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Edwin Hayward @uk_domain_names
, 63 tweets, 15 min read Read on Twitter
Here's the truth about Brexit, the "punishment" some people claim the EU wants to inflict on us, the full horrific consequences of no deal, and the dangers lurking behind any deal we reach. Buckle in, it's pretty long. Better to be thorough than to leave anything out. 1/47
To leave the EU, we are following the rules laid down in Article 50. A50 is a short, simple document that explains how a country can choose to leave the EU. (The UK was fully involved with producing A50. Indeed, a Brit - Lord Kerr - even drafted it!) 2/47…
As EU members, we currently benefit from over 750 international treaties. Some allow us to trade freely with the EU and 40+ non-EU countries. Others cover a host of other issues, from air worthiness to drivers licenses, UK & EU citizens rights, food safety, etc. 3/47
The third rule of Article 50 states that all EU treaties will automatically cease to apply to a country 2 years after it chooses to invoke Article 50. In the UK's case, that's 29 March 2019 at 11pm UK time. Let's call that "Brexit Day". 4/47
(Think of the Article 50 process as a conveyor belt, with a pool of sharks at the end. Anyone climbing onto the conveyor belt will automatically reach the end after 2 years, and fall into the sharks. Theresa May knew that's how A50 worked, yet she invoked it anyway.) 5/47
On Brexit Day we leave the EU. That means we also lose the benefits of all those 750+ EU treaties we participate in. All the treaties end just like that, as if we'd fed them all through a giant shredder. That's not the EU being vindictive, it's just how A50 works. 6/47
Think of it in terms of a gym membership. If you quit your gym membership, you can't use any of the fitness equipment any more. That's just obvious. Now, you might put on weight as a consequence, but you wouldn't claim the gym is punishing you for leaving by making you fat! 7/47
The same logic applies to our decision to leave the EU. The EU isn't punishing us for Brexit. We are punishing ourselves. Losing all the benefits of EU membership IS the punishment! (That's not the same as saying the EU wants to make it easy on us.) 8/47
Back to those shredded treaties. When we Brexit, we lose all our free trade deals. As an EU member, the UK has free trade deals with 78 countries (22 more pending). They cover 60.7% of our imports & 66.9% of our exports. Losing them will tear the guts out of our economy. 9/47
We're back at square one, with half a century's worth of trade negotiations flushed away. A single trade deal can takes years or decades to agree. We will be waving goodbye to 78 of them. Of course, any one of them can be replaced, but that takes TIME. 10/47
Without trade deals, we are reduced to trading on WTO terms. WTO is a complicated system of tariffs and quotas, designed as a baseline to make trade a bit less painful. It's the absolute worst situation, which is why countries strike trade deals to improve on WTO terms! 11/47
Under WTO, we control our own tariffs for imports (we can set them to zero if we want to). So if e.g. we're desperate for cabbages, we can set a tariff of 0% to encourage other countries to sell them to us. However, we MUST treat every country in the world the same. 12/47
So we can have cheap things, but at the expense of our domestic industry. If we take away all the cabbage quotas and set a 0% tariff, anyone in the world can flood the UK with cheap cabbages. Great if you like cabbage. Pretty rubbish if you're a cabbage farmer. 13/47
But that's only half the picture. We have no control over other countries' import tariffs (the tariffs UK exporters will have to pay). So the EU and other countries will impose the standard WTO tariffs on everything we send to them. Indeed, under WTO rules, they HAVE to. 14/47
That automatically makes our exports more expensive. Combine that with the fact that we will no longer share common rules and standards and our exports will become MUCH less attractive. Why would a country buy our cars when they can buy the same cars from the EU cheaper? 15/47
The UK has done a brilliant job of attracting foreign companies and inward investment, generating millions of jobs. Companies come for our educated workforce and English language business environment, but mainly because we're a fantastic "gateway to Europe". 16/47
Now, a company can manufacture things in the UK and export them frictionlessly to the EU, the EEA and to other countries we have trade agreements with. But on Brexit Day, we're effectively walling up the gateway. Our free and easy export route will be cut off. 17/47
Many industries, such as the car industry, rely on just-in-time production. Instead of having big warehouses stuffed full of parts, they have fleets of trucks ferrying parts back and forth, arriving exactly when needed to be added to the production line. 18/47
A single car part might go back and forth between the UK and EU half a dozen times, being transformed into something more valuable at each step. (And a car has thousands of parts.) But just-in-time only works if you have frictionless borders. After Brexit, ours won't be. 19/47
