Wednesday, July 15, 2020

In 2016, the British people were told that leaving the EU would be the simplest deal to conclude. Leaving would bring rich rewards beyond everyone's dreams. Not only would the country regain its sovereignty, it would be free to negotiate fantastic deals with countries outside of Europe (including China). Oh and by the way, there would be £350m per week for the NHS,

Now we know that none of that is true. So far Brexit has cost the country over £130 billion which is more than the total payments made to the EU over the past 47 years. Worse still, that sum is expected to rise to £200 billion by the time Britain leaves.

Apart from intangible notion of regaining control, has anyone actually told us what the enormous benefits of Brexit will be that make spending such an eye watering sum worth it?

The British public were repeatedly told that a NO DEAL BREXIT was not on the cards, that Britain would negotiate a  free trade deal  with zero tariffs, zero paperwork - no need for a border between the mainland and Northern Ireland because the EU would blink first during negotiations. Now talk is of an Australian style deal in January which is a clever way of saying NO DEAL.

We now know that any hope of  fantastic deals with China are off the table because of  the U turn made on allowing HuaWei to supply components for the 5G network. It took the threat of a rebellion of back benchers, sufficient to overturn the 80 majority, to bring that about.

Turning away from Brexit, let's consider the response to coronavirus.

The initial plan was to do nothing. Let the virus spread so that a “herd immunity” would build up. Of course there would be deaths but they would be among the vulnerable and the elderly so a saving on pensions and benefits as a bonus.

Because of government cuts to the NHS budget, there were insufficient supplies of test kits. The result was that elderly patients were sent back from hospitals to care homes without testing. Not surprisingly, many were carrying the infection which they then spread to others resulting in an unacceptably high death rate.

Test and trace had to be abandoned because of insufficient supplies, meaning there was no way of knowing how the virus was spreading.

In spite of a ready made tracking app being available, the UK government decided to spend over £100m developing its own app that turned out to be a failure. No matter, change the slogan from Track, Test and Trace to just Test and Trace.

Many countries applied lockdown during the early stages of the pandemic but not Britain. The rules  in Spain for example have been clear from the start. In Britain, you could go out to exercise once a day for as long as you wanted and as far from your home as you pleased. You could even go out and sunbathe. It was acceptable to leave your home and go for a drive to test your eyesight but only if you were a special adviser.

In March the wearing of face masks was not only a waste of time but counter productive. A few months on and it is obligatory to wear face masks on public transport and will soon be obligatory in shops.

Almost weekly, the messages change. Is it any wonder that Michael Gove says something different to Boris Johnson and both say something different to Matt Hancock.

Whatever you do in Britain, don't make plans for the future because things could all change before they come to fruition. 

1 comment:

vv said...

Hi Keith

An excellent comment on both Brexit and Co-vid19. Personally, I cannot comes to terms at all with Brexit and curse the government everyday for its stupidity. The response to the virus has failed the nation and Johnson etc cannot find the humility to apologise for the errors made. Instead the UK is fast becoming an autocracy with an unelected adviser having more clout than the cabinet. Johnson refuses to be scrutinised and will not appear on media outlets that ask him incisive questions which expose the bluster and lies.
I paste a reply from my MP to a letter I wrote (one of almost 100 now) complaining about the government's deliberate failure to extend the transition period. It illustrates the lies they tell the public and this MP happens to be the Attorney General who studied at the Sorbonne under the Erasmus scheme. She writes:

"The UK will leave the EU at the end of the transition period with either a Canada-style free trade agreement or the 2019 deal. The 2019 deal will give a trading relationship similar to the one Australia enjoys with the EU.

No deal is now an irrelevant concept. The UK left the EU on 31 January with a deal. The question now is whether we can agree with the EU a deeper trading relationship on the lines of the free trade agreement the EU has with Canada, or whether we have a trading relationship that is based on the 2019 deal, without a free trade agreement and along the lines of Australia’s relationship with the EU.

Negotiations are currently ongoing and both sides are seeking a free trade agreement with no tariffs, quotas, fees or charges across all goods sectors as well as further provisions on services and security cooperation. The Withdrawal Agreement legally commits the UK and the EU to seek to reach and implement a future relationship agreement in good faith by the end of the transition period.

I am hopeful that this can be achieved. The UK is not asking for a special, bespoke, or unique deal. We are looking for a deal like those the EU has previously struck with other friendly countries like Canada.

Thank you again for contacting me.


The Rt Hon. Suella Braverman QC MP
Member of Parliament for Fareham"

Both you and I are informed enough to tell that the whole of her answer is false. If they could tell me exactly how we will be better off outside the EU, Brexit might make sense, but it is a fantasy. It will take the UK a long time to recover coming on top of the damage done by the virus.

Thank you also for the link to the virus statistics in Valencia which is very informative. As ever, I enjoy your excellent blogging which is always interesting.

William D Taylor