A deleted Spectator article prophesying what life outside the EU would look like has resurfaced as businesses across the UK face yet more red tape misery under new border controls.
The Brexit-supporting magazine – which boasts of backing British independence in both the 1975 and 2016 referendums – ran an article by Daniel Hannan in January 2016, four months before the referendum was held.
In it, he postulated the shape of Britain’s exit, unsurprisingly missing the target on almost every point.
On remaining in the common market, he said “no one in Brussels” argues that Britain would leave it if it exited the EU, going on to base his entire article around the following assumption:
“So when every non-EU territory from the Isle of Man to Montenegro has access to the European free trade area, which model should we follow?”
The United Kingdom was actually forced to leave the EEA when it left the EU on 31 January 2020, and trade has been suffering as a result ever since.
Hannan said the choices presented to Britain will be a fusion of a Norway and Switzerland deal, but with the UK’s population being significantly bigger than both those countries, “we should expect something better yet”.
“We’ll recover our parliamentary sovereignty and, with it, the ability to sign bilateral trade deals with non-EU countries, as Norway and Switzerland do — an increasingly important advantage when every continent in the world is growing except Antarctica and Europe”, he said.
Trade talks with Canada had to be ditched this year after two years of negotiations, while an oft-touted FTA with America remains completely off the cards.
As for trade with the EU, Hannan argued that it would remain largely untouched because “it would be in everyone’s interest”.
“The idea that either side would wish to jeopardise the flow of cross-Channel trade is bizarre”, he said.
Tell that to all the vets who now have to sign off on all meat and dairy exports to the UK, or the fishermen, who have been put out of business by the new trading relationship.
Safe to say that if I were the editor of The Spectator, I would have deleted Hannon’s article too.
Relared: Rwanda removals under £240m scheme could be ‘quite low’, Cleverly says