Chicken and Scapegoat Stew

On the thorny subject of the Irish border, Jacob Rees-Mogg, today, told BBC’s Daily Politics: “The customs union is a protectionist racket. It puts up the price of food, of clothing, of footwear. These hit the poorest in our country the most.”

First of all: is protectionism not just the ultimate consequence of an economic model that relies on power and profit achieved through competition? The last four decades over which Thatcherite philosophy manifested as libertarian (neoliberal) effects. Time during which competition was championed as the driver of national prosperity and empowerment for individuals, exercised through consumer choice.

Is Rees-Mogg seriously suggesting that leaving the customs union is some altruistic measure? Leavers spent the whole campaign telling us that it was our inability to make our own trade deals that was stifling our economy. That is why they said they didn’t like the customs union. But that was before the islands of Ireland took their rightful place at the top of the list of Brexiting obstacles. Leaving the customs union, back then, was all about the buccaneering narrative. Think Liam Fox and his trade yacht: how Blighty is so darned healthy, clever and resourceful that going it alone was going to be an absolute doddle. Bring on the glory of competition!

Jacob Rees-Mogg wants to leave the customs union because staying in it removes the UK’s ability to reduce regulation, tax and rights, lower consumer standards and secure separate trade deals that the Minford Mob and Legatum fancy are what will make Britain great again. Trade deals that cannot in any way adequately replace the trade we already do, let alone surpass it – by virtue of our EU membership which has all the leverage you’d expect of a massive globally influential bloc. Trade deals which Liam Fox wants to grandfather anyway because they are already pretty good, possibly as good as it gets; trade deals that the EU has either secured or is in the process of securing or pursuing anyway.

[It’s funny how Brexit resents the leverage and security of the EU so much that it is now desperately juggling its principles so as not to alienate the orange menace in the White House. Can’t wait ‘til China adds its considerable weight.]

Jacob would rather scapegoat the EU than acknowledge the effects of self-determined policies. He insults our intelligence with his patronising and false concern. He is a charlatan. Nothing about leaving the customs union provides a guarantee that importing cheaper goods will sustain our economy. Cheaper imports sounds great, especially if your months last longer than your money but, in reality, they are a massive threat to the sustainability of our own production and export potential.

Cheaper goods threaten the capacity of our own producers to compete. Imports flood the market, people buy them, home producers go bust, choice diminishes, prices go up. Benefit is temporary. Real choice is for those who can actually afford to exercise it. How does that help the national finances? How does that help sovereignty, sustainability and security? How does that help the poor?

Cheaper goods easily mean lower standards. Whether homemade or imported, it sounds more like lower animal welfare standards, industrialised agriculture, sweat shops, environmental abuses, etc, etc. It sounds more like a way to both have your own people impoverished and exploited and a way that allows an expansion of the exploitation of other people and resources. It’s not altruism. Hell, it’s not even ‘in the national interest’.

***

Peter Crosskey on “the relentless downward pressure” in ‘how Brexit will change the way you eat’

LSE: ‘Legatum Institute’s ‘solution’ for the Brexit border is highly problematic

Chicken and scapegoat stew: Faisal Islam explains the games going on right now over the Irish border.

Ian Dunt: ‘Know your soft Brexit

***

Industry, Business and special interest groups are already angling for concessions. If Northern Ireland gets a tailor-fudged Brexit, what is to stop Scotland, Wales and Gibraltar pushing for theirs? So much for one nation, all in it together. What an unforgivable, time-consuming and costly mess.

Parliament – Commons Select Committee: Progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal report released (1-12-2017)

***~***

‘Hard Brexit’ is still shitty death and ‘soft Brexit’ (compromise), although better than the cliff, still takes the piss out of both Leavers and Remainers. There simply is still no Brexit available that is better for Britain than no Brexit at all.

Update – Well, this isn’t sinister, at all… Jacob Rees-Mogg met Steve Bannon to discuss US-UK politics

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