The Numbers Behind Brexit And What It Means For The Future
Ian Jack writes about the influences on Brexit, and how the 1980s changed Britain, most of all above the line between the Wash and the Bristol Channel. Between 1979 and 1986, jobs in the manufacturing industry shrank from 7m to 5.1m. Of all the jobs lost, in services as well as manufacturing, 94% were to the north of that line.
Jack also notes how in 2004, Tony Blair’s government decided to open the UK labour market to the eight eastern and central European countries that had joined the EU. Only two other member states, Sweden and Ireland, did so as freely. Between 5,000 and 13,000 migrants were expected; within the first year, 129,000 turned up. These are the numbers behind Brexit.
Deindustrialization and immigration along with other political, social, and economic factors, according to Jack, are to blame for Brexit. What exactly is Brexit though?
Brexit is the June 23, 2016, referendum where the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The residents decided that the benefits of belonging to the unified monetary body no longer outweighed the costs of free movement of immigration. Brexit is the nickname for “British exit” from the EU.
On March 29, 2017, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May submitted the Article 50 withdrawal notification to the EU.
That gives the UK and EU two years to negotiate all affected issues. They include the following six points.
The UK does not want to continue allowing unlimited EU immigration.
The two sides must guarantee the status of EU members living in the UK, and vice-versa. The same applies to work visas, which are not currently required.
The UK wants to withdraw from the European Court of Judgment.
The UK wants a “customs union” with the EU. That means they will not impose tariffs on each others’ imports and impose common tariffs on imports from other countries.
Both sides want to continue to trade.
The EU will require a cash settlement from the UK to meet existing financial commitments. Recent negotiations put the figure at 40 billion to 55 billion euros.
The withdrawal plan must be approved the European Council, the 20 EU countries with 65 percent of the population, and the European Parliament. Then the UK will copy the EU laws into its own laws, which can then be amended or repealed.
The Hard Brexit means leaving the EU quickly with no restrictions other than a new free trade agreement. The Soft Brexit would retain complete access of capital with restricted access of people. That is similar to Norway’s relationship with the EU.
Prime Minister May named David Davis as the head of Brexit.
He wants to negotiate bilateral trade agreements with enough countries to replace the EU within the next two years. He believes the EU will allow tariff-free access without insisting on the free movement of people.
The Prime Minister’s plan was thrown into disarray thanks to a snap election that she called. She felt a strong vote of support would strengthen her negotiating position with the EU. Instead, her Tory party lost control of Parliament. Some were even calling for her to resign her post. The Labour party won 40 percent of the vote. Labour supports a Soft Brexit.
On September 22, 2017, May acknowledged the increased likelihood of a Soft Brexit. She proposed a two-year transition period after the UK leaves the EU. It would allow continued access to markets. In return, the UK will continue paying its EU membership fees until 2020.
Blame For Brexit?
What seems to be missing is that Theresa May, in an official speech, has admitted that the UK will be worse off after Brexit. She is the first of her Cabinet to do so.
In the speech, May admits the European Court of Justice will remain applicable. Additionally, European Union rules will be applicable directly or mirrored. Finally, borders will be in place but semi open to solve the issues Northern Ireland has with it.
Apparently there will be a chance for Free Trade agreements over the world with China, which will want to have removal of copy rights; the US, now a trade warring nation using high tariffs and; India, with open borders for Indian nationals. In the mean time, while EU immigration is going down, it’s immediately replaced by non-EU immigration. Knowing this, what was the aim of Brexit and is it achieving it?