5 July 2018
Despite stiff competition from both the blazing sunshine and England’s World Cup game against Belgium, it was a full house at Tewkesbury Abbey Parish Hall on 28th June for Molly Scott Cato’s latest Brexit update from Brussels.
Molly started by contrasting the view of Brexit from Brussels with the view from the UK. While the UK government has cast Brexit as an opportunity to reclaim its global role, to “take back control”, Brussels remains bewildered by why the UK would voluntarily choose to leave a powerful global bloc and, with the looming threat of a “no-deal Brexit”, put its political stability at risk.
Turning to trade, Molly explained how the rules-based system the UK is seeking to follow post-Brexit is in the process being broken down by Donald Trump’s erratic tariffs policy. Not only that: The government’s position on leaving the customs union means that many businesses that trade primarily with the EU will have reason to be based elsewhere. She also reported that Brexit poses a real risk to the UK’s high food safety standards, as highlighted by the worrying requirements the USA has laid out for a trade deal. The prosperity of the UK’s farmers post-Brexit continues to be a concern given that their main export market is the EU.
In terms of environmental legislation, Molly reported that there are no indications that the UK will stick to the commitments of EU Emissions Trading System, energy efficiency directives and renewables targets post-Brexit, nor that funding sources for renewable energy will be guaranteed (the Green Investment Bank was privatised by the Conservatives last year). The UK’s exit from the EU also means that it will lack any environmental watchdog with teeth.
The most surprising (and sinister) part of Molly’s talk was about the individuals driving a hard Brexit, more specifically, the Russia connection and Nigel Farage and Crispin Odey’s involvement in shorting the pound the night of the vote.
Despite the gloom, Molly closed her talk by stressing the need for positivity and that Brexit is by no means a done deal. As well as getting involved in the campaign for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, other approaches include lobbying local MPs, engaging in discussion on Twitter and in the local press and campaigning for an electoral system that truly reflects political opinion in the UK.
Many thanks to Molly and to Tewkesbury Green Party for organising.
Molly was also featured on Episode 60 of the Remainiacs podcast talking Brexit and the Big Short. You can listen to it here.
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