It’s Hard #Brexit Groundhog Day every day …


I think we are doomed for now to Brexit Groundhog Day, reliving the battles of the referendum for the foreseeable future.

Until folk, regardless of their position on Brexit, accept that we have serious problems in the here and now to address and that many of them have been caused or at least exacerbated by the hardest of Hard Brexits then we will be stricken with a bout of chronic hysteresis.

To admit that there are Brexit related issues that must be dealt with now is, naturally, to suggest that the rationale for voting Leave was flawed and that rejoining is not an immediate solution to said problems.

The Conservative Party negotiated and signed up to the hardest of Hard Brexits and the Labour Party endorsed the deal.

The end of Freedom of Movement has tightened Britain’s labour market, helping to create one million vacancies and, in part, prompting the Monetary Policy Committee to raise the bank base rate.

How increasing the interest rate will fill help businesses fill jobs before some of them falter and fail early in the New Year is unclear, but I am sure the one club golfers know what they are doing.

One might think they were seeking to prove that those projections of the likely negative impact of a Hard Brexit on the economy were overly optimistic.

The Conservative Party’s answer to the problem is, according to Priti Patel, to grow our own domestic work force. The only way to effectively do that would be to clone Boris Johnson, many times over; develop a working method of time travel, we need not worry about moving in space and then send armies of Johnson clones back in time twenty, thirty and forty years to propagate like crazy. A plan that would play to one of Johnson’s few strengths and be well within his comfort zone.

The Temporal Invasion of the Propagators makes a good working title.

Labour does not have an answer, but the self styled new party of business recognises that growing labour and skill shortages are the major problem facing the business community in Britain. That lack of a solution did not prevent Sir Keir Starmer QC announcing at Labour’s Annual Conference that a Government he led would create 8,500 new specialist mental health vacancies in the NHS to add to the current 100,000 vacancies of all types therein that make up 40% of the 250,000 unfilled positions in the health and care sector.

Cognitive dissonance and Govitis, the irrational fear of experts, are still running wild amongst the body politic and much of the rest of our society.

The only credible solution that significantly addresses the explosion of the United Kingdom’s demographic time bomb is some replication of the conditions of Freedom of Movement for inward migrant labour.

But we know how well that would play with the Red Wall, the destination of whose votes concern both Labour and the Conservatives to the exclusion of almost all else.

There are, admittedly, a number of prophylactic solutions to the issue.

One of which would be to raise the State Pension Age.

Another would be to convert some of the capital earmarked for levelling up, however we are defining that this week, into revenue and spending it on helping the economically inactive, many of whom would like a job, apply for some of the jobs employers are desperate to fill.

Of course, that would mean levelling up everywhere, regenerating people not places; property developers spending money with Magrathean Consulting and politicians, of all stripes and none, forgoing cutting the first sod; laying the foundation stones, cornerstones, capping stones and posing, grinning inanely with an outsize pair of rubber scissors to cut the ribbons at the official openings and, you guessed it, unveiling the plaques marking said openings of (strike out as applicable) iconic structures/vanity capital projects/vital pieces of infrastructure/wastes of taxpayer money.

And politicians like Michael Gove and Lisa Nandy would have to look up the location of places in Cornwall and of towns like Hastings, locales which are not Oop North, and of the Terra Incognita that is the English Midlands.

If they like, they might describe the project as a Brexit bonus, designed to unite the country, well, England at least.

One should also not forget the self inflicted Brexit bonuses, like the BREACH and UKCA standards, unnecessary, costly burdens on business that, it appears, we were not able the enact when in the EU. I gather they are part of the Global Britain brand.

Who knew we left the EU to actually increase business regulation?

Johnson’s two word business policy is still being actively pursued. Arguably, it is the only one which he has really managed to put into effect and deliver upon.

It would seem to be a cost free policy pledge for Labour to announce it would scrap BREACH and UKCA in Government. A vote winner amongst the business community, most of whom would be perfectly happy complying with just the REACH and CE standards.

Of course, it would mean saying that the BREACH and UKCA standards are inferior to the REACH and CE standards which are not just used by countries within the Single Market, but by many others around the world …

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