Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

Boris Johnson is still childishly reveling in the fact that he appears to have had an opportunity to snub the EU by limiting access to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. In reality it seems that the company has followed the PMs example by over promising and under delivering, either due to a manufacturing glitch, incompetence or dictat. A significant delay in delivery of over 75% of the vaccines ordered gives the impression of a really unreliable company; worse still it pertains to an order for vital public health supplies so it has attracted a lot of negative attention. If the UK got a commitment from an EU company for desperately needed PPE and was told just 25% would be shipped the rest would have to wait, you can imagine the furore! Of course blustering Boris ignores the impact of this negative export PR, exacerbating the problem by bragging about the abundance of vaccines in the UK and our rapid roll-out. This deliberate antagonistic baiting of the EU produced a knee-jerk reaction that schoolyard bully Boris is still capitalizing on today.

When the PM touts ‘Global Brittain’ as a new export partner, poor reliability on the delivery of pre-ordered goods is not a good selling point, but Johnson isn’t bothered about such negativity as he never removes his rose coloured glasses! He is obsessing, with extreme delight, in his glorious triumph in giving the EU a blood nose, or at least that is how he perceives the latest skirmish. He has the racist tabloids on-side singing his praises over what is best described as a nationwide randomized phase three trial. The Brexiteer ultras and the hard core nationalists are ecstatic over Johnsons anti-diplomatic rants, it’s satiating their lust for revenge against that demonized EU who the Tories have wrongly blamed for all the ills that plague this country; essentially consequences of a decade of Tory austerity and greed. The sad reality is that the corrupt result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election forced through Brexit and installed a Tory Sovereign Dictatorship to inflict several more decades persecution and exploitation. We need to Challenge and Investigate that vote to restore our democracy.

We must protest this gross injustice to challenge the legitimacy of both the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and the Brexit vote as they were both deeply flawed. The lies, corruption and grotesque squandering of public funds in this ‘chumocracy’ will not end until we expose the truth and remove this Tory Government from power: we must get the Tories out ASAP. In the Byline Times Article entitled, “The Reckoning Brexit & The Legacy of Lies,” Chris Grey explains how “Britain’s current ‘teething problems’ are only the beginning of the mounting costs of leaving the EU.” He says that, “A central lie of the campaign to leave the EU was that doing so would be cost-free and, even, that it would be financially beneficial. That was the meaning of the infamous ‘£350 million a week for the NHS’ slogan on the Vote Leave campaign’s red bus. It got called out for conflating the UK’s gross and net contributions to the EU, but the bigger lie it contained was that budget contributions were the tally of the costs and benefits of EU membership.”

Grey notes that, “Each and every warning was ridiculed as ‘Project Fear’, but the reality, as we are now seeing, is that leaving the EU entails huge costs. Those of new customs declarations alone amount to £7.5 billion per year. That would have been so even under the soft Brexit of staying in the Single Market, as some Brexiters said we would. Following the 2016 Referendum, Brexiters insisted that the only ‘true’ Brexit involved leaving both the Single Market and the Customs Union. That this would have any costs was also lied about. Brexiters frequently claimed that a ‘zero tariffs’ trade deal would be enough to replicate Single Market and Customs Union membership. David Davis said, not in passing but as the Brexit Secretary, standing at the despatch box of the House of Commons, that it would be possible to have a trade agreement ‘that will deliver the exact same benefits’ as EU membership. That was a lie, because no agreement (other than membership) could ever have done so.”

Grey reminds us that, “It was also constantly said that a trade deal would yield ‘frictionless trade’ That was a lie, for the same reason. What then to make of the supposed ‘teething problems’ of fish and meat rotting in ports, empty food shelves in some shops, increased prices for cars, duty payments being demanded by couriers delivering goods at doorsteps, many traders and couriers suspending or in some cases abandoning trade between the UK and the EU, and thousands of other issues small and large?” Grey elaborates on “The Consequences of the Brexit Lies. Even as mere ‘teething problems’, they don’t just discredit the lies told but derive from them. Businesses and individuals had been led to believe that none of these new trade barriers and costs would arise.”

Grey points out that, “given that, until the 2019 General Election, there was still an outside chance that Brexit would be reversed, any Government campaign admitting what businesses would have to prepare for would inevitably have stoked the question: so why are we actually doing this? Thus, although the decision that Brexit meant leaving the Single Market and Customs Union had been made in 2017, astonishingly it wasn’t until the beginning of February 2020 that any Cabinet minister, Michael Gove, officially and publicly admitted that there would be border controls at the end of the transition period, trade deal or not.” He says that, “it wasn’t until July 2020 that the Government launched the major ‘Check, Change, Go’ campaign to prepare for what was to come. Even then, Boris Johnson’s administration was rather coy in admitting that, far from providing exciting new opportunities, these changes meant horrendously complex new restrictions.”

