Dear Ms. Soubry

The former business minister, who sat in cabinet until July, said Theresa May was a voice of sanity following the referendum, but that the prime minister needed to explain even in “broad terms” what she wanted out of Brexit, as three months later we are “no further forward, and it’s her job to lead us”.

“Liam Fox’s speech this week was very worrying; in fact, it was delusional,” she told the Guardian. “How can we have ‘freer’ free trade? Let’s get real, for God’s sake. It’s really worrying that these are the senior people who have the future of our country in their hands. May is the voice of sanity, and without her I don’t know where the three Brexiteers would take us.”

We currently do not have free trade with the world. Because we are forced, by our membership of the EU customs union, to impose tariffs on goods from outside the EU.

Thus, if we leave the customs union, we can have more free trade. That is, freer, free trade.

That you don’t know this is worrying.

18 thoughts on “Dear Ms. Soubry”

  1. A period of silence from Soubry would raise the overall tone of debate by quite some margin.

    Hush child, let the adults do their work, which from a no-start on 23 June has already made considerable progress. That it was a no-start from 23 June is due to the massive misdirection that the polls and Soubry’s Remain campaign generated.

  2. Surely this whole thing is super simple. Or at least should be.

    “Our default position is no tarrifs. However, any political entity which imposes a tarrif on the importation of a certain class of goods from us will have reciprocal tarrifs imposed on that class for importation into the UK, 1:1. Your move”.

  3. @abacab,

    Yes (Prime) Minister was a documentary, not a comedy. Government doesn’t do simple as it doesn’t employ enough government.

  4. @Davy…

    Freer free trade is easy… It’s not really free trade any more than schools in the UK are free…. We pay a massive fee to be a member… Get rid of the membership fee and then it’ll be freer!

    If you want to talk purely restrictions rather than money – remove the requirement of free movement of people to be allowed free movement of good…. As far as I’ve read none of the countries asking us for free trade have said anything about free movement of people…

    The EU – redefining “free” since the 1970s!!

  5. That you don’t know this is worrying.

    That, and that she chose to whine about it to the grauniad, just shows she should fuck off and join the socialists. (q.v. Jezzbollah)

  6. « Surely this whole thing is super simple. Or at least should be.

    “Our default position is no tarrifs. However, any political entity which imposes a tarrif on the importation of a certain class of goods from us will have reciprocal tarrifs imposed on that class for importation into the UK, 1:1. Your move”. »

    Is it though? The country tends to have a marked imbalance of trade within classes of goods. The UK’s a net importer of alcoholic beverages, a net exporter of financial services. So what happens if the trade partner imposes tariffs on financial services but not on booze?

  7. Unsurprisingly, Sozzlebry is under the delusion that the Single Market is a free trade area. It is not. It is a zero-tariff single regulatory area.

  8. Incidentally, there’s a profound difference between free movement of goods, services & capital & free movement of people. Irrespective of trade agreements, there’s no obligation on the public to supply or consume any of them. The public gets choice. But with free movement of people the only choice resides in the people moving. The public is just obliged to accept them & under non-discrimination legislation, offer them accommodation, employment, goods & services.
    To balance the choice books, you’d really need to abolish a whole raft of anti-discrimination laws.

  9. That you don’t know this is worrying.

    I hate to say this but that reads very much like a sign-off line by you-know-whom.

    Candidly.

  10. @bis, that would be good because it would not affect our imports. Don’t forget, according to the wilder fringe of Worstallnomics it is imports that make us richer, not exports.

    Why could producers possibly have an interest in continuing to produce?

    The reality of free trade is that there is still protection money to be paid to get access to it. Lower than at any time in the past, but I worry that the more ideological libertarians won’t accept that reality because, although it is utilitarian it is ideologically impure to have to be in a club with dues to access those markets.

  11. My preference is:

    “Our default position is no tarrifs. However, if any political entity wants to impose tarrifs on the importation of a certain class of goods from us and make it more expensive for their consumers to purchase our goods, that’s up to them and their political consequences. Your move”.

  12. “Why could producers possibly have an interest in continuing to produce?

    You’re making no distinction between the part & the whole there, BiG. Individual producers have an incentive to export because they make money selling goods to forriners. The country as a whole benefits from cheap imports, paying for them with the money earned by exporters, as it works through the economy.
    I imagine Tim’s position is forriners get the added value of British goods exported to them, whilst Brits get the added value of imports. The “ädded value” being obviously the value they set on the goods over the money paid (& all the alternative things they could have bought with it.) Or they wouldn’t have bought them.

  13. Tim,

    “Dear Ms Soubry”

    You are extraordinarily polite. In her case, I might have been tempted with brevity.

  14. @Tim W
    “Dear Ms Soubry” Better: “Dear Ms Sour Puss”

    FTFYNC

    @abacab, October 1, 2016 at 7:28 am
    Surely this whole thing is super simple. Or at least should be.

    “Our default position is no tarrifs. However, any political entity which imposes a tarrif on the importation of a certain class of goods from us will have reciprocal tarrifs imposed on that class for importation into the UK, 1:1. Your move”.

    “Even if your trading partner dumps rocks into his harbor to obstruct arriving cargo ships, you do not make yourself better off by dumping rocks into your own harbor”, Joan Robinson

    @jgh. October 1, 2016 at 1:24 pm
    My preference is:

    “Our default position is no tarrifs. However, if any political entity wants to impose tarrifs on the importation of a certain class of goods from us and make it more expensive for their consumers to purchase our goods, that’s up to them and their political consequences. Your move”.

    +1 jgh

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