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Remind Me Again Why We Want to Brexit

by John Brian Shannon

The next general election in the United Kingdom is scheduled for May 5, 2022 and many are beginning to wonder whether Brexit will be completed by that date.

Of course, with a new Prime Minister at the helm starting July 23, 2019 there is the chance that injecting new blood into the ongoing Brexit debacle will finally get the UK over the line and at long last(!) allow the country to become all that it can and should be.

After 3-years of economic uncertainty that’s caused harm to the UK economy and to the other economies depending on a strong British economy (such as the Republic of Ireland) it will be refreshing to know that restoring the UK economy to the roaring lion it once was is on the horizon. And that’s a good thing.


Let’s Talk About the Benefits of Brexit for a Moment

With the passage of time, some Brexit benefits may have faded in the minds of some. Hey, you’re busy people and you’ve got lots on your mind, so let’s refresh, shall we?

  1. The UK will be able to sign as many free trade deals as it likes. Many countries including the Commonwealth of Nations countries, the USA, the CPTPP countries and more have all said they’d like free trading arrangements with the UK. Also, the African Union, MERCOSUR (an Atlantic Ocean-facing South American trade bloc) and the Pacific Alliance (a South American trade bloc fronting the Pacific Ocean) want trade deals with the UK in the immediate post-Brexit timeframe. GCC countries too, have expressed an interest in improved UK trade. Impressive, as those countries in totality represent about 4.5 billion citizens. And if you’re a moneygrubber like me, you don’t think of those people so much as ‘citizens’ of those countries, you think of them as ‘potential consumers’ of UK products and services. Hehe. (But if ‘we’ don’t fill their orders — then ‘some other country’ will) Consequently, if UK GDP doesn’t subsequently improve by £1 trillion within 5-years, Britain’s business community is doing it all wrong. Get used to seeing UK exporters selling record amounts of goods and services due to the new trade opportunities presented by Brexit.
  2. The UK will again control who is allowed to enter the country and be able (and allowed!) to properly police its borders in the same way that every normal country in the world polices their borders. At this point, the UK border force and the country’s police and security services have some rather large gaps in their information — as to who’s in or out of the country — due to the EU’s lax (irresponsible?) border and immigration policies. Commonwealth nations stand to gain the most from Brexit as many of them are rapidly developing nations whose young people may enjoy gaining streamlined access to seasonal work visas, returning home at the end of each season with some hard-earned cash in hand and a newfound appreciation for the opportunities the UK affords decent and hardworking Commonwealth citizens.
  3. The UK will again be in full control of its own laws and its courts. And no longer will a situation exist where the UK surrendered some of its hard-won sovereignty to a foreign power — which is expressly forbidden under the UK’s constitutional framework by the way. What kind of politicians would willingly surrender the sovereignty of their own country to a foreign power, and an economic competitor power at that? None! (Well, none… other than the pollyanna, globalist, snowflake generation of British politicians in power when the UK joined the European Union. And all of it done without the benefit of a referendum until 23-years later) Shameful in the extreme! Heads should roll. They won’t. They should. But as long as it gets straightened out before the next UK general election I’m fine with letting bygones be bygones.
  4. The UK will no longer pay an average net payment of £10 billion per year to the EU. Over 10-years that’s £100 billion (not £100 million, but billion!) Who could’ve negotiated such a deal? Only British-hating UK negotiators, that’s who.
  5. Cheaper food for UK consumers and a wider selection of goods from which to choose in the shops. This will occur due to the huge economies of scale of the North American marketplace and via the competition inherent within the EU marketplace, and from goods and services sourced from other continents.
  6. UK universities full and expanding due to higher enrolment from new free trade partner countries. And increased employment opportunities for British educators at UK universities is just one more benefit of Brexit.
  7. UK tourism operators will experience record year-on-year numbers as citizens from new trading partners become interested in the UK. For one example, if your Commonwealth son or daughter is working or studying in the UK, chances are you’ll end up in the UK at the holidays for a visit. And that’s good for UK tourism.
  8. UK hospitals will earn billions as patients from new trade partner countries travel to the UK for treatment. NHS expertise is highly respected around the world and Medical Doctors in other nations that have free trade agreements with the UK may have the option to send their patients to the UK for treatment. Billions that could be earned by the NHS are presently missed because no one is looking at this great cash-cow which could re-energize NHS budgets to a very high degree.
  9. The UK could dedicate its foreign aid spending to Commonwealth of Nations countries exclusively and keep the money in the family so to speak. The problem with foreign aid spending (as noble as it is for rich countries to help developing nations) is that once it’s spent, the UK will never see any benefit in return from such spending as the number of people who know which foreign aid donor funded this or that project in their nation is very small. Sometimes only a handful of people are in the know. But if the UK decided to spend their entire foreign aid budget in Commonwealth nations exclusively, the UK would become known as a major financier in their projects (projects that create much-needed jobs for citizens in developing nations) and the UK would gain recognition as a force for good in that country. PR like that you can’t buy from a public relations firm! It’s called, ‘Brand Loyalty’. Thenceforth expect UK companies to export more goods to each of those countries as disposable income rises among their population.
  10. Abolishing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) “The CAP costs British taxpayers twice over – once through subsidies paid to farmers and twice by keeping food prices artificially high. OECD data suggests EU farm prices are around 5% above world prices and our estimates based on this data suggest UK consumers pay around £2billion per year in higher prices due to the CAP.” AND: Abolishing the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) “The UK fishing industry could potentially double in size after Brexit, as the UK takes full control of a natural resource which currently is mostly harvested by EU boats. Estimates by Napier (2018) and others suggest a rise in catch of up to £700m-800m per year which with positive supply chain effects could see a total boost to output of around £3bn per year – already offsetting a third of the possible trade losses.”BrexitCentral

How’s That For a Few Benefits of the UK’s pending Brexit from the EU?

There are more benefits, of course. But for now, let’s agree that 3-years of Brexit dithering has cost the UK economy plenty and has negatively impacted countries whose economies depend on a healthy UK economy, and that it’s time for UK politicians to get their act together and deliver what ‘The People’ voted for in the June 23, 2016 referendum.

Whether you think ‘The People’ are right or wrong is wholly irrelevant. What matters, is democracy. And either the UK is a democratic nation or it isn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

So, let’s decide right now to make a success of Brexit and just get on with it.

Stop Talking about a £39 Billion Payment to the EU. It was Never Agreed

by John Brian Shannon

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Prime Minister Theresa May suggested to EU leaders that, ‘in exchange for a bespoke Withdrawal Agreement AND a bespoke Trade Deal with the EU, the UK proposed paying £39 Billion to the EU.’

Now, we all knew that £9 Billion of that £39 Billion was to pay for the UK’s ongoing commitments to the EU — such as pension payment obligations, programmes that the UK had agreed to fund or partially fund, and for other miscellaneous fees, charges, and payments that aren’t under any dispute whatsoever.

Let me be clear. In no way is £9 Billion of the then-proposed £39 Billion under dispute. The UK will owe that amount to the EU upon leaving the bloc and I don’t think anyone wants the United Kingdom to shirk on its legitimate obligations to the EU. Certainly, no British politician has suggested that paying the £9 Billion is under dispute.

So when we’re talking about payments to the EU we need to keep in mind that the remaining £30 Billion of the total £39 Billion was discussed in the context of obtaining a bespoke Withdrawal Agreement and a bespoke Trade Deal.

Neither of which look likely to happen now, or ever.

Why then do wags continue to chunter-on about this proposed £39 Billion as if it’s a living, breathing thing that might actually be due and payable, or might actually occur, when it was only ever a proposal?


Without a Withdrawal Agreement and Trade Deal that works for the UK there was never an agreement to pay £39 Billion to the EU. Full Stop!

An aside to Jeremy Hunt; Of all people, stop talking about it as if it’s a thing. It’s not.

Without a bespoke Withdrawal Agreement that works for the UK, and without a bespoke Trade Deal that works for the UK, there was never an agreement to hand over £39 Billion of taxpayer money.

So, stop suggesting that its a thing already due and payable when the conditions to pay it are nowhere near being met, nor are ever likely to be met.

Again, there’s no dispute about paying the legitimate £9 Billion to the EU, as that’s an expected and approved expense and payment isn’t contingent upon receiving a reasonable Withdrawal Agreement, nor a reasonable Trade Deal with the EU.

