Section: Economy

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British farming: the end of the Brexit illusion

Nick Tolhurst

We still do not know the final details of the Australia trade deal signed off by cabinet last week – but what we do know is the ‘shape of the deal’. Australia is to obtain tariff and quota free access to the UK market in agricultural goods – with domestic farmers protected by having this […]

Minister makes fishy suggestion on water quality

Tom Scott

Recent remarks by fisheries minister Victoria Prentis suggest the government is pressuring the Food Standards Agency to change its water quality assessment for the Fal estuary and other waters used by shellfish producers.  Cornwall Green Party has described this suggestion as “frankly outrageous”. On Wednesday 12 May, the DEFRA minister responsible for fisheries, Victoria Prentis, […]

Gunboats at the ready

Shev Fogarty

I wrote this as an overview for my non-Jersey friends on Facebook, as I thought that the morning headlines of gunboats being dispatched to St Helier might have surprised and alarmed them, happening (as it appeared to) out of the blue. Firstly, it is important to know that Jersey and the other Channel Islands are […]

Putain de Brexit (or is that Putin…?)

Anthea Simmons

“Look how the gods smile upon me”, gloated Johnson as he gave the order to send two naval patrol vessels to menace French fishing boats on the eve of local elections and the by-election in Hartlepool. After all, the Falklands War had been absolute catnip for Thatcher supporters! Nothing like another excuse to put out […]

Brexit…out of fashion in Somerset

Richard Wilkins

It would be fair to say that businesses in Somerset are now really starting to feel the effects of Brexit and our new trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world. From all the businesses I have spoken to so far the effects have ranged from bureaucratic nightmares with unnecessary paperwork and […]

Phone masts, freedoms and high finance: a tangled tale

Mick Fletcher

There is often more than one side to a story. Our aim at West Country Bylines is to give a balanced account of issues while avoiding distortion through what is known as ‘false equivalence’. It is a disservice to readers, for example, to give equal weight to the views of medical experts and unqualified anti-vaxxers […]

Liz Truss in the naughty chair

Sadie Parker

I am bent double, cringing as I write this. So much going on. The bombast expended on a football super-league by a prime minister who offered to sell Newcastle United off to some Saudi royal as a sweetener in a dodgy deal. The revelations of Johnson offering to fix a billionaire Tory donor’s tax —shocking […]

Abandon hope all youth who grow up here

Sadie Parker

“Am I gonna sit here and say that Brexit is perfect, and your generation is gonna reap the benefits? No, I’m not, because you’re not, frankly, at the minute, and I can see that. We’ve got work to do…” So said Andrew Bowie, Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, addressing an audience of under-30-year-old […]

“DEFRA says get over it”: Brexit threatens to wreck Devon mussel business and DEFRA don’t much care

Julian Andrews

“DEFRA says get over it”, according to Nicki Holmyard, talking to West Country Bylines, and describing the response from the department for environment, food and rural affairs since live shellfish exports to the EU collapsed in January 2021. Nicki is Communications Director of the Brixham-based aquaculture firm Offshore Shellfish Ltd, which – in common with […]

100 days of Brexit: the impact on animals

Anthea Simmons

We are such a nation of animal lovers that we barely stopped to consider the ramifications of Brexit on pets, equestrian sports, showing and breeding, and swallowed all the reassurances about food and animal welfare standards with barely a murmur. Not many of us stopped to consider the impact of a US trade deal on […]

Wine trade on the warpath

Anthea Simmons

Globally renowned wine importer, exporter and distributor Daniel Lambert has become something of a hero in our book. He’s one of a handful of people who have been brave enough to stand up and tell the truth about what Brexit has done to his own business and the sector as a whole, and to campaign […]

When financial services leave, we all lose

Anthea Simmons

You may have seen the summary of the catastrophic impact of Brexit on the principal exports of foodstuffs to the EU. Not pretty at all and terrible news for our domestic producers. Good news for the EU’s growers, farmers and fishers, though. (Not the uniquely Scots’ whisky, of course, but maybe the cut in supply […]

Somerset businesses hit by Brexit: box set

Richard Wilkins

Data published 22 March by UK Food & Drink Federation showed exports of food & drink to the EU from the UK dropped by more than 75 per cent in January. There was a 40 per cent decline in exports overall, and business leaders are saying that this is almost entirely due to Brexit. A […]

Time to call out the hate that dare not speak its name

Rosemary Schonfeld and Simon Chater

Politicians and opinion leaders must speak out on the benefits of immigration if Britain is to have any chance of regaining its rightful place at the heart of Europe. Elephant in the room As James Carville didn’t quite say during Bill Clinton’s 1992 US presidential campaign, “It’s immigration, stupid”. That’s the issue that drove the […]

Global Britain – a fake ambition

Mick Fletcher
British bulldog with union flag bandana collapsed tired on decking

One of the ways in which the current government remains popular despite clear evidence of corruption and incompetence is by selling comforting illusions to its core supporters.  The idea of ‘Global Britain’ is one such fantasy. It paints a picture of a country that ‘punches above its weight’, is a ‘sovereign equal’ of a trading […]

The Brexit classic car crash

Mike Zollo

“We were lied to by the UK government implying that we had an FTA but actually giving us a no-deal.” Never mind its obsession with removing our freedom of movement, the Government has driven us into Brexit: a classic car crash! Like so many other areas of economic activity in the UK, particularly SMEs (Small […]

“My small business is in ruins and I see no way out.”

Anthea Simmons

My £1m UK small business is in ruins and I see no way out. Tried everything, feel utterly powerless. Trade with EU virtually impossible. This was so predictable and predicted. Bastards! This is the tweet that could be sent by thousands of small businesses up and down the land. It is the tweet that should […]

The Truss trade trumpery

Anthea Simmons
Liz Truss in front of big export poster

Liz Truss loves a good export. She loves to celebrate the ability to sell the same things to the same people in the same way as they were sold before Brexit. She likes to imply that Brexit has somehow made all of this so much easier. She also loves all trade deals…especially the sweet little […]

The handwringing over the national debt and other nonsense

Richard Murphy

We are very grateful to Richard Murphy for allowing us to reproduce his excellent series of threads on important economic issues. Not everyone is on Twitter, so this enables us to get great content to those beyond our bubble. We have just had another week when the media has obsessed about what they call the […]

Money, promises and how we could do things differently

Richard Murphy

We are very grateful to Richard Murphy for allowing us to reproduce his excellent series of threads on important economic issues. Not everyone is on Twitter, so this enables us to get great content to those beyond our bubble. I keep hearing people complain that the ‘mainstream media’ does not understand economics and that we’re […]

Plymouth and South Devon freeport: letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Reading a tweet by South Devon MP Gary Streeter lavishing praise on Johnny Mercer’s lobbying for sealing the deal for a freeport in Plymouth, I was struck that perhaps he was giving the game away: that while there is much work undertaken by council staff, regional development specialists and key industry partners in the technical […]

“Shoddy little deal” and shoddy big lies

Daniel Lambert

Editor: Once again we are pleased to share Daniel’s insights with those not on Twitter. I think what disturbs us (amongst so many things so to do) is that ministers are lying about their consultations with industries, claiming to have support when they don’t, claiming to be working with those affected when they aren’t. Prentis […]

Trolled by our own government

Anthea Simmons

Ever get the feeling that this government starts each day wondering what it can get away with? It must seem easier than taking candy off a baby to dole up a heap of lies and cruelties and get us to swallow them and say we’d vote for more. I mean, what are those polls about? […]