Started by chemicaloverload, January 15, 2019, 21:03:32

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QuoteFormer Brexit minister Lord Frost says he left his government position because he could not support Boris Johnson's "coercive policies on Covid".

QuoteTwelve months since the trade deal with which Britain left the European Union, what impact has it had on the economy? Covid makes it impossible to be sure, but it's much harder to spot Brexit benefits than costs.
Some of the effect will not be clearer until import customs are applied. Some larger companies have adapted. But haulage and hotels are short staffed. And for small food exporters, the paperwork and the costs have been mounting up.
The true economic impact could take many years to see. Meanwhile, many companies will wait for the UK to resolve its internal differences about the direction of Brexit.

I went back to some of those most affected, to find out how things look a year on.

At the Crieff Hydro family-owned family of 11 hotels, proprietor Stephen Leckie says no-one in the industry realised it would be "this bad".

He says the tone of Brexit has discouraged European visitors from visiting, but the direct impact is in staffing.

Covid has taken away a large chunk of his custom; pre-Christmas group bookings were down by more than half on the normal level before Omicron hit, and now they're down to below a quarter.

But even if he could attract the custom, he doesn't have the staff.
I'm walking slowly and quickly, but always away...


QuoteLike it - or not - it has been three years since the UK left the European Union.

Since then there has been a pandemic, swiftly followed by an energy crisis.

That has made it hard to decipher exactly what the impact of Brexit has been.

The latest data suggest a hit to the economy - but in some unexpected ways.

If you look at the UK's trade with the rest of the world, as well as trade with the EU, overall it has fallen relative to the size of the UK economy. Trade hasn't bounced back post-pandemic as fast as it has in other major nations, it has become less important in contributing to our prosperity. "Global Britain" has become less open. It is lagging behind.
I'm walking slowly and quickly, but always away...


More about Brexit & "Bregretters":
QuoteBut there is to be no rejoining, no way back to the customs union or single market, Labour says, so as to deny Tory strategists what they yearn for: a re-run of Brexit at the next general election to distract from the economy, the cost of living crisis and collapsed public services. Distressed Labour rejoiners point to how many leavers are now Bregretters. With this rapid shift still ongoing, the pollster John Curtice says that 57% of people are in favour of rejoining, with just 43% for staying out, while 49% think Brexit weakens the economy.

QuoteTo be fair, none of this is to say that global economic growth is either booming or unproblematic. Neither is true. Global growth is slowing this year, and the deceleration is particularly marked across the advanced economies, the US included, not just in Britain. Growth, in developed and developing economies alike, is also a central cause of the global climate crisis and therefore cannot be ignored.

But it is to say that Britain is at the back of the field, and that the gap with the pack ahead just got bigger. There is a danger that Britain loses touch with its competitors. That will be an ineradicable inheritance for whatever government follows Sunak's. True, not all the reasons lie at the government's door. Yet many do – two of them in particular.

One is the short-term legacy of the Liz Truss/ Kwasi Kwarteng tax-cutting budget, which led to higher taxes, a spike in borrowing costs, increased interest rates, a contraction in the housing market and a lurch in market confidence. The other is Brexit, which continues to damage UK trade and create major shortfalls in the labour market, not least in the health service. The UK's high relative dependency on imported gas at a time of sharply increased energy prices has not helped either.
I'm walking slowly and quickly, but always away...


QuoteHe continues: "But I told him: 'You've picked on the wrong guy. I'm that lad's father, and your stupid Brexit has queered the pitch for the music industry.

"What are you going to do about it?' Gove claimed, 'It's being sorted out for musicians, you'll find out on Monday.'

"Of course, that Monday there was an announcement that meant nothing."

Perhaps it is no surprise Matlock's infectious new single is called Head On A Stick, with a solo album following in April called Consequences Coming.

However, he insists both titles are metaphorical.

Matlock is confident consequences are coming for the current Government, saying: "People are beginning to wise up to what's been done to them. There was a soft Right-wing coup by a bunch of people at Eton, who decided to take over the country for a jolly wheeze."
I'm walking slowly and quickly, but always away...


QuoteNevertheless, behind all of this stands Brexit itself. This crisis, in other words, goes beyond the short-term problems of the Sunak government and the struggle over the Tory party's identity. The link between the events of the past week and Britain's break with Europe is umbilical, because the cord that binds them is Johnson himself.

Part of this, but not all of it, is about the lies that were integral to both Brexit and Johnson's fall. Lies about pandemic lockdown parties pushed Johnson from government and now from the Commons. But lies about Brexit were also the reason why he got into No 10 in the first place. His political banishment and humiliation for one set of lies ought to call into question his earlier political coronation for a different set.

It was ever thus with Johnson. His departure is not a tale of an essentially decent and truth-telling man who ruined it all by lying. Johnson's contempt for truth and rules is lifelong. His housemaster at Eton, Martin Hammond, famously nailed the problem many decades ago when he wrote: "I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else." Telling the truth matters to you and me. It does not matter to Johnson.

Johnson's conduct in the pandemic and since receiving the draft of the privileges committee report is fully in line with that Eton report. Any other prime minister would have been scrupulously careful not to break the rules that his own government had imposed. Many would have erred on the side of caution and self-denial. None of that applies to Johnson because it would not have occurred to him that it should. He is the self-appointed exception, a sociopathic narcissist. He has departed because, in his view, he is infinitely more important than any precedent, or rule or institution.

Until recently, Brexit had become a taboo. It felt inevitable that a generation would have to pass before it was politically possible for a new form of relationship to be constructed with the EU that would undo the harm of the vote in 2016. Economic struggles, the challenges of climate and migration, and the war in Ukraine all make the need for that rebuilding more pressing. A steady shift in public opinion towards closer cooperation, followed by Johnson's fall, now opens the door to a much more determined re-engagement.

That will not be easy. But the biggest lie that Johnson ever told, and the one that was most widely believed, was over Brexit. It has resulted in the largest piece of damage of the many he inflicted on the country. Johnson's fall and unpopularity ought, therefore, to reopen Britain's relationship with Europe.
I'm walking slowly and quickly, but always away...