Jacob Rees Mogg By LadyGeekTV (CC-BY-2.0)

By LadyGeekTV (CC-BY-2.0)


Nick Clegg called Jacob Rees-Mogg a trade protectionist and then found out that you shouldn't mix it with the Moggster!

Earlier today while joining anti-Brexit forces with David Miliband and Nicky Morgan, Nick Clegg criticised Jacob Rees-Mogg's approach to Brexit saying on Nick Ferrari's LBC show that Rees-Mogg had unwittingly become a protectionist.

"I always thought Jacob Rees-Mogg believed in British traditions of free and open trade. He said.

"But he is casting aside our biggest neighbouring open markets for the wholly illusory benefit of agreeing to free trade deals with Papua New Guinea and other far-flung countries.

"He will be overseeing an immense wave of protectionism."

But Rees-Mogg hit back later on the show saying:

"When we leave the European Union, we will be out of the protectionist customs union.

"The Customs Union applies tariffs of 22 percent on average on food, it's over 11 percent on clothing and footwear.

"Once we've left, we can get rid of these as a unilateral act.

"We will be free to open up our markets to the huge benefits of consumers.

"We have a real opportunity for free trade. That's where the benefits of leaving the European Union come from.

"That's why it's so essential to leave the customs union.

"The customs union protects, for example, Spanish orange growers at the expense of British consumers.

"Now, I wish Spanish orange growers every success and their oranges make lovely marmalade – that's all splendid.

"But I don't think my constituents in north-east Somerset should pay higher prices to protect continental producers.

"I'm the one for free trade. The customs union is a protectionist racket, protecting inefficient continental industries."

I think that's game set and match for Jacob – don't you?

And it looks like the Italians have now got an anti-EU populist right wing coalition government of Lega and the Five Star Movement.

"The Anti-EU Lega and anti-establishment Five Star Movement have already agreed on a coalition and will seek formal permission to form a government from Italian President Sergio Mattarella this afternoon."

Reports the Express.

"The coalition, which has already stated its aim to ignore EU rulings which don’t dovetail with its own aims, is Brussels worst nightmare – and makes Britain’s Brexit vote look like a minor Euro-policy hiccup."

Interesting times ahead it seems.

Now, Charles Bowman, the Lord Mayor of London, says that, having visited a string of countries he can say with confidence that the phrase 'Made in the UK' is held in very high esteem.

Writing in CityAM he says it is seen as a hallmark for quality.

But the problem is that we are not capitalising enough on this reputation, he writes.

"The unfortunate truth – he said – is that while we are producing exceptionally high-quality products and services, we need to work harder at bringing them to the world’s markets.

"We need to see more companies looking out at the world and seeking opportunities to sell their wares abroad and partner with foreign companies – be it in cyber security, asset management, infrastructure finance, fintech, or legal services."

And he continues by saying that Brexit gives the UK the opportunity to forge independent trading relationships with the rest of the world, especially the many countries that are growing rapidly.

He then points to the skills that Global Britain will need and the first International Trade Summer School later this year which, he writes:

"…will bring together top students from across the UK to London, where they will learn about international trade and export strategies from successful business leaders, senior government officials, as well as noted trade experts."

As he says, encouraging and educating people to see and talk about the opportunities that are out there, is the way we can drive cultural change towards being a globally focused trading nation.

Now to EU expansion.

In an apparent show of how deeply embedded the EU ethos is within our own establishment, the UK is to host a summit to encourage six other European nations to join the European Union.

The summit will take place in July, reports the Independent, where member states and representatives of Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo will get together to discuss reforms to pave the way to future EU membership supposedly for the sake of their “security, stability and prosperity”.

According to the Independent a foreign office spokesperson said:

"We remain of the view that the EU accession process is important to delivering security, stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans.

"As and when candidate countries have met the requirements for accession in full, it will be for those countries and European Union members at the time to decide on membership."

And it does seem strange that Boris Johnson said recently that Turkey should join the EU.

So, why this UK support for what is known as the Berlin Process, which is a series of meetings to get countries in that region to join up to the EU – something the EU parliament's research arm has said is "bringing a new perspective and impetus to the enlargement process".

Then I remembered my Yes Minister, where the inimitable Sir Humphrey said the reason we joined the bloc was because we didn't want the common market to succeed but couldn't break it up from the outside so we had to get inside and make a complete pig's breakfast of the whole thing.

And when the minister, Jim Hacker, asks Sir Humphrey why the UK is pressing for an increase in the bloc's membership, he replied:

"Well for the same reason. It's just like the United Nations in fact. The more members it has the more arguments it can stir up. The more futile and impotent it becomes. ….. we call it diplomacy minister."

One has to wonder whether we're trying to stuff the EU full of problems before we finally exit stage left!

I've left a link to the sketch below in the description box – well worth a watch.

Now I've heard it all.

According to a report in the Guardian, the UK exit from the EU will cause a crime surge amongst UK businesses as they come into contact with corrupt non-EU business practices.

The UK National Crime Agency has warned that UK companies looking to increase trade post-Brexit may end up dealing with corrupt markets, especially in the developing world.

It is also warning of the increased risk of money-laundering as criminals try to use dirty money to buy high value items such as gems and precious metals.

The NCA also said that the Brexit vote would bee a 'key driver of uncertainty' over the next five years.

"We judge this will increase the likelihood that UK businesses will come into contact with corrupt markets, particularly in the developing world, raising the risk they will be drawn into corrupt practices." The report says.

Now, is this an example of institutional racism? It would be if a Leave organisation said something like that, wouldn't it? Not only that, it paints a very poor picture of our UK businesses if our security services thank they are so easily corrupted, doesn't it?

It's not as if while in the EU we're dealing with corruption like an emissions scandal or the passing off of horse meat is it – oh wait!

So, what exactly are we saying here – best we stay in fortress EU and never venture outside those walls in case we come into contact with nasty corrupt non-EU foreigners? Now that's what I call xenophobia!

And then the report goes on to say that billions of pounds worth of money laundering goes on in the UK every year, and says:

"Investment in UK property, particularly in London, continues to be an attractive mechanism to launder funds."

So that means it's happening right now, and has been happening for years while we've been inside the EU with all its associated agencies! The criminals have even bought property, which is illiquid and immovable – it's huge and in plain sight! And with the entire might of the EU and UK law enforcement we can do nothing anyway!

I take it this is what the EU freedom of movement of goods and capital means.

I reckon that tightening up the borders will increase the risk for those involved in cross border crime up from what appears to be near zero to at least something tangible.

Now I reckon the Remainers will be gearing up to tell me that Leavers said horrid things about Turkey possibly joining the EU.

But the big difference here is that post-Brexit we will not be joining politically and economically at the hip with other countries, like we would have been had Turkey joined the EU before we left.

So it's not the same at all.

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