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Analysis

As Brexiters’ mask slips, the ugly truth is revealed

by Luke Lythgoe | 19.09.2018

Tory Brexiters want to rip up protections for workers, consumers and the environment. This should focus minds at the upcoming Labour conference. Its members and supporters need to be alert to the dangers of Brextremist dogma becoming reality amidst the upheaval of leaving the EU.

So what exactly are Jacob Rees-Mogg and his allies up to? Helpfully, they’ve published two separate blueprints this month spelling it out.

The first came from a spurious report by economist Patrick Minford and his “Economists for Free Trade” outfit. It wants to unilaterally abolish all our trade tariffs with the rest of the world after Brexit. That would decimate our farming and manufacturing industries, forced to suddenly compete with global giants. Minford is relaxed about this. During the referendum he wrote that Brexit should “eliminate manufacturing”.

His new report, which was enthusiastically backed by Rees-Mogg, also assumes that all the safety, environmental and other standards currently imposed on imported goods from the rest of the world would be removed. That’s bad news for consumers. Is the food you’re eating safe? What about the toy your child is playing with?

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The second Brextremist economic plan was a look at the “ideal” US-UK trade deal by the Initiative for Free Trade. The IFT was originally launched as the “Institute for Free Trade”, with support from Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Liam Fox, before being threatened with a fine for calling itself an “institute” without permission.

Again, their plan for the perfect UK-US partnership involves removing all tariffs on goods and agricultural products, a move which could wipe out British industries. It would open NHS contracts to US corporate giants. It would also miss out any protections for workers, the environment, intellectual property or consumer safety.

Of course, this free trade fanaticism is not what Theresa May is proposing. But what’s the chance that her party will stick to her promises when it’s likely she won’t be prime minister for much longer?

If anybody doubted this, Michael Gove’s comments at the weekend that a new prime minister might “always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the European Union” should be a flashing red light. It is ordinary working people who will be most damaged by this fanaticism. All the more reason for Labour to support a People’s Vote at the end of the Brexit talks, giving the public a chance to stay in the EU if they don’t like what’s on offer.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

5 Responses to “As Brexiters’ mask slips, the ugly truth is revealed”

  • 1. Those who fear that a People’s vote will fan the flames should have it in mind that continuing discussion of UK/EU relationship will fan them for many years to come. And continuing discussions there will be given Gove’s flashing red light.
    Moreover it’s not as if we could expect that the flames would be quenched if and when a deal reached by May were introduced. If this happened, Brextremists would hardly stay silent, and it would be to their advantage that some of their followers would have expected sudden changes which there wouldn’t actually be. Meanwhile Remoaners (as some of us are sometimes called) could hardly be expected to cease to contradict such lies as the Brextremists might continue to tell.
    2. You noted that the IFT got into trouble for calling itself an Institute. Worth noting also, perhaps, is that the Legatum Institute Foundation [LIF] was ruled against by the Charity Commission for engaging in political activity. (The Commissioners said “In failing to make clear that there are multiple potential Brexit outcomes and that free trade is one of a number of political outcomes the [LIF’s] report [on Brexit] is not consistent with the requirements associated with the advancement of education for the public benefit.” The L.I.F is a registered Charity, purporting to have an educational purpose. It’s an offshoot of the Brextremists’ favourite think tank the Legatum Institute.

  • It was clear virtually since a year ago that uncensored financial trading was the main aim for the Brexit paymasters and politicians. Boris Johnson’s expletive re manufacturing was clear enough in that respect. Too bad for working class people, inured to reality with the project fear ethos and now sleepwalking with their eyes wide open, that they are unable to see their cap in hand and no NHS future develop.

  • Where can we download an image of the fifty guinea note? I want to print myself some of this lovely money and burn it on the bonfire. Always wanted to have money to burn.

  • @Brexiter – Most of “the people” have not the faintest clue about any of this, and if you try to tell them they say, “why can’t you stop moaning and accept the will of the people?” or drone on about “Project Fear”. Only when they have no jobs, no NHS, no public investment, no rights and no money will they finally wake up, but by then it will be too late. Welcome to the far-right nightmare, brought to you courtesy of Brexiters.