Tag Archives: trade

Rees-Mogg’s Brexit shame: he admits UK trade checks would be ‘act of self-harm’

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he can’t laugh this off.

Import checks set to be imposed on EU goods entering the UK have been delayed for a year and a half after arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted they would be an “act of self-harm”.

But the checks were part of the UK’s conditions for leaving the European Union, so Rees-Mogg – now the euphemistically-titled Minister for Brexit Opportunities – is saying that the UK’s departure from the EU is actually harmful to the nation.

That’s a big u-turn from a major supporter of Brexit. We would be justified in asking why he has spent the last seven years (or so) claiming the opposite. Was it a deliberate lie?

“You’re admitting that this could save £1billion, which is admitting that checks would cost £1billion. I thought that post-Brexit checks were not going to be disruptive?” he was asked by [a] reporter.

“That’s why we’re not adopting them,” he replied. “This would have been an act of self-harm if we’d gone ahead with it.

“It would have increased costs for people and we are trying to reduce costs… free trade is hugely advantageous to consumers.”

It means UK exporters are now at a considerable financial disadvantage compared with EU firms importing goods into the UK:

That’s right – EU goods are allowed through into the UK with no checks while UK goods are still subject to comprehensive checks on entering the EU.

It means that the UK will essentially continue to depend on the EU to monitor food safety.

And who’s to say that other things may be imported into the UK, with no checks to stop them?

People, perhaps?

That would really spoil Priti Patel’s party, after she proudly fanfared her plan to deport channel-crossing asylum-seekers to Rwanda. What if they start coming by unchecked food lorry instead?

Port authorities are considering legal action against the Tory government to recover the cost of building border control posts they believe may now never be used, as well.

The simple fact is that Tories like Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson – who was the poster boy of Brexit alongside that other horror, Nigel Farage – never bothered to consider the consequences of their hasty and thoughtless departure from the European Union.

It seems clear that they had been led to believe in some possibly-mythical profit for themselves (Tories never make changes without expecting to make some money out of it, somewhere down the line).

But now they are being forced to work through the consequences of their stupidity as the nation demands that they solve the problems they have created, that are costing us an alleged £800 million per week.

Source: Jacob Rees-Mogg makes Remain argument by calling Brexit measures ‘act of self-harm’

US-UK deal hopes dashed because Brexit has killed Britain as an international trader

Out on a limb: Boris Johnson was notably ignored by Joe Biden at the start of a recent Nato defence summit and it seems Biden will ignore him on trade too.

Boris Johnson’s blatherings about Brexit can’t change the fact that the United States couldn’t care less about doing a free trade deal with the UK.

US President Joe Biden is far more interested in trading with the European Union – the very organisation Johnson said we would be better-off without.

Oh yes, the States cut their high tariffs on UK steel and aluminium – but that only indicates that we produce higher-quality steel than they do, and they want to buy it on the cheap.

In all other regards, Biden has adopted a protectionist approach that is anathema to Boris Johnson’s globalist government.

Simply put: Biden wants to build up the United States as an industrial nation, independent of other advanced economies like China, thereby creating high-quality jobs for American citizens.

Johnson, on the other hand, wants to sell everything in the UK to foreign concerns, so he and his Tory cronies can make a quick profit that they can bank in a tax haven. He couldn’t care less about the well-being of UK citizens.

As Dr Peter Holmes, a fellow at the University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory, told the Express, “Britain is out on a limb.”

He said Biden agrees with the EU that governments should not subsidise industry – but Johnson’s government believes the exact opposite because it wants to sweeten our assets as prizes for foreign investors.

Look at the £7.1 billion of public money the government gave to the UK’s rail industry, and then look at the prices of tickets on trains that are mainly owned by foreign governments.

And Biden does not subscribe to the UK’s plan to cut carbon emissions; he’s far more in tune with the EU on that, too.

He would be more likely to consider a free trade agreement if the National Health Service was opened up to profit-making US companies, but he would not be interested in full privatisation of the NHS, in trade terms, according to Dr Holmes.

He might also be interested if the UK lowered its food safety standards (remember the fuss over chlorinated chicken?) – but divergence from EU standards would create more problems with imports and exports in Northern Ireland, which the States would want to avoid.

But the Johnson government insists that it remains keen to talk with the States about a free trade deal.

How pointless. Johnson has painted the entire nation into a corner and is trying to avoid responsibility by pretending everything is going according to plan.

Source: Boris Johnson’s hopes of post-Brexit US-UK trade agreement dashed – ‘Biden not interested’

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Brexit ‘red tape’ slashes UK trading revenue with EU by £17 BILLION in just three months

Prophetic: I made this infographic in December 2020 – almost a year ago.

