Monday, 16 January 2017

Trading freely

The UK Government’s approach to Brexit is at last slowly being spelled out.  The objective is for the UK to once again take its rightful place ruling the waves at the heart of the world’s trade network, in free trade arrangements with all countries across the whole globe and being subject only to rules made in the sovereign parliament of these islands, and not to any other jurisdiction, especially if there are any foreigners involved. 
The strategy for achieving this is firstly to remove the UK from the world’s largest and most successful free trade area sitting on our doorstep, with which we conduct around half our trade, and subsequently negotiate free trade arrangements on a bilateral basis with a host of other countries further away. 
It’s certainly an ‘interesting’ approach, but it’s being driven by an absolute determination to do something called ‘controlling our borders’ which apparently means that foreigners will not be allowed in, unless they’re doctors, nurses, bankers, plumbers, builders, fruit pickers, or in any other way essential for the UK economy.  But ‘we’ will have control.  Honest.
In other news, the minister for exiting the EU, David Davis, writing in the Sunday Times, has said that “It is absolutely in our interest that the EU succeeds”.  It turns out that the EU is a damned fine idea after all for those European chappies; just not for we British.  And we don’t want it to fail at all. 
It’s funny though – I must have imagined all those stories before and since the referendum when the Brexiteers told us that the EU was a failing project which was going to fall apart anyway, let alone those stories which had Brexiteers rubbing their hands with glee at the thought that other countries would follow the UK’s example and hold their own exit referendums.  Like this one for instance by someone called David Davis who described the EU as “a crumbling relic from a gloomy past”.  I wonder what became of him?


Cibwr said...

I wonder what will happen to all those UK subjects currently residing and working in the EU... freedom of movement works both ways...

John Dixon said...


I think you might not be fully understanding the mindset here. People moving from the UK to another country aren't immigrants, they're British. When British people go elsewhere, they're a civilising influence who take their culture, values and language with them. And they have an absolute right to go wherever they wish - doesn't it say that on their passports? Immigrants, on the other hand, are not British and they endanger the native culture and values by moving to another country.

Tongue-in-cheek? Of course. But there was a survey recently (which I can't immediately find the link to) which asked people about who they considered to be immigrants, and a high proportion said that immigrants = poor; i.e. people don't consider the well-off ones to be 'immigrants' at all. It's probably the result of decades of tabloid propaganda.

But in truth, your basic point (that immigration works both ways) is spot on; every time a politician calls for controls on immigration, (s)he is also, in effect, calling for controls on emigration, because controls are likely to be reciprocal. But they don't spell that out, and people don't understand the impact. I wonder how many of the people who are so rabidly anti-immigration realise that they're also talking about their auntie June who retired to one of the Costas?

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