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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Brexit - what have we done?

Two weeks away in sunny Cornwall and hardle anything has changed. Boris Johnson's premiership is still in crisis, a situation exacerbated by a cracking Liberal Democrat victory in the Tiverton and Honiton by-election, petrol and energy prices continue to soar and the cost of living crisis remains a factor in all our lives.

There are so many issues that have brought us to this position - the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, Brexit - to name but three, and we are where we are, but in terms of self-harm, Brexit must sit near the top of our problems.

Now, realistically I accept that we are not going to reverse a poor decision overnight, but there are things we can do to mitigate the effects, such as rejoining the single market in one form or another. But before we do that we need to accept the consequences of our decision to leave the EU, and stop pretending that promises have not been broken, that we were not lied to and misled about the intentions of those advocating schism, and that it will all be alright in the end.

In the meantime, here is an outstanding Guardian article on where we stand now, six years on from the referenndum:

Only now, with the worst of the pandemic (probably) behind us, and ministers unable to blame Covid, is Brexit reality being laid bare.

Next year the OECD calculates that the UK will record the lowest growth in the G20 with the exception of Russia whose economy is being drained by its war on Ukraine.

The Office for Budget Responsibility says Brexit will have a long-term effect of cutting UK GDP by a hefty 4%, an estimate unchanged since early 2020. The Financial Times says such a decline amounts to £100bn in lost output, and £40bn less revenue to the Treasury a year. The UK is now behind all the other G7 nations in the pace of its recovery from the pandemic, with exports by UK small businesses to the EU down significantly.

Jonathan Haskel, a member of the Bank of England’s nine-member monetary policy committee, said on Friday that Brexit was “disconnecting the UK from its main trading partners” in a clear example of de-globalisation. An expert at Imperial College on ways to improve productivity, Haskel warned in 2019 that British business investment would likely be weak for several years because of uncertainty linked to Brexit.

Figures from the Centre for European Reform show that the Brexit vote has already depressed economic growth. The independent thinktank said that by the end of last year the economy was 5% – or £31bn – smaller than if the UK had stayed in the EU. Faced with all this, arch-Brexiters are increasingly turning on Johnson. They don’t admit Brexit was a mistake but say it has not yet been made to work.

And there is much more. Read the article, it may open your eyes.
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