That new role for the UK? January 27, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
The SPB editorial asks a question long raised on this site here, ‘is Britain aiming to become the new Ireland?’. The editorial shares the concern of many of us in relation to T. May’s speech last week. Her wish in regard to the CTA seems as much aspirational as anything. And then there’s the point she made about ‘changing Britain’s economic model’ in relation to ‘competitive tax rates and policies that would attract the world’s best companies and biggest investors to Britain’.
As the SBP notes:
The danger is clear. If Britain with its greater population, greater scale and greater congregation of skills – not to mention its greater name recognition and international outlook, – decides to imitate Ireland it will dwarf Ireland.
And yet I wonder if this overstates matters. The SPB notes that the situation with Trump in the White House changes the situation for Ireland. His express wish to pull jobs and companies back to the US has to be bad news for us. But if Britain tries to emulate the ROI will there be space for it to do so? Hammond was roundly mocked for his line that Britain might try to emulate Singapore, and rightly so – a small city state is simply not scaleable to a state the size of the UK. It seems to me that these different dynamics seem to impinge negatively on one another. A free trade UK hits the road just as the US pulls up the drawbridge. Furthermore an UK attempting to be ‘the new Ireland’ may find itself now that it is to lock itself outside the EU in a position where Ireland can claw some of its business and it has limited access to EU markets.
None of this is good news for Ireland, and I think the SBP is absolutely correct to suggest that ‘Ireland needs a new plan’. But the grim truth is that as with aspects of Brexit Irish leverage is very limited indeed.