A thread on the contradictions of leaving the EU. It'll try to be as neutral as possible in the circumstances. And it'll try to be simple and logical.

Let's separate this area by area into bite sized chunks so we can understand them, and then look at what we have at the end.
1. trade.
EU is the UKs largest trading partner, about 40-50% of trade depending on whether you count services. That trade % is declining over time, but not fast.

Most of your infrastructure and logistics are built around the EU too so that's a factor to consider.
So if you're gonna pay for your economy after Brexit you have to trade with the EU, or find a way to replace 40-50% of your economy, with a bit of wiggle room in the future for declining share of EU.

And you have to be efficient enough to pay for the increased logistics costs.
If you go down the stay trading with the EU route, you have to accept trade on their terms. They are 27 nations with a single set of standards. You're one.

Even if they wanted to they couldn't alter their trading standards for you, that's why trade deals take so long. Complexity
If you go down the screw the EU WTO route you have to immediately deal with whatever reduction effect that has on your current trade and make that up somewhere else or fall into a recession that would make the 2008 look like party time.

And you also need to be more efficient.
So is there a way to replace large parts of your economy over night and become more efficient?

Simply No. Not that anyone including the more ardent advocates of Brexit have proposed.

That means whatever you do you have to agree a trade deal with the EU.
So now you realise you have to accept the WTO thing is a bluff. We know it's a bluff and they know it's a bluff.

It's a bluff not because they need us more than we need them etc. It's a bluff because we can't afford it because we have no other immediate options.
So we take that off the table and agree to an EU trade deal. What is that deal?

Well we have a few options.
1. We stay in the CU and SM.
2. We stay in either or
3. We cut a separate deal that isn't BLUFF option again. ie no massive drop in trade and increase in efficiency.
Now the Government (not the voters) have said options1 and 2 don't count as leaving the EU.

That's difficult because if they did count as leaving the EU we'd now have an answer on trade - stay in the CU and SM.

But let's assume the government is right. Can we do number 3
It's hard to imagine what a deal that isn't the CU or SM is but that doesn't massively affect economy or logistics.

If the EU allows you tarrif free trade with no strings theb you could just sign trade deals elsewhere and import cheap goods into the EU that they can't themselves
So that's a no, you'd be a sort of only fools and horses dodgy trader on the side of the EU, a back door to dodgy goods, rip offs and outright dangerous imports.

So the best the EU can do is offer you tarrif free trade but in compliance with their trading rules.
Now tariff free trade in compliance with their trading rules is basically CU and SM, but we can't admit that, so we call it managed divergence or maximum facilitation to keep everyone "happy"

You note none of this is because the EU isn't negotiating fairly...they have no choice
The other option you could have taken to solve number 3 is to reform your economy and logistics first.

We've been trading with the EU forever, not just the almost 50 years since the EEC. That's a lot of intertwined economy.

Let's say you're really ambitious how long to unwind?
Most people think 10 years is crazy ambitious, but let's go wild and say we could do it in 5.

Ok so post brexit we should have spent 5 years reforming the economy and then sent article 50.

Unfortunately we sent it immediately and then spent 2 years doing nothing.
So where are we in trade?

You either swallow CU and SM, or swallow a deal like CU and SM, or you should have waited on article 50.

No brexit advocate has ever suggested another solution to this.

So that's the end of trade. It only took 14 tweets and its just problem 1.
2. Ireland.

Ireland Ireland oh wonderful Green Land.

I love Ireland. Not just for the beauty or the wonderful peace they've finally managed to agree about the border...but also for the way that without trying, it's been a thorn in the side of all bad plans down the centuries.
So you know Ireland has a hard won peace. The issues are not settled, they probably won't ever be, but they got to a compromise

A) no real border
B) power sharing
C) a vote if the people want it on reunification

I apologise for anyone who wants me to further complicate this.
Northern Ireland inconveniently voted to stay in the EU so while that bit is nominally British, its really not happy with your plans to leave the EU in general, expect them to be unhelpful to your project.

