But, as I noted, putting these two issues together creates a third consequential risk. If we simultaneously suffer a second wave of coronavirus that is, like the first, worse than those of our European neighbours, and at the same time lose the advantages of free trade, then I fear that real obstacles to the free movement of food between the EU and this country will be put in place. Given that we import (depending upon the basis of estimate) between 50% and 80% of all our food, most of which arrives through the EU, the consequence of this is almost impossible to imagine.
In March I suggested that food rationing might be necessary as a consequence of coronavirus, thinking that such breakdown of free movement was likely at that time. I was wrong then, but think the chance is greater now. If the government is not planning for food rationing by Christmas then it is grossly negligent, because the need is easy to foresee.
But, knowing this government, the likelihood that what is required is being anticipated is low. As a result the phoney war will continue until it doesn’t, and then the consequences might be very grim indeed. Serious food shortages are a very real possibility as a consequence of this disastrous coincidence of circumstances.
He’s still not got it, has he?
The EU is talking about tariffs upon our exports of food to them. Something that would increase the supply of food domestically in the UK of course. Whether we put tariffs upon food imported into the UK is something that we now get to decide. A logical thing to do being not to have any such tariffs, as we did in 1846.
Or even, say we didn’t do that and we also started to have food shortages. What should we do then? Abolish tariffs on the import of food of course…..