As you may know, dear reader, we have ceased our membership of the European Union – I mention this because quite a lot of people, it would appear, would have no idea what I was talking about – and of those who knew or know of the existence of the European Union, many, including many MPs seem to have any notion that membership actually conferred various rights and privileges, so a cessation of membership which brings with it changes to daily life comes as a bit of a surprise.
The terms of our leaving were set out, agreed and signed in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, dated 30 Dec 2020 and to come into force on 1 May 2021. This sets out (among other things) the rules and regulations for goods leaving the country (exports) and going into the EU, and likewise, rules and regulations for goods coming in (imports). For goods leaving the UK and entering the European Union the EU did what it signed up to do and began to implement the rules straight away. The burden of paperwork so generated has been the main cause of the enormous queues of lorries on the roads leading to Dover, and the necessity of Operation Brock.
The UK Government, knowing that the UK did not and still does not have the administrative capacity to implement the rules for incoming traffic postponed their implementation, and continues to do so. They were due to come into force after the last postponement on 1st July next – but once again they have been put back. Thus traffic from the EU flows into the country quite smoothly – but doesn’t get checked – and the rules and regulations are there precisely for that purpose. They are what stops poor quality food coming in, and the transmission of various plant diseases and viruses. Knowledgeable people have pointed this out for some time, but the recent postponement announced by the awful Jacob Rees-Mogg has stirred things up again.
Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers’ Union has now weighed in as follows . . .
For those of us who remember things like the discovery of horsemeat in food when there WERE regulations, have understandably a certain apprehension about food products streaming in from the 27 countries of the European Union. No doubt many producers will continue to apply the EU standards to their products and we shall be OK. Bu there will be pressure to produce cheaper stuff, and thus sell more of it, and then standards may fall to achieve this. And, of course, the out and out rogue always exists and will take advantage of weaknesses in the system very quickly.
The aforesaid Jacob Rees-Mogg presents this state of affairs as a positive Brexit advantage. “We can make our own rules now” and thus make things easy for our importers is his line, with no mention of the arrival of pests and diseases. Nor does he show much sign of appreciating the difficulties of our exporters which are, he says, in no way attributable to “Brexit” but are due solely to the EU authorities being deliberately hostile and difficult.