OK, bits of paperwork, sand in the gears of trade:
Bosses of the UK’s largest supermarkets have warned “urgent intervention” is needed by the Government to prevent “significant disruption” to Northern Ireland’s food supplies, due to post-Brexit border arrangements.
In a letter to Michael Gove, cabinet office secretary, the chief executives of Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Co-op and Marks & Spencer said it is “essential” to find a long term solution with the EU before March 31, on sending food to Northern Ireland. It was also signed by Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium.
Since December 31, Northern Ireland has remained as the only part of the UK in the EU’s single market for goods, meaning foods entering from Great Britain have to be professionally certified and are subject to new checks.
OK. So, what’s the lesson to take from this?
This is the pettifogging bureaucracy that the EU has been imposing on all imports from outside the EU these past decades.
That is, the more we’re being told that this is all appalling the more this is a story about how the EU’s trade policies are appalling.
It’s the same with those local content rules about our exports more generally. All we’re getting now is a taste of what the EU has imposed upon the other 6.5 billion out there for those decades.
Ally this with basic trade theory and we find out what’s wrong with such a system. Such basic theory being the observation that the point of trade is imports. Exports are just the sweat we brow in order to gain access to those lovely things made by J. Foreigner. Given that the aim is those lovely things barriers to our gaining them make us poorer, are castle walls built up in mercantilist fashion.
Every ham sandwich confiscated, every point of origin check, every form filled, concerning our current exports is evidence of how much poorer the EU has been making us since 1973. The same is true of all the minor problems in NI currently.
And, note who it is that peeps think are suffering from this right now. No one is saying that exporters from r-UK to NI are suffering. No one is saying that local production in NI benefits from not being subject to foreign competition. What they do say is that the population of NI ain’t getting what it wants at the prices it likes.
Which is, obviously, exactly what the EU has been doing to us all all along. The entire trade structure is designed to make us, consumers, poorer. At which point, of course, fuck ’em.