Time to strike a sensible agreement and then at long last we can move onby David Henig / September 21, 2020 / Leave a comment
For the third consecutive autumn, Brexit Britain faces deal or no-deal tension. By now it feels more “nation stuck in a never-ending drama” than one engaged in serious discussions about the future. You can feel the public and indeed political classes growing ever-more bored. It is scarcely the light relief we need from the unprecedented challenges faced globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yet the outcome of talks probably matters even more this year than the last two, because the government has a majority to pursue its chosen course.
While more difficulties in terms of trade and everyday engagement with the EU are inevitable anyway after Brexit, these will be lessened by a deal. For the businesses waiting to hear just how significant the changes could be; the workers at risk—particularly in sectors likely to be most affected, such as the automotive industry; consumers who may see changes in their food choices; and travellers facing greater costs to go to the EU, this decision matters.
Above all, though, a deal would allow us to move on from the debate that has entrapped us for approaching five years. Without a deal there is no stability but more of the same. One big reason why most countries have trade deals is that they help to define your place in the world—definition that in the UK is currently sorely lacking.
We have actually left the EU, but so far not many people appear have noticed. Everything largely appears as before, with perhaps the biggest change being UK ministers not attending summits. Lower investment is the most significant economic change, but even this is still largely invisible to most people. The shock of 1st January might be great, deal or no-deal.
Even with an agreement we face queues at Dover, exponentially more inspections of goods entering and exiting the country, restrictions on individuals working in the EU, the end of free reciprocal health care and more paperwork all round: an end to those things that many have taken for granted, which could make the difference between profit and loss for a business, or affordable and unaffordable holidays for ordinary citizens. We are threatening the UK’s place in global and regional supply chains so important to a modern economy.
Without a deal it becomes worse. The mass production automotive sector,…