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Schadenfreude

I was wondering how long it would take.

But the cracks are starting to show.

Certainly, Johnson and company have had plenty of useful excuses. The Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine... but even through all of that, one thing is becoming quite clear.

Brexit.

Now, the delusional Express/Mail/Telegraph readers who are gung ho on English Exceptionalism and think that reclaiming sovereignty involves an entire country shooting itself in the foot were keen to point out that Brexit happened and the sky didn't fall.
Well, sure enough. The referendum happened and that was followed by four years of farce. Then the actual leaving happened, followed by a transition period.
Well, it's done and dusted. The UK is now no longer a part of the EU. It has happened. In it's most basic form, Brexit got done.

And just like the hottest month of the year isn't June with it's longest day, the actual fallout will follow the event, not directly coincide with it.

Fallout such as a study showing that Britain's economy was 5.2% (or £31 billion) smaller than it should have been without the combined whammy of Brexit and Covid. The author of the study has stated that it isn't possible to blame Brexit for the all of the 5.2% shortfall, but it's apparent that Brexit is largely to blame. Unfortunately, since this study involves reality in which many factors intertwine, there will be those (and I'm putting my money on somebody like Rees-Mogg) who will point out that it's mostly Covid and not Brexit, because there's nothing wrong with Brexit and the government is on track to Get Brexit Done (that's the new election mantra).

Which, I suppose, explains why - unshackled from the Eurozone and EU financial situation - Britain's economy is doing so well.
Oh, wait, by sticking with Sterling and pretty much making it clear that Euro problems were for Euro countries to deal with, the UK was never really a part of any of this.
As for the economy, Britain is more or less right beside Russia as one of the worst performing of the first world nations. Russia's economic woes are because everybody and their kitten are throwing sanctions at it. Britain? Effectively sanctioned itself.
Everywhere is dealing with inflation right now. Britain has it bad - 9%. Spain 8.7%, United States 8.6%, EU average 8.1%, Germany 7.9%, France 5.2%... [values for end of May 2022]
While that 9% might not look a lot compared to others, it's the speed of the rise, which has meant it's quite above forecast and a 40 year high. The Bank of England has responded by pushing up the interest rate to 1% (the fourth consecutive hike), making borrowing more expensive (mortgages are expected to be 3.5-4%, possibly touching 5% by the end of the year for a 30 year mortgage). At a time when lack of money is a big factor in people's lives.
The BoE plan to have inflation under control and at 2% within two years. Meanwhile the markets thick the bank rate will be 3% come next March.

Which, I suppose, explains why firms that deal with international trade are freaking out over all of the paperwork. One of the many Brexit promises was that all that EU red tape will be done away with. And, indeed, that is one of the things that has actually been done. One doesn't certify a product for the EU internal market. Now it's a certification for Germany, and a different one for France, and... There's a story doing the rounds that a seafood company up north almost lost an entire shipment (valued at £50m000) because a form signed 43 times did not include a printed name. Elsewhere there have been stories of forms totalling many hundreds of pages with parts having to be in Latin, and hauliers turned away if any part of this was wrong.
Yes, the EU is protectionist. Yes, the EU has stringent, often ridiculous amounts of paperwork. And yes, as a non-EU country Britain gets to experience the full force of that. Where entire shipments risk being destroyed at the whim of one man's stroke of a pen. But, hey, the people "democratically" voted to leave the EU. It's the government that took the hardline stance of ending everything, rather than aiming for an EU-lite arrangement such as EFTA. Europe looks out for itself. It used to include Britain. Now Britain is on the outside. What did you think was going to happen?

