Britain’s careless, shameless, useless government is now preparing to get reckless by triggering Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, risking a trade war with the EU.
As inflation rises and research by the University of Sussex reveals the economic hit of leaving the EU to be 178 times bigger than the value of international trade deals done post-Brexit, it’s a frightening prospect for UK business. It’s been called “absurd” by former prime minister John Major and “irresponsible” by the Irish government.
So naturally, it’s a no-brainer for the thoughtless, brainless bunch whose most recent triumph was the “watertight” plan to rescue Owen Paterson.
Charmless Lord David Frost continues to rant about unacceptable oversight from the European Court of Justice while persisting with his Blazing Saddles negotiating style – aim the gun at your own head and threaten to shoot, hoping your opponent will run scared of being covered in the residual splatter if you pull the trigger.
But after years of what European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans calls “being over backwards” to please Britain, the EU seems this time prepared to be ruthless; loading a revolver of their own, with a programme of “targeted retaliation” including high tariffs on strategic targets like cars and whisky, making tight controls on British lorries even tighter, suspending Britain’s participation in the research and development program Horizon Europe and denying the UK financial services industry the equivalence it seeks to operate effectively on the continent.
Britain could land some blows in the tit-for-tat exchanges that would follow, but a friendless country acting alone is weaker than a bloc of 27. So why the needless willingness to drag a fragile economy, with Liz Truss’s post-Brexit trade deals offering a measly economic uplift of just 0.01 to 0.02% of GDP against the 4% of GDP lost by leaving the EU, to the cliff edge once again?
Simply because, like a veteran band rolling out the old favourites during a gig once the new material fails to impress, the shiftless Boris Johnson – with one Brexit referendum and a Brexit general election in the bag – has no better idea than to hope Brexit wins it for him again. Hence, why not soundtrack the road to May 2, 2024 with the vintage hits of sovereignty, British exceptionalism and unreasonable Johnny Foreigner?
These are cynical tactics from a cynical prime minister. With polls showing voters increasingly concerned by the damage Brexit is already doing to their personal finances, they look senseless. But for now, they are all this graceless, hopeless worthless administration has got.
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