Not unless we stay in the Single Market and the Customs Union. Which would save our industries, and stop foreign countries fleeing in droves. But that's kind of what we have right now, only a bit worse. Pointless, in other words. We'd be better off just staying in the EU. 20/47
But if we choose a different and more restrictive Brexit model, then we risk companies voting with their feet and leaving, taking jobs & investment with them. And if it introduces a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, that's a Godzilla-sized can of worms! 21/47
So far, we've focused on trade. But our EU treaties cover tons things that we take pretty much for granted. Without them, our aircraft will no longer be certified to fly. The Eurostar, coach and ferry companies will also be affected. And Gibraltar. 22/47…
Doctors, dentists and other professionals will no longer have the automatic right to practice in the EU. It will become difficult to take pets on holiday. Mobile phone roaming costs will increase. These are just a few examples out of many. 23/47
Note that the Government talks about "no deal", as if having a Brexit deal will solve our problems. It won't. We will lose all the treaties on Brexit Day even if we have a Withdrawal Agreement and a transition period. 24/47
A transition period would give us some of the same benefits as the treaties used to (by copying their conditions) but it does NOT prolong the treaties themselves. We can't replace treaties with new arrangements without the cooperation of both the EU & of non-EU countries. 25/47
That's because we do not have any power to bind other countries without their agreement. Each treaty will have to be renegotiated individually. That means there's a second "cliff edge" at the end of any transition period, because we're already out of the EU at that point. 26/47
Let's look a bit closer at "no deal". By default, we will automatically enter a "no deal" situation on Brexit Day, unless we agree and ratify a Withdrawal Agreement. Parliament has a say on any Brexit deal, but it doesn't have any say on "no deal". 27/47
That's because "no deal" isn't actually a deal at all. It's just an expression that (literally) describes the absence of any deals. The promise to Parliament of a "meaningful vote" only covers a vote on an actual deal. MPs can't vote on "nothing" which is what "no deal" is. 28/47
"No deal" has never been a real choice at all. It's what happens when negotiations fail & all the alternatives run out. If you fall off a building, you try grabbing at *anything* to break your fall. "no deal" is the strawberry jam splat as you hit the ground. 29/47
So that's "no deal". But what happens if we agree a Withdrawal Agreement, and somehow cobble a deal together? Well, the news isn't great... We still exit the EU on 29 March 2019 at 11pm (unless the WA somehow amends this). And that means we still lose all those treaties. 30/47
During transition, our leverage is almost zero. There's no threat we can make (we can't walk away, because we're already out, and we can't threaten "no deal" because we've already lost all our treaties). So it will be very, very hard to negotiate anything like what we lost. 31/47
Another way to picture it: a no deal Brexit is like rigging the load-bearing walls of a house with explosives, then detonating them on 29 March 2019 at 11pm. A transition period inserts temporary props to keep the house standing, but the walls themselves will still be gone. 32/47
The EU has proposed many templates for our future relationship. We rejected all of them. Our attitude is like marching into Thorntons and demanding they rip open all their selection boxes of chocolates so that we can pick our absolute favourites. 33/47…
Unsurprisingly, that hasn't gone down very well with the EU side. They have given us lots of options. They've also made it very clear they won't split the EU's "4 freedoms". We ignored all that, and proposed an unworkable option (Chequers) and repeated it again and again. 34/47
And still the Tories appear no closer to finding common ground on what kind of Brexit they want. Anyone would think they're almost happy to let the Article 50 conveyor belt do its stuff, and land us in the sharks. 35/47
So what are our options? Well, Brexit could still be stopped, right up to Brexit Day, by revoking Article 50. Theresa May can revoke Article 50 unilaterally. The EU cannot stop Brexit, only the UK can. 36/47
The only way that Parliament could stop Brexit without Theresa May cooperating would be to force a vote of no confidence that brought down the Government and precipitated a General Election. Ditto if Parliament wanted to prevent a "no deal" Brexit. 37/47
Of course, each of the treaties we're losing could be replaced with a new bespoke agreement. But they will need to be negotiated 1-by-1, with the EU or individual countries outside the EU. 38/47
We're talking about staggering amounts of work! So when someone says "We'll be fine with no deal" they're really saying "don't worry, we can sort out 750+ side arrangements with 27 EU countries, and dozens more around the world, all before 11pm on 29 March 2019." 39/47
Does that sound remotely credible? Can you see a Government, incapable of agreeing a single Brexit strategy after two years, somehow magically pulling off hundreds of successful side deals in under 6 months? That's why "no deal" is so bad. That's why people are panicking. 40/47
