The ability to cut red tape was a key Brexit prize—but Eurosceptics are in for a nasty shockby Pawel Swidlicki / March 18, 2018 / Leave a comment
We are almost one year down with one more to go in the Article 50 negotiating window, and the broad contours of the post-Brexit order are slowly coming into focus. Notwithstanding the non-negligible risk of a “no deal” scenario, following Theresa May’s Mansion House speech and the leak of the European Union’s draft negotiating guidelines for the new relationship, we have a good sense as to the likely direction of travel.
One striking feature of this new order is that rather than serving as the launch ramp into a low-tax and deregulatory cornucopia, Brexit is likely to entail an increase in the overall bureaucratic burden. This is no small irony given that hostility to “EU red tape”—both genuine and perceived—has long been a key driver of anti-EU sentiment, particularly among adherents of the Thatcherite tradition. For the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel and Owen Paterson, the best post-Brexit template for the UK is not Norway, Switzerland or even Canada, but rather Singapore, which entails scrapping a swathe of EU rules they believe are holding back British business.