This was the FT’s front page yesterday (double click to enlarge):
I’ll spare comment on Mr Putin’s Siberian holiday… in favour of the second article – an estimate by HMRC that outside the EU it would cost British business 15 billion pounds to fill in time-consuming and inconvenient customs declarations – based on the 215m cross border transactions of 2017.
We have to realise that this figure, which increases the costs of exporting and importing, on which the UK economy is based, by roughly twice what we currently pay to the EU directly, in order to be a member.
So sovereignty is improved in a sense in that most, but not all, of the money, will presumably be spent in UK companies and customs agents.
But how does this meet the red tape challenge? And how does it make us ‘more competitive’?
And, without any EU agreement, we would be paying a fee (probably indirectly) on all our purchases.
So that’s 15 billion pounds of red tape and no money paid to the EU. Or actually about half that amount paid (£8billion) for our membership?
Red tape would then be £288 million per week for the side of the bus. Somewhat short of the bogus £350 million lie. (The £350 million number is not net and now looks certainly nil or less…)
So, apart from European unity, lack of European conflict and similar considerations, we really have to decide – in a classic neoliberal narrative – how do we want to pay for some happiness in our lives – directly – less – or indirectly – more?
Of course, I’d also suggest that we don’t have to actually to ‘pay’ (who on earth are we paying?) at all.