More Reasons to Ditch Brexit (only 33!)
Michael Emerson senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies gives 33 reasons to ditch Brexit:
The vocabulary of Brexit in the British media is beginning to go beyond the soft, hard, cliff-edge and no deal varieties, to include a scrap-it Brexit. The tide of opinion may at last be turning. So, in the hope of encouraging this trend and giving readers something to reflect upon during their holidays, here is a list of the main political errors and unforeseen or undisclosed costs that form the case for scrapping Brexit, (abbreviated from a paper published for the Centre for European Policy Studies).
- The normal precaution in democracies worldwide of requiring a constitutional majority (i.e. around two-thirds) for constitutional change was ignored.
- Before the referendum took place, it was characterised as legally advisory, but immediately afterwards the result became politically binding.
- The referendum posed an imbalanced choice between the known status quo and the unknown. The government still cannot say what it wants, even less what it might get.
- The referendum campaign was marred by outright lies on the part of the Brexiteers, from the £350 million per week for the NHS, to the warnings of millions of Turkish immigrants.
- When Leave voters were asked what they would think if they would be worse off after exiting the EU, the switch in positions would have resulted in a 10% majority to remain.
- David Cameron’s review of the workings of the EU showed that its competences were soundly chosen and that there were therefore no grounds for repatriating them. He ignored these findings, however, and proceeded to demand radical reform of the EU, but was not able to define what this reform would consist of in operational terms.
- As a result, Cameron’s renegotiation package lacked content, undermining the credibility of his recommendation to remain.
- Theresa May’s government walked itself into an extraordinarily weak bargaining position, by triggering the Article 50 procedure before agreeing its objectives internally.
- The Prime Minister has just offered slogans, ranging from the meaningless Brexit means Brexit, to the potentially catastrophic No deal is better than a bad deal.
- The February 2017 White Paper was contradictory: the UK will leave both the Single Market and the Customs Union, but still seeks seamless, frictionless free trade, characteristics available only by virtue of the Single Market and the Customs Union.
- Statements that the UK would stop making big payments to the EU budget are now corrected by the recognition that the UK has obligations to make a financial settlement with the EU.
- The car industry has stopped investing in the UK. Airbus is considering relocating its UK operation. Some 40% of UK enterprises say Brexit is negatively affecting their investment plans.
- The financial services sector sees widespread evidence of planned re-location out of London, in favour of Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin, Amsterdam and Luxembourg.
- Net immigration from the EU has already fallen substantially, as the ‘not welcome’ sign has its effect, dropping in the course of 2016 to close to zero
- The UK’s leading place in Europe in the IT sector is dependent on high-skilled personnel from the continent, and this thriving sector is now at risk.
- The Royal College of Nursing reporting a staggering drop in arrivals of EU nurses (by 96%), threatening the functioning of the National Health Service.
- The British fruit industry warn that a shortage of EU immigrant workers threatens their future, given that 95% of its seasonal labour has been coming from other EU countries.
- UK universities are seriously concerned about losing academic staff from the continent as well as falling enrolment.
- The dropping of UK research institutions out of EU-funded networks and projects threatens the UK’s leading position in European scientific research.
- The prospect of leaving Euratom raises serious doubts about the adequacy of the UK’s nuclear safety inspection skills.
- Withdrawal from many EU technical agencies will mean new costs of bureaucracy to replicate many of these agencies at the UK level.
- The European Medicines Agency and European Banking Financial Authority currently in London plan to move to the continent, with over a thousand job losses.
- EasyJet is moving its headquarters to Austria. Ryanair notes that the European open sky arrangements depend on the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
- Quitting the Single Market will mean bringing back roaming charges for mobile phones.
- Quitting the Single Market will mean the imposition of restrictive quotas on UK trucks entering the EU.
- Quitting the Single Market will mean that when an orchestra tours from the UK to the continent, losing access to the posted workers directive, a tour goes from breaking even to making a loss.
- Withdrawal from the European Arrest Warrant will mean an end to the fast extradition of suspected criminals, including suspected terrorists.
- Customs experts warn about the prospect of huge queues of trucks and bottlenecks at UK ports.
- Macroeconomic trends: the depreciation of the pound has already cut into real incomes by raising the inflation rate, and with the stalling of investment, the economy is heading back into stagflation.
- The idea that the UK can compensate for the loss of full access to the EU market with free trade deals elsewhere in the world is seen by trade experts to be an illusion.
- There is little or no prospect of a good outcome to the Article 50 negotiations. Senior EU representatives, from Juncker to Barnier, warn that there is no good Brexit.
- The United Kingdom as a society is itself more deeply and bitterly divided than ever before. The continued integrity of the United Kingdom is at risk.
- Observers on the Continent and elsewhere in the developed world scratch their heads why this country should commit the biggest act of self-harm that any advanced democracy has ever voluntarily inflicted on itself.
Links to other sections of Ditch Brexit: