID-19 pandemic will ‘concentrate the minds’ of European negotiators (‘delusional’, says the BBC’s Katya Adler): he argued that concluding the negotiations on schedule is ‘entirely possible’.
At the same time, the European Commission warns that even if the talks are successful, “barriers to trade and cross-border exchanges that do not exist today” will become a reality in 2021.
What would be the consequences of an extension? The Commons Library has done the legwork. Best for Britain makes the case for it in a report.
Alan Beattie of the FT says the government’s current line is ‘bonkers’, but:
‘There’s a far darker view, that the government is betting the public won’t be able to tell the virus shock from the Brexit shock. It would be a savagely cynical strategy, but one definitely beneath Johnson’s government? Probably not.’
The Specialised Committee responsible for implementing the Protocol on Northern Ireland and Ireland meets for the first time today. LSE Brexit contributors Katy Hayward and David Phinnemore write in the Irish Times that “it is Northern Ireland’s best hope of having some means of informing (if not shaping) the EU-level decisions that it will have to abide by” because of its unique post-Brexit status. Yet the UK is still declining the EU’s request for an office in Belfast to oversee the implementation of the Brexit deal. Time is running short:
BREAKING: the EU believes IT systems and databases for customs checks and controls need to be in place in Northern Ireland by June 1 in order for the Irish Protocol to be properly implemented, according to a nine-page note circulated to member states, and seen by @rtenews
— Tony Connelly (@tconnellyRTE) April 30, 2020
The CBI says companies are starting to worry about Brexit again. Nicole Sykes has intelligence on the decisions they’re taking:
Brexit has started to be A Thing again. Which is weird. But I’m told it’s my job to… you know… engage with it. So. Storytime.
Companies have obviously been dealing with the much bigger fire that is a global pandemic and the many resulting crises.
— Nicole Sykes (@NicoleSykes_) May 1, 2020
On LSE Brexit
In the second post of our series on what’s going wrong at the WTO, Dan Power and Mikael Hemlin explain why it struggles to settle disputes.
Nadine El-Enany argues Brexit is a nostalgic, inward-looking project:
Britain’s profound colonial amnesia and imperial ambition now see it making a drastic manoeuvre away from the EU (…) a post-Brexit Britain promises to be a dangerous place for racialised people and those without a secure status.
Europe’s colonial embrace and the Brexit nostalgia for empire are two sides of the same coin
Meanwhile, people continue to ‘miss Brexit’…
I miss Brexit, can we talk about Brexit again instead? Or pets, I like tweets with pets. Here’s my cat snoozing, what an angel 😭 #twitterpets #goawayvirus pic.twitter.com/AWnEez1ONk
— Emma Maloy (@EmmaMaloy) April 28, 2020
This post represents the views of the authors and not those of the Brexit blog, nor LSE.
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I don’t know if LSE will ever give up on attempting to reverse the Brexit vote.
There has now been three verdicts from the British public.
Why not spend your time looking at the positives, the upside and encourage everyone to
Get behind Great Britain.
You are after all stuck with the fact that we have left, and if the EU want to make their economy worse by
Obstructing us, the so be it.
Unlike them we have the ability to be agile, they dont.
Look at the pathetic business support package from the EU, 93 Billion.
Less than 30% of the UK commitment, and that to share amongst 27 countries.
We are free, we can and will be great and free under a great leadership.
The 93 billion is not what the individual countries are providing, but an addition. Check the overall addition and then compare it to what the UK is doing. Indeed, check the UK’s figure against any individual EU country, Germany, France, etc. Lie, damn lies, and your statistics.
It seems to still be the case that Gove and the current Conservative hierarchy believe that ‘No Deal is better than a well thought out negotiated deal’. If they felt any differently they would be asking for a very much needed extension so that there would be time to get such a thought out deal. Covid 19 is not just a potentially catastrophic pandemic, it also appears to be something that has played right into the hands of those who believe, and always believed, that we should leave with No Deal, and to hell with the EU, trade with the EU, and all of the negative consequences such stupidity would lead to.
It was relatively easy (despite Parliament) to leave the EU – we’ve just done it. What is important is that we leave with a benefit for the UK, economically and socially. The articles above suggest that leaving without an extension will make the potential benefits more difficult to achieve. This is not a ‘Remainers’ claim of it being difficult to leave. It is the reality that, if we leave with No Deal, that will not be the best deal for the UK.
Andrew, you have the controversy of the leave/remain arguments to the fore when the reality is that a ‘deal’ is being negotiated where some politicians here want ‘No Deal’ – You need to ask why.
I total agree, JEP. It is the best explanation we have for the government’s initial reluctance to agree to closing down the country in the face of a deadly virus. I also agree with Alan Beattie of the FT’s take, namely, “There’s a far darker view, that the government is betting the public won’t be able to tell the virus shock from the Brexit shock. It would be a savagely cynical strategy, but one definitely beneath Johnson’s government? Probably not.” The strategy of using coronavirus as a camouflage, to hide the true nature of the economic devastation which will be wrought by a No-deal Brexit, looks more and more plausible each passing day.
