More Brexit lies exposed

2nd March 2020 / United Kingdom
More Brexit lies exposed

Take a bow Britain exclaimed the Daily Mail, The birth of a new Britain hailed The Telegraph, We’re out of the EU crowed the Express – what a victory. It’s like we won the war all by ourselves – again. Three and half years later, their campaign of misinformation and propaganda is forcing the chlorinated chickens home to roost.

It was only last October when Food and farming leaders in Britain welcomed the announcement from Number 10 that the Prime Minister has struck a Brexit deal with the EU. Farmers themselves were delighted. They voted as an industry for Brexit.

On the 26th January this year, Brexit cheerleader The Telegraph emphatically hailed – “British farming can be ‘envy of the world’ after Brexit, leading agriculture figures tell Prime Minister.”

It was followed up by the Farmers Guardian who proclaimed the same to the world and that Britain’s new – “Brexit policy will see British farming become ‘the best in the world.” British farming is poised for a big comeback they boasted.

Even the FT hypothesised that Brexit would be good for farmers as late as August 2018.

It’s also widely recognised that the UK fishing industry voted for Brexit. Back in 2016, fishing industry leaders said that withdrawal from the EU will enable Britain to “regain control of its waters and become a top seafood exporter.” Only last year the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation crowed that the “Fishing industry stands to gain hugely from Brexit.” It’s own in-depth analysis started by saying – “The fishing industry is poised for substantial growth when the UK exits the European Union, according to a comprehensive new analysis.”

Now the Brexiteers are in power, their promises of sunny uplands and new horizons for farmers and fishermen is like a balloon with a puncture at the wake of one of your nearest and dearest. One of the most senior government advisers has said the “UK does not need its farming or fishing industries”.

This news comes from a senior government adviser – one who is close to the new Chancellor Rushi Sunak and therefore, the rest of Johnson’s cabinet.

Tim Leunig said the food sector was “not critically important” to the country’s economy – and that agriculture and fisheries “certainly isn’t”. It was the Mail on Sunday that got the news from leaked emails. You can hear the deflating balloon coming into land, can’t you? Leunig only confirms what the Brexit fanatics have been saying all along, that the example of Singapore, which is “rich without having its own agricultural sector” is the model they want to follow.

Tim Leunig is an economist at the London School of Economics’s Department of Economic History and he is currently on two years leave to work as a Ministerial Policy Adviser.

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Singapore-on-Thames, a low tax regime – this is the new direction for this government. They’ve said it so many times one wonders if anyone in camp Brexit was listening at the time. The shift away from manual labour, from manufacturing, from farming and from fisheries will be the same as when Margaret Thatcher sacrificed the coal and steel industry for the service economy in the 1980s. This government is looking to the future – fifty years into the future. It’s just that they didn’t really tell the Brexit voters who and how they would be affected.

The likelihood is that in all negotiations, you will sacrifice your weakest assets to gain stronger ones. The compromise in negotiations, if they go well, is that you gained more than you gave away. Ministers will discard safeguards for farmers and fishermen in the forthcoming post-Brexit trade talks with the US and the European Union because it makes economic sense to do so if your hand is forced.

If you voted for Brexit because you were told all along that life would be better without those meddling Europeans – then this is a nasty awakening. The Vote Leave campaign argued that farmers and fishermen would be better off once free of EU rules but they were, like the rest of them, were promoting falsehoods to support an ideology.

The problem is that agriculture and fishing sectors represent less than 1% of the UK’s economy respectively. Further evidence came very quietly last week from Defra who announced only last week that EU farming subsidies, which the government promised would be fully replaced are to be cut by up to 25 per cent this coming year.

Last week, the environment secretary, George Eustice, came in for criticism after he refused to rule out chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef being imported from the US as part of a trade agreement with Washington. If this came to fruition, the race to the bottom would bankrupt thousands of British farmers and American megafarms would appear in their place. In a no-deal scenario, it has now been calculated that half of UK farms would fail said the former chief economist of the National Farmers’ Union.

The economy is on the brink, inward investment has collapsed, dozens of big companies have gone or are packing up and hundreds of £billions in financial assets have been moved to EU member states. The lies are unravelling and right now, in the heart of government, the officials are tearing each other apart. The clock is ticking and with just 10 months to go when Britain faces the music, the scenery is not looking all that rosy.


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