Brexit: Government FAQs Up

By the editor, Jun 7 2018 11:47AM

The Government is committed to securing the best possible Brexit for the UK.

But we realise this is a complex business, and not always easily understood. We have been contacted by a number of people who voted to leave the EU, expressing some concern that things weren’t necessarily panning out the way they expected, and asking for updates on progress. Some Frequently Asked Questions, and our answers, are set out below.

1. Why don’t we just bloody well get on with it and leave?

- Believe us, very sincerely on this point: we are doing this, in fact we’re doing very little else, and we will be doing very little else, for years and possibly decades to come.

2. We voted to get the same benefits from the EU, with fewer costs: is that still going to happen?

- Not exactly. You’ll get rather significantly fewer benefits, with slightly greater costs.

3. Will we get more control of our borders?

- To some extent. There will be a lot more customs officials than before.

4. But we will be able to reduce immigration?

- Yes. This is a big win. We won’t actually be implementing any new measures on this, but there will be no need: our slowing economy and the hostile environment we’ve created for foreigners has already ensured a reduction in those wishing to come here, and the good news is this will self-perpetuate: lower immigration will further worsen our economy, so even fewer people will want to come here.

5. Will we be stopping the European Court of Justice telling us what to do?

- Absolutely. It will be the UK courts who’ll now be telling us to obey the ECJ.

6. Will we be reducing all that red tape from Brussels?

- Yes, significantly. A lot of that red tape will be manufactured in the UK from now on. In fact, there will be a lot more of it, so that’ll be more British jobs for British workers, especially for those with law degrees.

7. But what about all the existing EU law – when do we get rid of that?

- No, we’re keeping that. It’s just that we’ll be writing the new laws ourselves. Well, copying the EU laws, but using our words. At least, that’s our ambition in the negotiations.

8. Can we still go on holiday to Europe just like before?

- Yes, more or less. But probably less. You may want to factor in longer journey times, given the delays at ports and airports. It’ll continue to be a lot more expensive, of course, because of sterling’s depreciation. And it’ll be sensible not to get ill, or get mugged, or get into trouble of any sort, since we may not have the same reciprocal agreements on things like that. And steer clear of holiday romances, since cross-breeding is obviously discouraged now. On the other hand, holidays in the UK are likely to be a lot cheaper.

9. We will be able to sign lots of new trade deals with countries from outside the EU?

- Yes. In theory. In practice, this won’t happen straightaway. In some cases, in fact probably most cases, if not all, it may not happen at all. A major reason other countries want to trade with us is because we’re a good means of entry into the EU, and of course we won’t be any more. Also for some reason a lot of countries have looked at the way we’ve negotiated with the EU and decided we aren’t very trustworthy. Or competent. And we don’t seem very welcoming to foreigners (see FAQ 4). On the plus side, we’ve got the royal family, who may be able to drum up support in some of the old colonies.

10. What about the £350 million a week extra for the NHS?

- There was a slight accounting error here. The actual figure was minus £350 million a week for the NHS, once the hit to our economy was taken into account. But on the bright side, there will be many fewer immigrants available to cope with staff shortages, so we may be paying less for the NHS anyway.

11. What sort of deal are we looking at?

- We’re going for something in the best traditions of British straight-talking, common sense, and premium quality bespoke tailoring. Think Geoffrey Boycott crossed with Roger Moore. Put simply: outside the CU but inside a CU, outside the EEA, but inside the SM for goods, although outside the SM for services, under the jurisdiction of the ECHR, outside the jurisdiction of the ECJ, inside Euratom, outside EFTA, inside OSCE, outside ESA, inside Interpol, outside Europol (not to be confused with EUPOL, which we’ll also be outside), and outside CFCA, CPVO, EU-OSHA, FRONTEX, EASA, ECDC, Cedefop, ECHA, EEA (not to be confused with the EEA), EFSA, EUROFOUND, GSA, EMSA, EMA (previously EMEA), EMCDDA, ENISA, ERA, ETF, FRA (previously EUMC), OHIM, and of course CdT, but nevertheless working with our wider international partners in UNECE, the ISO, CODEX, OECD and WCO in order to ensure a smooth accommodation of mutually beneficial regulatory standards. In summary, CETA+?+, with a splash of UK-specific FTA.

12. Couldn’t we get a better deal if we just threatened to leave without one?

- As a negotiating ploy, threatening to shoot yourself in the head does carry some risks. But in any event, now the EU have realised that we’ve made no contingency plans, this is rather like pointing a gun at yourself that has no bullets. Less risky, perhaps, but not particularly persuasive.

13. Will there be a “hard” or “frictionless” border in Northern Ireland?

- Whether we implement the MaxFac option, or the MinInfrastruc option, or more likely, whatever the EU tells us to implement, we are clear: whether hard, or soft, smooth or grating, this will be a red, white and blue border (on one side at least – green on the other); and borders mean borders, and we’re going to make a success of them.

14. Are we going to take back control of our fishing rights?

- What is it with Brexiteers and fish? Who gives a flying?

15. It’s not my fault though, is it? When I voted to leave I didn’t think you’d make such a complete fucking hash of it.

- That’ll be because of your trust in the administrative skill, strategic and tactical brilliance, imaginative flair, and honesty and decency of UK politicians, would it? I think we’ll just leave that one with you, if that’s okay.

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