Remember when David Cameron – the architect of the EU membership referendum – said his Conservative-led government would ‘slash red tape’?

It’s almost funny, with hindsight.

Today we learned that the departure from the European Union that his referendum triggered has resulted in a loss of £17 billion in revenue to UK businesses, while they have been swamped in a quagmire of red tape that Brexit has created.

According to The London Economic:

Despite promises from the Leave campaign that red tape would fade after Britain quit the EU, UK companies have had to fill in an astonishing 48 million customs declarations and 140,000 export health certificates in the eight months since the UK quit the single market and customs union , according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The NAO blamed Brexit for a sharp decline in trade between the UK and EU this year. “Total trade in goods between the UK and EU was 15 per cent (£17bn) less in Quarter 2 when compared with the equivalent quarter in 2018,” the watchdog’s report said.

An additional £600 million in costs has hit British importers since January according to HMRC data seen by The Guardian. The cause has been identified as Brexit, because the taxes were not required for EU imports when the Britain was in the single market.

But isn’t that the exact opposite of what Boris Johnson promised? Didn’t he say there would be no barriers to trade after Brexit?

Why, yes – yes he did:

In fairness, Cameron did cut a lot of “red tape”.

It turned out that these rules and regulations were necessary to keep us safe and secure in our workplaces and financial transactions. I’m sure you can think of your own examples.

Their loss has endangered us.

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Starmer snubs unions over threat to party democracy – & may now face leadership challenge at conference

The flag and the faker: Keir Starmer has revealed his true – blue – colour in an 11,500-word rejection of Labour Party values, and is attacking party members both electorally and psychologically. He must be stopped before he does any more damage – and could face a challenge to his leadership if he pushes ahead with these vicious plans.

This Writer was practically salivating with anticipation about what I might read on BBC News after discovering the following on Twitter:

And what did I find?

If this is what he stands for then it could have been done in far fewer than 11,500 words – and that’s down from his original claim that it would be 14,000 (let’s thank providence for small mercies)!

The short version is that Starmer has abandoned all Labour Party values. He proposes a “contribution” society – not in which contributions go from those according to their means, to those according to their needs – but (if I’m reading this right) from those who can be made to work the hardest to the UK as a whole (by which I’m presuming he means rich people like himself).

And he’s suddenly fully in favour of privatisation:

What’s the difference from Toryism?

And there’s a nasty return to the old “strivers v skivers” rhetoric that demonised a generation of people with disabilities and long-term illnesses and sent many of them to early graves because of benefit refusals on the basis of trumped-up excuses.

Some commentators have referred to fascist language that is reminiscent of Vichy France.

Others were more visual in their condemnation:

Personally I think that, if it’s supposed to be an essay, we should give it a mark and a comment:

D-
Needs improvement.

The BBC story unaccountably neglects to mention the meeting with the unions, so let’s see what we can get from elsewhere.

It seems that not even one union supported Starmer’s plan to return to an “electoral college” system of voting in Labour leadership elections, that would steal a huge amount of power from party members by depriving them of their individual votes altogether, and hand a huge amount to MPs – the party’s 200+ elected representatives would have one-third of the vote.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise – Starmer’s offer would not have benefited the unions in any way so they were able to reject it without any qualms:

And of course, handing veto powers to 200 high-earning middle-class MPs will do nothing to make Labour relevant to working-class people.

Now: we had understood that, if he didn’t get enough support from the unions (or indeed any, as has happened), Starmer would scrap the plan and would not take it to the NEC for inclusion in the agenda for the annual conference at the weekend.

It seems that claim was a lie.

I think Starmer is panicking. He reckons this will be his only chance to force through the changes he needs to secure his position as leader.

You see, Starmer’s hired guns at the Governance and Legal Unit have apparently been busily despatching notices of suspension to constituency party delegates, in order to ‘fix’ the result of conference votes.

Recipients of these letters are being told, it seems, that the reasons for the suspension of their membership will only be revealed after the conference, in what must be a breach of investigatory rules that is also attacking them financially (because they’ll already have paid for transport and accommodation at the Brighton-based conference) and psychologically:

As a victim of this treatment, I can confirm the truth of Mr Sellers’s words.

So Starmer has launched an attack against the Labour movement, on several fronts: against the trade unions, by snubbing them and ignoring their wishes; against party members, by pressing on with his plan to disenfranchise them while also subjecting them to the torture of the disciplinary process; and to the wider Labour-supporting electorate by betraying everything the party should represent, in his scummy little screed.

Fortunately it seems he’s not going to have it all his own way.