And they can be really unhelpful.
But let's start with some basics. If you read the previous section on trade you see that Northern Ireland is actually quite a simple issue once you accept the realities of trade.

If you're in CU and SM or something very close to it there is no border problem. You just carry on.
The problems come when you try to maintain the WTO bluff. Which is the problem with bluffing, it has consequences.

IF you bluff on WTO you're back to being only fools and horses and a potential back door for dodgy goods into the EU.

So the best thing to do is not bluff.
Unfortunately many brexit advocates want to bluff because they think that will get them a better deal.

Which is fine so let's run with that. In order to bluff convincingly we now need to put a border in where one doesn't exist to stop dodgy trade.
Can you put a border into Ireland? There are some big problems with that idea.
1. It directly conflicts with your peace agreement
2. It's crazy logistics (200 crossing points)
3. The simple way is unacceptable to the people propping up your Government
Taking those one by 1.
The whole basis of the peace treaty in northern Ireland is no fixed border. That's why some Brexiters started to argue we should end the peace treaty.

Once everyone realised that was crazy, they had to find a way that didn't overturn good Friday.
That's why we have this idea of a non fixed border separated by a distance from the border on both sides and magic technology allowing it to exist.

If you think that sounds unrealistic it's because it is. This hasn't worked anywhere else in the world.
Some brexit advocates argue that Switzerland or Norway work sort of like this... And they do, sort of. But we want to be out of the SM and CU and so those examples don't apply to countries either in the SM. Or the CU.
Even if you think the magic technology no border border can be done, you still have the problem of doing it. border has to be created in over 200 positions along it and this all has to be achieved in about a year. That's magic needed to be put in place every working day from now
Since noone yet knows what this magic is, I think we can agree they can't install it.

And if they can't install it, that idea won't work.

The same trade argument might apply that if we had waited in article 50 we might have had time. But we didn't.
The simple answer is option 3. Put a damn border down the Irish Sea and be done with the annoying interfering Irish.

Everyone will like that except for the obscure party called the DUP who hate that more than anything else you could do.
Now if you'd won brexit convincingly and your government had a majority that would work.
Unfortunately the DUP are keeping your Government in power and if it collapses there will be a GE. If there's a GE the only issue will be brexit and who knows what'll happen.
Your options are now not good if you're still bluffing on WTO. You shouldn't be because it's a pointless bluff.

If you accept it's a bluff and sue for a trade agreement the issue goes away.

So that's Ireland. 15 tweets and we're just done with issue 2.
3. Food and Energy

I'm putting these into one bucket because while they're different, they have the same problem and they're much bigger issues than most commentators have recognised.

You'll have heard more moderate leavers say that we want to leave the EU but stay in Europe?
They're saying that as pithy sound bite, but it's actually more true than they realise.

If you read the trade section you'll know we have to do a trade deal even if we don't want to.

But let's ignore the financials and jut look at the thing that never changes.

The UK is situated next to Europe and can't produce all it's own food or energy.

There's no solution at all to it producing all its own energy.

There might be a solution to food production but it's years away and if you wanted it you should have waited on article 50.
The problem with food and energy is they are both perishable. That means you have to get them and share them with your nearest neighbours or spend a fortune importing them.

Essentially that's what the EU has given us, a nice efficient system of managing both across countries.
If you want to leave the EU and you don't want a trade agreement you're in trouble though.

You will get an immediate and large hike in food and energy prices and there's nothing you can do about that by trading more cleverly because its based on your geography.
There is no solution to geography. No magic can move the United Kingdom to a new location.

So. If you thought there weren't already enough reasons to point out that WTO is a bluff, that's another one.

Unless you want to live in the dark and the the cold and live on cabbage.
See that was a short and obvious one. It only took 7 tweets and to real people, heat light and food are probably more important than understanding trade deals.

Why this one doesn't get talked about more is beyond me.
4. Immigrants

How to start this one and try to be objective?

Ok let's lay out some ground rules.

Emotions stay out of it. We try to just look at facts with one exception.
A large proportion of the population THINKS migrants are a problem and that needs resolving whatever else
4.1 first off just some background. The UK can choose to manage migration better itself even in the EU. It doesn't so before we go anywhere we have to admit that taking control of our borders is something we've chosen not to do even when we could.

