The 10 Brexit questions have already been answered… but Remainers need to start listening
By Iain Duncan Smith and John Longworth
We are writing in response to the Telegraph’s Europe Editor Peter Foster earlier this week, in particular, his peculiar assertion that no one has answered the key questions he poses on Brexit. In fact, they have been answered ad nauseam. Sadly, some people are just not listening.
How much clout does a nation of 65 million people have in global trade?
This question is immaterial.
Firstly, being a niche player in a global market can produce major advantages of specialisation and focus without distorting markets.
Secondly, markets demand a seller and a willing buyer, in which case size doesn’t matter.
Thirdly, the UK can remove tariffs unilaterally and harvest the benefits without trade deals, in turn boosting the economy and reducing the cost of living.
There are very good examples around the world of countries far smaller than the UK doing far better than members of the EU; Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and so on.
Will the British government ask for the ability to extend the transition period?
Why would we need to extend the period? There is enough time to make any practical arrangements,even the EU said so when it chose to end the transition period at the end of 2020.
Besides, it would cause outrage in the country and seal the fate of any government which attempts it. Given that any attempt to extend would require all 27 Member States to agree and Parliament to change the leaving date, an unlikely combination.
Do we really want a trade deal with the United States?
Much of the hype on the USA, repeated in the article is hypocritical nonsense. Why would we not want a deal with an economy which is larger than the EU 27 and one in which we are the largest inward investor?
Consider the typical objections. Firstly, we all consume chlorinated water every day in our tea or coffee or just from the tap, (or even in the public swimming pools). We eat bagged salads washed in chlorinated water. Interestingly, millions of British citizens have holidayed in the USA and happily eaten their chicken and beef, with no ill effects. Furthermore, the USA has a lower incidence of campo bacteria and salmonella than the UK.
As for genetically modified (GM) food, no American we have met has two heads after thirty years of consumption and, for that matter, virtually all animal feed in the UK (and the world) is GM.
When it comes to steroids, the Americans might point to the UK’s use of antibiotic growth promoters. People can choose, that’s what labels are for.
Should the UK remain in a customs union with the EU?
Of course, the UK should not remain in the customs union. The majority of exports to the EU are from countries not in the customs union. The majority of exports from the UK are to countries not in the customs union. It all works perfectly well under WTO rules. The customs union is a protectionist zone designed to protect continental producer by erecting tariffs (taxes on imports levied by the EU) which make goods and food more expensive for our citizens.
Leaving the customs union will allow us to reduce the cost of living by removing selected tariffs, especially benefitting the poor. It will also help developing nations who are excluded by the customs union from exporting to the UK. In fact, it will be very much for the many and not the few. Remarkably, those currently supporting the customs union are for the protected few at the expense of the many.
Crucially membership of the customs union also prevents the UK from striking independent trade deals around the world, a world outside the EU which will represent 90 per cent of economic growth in the coming years.
For these reasons, it is essential that we leave the customs union.
Does a customs border in the Irish Sea really risk the break up of the UK?
It does not, but it leaves Northern Ireland as a vassal state. However, this question is an irrelevance because it is unnecessary. Britain need not impose a border in Ireland for people as long as Ireland remains outside the Schengen Zone and therefore checks all comers to Ireland, as do we in Britain.
In respect of goods, pre-notification will allow goods to flow freely and, in any event, only 2% of goods on average are checked at borders around the world.
Of course, if Ireland chooses to bow to the EU and impose checks, that is their prerogative.
What’s the real appetite among the British public to go ‘buccaneering’?
If by buccaneering we mean leaving on a World Trade deal, the answer is very high. The opinion polls indicate a higher overall number now prepared to vote for leave and most leavers and many reformed Remainers saying we should just leave.
The opposition comes from repressive parts of the establishment for whom the status quo suits them very well. They also only appear to believe in democracy when it is in their interests.
What economic price is worth paying to end free movement?
The people of Britain voted to take control of; our laws (including jurisdiction), our borders (including migration) and our money (including trade). Anyone I have ever spoken to who voted for Brexit has said that they expected a period of disruption but that this was worth it in order to win the liberty that comes with Brexit. They also say that we will be better off in the long term.
They are right, we will be better off and sooner than they think, which means we won’t pay an economic price, on the contrary, there will be an economic benefit. A recent report by the Centre for Social Justice showed that reliance on cheap labour in the UK has meant that business investment in skills and automation has lagged behind.
This has had the biggest effect on the poorest. Now in the UK, only 15 per cent of those who start work in an entry-level job will rise above that for the rest of their working lives.
Extensive analysis by economists (eg the Economists for Free Trade and the Institute of Economic Affairs) who have historically got it right, as opposed to the Treasury who get it wrong, show that the UK will benefit from Brexit to the time of 7 per cent of GDP, which is like having an increase in growth of a third every year for fifteen years.
This is attributable to trade deals, the removal of tariffs, the better allocation of our repatriated net contribution and better regulation, all impossible as members of the EU, but entirely possible when we leave.
How politically unsustainable is vassalage really?
Totally unsustainable. It is clear that our political class, the metropolitan bubble and the bakers’ beltway up the Thames Valley have no concept of the incandescent rage in the rest of the country as to why we haven’t just left the EU already.
What country in its right mind, would sign up to be a rule taker without any say? It is like volunteering to be a colony but with a malign rather than paternalistic host.
Is it time to throw our lot in with EU defence?
Certainly not. Judging by the weak response to Russian aggression and reliance on energy from the Russians, the Euro-army will be an excuse to do nothing. History has proven continental entanglements to be at best, unreliable and at worst downright dangerous.
In any case, the UK is the leading military and security power in Europe and defence producer, the benefits would be asymmetric in favour of an uncooperative EU. It would also be most foolish to shift our focus away from continued alliance with the USA and NATO and Five Eyes, especially as Britain re-emerges on the world stage.
Will a second referendum fix anything?
The only people who want a second referendum are those who are determined to reverse the result of the first. Most people in Britain just want to get on with. Brexit and embrace the opportunities. Any extension of membership or a second vote would break belief in democracy with unpredictable consequences. The fact that this is how the undemocratic EU have historically operated makes it even worse.
If the result were a score draw in extra time would we then have to have penalties. It would be risible if the consequences of this course were not so dire.
August 30th, 2018: Telegraph