UK exports have boomed since the Brexit referendum, but mostly to the EU

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union on the 23rd of June 2016, the pound fell sharply against other major currencies. At the time of writing, £1 will buy €1.19 or 1.25 US dollars, down 8.5% and 14.7% respectively $1.47 and €1.30 on the eve of the referendum.

It has been claimed by various sources that a fall in the pound, whilst obviously bad news for importers and holidaymakers, will prove a boon for exporters. Previously I had looked at export data from HMRC’s Trade Statistics Unit to analyze the potential risks to the Northern Ireland economy from a hard border, especially with regards to agricultural exports.

The latest data available at that point was until the end of June 2016. However now Q3 2016 data is available, giving an early read on the impact on exports following the devaluation of sterling and subsequent shenanigans regarding the debate on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

The good news is that the devaluation of the pound has indeed led to a sharp increase in exports in the third quarter of 2016 when compared to the equivalent period in 2015. However, the majority of this increase is accounted for by an increase in exports to the EU.

Exports were up £4.52 billion from Q3 2015 to Q3 2016, which represented an increase of 6.7%. Of this total increase, exports to the EU accounted for £3.36 billion, with the remainder of £1.17 billion going to the rest of the world. The decision by the UK to leave the EU has appeared to have led to a marked increase in British exports, albeit three quarters of which have been exports to the EU itself.

Some parts of the UK have been the beneficiary of the Brexit boom in EU trade more than others. The chart below shows year-on-year growth in exports to the EU, split by constituent nation of the UK (and overall). Scottish exports to the EU have slightly more than doubled in the year to Q3 2016, up £1.6 billion from the previous year. The vast majority of this (£1.4 billion) has been exports of petroleum related products, most of which has been exports to Germany and The Netherlands.

Wales has also seen a marked increase in exports to the EU (£729m, or 60%). The export to France and Germany of transportation equipment has been the driver behind this increase, accounting for £668m of the increase. The increase in exports in Northern Ireland is almost entirely attributable to manufacturing, with 88% of the overall increase in exports from Q3 2015 to 2016 of £191m due to exports of manufactured goods or transportation equipment.

Despite the fact that the pound has fallen more sharply against the US dollar than the euro, export growth to the rest of the world has been more anaemic. The chart below shows the year on year growth by quarter in non-EU exports for each part of the UK. Exports to non-EU countries increased by 3.3% from Q3 2015 to 2016, compared with an increase of 10.4% to the EU.

It has long been the aim of many policymakers to re-orientate the British economy towards manufacturing, and early indiations are that a devaluation of the pound is indeed helping to boost manufacturing exports as many had hoped. However, it appears that the largest potential market for a rejuvenated British manufacturing industry is the European Union. Any barriers, tariffs or otherwise, between British manufacturing exporters and their customers inside the EU will make it very difficult to nurture these nascent industrial sectors.

The period following the referendum has seen a sharp drop in the value of the pound, driven in the main by market jitters about the uncertainty of the UK’s relationship with the EU. It is, in effect, a devaluation caused by the incompetence and uselessness of the British government rather than any action taken by, say, the Bank of England.

It is almost as if Theresa May’s government have developed an entirely new form of unconventional monetary policy. By signalling to the markets that they clearly have no clue what they are doing, for example the strange fixation on jam, a mainly riddle-based approach to future UK-EU relations (“Brexit means Brexit” etc.), the appointment of  Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson as Foreign Secretary and so forth, they have caused the pound to fall and exports to rise.

The British government does seem to be going out of its way to appear genuinely unhinged prior to beginning negotiations with the EU. It is perhaps a crumb of comfort to imagine that the UK government’s Brexit strategy is an exercise of game theory, and what we are seeing is merely a high stakes version of Split or Steal.

In any case, the paradox cannot be sustained indefinitely. The UK is enjoying an increase in exports to the EU, driven in the main by a fall in the pound caused by a fear that it will not be able to freely trade with the EU in the future. This is a cake that cannot continue to be both had and eaten forever.

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  • mfbailey

    Yes, a very nice effect at the moment but as you note it is a short term effect which tariffs on UK goods going to the EU will dissipate in the longer term unless a very good deal is reached (which I expect may not be the case).

  • file

    Peter – please excuse my mathematic dyslexia, but are the increases real increases in actual exports or monetary increases due to the fall in sterling?

  • Old Mortality

    They appear to be denominated in sterling which could mean that the same level of exports at the same prices are simply generating higher sterling receipts. The reported increase in exports of 6.7% is less than the depreciation of sterling against both the dollar and the euro so it could well be that export volumes have declined.
    On the other hand, the average depreciation of sterling could also be less than is suggested by comparing the exchange rates on two dates. The average figure would be the more relevant in this context.

  • salmonofdata

    On your first point, that’s over-complicating the issue. UK exports are usually priced in sterling, so if sterling receipts have increased then actual volumes must have increased also.

    Fair enough on your second point. The Q3 average for the £ was €1.18/$1.31, so the pound has fallen against the dollar since then but not the euro.