Grey highlights that, “It wasn’t until the panicky ‘Time is Running Out’ campaign of late 2020 that the message was really rammed home. By then, it was too late. That was partly because dealing with all of the problems of the Coronavirus pandemic soaked up businesses’ time and resources. But it was also because the lies had been told for too long and too successfully. Why prepare for what was just Project Fear?” He elaborates that, “once a zero-tariffs trade deal was struck, many believed that this must mean nothing would change because of all of the earlier suggestions that such a deal would replicate existing terms of trade. Businesses and individuals had been led to believe that none of these new trade barriers and costs would arise. The second point about these ‘teething problems’ is that, whilst it is true that many will settle down as firms adapt, that adaptation will simply conceal a permanent deterioration of terms of trade.”

Grey warns that this is, “Not a prediction, it is a fact, because all the new terms of trade involve the creation of new barriers to trade. So, by definition, they will have deteriorated. This in turn will mean a long-term shift in the structural organisation of trade and business supply chains. The exact consequences of that are a matter of prediction, but some of them are fairly easy to foresee. The overall volume of trade with the EU will decline. Those UK businesses that operate as UK redistribution hubs for Europe and which now attract tariffs because of rules of origin will decline or cease. Some trading firms, especially smaller ones, will cease to trade and perhaps cease to exist because the costs and complexities of the new processes are too much. This will have knock-on effects for their employees and suppliers. Other firms, especially the larger ones, will continue to trade but will pass the new costs on as higher prices to UK consumers of imports.”

Speaking of other companies, Grey says that they, “will find ways of absorbing costs or, if not, their exports will become less competitive. All of these changes are likely to impact jobs, either because lower volumes of business are being done or because firms will look to find ways of recouping the new costs. It is true that there will also be some ‘import substitution,’ replacement of goods previously imported with those domestically produced. That seems to lie behind the recently announced decision of Nissan to continue its operations in Sunderland by producing electric car batteries there, not in Japan, and so meeting the rules of origin for tariff-free trade with the EU. However, there are limits to import substitution. Some things, especially foodstuffs, simply can’t be produced domestically, or not in sufficient quantity. Others may be produced but not necessarily to the same quality or at as low a price. So consumer choice and prices will be impacted.”

Gray warns that, “We are only at the beginning of the process whereby these structural changes take place. That is partly because firms will take time to adapt, but also because the new barriers to trade have not yet been fully implemented, including UK border checks on imports which will not begin until July. There are also some grace periods for some of the provisions relating to Northern Ireland, which, even so, has borne the brunt of the new reality. A little appreciated point is that, in the process of leaving the EU Single Market, the UK has also put an end to its own single market by creating the Irish Sea border.”

Grey reports that, “None of this even begins to discuss the impact on services trade. Here, the immediate effects are less visible than images of unsold fish but, for a services-based economy, will be profound. This is because trade deals, even deep ones, do not provide the same level of liberalisation of services trade as exists in the Single Market.” He says that, “the UK-EU deal isn’t even especially deep, having quite limited coverage of services. We are where we are as a legacy of the lies told by Brexiters. Of course, they now say that all of this damage is a price worth paying for sovereignty, though they didn’t reveal that price when selling Brexit to the public. They also say that it will be more than compensated for by new trade deals with faraway countries or by some bonfire of regulatory red tape which will unleash a new era of innovation and prosperity for all. The best response to this might be ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’.”

In the Byline Times Article entitled, “The Red-Tape Curtain The New Costs Afflicting Businesses After Brexit,” Richard Barfield elaborates on the impact if this most disastrous decision. He “Explains the deluge of restrictions and regulations that have been saddled on firms after the UK’s departure from the EU. In 1946, Sir Winston Churchill said that an ‘iron curtain’ had descended between the Soviet Union and Europe. Seventy-five years later, on 1 January 2021, a red-tape curtain descended between Britain and the EU. Yes, the UK-EU trade agreement has kept tariffs at zero. However, it has simultaneously created new, onerous barriers to trade that will affect both goods and services, barriers that will cause trucks to pile up at Dover, cause fish to rot at the border, and stop musicians from touring the continent.”

Barfield describes, “The Goods, the Bad and the Ugly,” as he points out that, “The Brexit red-tape curtain will be expensive, costing an average of 8-9% for both goods and services, exports and imports. That’s around £25 billion a year in additional costs, saddled on UK exports. For some businesses, lower sales and profitability will be manageable but, for others, their business model will fail. Under its Brexit trade agreement, UK exporters to the EU now have to prove the origin of their goods. Without this proof, their goods are subject to tariffs. Complex rules decide whether a product is sufficiently ‘local’ to qualify as tariff-free. For a finished car, this covers thousands of components coming from a global network of suppliers, combined with the value added by UK manufacturers.”

