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Quite so Polly, quite so

Friction is the new normal. As the chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier said firmly last week, things have “changed for good”. UK choices mean “mechanical, obvious, inevitable consequences when you leave the single market and that’s what the British wished to do”. It’s not French revenge, or bloody-minded Brussels, but ordinary life as a third country.

We’ve been imposing this friction on the 6,500 million people outside the EU for 40 years now. As 6,500 million is a larger number than 450 million in the remnant EU the balance is obviously that being out and lowering our trade barriers to all is the correct response.

That is, Brexit isn’t showing us the cost of being out, it’s showing us the long running cost of having been in.

14 thoughts on “Quite so Polly, quite so”

  1. And still the UK state manages to mess things up.

    I’ve a friend in New Zealand who is complaining that he has to register with the UK authorities to collect UK VAT on goods he sells to UK customers. Surely he had to do that before, collect VAT on goods he sold to EU customers. Surely he still has to do it now, to sell goods to non-UK EU customers. The solution to this, of course, is to abolish VAT, not to mess about with registration and collection details.

    Somebody else complaining that he has to pay VAT to the Royal Mail on goods he bought from Germany for £100. Oblivious to the fact that one month ago he’d have bought the same goods from Germany for £120 without the Royal Mail demanding the VAT.

    The solution? Abolish VAT.

  2. “It’s not French revenge, or bloody-minded Brussels” – oh I’ll bet it’s that too. Why would it not be?

    Now then, what can we do to help our former “European partners” to further cock up their vaccine supplies?

  3. Abolish VAT. Abolish stamp duty.

    And then what? How quickly can state expenditure be cut to match these tax cuts?

  4. How quickly can state expenditure be cut to match these tax cuts?

    If you put me in charge: about 10 minutes, and 5 of those would be making a cup of tea.

  5. Is it coincidence that the Potato Stud is today pronouncing “Brexit has failed”?

    Great porn stars think alike

  6. “Is it coincidence that the Potato Stud is today pronouncing “Brexit has failed”?

    Great porn stars think alike”

    The thought of Polly and Richard going at it individually, or as a couple, fair gies me the dry boak.

    Has anyone ever told Polly that, as an enthusiast for the EU, she’s a fvcking racist and a contributor to the impoverishment of black and brown people outside the EU?

  7. Diogenes

    I did find that hilarious – what a tool. I would have loved it had the Wilson government said 19 days after the 1975 referendum that they were going to pull out of the EEC because ‘it’s proven too challenging’ – even by his standards the lack of intelligence is conspicuous. It appears ‘Rajeev’s comments yesterday (all 100% accurate) cut him to the core. He seems more deranged than normal today!

  8. VP, the really odd thing is that the existence of VAT seems to have taken these British firms by surprise. By contrast, a Portuguese mailorder wine company emailed today to give an up to date quote for their wines including duties and VAT and explained the whole process. If you want to stay in business, you do need to look at the rules. Imposition of VAT on exports should not have come as a surprise to anybody

  9. @Diogenes – if memory serves one old British tradition that Thatch wanted to se the back of was the tradition of really crap management.

  10. “And then what? How quickly can state expenditure be cut to match these tax cuts?”

    Or raise income tax on richer people. The net effect on rich and poor will be about the same, but at least you scrap a whole lot of wasteful government and bureaucracy.

    There might have been a time VAT made sense, when buying a cake rather than making one was dead posh, but it isn’t now. VAT is applied to pretty much everything. Tampons and children’s car seats are hardly a luxury. It’s farcical to have court cases about Jaffa Cakes when they’re a universally eaten thing.

    So, roughly speaking, rich people, who buy more stuff or more expensive stuff, give more VAT to the treasury. Poor people give less. Might be a uniform rate, might be sliding. Roughly speaking, figure out how much different types of people pay and apply it to their income tax to cover it.

    Government gets the same money, public pay the same amount of money, and you scrap a whole lot of wasteful VAT activity.

  11. I was at the Waitrose fish counter last summer (don’t judge me) and was interested to see that the origins of their fish was all over the place from South America to Canada. If Jonnie foreigner can manage to sell to the EU I hope our fishermen will adapt.

    Some years ago I bought a watch from a website in the US. I had to pay VAT and some luxury tax on it. I was mightily pissed off when I opened the box and found it had been made in Liverpool!

    I think I’m echoing our host’s point that there is friction involved in trading with the EU now we have seceded from it. This was always going to be the case.

  12. @BoM4. I very much doubt raising income tax on the rich would compensate for the loss of VAT money-recycling from the “poor”…

    After all, the fraction of the population that is “poor” is significantly, if not vastly larger than those who are “rich”.
    Unless you follow P³ reasoning, of course, and ensure everyone is poor.

  13. I found some of the BBC examples amusing, one was that a box had UK on the side and it was supposed to have GB, as they admitted later easily fixed with some tape and a piece of paper and a pen. Also the objection was in Glasgow on export not the importers in EU

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