Protempore …


Posted by in May's Magazine

So, who are the friends that will be welcoming us with open arms and rushing to bail us out of the economic mire that we’ve created for ourselves?

If, like me, you’re absolutely fed up to the back teeth of Brexit, then don’t bother reading the rest of this article. If, however, you’d like to find out about some of the people we will be forced to trade with unless we can either soften our exit or stop it all together, read on.

As I’m writing this, MPs are preparing to spend the day at Westminster debating and voting on another eight motions to see if there is a way through the morass which has been created by a Tory party at war with itself (nope). Some of the motions would see us leaving the EU without a deal (highly unlikely); entering into a permanent customs union with the EU (possible); or revoking Article 50 altogether and staying in the EU (again, highly unlikely). 

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I’m something of a betting man but even I wouldn’t begin to try and set out the odds on what’s going to happen in the next few days and weeks. It would be much, much easier to tip the winner of the Grand National – more of that later. But let’s just say that we end up crashing out of the EU without a deal. Such a scenario would mean that we would have to strike up trade deals from a position of weakness. Don’t listen to the Nigel Farage’s and Liam Fox’s of the world who tell us that sane, sensible countries will be lining up to deal with us – that’s a lie and here’s why.

The Americans, under Trump’s administration, would want to make sure that any deal is more favourable to them than it is for us. Fair enough, but that would involve opening up public services like the NHS to private US corporations – it’s not going to happen as that would be political suicide for any party in the UK. China is one of the most cautious countries on Earth when it comes to trade and certainly won’t be rushing into any trade deals with us given that they are holding all the cards.

Japan has been the most negative about the possibility of doing a deal with the UK and has stated explicitly that it will prioritise doing a deal with the EU – good timing on our part. 

With one of the fastest developing economies in the world which will overtake the UK in the next few years, India has been negotiating a trade deal with the EU since 2007 – again, good timing from us. The EU and Mexico reached agreement on a trade deal in 2018 and while Liam Fox simply wants this to continue with the UK after Brexit, the Mexicans don’t need us, we need them. 

So, who are the friends that will be welcoming us with open arms and rushing to bail us out of the economic mire that we’ve created for ourselves?

Well, our old pals Saudi Arabia will be at the front of the queue. We already supply them with fighter jets, bombs, rockets and ammunition that allows them to pursue a murderous foreign policy in Yemen and the wider Middle East which has led to the deaths and starvation of millions of civilians. The Saudis know that Brexit will weaken the UK’s position leading to much easier deals on arms. 

And then there’s Brunei. The UK has had a long-running relationship with Brunei focussing mainly on defence but also helping the small country to do business across the world. Following Brexit, we’ll be calling on them to see if they can help us out. 

If you don’t know much about Brunei, get your passport out and lap this up.

The tiny state of Brunei (its population is less than that of Edinburgh) has one of the world’s highest standards of living thanks to huge oil and gas reserves. The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, is one of the world’s longest reigning and few remaining absolute monarchs. Brunei’s media are neither diverse nor free. The private press is either owned or controlled by the royal family or exercises self-censorship when covering politics and religion. 

Recently, Brunei finalised the introduction and enforcement of a strict Sharia law penal code. This means amongst other things, that adultery and gay sex will be punishable by stoning to death and the limbs of convicted thieves will be amputated – this will also apply to children. But hey, the weather averages around 26 degrees all year round so you can watch the stoning and amputations in your flip-flops. 

Oh yes, the Grand National. 

Given the above, and unless MPs
get their act together to stop the clusterfuck that is Brexit, the fact that we will be dealing with despots and dictators around the world to shore up our economy means there’s really only one horse you could have backed on the day, I’m guessing – Pleasant Company.

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