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The Tories must be stopped

If the current polls are right, the UK will next week give the go ahead for this country to become a diminished force on the global stage. Spurning our friends and neighbours, we will begin a desperate search for trade deals with the autocratic Chinese and an American President on the brink of impeachment for his behaviour.

As a big player in the EU, our voice is listened to in Europe and around the world. Detached, what have we got? The special relationship with America? Not very special with President Trump in the White House. We’ll see how the trade talks go when we lack any real bargaining power.

Our economy is likely to take a blow making the ludicrous spending promises in this election campaign undeliverable.

The integrity of the country will be under enormous strain. There are reports that the election campaign in Northern Ireland has seen community tensions exacerbated. Johnson’s deal with its custom requirements in the Irish Sea will only make the position worse.

Brexit won’t be done

The biggest fallacy of this election campaign has been the notion that when we leave the EU, Europe goes away as an issue. Let’s look at the facts.

The Brexit crisis this year has been worsened by the Tories constantly setting deadlines for No Deal which they missed in March and October. But the next “deadline” is waiting just over the horizon if we leave on Jan 31st. We are already being told by these tough Tories that if our future trade relationship with the EU is not done by Dec 31, 2020, we will leave with No Deal. Threats are all these continental chappies understand is Johnson’s arrogant and ignorant thought process.

The 2020 deadline was set last March allowing 21 months for negotiations of great complexity. We now have 11 months. Trade talks won’t start on Feb 1st. The Commission has to get a negotiating mandate from the 27. That has to be approved by the European Parliament, so don’t expect substantive negotiations to begin until the summer. Then as the talks progress, business and industry will demand their say as sectoral interests become bargaining chips.

Meanwhile we will see how foreign investors in this country that depend on just-in-time deliveries react to the certainty that we are out.

How to vote

Because of our voting system, Remainers have a pretty unpalatable choice following the disappointing showing of the Lib Dems. It must be a vote for Labour because that is the only pathway to a second vote.

I am fully aware of Corbyn’s unpopularity having talked to key Labour candidates in the North West in last few weeks, but he is not going to be able to force through his agenda. Corbyn would only be in power by the favour of minor parties that can check his excesses. Meanwhile a soft Brexit deal, that respects the narrowness of the Referendum result would be negotiated and put alongside Remain.

Many things were responsible for the North’s decline over the last forty years, but the European Union was NOT one of them.