Global Britain? More like Broken Britain

Practical problems with Theresa May's vision

There are no two ways about it: Theresa May’s intention to take us out — not just of the EU, but also out of the European Single Market, the Customs Union and indeed “all parts of the EU” — is deeply damaging, and not just in economic terms. Here are some of the key implications of her speech, which will dominate the political agenda in the coming weeks and months.

It aligns Britain with Donald Trump, alienating us from other EU member countries, just as we start to negotiate with them.

It creates a disruptive economic “cliff-edge” when Britain leaves the customs union, as we will very quickly need to agree:

        • a new trade deal with the EU,
        • new deals with over 50 countries across the world with whom we currently have a favorable trade deal via the EU,
        • a World Trade Organisation (WTO) schedule with over 100 other countries across the world

Each of these complex deals will all have huge potential for obstruction and delay – even if we seek to maintain the status quo.

It means leaving the European agencies where we and other European countries have pooled resources and cut costs by working together. This impacts on many vital policy areas:

        • testing the safety of medicines
        • standards in usage of chemicals
        • maintaining safety standards in aviation
        • coordinating cross-border criminal investigations
        • regulating cross-border transport
        • organising GPS systems
        • fighting terrorism
        • cooperating in innumerable scientific and technical fields

It most likely means a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, causing significant economic disruption and potentially undermining the peace process.

It gives Scottish Nationalists an excuse to call for a second referendum and potentially break away from the UK.

It means increasing government spending to replace EU money that has supported fisheries and agriculture. 

It threatens the future of our public services by jeopardising both government funding and availability of skilled workers, such as doctors, nurses, teachers and care workers.

It creates uncertainty over workers’ rights and consumer protection if the UK becomes a bargain basement economy where companies compete purely on cost.

It threatens the loss of EU research funding and collaboration post 2020, diminishing the ability of UK universities to maintain their world-leading status and attract world class academics and fee-paying students from around the globe.

It risks losing banking and financial services as well as many more crucial businesses to other countries as they seek to avoid uncertainty, and to maintain the existing benefits of the single market.

Taking all this into consideration, it beggars belief that Theresa May can say she wants to make Britain a more global nation. Her Brexit vision will diminish the United Kingdom, creating a country that is politically isolated, economically poorer, socially divided and, to top it all, risks the possible destruction of the Union itself.

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  1. With such an unappealing list of downsides, why vote for Article 50 absent the certainty it is revocable? The Remain option is a necessary insurance against a Brexit negotiation that, contrary to promise, offers only confusion and penury.

    Like ‘Joke’, I am baffled at Labour’s ambivalence toward its traditional supporters. If I were an MP, I would not want to tell distressed constituents in 2020 that I knew Brexit would cause them financial agony, but voted to trigger it just the same.

    Our MPs are representatives, not delegates, and we should be able to rely on their integrity and good judgment to avert financial disasters – not create them.

  2. We who are for remain know much of this – why didn’t the message get through to the rest of Yorkshire and others. Why is Corbyn playing such a ‘non’ game he has lost so many labour voters. Whilst the country looks to be doing well at the moment we know the crunch will come – then what happens – Labour should be in a position to pick up the reins but they won’ make it.

  3. All absolutely correct, and don’t forget the disgusting disregard for the lives of 5 million people who either moved to the UK from other EU countries, or moved from the UK to other EU countries, in good faith, and played by the rules. 5 million people who now face appalling anxiety as they are used as pawns by the deluded and reprehensible British government. 5 million people who face losing everything.
    Also, it should be noted that tens of millions of people who were BORN EU citizens, are about to be stripped of their birth rights. It seems that many of the older generations completely ignore this aspect. Old people may see it as just returning to how they were – and they need to consider that it is the same as themselves being stripped of British citizenship – the rights they were born into.

  4. All absolutely right, given the above, how can article 50 be voted for by labour MPs. Is it the case that Corbyn is now at his most vulnerable to a challenge from a ‘remain’ MP ? If any Labour MP would stand up and say that the extent of lies fed to voters during the referendum campaign mean we rerun the referendum then they would get support from the country and surely every constituency which voted remain.
    Why is it only Clegg who is saying this ?

  5. I am deeply concerned about Scotland’s position. We are not being considered at all, and I read somewhere we may not be allowed to have a second referendum on independence. I did not vote for it last time, but that was then. I am a European and want to stay that way. Can’t really see any substance to the government’s comments. Rather it seems like a lot of waffle. Sorry to be so negative.

  6. All true Richard, so how do we stop the cheating Government juggernaut from winning another election. Is it by turning hedgehog and showing bristles to all others who equally suffer from them? Do we offer to empower all voters, and for the first time, by introducing a law that implements a fair proportional voting systems at all levels of Government. Or do we also cheat? and try to use a fraudulent FPTP system and a rotten borough, hallo Jack Straw, to change the equation?

    By offering a fair proportional vote we would transcend party lines and speak to many in other parties. Many of our Labour supporters are baffled by the staunch inflexibility and lack of any progressive advances, without which we will surely not succeed at the next GE.

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