Wednesday, 12 July 2017

"Probably trade can't grind to a halt forever"

Chris Morris

On this evening's PM Chris Morris from the BBC's Reality Check gave PM listeners his take on the question, 'What happens if there's no deal between the UK and the EU?' 

Being the BBC's Reality Check, this wasn't one of those 'on the one hand, on the other hand' kind of pieces, sketching out different point of view. Oh no, this was the BBC handling down its own 'objective' take, its final ruling on the matter. 

The social media reaction, predictably, split between pro-Brexit people who called it 'scaremongering' and anti-Brexit people who found it just 'scary'. 

So prepare to hide behind the sofa as a full transcript in on the way:

Thanks Eddie. Yes, if negotiations break down irretrievably why can't we simply walk away? 
Well in theory we can. We could repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, refuse to pay any financial settlement and in effect dare the rest of the EU to turn their backs on us. 
But the immediate effect of doing that? 
Well, it's what businesses and others call 'the cliff-edge' - as in 'falling off the cliff-edge', which is usually painful. 
In terms of the economy tariffs would be imposed overnight on goods moving between the UK and the EU  - 3 or 4% on many industrial parts, for example, but roughly 10% on car parts and up to 30 or even 40% on some farm produce. ' 
OK', you might say, 'but that would hurt them as well as us surely?' 
It would, yes, but they could still trade with each other without barriers and still take advantage of the EU's free trade deals around the world. 
We'd basically be starting from scratch. 
Of course it's not just about tariffs on goods. Most of the UK economy is based on services, which would suddenly lose the unimpeded access they now have to the EU. 
But perhaps the biggest challenge of no deal is that many of the basic rules that govern so many aspects of our lives would cease to exist. 
So there'd be no customs arrangements and, to begin with at least, you have to presume that nothing would move. 
What would immigration policy be? Would EU citizens here and UK citizens there suddenly become illegal? Technically that's possible. 
We'd also, overnight, cease to be members of a host of regulatory bodies that you've probably never heard of but you'd certainly notice when they were gone. 
For example, if we suddenly left the European Aviation Safety Agency without any replacement planes couldn't legally leave UK airspace for Europe, or even the United States, because we automatically leave the EU-US Open Skies Agreement as well, and it guarantees landing rights on both sides of the Atlantic. 
With no deal we'd no longer be part of the European Chemicals Agency, which tests and authorises chemicals for safe use, or the European Medicines Agency, which does the same for drugs. 
We've heard a lot in the last few days about Euratom, the European nuclear regulator. 
Then there's the Maritime Safety Agency, the Banking Authority, the Food Safety Authority, the Plant Variety Office. The list goes on. 
Given time we can set up our own independent versions of all of these if we want to, but we certainly can't do it overnight. 
So no deal would be a sudden dramatic rupture. 
Would we recover? In time yes. Probably trade can't grind to a halt forever. 
And there are those who think it's worth it. Ukip put out a statement just today saying it's time to call it quits and walk away. 
But many people in politics and especially in business think no deal would be a disaster for our economy and for our standing in the world. 

Don't have nightmares!


Now, although we bloggers are meant to be experts on everything (and, of course, we usually are), I'm certainly no expert on this, and Chris Morris could very well be right in giving us all a healthy dose of undiluted 'reality' here (and what he says certainly chimes with a lot of what Dr. Richard North at EUReferendum is also saying the consequences of 'no deal'), but the sheer negativity of this report was striking and unremitting, and the tricks of rhetoric he deployed to shore up his arguments were far too loaded; and, thus, the whole thing came across to me as a wholly one-sided opinion piece. 

And after listing all the Year Zero pits we would throw ourselves into by going for the 'no deal' or 'just walk away' option, he made just about the most halfhearted sop to impartiality I've ever heard by saying, "Would we recover? In time yes. Probably trade can't grind to a halt forever". 

And after laying out all the negatives (without any possible positives), he then basically ended by saying 'This is what UKIP wants but most others think they're wrong'. 

So does reality have an anti-'no deal' bias? Or does Chris Morris have a pro-'Project Fear' bias? 

I'm going for the latter, but please feel free to disagree (as ever). 


  1. I am sure Chris Morris is correct (on this occasion) in warning in dire terms of the dangers of just walking away, and hoping for the best on WTO rules. Assorted crazies in the HoC are still talking about a "no deal" option, and one hopes they don't mean it. I'd better add that I voted in 1975 against remaining the EEC and, of course, for Leave in the recent referendum. My hope is that I will see Britain as a sovereign country again (so far as that is possible in this internationally regulated world).

  2. Take a look at his Twitter account:

    The usual soggy left, Trumpophobic, retweet-Yvette- Cooper stuff. He thinks this pathetic "satire" is funny:

    Basically it's the usual "Complaints from Both Sides" propaganda. In fact Newshump doesn't have an About - I suspect it might be what BBC inhouse news donkeys produce at their consoles as its "satirical" targets seem to avoid the soggy left.

    As to Chris Morris's "Reality Check" I'd make the following points:

    1. There is nothing pro-Brexit about his check (so giving the lie to all that "complaints from both sides" propaganda).

    2. It hasn't happened yet, so no one can say what the "reality" will be. We've just seen another fall in unemployment in the UK "despite Brexit"... None of the experts foresaw the crash. None of them foresaw the Brexit result. None of them foresaw that Germany through Merkel's mass immigration programme would saddle itself with a million basically unemployable people.