But if the Conservatives think they’re unpopular in the polls now, just wait until they hand over £39 Billion of taxpayer money for no Withdrawal Agreement and no Trade Deal. The Conservatives might not form a government for the rest of the century!

Brexit THREAT: EU will ‘INSIST’ on getting Brexit £39 billion from UK even with NO DEAL (The Express)

If this amount gets paid (for no Withdrawal Agreement and no Trade Deal) imagine yourself watching Prime Minister’s Questions when Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn thunders from the despatch box in the House of Commons, ‘This week, Mr. Speaker, the government has paid yet another £28,846,153.84 for no Withdrawal Agreement and no Trade Deal. What was the government thinking?’ (That weekly amount assumes the £30 Billion would be pro rated over 1040 weeks, or 20-years)

Labour leaders could milk that cow until the end of the century.

Let’s hope that Conservatives stop thinking that £39 Billion is what the UK owes the EU and begins thinking about it as £30 Billion the EU must earn!

So, how can the EU earn £30 Billion from the UK?

By working out a satisfactory Withdrawal Agreement and a satisfactory Trade Deal. Otherwise, no £30 Billion. It couldn’t be simpler.

The UK Grows its Economy as it Replaces Coal with Renewable Energy

by John Brian Shannon

Great Britain has come a long way since the Industrial Revolution when it was almost completely dependent on coal.

The snapshot in time (below) covers the period May 1, 2019 through May 8, 2019 showing which energy producers contributed to the UK national energy grid and how much they contributed.

The UK was once 100% dependent on coal, but it now uses 5% coal, 19.5% nuclear, 33.3% renewable energy and 39.4% natural gas.

Image courtesy of BBC.

But in 2018, the UK met total electrical demand with 5% coal, 19.5% nuclear, 33.3% renewable energy and 39.4% natural gas. 2019 looks set to be even better from a clean air perspective. Burning coal to meet UK energy demand might reach 1% in 2019.

Every month, more wind turbines are installed and connected to the UK grid. About half of them are installed offshore (out of sight and out of mind) where they produce almost constant power 24/7/365 and are shut down only one day per year for inspection.

The other half get installed in farmers fields where they add energy to the grid day and night. Farmers like this arrangement because it adds to their bottom line as the utility companies rent the land upon which the wind turbines sit.

For example, if a farmer has one wind turbine mounted on his property, he or she will receive approximately £4000. per year from the utility company — but if the farmer has 20 wind turbines on his or her land, he or she will receive £80,000. per year for the land lease and 24-hour-per-day access rights.

In the case of larger farms, this amount could equal his/her annual spend on seeds, or in the case of ranchers, it could meet their annual veterinarian bill plus whatever the rancher spends on medicine and other treatment for their animals.

Although not as profitable as offshore wind turbines, having many electricity generators near demand centres is a definite benefit for utility companies.

The moral of this story is, adding one million wind turbines to the UK grid over the next 10-years (half of them onshore) would work to increase the profitability of farmers and ranchers, and could save them from insolvency during years of drought or flooding.

When did coal ever do that for farmers and ranchers? Never!

Wind power generation in the UK

Wind power generation in the UK theswitch.co.uk

That’s why the UK must commit to adding one million wind turbines over the next 10-years — thereby turning the UK into a major energy exporter to the EU, as the cables to transmit electrical energy are already installed and in use daily to import (expensive) gigawatts of power from the EU annually. See where I’m going here?

Adding half a million onshore wind turbines would dramatically empower farmers and ranchers, most of whom spend their profits close to home; Making land-based wind turbine economics an important force for good in local economies.

Siting those wind turbines so that they don’t trash-up the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will of course be an important consideration going forward.

It’s important to locate the turbines in natural wind corridors, sure, but installing them within sight of Castle Howard for one example, or within sight of major residential areas is a bad idea no matter how good the wind potential there. Careful siting of wind turbines is a must to… prevent… (wait for it!) ‘blowback’ from NIMBY communities. Hehe.