  • Blade Sprinter

    Fire sales tend to burn out quickly.

  • Angry Mob

    The talk of tariffs are a red herring, nontariff barriers are the real menace hence why the best option is the interim option of joining the EFTA and using their pre-negotiated deal.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Products priced in Sterling become more competitive, as they include inputs from other countries priced at an earlier exchange rate. As those products include inputs priced at the current exchange rate then their price will increase somewhat and the net effect might not be very large.

    And of course with a more competitive exchange rate you would expect UK companies to invest to produce more, but in the present uncertain situation there may not be that investment.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And then Renzi resigning hit the Euro and wham … it’s like the EU and UK should be thinking about exporting to the USA for a REAL competitive advantage before inevitably Trump does something to cause the dollar to devalue.

    Seriously I mean what currencies are holding steady right now … Swiss Francs? I doubt it.

    Canadian Dollars? Not much insanity out of Canada recently I guess.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think it’s far too early to say tariff barriers are a red herring, when tariff barriers exist between Switzerland and the EU, and Norway and the EU and Turkey and the EU.

    You were warned.

  • Angry Mob

    I mean that in the sense that they’re a distraction from the more serious issue of NTB’s; not that they’re entirely unimportant which they are but not necessarily negatively depending on the chosen method of agreement.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The U.K. is pretty much at the mercy of the EU’s non tarif barriers without a bilateral arrangement. Just like the Republic of Ireland was at the mercy of the UK’s non tariff barriers as part of a bilateral trade deal.

    If the UK can mitigate the tariff barriers I’ll be impressed, but frankly even the UK’s migration controls are technically a NTB to service trade for the EU. So the idea the UK is going to end up with less NTBs because of Brexit seems unlikely.

  • Angry Mob

    They are if the take the bilateral route, however you may have noticed that I have advocated the EFTA/EEA route which solves the issues surrounding NTB’s which I also see Nicola Sturgeon is now supporting.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And it doesn’t solve the UKIP/Daily Express paranoiacs around migrants wrecking English gardens and making people eat Halal sausages.

    Frankly as part of EFTA in the 1960’s, the UK raised non-tariff barriers on the Republic of Ireland, and they were also subject to non-tariff barriers from the then EEC … so I think the real red herring is Brexit here.

    The UK pretty much engineering more non-tarrif barriers for itself for no benefit to anyone except armchair worriers who like to vegetate and agitate it seems.

  • Angry Mob

    We cant control immigration entirely but it leaves us in a much stronger position than we are now with the ability to invoke article 112 of the EEA agreement which Liechtenstein has done since joining the EFTA: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/09/liechtenstein-solution-key-to-softer-brexit-tory-mep

    I’m not sure how things were done 50 odd years ago regarding tariffs buts it pre-dates the WTO rules and the EU as it is now so it’s largely irrelevant to today’s circumstances, brexit will happen and this is by far the path of least resistance.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I honestly see no area where resistance is going to come down trading with the EU, and many of the nations outside the EU who don’t have trade deals (e.g. USA, Japan, Australia) are simply highly protectorate.

    The problem won’t be paths of least resistance, it’ll be Britons being able to work harder and firmer to overcome greater resistance.

    As a physicist I know that the amount of entropy in the universe is always growing, and so expecting greater energy coming from less work not only defies common sense, but thermodynamics too.

    When a country is driven to be against foreigners and globalization it does harm the numbers of ordinary people who will culturally take risks to trade in diverse cultures like China and India.

    And here’s the rub, the UK’s own demerits are going to have to be taken on pro-actively by the people who are now blaming the EU for them. Britons are going to have to sacrifice personal indulgences for the greater needs of the country.

    I haven’t seen Revolution, just a lot of Revoltion from those who won, and it doesn’t strike me as having pro-agency, pro-autonomy, pro-activity. Instead we get Farage calling a widower a terrorist sympathiser as part of his Brexit legacy.

    We’ve seen how the only pro-Leave (at the time of the referendum) regional leader in these islands has handled a failing in her department very recently, this will be the nature of how the responsibility for future post-Brexit disappointments are going to be handled.

  • Angry Mob

    I don’t understand your first paragraph, I assume you didn’t finish it?

    Our politicians have had fairly easy time of if the last 20 odd years by offloading their responsibilities unto the EU, now they are going to have do the work that they have never had to do whatever option the government choose, the difference is now that the process will be controlled, refined and become more efficient which will lead to a greater reward that we could of ever reached in our current confined situation. So yes more energy input but much greater rewards in lieu.

    Not all that voted Leave voted that way because of immigration and globalization but because of it. The ability to be in greater control of both and engage the issues on a world rather than (less than) continent level is surely another advantage.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The U.K. has controlled migration, and the risk conservative unadventurous character of those who dream of the world and sit in their armchairs isn’t simply going to magically make the UK fix the problems they have associated with the EU.

    We in Northern Ireland know terrorism doesn’t respect borders, we know in Northern Ireland that efficient government is used as an excuse for a consolidating elite, we also know that in order to force control over the land and way of life of others without compromise people are willing to use guns if their greedy demands aren’t satisfied.

