Thursday, 8 February 2018

Brexit: the unending Transition

I'm hearing more an more of the details of the so-called "transition period" to be imposed after the article 50 deadline. It seems very likely that the Soft-Brexiteers are winning the day and that there will be a form of membership of the customs union while supposedly transitioning to fully independent status.

Membership of the Customs Union implicitly includes adopting all the rules the EU doles out and subservience to the ECJ (which enforces the rules) and unable to talk to other countries to negotiate trade. We will still be reliant on the EU for trade terms with China and the USA.. However, being outside the machinery of the EU which decides the rules, puts us in the status of "Vassal State" as Jacob rees-Mogg puts it, or far better to call it waht it was originally called in the referendum debate: "Associate Membership".

Associate membership was on of those ideas bandied about at the time David Cameron went to the EU with begging bowl trying to get connessions on immigration. Associate membership was the term used by those that wanted us to stay in the EU. They said if we wanted less EU, then Associate membership would allow us to not be at the forefront of the EU, but we would be tied to EU rules without representation. The worst of all worlds. But what they failed to recognise is that we the people didn't have any formal representation anyway hence why the majority voted to leave. The EU structure is anti-democratic, allowing us to only vote for the EU Parliament, which has no real law-making powers. The comission, appointed as it is, is nowhere near democratic.

So, assiciate membership (to give it it's true label) seems to be the game in play at the moment, because the Remainers want us to be scared. They want us to have to pay all the usual bills, be subject to all the rules, have no say in the rules and crucially have to power to negotiate trade deals outside of the EU. The worst of all worlds.

Far be it from me to suggest that once we accept associate membership that the EU change the rules to make life difficult for so called associates. The EU negotiates new, better trade deals? Not for you associate, you're not allowed to benefit for 3 years. Want to stay an associate? We've just voted that you have to pay twice as much to stay in the customs union. Sorry, you're out of the EU so don't have any say on what rules we come up with.

No-one would want that would they? So why are we being forced, by our own government to accept such a poor deal?

Of course they will say it's only for a short transitional period, but will it? Is the ploy to have such a shit deal, with chaos, bills and no power to sort it out? Just to show us how bad Brexit is? How long will it last?

They say two years. Pah! I reckon just as long as it takes for the public to start bleating that they want back into the EU. Two years, ten years, the fear of dropping out of the precious customs union will be ramped up mercilessly. Then there will be a miraculous change and we'll be invited to join the fold with no rebate and the Euro as our currency. Fast tracked, but with a bit of humble pie served on the plate. Certainly worse than we are now.

Of course we could just have the clean break, if necessary joining EFTA and trading on the same basis as Norway. Out of the customs union and free to negotiate trade deals with anyone we like. I work in a company that trades with Norway on a daily basis. No problems getting parts there, okay the parts are subject to local Norwegian tax and import duty. But then parts traded inside the EU are subject to VAT anyway, so the prices become similar.

The only thing is that inside the EU the shipping costs are lower. In the great scheme of things the difference is not that great and certainly not big enough to put people off ordering stuff from the UK.

So why the push to stay in the cutoms union and handcuff ourselves to the EU? The worst possible scenario.

Better ask your politician that question....