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An Australia-style deal is a disappointing new low

Well, here it is. An Australia-style deal. Not exactly surprising but deeply disappointing, nonetheless. Even now, the UK government is pretending that this has not been it’s intention from the word go but anyone who listens to these absurd claims must consider everything this government have done, every decision they have made, even the people they have put in charge of negotiating it. If they were really serious about this then Dominic Raab – a man who, and I cannot stress this enough, did not realise the importance of the Dover-Calais crossing to UK exports and imports – would never have been in charge of the negotiations. They have failed to take this seriously from the very beginning.

The Prime Minister has called a halt to all negotiations unless the EU fundamentally change their position and give Boris everything he wants. Famously no successful peaceful negotiation in the history of anything has ever worked on this premise, but I’m sure Johnson will be the exception. Of course, the red lines for the EU are maintaining the very high standards of the custom union and maintaining peace in Ireland – controversial opinions to be sure. Johnson naturally wants to shit all over both of these like the coked-up hamster he so eerily resembles.

But don’t worry everyone we’ll simply negotiate a Canada-style deal or an Australia-style deal. No deal obviously isn’t on the cards, Michael Gove assured us numerous times that we would get a good deal and that a vote for Brexit was a vote for a good deal. 

Note however that Canada’s deal has been in the works since 2009 with work going on to align both parties in terms of standards since before the turn of the century, and it has still not been ratified by all 27 EU member states. Their agreement provides nothing resembling the rights and privileges we once enjoyed as members of the European Union. This deal removes 98% of all tariffs on products but Canada must abide by the Geographic protection indicators which prevent champagne being made anywhere outside of France, parma ham being made outwith Italy and which, until recently, protected our own Aberdeen angus beef, and scotch whisky (amongst many, many others) in this country. 

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Even better than this though is the potential of an Australia-style deal. This is what Boris claims to be aiming for, this is the prize he and his government will claim from the evil foreigners with their funny cheeses and weird accents. Them lot on the continent what don’t understand true British ideals, blah blah rule Britannia, British exceptionalism, Churchill…we’ve all heard that shite before. The thing to remember though is that an Australia-style deal can also be known as an Afghan-style deal or a Tajikistan-style deal.

Australia does not have a free trade agreement with the EU, they don’t even have a trade agreement with the EU. They trade on WTO terms, these can see tariffs of anywhere between 0 to 80% put on our exports globally. Furthermore, if you think you’ve been treated unfairly you cannot complain to the WTO. You could be angry at one company but if you want to change anything you have to convince your country to expend the time, money and political capital on taking another country to court – and even then the WTO can only advise on a course of action, not enforce one. That is what the Prime Minister is trying to sell you on. The very minimum globally accepted regulatory framework. Nothing more. This is as low as it goes, and that’s even assuming the EU will want our goods after the government removes standards and pushes through a raft of deregulation measures. 

This is one bargain we should have left on the shelf.

Image: Camilo Rueda Lopez.

By Adam Losekoot

Senior Opinion Editor, 'The Opinionator', sexy bastard and all round stand up guy

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