    We also know attempts to impose martial law will simply reignite the Troubles and against poor economic you cannot eat a flag. We know that just banding against the common enemy inevitably leads to schisms and directionless confusion.

    Brexit is just a joke to me, a joke that feeds off irrational id desires and simply leaves a country in a feral state of defensiveness and anxiety.
    I have no reason to believe those who voted for Brexit and didn’t have their house in order before Brexit are going to actually benefit afterward.

    Brexit is just the closing down of networks, not a gain in ability, determination, soverignty or independence. It won’t grant the UK better politicans falling from the heavens regardless of what subjective view better means. A change in a system of international relations is not going to shut out the problems of the world, it will remove the advantages of many good people however.

    I really doubt those who were afraid of being connected to Europe were willing to make the effort to connect elsewhere in the world. A Farage sponsored Brexit poster came with anti-Syrian visual message on it. People who were Muslim or didn’t speak English were attacked in the post Brexit fall out.

    With the loneliness of gerrymandered Westminster and the causes of the self-inflicted death of industry still present if not festering, a revolution of Town Criers and Chicken Littles is really not going to emancipate anyone but those with the money to speculate on this for years.

    The sheer horror from the lack of advantages Brexit brings will be found from the fact that the real reasons for the UK not doing well in the global markets wasn’t foreigners or the single market or migrants or regulations or even rules … The real problems with Brexit and causes of Eurosceptic failures are ultimately with the men and women in their own mirrors.

    Brexit can’t change the rest of the EU, it’s not going to radically alter committed Remainers into zombie Leavers, the real test of Brexit is the adequacy and care made by those who campaigned to get it.

    The massive divide between the Politicking and Realpolitik was exposed in the fact that there is still no plan, no direction, no culture change in those who made that decision or are mandated to deliver on it.

    Some ground their teeth for 41 years blaming everything wrong in their life on things beyond their own agency, Brexit is not going to return the independence they disguarded willingly I.e. Personal accountability

    All Brexit vote shows is the complacency of Brits who wanted the EU to defend it adequately what it will probably reveal is the complaceny of Brits who want the UK to defend IT adequately.

    The Empire’s New Clothes are lot thinner and more exposing that its previous vestments.

  • Angry Mob

    You’re right that it wont magically fix problems but the crux of the matter is that it will give us the power to fix those problems, a right that was denied to us by being subservient to the EU, it won’t be soon however as leaving the EU is the priority, the problems can wait until that issue is resolved whether it takes another ten years.

    As they often say one mans trash is another man’s treasure, you might scorn the idea of leaving but the myself and the majority of the electorate it was the right thing to do, but the necessary.

    The joke to me however is how did we and so many ever get hoodwinked into being part of a political union without ever actually voting for it, it might be funny if it were not true. You mention the emperor’s new clothes, to me the EU was the emperor in this situation and the UK was the one that actual managed to point out the obvious.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t believe it will even empower people to solve problems in a way they could not do as a member of the EU. People I feel did vote Leave expecting some sort of magic, the reality is that all Brexit will do is give them much more pressure to work harder.

    The only ones I see empowered are criminals such as smugglers and people in legitimate careers who are just as predatory such as vulture fund managers. The U.K. is surrendering the power of influencing the EU, and surrendering rights of its citizenry as well. The only acts of creativity I’ve seen from the Leave movement are fantasies.

    If the British people want to listen to con-artists over engineers, the only power they are gaining is the power of self-delusion.

  • Angry Mob

    You are free not to believe it but it does give us new powers, whether that regained ability is used or used effectively is another matter.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Name one.

    I’m a firm believer in the the key to true power comes from within, rather than being triumphalist and angry with everything.

    Trade advantages were mentioned, but the UK has a handful of trade negotiators and effectively have to buy in people to do the job of mitigating the damage.

    More industry was another, but the complicated supply side economics may mean the UK may have to stay in a Customs Union it has next to no say in.

    Currency devaluation … Could have done it anyway.

    Prancing around triumphantly as if the nation has been born again … Could have done it anyway.

    Telling Remain supporters off … Could have done it anyway.

    The extra money and controls over freedom of movement have been u-turned on by senior Leave supporters.

    Realistically I don’t see where the jingoism of Brexit actually translates to new skills, what will happen is people working harder will make their achievements despite Brexit.

    People can achieve things despite being disabled.

  • Angry Mob

    The ability to make trade deals is a very real and undeniable power that we are currently without now which ties in with your point concerning trade. Yes, we lack trade negotiators currently as that expertise was lost by being a member of the EU, we will train more up or accept the offer of countries who have our genuine interests like New Zealand who have already offered us their top trade negotiators.

    Not to mention regained control over policy areas such agriculture and fisheries policies, common foreign and security policy, justice and home affairs, taxation.

    Furthermore the ability to actually influence regulation that is being created at the global level before being handed down to the EU to implement and the rejection of being forced to adopt the EU common position even when detrimental is another strong benefit.

