Osborne’s an idiot, isn’t he?

‘Let’s make sure that we go on doing trade with our biggest export market, otherwise withdrawing from the single market will be the biggest single act of protectionism in the history of the United Kingdom

Protectionism is about who we let send stuff into our country, not the other way around you twat.

25 comments on “Osborne’s an idiot, isn’t he?

  1. Whilst I agree with Mr Ecks in principle, I don’t think you could surmise he is an idiot from that poorly phrased statement, unless you are uncharitable (which would be understandable but not reasonable.) By setting itself outside of the single market the UK chooses to become a ‘third country’ in relation to the EU. This is the UK’s choice; this is what ‘trading on WTO rules’ means. It is not something the EU (or single market) does to us. It is something we do to ourselves. It can only be avoided by a formal comprehensive free trade agreement.

    If I were in the PMs shoes I would just ask the WTO for a formal exemption from this rule, and agree with the EU that the body of single market rules that currently apply will remain as the substance of a comprehensive free trade agreement [no need to incorporate the entirety of EU rules into UK law – totally unnecessary given the single market rules are a much smaller subset of EU rules] – subsequently to be amended by mutual agreement.

    Frankly I don’t see any other alternative but lets hope she does it before we leave rather than after, which would result in lorries queuing from Dover to central London, whilst French customs officials take their merry time inspecting our goods (tariffs are largely a non-issue.)

  2. He ought to get a ‘real’ job.

    He recently signed up with a global asset management company. I’m sure they’ll be delighted with this level of economic expertise.

  3. Leaving the single market does not mean an end to trade with the single market.

    Note that to all the problems Osborne highlights, and all the problems we faced with him as Chancellor, he basically had no answers. The tax system is more complex than ever. Spending is still wasteful. Big projects are still over budget, poorly justified and late.(eg HS2) The UK establishment is hidebound. Brexit is an opportunity to break free from that.

    A simpler tax regime. Modest infrastructure goals. Cut the costs of doing business in the UK. Things Osborne could have done himself if he wasn’t too busy on worksites posing in high vis jackets. Who was developing policy while he was away at photo opportunities; the bloke from Goldman Sachs who left in a huff after the referendum?

  4. Victory at the last election gave Osbourne a golden opportunity to really push a strategic simplification of the tax code, but he p!ssed it away on stupid gimmicks.

  5. “Ex-Chancellor queried how countries like New Zealand could replace EU trade”

    Because it’s about the growth in high-value trade and how transport costs don’t have that much bearing on that, but language does. If you’re a small company it’s far easier to say, build an app for an American company than a French one. Not just from the POV of translating the site, but all the meetings, specification reviews, contracts etc etc. It’s like: why do Hollywood shoot in the UK and Canada? Why is Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland?

    Then again, Osborne’s experience of trade is about nothing. He sold jumpers at Selfridge’s and then turned up to photo-ops wearing a hi-viz.

  6. Oborne didn’t just spend his time in hi-viz jackets.

    Half of it was spent in No 10 planning Conservative Party strategy.

    He was only ever Chancellor part-time, despite the full-time pay.

  7. Jack,

    Given that most of his budgets were more about shafting Labour than genuine attempts to improve the economy he was even less than a 50% Chancellor.

  8. UK exports of goods 2016 to EU £134 billion; non-EU £151 billion.

    That makes non-EU the UK biggest export market.

  9. Neither the EU nor the UK would be obliged to impose any tariffs at all on any other nation and the WTO imposes no obligations on any party to create ‘third nations’ of any kind. All tariffs could be removed. It therefore most definitely is something the EU is planning to do to is and not us to ourselves. To suggest otherwise is just Europhile cock-foaming.

  10. I almost crashed my ****ing car shouting at the radio when he was on. Imports are only made more expensive if WE (though our government) *CHOSE* to make them more expensive by levying tarifs on them.

  11. “If I were in the PMs shoes I would just ask the WTO for a formal exemption from this rule, and agree with the EU that the body of single market rules that currently apply will remain as the substance of a comprehensive free trade agreement”

    NO NO NO NO NO!!!! WTO rules are that you are free to levy import tarifs up to a maximum of 5%. EU rules are that import tariffs from non-EU countries can be as high as 80%*. Complying with WTO rules would force us to ***LOWER*** import tariffs.