The very fact that the LSE has a post called Brexit2020 shows its bias and its refusal to accept reality.
The UK left the EU in January.
Let that sink in.
The discussions this year have been truncated precisely because the EU has previously shown that it does not recognise deadlines.
The UK government had no legal obligation to have an implementation period. It agreed to one in order to have a smoother transition between being an EU member (like Italy) and not being an EU member (like Japan).
Liam Fox was entirely correct when he stated that the UK/EU trade deal would be the easiest in history unless the politics got in the way. All that was needed was for the UK and EU to continue a trade deal on goods and services that already existed in June 2016.
The default UK position has always been that.
It is the EU which has been the stumbling block.
The EU wanted freedom of movement and access to UK waters. When Barnier says that the UK is being ‘difficult’, what he means is that the UK is refusing to be bullied by the EU.
The EU is a bully. It proved that during the ‘negotiations’ with May, when she collapsed. Boris has stood up to the EU, and the EU (like all bullies) doesn’t like it.
Covid 19 hysteria should not get in the way of negotiations. All talks can take place online. The very fact that it is the EU raising concerns proves my point.
Where has Boris stood up to the EU? He is all posturing and clowning around. Given the strong hand the UK has, there is no explanation for his dilly dallying other than that he is Treason May Mark II. Three and a half years wasted already. I think the delay is to allow the UK, English, really, Establishment to time to manoeuvre and re-position itself to again scoop the advantages of Brexit and maintain their iron grip on the political and economic parameters. His support for financial scams such as HS2 etc. would make that abundantly clear.
You appear to be blaming Boris for everything which happened (or didn’t happen) since June 2016. He only became PM in July, and only acquired a majority in December.
You accuse him of delay; as PM, he forced the EU to change the WA (which the EU had insisted could never be changed) and he enacted the relevant legislation to take us out of the EU the month after the general election just as he had pledged to do.
It isn’t Boris who is seeking an extension to the current trade talks.
Your accusation that UK businesses encouraged the delay after June 2016 is laughable and unfounded. Businesses thrive on certainty, because it helps them to plan future policies. It is true that many business leaders wished to delay Brexit in the hope that it would come to nought, but they had no say on the matter. We now know that the delays were caused by a compliant Theresa May and the bullying EU.
If you have any evidence that Boris is supporting illegal activities, I suggest you inform the relevant authorities.
Boris was always the prevaricating clown. He played his part on the Leave side, not expecting to be on the winning side. That apart, he was ever only good for the Foreign Office. He had three years to prepare himself for leadership. When the time came, the Commons was too divided for him to proceed with Brexit. At least, that was a reasonable enough excuse. It is impossible to determine with any certainty how much and how far Boris was in on the strategy by almost all in the Commons to delay as long as possible and weaken any Brexit to the point of Brino. So far, the government has been doing exactly that. Twigging and tweaking the utterly ridiculous WA agreement, so-called, was his way to deal with the ill-will towards Brexit in Parliament. Of course, outsiders will possibly never know the degree to which Boris needed to compromise on this signing up to vassalage for ever, so he’s got the benefit of the doubt, or had until 12 December last year.
Now it is obvious he is all for Brino and keeping the Establishment happy. Not all of British/English big business is part of the Establishment, and certainly, some of which are would like or would have liked a clean break, but that doesn’t alter the fact that the Establishment still rules the roost. Boris has shown that conclusively with his prioritising of what have euphemistically been designated vanity projects, but which are simply huge financial scams at the expense of the mug taxpayer and the long term viability of the State.
What Boris could have done once he got his majority is simply act on behalf of the country as if it were a sovereign nation-state. That is what should have happened on the 24th of June 2016.
The entire show has been a revelation for those with eyes to see and an independent mind to reason with. Bad faith upon bad faith on the part of those elected representatives in the Commons towards the country’s direct and long term interests and towards the electorate and the very basis of democracy in Britain. People have had the wool pulled over their eyes. Ok, that’s all part of total politics, but there was an alternative for Boris. On the 1st of February last he could have said to the EU what Cameron should have said. “ We are a free and independent sovereign country now”. All this nonsense about trying to reach a withdrawal agreement was part of the sabotaging of Brexit. However, as Mark Twain remarked, it is easier by far to brainwash people than to convince them they’ve been had.
I refer you to my previous comment.
Treason is not illegal anymore. As to financial scams, don’t be ridiculous. Where did I say Boris has done anything illegal? Though I might say unlawful in view of some Common Law or the English Constitution, but that is now irrelevant. We in the West are governed by an internationally organised cabal through their fiefdoms, organised on the basis of our nation-states, who make/lay down and interpret or disregard laws as they please. Hadn’t you noticed?
“As to financial scams, don’t be ridiculous. Where did I say Boris has done anything illegal?”
I didn’t claim that you had, but you did say this:
“His support for financial scams such as HS2 etc. would make that abundantly clear.”
If you think taxpayers’ money is being ‘scammed’ (which is an illegal activity)then you should alert the authorities. Be aware, of course, that the HS2 Project is an entirely legal enterprise before you go to the authorities.