Category: Brexit

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Corporate control of Britain’s farming after Brexit, and why it matters

Pauline Allon

According to Greenpeace, a small number or US companies control the food industry worldwide, reducing farmers’ say in what is grown and how to grow it and leaving little choice for the consumer. This is industrial agriculture. The US Department of Agriculture defines factory farming as a system that houses more than 1,000 cattle, 2,500 […]

Walls come tumbling down

Jane Thomas

Last week I visited Keighley – my first foray into the non-Sheffield outside world since lockdown restrictions were lifted. The last time I visited was on the eve of polling day in the 2019 general election to help the sitting Labour MP John Grogan. Professional to a tee, John was maintaining an air of quiet […]

The government is in danger of being overwhelmed by Brexit

Anthony Robinson

As we enter the final stretch with just five months to go before the transition period ends, and with a second wave of coronavirus already threatening Europe, there are growing signs that serious Brexit problems are beginning to overwhelm the government. The workload is increasing as the time available to complete it is decreasing and […]

“The GMO lobbyist will see you now, minister”

Martin Brooks

The UK is under immense pressure to sign up to US demands on the regulations applying to GMO (genetically modified organisms), as part of the US-UK trade deal. One look at the USA’s commercial commitment to GMO tells you why. GMO technology, often developed by US companies, is embedded in US farming practices and hence […]

Will planning rules derail the Brexit express?

Anthony Robinson

Rachel Reeves, the shadow cabinet secretary, visited the MOJO site close to junction 10A of the M20 at Ashford in Kent recently with the BBC also reporting that construction “began earlier this month” on a “giant lorry park” for Brexit-related customs purposes without local people being consulted. The MP for Leeds West has now written to Michael Gove asking […]

EU banking watchdog tells British banks: Check, Change and Come – to Europe

Anthony Robinson

As the British government launches its advertising campaign to help businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the transition period, with the inevitable three-word slogan “Check – Change – Go”, the European Banking Authority (EBA) had a message of its own to Britain’s financial institutions. In a lengthy and uncompromising statement published yesterday on its […]

Covid-19: early reopening worse than lockdown

Amanda Robinson
bank notes bills cash commerce

It is clear that the government’s preparations for a pandemic were lacking, despite Exercise Cygnus in 2016 which reviewed the UK’s preparedness by simulating a flu outbreak and contained 26 recommendations. It is alleged that the Cygnus report was buried “for fear workers would be alerted to the immense dangers posed by a pandemic”. The […]

Government to create “single source of truth” for border data

Anthony Robinson

Just a week after publishing the Border Operating Model describing how Britain’s borders will operate from 1 January next year, we learn it’s really only a stop-gap measure after the government launched a consultation on creating “the world’s most effective border” in the next five years. Not content with erecting conventional barriers to trade with […]

Reuters: “Barnier confident Brexit deal with Britain possible”

Anthony Robinson

Reuters reported within the last half hour that sources in Brussels are claiming Michel Barnier, in a closed-door meeting with national envoys this morning, “expressed confidence” that a deal between the UK and the EU can be agreed. Barnier’s comments are said to be in sharp contrast to the most recent downbeat assessments that he […]

The Irish Sea border: Brexit’s own iceberg

Anthony Robinson

Northern Ireland was barely mentioned during the referendum, but since 2016 it has consistently proved the most insoluble problem. Theresa May’s plan to resolve it by keeping the whole United Kingdom in the customs union eventually proved her undoing. Johnson’s answer, to erect a border down the Irish Sea, could soon be his. Northern Ireland […]

Failing? Blame someone else!

Richard Corbett

The Daily Telegraph carried a remarkable article yesterday claiming that the main obstacle to getting a post Brexit deal on trade (and other matters) with the EU is simply the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. Blaming a Frenchman always goes down well with parts of the British public, but lashing out at Barnier is facile. […]

The dubious “expert” driving the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy

Richard Sadler

We’ve all heard of Dominic Cummings – but what about Shanker Singham? This obscure industry lobbyist has penetrated the inner circles of the deregulatory, free-trade ideologues at the heart of government. Like Cummings, he is unelected and unaccountable. Yet he has developed close contacts with ministers from the prime minister down, and is playing a […]

