Saturday 28th April
The news cycle is a strange thing. Stories come and then they go. The Skripals and Nerve Agent, such a big story a few weeks ago and now nothing. No conclusion, no interviews, no suspects, no arrests, no confirmation or denials. Syria and chemical weapons, same again – nothing. Three weeks ago and it looked like WW3 might kick off, and now nothing. The Russians presenting ‘evidence’ that it was all staged is completely ignored by the mainstream media. I wonder why that is?
And Brexit? You might have thought it had all gone away as the news blackout was so dense. But suddenly it is back in the news. In reality it has never gone away. The latest crunch point is whether we remain in the, or (according to which Government Minister is speaking) any Customs Union.
A customs union means that Goods can travel freely between countries with no border checks and no paperwork, as all external tariffs are the same and will have been paid in the country of first entry. Without this, the UK will face huge problems with trade between us and the EU; potential long lorry tailbacks, tariffs to pay and the inter-country supply chain for many manufacturers completely disrupted. Car factories work on only 30 minutes supply…(almost inconceivable) but apparently true. This means that lorries must be arriving almost constantly with parts otherwise the factory grinds to a halt. Rather than face the nightmare which border checks will create many manufacturers will simply move their factories to mainland Europe….oops.
But Theresa May is still insisting there will be no Customs Union. And the reason is that being part of a Customs union means that we will not be totally free to agree our own trade deals with other countries outside the EU without EU agreement. Brexiteers argue that this means we will not have left Europe at all.
It will soon come to a vote in the Commons (though the government is holding out for as long as possible). On paper there are just enough votes to defeat the Government….even bigger ooops.