Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Greg Hands: Just another lying Tory.


BrexitCentral today features a thoroughly dishonest piece by Greg Hands on the EEA Efta option. It features all of the tiresome canards this blog has devoted countless posts to debunking, but repetition of the Big Lie is the sole function of BrexitCentral so we should not be at all surprised. I'm no longer prepared to write rebuttals of this pack of lies. The Brexit debate has churned over every facet of the argument and by now you believe what you want to believe.

Through a barrage of successful propaganda the EEA option doesn't poll well on Twitter, and remainers are too busy fighting a losing battle for another referendum to focus on anything that could work. It is, therefore, up to the likes of Greg Hands to supply answers. 

Thus far we find they do not have answers. To say that we can leave and function on WTO terms is to say that we do not need a formal relationship with the EU and that three hundred areas of technical cooperation will attend to themselves. But even the Ultras don't believe that. They are now talking about mitigating measures and "side deals" which is admission that WTO terms are insufficient. 

They therefore need to outline what will these deals be, how long with they take, and if they intend to walk out without resolving the Irish border question and that of a financial settlement, how accommodating do they expect the EU to be?

Having looked on Greg Hand's Twitter account we can see what he is not in favour of. He doesn't want a customs union, he doesn't want Efta, he warns against the Northern Ireland backstop, but then urges us all to "unite around getting the best deal".

He also says very little about Chequers. He has only tweeted once on the topic which doesn't look much like an endorsement. His only unambiguous tweet is from November last year where he tells us "Am confident of getting a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with EU. But of course WTO rules are viable. Work for US, China, Japan trade".

Of course, as any one who's done even the most cursory examination of the issues will know, China and America have dozens of agreements with the EU and Japan is about to conclude a formal FTA, itself already having eight bilateral agreements with the EU, as the EU Treaties Office Database will confirm. Japan is formalising an FTA because its current MRA is obsolete and not nearly comprehensive enough. It does not include motor vehicles. 

So what it really looks like is that Hands is just a creature of conformity who goes along with the Tory Brexit herd to denounce everything but propose nothing. If we take what is possible after taking off the table everything he's ruled out we are left with not very much and nothing nearly complete enough to resolve many of the intractable dilemmas created by Brexit.

It therefore does not matter what his particular foibles are about any one solution since he isn't prepared to engage. The fact remains that the UK needs a comprehensive relationship with the EU and if it isn't the EEA then we become a third country and subject the third country controls where eventually necessity will see us adopting EU rules with even less influence than EEA members. 

Moreover, it is up to Hands to outline what alternatives we should look to if we are going to turn our backs on a £270bn a year relationship with the EU. What is going to compensate?  He has clearly learned nothing in his time as a trade minister, especially so if he thinks WTO rules are viable. We can take his views with a pinch of salt. He's just another lying Tory signalling his position to the herd. He has nothing of value to contribute. 

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