    So just some actual real benefits, not pseudo benefits that you may try and push like co-operation and solidarity, we can have that outside the EU. Not to mention without us the EU is free to work towards further integration if the member states desires it to do so, it’s clear that the people of the UK however don’t.

  • Old Mortality

    ‘UK exports are usually priced in sterling….’ That surprises me, but I’ll take your word for it. I’d have thought that importers would want goods to be priced in their own currency.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I have to laugh at this, people voting for Brexit in the hopes of cheap New Zealand lamb. That’s up to New Zealand what they want to sell it for at the end of the day. I actually feel sorry for the pensioners who voted for Brexit because they militantly wanted cheaper NZ lamb.

    In all seriousness what’s so special about New Zealand?

    For all this post-geography nonsense Brexit is not going to reshape the space time continuum to make it easier for small businesses to enter markets thousands of miles away.

    Tangible feasibility of nearby markets is better business than relying on linguistic commonality. Speaking the same language is a pseudobenefit, Brits understanding next to nothing about Australasian markets and business networks there is a problem of their own making. The EU is just a scapegoat for armchair critics and those transferring their personal anguish onto something a lot bigger than themselves.

    My mother managed an engineering firm that was able to win contracts around the continental EU, from the USA and in the Middle East … Do you honestly think having European connections was a weakness here? Heavens forbid someone would try to earn money from a country that does not speak English.

    The reason why the UK has few trade negotiators is because it can’t be bothered. Dido fruit pickets, nurses, footballers, economists, investors, managers or whatever other jobs that migrants have to be brought in to do.

    Having Rees Moog say the Brits should have unambitious regulations like India shows the typical charlatan nature of Brexit. Likewise with the watering down of worker’s rights and environmental regulations.

    And no matter how hard the UK Leavers try to tell themselves that fishing, agriculture, security, justice, trade and taxation can be locked in some sort of national box, these rely on national partnerships rather than diktats. Security threats and epidemics don’t respect borders and trade and taxation co-operation rely on common rules and understanding.

    It’s very clear to me that any shortfall in the ability for the UK to deliver in the UK’s interests was due to the inadequacy of the people in the mirror. Self proclaimed experts who achieved nothing to deserve the respect they think they are owed. It’s not the job of either the EU or the nation to fix the self inflicted mental problems or provide mass outpouring of love during periods of splurging out the hate.

    Every Remain supporter would be aware of the Brexit Demand side, it’s easy to screech, leech and hate preach. Many of the people on my side see the empty vessels making all the noise as nothing more than demagogues, confidence tricksters and jingoists trying to hark back to history. It hasn’t really taken much remain supporter resistance to make some of the big wigs in the Leave movement feel afraid.

    The biggest weakness is very transparent here, the complete lack of substance coming from the multiple factions of contrarians in this side of government. In the EU countries agree what they want to cooperate on, and agree what they don’t … In the UK, the government is trying to create some impossible uncompromising one size fits all approach and it’s inevitable that reality will kill the fantasy world.

    The U.K. is going to have to take a sub-optimal deal it deserves rather than any old irrational one it demands.

    Afterall Brexit was all things to all Brexiteers and once the government gets its grubby hands on the process, those who had the wrong ideas of what Brexit was going to do, will get disillusioned. Nothing comes from Nothing, and as far as I see so far, for all the huff and puff there’s no real power behind Brexit.

    If those believing in Brexit still stay in the la la land of false promises and a vague abstract jingoist spirit, it seems clear hard graft for getting the UK economy working is going to be done by those who really don’t believe the hype.

  • Angry Mob

    You really are a master of the straw man argument, where did this whole notion of NZ lamb come from?

    Everything is not as binary as you present your arguments. Deals with the nearby markets are good, deals with the nearby markets and the wider world are far better. Can we have both? Yes, with a interim solution via the EFTA/EEA we can.

    “The reason why the UK has few trade negotiators is because it can’t be bothered.”
    That’s pure bull. The UK has few negotiators because trade has been an EU competence since the go. Being a member of the EU means we can’t make our own trade deals, hence why we lack negotiators. Not some not silly reason you have made up.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The argument actually came from the mouth of Farage, to some pro-Brexit Brits a deal with Australia or New Zealand is more important than one with France and Germany.

    It’s really up to these nations. Australian governments have recently faced huge criticism for TransPacific Partnership, and if Trump didn’t sound the death knell for that there was every chance Canberra would.

    So free trade deals are by no means a given.

    As for the pathetic excuse that Brits didn’t bother to learn about trade because they were in the EU. It’s pathetic bordering on the xenophobic, Brits could’ve been trade negotiators for the EU from the get go, two of the EU’s trade commissioners were British.

    If people put their energies into complaining about migrants and beaurocrats and not into skilled labour and the willingness to work, then no wonder the abandon in the UK economy and its demerits fester. No wonder the lethargy from entitled exceptionalism leads to low productivity.

