Friday 27 January 2017

Brexiters, good luck with your Trump-Tory trade deal!

It's difficult not to scorn the blatant over-optimism of Brexiters who insist on pinning their hopes on a Trump-Tory trade deal.

I've already pointed out that the "cliff edge" Brexit the Tories have been cobbling together puts the UK in an extraordinarily weak geopolitical position, with any prospective trade partners certain to adopt a "you need us more than we need you" stance to demand as many favours, bribes and special privileges as they think they can get away with.

Picture credit: Kevin Kallaugher
Anyone who imagines that Trump and his team won't see Britain's position of geopolitical weakness and use it as a diplomatic half nelson to extract "Trump tributes" is clearly still living in a Brexiter fantasy land of patriotic flag-waving and ridiculous over-optimism.

The Americans will demand all kinds of stuff like the opening up of our borders to cheap heavily subsidised US agricultural produce, the lowering of food safety standards to allow unlabelled GM foods and chlorine treated chicken onto our supermarket shelves, and a carve up of the NHS for the benefit of US health corporations. Theresa May is a weak and consistently incompetent politician with a load of rubbish cards in her diplomatic poker hand.

I've already pointed out that it's an absolute national disgrace that Theresa May has scuttled off to America with her begging bowl, to heap praise on Donald Trump and beg for the US-UK trade deal that she's pinned her hopes on. Even Mexico have the cojones to stand up to Trump, but Theresa May is over there bowing and scraping, making Britain look weak, pathetic and subservient on our behalf.

We all know that a quickfire trade deal is impossible, and even if it were possible, it would be a catastrophic idea to cobble together an important piece of international legislation with such haste. Trade deals take an average of seven years to complete for a reason. They have to be carefully negotiated in order to prevent damaging side-effects, and even then, they still cause all kinds of problems (just look at NAFTA or the appalling transnational tribunals included in the CETA agreement between Canada and the EU that is about to be ratified).

If Theresa May starts trying to negotiate a trade deal with the US before they've formalised their EU exit, the European reaction is bound to be furious. It would completely kill off May's already tenuous hopes of cherry-picking Single Market access for favoured corporations (banks and vehicle manufacturers) whilst lumbering the economic damage of quitting the Single Market on the rest of us.

Donald Trump has now made it absolutely clear that Theresa May is begging for a trade deal from a madman. He told a gathering of Republican lawmakers that he wants a 30 day "get out clause" on any trade deal the US signs up to!

Here's what he said:

"Believe me, we’re going to have a lot of trade deals ... If that particular country doesn’t treat us fairly, we send them a 30-day termination, notice of termination."
After the years it takes to finalise the Trump-Tory trade deal, he's demanding the right to scrap it at a month's notice if it somehow turns out to be benefiting Britain too much for his liking!

Judging by the close correlation between Trump's Twitter outbursts and reports on Fox News, it seems likely that he could end up just binning the whole thing as soon as he sees a critical Fox News segment about it!

The UK has decided to leave the largest trading block in the world. Admittedly one with many faults (I've written more critical analysis on the EU than the huge majority of Brexit voters) but one where we were one of the big fish with a lot of influence.

What Theresa May and the Tories are trying to do is replace that loss with a pathetically subservient role to the United States that is completely dependent on the whims of the first US President ever with no legislative experience whatever. It's completely dependent on a US President who talks contradictory rubbish, lies through his teeth, has utter contempt for stuff like science, international law, women's rights and basic human decency.

I can understand that a lot of Brexiters voted the way they did because they honestly wanted things to get better. But how on earth is grovelling for a massively one-sided trade deal from a trash-talking madman who wants the right to tear up any such deal at 30 days notice any better than the deal we had before? 

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