TrumExit

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As the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the EU enters the last critical phase, it is puzzling that media coverage is at an all-time low.

There is the matter of Covid-19, but a no-deal Brexit, (according to the Governor of the Bank of England), could cause more long-term economic damage than Covid.

The defeat of Donald Trump has badly wrong-footed the UK government – this is despite a concerted effort by Republicans to scare some voters, suppress others, and seek to dismantle and discredit postal voting.

The UK government seemed to view a Trump victory as more likely, than not. The last president to lose re-election and serve only one term was HW Bush 28 years ago.

The UK government was relying on a Trump victory to fast-track a US/UK trade deal – though, in reality, it would still take years to finalise and sort out the details. The UK government was also (sadly) hoping that a Trump victory would signal a continuation of a populist government style, where noise replaced policies.

Thankfully, the adults won.

This now leaves the UK government in a bind – and so leaves all of us in the same bind. It does not matter how you voted in the referendum back in 2016 – the UK is leaving – this is a fact of life. It will probably also be a one-way journey, there will be no return to the EU, as this is for the EU to grant, and that would be highly unlikely.

This leaves the UK in a tricky position – any perceived UK bargaining power has now vanished – both parties are aware of this.

Covid-19 has made our citizens and economy sick, and the road to recovery will be long and painful for most. We say “most” because some have had a fruitful pandemic, using the dire situation to profit from government contracts with no tendering process or oversight, with lucrative contracts going to friends and contacts – with many legitimate suppliers frozen-out of the process.

The UK now needs a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU, more than the EU needs it. A no-deal exit would satisfy Brexiteers but damage the UK economy for a significant period.

However, a deal is still only a 50/50 possibility – some will want a hard Brexit as they can profit from it – just like Covid.

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