Which, I suppose, explains why farmers in the West Country are freaking out, facing ruin and being undercut by imports, given that the promised equivalents to the EU subsidies are, in fact, being phased out. In other words, the assistance that farmers used to receive (and god knows the EU bends over backwards to support farming, it's the oft-maligned CAP) are being done away with. The end result is going to be that farmers are going to have to put up their prices in order to make ends meet (remember, part of the subsidies was to help farmers if bad weather meant a crop failure, so it's not just about today). This will put up prices in the shops, at a time when inflation is biting. People may turn to imports which might work out, even with customs and such, to be cheaper, which will lead to fewer sales to local farmers, and farmers going bust and... and increasing reliance on imports, at a time when the government has made importing more painful than it needs to be.

Which, I suppose, explains why the government is bumping up your NI payments to help the shortfall in the funding of the NHS (despite inordinate amounts of money being pissed away on stupid things instead of, you know, paying nurses appropriately). I do recall a certain "promise" written on the side of a bus. However, as is usual for this government, it was a complete fabrication. Not only that, but since the referendum result was not binding, it has been legally ruled that the crap written on the bus did not need to have any basis in reality.
Let that sink in for a moment. A referendum that was treated as immutable word from God himself was based upon actual known lies and... can you see yet exactly how much they in power have taken you for fools? And still are taking you for fools?

Which, I suppose, explains why the government having entirely failed to understand the Northern Ireland situation and how Brexit may affect that, is determined to make up the rules as they go along. Much to the chagrin of the rest of the world. Trust me, the fate of the reputation of the country (already tarnished by Brexit and it's ridiculous negotiations, and Johnson's many idiotic escapades) depends upon the peers doing everything they can to frustrate the passing of that bill. Remember, EU, your neighbours, will see this as extremely bad faith. Remember, the US to which many are beholden to, is currently being led by a bloke with Irish ancestry. Reneging on the previously made agreement because it is difficult to rationalise with the nonsense that is Brexit, will be a dick move.

 

In the midst of this, more and more low paid employees are choosing not to go to work because petrol costs too much. To be fair, this is not a situation unique to the UK. At my local supermarket: diesel is €2,06 (£1,76), unleaded 95 octane E10 is €2,10 (£1.79), and unleaded 98 octane is €2,16 (£1.84). Sterling prices according to Google.
It is expensive everywhere. However as I understand it the government has provided some sort of rebate like 5p/litre which is apparently not being passed on to customers. The government's response? About as useful as can be. They are threatening to name and shame the companies, in a time when said companies are announcing record profits. Again. Whoo, I bet they're so scared.

Stupid cretins. If there is a benefit being given that the companies are pocketing, that's straight up fraud. Exactly two things need to happen. Issue an arrest warrant for the CEO, drag him through court, slam him in jail. Meanwhile, ban the entire company from doing any further business in the entire country. It doesn't matter if Shell or Texaco or Esso or whoever else (I don't remember many British petrol station names any more) gets a total ban, the others will be more than willing to step in to fill the gap.
Trust me, the pump price will drop accordingly.

It's also a spiral of ever decreasing circles all the way to hell itself. So a low wage employee cannot afford to fill their car to go to work because wages aren't keeping up with the current state of world madness. Fair enough. But come next paycheque, they will have even less. If they still have a job to go to. You can see where that's going, can't you?

Well, I can see where that's going. The government, on the other hand, seem to be unaware of the increasingly massive reliance that people are putting on food banks. Of teachers bringing in food and clothing for some of their pupils. There has always been poverty, but in recent times as the rich get richer, everybody else gets ignored.
And, no, it's not that the poor get poorer (they do, that's a given), it's that people who weren't poor... now are.

 

Couple this with the insane price rises of regulated energy tariffs that are expected to jump by 40% again later in the year, having already jumped 54% in April. This could mean that a home's typical energy bill is a thousand pounds more expensive by the end of the year. That's nearly a month of earnings for a low wage employee (it's quoted as £1,351.35 monthly but that's before tax and other deductions).
So not only will the low paid not be able to travel to work, or eat, or clothe their children... they won't be able to heat their homes or make proper use of power-hungry appliances such as washing machines or immersion heaters for bathing. Just insignificant little things, right?

