British officials seem determined to outdo Lewis Carroll’s Queen in how many impossible things they can believe before breakfast. We’ll discuss four sightings: Corbyn’s single market nonsense, the auto parts industry nightmare, the Government’s new-almost-certainly-old Irish border plan, and customs paralysis. There’s even more but we needed to keep the post to a digestible length.
The latest is Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn acting as if he had a remedy to the Brexit conundrum by proposing that the UK remain in the single market. But this is just a variant of an idea that the Tories proposed regarding Ireland and separately, for the City, that of having the UK have some sort of really super special deal with the EU…and keeps them in the single market…but lets them still negotiate their own deals!
Corbyn presented these wooly-headed ideas at a speech in Coventry earlier this year. Richard North tore them apart then:
That much puts Corbyn in exactly the same “have your cake and eat it” territory as the Conservatives – except that he has an entirely different means of achieving this magical state. He tells us:
We have long argued that a customs union is a viable option for the final deal. So Labour would seek to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union to ensure that there are no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland.
The two paragraphs cited and consecutive and need to be taken together. Mr Corbyn is effectively suggesting that we enter into a customs union with the EU in order to give us full access to European markets and maintain the benefits of the single market and the customs union.
And that really is gibberish. Even if it was technically possible, which it isn’t, it would be a political non-starter. The EU has said any number of times that the UK is not going to get full EU benefits once it has left – whatever mechanism is chosen.
Reader vlade flagged the Guardian’s description of what it correctly called a “scheme to maintain access to EU single market.” This is the guts of the idea:
Although EU negotiators have repeatedly made it clear that there can be no cherry picking to the UK’s advantage in the negotiations, [Labour shadow Brexit secretary Keir] Starmer insists the new proposal would deliver full access to the single market, backed by EU-agreed standards, rights and protections. There would be shared UK-EU institutions and regulations, and no new impediments to trade.
Help me. The EU is going to create a whole new institutional apparatus, with the UK as a partner, a better status than it had when it was inside the economic union…just to spare the UK the hassle of changing its life as a result of its own Brexit decision? As vlade elaborated:
The scheme, as described is idiotic and would never ever be accepted by EU (as it would imply any third party could get single-market w/o the rules and all the stuff that goes with it).
To me, that means one of two things:
– Labour is equally idiotically incompetent as Tories are, has no clue about EU, and assumes UK would get things just because UK asks for them. Not to mention it again conflates custom union with regulatory union (“Labour’s amendment, along with a commitment to negotiate a new comprehensive customs union with the EU, is a strong and balanced package that would retain the benefits of the single market“) – bolding mine.
– Labour knows the difference, but does not expect the amendment to pass. It, on purpose, conflates custom union and single market, so that it can sell it to both leavers (“We didn’t want single market”) as well as remainers (“We wanted single market equivalent”) on the catastrophic Brexit due in 10 months. TBH, this for me would be even worse (the idiotic incompetence is par for the course, and something I already came to expect), as the purported greatness of Corbyn is that he’s principled – to me, this is equally principled as the “Brexit will get NHS 350m a week” – a knowing lie intended to get support of clueless audience.
Moreover, even from strategic position, this could backfire in the same way as the NHS lie – if the amendment does pass (we can assume Labour support, and if there’s sufficient number of clueless Tory soft-brexit MPs it could happen, given the Lords have already a customs amedment tabled), it would expose it for the lie it is. (moreover, in the comments section for something else, Labour supporters were claiming this was already agreed to by EU, which was another barefaced lie).
I’m sure North will have fun with this, given the box Guardian put in the article (the main idiocies highlighted by me)