Those pesky Brexit questions, still no answers 

A few weeks ago I posted some questions that I wanted answers to. Yesterday a UKIP supporter posted a blog with replies @thunderdriver, George Choy – currently resident in Hong Kong. 

The answers offered by George are in Italics, my rebuttal is directly under each one. 

Will we still have access to the single market? If not what will the replacement look like?

Yes, just like any other non-EU country. The UK and EU will need to negotiate a trade deal.”

This has not answered the question, in fact you seem confused. You have said that we would remain part of the single market – free to sell our goods and services without restriction whilst stating that we need to negotiate a trade deal. It is either one of the other. You have failed, along with most that want to Brexit, to address the model that the trade deal would take. 

To vote to leave and then to expect to trade under the same conditions is wishful thinking at the least and highly foolish in reality.

Will we be able to sell services, 78% of our economy, to the EU free of WTO tariffs? 
”That depends on trade negotiations between the UK and the EU. Don’t forget there is EFTA which is a tariff free trade deal between the EU and non-EU European states.”

Again, you have assumed a model that has not been confirmed. EFTA members have had to accept freedom of movement. Since Brexit is being sold to the public on the basis it will lower immigration we can not apply to, and join EFTA , without accepting that there will be freedom of movement. Since the other gripe is the implementation of EU regulations, those who want to leave to make their own laws may interested in this report from the government of Norway which shows they have implemented 75% of EU regulations without any representation from elected officials. 

If after two years there is no agreement, which according to the Brexit lot is highly likely since they constantly moan about the long time it takes for all the EU members to agree. Trade between the EU and the UK would revert to WTO rules, these would mean the introduction of fixed tariffs on services and agricultural products, amongst others. It would also mean a whole slew of non-tariff barriers to trade. 

I also refer you to the following answer on customs union. 

What kind of non tariff barriers will we face?

“Ditto the comments about trade negotiations.”

If those wishing to Brexit can not offer an answer to this question, then it is realistic to look at the current situation facing MEDCs who trade with the EU with or without a trade deal in place. 

If you wish to again refer to EFTA then note EFTA is currently not part of the customs union with the EU this means that goods produced in the UK which include components not produced under the Pan –Euro Med convention, for example cars which are assembled with parts not made in this area, would be subject to customs duties. Rules of origin mean that for each component contained a movement certificate would have to be produced – this would very likely increase the cost of our exports making us less competitive. 

The lack of a customs union is very concerning when much of our manufacturing production is owned by those who specifically invested in the UK to take advantage of the customs union.

Will there be a visa system for holiday makers? 

“This is a very interesting strawman that just popped up.  I now live in HK and after HK went back to the PRC in 97, most HKers were given HKSAR passports instead of the BNO. The HKSAR passport allows visa free access to all Schengen states and the UK.  If EU countries want UK tourists then I guess it would be in the EU’s interest not to put up visa conditions on UK nationals. Otherwise, if the EU puts up visa restrictions then UK people will just have to spend their holidays in the UK, thereby helping the UK economy and cutting down the carbon footprint.  This is a pretty poor reason for remain, methinks.”

It is not those who wish to remain who have mooted the question of visas

And although VISA restrictions might be a small matter the complication faced by the airlines are not.

Will the CAP payments be maintained at the current level and for how long? 

“Can’t believe you are using the CAP as a reason to stay.  CAP subsidizes farmers for producing more than enough cheap food, which is then dumped on the third world, thereby destroying local markets and livelihoods. Which then creates poverty, conflict, migration etc. CAP is actually a very good reason for Lexit as it benefits a few rich people.  Speaks volumes that you as a left-liberal should use this one.”
It speaks volumes that you are unaware that food dumping no longer occurs, export subsidies are being eliminated. One of the problems with those who wish to Brexit is that they do not actually know what is happening in the EU and rely on out of date newspaper articles and biased commentary without looking at the facts. 

Ditto there are no tariffs on food imports from most African nations under the anything but arms deal that has been in place for a number of years. There has already been considerable reform of CAP as regards these issues. 

As for the EU and food production in Africa, one of the problems faced by African farmers a lack of technical assistance to enable them to produce food sustainably for themselves and the local market place. To this end the EU has invested a large part of its overseas aid and technical assistance to farmers in poorer regions of the world. 

How do we get future governments to guarantee CAP payments at EU levels? When agriculture, in reality, employs few people in the UK and does not have the influence of numbers

”See above regarding CAP”
Again you have failed to answer the question. CAP exists and is essential to upland farmers in particular. The agricultural industry is worth only 0.6% of our national value added, how can those advocating brexit guarantee that payments to farmers will remains the same as now in real terms into the future. British farmers benefit from the greater collective bargaining power of strong farming groups around the rest of the EU.

In addition many of those who want to brexit claim food prices will fall with increased imports of food. One oft quoted example is lamb from New Zealand as part of commonwealth reconnect. I am sure upland farmers in Scotland, Wales and Northern England will not be impressed by being undercut in a product that already, often, costs as much to produce as sell. 

