Wednesday, 13 January 2021

More project reality

Although there haven't been queues here in Dover so far, they are expected soo, with freight levels expected to climb next week as stores and warehouses use up the pre-Christmas stocks.

It has become clear that most UK freight companies are not even trying to do runs to the EU, I saw a Tweet from the owner of one company who posted a screen shots of the locations of all his vehicles, and most were in England, the rest in NI, and none in Europe.

Fisherment in NE England who have described the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) as a car crash, and are making increasingly louder calls for Ministers to do something, though there is little they can do, with the ink on the agreement barely dry.

If we look at this from the EU's point of view; they have an agreement that they pretty much wanted and allowed the UK to paint themselves into a corner with, with Johnson doing the painting. Four and a half years of talks and effort, that can now be used to fight the rise of the far right in Poland and Hungary, and battle with the effects of COVID across the Bloc. Brexit is now far lower down their list of priorities than it was before.

Just glad its all over.

But as I have said before, Brexit and reality are now in the same universe, there is no lies, no bullshit that will be able to hide the chaos. Its just not arrived yet.

Michael Gove floated the idea that in busy times, lorries returning to the EU could have a permit to allow them to jump to the front of any queues at the port or tunnel, to encourage firms and drivers to return to delivering supplies to the UK. It would be a sticking plaster on a decapitation, but it shows how bad Gove and his department think things are likely to get in the forthcoming weeks and months.

Things is, of course, these will not be teething troubles or bumps in the road, this is what Brexit and the TCA have done, this is what putting up barriers to trade, in the name of free trade (!), actually means. That the Government, Ministers and Johnson were warned every day for four and half years and did it anyway begs my often repeated question, what is in it for them?

Two stories yesterday on the BBC website of two small sellers from Suffolk: one who sells reproduction art deco posters, each one for about £80, says his customers in France, but applies all over the EU, have been presented with over £30 in additional Brexit costs to get the goods placed before Christmas. This will kill his business. As it will a small time fashion designer for oder ladies from Lowestoft reported the same thing. So, sellers on ebay and Etsy will not see costs for them, but wiill for their customers in the EU. Who will go elsewhere for their goods, where they can get for less money.

And a German haulier, a part of DB, has stopped all deliveries to the UK until further notice due to uncertainty over costs, paperwork and delays in the UK. So much winning.

Brexit was always going to be defined by the Irish Border, and as ever there were three choices, to avoid the second and third choices you would stay in the SM and CU, or you would have a border across Ireland so break the GFA or have it down the Irish Sea and break the Union of the United Kingdom. There was no other choice, just those, and each carried a heavy political price for the PM that made it. May chose 2 and she was removed from office by her backbenchers, now we have 3, what will Johnson's fate be? In the end, a seat on the Lords, I suspect.

And to return to another point, you can have lots of trade or lots of control. Not both. THe PM has to make a choice. He has, with control, so far, and there is little or no trade. Trade will only increase with less control.

Meanwhile Honda in Swindon is to close for four days next week due to supply problems, and the finsihed product have seen a 10% due to Brexit costs. I am old enough to remember Watchdog on BBC1 expaining how car manufacturers created a cartel to artificially keep UK car prices high until the EU was formed. NOw we will return to that, another one of those Brexit benfits we were not promised.

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