4.2 But let's say that's not enough and we want to switch away from the EU. If you've read the trade section you know that's impossibe but I'll run with some options anyway.
1. Train our own population to do the jobs
2. Find some other system of immigration like

Can we?
Option 1. Is difficult. We already have close to full employment and as we've seen since brexit vote we already have problems with nurse recruitment and farming labour because of brexit.

Brits don't seem to move for work in the way other Europeans do.
So in the face of a British population that won't or can't move (both may be true, I'm avoiding getting into the politics of that).
And a population that doesn't want to do manual work like fruit picking or nursing, this seems to rule that option out... However.
4.5 if you believe it can be done anyway you need to train.

Fruit pickers might be able to be trained quickly, plumbers and sparkies need more training and nurses need the longest of all.

So if you wanted to stop migration you needed to start training brits about 3 years ago.
4.6 We didn't do this - actually multiple attempts have been made to train particularly nurses... they still left a gap. So you have to accept you can do even better all while managing through the other bits of Brexit.

That's a tall order. I think we should at least try option 2
4.7 OK so now we're importing labour based on a points based system or some other solution.

We prioritise high skilled migrants and presumably we make exception for low skilled workers like fruit labourers who can come for a summer season?

Something like that?
4.8 this option has two big holes when you realise that EU migrants move without any administration. These holes are

A) who is scoring and approving all the migrants?

B) who is chasing the summer workers down if they don't want to leave?
4.9. In case you thought these were minor, they're not.
A) approvals at the home office is already a hopelessly long winded process. Youre about to add 100s of thousands of additional people to it, all of whom need to be scored.

Can it be done? Maybe. If you stated a decade ago.
B) the inability to chase up on migrants from the EU is the reason why the UK is not already doing it.

As I posted at the start of this section FOM allows for better migrant management. We just can't afford it. So the idea we can afford something more rigorous seems hard.
So where does that leave us with migration?
Well we should have waited on article 50 and solved it over the longer term. And we can't afford to lose our trade agreements that come with FOM.

But if you wanted to do it anyway you need a massive cash injection. Brexit bonus?

That took 12 tweets to simplify. Immigration is emotive but its actually pretty factual.

Either accept it or spend a lot of money managing it.

Depending on your politics both are possible. But don't pretend it can be done simply by leaving the EU.
5. The Divorce Bill
This one has got a ton of media attention but it really shouldn't have since its a complete red herring.

Suffice as to say it's only an issue if you promised a big brexit bonus to spend on, say the NHS.

Let's get into it in the next section.
The divorce bill is essentially what we owe the EU when leaving. For all the fuss about it in the press it's just contract terms.

You buy a house, if you sell it you pay off the mortgage. You don't walk off with all the cash.

Our bill is all the mortgages we signed up for
5.2 Then there's a bit of the bill that deals with ongoing comittments like pensions but that's just another version of mortgages.

And then there's a bit of the bill that theoretically pays for market access rights... But that probably would be what we'd pay anyway.
5.3 so this all adds up to a large amount and it is large but not really compared to what we pay anyway... And a tiny slice of the costs of our economy...


Except if you unwisely promised the people a brexit bonus to fund, for example the NHS.

Now you have a problem

Your bonus is gonna cost you a shed load of cash too. About £4B a year just for Mr Johnson's promise on the NHS. Then you've probably got to find another £10B a year for the divorce bill and all this while your economy is dealing with the trade impact (see first section).
5.5 so there are a lot of reasons you don't want a divorce bill if you promised brexit would be easy and done by Christmas.

How do you solve this?

Hard. Apparently you're going to need to sign a lot of trade deals fast. If you demonstrate you don't pay your debts, good luck.
An easy peasy one, only 6 tweets. If you leave a restaurant don't be upset if they ask you to settle your food bill first

There's no reason this gets attention except for the fact that people promised brexit would be easy and with lots of upside. And this is clearly not that
6. Drugs, Medicine and Holidays

I wanted to call this section regulations but that seemed so boring, so let's pick some interesting topics of regulation to make this as simple and real as possible.

