NorthNow that we know that British exports to the European Union plummeted by a cataclysmic 41% after Brexit on January 1, what’s next? This is not the intended “slow prick” but a big bang. Yet so far, it registers little on the Richter political scale.
It should shake the government to the core, but voters are well protected from this unwanted news by our press, largely in favor of Brexit. The BBC news, under mortar fire from Brexit supporters, also dares not do enough to rebalance misinformation. The Financial Times on Saturday published that killer trade figure on its front page, but the Daily Express said: “Flight begins for the US trade deal.” There is no “fast start”. Meanwhile, an EU legal action against Boris Johnson is starting this week, for his breach of the Northern Ireland protocol and thus jeopardizing the Good Friday peace deal.
The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Telegraph barely cover EU trade fiascos, says Dr. Andrew Jones, part of a University of Exeter team monitoring media stories about Brexit since the referendum. Today, Jones says, the main Brexit story for those newspapers is Britain’s triumph over the EU on vaccines. That trope always omits the fact that the UK could have bought the same volume while in the EU, but it has become the decisive case for Brexiters.
Professor Katharine Tyler, from the same Exeter team, who is currently re-interviewing voters in Lincolnshire, the South West and Newcastle, finds no changing opinions in either those who drop out or those who remain. He also doesn’t expect real-world effects to have much of an impact given Brexit’s strong connection to national and personal identity. Bad business news bounces off sovereignty seekers, for whom any economic price was always worth paying.
Unless people read The Guardian, Financial Times and a few others, the damage from Brexit remains invisible, with no truck queues clogging freeways or empty supermarket shelves – this can still happen when delayed import controls are imposed. Next january.
Manufacturers may say they are in the “fifth circle of Dante’s hell”, but their loss of exports is out of sight of most of the public. Take Seetru, an industrial valve manufacturer from Bristol that I have followed throughout Brexit. Half of its exports went to the EU: while UK exports to Germany fell by a whopping 56%, its managing director, Andrew Varga, finds its products “stuck for eight weeks in German customs, overwhelmed by red tape, massively obstructed ”. Fearing the loss of his customers just in time, he brings his products to Germany at “10 times the cost.”
He calls the creation of a kite brand in the UK “doctrinal and ideological”, forcing him to re-register 30,000 products in two systems. “That,” he sighs, “is what they call sovereignty.” Brexit never “regained control” or escaped the “Brussels bureaucracy,” instead blocking borders with impenetrable thickets of red tape.
With no overtime, no illegal “grace period”, the impossible Irish riddle that is now headed to court opens up. Once out of the single market and the customs union, there were only two options, both dire: a customs border dividing the UK between Great Britain and Northern Ireland; or a hard border that breaks the peace agreement within Ireland. No wonder Johnson lied about what he had signed.
The only answer comes in the form of Norway: put the whole of the UK in the single market and the customs union restores frictionless trade, without Irish borders. But Britain is still emotionally far from recognizing that need.
Meanwhile, this Pandora’s box of a Brexit invades new plagues every day. Take the 83% collapse of a seafood and fishing industry that was once the talisman of the Brexit campaign. David Frost and Michael Gove seem to have never known that every shipment of shellfish needs 71 pages of customs forms; They also did not understand the fatal “scrubbing” rules for fish that left livestock rotting on the dock.
Political optics were all that mattered to these brilliant negotiators, so they thought they could abandon services and the banking sector, despite the fact that services account for 80% of our economy and financial services 10% of the tax revenue. So city companies have already moved £ 1.3 trillion of assets to the EU, and in a month Amsterdam has overtaken the City as the largest equity trading center in Europe.
On a daily basis, new stingers fly out of the Brexit box. “Goodbye au pairs”The Telegraph laments, no visas for student homestay workers because they earn less than £ 20,480. The British Cactus Society regrets the loss of your industry to customs barriers. Students mourn the unnecessary loss of Erasmus, his inferior Turing substitute abandons cultural exchanges for teachers.
How is global Britain doing? We used to be good at soft power, spreading UK influences on culture, language and ideals of democracy; But that liberal stuff is repugnant to the more ideological Brexiters. So they throw their wrecking ball at the BBC, the UK’s global voice, reducing its funding level by 30% and putting its precious independence under sinister attack. the British Council, a diffuser of English language and culture, is also cut off. Even the UK’s collaboration on global scientific research, on antimicrobial resistance and the climate crisis, has been cut in half. Cutting aid to Yemen amid famine sends a chilling message about what Britain has become.
Rejecting the status of the new EU ambassador is a political gesture to keep the Brexit base alight. They may like to fight the EU in court. The more damage Brexit does, the more those Ken Clarke calls “headbangers” cry out for “revenge.” Mark Francois, president of the European Research Group in favor of Brexit, this week calls not only to break the “intolerable” protocol of Northern Ireland, but also breaching the £ 20 billion owes the EU. Treaty Breachers, Debt Evaders: These spoilers make us new enemies and not new friends.
There are no advantages, so will all this damage ever exceed the spiritual belief that Brexit saved our national sovereignty? Nobody knows what that trigger could be. Labor will shut down, exposing a myriad of flaws in the terrible trade deal. Shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry scored a hit this week by forcing the government to reveal that an economic impact assessment was never conducted on the Brexit deal, despite one for every other trade deal, including with Albania. . No extra penny of advantage comes from the Liz Truss trade deals, all identical to the existing EU deals. Who but the rest notices?
Labor is increasingly aggressive in attacking the aftermath of Brexit, despite being bombarded by the Conservatives as “recalls.” The question is when the sheer weight of evidence exposes how staggeringly bad the Brexit deal is. The remaining ship sailed a long time ago, but the ship to Norway may eventually dock here. Meanwhile, EU legal actions reinforce the reckless isolationism of our government. There are the ministers, as if repeating that war cartoon from the cliffs of Dover: “All right, alone!”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism