As the time runs out for a post-Brexit trade deal, the Morning Star is worried: Boris Johnson “is not ideologically anti-EU, let alone pro-No Deal” (all quotes from Morning Star editorial, 5-6 December).
Yes, that’s the trouble with Johnson — he just can’t be trusted to take a hard line against Johnny Foreigner, even over fishing rights, which he “would sell... to France and Spain in order to ensure the City of London’s continuing unfettered access to Europe’s financial markets.”
Meanwhile, the “intransigent” EU claims to have “fears — whether bogus or not — that Britain could engage in unfair competition... by lowering labour, consumer or environmental standards.” Such fears are of course, unfounded, as “all EU labour, consumer and environmental minimum standards have already been incorporated into UK law.” And, to pre-empt what “Britain’s most pro-EU zealots” might say about that, the Morning Star has a ready answer: “Obviously there can be no guarantee that a Tory government will not legislate in future to lower various standards... But that should be a matter for the electors of Britain to deal with.” We may have rubbish standards in future — but they’ll be rubbish British standards!
Now, just in case any Morning Star reader might think all this sounds a bit like what you might expect from, say, the Telegraph or the Mail, we come to that old favourite, state aid. Here the editorial excels itself:
“The EU side has consistently demanded that any agreement must include a mechanism to enforce... EU rules banning state aid to industry in all but the most devastating, short-term, or exceptional circumstances.”
Strange, then, isn’t it, that the UK spends considerably less on state aid than most other EU countries? In 2016 the UK spent 0.36% of GDP on state aid compared to 0.65% in France and 1.31% in Germany (and those figures exclude railways, which are nationalised in both France and Germany). Only five EU countries spent less than the UK.
And if we look at Scandinavian countries, which are all in the Single Market and almost all in the EU, we see that there is no inconsistency between the state aid rules and such things as regional aid, investment aid for small- and medium-sized companies, research and innovation aid, and support for broadband and local infrastructure.
Does all this sound like the EU “banning state aid... in all but the most... exceptional circumstances”?
Is the author of the Morning Star’s editorial simply ignorant, or a liar? (Probably both.)
And when it comes to honesty, one other thing the Morning Star doesn’t make clear to its readers (though it occasionally hints at it) is the fact that, like its political masters, the Communist Party of Britain, it positively supports No Deal and Britain trading on WTO rules (which place very similar restrictions on state aid to those of the EU!).
Seeing as not being “ideologically” anti-EU and pro No Deal is Johnson’s great failing, you’d think the Morning Star would make more of the fact that it — and its political masters — are exactly that. But then, the unions who subsidise the Morning Star (all of whom are bitterly opposed to No Deal) wouldn’t like that, would they?