    It’s always someone else’s blame, the rest of the world has to do all the hard work to remove the UK’s shackles (I.e the work other nations have to do) from them and artificially support impractical dogmas by spoonfeeding the UK nationalists unrequited love and autistic vindications.

    The problem as usual with Brexit and many of the UK’s Eurosceptics is a passion for complaining about what works, and a passion for complaining about having to work to change what does not work.

    Talk is very cheap. The type of parochial localism evangelised by Farage is so non-exceptional, it highlights the petty territoriality of mere insects, hardly something that makes the UK stand out in the rest of the world. Every country has a Farage like demagogue, Ireland’s is Des Dalton.

    If my arguements are binary, your arguements seem to be unitary and unilateral. Other countries lining up desperately to please Brexit Britain because that’s just human nature when faced with arrogant pride.

    Sorry, but how many unionists are queuing up to please Irish republican jingoism to justify the belief that antagonistic jingoism is a massive rainmaker policy that will motor Brexit into success? To most of the world this is just a non-event.

    Look at how little triumphalistic Britishness has done to take Northern Ireland away from self-sufficiency and multiply that thirty times over.

    History shows how little the UK actually achieved as a member of the EFTA, they had nothing to show for it. Winters of Discontent, Depression and loads of Flag waving fascists filled the void of practical work.

    Iassac Newton states a body stays in a stationary a constant motion unless work is done upon it by a resultant force, but the Leave side seems obsessed with destroying things rather than creating things.

    New languages, new breakthroughs in science, new learning experiences and new expertise, seem all to be thrown under a bus with £350 million to the NHS and drape with as much Union flag bunting as could be found.

    Instead the passions behind Brexit are completely supplicant, others should learn English, others should do the hard work, others should reward us for doing what we want to do, and others should demand what we are willing to supply. It’s the economic worldview of a child.

    The fact is British people don’t seem to want to make Brexit work, especially those who voted Leave and complain about those who voted Remain for not supporting it are not going to suddenly take the burdens of the U.K. on their shoulder.

    Unlike other “independent” nations the desire doesn’t seem to be to patriotically fill the nation’s shortfalls, but rather to borrow and consume as per usual and wait for the Brexit gods to deliver.

    Instead the UK is due some sort of windfall for proudly walking away from the EU, and no one in the UK has to lift a finger to get what the UK is entitled to.

    The ambition is tied up with being bitter about other nations, outside threats, people with different political views …

    Nothing about self-improvement just an entitlement complex that the rest of the world owes the UK, perhaps some sort of Farage-Trump Anglosphere a massive ego nursing for having to endure being bitter for so many years.

    The cognitive dissidence cannot last.

  • Angry Mob

    I don’t really care what Farage says, I’m not a follower of what he thinks concerning Brexit and it bears no relevance to the original topic as he has already personally ruled out the EFTA/EEA option which shows his lack of understanding of the situation.

    The actual trade deals may not be a given, but the fact is that we will regain the power to make them and given that some countries such as China, US and Australia, New Zealand etc have have already expressed their interest in doing deals the signs look more positive than the current position that we are in were the EU is struggling to meet the demands of 28 members in order to forge deals. Whilst we would be smaller we would be more nimble and agile and able to construct deals that our in our own interests nor did I ever say other countries would be lining up to please us, they have there own interests as well but you will find it’s in the interest of most to negotiate.

    Pulling the “xenophobic” cardis exactly what I mean by your binary views. Your hard rigid perception that the EU is a bastion of democracy, never does no wrong upon the world against, anyone whom makes a criticism of it, loves Nigel Farage or waves the Union Jack etc or has different view to yourself is “xenophobic” . Hence why you might see my views an unitary, as they don’t conform to yours.

    Which leads neatly on to the trade negotiator points. There are UK trade negotiators, but there is significantly less of them because those positions are shared out between the 28 member states. What you would be suggesting maybe correct had the EU handed the UK sole competence of trade negotiations, but it never would (rightly so) so we haven’t needed as many. The truth is not xenophobic, it’s a reality. If each country had 100 negotiators negotiating on behalf of 28 entities the EU doesn’t need 2800 to negotiate for 1 entity thus any if any other country were to leave the EU would find themselves under resourced in this department.

    It seems rich to complain about eurosceptics complaining about what works and then when they offer sensible compromises such as the EFTA/EEA option which could work better than we have now to complain about it. We have voted to leave, what are you going to do, complain about it, because I don’t really see you doing much else?

    The EFTA was a very different organization back almost 57 years ago. It now forms one of the two pillars of the EEA agreement, the other being the EU so you can’t really compare what it was and the UK lack of progress back then to what it could achieve now.

    Brexit will be difficult but anything worth having is worth fighting for, it would be all too easy to be complacent and remain in the EU which never really suited the UK.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The trade issue is completely about competence and Brexit does nothing that deters complacency that exists within the UK as things stand. This competence is not going to come from an aether. I doubt young people are being steered towards being trade negotiators as a patriotic duty on behalf of the >52% of voters that voted for Brexit.

    If the UK actually stays in the EEA it’ll ease some of the headaches, it’ll come with some humble pie about freedom of movement, but leaving the EEA unilaterally will damage its services exports. The EEA is not an alternative because the UK is in it already and the U.K. was in the EFTA before and to be frank it seems more of a placebo than a panacea.

    Dido much the same with the WTO, where the UK faces a lot more dissentin voices to its desires than it ever did in the EU.

    So as far as I’m concerned these offer nothing more than mitigating the UK getting Israeli levels of isolationism. It’s not even a compromise, it’s just the only means to allow Brexiters to keep their foreign travel without needing to diplomatically negotiate a non-binary freedom of movement arrangement. It’s an indulgence not a real trade-off.

    Why should Remain supporters than Leave supporters for Nothing here? Or show gratitude to the other decisions that harm their business, way of life, or even their families? Why should politicans that prided themselves in offering false promises for a cause, be trusted simply because they were born in the same nation?

    How often do the likes of Johnson, Fox, Davis, Rees-Moog, Hoey, Hannon, Lawson, Banks and Farage, heck the likes of Foster, the Dodds, Trimble and Elliot have to be praised for basically offering nothing but the same bravado and useless theories?

    To be fair to Boris he did say he’d apologise if Brexit ruined the UK economy.

    It comes pretty much down to trying to control the UK rather than influence others through its own mastery and example.

    Do you really think anyone bar perhaps that mentalist in UKIP is bothered about any shortcomings in the EEA? Heck they’re not that bothered about giving the EU a significant contribution either.

    It’s far far far away from getting any of the 48% or any of the Bregretors on board with what the UK seems to offer here. Surely their attitude is going to be they will conserve only a small bit of what it means to be in the EU to lower the “cost” of departure and gain nothing from Brexit in benefits?

    Hardly a “principle” to try to unite the country around a moderate Leaver’s wishlist? We know these token fig leafs offer nothing to settle concerns those who wanted to Remain have with the process.

    It offers nothing to solve the quagmire of the movement of goods across the Irish border, it does nothing to solve the general customs issues with manufacturing goods, it does nothing to face up to migration, or terrorism, or domestic democratic deficits much of which has been generated directly or indirectly by Britons’ own behaviour.

    I genuinely think many of those who were sceptical about the EU didn’t believe in their imaginations that they would face scepticism if they had a mandate for Brexit. They were happy to play the demagogue, not to be ones facing rejections or even serious scrutiny themselves.

    I’ve seen no redeeming features to Brexit other than the potential for Irish unity and the hubris of Eurosceptic MEPs getting their P45s and fading away from the public eye.

    Personally I have no vested interest in offering any help to the “point to prove” vendetta of irresponsible Brexiteers who balk at constructive criticism or fear real debate or event driven challenges to their faith in their dogmas or idee-fixes.

    The fact is the UK has created for itself a period of at least medium term uncertainty harmful to itself and to Ireland as a whole. It’s not going to be solved by the same big egos with their presuppositions and prejudices that got the UK into this position in the first place.

    My own solution is for Northern Ireland is to look for greater separation from the Brexitcrats, Brexitcrats who don’t care about us, Brexitcrats who have knowingly lied to us and treat the public with contempt, Brexitcrats who care fifty times more about the English migration issue than the rather foreign Irish freight issue which will defiantly involve customs checks and may involve tariffs and other beaurocracy between neighbouring villages.

    Using the Strand 2 connection to the EU allows Northern Ireland to remain part of the bigger world beyond Brexit, without being forcible pushed through some superficial vindictive Brexit filtering process to simply expand our horizons beyond the trappings of self-appointed experts who are threatened by our freedom to form global networks or connect with ethnic communities in our neighbourhood and what are quite often the neighbouring supply lines to our economy in the Republic.

    I’m more than happy to offer alternatives to a destructive vacuum of practical policies and the abdication of responsibility for tackling the vast majority of problems the UK made for itself but blamed on the EU wrongly and the problems the EU fixed for the UK that the UK chooses to pick apart.

    I’m happy to put demands for people who know the mechanics of the global world to be free to act without having to contort and amputate their ability to cope with global markets by self-proclaimed experts who won’t take the same risks or do the same risks and endure the same disappointments themselves.

    And then there’s the irreconcilable contradictions …. Lassiez-Faire economics while promising to take back control of the economy, criticising the “undemocratic” EU while refusing to democratise the UK system, criticizing European armies while supporting NATO pan-European co-operation, demanding the UK take in more refugees and keep out rapeugee terrorists as it’s at Breaking Point, wanting free trade and soverignty to decide what is free trade for some other nation as part of a deal.

    You would think the only consistent objection to the EU was a personality one.

    Perhaps if Brexit is to work, those who wanted to Leave the EU will need to stop behaving as though the entire world owes the UK something for nothing, and it really think hard about what they are actually offering it. I’d be very surprised if the Chinese, the Indians, the Arab Oil Merchants or the Americans see a large supply of people whinging about the European Union as a resourceful advantage to them!

