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Pete North @PeteNorth303
, 20 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1. There are plenty of #Brexit threads kicking around now on why the WTO option is bad. Unless you live in a cave or have the IQ of a halibut, you should by now have grasped the concept of what it means to be a third country and why that is ruinous for UK exporters.
2. You'll note that in the seventeen billion threads I've written on the subject that I seldom make reference to tariffs - because tariffs for the most part are neither here nor there. This is fundamentally about regulatory barriers where again the cave/halibut question kicks in.
3. Without full regulatory harmonisation there will be inspections, standard third country controls will kick in and there are no WTO rules that compel the EU to relax them and certainly not for the sole benefit of the UK. This is why we need a comprehensive agreement with the EU
4. The point of this thread is to remind readers that any deal that isn't the EEA, ie a Canada style FTA, still means third country status and all the checks therein. Exports still get hammered by customs formalities. This is why May is pushing her "common rulebook".
5. This is where the Chequers proposal attempts to bridge an unbridgeable divide between the EU which wants to maintain its own regulatory sovereignty and the ultras who want unilateral power to diverge.
6. This is why the Chequers agreement is a stillborn barely worth talking about. You cannot have regulatory union and unilateral divergence. It would allow the UK to set the lowest bar for market entry. The EU will not agree to this. Even members can't do that.
7. So it then comes down to a basic question of whether we want to maintain the freedom of trade we have with the EU. So then you have to ask if the alternatives can possibly compensate for the loss of the single market. I can assure you, they do not.
8. Why? Simply because enhanced regulatory harmonisation creates more cross border trade in goods and services than shallow FTAs on tariffs. We'd need a regulatory agreement with a bigger regulatory union than the EU. And there isn't one.
10. If, however, full sovereignty is a point of principle for you, then you must accept that trade with the EU, or anyone else for that matter, is going to be more difficult and less lucrative. You accept that the UK is going to be substantially poorer.
11. As a leaver, I can respect that point of view even if I do not agree with it. There are limits to the utility of sovereignty and exercise of it is not without consequence. We do not live in a vacuum.
12. What is not acceptable is a the repeated ultra Brexiter assurances that trade carriers on as normal and suddenly unplugging is without grave consequences. That much is a demonstrable lie. So please let's have some integrity at least.
13. If you don't care that Britain will be poorer, there is no shame in saying so. Some things are more important than GDP. There are plenty of social and cultural issues upon which to make a stand. Make that case. But please don't lie.
14. Argue that a collapse of good governance presents political opportunities for fundamental change. Make the case for protectionism if you must. Both have consequences but if you accept that then fine. Both are respectable positions, if debatable.
15. But one argument that simply doesn't fly is that Brexit, a WTO Brexit especially is good for trade because it bloody well isn't. I can rattle off 50 good reasons to leave the EU but "free trade" is not among them.
16. I don't want a WTO Brexit but I can see certain merits in it. It forces a debate about the sustainability of the NHS and social care. It forces us to ask what we can realistically expect the state to do, and could reignite the voluntary ethos in society.
17. I expect most of the country will disagree. But I can make a persuasive argument for just about any outcome - but not on trade terms because the remainers have us bang to rights on that score. Our trade policy for the next decade at least will be damage limitation.
18. With Farage coming back into play and a relaunch of Brexit from Tice et al, along with the propaganda from the Tory vessels, they are turning Brexit into a binary choice between no deal and remain. If that's put to the vote then leave loses.
19. If anyone needs to take back Brexit, it's sane Brexiters who must reclaim it from the Tory fraudsters who stole it from us. The Tory case for a #WTOBrexit is built on a foundation of intellectual sand and the facts simply do not support it.
20. If we join Efta and retain the EEA agreement then we should be able to get most of what we wan't repatriating the decision-making over trade while avoiding the cliff edge. We need not take a body blow to the economy of the sake of a bent Tory ideology.
21. It should tell you something that the London Brexit luvvies have not been able to muster a single credible trade expert. Two years in and they are still struggling wit the basics. No deal is an unmitigated disaster...

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