But remember, even if we get a deal, all those treaties still have to be replaced. A transition period buys a little time, nothing more. Uncertainty will continue. Businesses will stay spooked. Other functions of Government will still be completely sidetracked. 41/47
The only real "Project Fear" is the fear that those who understand how Article 50 works feel as they watch the clock tick down towards a no deal on 29 March 2019 at 11pm. Properly terrifying stuff. And that's the truth. 42/47
P.S. Some people imagine that "no deal" means the status quo. We have a shared responsibility to correct them. No deal is as far from the status quo as it’s possible to be. No deal = no withdrawal agreement = no transition period. Over the cliff edge we go on March 29 2019. 43/47
P.S. #2 International law doesn't care about feelings, belief, positivity, optimism or patriotism. None of these things affect it in the slightest. It just IS. Anyone saying "Brexit's failing because you don't believe in it enough" might as well be talking about fairies.) 44/47
P.S. #3 The media says "Brexit may do this" or "Brexit might do that". Why the uncertainty? Because it depends on how many treaties get renegotiated, how soon, and under what terms. Nobody can predict that right now. But AS A WHOLE Brexit is guaranteed to be a mess. 45/47
P.S. #4 There's no such thing as "ex EU member status". Once we're out, we will be a 3rd country, just like every other non-EU country. Of course, we may strike deals on top of that baseline status, but we start off at the same low par as everyone else. ("Out means out"). 46/47
Thank you for reading this far. Sorry it was such a long read. Please spread the word if you feel it deserves a wider audience.

NOTE: I will add some sources to further information below this tweet, if you want to dig deeper into the subjects covered in this thread. 47/47
Further Reading #1
The trade & non-trade treaties that apply to the UK, and what may happen to them after Brexit. House of Commons International Trade Committee's "Continuing application of EU trade agreements after Brexit" report:…
Further Reading #2
If you have a strong constitution, here's the latest HOC briefing listing all the current "Brexit unknowns." It runs to 63 pages... So, next time someone airily waves a hand & says "Brexit's going to be just fine", show 'em this!…
Further Reading #3
Background on the "no deal" situation, how "no deal" can come about, and what the consequences would be. HOC "Article 50 negotiations: Implications of 'no deal'" report:…
Further Reading #4
Current status of EU trade negotiations (if we remained EU members, we would get to benefit from each new trade agreement as it came into force).…
Further Reading #5
Latest progress report on the UK's negotiations for EU withdrawal.…
Further Reading #6
If you can spare 23 minutes and 29 seconds, this brilliant explainer video by @JasonJHunter neatly sums Brexit up. It covers where we were, how we got here, and what do we do now (beside panic).
Further Reading #7
Lucky number 7! A special bonus for anyone who's made it this far (take a bow). Brexit explained in a brilliant, witty sketch, through the medium of cake...…
Now that you've made it to the end, I need your help...

Twitter is an echo chamber. So if you know artists, actors, musicians, authors, politicians, celebrities or other influencers PERSONALLY, please reach out to them DIRECTLY to ask them to spread the word (if appropriate).
Added: this thread is also available in PDF format, with added comments and further sources, from the link below...
Added: woke up to find that over 150,000 people have read this thread. That's fantastic. I am SO thrilled. Never experienced anything like this before! But I apologise in advance for not being able to thank everyone who commented individually, or even address all your comments.
If you're reading this tweet, you've just passed a PDF version of this entire thread. Back up a couple of posts, and you'll see it. Might be easier for passing around. Plus it has some bonus references too, which I didn't have room to fit into the main tweet thread.😇
Here's an alternate source for the PDF version, if you're having problems (a couple of people told me they could only see a blank page)...…
Just a note to say that I've noticed a few people are having problems with the links to the PDFs in the Further Reading section. I think it must be browser setting-related because they all work for me. Anyway, if necessary please Google the titles of the reports instead.
So, um, this happened... The last 24H has been pretty overwhelming.

A huge thank you and a tip of the 🎩 to everyone who retweeted this thread, or otherwise helped to pass the message on.
Added: several people asked: "Why weren't we told all this by Government in advance of the referendum?".

Well, a March 2016 HOC report already showed the consequences of different Brexit models (including WTO) very clearly. But A50 detail is more recent.…
Added: here's another alternative source for the PDF document, which also offers a screen-viewable version.…
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