Let's start with keeping the planes flying.
6.1 one of the things those advocating leaving the EU have to deal with is the EU is not just a trading block or even an organisation.

It's a massive series of interconnected things that have been put in place to make everyone's life easier.

Well until you try to leave that is
6.2 one example is aviation. The EU literally and figuratively keeps the planes flying, controlling the regulations of the airline industry. Its bodies and related bodies also manage the intersections of things like air traffic control.
6.3 So that's a lot to resolve before you leave, and if you don't even have trade figured out yet, when will you get to planes?

If you read the trade section you know WTO no deal is a bluff. But if one of the more mad politicians calls that bluff then they won't be flying home.
6.4 Next is medicine, or more specifically scans for things like cancer.
There's a thing called MRI in medicine you probably heard of. MRI is called magnetic resonance imaging....but here's the thing it's only called that so people don't get scared by the real name. NMR
6.5NUCLEAR magnetic resonance is what's used to scan your body.
Don't worry, it's perfectly safe, they just changed the name so you don't have to worry.

But they didnt change the process. These machines need you to swallow trace amounts of nuclear isotopes in order to function.
6.6 not surprisingly nuclear isotopes are heavily regulated and their transport is restricted.
Of course this is regulated by the EU And that goes on exit.

So it would probably all eventually get worked out. But that all takes time and these isotopes degrade. Quickly.
6.7 is drugs. We have a heavily integrated supply of medical drugs across the EU. Those are as subject to trade and tariff restrictions as everything else.

If we crash out of the EU we'll have drug shortages. Again it could be resolved but some people can't wait even days.
6.8 so that's regulation in 8 tweets. Regulation isn't as unsolvable as other issues but it does need planning and preparation by detail focused ministers for brexit.

If they spend all their time arguing about trade, they are not resolving important stuff like this.
7. Summary.
There are at last count about 700 major issues to resolve with Brexit and over 50 tweets I just simplistically explained 6 of them.

If you knew nothing about the scale of challenge facing the UK, hopefully now you have some idea. Let's just recap a few things.
7.1 Recap.

Trade. You need a deal or you go into really bad recession. WTO is a very unconvincing bluff.

Northern Ireland is only a problem when you're bluffing. Once you stop bluffing it goes away.

Geography. If you try to fly or ship in perishables that's gonna cost you.
7.2 Migrants. It can be done, but you're going to pay for it, which brings us to

Divorce Bill, which should be called the restaurant bill. Its reasonable and only a problem if you already spent the money on say migration

Regulation. There are lots of them. They all need solving
7.3 Though these all look like nasty problems the truth is they COULD be done.

If you absolutely wanted to leave the EU, you could do it, given time to prepare and carefully plan.

The problem with the UKs position is that the immediate article 50 notification killed time
7.4 If we had done the planning and then carefully managed changes to the economy the UK might have been able to leave in 5, probably 10 years.

To reverse 40 years of deep integration and 1000s of years of real trade that's actually an impressive timetable.
7.5 It wouldn't leave the UK better off, and it would cost a fortune probably better spent elsewhere, but if you really really wanted to do it you could.

Unfortunately that's not how we did it. People were promised the impossible and told it would be easy
7.6 instead of preparing we ran head on into a negotiation with no planning and no real understanding of the issues.

At every turn instead of sorting out own issues out we blamed the EU. And the more we blamed them, the less time we spend facing up to the issues.
7.7 There now is no solution to this mess created by this lack of planning or preparation. And this is why politicians are suggesting transition periods.

Here's the thing. If you've read this far you know we need 5-10 years minimum.

The transition gives us another 3. Tops.
7.8 so next time you hear a politician bluster about how easy brexit is. Or say we should walk away with no deal, I hope you now know just how irresponsible and crazy they are.

Like the rest of us I hope you'll question their honesty, motivations and personal gain.
7.9 it's been fun writing this. And if you read this far you have the patience of a saint.

Thank you for your time.

Enjoy and feel free to share.
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