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A race to the bottom… November 21, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

A curious but revealing contribution in the IT from Eoin Drea (researcher at the Wilfried Martens Centre which the IT helpfully notes is ‘official think tank of the European People’s Party which includes Fine Gael’). For a vision of how some in Europe and the EU might see Brexit as an opportunity to further shift the EU rightward well read on. Drea argues that the EU is overstating the difficulties that the UK will have after Brexit, moreover…

Brexit Britain’s quest for a global niche is achievable, probably likely, if adopted in a collaborative framework with the US, China and India. That does not mean that Brexit – of whatever shade – will not have huge negative impacts on Britain – that much is obvious. But what Europe has failed to understand is that Brexit Britain doesn’t want to reorient British business to compete with the EU as an offshore raider. Rather, it seeks to double down on globalisation and reinforce Britain’s role as a location for global business. The protection of British business died with Thatcher, whereas in Europe it lingers like the odour of a bygone era.


The EU has also fatally overlooked two characteristics of the British economy that will help it mitigate the immediate negative impacts of Brexit. First, Britain – like all Anglo-Saxon economies – looks aghast at the oversized role of government in continental states. British public spending as a proportion of their economy stands at under 40 per cent (even less in Ireland). The French spend in excess of 50 per cent, the Germans about 45 per cent. Britain can easily sustain a massive increase in public expenditure (as now proposed by both the Tories and Labour) to help offset the immediate Brexit drain. Second, Europe has underestimated the ability of Britain to sustain a global reach based on its historic experience. There are literally dozens of niche areas that the City of London could utilise in their quest to retain, and even enhance, their location as a global financial centre irrespective of their future relationship with the EU.

From all this he decides that ‘for Europe to thrive, Brexit Britain must fail (and fail badly)’.

If that sounds implausible, well so it should. He ignores so much – for example, detaching the UK from the EU immediately takes away a key global selling point for the UK, that is as an entry to the EU. Moreover a resurgent UK globalisation sounds feasible, but that too ignores an international context where protectionism in one form or another has just come back into vogue. That may not last as it stands, but it has to be a significant factor in the short to medium term and will likely outlast Trump.

As to the size of the state, simply making up for the deficits following departure from the EU is going to see those percentages creep upwards. He admits as much himself in regard to increased public expenditure post-Brexit though one has to be sceptical about how robust the UK is in regards to cover that. And this before we examine the question of UK coherence. For example secessionist tendencies within the UK itself.

Then there’s global reach, having cut many of its links with its closest trading partners, and even acknowledging the importance of services to the UK economy one has to wonder how plausible it is that it can increase that yet further, particularly in a time of massive retrenchment.

Then again, notable how factual errors appear in the text:

Did you ever wonder why so many workers from central and Eastern European member states flock to work in Britain (and Ireland)? Why English is the dominant language in the EU even though it will not even be an official language of any member state after Brexit?


Quite the paean to Neo-liberalism.


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