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Analysis

Johnson plans a brutal Brexit – far more damaging than May’s

by Nick Kent | 15.10.2019

Hidden behind a Shamrock fig-leaf, Boris Johnson is planning a brutal Brexit. The promises of 2016 – continuing easy access to the single market, higher wages for working people, £350 million a week extra for the NHS – have disappeared.

Any form of Brexit will damage our country’s prosperity, security and global standing. But the Prime Minister’s plan is particularly severe. It will cut income per head by 6.4% compared to staying in the EU, according to a new report by UK in a Changing Europe. By contrast, Theresa May’s deal would have knocked it by “only” 4.9%. (See page 9).

Johnson’s plan has three elements.

First, he is offering Northern Ireland a softer Brexit, although it may not be negotiable and it will be fiendishly complicated to operate in practice even if the EU agrees to it. What’s more, it won’t replicate the easy trading arrangements that businesses in Northern Ireland have now, both with the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Secondly, Johnson no longer wants frictionless trade between Great Britain – 97% of the UK’s population – and the EU. Not for him May’s compromise that would imperfectly have kept the UK in a partial customs relationship with the EU. Instead, Johnson wants to throw away all the advantages of single market membership, whether for goods or services. We have gone from “Canada plus, plus, plus” to “Canada minus”.

Finally, the Prime Minister no longer wants to maintain regulatory alignment with the EU. When the former Chancellor Philip Hammond suggested the UK could adopt a Singapore-style low tax, low regulation economy, he was widely ridiculed. But that’s exactly what Johnson is now trying to achieve. Over time, the level playing field across the EU that has legislated for equal pay for men and women, paid holidays for all and a universal health and safety net at work may wither away.  

And there’s what is not on the table but hidden from view. What will happen to the other forms of cooperation with the EU? The security cooperation so essential to the fight against terrorism, drugs and people smuggling? Science and education programmes that are so important for our long-term future? And are we now to replace EU foreign policy cooperation with saying “yes” to Donald Trump?

This is a miser’s Brexit – an anti-business, anti-Union, anti-jobs Brexit. It might benefit the richest, to whom Johnson promised £8 billion of tax cuts during the Tory leadership election. But it is a devastating blow to working people who voted Leave out of despair at the unfairness and lack of opportunity in Britain. And it comes on top of the government’s own analysis showing that Leave-voting areas would be the biggest losers from Brexit.

What Johnson offers the country is a Brexit that would be brutal in its economic, social and human consequences, worse even than May’s deal and nothing like the Brexit promised in 2016. This is why the people must have the final say in a new referendum.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

Categories: UK Politics

10 Responses to “Johnson plans a brutal Brexit – far more damaging than May’s”

  • Hopefully the lying corrupt charlatan Johnson, who carries joint responsibility for this mess, can be held to account for the damage his criminally irresponsible lies and cheating are inflicting upon the country.

  • The man’s a maniac. I think Johnson will do everything he can to get any deal through the Commons because he is scared of being pressurised into a second referendum.
    If this deal makes business harder for the Irish (even if it is a softer deal than the the rest of the U.K.) then it will risk the return of the troubles and in the long run bring pressure for the reuniting of the two parts of the island of Ireland. The SNP are now demanding a new referendum in the ‘next year’ so we can see where this idiocy is leading. Economy in recession, social unrest and the break up of the U.K.
    How can any sane government bring about such self harm? For the life of me I cannot understand people such as Steve Baker? Why wreck the country?
    Do the people in deprived areas who voted to leave realise they stand to be £2000 plus worse off per year? Project Fear is now reality and they are in for a rude shock, along with the rest of us. Where is all of this lunacy going to end? Why change anything that was not broken but, on the whole, working to the benefit of the country? It leaves me in total despair.

  • The Tories could be out of power for at least a decade or more because of forcing through no deal Brexit. I have come across people who say they will never vote Tory again.

  • Leave voters will not be in despair though as long as they keep buying the Daily Mail and Express. These papers can turn black into white. They could get people to vote to live in mud huts if it suited them, and convince them that they were really in palaces.

  • How on earth can it be justified not to withdraw A50?

    Withdraw A50 and our lives on on the road back to sanity. This is like a murderer killing more and more witnesses until he/she is surrounded by dead bodies.

    They can see no way out, they keep killing and killing!

    This is our government now. More and more concessions . What’s the point?

    Making some very wealthy people more very wealthy. We are sleepwalking into a dystopian age. Power to the powerful!

  • Well well; this took a long time to enter the nation’s conscience. look upon what really drove Brexit it was clear in 2016 already that the more cowboy type of money people wanted the freedom to get their hands on filthy money and used absurdly infantile emotions about the potential to re-establish “the British empire” among the peasants to get rid of EU regulations. If someone like Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail suddenly sees that light it’s time to wake up, which for many patently didn’t happen.

    Sorry people, against all my fervent hopes and wishes it is only too likely that Johnson will get his way, see also the co-operation he gets from the appropriately named Buck House. And it is to be expected that his government subsequently will fine-tune “democracy” in the Trump/Erdogan manner to assure his grip on future developments along his chosen path. Free NHS health care doesn’t fit in this scheme.

    One political power that, incidentally, has failed miserably in defending democracy here is the opposition; labour under Corbyn. That odious incompetent is, sitting on his fence, is just as responsible for this drama as the liars and manipulating mental dwarves that soon rule this place.

  • Well well; this took a long time to enter the nation’s conscience. Looking upon what really drove Brexit it was clear in 2016 already that the more cowboy type of money people wanted the freedom to get their hands on filthy money and used the absurdly infantile emotions about the potential to re-establish “the British empire” among the peasants to get rid of EU regulations. If someone like Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail suddenly sees that light it’s time to wake up, which for many patently didn’t happen.

    Sorry people, against all my fervent hopes and wishes it is only too likely that Johnson will get his way, seeing also the co-operation he gets from the appropriately named Buck House. And it is to be expected that his government subsequently will fine-tune “democracy” in the Trump/Erdogan manner to assure his grip on future developments along his chosen path. Free NHS health care doesn’t fit in this scheme.

    One political power that, incidentally, has failed miserably in defending democracy here is the opposition; labour under Corbyn. That odious incompetent is, sitting on his fence, is just as responsible for this drama as the liars and manipulating mental dwarves that soon rule this place.

  • The PM, ERG and DUP don’t really believe in this deal, but they might vote for it in the House of Commons to get around the legal requirements in the Benn Act to request an extension. If it passes “no deal” is back on the table. The PM might then find an excuse not to proceed and demand that the EU change the deal, this time threatening “no deal”.

    Conclusion: under no circumstances should MPs allow themselves to be duped into voting for this deal in the motion required under the Benn Act. This applies even if they think it’s a good deal. It can always be approved at a later date using other procedures. In any case, an extension would be required to ratify this deal because there’s not enough time to enact the primary legislation required before November.

  • When ERG members such as the doctrinaire Brexit fanatic Steve Baker talk about the likely deal as being “tolerable”, that tells you all you need to know.

  • The fatal mistake the |EU is making is in thinking that Borisolini and the brextremists can be trusted to keep their word. A treaty has no meaning for the the likes of Borisolini, Raabid, Reesty-Smugg, Dippy Davis,they are as likely to abide by treaties as Hitler was. The UK has been negotiating in bad faith since day 1. Mao Gove has stated that the UK will renege on any agreement. This farrago will be unending.