    Those who did actually stand up for the UK in the world, the scientists, the economists, the (profitable) business people did tend to veer towards the Remain/connectivity side of the referendum … These same people were attacked as sellouts by Farage and tiring experts by Gove. Opinions beat fact and substance at the end of the day, perhaps Faith at the very best, but opinions and dogmas or even faith won’t sew the seeds of the reforms the UK needs to do to deliver on even an iota of the promises of the Leave side.

    I don’t really want to be in the United Kingdom period, however I respect Britain as a fellow European nation to Ireland, one that is at risk of surrendering the common standard of diplomacy among European nations for jingoism and an unaimicable divorce, something Irish people are fully aware the consequences of.

    I don’t see the mature politicans who will face up to Brexit’s failures being on them, I don’t see the Leave supporters doing anything inspiring with what they view as independence, criticism of the EU dominates over any affirmation of the UK’s strengths or corrective action towards the UK’s weaknesses in the form of the personal improvement of those who support Brexit’s vision to do the hard work and to fix the short comings.

    The U.K. cannot live by the bread of defensive nationalism alone and so far that pretty much is all that I see that is on offer.

  • Angry Mob

    The EFTA option is not the panacea but rather the initial dose of bitter medicine to heal the UK. What we have voted for is to rectify a historic mistake, we should have never been suckered into the UK in the first place.

    The WTO isn’t worth thinking about, it’s a non-starter but I don’t accept that it will be the UK that will be the UK eating the humble pie regarding FOM given that we would be in a position to invoke article 112 of the EEA agreement.

    This makes interesting reading from a perspective maybe more alligned to yourself: http://www.libdemvoice.org/eeaefta-route-presents-a-way-out-of-the-brexit-impasse-51255.html

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Lib Dems want the EFTA option because it pretty much is the better sickness for them to cope with.

    All this talk about historic mistakes is merely a deflection and distraction by a group of nationalists who have nothing positive to offer their nation and if they could would spend the rest of their lives in a war cementary crying, waving flags and singing GSTQ.

    The only historic mistake in Europe was the entitlement complexes, jingoism and gunboat diplomacy of fascist and totalitarian nationalism so associated with Brexit that actually lead to those graves being filled in the first place.

    Let’s face this, deep down there is a nationalistic blood lust behind everything here and it has nothing to do with trade or science or the NHS or anything else the Leave side said they would fund. They’re not nation builders they’re just wannabe soldiers.

    Northern Ireland’s current administration and the May government is case and point an example of what happens when a military fetish dominates political debate. No wonder they are scared of a pacifist like Corbyn.

  • Angry Mob

    It’s only “nothing positive” because you see choose to see it that way, the majority seen it otherwise and the fact that you ignore is that you ignore the possible positive aspects such as the regained ability to cooperate with the wider world once again not to mention its certainly not nationalism or “fascist” for whatever that actually means nowadays.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The UK always had the ability to co-operate with the wider world, as did the other 27 EU nations. The fact that those who evangelise Brexit have nothing new to offer to that global connectivity pretty much suits the insular nationalists down to the ground.

    It’s my experience people who were comfortable with the EU were every bit as comfortable with people in that wider world, while those who were unconfortable with the EU seem uncomfortable with the wider world beyond the EU.

    The U.K. is a European country it’s still going to have to work very closely with pretty much every EU country and those surrounding it, but please do not insult my intelligence with the excuse that the UK private companies and private individuals weren’t able to sell their goods or services overseas because the EU rather than the host nation put up barriers.

    And so what if there were barriers to trading overseas, there is always going to be barriers to trading overseas even under a FTA.

    People dismissing the world of trade as post geography don’t comprehend Logistics and those who hear any other language but English as a threat to their culture don’t understand Linguistics.

    Even with Anglosphere countries beyond the UK and Ireland I bet there is an unwillingness to understand their legal and business practices. Faux Atlanticists and Commonwealth advocates who understand very little about penetrating these markets but think watching US television dramas and Aussie Soaps from an armchair gives them a sense of connection.

    Deep down laziness and xenophobia have stifled the UK’s global ambitions a lot more than the Single Market ever did. The UK needs to face up to the enemy within and facing up to being the source of pretty much all of its demerits when nothing inevitably goes the way it was dreamed out will be the painful truth.

    There is going to be a hell of a lot of constructive self criticism and resourcefulness the UK is going to have to go through to crawl out of Brexit, just it did like the Great Fire, the Blitz, the English Civil War and all other disasters on the island of Britain.

  • Angry Mob

    We may have been able to cooperate but never fully in the way that likes of Norway and Switzerland currently can. Where Switzerland has concluded FTA’s with China, Hong Kong, Canada, Japan and Singapore, something the EU hasn’t managed.

    Additionally where Norway independent voice and full repersentation in international bodies such as the World Trade Organisation where EU member states are bound by the common position, that is not cooperation it’s subjection to the EU.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Zzz Look I really don’t trust the UK to get what Switzerland got by its current approach of doing whatever the heck it wants and expecting others including the EU to be supplicants.

