Brexit – “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire”

There’s a lot of confusion & mixed messages around hard brexit, soft brexit, open brexit, closed brexit however there’s one very simple trick to cut through the deliberate fog.

If you hear a politician talk about “Access to the Single Market”, “Retain benefits of the Single Market”, “Reform some aspects of the Single Market”, “Tariff Free Access” or in fact anything that isn’t “Stay in the Single Market”, then they’re lying to you.


It doesn’t matter if it’s Theresa May, Boris Johnson, John McDonnell, Nigel Farage, Jeremy Corbyn or even Kier Starmer saying it, it’s a deliberate lie.  Because these phrases don’t mean anything in practical terms.

There are 4 reasons for this:

  1. “Access to the Single Market” is a nonsense phrase. You’re either a member of the Single Market or you can trade with countries in the EU on much more restrictive terms based on specialist deals that take years to agree.
  2. The EU has been absolutely clear.  They will not agree any deal that is seen as “better” than being in the Single Market, and all 27 countries have to agree to any deal, it’s not a majority vote, every single parliament in all 27 countries have to agree any deal we get.
  3. We are by far the weaker party in the negotiations, and getting weaker all the time as we embarrass ourselves with our hung parliaments and lying politicians
  4. There was very little time to negotiate a new deal, there’s now, practically, no time. Trade deals take 5 years plus and we will have about a year.

If, for example, you cut through all the fluff and actually listen to what the Conservatives have said, what Labour are saying now and take yourself back to what Vote Leave said prior to the referendum – it’s all identical:

We can negotiate a pick & mix, cake & eat it, bespoke trade deal for the UK, without having to accept Free Movement of People

It was a lie when Vote Leave said it and it’s still a lie when Labour or Conservative politicians say it to you now.  In fact this has been the central lie at the heart of Leave/Remain, that the UK is in a position to demand a bespoke deal that suits us without any of the EU stuff we don’t want.  In fact, as far back as March 2016 when Johnson, Gove and their colleagues first started using the phrase “Access to the Single Market” the Institute of Fiscal Studies had this to say:

Any country in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – has ‘access’ to the EU as an export destination. Single Market ‘membership’ by contrast involves elimination of barriers to trade in a way that no existing trade deal, customs union or free trade area achieves.

“Access”, despite what Vote Leave said then and what Labour & Conservatives are saying now doesn’t define anything because every country already has it. Vote Leave started the lie, but Labour & the Conservatives continue to support it.  The tragic failure of our media is that Vote Leave, Labour & Conservatives have been able to use this meaningless phrase unchallenged for 15 months or more.

For Labour in particular, they are committed to leaving the Single Market

Given the above, that means hard brexit.  It may come as a shock to hear that the Labour Leadership are committed to a hard brexit but it shouldn’t be.  It’s in the manifesto if you again cut through the fluff & Corbyn and McDonnell have actually been anti EU for most of their political careers.

Ironically, Hard Brexit was dead, or so we thought, the night of the election.  David Davis was retreating from it due to the incoming results:


However it turns out that Corbyn & McDonnell were happy to apply the kiss of life because, following their support Davis reversed position:


There’s really no other way to spin this.  Corbyn & McDonnell have deliberately revived Hard Brexit and are now propping up the government position.  This clearly goes against everything people think they know about Corybn, but it’s still the situation.

It should be noted that “leaving EU” does not necessarily mean “leaving Single Market”.  Norway and other countries are in the EEA which sits outside the EU but which maintains membership of the single market, including the freedom to live & work anywhere in the EU.  By saying the above McDonnell and therefore Labour are making a deliberate choice, to interpret the referendum in the most extreme way possible.  This is exactly what Theresa May did.

A “Jobs first” Brexit for example is a nonsense phrase unless “Jobs first” means staying in the single market and customs union.  Any other approach will result in job losses.

Hard Brexit means a massive hit to the economy and likely a recession.  This in turn will make all the good stuff in the Labour Manifesto undeliverable without massive borrowing, which, in turn, will fall on the shoulders of the young in particular over their lifetimes.

That isn’t to say that the things in the Manifesto aren’t worthwhile, many of them are, it’s just that they become practically undeliverable following a hard brexit (which will cost anything from £36 B to £100 B plus per year).  Instead, we’ll likely have a lost decade whilst the country tries to recover.

Which brings us back to the reasons many young people voted for Labour, because they believed Labour was on their side.  Unfortunately, they’re really not, because by exiting the Single Market they are sacrificing the ability for young people to live & work in 27 countries, as well as their financial future, to appease UKIP voters who want to see less foreigners OR to give Corbyn & McDonnell maximum flexibility to create a managed economy like the UK had in the 1970s.

