A very good summary of what is now known about the Leavers’ marvellous Brexit benefits . . .
Remember what the Leave campaign, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and others promised us to win their referendum four years ago?
How are these promises turning out?
- On trade with the EU, vital for our supply chains and exports, with millions of jobs at stake:
We were promised the ‘exact same benefits as now’. It turns out in reality that we’re not even close. The EU has said we’re welcome to have unfettered access to their market, as a non-member, provided we play by the same rules as everyone else: keeping comparable standards on food safety, fair competition, workers’ rights, environmental standards and consumer protection. These are, after all, standards we helped develop as a member. They already apply in the UK. The government at first said it would keep a level playing field. But now, the negotiations are in deadlock because the Johnson government is reneging on what it agreed with the EU when the Withdrawal Agreement was negotiated (and approved by Parliament), wanting to abandon our European standards to instead make a trade deal with countries which do not apply our high standards.
- On trade deals with the rest of the world:
We were promised that new trade deals with countries around the planet ‘will be ready to sign on day one’. They weren’t and still aren’t. When we eventually negotiate them, they’re likely to be worse than what we have now. The deals we had previously negotiated as part of the EU, with the clout of the world’s largest market behind us, are unlikely to be as good when we negotiate separate deals for Britain alone. Already various countries are trying to impose difficult conditions on us: that we accept their sub-standard products, that they have favourable access to NHS contracts, and so on.
- On Money.
They said there would be more money for the NHS (remember the red bus?). In fact Brexit is costing a fortune – and far more than what our previous annual contribution to the EU budget. This was was never more than two percent of public expenditure, and was often about saving money by sharing burdens and pooling resources. We’re now discovering what we lose, and the extra costs of customs officials, red tape, border checks on goods, duplicating EU technical agencies on chemicals; pharmaceuticals and air safety.
- On Northern Ireland
They said there would been no changes. But if you leave a customs union, you have a customs border. It has to go somewhere, as Johnson eventually conceded in the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement, but then denied afterwards
- On Security
They said police co-operation would be maintained. They lied. We’re leaving Europol and the shared police databases that enable us to check people at the border, as well as the European Arrest Warrant that enables us to easily bring fugitives from justice home for trial.
- On Citizens rights
They said these will be fully protected. In fact all Britons are stripped of their freedom of movement across Europe along with EU citizens living here before.
- On Immigration
They said this would be drastically reduced because of ending EU freedom of movement. In fact, most migration to Britain was always from outside the EU, entirely a matter of UK rules, nothing to do with the EU. Freedom of movement within the EU was a reciprocal right, with over a million Britons living in other EU countries, who are now losing their rights. It was always subject to conditions that Britain chose not to enforce (such as not being a burden on the public exchequer). Brexit hasn’t reduced migration anyway, simply altered the balance of where people come from.
- On Scientific co-operation.
They said they’d even strengthen our co-operation in science and research. Not true. We’ve lost the European Medicines Agency which has moved from Britain to Holland. We’ve not secured any access to the common research programmes that were so beneficial and good value for money, not least on medical research.
All in all, those who sold us Brexit are turning out to be the biggest fraudsters in British political history.
About the author, Richard Corbett