The Financial Times has picked up on an announcement by the Johnson government that it will no longer adhere to EU standards on trade. Previously Theresa May had agreed to uphold a ‘level playing field’.
The announcement is foolhardy since it will make it much more difficult to come to a trade agreement with the EU in the event of Brexit. It stokes the well-founded fear that the right wing Brexiteers in the government want a bonfire of regulations and to turn the UK into a low tax, low wage cowboy capitalist state upon leaving the European Union.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier has reported that negotiations with the new government in Britain are “in a state of paralysis.” This confirms the perception that Johnson is not concerned about getting any kind of deal and just wants to crash out at any cost on October 31st.
European Commission officials report that the UK wants a ‘restricted’ level playing field falling short of May’s pledge not to regress from existing standards. This is a clear threat to workers’ rights, consumer standards and environmental standards, in so far as these are protected by EU regulations. All these are to be shredded.
The EU want on that the UK demands were, “Tantamount to a non enforceable playing field mechanism...The UK has made it clear in various instances that it would like to diverge from the EU regulatory framework.” If the British government is not prepared to keep the standards taken as necessary in the EU how can it be expected to trade with the 27 countries that provide more than 4O% of our overseas trade?
Beneath the diplomatic language is a chilling reminder of what Johnson and his cronies have in store for us.