Johnson wrote an effusive letter to the Conservative party faithful on 15 June begging them to share the news of the Australia deal far and wide. He was no doubt trying desperately to distract from the Johnson/Delta variant Covid-19 failure which could cost thousands their lives and the revelation of institutional corruption in the Metropolitan Police. The deal with Australia, about which he wished to crow, may well itself cost thousands their livelihoods – not that that will bother Johnson.
The trouble is, as with most of Johnson’s utterances and announcements, the letter and his statements to the House are riddled with lies and misrepresentations.
“Today I agreed an historic trade deal with Australia.” he opens, triumphantly, before going on to blow the gaffe on all those other unique, amazing, ‘global Britain’ deals struck by the minister for the photocopier, Liz Truss.
“The first major deal negotiated from scratch since we left the EU and took back control of our trade.“
Pretty much every other deal has been a rollover of the terms we already had as members of the EU. Guess Johnson is regarding the Japan worse-than-what-we-had-before deal as being ‘minor’. Johnson is also guilty of misrepresentation of the facts from the off. His claim to have agreed a deal is premature. All he has is an agreement in principle, and a rushed one at that.
Since Johnson was desperate to sign something, anything (just as he was to sign something, anything to allow him to say that he had “got Brexit done”) the ‘deal’ is so much in Australia’s favour that one trade expert said that the Australians did not really need any UK input to draw it up.
Here’s a former Australian trade negotiator spelling it out:
The next sentence in the letter is another classic from goldfish-memory Johnson, who has wiped from his self-obsessed mind all recollection of the alliance-weakening aggression he directed at the EU and his promises on climate action made at the G7.
This is Global Britain at its best – looking outwards and striking deals that deepen our alliances and help ensure every part of the country builds back better from the pandemic.
Johnson mis-sells the benefits
He gushes on:
Today’s deal will create incredible opportunities for British businesses and consumers, by:
- Removing all tariffs on British goods, making it cheaper to sell iconic products like cars, Scotch whisky and ceramics into Australia. Cars? How many cars are 100% made in the UK?
- Slashing red tape for thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses trading with Australia. This is just froth..Johnson trotting out the red tape trope whilst conveniently forgetting that Brexit has created a red tape mountain for British businesses – a mountain that has put many out of business altogether.
- Saving British shoppers money with lower prices and more choice. TimTams, anyone? Early estimates are that the savings for the consumer could amount to …wait for it…between 1 penny and four whole pennies a week! Ripper!
- Making it easier to travel and work in Australia, especially for young people. So much cheaper and greener than hopping over on Eurostar to enjoy freedom of movement in 27 countries…frankly, this is just trolling the young.
- Safeguarding British farmers whilst opening up new trading opportunities. An out-and-out lie.
Mulesing involves cutting crescent-shaped flaps of skin from around a lamb’s breech and tail. When this painful wound heals, it creates an area of bare, stretched scar tissue which has no folds or wrinkles and is less likely to attract blowflies. This makes mulesed sheep less susceptible to flystrike in the breech area.RSPCA
In Australia, this painful procedure is performed without pain relief for the animal, except in the state of Victoria. Note, too, that the RSPCA chart does not make reference to the use and abuse of antibiotics in Australian farming practice. Nor does it refer to the fact that animals can be transported for 48 hours without water. 48 hours without water in one of the hottest, driest countries on the planet.
So, having thrown our fishers under the Brexit bus, it is now the turn of our farmers.
A dangerous precedent
The bad news for the UK does not end with the impact on the farmers. Johnson raves on…
And believe me XXX, this is just the start of the world of opportunities we are grasping as an independent trading nation.
and we finally reach the nub of the problem:
We are already making excellent progress towards striking more tailored trade deals with like-minded allies across the globe.
And today’s deal paves the way for us to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a £9 trillion free trade area of some of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. (for context, the EU is a Eur 14 trillion free trade area ON OUR DOORSTEP and we’ve just turned our back on it.)
This deal with Australia sets a precedent. It shows other countries like the US, Brazil, India and Canada just what we are prepared to trade away for the sake of securing a deal. They will want these terms replicated or, worse stil for us, improved upon from their perspective.
Furthermore, this deal will not help one bit with the struggle to resolve the intractable Northern Ireland situation, created by Johnson’s ‘oven ready’ deal. Quite the reverse.
UK officials believe terms of UK Australia trade deal creates “ticking time bombs” on Northern Ireland issue as the absorbtion of non-EU standards & WTO standards multiplies with time.
In other words, agrements reached now may be incompatible with future commitments.
In other words even if a hard won agreement on Northern Ireland is reached this year…the way the trade deals work on agriculture would see the Northern Ireland continually have to be revisited.
This means that any agreement on NI is always essentially a temporary one.
Of course we want there to be good news on the trade front to mitigate the disastrous impact of Brexit, but this deal is not it. It’s the fact that it is being spun as a triumph that is the real issue, here. When will this government start telling the truth? When will they stop gaslighting the nation into believing that bad is good? Don’t hold your breath, eh?
We are on a very slippery slope here with every action taken by this government all part of a drive to deregulate, to abandon hard-won standards and protections, rights and freedoms. The things that have happened so far may not affect many of us personally, but the Brexit agenda has plenty more in store for us. Do we really want to be realising what we have lost because it is gone?