    3. To call exiting the EU without a deal "falling off a cliff edge" is to frame the issue one way (the Remainiac way). Another way would be to described at as "implementing the democratic will of the people" as given in the Referendum (that would be the Leave take on it). I think if the EU refuse to agree a reasonable deal, a lot of people will feel that confirms their fears about the organisation.

    4. "So there'd be no customs arrangements and, to begin with at least, you have to presume that nothing would move. " Are we really supposed to take that seriously? Nothing would move? No French wine? No German cars? OK, we'll have cheap Californian wine, cheap Japanese cars.

    5. He is performing the usual BBC servie of building up difficulties into impossibilitie. The Euratom he really saying radioisotopes wouldn't be available to the UK? Really? Food Safety? Well we already have a Food Safety Agency with legal powers.
    The only issue of note I could see in his scare list would be air space agreements. That would need looking into. But if you look online his fears seem overstated - the negative effects are more likely to be experienced by individual airlines.

    6. To suggest trade will come to a "grinding halt" is typical Remainiac propagandist alarmism. There is no basis in logic, WTO rules, economics, national interest or anything else for trade coming to a grinding halt. If there was a way (of course there isn't) it would be nice to oblige Chris Morris to explain exactly how trade with the EU would "come to a grinding halt" as opposed to say reducing by 5%.

    1. Retweeting Yvette Cooper? Not very Corbynist. Project Fear still going strong, I see.

    2. The BBC is not yet a Corbynista organisation. It was strongly anti-Corbyn for a couple of years hoping that a replacement Blair Mark II could be found. In the general election it began by promoting a Farron wedge vote. Like all "experts" the BBC thought May would increase her majority. Their plan was to replace substantial numbers of TOries with pro-EU Lib Dems in the south. But then Farron tanked and Corbyn started to outperform all expectations. It was only then that the BBC began to promote Corbyn, seeing that as their only option.

      I still think they are Sooggy Left not Hard Left. The Corbyn style agenda - high tax rates, Brexit, taxes on second homes and promotion of a lot of proletarian types doesn't really suit the BBC. They are more interested in globalism, PC, mass immigration, multiculturalism, internationalism, extreme feminism, de-genderisation, gay rights, deconstruction of the family. They don't want to be taxed highly or have their public school fees taxed as well, or to lose their second homes...

      Of course by supping with the Corbynistas, they may find they have to stay for breakfast as well...because if Corbyn gets in the BBC media luvvies will be well and truly f***ed once the Hard Left use the powers of the state to take over the BBC.

  3. Nice one, Craig. It's just like Echo Chambers. And anything coming out one side of the mouth of any titled 'editor'. The point of it is to give opinion, a ruling, on a given story or issue. We're told, of course, that the BBC doesn't have a position on anything, there is no editorial stance, opinions are left at the door. Yet the broad spectrum of BBC broadcasting is filled with exactly that: opinions, rulings, editorial stances. This is just one more pretending to be an objective reading.

    I'd ask how stupid do they think you are, but the more appropriate question would be, how stupid are the Beeboids that they think there is no editorial position or ruling on these issues?

    The point is that it doesn't matter whether or not you agree with what's being said. They shouldn't be doing this in the first place, and especially shouldn't be so intellectually dishonest about the whole thing. At your expense, of course.

  4. I have worked in the import/export distribution business all my life, but I guess my experience is nothing compared to a BBC journalist.

    I heard this propaganda on PM and was fuming.

    Our trade with most of the non-sanctioned world just happens now, it happens because of people and despite Governments. Our customers and suppliers would just laugh in the face of Chris Morris and his comments.

    Also in the same programme was the hint that gay people could have all their rights removed when we leave the EU.

  5. Just note all the coulds, somes, up tos, technicallys and yes, probablys.

    Morris could probably be ashamed to draw some up to all of his salary for making what was technically called a reality check.

    1. The BBC has an entire 'special stuff' section of the Editorial Guidelines under James Harding's counter, sources close to me have learned. Apparently.

      Basically the BBC has a licence to say anything.

  6. I wonder how the EU will cope with all of its Atlantic sea and air lanes blocked by that inconvenient little island?

    Seriously, is the BBC going to keep up this rubbish for two years? Polly Toynbee, Ian Katz, Lord Hall, you guys took one hell of a beating! Now get over it.

  7. The more I think about that so called "Reality Check" by Chris Morris, the more outraged I am by its stratospheric bias levels. A Reality Check that is essentially composed of alarmist claptrap that will never happen. For something to be "probable" the non-probability must be possible. So in the Chris Morris universe it is actually possible that all trade between the EU and the UK will come to a grindingh halt on Brexit taking effect. Just pause a minute and think about the levels of bias required by Morris to live a world where such a thing is actually possible. Remember, trade is not just in goods,but in services as well. So he is saying there will be no financial transactions, and no transport links. It is beyond bias. It is a mania...obviously in this case "Remainia" - and we also see similar manic symptoms in Trumpophobia.

  8. Chris Morris sees his whole world crumbling around him. He is a fully paid-up supporter of all things EU. It comes as no surprise that he is scare mongering. He must be nervous of living in a world without the EU comfort blanket around him.

  9. BBC bias goes beyond bias. They simply believe that there is only one credible point of view. They may occasionally pay lip service to opposing positions but ultimately they are only there in order to be shot down. This is why any suggestion of bias is met with such incredulity. Bias is impossible. Reality Check and similar features are merely manifestations of this. Any real examination of events from all sides has been completely shut down.