How will we ensure that governments of different hues will maintain structural  aid, even when it’s directed at areas where it would give them no political gain?

”Why would it not continue to happen post-Brexit?  As someone who grew up during the Thatcher ’80s in South Wales and later in Manchester, I saw lots of various government projects and aid pouring into both depressed areas.”

Let’s take Liverpool, in the 1980’s its population declined by over 40%, the public aid that it received which created a climate for private investment was objective 1 structural funding initially in 1994 followed by ongoing objective 2 structure funding. Much of the money invested by the government was EU funding that had to spent in a designated area. Again you demonstrate a typical brexit trait to ignore the facts and to make stuff up. You can get the gist of the importance of EU structural funding for Liverpool here.  

Perhaps you can attempt to answer the original question, for example by comparing the amount spent by the current government on infrastructure/arts projects in London compared to the far more deprived North of the country.


Northern Ireland and Wales are net gainers from the EU budget. Will the Westminster government maintain this investment? 

“Ditto my comment above. Further why should UK taxpayers pay a larger amount to a supra-national body and then get a smaller amount back to invest in NI and Wales?  Why can’t we bypass the EU in the first place and cut out the middle man?”
See my comment above, successive governments have shown clearly where funding priorities lie. By the way the net cost of the EU is a small price to pay for the inward investment and trade benefits we receive .. See all my previous answers on EFTA .. Very small. 

What is an acceptable loss of GDP over the next 20 years? 

”Why do you think there will be a GDP loss because of Brexit?”
Again not an answer to the question. Financial models including those who are pro brexit show that should brexit supports get their desire regarding migration GDP will fall or fail to grow at a level that it would in the EU.

One of the main funders of Brexit, Arron Banks, has stated any price is worth paying. So what do you think is an acceptable loss of GDP over the next 20 years? If you think there is not going to be a loss, show this with a peer reviewed study.


How exactly will making our own trade deals increase the amount we export?

“The amount we export depends on the quality of our goods, service and the cost.  In fact it is possible that we could export more, without the shackles of EU rules and regulations.”
Which shackles would you remove, although try to remember that we do not have to comply with EU regulations to sell to the rest of the world now and we will continue to need to comply to sell into the single market. 

By the way, I expect that for most people detail would include a list of regulations that you intend to get rid of.


Explain in detail the reasons you think food will be cheaper? 

“Blimey the CAP again.  The food is ‘cheaper’ because it is subsidized by EU taxpayers.

Again a failure to answer the question.

Leave campaigners claim we can cut the cost of regulation. Account for which regulations will be removed in order to achieve this lower cost.

“These regulations don’t account for local cultures and business practices.  It is trying to force a one size fits all across the EU states.  A good example of this is the 48 hour EU working time directive which is unworkable and forced on the UK.”

Since the UK is already the least regulated economy in the EU, both for production and as a labour market, you might consider that we already opt out of what we don’t require. For example almost anyone can choose to opt out of 48hr week Of course you may want a bus driver driving 60hrs a week, most of us would prefer they did not. 

This is another example of where your knowledge seems to be limited to UKIP soundbites and not actual facts on the ground. 

The reality of regulation is thus 

“Take regulation. The Paris-based OECD club of mostly rich countries says that Britain has the least-regulated labour market and second-least-regulated product market in Europe. The most damaging measures, such as planning restrictions and the new living wage, are home-grown. Post-Brexit Britain would almost certainly choose not to scrap much red tape, since the call for workplace, financial and environmental regulation is often domestic and would remain as strong as ever.” Economist October 2015 

How are you going to address the very real fears of NI and Eire?

“Eire is a sovereign state, its people can deal with the EU themselves.  As for NI, what fears are you referring to?”

I suggest that you do a little reading you can start here . Many of fears are replicated on the Northern side of the border.

The Working Time Directive is often seen as a Cost to  businesses. Do you envisage it being removed from UK employment regulations, if so what would replace it?

”I think it should be removed, what should replace it should be decided by British people.”

Again no answer. 

The leave campaign claim fuel prices will be cheaper. If this is through a removal of VAT, where will the government recoup this loss in income?
”This can also be decided by the British people.”

This will be decided by any government in power, if you can not suggest a way that this loss can be recouped then I suggest you have no ideas of your own or know that the answer would be unpalatable!

How will you guarantee that a government in thrall to busines does not erode my right to paid leave? 

You can vote out that government if enough people are dissatisfied with it.  Can you do the same to the EC commission?”

A very weak answer that does not address the issue. Until the working time directive paid holiday leave was contractual not statutory, most people do not want a different regime of regulations every five years, depending upon the hue of the government. 

Overall you failed to answer the questions and displayed a typical lack of knowledge on some key issues. Like most UKIP supporters you fail to check facts, for example on CAP, and rely on soundbites from fellow kippers on social media, friendly newspapers and Nigel Farage. 


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