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:
- “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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.