Real Reasons for Brexit-Freedom for Whom?
On 1st January 2021 Boris Johnston announced “we now have freedom in our hands”
Freedom sounds wonderful in theory but what does it actually mean in practice. Whose Freedom? The employers, the polluters, the tax evaders, the multinationals?
Freedom from EU Employment Regulations
Much of UK employment law is derived from and grounded in EU law. These include issues such as working time, holiday pay, maternity rights and discrimination. Tory MPs have opposed many of these rights including TUPE, rights for part-time workers, agency workers and rights for workers to be consulted in redundancy etc. Brexit gives the Government the FREEDOM to remove these rights
Freedom from EU Environment Regulations Much of UK environmental legislation derives from EU directives and legislation and is based on four core environmental principles: the precautionary, prevention, rectification at source, and polluter pays principles. In many cases this legislation was accepted reluctantly by the Tories many of whom are sceptical about climate change, have voted against legislation controlling emissions and are funded by the polluters especially the oil companies.A recent survey of MPs voting on environmental issues showed that Johnston had the worst record of any member.As a result of this legislation, we have cleaned our rivers, stopped dumping sewage in the sea and expanded natural habitats.Brexit will give Johnston the FREEDOM to make a bonfire of these regulations
Free from EU Consumer Protection Regulations Many UK consumer rights issues have been resolved by the European Court, but the guarantees given by European law will no longer apply. Britain could slash environmental and safety regulations on imported products (chlorinated chicken) after it leaves the EU. In criticizing the EU consumer protection laws Rees-Mogg predicted that the UK could “go a very long way” to rolling back high EU standards noting that if regulations were good enough for India, they would be good enough for UK. We now have the FREEDOM to introduce Indian standards of consumer protection
.Free to do a trade deal with the US One of the attractions of Brexit to many Tories was the opportunity to do a trade deal with the US. In return for this deal the UK would allow US drug and insurance companies full access to the NHS. For many Tories the NHS is “socialised medicine” an expensive luxury we cannot afford. They opposed it’s setting up and voted against it 21 times contrary to Jeremy Hunts claim that Tories founded it. Johnston’s Trade advisor Daniel Hannon calls the NHS “a terrible mistake” and Jeremy Hunt co-authored a book calling for the NHS to be replaced by an insurance-based scheme.
Discussions on this trade deal and US role in the NHS have intensified in recent years and Tories including Hannon, Fox, Gove, Hunt, and Davies have all been involved in setting out the future with US right-wing think tanks. A detailed blueprint of their plans for the privatization of the NHS was published in 2018 involving the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation and Fox and other leading Tories.Although the trade deal is unlikely to go through the Tory strategy on NHS continues-continuously underfund it-reducing services-creating longer waiting lists- leading more people to go private-further reduce funding-deteriorating services- more going private- creating 2-tier system-reducing care to third class service used only by the very poor who cannot afford to go private.
This process is well underway but the FREEDOM to do a trade deal with the US would mean rich pickings for the US insurance companies and private hospitals.
Free to avoid EU anti Tax avoidance directive
The EU is tightening up its laws against tax evasion and money laundering and this new directive is aimed at creating greater financial transparency and tackling tax-havens. At present much of the British financial system is interconnected with tax havens such as Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and Channel islands where secrecy rules. The possibility that the EU would act against the tax havens led many bankers to fund the Brexit campaign. Brexit would give the tax avoiders the FREEDOM to continue without being concerned by EU directives.
The FREEDOM offered by Brexit is a con as individuals have no greater freedom. In fact, in terms of workers’ rights, environmental issues, foreign travel, and consumer protection rights have been restricted and will be further reduced in the years to come.
The Brexiters frequent claim that we had gained FREEDOM from Brussels dictat is of course misleading as UK was involved in drafting the EU law and most of it was implemented by votes in the House of Commons .
I doubt if many of those voting for FREEDOM in the referendum were intentionally voting to give greater FREEDOM to employers, polluters, tax avoiders and the US multinationals planning to take over the NHS.