Brexit fans will be delighted tonight. But it won’t last... From tonight, we start slowly moving back towards joining the only trade bloc around.
First published in December 2020.
At midnight, we will become one of a tiny number of nations not inside a trade bloc.
There are a couple of international pariahs, some failed states, a couple of empty wildernesses.
Why did all of these other nations join trade blocs? Well...
Because trade blocs bring stability, security, and peace. Countries generally don’t go to war with nations they trade with. And trading with neighbours makes everyone richer.
It works. If it didn’t work, the entire globe wouldn’t be doing it...
So, pretty soon, we are going to see that all of our competitors globally are doing better than us, and we will look to join a trade bloc, so we can prosper too. But which one? Well, let’s look again at that map... Notice anything?
There are no non-contiguous trade blocs. Absolutely none. They all trade with a neighbour. And because we are at the edge of a continent, we only have one neighbour. The African Union is not about to invite us in. NATFA won’t open the books to a nation outside North America...
We only have one neighbour, so that’s our only option. And sure, you can say “trade, but not the politics”. But there is no alternative. We are alone in the North Atlantic, and that’s the only lifeboat available.
Brexit fans will be delighted tonight. But it won’t last...
Because the EU is the only body on earth big enough to deal with the United States and China on roughly equal terms. Now that we are alone, those giants can crush us. And we just added the EU as another rival, instead of a friend.
We need friends. And the EU is the only choice we have...
So I hope Brexiters enjoy tonight. Have a good time. This, right now, is as good as it will ever be for you, because the unavoidable effects of geography and global economics mean that, from tonight, we start slowly moving back towards joining the only trade bloc around.🔷
Russell Jones, Designer, data analyst, blogger.