Free trade at any cost October 25, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Stephen Collins must be conflicted these days. As a voice of the orthodoxy to see that orthodoxy splinter into different strands must be quite disturbing. One can tell by his tone in his latest IT column that he is aghast at not just Brexit (understandably) but that the Tory party… well, let me quote him:
Theresa May and her main negotiators have made it abundantly clear they have no interest in doing the kind of deal with the EU that would minimise the fallout on both sides.
If anything, they are committed to making things as bad as they can possibly be in the arrogant belief that the 27 remaining EU states have as much to lose as they have from a UK exit from the single market and the EU customs union.
The fact that they don’t appear to have any coherent plan is only making things worse. The recent Conservative Party conference amply justified “the stupid party” tag which first surfaced in Victorian times.
Now as someone who has never expected better from the Tories this isn’t quite the surprise to me that it seems to be to him. But be that as it may, where this leads is…
That leaves the Irish Government with a cruel dilemma. If the British government is intent on making things as hard as possible for everybody, there is no longer any percentage for this country arguing for a good deal for our nearest neighbour.
None of which I disagree with really.
But further on there’s a telling couple of lines by him:
The potential difficulties involved in negotiating the UK exit deal are illustrated by the problems that have arisen with the trade deal between the EU and Canada because the French-speaking Wallonia region of Belgium has voted against it.
That puts into perspective the potential problems of getting a Brexit deal acceptable to all 27 member states plus a variety of regions who have a veto in their countries’ federal arrangements.
Incidentally, a motion opposing the trade deal with Canada passed by the Seanad recently, because Fianna Fáil abstained inexplicably, is another signal about just how difficult it can be to sell international agreements to a public increasingly suspicious of institutions that represent authority.
Ireland is utterly dependent for its prosperity on free trade. If spurious objections can be found to a trade deal with Canada, one of the model democracies on the planet, then what hope is there for other international trade deals?
What’s fascinating is his implicit belief that international trade deals are essentially positive, come what may. It’s not even as if there’s a balance between positive and negative aspects – nope, it’s just a given in his case. Telling.