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I see some are arguing that the economic hit from #coronavirus means we should now extend the #brexit transition period (or even #rejoinEU 🙄). They typically make up to four points – but none of them seem at all convincing… (1/6)
First, that it's now much harder for UK and EU negotiators to travel and meet in person. But so what? This is the age of video conferencing and the internet, and we can surely work around this... (2/6)
Second, that government energy spent on #Brexit negotiations would be better spent on dealing with #coronavirus. I have a little more sympathy with this point, but don’t we still have enough ministers, civil servants etc to do more than one thing at a time? (3/6)
Third, that business could do without the additional pressure of Brexit contingency planning on top of #coronavirus. Also not an unreasonable point, but it seems to assume the timetable is now impossible, and/or that a further delay wouldn't just increase uncertainty... (4/6)
Fourth, that #Brexit proper is an economic shock that we should delay until #coronavirus is long past. However, even if you accept the gloomy predictions that Brexit could reduce #GDP by (say) 3-5% (I don't), these are estimates for the hit over 10-15 years, not 2021. (5/6)
In summary, these are of course unusually uncertain times, and it would be unwise to rule out any tweak to the Brexit process as a result of #coronavirus. But for now, I’d stick to the existing timetable, and keep a high hurdle for changing it. (6/6)
PS. plus of course a further delay would also mean a delay to the potential *benefits* of #Brexit, including independence on trade and regulatory policy as well as savings on contributions to EU budget.
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