, 21 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1. I'm not really interested in the respective technical arguments for a customs union because it is predominantly a moral issue. #Brexit thread
2. It can be argued that we need it for the preferential rules of origin regime to protect jobs in the car industry etc. But by prioritising global multinationals we are dispensing with one of the fundamentals of Brexit ie "Take back control".
3. Y'see, Tories have trade all wrong. Brexit isn't about dashing off into the blue yonder to sign a stack of FTAs we wouldn't get otherwise. At best we are going to have to run fast just to stand still. We can do some optimisation but nothing that really offsets Brexit damage.
4. What matters though is repatriating the political authority over our own trade defences so that we alone are in control of them. Tariffs can be a political instrument and leverage in wider foreign policy. To be in control you need all the tools.
5. By voting to leave we voted to become an independent country - ie a distinct customs entity and one at liberty to choose its external relations where public debate actually influences trade outcomes. Something that doesn't happen in the EU.
6. The reason for this is twofold. Trade has been depoliticised by the EU to become an entirely technocratic discipline - detached from any kind of media scrutiny - consequently removed from the overton window and done away from the public gaze.
7. Consequently we don't have an independent trade policy and that weakens our foreign policy and the EU gets to prioritise our external relations according to GDP rather than any cultural or strategic imperative.
8. In respect of that, Brexit does mean we have less trade "clout", and we are going to find the decision to be independent an expensive one. But when we are seeing a gradual merger between big business and the WTO and the EU, sovereignty is more essential than ever.
9. Moreover, Labour is dreaming if it thinks we can have a customs union where we get a say in EU affairs. That then amounts to less control for the benefit of Nissan and Airbus (notorious subsidy junkies) in absolute defiance of the spirit of Brexit.
10. The CU, therefore, is a cowardly act by Westminster to keep us tethered without unilateral safeguards which is entirely at odds with the fundamental aim of repatriating political authority over trade and democratising it.
11. For as long as the EU is in control of our external affairs, these such issues are out of sight thus out of mind whereby we are passengers in our own so-called democracy - with our own industries as bartering chips on the EU table.
12. We should not get carried away with the idea that Brexit is a new dawn of "fwee twade" because it really isn't. I actually anticipate us being more protectionist than we have been in recent years. And I don't see that as necessarily bad.
13. Generally speaking protectionism is bad (on paper) but liberalisation advocates never take into account the externalities and social costs of trade liberalisation and gloss over the consequences. This is especially true of remainers.
14. The problem we've had for a long time is governance by spreadsheet where we do whatever the numbers suggest is best for GDP without proper analysis of the wider fallout of free trade deals and how it affects wealth distribution in our own country.
15. Generally speaking we open up our markets to unfair competition from countries where wages are exploitative, and the politicians don't care so long as it props up anaemic growth. So long as the needs of the City are served, who cares about a widget factory in Lancashire?
16. By being in the EU we largely waive most of the decision making in respect of that, and though we can defend our interests to a point, the EU increasingly expands the definition of trade so it can overrule our objections.
17. Countless micro decisions are made where the effects are generally not noticeable but over the years accumulate. I think it was probably a mistake to open our markets to any old crap from China. Prices fell but so did standards. And are we really better off for it?
18. Most of imports of cheap crap from China was funded by a flood of cheap money circa 2005, putting us into personal and national debt while ceding economic power to a communist enemy. And what did we export to them? e-waste/junk the EU wouldn't allow us to dump in landfill
19. So by leaving the EU we reintegrate trade with foreign and domestic policy in our own strategic interests in accordance with our political ambitions and cultural links - unlike the EU which is a rogue non state actor throwing its weight around and accountable to no one.
20. So I do feel that, though we will take an economic hit in the short to medium term, we have to prioritise our political independence over convenciene for a pack of disloyal multinationals most of whom are dodging tax.
21. To that end, we do not owe Nissan a preferential rules of origin regime nor can we risk handing over decision-making to the nest of lobbyists in Brussels. This is about reasserting public control over who and what we allow in, and on what terms. A CU is counter to that aim.
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