 

Many of the problems that people perceived with the EU that led to Brexit were down to fundamental failings of the government. For example, when the EU expanded to include the eastern countries (that the UK was actually actively pushing for), the EU countries kept their internal labour markets closed for... what was it, five years? Seven? Tony Blair, on the other hand, invited them to come to the UK.

Likewise, there are actually restrictions in place for the supposed freedom of movement. Principally one must not be a burden to the state. Which means that people have to find a job within 90 days if not able to self-support. Additionally, in another member state, the EU citizen benefits do not come into force until there has been five years of continual residence in the country (in the case of my local préfecture, this is determined by five years of tax declarations). The UK never bothered to implement any of this. In fact, listening to some of the Brexiteers, one would get the impression that freedom of movement meant a person could go wherever and do whatever. If you have banknotes in your pocket, yeah, you can. But if you're a scrounger then expect to get kicked out of everywhere...except, apparently, Britain.

The ECJ has actually ruled that benefits tourism does not count as free movement. Was this ever enforced? Well, it wouldn't make for a great Daily Mail headline if they had to write "Romainain slacker denied benefits". Note, I'm not picking on Romainains specifically, this was actually the case in question, a 25 year old woman who wanted to claim benefits in Germany whilst making no effort to find a job.
For what it is worth, France pretty much ignored my presence until I had been here for five years. I had no access to any benefits other than basic healthcare (that they extend to pretty much everybody as they understand that healthy citizens are more useful than sick ones).

Britain, when in the EU, with May in charge, actually tried to derail a proposal that meant that it would be impossible for imported workers to undercut local wages. May tried to tell everybody that such measures would harm the profits of British businesses. Having left the EU, the rest of the EU implemented the proposals while the British did their nut over the mass firing of P&O employees to bring in much lower paid foreign labour. Exactly what the proposal would have prevented happening.

 

There is, however, a silver lining to this massive hulking angry black Cumulonimbus. And that is the sheer amount of butthurt being expressed by British people as they go to Spain.
Frenchies, Dutch, Germans... they all head for the EU immigration lane. Since it's Schengen, they just wave their passports to show that they really are from an EU country and they walk right in.
The British, meanwhile, stand in queues. For hours. It's a British national sport. After that, there's checking. Interrogations. Stamps in passports. And guess what, it's 90 days in one country or 180 days in the EU as a whole in the course of one year. Yup, people have been refused entry. All the wailing in the red tops. How can they do this to us?
Simple. The UK "democratically" voted to end freedom of movement. Maybe the underlying guise was to be free to kick out those dirty stinking foreigners that cause all the trouble.
Well, guess what. In the Balearics, they are the dirty stinking foreigners that cause all the trouble. And now the EU countries can say No.

The Brits should just be glad that they currently don't need a visa to enter. However, as of 2023, they will need an ETIAS visa waiver - which will cost about €7 and be valid for three years.

Of course, The Usual Charlatans have said that this is a revenge tax because of Brexit. The reality, of course, is that British citizens have the same sort of standing as Canadians and Somalians when it comes to the EU.

 

All those nice little perks such as hassle-free holidays on the Costa? Yeah, it's over.

Such as retiring to a little home in France or a flat in the south of Spain? Yeah, it's over (unless €€€).

Such as deciding that there are better opportunities abroad for work or study? Yeah, it's over (unless €€€).

The UK slammed the door shut. Locked it. Nailed planks of wood over it. And then bricked it up. Twice.

It's what was voted for, as people keep reminding me.

 

 

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J.G.Harston, 13th June 2022, 11:41
Yeah, when my then-wife came here from Hong Kong, she had to be resident for five years with "no recourse to public funds" (even more galling as she had her British citizenship stolen by Fatch in 1984), while anybody could walk straight off a ferry from an EU country straight into a dole office. That's what people saw, and all down to the UK government *choosing* to implement it, not being forced by the EU.

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Last read at 22:27 on 2022/06/25.

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