Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Once more round the bend


I know, I know, I'm supposed to be blogging every last twist in this carnival of incompetence. I just can't this week. The will is there but my hands shrivel with repetitive strain as I set about writing the billionth explainer on customs systems and why the government doesn't have a clue. Honestly, my brain is going to capsize. But with today's release of a position paper on the customs union, I ought to say something.

Firstly, this is completely out of sequence with ongoing negotiations, and if anything this is for domestic purposes, submitted to the EU so it can be taken as an official government position rather than the daily noise of speculation.

Secondly, it is total garbage. We are still seeing a conflation of the customs union with customs cooperation. It seeks to retain single market frictionless trade without making any mention of the single market. Dishonesty and ignorance in equal measure.

Encouragingly, the document has already been eviscerated on Twitter and though the media is still behind the curve, along with our politicians, even if there is some disagreement on terminology, nobody is convinced that this is a serious proposition. This latest drivel indicates that we should prepare for the worst. If the government hasn't understood the basics by now, it is never going to.

In this I have become somewhat jaundiced with the whole debate. This is far from the first time there has been a flurry of activity - and though each time we get a little closer to collective understanding, there are still opinion gatekeepers who, with applied ignorance, reset the clock to zero. As bad as that is, even if there were a unified consensus view in the Twitter thought engine, it is speaking mostly to itself.

What I have noticed is that if explainers are pitched at the remain inclined then they get a lot more mileage - but the state of the debate is so binary that anyone voicing serious concerns grounded in reality is still branded as a remoaner. Consequently this debate is going nowhere.

I could use this post to eviscerate the content of the position paper, but doubtlessly we will see the definitive demolition job on EUreferendum.com later today. No doubt we will revisit this again and again and again.

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