Perhaps this is it. Perhaps we will be leaving with No Deal.
This week has seen increasingly pessimistic noises from both London and Brussels, as the EU refuses to budge on issues such as the level playing field. But talks will, of course, continue, and the rest of us will have to wait and see what happens.
Naturally, the mention of No Deal has brought out all the usual scare stories about food shortages. We are sure to see all sorts of scaremongering over the next few weeks, as all the usual suspects make a last-ditch effort to derail Brexit. They have failed before and they will fail again. We at BfB will continue to debunk the scare stories during these last few weeks.
Meanwhile, investment continues to pour into the UK. Most recently, start-up battery maker for electric cars, BritishVolt, announced a new gigafactory employing 3,000 people at the faded former coal-port of Blyth in Northumberland. This is backed by investors from the Middle East and Scandinavia.
In other excellent news, the first Covid vaccines have been administered. Can we look forward to a day in 2021 when the news bulletins with have to find something other than Brexit and Covid to talk about? Hard to imagine, but we’re getting there.
Finally, a recommendation: BfB readers with an interest in political theory and history will enjoy the brilliant essay, ‘The European coup’, by one of Britain’s leading Left-wing intellectuals, Perry Anderson, printed in the latest edition of the London Review of Books. Anderson elegantly but mercilessly dissects the fundamentally anti-democratic foundations of the EU, not through the eyes of its critics but through those of its apologists.
Europe’s media are waking up to the situation. Robert Tombs has given interviews to Dutch and Danish newspapers this week explaining the UK’s position, and gave a long broadcast interview on France Culture.
On the website this week
Is an Australian Style trade deal half full or half empty? By Catherine McBride
Boris Johnson likes to describe ‘no-deal’ as an Australian deal. One former Australian PM Tony Abbott thinks the UK would prosper on Australian terms while another, Malcolm Turnbull thinks Australia’s trade terms should not be emulated. Catherine McBride thinks they are both right.
“Australia will never be given a trade agreement with the EU that includes agriculture. The EU has no interest in fair trade – only in mercantilist trade that keeps EU workers employed, at the expense of EU consumers.”
A bad deal with the EU is likely, but it won’t last, by Harry Western
Short-term political pressures, plus a lack of long-term strategic economic thinking, make it likely the UK will agree a trade deal with the EU. Any such deal is likely to be very unfavourable to the UK in several key areas, as will quickly become obvious. Far from forming the basis of a durable new relationship between the UK and the EU, the deal will be a source of continued friction and acrimonious disputes. Within a short space of time, the UK government will regret signing it and will be looking to escape from it.
“The UK government will quickly regret signing such a deal as it becomes clear that it offers only an endless process of disputes with the EU in return for modest and rapidly declining economic benefits.”
Eating humble pie over Covid-19 control failures, by Cam Bowie
The control of Covid-19 has been a public health and an economic failure. Dr Cameron Bowie, a public health physician, argues that the mix of scientific arrogance and belief in the private sector are to blame and will need to be reversed if control is to be successful.
“Are we too arrogant to admit our failings and seek advice from those who have succeeded? Is it a pie worth eating?”
Brexit Bias. A New Low for the BBC, by Brian Morris
Brian Morris analysed the words spoken in a number of BBC TV News bulletins on Monday 7th December 2020 and on the following days. He was not surprised to find bias in favour of the EU but was surprised to find how blatant and obvious it often was.
“The idea that the UK is asking for any sort of ‘privileges’ is ludicrously false. The ‘benefits’ and ‘privileges’ of a free trade deal are there for both parties.”
Only a ‘good’ Brexit can stop Scottish independence, by Robert Tombs
Professor Robert Tombs views Scottish separatism as a pipedream. To be accurate it is a dream of becoming another tiny dependency of the EU. With oil prices indefinitely depressed, the tempting secessionism of the wealthy turns into the prospect of a relatively poor region cutting itself off from its economic mainstay.
“Victimhood has always been the core of nationalism.”
Kevin Hague argues that support for independence in Scotland is wide but shallow. Much that is believed in Scotland about Scotland’s financial viability is factually wrong. What is needed now is to repair Scots’ feelings on being valued within the UK.
“Politicians outside Scotland who would defend the Union need to find their voices and articulate why Scotland matters to them – and Scots need to hear it.”
We are also on Twitter, posting articles and retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the national news.
Discussion also continues over on Facebook.
How you can help
There is much about Brexit still to be decided. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Do continue to send them links to our articles, especially on matters relevant to your constituency – for example, in rural areas, articles on the threat to British agriculture. Alternatively, make an appointment to speak to them at their next surgery. Let them know what you want post-Brexit Britain to look like.
As Boris Johnson said in in his post-election address, it is also time for unity and reconciliation. Keep reading our posts and share links to our quality content to help others understand how leaving the EU will be good for the UK economy and for our own democratic governance. We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
An Oxbridge PhD Student
Dr Graham Gudgin
Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Professor Robert Tombs
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge