In their New Year messages, BORIS Johnson and Emmanuel Macron gave somewhat different viewpoints on Brexit, while Danny Blanchflower, a former member of the Monetary Policy Committee, echoed what the situation would mean from an economic and social viewpoint.
So what do we do with Mr. Johnson and Mr. Macron’s starkly opposing views following the near trade agreement of the United Kingdom with the European Union?
Mr. Johnson created a surprising amount of hot air and noise over the holidays, even by his standards, about the advantages he claims Brexit would bring. He appears utterly unimpressed by the fact that, in more than four and a half years, the Brexiters have not demonstrated any major economic advantages in leaving the single European economy. In the real world, so far, evidence of the harm has been steadily piling up in the form of a years-long drag on British development and the Brexit woes ahead.
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In the midst of the worsening Covid 19 coronavirus epidemic in the UK, as we face a tough year ahead, it seems more critical than ever that individuals are conscious of what Brexit will bring and will not bring.
“This is an amazing moment for this country. We have our freedom in our hands and it’s up to us to make the most of it.”This is a fantastic moment for this country. We have our freedom in our hands, and it’s up to us to make the most of it.
This argument, while incredibly galling from a viewpoint that takes account of economics and basic arithmetic, is thoroughly consistent with the message of the Brexiters.
The propaganda formula for the Brexiteers is as follows. Say and celebrate “sovereignty.” And claim that, as part of the EU, the UK has no sovereignty in any way (a claim that is bizarre, but is nevertheless made over and over again). And then announce that with Brexit, things will be better. Repeat that ad infinitum then.
Of course, with all of the big talk by Mr. Johnson about making the best of a “amazing moment,” the fact is that by being part of the world’s largest free trade bloc, the UK was in no way economically weakened. Quite the opposite. Being part of the bloc has significantly improved the economic well-being of the United Kingdom, with the free flow of people in and out of EU countries and genuinely frictionless trade making beneficial immigration possible. The ability for UK exporters to sell to the EU and beyond has also been maximized by membership. Finally, in negotiating trade agreements with countries around the world, the EU has a great impact.
There has been a lot of noise from Brexit proponents about the fact that they have effectively managed to duplicate hundreds of EU trade deals with countries around the world. Given the utter inability to get anywhere near the major, bold new trade deals promised by the Leave campaign before and after the 2016 referendum, the Johnson government and the Brexit camp as a whole always seemed eager to present these rollover agreements as something new. This overlooks the fact that they are, in reality, agreements which the United Kingdom has as part of the EU.
The extreme excitement of Johnson for Brexit was, of course, not limited to his New Year’s post.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show over the weekend that Brexit will allow the UK to ‘think internationally’ and ‘think big.’
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“Of course there will be changes and we’ve made that clear. And in fact, I think it’s a great opportunity for UK SMEs and for exporters of all kinds.”Of course, there will be changes and we have made that clear. And in truth, I think it’s a great opportunity for UK SMEs and all kinds of exporters.
It seems that the whole thing about Alice-in-Wonderland Brexit has not gone away with the end of the protracted talks between the British government and the long-suffering EU neighbors of the world, and may even have gotten worse.
In what world does Mr. Johnson assume that the loss of frictionless trade with the EU and the immense amount of new red tape it brings would enable small and medium-sized companies to export more? In this context, he should bear in mind that the EU, as a bloc,