Friday, 20 December 2019

A failure of media

As remarked earlier in the week there is a dangerous complacency in government. The sort of quick and dirty deal Johnson will in no way be adequate for our needs given the scope and complexity of modern trade. If a deal is limited to tariffs, quotas and rudimentary agreement on standards and level playing field provisions then much of what is detailed in the Notices to Stakeholders remains true - as though we were leaving with no deal at all. Goods will face new regulatory barriers while services exports grind to a steady halt.

This appears to be a rather large elephant in the room yet the media has nothing at all to say about it. All they can bring themselves to do is echo the achingly weak talking point put about from what's left of Labour regarding workers rights. Without taking into account the hammer blow of a rushed Brexit, as EUreferendum notes, all other spending plans and policy developments cannot be regarded as credible.

There is then that other small matter of trade with the rest of the world where continuity of existing deals with third countries is contingent on the sort of deal we strike with the EU. We do not as yet know what this government intends to do but we cannot rule out the sort of unilateralism the Brexiteers have been pushing since 2016. It doesn't look like the media is in any hurry to find out.

But then does anyone even care? Emily Maitlis of the BBC tweets "We were told last night that Brexit would not be mentioned by No10 come the new year - 'people don’t want to have to listen to complicated trade deals'".

Historically this is true. Five years ago ardent eurosceptics didn't know what TTIP was, and trade wasn't really a feature of the referendum campaign. Ever since then the debate has been pitiful. Political talking points take precedence over important detail. People couldn't care less about it. But they will. When it's too late.

It seems as though we've drifted into yet another pocket of unreality where Tories believe we're now going to put Brexit behind us and set sail for that "golden age" with no complication or setback. This is typical Johnson shtick and very typically lacking substance - yet the Notices to Stakeholders sit there ignored like a bad pierogi on the plate. It's all there for anyone who wants to piece it together but so long as nobody acknowledges it, we can continue to skirt around it.

This we might expect of the Tories, and even from the opposition in their enfeebled state, but not the media. The media should be on top of this but instead have resumed their familiar post-match reporting style, hungrily chasing after every bone thrown to them by Johnson. It's back to business as usual for the lobby hacks. It is this negligence that allows Johnson to disband DExEU and pretend all is well in toytown, enabling him to paper over the gaping cracks. He's setting up another big lie and it looks like our media will give him another free pass.

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