Skip to main content

Boris Johnson's Porky Pies

Boris Johnson has been telling Porky Pies about Melton Mowbray pork pies. He gave the pies as an example of our poor trade arrangements with the USA. US regulations stopped them being exported to the US, whilst they could be sold in Iceland. It all sounds like tough-talking. It seems reasonable, but for the fact that the pies are only exported to Ireland. It is the standard trick of the populist politician. Make something up and then sound tough on it.

The Melton Mowbray pie is protected by the European Union. A no-deal Brexit would remove that protection, and the pies could readily be copied, or other kinds of pies could be sold as Melton Mowbray.

This is a significant worry for the producers of Melton Mowbray pies who fought a legal battle to ensure its status was protected.

Mr Johnson is in a hurry to make a trade deal with the USA. Both he and President Trump suggest a deal could be put in place within a year. This is odd, given it would usually take up to ten years.

The UK could sign a blank piece of paper and call it a trade deal, but it would leave UK businesses exposed, and the UK consumer unprotected.

Currently, the UK operates through forty trade deals negotiated by the EU. These need to be "rolled" on for the UK to trade with the same terms after Brexit. That is not an easy task. So far, the UK has managed thirteen "continuity" deals covering 38 countries.

Striking a deal with the USA, UK's top trading partner would be vital. Trump won't be a push-over. He has his own agenda, which is to put "America first." He won't be looking to do "favours" for the British government, no matter what his rhetoric is.

Trump wants markets opened up to US goods, and he wants to protect US businesses. He won't look favourably on the current balance of trade with the UK. The UK exports £112 bn of goods to the US, but imports £70 bn. The UK's biggest trading partner in terms of imports is Germany, much of which is vital for the UK supply chain.

So, is it wishful thinking that a trade deal could be negotiated with the USA within a year? Not necessarily, but the terms of that deal would unlikely be favourable to the UK.


We know what the US objectives are. They have been published. It is a lengthy document with some red flags. For example, it seeks to


"Establish rules that reduce or eliminate barriers to US investment in all sectors in the UK."

This would include the health and social care sectors and is a threat to the NHS, with more outsourcing and privatisation.

Another threat to the NHS would be in the following intent to

"Seek standards to ensure that government regulatory reimbursement regimes are transparent, provide procedural fairness, are nondiscriminatory, and provide full market access for US products." 

Significant dangers lie ahead in a rushed deal with the USA.


Enjoy reading The Thin End?  Try Ray Noble's novel.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

A time for every purpose

All life moves. Or, more precisely, all life moves purposefully.  This is true even for trees and plants.  Movement is essential for maintaining life.  Animals migrate; plants disperse.  Some form of migration is an ingredient of all life.  For many organisms, it is a key function of reproduction.  We don't reproduce merely to create a new organism, but also to disperse the population - finding new fertile ground, or resources. Reproduction is a form of migration. Reproduction isn't merely to replicate. Reproduction produces change and diversity.  While we may have strong resemblences in families, we also have differences.  Creating a difference is how evolution works.  In this sense, nature is a continuous exploratory process, finding what works best.  Nature senses change and responds.  Some of this is immediate and physiological or behavioural; some of it is over generations.  If we look at a forest over long periods of time, we would see that it shifts. There is a movement

Noise pollution puts nature at risk

 "I just want a bit of peace and quiet!" Let's get away from all the hustle and bustle; the sound of endless traffic on the roads, of the trains on the railway, and the planes in the sky; the incessant drone; the noise. We live in a world of man-made noise; screeching, bellowing, on-and-on in an unmelodious cacophony.  This constant background noise has now become a significant health hazard.   With average background levels of 60 decibels, those who live in cities are often exposed to noise over 85 decibels, enough to cause significant hearing loss over time.  It causes stress, high blood pressure, headache and loss of sleep and poor health and well-being.   In nature, noise has content and significance.  From the roar of the lion, the laughing of a hyena,  communication is essential for life; as the warning of danger, for bonding as a group or a pair, finding a mate, or for establishing a position in a hierarchy - chattering works.  Staying in touch is vital to working