This post explains in more detail but essentially there’s membership of the Single Market, with the 4 freedoms including free movement of people & the Customs Union, or there’s some rubbish, restricted last minute deal that means losses in jobs, impacts on services & removal of the ability to work and live in 27 countries.  There’s nothing really in between.  Anything else is a lie.



Why the UK has little practical leverage with the EU in negotiations

Difficulty UK will face in replacing lost trade with EU

Study on loss of trade from leaving Single Market

Know your Soft Brexit

Brexit Black hole in May & Corbyn’s manifesto




10 thoughts on “Brexit – “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire”

    1. It absolutely is – You can be in the Single Market if you are in EEA/EFTA. You can probably be in the customs union as well. It’s just that it’s still “membership” in all practical terms. Labour in particular, surprisingly, seem to be dismissing that as an option

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Then some strong lobbying now needed. This is where the more moderate Labour MPs need to stand up and be counted and where May’s government need to see sense.


      2. absolutely. We have a window, everything is back on the table so we need bright sunlight on the whole process. Hence this blog post as a small contribution

        Liked by 1 person

  1. To take a direct position for staying in the single market risks 2 things – splitting the Labour party, it is afflicted with the same historic divisions on the issue as the Tories are, and sounding to the public like defying Brexit’s victory. I get the reasoning of why it’s not actually defying Brexit’s victory, but it could seem to all the Brexit voters like it is that. Given Corbyn’s history he is probably also wary of being tied to any non-socialist economic approaches by the single market, so would want to redefine the relationship.
    “Access to” expresses a broad ideal without a pinned down meaning. Wholly linguistically consistently, it could turn out to mean being actually in the single market, or being decisively out of it, or anything in between. its purpose is to let the flow of events, party unity situation, and apparent voter opinion, steer what its meaning shall turn out to be.


    1. With respect, you are talking about what’s best for Labour and it’s internal contradictions rather than what’s best for the country,ie clarity, honesty and a straight position.

      I think, if I’m honest, our country has been let down very badly by both major parties who are, as you show above, far more concerned with keeping seats and a coalition of competing interests on side rather than doing their duty by the country.

      Apologies for being blunt but the country deserves better

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s also not really true labour MPs and labour members were heavily in favour of remain only 8 or so lab MPs were on the leave side (although had corbyn and McDonnell not been the leadership it would probably have been 10). Even among the corbyn supporting MPs very few support brexit.

        Labour position is less due to internal divisions and more to do with seeming to respect the verdict of the referendum especially as they represent a large number of the most pro leave seats. If public opinion shifts then labour is very likely to follow and by far the best chance of a second referendum (not ruled out in the manifesto).

        So far better to pressure labour from the inside than paint them as as bad as the tories and oppose them.


  2. Sooner or later someone is going to *have* to “defy Brexit’s history” because the alternative is going to be a shambles and blow a hole in the spending plans of all parties (Labour’s most of all, since Labour has the most ambitious plans). I think we may have to see negotiations degenerate into near disaster territory with a degree of panic setting in, which should rapidly lead to a consensus among all but Farage and other idiots that staying in the single market – preferably via EFTA is the only available option. (By that point I would expect the extent of the encroaching disaster to have utterly discredited Farage, Lawson et al.) At that point the logical pointlessness of the whole exercise may begin o sink in. There will, incidentally, by that point have been a demographic shift in the electorate. 1% of the 2016 electorate is replaced every year, with the replacements drawn from those who were unable to vote in 2016 (but overwhelmingly in favour of Remaining, according to polling at the time.) Since the margin of victory for Leave was 4% the year 2020 becomes of some significance in this process.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No to Brexit in any of it’s useless form’s , We are overwhelmingly in favour of Remaining it the only Good way for everyone, !
    Then make all off shore accounts illegal for all those working or having businesses in UK , Pay your Taxes or get out , you filthy corrupt rich cretins . We do not want or need you , you are the Root of Evil and Trouble in EU UK.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been explaining this to people for the last year or more, including the facts that (a) membership of the EEA/EFTA can’t start until the UK has left the EU (AFAIK) (b) such membership is not automatic – it has to be agreed by existing members (c) Norway is not happy with the idea. So, although EEA/EFTA is a possibility, it’s not a given and even if it were, it could take two years on Least Favoured Nation trading with the world to implement it. In which time, the UK goes down the tubes :/ (WTO membership couldn’t be done in just a couple of years either.) Does that make sense to you?


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