The unions will oppose his plans – and that’s half the conference vote against him before he has even made his first proposal. More than half, if he has deliberately suspended a significant number of delegates.

The remaining delegates – if they’re worth a farthing – will want to reject his plan in solidarity with their wronged colleagues. Right, delegates?

And even some Labour MPs are preparing to rebel against this insult to democracy. Starmer may think this is bad enough:

Worse for Starmer – much worse – is this:

Here’s corroboration, for the sceptical:

Expect fireworks at this conference.

Strange to think that these shenanigans all started because Starmer was worried about losing the vote to confirm his despotic acting general secretary David Evans in the role that has made him despised across the UK.

Whatever happens, Evans is toast.

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Environment Secretary ‘Useless’ says it’s BIDEN who doesn’t understand Brexit NI protocol

A long record of defending the indefensible: Environment Secretary George Eustice has previously stated beliefs that children should starve during the holidays, asylum seekers should drown and people should die of Covid-19 rather than let the economy be harmed.

What stunning arrogance from a man who has been dubbed “George Useless”.

Environment Secretary George Eustice took to our airwaves to try to minimise the damage done by US President Joe Biden’s words on the Northern Ireland border and trade with the UK after Brexit – and made matters much, much worse.

Biden has expressed concern that peace in Northern Ireland could be jeopardised by the “Northern Ireland protocol” between the UK and the European Union, that regulates imports to and exports from the province.

It keeps Northern Ireland aligned with the EU’s single market for goods to ensure free trade across the Irish border, but has led to additional checks on goods being traded across the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which has drawn criticism and protests from unionist politicians in Northern Ireland who have called for it to be scrapped.

Boris Johnson swore to everybody who asked – before Brexit happened – that there would be no border checks between GB and NI… and it now seems clear that he was either lying or did not understand his own deal.

The UK has requested a fundamental renegotiation but the EU has refused – and with good reason. Boris Johnson was desperate to rush his Brexit into being, back in 2019, ensuring that many of his MPs did not understand what they were supporting. Any problem now is his responsibility and he will have to live with it – including any problems it creates with the USA.

Eustice turned up on TV and on the radio to suggest that Biden was “wrong” and had, himself, not properly read the details of the agreement that was negotiated, in a series of interviews that will make Boris Johnson’s current meetings with the US president much more difficult:

Eustice’s attitude was that this matter did not concern the US President…

… but that makes no sense at all when the UK is also trying to negotiate a two-way trade deal with the United States (over which Biden is, again, doubtful).

Eustice admitted, “It’s just not a priority for the US administration.”

And Boris Johnson has also said, “The Americans do negotiate very hard.”

It seems nothing has changed since former president Barack Obama said the UK would be at the back of the queue for a bilateral deal.

So of course the Johnson government has a Plan B, which is to join a trade bloc – like the one the UK has just spent five years leaving:

So the situation is this:

If the UK doesn’t get a trade deal with the US because its deal to leave the EU has created problems in Northern Ireland, then Boris Johnson will try to talk the UK into a trading bloc like the EU.

So what was the point of the last five years of fuss and palaver?

In other news, Julia Hartley-Doodah tackled Eustice on the really important issues:

Wow. If only some of our political interviewers could be bothered to dissect the Tories as thoroughly on issues like Universal Credit, rising bills and – yes – Brexit!

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Ian Botham as trade envoy – who next? Some ideas from the public

Michael Gove and Liz Truss: would it surprise anyone if she really did make him trade envoy to Columbia?

Was former cricketer Lord Botham made trade envoy to Australia because of his adversarial sporting relationship with that country’s representatives?

If so, then the people of the UK have come up with a few other ideas about the people vacant-eyed cheese-monger Liz Truss may be appointing to similar roles – and comment on how Botham is doing.

Here come the takedowns:

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Should Northern Ireland split from the UK to end deadlock with the EU and keep Biden happy?

Deadlock: The EU has a trade agreement and couldn’t care less if it harms Boris Johnson. And Joe Biden’s commitment to co-operation with the UK may waver if a solution can’t be found and the Troubles return. What if the Province splits from the UK – for the good of its people?

It makes a nice story on the eve of a G7 summit – especially one taking place in the UK. And that’s what the BBC propagandists want.

But while US President Joe Biden and the UK’s pipsqueak Boris Johnson might agree that trade problems in Northern Ireland due to last year’s UK-EU deal need to be solved, we have no reason to believe they agree on how.

The European Union has no problem with the current situation. All the problems were created by Boris Johnson because he rushed through a trade deal, either without understanding it or without caring what was in it – to meet a deadline he thought he needed to maintain public confidence.

