Edwin Hayward has read the ERG’s Brexit proposal so you don’t have to. Here are his thoughts...

I apologise for the braincells that will undoubtedly die as a result, but if you want to read the ERG’s Brexit myth-busting document they put out a few hours ago, it is available here.

Or you could just slam your hand in a door a few times.

I will just let this linger...

A) The ERG want a hard Brexit — i.e. no deal.

B) The document, flawed though it is, supposedly busts the myths in a UK-EU free trade deal — which of course would not exist under a no deal scenario.

It reminds me of David Davis and Jeremy Corbyn wittering recently about all the negotiations they will be able to do during the transition period following a no deal Brexit.

Except that there won’t be any transition period.





Ok, one more, just for a laugh...

The document claims that just-in-time manufacturing can work across customs frontiers because it does so elsewhere in the world.

But those “elsewhere” places have had hundreds of years to set up their businesses to “work” with the constraints of their specific situation. They aren’t proposing to suddenly change their relationship with their nearest neighbours.

Our industries have had decades of free movement, and have built their entire processes around just-in-time EU-style. Brexit will change that.

It’s the difference between being born blind, and suddenly going blind in your 70s, e.g. due to an accident. It’s no good using the example of somebody who has accommodated themself to their unique situation since birth as an example of how somebody who is suddenly blinded late in life can cope. Chalk and cheese.

Oh, go on. You have twisted my arm. Let’s have another:

The claim that Norway and Switzerland are not calling for a customs union with the EU. That much is true. They are not.

Where the argument breaks down like an ice cube trapped in a blowtorch is the fact that both Norway and Switzerland have reached comprehensive accommodations with the EU (Norway: EFTA/EEA; Switzerland: a very very complex special deal, put together over many years) that mean they are much, much, much better off than we would under the ERG’s Canada+ stupidity of a deal.

The more I read it, the more I want to just tweet 280 characters of rude words. But, as anyone who has followed my tweets for more than a few days already knows, that is not me.

So, I will limit myself to screaming silently into a cushion... then making a nice rich hot chocolate.


The arrogant people who put the document together also presumably assume that nobody is going to actually ‘read’ the sources in the footnotes. Because of course, as soon as you do, different patterns emerge.

For instance, CLECAT’s “The future economic partnership between the EU and UK.”

It has the following to say about a no deal Brexit (which is what the ERG effectively want): “Wasting valuable ingredients like human resources, budgets and IT capacity is not something trade or its (logistic) service providers can afford and therefore, preparing for a No-Deal scenario is actually near to impossible for the private sector and a No-Deal should be prevented at all cost.”

CLECAT Position Paper on Brexit - The Future Economic Partnership between the EU and the UK.

Hmm. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but the ERG paper did manage to pinch a sentence out of context, so that is all right then.

The whole document reminds me of those dodgy film reviews unethical promoters put on posters. You know the ones...

“Epic spectacle on a grand scale.” - FilmNut

(Actual review: “While the director may have intended an epic spectacle on a grand scale, the net effect is like sitting at your grandmother’s kitchen table, watching toddlers throw biscuits at each other. The poorly lit, poorly framed battle scenes compete in pointlessness with the amateurish dialogue and journeyman acting. Avoid.”)

I keep coming back to this dishrag of a document. Like two cockroaches mating: shudderingly unpleasant, yet somehow draws the eye.

Must move on...

[clicks ‘x’ on the PDF reader. Phew!]🔷

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- (This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s conscent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)

(Cover: Pixabay.)