Morning all ... A much brighter day today, as has been for the past 48 hours or so. Let me start with the title of this article. Would the UK be better off inside or outside the EU? A reasonable question, and one that was asked of Corbyn 6 times without a successful answer. However on this occasion it was asked of Tom Watson by Charlie Stayt of BBC Breakfast. Tom Watson's answer was predictably wary. When pushed he responded, with NO DEAL Britain would be considerably worse off, but as for the positives, it depended in the deal that was achieved, A sensible answer, and as much as one can expect, but let's analyze that for a minute.
Firstly, it depends on what deal is achieved means what exactly? In 2016, following the latest negotiations of Cameron with the EU, a referendum was held. The fact that the referendum decided to leave means they thought that Cameron's deal was lousy and a better job could be done on our own. The Brexit process meant that there would be a delay of years, after which all the benefits of being outside the EU would kick in. Since we have nothing better to do for two years, why not negotiate for an even better deal. Why not indeed. This process, evidently has us all, and I mean all, realizing that what we gain from being on the outside does not outweigh what we lose from being on the inside.
Take the farmers. It is claimed that being on the outside would mean cheaper food for Britain. Really? How? The farmers' of today only survive by some extra funding they get from the EU. The government has promised that they will take over the role of the EU and support the farmers. How exactly can this policy result in cheaper food? The only way is if the UK decides to import from cheaper countries abroad. What do you think that would do to the farmers? Why bother to produce anything when you can just buy it cheaper from abroad? Exactly the same holds true for the manufacturing industry. In a world of completely free trading, only the most competitive will survive, and those with comparative advantages in labour will continue to attract the vast amounts of foreign capital needed for the factories. The THINK or BRAIN WORK may remain in the UK but how many people are qualified for that?
Next, let's take the fisheries. The Scot's and those in the South West regions complain their fishing quotas are not fair and need better renegotiation. That may be, but as has already been seen, fishing is very low on the government's list of priorities and has already been exempted from change during the transition period, except now we can't even complain. But most importantly, what is being forgotten is the ratio and type of catch being landed in the UK. For whatever reason most of what we catch, including the shell fish of the Wales waters, is preferred in the EU, while the British prefer fish types caught elsewhere in the EU. How exactly will 'not being able to sell your own catch as easily', or 'adding more bureaucracy to the process' going to increase our sales or cheapen our imports?
I won't even begin to try to justify how we will be safer outside the EU than on the inside, and explaining how leaving out of the deal an industry that accounts for 80% of the wealth (Financial services) generation is beyond me.
Finally of course we have immigration. We will be setting our own targets. Wonderful, except there has already been a 50% drop of the numbers from the EU in the last year or so. Part of course is the fact that the drop in sterling means they earn less in their own currency making coming to Britain less attractive, and the uncertainty of the future also contributes. But one thing the government cannot control is the rise in antipathy for the average immigrant resulting in many migrants, some of whom are actually British, being made to feel more and more unwelcome on the streets.
So obviously, the question about being better off outside the EU is NO. Unless there are people out there that think the EU will pay us to leave or give us a better deal on the outside than what we had as a member, the answer will always be NO. Unlike ourselves, they worry about letting Brexit undermine their union. As for me, I have already laid my bet on Scotland seceding within 10 years in the event that Brexit goes through. I would even bet on Ireland reuniting.