Even the BBC had to admit it:

French President Emmanuel Macron said: “I think it’s not serious to want to review in July what we finalised after years of debate and work in December.

“We have a trade deal – it has been painfully discussed for years… if six months later, they say: ‘What we negotiated with you, we don’t know how to respect it’, then that means that nothing is respectable anymore.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the Northern Ireland protocol – the name for the post-Brexit trading rules – was the “only solution” and should be implemented fully.

Biden’s interest dates from the 1990s, when his forerunner Bill Clinton worked with people on all sides of the Northern Ireland question to help bring about the Good Friday Agreement that ended the so-called “Troubles”.

The BBC (again) has already published details of a planned speech in which Biden was set to voice concerns that deadlock on the Northern Ireland Protocol could jeopardise peace in the Province.

Sadly, with Biden taking pains to stress that he is not “warning” the two sides in any way, the EU unwilling to give any ground at all, and Johnson incapable of understanding the complexities involved, it seems there may be “Troubles” ahead once again.

There is a simple way out, of course: Northern Ireland could vote to leave the United Kingdom.

I’m not even suggesting that this means joining the Republic of Ireland.

The simple fact is that the people of this region have suffered terribly because of the “Troubles”. If I was living there, I would be furious that Johnson’s insensitivity has put NI back in the firing line and would be prepared to consider any alternative to prevent it.

And there’s no reason they would want to stay in the union – Johnson has created a situation where they are actually worse-off, the longer they put up with the current situation.

If Northern Ireland quit the UK but did not join the Republic, Biden would be happy; future violence could be averted. The EU would be happy too – it would make trading much simpler.

The only loser would be Boris Johnson. He would become the prime minister who forced the nation to split – and voters are not likely to forgive him for that.

It would be poetic justice. He thought he could get away with any old rubbish. He thought wrong.

Source: G7: UK and US in complete harmony over Northern Ireland – Boris Johnson – BBC News

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After 10 years, the Tories are finally launching their ‘Royal Yacht’ vanity project. They’ll make US pay

Artists impression: this is what someone thought a new Royal Yacht might look like last year, when the cost was going to be £100 million. This year the cost has magically doubled for no reason at all. What do you think we’ll get for that – an extra flagpole?

I’ve been busy over the bank holiday weekend, working on material for the new version of my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim. So I thought it was a joke when I saw this:

But it’s not a joke:

A new national flagship is to be commissioned by the government in a bid to boost British trade and industry globally, the prime minister has said.

The vessel will be the successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was retired in 1997.

The government plans to build the ship in the UK, at a reported cost of £200m.

Tories have been trying to build themselves a new luxury yacht – at our expense – since at least 2012, when Michael Gove suggested spending £60 million on it to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee:

This boat would cost £60 million, apparently – a million for every year she’s been on the throne. It would be a pointless present because, at Her Majesty’s age, she’s hardly going to be able to steer it.

By 2016, the projected cost had nearly doubled:

Now we learn that Conservative MPs want to give the Queen another yacht – at a cost of £100 million that could be better-used elsewhere, perhaps on benefit payments for a further £16,666 sick people for a year.

When [Gove] suggested it, back in January 2012, the cost was said to be £60 million. Why has it nearly doubled in the years since?

At least we have an answer to my question of the time – whether Tories try to spend our money on such unnecessary lavishments habitually.

Yes. Yes they do.

Amazingly, that price had remained static when the possibility was floated yet again in 2020:

The twist this time is a proposal to split funding three ways between businesses, the public and the National Lottery (so the public pays twice).

The idea of boosting trade has been there since Gove, and I addressed it last year:

The point about trade deals is interesting at a time when the Tory government is desperately trying to re-establish the UK as a trading nation after severing ties with the European Union.

But who benefits from such deals?

Rich businesspeople, perhaps – but would they pay their taxes or send the cash to tax havens?

If the latter, then why should the public pay for something that will not help us in the slightest?

And that brings me back to RD Hale’s tweet, pointing out that the government could fund nearly 90 million school meals.

Others have made their point too:

I think it will actually be built this time.

And we’ll end up paying for it while Johnson and his layabouts get to traipse around the world in it and their fat Tory donors profit (with the money going into tax havens, as I mentioned above).

Because Boris Johnson has no shame at all.

POSTSCRIPT: There was another tweet, from a guy who said he donated £20 to the Tory Party and was rewarded with a contract to build the new Royal Yacht for £200 million. I laughed because it was funny and I laughed because, in someone’s case, it’s probably true.

