The lies keep coming in a propaganda war to keep the Brexit delusion going but reality brings us the truth – and this is exemplified no better than the delivery by the Johnson government of an unexploded economic time bomb.
Just three months ago, Boris Johnson restated his insistence there would no checks for goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, saying Government documents shared by Labour were “wrong.” He also said:
“The deal we’ve done with the EU is a brilliant deal and it allows us to do all the things that Brexit was about so it’s about taking back control of our borders, money, laws – but unlike the previous arrangements it allows the whole of the UK to come out of the EU including Northern Ireland.”
Last October, Johnson vowed yet again that “there will be no border checks.”
The same month, Johnson reiterated that his proposal “would allow the UK whole and entire to withdraw from the EU.” No border checks were restated.
All this was in the run-up to the December election.
Back in 2016, when David Davis was the Brexit Secretary, he reiterated promises that there would be no hard borders or border checks. He even went to Northern Ireland and told them plain and clear.
FullFact even said that border checks was nothing more than speculation. Theresa May, the PM of the day also went to Ireland and said the same and The Telegraph confirmed it to be so. She also confirmed it in the Common Travel Area (CTA) and the objective of a frictionless, seamless border between Ireland and the UK, has been endlessly repeated by both Prime Ministers, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and the Department for Exiting the EU.
Yesterday, Michael Gove told businesses that trade with Europe they need to prepare for “significant change” with “inevitable” border checks for “almost everybody” who imports from the EU from next year.
In the first official confirmation that the government is going to impose trade barriers post-Brexit, he warned there would be checks on food and goods of animal origin, plus customs declarations and mandatory safety and security certificates required for all imports.
Unbelievably, Gove intimated that somehow it was everyone else’s fault for not understanding the situation and that he was there to provide clarity.
“You have to accept we will need some friction” he said. “I don’t underestimate the fact that this is a significant change” he said.
And some more great news for British business – Gove also warned it could take five years to get a smart border involving online processes up and running and said businesses had to be ready for the change next January and put up with manual documentation systems for a few years.
A bit later in the day – the government was good enough to issue an official update confirming checks on both imports and exports.
So now we know just a little more. Their lies were just that – deliberate in their objective to deliver propaganda at times of referendum and election but when the reality of doing business arrives, the truth is very different. Gove’s admission, backed by an official government statement, bodes ill for the future. How can it be better for businesses or the economy? It can’t.
Even if the government plays this down, border checks will be a significant shock to our economy. This was predicted by expert commentary and by experienced business people as well as EU negotiators – all berated and castigated for their contribution to ‘project fear.’ It was even predicted by the civil service who were tasked with outlining the realities of Brexit (remember Yellowhammer?) – but their reports were buried, then leaked, then denied, people in government were fired for telling the truth and here we are.
Gove even admitted that Brexit will bring years of confusion at borders.
The Freight Transport Association said –
“We are naturally disappointed that the promise of frictionless trade has been replaced with a promise that trade will be as seamless as possible but not until 2025,” said Elizabeth de Jong, its policy director.
The checks will come in only if Boris Johnson achieves his aim of a loose ‘Canada-style’ agreement with the EU – what used to be called a hard Brexit. If not, the next hard Brexit will be a really tough nasty hard Brexit that is expected to cost the economy something between 6% and an eye-watering 7.7% of GDP all the way through to 2035.
Make no mistake – Boris Johnson’s administration has just dumped an unexploded time bomb in our midst. But there’s a double edge to this truth bomb. It confirms that the no-deal scenario is in fact, another reality coming our way. This government wants a deal with the EU and America – both of whom are at loggerheads and on the precipice of their own trade war.
Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now said:
“While the EU put out a 33-page document highlighting its negotiating objectives, Boris Johnson gave his usual pantomime set-piece. But what became very clear is that Johnson is a million miles from the EU offer, and that’s because he’s intent on dancing to Donald Trump’s tune.
“The only way Johnson can get his treasured trade deal with the US is to give away British standards and allow US multinationals to have a bonanza at the expense of people and the planet. But Johnson is going to find this very difficult because most British people have also been shown to be hostile to any trade deal made on these terms. Nor will the EU agree to it.
“Beneath the usual bluster and bravado, we can see Johnson clearly rattled by the scale of opposition to a US trade deal – and so he should be. Johnson can tell those who oppose a US trade deal to ‘grow up’ all he likes. But what he labels ‘mumbo jumbo’ is not anti-American at all, it is rather a deep-seated opposition to allowing the import of meat made in atrocious conditions, GM foods, higher medicine prices, cancer-causing chemicals, and handing over vast swathes of our society to big business.“
Dearden is right of course but wrong on one point. Johnson won’t find it difficult to reduce British standards and allow American corporations on a pillage expedition across the pond. His majority and crop of new and inexperienced MP’s will do exactly as they are told.
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Featured image is from TP