The UK is now in limbo. I’m trying to think of an analogy. Perhaps it’s going to be like Californians wondering whether (if ever) the San Andreas fault is going to do its worst. The earthquake must be overdue by now, but in the meantime nobody pays too much attention to the threat. Or perhaps it’s like being Robert Redford in All Is Lost, in which his yacht sinks and eventually he exhausts every diminishing option of saving himself and eventually gives up. But yay! Let’s not get too depressed about this (reading the Guardian’s commemorative supplement this morning was a very depressing experience). We can now look forward to a future beyond the immediate wreckage. As Johnson said in his homily to the nation last night, the curtain is going up on a new act in 'our great national drama' . . . ‘to deliver the changes people voted for. Whether that is by controlling immigration or creating freeports or liberating our fishing industry . . . ’ Creating FREEPORTS?! When did freeports ever come up in the referendum campaign? Fishing did (not least here in Scarborough) but since fishing represents just 0.01% of the UK economy it is purely symbolic, and being so will be sacrificed at the first sniff of hoped-for bigger fish to fry elsewhere.
I received a final report from Yorkshire and Humber Labour MEP Richard Corbett. Here’s a small taste of what 'taking back control' means:
On the economy: EITHER we distance ourselves from the EU (our neighbours and main trading partners), causing huge damage to our economy, losing thousands of jobs and hurting our public finances. OR we stay close to the EU, especially the customs union and the single market (both of which have non-EU countries participating), but then have to follow the rules without having a say on them anymore. Neither is good for Britain, although the second is less economically damaging. The government currently says it wants the former.
On security: EITHER we leave the joint police databases, the shared criminal records, the common efforts to find and catch crossborder gangs, traffickers and terrorists, etc. OR we ask the EU to let us stay in them anyway, but we’d not have a say anymore on how they’re run or the rules and safeguards that apply.
It’s the same choice again on the EU technical agencies where we currently pool resources to cut costs on things like the testing of medicines (European Medicines Agency), of chemicals (European Chemicals Agency) or of aircraft (European Air Safety Agency): EITHER we set up our own separate agencies, at great cost, recruiting the necessary expertise, duplicating work already done and having to get them recognised across the world. OR we ask if we can stay in the EU agencies anyway, but without a say anymore on how they’re run or the standards they apply.
Taking back control? What a delusion.