Barfield reports that, “Goods constitute 58% of UK exports to the EU. Small businesses play an important role in supply chains but are often poorly equipped to handle the stringent demands of customs processes. There are more than 140,000 small UK firms which export and employ more than two million people, accounting for about 30% of goods exports. A recent survey found that 20% of smaller firms have temporarily stopped exporting to the EU to avoid trade costs and paperwork. This is despite the benefit of 12-month relaxations to make ‘rules of origin’ easier to apply, and the ability of some traders to self-certify the origin of their goods. Yet, even tariff-free goods are subject to customs declarations and inspections, with the former expected to add roughly £15 billion a year to the costs of UK-EU trade, per HMRC estimates. These extra costs won’t be absorbed by the Government, they will be suffered by individual businesses.”

Barfield highlights, “Another headache for UK exporters is inspection and testing. Goods must meet EU regulatory and technical standards before they can be released into the Single Market. While the UK was an EU member testing bodies could certify compliance, but no longer. Instead, an EU-accredited body must now conduct the tests, within the EU. This means exporters have to use an EU subsidiary or find an EU-based agent willing to accept legal liability for conformity. The deal allows simple products to be self-certified and other limited exceptions, for example, on pharmaceutical manufacturing practices, some vehicle certificates, and some aspects of aerospace production. However, unlike other trade agreements, there are no chapters on mutual recognition or conformity assessment, both of which would streamline the transfer of goods to and from the continent.”

Barfield says, “For chemicals, 16% of UK goods exports to the EU, the UK Government decided to create its own version of the EU’s regulatory framework. This doubles the admin for exporters, who must show that they comply with both sets of rules. The Chemicals Industry Association estimates that the extra cost to the industry will be £1 billion a year, although a future agreement on data-sharing would reduce this figure. In relation to food, plants and animals, the EU no longer recognises the UK’s standards or tests (and vice versa), meaning that additional tests are required when the goods arrive on the continent. As we have seen already in the case of fish exports, cross-border food supply chains are competitive and often time-sensitive, so extra costs and delays are unwelcome. Fish from several UK-based companies has been rejected by Europe over the past few weeks, because of delays in the stocks being exported. Surprisingly, the rules are more onerous than the EU’s deal with far-away New Zealand, which requires checks on only 1% of food imports.”

Barfield ten focuses on, “Service No Longer Available in Your Area,” saying that, “Accounting for 42% of UK exports to the EU, services are increasingly important to international trade. When the UK was an EU member, it could supply services to customers in the other member states under UK rules. Now, however, UK service suppliers will have to comply with the specific rules drawn up by each sector and each EU member state. For financial services, it is possible that the EU may grant the UK regulatory equivalence in certain areas, but this can be revoked at short notice.” Barfield warns us that, “Firms also have to deal with another barrier: the EU no longer recognises UK licences or professional qualifications. This makes it more difficult for Britons to cross borders to deliver services in the EU. There is a list of activities that they can perform without a work visa, but this currently does not include musicians, performers, or artists.” This is a huge blow to our creative industry that is only coming to light after the fact.

Barfield reports on the consequences and work-arounds the Government has had to sheepishly put forward that are not beneficial to UK jobs, “Due to the new restrictions, firms face hefty new barriers to trade and their output will inevitably shrink. One option for firms is to create a commercial presence in a member state to serve the EU market, as the Government now recommends. Many banks, airlines and large professional services firms have already done so. However, smaller firms will find this challenging, setting up abroad is not a cheap task. Plus, if and when they do, the UK will be deprived of investment, jobs and tax revenues. Digital services are of growing importance to the world economy. So, it is concerning that the ability of UK businesses to transfer personal data from the EU will depend on a unilateral decision from the European Commission to grant adequacy to the UK. The EU’s criteria for sharing personal data with a third country are stricter than for EU members.”

Barfield states that, “There are a few temporary reprieves enjoyed by firms. For example, the UK is not applying its full suite of import controls for six months, mainly because it wasn’t ready on 1 January. When these temporary relaxations end, however, businesses will feel the full force of the Brexit red tape. Churchill’s speech referred to the iron curtains that theatres used as a fire precaution, lowered at least once during a show. Ironically, the Government now says that it is looking for a bonfire of regulation. Sadly, the Brexit red-tape curtain looks as if it will be fireproof.” The reality is that Brexit is far from ‘done’ and we will be negotiating for many years to come in order to mitigate the extreme damage done by this Tory Government. While our single best hope is a new Government, we can neither wait in the delusional hope of a free and fair election being called, nor imagine that the Labour Party can survive the internal strife caused by Trojan horse Starmer, offering a viable electoral alternative: both leaders must go! DO NOT MOVE ON!