    *Can’t find the one I’m thinking about, but Canadian meat has a 20% import tariff. WTO rules would force us to pay less for Canadian meat.

  12. LPT makes a good point that there are ways, other than tarrifs and regulations, to be a pain in the arse.

  13. “UK exports of goods 2016 to EU £134 billion; non-EU £151 billion.”

    Did I read somewhere that a percentage of that EU figure is actually just ‘rebadged’ non-EU trade described as EU just because it passes through the EU? Or was I suffering an hallucination brought on by post-Brexit euphoria?

  14. I remember a long time ago when I read the Sunday Telegraph Christopher Booker pointed out that goods that went to Rotterdam for onward transmission to RoW we being classed as EU exports. I think that has been fixed now by ONS but wouldn’t swear on it.

  15. @BlokeinBerkshire, March 1, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Victory at the last election gave Osbourne a golden opportunity to really push a strategic simplification of the tax code, but he p!ssed it away on stupid gimmicks.

    Osborne had his golden opportunity to really push a strategic simplification of the tax code, massive Gov’t spending cuts, abolition of many Gov’t depts*, agencies, quangos etc in 2010 using the “Get out jail free” letter Liam Byrne left in HM Treasury.

    At every Labour protest against he could wave Liam’s “There’s no money left” letter.

    Sadly, he is as spineless as Cameron and similarly promoting himself took precedence over what was best for UK.

    *eg DFiD, Equalities com., EA, Care Quality com…..

  16. It’s wrong to gloat, but who didn’t enjoy Osborne’s defenestration after the Referendum? We should all take time to enjoy these simple pleasures.

  17. When LPT wrote

    “By setting itself outside of the single market the UK chooses to become a ‘third country’ in relation to the EU. This is the UK’s choice; this is what ‘trading on WTO rules’ means”

    I wondered what he meant. If it’s just a question of import duties then he is obviously wrong, as Jgh demonstrates. However, do these mythical WTO rules actually extend into non-tariff areas?

  18. BiND

    The Rotterdam effect goes both ways depending on whether the ship bringing stuff to the UK docked in Rotterdam before heading to Tilbury. I don’t think there is a proper systematic way of accounting for the true destination or origin, so “estimates” are made. They probably use the same skill-sets as climate scientists

  19. Pcar – my view is that the LibDems would have blocked. Unexpected majority in 2015 was clear mandate to be proper Tories and really go for it.

  20. but mocked the idea that agreements with countries like New Zealand could take the place of ties to the bloc.

    In terms of “protectionism” this is a non-starter.

    NZ and Australia would be able to export lots of agricultural products, even with quite high tariffs, at prices that would make life cheaper for UK customers.

    The issue is exports out of the UK, because countries like NZ and Australia are small markets compared to the EU.

  21. I’m confused by this inability to trade with the EU unless we have a treaty thing myself.

    Last time I checked New Zealand doesn’t have a free trade treaty with the EU or the US. A quick look at the figures shows that Kiwis had about $20bn of trade with the EU last year (15% of all of our trade), and $12.5bn or so with the US (10% or so).

    So about 25% of all of our trade was with two countries / areas with which we do not have a free trade agreement.

    Yes, it would be nice to get an agreement; but it isn’t exactly the end of the world without one!

  22. First of all forget tariffs. They are largely a non-issue, at least for a developed economy. Non-technical barriers to trade are the problem. As I understand it having non-comprehensive free trade agreements constitute ‘discrimination’ or some such under WTO rules so they are not allowed. The EU would have to treat the UK the same way it treats other countries with which it has no comprehensive free trade agreement. That means our goods would have to through the same inspection regime as goods from Angola say.

    I’m sure the EU and UK could come to some arrangement -possibly even involving a breach of WTO rules – but that would require a lot of goodwill, which Theresa May is not showing any eagerness to develop.

    Fundamentally there simply is no great free trading world out there simply waiting for us to break free from our shackles, unlike some might have you believe. Governments get in the way and negotiation is required in order to make trade happen. I’m not an expert on these matters but this paragraph at least is certainly true.

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