Monday, 24 July 2017

Brexit, Corbyn and food

I have deliberately laid off commenting on the Conservatives' and Corbynists' determination to leave the EU because: (a) Brexit is being discussed endlessly elsewhere; and (b) because I feel I have adequately laid out my position in previous posts.

However, a couple of very good posts on developments have come to my attention. First, Jonathan Fryer dispels any illusions that people may have had who voted Labour at the mad June election that Corbyn would reverse May's retreat from Europe.

[Corbyn] knows he cannot build the sort of high-tax, dirigiste socialist Utopia that he and his Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, dream of. They do not support the European project; they denigrate it as a capitalist club. One should never forget how much Corbyn revered Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

Secondly, Jay Rayner, award-winning journalist, food writer and chair of Radio 4's Kitchen Cabinet, lays out the  before-and-after benefits of our joining and remaining in the EEC/EC/EU. (He also reveals an aspect of the hypocrisy of Michael Gove.)  One passage stood out for me:

It is a mystery to me why farmers voted in such number to leave Europe. I assume they believed the false promise that the money based on acreage would just keep rolling in after Brexit. I also assume they hoped it would free them from environmental protection legislation. Certainly, both parts of the regime are flawed.

Indeed, interviews with farmers on Radio Wales' Country Focus, of which yesterday's edition from the Royal Welsh was typical, consistently cite the removal of "red tape" as a reason for voting Leave.

He also agrees that the Common Agricultural Policy is flawed, and that this is recognised throughout the EU. I believe that we Liberal Democrats have not emphasised enough that a consistent component of our policy is reform of the CAP. The UK's leaving can only reduce the opposition within the EU to the big two who most benefit from the current CAP.

More and more people in the top half of income distribution in the UK are now realising that allowing Article 50 negotiations to proceed would be a mistake. However, not until the predictions of rising prices and factory closures become real and hit ordinary people in their pockets, or that the news outlets consistently report the dangers to our health of desperate trade deals with nations with lower environmental standards, will there be any practical effect.

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