Thursday, 12 July 2018

Nothing new

On the matter of the Chequers Plan, this is where we're let down by our media the most. They indulge in the betrayal narrative because it suits their court scribe approach to politics rather than offering serious analysis. Even a basic knowledge of EU trade tells you this plan won't fly.

Yesterday I sat and listened attentively to Liam Fox speaking to the International Trade Committee. My impression of Fox is a man who has mastered the terminology of trade having a vague conceptual grasp of what it means, but has no concept of trade as a system and is especially naive about how these mechanisms interrelate and the ramifications of each deal on the next.

Fox criticises the increase in G20 non tariff barriers. This being the man who insists we leave the single market resulting in masses of NTBs with our nearest and largest single trading partner. Go figure. Then on the Chequers plan I can say with absolute certainty that it has a zero percent chance of being accepted by Brussels.

The common rulebook proposed simply does not exist - so it would need to be a bespoke set of rules based on complex rules which don't work independently of the regulatory system they were designed for. Moreover the single market is not a rule book. It is a system.

But our government seems to think it can define the bare minimum set of rules, disregarding everything it doesn't want oblivious to the fact that the single market is an integrated system to preserve standards integrity. It does not do such deals with those who mix and match.

It also presupposes than that goods can be usefully broken out of the single market stack, while also allowing us the ability to diverge for the sake of third party deals. This is a variation of the Legatum nonsense which Brussels already rules out.

And this is without even going into the proposed mechanism for dealing with the customs union aspect - which is so completely issue illiterate it's not even worth mentioning. Nobody on either side of the debate thinks it is practical or grounded in reality.

Meanwhile we have Mr Mogg attempting to scupper an NI solution (pictured above) - which to be fair is an abysmal proposal - but it is the one and only legally compatible option. The EU did not propose it for shits and giggles. They simply followed the logic of the system.

So we are wasting an enormous amount of time and political capital, not to mention column inches, churning over total fabrications and delusions, while whittling down the options to just two. No deal or EEA - the latter being the only proposal that could ever have worked.

Myself and the Leave Alliance have been saying this since long before the referendum yet for all the collective efforts of the think tanks and industry associations they have totally failed to grasp the issues, producing total garbage. They can do that because they have prestige.

What we needed was a media capable of understanding the issues and ripping apart not only the politicians but also the self-appointed experts and wonks. But instead we have a pack of court eunuchs lacking any intellectual curiosity or journalistic vitality.

Perhaps now the football is over our media will grudgingly return to matter of importance but for all the value they add they may as well not bother. They will drift from one trivial confrontation to the next learning nothing as they go. This has to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. 

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