Source: Plans for new national flagship to promote ‘best of British’ – BBC News

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For once, it IS important for us to know that Boris Johnson had affair with Jennifer Arcuri

Johnson and Arcuri: I know there’s no real justification for the image of her in that costume, but if anybody is appalled that she put it on, how do you feel, knowing that HE probably took it off?

Of course I’m not interested in the sex revelations. The thought of bloated Boris Johnson bouncing around on some debutante can only inspire concern for her health (both mental and physical).

But the fact is that between 2012 and 2016 Johnson had the affair with a woman who then received benefits from him, as Mayor of London and later as Prime Minister, that she may not otherwise have had.

The Mirror makes this clear in its “world exclusive”:

Boris Johnson faces an inquiry by the Greater London Authority – responsible for the mayor’s office – over claims his failure to declare his relationship with Arcuri may have been a breach of the Nolan Principles of Public Life, which are contained in the Mayor of London’s code of conduct.

Arcuri was granted access to events at three top level trade missions, despite her businesses not meeting the criteria for the trips.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said there was no evidence he’d committed the criminal offence of misconduct in public office but he may have breached the Nolan Principles.

Not only that, but he also handed her £126,000 of public money:

Jennifer… went on to receive £126,000 of taxpayer money in event sponsorships and grants. The bulk, £100,000, came in a government grant in 2019.

Johnson was cleared of impropriety in public office by the Independent Office of Police Conduct, which is tasked with ensuring that the London Mayor’s office does not fall prey to corruption.

The police investigation said that Johnson did not influence decisions to let her go on the three trade junkets or to give her the public money.

But there were serious faults in the inquiry, as This Site pointed out last year:

Why were records relating to this case deleted – what did they cover and when were the deletions made? We may never know, but the questions should be enough to raise suspicion.

Why were some records never made? The report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct remarks on them so it is reasonable to believe that they were necessary. Who was responsible for making these records? What information would they have provided?

Why did the third parties mentioned in the report delay providing their information? What influenced them to inconvenience the investigation and would their information have been different, had they not done so? What was the subject of the information they had been asked to provide?

Possibly most damning is the statement that officers working for Johnson and making decisions about sponsorship monies and attendance on trade missions “thought that there was a close relationship between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri, and this influenced their decision-making”.

It seems those officers were right. As it influenced their decision-making to put Arcuri on trade missions, it seems to This Writer that Johnson had a case to answer after all.

Ah, but the police don’t prosecute senior politicians. Like all fascist dictators, Johnson is above the law.

It’s not good enough. We deserve better answers than we’ve had so far – and Johnson should resign (of course). He never does because he’s an unaccountable fascist, but it is always worth reminding ourselves that he should. Here’s a tweet about it:

The BBC, under its Tory Director-General, has been hiding the story:

Still, there is an upside to it all. At least the satirists are having fun:

Amazingly, Twitter is also filling up with apologists who are still moaning, “But Corbyn..!”

Source: Jennifer Arcuri admits four-year affair with serial love cheat Boris Johnson – Mirror Online

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This is your Tory government: work contracts with ‘hostile’ nations and trade deals with human rights violators

Dominic Raab: his pretty words about human rights mean nothing.

Credit to Dominic Raab for finally admitting that he and everybody else in the Conservative government are immoral scum.

The day after Downing Street admitted its new media briefing room was built by a firm based in a nation hostile to the UK – Russia – he has admitted that his government will seek trade deals with nations whose governments violate the human rights of their citizens.

This is consistent with the Tory Bill currently working its way through Parliament that will strip you of your right to protest against other violations of your rights (or the law) by the Tory government, of course.

If your government is happy to strip you of your human rights, it will be happy to trade with nations that have done the same.

Raab said these countries are the “growth markets” of the future.

He neglected to mention that the reason they may be considered growth markets is because most right-thinking countries would never soil their hands doing deals with such vile creatures.

He also failed to admit that the UK has been reduced to considering such abhorrent activities because his government forced through the country’s departure from the European Union, which has been extremely harmful to everybody but the richest multi-millionaires.

Unbelievably, Raab tried to turn the argument against trading with these monsters on its head:

We don’t junk whole relationships because we’ve got issues – we have a conversation because we want to change the behaviour.

You don’t change the behaviour of others by giving them what they want, though.

And you certainly can’t lead by example when you are forcing your own country to backslide into the same dark-age ignorance as the countries you’re criticising.

Underlying all of this, though, is the fact that your fellow UK citizens voted for this. While our colleagues in Europe and elsewhere hold themselves to the highest standards, the UK voted to grub around in the dirt. And Raab isn’t even the dirtiest grotesquery in the Tory government.

Source: Exclusive: Raab Says UK Wants Trade Deals With Nations That Violate Human Rights | HuffPost UK

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