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I have taken a lot of interventions and will take more later, but first I will make some progress.
It is important that we work through not just the technicalities of the deal, but where it leads us politically, because this is about the direction of travel for our country. If we go to a bare FTA, which is what it would mean, the Government’s own estimates show that there will be a loss of approximately 6.7% to growth in GDP over 15 years, and every region and nation will be poorer for it. The Prime Minister’s letter of
It is obvious where the Government are going. They want a licence to deregulate and diverge. I know they will disavow that, I know they want the deal through, and I know they will say, “Never. Of course not”, but it is obvious where it leads. Once we have diverged and moved out of alignment with the EU, trade will become more difficult. The EU will no longer be seen as our priority in trade and the gaze will go elsewhere to make up for it. Once we move out of alignment, we will not move back, and the further we move out, the harder it will be to trade with the EU27, and once that happens, we will have broken the economic model we have been operating under for decades, and we will start to look elsewhere—across to the United States.
Our gaze will shift to the United States, and that is a different economic model. It is not just another country; it is a different economic model, a deregulated model. In the US, the holiday entitlement is 10 days. Many contracts at work are called contracts “at will”. Hugely powerful corporate bodies have far more power than the workforce. This is not a technical decision about the EU but a political direction of travel that takes us to a different economic mode—one of deregulation and low standards, where the balance between the workforce and corporate bodies is far worse.