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Pete North @PeteNorth303
, 23 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
1. One of the biggest problems in the #Brexit debate is the total lack of media literacy where the ignorance of the public is exploited and important issues turned into click-bait trivia. This is why so many important issues are written off as "project fear".
2. One such example is the "Brexit threat to sandwiches" headlines - which of itself seems risible but sandwiches are an £8bn industry which is worth a magnitude more than fishing and and employs tens of thousands of people.
3. Sandwiches do not pass through a membrane from an alternate dimension. they depend on complex logistics and food safety systems all of which are interwoven with our customs controls and thy depend on JIT supply chains and an array of suppliers for seasonal ingredients.
4. There are a number of ways in which a no deal Brexit can screw up supply chains - but also add to the costs of materials and ingredients thus making the lunchtime sandwich noncompetitive. This is to say nothing of the food safety regime which is interwoven with that of the EU.
5. This one example should not be taken in abstract but people, rather an example of what happens to just one sector. But people will still shrug it off anyway. Similarly so with the "super gonorrhoea" story - which is another way the media has trivialised an issue.
6. The story actually pertains to the continuity of medical research especially into antimicrobial resistance - where a no deal Brexit would instantly exclude us from a number of programmes and also made more difficult with visa restrictions.
7. Beyond that there are concerns to do with the approvals of new medicines and even if we can sort out the logistic s problems we will see medicines rationing by health authorities as prices skyrocket.
8. This is where the likes of Brendan O'Neill casually suggests we can simply import medicines from elsewhere. This overlooks the fact that many suffers of ailments cannot casually switch brands. MS sufferers especially. Different brands have different side-effects.
9. Moreover the reason the EU has an iron curtain on cheap imports of medicines is because the sector is rife with adulterated and fake medicines where a container load can be anywhere up to 70% fake according to the WCO.
10. So there are very serious issues we need to address and treat with the seriousness they deserve but our media thinks we are only interested in these issues if they trivialise it and turn it into titillating clickbait.
11. This actually tells you a lot about the snobbery and condescension in our media, assuming we won't understand the more complex issues. Hence there is a drought of quality information. Anyone would think working class people do not worry about supply of medicines.
12. What makes it worse is statements by various drug companies saying they do not anticipate problems. These are very often tweets from their communications execs who know precisely zilch about EU law and supply chains.
13. Then we get false witnesses telling us everything will be fine - which is all guesswork in spite of the EU Notices to Stakeholders telling us the exact legal position. But instead of researching the exact position the UK media goes looking for "experts" with prestige.
14. This means they will scroll through their Rolodex for anyone remotely medical and ask them to speculate over things they know precisely nothing about. It is that weakness in the media that allows the likes of BrexitCentral to claim it's all "project fear".
15. But this isn't project fear. Most of what we are seeing is modelling of the no deal scenario when all formal treaties and agreements cease to apply. That them prompts claims that we will adapt or sort something out. Well that rather depends doesn't it?
16. No doubt we can adapt, but what are we adapting to? Less choice, scarcity, decline in quality and price rises. So who is helped by that? Why is that better? And yes we can "sort something out" but at that point there will be conditions.
17. Some have suggested we can just pick up the phone to Brussels and sort out a quick mutual recognition agreement on medicines. This is right after we've just left a massive hole in the budget of the European Medicines Agency.
18. No doubt, out of self interest the EU will make some concessions but these will have to be temporary waivers because anything else is prohibited by those WTO rules. To re-open talks on more permanent arrangements we will first have to discuss a financial settlement.
19. In effect we will be back where we started at the beginning of A50 talks and nothing will happen until we agree to sign the NI backstop as is, pay the financial settlement and agree to the existing settlement on citizen's rights. No deal cannot stay no deal.
20. So what do you get then? Pretty much the same situation we're in now, only our regulatory systems have collapsed along with our customs processes, our need is greater and we have zero leverage. Then the EU calls the shots and we'll sign whatever they put in front of us.
21. So no, leaving without a deal is not a good idea. It is a catastrophe with just about every regulatory system failing simultaneously - and we are not equipped to manage it. This is not "project fear". This what happens if we leave without alternative arrangements.
22. For the billionth time, leaving without a deal means that the UK automatically assumes the status of third country and is then subject to standard third country controls. Not a blockade. Just consequences of our choice. Third country *means* third country.
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