Abandon all hope ye who enter here

Jane Thomas

The latest round of EU trade talks taking place in London is expected to end on Thursday in a deadlock. The Telegraph reports that the government’s working assumption is that we will be unable to agree a deal with the EU by the time the transition period ends, so Britain will trade with Europe on […]

Lords call for government food strategy to protect food security

Natalie Bennett
assorted sliced fruits in white ceramic bowl

Last night after 8pm, some 16 hours into the debate of the 321 amendments to the agriculture bill, with Lords huddled over their laptops in remote parts of the country, you’d have to be a keen political wonk to have still been attached to Parliament TV. But Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick described this part of […]

Britain to develop world-beating circumlocution industry

Anthony Robinson

Charles Dickens invented the Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit, a fictional government paper-shuffling department which never achieved anything but, “in the spirit of national efficiency” gradually led to it having “something to do with everything”. Dickens talked of people “who in slow lapse of time and agony” became lost inside it. It appears from the […]

Who will benefit from a no-deal Brexit?

Amanda Robinson

“The prime minister has a significant opportunity here to win popularity and secure himself a solid future; if he revoked Art 50 before 31 January 2020 on national security grounds he would immediately assume the mantle of a hero. But if the ‘Russia Report’ comes out after Brexit, he may well end up being cast […]

Yorkshire and Humber MPs who turned their backs on the NHS

Juliet Lodge

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the government is asleep on the job – not paying attention and not asking critical questions affecting the safety and security of the UK. This is as much about the Russian report as it is about the very serious issues surrounding the role of the British parliament […]

Protecting the UK from predatory traders

Juliet Lodge
alligator head

One of the more intriguing aspects of what parliamentary scrutiny committees do concerns the way in which they have, more recently, revealed how weak parliament is when it comes to controlling government. MPs are now setting about challenging this. At a time when the UK is facing the double whammy of Covid-19 and Brexit, it […]

Is the penny finally dropping at The Telegraph?

Anthony Robinson

Last Saturday, The Telegraph carried a report about British international haulage companies facing disaster without a trade agreement at the end of the year: Three quarters of hauliers face loss of permits in no-deal Brexit. This was a reference to the EU’s notice published on 9 July about the coming changes once the transition period […]

Hunting Johnson: rule breaking, populism and animal cruelty

Liz Webster
brown and white fox on green grass

There is a virulent theme running throughout Boris Johnson’s life and ascent to the top job as prime minister. His carefree and clownish approach to life has assured him enormous popularity. To his fans he is the Uncle Buck they always wanted – clumsy, clutzy, naughty but nice Boris Johnson who makes people laugh and […]

Spain’s welcome message to UK citizens

Sue Wilson

“Many of you have built your homes here and we want you to stay . . . You are part of the Spanish family. You are part of us. The Spanish Government is here to support you in this new phase and we want to send you a very clear message: this is, and will […]

Brexit preparations: are we out of time?

Juliet Lodge

Rushing headlong into anything serious should be worrying at the best of times. But when we’re facing the worst of times any of us have known, it is crazy. An illusion has somehow been created of there being plenty of time before the transition period ends. But this is far from the reality. The UK […]

Trade bill may tip the scales on Scottish independence

Charlie McCarthy

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the shops in a face mask, Brexit is back with a vengeance (not that it ever went away). The government will publish legislation on Thursday that will form the foundation of the UK’s ‘internal market’ when the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December […]

Gove’s new border plan: the longest suicide note in history?

Anthony Robinson

The long awaited border operating model was published yesterday to coincide with Michael Gove’s statement in the House of Commons. It sets out in gruesome detail how the import and export of goods to and from the EU will take place from 1 January 2021. At 206 pages it’s far longer that Labour’s 1983 manifesto […]

Check Change Go (and the Farage Garage)

Jane Thomas
woman sitting on luggage

There are 170 days until we leave the EU, and just five working days left before MPs go off on their summer jollies. Those with any sense may want to think about using their vacation to visit the EU now (quarantines permitting) before the unprecedented travel measures kick in from 1 January next year. To […]

EU launches its own shock and awe campaign early

Anthony Robinson

For some weeks the British government has been planning a “shock and awe” campaign to warn British businesses that they have less than six months to prepare for Brexit; but the EU has beaten them to it.  As the latest round of talks on the future relationship finished in London yesterday, with Barnier tweeting there […]

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