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Friday, 1 September 2017

Shabby Britannia!

As I reported a couple of days ago, Mrs May's expedition to Japan turned out to be a salutary learning experience. Far from being welcomed as the harbinger of a new trade pact between isolated post-Brexit Britain and Japan, she was told in no uncertain terms that Japanese investment in the United Kingdom depends unconditionally on Britain remaining  in the European Economic Area.

While she was in Japan, David Davis her 'Brexit secretary' was making a fool of himself in Brussels by refusing to play the negotiations as the EEC [all 27 remaining countries] said they must be played.

There should now be no room for doubt in Mrs May's limited mind, that at least tens of thousands of jobs will vanish from the UK within a decade, as Japanese investment is shifted to continental Europe, unless a form of Brexit that is acceptable to external investors is secured. In a blatant item of propaganda which Dr Goebbels would cherish as a model of incompetence, Dr Liam Fox [who has been with Mrs May in Japan] said that the EU 'must' begin negotiations on the future trade relations of the UK with the the Union because 'business' is demanding that progress is made. It had been made clear in Kyoto and Tokyo that Japanese business, in particular, needs speedy reassurance as to Britain's future trading status. Japanese motor firms operating in the UK produce a greater proportion of their complete vehicles in the UK; but, like all the other firms, they need to buy some components from the continent. It is a fact that some parts of cars pass over the channel two of three times between different plant, and thus the future of the entire motor sector [as several others] depends on the free movement of goods and of the experts who manage their creation.

Britain is indeed under pressure, to take up a stance on Brexit that is uncongenial to Dr Fox, who is seen as a representative of the 'hard Brexiteers' who choose to imagine than Britain alone would be able to negotiate deals all over the world on terms at least as favourable as those now standing to the EU. This is nonsense: isolated Britain, with a market of 60 million people who have declining real incomes, would have a negligible fraction of the leverage that the EU has when negotiating for a market of 300 consumers who include millions of the richest in the world.

The EU representatives can just sit this one out, as the British government begins to learn in depth just how deep would be hole into which the United Kingdom would fall if the calamity of a 'hard Brexit' comes about; because of the stupidity and incompetence of Mrs May and her chosen team.

Meanwhile, that team is going forward with the unnecessary and excessively costly new railway from London to Birmingham, HS2. As the existing end-to-end journey now takes around seventy minutes, all that is needed is greater capacity on the existing line: especially to bring commuters into and out of London from stations much nearer to the capital then Birmingham [who would not be served by HS2 anyway; as a large number of stops to take on or drop off many passengers would slow the high-speed train down to a journey time longer than that for the existing line].

While Mrs May was in Japan, China announced that it was considering building an innovatory 600 mile-an-hour link between major cities, which are already linked by high-speed trains. It has been suggested to HM government - who have ignored the proposition - that the major centres of the thus far nugatory 'northern powerhouse' could probably be linked by such a system, more cheaply than the cost of building the unwanted HS2. This is just another example of the shoddy, limited thinking of the May gang. There will be no end to their stupidity: they should go soon. The idea of Mrs May standing in the next election verges on insanity.

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