It seems we are looking at a total fiasco at customs in January. Though this is very much related to decisions made about #Brexit early on, at least a third of the problem is an unresponsive, unprepared, naive government winging it the same way it's handling Covid.
From the beginning this government assumed that sorting customs formalities was just a case of horse trading with the EU. They failed to appreciate that the removal of border controls was the product of regulatory harmonisation and customs integration.
They listened to their party loyalist "experts" who fed them a steady stream of snake oil (for a hefty fee) which may have helped their propaganda argument, but in no way took into account the EU's own system of rules or the ways in which the EU is constrained by them.
They argue that the EU can and does break its own rules - which is true to a point, but usually over what is an existential crisis, not to do a favour for a departing member whose every move is a calculated insult.
They argued that a blend of customs technology and "mini deals" would smooth things over, but even if that were true, they needed a prototype in test at least a year ago - and our conduct ever since precludes any sort of "mini deals".
The Tories assumed we could crash out then go to the EU and ask for an interim deal on tariffs under GATT24 - while customs could be eased by way of mutual recognition agreements. Both conceptually wrong.
Early on the Tories got it into their heads that there was such a thing as mutual recognition of standards. You can find Hannan and Singham blathering about it on Conservative Home. But the EU doesn;t do mutual recognition of standards, Only the single market does anything close.
At best, you can have by agreement, mutual recognition of conformity assessment - but only in conjunction with regulatory alignment - and in the EU's case, equivalence essentially means the same rules or better. One without the other is useless.
So what we will see in January, notwithstanding the EU's time limited contingency measures, is a perfect storm of incompetence as all of these tory misapprehensions hit the crash barrier of reality. That's what happens when you prefer tribal loyalty over expertise.
Even if the UK manages somehow to bash the customs system into shape, the UK is still outside the EU regulatory area and with or without a deal, we are still subject to the full array of third country regulatory controls. That means invasive inspections and delays.
The government intends to deploy a lorry call up system, where before lorries would simply turn up and wait for the next sailing. This means there probably won't be the logjams at the ports but the lorry parks could soon fill up. Assuming it's even worth the bother of setting off
With the added formalities, delays and overheads, some supply chains may even no longer be profitable. Particularly if there's no deal and tariffs apply. Many may conclude that it's simply not worth the trouble to export.
There will be some who persevere but the longer the fiasco goes on, the less reliable a supplier they become and customers will not renew contracts, preferring domestic or EU suppliers instead. This will be a major blow to the haulage industry and the price of shipping will go up
It remains our view that we should have remained in the EEA, which would have saved us all these headaches over Northern Ireland, but having made the decision to leave the EEA, we should have been absolutely frank about the scale of the problems we create at the ports.
Instead we've seen procrastination, obfuscation and denial, while Tory ministers farm out bogus contracts to their cronies, enriching themselves in the process. If you think they've made a pig's ear of Covid, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Damningly of all, the 2019 parliament had the numbers and the opportunity to avert all this. All they had to do was get to grips with the issues and get their act together. They failed. Now we pay. Image
Only now, now they begin to admit it. Not that the consequences affect them.

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More from @LeaveHQ

24 Sep
1. I don't like Rishi Sunak. I don't like groomed, manicured and fast-tracked politicians. It means he's sponsored by a vested interest. I don't know who that is but a man connected to Indian big business is bad news. Smells like a corporate takeover.
2. We are told he's an "enthusiastic brexiter" but there's no track record or eurosceptic pedigree. Just a collection of passionless anodyne brexitish statements. I honestly don't think he cares either way and that bothers me.
3. I dislike classical Brexiteers because they're foaming ideologues and thick as shit but at least I know where they stand. I don't know who Sunak is. He keeps his opinions close, keeping his nose clean for when the opportunity for promotion arises.
Read 8 tweets
23 Sep
Particularly it demonstrates that leavers were right in that national government are reduced to regional implementation agencies with no knowledge of, interest in, or control over regulation and external policy.
This was particularly evident in the indicative votes where Labour MPs voted for a customs union because they thought it had something to do with inspections at ports. Parliament was institutionally ignorant of the EU and little has changed since.
Remainers say we never lost control - but we certainly did by giving that control away and leaving it all for the eurocrats and civil servants to sort out - so key instruments of policy have been functioning on autopilot for decades with virtually no political scrutiny.
Read 8 tweets
22 Sep
1. When May's draft deal was published I was horrified by it. I momentarily became a no dealer. But it didn't take long to realise it was the only deal we were going to get and we couldn't afford not to take it.
2. Initially I was uncomfortable with the backstop. Though it wasn't a customs union, in conjunction with a future FTA, it had the makings of one and in so doing eroded some of the point of Brexit (if the backstop was ever activated).
3. Whether it would be is highly debatable but at least we had a loose political agreement to work towards phasing it out if it were. There was reason enough to assume good faith and it was within the realms if the possible.
Read 21 tweets
21 Sep
1. The key is and always has been effective contact tracing and enforced isolation. That system isn't working, so we're bound to lose control. One might argue that since we're never going to get to grips with it, we are as well just getting back to normal.
2. But the whole system rests on the impression that something is being done. If no official measures were being taken, people would take their own, using violence to enforce. If the state retreats, you get anarchy ... which is what we're beginning to get anyway.
3. The only credible exit plan is to be able to say we have an effective track and trace system in place, it is working, cases are declining (or will decline) so we can start to relax restrictions.
Read 12 tweets
17 Sep
What we're seeing isn't right wing authoritarianism. It's Johnsonism. A government that will go to any lengths to avoid owning up to its unforced errors. It's cowardly incompetence. If it was RWA it would at least be doing something halfway useful.
It could conceivably become RWA next year when Johnson has cocked everything up so badly he starts hemorrhaging votes by which time he'll turn his attention to immigration or crime, but largely headline populist policies they announce every few years but never amounts to anything
A real RWA government would look to confront wokeism in public institutions and take on the blob in academia. They would get round to deporting illegal immigrants, abolish the London mayor, scrap the supreme court and do away with the HRA.
Read 22 tweets
16 Sep
1. Methinks the Tory no deal plan B involves junking the WA with a view to weakening Ireland's place in the single market. The #InternalMarketBill essentially grants the UK government licence to place goods on the EU single market without authorisation. ...
2. It is assumed Ireland is then forced to put controls along the border - but it won't, invested so much politically in saying that can't happen. Instead it will institute certain behind the border controls notionally for the entire union, but in practice only for Ireland.
3. More than likely this will result in more stringent checks for goods travelling between Ireland and the mainland EU, instituting a market surveillance system where trucks will be inspected on the basis of risk. They'll soon work out which regular loads are kosher.
Read 12 tweets

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