Saturday, April 14, 2018

Red tape

Here are two good pieces that show that Brexit will increase both bureaucracy and costs. There are many more out there. Contrary to popular belief, EU membership actually cuts bureaucracy. Leaving increases it. This article gives a clear and simple explanation of the complications involved in rules-of-origin if we leave the single market. Peter Crosskey wrote about large-scale trade in foodstuffs, however the second link is more personal.

Natalie Milton writes about her own small specialist sports equipment business, exporting in small quantities across the world, but mainly to Europe. It was built from nothing, has a modest turnover, and employs ten staff. It cannot survive any form of Brexit, including the softest:
To conclude – Brexit will finish us because we will lose our smaller value orders due to the increased customs costs: even with Norway style deal an extra £25 on £50 or £100 order is a deal breaker.
She gives all the details of the additional costs and how they will arise. There is no maybe, she knows that if Brexit happens her business will close. There are no doubts.

People who voted for Brexit didn't know any of this, but, even so, voting leave meant voting to ruin her.

These complicated details are often ignored in favour of broad brush abstractions. This is one reason why the referendum debate was so poor. It isn't all about businesses either. Last weekend was Greek Easter. At the party we attended, the British guests tried to avoid talking about Brexit at first, but it couldn't last. They had built their lives, livelihoods, and families on the seemingly unshakeable rights offered by EU citizenship that are going to be taken from them. They are now in limbo. It's the uncertainty that gets to them, but however their status will be resolved, life will be more difficult and complicated. So too will the lives of the three million or so EU citizens permanently resident in the UK - people who were denied a vote on their future, even though they can vote in the upcoming local elections. They too are uncertain, anxious and feeling betrayed.

It's the human cost that really gets to me. It is not on anything like the scale of suffering as the unspeakable tragedy of Syria, but it is real enough and utterly unnecessary. As for benefits, I can see none.

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