    The Swiss had 41 years to get the deals it got under much easier circumstances and it still has to trade off with the EU. The Swiss has responsibilities with every dealing with the EU, and agreed measures of co-operation. The U.K. won’t be able to piggyback on the fruits Swiss or Norway agency as some sort of hedonistic irresponsible free agent.

    The Swiss opened their health services to foreign competition, the Swiss aren’t trying to create some sort of pathetic psychological monoculture trying to silence the justifiable scepticism with the decision and approach of leaving the EU.

    The UK’s anti-EU sentiments are pretty much going to get it nowhere, it’s based on reactionary and often unsubstantiated broad-strokes to place the blame on an EU that can and will change, but one that will primarily change for the needs of the states within, while simulatiously absolving those who lead the cause from the responsibility and blame that comes with power.

    Look I understand the power drive behind Brexit, it may well be the case that the disruption along the border will be the most visible evidence of that use of power flowing from Brexit. However my firm belief is that having power does not mean the energies are always creative, formative, objective or directed into where work is needed.

    I don’t believe that ignorance is bliss approach is going to stop the UK from selfdamaging itself from an undisciplined and reactionary pursuit of an undeserved vain glory.

    The frustrations and sour taste among a public who have witnessed the glorious triumph of charlatans and confidence tricksters who built their careers on the dissemination of arrogance and ignorance will simply add to the national pressure in my opinion.

    I see the power as a powder keg blowing up in the UK’s face as it tries to violently shape the rest of the world from a tiny island without the means to do so. People who want to exhort themselves without the grounded capacity for self control often turn to violence.

    What does really concern me is how easy to see a lot of Mairs-like psychopaths emerging from the public because they can only see hope in hate.

    The Leave side already has lied about the border and has deceived the public about extra finances. As far as I am concerned they have a lot to prove before my justifiable contempt for their malicious attempt to manipulate people is in any way forgiven.

    These people had 41 years shouting from the sidelines, and their best offers for an alternative rely on the sort of sexed up processes that sent thousands of people to their deaths in Iraq.

    Does anyone really believe the EU caused as much harm as that?

    And I’m sorry when I still wonder what hope these same people think they have for the future of their nation, I still see people wanting pasty faced communities, a hand and foot NHS and nice NZ lamb chop for dinner. I see people who dream of empire and Asian clipper ships, but are stranded by the limitations of their own abilities.

    Perhaps all this phoney romanticism is the Brexit version of the “comely maidens”

    I don’t see people willing to face up to the graft and the disappointment and the unintended consequences, I don’t see any signs of an independent spirit but a bunch of angry separatists who make excuses for their own shortcomings. It’s a violent distortion of human nature to put trust in the hands who have absolutely no qualms about deception. It’s a violent distortion of human nature to trust those who wish to hide their actions from scrutiny both in process and in hindsight under the guise of efficiency!

    I don’t need Brexit, I don’t need the type of charlatans that tried to sell me Brexit. I’m a proud European, and a proud Irishman, and though I don’t like Brexit. I do care about several people in Britain that island over the Irish Sea, like I do others in France and Spain, Germany and Bulgaria.

    I genuinely worry about Westminister abusing its custodial power in Northern Ireland making decisions that suit England which don’t suit here and to be honest I won’t be suffering a Foolish English Brexit gladly.

    I have plenty of alternatives to the policies and the approach of Brexit that I would like to advocate for, what makes it easier is there are very few in the public figure political advocates of Brexit or indeed Irexit that I would have any latent respect or admiration for.

    The reality may be that those who sold the romance of Brexit will be the ones who fight hardest against having any grounded control of the reality of Brexit events. The key to any good romance is the serenity of the proud and the humility of the prejudicial as they hopelessly accept they can’t control their love and love their control at the same time.

  • Angry Mob

    It remains to be seen whether as you put it the “current approach of doing whatever the heck it wants” is the path that the UK will take in negotiations, if it were true Article 50 may have been triggered already or even not at all, the ECA repealed and all payments stopped. Now that would be truly reckless and we should take comfort that that is not the case as that would leave us with the WTO option which is a worse position than we are in now. (In the EU.)

    The deals that the Swiss have got however have came quicker and more frequently than what the EU has managed. The Chinese deal I believe took approx 2 1/2 years to negotiate and was only signed a few years ago. It conceivable that upon leaving we could negotiate FTA’s with several countries within say five years and be much better off because of it. Thats not to mention, you say we can’t piggy back, well we can on the EFTA, which has clauses in it’s FTA’s that allow future members to enter into its already pre-agreed deals. Instantly opening not only the single market but the wider world.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Yes, but UK trade with China has increased more in the period since Switzerland signed their deal than Swiss trade has!! These deals are not a Nirvana.

  • Angry Mob

    Do you have a source for this?

    Have you also considered the other benefits and implications other than trade such as intellectual property protection, agreements on employment and labour, investment promotion, technical cooperation, environmental protection and a platform for for future deals, especially in the areas of banking?