Brexit blog - 7.8.18

Welcome back to my Brexit blog. This is a regular update on the state of the negotiations, the view from Brussels and the fight for a People’s Vote.

From the academics: Austerity caused Brexit

The idea that austerity would help get the British economy back on track after the financial crisis was never true. See here for Krugman’s elegant explanation. Now, a Warwick University study argues something we knew all along - it led to Brexit. We’ve got to do everything we can to stop the Tories doing again what they have been doing for years - tanking the economy, then punishing working people for it.

The future of EU-UK relations

Both the European Parliament and the British Parliament are in recess, but there is a lot going on over the summer. We still have no idea what the future relationship between the UK and the EU will be.

If Brexit happens, and we’re fighting to make sure that people have a say on whether or not it does, it’s going to be one of three options broadly:

Norway model

The UK does a Norway, within the European Economic Area. This would protect integrity of single market, no queues at dover, no need to stockpile goods etc. It would solve the Irish border problem. It would lead to the question - why did we leave the EU? Ultimately, it would make us a rule-taker and free movement of people would continue.

Canada model

We could get a Free Trade Agreement, Canada-style. Wouldn’t be great for British exporters and would either erect a border at Northern Ireland or leave them in single market and customs union. This would cross one of May’s ridiculous red lines.

Have-your-cake-and-eat-it model

After a somewhat turbulent start (multiple resignations, terrible translations), Theresa May has taken her white paper (details here) to the Commision and is fighting for its survival. The problem is it crosses EU red lines by “picking and choosing”.

Barnier is not keen, as he made clear in an op-ed published last week, so May had dinner Macron to beg him to endorse it. We’ll still waiting to see how that went.

Of course, it could be none of the above - we could get no deal, be under WTO rules, and be subjected to massive tariffs. The new Foreign Secretary may not be smart enough to know the nationality of his wife, but he could be right in saying that we might end up in a no deal situation by accident.

What’s my position?
Hopefully, that’s clear by now. I think people had legitimate grievances, I think people genuinely suffer under Tory-led austerity and that as long as this continues, people will continue to feel alienated from the people that represent them. Austerity led to Brexit - we have to stop both.

Regarding the EU, I think that we are all much more informed about how important EU membership is to British workers, companies and people. I think we deserve a final say on the Brexit deal through a People’s Vote.

As ever, please let me know what you think at wajid.khan@europarl.europa.eu