READ: The UK Has Gone 6 Days Without Burning Coal Now, And Guess What, The World Didn’t End (Science Alert)


The UK Economy Continues to Grow In Spite of the Overly-Extended Brexit Negotiating Period

UK GDP between 2014 and 2018

The statistic shows the GDP of the United Kingdom between 2014 and 2018, with projections up until 2024, in US dollars. Image courtesy of Statista.com

Say what you like about Prime Minister Theresa May (or, ‘Theresa the Appeaser’ as she is known to Brexiteers) and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond (possibly the most risk-averse man on the planet) they did a good job running the UK economy, although in the end, they couldn’t secure a decent Brexit agreement with the EU; Which is the only reason that both of them are soon gone from their present jobs.

Ultimately, the 3-years of economic uncertainty in the UK caused by the overly-extended Brexit negotiation period prompted the removal of Theresa May from the PM’s chair, and Philip Hammond from the Exchequer’s chair once the next PM is chosen.

But imagine how the UK economy would’ve accelerated had May and Hammond accepted the ring of destiny handed to them by 17,410,742 UK voters in June 2016.

Still, when you can grow the UK economy while removing coal and adding huge quantities of renewable energy to the grid — right in the middle of Brexit — you’re obviously doing something right.

But The People called for Brexit, and Brexit it will be.


Plan Your Work, Then Work Your Plan!

Someone should thank the best Environment Secretary in Britain’s history for the massive renewable energy capacity addition to the UK grid in recent years in locations where renewable energy does make economic sense, for the astonishing CO2 reductions, and for backing energy conservation programmes that reduced energy costs £2 for each £1 of programme spend.

This is where the UK must continue to focus its greatest efforts. Where its cheaper to install renewable energy, then install renewable energy; Where its cheaper to spend on energy conservation programmes to lessen demand, then spend on conservation; And where its better to locate energy producers near energy demand centres, then locate energy producers nearer demand.

READ: Study: UK leads G7 at cutting emissions and growing economy (BusinessGreen) You must register at their site to read the article. Here’s an excerpt though: “Report shows that in the 25 years since the Rio Earth Summit the UK has delivered the best economic performance and the deepest carbon emission cuts of any G7 state.”


The UK Could Lead the World in Local Clean Air Improvements and Increased Renewable Energy Exports

On a county-by-county basis, replacing coal-fired power generation with natural gas-fired generation supplying 15% of total demand in every UK county, 65% of total demand in every UK county met via wind and solar, and hydropower and biomass covering the remaining 20% of total electricity demand in every UK county… is the fastest way to clean energy, lowered healthcare costs and increased energy exports to the continent, which should be Priority #2 of any UK Prime Minister. (Brexit is Priority #1 for now, and being a democrat, I get that)

But next on any PM’s list after the Brexit item must be growing the UK economy while replacing coal and natural gas via generous energy conservation programmes and massive renewable energy capacity additions.

READ: UK Leads G7 in the Combined Metric of Economic Growth + Carbon Cuts (LetterToBritain)

Let’s hope the UK continues its great track record in lowering CO2 emissions, lowering its annual healthcare spend on respiratory disease, and growing the economy.

The only component missing in the UK’s clean air goals are the mind-boggling opportunities that await UK energy producers to export gigawatts of renewable energy to the EU in exchange for billions of euros annually.


Bonus Graphic

Here’s a great resource where you can track in realtime, how much energy the UK is purchasing from the EU.

When the snapshot was taken, the UK national grid was purchasing 3.3 gigawatts of energy from France, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, and other EU energy producers.

Snapshot of UK electricity demand

Snapshot of UK electricity demand on June 23, 2019 at 2:45pm. Click the image to access the realtime dashboard at any time.

Keep in mind that 14.70 pence per kWh is the average cost for electricity in the UK. So, yes, UK energy consumers spend billions to purchase electricity from EU utility companies annually — instead of EU utility companies purchasing billions worth of electricity from UK utility companies annually. Facepalm!


Notes:

  • One Gigawatt (GW) is equal to one million kilowatts (kW)
  • One MegaWatt (MW) is equal to one thousand kilowatts (kW)

For More Information

The U.K. Cut Emissions to the Lowest Level Since 1888. Here’s How (Fortune)

What will it take for the UK to reach net zero emissions? (The Guardian)

Floating wind farms just became a serious business (Quartz)