Chaos

Come back, David Cameron, all is forgiven!

Ok, ok. Maybe not all is forgiven. For example, it would be hard to forgive austerity, which just pushed the cost of the financial crisis onto the poor, while delaying economic recovery by several years. Yeah, fair enough, it would be hard to forgive that.

Also, it is pretty hard to forgive causing Brexit in order to win a general election…

Ok, screw it. None of it is forgiven but come back anyway, if the alternative is the chaos that is the current government.

Yesterday, the news was that David Davis was heading off to Europe to tell the EU negotiators that if they didn’t give the UK a very beneficial, bespoke trade agreement, we would all be plunged into another 2008-style financial crisis!

(I’m sure he achieved a very small erection when he told us all how tough he was going to be.)

I, however was unimpressed. (Not by his erection, I was indifferent to that. I mean I was unimpressed with his decision to use a financial crisis argument.)

The problem I have with a financial crisis argument, is that he said exactly the opposite during the referendum campaign. Voters were continually reassured by David and his fellow leave campaigners that talk of recession was a simple case of scaremongering by the remain campaign. It was Project Fear and nothing more.

So.. umm.. the fear mongers were right after all? Or is David just making things up as he goes along? Or does he just have no idea what he’s doing?

I’ll leave you to decide, but (SPOILERS) don’t assume those are mutually exclusive.

Throughout the entire process David has publicly displayed how out of his depth he is. In fact, every time he has anything to say about the Brexit negotiations, I can’t feel angry, I just feel embarrassed for him.

It’s like confidently telling the press that you’ll easily beat Garry Kasparov at chess, then sitting down to play and calling the knight a horsey and asking which ones the prawns are.

He has history of course. In July 2016, shortly after the referendum result, David wrote this:

So be under no doubt: we can do deals with our trading partners, and we can do them quickly. I would expect the new Prime Minister on September 9th to immediately trigger a large round of global trade deals with all our most favoured trade partners. I would expect that the negotiation phase of most of them to be concluded within between 12 and 24 months.

So within two years, before the negotiation with the EU is likely to be complete, and  before anything we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU. Trade deals with the US and China alone will give us a trade area almost twice the size of the EU, and of course we will also be seeking deals with Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, the UAE, Indonesia – and many others.

With eight months of the 24 to go, we have negotiated no new trade deals, we have none in any advanced stage of negotiations and we have none in progress.

Should we be shocked? No. Our situation won’t come as any surprise to anyone who knows anything about international trade agreements. They are horrendously complicated but what’s more striking is that anyone who knows anything about international trade agreements knows that you shouldn’t try to do them as quickly as possible. Yes, we could do a quick deal with the USA – it would simply be a case of agreeing to all of their terms… and then we’d quickly have a (terrible and one-sided) trade deal with the USA!

The only time quick trade deals happen is when one side gets steamrollered by the other and you have to worry about this happening to us, when the government has so much face to save by getting some quick ones in.

Add in to that, the team we are trusting to do it. When you go to the USA and ask for a trade deal, they fill the room with whiz-kid Harvard folk, who’ve spent their lives studying international trade agreements. We send Liam Fox (a former GP with no experience of international trade agreements) and David Davis (still working out which one the prawn is.)

With this team in place, things look pretty stark. The only way we can now realistically avoid disaster in international trade negotiations is if we don’t try to do any.

It’s hard to feel confident that we are in the safest hands for that time that Brexit actually happens, but just as worrying is the fact that it’s already screwing us up in other ways. The entire government, it seems, is focused solely on Brexit and although they don’t seem to realise it, there is still a country to run. The cost of Brexit isn’t simply the crappy trade deals we might have from April 2019. Some of the cost is already here, in the form of the complete lack of government that is happening right now. From the government’s non-response to Grenfell, to the crisis that is happening in our NHS, domestic issues are simply, it seems, not a priority in comparison with Brexit.

Today, in an unprecedented move, 68 senior A&E doctors wrote to the government to tell them that people were dying in hospital corridors because they had no beds and no staff to treat them.

This situation, caused by the government, is simply horrendous and it is far from what we should expect in a rich, developed country, such as the UK. We absolutely have the wealth and ability to properly fund the NHS but because of the government’s idealism, distraction and incompetence, it doesn’t happen.

And then people die in hospital corridors.

If Jeremy Hunt or Theresa May had any semblance of a conscience, they would read that letter and resign immediately.

I’d ask David Davis to do so as well but he is probably still too busy working out which one the prawn is.

We live in bad times.

RedEaredRabbit

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About RedEaredRabbit
My name is RedEaredRabbit, King of Kings. Look on my works ye Mighty and despair.

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